GDK 442 - Complaisant
After about three years worth of time gone by, the beautiful looking Cecilia had learnt to live with a little more tranquility and calmness in her life, while losing a bit of her arrogance and unruliness. What remained the same was her pretty appearance and grandeur temperament.
Nowadays, Han Shuo is more tolerant toward Cecilia as he used to be. This was partly due to her grandpa Sabakas, who personally deployed a transportation matrix for Brettel City, in addition to her change of attitude for not being so sarcastic all the time. Therefore, Han Shuo did not continue his mocking and ridicule towards Cecilia when met with her again.
"I have concluded my training and came to Tariq City for some personal matters. Long time no see! How's your grandpa doing?" Han Shuo asked Cecilia, as he still held certain respect towards space sacred magus Sabakas.
Cecilia revealed a faint smile when she heard Han Shuo ask about her grandpa, and replied, "Thank you for your concern, my grandpa is doing well." Looking around, Cecilia noticed that Han Shuo was travelling alone, and she continued, "Come, let's go inside for discussions."
From Cecilia's attitude, Han Shuo could tell that she wasn't prejudiced against him like she used to be in the past. This was a good development in Han Shuo's eyes. Given his current strength and status, Han Shuo wouldn't have felt the slightest bit of fear when facing the space sacred magus Sabakas, let alone Cecilia, who became one of the three heavyweights by relying on Sabakas.
However, since everyone here was members of the Dark Mantle, in the service of the Lancelot Empire, plus Sabakas could have been said as caring toward Han Shuo, it would be ideal if Han Shuo could get along well with Cecilia. No good would come to either of the parties if a dispute really erupted.
Thus, when noticing that Cecilia's approach towards him had changed, he gladly trailed behind her and entered the inner section of the mansion.
When he stepped inside, it felt as though the sky and earth had spun, and space was turned upside down. By the time Han Shuo came to his senses, he realized that he had arrived at a serene, harmonious courtyard. Other than Cecilia, there were a few other members from the Dark Mantle in the courtyard. They seemed to be Cecilia's subordinates. Each and every one of them were sitting on round stone stools and were discussing something.
"Let me introduce you to everyone, this is Lord Bryan, fourth Dark Sun envoy of the Dark Mantle. You must have heard of him before," Cecilia said to the Dark Mantle members. As soon as Cecilia entered the place, the faint smile that was on her face just then immediately vanished, and was replaced with a solemn face and a tone of voice which only a superior held.
However, before members of the Dark Mantle came over to greet him, Han Shuo himself actually got a shock. Puzzlingly he asked Cecilia, "Since when did I become a Fourth Dark Sun?"
"Last time, during the civil strife in Ossen City, you assisted His Majesty the King in crushing the rebels, and furthermore, you succeeded in repelling two enemy sacred-grade experts. These contributions were cited as the reasons for your promotion. Oh, right, you disappeared three years for training, so perhaps you weren't informed about this. You may upgrade your identity plate when you return to the Dark Mantle headquarters," Cecilia explained sternly for Han Shuo. She doesn't seem to be joking.
Fourth Dark Sun! In such a huge and powerful organization like the Dark Mantle, every promotion can be said to have been an extremely difficult feat. Han Shuo would never have anticipated that he would climb so quickly to this position. This would also mean that throughout the whole Dark Mantle organization, only the three heavyweights could bind him.
Han Shuo understood in his heart that the reason he could become a Fourth Sun envoy so rapidly, was partly due to his achievements in the civil war, but more significantly, it was because of his good relations with Lawrence, and old astrologer Madam Grace's judgement of him.
"Oh! No wonder!" Han Shuo exclaimed smilingly.
"Greetings, my Lord!" After Cecilia introduction, all the Dark Mantle members at this place wore either a fawning or envious face. Each and every one of them greeted and bowed their heads towards Han Shuo.
"Alright, that's enough. Sit down guys," Cecilia said as she waved her hand. When she saw that the people went back to their seats promptly, she pointed at a place beside her and said to Han Shuo, "Lord Bryan, here's your seat."
Han Shuo sat there without hesitation. He knew that the Dark Mantle is a strict organization, and they pay close attention to where a person sits. More often than not, the seatings are arranged by their ranks. In the Tariq City branch, Cecilia is by right the highest ranked member there, and right beneath her is the rank, Fourth Dark Sun, which Han Shuo possessed. So naturally, his seat was right beside her's.
"Oh right, is there something that you need to inquire about, since you visited this branch?" Cecilia suddenly asked Han Shuo after he took his seat.
Nodding his head, Han Shuo replied, "I heard that sacred knight Blount of the Church of Light is currently residing in Tariq City, so I came here looking for him. If anyone knows where Blount is hiding, I hope that you can tell me."
