GDK 740: Believe it or don’t
From the perimeter of the valley, a small group of loudly chattering divine guards were slowly walking towards the valley.
“His Lordship is very prudent and wouldn’t leave any area unsearched. Those godhunters know that the three Cities are hunting them down. They should have escaped far away long ago. How could they still be nearby?” one of the divine guards grumbled.
“Stop complaining. There’s only one more valley to go. If it checks out, we get to go home early. Besides, we aren’t the only group working overtime. Everyone else is searching too,” responded another divine guard.
The divine armor on these divine guards did not belong to the City of Shadows. They were dark green and had a sword and shield carved into their chest, an emblem unique to the House of Tule from Mirage City.
The small group of ten people was fully composed of mid-stage midgods, except for the leader, a late-stage midgod. They cultivated in the energy of death, darkness, and destruction except for one who cultivated in the energy of fire.
These people had absolutely no clue just how treacherous the valley up ahead would be. They walked closer and closer to the valley as they loudly complained about their work.
Through the observations of the demon generals, Han Shuo noticed several energy towers disguised as large trees swaying very lightly. A minute pulse of energy was covertly transmitted to the center of the valley. Several blurry figures appeared in the distance and quietly approached the divine guards.
Andrina gently tapped on Han Shuo's shoulder and whispered, “Those energy towers disguised as trees have delivered messages. Those people are out of luck!”
Andrina had a special sensitivity towards all things energy crystals, which might have something to do with the energy she cultivated in. Han Shuo knew that Andrina could even control and manipulate certain energy towers and boundary towers within a certain range. Basically, as long as the mechanism or devices was powered using energy crystals, she could temper with them.
Han Shuo nodded and replied thoughtfully, “And so be it. They are from Mirage City, after all. None of our concern.”
After hearing those words, Andrina understood that Han Shuo had no intention of warning those people. The godhunters in the valley weren’t anything that those divine guards could tackle. If Han Shuo and Andrina did nothing, those who unwarily stepped into the valley would face certain death.
Soon, a person stealthily flew out from the valley. It was Taylin, whom Han Shuo had previously seen. Taylin was a mid-stage highgod expert. Her arrival meant that their appointment with death had been booked with no cancellation.
Taylin quietly approached the group of divine guards completely oblivious to the dangers at hand. She gestured with her hand. Those godhunters who had been waiting in position slowly encircled them.
Noises of people rapidly moving suddenly sounded from the thickets. Multiple figures abruptly emerged from the shadows and pounced on the divine guards from Mirage City.
Just as expected, with Taylin’s intervention, the battle was over in no time. Miserable wails ended as soon as they began. Those unfortunate divine guards from Mirage City died with their divine energies drained.
After all that was complete, with Taylin’s gesturing, the godhunters sprinkled some powder on those bodies. A moment later, their bodies were liquefied, seeping into the ground. Other than the thin scent of blood in the air, not a shred of evidence was left behind.
Han Shuo suddenly opened his eyes wide. He exclaimed in a low voice, “Those poisons that the godhunters are using seem similar to those made by toxicologists from the Godswamp Pharmacy!”
Andrina’s expression changed slightly. “You mean?”
“The Godswamp Pharmacy could be associated with the godhunters. Otherwise, how would they have acquired those poisons?” replied Han Shuo in a deep voice.
“I see. Have they all been killed?” Andrina and Han Shuo were extremely far from where the action took place. She could hardly see what was going on.
“Yep. Of course that small group of divine guards stood no chance against the large number of godhunters. Let’s leave now and head to Skyorchid Fort. We will inform Erebus of the situation in the valley. We must assemble sufficient forces before assaulting the valley.” Han Shuo and Andrina then hastily left.
“Bryan, you are finally here. Come, come, let me introduce you, this is our top-ranking Chief of Divine Guards, Aobashi!” Erebus pulled Han Shuo to the front of Aobashi and said smilingly, “This is the Bryan I have been talking about. He is now a member of my Third Corps and he will help us find the godhunters.”
“Greetings, Lord Aobashi!” Han Shuo saluted smilingly.
