It has to be said that Ice Celestial Corey still had some conscience when it came to treating the citizens of Kasi Empire. Otherwise, he would not have limited his self-destruct blast radius to just ten meters. It was also precisely so that Han Shuo, with Kelly’s reminder, managed to act in the nick of time and did not get affected by Ice Celestial Corey’s blast at death’s door.
Ice Celestial Corey, as one of the highest leaders of the Shrine of Ice, jointly hounded on by Han Shuo and Kelly, was forced to the end of his rope, with no other option but to end his own life. Even that final last-ditch strive of his as he faced death had failed to truly harm neither Han Shuo nor Kelly.
After the brilliant rays faded away, the region of space where a large amount of energy had brought about some momentary fringe phenomenon, resumed to normal in the blink of an eye. Ice Celestial Corey, however, had eternally vanished from their sights.
Han Shuo heaved a breath of relief. It was as though a heavy stone suspended over Han Shuo’s heart was suddenly cast into the bottomless abyss. He felt an indescribable feeling of ease and contentment.
“He died, just like that, he died. Sigh…” Kelly softly sighed with sorrow. His colossal ape body began to shrink.
Demigod existences, taking the whole Profound Continent in view, were beings at the top of the pyramid. Such beings were few and far between. Although Corey was an enemy, Kelly nevertheless felt that his death was quite a pity.
Demigod, so what? They couldn’t escape death all the same!
“Kelly, I think, we should, in a spurt of energy, completely obliterate the foundation of the Shrine of Ice!” Han Shuo proposed with a sinister smile as he gazed at Snow Celestial Tiana who arrived in a streak of white light.
In no time, Kelly had morphed back into his human form. Standing shoulder to shoulder with Han Shuo, Kelly looked deep into Snow Celestial Tiana floating in mid-air far away. He shook his head and sighed before staring at Tiana and said, “In those days, your Shrine of Ice completely eradicated our Druidic Order from Kasi Empire, not leaving a single chapel behind for us to preach our teachings. Even I was forced to leave after being wounded by Corey and you. Who could have guessed it, what goes around comes around!”
“The climate in Kasi Empire is cold and frigid. It is territory that the Ice Goddess bestowed upon us. The presences of heretics must not be tolerated in the territory of the Ice Goddess!” Tiana looked back at Kelly from a distance, cold and indifferent. She didn’t seem to be immensely disturbed or emotional about Corey’s death.
“There’s no point talking to her. Great Sage Kelly, let’s attack!” Han Shuo wasn’t interested in the religious disputes between the two. All that was on his mind was to eliminate this enemy called Tiana.
“That would be futile. She is prepared to leave,” Kelly shook his head and replied stoically, without a hint of joy or woe.
Han Shuo was startled, and immediately turned his gaze at Snow Celestial Tiana some distance away. He saw that Tiana’s body was gradually vanishing, seemingly turning into snowflakes, drifting along with the wind. Han Shuo looked on as he sensed her presence fusing and becoming one with the water element found between the heaven and earth. He could undoubtedly see Tiana and yet could not sense her presence.
Gradually, like snowflakes melting into water, Tiana dissipated.
Looking on as Tiana faded away bit by bit, Han Shuo did not make any attempt at stopping her. He knew that as Tiana was such a distance away, given the affinity of her soul for the water element, he surely could not stop her if she wanted to leave.
It was only when Tiana had completely vanished from Han Shuo’s sight that the squadron of knights following behind her arrived. Before these knights could open their mouths, Kelly of the Druidic Order looked at Han Shuo and said, “Let’s move and have a chat somewhere else. In Profound Continent, our kind of people have a tacit understanding not to get involved in worldly disputes. Let’s not make things difficult for them.”
Han Shuo nodded and followed behind Kelly, easily escaping the large knight regiment that had heaved over with great difficulty. After travelling left and right for a while, they arrived at a valley where the plants grew lush.
This small valley wasn’t in Ciro City, but within a mid-sized forest on the outskirts of the city. Upon arrival, Han Shuo discovered druid Lilian, who had departed the scene ahead of the great battle, waiting.
Surprisingly for Han Shuo, apart from Lilian, another familiar person stood abreast with her in the valley - great druid Caspian!
When the duo saw Kelly and Han Shuo, they both greeted Kelly, although slightly different in how they each addressed Kelly.
“Caspian! Long time no see!” Han Shuo took the initiative to greet Caspian.
Han Shuo understood in his heart that the reason this old fellow brought Han Shuo over here was undoubtedly to discuss the Druidic Order’s Hand of Goddess.To date, Han Shuo was certain that the Druidic Order was an honorable and aboveboard religion. He could not be less worried that these people might plot against him or secretly lead him into a snare.
Of course, it was rare to find an average person who could trap a being in the realm of Han Shuo’s strength.
