GDK 897: More formidable than we thought
Inside a gymnasium in the Kiaran Residence, three divine guards of the House of Kiaran were practicing their footwork in accordance with the scroll they received from the House of Han. The three moved nimbly all around the gymnasium in a tight formation but refrained from bumping into each other.
Sha-t'o was sitting on a throne made of bones as he observed the three guards. He summoned the highgod in charge of training the three to his side and asked, “So, they have learned the combat formation?”
“I have been training them for the past three days in accordance with the footsteps and movements recorded on the scroll. Although they aren’t the fastest learners and they have not fulfilled the requirement stated, we should see some effects by now.”
Sha-t'o nodded and commanded, “Well then, let’s find out if they have any effect.” He randomly pointed at three of his family clan divine guards and sent them down to the battle arena.
The selected three walked to the arena smilingly. They, along with many of the Kiaran Family thought that those three practicing the combat formation had been wasting time, that the training method provided by the House of Han would be useless.
Those divine guards who practiced the House of Han’s demonic combat formation and those who did not were all late-stage midgods. Both sides had identical individual strengths.
“Finally, we will get to see if the training method is actually useful. If it’s not, the House of Han is gonna get it! Let the fight begin!” shouted Sha-t'o after those divine guards were at ready positions.
The divine guards were fighting in close-quarters. The three who had briefly practiced the demonic combat formation stood in a triangle with their backs facing inward. They would move around the arena as a unit without breaking from the formation. From above, they appeared as though a spinning triangle.
Their opponents spread out, jolly and relaxed. They simultaneously sprung to attack the divine guards constantly wandering around in a triangular formation.
A miracle happened!
Although the three had simultaneously attacked, two of the attacks missed their targets and only one of the wanderers. And immediately after, the three wanderers launched their counterattacks. They focused fire on one of their opponents and blasted him. He was sent flying backward.
As everyone in the arena was divine guards of the Kiaran Family and they were merely having a friendly match, they only attacked with a small portion of their power. The divine guard who was sent flying backward immediately got back to his feet and quickly returned into the arena.
He thought that it was just a lucky hit and he had taken it too lightly. He rejoined his comrades and they took a more cautious approach.
The three launched their attack for the second time. Yet again, two attacks missed and one of them got blasted off!
They went forward again and again, and the three attackers were blasted out of the arena again and again. The three divine guards employing a demonic combat formation, however, always stayed within the arena and were never taken down.
In the beginning, those Kiaran Family spectators were all in a jolly mood. But gradually, they became silent and their expressions turned grave. All of them watched the battle with their full attention.
Sha-t'o who had been sitting lazily was currently sitting with his back straightened and leaning slightly forward. His eyes opened wide and glistened with lights of excitement as he attentively watched his divine guards battle each other.
After staring for a long while, he took a deep breath and instructed, “Stop, that is enough.”
Then, he turned to the high-ranking members of his House and asked, “What do you think?”
“Miraculous! Absolutely miraculous!” One of them took a deep breath and his eyes were glowing with excitement as he exclaimed, “The House of Han is indeed quite something. They have practiced the technique for just three days and yet, can already unleash such formidable team-combat power. Once they have mastered the technique, they will be even more powerful!”
“Patriarch, it seems that we must obtain every secret of the House of Han. If we succeed, it won't be just our House of Kiaran, the overall strength of our Witherbone City will increase by several times over!” commented another senior member.
Sha-t'o nodded. With a look of determination, he said, “Indeed. We must acquire all their secrets by all means necessary, no matter the price!”
*** “One of our guards mysteriously disappeared yesterday night!” Stratholme wore a grave face as he said to Emily, “On the very first day we were here, we instructed them to never leave the compound without our command. They will never disobey our commands. Something’s very wrong about this!”
Emily knew that none of the House of Han guards dared disobey their commands. From the day they entered the House of Han, they were trained to be loyal, to obey their masters’ commands to the letter. And given the current situation they found themselves in, it was even more improbable that any of those guards would leave without permission.
“Try to search all our active areas and ask around for this person,” suggested Emily. She had a feeling that someone sinister happened to the guard.
“I have searched everywhere before coming to see you. I’m certain that he is not here.” Stratholme hesitated for a moment before he said, “Could it be…?”
Emily knew what Stratholme meant to say. They were inside the Kiaran Residence. The activity area of the Han Family was very limited. It was impossible that a member of the House of Han would attack one of their own, this meant that the divine guard’s disappearance was most likely of the House of Kiaran’s doing.
