(unedited)

GDK 815: Stirring up troubles

Han Shuo learned of the full story from McKinley.

Back then, the City Lord of Ethereal City was someone else. After reaching a certain realm, cultivators of the edict of space need to constantly wander all around the universe to sense the energy of space. The City Lord of Ethereal City at that time also possessed late-stage highgod strength. As to pursue greater strength, he had no choice but to leave Elysium and travel to various material planes to increase his divine energy.

But before he left the Ethereal City, he must elect his successor. McKinley and Baum were one of those candidates. But of all the candidates, McKinley was the closest to the original City Lord and therefore, he had the highest chance of becoming the next City Lord of Ethereal City.

However, it was at that time that McKinley became enemies with one of the three Keepers of the Light, Gyál. McKinley had no choice but to hide for some time. He told Baum, his former best friend, where he was hiding. And somehow, soon after he went into hiding, Gyál managed to find him.

Although Gyál’s strength was greater than McKinley’s, as a cultivator of the edict of space, McKinley should have been able to tear apart spacetime and easily escape in one piece. However, while escaping, the spacetime tunnel McKinley constructed was destroyed. Otherwise, he wouldn't had been captured by Gyál and had his divine soul separated from his divine body.

The person who had destroyed his spacetime tunnel must have also cultivated in the edict of space and possessed similar strengths. As McKinley had told just one person where he was hiding, it didn’t take McKinley much thinking to figure out who had betrayed him.

It was only with him gone that Baum could become the new City Lord of Ethereal City!

“Then why are you still looking for him?” Han Shuo was puzzled after hearing the whole story from McKinley.

“I have no way of finding my body without him! Back then it was him who sold me out, so he must know where Gyál is hiding my body. I don’t have much of a choice, you see,” replied McKinley.

“If Baum finds out that you are in this Grail, he definitely will destroy your soul to prevent any potential troubles. Aren’t you killing yourself by looking for him?” asked the confused Han Shuo. 

“Baum wouldn’t dare kill me because there is a divine brand bestowed by the Overgod in my soul. If my soul is destroyed, the Overgod of Space will sense it, even from the edge of the universe. Then, with His ability to reverse time, he will be able to find out my murderer. I have been a tireless and faithful servant of the Lord and His Lordship will investigate my death. This is why Gyál had only sealed me in here instead of killing me!” with things having developed to this stage, McKinley did not conceal any more facts but truthfully explained everything to Han Shuo.

“The only reason that I couldn’t make up my mind is that I’m afraid Baum will seal the Grail shut and send me to a distant low-level material plane again,” continued McKinley. 

Han Shuo was somewhat astonished by McKinley’s words. He did not expect that McKinley’s soul would have a brand left by the Overgod of Space. It appeared that back then, McKinley must had been a trusted aide of the Overgod.

After having lived on Elysium for so long, Han Shuo naturally caught some hearsays about the Overgods. After leaving a brand in their follower’s soul, an Overgod could sense the position of their follower through some unique methods. They could also perceive the death of said follower. The Overgod of Space, being the lord of the Space Quintessence, should have even greater sensing power in this aspect.

Han Shuo also knew that only the most pious followers and those most highly regarded by their Overgods could receive a divine brand because the brand was a part of the Overgod. Applying a brand would also consume some of the Overgod’s divine energy. Those bestowed with a divine brand from their Overgod would make faster progress in their cultivation compared to an average person.

So McKinley was a real influential character in the Space Dominion! thought the rather surprised Han Shuo. After thinking for a while, Han Shuo replied, “If I’m Baum, I definitely won’t help you find your body and make myself a huge trouble. But what are you planning exactly?”

“I have thought of some conditions. I’m going to make him an offer that is hopefully too tempting for him to refuse,” McKinley was angry but helpless. He continued, “I don’t have full confidence in the plan either. But given the circumstances, I really have no better option but to try. I had enough of living in this Grail. I can’t stand being trapped in here any longer.”

“I think you better stay in the Grail just for a little longer. I will figure out something for you. After all, I will be around Ethereal City and staying with Baum for a while. I might come out a way to make Baum talk,” Han Shuo replied to McKinley after he spent some time thinking with his brows bunched.

“You? What could you possibly do about it?” transmitted McKinley before he went silent for a moment. Then, as though he recalled something, he asked, “Right, how did you end up in Baum’s manor house? How did you know him? Logically speaking, you shouldn’t have come into contact with a character at the level of Baum, right?”

Han Shuo smirked and replied, “I had a fight with Baum and after that, he made me his honored guest.”

