GDK 733: Returning to the city

After the stand-off with Brovst, Han Shuo learned to be even more careful in tracking the godhunters. Fortunately for Han Shuo, the plain wasn’t particularly vast and it only took them one day to cross it. The terrain that followed was filled with rivers, hills, and bottomless cliffs - places most suitable for demon generals to hide. Therefore, Han Shuo was able to keep a close eye on the godhunters again.

Han Shuo continued to follow them. Then, on the thirteenth day, the group of godhunters arrived at a huge valley where the air was filled with mist and the ground covered with swamps and odd-looking stone pillars.

Before entering the valley, Han Shuo discovered that there were concealment boundaries deployed everywhere as well as several energy towers that were embedded inside towering trees. An abnormally intense energy fluctuation was filling every corner. Multiple dark silhouettes concealed in the dark were secretly observing the godhunters as they entered.

After observing from a great distance away using his demon generals, Han Shuo suddenly discovered that even Brovst, Gallas and Taylin humbled in postures after arriving at the valley. When passing through the checkpoints, even though they did not bow or bend their knees, they were cautious and solemn in attitude.

Han Shuo was shocked by the scene he witnessed as, to his understanding, Brovst, Gallas and Taylin were the leaders among them. They should have behaved like kings after returning to their base. Han Shuo did not expect to see them perform otherwise.

After giving it a thought, Han Shuo was jolted by the conclusion he arrived at. There was only one scenario that could explain the phenomenon - Brovst, Gallas and Taylin were not the top bosses in the Godhunter Alliance! 

The trio were all roughly in mid-stage highgod realm. If they weren’t even the actual leaders of the Godhunter Alliance, then the strength of this Alliance was just shocking.

There were sentries located all over the valley. The energy fluctuation produced by the energy towers had covered the entire valley, enveloping it under layers upon layers of boundaries. Under such rigid security and defenses, there was no way that Han Shuo could infiltrate the base, not even his demon general could get a glimpse - it would trigger the outermost barrier right away and invite godhunters to swarm the valley. If that happened, Han Shuo would have a hard time escaping. 

Besides, if Han Shuo’s hypothesis was correct, there could very well be a late-stage highgod in the valley. Han Shuo would be in real deep trouble if he angered a being of that class.

Han Shuo took time to carefully observe the perimeters of the valley. After realizing that there was no way he could infiltrate the valley silently, out of consideration for his own safety, Han Shuo decided to temporarily give up on scouting the inside of the valley.

This valley was no longer within the influence of the City of Shadows, but somewhere between the City of Shadows and Mirage City. As Han Shuo had memorized the precise location of this base, he figured that perhaps someday in the future, he would return here with an army and flatten this base, making a significant contribution, solidifying his position in the City of Shadows.

After having come to the decision, Han Shuo stopped hesitating and silently returned on the path he came from.

He traveled to a safe distance from the valley, spent a day memorizing the environment, and finally left, flying in the direction of the City of Shadows.

It had been nearly two months since Han Shuo parted with the Andrina and the others. The godhunters had given up on searching the mountain range. If everything had gone well, they were to be on their way to the City of Shadows in an airship.

Han Shuo did not return to that mountain range but headed for the City of Shadows. As Han Shuo wasn’t in a hurry, he decided to collect medicinal ingredients on the way home. He had spent nearly three months on a journey that required merely ten days.

Nearly all the House of Sainte divine guards recognized Han Shuo. They greeted him respectfully when he appeared at the city gate of the City of Shadows.

“Goth, have you seen people from my Celestial Pearl enter the city recently? Most of them are just demigods and are very weak,” Han Shuo smilingly nodded at a divine guard he was acquainted with before immediately asking him about Andrina and the others.

“No, there aren’t any demigods who entered the city recently. You should know that demigods aren’t allowed to enter the city unless they are under the custody of certain special characters, for example, Mister Bryan, that they would be allowed to enter and live in the City of Shadows,” Goth took the opportunity to flatter Han Shuo indirectly.

