Chapter 251: Becoming a famous person
Mt. Ordas was a place high above sea level, covered in clouds all year round. The Dark Mantle headquarters was situated right in the middle of the mountain’s belly, guarded by all sorts of experts. The security here was even more strict than the Empire’s palace.
Han Shuo passed through the entrance using the magical transportation matrix. Identity badge in hand, he moved without impediment deep into the mountain’s depths. After a few turns, he arrived at the transportation matrix leading to Candide’s place.
“Wait a bit, Lord Candide is currently not at the headquarters. I’ll notify him, the Lord should come back in a short while.” Only at this point did the Dark Star guide, who’d led Han Shuo to Candide’s place from the transportation matrix, explained in a steady voice.
“Is that so? Alright.” Han Shuo nodded in understanding.
“Mhm, then I’ll take you to the waiting area and notify you immediately when Lord Candide returns!” The Dark Star envoy also nodded, then spun on the transportation matrix.
A white light flashed and Han Shuo appeared in a wide, square stone chamber that was as long and wide as four basketball courts combined. There were many soft chairs and tables set up, with dazzling displays of various fruit desserts, plus some books on the table. Many people of different appearances surrounded these places, patiently either eating or flipping through the books on the tables, seemingly also waiting.
Except for the transportation matrix where Han Shuo was standing, soft carpet covered the surrounding ground. A dozen or so glass lanterns hung above, lighting up the entire stone chamber.
“Hey! Hello there, you look unfamiliar! Is this your first time here?” A short haired, young pretty girl stood in front of Han Shuo, cheerfully greeting him.
“Mm, it’s my first time here. How do you do?” Han Shuo walked towards this lively young girl with a smile on his face, intent on learning about news within the Dark Mantle headquarters.
“I’m Chrissie, a fire journeyman mage. Currently, I’m a rank three Dark Star, nice to meet you.” This girl named Chrissie was quite talkative. She smiled at Han Shuo and warmly greeted him in a familiar manner.
“Hehe, I’m Bryan, also a rank three Dark Star like you. I’m a necromancer.” Han Shuo smiled as he walked towards Chrissie and introduced himself.
However, even before he’d left Valen City for the Valley of Sunshine, Han Shuo had already known from Emily that his rank was already Dark Moon.
However, since Candide was in charge of Han Shuo, only he could upgrade Han Shuo’s badge to officially confirm his rank as a Dark Moon. Han Shuo hadn’t reported in for a half year already, so although he’d advanced to the rank of Dark Moon, it had yet to be made official.
“Hah! So you’re also a rank three Dark Star! Which Lord are you following?” Chrissie giggled, and pulled up a chair for Han Shuo.
“Chrissie, you’re on the bench with no missions. Why must you keep chatting up random people? Are you trying to harm them?” A robust journeyman swordsman next to Chrissie rolled his eyes.
“Allis, what nonsense are you spouting? Who wants to harm people?” Chrissie abruptly turned around, huffing and glaring at the journeyman swordsman.
“You still deny it! You fire mages make a mess of everything. On our last mission, you burned half the village, throwing my mission down the drain. The boss furiously lectured me. I’m already miserable thanks to you, so don’t go around harming others.” Allis wryly smiled, shaking his head. He turned to Han Shuo and winked, as if telling him to be careful.
Han Shuo lifted his head and grinned with goodwill, then wrinkled his brow to read the book in his hand. As it turned out, the books on the tables were actually the latest secret intelligence reports circulating internally in the Dark Mantle. They included everything in the most recent period, such as news on every aspect of the Empire. The topics ranged from large ones, such as frontier battles, to the small petty gossip about some aristocrat’s odd quirks.
With Han Shuo’s current brain capacity, he only needed to flip through a book once to memorize its contents. He didn’t care about the small petty gossip, but those regarding Valen City and the Valley of Sunshine caught his attention.
One highlight was the Gryphon Legion’s chief, Bob Ascher, betraying the Empire. According to the intelligence network of the Dark Mantle, Bob Ascher had long since colluded with the Kasi Empire. After betraying the Empire, Bob Ascher had led a group of trusted confidants to join Kasi Empire and had become one of its senior military officers.
