GDK 975: Explosive Growth
Han Shuo felt a little stunned. Was this still Pandemonium? The surroundings seemed completely destitute, with most of the buildings that should be there all gone. Pandemonium had been wholly reduced to flat land. All that could be seen were large crevices in the ground and ash falling incessantly from the sky. There wasn't a single roof tile nor a person to be seen. The silence was deathly.
All of a sudden, Han Shuo had an odd feeling. It was as if he had returned to the past, as if he was on the desolate, lonely moon. He couldn't move his body at all as he watched the lifeless sight before him in despair, awaiting his audience with the great equalizer.
This sight before him looked so similar to the one from back then. It was just as lifeless, filled with craters, and he was just as powerless. He was currently reliving his past.
He looked around faintly, trying to find a single living person, trying to move a single limb, trying to inspect what state his body was in.
"Father, are you alright?" Han Hao sent to the depths of his soul.
"Where are you?" Han Shuo asked, seemingly drunk. When he heard Han Hao's voice, he seemed to have rediscovered himself. He was able to make sense of his senses once more and, as a result, began cognizant again of his worry for Han Hao.
"I am underground. I'll come up right away," Han Hao replied.
A sound could be heard from the small pile of rocks next to Han Shuo. All of a sudden, the rocks were blown apart by the gigantic white bone throne. Han Hao's reemergence seemed to trigger a chain reaction of sorts. Next to Han Shuo, sounds of rock being blasted away kept ringing out as one haggard figure after another emerged.
Judas, Dhaka, Isaiah, Regis... The Hegemons emerged one after another, still alive. Their faces were pale like paper, reflecting their vulnerable state.
"Bryan... You... what did you do to us?" Ossora mumbled weakly. He seemed far worse off than the rest.
Han Shuo didn't understand what he was talking about. He was feeling far weaker than before himself. Furrowing his brow, he said, "What do you mean?"
"Why does it feel as though a part of me is gone? Why is the earth divine power within my body permanently diminished by some amount?!" Ossora yelled.
It wasn't just Ossora; Dhaka, Isaiah and the rest seemed to be piqued by what Ossora had said. It was as if they were suffering from the same plight. They turned to Han Shuo, expecting an explanation.
"You're saying you lost divine power?" the light cultivator Judas suddenly said. All the Hegemons nodded in response. It was clear to them that their divine power had decreased in a permanent capacity.
Judas looked at Han Shuo with disbelief. One moment, he wanted to go for the kill, but another, he seemed rather hesitant. Nobody knew what was going through his mind. Han Shuo still wasn't aware of what was going on himself.
All of a sudden, an odd sensation could be felt in Han Shuo's consciousness. He suddenly felt like he had many more eyes. When he willed it, he pinged the cauldron and his two avatars. The moment he did that, thirteen blurry figures surfaced from the large crevices in the ground.
"Huh? What's this?" Han Shuo himself was just as shocked to see those figures.
The cauldron rushed back to Han Shuo, but he no longer felt the presence of demon generals within it. It was now completely empty.
However, he did feel a similar sensation coming from the thirteen figures. Not only that, he seemed to have a unique connection with those figures. It was as if he was the shadow of those thirteen and vice versa.
What in the world is going on?
"Master, I don't know why, but all the demon generals experienced a change. The energies they had cultivated back when they were alive resonated and fused together, eventually causing those demon generals that cultivated the same energy to fuse into one. As a result, thirteen lifeforms with your soul imprint were formed based on the thirteen energies. They are a new type of avatar, one that's even more unique than those of Demonslayer Edge or the Skeletal Staff. In fact, I'm not even sure which classification of life-form they belong to," the cauldron spirit said.
For a moment, Han Shuo was confused and couldn't understand what he meant. "What about those two avatars of mine?"
"They exploded after the great force struck. However, their souls and power seemed to have fused into the new avatars. You can feel it yourself. The death and destruction avatars should already be completely synchronized with you without even having to acclimate to you."
Han Shuo tried to sense the aura of the thirteen figures. Gradually, he noticed that they did indeed have some sort of odd connection with him. The thirteen shadows included darkness, earth, fire, water, wind, lightning, death, destiny, space, life, death, destruction, and fighting aura. The death and destruction avatars felt more distinct to him than the rest. When he willed it, he felt an odd sensation entering his mind.
The two avatars that were more distinct than the rest suddenly laughed, but they sounded different. Han Shuo felt like he was controlling three bodies with a single soul. Compared to before, it didn't feel one bit different from a synchronized soul. In fact, they were even more tightly synchronized than before. The sense of unity was truly a wondrous one.
The death and destruction clones gave off the purest aura with respect to their corresponding cultivations. Gradually, they turned into humanoid figures roughly five times the size of Han Shuo and molded themselves to look exactly like him.
"What the..." Judas cried. He was completely flabbergasted. It was as if he noticed the fishy part about the thirteen figures that rose into the sky. Even Dhaka and the other Hegemons merely stared blankly at them.
"The thirteen energies... What the heck is going on here?!" Dhaka cursed.
"Wait a second, could it be these things that took our power…?" Ossora could feel familiar earth energy coming from one of those figures.
"As long as he doesn't die, we will never be able to have peace. One day, all of us will die because of him!" Dhaka yelled, despite not being able to so much as control his beating heart.
The Hegemons were now united and no longer seemed hesitant. They had firmed their resolve to kill Han Shuo for good.
At that moment, the destruction and death avatars fused together, melding the two energies into one as they formed the hybrid divinity domain. The overlapping avatars' shadow shimmered as it absorbed the lightning figure into them, adding the power of lightning into the hybrid divinity domain and doubling its power.
Han Shuo's face was contorted from the effort he expended in controlling the three avatars. He left his injured body unattended and focused his full attention on them instead, causing the darkness, wind, and water figures to overlay each other.
The strain on Han Shuo's consciousness grew exponentially with each avatar fused. After having the darkness, wind, and water avatars overlay with each other, his consciousness, as powerful as it is, reached its maximum working capacity and he could no longer get the other avatars to fuse. This was the limit his consciousness could sustain.
The new figure formed by the overlaid death, destruction, lightning, darkness, wind and water avatars slowly fused into a humanoid that looked like Han Hao, but felt nothing like him. The combined six energies all manifested within the new divinity domain.
"Die!" Ossora felt a primal fear towards Han Shuo's new body and was the first to charge in. The new Han Shuo gave him a casual glance and simply raised a hand. Boundless, never-seen-before energy collected and engulfed Ossora.
Instantly, Ossora's body disintegrated and vaporized. Even the strongest earth armor he could make was useless. In the end, he fell to the ground in bloody tatters, out of which a gray soul emerged. The cauldron didn't waste any time and sucked the soul into it, sealing it for good.
The Hegemons, having witnessed the effortless kill, now looked different than before. They exchanged glances as they retreated backwards in abject fear. They no longer had the courage to face Han Shuo.