There was indeed such a policy in the City of Shadows. Any regular outsider who had not even reached basegod strength wouldn’t be qualified to enter the City of Shadows. Only the towns around it would take in this type of people. Before they reached basegod strength, they could not get their own divine tablet and would, therefore, be a hassle after entering the city. If they were killed, nobody would even know who the body belonged to.

But, as always, there were exceptions to the rules. If the outsiders were important relatives to large family clans in the city, or under the guardianship of respected characters, they would be granted entry.

Han Shuo’s heart sank after hearing the reply. He handed Goth a bottle of Rejuvenation Pills and smilingly asked, “Can I bother you to check with the other city gates if any demigods have tried to enter?”

Goth’s eyes shone. He received the bottle excitedly and immediately replied, “One moment please, I will ask around for you!”

Goth left hastily upon finishing those words. A few minutes later, Goth walked down from an energy tower, shook his head, and said to Han Shuo, “I’m sorry, I’ve checked but nothing like that has happened in the last six months.”

“Thanks...” Han Shuo felt rather worried but still, he decided to enter the City of Shadows.

If everything went as planned, Andrina and her party should have arrived at the City of Shadows around two months ago. Although Andrina’s power was extraordinary and they should be safe without godhunters obstructing their way, Han Shuo’s heart could not be at ease. 

Han Shuo returned to the Celestial Pearl Pharmacy with a rattled mind.

Akley and Gu Li updated Han Shuo with the recent happenings in the City of Shadows. The Celestial Pearl Pharmacy continued its upward momentum, raking in crystal coins day after day. They managed to recruit more pharmacists and various talents, allowing three more branches to open for business.

The top position of the Fifth Corps remained vacant. Although every family clan in the city drooled for this post, no one could locate Avery. It appeared that the post would remain unoccupied until someone chopped off Avery’s head and presented it to the City Lord.

The House of Lavers grew even more low-profile. They had avoided participating in most activities in the City of Shadows. Besides Felder, the patriarch, most members of the Lavers Family had left the City of Shadows. The House of Lavers continued its rapid decline.

Carmelita had been to the Celestial Pearl Pharmacy twice while Han Shuo was away. She asked Akley to have Han Shuo look for her at the Sainte Residence as soon as he returned.

The House of Sainte had been busy cracking down on godhunters within their territories. The godhunters had been rampant and causing havoc in the City of Shadows, greatly enraging Wallace. He felt that the presence of the godhunters had severely threatened the business activities of his city and dispatched divine guards from the First and Second Corps to hunt down the godhunters.

Members of the other three large family clans had frequently visited the Celestial Pearl Pharmacy, asking when Han Shuo would produce new medicines. Rugersey, who had once had a misunderstanding with Han Shuo, would purchase a ton of medicines every time he visited. Rugersey never haggled; in fact, he was in the habit of giving large tips every time. His intention was obvious to everyone.

“Has Andrina returned? Any news from her?” Han Shuo bunched his brows and asked after listening to Akley narrate the recent occurrences.

“Nope, no news at all!” Akley then looked at Han Shuo puzzlingly and asked, “Didn’t you leave with her? Why have you returned alone?”

“We came across some trouble on our way back and had to return to the city separately,” Han Shuo began to feel uneasy and therefore skipped the explanation to Akley.

Akley did not ask about the details, instead consoling Han Shuo with a smile, “Don’t you worry. With her strength, what could possibly happen to her?”

If Andrina was traveling alone, how could Han Shuo not be worried? He was worried about the group of people under her care. Those characters who used to dictate the rise and fall of empires back on Profound Continent were as powerless as babies on Elysium. Even an average youth living in an average village had enough strength to kill them all.

“Forget about it. I’ll go look for Carmelita. Perhaps she knows something,” Han Shuo said, promptly heading out to the Sainte Residence without further explaining the situation to Akley.

