GDK 892: House arrest
Han Shuo went to the Sovereigns and informed them in no uncertain terms that Han Hao would split from the Godhunter Alliance and that if there ever came a day that the Fringe was at war with the Alliance, Han Hao and his faction would stand against the Godhunter Alliance.
With that pledge of Han Shuo’s, the Sovereigns had no more excuses and they gave Han Shuo what he wanted.
Han Shuo had finally gotten control over a piece of the Omphalos. The Sovereigns surrendered the Sovereign Shops previously owned by Salas to Han Shuo. And as one of the managers of the Omphalos, each year, Han Shuo would get one-fifth of all tax income collected in the Omphalos. It was an astronomical amount of black crystal coins.
Back when Han Shuo first stepped into the Omphalos, Ossora had gifted Han Shuo one of his Sovereign Shops, which was converted into a Celestial Pharmacy branch. After taking over Salas’ Sovereign Shops, Han Shuo gave one of those Shops to Ossora. Han Shuo no longer owed Ossora anything of monetary value.
Han Shuo was on his toes towards Ossora since the beginning. And after having heard Wasir’s warning, Han Shuo was even more vigilant towards Ossora. Han Shuo tried to not be too closely associated with Ossora so that if he ever had to kill Ossora in the future, he wouldn’t have any apprehensions or be criticized by the public.
Once Han Shuo took control of the ten Sovereign Shops, he asked Zovic and Metal Elite Zombie to move into the Omphalos. Metal Elite Zombie had established his Goldstone Enterprise in every Dominion and had amply demonstrated his talent in managing and growing businesses. Therefore, Han Shuo gave Metal Elite Zombie one of his Sovereign Shops so that he could set up a Goldstone branch in the Omphalos.
Zovic was an intelligent person and he knew the ins and outs of the Fringe. Han Shuo had brought Zovic to the Omphalos to help Metal Elite Zombie in setting up his Goldstone branch. But most importantly, Zovic knew some of the stringers in the Omphalos. Han Shuo gave him a sizable amount of black crystal coins to build his own intelligence network in the Fringe.
After the meeting on the extinct volcano, the three Sovereigns had communicated with those Omphalos merchants, instructing them to stop making things difficult for Han Shuo. After having their supplies looted by Han Hao for many months, those Omphalos merchants agreed to the instruction almost immediately. After this ordeal, they all understood just how treacherous Han Shuo was.
In addition, those merchants also understood that the Sovereigns must have reached some sort of agreement with Han Shuo. They became even more afraid of this mighty character who was rapidly rising in the Fringe.
Having an infamous reputation was very useful in the Fringe. When it came to setting up the Goldstone branch or getting information, things went much smoother when Han Shuo’s name was mentioned.
Three months went by in a heartbeat. During that time, Metal Elite Zombie had successfully established a Goldstone branch in the Omphalos. With a seemingly endless budget of black crystal coins and Han Shuo’s fearsome reputation, Zovic managed to hire a number of stringers to work for Han Shuo. Although this newly set up intelligence network wasn’t as expansive and all-encompassing as those of the other Sovereigns, it was better than having nothing.
During those months, Han Hao did not continue wreaking havoc all around the Fringe. He had been focused on training the godhunters he had recently recruited.
Although Han Hao and Han Shuo rarely ever met up, they knew each other’s situation well as they had been frequently communicating through their secret channel.
One day, while refining new pelleted medicines and scheming to swoop every pharmacist and poison maker of the Omphalos under his Sovereignty, he was interrupted by the anxious Zovic rushing into his gymnasium.
Han Shuo had instructed Zovic not to disturb him when he was producing medicines or cultivating, unless there was an emergency. Zovic wasn’t an incautious person and he definitely knew how to follow orders. He had never interrupted Han Shuo in his cultivation before. And from that anxious look on his face, Han Shuo knew instantly that there was an urgent situation.
“What’s happening?” Han Shuo’s face turned grave. He had a feeling that something really bad happened.
The rather anxious Zovic immediately replied, “I just received news from Han Hao. His follower has just arrived from the Death Dominion with news about the House of Han.”
Han Shuo’s face froze and he felt even more uneasy. Immediately he asked, “What happened?”
“Every major godhunter faction in the Ronson Canyon had joined forces to attack the House of Han. They…” Zovic hastily reported everything he knew.
From the moment Han Shuo assigned Zovic the task of building an intelligence network, he had instructed Zovic to pay attention to the House of Han in the Darkness Dominion. Having served Han Shuo for some time and being an intelligent man, it was clear to Zovic how much the House of Han meant to Han Shuo.
