GDK 1022: Let Them Come
Han Shuo felt his scalp tingle as he followed Rose to a small hill near Pandemonium. That hill was one of the cornerstones of the Ninth Realm Mystical Yin Harvester Formation, so it was located in a rather rural area where people did not usually visit. Han Shuo didn't know what to say when he saw Rose fidgeting around hesitantly.
"Bryan, our master-servant contract still isn't nullified, right?" she said when she finally turned to him.
He felt a little relieved that this was what it was about. "It can be nullified at any time. Do you want me to do it now?" he said with a smile.
"Sure." She nodded.
His main body willed it, immediately severing their linked souls. The contract was no longer worth anything nowadays to him anyway. A soul contract was a unique application of the power of destiny. Whenever one was made, the Goddess of Destiny would draw some energy from the power between their souls and use the Mirror of Destiny to link their threads together. But the moment Han Shuo reached the Diablo Realm, his fate was no longer something Althea could be privy to. The contract that remained was only something Han Shou intentionally left active, so he could nullify it at any time.
"Well, we're finally talking to each other as equals then." She mustered her courage and looked straight into his eyes. "I don't want to be your servant. I want to be like Emily and Phoebe! Bryan, you know what I mean!"
Han Shuo tensed up right after he relaxed himself. There was no way he wouldn't know what she intended at his level, but he still said with an awkward smile, "What do you mean, Rose?"
"You know it. Stop pretending!" she snapped, "You had a link directly with my soul, so you know what I was thinking the whole time!"
Han Shuo was stunned at hearing those words. After some silence, he shook his head and said, "Why do you want that? You've been here in Pandemonium the whole time. Surely you've seen that I haven't been spending much time with Emily and the others either. I've been using all that time on my cultivation. Being with me will only bring more pain to you."
"I don't care! Even if it brings me pain, it's what I chose!" She took a deep breath to calm her heavy breathing. "Are you saying we can't be like that?" she asked, a little fearful to hear the answer.
Back when they were in the Dominion of Darkness, Rose had been tagging along with him the whole time throughout the City of Shadows and the battle at Hushveil City. She had stood strong beside him all the way. After coming to the Fringe, she had also helped him recruit Romon, Zovic and many others.
Han Shuo was a sentimental person and he had always found it hard to refuse a woman's advances. Since Rose liked him so much, what else could he say now that he was confronted with it?
"Fine... Since I already have so many, there's no harm in getting one more. However, I will have less and less time in the future and can't spend much of it with you. This is the choice you made!"
Rose, who didn't really dare to look at him, suddenly shot him a bright smile. She didn't need him to promise to stay by her side for the rest of her life, that was the only answer she needed.
Right now, Han Shuo didn't have the luxury of indulging in his many lovers as they didn't like getting intimate with his avatar. While he was mentally speaking the same person, physically, something seemed to be lacking.
He kept himself busy the whole time at Pandemonium, receiving word from Nestor, Amon, and Cratos daily about the war effort. Bollands, Sanguis, and the rest were also not afraid to disturb him with the regular detailed battle reports they sent through spatial mirrors.
The allied army of Death, Destruction, and Darkness slaughtered many gods during their plundering of the Dominion of Earth. As the combatants of Wind, Fire, Lightning, and Earth began their retreat from the Dominion of Light, Han Shuo moved his cauldron to the Dominion of Earth.
Right now, the battle at the Dominion of Destiny had come to a pause, so Althea had been focusing on claiming the souls at the Dominion of Earth as well, which resulted in some conflict between her and Han Shuo. Fortunately, the two of them were reasonable and tried not to encroach upon areas where the other was already claiming souls.
In the end, the invading forces of Death, Destruction, and Darkness entering started to clash with the defending forces of Wind, Fire, Lightning, and Earth. That finally marked the start of these two factions' battles.
At the city of Redmud in the Dominion of Earth, the gods of Wind, Fire, Lightning, and Earth gathered on the city walls, releasing barrage after barrage of fire from energy crystal cannons. Outside of the city were the forces led by Yarus, Bollands, Sanguis and the rest. The gods on their side charged towards the city walls without regard for their safety with the intent on wiping all the gods within it out.
The Han Demon Guards stood out particularly among them. Their orderly formations and stellar coordination with Bollands, Sanguis, and Gilbert leading them allowed them to carve a path straight towards the city. Despite the constant cannon barrage, their forces advanced at a steady pace.
"I guess there was a reason Bryan managed to become the ruler of the Fringe and obtain the Overgods' acknowledgement so quickly," Yarus said as he watched the Han Demon Guards from afar during his own charge.
"I worry that we won't be able to call his name directly in the future anymore," the lord of Darkwater City said. "It was no wonder that we lost to him back then."
"Now, I look at that loss like a badge of honor!" the lord of Darkstone City said.
"Not bad. Losing in a fight to someone like that can hardly be called humiliating. It's an eternal honor to have faced off against someone like him!" Yarus said. "Quick, the folks from the Fringe are showing us up! If we don't try harder, our Lord will be displeased!"
Hearing that, the fighters from the Dominion of Darkness charged more fervently towards Redmud.
"We've breached it! Hahaha!" Sanguis said, a strong, bloody air wafting all over him. With a wave of the bloody greatsword in his hand, the gods on the defensive walls died from their blood going out of control, bleeding out of all their orifices. Using that chance, Sanguis, Gilbert and Bollands were the first to step onto the walls. They proceeded to kill off all the other gods that were operating the energy crystal cannons.
With the barrage now halted, the only defense that the city had was its barrier. City barriers only had limited defense capacity, so the one of Redmud was overloaded soon after the other charging gods attacked it. It shattered audibly, exposing the entirety of the city to the invaders.
"Kill!" The forces of Darkness, Death, Destruction, and the Fringe laughed maniacally as they charged in, killing not just the guardians of the city but also anyone they set their sights on. The entire city was leveled from the earthquakes, lightning storms, howling gale, and glowing embers.
"Lord, Redmud's gate has been breached! Even if we couldn't obtain a complete victory, we can at least cause the four dominions heavy casualties!" Zovic reported to Han Shuo.
Han Shuo, who was expounding the mysteries of various kinds of energies amidst a group of women, nodded. "I'm not surprised that Redmud was breached. Is there anything else that's noteworthy?"
"The fighters of Light, Life and Water only returned to Luminus for a short while before leaving," Zovic said after some hesitation.
"Where are they heading?" Han Shuo asked.
"Umm... They're actually coming towards us. If I'm not mistaken, they're targeting the Fringe."
"Ah! Hehe, I guess Azdins thinks we're easy pickings!"
"They're probably having a hard time with our thousand demon guards, so they want to wipe us out before they return!" Zovic said. He seemed to understand the reason behind the troop movements of the Dominion of Light.
"Taking the initiative isn't a bad move for him," Han Shuo said with a smile. "By now, a chaotic battle is breaking out at the Dominion of Earth. Even with a spatial transference formation, there's no way we can focus on both battlefronts at the same time, as I'm sure Azdins is aware."
"What do we do, Lord?" Zovic asked worriedly. "We really don't have many fighters who remained in Pandemonium. The moment their forces reach Hexopolis, we won't be able to hold out!"
"Don't worry. We'll do what we have to." He smirked coldly and continued, "Let them come. As long as Han Jin and the other four are at Hexopolis, we'll even welcome their arrival!"