When Han Shuo spoke, his eyes scanned around through everyone sitting there. Involuntarily, his glances gave off the feeling as if he was looking down on weak, tiny ants. All of a sudden, every Dark Mantle member present felt as if Han Shuo was the actual person in charge there.
As the person responsible for certain matters for the Empire, and one of the three heavyweights, Cecilia unexpectedly, seemed like a subordinate under Han Shuo's command. This feeling was extremely odd, but at the same time, exceedingly natural.
Even Cecilia herself felt that inexplicably strange feeling. All Han Shuo did was simply sit down and speak. He did not make any unusual movements when he talked, but inevitably became the center of everyone's attention. It had nothing to do with his status or his rank in the Dark Mantle.
"Sir, I know that sacred knight Blount had been spotted in Tariq City around half a month ago, but I have no idea as to whether he is still in Tariq City!" A Dark Mantle member stood up from his round stool and answered Han Shuo respectfully.
"Thank you. Do you know why he came to Tariq City?" Han Shuo asked with a faint smile.
"I think I know!" When this Dark Mantle member showed a dark face, Cecilia suddenly turned her head and said to Han Shuo. "It should be related to the reason I came here."
"Oh? What was it?" Han Shuo creased his brows and asked attentively.
"Outside of Tariq City, there's a canyon named Tarrag. Tarrag Canyon is similar to the Dark Forest of Lancelot Empire, an exotic place where magical beasts run rampant. All this while, Tarrag Canyon had been considered an off-limits area by the Brut Merchant Alliance. Other than some of the true experts, an average person would never dare venture into Tarrag Canyon.
Approximately three months ago, some experts who were cultivating in Tarrag Canyon, claimed that they had been attacked by some strong magical beasts, and were driven away from Tarrag Canyon. It is common knowledge that most super-ranked magical beasts live alone, and it's rare to find those that live in packs. This caught the attention of many different forces. I came here specifically, to investigate about this," Cecilia explained for Han Shuo.
With a doubtful face and creased brows, Han Shuo looked at Cecilia and asked, "What does this have to do with Blount? Could it be that Blount came here to investigate it as well?"
"No. Blount and his Church of Light members seem to be hunting for someone. This person should be a big heretic which the Church of Light determined, otherwise they wouldn't have sent Blount to personally set out on the campaign. The person also seems to be aware of the strange phenomenon in Tarrag Canyon. So with nowhere else to escape, this person pushed their luck and got into Tarrag Canyon. Probably hoping that the peculiarity of Tarrag Canyon will cause Blount and his party to abandon their pursuit.
However, the Church of Light always considered themselves as the spokespeople for God in this world, and naturally wouldn't care about the monstrosities in Tarrag Canyon. After they discovered that the big heretic entered Tarrag Canyon, Blount and his party made their way in there half a month ago. But since then, there had been no further news about it," Cecilia slowly explained as she looked at Han Shuo.
"So that's what it is!" Han Shuo realized what was going on, and immediately joyfully said to Cecilia,"Thank you for the information. Alright, I'm done here. You guys may continue your discussions. I'm going to take a trip to Tarrag Canyon."
"My Lord, please be careful. Tarrag Canyon is an extremely unforgiving place. We have lived in Tariq City for many years, and are aware of the mysteries surrounding that place. Even the lightning sacred magus Reynold Dila of Brut Merchant Alliance was stranded in there for a long time. After Reynold Dila learned about the abnormal behaviour of the creatures, he even forbade some adventurers from entering Tarrag Canyon. He, if anyone, should know about the dangers hidden in there!" The Dark Mantle member who reported information about sacred knight Blount to Han Shuo just then hastily warned Han Shuo.
"Thank you for your reminder. I will be careful!" Han Shuo thanked him with a smile, although he did not take it to heart.
Han Shuo, being in the Carnal Realm now, had the confidence to defeat any sacred grade experts. In demonic arts, breaking through to the next realm always meant many folds increase in strength. If he were to fight against sacred knight Blount and earth sacred magus Dempus again, Han Shuo had absolute certainty that he could kill them both.
At this moment, sacred grade experts were no longer formidable opponents against Han Shuo who had just entered the Carnal Realm. Even for a demi-god existence like the Ancient Lizard King, Han Shuo, who just underwent an unprecedented rise in confidence, would have the nerve to directly contend against him. Han Shuo believed that there weren't many things in existence found in the Profound Continent that could harm him, and therefore he did not have the slightest bit of fear for the Tarrag Canyon.
"Bryan, are you going to Tarrag Canyon?" Cecilia suddenly asked.
