GDK 894: The City of Wraiths
Han Shuo rushed towards the Death Dominion at his maximum speed. After entering the Skybreak Realm, it seemed as though his body no longer felt any effects of Elysium’s gravity. He could travel more than a million miles per day. He was flying faster than what an average being could even imagine.
That godhunter of Han Hao’s took almost four months to reach the Fringe from the Death Dominion. But Han Shuo, by pushing himself to his limit, took just seven days to reach the Death Dominion.
After seven days of marathoning at his top speed, Han Shuo had exhausted plenty of his energy. He decided to enter the nearest city - the City of Wraiths. Other than to rest and recharge some of the energy consumed, he wanted to find out the House of Han’s current situation.
Han Shuo knew that the House of Han had traveled hundreds of thousands of miles from Fort Lasberg to seek refuge in the Death Dominion. The Ronson Canyon bordered the Death Dominion. If the House of Han escaped from the godhunters of the Ronson Canyon, they should be somewhere in the territory of the Death Dominion.
Han Shuo did not know if his family clan members managed to escape from Ronson Canyon but he held some hope. He knew that the first thing he had to do was to find out if they had stepped into the Death Dominion.
Han Shuo took half a day to pass through the outer villages and towns. He was standing before the City of Wraiths’ city gate by nightfall.
As one of the six main cities of the Death Dominion, the City of Wraiths had its own distinguishing architectural style and characteristics. The most notable feature was the wraiths that filled the city.
The City Lord of the City of Wraiths, Talbot, was a master at controlling wraiths. His hobby was to collect the souls of every living being and imprisoning them inside energy towers. He would twist those souls using a mysterious energy or seal them in the city wall directly. Although those wraiths were weak, they could monitor every corner of the city for him.
Talbot the City Lord would very quickly be informed by his wraiths if there were any disturbances in his city. He would also be instantly notified if enemies tried to invade the city, allowing him to respond to the threats very quickly.
Han Shuo couldn’t help but bunch his brows disdainfully after sensing those weak lifeforms poorly concealed in the city wall and energy towers of the City of Wraiths.
The wraiths may have seemed to be parallels of Han Shuo’s demon generals. However, Han Shuo knew that even the strongest of these wraiths were nothing compared to his weakest demon general. They were just ‘eyes’ that Talbot placed in every corner of the City which could be easily detected by anyone.
The offensive capability of a wraith was so minute that it couldn’t even threaten a basegod. Even if Han Shuo were to stand still and allow thousands upon thousands of wraiths to swarm at him, he still wouldn’t sustain the slightest injury.
Those wraiths had near non-existent offensive capabilities, immobile as they were sealed inside walls, and most certainly could not continually evolve stronger. No matter the aspect, this life form was light years inferior to Han Shuo’s demon generals. That was why Han Shuo scorned after sensing the life form attached to the walls.
In every city, there were merchants who traded not goods but information. The City of Wraiths was no exception. Where there were consumers, there would be sellers.
*** In the western region of the City of Wraiths.
Many non-local gods stayed in this area. There were all kinds of goods for sale. And naturally, information was up for sale as well.
An Information Brokerage Firm was a store that collected and sold information. With enough black crystal coins, one could obtain nearly any information that one desired. Even if they did not have the information that one sought, one would need only pay a reasonable amount of black crystal coins as deposit and the firm would send their investigators to obtain the information desired.
Information Brokerage Firms were typically quiet and empty on usual days. But if something major happened in any of the Dominions, these Firms would be crowded with customers. Many of the major family clans who did not have reliable intelligence networks in other Dominions would patronize such a Firm.
Han Shuo entered one of the Information Brokerage Firms. Immediately, he saw an old woman with drooping eye bags sitting in a dark corner. Her eyes were closed but she was not asleep. With just one glance, Han Shuo determined that she was a mid-stage lowgod of death.
Han Shuo surveyed the Brokerage Firm with his consciousness and discovered that no one was on the premises other than the old woman. After calming his mind, Han Shuo made a beeline for the old woman. He tossed out a sack containing ten thousand black crystal coins on the wooden table before her. A loud clinking noise broke the silence.
“I want to know about the City of Shadows’ House of Han. If you have information about their wellbeing, this bag of black crystal coins is yours,” said Han Shuo. He was feeling somewhat nervous to find out the truth, afraid that they had all been killed in the Ronson Canyon.
The sharp sound of crystal coins bumping against each other instantly roused the old woman who was resting in her seat. She opened her eerie green eyes like a hungry beast that scented its feast. Without saying a word, she placed a hand on the sack of black crystal coins, grasping, feeling it with her greedy hand.
She nodded, as though having confirmed that the black crystal coins were not counterfeits. Then, she started sizing up Han Shuo with squinted eyes.
