Han Shuo wasn't alone on this; even Edwin and Belinda standing not far away could tell the obvious change on the six-horned tribal king’s face. They were puzzled on how those few colorful rocks in Han Shuo’s hand could make the usually emotionless six-horned tribal king so excited all so suddenly.
Han Shuo observed the glint flickering off the six-horned tribal king’s eyes in all smiles. He was rather amused by the tribal king at this moment. “So, what do you say? Is there anything of use to you?” Han Shuo asked in a teasing manner.
“It would seem!” the six-horned tribal king bluntly answered. Right after that, with great difficulty, the six-horned tribal king shifted his gaze from Han Shuo’s palm, and stared at his face for a few seconds in silence before he asked, “Those, those words you said just now, are they for real?”
“What words?” Han Shuo tried to clarify even though he already knew the answer.
“Words about compensating me!” the six-horned tribal king said as he looked at Han Shuo in a deadly earnest manner. His voice sounded somewhat pressing. His behavior at this moment seemed greatly inconsistent with how he had behaved in the past.
“Of course. Tell me, which one of these could best compensate the losses you incurred the last time?” The crystals in his hand all originated from the Void. Han Shuo could recognize some of them, but some, Han Shuo didn’t even know what function they served. However, as these crystals were acquired from the Void, they had to be items left behind by those deceased gods. Items carried around by gods were hardly ever anything mediocre; Han Shuo was certain of it.
Normally quick to respond, the six-horned tribal king became hesitant as Han Shuo spoke. There were tiny speckles that leapt about in his eyes, deeply focused on Han Shuo’s palm. He seemed to be contemplating a major problem. From his performance so far, Han Shuo was certain that there were at least a few crystals that greatly piqued the interest of the six-horned tribal king.
The two penta-horned aliens standing behind the six-horned tribal king were motionless. They seemed to have sunken into a daze with their gazes tightly fixed on Han Shuo’s palm. It appeared that they too were deeply shaken. After a long, long while, the six-horned tribal king finally came to a decision. He extended his hand, pointed at a stone the size of goose egg that sparkled with a green shimmer, and said resolutely, “Well, this one it is!”
Han Shuo stared blankly for a moment and carefully observed the greenish stone. Each and every stone in his palm had some fluctuation of energy waves within them, which Han Shuo could detect. And yet, Han Shuo had no idea as to specifically what function the misty green stone had. Han Shuo was intrigued to observe that the six-horned tribal king appeared to be very excited when he pointed at that stone.
“If you can tell me the function of this stone, I will give it to you,” Han Shuo said after thinking for a moment.
“Green Oceandew Crystal. For people of my race, this crystal could extend the reach of our souls. It’s very precious!” the six-horned tribal king hesitated for a moment before answering.
“Take it. Whatever debt between us is now written off. If I hear you shout ‘petty thief’ once more, I will happily beat the crap out of you!” Han Shuo kept the name of the stone in his mind. He simply handed over the stone, which he had no use for.
The six-horned tribal king was trembling slightly when he received the misty-green stone from Han Shuo. After carefully putting it away, he closed his eyes for a moment. Then, as soon as he opened his eyes, he assured Han Shuo, “Fine! I will make no mention of that anymore!”
Edwin and Belinda, who appeared rather nervous all along, finally heaved a sigh of relief at this moment. As long as there was no conflict between Han Shuo and the six-horned tribal king, the Pope of Calamity Church would not lay any blame on them. Their objective was to make Han Shuo comfortable and at home. Seeing that the tension between Han Shuo and the six-horned tribal king had greatly reduced, their moods naturally loosened up.
“Good, we will never talk about it again. Now I want to know, back then, why is it that you did not come to me when I provoked you?” Han Shuo asked because he had always felt that the six-horned tribal king’s absence at the Shrine of Ice before was truly regrettable.
“As I stumbled through this place, I was attacked by these people. That’s why I was stuck here.” The six-horned tribal king’s explanation had confirmed Han Shuo’s hypothesis.
“So that was indeed the case,” Han Shuo nodded and muttered.
Han Shuo had learned everything he wanted to know from the six-horned tribal king. Given this tribal king’s presence at this facility, he surely must have reached some sort of agreement with the Calamity Church. To Han Shuo, the six-horned tribal king at present was merely another character that he could beat to a pulp if he wanted to and Han Shuo didn’t take him as a threat at all.
“Let’s go, take me to my quarters. I want to rest,” after stretching his body, Han Shuo glanced and calmly instructed at the extremely deferential Edwin and Belinda standing beside him.
They were deeply afraid that a conflict may arise between Han Shuo and the six-horned tribal king. They couldn’t be more eager for Han Shuo to leave from this place. They humbly bowed and hastily showed him the way.
