Chapter 351: Father?
In the blink of an eye, over a month had flown by.
One day, twelve consecutive rumbling sounds rang out in the sinister Cemetery of Death. Twelve enormous banners unfurled in the explosions.
Han Shuo sat cross-legged right in the center, his eyes fixed on the twelve flags in the middle of the pit. The liquid inside the pit had turned into a pitch black pool, bubbles of various sizes rising to the surface. Black mist churned and coiled out of it, drifting around the Cemetery of Death without dispersing.
As the bubbles popped and crackled, that pitch black pool of liquid was gradually absorbed by the three evil knights and their fire warhorses. The evil knights had originally been submerged deep in the liquid in the pit. Now they were sucking in the black liquid like they were dying of thirst. Finally, the three evil knights and their mounts had fully absorbed the liquid, revealing their figures. They were now inky black from head to toe, with the eyes of both the riders and the mounts glinting faintly red with the light of eternal flames.
Apart from the vicious deathly aura drifting around them, there was now another baleful presence swirling around them. Feeling the enormous changes occurring within their bodies, the three silently threw back their heads and howled to the heavens, the bone spears in their hands dancing madly.
Because they could no longer bear the deep agony in their souls, the three evil knights once again tried to attack the power of the contract as their bodies came clear of the liquid in the pit. They wanted to escape from Han Shuo and from the slavery.
“Hmph! High rank undead creatures are indeed a little annoying. At least you understand the concept of resistance!” Han Shuo coldly snorted, abruptly standing up from his cross-legged sitting posture. He then sent his mental strength crashing down on the three evil knights, forcing obedience on them while revolving the secret arts of demonic magic.
The three evil knights’ mournful, miserable howls were abruptly cut short. As both riders and horses looked at Han Shuo in horror, the flames in their eyes became weak and feeble, like a candly in the midst of a tempest. Their bodies and souls seemed ready to dissipate at the slightest provocation.
The liquid inside the cave that enhanced their bodies had contained Han Shuo’s blood essence. Since the three evil knights and their fire warhorses had completely absorbed it, Han Shuo’s blood essence now flowed within their bodies. This meant that he was completely capable of turning them into dust without leaving behind the slightest trace.
Therefore, when Han Shuo punished and tortured the three evil knights and their steeds using his own blood essence, the fear that struck them was the most primal of them. The three evil knights had been ready to exert their everything to break away from Han Shuo’s contract, but now all of them were crawling on the ground, their entire beings trembling.
Han Shuoe could sense the feeling of fear and awe from the depths of the three evil knights’ souls. He snorted coldly, stepping in front of the three evil knights who no longer dared to resist, and placed three “Dark Seals” on each of them. With this magic, he could directly summon them from the other dimension.
If Han Shuo hadn’t imprinted the “Dark Seals” onto them, he wouldn’t be able to call upon them in his next summons once he sent them back to the other dimension. Without an identifying brand on their bodies, the next summons would’ve chosen a random set of evil knights. In the vast, boundlessness of the other dimension, there was a countless amount of these low level existences. It would take a miracle to summon the same set once again.
However, as long as a “Dark Seal” was stamped onto their bodies, Han Shuo could find them anywhere in the other dimension through the brands. From there, he could bring the refined evil knights directly to this plane.
After branding the evil knights and their fire warhorses one by one, Han Shuo intended to send them back to the other dimension. However, he suddenly recalled how he’d seen undead creatures including the little skeleton, earth, fire and wood elite zombies thrive in that haven of necromancy during his trip last time.
Han Shuo understood that the little skeleton and the crew were vigorously carrying out an invasion in that dimension. As their strength was improving constantly, Han Shuo was well aware of the strong undead creatures in the other dimension, and how the mummy lord wasn’t the strongest creature in the other dimension either.
When he reached the rank of grand magus necromancer, Han Shuo could call upon undead creatures such as the mummy lords, bone demons and old fey zombies. However, there were races beyond the undead creatures, above the mummy lords. Those super high rank undead creatures included creatures like bone dragons, skeleton kings and zombie kings. Only necromancers at the rank of sacred magus were able to summon them.
