Much of the sludge on the woman’s face had not gone away with the dirty water, leaving her barely less filthy than before. But, finally, after a little help from Han Shuo, her complexion could at least be distinguished.
She appeared to be in her fifties or sixties, hair of ash-grey, long and tangled. The carving knife known as time had left a confluence of wrinkles like ravines on her face, and her skin thin, inelastic and lacking any radiance. Her eyes carried the only distinguishing color on her, a rare green tainted with unresolved resentment.
Her green eyes fixed on Han Shuo, inspecting him as he raised her. At only what seemed like twenty years old, Han Shuo couldn’t have possessed such pinnacle strength, whether in cultivating magic or martial arts. However, there he was, having just defeated her simply, without room for any resistance.
Pa! A slap flew across the old woman’s face. Han Shuo yelled, ”I’m talking to you!”
When it came to Han Shuo, there was no respecting anyone who would mount a sneak attack on another so indiscriminately, not even for an elderly woman. Besides, with those green eyes, she looked none too virtuous anyway.
She awoke abruptly at the slap, her heart loaded with fury, and exploded at Han Shuo, “Little demon, you can kill me, but you will not humiliate me!”
“Shut up and answer my question or you’ll suffer!” threatened Han Shuo impatiently as he glared at the old woman. He turned to Karey who was walking towards him, and said, “This old hag left a trail behind for a reason. Cecilia and the others must be on their way. Go and catch up with them.”
“Alright. I am forever grateful for your Lordship’s rescue. Your humble subordinate shall engrave this in his heart!” Karey bowed at Han Shuo, and finally left.
“How did you know about the markers?” the old woman questioned, though she was unable to move.
“Did you really think your foolish trickery would escape my discerning eyes?” asked Han Shuo sarcastically, “Now speak! Why did you bring us here? What are you planning?”
The green eyes glowed up like strange lights. She has checked her body in silence, and attempted to move with her own power.
“Stop wasting your energy you old fart! You cannot escape!” Han Shuo scolded, staring at her coldly. He was confident that she could not escape.
“Hm,” he scoffed. He got behind the woman and began to caress her back with his mighty hands.
“What are you doing? What are you doing?! I’ll talk! I’ll tell you everything! Please, spare me!” The old woman was frightened to the bone. She could no longer maintain a steady mental state, and began shouting involuntarily. Much to his surprise, she sounded like she was on the verge of tears
“I beg you, please spare me. I’m old. I could be your grandmother. You wouldn’t do this to your own grandmother! I’m just an ugly-”
“Shut the fuck up. What is the matter with you? I don’t have such unconventional fetishes!” Han Shuo shouted. Filled with rage, he pulled back his mighty hands, raised a brow, and asked her in a deep voice, “You have the body of divine favor?”
“Ye… yes. So what?” She had been relieved to hear that Han Shuo wasn’t trying to violate her. But after his last question, she was shocked, and muttered, “How did you know that?”
Han Shuo was about to answer her, but shrugged instead. He raised his head and stared into the distance, then smiled grimly. “I’ve searched high and low for them, but unexpectedly, these men came sending themselves to my doorstep!”
Han Shuo stopped interrupted. He sensed a twenty-strong envoy headed their way. They were men of the Church of Light, experts of mixed professions. And their leader happened to be Han Shuo’s own mortal enemy, sacred knight Blount. They were approaching the area following the trails.
Just as his consciousness detected the arrival of these men, several mystical demons swooped over to eavesdrop on their conversations.
A little while later, Han Shuo’s gaze fixed on the old woman. With a faint smile, he chuckled, “So you are the big heretic that Blount is after! Elizabeth, did you plan to kill Karey, and shift the blame on the Church of Light? You drew us here so we would confront them? Very smart. Very smart indeed. You sinister cunning old thing, surely not a good thing.”
“How did you know that? Who in the world are you? How is it that you know everything?” Elizabeth looked at Han Shuo petrified. Her body trembling, she continued, ”You obviously already know the answer, so why ask? What do you want with me?”
“Hush now,” he snickered perversely. “They are discussing their reasons for hunting you. Let me listen.” Han Shuo pursed his lips and gestured at Elizabeth to stay silent.
