Chapter 344: Deathly pursuit
“Not good, that blasted Celt! Everyone, be careful!” Cecilia’s pretty face paled when she saw Celt’s sudden change in direction. Celt led the group of knights as well as Arlen and his dark elves in an about face towards the stunned Cecilia.
“Master, that Bryan is also a member of Dark Mantle. He won’t dare to act impudently as long as we capture those women.” Kassel vigorously urged Celt along. The Ancient Lizard King’s appearance and subsequent brutality had struck a deep chord of fear within him.
“If they’re with Bryan, we can use them to force him to submit.” Celt responded tightly. He coldly rushed towards Cecilia as he drew “Starry Sky” from his space ring.
From his position atop the old Lizard King’s shoulder, Han Shuo quickly identified Emily from afar. Since the Redbud Knights and dark elves had made such a flashy mess of things, it was impossible to keep Dark Mantle in the dark. Their appearance at this juncture was well within Han Shuo’s expectations.
“You can’t let those ones leave alive, otherwise you can definitely expect this place to turn into a warzone in the near future!” Han Shuo whispered urgently in the old Lizard King’s ear. His eyes were fixed on the two leaders, a murderous glint flashing through his eyes.
“I don’t need you to remind me.” The Ancient Lizard King didn’t bother with audible speech, letting his voice echo within Han Shuo’s mind.
At this point, the Ancient Lizard King had left the corpses of more than a thousand knights and dark elves in his wake as he rampaged through the combined army. The lucky survivors bolted in every direction, doing their damnedest to put as much distance as they could between them and the ferocious figure of the Lizard King.
Suddenly, russet colored light shone over the massive body of the Ancient Lizard King. Astonishingly, his enormous body began to shrink, the light folding inwards.
Still atop the Lizard King’s shoulder, Han Shuo had front row seats to witness this transformation. A quick mental message from the old Lizard King assuaged his worries, the Lizard King was simply transforming into his human form. Han Shuo leaped off his perch, hovering in the air.
Dagassi’s colossal body rapidly shrunk under the russet colored light. The twenty meter tall form of the prehistoric apex predator was replaced with a hundred and seventy centimeter tall old man within ten breaths. His face was flushed, and the only remnant of his previous form was a lizardman’s tail extending from his spine. A red robe appeared out of nowhere, casually draping itself over him.
Dagassi’s transformation had actually resulted in such an earth shattering change to his features. Nowhere could one see the behemoth that had slaughtered knights and elves like swatting flies in this small, normal looking old man. He looked up to see Han Shuo hovering in the sky above him. He stretched, shouting in the human tongue, “Get your friends somewhere safe, I’m going to exact my blood price from those invaders.”
The old Lizard King had forgone mental transmission, instead using the common tongue. It seemed that the ancient magical formation that bound him had also sealed his ability to freely transform. Now that he could shift into a human form, he’d regained the ability to use the common human tongue.
As he spoke, he lifted himself haltingly off the ground. His actions seemed a bit out of practice, seemingly searching for that familiarity he once had in the air, the sense he’d lost from being sealed underground for so long.
Dagassi’s reminder broke Han Shuo’s fascination with the Lizard King’s transformation. He looked up to see Celt and his group almost at Cecilia and her group’s heels. Kassel had taken the opportunity to shapeshift into his favorite great earthen bear, causing the ground to crack beneath his charge as he charged Cecilia.
The noble dark elf Arlen gazed dumbstruck, eyes wide, at Kassel’s transformation. Turning his head, he caught sight of “Starry Sky” in Celt’s hands. Apprehension grew in his heart as he remembered how arrogant he’d been in front of them earlier.
He broke out in a cold sweat. Arlen had been rudely woken to the fact that his men’s strength paled in comparison to that of the Redbud Knights during the Ancient Lizard King’s rampage earlier. With “Starry Sky”, he could admit that he was no longer Celt’s match. Now that this druid subordinate had revealed a transformation skill that allowed him to turn into a great earthern bear, Arlen realized that if he’d really come to blows with Celt, he really would’ve been defeated miserably.
While Arlen’s heart trembled with fear, a different sort of emotion was rousing within Cecilia’s heart. She cursed vehemently inside as she hovered in the air, shouting, “Move! Don’t just stand there, Celt is coming!”
Even in his current state, Celt was renowned as the leader of the Redbud Knights, one of the top ten knight troops, across the Profound Continent. The loss of his green dragon didn’t cause noticeable drop in his strength when he wielded “Starry Sky”. Cecilia may be one of the three heavyweights of the Dark Mantle, but she didn’t specialize in combat. With little experience to draw on, seeing Celt and his band form a charge immediately caused her to panic.
“Annoying women, don’t expect to leave here alive today!” Celt shouted. “Starry Sky” started to emit a blinding light as his charge turned into a full assault. It was like the stars had descended on the entire underground world. Off to the side, the great earthen bear Kassel also mounted his own assault to pressure Cecilia and her band.
