Time just seemed to fly as Han Shuo revelled in the joy of having several partners at his full disposal. His innermost desires were completely liberated. There was no longer any indication of cultivation deviation of his practice of demonic arts. Instead, it improved with each passing day.
Regarding the matter for which Han Shuo returned to Ossen City, with the exception of King Lawrence and certain members of the Dark Mantle, nobody was given any information on it. Consequently, in the past few days, while Han Shuo was seeking pleasure with his three women in his mansion, no bigwigs came by to interrupt his indulgence.
Good times evidently never last. When Emily came by this time, she notified Han Shuo that Lawrence had completed arrangements to invade the seven grand duchies. Thus, Han Shuo had no choice but to, yet again, depart from Ossen City.
Fortunately, the space magic transportation matrix connecting Ossen City and Brettel City had been completed. As all three ladies were of honorable statuses, they could utilize the transportation matrix to effortlessly visit Han Shuo. Therefore, Han Shuo’s departure did not cause intense melancholy to the three ladies.
After one final briefing with Lawrence and Candide, Han Shuo left Ossen City for Brettel City.
Once Han Shuo arrived at Brettel City, he learned from Dorcas and the others that Brettel City was basically ready. As soon as the reinforcement troops from the empire arrived, they could head right over to the seven grand duchies.
As military warfare was not Han Shuo’s strong suit, he handed over all military power to Dorcas to do what he was best at. For so many years on the arena that was Brettel City, Dorcas had amply demonstrated his talents in military strategy. Each and every soldier of Brettel City accepted his leadership willingly.
“Senior brother!” Bollands respectfully saluted Han Shuo at the doorstep when he returned to the city lord’s mansion.
“Huh? Why are you here?” Han Shuo was startled when he saw Bollands and couldn’t help but to size him up.
After three years, the killing intent and reeking of blood that had always lingered around Bollands were all gone. Han Shuo understood that this wasn’t a sign that Bollands had made no progress in God Slaying Devil Path, but the contrary. From the aura Han Shuo sensed emitting from Bollands, he figured out that Bollands had successfully cultivated in the God Slaying Devil Path to the realm where he could conceal his killing intent.
At this realm, Bollands could skillfully put his killing intent to use. Any time he was not engaging with enemy combatants, not a trace of killing intent in his body would spill out. Compared to his former state of intense killing intent from head to foot, his well concealed killing intent indicated that he had made lightning-fast progress.
“Senior brother, for the last three years, I have constantly come and gone in various battlefields, secretly absorbing the killing intent that wafted through the air using the martial skill you taught me. After that, I digested the energy in accordance with the method you instructed me. As senior brother has been cultivating without leaving a trail for the last three years, I have not gotten the chance to meet you. It was sometime ago when I learned that senior brother made an appearance in Brettel City, therefore I specially rushed over here.” When Bollands came face to face with Han Shuo, he wore a most humble, deferential expression, even more diligent than when he served his former master Karel.
Han Shuo knew that this was because he could give Bollands what Karel never could.
After three years, based on the substantial yet reserved aura radiating from Bollands, Han Shuo could be certain that his cultivation of God Slaying Devil Path had been fruitful. Compared to the strength of a great swordmaster of the past, Bollands’ must now have been considerably more formidable.
“Come on in with me!” Han Shuo nodded before instructing Bollands and marched straight into the city lord’s mansion.
After they arrived at a practice field in the mansion, Han Shuo stamped his feet and, with his eyes on Bollands, he instructed, “Attack me with all your strength. I want to see how much you’ve progressed in the last three years!”
“Yes!” Bollands gradually withdrew his longsword. Just as he unsheathed the fine sword, strong, concentrated killing intent was released. With every inch unsheathed, the killing intent congealed on his body grew sharper and stronger. Indistinctly, a wicked look of savagery emerged in Bollands’ eyes.
God Slaying Devil Path was a kind of demonic arts meant solely for massacre. The more a cultivator immersed into the field, the more frightening the killing intent of the cultivator became. So much so that it could even affect the body of the cultivator.
Han Shuo had a deep understanding of the God Slaying Devil Path. The reason he taught Bollands this demonic art was so that Bollands would become an additional weapon of his own disposal. Therefore, when he saw the madness in his eyes, Han Shuo wasn’t startled but delighted. He understood that Bollands almost reached the finest state in his cultivation of the God Slaying Devil Path.