“What, what do you want?” Elizabeth’s heart was filled with doubt. This unfathomable young man before her had surprised her quite enough. She had no idea where Han Shuo came from nor what he was up to. A sense of unknown danger lingered with her, an unpleasant feeling, to say the least.
Minutes later, Han Shuo turned to face Elizabeth once more. He had on a sinister smile across his face. Nodding his head, he said, “Not bad, Elizabeth, not bad at all. Your unique body of divine favor can absorb the Church of Light’s holy energy. It’s no wonder the Church hasn’t spared a pain to try to kill you!”
“You know it, you know it all. Fine, what do you really want?” Han Shuo had, by now, listed each and every one of her secrets. Elizabeth was certain it would be near impossible to escape from Han Shuo’s palm, and consequently loosened up. She looked at Han Shuo calmly, with a face that seemed to say ‘do whatever you want to me, I don’t care’.
“Such an interesting body of divine favor. Very interesting. Hmm, we are both heretics being hunted by the Church of Light. Perhaps we needn’t be so unfriendly towards each other!” Han Shuo said with a slight grin.
“You, you hold grudges with the Church of Light as well?” Elizabeth was in a perturbed state of mind. After an unceasing suspension between hope and despair, that cool, composed attitude of hers had long gone without a trace.
“That’s right, just like you! A big heathen on the run from the Church of Light.” Han Shuo beamed at Elizabeth, and continued, “However, that was a long time ago. Now we are not so similar. I am the hunter, and Church of Light is the prey! Hahah, we both are heretics, but with big differences!”
Just after uttering those words, ‘whooshing’ sounds began, and several human shadows landed. They were priests of the Church of Light. Two magi that had deployed floatation spells were now hanging in mid air. One of them, oozing with arrogance, said to Elizabeth below, “You shall not escape today!”
The hissing noise crescendoed as more and more people approached. Within the blink of an eye, a group of Temple Knights led by sacred knight Blount arrived by the light priests, and swiftly surrounded the area where Elizabeth was.
Attention gathered on Elizabeth. Han Shuo, who was directly facing Elizabeth, happened to have his back towards sacred knight Blount. In addition to this, as Blount was fully focused on the limping Elizabeth, he had failed to notice that the lofty figure before him was the same one that had left him heavily injured three years prior.
Elizabeth could not move at the slightest, and looked on helplessly as experts from Church of Light surrounded her. She grew anxious, what felt like flames licking at her eyebrows. With regards to Han Shuo’s declaring himself the hunter and the Church of Light the prey, Elizabeth evidently did not buy it, and pleaded, “Release me! I’ll bring you along to escape through the sludges, otherwise we will die here!”
“Elizabeth, you have murdered countless pious followers through the years. Church of Light has been after you for four odd years, but has never been able to fully surround you. But this time, this time we shall see how you manage to escape!” sacred knight Blount chuckled as he looked at Elizabeth. After recovering from his injuries, he still appeared very much calm and unruffled.
Shit shit shit, I’m going to die here, Elizabeth thought when she saw Han Shuo remain unmoved, while those of the Church of Light tightened around them bit by bit, totally cut off her opportunity to escape. Her heart was eventually crammed with a feeling of despair.
“Huh? Elizabeth, you’re acting rather odd today! Don’t you usually flee as fast as the wind? Why aren’t you running away today? Could it be that you want to fight us to death? Hahah. With Lord Blount here, you must be courting death!” said the first magus to Elizabeth calmly.
“Enough nonsense, take her down!” sacred knight Blount yelled, pacing towards Elizabeth leisurely.
All of a sudden, a concentrated aura of death could be sensed from outside of the encirclement. The expression Blount’s face flipped and he immediately dropped his foot to look around. He discovered that an innumerable amount of undead creatures had surreptitiously encircled them.
Only at that moment did sacred knight Blount shift his attention to the person whose back he had faced all along. The imposing view of Han Shuo’s back became oddly familiar. This peculiar familiarity gave Blount an intense feeling of unease. Blount abruptly gestured for the members of the Church of Light to halt, and said to Han Shuo in a deep voice, “That friend over there, we seem to have met somewhere before!”
“Of course. Of course we’ve met, Lord Blount!” Han Shuo said in an evil grin and finally turned around, his piercing eyes stuck on Blount.