An old man past his prime sat on the throne, living the last vestiges of his life. The aura of life seemed to be slipping away from his body at every moment. He could only keep his frail body straight by leaning against the throne, his originally bright eyes had also been veiled by a layer of gray.
Han Shuo followed Candide inside. Glancing at the declining Uhtred, Han Shuo understood that his death was imminent. It was no wonder that the princes of the Lancelot Empire were so brazen in their attempts to seize power.
"Your Majesty, Count Bryan has come to see you!" Candide said respectfully after saluting the emperor.
Uhtred coughed violently, his gray eyes gradually showing a hint of vitality. Forcing himself upright, he swept his eyes over Candide and Han Shuo, ultimately fixing his gaze on Han Shuo as he asked weakly, "Bryan, Candide has already mentioned to me your achievements in Brettel City over the past few months, you've done quite well!"
"Your Majesty flatters me, this was my duty." Han Shuo had discussed with Candide on the way here and understood that it was best that he watched his mouth when speaking to such a person, only responding to any questions asked.
"I heard news circulating outside about you having some sort of relationship with the Calamity Church. Hoho, that's rather interesting. With your clean origins and the contributions you made for the Lancelot Empire, how could they implicate you with a sinister church like them!" Uhtred muttered, as though he was speaking to himself.
“Your Majesty should realize that those are purely rumors fabricated by enemies.”Han Shuo replied. “In that case, do you know who is making up such rumors and what their intentions are?” Uhtred looked at Han Shuo and inquired.
Han Shuo replied while shaking his head, "I don't know."
“Candide, you can leave first. I have something I want to speak to Bryan about alone.” Uhtred did not question this matter in detail, glancing at Candide instead and instructed in a soft voice.
Candida didn't respond, bowing politely toward Uhtred before turning around to leave the main hall. He only gave Han Shuo a meaningful glance as he passed by, to hint that Han Shuo should not say things that ought not to be said.
After Candide left, Uhtred suddenly sighed and said: “Among my sons, I feel I owe Lawrence the most. I heard you and Lawrence are very close, is that true?”
Han Shuo was started, unable to really grasp Uhtred’s intentions. Most of the nobles in Ossen City were in the know about the relationship between him and Lawrence, so it wasn't at all strange for Uhtred to know about his relationship with Lawrence. Han Shuo hesitated for a moment, then nodded honestly and replied, “Yes, your Majesty!”
"In that case, you're definitely supporting Lawrence?" Uhtred asked once more.
"Yes, Your Majesty!" Han Shuo answered once again.
Uhtred was silent for a long time, his two pupils affixed intently on Han Shuo. It was only when Uhtred saw Han Shuo looking a little uneasy that he spoke, “Bryan. There are some matters that I want to discuss with you.” “Your Majesty, feel free to tell me anything. As your subject, I will naturally willing to share some of your worries.” Han Shuo replied again.
Uhtred sighed. He suddenly stared at Han Shuo, saying, “Bryan, I hope you can promise me one thing. Regardless of how my other three sons treat you, please spare their lives.”
Han Shuo was momentarily speechless, suspiciously looking toward Uhtred as he inquired, "Why has Your Majesty said such a thing?"
"Bryan, if you agree to my terms, I will hand the throne to Lawrence and help you two to consolidate the power of Lancelot Empire." Uhtred stared fixedly on Han Shuo speaking prudently.
Han Shuo felt extremely stirred up, astonished as he looked at Uhtred, momentarily unsure what was wrong with Uhtred to have actually said such an ineffable sentence. He simply looked at Uhtred in a daze, forgetting to reply.
"As long as you agree to my terms, I'll assist you and Lawrence. What do you think?" Uhtred immediately followed up, appearing somewhat anxious, so much so that it contained a hint of pleading.
As the true ruler of Lancelot Empire, as long as Uhtred hasn't passed away, even if he was extremely ill, he was still the person who held the utmost power in Lancelot Empire. However at this moment, Uhtred's tone while speaking to Han Shuo unexpectedly had an odd hint of pleading. This was something Han Shuo could never have expected.
