GDK 855: Expansion
The elemental energies in the Pandemonium intensified after the formations were complete. All those who lived in the valley could sense the benefits the formations brought.
At the center of the Pandemonium was an enormous Yin-gathering formation and surrounding it was a variety of demonic formations. Those who did not know the intricacies of demonic formations would be greeted with catastrophic attacks as soon as they stepped into one. Even a highgod would easily perish.
Other than the buildings located near the center, the underground palace dug by Earth Elite Zombie was also one of extreme grandiosity. Most of those who lived in the underground palace were those closest to Han Shuo, for example, the Five Elite Zombies and Rose. Meanwhile, Han Shuo’s demon guards went on to live in those mountain chambers carved by Metal Elite Zombie. Those buildings in the center of the valley were prepared for members of the House of Han in the City of Shadows.
During those two years, Han Shuo and the Five Elite Zombies had turned the Pandemonium into an impregnable fortress. It was filled with such great dangers that even Luolong and his men dared not wander around the valley.
Han Shuo’s mind entered a state of total calmness when he placed all his attention on constructing the demonic formation. Unwittingly, his demonic yuan reserves had greatly increased. Han Shuo had a vague feeling that he was on the very brink of a breakthrough, as though he was just one step away from the next realm.
His two avatars had also unexpectedly advanced to the early-stage highgod realm during that time. One one of those days that Han Shuo was totally absorbed in working on the demonic formations, his avatars had a sudden enlightenment and gained a deeper level of insight into the energies of death and destruction. Instantly, the divine energies of death and destruction in his body started transforming.
In the span of just three days, Han Shuo’s avatars had gone from barely comprehending the nature of the energies deeper to advancing to highgodhood!
And when the avatars fused their domains of divinity, the extremely intense element of death swarmed towards Han Shuo and started to swirl into a hurricane that would engulf anything and everything in its path.
Han Shuo was not keen on exploring his novel domain of divinity inside the Pandemonium yet for he did not want to risk damaging the incomplete formations. Instead, he continued to direct all his effort at constructing the Pandemonium.
Then, one day, the mega-construction was finally done! His grand vision of the Pandemonium had been actualized.
Han Shuo gathered up the Five Elite Zombies, Rose, Romon, Zovic, Goron, and all the demon guards, and started explaining the correct method to enter and exit the Pandemonium. He also warned them against wandering around the valley lest they run into the deadly traps.
The two hundred something demon guards led by Goron had come to recognize the mysteriousness and treacherousness of the Pandemonium. A few of them had accidentally stepped into a vicious demonic formation and nearly lost their lives there. They did not need Han Shuo’s reminder to always sit tight in their chambers.
“The Pandemonium has been completed. From today onwards, start expanding our territory around the valley. Conquer all the regions and forces, big and small. If they are not willing to submit, kill them.” After having been quiet for two years, Han Shuo was ready to raise some hell. He wanted to mow down the many forces located around the Pandemonium.
The Pandemonium was located in a rather remote part of the Land of Chaos. Those who occupied the lands around the Pandemonium were scattered forces of the Fringe and none were followers of the Five Sovereigns. To Han Shuo, they were tiny ants that were of no threat to him.
The several dozen big and small demonic formations in the Pandemonium were arranged in a unique, complicated pattern that allowed them to work together to form the ‘Demonnihilation Supercluster Formation’. When Han Shuo was inside the Pandemonium, he could significantly amplify his strength using the cluster of demonic formations. Therefore, Han Shuo was confident that even if the Five Sovereigns joined hands in attacking him at the Pandemonium, he could fight them off.
With such a defensible haven, there was no way that Han Shuo would not start his conquest. His first step was to conquer the scattered forces around the Pandemonium. He could then consider further expanding his territory after those around him had been captured.
“Don’t worry, Master. I will bring them to their knees!” said Romon with a mischievous smirk. He had discovered a spike in the number of scouts lurking nearby the Pandemonium in recent times. Those scattered forces nearby were worried about the unexplained changes in Pandemonium. Perhaps even if Han Shuo remained unaggressive, it would only be a matter of time before they came knocking on Han Shuo’s door.
“Good. Show no mercy to those who do not obey!” commanded Han Shuo. The Fringe was a place where the strong were honored. It was only by shedding the blood of their enemies that they could gain the respect of others.
Following Han Shuo’s instructions, Romon, Zovic and Goron led the army of demon guards, two hundred-strong, away from the Pandemonium and started their conquest.
Han Shuo, meanwhile, would stay in the Pandemonium. The first phase of the conquest should be easy enough that he wouldn’t need to fight on the frontline himself. He started meditating, cultivating, and preparing for the impending demonic calamity. Han Shuo wished to advance to the next realm as to better face the threat of the Five Sovereigns.
