GDK 874: Celestial Pearl in the Omphalos
Had it been someone else who refused to pay the entrance fees, those followers of Logue's would have killed the person mercilessly.
But when they learned that the man they surrounded was Han Shuo, they made a full 180 on their stance, immediately lowering their bearings and respectfully allowing entry to Han Shuo. A force so powerful as to defeat Salas was not one to reckon with. Even if their master, Sovereign Logue, was there, he would have allowed Han Shuo into the Omphalos rather than making an enemy of him for a mere one hundred black crystal coins.
Han Shuo obviously had long known that might makes right in the Fringe. He wasn’t worried that those Omphalos guards might do something behind his back, so he walked into the Omphalos like no one was watching.
Haruli immediately followed behind Han Shuo. He seemed indecisive, as though he had something to say but did not know how to begin. While Haruli’s followers looked at Han Shuo with reverence, they were also watching Haruli, hoping that their Chief would lead them to a brighter future.
<i>Hurry and say it, you fool! You have missed the opportunity once. Don’t miss it again now!</i> Haruli’s followers were hastening their Chief with meaningful glances.
Haruli seemed to find it a difficult thing to do. But after hesitating for a long time, he finally garnered enough courage to make a voice, “Ex.. excuse me… Mis- mister Bryan…”
Han Shuo stopped and turned to Haruli with a brow raised. “Can I help you?” he asked with a smirk.
“That, uh, one year ago, you asked me if I was willing to serve you. Erm, do you still remember that?” asked Haruli awkwardly, shifting his glances to and fro. He seemed a little nervous or embarrassed.
Han Shuo put on a stunned expression as though he had no idea what Haruli was talking about. “Really? Did I?”
“Yes, you did, Sir. Over at Luolong’s checkpoint and right after you killed Buzz and Bertha. Do you remember?” said Haruli. He felt as though he had been doused in an ice bath.
Given Han Shuo's unfaltering memory, it was impossible that he would forget something like that. Han Shuo had asked Haruli to serve him the first time he stepped into the Omphalos. But Haruli immediately declined and even ridiculed Han Shuo.
Soon after that, outside the Omphalos entry point guarded by Luolong, the Five Elite Zombies formed the Penta-elemental Undead Formation and annihilated dozens of forces within minutes. Goron and a group of Fringedwellers betrayed Buzz and Bertha before being forced to submit themselves for servitude under Han Shuo. After the event, having demonstrated his immense power, Han Shuo yet again invited Haruli to serve him, but Haruli gave no formal answer, citing that he needed time to decide.
And now, after the entire Land of Chaos came to know of Han Shuo's reign over Salas and the supreme strength that led him there, Haruli, who had willfully taken his sweet time to consider, finally came forward to accept the offer.
“My apologies, I can’t recall having made such an offer,” replied Han Shuo before he continued walking. Given Han Shuo’s position and reputation in the Fringe then, tons of powerful experts were throwing themselves at Han Shuo. He could do just fine with or without Haruli.
Haruli looked dispirited as he watched Han Shuo leave. He knew that Han Shuo did not forget the offer he'd made just the year prior. It was also painfully clear to Haruli that Han Shuo no longer considered him a worthy associate and that his coldness was a show of displeasure for the fact that Haruli only accepted the offer after his meteoric rise in reputation.
“Chief, what should we do now? Sigh, we should have agreed back then. There are too many experts who want to serve him now. Given that our group isn’t even the most powerful in the Fringe, our odds of getting recruited is low,” one of Haruli’s followers sighed remorsefully.
“Hmph, what’s so terrific about him?” Haruli put on an angry face and barked, “He merely managed to take advantage of Salas who had exhausted too much divine energy fighting Ossora. With my position and reputation in the Fringe, I can do just fine without him, as I always have!”
<i>If he’s not so terrific, then were you pandering at his feet just now?</i> Those followers of Haruli's scoffed as they secretly laughed at Haruli’s angry remark. It was clear to them now that Haruli had zero foresight. Otherwise, Haruli would have decisively accepted Han Shuo’s offer when he had the chance and they would be more prosperous than they were at that moment.
Not only could he not admit his shortcomings, but he even tried to downplay Han Shuo's abilities. Haruli’s followers found his mindset laughable.
But Han Shuo didn’t care about a forgettable character like Haruli. He simply shrugged it off and went on with his business.
“Excuse me, where are the Sovereign Shops under Sovereign Salas?” Han Shuo stopped a random stranger in the Omphalos and asked smilingly.