In such a moment, Han Shuo even thought if Uhtred's illness was too severe, that caused Uhtred to absent-mindedly say such ridiculous things. However, when Han Shuo carefully observed Uhtred, he discovered that although Uhtred's body was incomparably weak, his spirit wasn't confused at all. That proved that Uhtred's emotional state was indeed normal.
While Han Shuo was still extremely astounded, Uhtred asked once again. Han Shuo rapidly racked his brains and then probed Uhtred, "As long as I spare the lives of the three princes?"
Uhtred had a delighted expression as he rapidly nodding his head, hurriedly saying, "That's right, as long as you spare their lives. You can strip them of all their power and even imprison them in a small cell, as long as they are able to survive."
"In that case, I'll agree to your terms, Your Majesty!" Han Shuo no longer hesitated, immediately responding.
Lancelot Empire's true ruler, His Majesty Uhtred actually visibly sighed in relief. His weak expression gave a slight smile as he waved his hand as he said, "Bryan, I now confer you the title of Marquis. In addition, I will command space sacred magus Mister Sabakas to help establish a magic transporting array in Brettel City as well as help you eliminate the unfavorable news about you. Also…"
Uhtred suddenly narrated a series of promises, causing Han Shuo to be stunned, staring blankly as he wondered what was going on with Uhtred today. When Uhtred finished narrating his promises, he then said, "Bryan, you can take your leave. I hope you will not mention today's matter to anyone else, not even to Candide or Lawrence."
"Your Majesty, I'll promise you. However, could you tell me the reason? I am truly unable to comprehend why you would make such a decision." Han Shuo looked flabbergasted at Uhtred while he asked.
Uhtred shook his head, laughing bitterly as he replied, "It's better if you aren't aware. This is for your benefit. You may leave now!"
Han Shuo couldn't make sense of the matter, looking at Uhtred bafflingly. He stared blankly for a moment before knitting his brows, bowing to Uhtred before exiting. He was feeling extremely puzzled but didn't know who he could rant to.
When Han Shuo left, Uhtred seemed to age even more, sighing as he said, "As a father, I have done all I can for the three of you. Hopefully, all of you are able to survive after I die."
Space sacred magus Sabakas and old astrologer Madam Grace abruptly appeared before Uhtred. Madam Grace was extremely pale, appearing more likely than Uhtred to die. There didn't seem to be much vitality in her whole body.
When Uhtred saw the two of them appear, he sighed again. He looked toward old astrologer Madam Grace and said, "Madam, I've never doubted your judgement all these years. You said that Bryan will truly help Lancelot Empire prosper?"
Grace wiggled her lips, as though wanting to drive away the thick wrinkles by her mouth, replying with a weak voice, "Your Majesty, on your request I've consumed my vitality to make a divination. I only know that whoever this person assists, that person will be able to become the new king. As long as he is present in Lancelot Empire, Lancelot Empire will not perish. That is all!"
"That is already sufficient. I didn't expect that the person influencing my Lancelot Empire's future would actually be such a young fellow." Uhtred muttered to himself, before looking toward Grace and Sabakas, suddenly saying, "My days are numbered. I hope that you will promise me one thing after I die."
"Your Majesty, you need not exhort me, I think I might leave this world before you. I have also been extremely tired in recent years, my life has also finally ought to reach its end." old astrologer Grace faintly sighed as she helplessly replied Uhtred.
"Madam, I'm sorry. You had consumed your vitality for Lancelot Empire." Uhtred understood that every time old astrologer Madam Grace made a divination, it would consume her vitality. The more complicated the matter, the more vitality would be consumed.
The divination this time was regarding the fate of the entire Lancelot Empire and had completely exhausted her vitality. Her death could be said to be single-handedly caused by Uhtred. However, as it concerned Lancelot Empire's future, Uhtred had no other choice and could only have old astrologer Grace give some clarity.