Han Shuo’s name once again appeared in the Dark Mantle’s intelligence network. According to the books, it was due to Han Shuo and Emily’s efforts that Bob Ascher’s misdeeds were exposed. After receiving the two’s report, the Dark Mantle arrived at Valen City at the fastest speed possible. They took advantage of Bob not yet erupting in rebellion to put the situation back under control.
Otherwise, if Bob Ascher had been allowed to abuse his power and creates holes in the defenses of Valen City, Kasi Empire, who was eyeing the city like a hungry tiger, would have felled the city at lightning speed. Unknowingly, Han Shuo as a rank three Dark Star had become a rising star within the Dark Mantle. Han Shuo’s description was attached within, and it even included his first mission where he’d uncovered the plot of wind archmage Duke from the Kasi Empire.
In addition, this intel also included news regarding the chaos in the Valley of Sunshine. The four strongest forces endlessly fighting covertly and openly, leading to daily bloodshed. This time even the Butcher and Janet’s strong forces seemed to have entered the fray, joining the struggle for power in the Valley of Sunshine.
Amongst them, the Soul Destroyer mercenary band founded by Han Shuo and Trunks was gradually emerging from the fray. Under Trunks’ charisma, along with plentiful resources, they had taken advantage of the disarray to attract experts to join their mercenary band. Since the Soul Destroyer mercenary band was appearing in the internal intelligence of the Dark Mantle, it showed the band already had some standing.
As Han Shuo concentrated on the book in his hands, Chrissie stood in front of him and asked again, “Right, Bryan, which Lord do you follow?”
“Hehe, I follow Lord Candide.” Han Shuo put the book down and lifted his head smilingly to answer Chrissie.
“Lord Candide, but you’re only a rank three Dark Star, how could you possibly be following Lord Candide? Mm, your name is Bryan… can it be that you’re that Bryan? Oh my gosh!” Chrissie shook her head in confusion at first, then suddenly remembered something. She looked at Han Shuo and shouted with surprise.
When the patiently waiting members around them heard Chrissie’s shout, they all put down their fruits or books and looked at Han Shuo in astonishment.
“He’s Bryan? So young!”
“What a lucky young fellow for Lord Candide to fancy him. It would be hard for him not to be promoted quickly even if he doesn’t want to be!”
“Hee hee, his looks really don’t disappoint. If I can go on a mission with him, it would be such a sweet thing!”
Chatter erupted from the surrounding members who happened to be idle at the moment. All sorts of astonishment, admiration, and odd looks were thrown at Han Shuo.
“Oh my gosh, my luck is really good. Bryan, if you have any mission that requires more people, can you please take me? Don’t listen to that brat Allis’ nonsense, I’m a fine fire journeyman mage! I promise I won’t be a burden to you!” Chrissie immediately recovered after exclaiming in surprise. She grabbed at the corner of Han Shuo’s clothes and begged pitifully.
“Bryan, Lord Candide has returned. Please go to the transportation matrix!” A transportation member next to the matrix suddenly announced in a loud voice.
“If I need more people, I’ll make sure to consider you. See you!” The clothes that Chrissie had grabbed onto slipped out of her fingers like oil as Han Shuo twisted his body. After flashing her a friendly smile, he stood in the transportation matrix in front of the crowd’s surprised looks.
A white light flashed and Han Shuo appeared in Candide’s personal room. As always, the old man had a gloomy expression on his face. Looking at Han Shuo expressionlessly, he only said in a low voice, “I remember telling you long ago, that even if you don’t have a mission, you still have to report back in the Dark Mantle headquarters once a month. You, brat, disappeared for a half year, no discipline at all!”
“I was honestly delayed by some things. I came into the possession of something in the past half year that I think Lord Candide will be very interested in!” Han Shuo’s expression didn’t fall, instead responding with a faint smile.
