GDK 710: Greenfire Swamp

***City of Shadows. Fifth Corps.

A divine guard wearing a panic-stricken face rushed into a room where Avery was doing paperwork and immediately crouched on the ground. Anxiously panting, he said, “My… My Lord… It’s bad…”

“Oh,” Avery acknowledged. He did not move his head and kept his eyes focused on the scroll in his hand. “What’s the matter?”

“Cage and Eve, they, they…” the divine guard stammered. He couldn’t seem to complete the sentence.

Avery bunched his brows and put down the document in his hand. He lightly groaned and asked assumingly, “The two are out making a mess, aren’t they? Who did they offend this time? Is it someone from the House of Sainte?”

“No…”

Avery was obviously relieved to hear that. He softly exhaled and replied, “That’s fortunate. As long as it’s not the House of Sainte, it’s not that big of a deal. If the two good-for-nothings offended someone from the Sainte Family again, the matter is going to be a tough one to deal with.”

“No… Cage and Eve did not offend anyone. At Fort Hassell… they… they were…” the divine guard just could not garner enough courage to speak that word in front of Avery. 

“They were what? Did they get beaten by someone? Hmph, Fort Hassell belongs to our House of Lavers. Quite daring they are to do so in our territory!” Avery coldly groaned.

“No… the two of them… were killed at Fort Hassell!” the divine guard clenched his teeth and finally spoke of the bloody news.

Avery was suddenly stupefied. His eyes were hollow. He seemed unable to process this grievous news momentarily. When he finally came to himself, he grabbed the divine guard by his neck, and furiously screamed, “What did you say? Say it again!”

“Spare… Spare me my Lord. News arrived from Fort Hassell that Cage and Eve were murdered while collecting Sea Fruits at Poseidon’s Tears... Spare me my Lord!” the divine guard pleaded and explained.

“NOO……” Avery roared at the sky. His voice spread throughout the entire Fifth Corps.

A streak of shadow suddenly flew out from the Fifth Corps. It was heading away from the City of Shadows. When it passed through the city gates, it did not even stop to register.

***Two days later, on the island that Cage and Eve used to stay. 

Avery was dumbfounded as he stared blankly at Cage and Eve’s bodies laid out in front of him. Cage’s skull was completely shattered and he could only be identified by his build. Eve’s head was severed from her body. It was sewn back in place with thread… 

Avery’s wife had passed away long ago, leaving him with their only son and daughter. He was very pampering of Cage and Eve. Although they had always made mistakes and caused him trouble, he would always forgive and tolerate them. If any of them were bullied, he would do everything he could to make retribution.

To Avery, the two were his world. The pain he felt from seeing their bodies laid lifelessly in front of him was so much that he felt suffocated.

“Did you not discover a trace of evidence?” Avery asked very calmly as he looked at the two bodies.

“Forgive us, my Lord… Forgive us…” a group of divine guards knelt in a line begged for mercy.

“Well then, there is no point for any of you to continue living,” Avery said in a calm voice. Upon hearing those words, the faces of those divine guards became as ashen as the dead. A few even immediately took into the air and tried to escape.

Multiple shadows shot out from Avery’s body and they each targeted a person. A series of eerie, miserable shrieks rang as it rained blood and severed body parts around Avery. 

Not a single one of these divine guards who came to Fort Hassell with Cage and Eve escaped Avery’s brutal slaughtering. None of them landed with an intact corpse!

“Who, who could it be?” Avery mumbled to himself, completely ignoring the intense reeking of blood and body parts scattered all around him.

“Could it be him? But he is only a lowgod. Even if he staged a sneak attack, he still could not have been able to evenly match Eve and Cage, especially Cage - he couldn’t fall to the sneak attack of a lowgod. Who could it be? Who have I offended recently?”

After thinking for a while, he suddenly furrowed his brows and put on a malevolent face, and muttered, “Carmelita has been searching for that runt. If Andre knew it was me, then perhaps she learned of it as well. This foul oaf is absolutely mad and has a close friendship with that fella. Eve had previously insulted her. Could she have done this? Should be… has to be her…”

“Number Three!” Avery shouted.

“Yes!” a response sounded from Avery’s shadow that was cast under the hot sun.

“Investigate the recent activities of Carmelita and keep a close eye on her. Report back to me as soon as you discover anything!” Avery instructed.

“Understood!” a straightforward replied was heard. Soon after, a shadow separated from Avery and disappeared into the beautiful ocean.

At the northwest of Fort Hassell was Greenfire Swamp. There, Han Shuo was hiding among the leaves of an overgrown tree.

The Greenfire Swamp was an enormous swamp several thousand square miles in size. There would be faint, green flames burning on the swamp throughout the year, hence the name Greenfire.

After making observations, Han Shuo concluded that the source of the green flames was in fact natural gas found inside the swamp being released and combusted. He also noted that the ‘natural gas’ in this place was not quite the same as the kind he was familiar with. Besides the different color, this gas could burn for much longer. Perhaps this was the reason that green flames could be found in this swamp all throughout the year.

The Greenfire Swamp housed all kinds of magical beasts with astonishing strengths but poor intelligence. There were also a few non-human, high-intelligence species living there such as the Triops Han Shuo had seen back at the Abyss realm, and humanoids with eagle-like wings sprouting from their backs.

Other than the green flames and swamps present everywhere, this place also contained some mountains and rivers containing beautiful energy crystals with unique functions. In addition to energy crystals, the Greenfire Swamp also yielded all kinds of medicinal ingredients that pharmacists needed. 

Thus, for this reason, the Greenfire swamp was no quiet place. The energy crystals and medicinal ingredients within had attracted many gods from small towns and forts around the swamp to come to extract the natural resources and gain profit. The presence of these gods, subsequently, attracted a special group of people. They were there neither to extract ores, nor to collect medicinal ingredients, but to prey and hunt for other gods - they were godhunters!

