GDK 837: Wanna work for me?
The old woman was all skin and bones. Her skin color seemed to be a mix of zinc and iron rust. The wrinkles on her face were as deep as ravines. When she laughs, the wrinkles were squeezed together, making a tremendous visual impact on anyone who sees it.
<i>So ugly!</i> Anyone who saw her will automatically think so as goosebumps flood their skin.
A very distinct aura of death could be sensed from the old woman who was gently flying toward Han Shuo and his party. She was in mid-stage highgod realm. It was rare for one to possess such strength in the Omphalos. She had seven escorts following behind her. Three of them possessed early-stage highgod strength. They all had sinister and ugly appearances.
Most people will definitely not openly speak what they thought of her looks because of her formidable strength. No one would risk enraging such a powerful entity.
However, as with most things in the universe, there would always be a few exceptions. Before that old woman arrived, Han Huo shouted as though he was horrified, “Holy fuck! What monster!”
“Yuck, I’ve never seen anything as hideous as that! I need to wash my eyes!” cried Han Mu as he put on a disgusted face and put up both hands to block himself from seeing that old ugly woman.
The two were not complete jerks. They had mocked her because they sensed hostility from that old and ugly woman.
“Bertha! It’s you!” Rose’s face jolted as a murderous light shone from her eyes.
The extremely ugly old woman chuckled in a strange manner. Upon arriving before the party, she greeted Rose in a sinister smile before immediately turning to Han Huo and Han Mu and said, “You two youngsters aren’t afraid of death, aren’t you? You may be safe here, but you better not take a single step outside of the Omphalos because I will make certain of your death!”
“Ugly witch, it’s not our fault that you are born ugly. But I must say that I admire your courage and self-confidence - I’ve never seen anyone as ugly as you walk in the public without a mask, or even step outside!” replied Han Huo who was not intimidated by Bertha’s threatening words. He then pretended as though he smelled something and remarked, “Yuck, what’s that disgusting, stinking smell? Oh! It’s from your rotting face!”
Han Huo then pretended as though he was going to puke.
Bertha knew that she was hideous in appearance, but no one would tell that straight to her. That was the very first time that anyone had deliberately mocked her in her face. Bertha was enraged and she stared at Han Huo like a viper. It seemed as though she was ready to kill.
“Bertha, don’t you start a fight here!” a warning suddenly sounded from a distance. A group of Omphalos guards was gazing at Han Shuo and Bertha’s party with cold eyes.
Bertha, with all her willpower, suppressed the rage in her heart. She looked coldly at Rose and threatened, “I’ve been looking for you for a long time. I thought that you would keep hiding from me until your death. I did not expect that you have the courage to return to this Land. Hehe, good, very good. The moment that you and your people step outside the Omphalos is the moment that you will all die!”
Then, with a twitching, malevolent grin, Bertha looked at Han Huo and Han Mu and said, “And, the two of you, when that time comes, I will make you two suffer a lifetime for that moment of delight.”
Bertha then gestured at her escorts and instructed, “Move!” Before they left, they would look intensely at Han Shuo and his party for a moment as though to remember their faces.
“Who is she? What’s the story with the two of you?” Han Shuo asked Rose after Bertha left.
Rose kept gazing at Bertha as she left. It was until her figure had completely vanished that she explained, “Back then when I was living in the Fringe, we used to be on good terms. But one day, his son tried to drug me and I killed him after discovering his plot. Ever since then, Bertha had been trying to kill me and never stopped making me troubles until I left the Fringe.”
“What? With her looks, how is it possible that any guy could do her?!” remarked Han Mu as though he was very surprised.
“She only looked like this because of a severe injury. Before Bertha was disfigured, she was actually quite attractive looking,” answered Rose after taking a glance at Han Mu.
“There’s no need to be concerned about her. If we run into her outside the city, it is she who will be dead!” Han Shuo did not take Bertha as a threat at all. A mere mid-stage highgod expert was far from enough to do them any harm.
“We can fight off Bertha, but it won’t be that easy to fight off his man - Buzz,” Rose sighed softly and explained, “Buzz possesses late-stage highgod strength. He cultivates in the energy of destruction. He is famous in the Fringe for his ferocity. He commands a large group of deadly and powerful experts. Bertha, who knew our numbers, will surely notify Buzz. It won’t be long before Buzz will reach the Omphalos. Buzz has quite a reputation in the Fringe. Most people in the Fringe would not make enemies with him. Once we leave the Omphalos, we will be tracked and hunted by Buzz and Bertha.”
Rose seemed dejected. She looked at Han Shuo and said, “I’m so sorry. I have caused you big trouble.”
Han Shuo shook his head with a smile and replied, “Although the Fringe is filled with countless fierce and powerful experts, I’m not afraid of any of them. The only experts who could threaten me are the Five Sovereigns! No matter how powerful Buzz is, he is just a highgod. So don’t you worry. If they do show up, I will show them the consequences of messing with us!”
“Yeah! They are just bitches who had spoiled their son. We ain’t afraid of them!” consoled Han Huo.
