Chapter 356: A pack of mad dogs
The seven grand dukes all took special care to ensure their own safety. They paid attention to every detail so as to protect themselves, particularly in this Sakamimir Valley.
After leaving Alec Ambridge’s tent, Han Shuo took a trip to visit Duke Nehem Beige of Bisli Duchy. He had originally intended to make a move on this Nehem guy. However, Han Shuo had yet to draw near when he sensed a holy presence from within the latter’s tent.
Han Shuo was very familiar with this holy presence and immediately understood that a member of the Church of Light was in that tent. It was no ordinary member either, the intensity of the presence was a good testament to that person’s strength. It was most likely to be Kosse of the Church of Light.
As a result, Han Shuo didn’t touch Nehem Beige. He hid himself deep in the underground, only using the yin demon to spy on that area from afar. Only when dawn broke did he see Kosse and his group quietly leaving that tent through the yin demon.
Nehem Beige himself was a sky rider. Out of the seven grand duchies, Bisli Duchy hosted many Light Temples of the Church of Light. This duchy guided its civilians’ beliefs so that they would offer their faith and devotion to the God of Light.
At that moment, Han Shuo was witnessing the close relationship between Nehem Beige and Kosse, which made him recall the friendly attitude between Bisli Duchy and the Church of Light. Han Shuo had this faint feeling that this Nehem Beige himself was a believer of the Church of Light. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have spared so much effort to support the Church of Light.
After Kosse left, there were still light magic pulses inside Nehem Beige’s tent, in addition to two hidden powerful presences. Dawn had broken, but Nehem Beige and his subordinates were still deep in discussion even after Kosse had left. Han Shuo pondered for a bit and decided to give up on dealing with Nehem Beige.
Today in the Sakamimir Valley, the seven grand duchies discussed the matters regarding Brettel City. After the assault the previous night, Alec Ambridge dragged himself on his bandaged stiff left leg, and loudly cursed Benedict Sackville out as soon as he arrived, accusing the latter of despicably ambushing him the previous night.
Benedict Sackville had already felt like he’d been greatly wronged the previous day. Now that Alec Ambridge was bringing an unfounded accusation against him and ridiculing him to boot, Benedict could no longer suppress the fires of anger in his belly. Neither of the two men were willing to let go of the issue and they almost fought it out right inside the tent. Had it not been for the other grand dukes coming forward to stop them, the two might have escalated things to a brawl. Even though they were forcibly separated afterwards, their fury didn’t disperse. A ferocious light flashing in their eyes, no one knew what kind of insidious scheme they were plotting against each other.
Grand Duke Burt Zili of Boulet Duchy came to the fore at this meeting, vociferously dissatisfied with the current distribution of benefits. He insisted on taking the five mines as his own after Brettel City was captured. Burt Zili was persistent, but the other grand dukes also desired the mines, so they were naturally unwilling to agree. Today’s discussion once again ultimately ended in each of them going their own way.
“At this rate, the seven grand duchies would be already at war even before the attack on Brettel City can be launched. These people can never join hands unless they are well and truly backed into a corner. Only because the Lancelot Empire came knocking on the doors last time did they learn to quickly work together.”
“It seems they have yet to take the threat of Brettel City seriously. These people only know to quarrel all day; what grand deed can they actually accomplish?” Going back to her own tent, Helen Tina complained to Firewind with a frown.
“Just let them fuss. The day will come when Brettel City really attacks, and they will learn the meaning of fear.” Having joined the discussion in the tent with Helen Tina, Firewind had seen the expressions of the seven grand dukes clearly. Even though Firewind didn’t have to right to speak, she still inwardly despised the other six grand dukes who only cared about grabbing fame and benefits.
“Your Grace, Grand Duke Burt Zili of Boulet Duchy requests an audience.” as Helen Tina and Firewind whispered their complaints to each other, the guard’s voice rang out.
“What is this fellow coming to our place for? The smell on his body really makes me uncomfortable.” Firewind frowned and spoke to Helen Tina when she heard the guard’s words.
“Invite him in.” Helen Tina told the guard outside before turning to Firewind, “This person has always been the sworn enemy of Bisli Duchy. This time, Nehem Beige of the Bisli Duchy was the one who proposed to join forces and attack Brettel City. As I see it, this Burt Zili seems to be deliberately destroying the stability of the alliance. I don’t know what this man has come to see me for.”
As Helen Tina and Firewind continued their conversation, Grand Duke Burt Zili of Boulet Duchy came in with a slight smile on his face. Burt Zili was an old summoner. However, rumors had it that he had signed a contract with the Evil God. His summoning could often call upon monsters from hell.
Burt Zilli’s body seemed to emanate a frighteningly sinister aura. Even when he was smiling kindly, other people would still feel his smiling face to be vicious. The fire phoenix was a holy super rank creature, so she was extremely annoyed at the smell coming off Burt Zili’s body. Therefore, the fire phoenix instinctively kept a distance between them upon seeing him come in.