Han Shuo did not find out what the Calamity Church had arranged for him next. Edwin and Belinda led him to a spacious chamber located not far from the six-horned tribal king. Unlike the six-horned tribal king’s crude chamber, Han Shuo’s chamber was lavish and complete with any amenity he could need. Han Shuo even got the impression that he was staying inside a glorious palace.
After dismissing Edwin and Belinda, Han Shuo did not indulge himself in the comfortable environment. Instead, he sat cross-legged on the bed, conveniently deploying an isolation barrier that would give him absolute privacy, and withdrew the Holy Grail that he obtained from the Light Pope.
“You finally thought to look for me,” right after Han Shuo grasped the Holy Grail, that very unlucky cultivator of the edict of space trapped inside transmitted a message to Han Shuo.
“Oh, I have been somewhat busy recently. Nearly forgot about your existence,” Han Shuo replied apologetically and got straight to the point, “Were you aware of the Overgod of Destruction and Overgod of Death joining hands?”
“Of course. To obtain even mightier divine energies, the two Overgods mobilized their subordinates to unleash havoc on every material plane they could get their hands on. That has never stopped. Everyone knows about this. Why are you asking me this?” the soul inside the Holy Grail questioned, clearly puzzled.
“How much do you understand about the Overgods of Death and Destruction?” Han Shuo continued to ask.
The soul inside the Holy Grail kept silent for a moment before it transmitted, “I cannot assess the Overgods based on my feelings. Beings of such level are beyond our comprehension. But based on the rumors, these two Overgods are extremely wild and selfish. They have no misgivings about doing anything that would benefit themselves. They also seek revenge for the smallest grievances and are very protective of their subjects, even if they are in the wrong. They possess extensive influence over all major material planes. Apart from the other few Overgods, no one would dare to provoke them.”
Han Shuo thought for a moment and finally decided to tell him the current circumstances. As this soul was trapped in the Holy Grail, Han Shuo believed that he wouldn’t be able to play any tricks. As a god cultivating in the edict of space, having roamed about all major material planes, Han Shuo reckoned that he ought to possess extraordinary foresight. Hence, Han Shuo asked for his opinion.
After keeping silent for a short while, Han Shuo explained his current situation to the soul inside the Holy Grail. After Han Shuo finished, the being inside the Grail kept silent as if to think about what Han Shuo had told him. But after some time, he replied, “Well, from your words, you basically have no second option. There are always grievances between the Overgods, therefore the high-level material planes have never seen peace. Given your current strength, not only are you incapable of protecting this continent by yourself, you might even be in great danger. Your decision can be considered wise. To temporarily attach yourself to a greater power before you have come to possess sufficient strength is definitely a way out. In addition, the Overgods of Death and Destruction are infamous for defending their subordinates even when they are in the wrong. If you could obtain their trust and favor, not only is your safety mostly ensured, you might even gain a myriad of benefits!”
“So, you mean to say that there won’t be a problem with my method?” Han Shuo asked.
“There’s no problem with the method, but there’s one thing that you must pay attention to - although the two Overgods are extremely protective of their subordinates, they only behave so towards those showing potential or capacity. The experts under them have the same mentality. No matter who you reach an agreement with, you must demonstrate your value within a short period of time, make them feel that you are worthy of being taken under their wing. If they consider you to be of no value, they will not look after you and you will just be dispensable cannon fodder,” the soul inside the Holy Grail paused for a short moment before warning Han Shuo, giving him a clue about how those in high in power worked.
Han Shuo nodded his head heavily after listening to him. Having taken his time to slowly digest those words, Han Shuo smiled and transmitted, “I think I understand what you mean now. On another note, we have known each other for so long but I don’t know your name yet.”
“McKinley,” the voice inside the Grail replied.
“Pleasure. I’m Han Shuo. Alright, I need some time to properly digest all this. Goodbye for now. I will look for you if I run into something.” Before McKinley could reply, Han Shuo put away the Holy Grail and spent a long time reflecting on his decision.
Just like the Cemetery of Death, neither sunlight nor moonlight could enter the underground facility. Time didn't seem to exist down there. Han Shuo felt that he had only been in his head for a short while before Wolf and Burt Zili came to invite him away.
“His Holiness the Pope has informed the cardinals of your arrival. They are currently waiting for you in the main hall. We are here to invite and lead your Lordship over,” Wolf said as he walked. After a short pause, seeing that no one was around them, Wolf hesitated for a moment before he snitched to Han Shuo, “The eldest cardinal in the Church seems to be displeased about your arrival. He was the only other existence in the Church as powerful as the Pope. He cultivates in necromancy magic. He is advocating the cardinals to demand that you hand over the skeletal staff or else have it stripped from you, saying that your accomplishments were all dependent on the skeletal staff.”
“Oh? Interesting. Well, we'll see about that!” Han Shuo sneered.