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 (unedited)

GDK 834: We found the culprit

When Kodiak arrived, he was shocked to see so many unfamiliar faces around Han Hao. After a moment of careful observation, Kodiak noticed that Han Shuo, Rose, and the Five Elite Zombies did not look like godhunters. This had rather confused Kodiak. He wondered what their relationships were with Han Hao.

Although his mind was filled with questions, Kodiak said nothing but respectfully greeted Han Hao at first contact. After showing the proper etiquette, Kodiak explained, “Our Chief has been paying a great deal of attention to your troubles. He assigned the few of us to investigate around here. It took us a while but we have found the culprit.”

Han Hao immediately asked, “Who did it?”

Kodiak seemed hesitant and did not immediately answer. Instead, he looked at Han Shuo and the others cautiously and asked, “Erm, may I know who you are… ?” Kodiak wasn’t sure if he could divulge the sensitive information in the presence of Han Shuo and the others.

Han Hao knew Kodiak’s concerns. He lightly groaned and said, “They are my friends, you have nothing to worry about. Don’t hesitate. Speak!”

Kodiak was stunned and he looked at Han Shuo and the other with astonished gazes. He could not understand how they became friends with Han Hao. Kodiak had heard plenty about LS’s reputation and achievements in the Death Dominion. He was a youngster on the up and up in the field of godhunting and one of the most revered characters among godhunters. None of the godhunters had ever known that Han Hao had friends. Therefore, Kodiak was very surprised to hear those words from Han Hao.

After hesitating for a moment, under Han Hao’s attentive and cold gazes, Kodiak said in a deep voice, “As I said, after staying and investigating in a nearby region for some time, we have determined who the attacker was. He is called Kage. He cultivates in the energy of darkness and possesses mid-stage highgod strength. Right, just a few days ago, I heard that he was planning to sell those ores he plundered at a low price.”

“Where is he at?” asked Han Shuo. He had a faint smile on his face but his eyes were as cold as ice.

After Kodiak arrived, he had placed most of his attention on Rose because he could sense a very distinct aura of highgod emanating from Rose. Moreover, he had a vague feeling that Rose was a level stronger than he was. This made him uncomfortable from head to toe and therefore he had been very mindful of Rose.

As to Han Shuo, Kodiak paid no attention to him after the first glance. The demonic art energy on Han Shuo was undetectable when Han Shuo was not utilizing his demonic powers. Those without having a significant level of strength will never be able to detect the terrifying power Han Shuo was hiding. Therefore, Kodiak was unable to sense any threat from Han Shuo and only considered him as an average midgod.

Kodiak was rather astonished when Han Shuo interrupted for he felt that a mere midgod was not qualified to interrupt a conversation between two highgods. He put on a trace of annoyance and disdain on his face and completely ignored Han Shuo. He continued to explain to Han Hao, “After raiding the Goldstone Enterprise caravan, Kage and his gang became inactive for a period and stayed inside their underground base. It was only recently that they started coming out to sell off those ores.”

Han Shuo did not take offense at Kodiak’s reaction. He knew that in the end, Kodiak would be telling Han Hao everything.

“Where is Kage’s underground hideout located? How many experts do they have? Do they usually stay inside?” asked Han Hao with a calm face.

“Over on the east side of Buckthorn Valley. They have around fifty or sixty men. Other than Kage, there are three early-stage highgods. Kage would usually stay in his underground base but in recent days, he might travel deeper into the Fringe to sell the ores. I cannot say for sure,” said Kodiak.

“What else do you know about Kage?” asked Han Hao.

“Kage is a follower of Sovereign Salas. He would pay tribute to Salas every so often. If you want to kill Kage, you better not let anyone find out. Otherwise, if Salas catches wind of it, you will be in a hell of trouble!” Kodiak explained to Han Shuo after hesitating for a moment.

“Salas!” Before Han Hao replied, Rose let out a soft cry of surprise. He explained to Han Shuo softly, “I have mentioned Salas to you. He is one of the five Sovereigns of the Fringe. He possesses overgod strength!”

Han Shuo’s heart grew a little heavier and he nodded at Rose in response.

There were five Sovereigns in the Fringe, namely, Tyre, Rogers, Ossora, Salas, and Wasir. All five of them possessed overgod strength but they do not possess the Quintessence.

It was needless to say that given their strength, the Five would command great power no matter where they settle on Elysium. The cruel and merciless Sovereigns were the essence of disorders in the Land of Chaos. Their constant fighting for more power was one of the main reasons that the Fringe was so chaotic.

