GDK 784: Soaring Cloud Mountain Range
The sky of the Soaring Cloud Mountain Range was constantly covered with thick, low-hanging clouds - so low that one could seemingly touch the clouds just by leaping.
It was early in the morning. Glistening dew hung from the leaves of the green shrubs as though they had been sprinkled with crystal dust. A thin fog filled the ancient forests and mountain range. It was as though the fog was connected to the clouds low in the sky. It was a beautiful scenery to behold.
Han Shuo and his party, as expected, were the first competing party to arrive at Soaring Cloud Mountain Range. Han Shuo had used his demon generals to scan all around the Mountain Range and found that no other divine guards from other Corps had arrived yet.
After thinking for a while, Han Shuo asked Bollands to disperse the divine guards. He commanded the divine guards to split into nine squadrons so that they could familiarize themselves with the terrain and situation in the Mountain Range, especially the hidden caves and rivers.
Most of those in the Fifth Corps were newly recruited. They were not familiar with the terrain around the City of Shadows. Being the first to arrive at Soaring Cloud Mountain Range, Han Shuo figured this extra time would be a good opportunity for his men to get better prepared for the competition.
The divine guards in the other Corps were mostly veterans. They had frequently carried out missions all around the City of Shadows and were unlikely to be unfamiliar with the Soaring Cloud Mountain Range. Perhaps that was the reason why they did not rush to the Mountain Range.
At Bollands’ command, the divine guards split into nine squadrons and dispersed around Han Shuo. They slowly explored the misty Mountain Range and memorized the terrain to the best of their ability.
Wherever the divine guards went, the demon generals would follow. Han Shuo could observe the situation in the entire mountain range without needing to move a step. The demon generals stealthily followed the nine squadrons as they thoroughly explored and familiarized themselves with the mountain range.
The Soaring Clouds Mountain Range was vast. It was even larger than Fort Lasberg that currently belonged to the House of Han. The demon generals had explored merely half of the mountain range after two days of exploration. The mountain range also had all kinds of magical beasts and plants. But as this place was located near the City of Shadows, the magical beasts were not all that strong. They did not pose any threat to Han Shuo and his divine guards.
Han Shuo was greatly interested in the strange plants that grew in the mountain range. As Han Shuo’s divine guards had nothing urgent to do but to explore the terrain, Han Shuo commanded them to collect some bizarre plants for him while exploring. The divine guards were no pharmacists and they could not tell which plants would be of interest to Han Shuo. Therefore, Han Shuo asked them to collect plants with peculiar shapes and any plants that looked rare and unusual.
Han Shuo’s instructions had proven useful. Plants that looked different from ordinary plants were usually extremely poisonous or possessed unique properties. The divine guards that dispersed far and wide scanned their surroundings carefully and managed to collect many unique plants useful to Han Shuo.
One of the divine guards collected a dozen or more shoots of scarlet grasses. Its leaves were were like blades and its stalk was blood red. It was as though blood was flowing in the grass.
“Where did you find these?” asked Han Shuo. His eyes shone brightly as soon as he saw the scarlet grasses.
It was Bloodessence Grass, a very rare plant that could be used for improving blood circulation and vitality. Reckless consumption of the grass would have any ordinary person find themselves bleeding profusely from every orifice. But if someone like Han Shuo who understood its properties well, he could dissolve the power in the Grass and fuse it with his demonic yuan to form blood essences.
Blood essence was the fuel that powered the demonic infant. They were also fundamental to the refining of some demonic weapons and utilization of some demonic techniques. The dozen or more Bloodessence Grasses could let Han Shuo form a few hundred drops of blood essences in his demonic infant without needing him to spend much demonic yuan.
Sanguis gasped and went to Han Shuo excitedly. His eyes gradually grew redder as he stared at the Bloodessence Grass. He said, pleasantly surprised, “Master, I can sense that this plant contains a very miraculous energy. I think it will be very beneficial to me!”
Han Shuo turned to Sanguis and stared blankly for a moment. When he saw the redness in Sanguis’ eyes, he finally came to his senses. “I almost forget that you cultivate in Bloodgod Mantra!”
Han Shuo put away nine of the Bloodessence Grass and handed the rest to Sanguis. He said, “Consume it directly and absorb the energy within. It is more beneficial to you than it is to me!”
Sanguis hastily shook his head and replied, “Master, if it is useful to you, you should have all of them.”
