Chapter 192: Valley of Sunshine
Some of his bones had been broken, and the little skeleton suddenly seemed at a loss as he slowly stopped waving the bone dagger about. Han Shuo hadn’t treated the little skeleton as an ordinary dark creature since the very beginning.
From the moment that he began practicing necromancy magic and summoned this little skeleton, he had become Han Shuo’s indispensable companion. Before he’d learned how to fight, the little skeleton had released Han Shuo from the drudgery of daily chores and had helped him take out the trash and clean.
When Han Shuo had used magical yuan to refine him, the little skeleton was even less of an ordinary summoned creature to him. The former had assumed an essential role whenever Han Shuo met danger in the future, always assisting him in his escape.
But now, Han Shuo discovered that the little skeleton had a marvelous connection with him, similar to how he had one with it. Han Shuo had never thought of nor attempted to discover the little skeleton’s matters or methods in the other dimension. If he hadn’t concentrated his attention this time, he might’ve missed the little skeleton’s cry for help and the little skeleton might no longer exist now.
A few traces of guilt grew in Han Shuo’s heart when his thoughts traveled down this path. His necromancy magic would have to reach new heights before he would be able to understand what had happened to the little skeleton in the other dimension, and if there were any other existences in that world apart from regularly summoned dark creatures.
It was even more impossible for him to communicate with the other beings in the other dimension for the time being.
As Han Shuo closed his eyes and attempted to communicate with the little skeleton, he discovered that the little skeleton seemed to have realized that it was in different surroundings. His wildly flailing arms and legs slowed down as his empty eye sockets looked around in confusion, abruptly quieting down when he looked in Han Shuo’s direction.
Han Shuo could clearly feel the little skeleton’s chaotic presence calm down.
It was as if the little skeleton realized that the danger was gone with Han Shuo’s appearance, that he was truly safe!
It was a speechless kind of trust, an innate dependence that was similar to how a naughty child would sob endlessly in front of a fierce beast, but would think his parents would protect him, no matter if his parents actually could or not.
A baffling sensation suddenly surged into Han Shuo’s heart, making his emotions complex. An exceedingly intricate emotion wrapped around his heart, giving him the illusion for a second that this little skeleton made of bones was like his child. It was a feeling that he never wanted to be apart from the little skeleton.
“Alright, it’s alright now!” Han Shuo walked over to the little skeleton very naturally and reached out a hand to stroke the little skeleton’s skull, speaking softly in comfort.
Han Shuo could clearly feel that this simple word of comfort brought immediate comfort to the little skeleton.
“Who are you talking to?” Emily and Phoebe walked out from the tree hole at the same time, with Phoebe out in front. She was a bit jealous when she heard Han Shuo’s tender voice, thinking that Han Shuo was speaking to another woman, so she asked before she could even see who it was.
But when she saw Han Shuo pat the little skeleton’s head benevolently and his tone of soft tenderness, that she’d never heard before, she immediately lost her jealousy and looked a bit oddly at Han Shuo.
Since history began, the necromancers of the Profound Continent only viewed their summoned dark creatures as tools. Phoebe had never heard of a necromancer treating a dark creature as kindly and as friendly as Han Shuo was doing.
Therefore, when she saw his actions, her heart was immediately filled with shock. Her thoughts raced as she mused that this little skeleton was likely this amazing because his master also treated him differently. It looked like Han Shuo’s mysteries didn’t stem from his wondrous martial arts techniques, but rather his methods were indeed a bit different from others.
He turned his head to look at Phoebe and Emily with a smile, sweeping his gaze across a stunningly beautiful face and another quietly pretty face. He noted that they seemed to be in good spirits and asked with a smile, “Did you guys get a good rest?”
“Yes, we can keep going if that’s alright with you?” Emily felt that she could levitate again for a while after some meditation and so she raised this suggestion.
The senior executives of the Dark Mantle had to learn of the information she held in her hand as soon as possible. They needed to execute their plan against Bob Ascher as soon as possible. As a Dark Mantle member, Emily knew that the timing of action was paramount and that time could have a heaven and earth difference on the results. This was why she was in such a hurry.
“Alright, then let’s go.” Han Shuo didn’t say any incessant chatter, as he grabbed the little skeleton’s waist and flashed to where Phoebe was. He reached out another hand and grabbed her soft waist, that was devoid of any fat, flying through the air.
The sun was rising again and its rays dyed everything a faint red, adding some color to the silver world beneath it. It was akin to a fair skinned girl suddenly blushing from shyness.
A towering mountain and valley sprawled out beneath them. Some magical creatures, unafraid of the cold, emerged from cover and probed with their sharp claws. Life began to appear in the mountain valley beneath the warmth of the winter sun.
Last night’s chill was chased out of Emily’s body thanks to the effects of the sun. Her beautiful face was upturned towards the warm light as she revealed a sweet smile. She looked with interest at the scene below her, seeming to want to imprint the view into her heart.
“It’s so beautiful!” Phoebe said softly in Han Shuo’s grasp as her eyes sparkled.
Han Shuo also took a quick glance at their surroundings upon hearing her words, grunting with agreement and then flying forward in silence. Waxing eloquently in front of a beautiful scene was something women liked to do. He only wanted to get to the stronghold as quickly as possible and complete his mission.
