GDK 814: VIP Treatment
***Ethereal City, the City Lord’s manor house.
Baum welcomed Han Shuo's arrival with the most pompous ceremony and was treating him as a distinguished guest. Most of the people in the mansion were surprised and confused. They did not know why their City Lord would treat a youngster with such great respect.
But after they learned of Han Shuo’s identity, they too started looking at Han Shuo with great excitement. It appeared that Han Shuo’s customers from the City of Shadows had been eagerly promoting the Celestial Pearl Pharmacy everywhere, even in distant lands.
Although Baum was the City Lord of Ethereal City and a very mighty expert, he did not establish any family clan of his own. It was a very different situation from the City of Shadows where ancient family clans wielded great political powers. Baum did not even have a relative living with him. His manor house appeared simple and crude, and yet, it carried a solemn atmosphere.
It was apparent that the divine guards loved and respected their City Lord very much. Although he did not have a family clan, he had several divine armies under his command, allowing him to firmly secure Ethereal City under his rule.
Han Shuo and Baum decided on the location for the new Celestial Pearl Pharmacy branch shortly after entering the manor house. Baum straightforwardly ceded a shop lot in the most bustling region in Ethereal City and even offered to help Han Shuo with everything else.
Han Shuo found it somewhat difficult to adapt to Baum’s abrupt change in attitude. After hearing Baum’s plans, Han Shuo asked, “Many thanks for your generosity, City Lord. Erm, I will give you thirty percent of all the profits generated from this branch. Is that alright with you?”
Back then, Bolten, Bowen, and Li Wei traveled thousands of miles to the City of Shadows and asked Han Shuo to set up branches of Celestial Pearl in the Dominions of Death and Destruction where they came from. They proposed the collaboration with the intention of getting rich together. From how Han Shuo sees it, Baum must also be having similar thoughts in being so helpful and enthusiastic.
But out of Han Shuo’s expectation, Baum immediately shook his head when he heard Han Shuo’s generous proposal. He replied, “No, you don’t need to do that. You just need to follow the rules of the Ethereal City and pay ten percent in taxes to the City. Such are the customs of Ethereal City. I, personally, will not have any crystal coins from you.”
Han Shuo stared blankly for a moment and was rather confused. The shop lot Baum ceded to him was a sizable area in a pricey estate. Baum was even willing to help Han Shuo with recruiting and settle all the miring procedures. Han Shuo basically needed to do nothing but refine medicines. He found it very baffling that Baum did not want any financial compensation for helping him with all those works.
While Han Shuo stared at him with astonished gazes, Baum explained, “Don’t be surprised. I have told you just then that the Space and Destiny Dominions are unlike any other Dominions. Not only that we allow any person to live here, we administrators are here only to maintain the most basic order in the City. This place is basically as free as it gets. In normal circumstances, we will not interfere with your business. I just need ten percent of the profits generated by the businesses to maintain the divine guard armies of the City.”
Han Shuo was even more amazed when he realized that Baum was not joking. He also started to like Ethereal City much more. Seeing that Baum had no intention of taking part of his profits, Han Shuo didn't insist on giving his money away. He put on a faint smile, nodded, and said, “The Ethereal City is truly a wonderful place. Haha, I’m liking this city already!”
“The presence of Celestial Pearl Pharmacy will benefit the gods of Ethereal City. That is why I’m doing everything I can to help you with opening a branch here!” Baum continued, “I will settle everything with your shop within five days. You may write a statement for recruiting shop assistants and pharmacists, I will have the divine guards post the announcement. Ethereal City is filled with all sorts of talents and there is no lack of excellent pharmacists. In this city, you can find anything that you want!”
“That’s great!” Han Shuo was glad. He did not expect to receive such treatment from Baum even though they fought. Han Shuo got rather curious about this City Lord that has no family clan.
“If you have no lodging yet, please stay in my manor house. I have many empty rooms and gymnasiums. You may stay here for as long as you like, as long as you do not mind that the place is rather crude,” invited Baum.
“Well, I shall trouble you then,” Han Shuo bluntly and smilingly agreed.
Han Shuo and Baum did not continue to exchange pleasantries. Baum provided Han Shuo, Rose, and Earth Elite Zombie with a rather quiet, seven-story tall building. The ground floor was a gymnasium and the rest of the building were rooms, living spaces, and some commonly found living facilities.
Rose, who was a clean freak, immediately went to take a bath. Han Shuo and Earth Elite Zombie, meanwhile, went to a spacious lounge on the third floor. Earth Elite Zombie started narrating what he experienced in the past fifty years, including his encounter with Verón.
Fifty years ago, after leaving Han Shuo, Earth Elite Zombie headed straight for the Earth Dominion. As the Earth Dominion had the most cultivators of the energy of earth on Elysium, it was the most abundant with knowledge and divine weapons of that energy. After arriving in the Earth Dominion, Earth Elite Zombie began attempting to communicate and interact with people.