The five were the most terrifying existences in the Fringe and they always live in the center of the Chaotic Land. Although Polo was also a powerful figure that commanded a significant number of godhunters, he paled in comparison to any of the Five Sovereigns.

Many of the gods who lived in the Fringe would submit themselves to one of the Five Sovereigns just so that they can survive. But it comes at a cost - they must offer a large number of valuable goods every year in exchange for their protection. If they do not offer enough, they could risk displeasing their Sovereign and be annihilated. 

Although Kage was a highgod, his strength was far, far below that of the Sovereigns. He would offer tribute to his Sovereign every year. In exchange, if Kage was killed, Salas would avenge his death. And if Kage was killed by a servant of another Sovereign, then a bloody war in the Fringe would be inevitable.

“In short, be cautious. If you are to strike, by all means, leave no survivor!” Kodiak spoke in a much lower voice when Salas was mentioned. He added, “If Kage wasn’t related to Salas, my Chief would have finished off that guy for you. But unfortunately, my Chief dared not offend Salas. Sorry about that!”

Han Hao nodded and replied, “Got it. Tell Polo that I will remember his favor.”

“I shall take my leave,” replied Kodiak as he nodded. Before he left, he looked at Han Shuo with strange gazes for he noticed that Rose was very polite towards Han Shuo as though he was her master. It made him wonder about Han Shuo’s true identity.

After Kodiak left, Rose put on a rather serious face and remarked, “This Salas is an unforgiving and vengeful person. For all the years he ruled the Fringe, he had not let anyone get away even for the smallest grievance. We are no match against him.”

Han Shuo turned to Rose, put on an unruffled smile, and said, “Don’t fret about it. When we strike Kage, neither he nor his gang will take a step out from their underground base.”

Han Hao suddenly looked intensely at Han Shuo. After hesitating for a moment, he asked, “Father, do you have any confidence in winning if you had to fight Salas?”

Han Shuo stared blankly, bunched his brows, and thought for quite a while. He then shook his head and replied, “No confidence. I have never tried it so I can’t tell for sure.”

Back then when Han Shuo went to bust a godhunter’s base with Erebus and others, they came across an enemy with overgod strength. The terrifying aura that the overgod emanated had haunted Han Shuo even till now. Although Han Shuo had greatly improved in strength since then, he had never fought with an existence of that level and therefore he didn’t know if he could handle it.

<i>What a pity that I have yet to enter Skybreak Realm. Once I break through Omen Realm and reach Skybreak Realm, I will have the confidence to fight any overgod!</i> thought Han Shuo. As he attained greater and greater realms in demonic arts, every bit of progress became slower and slower. Han Shuo had always felt that he was on the verge of a breakthrough and yet, after such a long time, he had made no progress. 

“Then we need to be extra careful. We cannot afford to make any mistakes once we strike,” said LS after thinking for a moment.

“Come, let’s go and take a look at the rabbit hole!” Although Han Shuo felt that it was regrettable he could not right an overgod, he wasn’t all too worried about it. He had prepared himself mentally long before coming to the Fringe, since learning from Rose that the Fringe was filled with powerful experts.

Han Shuo thought that making further breakthroughs in demonic arts could only be realized while in the Fringe because almost every previous breakthrough was made under enormous pressure and when facing enemies much stronger than himself. The Land of Chaos was filled with such existences. That was one of the reasons that Han Shuo went through all the trouble to visit the Fringe.

“With Father around, there’s no way we will miss out any!” said Han Huo. He became very excited when he heard that they are going to murder and plunder. 

Han Shuo released demon generals to scout around him as they traveled towards Buckthorn Valley which Kodiak pointed them to. Along the way, if Han Shuo discovered any gods that he had complete certainty of defeating, he would strike without any hesitation to fill the Cauldron with more divine souls.

There was a large number of experts in the Fringe, far above any cities on Elysium. During Han Shuo’s journey to Buckthorn Valley, the Cauldron of Myriad Demon had gained three highgod souls and thirty-eight midgod souls. And that took Han Shuo just half-a-day.

After arriving in Buckthorn Valley, Han Shuo first used his demon generals to scout the environment. After discovering nothing concerning, he nodded to Han Tu and instructed, “Open up a tunnel to the underground.”

“Right away!” There could not be any easier task for Han Tu than that. Upon finishing those words, he fused with the ground and sank deep under. The ground before the party’s feet soon opened up to form a tunnel. They did not even have to spend time looking for the entrance to Kage’s underground hideout.

“Let’s go, Father,” Han Tu had completed the task in just a few minutes. He was waving at Han Shuo and the party smilingly.

 

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