GDK 459: Escaping Alive
The golden cudgel filled the cave with brilliant golden light as it grew. The dazzling golden rays finally caught Han Shuo's attention.
He saw that under the manipulation of the metal elite zombie, one end of the golden cudgel - a treasure of the metal attribute - was pushing against the solid ice on the cave mouth deployed by water divine magus Tiana and further strengthened by the Saintess. Naturally, the metal elite zombie couldn't completely grip the golden cudgel as it had transformed to the size of a huge pillar of great height. But with that said, the metal elite zombie could still manipulate the golden cudgel with the energy of metal element in his body.
The golden cudgel, purportedly capable of destroying any solid object, under the manipulation of a metal elite zombie, a great force burst out from its one end that pushed against the iced cave mouth. Under the watchful eyes of Han Shuo and Stratholme, it broke the solid ice like a twig.
The golden cudget weighed tonnes. Except for the metal elite zombie, whose body was filled with the energy of metal element, no one could move the golden cudgel, not even Han Shuo with the brute force of his physical body. It seemed that the metal elite zombie yielding the golden cudgel indeed deserved the reputation of possessing the greatest fighting strength. Even the shield of ice reinforced with divine energy from the Saintess could be forcefully broken open under the pounding of the golden cudgel.
"Let's go!" Stratholme the old monster shouted. He was shocked and delighted at the same time.
Han Shuo, who had been staring blankly at his metal elite zombie in disbelief, immediately returned to his senses when he heard Stratholme's yelling. With an incantation, the immensely proud metal elite zombie along with his golden cudgel were sent back to the netherworld by Han Shuo.
"Let's go!" Han Shuo replied and flew out at lightning speed through the broken cave mouth with Stratholme. The combat between Tiana and those from the Church of Light, and those of the Soul Race continued like wildfire. Among it, the Saintess displayed truly terrifying strength. All along, under the protection of boundless divine energy enveloping her, and the Holy Grail bursting with holy light, the six-horned tribal king was forced to remain within bounds.
"This is not good, they have broken through the ice!" The solid ice boundary at the cave mouth was deployed by water divine magus Tiana. She sensed it the instance her ice boundary was destroyed.
Han Shuo and Stratholme flew out from the cave just as Tiana finished speaking.
However, at this moment, no matter the Saintess of the Church of Light or the three demigod beings, they were all busy fighting off those of the Soul Race. When battling against such a grade of experts, unless one's team possessed strength well above that of their opponents, one must not be distracted in the least.
Tiana and the two others handled the four five-horned members of Soul Race, with the divine knight as the main fighter while Tiana and that light divine magus ceaselessly dealt frightening magic attacks. Although Tiana and the light divine magus deployed layers upon layers of defense boundaries, in a battle of three versus four, it was obvious that the three were in disadvantageous position.
As Tiana let out a cry of surprise, her cold air attack against the few Soul clansmen become a tad slower. The pressure on the light divine magus and divine knight, which was already difficult to handle, instantly increased multiple times over. That caused the divine knight to be miserably swooped by three tails, nearly wounding him gravely.
While their hands were all tied up, Han Shuo and Stratholme the old monster felt zero hesitation to avail themselves of the situation and flew right away into the distance. They dared not stay at this Sacred Mountain a moment longer.
Han Shuo and the old monster were extraordinarily fast in their escape. Before the few were able to catch sight of the two, they had already rushed out from the region.
The Saintess of the Church of Light placed all her attention on the six-horned Soul Race tribal king and dared not to distract herself in the slightest. All she could do was to look on helplessly at the departing duo, not having extra hands to intercept.
"Quick, run!" Stratholme shouted to Han Shuo as soon as he rushed out from the Sacred Mountain.
It was, of course, clear to Han Shuo obviously just how dire the situation was at the moment and fled like lightning, following closely behind Stratholme. But in contrast to Stratholme, the expression on Han Shuo's face was much calmer and collected, unlike the panic on Stratholme's face.
Once departed from the cave in the Sacred Mountain, countless means of escape opened up for Han Shuo. In terms of airspeed, Han Shuo believed that even a character with strength a grade higher than his would be incapable of chasing up to him. At the very least, he could still use the transportation matrix connecting to the Cemetery of Death to escape. Therefore, with such aces up his sleeves, Han Shuo wasn't as anxious as Stratholme the old monster.
After the two escaped from the Sacred Mountain of the Church of Light, instead of returning to Sandro City close to the mountain, they took the longer route and flew to Ortley City.