Aobashi took a few glances at Han Shuo before she pulled a faint smile and said, “I have heard great things about you. Welcome aboard!”
“And you must be Andrina?” Aobashi gracefully hovered to Andrina’s side, wanting to hold her little hands. She seemed to be much more cordial towards Andrina.
Andrina bunched her brows and took a few steps backward. She wore an ice-cold expression and obviously did not want Aobashi to touch her.
“Ee?” A strange light flashed in Aobashi’s eyes when Andrina avoided her. She giggled and remarked, “Well, it seems that Erebus hasn’t been exaggerating. You are quite a shocking one, little girl.”
“You must be tired from the journey. Let me arrange your rooms so that you can rest,” said Erebus in a friendly manner.
“Nope, no need for that. Let’s get straight to business!” said Andrina, coldly.
“Ermm,” Erebus got somewhat awkward seeing Andrina receive his hospitality so poorly. He explained, “Well, we don’t know where the godhunters are hiding. We haven’t been able to discover their trails even after searching for so long, so there’s no need to rush it,”
“Bryan knows where they are. You can start assembling an army. Once we have gathered enough forces, we will set off at once!” Andrina shot a glance at Aobashi and continued softly, “You must gather more experts than yourself and Erebus, or we won’t have the chance of defeating those godhunters!”
“Oh?” Aobashi didn’t seem to buy it. She asked smilingly, “Little girl, are you saying that the joined forces of both Erebus and I are not enough to take care of those godhunters?”
“No.” Andrina shook her head and, with a serious face, explained, “I’m saying that even with Bryan, the two of you, and myself - four highgods joining forces, we would still have a hard time defeating them.”
Aobashi was shocked by those words. She did not think that Andrina was talking nonsense and therefore, she put on a solemn face and asked gravely, “What kind of situation are we talking about here?”
“You should ask him, no one knows the place better than him, except for the godhunters. After all, he's the one who discovered the base,” Andrina said as she pointed at Han Shuo.
“Bryan, you discovered godhunter trails?” Erebus cried out in surprise.
Han Shuo nodded and said in a deep voice, “I have discovered a base of the Godhunter Alliance located in a valley between the City of Shadows, Mirage City, and Hushveil City. It is heavily guarded. As far as I know, there are three mid-stage highgods in there. They seemed to be Brovst, Taylin and Gallas. These three alone will be difficult to handle. But, based on my observation, the three are not the top bosses in the valley. I reckon that there is at least one late-stage highgod expert in the valley. That’s why the few of us are not enough to defeat them and cleanse the valley!”
“What!” both Erebus and Aobashi simultaneously shouted.
Han Shuo nodded his head heavily and assured, “I’m sure that’s the case!”
Aobashi took a deep breath but she still seemed rather startled by the news. She said softly, “From what we have gathered, the leaders of the Godhunter Alliance are those three you mentioned. If the situation is as you explained, then we really will have trouble defeating them. This is a surprise! The godhunters are more powerful than we thought!”
“Aobashi, I will send messages and ask those two from the other two cities to come over. We need to plan this out properly,” said Erebus in a deep voice.
“Yes, we should hope for the best but prepare for the worst. If what Bryan believes is true and we barge into the valley recklessly, we would have a very difficult time. We should have them join the operation,” Aobashi immediately agreed.
There too were divine guards in Mirage City and Hushveil City who specialized in hunting godhunters. It seemed that they had been in touch with Erebus and Aobashi who worked under the City of Shadows. If the divine guards from the other two cities were to join the assault, they would have a much higher chance of succeeding.
Erebus immediately left the party and headed towards another building to transmit his message.
Han Shuo, Andrina and Aobashi were left to themselves. Aobashi would ask Han Shuo about the environment and other details of that valley and Han Shuo would tell her everything that his demon generals had observed. Aobashi looked grave, a sign that she believed Han Shuo’s words.
“Bryan, I find it quite odd that you should discover the valley. Why is it that Andrina doesn’t know much about the situation there but you seem to have seen every part of it?” after hearing Han Shuo’s explanation, Aobashi asked Han Shuo in astonishment as her beautiful eyes fixed intently on him.
