GDK 457: Ploy
No living being less mighty than Han Shuo could elude his consciousness, allowing him a complete overview of the situation in Sandro City.
This place was indeed worthy of being the closest city to the Sacred Mountain of the Church of Light. Through his consciousness, Han Shuo discovered that there was an abundance of Church of Light followers carrying divine energy in their bodies, the whole Sandro City was brimming with churches, numerous magical towers had been erected, and holy energy permeated in every corner in the city.
Everywhere his consciousness passed, each and every expert in its vicinity would appear in Han Shuo's perception. He sensed that a light sacred magus was present in Sandro City. Not only that, there were all sorts of followers of the Church of Light that occupied every crevice in the city, amongst whom a staggering number were powerful experts.
As Han Shuo was slowly expanded his sensing power, he felt ripples of divine energy crashing in from the Sacred Mountain not far from Sandro City. The divine energy was forcing people to their knees to bow, and induced a tranquility of the mind and even-temperedness that seemed to signify a readiness to serve.
Even for the bloodthirsty Han Shuo, under the effect of this sacred energy, he felt as though he would surrender, repent and be absolved of his crimes. A wisp of energy that penetrated deep into the soul arrived thereupon. This soul-penetrating energy possessed a sort of intense seductive property, one that could turn people permanently into obedient slaves.
Han Shuo released a soft groan. Immediately, his consciousness, which was snooping through Sandro City, stopped expanding outward, receding instead. He also concealed the presence coming from his body.
The divine energy transmitted from the top of the Sacred Mountain of the Church of Light, to certain devotees, perhaps granted heightened divine energy. However, to any ordinary man, this kind of divine energy carried an intense captivating power, pied-piping people to throw themselves into the embrace of the Church, offering their firm conviction to the God of Light.
As the heretic that the Church of Light so wished to eliminate, Han Shuo undoubtedly understood what it meant for an ordinary person when they were exposed to this kind of divine energy with captivating power aimed at their souls. Such practices of the Church of Light obviously had no resemblance to the transparent practices they paraded.
After withdrawing his consciousness, the suffocating pressure which had shrouded him all along did not disappear. Starting from Tarrag Canyon, the three had travelled across numerous cities. And yet, that soul targeting from the six-horned tribal king of the Soul Race, had never ceased.
And by now, this choking pressure had grown even stronger. Han Shuo could sense creatures of the Soul Race rapidly approaching.
A sharp tinkling sounded in his ears. It was an early warning from the magical formation, only audible to Han Shuo.
"Bryan!" barked Stratholme the old monster. Judging from his voice, his body must have had sufficiently recovered.
"In a second!" cried Han Shuo, disengaging the magical formations around him. He then opened the door to Stratholme and Tiana outside.
"He's almost here!" There was a trace of undeniable distress on the old monster's face. Despite his preparations, when it came time to confront this terrifying six-horned tribal king, the old monster could not help his pessimism about his future outlook.
"We need to get in the vicinity of the Sacred Mountain of the Church of Light right away. When he's almost here, we will immediately intrude into the Sacred Mountain and await the six-horned tribal king's appearance. Only when both sides have fought and are wounded will we stand a chance." Tiana remained ever so graceful and sumptuous, but the look on her face was growing heavy, indicating that, just like Stratholme, she too was riddled with apprehension.
"Alright then. Let's move," Han Shuo replied succinctly.
Neither Stratholme nor Tiana said anymore. With Tiana showing the way, the trio left Sandro City quietly.
The Sacred Mountain of the Church of Light was so tall that it pierced through the clouds. The three arrived at the foot of the mountain. When they looked up, it seemed as though the blue dome of heaven was prodded through by the Sacred Mountain. A sense of peace and tranquility rose in their hearts.
"The Sacred Mountain is 9,763 meters tall, with the City of Light located at the top. Inside are the most powerful experts of the Church of Light protecting the place. We can first sneak halfway up the mountain. Then, when the six-horned tribal king is almost here, we make a run for the summit of the Sacred Mountain," Tiana explained to Han Shuo and Stratholme when they arrived at the foot of the mountain. She seemed very familiar with the Sacred Mountain of the Church of Light.
Han Shuo and the old monster nodded simultaneously and Tiana did not need to explain any further. She proceeded in leading the two flying to the middle of the Sacred Mountain.