It was after he left Han Shuo and tried to survive in this world that Earth Elite Zombie realized just how wonderful, treacherous, and complicated the world really was. He came into contact with all sorts of characters.
With that, Earth Elite Zombie started to grow up rapidly. He had met a fair share of kind-hearted people, devious people, and all those in between.
In those few decades, Earth Elite Zombie experienced many friendships and betrayals. He had found himself in dire straits multiple times but in the end, he would always manage to survive by using his capability and understanding of the earth energy. Through this process, Earth Elite Zombie rapidly increased in strength.
Earth Elite Zombie was born from the Place of Extreme Earth and made of the yuan energy of earth. Because of that, he can grasp and understand profound concepts about the energy of earth faster and better than anyone. Having repeatedly faced and defused life-threatening situations, Earth Elite Zombie repeatedly made breakthroughs and rose in strength at an astonishing rate, attaining mid-stage midgodhood in the short time of a few decades.
Earth Elite Zombie quickly became a famous character in the Earth Dominion for his ability to freely and stealthily roam underground. After that, he went through a series of ordeals and incidents, offending several young broods of large family clans in Akaji City. Having grown bolder and more audacious than ever, by using the special talent he had, Earth Elite Zombie recklessly murdered those younglings.
His deeds were exposed in no time. The big-wigs of Akaji City who lost their sons were infuriated and they sent men to hunt Earth Elite Zombie all around the City. Earth Elite Zombie calculated that it was near the time of his appointment with Han Shuo and so he started traveling towards Ethereal City. During his journey, he occasionally surfaced from underground and was spotted by people. Therefore, Verón managed to pursue him all the way to Ethereal City.
In those short few decades, Earth Elite Zombie experienced and encountered an untold number of trials and tribulations, enabling him to grow up rapidly. No matter in terms of intelligence or social skills, Earth Elite Zombie had become much more mature than before. After hearing a detailed recount of his experience, Han Shuo realized that Earth Elite Zombie had truly turned into a high-intelligence lifeform. He was no longer that unsophisticated and naive zombie that only knows to carry out his order like a robot.
“I did not expect that you would experience and learn so much after leaving me. It seems that your decision back then was the right choice,” lamented Han Shuo.
Back then, the Elite Zombies and Little Skeleton were all fully reliant on him and only does things as he commanded. The lifeforms they met in the Netherworld were all of low-intelligence and therefore their growth was slow. But after arriving on Elysium, all those they met were sinister, scheming, and powerful characters. In such an environment, they could either grow or die.
“Yes, this world is wonderful and much more interesting than the Netherworld. Everyone here is strong and mighty. Some were even crafty. It is only natural that I would grow after living with these people. Hehe, Father, you seem to have become much stronger than before. So much so that you manage to tame that woman!” said Earth Elite Zombie smilingly in his eternally naive and innocent look.
“You and your brothers are all growing strong. I mustn’t stop improving either. Otherwise, someday in the future, I might become a burden to you little fellas!” Han Shuo’s heart was at peace and he felt contented. Talking to Earth Elite Zombie was like talking to an old friend. It made Han Shuo felt very comfortable.
The two chatted and chatted about the past without realizing how quickly time was passing. Midnight came without them knowing.
It was at this time that Rose had finally done bathing. She had changed to a dark purple robe. Her long, silvery-white hair, still slightly damp, was uncovered and fully revealed while a faint fragrance emanated from her body. After casually sitting down beside Han Shuo, she softly reminded, “You have promised that soul in the Holy Grail to talk to him after arriving in Ethereal City.”
Han Shuo raised his eyebrows and opened his eyes wide, laughed, and replied, “Thanks, luckily you reminded me of it. Otherwise, it’s gonna take me a while before I would remember him,” Han Shuo had been worrying about the safety of his Elite Zombies and started searching for them as soon as he entered the City. After finding Earth Elite Zombie, killing Verón and fighting Baum, Han Shuo almost forgot about McKinley.
Han Shuo took out the Holy Grail and started communicating with McKinley’s divine soul, “I have arrived at Ethereal City. What can I do for you next?”
“Here… I’m finally here… “McKinley was very excited. After taking a while to calm down, he said to Han Shuo, “Look for a person called Baum. If he is still in Ethereal City, it shouldn’t be hard for you to find him. He was my best friend long ago. He should also be at late-stage highgod realm.”
“Baum?” Han Shuo immediately replied, “Haha, so the person turns out to be City Lord of Ethereal City. Haha, what a coincidence, I’m inside Baum’s manor house right now!”
“What?! He became the City Lord?!” McKinley was very astonished.
“That’s right. The current City Lord of Ethereal City is Baum. He possessed late-stage highgod strength and cultivates in the edict of space. That’s the guy, right?”
“Yes, fuck yes he is. It definitely is him! That god-damned son of a bitch, it must be him who betrayed me! That’s how he takes that seat! The City Lord of Ethereal City should have been me!” out of Han Shuo’s expectation, McKinley’s divine soul turned furious after hearing the news.
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