GDK 992: Come On In
The experts from the Twelve Divine Dominions arrived outside the Hexopolis and temporarily settled on a mountain nearby, silently observing as they discussed what was happening. McKinley's expression was rather glum. His eyes kept darting towards the white-bearded and well dressed elder of the God of Light's shrine, Gyál, as he laughed and chatted with the other guardians from the various dominions.
As one of the three Keepers of the Light of the God of Light, Gyál was really powerful and a rather active character among the other guardians. Apart from Yarus from the Dominion of Darkness and a few other lead guardians from the Dominions of Death and Destruction, the others were rather careful around Gyál.
The Dominions of Light, Life, and Water had always been at odds with those of Destruction, Darkness, and Death. Minor skirmishes were rather common between them and they were absolute nemeses during the battle of the gods. Given their history of rivalry, they could never fully be on each other's side. This time, they had only convened because of the uniting threat of the Godhunter Alliance.
Gyál and Yarus had almost gotten into a fight, but it was said that they managed to calm down. After that, their two factions stayed apart without offending each other, merely carefully observing one another.
Given the tension between the two sides, the armies from six dominions led by Gyál and Yarus might break out into a fight on the spot once the matter in the Fringe was dealt with. They had already occupied their own respective territories while McKinley stood there by himself, occasionally suffering the indignity of being mocked by Gyál.
"Hexopolis of the Fringe?" Gyál suddenly laughed as he saw those words Han Shuo put up at the entrance. "They had a name change, huh? Even though they're going to be razed to the ground soon? They're really a bunch of interesting fools."
He turned to McKinley from afar and said, "McKinley, do you think that the Godhunter Alliance could have wiped out that friend of yours already? I heard you have a good relationship with that brat called Bryan. Didn't you give extra care to the Celestial Pearl Pharmacy branch in Ethereal City? Given that you cultivate space energy, you'll definitely have something to do with it if he ends up surviving, right?"
"No comment!" McKinley humphed without even paying Gyál and heed.
"Oh, McKinley, Ethereal City is right next to the Fringe. I don't know how you can be so clueless about everything and yet became a city lord," Gyál mocked.
"Bryan won't be killed that easily. If he's really in the Fringe, would you dare fight him alone?" Yarus called out with a laugh.
Gyál seemed surprised as if he hadn't expected Yarus to say something like that. After some thought, he laughed and said, "I heard that Bryan had gone to the City of Gorging Clouds before. Hahaha, it seemed that you worked with Darkwater and Darkstone to fight him, but I heard you suffered quite a loss."
Gyál suddenly stopped and shook his head. "Yarus, it seems that you didn't just stagnate these past few years, but in fact have deteriorated. To think that a nameless brat like that could take care of the three city lords of the Dominion of Darkness... I must've overestimated your lot."
Yarus smiled without looking the least bit offended. "Oh, really? How about we leave Bryan to you later? We’ll take care of the rest."
Gyál didn't take Han Shuo seriously at all. "Just him alone? Hah! I wouldn't even have to personally deal with him. I'll only play with him once he proves himself."
"Haha, then I'd like to see how the playing goes when he really shows up. Alright, let's go. We're already standing at their doorstep now."
"Yarus, is Bryan really that powerful?" Talbot, the lord of the City of Wraiths asked in a whisper.
Back then, Han Shuo had killed Portlem in his city and proclaimed that he didn't fear any retaliation, causing Talbot to hesitate to act against him. This time around, he took the chance to come to the Fringe personally with this expedition with payback in mind.
Yarus said in a serious tone, "As Bryan hasn't been active in the Dominion of Light, it's no surprise that Gyál doesn't understand his might. However, he's been to the Dominions of Death and Darkness many times before. I believe that back then, he shouldn't be weaker than you one bit. Yet, it didn't matter. If he were weak, I would've been able to wipe him out with Darkwater and Darkstone back then."
"Are you confident in defeating him now?" Talbot said, even quieter than before.
Yarus shook his head in resignation. "No! I'm not confident even if everyone here fights him with me. I can't figure out that fellow at all. However, Gyál and the rest aren't aware of Bryan's power at all. If he's still in the Fringe, we'll let Gyál take the brunt of his might. Once he gets injured from this, we'll immediately retreat from the Fringe and attack Gyál." Yarus had used darkness energy to form a barrier around them before this conversation started, so the rest weren't aware of what they were planning.
"Can Bryan do that?" Talbot asked, shocked.
"Just watch." Yarus smiled mysteriously and whispered, "Remember. When Bryan shows up and displays his might, we must leave without hesitation and ambush Gyál and the rest outside the Fringe. I have told our lord overgod about this. He said that since the battle of the gods is bound to happen, we should strike first."
After some time, the guardians from the Twelve Divine Dominions finally arrived at the great stone gate with the words 'Hexopolis' engraved on them. Gyál laughed and loudly announced, "All those inside this cesspool, godhunters or criminals hiding out in the Fringe - they deserve annihilation. Today, the God of Light's sacred radiance shall shine upon this filthy place, cleansing it and bringing upon a new dawn!"
With a loud click, the stone gate opened up and laughter could be heard coming from within. "Hahaha, I've been expecting all of you. Those who come to visit are my guests. Do come in. It's nice to see you two again, McKinley, Yarus. Don't be strangers."
"Who are you?" Gyál asked haughtily.
Those from the other dominions were also confused as to what was happening. Hearing a young voice like that did throw them off. Hegemons were usually middle-aged or elderly people. Nobody that young existed among their ranks.
Yarus's expression shifted as he hesitated, before he shot Talbot a hidden glance. Feigning a smile, he said, "I didn't think you of all people would be the ruler here. Since you have invited us in, I shall indulge in your hospitality for a drink. However, let me make it clear that we have come to the Fringe for the godhunters, not you, so please do not misunderstand."
"Bryan? You are Bryan?" Gyál immediately figured out who he was. Now, he seemed hesitant, as if he was confused over something.
"Who was the one who proclaimed that he wouldn't have to personally deal with him just now? What's wrong? I see that you haven't gone in yet. Feeling scared?" McKinley said, venting his pent-up frustrations.
"Shut up!" Gyál said as he glared at McKinley. "You are inferior to me, so don’t you dare mock me!"
He humphed and glared at the rest before leaving, his followers tagging behind him. Yarus smiled when he noted the fear Gyál was displaying. The fact that there were no godhunters around meant that they had been defeated, ostensibly by the current ruler.
"Be careful, Talbot. We’ll leave the divine guards outside and enter by ourselves. Our aim isn't the same as Gyál's. We don't have to linger here and will be leaving the moment the tables turn!" Yarus reminded.
Talbot, who had sworn to seek vengeance against Han Shuo, dropped it entirely when he noted Yarus's attitude. He knew he wasn't Yarus's match, so how could he possibly defeat someone even Yarus was wary against?
They all slowly approached the recently renamed Omphalos with their own aims and goals. The only one who didn't seem to show any fear was McKinley, who knew that Han Shuo wouldn't harm him. That was why he dared to lead the way.
The moment they entered, McKinley saw Han Shuo with Salas and Wasir in the middle of the wide street. There was nobody else apart from the three of them, but they all smiled calmly.
McKinley merely nodded slightly and gestured with his eyes to tell him which one was Gyál. Though, Han Shuo could already tell who it was without needing to be informed with his current power. Besides, it was easy to see which among them was the biggest arsehole.