“I have my ways!” Han Shuo was not willing to reveal much about his demon generals to Andrina, much less to Aobashi whom he had just become acquainted with.
Aobashi did not press on with the question after seeing that Han Shuo had no intention of answering it. However, it seemed as though her interest in Han Shuo had suddenly grown. She would attempt to read Han Shuo from various aspects, for example, which material plane Han Shuo came from and how his friction with Avery started.
“You need to be careful of Avery. I have experience of working with him and I know that he isn’t one to easily give up on anything. If he has taken you as his main enemy, he will not give up on bringing you down. Now that he has gone into hiding, he must be scheming something detailed to retaliate. You need to be wary!” Aobashi reminded Han Shuo gravely.
Seven days later, Aobashi and Erebus’ counterparts from Mirage City and Hushvil City arrived at Skyorchid Fort with their troops.
The one from Mirage City was called Blightsoar, a mid-stage highgod of destruction. The one from Hushveil City was called Eugene, a mid-stage highgod of darkness.
The two were very interested in the intel and had been asking Aobashi the details. When Aobashi finally explained everything to them, that highgod from Hushveil City named Eugene started sizing up Han Shuo with suspicious gazes. He asked, “He is that famous pharmacist from Celestial Pearl Pharmacy?”
“Yes. He’s the man who discovered the valley,” answered Erebus.
“He is just a pharmacist, how could he be qualified to participate in such a major military operation? Also, we have been looking for many months but have not discovered a trail. How is it that he would know where they are hiding? Aobashi, Erebus, you should know that I trust the two of you, but this guy, I’m very doubtful of his words!” said Eugene most impolitely in Han Shuo’s presence.
Han Shuo wore an indifferent face and shrugged, “Believe it or don't.”
Han Shuo could sense that this Eugene was prejudiced against him from the first moment they met. Han Shuo had never met this person before and he had no idea what sparked Eugene’s prejudice.
“Youngster, are you giving me attitude?” Eugene bunched his brows angrily and said, “Being a close friend of the master of Godswamp Pharmacy, Mister Hassling, I have heard stories about you. It is you who has appropriated the Godswamp Pharmacy’s assets in this city. Youngster, a black-hearted person you are!”
Ha! No wonder! Han Shuo sneered in his mind.
Han Shuo answered, “Hassling? You would befriend a person who secretly refines poisons and trades with godhunters?”
“Don’t you make irresponsible accusations!” rebuked Eugene, “I know Mister Hassling well. His Godswamp Pharmacy has a good name in the Darkness Dominion and he would never do such things!”
Han Shuo scoffed, shook his head, and remained silent.
“Eugene, it was the House of Sainte who confiscated Godswamp Pharmacy’s assets in the City of Shadows. Do you have a problem with that?” Erebus coldly shouted.
“Okay, that’s enough. We are here for the identical goal of getting the godhunters. We should be fighting the godhunters, not each other!” mediated Blightsoar. “The godhunters are threatening the safety of our cities. The most crucial thing we should do right now is to hit them hard. We cannot do that without working together!”
“If you do not believe Bryan’s words, your Hushveil City can stay out of this operation. I just need to report to my City Lord and he will assign another Chief of Divine Guard to fill your place. It’s your call!” said Aobashi. Naturally, she would stand with Han Shuo and Erebus.
“I will go there with you. I want to see if this youngster is just making things up!” Eugene coldly groaned and continued, “We know all about the godhunters. Never have I heard of the presence of late-stage highgods in their alliance, and I do not believe that there is one!”
“Believe it or don't!” Han Shuo coldly groaned.
“Guys, less talk, more work. Let’s assemble our troops and head to the valley. If we could purge those godhunters, then this cannot be better news for our cities,” said Blightsoar.
The few ceased their quarrel.
Erebus, Aobashi, Blightsoar, and Eugene each lead a brigade of divine guards. The majestic army of four hundred gods strong headed for the valley with Han Shuo leading the way. They had been cautious and solemn in the journey. As they were separated, Han Shuo and Eugene did not have a chance to quarrel.
On day twelve, the army arrived at the perimeters of the valley.
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