***Dark Forest. Inside the valley of the place of extreme fire where the Emperor of Flames once stayed.
This valley that had once suffered a volcanic eruption had an unchanging reddish-brown color. The coolness of the Dark Forest could not be felt at the center of the valley. No verdant and lush plants covering the ground, only barren red soil and an abnormally high temperature.
A few traces of the great battle that had once taken place here remained. The fractured walls and broken ravines seemed to describe the story of what once happened here.
On this day, the valley was no longer silent still. Rumbles came from the depths of its ground, as though an ancient beast was about to emerge from it. Long fissures were torn wider and wider by seemingly incorporeal hands. Even the yuan of fire underneath this place of extreme fire seemed to have been ignited as the temperature inside the valley rapidly soared.
A blurry streak of a human figure was rapidly moving inside the valley. Brilliant rays would constantly erupted from this figure, pulverizing steel-hard rocks to leave imprints after imprints on the ground.
The shadow trail was as though an artist painting his masterpiece. As he rapidly moved about, a bizarre transformation had unwittingly occured to the valley. If someone were to look down from mid-air, they would discover that the channels, holes, and rocks inside the valley had pieced together to form an astonishing, gigantic painting of a soaring dragon!
As electrical sparks shot out, some unknown substances became part of the gigantic artwork, turning into pigments for the painting.
The ground was still rumbling at this moment. After executing a series of maneuvers, that blurry figure that had been shuttling crisscrossed in the valley finally stomped on a boulder at the center with great momentum.
A rumble reverberated through the valley as though a volcano had erupted.
Accompanying the deafening rumbling, the skeleton of an enormous dragon as white as snow slowly emerged from the fissures that tore the ground of the valley. Its dragon head, body and tail all perfectly fitted in into that drawing of a dragon. As the dragon skeleton floated up, an even louder rumbling came from deep underground. The place of extreme fire, which had existed for who-knew-how-long and nurtured the treasure of fire attribute, boiled over in an instant. Scorching magma overflowed and immersed that dragon skeleton.
All of a sudden, that human figure standing proudly in mid-air started pouring an unending stream of assorted substances into the magma. Among them were some colorful bright rocks, pungent, viscous fluids, and many more light rays containing exotic energies.
The magma that oozed from the place of extreme fire was incomparably hot. It melted substances of all sorts and dissolved them into the skeleton. That huge skeleton of dragon at the center of the valley actually started to glimmer with a dazzling luster, as though the bones of varied thickness possessed the toughness of diamonds.
Buckets and buckets of fresh blood were then copiously poured down by the mysterious figure. When the reeking fresh blood fell on the dragon, fizzing sounds could immediately be heard, accompanied by thick smoke.
The next moment, a bizarre scene unfolded. Those buckets of blood began to wiggle and wrap around the dragon skeleton as though they gained a life of their own. Blood vessels seemed to reconstruct themselves.
After pouring down numerous buckets of fresh blood, the figure suddenly flew over to the head of the dragon and injected a lump of bizarre misty gas into the dragon’s skull.
A bloody light veiled that originally lifeless skeleton and it slowly began to wriggle about!
However, after just a short while, the dragon skeleton stopped wriggling and the squirming bloody lines stopped growing. A huge bloody cocoon wrapped the skeleton completely as it awaited rebirth.
It was only at this moment that the figure who had been busying all the while heaved a long sigh of relief. He shot out a stream of blood from his finger to the bloody cocoon.
The stream of blood that fell on the bloody cocoon was like water droplets falling into the sea, yet it caused not the slightest ripple. At the same time, the lifeforce of the dragon wrapped in bloody cocoon grew more and more vigorous. It started sinking deep into the ground bit by bit to silently undergo metamorphosis.
Even as he completed all the necessary procedures, Han Shuo did not relax by the slightest. He calmly observed the transformation to Gilbert’s body while trying to communicate with Gilbert’s soul using his consciousness and the connection between the two.
“Gilbert, are you awake?” Han Shuo transmitted with the energy of his consciousness firmly locked onto that soul inside the skeleton.
Han Shuo waited and waited for some sort of acknowledgement until suddenly, a weak response carrying some amazement came inquiring from the soul, “Master, is that you?”
Han Shuo drew a smile on his face. When he received the response from Gilbert’s soul, he was genuinely relieved. As long as the soul could respond, everything would be in Han Shuo’s control. This also meant that Gilbert’s soul had acquired a connection with the new body that was still incomplete. With this, the steps to come would be much easier to carry out.