According to legend, necromancers beyond the rank of sacred magus could even summon undead creatures that wielded the strength of demigods from the strange world. How mighty were these undead creatures? What kind of form did they appear in? Even Han Shuo wasn’t sure…
In the endlessly vast other dimension, Han Shuo didn’t know whether or not undead creatures with the power of demigods existed. The little skeleton’s strength was constantly being enhanced, but Han Shuo was still somewhat worried about him. This was why he wanted the little skeleton to take the three evil knights back to the other dimension, thereby increasing his strength again.
When his thoughts reached this point, Han Shuo took out the skeletal staff and started chanting an incantation. Since he’d last accidentally entered the other dimension, there had been a period of time when Han Shuo had had some apprehension towards this magic staff. However, after a few days studying it, he didn’t find any differences when he started using it in chanting incantations again. Han Shuo didn’t know how the previous matter actually occurred, and so decided not to care too much about it.
A black light flashed from the void. The little skeleton landed, still atop the spiky undead creature. When they arrived, the three evil knights instantly sensed the familiar air of death from this dimension. When they saw clearly that it was just a little skeleton commanding them, the three evil knights emitted the might of a high rank undead creature, as if wanting to terrify the little skeleton.
The little skeleton swept a glance over the three evil knights, his purple eye socket flashing with light. He lightly tapped the three meter long bone spur on the spiky undead creature. The latter suddenly turned to the three evil knights and let out a silent roar. A billowing surge of murderous intent abruptly rolled out.
The three evil knights, who had planned on showing off their strength in front of the little skeleton, suddenly felt the powerful might of that odd undead creature. They suddenly jolted in shock, their instinctive fear of higher level undead creatures causing them to retreat a few steps.
“Father!” After scaring off the three evil knights, the little skeleton leapt off from his undead creature. He ran straight to Han Shuo, joyously transmitting this message.
Han Shuo was shocked. He looked at the little skeleton who’d lived with him ever since the Babylon Academy of Magic and Force. The little skeleton had secretly helped him throw out garbage in the middle of the night. Now that Han Shuo heard the little skeleton call him like this, he was at a sudden loss of words.
“Father, you have been to my hometown, right?” The little skeleton stuck the three meter long bone spear into the ground as he walked up in front of Han Shuo. He looked up, blinking his purple eye socket at Han Shuo to transmit this message.
The word “father” that the little skeleton called him stunned Han Shuo. He suddenly found himself increasingly unable to see through the little skeleton. From simple communication to a conversation, this change had happened in only two years. Looking at the little skeleton in front of him with a sparkling purple eye socket, Han Shuo was shaken to the extreme.
He finally snapped out his shock after a while, nodding, “That’s right. I visited the other dimension last time.” Pausing for a bit, Han Shuo asked with some hesitation, “Do you finally have your own complete consciousness? Why do you call me father? What’s going on?”
“You created me. Your blood runs within my body, and you’ve also always considered me your child. You are my father.” The little skeleton blinked his purple eye and continued to send messages, “Father, not only do I have a complete consciousness, I also have some miraculous powers. These were all given by you.”
Han Shuo had originally seen the tiny little skeleton as a little child. The latter’s display of childish behavior had always reinforced this illusion, especially after leaving the Babylon Academy of Magic and Force. Perhaps that was why Han Shuo subconsciously considered the little skeleton his child. As for the little skeleton, he could feel the deep feeling of love through the spirit connection with Han Shuo and gradually took Han Shuo as his father.
Han Shuo’s mind was a bit chaotic after the little skeleton’s sudden thunderous call of “father”. His heart was full of questions, but Han Shuo didn’t know where to start. He fell silent for a while before saying, “I’ve enhanced the three evil knights so their power has increased quite a bit. Take them with you, they should be of help.”
“Thank you, father! I will discipline them well.” The little skeleton exclaimed in delight. He didn’t have the arrogance in front of Han Shuo that let him look down on the world like he had in the other dimension. Instead, he acted more like a naughty child.
The little skeleton pulled the three meter long bone spur from the ground before walking towards the three evil knights. The closer he drew to them, the more violently the air of death around him surged. All of the deadly air from the Cemetery of Death seemed to churn like a whirlpool, the little skeleton firmly in the eye of the hurricane as he strode forward.
The three evil knights suddenly trembled. The flames in their eyes flashed as they stared at the little skeleton with seven spurs behind his back. They seemed to have figured out the little skeleton’s extraordinary origin.