“Grand Duke Burt, what business do you have with me?” Helen Tina’s territory was quite a distance from Burt Zili’s Boulet Duchy, so there was no real conflict between them. However, Helen Tina disliked this sinister grand duke. Moreover, her mood hadn’t been every good lately, so she naturally didn’t give him face.
“Heh heh, I come here to discuss the matter regarding Brettel City with Grand Duke Helen Tina. Since you’ve stayed at Brettel City for a period of time, what do you feel about Brettel City and its city lord?” Burt Zili exposed an amiable smile and asked Helen Tina in a friendly manner.
Her face growing colder by the second, Helen Tina said, “Grand Duke Burt, did you come here to especially make fun of me?”
“No, no!” Burt Zili hastily waved his hands, gesturing that Helen Tina shouldn’t misunderstand him. He then explained, “As the saying goes, know your enemy and know yourself, and a hundred victories out of a hundred battles. Amongst us seven grand duchies, Grand Duke Helen Tina must be the most familiar with Brettel City. I want to hear your point of view on Brettel City and that city lord.”
Letting out a snort, Helen Tina said with a stern face, “I’m not very familiar with Brettel City, but I know that city lord Bryan is no ordinary person. You haven’t truly seen what you’re dealing with. He alone repelled the group of Red Archbishop Kosse and several Templars of the Church of Light. This person is ruthless without measure. Once he sets his eyes on something, he won’t hesitate to go for it, using any means, fair or foul. Whether you believe it or not, this person is far from easy to deal with. If the alliance keeps wasting time like this, we’ll simply be giving Brettel City time to prepare.
“Heh heh, it seems his person is very much to my taste, interesting, interesting!” Burt Zili said with a wicked laugh, before fixing his eyes on Helen Tina, asking, “Grand Duke Helen Tina, what have you prepared to deal with Brettel City this time? Are you interested in forming a secret alliance?”
“I’m not interested at the moment, sorry.” Helen Tina politely refused, her reply neither warm nor cold.
Nodding his head, Burt Zili cackled creepily without any further offer and said, “You can try thinking about it. I’m very interested in cooperating with you. Alright, I have disturbed you enough today. My apologies.”
“Mm, I won’t see you off!” Helen Tina said.
Waiting until Burt Zili had left, Helen Tina said with a sense of wariness pricking her, “Really inexplicable. Did this person take a trip here just to ask about that city lord Bryan? It feels like he was a bit off.”
“Ignore him. I realized that when he was inside the tent, my whole body felt uncomfortable. I really wanted to burn him to death.” Firewind said to Helen Tina with a frown.
After leaving Helen Tina’s place, Burt Zili went straight back into his own tent, inside of which was a person whom Han Shuo was very familiar with. This person was lazing in the middle of a big bed covered in sea mink fur. Seeing Burt come in, he asked, “How did it go?”
“That little girl really didn’t seem to know anything. But it’s no problem, this doesn’t affect our plan. Wolf, you really think that person can bring us benefits?” Burt Zili glanced at Wolf on his own bed and asked.
Grand magus necromancer Wolf of the Calamity Church had turned into a handsome, elegant youth after being rejuvenated by Han Shuo’s skeletal staff. His skin was now fairer than that of any women. With the sharp claws resulting from his merge with the old fey zombie having vanished without a trace, his hands had become slender and pretty.
Wolf slowly sat up on the big sea mink furred bed, saying with a condescending smile, “Old friend, the power of that Bryan is beyond what you can imagine. He also has the skeletal staff. The higher-ups have passed down the order, we can’t let anything happen to him no matter what. What we have to do is try our best to support him.”
“The Pope only thinks highly of him as the owner of the skeletal staff. We should just grab his skeletal magic staff, it’ll be more convenient and less troublesome that way.” Burt Zili frowned in thought before telling Wolf.
Grand magus necromancer Wolf, who’d lived for who knows how many years, shook his head and explained with a smile, “It’s not that easy. Kosse personally led three hundred Templars but still failed to catch him, and both his attempts resulted in him retreating with heavy injuries. Do you think we can catch him so easily?”
“Not to mention that he is now an archmage necromancer. Oh, no, his mental strength must have exceeded the level of an archmage. The skeletal staff is related to the secret of the holy land. What we want is to do recruit him into our church by any means. On the other hand, I can guarantee that having a relationship with him will be extremely beneficial for us.”
“Alright then. Your decisions have always been correct all these years. I will act in accordance with the plan. I only hope that he won’t disappoint us!” Burt Zili replied.
Han Shuo had followed the yin demon there while Burt Zili and grand magus necromancer Wolf were conversing in the tent. His consciousness could clearly discover the evil presence from Wolf’s body inside the tent.