“It’s me! Fortunately, fortunately, my hard work has not been in vain. It appears that there’s no problem overall,” although Han Shuo was gratified in his heart, his consciousness simply could not relax.
“Wahaha… I’m alive… I’m alive again… This is brilliant!” although the message was still weak, Gilbert’s excitement nonetheless translated very clearly. “Master, what should I do next?”
“Make the most of your time. In this period, rapidly adapt and familiarize your soul with the feeling and senses of your new body. Before the cocoon breaks, you must comprehend the energy contained in every piece of your bones in accordance with the memories I left for you. Most importantly, you need to employ all your intelligence to attempt to dissipate the divine energy inside the fragments of divine essence of darkness scattered in your skeleton. If you can do that, your body will contain the divine energy of darkness. Although not a lot, if you are to carefully comprehend it, you will come to understand its presence and how to obtain it. This will build a solid foundation for you to become a god of darkness!” Han Shuo calmly commanded.
“Understood, master. To become stronger, I, Gilbert, will surely make good use of this opportunity!”
“Very good. I’ve investigated intensively before coming to this clever idea of forcing small bits of the divine essence of darkness into your body. I hope that you will live up to my expectations. As long as you grasp onto this opportunity and comprehend the presence and methods of using the divine energy, your path to becoming a god will certainly not be too far away!”
“I will try it immediately,” Gilbert obviously understood just how great and special an opportunity it was to come by. After finishing those words, Gilbert took the initiative to cut off communication with Han Shuo. As his body slowly sank deeper into the ground, he concentrated his complete attention onto his new body.
Han Shuo felt gratified to see Gilbert being so assiduous. Gilbert must have deeply recognized the importance of strength. Back then, in order to rescue his grandfather and the race of dark dragon, Gilbert and Han Shuo had to hurry to this place of extreme fire to obtain the scorching energy contained here. However, as Gilbert did not have sufficient strength, he burned his life force in exchange for a boost in his flying speed beyond what his body could endure. He ended up losing his life in precisely this valley of flames.
For the past few years, Gilbert, with only his soul left, had truly tasted the bitterness of being in solitude. He had stayed inside the perpetually dark Soul Ring all that while, constantly tempering his soul using the method imparted by Han Shuo. Through his tenacious willpower, he had cultivated his soul to the degree where he could possess another body.
It was precisely because of this that he understood what greater strength would mean for him. He had abandoned his vainglorious attitude and pressed ahead in pursuing greater strength! As this was the most critical moment for Gilbert, Han Shuo dared not to be anywhere far from him. He found a boulder nearby and sat cross-legged on it, silently protecting Gilbert while resting to regain the demonic yuan he had exhausted.
At this time, his avatar had arrived at Lancelot Empire’s Ossen City from Brettel City via transportation matrix.
There weren’t many changes to Ossen City’s landscapes compared to five years ago. The only difference was in the crowd that came and went. No matter if it was commoners or soldiers, they seemed to lack the usual cheerfulness and gaiety. In fact, their faces were dark, solemn, and heavy.
Lancelot Empire wasn’t in an encouraging situation. It had to face the reckless assault from the kingdom of orcs on the southern border while Kasi Empire, backed by the Shrine of Ice, came pushing in from its west. There had been countless big and small battles during the past several years. The people of Lancelot Empire had come to recognize the cruelty of war. In addition to Lancelot Empire not being the victor of those battles, it was only natural that the populace would feel terrified and scared.
After five years, Han Shuo’s three women had become the most attention-catching women in the whole of Lancelot Empire, owing to their unordinary backgrounds and their position on the correct side during the civil war.
Emily became a high-level leader of the Dark Mantle, wielding control over Lancelot Empire’s covert forces. She was the youngest dark sacred magus in Lancelot Empire.
Phoebe too had become the youngest sacred swordmaster in the empire. As the owner of the Boozt Merchant Guild, she possessed the greatest wealth in the empire.
Fanny, the Dean of Necromancy at Babylon Academy of Magic and Force, was herself a necromancy grand magus. She had a terrifying father behind her back.
These three women had always been in the limelight throughout the Lancelot Empire. During the five years that Han Shuo had disappeared, an innumerable amount of young, handsome, talented men had tried pursuing them. They didn’t at all mind the obvious fact that the three already belonged to Han Shuo. They would even plague the three through various means with the pretext that Han Shuo had died.
But in fact, all these were because of the ladies’ current positions and power, not to forget their unusually close friendship with Lawrence, the King of Lancelot Empire!