High level undead creatures possessed a might that any undead creature of lower ranks was simply incapable of resisting. The little skeleton walked proudly up to the three evil knights, tapping his huge bone spur on each one, fire warhorses included, seemingly issuing an order.
The bone spur rang out clearly as it tapped on the riders and mounts. The flames in their eyes flickered intensely as their postures turned submissive. It seemed they had all yielded to the little skeleton’s might.
Han Shuo watched the little skeleton tame the three evil knights smoothly, feeling quite incredulous. Even Han Shuo himself had to use his blood essence to subdue the three evil knights when he dealt with them. He didn’t expect the little skeleton to have no need of anything. He’d used his identity as a higher rank creature to the point where they didn’t dare to lift their heads.
Whether it was because of different refining methods, or because the little skeleton, earth, wood and fire elite zombies had all started off at a low level, they had all readily accepted Han Shuo without any resistance during the demonic magic’s refining process.
When he’d refined the little skeleton, Han Shuo had felt their souls interconnect. He dared to say so because the latter had inherited a portion of his memory in addition to some of his power. Otherwise, it’d be absolutely impossible for the little skeleton to skillfully display the Law of Activating Magic using the seven bone spurs on his back.
As for the fire, wood and earth elite zombies, they had been refined via the secret zombie refining process. In addition to Han Shuo painstakingly collecting the materials, they’d also absorbed the five extreme elements from the extreme places of their respective elements. Who knew how much power had been stored up in those locations? The enormity and rarity of that power was immeasurable.
Perhaps it was due to those reasons that the four undead creatures – the little skeleton, earth, wood and fire elite zombies could directly communicate with Han Shuo through their minds. They had extraordinary abilities to begin with, as well as the surprising ability to evolve. On the contrary, for those three evil knights or even higher rank undead creatures, Han Shuo could only give them orders, not communicate mentally with them.
End of part one of the chapter.
They likewise lacked the fortuitous chances of the little skeleton, and a part of Han Shuo’s memories. Neither had they absorbed an enormous amount of elements from the heavens and earth like the other three zombie fellows. Moreover, because their starting rank was already much higher than the zombies and skeletons, they’d even tried to resist Han Shuo’s effort to improve their physical bodies. Perhaps due to these reasons that despite being strong, they were still a far cry from the four of little skeleton inner circle – the undead creatures who Han Shuo had tempered first.
“Father, they will listen obediently from now on.” The little skeleton pointed at the three trembling evil knights, saying to the silently pondering Han Shuo.
“Heh heh, you can take them back. My mind is a bit of a mess right now.” Han Shuo smiled with the little skeleton. Then, when he was about to cast the spell, Han Shuo suddenly looked at the undead creature that was the little skeleton’s steed and asked, “Right, what is this strange fellow? Why have I never seen it before?”
“Oh, he was originally a bone demon. Father found me lots of good bones last time. I dismantled this bone demon and used some of those fine bones to create its wings, so it turned out looking like this. Father, did I make it ugly?” After answering, the little skeleton asked Han Shuo, somewhat embarrassed.
“No, it looks very nice.” Han Shuo replied, before sending the little skeleton and the three evil knights back to the strange world. With his connection with the little skeleton, Han Shuo sent the three evil knights to the little skeleton’s territory. From now on, those three were destined to become its underlings, to be its vanguard in battle.
“When did you have the ability to refine undead creatures?” After the little skeleton and three evil knights disappeared, Han Shuo muttered with a heart filled with shock.
Although the little skeleton’s enhancement on that bone demon was a simple dismantling and reassembly of the bones, Han Shuo could see from this action that the little skeleton was simply incredible. He was sure that the little skeleton had received that enhancement method from his memory. Otherwise, the little skeleton certainly wouldn’t have had this ability.
That the little skeleton had unconsciously grown into this existence was a big, pleasant surprise for Han Shuo. For someone who had personally created this miracle, the little skeleton’s rapid development had astounded Han Shuo in the beginning. Now it had transformed to excitement and ecstasy. The more he thought about it, the more satisfied he was of his masterpiece.
Deep down in his heart, Han Shuo had truly regarded the little skeleton as his child, so he was supremely excited when the latter had called him “father”. He had some difficulties adapting at first, but after the little skeleton had left for the other dimension, Han Shuo felt a kind of longing. Han Shuo suddenly realized that he’d seen the little skeleton as his child from very long ago. His doting and worries for the latter were indeed the behavior of a father for his child!