Han Shuo could be considered a regular visitor of the Sainte Family. The divine guards at the Sainte Residence would humbly bow and greet when they saw Han Shuo. They promptly led Han Shuo into the gymnasium after learning that he was looking for Carmelita.

“Haha, the City of Shadows has welcomed a few guests. Miss Carmelita is having a friendly match with them at the gymnasium,” the divine guard explained to Han Shuo as he led Han Shuo towards the gymnasium.

“Who are they? Why would Carmelita personally keep them company?” asked Han Shuo. He had temporarily cast his worries aside.

“They are from the other two Divine Dominions. As you know, our Darkness, Death, and Destruction Dominions have joined hands in the form of Calamity Church. However, as our Darkness Dominion only joined the Church later in time, these guests, members of large family clans from the Death and Destruction Dominions, hold a slightly higher position in the Church compared to the House of Sainte,” the divine guard explained in a low voice.

Han Shuo was a little surprised to learn that. He did not expect that members of large family clans in the two Divine Dominions would come to the City of Shadows. He wondered what business they had in the city.

The gymnasium facility in the Sainte Residence was very well-built. There was a total of eight energy towers at every corner, forming five layers of powerful barriers around the gymnasium, allowing the gymnasium to support tremendous shockwaves and bursts of energies from its users.

Han Shuo saw Carmelita as soon as he stepped inside. He saw impatience written on her face as she sat and watched two people having a duel. They were a male and a female. Both of them looked young.

The male had long, ash gray hair that would flow elegantly as he moved. He wore a grayish-green armor that had a design of three bones. It was likely the emblem of his family clan. Like Carmelita, he too possessed early-stage highgod strength. But unlike Carmelita, he cultivated in the energy of death.

The female had long brown hair tucked into a bun. She looked rather average and appeared to be married. She had a graceful and poised quality, clearly the product of an extraordinary background. She cultivated in the energy of darkness and was also an early-stage highgod. Although she had employed defensive measures all throughout the battle, she did not seem to be on the back foot and had handled the young man’s attacks calmly.

“Oh please, Charlotte is obviously going easy on you. Portlem, are you done yet?” Carmelita who had been watching the duel finally lost her cool and reproached.

The young man forced a chuckle and immediately ceased attacking. He bowed slightly at the woman and remarked, “Elder sister Charlotte, I’m truly impressed that you could stay in this condition even after marrying!”

“What does my marital status have to do with my strength declining?” Charlotte softly chuckled and praised, “You have been making quite some improvements during these years, haven’t you? I’m starting to have trouble dealing with your attacks!”

“This is the result of me putting a ton of work into cultivation!” the young man named Portlem replied with a smirk. He shot a glance at the irritated Carmelita, shook his head, and clicked his tongue in wonder, “I truly did not expect that such an enormous transformation would befall you, Carmelita. So much so that now, I’m no longer as frightened when I see you. I still remember when I first met you, I thought that you were of an alien race!”

“Shut your pie hole, Portlem! You have no idea how hard I have to fight the urge to tear a second mouth into your face everytime I see you!” Carmelita cursed angrily and continued coldly, “Don’t think that because you are now a highgod that I cannot give you a beating!”

“I’m your guest. I don’t believe you would act as impulsively as before, would you?” Portlem chuckled. He didn’t appear at all afraid of Carmelita. Perhaps he felt that he could deal with Carmelita’s attacks after advancing to highgodhood. 

“Miss Carmelita, Mister Bryan is looking for you!” It was then that the divine guard who led Han Shuo to the gymnasium politely cried out from the doorway.

Carmelita, who was about the strike Portlem, immediately turned her gaze towards the entrance. Upon seeing Han Shuo’s figure, she waved her hand smilingly and said, “Hey Bryan! Come over here, let me introduce you to two people!”