In the face of this twin onslaught, a crimson light suddenly streaked through the sky. Even as it sped through the sky, its point rapidly coalesced into a dense orb of bloodlust. The blood colored orb of light began to rapidly spin, as its slivers began to rattle in warning. The enormous ball of prickly, crimson light shook as it continued to rapidly rotate in midair. Han Shuo had finally unleashed the “Bloody Radiance of Ten Thousand Cuts”.
The wails of weeping ghosts and howling wolves accompanied the “Bloody Radiance of Ten Thousand Cuts” as it shot out from the Demonslayer Edge. It careened through the air towards Kassel’s great earthen bear form. He was on the verge of lashing out in a powerful blow against Emily when he sensed the dense aura of killing intent locking onto him from behind. Quick as thought, Kassel changed targets, skidding to a stop as he turned to face the scarlet orb that was screaming through the air towards him.
Emily was no slouch, she quickly harnessed her levitation skills to throw herself out of harm’s way. Her dark hair danced in the wind as she chanted under her breath, magic staff in hand. Two massive Hands of Death appeared in mid air, swiping at Kassel’s transformed feet.
Kassel has zeroed in on Han Shuo’s Demonslayer Edge as the biggest threat, and didn’t expect Emily to launch a counterattack mid-retreat. Both of his feet were firmly grabbed by her two Hands of Death.
There was no time left to try and pry himself loose. Kassel could only grit his teeth and use his front claws to catch the spinning scarlet orb. The crimson light rotated madly in the bear’s claws, fiery sparks shooting out from its palms as the bear stamped his feet in agony.
After depleting thirty percent of its energy reserves in that one attack against Kassel, the Demonslayer Edge once again turned into a streak of red light and returned to Han Shuo, leaving behind the wailing Kassel with his two mangled bear arms.
Emily suddenly decided to not pursue Celt and dark elf Arlen either as she sped further away.
A strong force smashed down from the sky, abruptly trampling the ten meters tall bear into the ground. Dozens of attacking force waves simultaneously invaded Kassel’s body. He bled profusely from his nose and mouth, his body shrinking back into human form.
The one who’d attacked Kassel from above was indeed the Ancient Lizard King Dagassi, who descended from a red dot in the middle of the sky to land next to Kassel. “You are one of the main perpetrators, how could I let you escape!?” Dagassi was still using the form of a ruddy old man, so he stomped right on Kassel’s head.
Kassel’s skull shattered like a rotten watermelon with a crunching sound.
End of Part 1 of the chapter.
On the other side, Cecilia and the Dark Mantle members were desperately trying to evade Celt and Arlen’s pursuit. The latter two were obviously unaware of Han Shuo and Cecilia’s dubious relationship. The only reason Han Shuo had rushed over was to rescue Emily. He didn’t care for the rest, and he watched Cecilia’s group fleeing without offering a helping hand.
Only when he saw the fire journeyman mage Chrissie almost caught by a Redbud Knight’s killing move did Han Shuo make a move, blocking the attack for her. He shouted from afar, “Chrissie, come over to my side! I will keep you safe!”
“Bryan, hurry and help Mistress Cecilia. Hurry!” Chrissie seemed to care very much for Cecilia. She didn’t run to Han Shuo, instead disregarding her own safety to ask him to save Cecilia.
Emily was not too far away from Han Shuo at this moment. Knowing the grudge between him and Cecilia, her elegant black brows furrowed. She didn’t say anything to persuade him, flying directly to Cecilia instead.
Standing proudly in the air, Han Shuo saw Emily flying to Cecilia without another word. He couldn’t help but let out a low curse before rushing after her. He couldn’t care less whether Cecilia lived or died. Emily however, was his woman. He absolutely didn’t want anything to happen to her.
In actuality, Emily was secretly paying attention to Han Shuo’s actions. A sweet feeling surged in her heart when she saw him fly after her. She knew Han Shuo had only followed to ensure her safety. He still wouldn’t interfere even if Cecilia was in grave danger.
Celt was busily pursuing Cecilia, but Arlen saw Emily fly over. He immediately gave an order to the two dark elven archers behind him. The archers raised their bows and aimed at Emily, magical fluctuations coming into existence around the arrowheads.
The black magic scepter in Arlen’s hand waved once as he chanted a spell in the dark elven tongue. An enormous black python formed from dark elements slithered out from the magic scepter. It shook its head and tail and sprang towards Emily, its blood maw gaping open.
“You want to die?!” Han Shuo roared, the Demonslayer Edge flying out of his right hand. Bloody light exploded out right in the middle of the enormous python.
The Demonslayer Edge was like a bloody mire, a terrifying suction force devouring everything around it. Even the air was no exception as the vacuum force began to increase. The black python was helpless in the face of such a power and was sucked in whole.
The two archers next to Arlen couldn’t resist either. They shrieked, but simply couldn’t control their bodies and were involuntarily sucked into the mire. The archers, along with the surrounding gravel and plants whirled into the air, heading straight onto the mire created by the Demonslayer Edge.