“Ahh, child. I finally have a child!” A while after the little skeleton left, inside the Cemetery of Death, Han Shuo threw back his head and let out an insane laugh to the heavens. His laughter was full of joy and excitement.
The three evil knights had emerged, but the twelve mystical demons still needed some more time to take shape. The evil knights only needed to absorb some energy, so this process naturally didn’t take much time, However, the twelve yin demons were an evolution to another form. This process was much more complicated than a simple energy absorption. Accordingly, the time taken was longer.
After dark dragon Gilbert swallowed the magic core of the green dragon, he nested in the Cemetery of Death and fell into hibernation. His huge body curled up into a ball, his scales and skin sometimes overflowing with stinky liquid and some lights began to flash deep within his body.
Gilbert’s evolution might take quite a while, and Han Shuo didn’t continue studying archmage necromancer rank magic anymore. Seeing that everything was proceeding in a good direction in the Cemetery of Death, he once again returned to Brettel City.
Having left Brettel City for some time, Han Shuo was surprised to see life had suddenly become more bustling than when he had left it. The streets were pathetically deserted in the past, and it was practically impossible to see anyone walking back and forth.
However, when Han Shuo released the yin demon to make a quick scouting trip upon his return, he suddenly saw many changes had occurred unknowingly in Brettel City. As city lord, these changes greatly pleased him.
Because the mountain people on the surrounding mountains had migrated into Brettel City, the city’s population had increased. In addition, the merchants outside had flooded the city in pursuit of profit. Not only did they bring various daily necessities, some of the bold merchants had even opened up shops in Brettel City.
After the demand for food was met, those merchants started to sell luxurious clothes along with daily necessities. The population of Brettel City wasn’t high, but the young men who’d joined the city guard had earned a good monthly salary.
Every month, the honest young men in the city all received gold coins which were used to improve the originally poor life of their families. As long as each family had a young man at the right age, the entire family could live in style in Brettel City. Enthusiasm for enlisting in the military was unprecedented. Some young men in Seamist City even took the risk to come here to enlist as their life’s last chance.
Unknowingly, the number of city guards had increased from the original three thousand to five thousand. With the war crazy Dorcas stationed there, Jack didn’t need to spend gold coins to forge equipment for the soldiers. Dorcas was pushing his men to compete with Faulke’s elite knights, seeing who did the best in punishing the bandits around Brettel City.
Dorcas and Faulke were extremely effective as a pair. Not only did they wipe out two bandit organizations, the gold coins that came as the spoils of battle were enough to equip the soldiers. Brettel City had gone from its passive turtling, suffering humiliation here and there, to actively striking out, visiting retribution on the bandits. The city had gradually risen up within the span of a few months, attracting the attention of the seven grand duchies. The seven grand duchies who were originally tangled in the chaos of small wars suddenly called a truce.
The seven grand duchies all had the same feeling – the wolf is coming!
After the yin demon finished touring around Brettel City, Han Shuo listened to a report of the city’s current situation from Dick and Chester. Dorcas and Faulke were still personally leading a thousand city guards in a sweep through the some of the large bandit groups in the surrounding area.
Dorcas had outstanding military strategy and stood as the military’s head, while Faulke and his knights held all the power and equipment of a standard knight brigade. Their furious pace of raids against the nearby bandit camps almost seemed like a competition to see who could wipe out more bandits. The soldiers were forged in the crucible of constant warfare, becoming increasingly adept at battle.
“Bryan, the number of merchants coming to the city isn’t small. According to the current situation, Brettel will definitely become a big city and attract more immigrants.” Jack laughed, his cheeks wobbling at the effort, and carried on, “I can already see the mountain people coming down soon. Now that the benefits and treatments in Brettel City are this good, it’s much more profitable than their mining job.”
“We don’t have to wait for long. The five mountain chiefs have already made this decision. Except for Adleman who lacks ambition in his old age, the four other chiefs all want to lead their subordinates down to become the official army of Brettel City.” Dick looked at Han Shuo and smiled wryly, “Those four fellows have been urging me so many times already. They wanted me to tell Your Lordship about this, but Your Lordship hasn’t been in the city. So this matter was delayed.”
Han Shuo’s mind raced when he heard Chester’s words. He asked with a seemingly very interested expression, “What is this about? Aren’t they doing very well with mining ore?”