Whether it was Han Shuo’s strength or experience, both were greatly different from the past. After half a year, the growth of his strength and experience had all greatly accelerated, and various aspects were significantly developed. Han Shuo didn’t feel any fear even in front of such a powerful figure like Candide and instead spoke to him as if speaking to a friend of the same status.
“You really are different compared to before!” The old fox Candide apparently saw through his changes. He gave Han Shuo a stunned look for a while then flashed a weird smile, “What things? Will I be interested?”
Han Shuo took out the handwritten notebook he had obtained from the forbidden land. It didn’t have any substantial knowledge on magic, only some experiences along with some obscure understanding of dark magic from Ayermike Cotton. Han Shuo had already copied a portion of the magic texts written in it. He intended to give it to Emily along with the magic staff, since she practiced dark magic.
After careful consideration, Han Shuo had decided it would be best to hand over the notebook to dark grand magus Candide. Since Han Shuo couldn’t fully understand the magic texts, the reflections on dark magic from Ayermike’s notebook were useless to him.
In addition, from his multiple points of contact with Candide, Han Shuo felt that this old, suspiciously crafty looking fellow was actually truly protective of him. Giving this notebook to Candide would definitely bring about great benefits and a good future in the Dark Mantle.
“Take a look.” Han Shuo smiled mysteriously before handing the ancient handwritten notebook to dark grand magus Candide in a ceremonious manner.
“What is this? It seems to have some history!” Candide took the handwritten notebook and said with uncertainty. After his eyes caught a small row of letters, he was immediately dumbfounded. His eyes widened and his mouth fell open, as if he were struck by lightning.
That small row of letters read, Ayermike Cotton!
Candide was one of the three heavyweights of the Dark Mantle and had the power of a grand magus, but his two hands couldn’t stop trembling when he held the notebook. His eyes almost popped out of their sockets, and his face revealed an extremely shocked expression.
This state lasted for a few seconds, until Candide suddenly turned his eyes to stare at Han Shuo and asked with a trembling voice, “Is- is this?”
Han Shuo nodded his head and confirmed, “That’s right! This is the notebook of the legendary dark mage of the Lancelot Empire, the demigod Ayermike Cotton!”
Candide was ecstatic upon hearing these words. He wouldn’t stop trembling like crazy. His mouth muttered something that Han Shuo couldn’t make sense of. As for Candide’s two eyes, they wouldn’t leave the notebook. His trembling hands flipped the pages one by one, his whole body falling into a sluggish state.
This continued for a long time until Candide sighed out, “Too unfathomable, too wondrous! The value of this notebook is simply immeasurable!”
After he uttered these words, Candide took a few more deep breaths. Waiting until he calmed down from his excitement, he looked at Han Shuo with shining eyes and asked with some hesitation, “What do you mean in bringing this notebook to me?”
Shrugging, Han Shuo chuckled, “I’m giving it to you, obviously!”
“Bribery! Damn brat, this is despicable and obvious bribery!” Candide exclaimed, but then he suddenly shook his head and quickly nodded, “Forget it, I want to accept this even if it’s blatant bribery.”
Using some force to smooth down his hair, Candide spoke somewhat blankly, “Alright, I’ll take it, what’s your condition?”
Han Shuo shook his head and said smilingly, “No conditions. This thing originally belonged to the Empire. You are my boss, and me handing it over to you can’t be considered bribery, so you shouldn’t worry about it!”
“Haha, right, this is the notebook of Ayermike Cotton, so of course it belongs to the Empire. I, Candide, am one of the few dark grand magi of the Empire. As long as I explain a bit of this to His Majesty the King, he will definitely allow me to read it, so how can this be bribery!”
Candide muttered to himself and laughed loudly, then he swiftly flew in front of Han Shuo and clapped the latter’s shoulder with appreciation, “Good going brat, really not bad. You did a meritorious deed again! I remember that you’re already a one star Dark Moon? Give me your badge, I’ll immediately promote you to a four star Dark Moon. To have found the relics of Ayermike Cotton, no one would dare to say anything against you jumping up two ranks. Lucky little brat, you are becoming legendary at climbing ranks in the Dark Mantle!”