Arlen’s soul seemed to have fled his body in his fright. He decisively stabbed the black magic scepter into the ground, tightly holding onto it with one hand. He took out a dark magic scroll with another hand. He quickly drew something on the scroll, and a mass of black mist rose from it to wrap around his body.
Many gas beings that resembled Arlen formed from the black mist, sent flying with the slightest gust of wind. These gaseous beings twisted like leaves in the wind, but they didn’t seem affected by the Demonslayer Edge’s suction force. Soon, they were drifting further and further away, about to vanish into the distance.
However, Arlen had obviously forgotten about the existence of the old Lizard King Dagassi. He’d been observing the changes in the scene without making a move. All of a sudden, he shot dozens of force waves underground.
A mournful cry came from the depths of the earth. When he heard it was indeed Arlen’s scream, Dagassi cackled and murmured, “You despicable dark elves still dare to try and flee in my presence?”
“Dagassi, what are you just standing there for? Killing them was your responsibility, when did it shift to me?!” Han Shuo had long seen that the Ancient Lizard King had taken the position of a bystander, watching with an eye of interest. He couldn’t help but yell loudly when he sensed Arlen being killed underground.
“Funny little human fellow, you alone seem capable of handling them. I’ll just act as your assistant.” Dagassi had suddenly developed an interest in Han Shuo, continuing, “I’ve lived for countless years, but this is the first time I’m coming across something like your combat style. This cultivation method of yours seems rather special, so I’m waiting to see how many more miraculous areas there are to you.”
Dagassi was very powerful, and naturally his eyesight was rather sharp. He only needed a little bit of time to realize that Han Shuo’s magic cultivation didn’t resemble fighting aura nor follow the tenets of magical elements. He’d never seen anything like it in his life. As a result, Dagassi was immediately interested in Han Shuo, and decided to see what depths this human had. This was why he hadn’t hurried to go on the offensive.
Hearing his words, Han Shuo snorted coldly, “If so, then just watch.”
Han Shuo moved like lightning to Emily’s side as his words fell on Dagassi’s ears, grabbing her waist and stopping her from flying. He then shouted to Celt, “Celt, chasing those people is useless. I don’t care if they die. If you don’t run away, you’ll be dead without a doubt. Are you crazy?”
Celt, who was diligently chasing Cecilia and her team, almost vomited blood in anger upon hearing Han Shuo’s words. He looked back and saw no trace of Arlen, just Han Shuo standing there with a mocking look. Han Shuo appeared to have no intention of saving those people. He obviously wasn’t joking.
“Damned Kassel, giving me false information!” Celt spat out a low curse. He took a moment to think, and quit chasing Cecilia. He gathered the remnants of his Redbud Knights and forged a path deep into the bushes.
“Emily, how did that Cecilia become one of the Dark Mantle’s three heavyweights? Her strength can’t compare with Candide or your brother Amyes!” Han Shuo asked Emily in surprise when he saw that Cecilia only knew how to duck and weave.
Han Shuo’s jeering had forced Celt to give up on chasing Cecilia. Emily struggled out of his embrace in embarrassment when she saw Cecilia was safe and sound. She timidly looked around, slowly floating down before finally replying to Han Shuo, who was still closely following her.
“Sister Cecilia doesn’t specialize in fighting. Moreover, her grandfather is one of the oldest veterans of Dark Mantle, and is also the only sacred magus of the Empire. You’ve even met him before.”
Han Shuo was stunned by her words. He exclaimed, “No wonder! I thought her power was too weak for her to hold this position at such a young age. She has so many strange magic artifacts, so it’s all thanks to her sacred magus grandfather. Oh right, I don’t remember meeting any sacred magus, where have I met him? You aren’t kidding me, are you?”
“Of course not, but I can’t tell you who he is since it’s a rule. Anyway, you’ll definitely meet him after you reach a certain rank in Dark Mantle.” Emily smiled delicately and said, seemingly amused at Han Shuo’s confused expression.
“Her grandfather, I have met him…?” Han Shuo’s thoughts raced. When he came up empty handed after a moment, he no longer spared effort thinking about it.
“You little brat, you’re definitely a scoundrel of the first degree, making an old man like me take action myself!” The old Lizard King’s voice rolled in waves from behind. Han Shuo then saw a red shadow shoot through the air in Celt’s direction.
“Right, Celt has an artifact and a space ring, we still need to take a look.” Han Shuo suddenly remembered the wealth that Celt carried. He hurriedly pulled Emily along and flew towards the two.
The earth elite zombie was still deep underground, following Han Shuo’s orders. It tunneled towards Arlen’s corpse, ready to strip him bare of his valuables.
As for Kassel, whose head had been crushed by Dagassi, Han Shuo couldn’t care less. The druids worshipped nature and didn’t like to collect weath. The traitor Kassel hadn’t had any opportunities to collect magic crystal ores, and Han Shuo hadn’t seen a space ring on his hands either. Obviously, he wasn’t a generous sort.