GDK 1000: Source of Darkness
"What did my father talk to you about?" Donna asked when Felder left.
"Just the Shrine of Darkness. It wasn't anything special," Han Shuo said with a smile, "Your father is quite lucky. The fact that the God of Darkness contacted your father directly means he values him a lot. I believe that his position in Hushveil City is secure from now on."
As long as one had the Quintessence Overgod's favor, one would definitely have a bright future within their respective dominion. While Felder's power wasn't outstanding, he had a sharp wit and was good at managing the city, so the God of Darkness valued him as a subordinate.
"You really didn't talk about anything else?" Donna seemed rather antsy about something as she blushed. "Did you talk about us?"
"Hehe, your father didn't really say anything other than asking me to treasure you," he said after some thought to reassure her.
Hearing that meant her father wasn't against their relationship. Blushing and looking straight at him, she whispered, "Then, are you going to listen to what he says?"
"What do you think?" Han Shuo held her hand and smiled mischievously. Donna met his gaze for a few seconds before backing off shyly and stomping on his feet to vent the embarrassment.
"I have to leave for a bit to see those three. After I’m done with the meeting, I'll come back to look for you. If there isn't anything urgent you have to do here, make some preparations to go to the Fringe with me."
She was just as surprised as she was moved by the offer, but she hesitated. "Let me talk to my father about it first. There are quite a lot of things in the city we have to deal with and our family is rather strapped for manpower."
"Don't worry. Your father will do fine with the backing of the God of Darkness. Nobody will dare cause him trouble. Not to mention, you can’t be here to help him forever, and I also need an extra pair of hands for the many issues in the Fringe." He held her hands in his own and smiled sweetly. He was indeed kept rather busy in the Fringe, but thanks to Phoebe, Emily and the many other members of the House of Han, he didn't really need extra manpower. It was just a convenient excuse.
"I'll talk to Father about it," she happily said. It seemed that she was serious about arranging her departure now.
"I'm sure your father will let you come with me," he said as he stroked her hair. "Alright, I shall take my leave now. I'll come to fetch you when the matter is settled."
Donna was a little unwilling to see him leave, wanting to get a little more intimate with him for a little longer. But after recalling how weird his avatar was, she discarded the notion and let him go after asking him to stay safe.
Han Shuo then headed for Mirage City. According to Felder, the Shrine of Darkness was located in the murky woods of Myrkvidr, which was situated between Hushveil City, City of Shadows, and Mirage City. The trees in the forest towered high into the skies, blocking off sunlight and moonlight alike, making it dark and murky even during the brightest days.
Han Shuo had long guessed that that was where the Shrine of Darkness would be; after all, Myrkvidr was forbidden to most people. Anyone who entered without permission would never leave alive. Even though Han Shuo had a hunch about its location, he didn't dare to check it out himself. Back then, the Quintessence Overgods were practically a myth to him when he was still weak.
While it was quite some ways away from Hushveil City, Han Shuo's speed had improved considerably and he managed to reach the entrance in half a day. He felt the dark element that permeated the surroundings, took a deep breath, and stepped into the forest. Though he put up a confident front in front of Felder and Donna, he did feel a little anxious about entering Myrkvidr. If the three Quintessence Overgods decided to wipe him out there, he wasn't confident he could leave such a unique place that easily.
He spread his consciousness out after entering and felt out the flow of the dark element, before heading into the depths. I wonder what the Gods of Death, Destruction, and Darkness really want to see me for? As much as he pondered on the notion, he couldn't figure out an answer for it.
According to Nestor, they didn't invite him over just to discuss a simple alliance with the Fringe. Han Shuo had never planned to join the battle of the gods in the first place, but Nestor made it sound like it was something he couldn't avoid. Even the ever-neutral Dominions of Destiny and Space wouldn't be able to avoid the repercussions of the upcoming battle, so it definitely wasn't going to be an ordinary one.
Based on the secrets he managed to extract from Kaiser's soul about how the godhunters were actually part of the machinations of the Twelve Overgods, Han Shuo began to be really wary about them. He didn't understand why they watched as he slowly grew stronger. It seemed that they were planning to use his strength to open Aethernia for some purpose. He had taken the risk to come to clear his doubts about it.
He walked deeper and deeper into the forest at a leisurely pace, stepping on the soft fallen leaves as he did so and correcting his course by sensing the dark element to ensure he was always heading for the center. Han Shuo didn't detect any sign of life in his surroundings, which made it eerily quiet. As he went deeper, he noticed that the concentration of other elements thinned while the dark element's grew denser.
All of a sudden, the light around him disappeared and he found himself in pitch-black darkness. He also noticed that there was no longer any trace of other elements apart from the dark element around him. His consciousness told him that he still wasn't at the spot with the highest concentration of dark element yet, so he definitely wasn't in the Shrine of Darkness.
He could no longer rely on his sight, so he used his consciousness to sense his way to the shrine. After some time, he found himself at a source of darkness out of which dark element poured out in all directions. The amount of dark energy seemed boundless like a sea. It was as though this was the source of all the darkness element in Elysium.
It was the power of the Quintessence! He immediately knew that he had arrived at his destination. Soon, he would be able to see the God of Darkness. Only the Quintessence could possess such boundless power.
Han Shuo cleared his throat to make his presence known. Then, he noticed that the dark element in his surroundings suddenly energized, pushing down against him like a constricting cage while pressing against every corner of his body. Feeling the terrifying power, he didn't hesitate and immediately split his avatar into two halves by undoing the forceful binding that he had done with spatial energy.
He had never been truly able to fuse those two composite avatars. While he looked like a single person, it was actually rather unstable due to the conflict between his avatars' energies. While he could afford to take on weaker enemies in that state, he didn't dare risk it when facing off against Quintessence Overgods.
The two halves split far apart, unleashing the clashing energies. He didn't care what the God of Darkness was planning to do and immediately erected his strongest barrier to protect himself. His avatars, which had made easy work of Gyál, were changing under the sudden huge pressure. The dense dark element that was pressing down changed into drops of pure dark essence, each one containing the power of a highgod.
Then, those drops fused together with each other into an ocean that submerged Han Shuo whole before turning into a vortex, flinging his two avatars in circles within and threatening to swallow him entirely. With each revolution in the vortex, his avatars' defenses weakened. Soon, the barriers protecting them were completely ground down.
Utterly shocked, Han Shou now felt that he had been too reckless to enter someone's home turf. He had never expected to be suddenly attacked without so much as a word and even face the threat of losing his two avatars. The power of a Quintessence Overgod was truly unfathomable.