GDK 971: Doing So Despite Knowing Otherwise
Now, it seemed that the House of Han was hard pressed to win in any and all regards. It wasn't that the defenses of Pandemonium were insufficient, nor was Han Shuo's strength inadequate to defend them - the opponent was simply just far more powerful than they had expected.
Judas's offer sounded decent. At the very least, it was a surefire way to make sure that not all the members of the House of Han would be wiped out. At the very least, Han Shuo's divine soul would be spared.
Wasir's sudden reaction was completely out of Han Shuo's expectations. He looked at the brawny man without saying anything, feeling a little touched instead for Wasir's act of self-sacrifice at a moment of crisis in a surprising display of camaraderie.
The other Sovereign, Salas, only smiled in resignation. He didn't offer to sacrifice himself like Wasir did, but he didn't immediately beg Dhaka, Judas and the rest for mercy either, as he knew more than anyone else that the Godhunter Alliance never left debts unsettled. Salas knew that even if Judas would spare Wasir, he wouldn't let him go as he was a traitor to them.
"Bryan, think it over," Judas said with a pleasant smile, "I'm not like Isaiah and the rest. I won't plot against you secretly right here. As long as you are truly willing to tell me the secrets of Pandemonium, I assure you that I'll let your divine soul leave in peace."
"Judas!" Dhaka yelled, "The members of the House of Han don't include Han Hao! Anyone else can leave, but not him! You've seen how he killed Dagmar yourself. I can't let this go unpunished on the behalf of Dagmar's subordinates!"
Stunned, Judas turned to look at Han Hao before nodding. He and Dhaka had taken it for granted that Han Shuo would already submit to them, so they were now going over the fine details.
Han Shuo's expression was grim as ever as his eyes darted between the two of them, as if he found it really difficult to make a choice. Moments later, he suddenly sighed and said to his unhurried enemies, "From the moment I got into the limelight, I've never submitted to anyone before. Not back then, not now, not ever!"
Dhaka's expression turned cold as he laughed. "Then, this will be your death wish!"
"Bryan, you really should reconsider. We have experts here who are well versed in the intricacies of the soul. The moment we kill you, the secrets your divine soul keeps will still fall into our hands all the same. Why bother?" Judas advised one last time.
"I'm the kind of person that does it despite knowing otherwise!" Han Shuo spat.
Judas nodded and turned to Dhaka and Tuckamore. "Looks like we'll have to do it the hard way. Too bad, we have to exhaust some of our power."
"This is even better. We'll get to wipe them out for good to save us trouble later. That was what I had been planning to do all along!" Dhaka turned to the injured Ossora and snickered. "What about you, Ossora? What's your plan?"
"Hehe, you've seen it yourself. He suddenly turned against me without batting an eye. Naturally, I'm siding with you guys." Ossora's injuries had stabilized somewhat. He turned to the Han Hao seated in his bone throne and said, "Let me deal with the small fry. I'm still injured, after all."
"So it is decided," Judas said, before he signalled to Dhaka to attack Han Shuo together.
Tuckamore and Asser didn't idle around either and attacked Wasir and Salas respectively. The temporary pause to their battle was now no more. This time around, Han Shou and the rest didn't have the upper hand.
The cross in Judas's hand let out an incomparably holy aura as it emanated rays of the most purifying sacred light to envelop Han Shuo, much to his discomfort.
Dhaka, the destruction cultivator, had been slowly recovering his energy since breaking free of the Sky Annihilation Formation. He formed a spear from destruction energy that has a really terrifying tip. It gave Han Shuo the sense of helpless defeat before it was even thrust his way.
In an instant, Han Shuo calmed himself down, externalizing his obstacles and pressures. His eyes regained their former unmoving calm. With a wave of his hands, the Cauldron of Myriad Demons began shooting at him from the formation crux and sucking in the vast yuan energy from the Sky Annihilation Formation. The energy flooded into the cauldron like a huge torrent.
With but a thought, he willed the Seventeen Flying Swords floating out from his back. They streaked across the sky, leaving trails like meteorites, as they executed Deicide Slash. A demonic light glowed in the sky as the magnificent slash descended towards Dhaka.