“Cover it up for as long as necessary.” Emily wore a grave face as she said, “I do not want the House of Han guards to panic. But most importantly, I don’t want Sanguis and Gilbert to do anything reckless. They have only started calming down about Bollands being slapped. If they learn of this, all hell will break loose.”
Given their current circumstances, Stratholme knew that their only option was to continue to silently endure it and do nothing. Being heavily outnumbered, any kind of struggle would only end badly for them.
“I understand…” Stratholme’s heart ached but he nodded and accepted the difficult decision.
“Sigh… This is all my fault. We should have headed for the Space Dominion instead of the Death Dominion. Had we gone there instead, none of this would have happened…” remarked Emily after letting out a sigh.
“Don’t blame yourself, we all made that decision. At least we are still alive,” replied Stratholme. He let out a sigh and left with his head drooping.
***Under the Kiaran Residence, in an underground prison shrouded under layers of defensive barriers.
In a prison cell sat a House of Han guard. There were bruises, wounds, and holes all over his body with some made to expose his bones. Some of his fingers and toes were missing, his chest had been badly charred and grotesque worms chirped as they happily munched on his rotting flesh. This House of Han guard had been tortured for an entire night and was barely recognizable. He had a numbed expression on his disfigured face and his weary eyes were staring into emptiness. There was not an ounce of energy left in him.
<i>Click-dong!</i> The prison gate was unlocked and slammed open. Sha-t’o walked down the stairs with his brows bunched. He glanced at the dying House of Han guard with disgusted eyes before asking in an annoyed voice, “I have given you one night. Have you gotten anything yet?”
The eerie-looking torturer put on a helpless expression and shook his head. With a bitter smile on, he answered, “Patriarch, I have seen many tough cases. However, this is the first time I have met someone who wouldn’t budge to any kind of torture. I have used more than twenty different tools but he wouldn’t say a word.”
“What a useless bunch of rubbish!” groaned Sha-t’o coldly before he reprimanded in a deep voice, “I have spent so many black crystal coins every year on maintaining you but you can’t even do your job right! Not only are you wasting my crystal coins and time, but I also have to spend my divine energy to finish the job myself! Absolute trash!”
“Bro- Brother-in-law… I really have tried my best… Not only wouldn’t he say a word, he had bitten his tongue off. There really is nothing more that I can do…” When the torturer saw that Sha-t’o was angered, he immediately changed the appellation from ‘Patriarch’ to ‘Brother-in-law’. It seemed that they were relatives.
“He what?!” Sha-t’o was shocked by what he had heard. It wasn’t that Sha-t’o had never seen someone do it before, but for a random, average guard to do such a savage thing to himself - that was the first time he had seen it and it terrified him.
The prisoner they abducted was just a very ordinary guard of the House of Han, possessing merely mid-stage midgod strength. He was pretty much a cannon fodder type of existence. And yet, this ordinary character was stauncher than even the toughest criminal god. If such a group of experts one day came to possess adequate strength, they would be completely unstoppable!
<i>It seems I must change my plans. No matter if the House of Han hand over those secrets, they will have to die. I cannot allow such a formidable threat to exist.</i> thought Sha-t’o inwardly. He impatiently gestured to the torturer to be dismissed. After everyone exited the cell and he was alone with the House of Han guard, Sha-t’o went forward and pressed his hand on the dying guard.
A hazy mist glowing with eerie green light enveloped the guard’s skull. It rummaged through his mind and extracted memories from the depths of his divine soul.
Moments later, Sha-t’o withdrew. The House of Han guards had bled out from his seven orifices and no longer had any signs of life.
Sha-t’o walked out from the cell with a grave face. When he was in front of his highgods, he instructed, “Tell the House of Han to hand over every training method of their demonic combat formations within three days. Three days is all they have.”
“Patriarch, did you obtain useful memories? What did you find out?” asked one of the highgods.
“The House of Han is more formidable than we thought!” exclaimed Sha-t’o. From the memories of the guard, he learned that Han Shuo had killed Larikson’s highgods on their way to Soaring Cloud Mountain Range, attacked Hushveil City, defeating City Lord Hofs, and other things. Sha-t’o started getting worried.
“Got it!” replied the highgods immediately. Then quickly went to Dagassi and gave the House of Han the ultimatum.
On that night, Han Shuo who had been speeding his entire journey finally entered the domain of Witherbone City. At his current speed, he would reach the city within half a day.
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