GDK 789: Conflict
On Elysium, citizens were expected to be humble and respectful of the Overgod of the Dominion that they lived in. Han Shuo’s behavior could be considered blasphemy against the Darkness Overgod. It was a serious crime. If he was deemed guilty of the crime, it could have an immediate impact on Han Shuo’s prospects in the City of Shadows.
Therefore, when Han Shuo saw that sneer on Ralph’s face, an uneasy feeling rose from his heart.
As expected, when the religious ceremony ended and everyone lifted their heads and returned to their feet, Ralph immediately shouted, “Lord Bryan, how dare you behave with such impiety as not to kneel on the ground! As a follower of the Overgod, such an act of disrespect towards the Overgod is unforgivable!”
Wallace opened his mouth to make an announcement but was somewhat astonished by Ralph’s claim. He swept his eyes over to Han Shuo, bunched his brows, and asked, “Bryan, is this true?”
“I did not expect Lord Ralph to be such a vindictive man. I’m very disappointed that Lord Ralph has decided to make such a grave slander against me over a small quarrel we had two days ago!” Of course Han Shuo was not about to admit it. If Han Shuo was buckled with the bad name of blasphemy, it could easily be used against him and cause him countless troubles down the road.
“Lord Bryan, you seem to have a great talent of lying through your teeth. You had the audacity to commit the sin so don’t be such a coward at admitting your deeds!” shouted Ralph coldly as he stared intently at Han Shuo with his piercing eyes. It was as though Ralph was trying to make Han Shuo feel nervous through overwhelming pressure. Wallace, Andre, and others present were sharp-eyed. They could detect even the tiniest bit of uneasiness that showed on Han Shuo’s face.
But unfortunately for them, Han Shuo’s mind was staunch beyond what they could imagine. Not only did Han Shuo not reveal the slightest feeling of guilt under Ralph’s penetrating eagle eyes, but he even managed to put on the perfect act of having been wronged. He glared at Ralph angrily and rebutted, “Lord Ralph, we both know which of us is actually lying. Do you not have any conscience?”
“You! You are lying through your teeth!” Ralph immediately shouted. He did not expect Han Shuo to be so good at acting.
Han Shuo let out a sigh, shook his head, and remarked disappointedly, “I have always thought that Lord Ralph was a principled and truthful man. I really did not expect that you of all people to make such defamations against me just because we had a small argument. Have you no shame?!”
“Oi, Ralph, do you really have to make such a big fuss over something so trivial?” said Erebus in a loud voice. Erebus soon noticed that everyone’s gazes had gathered on him. So he explained, “A few days earlier, Bryan and Ralph had a small argument over at Lord Aobashi’s campsite!”
“I don’t think that Lord Bryan is one to lie!” said Casper, the patriarch of the House of Kinson.
The other two patriarchs immediately nodded and repeated the opinion, implying that Ralph was making a false accusation against Han Shuo. Ralph was perhaps the most hated man in the City of Shadows. The three patriarchs detested Ralph and would grab on to any opportunity to slam him. But instead of criticizing Ralph directly, they remarked that Han Shuo was a trustworthy person.
Wallace looked back and forth at Ralph and Han Shuo with his brows bunched. After thinking in silence for a moment, he said, “Ralph may be mistaken with what he saw. Alright, let’s move forward and not raise this little misunderstanding anymore!”
Although still filled with anger, Ralph silenced himself. He knew that Wallace was actually defending him.
Han Shuo still had that innocent look on his face. His eyes were filled with sadness and disappointment when he looked at Ralph. Those who didn’t know better might even think that Han Shuo felt pity for Ralph for how he had conducted himself!
In his mind, however, Han Shuo was laughing his ass off. From the attitude of the three major patriarchs, Han Shuo could tell that Ralph was sure enough very unpopular. In addition, the fact that not a single member of the Sainte Family had spoken a word to defend Ralph was proof that Carmelita’s words were true - even the members of the Sainte Family disliked this loyal hound of Wallace’s!
Han Shuo was relieved at the fact that Ralph was so unpopular. He knew that if he were to come into actual conflict with Ralph, this would be an advantage he had against Ralph.
With that, the disturbance died down. Wallace completed the remainder of his speech and started explaining the rules for the competition.
Other than Han Shuo who was new there, all the participants knew the rules like the back of their hands. In fact, Wallace’s only targeted audience was Han Shuo. But thankfully, Han Shuo had Aobashi and Erebus explain to him everything about the rules long ago. When Wallace saw Han Shuo nod his head to indicate that he already understood the rules, Wallace sped up and quickly finished his speech.
Each Divine Guard Corps was represented by one company. The company could not be more than a hundred men strong and there could be no highgod among them. Although it was forgivable to cause accidental injury and death, premeditated killing was strictly prohibited. Each company was not to cause more than five deaths.
