GDK 998: Unseen
The three great families' attitudes had suddenly changed. Now, they listened to Andre without scrutinizing every single detail. The problem that had plagued him for so long seemed to have been solved overnight. It didn't seem possible to him, especially after considering the years Andre had interacted with them.
"Alright, you are dismissed." When he was alone in the room again, he muttered, "Bryan, you truly are influential... I didn't think the three families would still be beholden to you after so many years..."
Han Shuo was indeed the one who had solved Andre's conundrum. All he did was have Erebus ask to meet the three family heads to tell them Han Shuo's stance on the matter. Almost immediately, the family heads got in line.
Putting aside Han Shuo's current strength, his exploits across the Dominion of Darkness more than a decade ago, including his rampage in the City of Gorging Clouds and killing of Wallace and Hofs had spread far and wide throughout the entire dominion. The gods of the Dominion of Darkness were utterly floored when they heard that Han Shuo killed Wallace and Hofs in an instant and still managed to leave the dominion alive. Nobody would dare to cross such a person.
"Aobashi, Erebus, I've stayed in this city for the past couple of days and really enjoyed all the feats we had. However, I still have some matters to attend to, so I will be leaving for Hushveil City today," he said as he was about to bid them farewell at the forest outside of the city.
During the past two days, Han Shuo had Aobashi and Erebus go around spreading some news while also dining and chatting with them, but Carmelita and Andre didn't show up at the very end. He felt a little down about it, so he was about to leave today.
"Don't overthink it. Andre's busy tending to city matters, so he doesn't have much time. Carmelita's still cultivating in seclusion. Perhaps she doesn't even know you're here," Erebus explained.
While Han Shuo knew that it simply wasn't true, he merely smiled and didn't press the matter. Waving as he walked away, he said, "Take care, you two. Come to the Fringe when you're free. You're always welcome there." He then zipped away to the distance before disappearing from the horizon.
Some time later, a rustling could be heard from the forest. Carmelita came to Erebus and Aobashi's side and looked towards the direction Han Shuo had gone in. "I guess he won't come back here ever again."
"No, he will when he has the time." Aobashi lifted her hand up and smiled. "Given his strength, he must have known that you were just nearby. Even though you didn't come out, he knew you were here to send him off."
"I wasn't here to send him off! I just happened to be passing through!" Carmelita snapped.
"Sure you were. Well, let's go back. I have quite a few things I want you to hand to the city lord... It should be able to greatly increase your power," she said as she walked back towards the city holding Carmelita's hand.
In fact, Han Shuo definitely noticed her presence there long ago, but merely feigned ignorance since she didn't step out on her own accord. He still felt rather sorry towards her. No matter the circumstances, he had killed her father, Wallace, under whose cruel surface was a father who doted on his precious daughter dearly. The grudge wasn't one that could be easily resolved.
Even so, he was thankful that she showed up at all and felt that his trip hadn't been in vain. Even if he couldn't hang out with Andre and Carmelita like he did before, at least he no longer had to treat them like enemies. He now felt like a huge burden had been lifted off his chest. As he headed towards Hushveil City, the figure of Donna surfaced in his mind and it put a smile on his face. He was in a really pleasant mood.
In a single night, he arrived at Hushveil City; the city's tight defenses might as well be nonexistent to him. After the Lavers family took control of the city by the God of Darkness's order, things had been taking a turn for the better for Felder. Not only did he manage to save the Lavers family, he managed to take control of one of the seven cities within the Dominion of Darkness. The miserable days back when he was in the City of Gorging Clouds was long beyond him. Now, he managed Hushveil City with a passion.
Unlike Andre, Felder seemed to have made a breakthrough in his mind state thanks to the countless hardships he had overcome. Not long after he became the city lord, he became a late-stage highgod.
With his newfound power and a stigma in his soul, his influence grew to the point he could easily suppress the patriarchs of the other influential families in the city, allowing the Lavers family to prosper under his reign. Coupled with his wit and diplomatic approach to interacting with the other families, he managed to build a rather united city.
Nowadays, the Lavers family had completely taken the Hofley family's place as the true lords of the city. Their residence located in the prosperous city center was far bigger and luxurious than the one they had back then in the City of Shadows.
Han Shuo walked at a leisurely pace within the estate of the Lavers family with not a single energy tower being able to detect him. Smiling, he sent out his consciousness to sweep the area before making his way to a room and starting to drink as he waited. It didn't take long before Donna could be heard approaching; she had been summoned by Felder to talk about some pressing matters concerning the city.
Felder valued Donna's opinions and had often listened to her suggestions over the years. He also made sure to seek out her thoughts when he had any dilemmas. After all, it was due to him not taking her thoughts into account decades ago that a rift ended up forming between the Lavers family and Han Shuo, which ended up resulting in the Lavers family's exodus. They had almost ended up in a rut they couldn't recover from. That was a mistake he wouldn't make again.
Just as Donna was about to open the door, she heard gulps from within the room. Taking a breath to ready herself, she slammed the door open and yelled, "Who goes there? Ahh..."
She breathed a sigh when she noticed who it was. Glaring at Han Shuo, she grit her teeth.
Han Shou smiled and looked at her as he downed the rest of his wine. "What's wrong? Am I not welcomed here?"
Donna stomped her foot as she turned to close the door and deployed a few barriers outside. Then, she stepped in front of him. "Why did you come?"
Holding her hand, he smiled. "Should I not have?"
A look of joy bloomed on Donna's face as she stroked his face, muttering, "I thought... You'd never come looking for me ever again... I was planning to come look for you after I finish dealing with affairs here... I didn't think you'd really come..."
He helped her take a seat beside him. "Well, I did come for you in the end. How's life in Hushveil City?"
"Pretty good. My father is now a late-stage highgod. With the God of Darkness himself appointing my father as the city lord, the other families in the city don't dare to cause trouble. Even though Hushveil City isn't really comparable to other cities, we are sure to see quite a lot of development if things proceed as they have." She smiled and locked her hands with his as she continued to tell him about the city.
Han Shuo smiled as he listened, interjecting from time to time with questions to get a better picture of the situation. All of a sudden, she stopped and looked at his hands, seemingly unhappy about something.
Han Shuo was surprised to see her dissatisfied glare. "What's wrong? I thought you said nobody was giving you trouble here."
"You left me alone here while you continued to mess around with the others in the Fringe," she said with a pout, glancing back at their interlocked hands with slight contempt.
"Umm... Well, you know how busy I've been. The Fringe has been rather chaotic over the years and I was in most, if not all battles that took place there. I didn't have time to spare for the others either, you know. The path of cultivation is fraught with ups and downs. Usually, I either find myself standing against the Hegemons or spending the rest of my free time on making a mind state breakthrough. I'm busier than you are."
"I don't care. You were with them the whole time and didn't even visit me!" She pulled her hand away from his in a small fiit. It was clear that she was angry, but it seemed a little too sudden. Even Han Shuo, well versed in the ways of the fairer gender, wasn't able to tell what she was thinking at the moment and merely shot her an odd glance.
Donna made some distance between the two of them, seemingly still angry and not even wanting to meet his gaze. He smiled in resignation and pulled her into his embrace. That was the ideal solution he had come to after years of experience whenever he didn't know what they were unhappy about.
As expected, she stopped struggling after a few attempts and leaned her head against his shoulders. "Why are you such a gentleman all of a sudden? What happened to your sneaky little hands?"
It only just dawned on him that Donna was unhappy that he didn't cop a feel or two when he had a chance.