GDK 678: Overcoming Oneself
“Hello, my friends. Where do you come from?” a hunchbacked old man with grizzled hair greeted Han Shuo and Akley enthusiastically. Many of the villagers standing behind the old man too were looking at them with amiable smiles.
Their worship of the three Overgods of the Calamity Church was still going on not far in the distance. The ceremony did not seem particularly grave nor did the villagers behave solemnly. In fact, they appeared very much at ease.
“We came from the interplanar transportation facility on that valley. We actually originated from another material plane. There is a place that we want to go but we don’t know the direction or where exactly we are. We were hoping you could help us find our way,” Han Shuo replied smilingly and relaxedly as though he was conversing with an old friend.
“Ah, so that’s the case. That’s no problem at all. We have interplanar travelers pass by this village quite frequently. Haha, I could tell from first glance that both of you are followers of the Calamity Overgods. We are most willing to provide you assistance,” that old man said smilingly. He did not appear shocked at all and seemed to come across such a matter frequently.
“Akley, why don’t you describe the place where we are going?” Han Shuo turned around and said to Akley.
Akley, who had been walking behind Han Shuo, stepped forward and started describing to the elderly man their destination. As all the information about the divine essence mine recorded on the ancient scroll was archaic, so was Akley’s knowledge about their destination. Perhaps some variations had taken place to the destination recorded on the scroll, the elderly man appeared rather puzzled and had to keep on asking Akley for more details.
After exchanging words back and forth for some time, the elderly man pondered in silence for a long while before he suddenly came to himself and said, “Head south from this place. The journey will take around half a month. There you will find an isolated mountain range. There is a small mountain among the mountain range called the Demon Mountain. I’m not exactly sure that that is the place you are looking for, but your words seem to be describing that place.”
“Thanks!” Akley’s voice was stifled. He immediately turned to Han Shuo and said, “Let’s go, that should be the place!”
“Hold on!” the elderly man suddenly cried out. When Han Shuo turned around and looked at him with a puzzled gaze, the elderly man explained, “You lot are new to Elysium. Maybe you have yet to understand how things work around here. Besides the human race, this Plane of Gods also hosts all sorts of intelligent species. That mountain range I just mentioned is considered off-limits. A group of non-humans is living there and the mountain range is partitioned to them. If you trespass upon their territory without their approval, this could invite a lot of unnecessary trouble.”
“Understood, we will be careful. Thank you!” Han Shuo nodded and thanked the elderly man politely.
“You are welcome. Just be sure to pay attention to that. Their allegiance also lies with the three Overgods and they are subjected to certain constraints. As long as you do not actively provoke them, you should be alright,” the elderly man gave his last advice.
Han Shuo expressed his understanding and thanked him again before leaving the village with Akley.
“It goes without saying that humans hold the leading role on Elysium. As for the other races, some cultivate in the twelve fundamental forces, and others are innately gifted with strength. These non-human races would usually pledge allegiance to and serve the twelve Overgods, thereby receiving their divine protection. Since most of them do not like living in crowded human cities and prefer remote mountains and lakes, they would only be summoned when war breaks out. The residents of the mountain range should be one such group,” Akley explained to Han Shuo after leaving the village.
There were more than a few non-human races to be found on a material plane as small as Profound Continent, therefore, there would obviously be even more of them to be found on this expansive Plane of Gods. Back then, Claude, a necromancer of the Calamity Church, had summoned the three-eyed evil god Ansidesi. From Han Shuo’s current understanding, he inferred that the three-eyed Ansidesi could be a leader of its race.
After thinking for a while, Han Shuo asked the important question, “How could you be so sure that the Demon Mountain is our destination?”
“I’m not fully certain that Demon Mountain is what we are looking for, although I do strongly suspect that it is. Based on the descriptions in the scroll, we seek a mountain that looks fierce and sinister from a distance, like a demon baring its fangs and brandishing its claws. I explained once to that old man and the first thing he came up with was the Demon Mountain,” Akley explained.
Han Shuo agreed with his judgment. It seemed very likely that Demon Mountain was their target.
Although that elderly man Han Shuo and Akley encountered said that the journey to the mountain range from the village would take around half a month, the duo took less than half of that duration. Han Shuo, carrying Akley, required just three days to arrive at the mountain range.
Han Shuo and Akley came into many more villages along their journey. They discovered more and more humans ever since they left that barren field. Midway into the journey, Han Shuo discovered two well-concealed godhunters. As both of them cultivated in the elemental energy of darkness, Han Shuo couldn’t gain much from them and therefore abandoned all thoughts of ambushing them. Instead, he evaded them.
For some reason, ever since Han Shuo had the most pleasurable experience of engulfing the old godhunter’s divine energy of death, this temptation of having his strength rapidly soar started nibbling away his willpower. It gave Han Shuo an irresistible urge - an impulse to seek and suck away another’s divine energy!
This intense desire to act was like a voice that persistently seduced him at every moment, reminding him just how easy, how swift the method was. Even Han Shuo couldn’t help but think about it ever so briefly.