Han Shuo had come to Greenfire Swamp purely by coincidence. After murdering Cage and Eve, Han Shuo discovered that the divine guards on the island had basically lost their minds. They were all activated and dispatched to search and question every person on the island who might be remotely related to the murder.

If the divine guards were to discover him, Han Shuo believed that it would take no time for Avery to connect his son and daughter’s deaths to him. The Greenfire Swamp was some distance away from Fort Hassell and was sparsely populated. It was a most suitable place for him to hide.

Soon after he arrived at Greenfire Swamp, through his demon generals, Han Shuo was shocked to discover that a pharmacist collecting medicinal ingredients there had been murdered by a godhunter. But after carefully observing, he became much more at ease as he learned that the godhunters were not particularly powerful and did not hunt in large packs.

Not only was Han Shuo at ease, but he was also elated because he got the chance to be a hunter himself - to hunt the godhunters.

The incident of nearly being assassinated by Avery was a wake-up call for Han Shuo. He understood that the scheme of forming his own family clan in the City of Shadows merely by accumulating wealth and to fully rely on Carmelita and House of Sainte for protection was a deluded pipe-dream. If he wanted to truly gain a foothold in the City of Shadows, he had to do much more than that.

It was only by becoming mightier and gaining strength that no family clan would dare look down upon that he could protect himself and his wealth and stand firmly in the City of Shadows. Otherwise, all he had would be as insubstantial as a house of cards.

After Han Shuo came to realize this, he made it his highest priority to raise his strength. Increasing the realm of demonic arts usually required running into some sort of fortunate encounter. It was very difficult to ascend through the realms merely through a short burst of effort and cultivation.

However, this was not the case for Han Shuo’s avatars - especially his avatar of death. As it had previously absorbed the divine soul of a midgod, this avatar of his needed only to gain sufficient divine energy and making breakthroughs would come with ease. After having exhausted all his divine essences of death, the fastest way to continue advancing his divine energy was to engulf that of another cultivator.

Han Shuo had previously overcome the negative effects of engulfing divine energy and therefore wasn’t afraid of becoming addicted again. Although Han Shuo couldn’t just slaughter any random person he met as his conscience wouldn’t allow him to, he certainly didn’t feel the same way about other godhunters. This was why Han Shuo did not immediately leave after discovering the presence of a few godhunters in Greenfire Swamp and became rejoiced.

With his senses extended by the use of demon generals, Han Shuo became one of the most terrifying hunters in the Greenfire Swamp. Two midgod godhunters cultivating in the energy of death became Han Shuo’s first target.

His prey were a man and a woman. The man looked to be in his thirties while the woman looked around forty years old. Needless to say, this was in reference to the mortals on Earth and Profound Continent. Their actual ages were certainly far, far higher than that. 

The man and woman were hiding in the dark, silently observing a cave made of rocks that were cooked by the green flames to glow bright red, waiting to ambush on random, innocent passersby who walked into their view. Funnily enough, they were not aware that they were being stalked by Han Shuo!

Han Shuo had eyes on the pair for three days. The female was a mid-stage midgod while the male was an early-stage midgod. They had attacked twice during the three days and managed to engulf the divine energies of an early-stage lowgod and a mid-stage lowgod who went to extract energy ores in the cave.

“Faria, are you sure about that?” the man softly asked.

“Do not question my observations. The energy undulation on that little girl is abnormally intense. She must be carrying a highgod divine weapon with her. If we can get the divine weapon, we will be rich!” that woman named Faria said, licking her lips. Her eyes were bursting with lights of greed and cruelty. 

“Highgod divine weapon? Hehe… That would be wonderful!” the man laughed and suddenly asked, “And how old is the girl? What does she look like? You should know about my… fetish… hehe…”

“God’s sake, Grussie. I don’t care what you want to do but put it off until we get the highgod divine weapon. If you interfere with my business in any way, you won’t see any mercy from me!” Faria softly cursed.

After waiting for a long while, a beautiful little girl who appeared to be around ten years old suddenly walked out from the cave. She had fair skin, purple hair that trailed over her shoulders, and a pair of purple eyes that were filled with frigid coldness. Although she looked like a doll, she did not appear adorable as the air of coldness she carried was too intense. In fact, she appeared rather unkind.

Grussie suddenly began to heave heavy breaths when he saw the girl. His face was flushed with excitement as he softly squealed, “A beauty! An absolute beauty! I like!”

“Her bodyguards haven’t caught up to her yet. Now is the best time to nab her. Move!” Faria too was clearly very excited, but her interest was only on the divine weapon possessed by that little girl.

Two trails of sinister radiances suddenly shot out from a spot of darkness. A domain of divinity of death abruptly shrouded that little girl. They went grabbing at her excitedly.

“Oh no! This is way too soon!” During the three days that Han Shuo stalked the pair, he did not interfere with their assaults but used those opportunities to observe and get a clear understanding of their strengths. But this time, when he saw that this beautiful little girl about to fall into their treacherous attack, he finally decided to step forward to rescue her. Han Shuo did not expect that the two would be so hasty in attacking her.

However, at the very next instance, something completely unexpected happened…

A splendid and dazzling curtain of light bursts from the little girl with the eerie complexion. A most bizarre energy field was emitted spontaneously. The light curtain was like a nuclear plasma grinder that could pulverize all matter. Faria and Grussie were transformed into bloody mist and fine bloody particles that were sprinkling everywhere before Han Shuo could even tell what happened.

“What a beautiful scene!” a warm smile blossomed from the little girl’s cold face as blood sprinkled down and drenched her petite figure. She then mumbled to herself, “There seems to be one more person…”

 

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