GDK 1019: Intensifying Battle
Earlier, Althea was only just mildly annoyed. But after hearing what Han Shou just said, her expression turned into a scowl and she no longer hid the anger she felt towards him. "Do you think my Mirror of Destiny is collecting souls for fun? Without them, Aethernia's pull will grow stronger and stronger. We'll perish before you are able to smash the barrier around Aethernia!"
Fernando also furrowed his brow, thinking that Han Shuo was going overboard. However, he didn't chew him up directly like Althea did. "Han Shuo, doing so will only cause trouble for us. Even if I allow it, the others will not. By then, let alone Azdins, even Nestor, Amon, and Cratos will get mad at you about it."
While Althea might be collecting souls for her own ends as well, it was at least still justifiable. Without the mirror holding back Aethernia's pull, their Quintessence would've long disappeared. So, even if Azdins, Nestor and the rest were unhappy about what she might be up to, they still had to do what she said and only dared to cause the smallest of troubles for her they think they could get away with.
Han Shuo wasn't surprised at their responses. Smiling relaxedly, he said, "Don't get so angry and hear me out first." Seeing that the two were calming down, he continued, "Didn't you say that as long as I can mitigate the pull on the Quintessence, you'll allow me to collect souls?"
Althea seemed a little weirded out and scrutinized him as she said, "Are you saying you can do it?"
Fernando was just as surprised. He looked at him with uncertainty and said, "Han Shuo, you shouldn't say things like this lightly. The slightest mistake can ruin all of us."
"Do I look like the kind of person who jokes about matters like these?" he put away the smile on his face and solemnly said, "I can promise that once my demonic artifact absorbs enough souls, it could counteract Aethernia's pull the same. Not only that, with enough souls, it can even break Aethernia's barrier with ease."
Something flashed across Althea's eyes. She seemed rather shaken as she stared at Han Shuo hard, before deliberating for a moment. "Are you certain your artifact can break the barrier of Aethernia once it gathers enough souls?"
Han Shuo nodded. "I am sure. As long as there is enough, opening Aethernia up would be only a matter of course."
"Very well!" she said, breathing so hard that her chest rose and fell. "I will allow you to collect those souls. But you should know the consequence if you aren't able to break Aethernia's barrier by then." She turned to Fernando and said, "Fernando, please summon the other. This affects all of us and we have to make a new arrangement."
Fernando nodded and opened a few spatial pathways to invite the rest to the Shrine of Destiny.
"What's going on?" Azdins said with a beaming smile, as if the murderous gods that were just fighting nearby weren't his men.
Nestor looked at Fernando doubtfully before turning back to Han Shuo. "Is there anything up? Looks like you have something huge to discuss."
Althea, seeing Monroe, Lyna, and Azdins appeared, furrowed her brow ever so slightly as if she was unhappy about them attacking her dominion. She proceeded to brief the rest on the situation. When all of them heard it, they turned to Han Shuo with a doubtful look. Monroe was the most direct. "Are you sure this kid isn't just making things up? This isn't something you should joke about. If he isn't certain, doesn't that mean we'll all die if he fails? Althea, don't you think it's pretty reckless of you to place our survival on the brat?"
Many others thought the same. They didn't believe Han Shuo actually had the ability to do that. Nestor, Amon, and Cratos didn't express their opinions on the matter, but they didn't stand up for Han Shuo either.
"I'm not sure if what he says is true, but I believe we should gamble on it. We don't have much time left, so we can't give up on any chance.
“But I have an idea for a fail-safe measure. I hope you will all agree to doubling the casualties in this war. With that, even if Han Shuo's method doesn't work, my mirror will still have enough souls to mitigate the pull. What do you think?"
"This is a good idea. It can't hurt to be doubly prepared," Nestor said, having not participated in battle up till now. Amon, Cratos, and Fernando also seemed to approve of the idea. Only Monroe, Lyna, and Azdins hadn't said anything yet. They were the ones who had suffered the most so far in the battle, so having more casualties might not necessarily be a good thing.
"What is your personal opinion, Althea?" Azdins asked, his smile having faded long ago.
"I believe it's worth trying. If he can open Aethernia up, sacrificing more souls is worth it. At the very least, it might give us a chance to kill her before she emerges from Aethernia on her own accord."
"Haha, Azdins, Althea herself isn't against it while your side has the upper hand. So what are you worried about? Don't tell me you're chickening out?" Nestor egged on.
"Fine!" Azdins laughed heartily and said, "Since Althea isn't afraid, why should I be? Monroe, Lyna, we can't shirk away when the others are stepping up." He turned back to look at Althea, as if saying he was accepting her challenge. The other two goddesses begrudgingly agreed, having always gone with Azdins's plans.
"Kid, if you can't open Aethernia when the time comes, I'll sentence you to a fate worse than death!" She glared threateningly at him.
Han Shuo merely shrugged and smiled. "Don't worry. I'll definitely not disappoint you." Hmph, when my main body reaches the Diablo Realm, you're gonna get it!.
"Since that's the case, let us continue the war. There's no longer a need to hold back. Attack with all you got. I'll tell you all when enough souls are harvested. Until then, go wild!" Althea said impartially. "You may return from whence you came. The spatial pathways are still there, so be on your way."
Azdins and the others left gloomily while Nestor, Amon, and Cratos shot Han Shuo an odd smile before leaving. Right as Han Shuo was about to leave with Fernando, Althea suddenly said, "Let me claim the souls on this side. You can claim the ones on the other front near the Dominions of Light."
Having two people claiming souls at the same location would cause quite a conflict, so Han Shuo found it to be rather reasonable. "Very well. I'll head to the Dominion of Light then. Fernando, I'll have to trouble you to send me there."
"No problem." Fernando smiled and opened up a new pathway before going in himself first.
Han Shuo gave Althea one last look before following Fernando through. The next moment, he noticed that he was now at the Dominion of Light's Kilomountain Range. This was the place anyone would have to pass when entering the Dominion of Light. There were a thousand mountains of varying sizes, hence the name. Currently, there were countless gods battling each other. Those from the Dominions of Wind, Fire, Lightning, and Earth chased down the ones from the Dominions of Light, Water, and, Life and forced them further into the Dominion of Light.
It was apparent from the countless enemy guardians they slaughtered that the alliance of four dominions had the upper hand. But fortunately, the Dominion of Light had erected countless energy towers on the mountains that all emanated sacred light, which helped them stave off the harsh pursuit somewhat.
The dense energy towers consumed an unimaginable number of energy crystals. The Dominion of Light must have prepared them for the Dominions of Death, Darkness and Destruction, but they had no choice but to use it to weather this unexpected assault from an alliance they did not expect. Han Shuo saw countless souls floating in the sky and began to laugh with excitement. Without hesitating, he brought the Cauldron of Myriad Demons and began to claim them.