GDK 450: Twelve Round Spheres
Without the burden that was Cecilia and her gang, Han Shuo strided into the depths of the Tarrag Canyon. Along the way, he traipsed through throngs of magical beasts, mid- and high-level ones scattered throughout.
But when Han Shuo arrived where his mystical demons had come to a halt, he no longer saw a single magical creature. A pungent scent waft in the air where Han Shuo sensed no magical elements. Something was very, very wrong.
Surveying the scene surrounding him, all Han Shuo could see was the endless trails left by magical creatures all the way into an infinite distance, millions or billions of footprints. Apart from this, there wasn't much useful information. The few mighty presences he had sensed with his consciousness previously gave Han Shuo a sense of his own mortality.
On the plus side, Han Shuo had only himself to worry about, and with his current strength, he believed that even if he didn't manage to defeat the forces inside, escaping unscathed wouldn't be too much of a task, so long as he wasn't surrounded. It was self-confidence that allowed Han Shuo to venture in alone.
Wishing not to linger for extended periods, he entered the region. That strange energy that had thwarted the mystical demons did not have the same effect on an expert like Han Shuo. With a sway of his body, Han Shuo passed through the liquid-like defense effortlessly, and proceeded with his descent with the aid of the sensing capabilities of his consciousness.
Not a moment later, the State Preceptor of the former Verdun Dynasty, Stratholme, arrived at the region where Han Shuo had just been standing. Along the way, Stratholme the old monster babbled what sounded like gibberish to himself, and only ceased his blabbering as he paused outside the region. He let out a gentle gasp. The old monster had obviously discovered the energy field meant to hinder any average person. He waved his hand, and his left hand pressed on the empty air gracefully, as though he was pushing open an incorporeal door. His body then drifted in through the air like a ghost, and disappeared in the blink of an eye.
Not long after Stratholme entered, another person arrived. The lightly-built old man had bushy, snowy brows so long that they flowed to his neck. From the outer perimeter of the region, lightning pierced through the invisible defense like a sword, allowing him to intrude.
Then, yet another person, a delicate and dignified madame, whose body was wrapped in layers of mist, passed seamlessly through the defense.
Soon afterwards, several more teams of adventurers, who regarded themselves with decent strength, arrived as well. Their curiosity compelled them to delve into the area, but they were nevertheless forcibly prevented by the defensive shield. No matter how hard they tried, they could not break through the defense. All they could do was gaze into the air and lament their inadequacies.
Han Shuo, the first person to intrude, carefully concealed his presence, and his enormous consciousness went from overflowing to restrained. Instead of barging all the way forward like he had previously done, he first wrapped up his own body, and hid in the shadows of some colossally tall trees, pacing himself as he journeyed forward.
Not only was any elemental energy absent in this region, but even oxygen in the atmosphere was extremely thin. Utilizing his exquisite ability to exercise control over his body, Han Shuo closed all the pores on his skin, stopped his breathing and heartbeat, and had his demonic yuan slowly revolve around the demonic infant. As a consequence, unless one caught sight of Han Shuo with their own eyes, even one with the most outstanding strength would not be able to detect Han Shuo's presence through their perception.
Along the way, severed limbs of magical beast littered the grounds, which were further stained with various assortments of fresh, colourful blood from the magical creatures. It seemed that the mangled bodies lying around were all of high-ranking magical creatures levels two and above. Severed limbs of super-ranked creatures such as the dragon could be seen everywhere.
Without needing much thought, Han Shuo understood that it was the tragic deaths of these high-ranking magical creatures that caused all the other magical beasts of Tarrag Canyon to flee. Indeed, if not for the countless dead high-ranking creatures, the other magical beasts which had lived their whole lives in the depths of Tarrag Canyon would never desert their home all so suddenly.
What was actually going on in there? Han Shuo got even more curious.
Doing his best to blend in with his surroundings, towering trees and thick shrubs, Han Shuo hiked for another ten minutes at a moderate pace, and finally reached the deepest part of Tarrag Canyon. Once inside, the scene of an endless, crystalline lake caught Han Shuo's eyes.
The water was so serene and pure that it looked like a huge mirror laid over the land, not even the teensiest ripple could be seen. This view of vast blue waters simply wasn't enough, however, to distract from the surrounding landscape of the countless carcasses of super-ranked magical creatures, all of which seemed to have died under the most inexplicably gruesome circumstances, and not a single one of which wasn't severely dismembered.