Nodding his head, Han Shuo replied, "Yep, I'm going there to meet Blount. That guy injured my friend the last time we met. I will not allow him to live in this world any longer."
"Well then, is it too much to ask for you to enter Tarrag Canyon with us? We are preparing to uncover the secrets of Tarrag Canyon. We are all members of the Dark Mantle, serving the Lancelot Empire. Going in there with you gives us a better sense of assurance. Furthermore, we can help you keep a lookout for news regarding sacred knight Blount's location. What do you say?" Cecilia looked at Han Shuo with a pleading gaze as she sought for his approval.
His wild, impressive performance in Ossen City last time left a deep impression in Cecilia's heart. Although after the event, Han Shuo did clarify that the reason for his dramatic increase in strength was because he borrowed some other people's energy, but that kind of immense strength made Cecilia feel that it was just an excuse Han Shuo made to be modest.
Once he returned from his three years of training, he immediately said with incomparable confidence that he wanted to kill sacred knight Blount. Even without giving it too much thought, Cecilia could tell that Han Shuo's strength must have had advanced further. Otherwise, he wouldn't have made such claims.
To have an expert such as him accompanying them into Tarrag Canyon, will add a large amount of assurance to the safety of Cecilia and her party.
But now, given Han Shuo's current status and strength, even the King of the Lancelot Empire would have to meticulously curry favor and rope him in. Therefore, if Cecilia wanted to trouble Han Shuo, her tone would of course need to endearing, instead of summarily and arrogantly giving orders like before.
After looking at Cecilia who was in a pleading expression, and the newly brightened eyes of the Dark Mantle members, Han Shuo hesitated for a moment, but finally nodded and said, "Alright!"
With the existence of his mystical demons, Han Shuo didn't need the Dark Mantle members' help to scout at all after arriving in Tarrag Canyon. The members were actually of little use for Han Shuo. But still, he is a fellow member of the Dark Mantle. Including the fact that he obtained the information he required from them, Han Shuo found it embarrassing to refuse it outright, and therefore he reluctantly accepted the request.
"Thank you. We still in our preparation phase, and will set off to Tarrag Canyon tomorrow, early in the morning. Erm, if you're tired, I can show you where you may rest," Cecilia earnestly thanked Han Shuo with a very faint smile on her beautiful face.
"Okay. Please prepare a secret room for me. I will be resting for a while!" Han Shuo gladly accepted. After the hostility between him and Cecilia was extinguished, the attractive looking Cecilia suddenly felt that much more pleasing to the eye. Thinking back on the overbearing Cecilia in the past, and comparing that to her current accommodating attitude, Han Shuo felt a sense of satisfaction.
"Follow me!" Cecilia walked towards a stair that led upwards. When he stepped inside, he had that giddy feeling as though the earth and sky were spinning again. The next thing he knew, he found himself in a room made of stone. "Rest well. I will go and get ready!" Cecilia said smilingly. As soon as her lovable body moved backward, she completely disappeared from this stony room.
In this Dark Mantle branch at Tariq City, they were able to utilize some wonderful space refraction magic. Although Han Shuo couldn't understand it, he could still destroy the boundary by means of brute strength. After arriving at the room made of stone, Han Shuo used some stones found there, and with some wood carved with peculiar symbols, he laid out a grimace shaped magical array around the room, and finally took out his skeletal staff.
As he finished his incantation, Han Shuo closed his eyes. His soul traversed through layer upon layer of space-time tunnels and emerged in the desolated land of departed souls.
On the summit of a lofty, rocky mountain, the earth elite zombie, wood elite zombie, fire elite zombie, metal elite zombie, and water elite zombie all lined up to form an arc. In the center of the five elite zombies, stones were swept along the ground, and sand whirled about it. Five colours of earthy brown, woodish green, fiery red, golden yellow, and watery white beams, violently shot out in every direction. Whiffs of raging, chaotic energy were released from bodies of the five elite zombies. Earthy brown, fiery red, and golden yellow combined with one another in a bizarre manner.
Every time the energy of three colours mixed together and converged, it would form dreadful rumbling sounds, and fomenting the chaotic energy the region in their center, fueling the formidable might of this Great Formation of Divine Corpses and Five Elements. A series of explosions came from its center, even the majestic, huge mountain seemed to be trembling uncontrollably.
The Five Elements - metal, wood, water, fire, and earth, exist in every plane of existence. The elite zombies, as they were nurtured and formed by the Five Elements, could skillfully manipulate the Five Elements. The Great Formation of the Divine Corpses and Five Elements could fuse the powers of the Five Elements, increasing the strengths of the five elite zombies, greatly.
In the center where the fusion of energy happened, chaotic energy shot out everywhere and in all directions. However, at the moment only earth elite zombie, fire elite zombie, and metal elite zombie could fuse their powers together. As for wood elite zombie and water elite zombie, they couldn't merge their powers with the three at the moment.
