GDK 449: Going in Alone
Han Shuo, Elizabeth, Cecilia, and the rest were keen on finding out what was happening in the depths of the Tarrag Canyon. Even Han Shuo, who didn't tend to care much for miscellaneous matters like this, was interested and decided to join the investigation.
With their minds set on the task, Han Shuo led the team of over a dozen into the depths of the Tarrag Canyon.
Half an hour later, a herd of five or six hundred magical beasts of all kinds, with several vicious manticores taking the lead, hurtled towards the lot of them.
Following at the back of the herd were some weaker rank four and five creatures, while at the front were hundred high level beasts, about ten manticores taking the lead. Compared to the first wave of magical creatures that attacked Cecilia and her party, this wave was overwhelmingly larger.
The expression on Cecilia's beautiful face suddenly changed, and she ordered her subordinates to get into defense position at once, for the fear that the magical beasts would trample them into meat patty.
"No need for that. It seems that these magical beasts are fleeing for their lives. They're unlikely to attack us!" Han Shuo explained at ease. Through his mystical demons, he could see into the great distance. Three of those demons soared towards the depths of Tarrag Canyon, and discovered that they were not alone. Several other teams of explorers had made their ways past Han Shuo and Cecelia. He also observed that as the magical beasts dashed forward, they made no effort to attack the humans as they had previously done.
After hearing Han Shuo's advice, Cecilia hesitated for a moment, and shouted, "Alright then, let's stick together to avoid the beasts coming our way!"
At her command, the group of Dark Mantle members rushed to gather up with her. Only Elizabeth turned a deaf ear to Cecilia's words, and stood firmly behind Han Shuo.
The so-called heretic to the Church of Light very soon realized that Cecilia was not particularly strong at all. Even with the aid of her twelve subordinates, Elizabeth did not feel that they could be of any sort of assistance. Having witnessed Han Shuo's terrifying strength, Elizabeth, the lesser heretic, had for a long time considered Han Shuo a man who could keep her secure.
Cecilia and her party soon discovered that Han Shuo was indeed correct. The herd of magical beasts that was charging over obviously had discovered the traces of the group of people when they arrived at the area. The beasts merely continued at their pace, passing by as though they had not noticed them.
"Huh? What's going on?" asked Cecilia as though she was talking to herself, but her eyes were on Han Shuo. One thing was for clear to Cecelia, Han Shuo definitely knew something.
Shaking his head, Han Shuo replied, "I'm not sure either. We'll find out when we get closer."
As soon as he finished those words, Han Shuo took charge and strode towards the depths of Tarrag Canyon, not at all concerned about the magical beasts zooming by. Elizabeth followed closely, lest she would fall behind.
"Let's move!" Cecilia ordered tactfully. Along the way, more and more herds of magical beasts ran out from the Tarrag Canyon, including some super-ranked magical creatures. Like the first batch of them, they did not waste any time attacking when they saw Han Shuo and the others, but were preoccupied solely with running away, as though they were running from some disaster.
All of a sudden, Han Shuo's body stopped moving. His three mystical demons deepest into Tarrag Canyon seemed to be blocked by a peculiar energy similar to boundaries. The mystical demons came to a halt, unable to move an inch forward.
"Stop!" Han Shuo yelled. The rest were jolted, and froze beside Han Shuo.
"What's the matter?" Elizabeth asked.
Han Shuo's brows creased intensely. His powerful consciousness expanded outwards. An invisible field undulated in the air, like ripples on the surface of water, with Han Shuo at the center. After his consciousness unfolded in all directions, every living thing around him was projected into Han Shuo's heart.
When his consciousness arrived outside the region from which the three mystical demons were blocked, Han Shuo deployed his demonic arts; his consciousness changed into a form the energy could not detect, and easily broke in. He proceeded to venture deeper.
Within this region, the elements that filled the space between heaven and earth were all strangely absent. He felt not a trace of the elements of light, fire, water, or wind. Even the air was gone. The place truly felt like a vacuum, where one would be overcome by a dreadful sense of suffocation.
As his consciousness continued forwards, he suddenly felt a few enormous presences. These presences were as enormous as that of Ancient Lizard King Dagassi, and brought Han Shuo a profound feeling of threat.
Startled, Han Shuo's consciousness no longer continued to explore deeper, and suddenly receded like a tide. Shortly after, he opened his eyes and said to Cecilia, "It seems that this time you must give up on continuing to probe deeper!"