Sanguis was very loyal to Han Shuo. Ever since leaving the Abyss Realm, Sanguis had taken Han Shuo as his only family as it was Han Shuo who had given him a new life. Therefore, when Sanguis heard that the Bloodessence Grass was also useful for Han Shuo, he immediately refused the Grass so that Han Shuo could have all of it.
Han Shuo shook his head and explained, “This is called Bloodessence Grass. The energy that you sense in these Grasses can help me condense more blood essences, while for you, this energy can directly boost your strength. That’s why I say, it is more useful to you than it is to me.” When Han Shuo saw that Sanguis was going to decline again, he interrupted, “You are my apprentice. The stronger you are, the more it’d look good on me. I’m commanding you as your Master to stop declining!”
Sanguis hesitated for a moment after hearing the words. He finally nodded and accepted the Bloodessence Grass. He ate the Grass raw right before Han Shuo.
Sanguis chewed and swallowed the dozen or more Bloodessence Grasses. Its thick and scarlet juice, which looked very much like fresh blood, left a trail from a corner of Sanguis’ lips as he munched on with great satisfaction.
Suddenly, Sanguis’ eyes turned scarlet as though they had been filled with blood and his face turned dark red as though it was smeared with blood. A thin mist made of blood slowly emanated from Sanguis. The mist did not dissipate but curled around him. A faint but sharp scent of blood came from him.
Then, Sanguis’ blooded eyes started to twinkle as the energy in the Bloodessence Grass slowly fused with the blood in his body. After a while, Sanguis took in a deep breath. The mist of blood that lingered around him disappeared into his nostrils.
Sanguis let out a burp. He joyously said, “Thank you, Master! This Bloodessence Grass is really useful to me. I can feel that my blood has become purer than ever!”
“Brilliant!” Han Shuo then turned to the divine guard and asked, “This grass, where did you find it?”
The divine guard who had been staring at Sanguis in astonishment for half a day was suddenly snapped out of his daze. He hastily replied, “I do not know how to describe the location but I can lead Your Lordship to the place!”
The divine guard had lived on Elysium for many years but he had never seen any being like Sanguis who could put the blood energy in his body to use, and so skillfully at that. He thought that only someone as unusual as Han Shuo could have such an unusual apprentice.
“Alright. Show us the way,” replied Han Shuo calmly. The divine guard then led Han Shuo and Sanguis to where he discovered the Bloodessence Grass.
Bloodessence Grass was a unique plant that grew by absorbing the energy in blood. Energy can be found in the blood of every living thing. The stronger the organism, the more energy it has in its blood. When a creature happened to perish beside the Bloodessence Grass, the blood from the creature’s body would be absorbed by the plant, allowing it to mature.
Generally speaking, even if several mighty creatures perished close together, the blood energy from those creatures could nurture just one or two shoots of Bloodessence Grass. The fact that the divine guard found more than a dozen shoots in one go was very bizarre. That was why Han Shuo was interested in examining the site in person.
Soon enough, the three arrived at a shallow stream. The water at its deepest could barely reach their ankles. Various kinds of plants were growing on the stream, among which were several shoots of Bloodessence Grass yet to be collected.
The divine guard pointed at the stream and said, “I collected the grasses from that stream. I saw that the grass was oddly tinted and looked as though there was blood in them and so I collected some. Look! There are a few more shoots still standing on the water. I did not collect all of them as I did not know if the grass would be useful.”
Right after the divine guard finished those words, Sanguis shot forward and plucked all the remaining Bloodessence Grass. He returned smilingly and presented the grass to Han Shuo, “Master, I have eaten more than a dozen bundles. Master should keep these!”
Han Shuo did not decline. He casually put away the few Bloodessence Grass handed over by Sanguis while his eyes were fixed on the stream. His consciousness quietly assembled at that region to probe for the stream’s secrets.
“Master, what are you looking for?” Sanguis couldn’t help but ask.
Han Shuo did not answer. With one thought, the seventeen flying swords whistled and shot straight at the stream. Crackling and rattling noises then came from the stream. The seventeen flying swords had cut off the weeds and excavated the stream. Broken rocks, dust and sludge were sent flying in every direction.
The seventeen flying swords then returned to Han Shuo while he suddenly flew into the hole he excavated. He emerged from underneath the stream carrying a blood-red rock the size of a fully grown man. The rock seemed to be made from blood. The red color looked eerie and its appearance could make some feel uncomfortable.
After excavating the blood red rock from under the stream, Han Shuo put on a faint smile and said to Sanguis, “You lacked a decent weapon all this time. Hehe, I now finally have the material to build you one!”
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