Riding on Bone Devil, Little Skeleton stood proudly on the empty space above the lofty mountain. He was acting as though he was a general, carefully reviewing his soldiers as he looked at them practicing the Great Formation of the Divine Corpses and Five Elements, constantly monitoring any variation in the chaotic energy the five produced. Occasionally he would intervene and suppress energy that shot towards the ground in order to avoid having his palace located not far away to collapse from the quake.
A spiritual connection suddenly leaped into Little Skeleton's soul, and his purple demon eye suddenly brightened. His stared at the distorted empty space before him, which looked like ripples of water, layer upon layer whose wrinkles were undulated. From there, a mighty soul emerged.
"Father, why did you come here?" Little Skeleton was somewhat surprised as he asked Han Shuo, whose spirit had just descended.
"I came to see how their practice is going." Han Shuo unfolded his consciousness to cover the five elite zombies below him, who were tirelessly practicing the Great Formation of the Divine Corpses and Five Elements, and observed the changes of the chaotic energy in their center.
"Little Earth, Little Gold, and Little Fire could fuse their energy together. Only Little Water and Little Wood couldn't get the hang of it. Father, did you come here to tell them what they should do?" Little Skeleton said to Han Shuo.
"No. The Great Formation of Divine Corpses and Five Elements were imprinted deep into their souls the moment they were born. The Five Elements is an innate skill of theirs, and I'm incapable of guiding them. It can only be done through their own practice and comprehensions," Han Shuo replied. After a few thoughts, with his attention focused on water elite zombie and wood elite zombie, he said, "Those two have yet to figure out the technique after spending so much time. Perhaps it is because they have not yet evolved to a certain stage!"
"That could be the case. Of the five, Little Earth was the first to appear. Little Fire and Little Gold have things that they could use to help them. Those two things seem to have helped them evolve faster. That might be why the three could master how to fuse the energy so quickly. Little Water and Little Wood only appeared later on, and didn't have anything that could help them evolve faster, therefore even until now, they couldn't proficiently put their innate skills to use!" Little Skeleton said to Han Shuo.
"Oh, right, how about the Pearl of Souls from the Tree of Souls. Have you given it a try? How were the results?" The reason he could make a breakthrough into Carnal Realm was all thanks to the efficacy of one Pearl of Soul. Therefore, when Han Shuo recalled about the wonderful Tree of Souls, he couldn't help but asked Little Skeleton.
"Of course. They all took one Pearl of Souls from the tree. It is indeed beneficial to increasing our wisdom. It's just that the Tree of Souls needs a long time to bear fruit, therefore it is temporarily out of use for the pearl fruits needed to help Little Water and Little Wood to evolve faster," Little Skeleton replied somewhat helplessly, not knowing how to help water elite zombie and earth elite zombie.
"Well, it seems that I got to try and find a way to refine some medicinal pellets. To evolve naturally like this takes a rather long time," Han Shuo replied after thinking for a moment.
"Father, with just the three of their energy fusing together, this Great Formation of Divine Corpses and Five Elements already is terrifying enough in power. Even for a powerful Bone Dragon, I believe that it will be annihilated once it is trapped in there!" Little Skeleton replied.
"Yep, I know the score. But once the five powers are combined, their might will be even more terrifying. In addition, as the five evolve and become stronger, the power of the formation will also further increase in strength. I look forward to even more surprises they will bring me!"
"Father, they will not disappoint you."
"Alright, I have to leave now. Look after them and don't let any mishap happen. Also, pay a little extra attention when they are practising the formation. They must not be reckless and careless in their practice.
After seeing that Little Skeleton understood his instructions, Han Shuo did not continue to stay in the netherworld. He recalled his soul to where it was before and arrived at the Profound Continent.
Sensing for a while, Han Shuo saw that he still had some time to kill. He decided to continue his meticulous study of the three necromancy boundaries he found out in Cemetery of Death - Boundary of Fear, Boundary of Weakness, and Boundary of Aging. In fact, he actually made some progress during his intensive study, and gained some insights and understanding towards the topic.
It was precisely because of his habit of studying all the time that Han Shuo could progress so rapidly, and reach substantial heights in both fields.
Whenever he delved into solving a difficult problem, time would always pass rapidly unbeknownst to him. Suddenly, Han Shuo felt that the formation deployed around him trembled slightly, waking him up from his contemplation.
"Bryan, we can head out now." Cecilia's voice suddenly arrived in Han Shuo's ears.
"Ok!" Han Shuo got up, conveniently putting away the rocks and bewildering woods around him, and walked outside the room.