“Salas? Hehe, ever since he disappeared, the remaining Four Sovereigns have taken over his Sovereign Shops. Sovereign Tyre took four while the other three Sovereigns took two each. You might not know this but even Salas’ right-hand men must now pay the fees to enter the Omphalos!” snickered the random stranger.
Han Shuo stared blankly for a moment. He thought, <i>Damn, they do act fast, don’t they?</i>
Han Shuo hesitated and weighed in his mind on whether he should seize those Sovereign Shops with brute force. But after seriously considering his options, Han Shuo decided not to do so, at least for now.
Having recently stepped into the Skybreak Realm, Han Shuo was confident that he could defeat any one of the Sovereigns. However, if all the Sovereigns joined hands against him, Han Shuo did not think that he could handle it for long. Most concerningly, Han Shuo had not met the strongest Sovereign, Tyre, who was described as possessing unfathomable power if the legends were to be believed. Han Shuo thought that the risks outweighed the rewards.
After spending some time pondering, Han Shuo decided to not be hasty and to take down the Sovereigns one by one. Han Shuo then went to the Sovereign Shop that Ossora ceded to him. Ever since Han Shuo took over the shop, he had set it up as yet another branch of the Celestial Pearl Pharmacy.
Han Shuo had managed to move some pharmacists from his Ethereal City branch to the Omphalos. They easily made more than enough medicines to fill the racks. But as Han Shuo had been busy with the Pandemonium, he did not produce and sell his pelleted medicines in this Celestial Pearl branch. Therefore, the business wasn’t doing that well.
The Celestial Pearl was very popular in other cities because they sold the special, miraculous medicines that Han Shuo refined. But every medicine sold in this branch could be bought in other pharmacies. They were average and nothing exciting. It was only to be expected that those in the Omphalos weren't spending much there.
Besides, there were all kinds of pharmacists and toxin-makers all over the Omphalos. They were mad chemists and pharmacists from every corner of Elysium with the same but strange fascination towards producing toxic substances. These poison makers were extremely good at what they did. The medicines they refined were much more useful to the Fringedwellers than those common medicines sold by the Celestial Pearl.
Though it was outlawed in the Divine Dominions, the use, production, and research of poisons were completely unrestricted in the Fringe. Those common medicines sold by the Celestial Pearl were nothing compared to the medicines that could be found in the Omphalos. If not for the fact that the workers of a Sovereign Shop were exempted from paying the costly fees and taxes, the business might not have survived.
The first thing Han Shuo noticed after his arrival at the Sovereign Shop was how massive it was. The shelves were filled with a dazzling lineup of medicines but there were very few patrons. It was plain to see that the items sold here were not that interesting to the Fringedwellers.
To maintain a strong footing in the Fringe, one must have wealth, power, and reputation. It was necessary for Han Shuo to have all three of them.
Han Shuo’s arrival made the Celestial Pearl pharmacists extremely excited. They had heard about Han Shuo defeating Salas. They were very proud that their boss was such a mighty existence.
Han Shuo did not talk much with the pharmacists. Soon after his arrival, he went to the medicinal material storehouse, collected the rare materials he needed, notified the pharmacists, and closed himself in a secluded gymnasium.
All kinds of medicinal materials and herbs were thrown into the Nine Tessellation Cauldron. Strands of demonic yuan then started circulating along the channels on the surface as blazes gently licked the Cauldron. Soon, the sweet fragrance of the medicines started emanating…
Han Shuo vested his full attention on producing pelleted medicines. Using his demonic yuan energy, he broke down the medicinal ingredients before reforming the energies contained within. Suddenly, he realized that not only had his strength and realm state improved, but his efficiency at producing medicines had also improved.
The pelleted medicines that Han Shuo previously needed one or two months to produce now took him just a few days. Furthermore, the quality of the medicines had not reduced, but were in fact even more potent than before.
Additionally, when Han Shuo stopped worrying about everyday matters and focused on producing medicines, his demonic yuan could circulate very smoothly and slowly increase. Han Shuo realized that if he could clear his mind and cultivate, the growth of his demonic yuan would be quite a bit faster than usual.
Ten days later, Han Shuo successfully produced more than two thousand pelleted medicines. They were as round, as smooth, and as lustrous as pearls. The heavy fragrance they emanated would cause anyone to salivate.
“Master, there is a large group of people lining outside. They noticed the fragrance and they want to buy your medicines. Also, many Fringe-pharmacists have gathered outside to watch!” a pharmacist hastily reported as soon as Han Shuo emerged from the gymnasium.
“Just in time!” said Han Shuo with a big smile.
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