"Follow me. We must find a place where we can hide. There are many experts of the Church of Light on the top of the mountain. Two of them are just as powerful as we are. One is a light divine magus and the other a divine knight. In addition to that, there's an ancient Saintess. God knows how long she's been around. If our whereabouts are exposed, we might be terminated by the Church of Light even before the six-horned tribal king arrives!" Tiana explained to Han Shuo and Stratholme as they flew up the Sacred Mountain.
All three of them were beings of demigod strengths. Even when they arrived at nine thousand meters up the Sacred Mountain, the three still managed to soar up.
Since arriving at the headquarters of the Church of Light, Han Shuo had reserved his consciousness and observed his surroundings solely with his naked eyes. From what he saw, he discovered that starting at the foot of the mountain, structures of the Church of Light covered every surface. Tens of thousands of followers of the Church of Light lived on this lofty, huge mountain.
"This way!" Tiana called out, leading towards a steep, projecting cliff at the middle of the Sacred Mountain.
Behind this cliff was a dark cave. After Tiana lead Han Shuo and Stratholme to land at the precipice, they walked right into the dark cave.
As soon as he entered the cave, Han Shuo found that the cave wasn't actually as dark as it seemed from the outside, on the contrary, there were a few magical lamps. The cavern was extremely spacious, no doubt excavated by men.
"Huh? Elder Sister Tiana, have you been here before?" Stratholme the old monster asked, astonished.
"No, but I sensed this place to be uninhabited. Alright, we will stay here for the time being. Erm, let me deploy some spells and form boundaries to cover our presences!" Tiana replied almost impulsively.
Neither Han Shuo nor Stratholme further questioned her. Tiana stood at the only entrance and exit to the cavern, took out her azure staff, and slowly recited magical incantations.
Tiana abruptly paused her chanting and bolted from the cave like lightning. Just after her exit, she finally completed the final phrase of her incantation. In an instant, water element of utmost intensity enveloped the only mouth of the cave. The energized water element solidified rapidly. Before Han Shuo or Stratholme could react, a chunk of ice a meter thick sealed off the exit.
The expressions on Han Shuo and Stratholme the old monster's faces flipped. Stratholme was furious and shouted, "Elder Sister Tiana, what is the meaning of this?"
Two divine presences zoomed down from the summit of the Sacred Mountain indiscreetly. After a few breaths, they arrived beside Tiana right outside the cave. Separated by crystal-clear, solid ice, Han Shuo could see that one of them was dressed in a Light Priest outfit, and another in a divine knight outfit. They both looked very young.
The duo who descended from the mountain top at great speeds made no effort in concealing the frightening presences coming from their bodies. Therefore, Han Shuo was immediately certain that they were the divine light magus and divine knight Tiana had previously mentioned. Both of them were similarly demigod beings!
"Tiana, you have done well. You may fuse with your Water Origin Crystal on the top of the Sacred Mountain at ease. Our Saintess will protect you from the persecution of that alien!" said the young looking divine knight with a tender smile on his face.
"Bergson, that young man Bryan is the big heretic you had all been hunting for all along. Do with him whatever you please. As for Stratholme, so long as he hands over that Origin Crystal of Fighting Aura, we shall let him walk. He has no conflicts with your Church of Light!" Tiana felt somewhat irked in her heart, and pleaded for the old monster.
"I'm sorry, I'm not the one to decide on this matter. Let's put off the discussion until I've reported to The Saintess," the divine knight called Bergson shrugged, and afterwards smiled and said, "However, if Stratholme is willing to vow loyalty and devotion to the God of Light, then that surely won't be a problem!"
Suddenly, both Han Shuo and Stratholme sensed whiffs of intense divine energy which shrouded all around the cave at an unknown time. Add to the fact that Tiana had frozen off their only means of escape, the situation seemed like it could not get any worse.
"Elder Sister Tiana, I never expected this from you!" Stratholme the old monster who was trapped in the cave stared blankly at Tiana. His voice, although tranquil, carried a distinct wrath.
"Stratholme, I'm so sorry, but Bergson and I are very good friends. As long as you hand over that crystal ball of fighting aura, I will find a way to let you walk out of this Sacred Mountain alive!" There was not a hint of remorse on Tiana's face, and she kept ever so graceful and poised.
The frightening presence rapidly approached. Though they were separated by layers of boundaries, Han Shuo and Stratholme could still hear that weird buzzing noise.
At the same time, a beautiful, tender melody waft from the summit of the Sacred Mountain. A surge of divine energy possessed only by the gods fell before the cliff in an instant.