Even without old astrologer Madam Grace's foretelling, matters might still progress along the same trajectory. However, the struggle for power among the princes would undoubtedly result in irreversible damage to Lancelot Empire's overall strength. In that situation, even if Lawrence succeeded in seizing the throne, Lancelot Empire's strength would be far from before.
Uhtred was precisely afraid of such a situation occurring. Hence he would rather have old astrologer Grace consume her vitality to foretell the future. This was so that he could minimize the loss in the kingdom's strength so that when Lawrence succeeded the throne, Lancelot Empire would still be as prosperous as before.
"You need not apologize. My teacher had also exhausted her vitality and died for the sake of Lancelot Empire. Perhaps this is precisely the destiny for us astrologers. Ai…" old astrologer Madam Grace helplessly sighed, before looking toward Sabakas and said, "In the limited time I have remaining, I hope you can send me to places I have never seen before."
"Don't worry, no matter where you want to go, I'm able to bring you there." Sabakas amiably smiled as he replied, he then turned his head toward Lancelot Empire's King Uhtred and asked, "Your Majesty, what did you want to tell me a moment ago?"
"If Bryan does not abide by his promise, I hope that you can help me kill him." Uhtred hesitated a moment before replying Sabakas.
"Your Majesty, I can only promise you that I will try my utmost. If the day comes when I might not be able to deal with him, I hope you would forgive me." space sacred magus Sabakas carefully thought it over before replying Uhtred.
When one reaches a similar realm as Sabakas, they would long since considered to have surpassed authority. Even Lancelot Empire's king would not have the authority to order him to do things he isn't willing to do. Sabakas vaguely knew a few things from astrologer Grace's prophecy and that was why he replied Uhtred in this way.
Uhtred nodded, smiling as he said, "In that case, I can only thank you."
"Alright, Your Majesty probably has many matters to attend to, we wouldn't continue disturbing you then." Sabakas replied, neither haughty nor humble. He looked toward old astrologer Grace as a white light wrapped around the two of them. They then disappeared in a flash. Lancelot Empire's King Uhtred then started to help Lawrence pave the way to the throne.
When Han Shuo returned to his residence from the palace, he discovered that Lawrence and Phoebe had not waited till the evening and had already been waiting. It looked like they were extremely eager to meet Han Shuo.
Phoebe's eyes were glistening, her line of sight never leaving Han Shuo from beginning to end. When Han Shuo had sent his servants away and led the two of them to an inner living room, Phoebe protested coquettishly with a hint of rage, "What kind of guy are you. Having returned to Ossen City yet you never came over to look for me, has your time in Brettel City been too satisfying that you have forgotten this old me?"
Along the way, Han Shuo was somewhat muddle-headed, continuously pondering over what King Uhtred had told him. He was unable to understand what was going on with Uhtred, to have actually made such a queer proposal.
Han Shuo only reacted when he heard Phoebe protesting coquettishly, couldn't help but smile bitterly as he replied, "My lady, of all people to forget I would never forget you. You should know that whenever I obtain something good, the first person I think of is precisely you. If not, why would Starry Sky arrive in your hands so quickly."
Hearing Han Shuo's reply, Phoebe's beautiful expression had an added delight and her voice became much gentler as she tenderly questioned, "In that case, what shameful deeds have you done ever since you returned to Ossen City? I've come over a few times but the steward had always said that you weren't within the residence."
"That was because I had to handle some proper business. The majority of the time was spent in the Dark Mantle's headquarters participating in meetings. I had also just visited the palace. In short, I have not been idle." Han Shuo explained to Phoebe.
"Alright, alright. The two of you can slowly chat after I leave." Lawrence teased before looking toward Han Shuo and asked, "Bryan, you have just returned from the palace, what did my royal father talk to you about?"
When Lawrence spoke out, Phoebe blushed as though thinking that once Lawrence leaves, she would engage in wonderful matters with Han Shuo. She suddenly became silent while her face becoming red.