One day, while Han Shuo was meditating in the underground palace of the Pandemonium, Rose went to him and reported, “Master, I have received news from Luolong that Han Hao has annihilated yet another faction. The faction was led by a cultivator of the energy of light who possessed late-stage highgod strength.”
“Fantastic, he has managed to make a breakthrough yet again!” Han Shuo was elated by the news. “Two years ago, he was killing mostly mid-stage highgods. But things have now changed. Haha, I bet he’s giving a lot of those Fringedwellers a damn fine headache!”
Han Hao had never visited the Pandemonium once during those two years. Ever since his followers in the Death Dominion had come to the Fringe, Han Hao started striking fear in the hearts of the Fringedwellers. In the short time of just two years, a dozen or more big and small forces had perished at his hands.
Han Hao’s reputation had also been soaring and he became known as one of the most feared forces in the Fringe. Many of the scattered godhunters in the Fringe submitted to his rule. Both his strength and the power he commanded had been rapidly growing.
Ever since Han Shuo established good relations with Luolong’s master, Luolong never neglected to deliver news of major events in the Fringe, giving Han Shuo a good grasp of what had been happening around there.
“Master, it is said that the force annihilated by Han Hao was a close follower of Salas’!” Rose wore a grave expression and seemed concerned as she said, “He had never previously attacked any followers of the Five Sovereigns. Why would he be so rash this time? The Five Sovereigns are unlike any other forces. Will he be alright?”
Han Shuo also started to feel worried after hearing those words. Almost no one would challenge the authority of the Five Sovereigns in the Fringe. Han Hao had killed a follower of Sovereign Salas and even left it to be exposed. This could potentially invite the retribution from the Sovereign! No matter how greatly Han Hao’s strength had been improving, he would still be no match against any of the Sovereigns. Therefore, Han Shuo couldn’t help but feel worried.
“Where was Han Hao last seen?” asked Han Shuo solemnly after muttering to himself for a moment.
“Venomfang Mountain,” answered Rose.
“I’ll be away from the valley for a while. You and my five kids will look after the Pandemonium. And don’t worry about getting attacked. My kids know how to operate the formations. Even if the Five Sovereigns come here themselves, they cannot easily break through our defenses,” instructed Han Shuo. He then went to the Five Elite Zombies, gave some instructions, and left the Pandemonium alone.
“Chief, what should we do? That guy turned out to be a follower of Salas’. Salas will surely seek retribution by annihilating us!” Arthurs, an early-stage highgod of destruction, said gravely to the indifferent Han Hao who sat cross-legged on a boulder.
There were nearly five hundred godhunters gathered before Han Hao. The gang of ferocious gods had obliterated countless forces in the Fringe. All of them wore respectful attitudes as they looked upon Han Hao for guidance. Among them were those teenagers who had each paid five hundred thousand black crystal coins to Han Hao in the Omphalos.
“It’s no bother. We just need to stay hidden for a while,” replied Han Hao. It was no stretch to assume that even if a person stuck a knife in his chest, Han Hao wouldn’t make the slightest reaction. His followers found that demeanor of his admirable.
“But, Chief, we are talking about Salas!” Arthurs stressed, “Salas is extremely influential in the Fringe and commands an extensive network of scouts. Our numbers are great. It doesn’t seem feasible to hide all of us.”
“Everyone will scatter around the Fringe. Do not gather without my orders. If Salas were to strike, he would come after me. He won’t take the time to hunt you down one by one if you are dispersed. And remember this, do not ever step into the Omphalos,” commanded Han Hao after thinking for a moment.
“Why? Isn’t Omphalos the safest place?” asked Arthurs after staring blankly for a bit.
“It’s tantamount to throwing your life away. If any of Salas’ followers discover you in the Omphalos, they can make up an excuse to throw you out. By then, you will be dead without a doubt,” explained Han Hao before he calmly instructed, “Disperse using the method I have taught. Do not attack anyone without my command. Now go.”
As Han Hao commanded, the godhunters divided themselves into many small squads and rapidly left in all directions.
After all of his followers disappeared, Han Hao stood up. He looked in the direction of the Pandemonium for a while as though considering something before departing in the opposite direction.
Three days later, a terrifying bolt of lightning struck through the sky out of nowhere. Sovereign Salas abruptly materialized on the exact boulder that Han Hao previously sat on. Electrical sparks shone from his eyes as he observed his surroundings. A moment later, he bolted off once more in the direction Han Hao left three days ago.
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