Burt Zili’s Boulet Duchy had been fighting all out with Nehem Beige’s Bisli Duchy that worshipped the Church of Light, for many years. This had never once been resolved. Han Shuo initially hadn’t known what was going on. Now that he felt Wolf’s presence inside the tent, he instantly understood.
It seemed that grand duke Nehem Beige of Bisli Duchy was a member of the Church of Light, while grand duke Burt Zili of Boulet Duchy was of the Calamity Church. These were the two most religious groups in the Continent. Evidently, it seemed that their many years of both open strife and veiled struggle weren’t just limited to some small-scaled battles. They had actually been secretly manipulating the grand battle among the duchies!
Wolf’s appearance had previously been rejuvenated thanks to the power of the skeletal staff. From the conversation just now, Han Shuo understood that Wolf seemed to be greatly concerned about him and want to protect him as much as possible. From this, Han Shuo understood that the reason must be due to the skeletal staff.
Having no way to close in and eavesdrop on their conversation, Han Shuo didn’t know what conspiracy that the two senior members of the Calamity Church were cooking up inside the tent. However, upon finding out that Burt Zili belonged to the Calamity Church, Han Shuo threw away the possibility that the former wanted to hurt him. However, he had no intention of revealing himself to talk to them either. Han Shuo once again left quietly.
After leaving the area, Han Shuo chose Grand Duke Argi Gilles of Etman Duchy to be his next target. Like the other areas, Argi Gilles’ tent was also under strict protection. Han Shuo took a moment to discover that both the sky and ground were cut off by magic barriers. He understood that there wasn’t much chance to kill this guy in one blow.
“F*ck, the seven grand dukes all really do fear death. It seems they don’t have the tiniest bit of trust in each other, bringing this many experts to a meeting.” Han Shuo cursed in a low voice.
However, since he’d already come anyway, he couldn’t leave empty-handed. Han Shuo mused for a bit and released the yin demon to inspect the area. Suddenly, he discovered that except for Argi Gilles’ own tent which was strictly protected, the tents of some senior generals were left unguarded.
Ruthlessness surging in his heart, Han Shuo decided to leave Argi Gilles alone and shifted his eyes to his subordinates. There were usually only a few guards walking around the inside and outside of these people’s tents. Naturally, their protection couldn’t be as strict as Argi Gilles’. The earth elite zombie utilized his ability to travel underground to sneak into the tents of these people. Han Shuo was easily able to conceal his presence at the separate demon realm, soundlessly murdering all six high rank subordinates of Argi Gilles.
After leaving Argi Gilles’ tent, Han Shuo continued on to Grand Duke Randy Allard’s tent. Using the same method as with Argi, he once again assassinated his four senior generals before leaving in silence. Making a bit of a detour, he again went to Alec Ambridge’s tent and took care of three senior generals in the same way.
Benedict Sackville of Narsen Duchy was also ambushed that night. The tent was engulfed in a massive explosion. Benedict Sackville himself escaped just in time to keep his life, but his hair and brows were burnt cleanly off.
Overnight, apart from Helen Tina of Helon Duchy, Burt Zili of Boulet Duchy and Nehem Beige of Bisli Duchy, the troops of the other four all encountered some kind of big incident. Sakamimir Valley, the originally gathering place to discuss an act of alliance against Brettel City, had suddenly changed completely in nature.
The four attacked duchies suspected some of the others duchies that previously had grudges with them. In the tent, tempers ran high as the men raged at each other. Amongst them, Benedict Sackville was the one with the clearest mind, but had long come to the conclusion that Alec Ambridge was the one who’d attacked him last night. Alec Ambridge also believed that the massacre of his generals had something to do with Benedict.
This time, the two threw all face to the wind and broke out into a fight right at Sakamimir Valley. The rest of the grand dukes all had darkened faces, resentfully staring at each other in utter silence while constantly thinking of a way to retaliate. The other two attacked duchies also nursed bellies full of resentment, blaming everything on the two duchies who were previously their enemies.
The Helon, Boulet and Bisly duchies, who’d passed the night in safety, became the first objects of suspicion. The shaky alliance had already secretly changed in nature. During the day, the seven grand duchies investigated the roots of the problem to affix responsibility. At night, each parties sent their killers to kill each other. It wasn’t very peaceful at all.
Han Shuo didn’t make a move for three days in a row. The seven grand duchies faced each other each day with new hatred piling up on the old ones as black hooded men lurked everywhere, blurry figures flashing through the sky and on the ground. In the areas where the seven grand duchies had set up camp, one would hear a few tragic screams echo from time to time, as another person was assassinated.
Han Shuo had initially prepared to make a few more choice assassinations, but he found out that he basically no longer had any chance to do so. There were too many black hooded men at night that one yin demon wasn’t enough to keep his cover from being blown. He simply didn’t know who came from which duchy, and the situation was gradually thrown into chaos anyway.
“The seven grand dukes are indeed a pack of mad dogs!” Han Shuo couldn’t help but exclaim when he found that he had nothing to do.