GDK 1018: Sneaky
Han Shuo almost fell on his face from the sudden epiphany. Ever since the demon generals his cauldron had collected mysteriously morphed into his thirteen avatars, he no longer had any demon generals he could utilize. To use the cauldron to its maximum potential, the number of demon generals played a pivotal role.
Seeing the gods die one after another as the threads got denser and denser, he was tempted to take some divine souls from the Goddess of Destiny. However, the net she was weaving was necessary to block Aethernia's influence. He could risk decreasing its power output and thereby allowing Aethernia to have a greater effect on the twelve Quintessence overgods. That might earn him their ire and cause them to wipe him out. That was the reason he didn't dare to act nor tell Fernando about his desire.
Even though he tried to be wary, that notion was irresistible to him. He was tempted by the sheer number of souls down below and fantasized at being able to use some for himself. As the gears of his mind spun, he suddenly came up with an excuse to do so.
At that moment, a light came zipping out from the underground of Pandemonium towards the Dominion of Destiny, which wasn't that far off from the Fringe. The Cauldron of Myriad Demons accelerated at maximum speed until it reached the warzone. Then, it stealthily weaved across the war zone to absorb the freshly dead divine souls, managing to collect hundreds of them in no time. Secretly elated, Han Shuo kept his cool and continued to chat with Fernando while sneakily looking at the soft, black light the cauldron emanated as it collected the souls.
"Those old crones are a little too powerful. The Dominions of Light, Water, and Life might not be able to do much damage at all. The ones who are dying now are mostly from their dominions while the Dominion of Destiny isn't suffering much losses," Han Shuo said, trying to distract Fernando from seeing what he was doing.
Fernando chuckled and said, "That might not necessarily be the case. Azdins definitely knows what the Dominion of Destiny is capable of, so he didn't come unprepared. There's no way someone as ambitious as him would do anything he wasn't confident in. Not to mention, the other two dominions aren't easy pickings either. They won't lose too badly against the Dominion of Destiny."
Fernando's 'prophecy' seemed to come true immediately as the tide of battle turned. A few demi-overgods appeared behind the troops of the three dominions. Back then, they seemed to be discussing how to deal with the seven old crones, but now, they were charging at them. One of them was Gyál, who the God of Light had revived. He was donning his Holy Aurum Armor in his impressive charge.
Apart from the Dominion of Light, the other two also had their own demi-overgods joining in. The one from the Dominion of Water was a gentle and beautiful woman who swirled into the fray as if she didn't have a single bone in her body. Nobody saw how she attacked, but a floating pool of water suddenly appeared beside the old crones and submerged them.
The demi-overgod from the Dominion of Life was a man who loudly sang praises to the Goddess of Life as he emanated waves of life energy across the battlefield. Any combatant on their side who was still alive would be restored to full combat capacity regardless of how severe their wounds.
Apart from those three, two other demi-overgods flanked the seven crones on both sides despite the barrage of the astrariums, slowly closing the distance between them and the crones. With every step the seven crones took backwards, many gods of the Dominion of Destiny would be killed. They no longer had an absolute advantage.
The Dominion of Destiny’s army seemed to be wavering against the sudden intense onslaught. Now, it seemed the other three dominions were holding a slight edge. Han Shuo was overjoyed at how chaotic the battle was turning. He wanted nothing more than for the slaughter to speed up even more. The gods didn't notice the soft black light above them that was absorbing divine souls from both sides.
Another three hundred souls were snuck into the cauldron without anyone noticing. It was at that time that suddenly, the cauldron decided to stop being sneaky and it began absorbing souls at a ravenous rate. Anywhere the dark light appeared, souls would disappear. Damn, I'll be discovered at this rate! Slow down!
At that moment, an odd sound could be heard from the Shrine of Destiny, before the mirror flashed and displayed an image of the cauldron. Han Shuo knew the goddess must've caught on.
"Both of you, please come to the shrine," she said by sending a strong spirit wave.
Fernando, still unaware of the situation, descended towards the shrine. Han Shuo hesitated for a bit before following him.
"Althea, why did you ask me to come down? Can't I watch the fight from above? It isn't against our agreement, right?"
The shrine was made of an unknown material that somehow made the interior look like the galaxy with countless moving stars. Han Shuo felt a little off when he stood upon it.
Althea didn't answer Fernando's question and instead calmly looked at Han Shuo. "Han Shuo, are you trying to cause trouble for me?"
Fernando looked to Han Shuo oddly and asked, "What's going on?"
"Take a look yourself!" Althea waved and showed a projection of what the cauldron was doing. It was all too clear that Han Shuo was collecting souls, so he couldn't talk his way out of it.
Awkwardly, Han Shuo laughed. "Well, there's so many souls going around, so I reckoned it shouldn't affect you much. My demonic artifact can absorb souls like your mirror after all, and I'm only going after the leftovers. Not to mention, this will strengthen it and have a huge effect on the growth of my cultivation. I'll be able to reach the level you expect much quicker. I thought you wouldn't mind that to be honest."
"Han Shuo, that wouldn't be too appropriate, would it?" Fernando said after pondering it over.
"The souls are used by the mirror to stop the pull of Aethernia. It's for everyone's sake. Only then can the Quintessence overgods rest assured. Even though you don't have a Quintessence, Han Hao has one. Would you really let your greed take priority over your son's life?" she said, obviously displeased.
Do you think Han Hao is just like you? It doesn't affect his Quintessence! Naturally, he wouldn't say that out loud. "I was planning to only collect a little, but my demonic artifact is a little hard to control. I will keep it in check, don't worry."
"If your artifact could help resist Aethernia's pull, I wouldn't mind letting you claim some souls. But if it's not going to do anything for now, I hope you stop doing something so sneaky for everyone's sake!" she sternly said.
Han Shuo talked to the Cauldron Spirit telepathically. "Idiot, why are you making it so obvious? Stop now! We can only carry this out secretly. Are you trying to embarrass me? They already said that we can't absorb souls if we can’t mitigate the pull."
"Who said I couldn't?" the cauldron spirit snapped back. "As long as I have enough souls in my body, let's say the power of ten thousand souls, I can mitigate part of the pull. If I have a hundred thousand souls to convert into demon generals, I can take on all of it! There's no need for that stupid Mirror of Destiny at all!"
"Are you sure?"
"Master, if I have 200 thousand souls, I can even smash Aethernia's barrier directly!"
"Han Shuo, what do you mean by this?" Althea said coldly. Nobody had dared to ignore her like that, and that was what Han Shuo appeared to be doing when he was communing with his cauldron. It displeased her greatly.
"I think I'll have a slice of that pie after all!" Han Shuo said with a smile after taking a deep breath.