“Master, this will not do, you cannot go on like this. I’ve noticed that your heart and mind have grown more chaotic in recent days!” the Cauldron Spirit suddenly transmitted when they arrived at the mountain range.
“I know. I know where the problem lies, but I have no way of resolving it for the time being!” Han Shuo took a deep breath and transmitted to the Cauldron Spirit.
“That temptation power is indeed quite something but you should not let it take over you. Demonic arts cultivators also do so occasionally but they must not recklessly hunt others just to raise their own strength. More often than not, demonic arts cultivators who boost their own strengths purely by relying on absorbing another’s energy would find themselves losing more and more of their self-control and end up sinking into insanity. This type of cultivator who deviates from the essences of demonic arts will never attain the ultimate realm!” the Cauldron Spirit explained.
Han Shuo trusted Cauldron Spirit’s judgment and questioned, “What should I do?”
“This kind of temptation is like a drug addiction. It’s deviant and corrupt, not something that you should have, and it’s certainly entirely different from the cravings at the bottom of your heart during normal conditions! What you need to do is control that dependence and have a clear idea of what you are doing, instead of thinking about how to hunt others to raise your own strength!” Cauldron Spirit solemnly advised Han Shuo.
“I understand what I should do now!” Han Shuo was no fool and quickly came to his senses after a brief moment of thinking. He turned to Akley and said, “Let’s not enter that mountain range yet. You need time to recover from some of your injuries so that you will stop being a burden on me!”
“Isn’t it easier for you to keep me under your grip if I remain in this state?” Akley asked astoundedly.
“We are in a collaborative relationship, I have no wish of fully controlling you in my palms, nor am I worried that you will turn against me during critical moments. Therefore, give yourself some time, at least a period that will allow you to fly again!” Han Shuo replied, but he inwardly thought, if I were to use the strength of my main body against a lowgod of destruction like you, you would be dead without a doubt. What is there about you that I have to worry about?
“Alright then. Let’s find a place and do so.” All this while, thinking that their relationship was merely one of mutual exploitation, Akley was always on the guard against Han Shuo. It was only after this point that Akley began to look at Han Shuo with some amount of trust.
The intention behind Han Shuo giving Akley time to recover actually wasn’t all out of his benevolence. In fact, he needed this more than Akley, to overcome the greed and compulsion in his heart and stabilize his mental state.
After locating a quiet cave, Han Shuo sealed Akley in and opened up a separate cave for himself.
He calmed his mind and immediately, following the Cauldron Spirit’s instructions, started his attempt to conquer that insatiable addiction at the bottom of his heart that was slowly growing more and more intense.
Han Shuo had learned from Donna that the godhunters were a bunch of perverted lunatics. Once a person had the experience of absorbing another’s divine energy, they would no longer be able to exercise control over their craving. Just as the Cauldron Spirit had said, those people were pretty much drug addicts. They would constantly hunt and kill to satisfy the unquenchable greed in their heart. There was rarely anyone who could overcome such an addiction.
The reason why godhunters would immediately be killed without trial in every single Overgod Dominion was that they knew the godhunters would never recover. They would hunt for others cultivating in the same energy for the rest of their lives. They were beyond redemption and the only cure seemed to be death.
After having absorbed that old woman’s divine energy, Han Shuo too had experienced that wonderful feeling. The thrilling sensation of everything that another person gained by arduously cultivating for hundreds or even thousands of years gushing into one’s body within a short few minutes, fueling one’s rapid advancement in strength, for these gods serving the Calamity Church who were evil to begin with, this was indeed a very profound temptation that could not be overcome.
Inside the cave, Han Shuo opened up his soul with only his tenacious willpower left. He emptied his mind and exerted himself in resisting those corrupting thoughts that swam through his mind incessantly.
The whole process of demonic arts cultivation had always been a struggle against oneself. Since the day that Han Shuo started cultivating in demonic arts, he had constantly challenged the limits of his endurance to bear all kinds of inhuman pain. The tenacity of his willpower was beyond anything that an average person could imagine. Every time a demonic arts cultivator went through metamorphosis, they would have to endure a lengthy period of inhuman pain. Having withstood the transformative processes over and over again, Han Shuo had amply demonstrated his strength of will.
Inside the cave, Han Shuo held back the waves of warped desires that surged through his mind over and over again by using his extraordinary willpower. He would tremble from head to toe or perhaps beat against his chest every now and then. However, over time, he managed to gradually calm down.
After five days, Han Shuo’s mind was like the surface of a quiet lake, tranquil and still without the slightest ripple. He had successfully conquered that abnormal desire.
“Congratulations, master! I sense that you have also made some breakthroughs in the Omen realm! On another note, you can continue to engulf other’s energy using demonic arts in the future. Because you have completely controlled and contained that perverted desire, it will no longer tempt you at the depths of your soul. You have prevailed over yourself once again!”
“Understood!” Han Shuo stood up cheerfully. He was relaxed and at ease.
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