“Get up, get up!” called out the mountain of a man to the two enthusiastically. Shortly after, he walked off from the elevator and said to Han Shuo with a big cordial smile, “Bryan, you have finally come. We have waited for this day for nearly ten years!”
The big fatty was extremely welcoming. Although this was his very first time meeting Han Shuo, he behaved as though he had known Han Shuo for ages. He did not display the default reservation that one normally would when meeting a stranger. This caught Han Shuo by surprise.
Han Shuo returned the attitude in kind. He too giggled as he said, “I was hunted for a few years, and later fell into Church of Light’s despicable, sneaky trap, therefore I couldn’t find time till now. But hey, here I am!”
“Haha, youth indeed breeds heroism! Ever since the day I first sat in this position, I have wanted to finish off those three old things of the Church of Light. However, I have failed to accomplish that goal all through the passing of a few hundred years. But unexpectedly, you, in just the short time of ten or so years, have managed to fulfill our goal. I have no choice but to concede that I’m getting old!” When he and his bright face stepped before Han Shuo, it was as though an enormous meaty mountain had shifted to block the scorching sun, leaving a vast shadow on the sand.
“Then, our goals are identical,” Han Shuo said gladly.
“Of course! We are all on the same side. That has been true since the start!” the big fatty emphasized, laying down the standpoint for both parties.
Han Shuo smiled and did not speak. He had never considered himself to be one of the Calamity Church. The Calamity Church, however, for reasons pertaining to the skeletal staff, had recognized him as one of their own since a long time ago. Han Shuo was again left between laughter and tears.
“Come, let’s go down. As this is the first time you are visiting our headquarters, I’ll have someone bring you for a stroll around the facility. It’s been a long journey coming here and you must be tired. Go take a bath and have a rest. We can talk about business later when you have gotten yourself comfortable,” the Pope of the Calamity Church said as he led Han Shuo to the elevator smilingly. Next, he raised his voice and instructed one of the people inside the elevator, “Belinda, you’ve had the chance to get acquainted with Bryan. I will hand this task to you. Serve Bryan well and attend to any need he may have.”
“Understood, your Holiness!” the lady that came to the surface along with the big fatty replied respectfully.
Oval cheeks, a tall, straight nose, and small, rosy red lips. Under her slender, curved brows were a pair of blue eyes as bright as sapphire. She had fair white skin and a graceful and voluptuous figure - all the characteristics that a beauty should have. Unfortunately, the greenish-black birthmark on her left cheek was just too conspicuous, which greatly impaired her overall attractiveness. She was Belinda, the first member from the Calamity Church that Han Shuo had met.
Han Shuo felt giggly in his heart to meet this female alchemist again after many years. He still remembered that when he first met Belinda, he was deeply shocked by that golem she produced, as well as many of the previous interactions he had with her.
The Belinda now appeared to be in fear and reverence when she faced Han Shuo. Back then, she had tried to kill Han Shuo and was subsequently held captive by him for a period of time. But when they met again this time, Han Shuo had become a character that she could not afford to offend. This worried her that Han Shuo might still hold a grudge towards her and therefore take some form of retribution.
Standing beside Belinda was dark grand magus Edwin. He looked at Han Shuo in an obviously fawning manner, bowed, and cordially said, “Lord Bryan, Belinda and I will take your Lordship to tour and familiarize with the headquarter.”
Just like Belinda, Edwin was one of the first few experts of the Calamity Church that Han Shuo crossed paths with. Back at Sunshine Valley, this dark grand magus used to go great lengths to hunt Han Shuo. He was once reviled by Han Shuo with malicious words.
Han Shuo looked at the duo who he had not met for many years, nodded at him with a smile, and said, “Long time no see!”
“Long time, indeed. Haha, I thought that your Lordship would have forgotten about nonentities like us!” Edwin replied somewhat bitterly.
“How could I! You two are the first few people I ever met from the Calamity Church. Not so easy to forget something like that.”
“Edwin, serve Bryan well. It is an honor given to you. Do you understand?” the ghoulish old man cultivating in the elemental energy of darkness instructed Edwin in a brooding tone. As he possessed demigod strength, his glaring had given Edwin a good scare.
“Understood, master!” Edwin replied hastily.
“Bryan, please, come inside. Make yourself at home. You have always belonged here,” after giving Edwin an intimidating reminder, that skinny old man let out a hollow laugh, respectfully turned his body to the side and indicated for Han Shuo to enter the elevator. Han Shuo took note of Edwin’s master’s reverent and respectful attitude towards him and walked in there as he nodded smilingly.
With the Pope of the Calamity Church accompanying him in person, Han Shuo and the party slowly descended towards the underground headquarters using the elevator. As he observed the surroundings with his eyes, he used his consciousness to sense the miraculous energies in the boundaries that enclosed the underground structure.