Han Shuo nodded. Wearing a faint smile, he walked towards the party in an unruffled manner.

Portlem and Charlotte ceased their conversation and placed all their attention on Han Shuo who was walking over. They were wearing amicable smiles and nodded at Han Shuo from a distance. Han Shuo responded in kind.

“This is Portlem. He is from the House of Batchelder of the Death Dominion. This is Charlotte. She is from the House of Bruckner of the Destruction Dominion. Charlotte originates from Mirage City of the Darkness Dominion but she is now married to the Bruckner Family. They are very interested in your Celestial Pearl Pharmacy. One of the goals they and their envoys have come to the City of Shadows with is to buy some of the medicines you personally refined!” Carmelita explained to Han Shuo smilingly.

“Greetings.” Han Shuo nodded at each of them cordially before he continued, “You have indeed visited at the right time - I happen to have acquired a new batch of medicinal ingredients and will have a new batch of medicines ready in two months. If you will still be in the City of Shadows at that time, I will make sure to save both of you a portion of it.”

Although the medicines that Han Shuo personally refined were infamous in the City of Shadows for their exorbitant prices, nonetheless, they remained in great demand. More often than not, all those medicines would be sold out the very day they were put on sale. The two had stayed in the City of Shadows for a period of time and had learned about how highly demanded they were. They immediately thanked Han Shuo gladly after hearing those words.

Just like the House of Sainte, the House of Batchelder and the House of Bruckner from the Death and Destruction Dominions were all exceedingly ancient family clans. As they were located in the Death and Destruction Dominions, their influences in the Calamity Church were slightly above that of the House of Sainte.

Having members of these two family clans purchase his medicines would be the most fantastic promotion for his business. After acquiring the medicines and experiencing their remarkable effects, even more family clans from the two Divine Dominions would surely travel to the City of Shadows to purchase his medicines. By then, the Celestial Pearl Pharmacy would become even more reputable and perhaps, they could come to own branches in various cities just as the Godswamp Pharmacy had.

It was for this long-term plan that Han Shuo promised them so without hesitation.

“Well thank you very much, then. We will stay in the City of Shadows for at least half a year. We will definitely be there at your pharmacy when your medicines are ready!” Charlotte immediately thanked Han Shuo smilingly.

“Indeed, price is no issue!” Portlem immediately assured. However, his gazes at Han Shuo seemed rather dodgy. It was as though he had something to hide.

“Okay, that’s enough. Both of you get on with whatever you are doing. There are some things that I need to speak to Bryan about alone.” Carmelita dragged Han Shuo away.

Both Portlem and Charlotte noticed how relaxed and straightforward Carmelita was towards Han Shuo. The two of them were stunned for a moment before they seemed to realize something. Portlem grinned and remarked disdainfully, “No wonder. I was wondering how he managed to rise so rapidly in the City of Shadows. Heh, Carmelita looked like a monster, yet this youngster soldiered on and got close to her in achieving his goals. His willpower must be quite something!”

Charlotte bunched her brows and looked at Portlem with displeased eyes. “What are you talking about? We should be happy for Carmelita that she managed to find a companion. Besides, this guy refines miraculous medicines. He will be very popular in any city he goes to. Not everyone is as deprived as you imagine!”

“The way I see it, he’s the kind of guy who leeches off women!” ridiculed Portlem. “But still, he’s quite extraordinary to be able to stomach someone like Carmelita. Truly, I can admire him - he really knows his priorities.”

“You better behave yourself. Don’t think that I have no idea about what you did on the journey. Those people said that they are from the Celestial Pearl Pharmacy and yet, you attacked. Worst of all, you failed to capture them and let them escape. You are gonna get it if they return to the City of Shadows,” Charlotte nagged.

“How would I have known that the little girl would be such a freak!” Portlem reviled after being chided by Charlotte. His face reddened when reminded of the incident. It sounded as though he had been beaten by that little girl.

 

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