The light in her eerie green eyes glowed brighter and brighter. She had a strange expression on her wrinkled face. She seemed puzzled, but at the same time, unperplexed. After staring at Han Shuo for a long, long while, she took a light breath and in a slow, deep voice, asked, “Why would you be interested in the House of Han? Hehe… there are quite a lot who are interested in them recently…”
Han Shuo was a little stunned. He replied in an annoyed manner, “Cut the crap. I gave you my money, now give me my information.” Normally, an Information Broker would ask nothing about the buyer’s identity and origins. It was taboo. In her line of work, the old woman’s actions could be deemed unprofessional.
“Do you know how many variations there are in the Eight Desolation and Torment Formation?” the old woman suddenly asked as she looked at Han Shuo.
Han Shuo’s face instantly jolted and his eyes opened wide. His right hand moved forward, clutched at the old woman’s neck, and raised her to the air in one fell swoop. Han Shuo’s face went dark and chilling as he shouted, “WHO ARE YOU? HOW DID YOU KNOW ABOUT THIS?”
Simultaneously, the wide-open doors and all the windows shut themselves in a loud ‘bam!’ A bizarre, obstructive energy instantly filled the Information Brokerage Firm, preventing those outside from knowing what was happening inside the building.
The old woman’s face quickly turned purple. She tried kicking and punching Han Shuo to free herself but that only made things worse for her as the Omen Invincible Body automatically rebutted. Soon, she had no strength left. Her green eyes started rolling up and it seemed as though she would die at any moment.
Han Shuo then flung the old woman away. She was pressed against the wall by an invisible energy. Although she could breathe heavily, she could not move.
“Speak! How do you know about the Eight Desolation and Torment Formation?!” asked Han Shuo who was standing five meters from the old woman. With one thought, a Demonic Blade glistening with chilling lights shot out from his right index finger. Han Shuo could not appear more threatening.
The old woman heavily gasped and coughed for a while before she could speak. Looking at the murderous Han Shuo and knowing just how helpless she was, the old woman couldn’t help herself but shrieked in panic, “I have no idea what the Eight Torment Formations is! Someone came to our agency and gave us a large amount of black crystal coins and asked us to relay some words!”
“Speak clearly or I will skin you alive!” threatened Han Shuo.
“Every Information Broker is instructed so: if anyone comes asking about the City of Shadows’ House of Han, we will ask the person if they know how many variations there are in the Eight Desolation and Torment Formation. If the person could answer it correctly, we would give the person some information!” replied the terrified old woman hastily. “There are many who asked about the House of Han’s situation. I have asked all of them that question but none of them knew what it was. You are the only person who reacted so violently. It seems that you are the person we have been waiting for.”
<i>Bam!</i> The energy that restrained her body abruptly vanished and she fell to the ground. Immediately, she knew that her life was no longer in danger.
“There are eighteen variations!” Han Shuo opened his palm and the old woman was pulled back to her seat. Han Shuo wore a dark face as he instructed, “Speak, tell me everything I should know!”
“So it is you!” The old woman nodded as she massaged her neck that was nearly snapped. She forced a smile and said, “Someone gave our agency a large sum of money, they want you to know the House of Han is currently at Witherbone City and they are in a bad situation. They ask that you look for them at the Kiaran Residence with haste.”
“Anything else?” Han Shuo inwardly heaved a sigh of relief after hearing that the House of Han was not exterminated in the Ronson Canyon. His face calmed and his voice grew less threatening.
“No, that is all. They want you to look for them at the Kiaran Residence in Witherbone City as soon as possible,” replied the old woman as she looked at Han Shuo. She pushed the sack of black crystal coins towards Han Shuo and said, “This information is free. You may take your crystal coins back.”
“I apologize for my actions. You can keep the crystal coins. Consider it as compensation,” said Han Shuo after forcing a smile. Han Shuo no longer felt so restless after knowing that the House of Han was fine. He immediately left the Firm and went in the direction of Witherbone City.
“Goddamnit! He almost killed me!” said the old woman after Han Shuo vanished. She put on a dark face and thought for a moment. Then, as though she had recalled something, she hastily went to a room in the back of the building and fiddled with a magical mirror that every Information Brokerage Firm was entrusted with.
After punching a string of integers into the magical mirror, the impatient face of a young man gradually appeared on the smooth and flat device. The young man took a glance at the old woman before he arrogantly asked, “What’s the matter?”
“Young Master Portlem, I hear that you have been looking for Bryan of the House of Han. Are you still interested in his whereabouts?” asked the old woman humbly in a flattering smile.
The House of Batchelder was one of the top family clans in the City of Wraiths. Portlem, as a young master of the house, was famous in the city for having reached highgodhood at his young age.
After having been injured by Han Shuo, Portlem thought of revenge every minute of his life. But unfortunately for Portlem, Han Shuo had always stayed in the Darkness Dominion’s City of Shadows, out of Portlem’s reach.