Once they entered Ortley City, Stratholme used the authority in his hands to gain access to the transportation matrix. After travelling to a few transportation matrices, the two flew from the borders of the Oden Empire back to Brut Merchant Alliance. They then finally arrived at Tariq City.
Upon arriving at Tariq City, Han Shuo immediately sensed the position of Elizabeth through the drop of blood essence in her brain.
"Bryan, it was all thanks to you that we could escape alive. Well, I owe you one!" Stratholme the old monster said to Han Shuo after arriving a Tariq City.
"You're welcome!" Han Shuo replied with a slight grin. After a short pause, Han Shuo creased his brows and asked, "The six-horned tribal king could sense our souls. What do you plan to do next?"
Stratholme the old monster revealed a worrisome expression at those words. He sighed before saying, "I will immediately find a secluded place to fuse my soul with my Origin Crystal. Only by fusing the soul can we completely free ourselves from the pursuit of the Soul Race."
"But we haven't the slightest detail about the situation at the Sacred Mountain of the Church of Light. If that six-horned tribal king did not suffer serious injuries in the battle with that Saintess, and gets to you when you are still fusing with the Origin Crystal, that will mean certain death for you," Han Shuo exclaimed.
"There's no other way. I can only take a chance. If midway through it, the six-horned tribal king comes knocking at my door, it'll be my luck!" The old monster again sighed helplessly.
Han Shuo didn't know how to respond. There was indeed no better alternative.
Han Shuo actually had a rather good impression with regards to Stratholme the old monster. Because of the existence of the seven grand duchies, Han Shuo could have become his enemy in the future. Yet, from their interactions during the prior few days, Stratholme's conducts could have been called straightforward, instead of harboring any evil intentions towards Han Shuo because he was the Lord of Brettel City as Han Shuo imagined.
"Well then, good luck!" Han Shuo said after shaking his head and sighed lightly.
"You too. I hope there is a chance that we see each other again. It sure was nice to meet you!" Stratholme the old monster said with a smile, as though he laid down some worries in his heart. Afterwards, he seemed to suddenly recall something and hesitated for a while before saying, "Bryan, after we part ways today, we may never see each other again. I need to discuss something with you. I hope that you will agree on the account we have fought shoulder to shoulder."
"Tell me about it first," Han Shuo creased his brows and had a good guess of what Stratholme wanted to discuss.
"For many years, I have been the State Preceptor of the Verdun Imperial Court, which is no more, and has been split into the seven grand duchies today. I still have some feelings for the seven grand duchies. In the future, perhaps the six-horned tribal king will find us both and we shall both die. Or perhaps one of us will survive this calamity.
"If I do survive, I shall restrict the seven grand duchies to never again infringe on Brettel City. However, if I do not, and you so fortunately survived, I hope that, for my sake, you will not let the people of the seven grand duchies live in hell.
"Your Lancelot Empire and Brut Merchant Alliance have always coveted for the seven grand duchies. I know that once I die, the seven grand duchies will no doubt be conquered. If you live through this, all seven grand duchies will be swooped by Brettel City. I'm not asking you to give it up, but I hope that you will treat the citizens of the seven grand duchies well," Stratholme the old monster requested earnestly as he stared deeply into Han Shuo's eyes.
It was only because Stratholme had calculated the likelihood of his death that he would say such things. No matter the perspective, Stratholme's request wasn't too arduous. Therefore, right after Stratholme finished, Han Shuo nodded and reassured, "Don't worry, I will treat the citizens of the seven grand duchies well."
Whether or not Stratholme would die, Han Shuo had no clue, but he knew that he himself would be able to escape this alive. He had long wanted to get his hands on the seven grand duchies. That decision wouldn't change even if Stratholme lived. Now, Stratholme merely asked Han Shuo to treat the citizens well, which was not inappropriate at all.
"Thank you. I will return to Stranglethorn Valley and make some arrangements. Then I shall find a spot that any average person would be unable to detect to merge with the Origin Crystal of Fighting Aura. I truly hope that there will be a day that we meet again!" Stratholme the old monster smiled and left placidly.
After Stratholme left, Han Shuo muttered in a low voice, "I hope you can escape this calamity!"
Towards this demigod existence that had obstructed the Lancelot Empire's military expeditions for many years, Han Shuo now held only a feeling of sympathetic respect and reverence. He truly hoped that there would come another chance to meet with the old monster again. After the old monster gradually vanished from Han Shuo's sight, he took a deep breath and flew away. He went searching for Elizabeth by relying on his senses.
"Come with me!" Han Shuo instructed when he saw Elizabeth, and he brought her back to Brettel City.