Han Shuo knew what Lawrence was concerned about, recalling his recent agreement with His Majesty. He couldn't help but have a bout of suspicion once again. He then smiled bitterly as he shook his head, replying, "Lawrence, I've promised His Majesty that I wouldn't divulge our conversation to anyone else. His Majesty had especially urged me before I left to not tell you about our discussion."
Lawrence became solemn and distracted, hesitating for a moment before asking, "Then, could you tell me if I was mentioned in your conversation and did the matters you discussed to my benefit?"
Han Shuo thought for a moment before nodding and replied, "Lawrence, I can definitively tell you, the focus of my conversation with His Majesty is precisely about you. Merely, they are all matters that are advantageous to you. I believe the likelihood of you obtaining the throne will increase dramatically."
"Is… is that for real? Bryan, you are speaking the truth?" Hearing Han Shuo's reply, Lawrence was clearly indescribably ecstatic, to the extent that he suddenly stood up from his chair. Lawrence, who was unable to hold back the ecstasy in his heart, directly stood in front of Han Shuo, pressing down on Han Shuo's shoulders, impatiently inquiring as he looked into Han Shuo's eyes.
Han Shuo gave his affirmation, repetitively nodding his head as he said, "That's right. Although I can divulge the specifics of our conversations, I can guarantee that your royal father would definitely pave the way for you. Lawrence, your fortune has arrived!"
Lawrence endlessly laughed to his heart's content, his wild side being revealed after experiencing a long period of oppression. He laughed heartily as he said, "Thank you, Bryan. You are my luck. No matter what you and royal father spoke about, I believe you definitely played a large part. I will never forget your kindness."
Lawrence's mind was extremely nimble, realizing that Han Shuo was a key person just from his words. Otherwise, why would Uhtred not find others to talk to, only looking for him?
"Bryan, you wouldn't be joking right? Don't tell me that His Highness plans to support Senior Lawrence?" Phoebe reacted from her charming and gentle reverie, having a shocked expression as she looked at Han Shuo, as if she didn't believe what Han Shuo was saying.
"Don't ask me about the specifics. Honestly speaking, even now I still can't believe it myself. However, the truth is as such. You will be aware of it very soon." Han Shuo spread his arms in a helpless posture as he explained to Phoebe.
Lawrence had yet calmed down from his surprise, animatedly saying, "Alright, in that case, I'll return early to prepare. If it turns out as you said, I need to immediately make arrangements."
"Go ahead, you should indeed make proper preparations." Han Shuo gladly agreed.
"Senior, you only remember your own matters, did you forget what we discussed just now? Bryan is currently in great danger. If you don't help him now, he would be labeled as a member of an evil church by Charles and the others!" seeing Lawrence wanting to leave, Phoebe snorted lightly, unable to resist rebuking Lawrence.
Lawrence slapped his own head. That was the reason why they were here. He first smiled apologetically toward Han Shuo before saying with a grave expression, "Bryan, there are currently some rumors that are extremely harmful to you. I think we should carefully figure out a strategy to handle this. This matter is disseminated by Church of Light's Kosse and Charles. Their aim is to ruin the reputation and image you had exhaustingly established in Brettel City."
"We shouldn't bother about these matters. His Majesty has already agreed to help me clear up this matter." Han Shuo calmly replied Lawrence.
Lawrence and Phoebe looked at each other, both having stunned expressions. Seeing Lawrence's expression, Han Shuo couldn't help but smile as he said, "Alright, you should just leave first and be busy with your own matters. There's no need to be troubled about these matters, your royal father will help us with them."
"Alright then, I won't bother the two of you any longer." Lawrence understood, winking at Han Shuo and Phoebe, laughing as he left.
"Hey, what's with your expression. Dammit, you have been led astray by Han Shuo!" Phoebe's charming face was captivatingly red as she rained curses towards Lawrence's rear view.