The messenger who had just reported to Han Hao was sent by Khitan before he went to stop the godhunter factions from attacking the House of Han. This messenger had no clue of their fate. What was told to Han Shuo was just as dire as what the messenger had heard at that time.
That follower of Han Hao’s took four months to travel non-stop from the Death Dominion to the Fringe. This meant that by the time Han Shuo received the information, it had been four months since the House of Han was attacked.
Han Shuo’s face turned dark. From the information, he deduced that the House of Han must have met some sort of calamity in the Darkness Dominion. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have tried moving to the Death Dominion. Just like the marathoner, Han Shuo had no idea what the House of Han’s current situation was like or if they had managed to pass through the Ronson Canyon.
Based on the information currently at hand, Zovic felt that it was likely the House of Han had perished in the Ronson Canyon. However, he remained silent and kept that prediction to himself.
After thinking for a moment, Han Shuo took a deep breath and said to Zovic, “I need to leave the Fringe for a while. Keep it a secret. If anyone asks, just tell them that I’m cultivating in the Pandemonium. It won’t be long before I return. You will be in charge while I’m away.”
“Don’t worry, my Lord. No one would know that you have left the Fringe,” replied Zovic as he nodded.
Han Shuo then said, “I’m leaving right now. Keep an eye on those little guys and make sure that they are not stirring up trouble. I will return as soon as possible.”
After leaving some instructions to Zovic, Han Shuo openly walked out of the Celestial Pearl like everything was normal. But as soon as he was outside the Omphalos, he concealed his aura and contacted Han Hao. After secretly meeting Han Hao to have a short discussion, Han Shuo left the Fringe.
***The Death Dominion, Witherbone City.
Of all the cities in the Death Dominion, and perhaps on Elysium, the structures in Witherbone City were the most peculiar. The city wall was made using the bones of an unknown magical beast. The bones were of various colors and were incredibly tough. It gave the city a terrifying, sinister appearance.
The members of the House of Han were gathered inside a structure in the Kiaran Residence made of white bones. The sanitary conditions and amenities of this building were far poorer than what they had in the City of Shadows. But the most unbearable thing was that the building was located beside a stinking, revolting bone refinery.
A bone refinery was a facility where bones were processed using unique minerals and metals. By subjecting the bones to certain processes, they could be transformed into a material even tougher than rocks. The processed bones could be used for building durable structures and some could even be used as the foundational material of divine weapons.
Most of the bones were those of magical beasts and some belonged to perished gods. They came to the refinery raw with rotting flesh still loosely attached. It left an unbearable stench on the place.
The House of Han was placed in a house located nearby the bone refinery.
They had lived in the Witherbone City of the Death Dominion for a while. The days of living by relying on someone else’s charity had not been pleasant. Although the members of the House of Kiaran were very cordial towards the House of Han at first, when they discovered that the House of Han wouldn’t compromise on a certain issue, they became not so cordial.
The House of Han did not lack black crystal coins. They could easily afford to rent a better residence or even buy an upscale property in the city to live in. However, Sha-t'o, the patriarch of the House of Kiaran, gave all kinds of excuses to keep the Han Family from leaving the Kiaran Residence.
Li Wei, who was a close friend of Han Shuo, had protested the treatment of the Han Family. But unfortunately, Li Wei wasn’t influential in her House of Kiaran and Sha-t'o turned a deaf ear to her comments.
Phoebe, Emily, and the others who were clean freaks were nearly driven mad after having to endure the rotting stench of the bone refinery for months.
The members of the House of Han grew more and more annoyed after their requests were repeatedly rejected. However, the House of Kiaran was extremely mighty. They were one of the strongest family clans in Witherbone City. It also seemed as though they had some sort of agreement with the City Lord to prevent the House of Han from leaving the city.
“I can’t believe that we escaped from one danger just to walk into another one. The House of Kiaran is not just placing us on house arrest, they are torturing us!” said Phoebe angrily.
“There’s nothing we can do but to swallow this. Witherbone City is much stronger than the City of Shadows. There are divine guards stationed all around the Kiaran Residence at all times. It is impossible for us to force our way out the City,” said Stratholme after he let out a sigh. He thought that they were out of danger after stepping into the Death Dominion, but they only landed themselves in greater danger.
“They want Bryan’s medicine formulas and our training methods. These are the cornerstones of our House of Han. We would have no place on Elysium without them. I will not reveal a thing to them. I will carry them to my grave if I have to!” said Phoebe resolutely.
After having stayed in the residence for so long, it was obvious to Phoebe what the House of Kiaran wanted.
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