GDK 836: The Omphalos
On Elysium, the Land of Chaos was often compared to a hurricane for all its violence and chaos. However, just like a hurricane, it was calm at the center.
The gods in the Land of Chaos also needed to trade commodities and conduct businesses. But most of the Fringe was just too chaotic or unsafe to do so. Even the simplest of trading could hardly be performed.
Thus the Omphalos was born - a city located at the center of the Fringe. It was jointly managed by the most powerful powerhouses in the Fringe - the Five Sovereigns. Every god inside the Omphalos would obey the Five Sovereign’s orders not to fight, kill, or steal.
The gods who could not live on any of the Twelve Dominions for whatever reason can live a very comfortable and worry-free life in the Omphalos provided that they had a large amount of black crystal coins and could make it through the godhunters and criminals in the Fringe. No matter how chaotic and disastrous it gets outside, the Omphalos would stay completely calm and unaffected. All friction and conflict between the Five Sovereigns would be left outside the Omphalos.
Many of the raiders and bandits would bring the goods they looted to the Omphalos to sell them off for in the entire Land of Chaos, that might be the only place where people won’t try to rob and murder each other. After all, no one dared offend the Five Sovereigns. However, that would only be true while they were in the Omphalos. They would be on their own as soon as they stepped outside the Omphalos.
In other words, even if one manages to sell off their valuable goods in the Omphalos, they would still be vulnerable to getting robbed or murdered as soon as they take a step outside.
Inside, only money mattered. Outside, only strength mattered!
The Omphalos was a very unique place in the Chaotic Land for anyone and everyone’s safety was guaranteed. But the temporary safety came at a hefty price - anyone who wished to enter the Omphalos must pay a large sum of black crystal coins in entrance fees. The longer they wished to stay, the more they must pay.
The Five Sovereigns had established this safe zone in the Fringe not just because there was a need for such a place, but also because it would supply them with a constant and tremendous stream of black crystal coins.
Han Shuo and his party traveled straight for the Omphalos. They finally arrived at their destination eight days later.
During those eight days, Han Shuo ran into a dozen or more battles of various scales. Some had just two to three participants while some involved several hundred experts. There were five or six groups who attacked Han Shuo and his party but they were easily butchered by Han Hao and Rose.
Han Shuo understood the Fringe even better during those eight days. In this region where the most heinous criminals from the Twelve Dominions gathered, morality and ethics were basically nonexistent. The strong prey on the weak and life had little to no value.
Many criminals would travel across Elysium just to live in the Fringe. But before they could go any deeper, most of them would be murdered by gods who had been living in the Fringe. After entering the Fringe, gods with relatively weak strength must either submit themselves to a powerhouse or spend vast amounts of black crystal coins living in the Omphalos to keep themselves alive.
Han Shuo felt as though he was a tiger freed from confinement and released to the wild forests. He would annihilate every party he discovered along his journey to the Omphalos. During those eight days, more than two hundred gods perished to Han Shuo and his party. Among those perished were ten highgods!
The Fringe might be a nightmarish land for most people. But to Han Shuo, it is the most wonderful place on Elysium where he could rapidly improve his strength. Han Shuo’s base strength was growing in parallel with the number of demon generals within the Cauldron of Myriad Demon. He could sense a minute but significant transformation to the Cauldron with each highgod soul collected.
While waiting before one of the gates to the Omphalos, Han Shuo noticed that it was just slightly smaller than the Ethereal City. Its vast territory was covered by a light mist. From a distance, he could see that the buildings were rather scattered and high traffic of gods moving around. Most of those gods had cold and savage looks.
There were five checkpoints into the Omphalos, one for each of the Sovereigns. Han Shuo and his party were entering through the checkpoint controlled by Wasir’s men. Those gods had cold and sinister eyes. Their gazes towards those entering were filled with greed, as though they wished to strip everyone of their money.
They did not check the divine tablet of those entering or ask about their purpose of travel - all that they asked was one hundred black crystal coins from each person. And if Han Shuo and his party wanted to stay longer than one day, they must pay one hundred black crystal coins for every extra day. After paying eight hundred black crystal coins, Han Shuo and his party officially stepped into the Omphalos.
In most cities of the Twelve Dominions, one would only need to pay no more than a few purple crystal coins per entry. The price that the Omphalos charged was hundreds or thousands of times greater than an average city for the stay duration of just one day.