Once Lawrence left, Han Shuo smiled as he walked toward Phoebe, pulling her into his embrace, carrying the flailing Phoebe directly to his bedroom. Along the way, he stroked his hands up and down restlessly along Phoebe's body. A while later, Phoebe had lazily curled up on Han Shuo's wide chest, her whole body not having the slightest strength. However, Han Shuo was still in high spirits, without any signs of exhaustion. He instead conveniently took out a necromancy book, assiduously studying it.
Phoebe had not used any of the aura in her body, her exhaustion was purely from her physical body. Looking at Han Shuo who was in great spirits, Phoebe had a sweet smiling expression. Her complaints from these few days had all disappeared, unable to conceal her extremely content amorous feelings. She was obviously extremely pleased.
A strand of mysterious energy flowed within Phoebe's body, slowly circulating through Phoebe's limbs and bones, nourishing Phoebe's body. It gave Phoebe an extremely comfortable feeling, as though that strand of energy was replenishing her body, helping her body gradually recover and even strengthen.
Phoebe finely examined the refinement and nourishment of that strand of energy, suddenly reacting. This mysterious energy came from Han Shuo. Previously every time after she had experienced pleasure with Han Shuo, Phoebe seemed to sense the existence of such an energy even while dazed. Merely the previous few times Phoebe had been overly exhausted and had fallen asleep immediately and had never sensed it as clearly before.
However, Phoebe could sense that her body was improving. Previously when she refined her niedan, her body seemed to also be purified. The training of her aura had been much easier as compared to the past. It also seemed like the changes in her body was the reason why Phoebe was able to become a great swordsman so quickly.
Slowly sensing for a while, Phoebe couldn't help but fiercely gaze at Han Shuo who was solemnly studying the necromancy book. She suddenly understood in her hear that every time they had engaged in pleasure, Han Shuo would send a strand of unknown energy into her body, helping her remold her body, causing her body's state to become better.
"Bryan!" Phoebe suddenly whispered softly, raising her head to look at Han Shuo.
Han Shuo, who was studying a bone demon's characteristics, lightly grunted in response, smiling as he looked at Phoebe, his large hand conveniently smacking Phoebe's perky and round butt as he asked teasingly, "Yes? You want more?"
Phoebe's stunningly beautiful face reddened, blushing in shame as she pulling up the thin quilt to cover her body, hiding her nosebleed inducing perfect curves, saying softly, "No, my whole body is already devoid of strength, you damned fellow!"
"Hehe, what do you want to say then?" Han Shuo put down the necromancy book in his hand, his left hand tenderly helping her pull the quilt to conceal her jade-like skin, smiling as he asked.
"Have you always left behind something special within my body every time we pleasured each other?" Phoebe's face was red as she inquired in a low voice.
"Of course, I have indeed left behind something special. Heh heh. Those are the seeds of life, the original essence in creating humans. Merely they haven't been able to germinate. Why have you asked about this? Could it be that you want to ask why your stomach has not become big? Oh, you can't blame me, perhaps you haven't worked hard enough?" Han Shuo smiled deviously as he replied Phoebe.
When Phoebe saw Han Shuo's evil smile, she knew that he must have misunderstood her question. She couldn't help but embarrassedly reproached him, "Not that thing. I am referring to the energy that helped me alter my body!"
When Phoebe said that, Han Shuo was suddenly enlightened, replying, "So you were referring to that. Hehe, don't worry, that energy is only beneficial to your body and would absolutely not cause any harm. You shouldn't care too much about it. In any case, you only need to know that it would cause your body to improve."
"I know, of course I know the benefits that energy brings about to my body. I'm only worried if it would cause harm to your strength?" Phoebe naturally understood the changes to her body. However, as a young great swordmaster, Phoebe knew that no matter what kind of energy leaves the main body, it would have an effect on the person involved. What she was worried about was whether Han Shuo was harmed.
"Heh heh, you need not worry. This is called duo cultivation. When I transmit energy into you, I'm actually also obtaining some energy from your body. It's just that you aren't aware of it. Otherwise, why would I make you perform so many unusual positions? This is actually a type of martial technique. To think that you still have wild thoughts." Han Shuo smiled as he explained to Phoebe.