“You… You what?” the transmission from McKinley was disjointed, a telltale sign that he was very astonished. After taking a while to calm himself down, McKinley hastily asked, “How could you possibly fight Baum with what strength you have? Bryan, you are joking with me, aren’t you?”

It was not surprising that McKinley would be so astounded. Back then, when they first met on the Profound Continent, McKinley had indirectly fought with Han Shuo and knew his strength. As a cultivator of the edict of space, McKinley remained sensitive to the passing of time even when he was trapped in the Holy Grail. He knew that not even a century had passed since their first encounter.

A hundred years may be a long time for an average human being. But for highgods like McKinley who was almost ageless, it wasn’t all that long. In all his life, McKinley had never heard of any being who had ascended from lowgodhood to highgodhood in less than a hundred years. To him, such a rate of progress was simply unimaginable!

“I really fought Baum. The results… erm… you can say that we are evenly matched,” hearing that the message coming from McKinley was fragmented, Han Shuo dared not drop any more bombshells and therefore did not mention that Baum had initiated peace talking out of fear.

After keeping silent for a long long while, McKinley again asked, “Bryan, are you really not joking?” 

“Not joking at all.” Han Shuo then started giving McKinley a simplified depiction of his fight against Baum. He made sure to mention the unique features of Baum’s space edict shields and barriers.

And again, McKinley stayed silent for a long while. When he was transmitting again, his tone turned much more excited, “I believe you. If you have not fought Baum, there is no way you could describe his spacetime barriers so accurately. But how? How did you turn so strong? Gosh, this is unbelievable!”

After talking incoherently for a while, McKinley said, “Bryan, it seems that my greatest chance of regaining freedom is through you. Please, if you can locate my body, you will have my eternal gratitude!”

“Alright, I will try. But for now, you should just stay in the Grail with your mind at ease!” Han Shuo knew that McKinley needed time to calm down from the bombshell he just dropped and so he took the initiative to cut off communication.

Although Han Shuo learned of the conflict between McKinley and Baum, it doesn’t affect the current cooperation he had with Baum. Han Shuo was a man who knows when to take freebies and when not to. At the same time, Han Shuo started weighing the risk of locating McKinley’s body and helping him overthrow Baum, against the potential rewards.

With one thought, a high-level demon general flew out from his body. Han Shuo decided to keep Baum under his surveillance for some time before doing anything. Han Shuo had become vigilant of Baum after hearing McKinley’s story and thought of Baum to be a treacherous wolf in sheep’s clothing. He also started suspecting that Baum must be having some other intentions behind helping him establish his business in this city and offering him such great treatment. 

***

Five days went by like the blink of an eye. The demon general that had been constantly surveilling Baum from a safe distance did not discover any unusual activity. For all five days, Baum had been busy helping Han Shuo with his new Celestial Pearl branch. Not only that he had ordered men to clean the shop thoroughly, he published an announcement stating that Celestial Pearl Pharmacy will set up a branch in Ethereal City and that those who were interested to work as shop assistants and pharmacists may look for Han Shuo at the City Lord’s manor house.

Although it appeared as though Baum was sincerely helping Han Shuo, Han Shuo remained wary of Baum. In fact, the more helpful and charitable Baum was, the more that Han Shuo felt something was fishy. He made sure that Baum was always under the surveillance of his demon general.

The spirit demon made using highgod soul was extraordinary in their stealth capabilities. Having had a spar with Baum, Han Shuo knew just how formidable his strength was. The demon general would always be at a safe distance of more than several hundred meters away. And when Baum steps into regions with space edict boundaries, the demon general would stay even further away, lest Baum discovers it.

Ethereal City was indeed filled with talents. Soon after Baum sent out the announcement, a large crowd showed up at the City Lord’s manor house. It surprised Han Shuo just how many people turned up and that many of them were true masters of their field. 

Han Shuo personally selected the workers for his new branch and he interviewed them in the manor house. Han Shuo’s consciousness and observation skills were so mighty and outstanding that average lowgods and midgods cannot lie to him. He could immediately tell if someone was lying just by sensing their mind with his consciousness. Only those with no ulterior motives and has real talent could get through the interview.

One day, while Han Shuo was in the middle of one of those interviews, an Ethereal City divine guard hastily went to Han Shuo and said, “Mister Bryan, someone who claimed to be your son is having a serious quarrel in the west of the city. He called himself Han Huo. Would you like to go there and have a look?”

Han Shuo stared blankly for a moment before he immediately came to his senses. He laughed and replied, “What’s the matter with these kids, just can’t stop stirring up troubles wherever they go! Alright, I’ll go take a look!”

 

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