Dhaka's expression changed, as if he hadn't expected Han Shuo to be nearly that terrifying. Those seventeen swords had gathered a ferocious amount of demonic energy and Dhaka had no choice but to withdraw his attack at Han Shuo. He countered it with his full power concentrated on his lance of destruction.
When Cauldron of Myriad Demons came whooshing over, thousands of demon generals were circling above it. Gradually, the demon generals seemed to form gigantic, monstrous tentacles that were stretching in all directions. The yuan energy that Pandemonium had gathered over the years was now inside the Cauldron, boosting its power and allowing it to display such overwhelming power in an explosive burst. Torrents of evil energy came spiraling down with the pressure of the ocean depths.
"Amazing!" Judas cried in surprise. He could feel that even his evil-purifying Crucifix was being pressured by the Cauldron. The inky torrent that came spiraling down even dulled the glow of the Crucifix somewhat. It was quite apparent that even a divine artifact crafted by the God of Light wasn't as impressive as the Cauldron.
Judas no longer paid attention to Han Shuo and infused his full power into the Crucifix, restoring it to its former brightness. However, that still wasn't enough to deal with the terrifying power the Cauldron displayed.
The Crucifix was but one of four divine artifacts crafted for the three Keepers of the Light, not the weapon used by the God of Light himself, while the Cauldron of Myriad Demons was the lifelong treasure of the Exalted Demonlord. They could nary be compared.
Back then, the Cauldron hadn't been able to be utilized to its full extent as most of the demon generals within had been vaporized during the Exalted Demonlord's great battle. But after so much time of collecting divine souls, the cauldron was now beginning to recover its former power. Though it wasn't as powerful as when it was serving the Exalted Demonlord, it still wasn't something a mere divine artifact could overpower.
Thanks to the thousands of demon generals' power, the inky black force came crashing down on Judas. The Crucifix in his hand flashed on and off, its holy power being rapidly suppressed. The nigh-invincible Crucifix had finally met its natural counter. Not only could it not continue to unleash holy energy, it was even being corrupted by the evil energy coming from the cauldron and was beginning to destabilize.
Judas paled with the shock. He didn't think it would end up this way even though he had such a prized artifact with him.
"Sacred Sanctuary!" he yelled, causing his body to shine blindingly with sacred light, turning the nearest demon generals into ash. All of a sudden, the demon generals returned to the Cauldron, causing the inky black wave to vanis and exposing the Cauldron shrouded under it. It continued its descent with tremendous power.
The Cauldron fell onto Judas and caused him to stumble some distance backward.
Before anyone noticed, Judas was now clad in an armor of gold from top to bottom, even his head, leaving only two slits through which his amazement-filled eyes could be seen.
"Holy Aurum Armor!" Han Shou mused with surprise. He didn't know that Judas was a light cultivator who could use Holy Aurum Armor. Why was he a godhunter instead?
It was said that only the most devout believers of the God of Light would be granted a divine stigma on their soul which they could use to manifest Holy Aurum Armor by channeling the power of faith coming from the hundreds of millions of believers of the God of Light. The armor was capable of resisting any and all corruption from evil. Seeing Judas use it, Han Shuo was filled with questions. He even wondered if Judas was truly a Hegemon.
"Truly amazing!" Judas said with praise once he found stable footing. Even after summoning Holy Aurum Armor to overcome the overpowering cauldron, he still took quite a bit of toll from it. The immense power still bewildered him endlessly; the mere sight of the Cauldron filled him with excitement.
"Dhaka, I don't care how you split up Pandemonium. All I want is that little trinket over there!" Judas said. It was as if he had found what he truly needed.
"You cultivate light energy! What would you need an evil divine artifact for?!" Dhaka had expended quite a bit of effort to counter Deicide Slash, but he couldn't just let that comment stand. "You can have Pandemonium! I want that cauldron!"
Judas glanced at Dhaka with a hint of insidiousness despite his smiling expression. "First come first serve!" he said, before he glowed blindingly and charged towards the Cauldron, maniacally laughing along the way.