“Bryan! It’s been a while! How unexpected, how truly unexpected, you have attained strength of such heights!” Caspian lamented from the bottom of his heart as he looked at Han Shuo.
A few years back when Han Shuo and Caspian first met in Valen City, although Han Shuo showed promise of budding talent, he was far, far short of his current might. In just a few short years, Han Shuo possessed demigod strength, the equivalent strength as his teacher. Caspian could not help but gasp with admiration for such progress!
“Haha, I just happen to be very lucky!” Han Shuo said laughingly.
“Excellent, we can now finally talk with ease!” Kelly, the Sage of the Druidic Order, said smilingly as he set his pair of eyes, through which one could see he had experienced the hardship of life, on Han Shuo’s body. He sighed softly and helplessly said, “Bryan, it was all thanks to your assistance this time. Otherwise, not only would Ice Celestial Corey not have been hounded to death, I’m afraid I would have suffered some major injuries again under the duo’s joint attack.”
“You are most welcome, Sage. They are my enemies as well. For us to join hands is not a matter favors. You don’t owe me anything!” Han Shuo knew what Kelly wanted to discuss, but nevertheless, he remained courteous in his words.
Indeed, as expected, Kelly continued, “You have assisted us, and have obtained the Hand of Goddess with your own abilities. On the basis of principles, we really should no longer care to retrieve the item. However, the Hand of Goddess is a magical artifact of our Druidic Order, and as followers of the Goddess of Nature, it is our duty to reclaim the Hand of Goddess. I haven’t a clue what to do.”
Han Shuo had long anticipated that they had figured out that the Hand of Goddess was in his possession. As things had reached this stage, Han Shuo no longer played dumb. However, he could never surrender the Hand of Goddess readily. Looking deep into Kelly, Han Shuo replied, “The artifact is indeed with me. I understand how much it means to you people. However, it is even more important to me. I apologize. No matter what, I cannot hand it to you.”
When great druid Caspian heard Han Shuo’s words, he opened his mouth and wanted to say something, but ended with a soft sigh as he shook his head, and did not utter his words of persuasion.
In their relationship, Han Shuo did not owe Caspian any favors. But on the contrary, Caspian had previously inconvenienced Han Shuo over and over again. Although the two had some friendly relations, Caspian did not think that Han Shuo would change his mind on such a major issue for him. Therefore, he hesitated in his speech.
“Mister Bryan, I know that given your identity and status, you wouldn’t care much about gold coins. Therefore, the proposal I previously gave in the auction house must have been worthless,” Lilian looked at Han Shuo with her glistening eyes and continued, “However, could you please tell us, how did you know about the wonderful functions of the Hand of Goddess, and for what purpose will you use it for? For all I know, even the followers of our Druidic Order, few have ever seen the Hand of Goddess, so much less know about its wonderful uses.”
Nodding his head, Sage Kelly of the Druidic Order was staring fixedly at Han Shuo as well. Not at all concealing the curiosity that stemmed from his heart, he said, “That’s right. Even as the most pious follower of the Druidic Order, I only knew about a small share of the uses of the Hand of Goddess, and absolutely wasn't capable of making it spontaneously fly. I still cannot understand how you could do that!”
After Kelly uttered those words, Han Shuo immediately understood that back in Braque’s manor, Kelly must have been hiding in places where Han Shuo had not discovered, and saw a certain scene. It was no wonder that he would be so certain that the Hand of Goddess was in Han Shuo’s possession.
Han Shuo knitted his brows and hesitated for a while. He was considering if he should disclose the matter about the Hand of Goddess and wood elite zombie. There seemingly was no other way to explain it clearly.
“I know that this is a secret of yours. However, ever since I saw you so miraculously putting the Hand of Goddess to use, I have been wondering if you are a messenger that our Goddess sent to the human world. Maybe, just maybe, you were really someone of our Druidic Order,” Kelly said as he looked at Han Shuo with great expectations.
Han Shuo involuntarily burst into laughter. He found the reasoning of these religious members to be rather baffling. He shook his head and said, “I’m definitely not a follower of your Druidic Order. But I indeed have some understanding of your so-called Hand of Goddess.”
When the three druids of the Druidic Order gazed at him with eyes brimming with expectation, Han Shuo nodded, and began to thoroughly explain to them his distinct understanding of the Hand of Goddess.
“Viride Leaf? What is that? This is unimaginable. How is this possible?” Lilian absolutely could not believe Han Shuo, shaking her head all along as she mumbled in astonishment.
Great druid Caspian too wore a face of disbelief. He quizzically looked at Han Shuo, but did not utter a word to question its validity.
Great Sage Kelly, the head of the Druidic Order, looked at Han Shuo with a grave look on his face. In a half-doubting, deep voice, he asked, “Could you let us have a look at the holder of the Hand of Goddess?”