Competition between companies would take place before duels between the Chiefs. The given objectives would be different every centennial. Sometimes the seven companies would race to a goalpost, fighting and hindering each other along the way. Sometimes they would have to hunt for magical beasts and collect the most magical cores to be the victor.
But the competition this time was somewhat special. Wallace had hidden a number of divine essences around the eastern part of Soaring Cloud Mountain Range. The divine guards had seven days to find those divine essences. They were also allowed to plunder from other teams. However, those were no ordinary divine essences. Wallace and Andre had placed spells on them such that they would emanate unique and perceptible energy fluctuations once removed from where they were hidden.
During those seven days, the companies may look for the divine essences, steal, or plunder from each other. After the time was up, the company with the most divine essences would be proclaimed the victor. It was also worth mentioning that the companies were not allowed to cooperate with each other and while two companies were engaging, no third company was to intervene.
Those two rules were actually added specially for Aobashi and Erebus. Wallace and Andre knew that Erebus was overfond of Aobashi. If the First Corps and Third Corps joined hands, the victor was certain to be one of them. It was to prevent that scenario that such a specific rule was added!
After having quickly explained all the rules and their objectives for the competition, Wallace commanded the companies to start marching towards the easternmost part of Soaring Cloud Mountain Range.
Before Kiffan departed, he was summoned by Ralph who whispered something into his ears. Kiffan nodded repeatedly in response. Before his company started marching, he cast a cold and sinister gaze at Barnard in the distance.
The Second Corps divine guards had as much expression as stones but they emanated intense killing intent. Their gazes towards others were extremely fierce. They were like predators scanning their prey. Compared to divine guards of other Corps, those from the Second Corps were distinctly more fearsome. That imposing demeanor of theirs was simply incomparable.
The divine guards of the Fifth Corps, on the contrary, were very relaxed - so much so that the crowd had trouble processing what they saw. Peals of laughter never ceased coming from the Fifth Corps divine guards. They did not show the slightest nervousness before a major competition. Those who didn’t know better might even think that they were going on a field trip!
Compared to the other participants, especially those of the Second Corps, the Fifth Corps divine guards just seemed too offbeat. Wallace, Andre, the three major patriarchs, and the Divine Guard Chiefs were all bewildered. They did not expect that those divine guards who appeared so solemn and grave earlier would become the opposite when it was time to fight!
Of the observers, only Han Shuo alone wore a satisfied smile. When the other participating teams arrived at Soaring Cloud Mountain Range, Han Shuo instructed the divine guards to cease their preparation, relax, and loosen up. He even allowed the divine guards to drink and have fun so that they wouldn’t be affected by stress. These divine guards had walked through the Eight Desolation and Torment Formation. Han Shuo was not worried about their capabilities at all. The only thing he was worried about was that he might have given them too much pressure. Seeing that his divine guards were smiling and laughing as they walked to the competition arena, Han Shuo was not worried about that anymore.
The close to seven hundred divine guards departed following Wallace’s instruction.
The easternmost part of Soaring Cloud Mountain Range was only a day’s journey away from where they started. After the divine guards departed, Wallace and Andre started setting up the sand table placed on the center viewing platform. Wallace was holding a space divine device. Threads of divine energy steadily overflowed from it and fell on the sand table portraying the eastern part of Soaring Cloud Mountain Range. It was synchronized with the energy towers located in the region in some bizarre manner.
After running around busily for a while, Wallace suddenly stuck the space divine device at the center of the sand table and caused an intense fluctuation to spacetime around the sand table. Then, a glass-like space energy barrier formed like a dome covering the sand table.
Under Han Shuo’s attentive gazes, the scene portrayed on the sand table transformed. The flora and fauna on it turned intricate and lifelike. A moment later, yet another spacetime disturbance came from the sand table.
When the disturbance eased, Han Shuo saw that the sand table had zoomed in on the easternmost region of the Soaring Cloud Mountain Range. Everything happening in the region was clearly projected onto the table. They could even see the troops moving across the table like little ants.
“This space divine device is connected to the energy towers located in that region. Using this device, we can observe everything happening over there without taking a step away. We won’t just be able to keep an eye on them and make sure no mishaps come to pass, but we will be able to tell which team has the strongest divine guards,” explained Wallace smilingly to the crowd after everything was properly set up. He seemed very pleased with himself.
As expected, the crowd started praising how wonderful and miraculous the divine device was and took the opportunity to fawn over Wallace implicitly. Han Shuo, however, was feeling rather uneasy. Had he known that Wallace had such a device, he wouldn’t have issued those despicable orders to Barnard. He wouldn’t want anyone there to watch Barnard executing his orders for it could land him in trouble.
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