"Why?" When Cecilia heard Han Shuo's words, her heart grew apprehensive.
"I can feel that something peculiar happened in the deepest part of Tarrag Canyon. However, there are some beings of formidable strength present. Right, even for an expert like sacred knight Blount, there's no doubt that he would have died if he had entered. So, if you are not looking to die, I advise that all of you evacuate immediately, just like those magical creatures," Han Shuo told them as it was.
There wasn't just one mighty presence in the depths of Tarrag Canyon. Otherwise, Han Shuo would have still had the guts to bring them deeper. Given the fact that there were a few of those presences in there, Han Shuo could only ensure his own safety, and certainly couldn't attend to all of them.
"So you are saying that there are very powerful people in there?" Cecilia was greatly alarmed, and again questioned closely.
"I can't be certain if they are human or not. But what's certain is that they are very powerful presences. You will not be able to handle them!" Han Shuo explained. He turned to Elizabeth and instructed, "Go back to Tariq City. I will look for you after I take a look inside. I will be able to find you as long as you are in Tariq City. If you don't do as I say, you will be digging your own graves!"
Elizabeth grew frightened at the sound of that and replied, "Master, rest assured I shall be awaiting your return." Elizabeth did not stay any longer, and left immediately without a second glance at Cecilia and the others.
After Elizabeth left, Han Shuo shot a stare at Cecilia, and gave her a final warning, "I've said all that I ought to say. It's up to you to listen. But if you are to go in there, be forewarned that none of you will come out alive!"
As soon as he finished his words, not waiting for a reply, Han Shuo transformed into a strobe of black lighting, and faded towards the Tarrag Canyon.
It was only when even Han Shuo's shadow could hardly be seen that Cecilia shouted, "Hey! Can you bring us inside for a look," but obviously Han Shuo did not hear that.
"Dame, what should we do?" Karey looked on as even more magical beasts rushed out. Among them was a magnificent silver dragon of over ten meters. He felt a sense of mild apprehension, as it was obvious to him that if a super-ranked magical creature like the huge silver dragon had to make an escape, then there must have been something truly dangerous in the depths of the Tarrag Canyon.
"Dame, why don't we go back as well. Bryan would never lie to us!" Bandits had the innate ability to sense danger. Although he couldn't clearly sense the powerful existences deep in the canyon like Han Shuo could, the stifling in his heart was too difficult to bear. With his many years of adventuring experience as a bandit, this sensation indicated the presence of some overpowering force.
When the bandit opened his mouth, Cecilia, as a fellow comrade for many years, finally turned around to look at the few, and finally her gaze landed on the bandit. In a solemn voice, she asked, "You felt something didn't you? I know that after so many years, your senses have always been accurate."
"Yes, my Lady. It is very dangerous in there. Given our strength, it is not advisable for us to enter," the bandit replied with haste.
"Alright then, we will retreat immediately!" By means of her many years of experience interacting with the bandit, Cecilia finally made a decision, and a wise one at that. She turned around and planned to return to Tariq City using their original route.
A dashing young man appeared on the spot where Han Shuo had stood like a ghost. He had silvery-grey long hair and donned a matching elegant robe adorned with large, embroidered lily flowers on its edges. He was empty-handed, and his feet hovered above the ground as he smiled and asked, "Excuse me, the young man who left here just a moment ago, who is he?"
"Wh… Who are you?" Karey was shocked at the eerie arrival of the young man. He didn't even know how he had gotten there. It was as though he had materialized out of thin air in the wake of Han Shuo's absence.
Cecilia took one look at the young man, and the tip of her brow twitched. "Don't know," she replied bluntly. "Come on. We will leave here at once."
She began to march away, somewhat frenetic and hurried. Although Karey and the others felt that something wasn't quite right with Cecilia they, as mere subordinates, did not question her, nor did they respond to the young man, but immediately followed behind Cecilia and left.
"What a bunch of uncultured children. Kids these days know nothing about respect for their elders!" the bewitchingly handsome young man sighed grudgingly, as though he was lamenting the ways of the world. He then headed in the same direction as Han Shuo and into the depths of Tarrag Canyon like a ghost.
"My Lady, who was that person? It felt as though you knew him?" Only after sprinting into the distance, far away, and when Cecilia's slightly slowed down, did the clever bandit open his mouth to ask.
"He is the protector of the current seven grand duchies, State Preceptor of the former Verdun Dynasty — Stratholme the old monster!" Cecilia replied with a bitter smile.