“This facility was first established a few hundred years ago. During the lowest point of our Church, we faced the onslaught from every country on Profound Continent lead by the Church of Light. During that time, we had to relocate every so often like a stray dog. For the lack of a better option, we finally established ourselves here, and have been staying underground ever since. Haha, but thanks to you, I believe that is going to change very soon. You, as the master of the skeletal staff, are the hope our Church needs,” the Pope explained the brief history of this facility as they descended into the ground.
“The Church of Light’s reputation and fame have fallen disastrously these days. Their grasp on Profound Continent is steadily deteriorating. Other than that so-called ‘Saintess’ on their sacred mountain, they likely do not have any outstanding expert to use. I believe that it won’t be long before they are finished,” Han Shuo calmly conversed with the Pope. They looked like two old friends.
“Yes, all thanks to you!” The big fatty tactfully praised Han Shuo. As the Pope of the Calamity Church, this big fatty was outstanding in his conducts and ways of dealing with people. He was very discerning in his speech. “You are welcome!” Han Shuo replied.
Han Shuo and the Pope happily chatted as the elevator they were in descended hundreds of meters. It finally arrived before a majestic doorway to an underground palace.
Upon arrival, the big fatty did not continue chatting with Han Shuo. He told him, “Alright, I’ll let Belinda and Edwin take you on a tour to familiarize yourself with this place. I’m going to inform the cardinals of your arrival. We can talk proper business tomorrow after you have properly rested.”
“Sure!” Han Shuo nodded. He was indifferent towards the arrangement.
As Han Shuo’s consciousness covered an extensive area, he already had some idea of the scale of the headquarters. Even the distribution of members inside the facility was clear to him under the probing of his consciousness. Although he had not surveyed the compound with his own eyes, he felt like he already know this place.
When the Pope and the slightly-built old man left, Wolf and Burt Zili followed after. They were probably going to report to the fatty about some of the things that happened outside. Edwin and Belinda appeared rather reserved when all these people disappeared. Their gazes towards Han Shuo were somewhat anxious and panicky. They were nervous and seemed to be at a loss for how they should interact with Han Shuo.
Before, the duo wouldn’t have been so uneasy when facing Han Shuo. However, the gap of identity and status between them now was just too great. They had no choice but to be very careful.
“This… Erm... Lord Bryan, where would you like to visit first?” Edwin said with a flustered smile as he looked at Han Shuo with complicated emotions in his eyes.
Han Shuo easily discerned that Edwin was in an awkward position and knew Edwin was worried about him still holding grudges for what he did back in those years. Belinda was the same. All along, she didn’t even have the courage to look Han Shuo in the eyes. In recent years, she had unavoidably heard about the glorious achievements of Han Shuo’s. She felt bitter as she watched Han Shuo stride giant step by giant step towards the pinnacle of glory.
“Guys, do you really have to be so overcautious with me? After all, we could be considered acquaintances. Those things you did back then weren’t that serious. Besides, I did not get injured or lose a hair because of that. What are you guys so afraid of?” Han Shuo asked as he smirked.
Upon hearing Han Shuo’s words, the two forced smiles on their faces. Edwin again respectfully bowed at Han Shuo and earnestly said, “Lord Bryan, what we each did before was indeed wrong. But when we later learned that your Lordship is in possession of the skeletal staff, we no longer dared to have any intentions of causing you harm. The Church of Light is our mortal enemy, and I had an immense blood debt with that Ferguson your Lordship killed. I couldn’t be more grateful to your Lordship for killing Ferguson, not to mention all those experts of the Church of Light you slaughtered. If your Lordship wishes to pursue matters we did back then, we will raise no objection.”
“Yes, you are the hope for the Church, a character that even his Holiness the Pope would personally welcome. We will not resist, nor could we resist. Just do whatever you want to do to us,” Belinda said with a low voice, asking Han Shuo to mete out the punishment like a sheep waiting to be slaughtered.
Han Shuo couldn’t help but burst into laughter. He shook his head and smilingly said, “I have long forgotten about those trivial matters. I didn’t expect that you would still be haunted by them, and so deeply at that. Be at ease. Given my identity and strength now, how could I put you two to trouble for something so insignificant? You have been worrying for nothing!”
Upon hearing those words, their faces lit up. They carefully lifted their eyes onto Han Shuo and noticed that Han Shuo didn’t look like he was joking. They let out a sigh of relief before hastily expressing their gratitude. “Thank you, my Lord. Thank you, my Lord!”
“Let’s go. I want to have a good look at this place. This is my first time in the Calamity Church and I’m rather curious,” Han Shuo said, smiling as to dispel the nervousness of the two.
All three of them knew that their attitudes towards each other had obviously changed because of their majorly contrasting identities. The two who used to behave arrogantly before Han Shuo now carried fawning smiles on their faces. They explained the circumstances of this place in detail and did everything they could to avoid Han Shuo’s displeasure in any aspect.