The brilliant hue that filled this great lake at the heart of the canyon resembled that of a sapphire crystal, refracting a resplendent blue under the gentle illumination of sunlight. The encircling sea of remains of super-ranked magical creatures left an exceedingly unsettling atmosphere.
Han Shuo concealed himself behind the lush leaves of a broad tree. His eyes squinted slightly as he looked over to the lake in the distance.
At the center of the huge mass of water was an isle of flat land. There stood dozens of humanoids whom Han Shuo did not recognize. They were densely packed on the island, all with the same solemn looks on their faces as they worshipped in the direction of a tall, pointed building that resembled an altar, located at the center of the isle.
If it weren't for their light-green skin, their python-like tail, and the pointy horns protruding from their foreheads to their napes, perhaps Han Shuo might have regarded them as human beings.
However, with those three distinctive features, Han Shuo would never, ever view them as humans. The mouths of these humanoids let out peculiar buzzing sounds similar those of cicadas as they kowtowed to give worship to the altar.
This altar was similar to magical towers often used by a magus. At the top of the pointed altar laid the hearts of countless magical beasts, reeking of rotting fish alongside bright, clean magical cores. Four humanoids, likely the leaders of this troupe, each with a row of five pointed horns growing from their foreheads to their collarbones, stood at the four corners of the altar. They spoke in a mysterious language akin to the droning of insects as they threw hundreds upon hundreds of those hearts and cores into a giant, grotesque oral cavity filled with thick mucus at the center of the altar.
The four figures were the powerful presences that Han Shuo had previously sensed. As they stood within close range, even without his consciousness to expand and actively probe, Han Shuo could sense the formidable aura emanating from them. Han Shuo reckoned he could handle one of those creatures alone. But if all four of them were to attack together, Han Shuo could only attempt to escape.
After observing for a while, Han Shuo quickly discovered that the strengths of these creatures were entirely differentiable by the pointy horns on the top of their heads. Among the beings on the isle, the four at each corner wielded the most terrifying strength. Around the altar and below their feet, there were a dozen or more creatures with four horns on their heads, and they stood closest to the altar.
One would find less and less pointed horns on the kowtowing creatures the further he looked around the altar. The creatures situated at the outermost perimeter donned merely a single horn.
All of a sudden, an occurrence familiar to Han Shuo captured his attention.
At the peak of the pointed altar, suddenly, a wave of tentacles slowly hoisted twelve round spheres the size of fists. One of those spheres emanated a pure aura of death, which caused Han Shuo to palpitate. It had never crossed his mind that an aura of death could be so pure.
In any plane where life was existent, there would naturally be such incidents as birth, senescence, illness, and death. As long as lives continued to end, the element of death would be present in that plane of existence. However, most creatures exhibited in addition a hideous mess of emotions like fear, rage, stubbornness, and resentment just before they met their ends.
It was precisely due to the presence of these emotions that the element of death could not be pure and on any plane of existence. Even in the netherworld where Little Skeleton resided, the element of death was always contaminated with chaotic impurities aplenty.
However, within the sphere, Han Shuo felt only the element of death in its purest form, no impurities whatsoever. On top of that, it contained an overwhelming amount of the element of death, and therefore proved an irresistible temptation for a necromancer like Han Shuo.
Instinctively, Han Shuo believed that the sphere could bring him immense benefits. If it wasn't for the exclusive control he held over his physical body, perhaps Han Shuo's heart would have begun beating faster from the excitement.
Han Shuo was thrilled. While he concentrated his attention on the sphere of death, he began to study the other eleven spheres using his consciousness.
After much surveying, Han Shuo was again shocked to the core. Of the other eleven spheres, seven of them contained elemental energy just as pure as the one containing death. These were namely light, darkness, wind, fire, water, electricity, and earth.
As for the remaining four spheres, although they did not contain pure elemental energy, they still contained some bizarre energy, one of which was the extremely rare energy of destruction. Another seemed to be a condensed form of fighting aura, constantly emitting different shades of fighting aura from dark blue to golden. The last two were even more baffling. Their insides were flowing like the revolution of celestial bodies, which, after great amount of contemplation, Han Shuo felt were somewhat similar to the uncommon aura found on certain space magus and summoners.
Twelve round spheres in total. Generally dim and dull, brownish in colour. They looked rather unexceptional from a distance. Perhaps, only a figure at Han Shuo's level could understand just how mysterious, strange, and diverse the energies that these spheres contained were.