Under the watchful eyes of Han Shuo, that longsword that Bollands had been pulling out bit by bit suddenly unsheathed like lightning. At the same time, an incisive killing intent, which could seemingly rip the air apart, violently erupted from Bollands’ body.
Hundreds of thousands of phantom images of swords, like pythons breathing with ferocious killing intent, came slithering towards Han Shuo.
Han Shuo opened his left hand, his demonic yuan circulated and formed a ghostly face. Initially, it was only the size of a palm. But when the mass of sword phantom images propelled by killing intent arrived in front of him, the ghostly face had grown so big it blotted out the sky and hid the earth. Suddenly, it opened up a humongous bloody mouth, swallowing all of the phantom swords.
The five fingers on Han Shuo’s left hand then twisted to form a hook. It was as though his five fingers were connected to the ghostly face through millions of incorporeal strings, with the movements of his five fingers controlling the sinister ghostly face. Like a starved wolf, the ghostly face launched itself towards Bollands. Before he could react, the enormous bloody orifice had swallowed Bollands.
While Bollands was losing his mind from fear, the ghostly face suddenly exploded. In an instant, it vanished into thin air. It was as though all that had just happened was Bollands’ own imagination, with the exception of Han Shuo still standing unruffled at the same place, still displaying a tranquil and calm smile.
After awaking from the shock, the madness in Bollands’ pupils faded way. He respectfully kowtowed towards Han Shuo, and said, “Senior brother’s martial arts sure enough have attained perfection!”
“You did very well. To be able to advance to such a stage in the duration of three years shows that you indeed have been very hardworking!” From the strike Bollands had just dealt, Han Shuo could tell that his strength had improved rapidly. Currently, with the benchmark of Profound Continent, he ought to have been able to pit against an expert who had advanced to sacred swordmaster.
“Master, you have returned!” Elizabeth’s voice suddenly sounded from afar. A moment later, Elizabeth appeared right before Han Shuo.
“Senior brother, what was that martial skill back there? Was that sinister ghostly face real?” Bollands was astonished by the attack Han Shuo had just made on him. He paid no attention to Elizabeth but stared fixedly at Han Shuo as he questioned insistently.
“That is formed by congealing demonic yuan. Haha, as for whether it was real or not, you figure that out yourself. When you reach a certain realm in your maneuver of killing intent, you too can congeal it with killing intent. You will understand then!” Han Shuo explained with a faint smile. He paused for a moment, and suddenly moved to Bollands’ side. Before Bollands could react, Han Shuo suddenly pressed his hand on Bollands’ head.
Certain knowledge pertaining to the basics of demonic arts flowed from Han Shuo’s palm into Bollands’ brain.
Upon reaching the Separate demon realm, Han Shuo could portion and organize his memories. The knowledge that Han Shuo poured into Bollands’ mind was just some of the most basic information for those cultivating in demonic arts, such as expound teachings on the topic of cultivation deviation, some bizarre remarkable abilities of demonic cultivators, and certain cultivation malpractices.
This knowledge was information that every demonic arts cultivator should understand. Han Shuo worried that Bollands would be so anxious for quick results, not realizing the discipline required for practicing demonic arts, that he would sink into an irremediable state of madness. That was why Han Shuo passed down this foundational knowledge to him, lest he lost self-control and turned into a monster that only knew to slaughter.
“Alright. Digest this knowledge thoroughly!” Han Shuo said looking at Bollands after he withdrew his hand.
“Thank you senior brother. I will never ever forget this great favor from you for the rest of my life!” Bollands was moved to tears and crawled towards Han Shuo with sincere gratitude.
“That’s enough, you just have to practice well!” Han Shuo said with a grin.
Out of nowhere, dark dragon Gilbert begged, “Honorable master, help me, you must help me!” Gilbert displayed an unprecedented anxiousness.
“Dark dragon, what’s the matter?” Han Shuo stared puzzled at dark dragon Gilbert as he scuttled their way, not knowing what would made him so nervous.
“Master! My most honorable, most admirable master! You must help me! Otherwise, my grandpa, and perhaps even the entire race of dark dragon will be done for!” Gilbert was frenetic. When he arrived before Han Shuo, he dropped to his knees, totally unlike his usual sloppy manner.