Even if there were less than five thousand gods present in the Omphalos each day, that would mean an income of five hundred thousand black crystal coins in a day. Now imagine collecting that amount every day over the course of decades.
<i>What an astronomical number! No wonder the Sovereigns would bother working together and manage the Omphalos!</i> thought Han Shuo. Even though his Celestial Pearl Pharmacy was generating him a sizable amount of black crystal coins, Han Shuo was astonished when he made an estimation of the amount of black crystal coins that the Omphalos was generating.
Death and murder exist in every corner of the Fringe. Those gods with puny strength but possessed a large amount of black crystal coins would live in the Omphalos to survive. They did not mind burning black crystal coins to preserve their lives. With that, the Omphalos became one of the greatest income generators on Elysium.
“Father, if we could control the Omphalos, we will never have to worry about black crystal coins anymore!” Han Hao said softly to Han Shuo soon after they stepped into the city.
The city was not all that well defended but it was filled with frequently patrolling troops of the Five Sovereigns. They were in charge of maintaining order in the Omphalos and as tax-collectors. Those who had paid the necessary fees would receive a small glowing badge that they must always wear on their chests while inside the Omphalos. After one day’s time, the badge will stop glowing, signaling that the person’s stay in the Omphalos is over. It must be refilled with a special energy to keep it glowing.
When the troops of the Five Sovereigns found any person whose badge was not glowing, they would immediately demand black crystal coins from the person to relight it. And if the person would not or could not pay sufficient black crystal coins, they will be kicked out from the Omphalos mercilessly, and will only be allowed to enter the Omphalos again once they pay the necessary amount of crystal coins.
Han Shuo touched the small little badge on his chest and released a strand of his consciousness to stealthily probe the energy within. However, the energy contained in the badge seemed to be self-aware. Before Han Shuo’s consciousness had touched the badge, he sensed wariness from the strand of energy.
Han Shuo took a shock. He immediately knew that the little badge must have contained a strand of an overgod’s awareness. It was similar to that bizarre, self-aware energy of destruction that previously wreaked havoc in Erebus and Han Shuo’s body. Although Han Shuo could easily annihilate that strand of self-aware energy, doing so will immediately alert its creator. By then, Han Shuo and his party might face a disgruntled Sovereign and might even risk starting a war.
For the moment, Han Shuo had no intention of declaring war upon any of the Five Sovereigns, at least not when he didn’t know much about the Fringe. He withdrew the strand of consciousness and softly instructed Han Hao and the others, “Do not touch the energy in the badge.”
After a moment of observation, Han Shuo discovered that compared to most cities in the Twelve Dominions, the Omphalos wasn’t all that different. There were streets, blocks, shops, and gymnasiums like every other city - but they were much, much more expensive. Stalls were very commonly seen. They could be found almost everywhere. Most of them were selling goods plundered from others. They can be purchased with black crystal coins or barter traded. Pawnshops were also popular among powerful bandits in the Fringe like Kage.
Other than that, there was a special occupation found in the Omphalos - security contractors. It was similar to being a bodyguard or a mercenary. Everyone knew that the Land of Chaos was chaotic. The chances of one without mighty strength getting killed while traveling in the Fringe was just too great.
And for this reason, security contractors naturally appeared, promising to protect the contractee’s life in exchange for black crystal coins. most of the security contractors were henchmen closely related to either one of the Five Sovereigns. They provide protection to the contractee by flexing their relative security for being closely associated with a Sovereign. A second, less common type of contactor were those with very mighty strengths. It was only under the protection of such forces that one with poor strength and no connection would dare step out from the Omphalos.
And, of course, the asking prices for their services were often absurdly high, going for at least tens of thousands of black crystal coins. However, there were plenty of people who were willing to pay those prices to stay alive. Otherwise, they might be murdered as soon as they stepped outside the Omphalos.
After strolling around for some time, Han Shuo came to understand the Omphalos better. He arrived at a conclusion: in order to live comfortably in the Fringe, one must have great strength or a large amount of black crystal coins. Otherwise, only death awaits.
“I like this place!” remarked Han Hao softly in a smirk after they toured around the city.
Rose, who was walking beside him, was taken aback. She looked at Han Hao and thought, <i>This guy sure is like his father - eccentric and unfathomable! </i>
“Hey! Isn’t that Rose? Haha, how dare you show your face here!” a peal of very unpleasant laughter suddenly sounded from a distance. An ugly, bald, old woman who was all skin and bones flew towards them.
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