And after news got out that Han Shuo had left the City of Shadows, Portlem had contacted his local Information Brokerage Firms, asking for Han Shuo’s whereabouts. However, after leaving the City of Shadows, Han Shuo had avoided populated areas and remained rather stealthy. Therefore, the firms were unable to get Han Shuo’s precise location.
Back then, this old woman had reported to Portlem when Han Shuo was sighted in Ethereal City. However, as Ethereal City was just too far from the City of Wraiths, Portlem had no choice but to further postpone his quest for vengeance. And after Han Shuo stepped into the Fringe, these Information Brokerage Firms lost track of Han Shuo as their intelligence network did not cover the Fringe.
Although it had been many years, Portlem’s hatred for Han Shuo did not subside with time. He was still interested in Han Shuo’s whereabouts and he hastily asked, “Where was that guy last seen? If he is not too far from the City of Wraiths, I will make him pay the price for injuring me, the mighty Portlem!”
“Not far, not far at all!” The old woman smiled and said, “He just left from my place and he should still be inside the city. Hehe, your Batchelder Residence is near the city gate he will leave from. If you get ready right now, you should be able to intercept him before he leaves the city!”
Portlet cackled sinisterly. Through the magical mirror, he replied, “If your information proves reliable, I will pay you a hundred thousand black crystal coins. Alright, I will get ready right away!” Portlem disconnected the call upon finishing those words.
Portlem’s image faded and the magical mirror gradually returned to normal. The old woman let out an evil laugh and said to herself, “Youngster, I have told you the information that you should know, as I’m obliged to. As for revealing your whereabouts to Portlem, that's my business with Portlem. This is in line with my profession’s rules of conduct!”
***Han Shuo’s mind was finally relaxed after knowing that his family clan had not perished in the Ronson Canyon. For the time being, he did not know the humiliation and treatment his family clan members received in Witherbone City. To him, all that mattered was that they were still alive.
Although Han Shuo was at ease, he did not slow down his pace. Soon after entering the City of Wraiths, he planned to leave the city through another city gate.
Han Shuo dared not fly at his shockingly great top speed inside the City of Wraiths. There were wraiths in every inch of the city and countless divine guards patrolling. If Han Shuo was to recklessly zoom across the streets at his insane speed, he could invite unwanted attention, especially from the patrolling divine guards.
Therefore, Han Shuo had only been flying at a speed slightly greater than the crowd as he approached the city gate in the direction of Witherbone City. When he almost arrived at the gate, his consciousness suddenly detected that for some reason, many experts and divine guards were gathering in that region.
Han Shuo did not release demon generals to probe ahead. He thought that no matter what was happening there, it shouldn’t have anything to do with him. As the city gate was the closest to Witherbone City, Han Shuo did not change his course. He reached the city gate after ten minutes.
The great city wall entered his sight. He saw large groups of divine guards carrying a unique emblem of a family clan. And barring the city gate was a young, arrogant-looking man. To Han Shuo’s surprise, it was Portlem!
Upon seeing the expressions on those divine guards and that there were two highgods from the House of Batchelder, Han Shuo took no time to realize that he was their target. And without thinking, Han Shuo figured out that it must be that old woman from that Information Brokerage Firm who had revealed his whereabouts.
While inside the Firm, Han Shuo had shut every door and window and even released an energy that obstructed prying ears. Even Talbot the City Lord who had wraiths all around the city wouldn’t be able to find out what happened in the Firm.
Moreover, Talbot should not know of Han Shuo’s identity or that he had grudges with Portlem. That old woman must have made out his identity from his reaction and the question he asked.
<i>Duh, if I had known earlier, I would have finished that bitch…</i> thought Han Shuo a little regretfully. However, he did not evade Portlem but continued flying towards the city gate.
Given Han Shuo’s current strength, no expert in the City of Wraiths had the power to stop him. That feeble little Portlem would pose Han Shuo as much obstruction as a piece of paper. Even if Talbot and the patriarch of the Batchelder family were there, Han Shuo was confident that he could slaughter them without much trouble.
“Hey, Bryan, long time no see! I heard that your House of Han got kicked out of the City of Shadows? Back then, I couldn’t touch you because Wallace was there to protect you. But what a surprise - you would step into the City of Wraiths, to your doom! Too tired of living, I suppose?” Portlem had been waiting for this moment for decades. He remembered being chased around by Han Shuo in the Celestial Pearl’s banquet hall. If Charlotte had not stepped in, he might have died to Han Shuo in the City of Shadows.
Han Shuo was in a hurry and had no time to prattle with Portlem. He impatiently shouted, “Portlem, to be honest, I have forgotten about you long ago. But since you insist on seeking death, death you will get!”
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