Listening to Han Shuo's explanation, Phoebe's blush had spread from her neck to her whole body. She couldn't help but hammer Han Shuo's chest, saying, "Nonsense! Since when was there a technique that was practiced this way. You wanting me to assume so many embarrassing positions was simply to satisfy your unusual hobby. You evil person. Still wanting to lie to me!"
Helplessly shrugging his shoulders, Han Shuo smiled bitterly as he explained, "My lady, I am truly not deceiving you. There are countless martial techniques that you don't know about. However, this technique indeed exists. The positions I want you to assume also really have special purposes. It is just that you haven't carefully experienced it and have instead been lost in pleasure. If you are able to carefully comprehend it the next time, you would know that I'm telling the truth."
Phoebe was only somewhat convinced by Han Shuo's explanation, staring blankly at Han Shuo for a while, realizing that Han Shuo didn't seem to be joking. She then softly said, "Bryan, you are saying the truth. That is truly a type of martial technique." Nodding his head, Han Shuo smiled as he replied, "Of course. It is precisely through this method that our pleasure would aid in increasing each other's strength. Don't you worry, the energy within your body wouldn't cause me any harm."
As Han Shuo explained, although Phoebe was still astonished, she didn't continue questioning this matter. She instead knitted her brows as she pondered. After a while, Phoebe suddenly recalled something, intensely looking at Han Shuo as she asked, "Bryan, there's a question I've held back for very long, you must answer me today."
"Speak, what's your question?" Han Shuo's large hand caressed Phoebe's smooth back, his eyes squinting as he said lazily.
"What's the deal with Emily? Don't tell me that you have no relation with Emily. Hmph, I've seen her a few times, her skin and state of her body are simply identical to mine. Bryan, I hope you can honestly tell me about the relationship between the two of you and not lie to me." Phoebe stared fixedly at Han Shuo as she questioned him overbearingly.
When Han Shuo heard the name "Emily", he unexpectedly shuddered. When Phoebe finished her question, his mind had suddenly become a mess. After hurriedly considered for a moment, Han Shuo sighed as he said, "Since you already know, I won't hide it from you any longer. The previous time in the Dark Forest, due to my martial technique undergoing cultivation deviation, I raped her while I was unconscious…"
Since things have reached this point, Han Shuo knew that no amount of concealment would be effective, thus he systematically described the matters between Emily and himself.
"As I expected, you really had an affair with her. I had always been wondering why her skin was as white and glossy as mine. Great, it turns out it had been nourished by you. Bryan ah Bryan, you are truly awesome, to actually dare to rape the Betteridge Family's daughter-in-law…" on one hand, Phoebe was glaring angrily at Han Shuo as she clamored, on the other hand, she wanted to wear her clothes and leave in spite of Han Shuo's obstruction.
Han Shuo embraced Phoebe tightly, hurriedly explaining, "Under those circumstances, I had no choice. You should know that you are the most important to me. To have been together with Emily was just a coincidence…"
"I don't think it's that simple. That Emily has such a seductive appearance. Is she very good in bed? Did she tempt you till you are confused and disoriented? Do you know that she is Mister Han's daughter-in-law? That her brother is the terrifying Amyes?"
Han Shuo nodded and then explained, "However, when I raped her, I only took her as a spy of the Empire!"
Shaking of Han Shuo, Phoebe swiftly wore her clothes, hatefully staring at Han Shuo, her expression filled with resentment as she shouted, "I had already felt that there was something fishy between you and Emily previously at the banquet by Lawrence's father. It looks like you two have known each other since long ago. Emily has gone too far, to actually following your bad example in deceiving me."
When she finished her sentence, Phoebe had already finished dressing up and was furiously heading out.
"Where are you going?" Han Shuo was shocked, hastily putting on his clothes.
"I'm going to find that coquettish hussy, Emily. Don't follow me, I want to speak to her alone." Phoebe replied with a sentence before rushing out of Han Shuo's residence.