After several more hours and traveling over two small mountain valleys, Han Shuo cast his eyes ahead again. The sun was high in the sky at this point and the mountain valley was no longer covered in snow. The ground was clean and neat, with short buildings of all sorts of architectural styles scattered in rows in the small mountain valley.
Different looking humans, orcs, and elves were walking out of their homes onto the clean and neat streets, thoroughly bundled up in an assortment of interesting styles of dress.
“We’re almost there, let’s travel the rest of the way on foot!” Emily could easily see this from afar thanks to the bright sunlight. She called out softy in obvious joy.
This place was similar to the town of Drol, just a bit more complex. Although there were hotels and places where one could enjoy themselves, the adventurers and merchants within Drol were all basically from the Lancelot Empire and governed by the Empire’s soldiers.
The adventurers and merchants here, however, were from the Lancelot and Kasi Empires as well as the orc tribes. There were also those from further away, or minorities that called the Kerlan Grand Canyon their home. Of course, such a diverse place was naturally not under the jurisdiction of any single country.
“The one maintaining order is the greatest power within the Valley of Sunshine. They’re in charge of protecting everyone’s interests in transactions and preventing the incursion from thieves. In this regard, all three countries have their own spheres of influence here. When one side is strong enough to the point where the other two have no objections, that sphere will take over in maintaining order and exact heavy tolls from the merchants and adventurers to run this town.”
“However, this status quo isn’t set in stone. If another side can prove that they are stronger than the other two, then the one upholding order will change. Currently, the ones upholding order is the Cairo mercenary band from the Kasi Empire!” Emily explained to the other two as they landed and proceeded on foot to the Valley of Sunshine.
“If the ones upholding order act on behalf of their country, then won’t that infringe on the rights and profits of adventurers and merchants from other countries?” Han Shuo asked after thinking over this briefly.
“Don’t worry, no matter which country they were originally from, they would never act on behalf of their own country when they become the power upholding order. Otherwise, they will be ostracized by all the adventurers and merchants and will never have the right to regain power again. There are no nationalities within the Valley of Sunshine. Not participating in conflicts between countries is the first rule that they must follow!” Emily smiled faintly as she explained this to Han Shuo.
He nodded to express his understanding, privately thinking that this was quite an interesting place. All sorts of people were here for their own interests. The fees gained from the transactions conducted between the three countries must be quite a sum indeed.
Han Shuo naturally wasn’t too familiar with these common sense rules, so Emily and Phoebe took turns in explaining them to him along the way. Han Shuo listened carefully until they reached the border control office of the Valley of Sunshine. High fences of metal were erected here as knights in gray armor patrolled behind them with distant expressions.
Han Shuo gleaned from Emily and Phoebe’s conversation that these were the members of the Kasi Empire’s Cairo mercenary band. It was rather astonishing that there were two to three thousand people in this mercenary band!
There were experts of all professions who practiced diligently day and night. Their battle strength was even stronger than the standing army of other countries. They had a strict code of conduct and proper division of duties. In the year that they’d been assigned to the security of the Valley of sunshine, they’d beaten back raids from robbers several times, displaying a competency that the merchants and adventurers within the valley were rather satisfied with.
“Where are you three coming from? Do you have passage tokens, or do you need to apply for them now?” A tall, somewhat handsome knight walked over from the metal fences and was quite polite when he saw Phoebe and Emily walk over. A trace of a mesmerizing smile played about his lips as he asked gently.
“I’m from the Boozt Merchant Guild and they’re with me. This is my token!” Phoebe’s expression was coldly aloof as she took out a token from her space ring, handing it over coolly.
The mature knight reached out respectfully to take Phoebe’s token and took a close look at it. He handed it back with a smile and said urbanely, “No problem, the Valley of Sunshine welcomes your arrival. Our Cairo mercenary band will ensure your safety and the security of your belongings.”
Phoebe took out a bag of gold coins and threw it onto a table near the fence with a thunk. She had her usual distant and reserved manner when dealing with outsiders. “Our fees!”
Phoebe turned to look at Han Shuo afterwards and reached out with her slender, jade hands to wrap them around Han Shuo’s arm. The proud haughtiness faded from her face as she smiled, “Let’s go, we can go in now!”
Seeing such a stunning beauty such as Phoebe paid no heed to the men around her and even gave off an aura that rebuffed all attempts to approach her, then suddenly underwent such drastic change in attitude to wait upon Han Shuo immediately drew looks of admiration and envy from the mercenaries.
However, those looks changed to ones of odd puzzlement when they saw Han Shuo tug along the little skeleton in his wake. They didn’t say anything however, seeming to be used to seeing a lot of weird characters. It didn’t seem too out of the ordinary that an adventurer had a dark creature in his wake.
Everyone was a bit vain at heart. When he saw the others look at him with such admiration, Han Shuo also felt quite proud. Phoebe is really showing me some face here!
“Come on, let’s go you!” When Emily saw Han Shuo stop where he stood, wreathed in smiles, she knew exactly what he was thinking about and couldn’t help but roll her eyes at him. She snorted in laughter and pushed him from behind.
Han Shuo laughed heartily as he crossed through the fence while being subjected to endless looks of envy, walking into the Valley of Sunshine.