Ever since the incident at Ethereal City Celestial Pearl where Rose held back a group of raiders to allow him and Han Tu to escape, Han Huo’s opinion of Rose dramatically improved. Besides, to Han Huo, Han Shuo was the most powerful in the world. He had blind faith in Han Shuo and did not think that anyone could defeat Han Shuo.
This blind faith came from his past experiences. He had never seen Han Shuo defeated over the many years he was with him and therefore would only grow more and more confident in Han Shuo’s power.
“Father, as long as you can handle that Buzz, we will not lose!” Little Skeleton was not as irrational as Han Huo. As his strength and intelligence improved, he learned to dissect a problem with clear and sound reasoning.
“Don’t worry about it, we will be just fine!” Han Shuo put on a confident smile and said, “Come, let’s keep strolling around and see if we can get information about Kage.”
There were people in the Omphalos who specialized in selling information. They were called ‘stringers’. If anyone in the Fringe wanted to raid or attack any of the merchant caravans who traveled across the Fringe, one could learn all the detailed information and plans from stringers.
The stringers started out by selling information on that aspect. But over time, they expanded in the intelligence that they would sell. With enough black crystal coins, one could learn just about anything from stringers.
After spending one thousand black crystal coins, Han Shuo got hold of Kage's whereabouts from a stringer. He was told that Kage was here in the Omphalos five days ago before going to Salas to offer his tribute. At present, Kage should be on Empyrean Peak.
Although the Omphalos was jointly managed by Tyre, Rogers, Ossora, Salas, and Wasir, they normally won’t be in the city. The vast territory of the Fringe contained countless mountain ranges, rivers, oceans, and valleys. The Five Sovereigns lived in the most mysterious and treacherous regions found in the Fringe.
Salas lived on the Empyrean Peak which was one hundred thousand meters at its tallest point. It was like a broadsword piercing into the blue dome of heavens. The Empyrean Peak represented Salas’ exaltedness. His tributaries would travel to the Empyrean Peak annually to pay formal tribute. In normal circumstances, Salas will not leave the Empyrean Peak. He would only step outside of his mountain when there were situations that none of his subordinates could resolve.
When Han Shuo learned that Kage was at Empyrean Peak, he knew that it was highly improbable to kill Kage soon. Not only that Salas was at the Empyrean Peak, but his core and strongest members were also always stationed on the mountain. On top of that, the Mountain was covered with a dense array of defensive boundaries. Han Shuo knew that it would be irrational to attack the Empyrean Peak with just Little Skeleton, Rose, and the Five Elite Zombies.
Han Shuo had no plan of wrecking the Empyrean Peak and fighting Salas, for now. He decided to wait for Kage to leave the Empyrean Peak before doing anything to him.
Han Shuo and his party continued to roam around the Omphalos. Soon after, a gang walked into their path. Their leader has a cold and arrogant face. He was a late-stage highgod of darkness.
“Lady, gentlemen, I heard that you have offended Bertha and Buzz?” the leader of the gang asked with his head held high after arriving before Han Shuo and his party.
“Not your goddamn business!” Han Huo found his snobbish look annoying and replied to him dismissively.
“Fool, don’t you know that you are on the eve of death?” The man coldly groaned and scanned every one of Han Shuo’s party with his eyes. Perhaps he thought that Rose was the strongest among them, he looked at Rose and said, “Let me remind you - there are only a few in the Fringe who dare offend Buzz and Bertha. The duo is now waiting right outside the Omphalos. As soon as you leave the city, you will be tracked and killed by the duo. So, if you want to live, pay me one million black crystal coins. I and my men will protect you and your party as you leave from the Omphalos. How about that?”
Rose did not reply but turned to look at Han Shuo.
The security contractor was stunned. Being good at reading body language, he immediately realized that he had misidentified the party’s leader. He took a moment to carefully observe Han Shuo but discovered no significant energy fluctuation on Han Shuo. He found the situation rather strange and confusing.
“Nope,” Han Shuo declined the proposal succinctly.
That guy did not continue to try selling his service. He nodded in a cold grin and turned on his heels with his gang. He thought that Han Shuo and his party would be dead without a doubt.
“Hold on!” spoke Han Shuo suddenly. When the person turned around puzzlingly, Han Shuo smilingly asked, “May I know what’s your name?”
“Haruli is my name. So, how? Changed your mind?” Haruli arrogantly said, “The price is now 1.5 million black crystal coins. No bargaining!”
Han Shuo shook his head smilingly and replied, “You don’t seem to be serving any of the Five Sovereigns. Ay, you and your followers have decent strengths. How about you work for me?“
Haruli was stunned and stared at Han Shuo like a fool. After coming to his senses, he laughed condescendingly and said, “Go and ask around the Fringe. All of the Five Sovereigns had tried to recruit me, but I have declined them all. What makes you think that I will work for a nobody like you?” Haruli then gestured at his gang and said, “Let’s leave. This guy must be a nutjob!”
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