Han Shuo furrowed his brows. With a heavy voice, he said, “Get up. Tell me what’s really the matter?”
Gilbert had a resolute look. With his eyes looking deeply at Han Shuo, he pleaded, “Master, if you don’t agree to help me, I, I won’t get up!”
For so many years, dark dragon Gilbert had gone through fire and water with him and never imagined betraying him. Especially the time at the forbidden ground of Dark Forest, he nearly died for him.
And now, dark dragon Gilbert must have been met with a truly distressing problem that he would behave so unusually. When Gilbert finally finished, Han Shuo did not hesitate and nodded, saying, “Get up, I promise you! Whatever the matter, I will help you!”
“Thank you master!” the dark dragon cried gratefully and stood up. He then hastily explained, “My grandfather left me Dragonspeech Bone made using a chunk of his own bone. Through this chunk of Dragonspeech Bone, even as I kneel before you, I can still hear my grandpa’s instructions.
For a long time, my grandpa told me that someday, my dark dragon race will face a great catastrophe and that if our race couldn’t avert the disaster, we will forever be wiped out from the underground world. I always thought that my grandpa was just giving alarmist talk. However, just this morning, my grandpa transmitted a message through Dragonspeech Bone, saying that this great calamity is approaching, asking me never to return to the underground world, and the further I stay away the better.
Not only that, he even left me his last words! I know that something very terrifying is on the verge of crashing down on our dark dragon race, or perhaps it already happened! Master, I beg you, please save our dark dragon race!”
The dark dragon Gilbert again kneeled at Han Shuo’s feet, his eyes gazing at Han Shuo, pleading.
“I already promised you!” Han Shuo helped dark dragon Gilbert up, and continued, “I don’t know if I could be of help, but I will take a trip to the underground world with you!”
“Thank you master! Thank you master! I know that with your help, our dark dragon race will surely turn peril into safety and avert the disaster!” Gilbert asserted.
“Bollands, you take Gilbert’s place temporarily, follow alongside Dorcas in the dark and protect him. Elizabeth, you stay in the city. Assist Dick in his job of keeping Brettel City safe!” Han Shuo instructed.
With a war at nigh, logically speaking, Han Shuo shouldn’t be wandering far. However, the relationship between Han Shuo and dark dragon Gilbert wasn’t simply that of master and servant. Given that the dark dragon race was possibly facing the threat of extinction, in addition to such pleading from Gilbert, Han Shuo really couldn’t find an excuse to refuse.
Fortunately, the protector of the seven grand duchies, Stratholme the old monster, was powerless to defend himself at the moment, and therefore would not appear in the seven grand duchies for some time to come. On such a large scale military campaign, the absence of Han Shuo, who wasn’t exactly good at the art of war, wouldn't have done much to affect the general situation of the war.
Therefore, with the decision made, Han Shuo once again summoned Dorcas, Jack, and the others, handing over a detailed overview of certain matters.
“My Lord, be at ease. With the full support of the empire, in addition to the Helon and Boulet Duchies’ cooperation surreptitiously, I am certain that I can take down the seven grand duchies!” Dorcas said with complete confidence. In presence of Han Shuo, the wild ambition in his eyes was hardly concealed.
“You haven’t been around Brettel City for years anyway. In fact, Brettel City would operate as usual even without you!” In Brettel City, there was none other than Jack who would be so daring to speak so bluntly to Han Shuo like that.
Han Shuo was muted in shock. Soon after, he flew into rage out of humiliation, and said, “You damned little fatty. If you can’t make Brettel’s economy grow, don't doubt for a second that you'll get just what you deserve!”
“Hahah, take a look at how glorious and flourishing Brettel City has become under my rule! You won’t have the chance!” Jack burst into complacent laughter.
“Oh, right!” Han Shuo suddenly recalled something, and immediately instructed Dorcas, “When you attack the seven grand duchies, treat every citizen well. Be wary not to kill indiscriminately!”
“Rest assured my Lord, I know what to do!” Dorcas pledged.
“Then I can be at ease!” Han Shuo shot a glance at the impatient dark dragon Gilbert, and said, “Let’s go to the underground world!”