“This depends on who we compare it with. To the native civilians, their mining income is pretty good. But to compare with the city guards’ benefits, their money from mining isn’t enough to support the daily expenses of their subordinates.”
“Up until now, the mountain people had not been faring too poorly, but since Your Lordship’s come, that’s taken a quick turn. The income of a soldier is now far better than the income from mining. Moreover, Dorcas and Faulke have collected a great deal of weapons, armor and even gold from wiping out the bandits. This supplemental income from raids far exceeds that from mining.”
“The seven grand duchies are locked in chaotic fighting, which make it a place of easy profit. Be it selling weapons, warhorses or directly robbing the bandits, they are all the fastest means to accumulate wealth. My Lord, Brettel City developing this quickly is also due this reason – plundering the wealth of others.”
“Hehe, to the mountain people, following Your Lordship is obviously much more promising than mining. Not to mention that Dorcas and Faulke also brought some bandits back to be slaves. With these slaves, the mines don’t need too much manpower. The mountain folk are all good fighters with their strong bodies. It’s a matter of course that they have the idea to join the army.” Dick explained to Han Shuo.
As Dick finished speaking, Han Shuo smiled and said, “It seems everything is for ‘profit’. However, how is the loyalty of these mountain people?”
“My Lord, with you here in Brettel City, do you think they’d dare to be disloyal?” Chester suddenly asked back with a smile.
Chester’s boot licking was perfect timing. Han Shuo smiled and mused for a moment, saying, “The number of mountain people capable of fighting from the five mountains is about ten thousand. That number alone will double the amount of Brettel city guards. If they decide to join, all the war chariots and stone-throwing catapults at the city gates’ can be put in operation.”
“Brettel City currently is overflowing with capital, so the prospects of future development goes without saying. This matter of expanding the army is imperative! Ten thousand mountain people will make truly fine soldiers. They’ve been clashing with the bandits for many years, so there’s no doubt about their fighting ability. I think this is very interesting, but I just don’t know if the mountain people are actually sincere.”
“My Lord, regarding their illustration of sincerity, I think they are sincere.” Dick immediately guaranteed.
“Oh, how do you know that?” Han Shuo smiled superciliously, looking at him and asking again, “You can make the decisions in their stead?”
Dick was about to say that he was a mountain man but upon hearing Han Shuo add the question at the end, he couldn’t help but smile wryly, “My Lord, although I cannot make decisions for them, I know how they think. As long as Your Lordship acts with moderation, with their current level of trust and gratitude towards Your Lordship, they will definitely be willing to listen to your orders.”
“Is that so?” Han Shuo fell silent for a bit before speaking to Dick with a smile, “Well then, help me pass my words to the mountain people, I’m also glad to let them join the army, but their squads must be split up, and their original leaders no longer their commanders.”
“In addition, all of the mountain army leaders will start from the rank of captain, and can only return to their original rank through meritorious battle service. For now, all of the mountain people must be under our lead. I will allow them to join the army if they can agree to these conditions, sharing the same treatment as our soldiers.”
Han Shuo was thinking for himself as well. Taking all five mountains into account, there were about ten thousand mountain fighters. If they were still left under the control of their original leaders, it could bring about unbearable damage if they nursed the idea of rebellion after entering Brettel City while outnumbering the city guards.
One absolutely needed to defend against the hearts of people. Even if he wasn’t thinking of himself, Han Shuo’s position was one that demanded that he act responsible for the city’s people. Though he believed that the mountain chiefs wouldn’t dare to rebel, there was no guarantee for anything in everything. Everyone could have this kind of wild ambition. Han Shuo didn’t want to risk the lives of the civilians.
Moreover, the mountain chiefs were still young. Whether or not they were suitable to command so many soldiers needed to be judged through their true abilities. In the low likelihood that these young chiefs were useless good-for-nothings, not only would Han Shuo lose his gold, it might create a latent danger in Brettel City.
Since becoming the city lord of Brettel City, Han Shuo’s attitude and bearing had also developed alongside him assuming his position. He was becoming increasingly careful and mature. There was no longer any of that single minded ruthlessness he had in the past.
“Good, I will definitely pass on Your Lordship’s words.” Dick didn’t dare guarantee anything else after hearing Han Shuo’s words, because his conditions were indeed somewhat harsh.