Chapter 220: Saving up for a rainy day
Both dark creatures had Han Shuo’s life essence, so they naturally felt a sense of affinity towards each other. He could see threads of empathy slowly begin to flourish between them.
The little skeleton and the earth elite zombie were staring at each other, seemingly in the midst of a broken conversation. After a short moment, they both turned to stare at Han Shuo anxiously.
“Alright, I will send you guys back!” Han Shuo smiled slightly and replied when the two guys simultaneously expressed their desire to leave. With a spell, the small skeleton and the earth elite zombie vanished without a trace.
After the two of them departed, the cemetery of death fell back into silence. The ground settled into stillness, and with the birth of the yin demons, the yin demon cave stopped operating.
Han Shuo looked around and realized there was nothing of further significance in this place. He ruminated briefly before walking towards a valley where the dwarves resided.
“Han! What brings you here?” As soon as he entered the dwarf’s valley, these guileless little dwarves displayed their passion and showered him with a continuous stream of friendly greetings.
The last time Han Shuo had come here, the dwarves had obtained a large amount of food and daily necessities from him. Now, all their elderly and young were adorned in thick, cold-resistant cotton-padded clothes, had cozy stoves to warm themselves and enjoyed an abundant food supply to relieve their hunger. Not even the freezing ice storms of midwinter were scary anymore.
Along the way, Han Shuo could detect the satisfaction and contentment brimming in dwarves’ faces. When these dwarves saw Han Shuo, their faces exuded thankfulness and welcoming as they bellowed to one another, spreading the news of Han Shuo’s arrival.
“Uncle Han, this is for you!” When he made his way to the center of the valley, a six-year old, snot-nosed dwarf kid ran up with a sugar hawthorn stick in hand. The kid presented a piece of barbequed meat, roasted to glistening perfection, in his delicate voice.
“Thank you, dear child!” Han Shuo smiled as he bent down and patted the head of the dwarf child, who was only a few dozen centimeters tall, while taking the piece of meat with his other hand.
The adult dwarves surrounding them all smiled kindly. The atmosphere was extremely harmonious, attesting to the deep sense of goodwill they bore towards Han Shuo.
When Han Shuo entered the center of the village, he saw the familiar faces of the dwarf warrior Bennett as well as the village chief Calvin. He smiled and asked, “Elders. How has everything been recently?”
“Dearest Han, you’ve taken the cold away from this winter! Everyone has warm clothes and enough food. No one will starve to death this winter!” Chief Calvin’s face was filled with gratitude. He faced Han Shuo and expressed his debt using dwarven etiquette.
In the beginning, Han Shuo hadn’t helped these honest dwarves out of the goodness of his heart. But the more he got to know them, the more he understood that these stubborn dwarves were actually very easy to get along with, and their generosity towards friends was unbelievable.
He had won their friendship at an unknown time, but the way they went about their business had also won them his goodwill. He’d planned on just using them in the beginning, but now treated them as good friends that he could depend on.
“That’s good, good! Let me know if there’s anything you need. I’m going to go back to the world of humans soon, and I’ll be able to bring you whatever you need!” Han Shuo had a kind smile on his face as he spoke leisurely with Calvin.
Calvin waved his hands, touched. “No need, we can easily make it through this winter already. We’ll use our own efforts to repay you when spring comes. You know that we’re a hardworking species. Children need to be raised thus since young and we need to avoid instilling lazy habits in them.”
Nodding understandingly, Han Shuo said. “I see. Ah, yes. I’d planned on asking you to refine some weapons and armor for me this time. Would that be inconvenient for you, elder?”
“Han, you’re speaking like an outsider. We’re friends, why would anything be inconvenient! Prey is scarce in winter, and there are very few places in the Dark Forest that we can freely move around in. Forging weapons is our hobby, it would be very fun to make use of our idle time to forge more weapons. This is no problem at all.” Calvin didn’t hesitate at all when he agreed, and he looked rather happy as well.
“Truly, Han. We’ve been wondering how to repay you during this time. Asking us to forge weapons for you now means that we no longer have to rack our brains anymore.” Bennett laughed heartily, expressing the dwarves’ sincerity to Han Shuo.
When he saw that the dwarves were still filled with gratitude at Han Shuo bringing them provisions, as well as their desire to not take advantage of their friends, Han Shuo felt a bit shamefaced at the dwarves’ kindness and honesty.
He’d approached them with ulterior motives at first, and was now rather embarrassed by their outpouring of genuine emotion.
“Mm, you don’t need to do anything for now because I haven’t thought of what kind of weapons I need. I’ll bring the raw materials over next time when I think of what weapons I need!” Han Shuo said.
After departing from the dwarves’ valley, Han Shuo didn’t linger in the Dark Forest but returned to the Valley of Sunshine through the cemetery of death.
When he retrieved the magic sticks and walked out of the room, he discovered that it was completely empty. He was a bit taken aback, and unsure of when everyone had left.
Han Shuo had completely handed over the matters of the Soul Destroyer mercenary band to Trunks, and matters of money to Phoebe. Emily was in charge of all the random Dark Mantle affairs, and Gilbert was Phoebe and Emily’s bodyguard.
The setting sun on the horizon left the clouds in the sky afire as dusk loomed. The Cairo mercenaries were everywhere in the valley, taking care of security in shifts, so Han Shuo wasn’t too worried about everyone’s safety.
Seeing he was the only one left in the storefront and he had nothing else to do, Han Shuo took out the thick tome of necromancy from the cemetery of death and slowly started studying it.
He’d deployed the lost art of the Canopy of Necromancy to great effect on their trip to the Rainbow Sickle hideout last night. If it hadn’t been for light grand magus Ferguson’s timely arrival, the dark creatures in the vicinity of the spell would’ve been able to continue wreaking havoc and destruction, displaying uncommon battle strength.
Even after absorbing the memories of necromancer Clarendon from the Calamity Church, there had been no knowledge of the Canopy of Necromancy. He didn’t have any knowledge of reviving corpses either.
This meant that the tome of necromancy in the cemetery was the pinnacle of necromancy magic. There was a vast amount of knowledge and spells contained within, including ones that had been lost.
These items were exceedingly useful to Han Shuo. After receiving Clarendon’s memories, Han Shuo’s understanding of necromancy magic had already reached the level of archmage. He could understand many of the obscure and profession-specific sentences within, and had no need to consult Fanny about anything anymore.
Time always passed by so swiftly when he was studying magic. The sky had grown completely dark in the blink of an eye, and soft footsteps from outside jerked Han Shuo from his reverie.
His thoughts raced as he sent the three yin demons flying outwards. His hasty surveillance revealed that it was Trunks and Gilbert returning together.
“Bryan, good news. I think you’ll be very happy!” Trunks said happily when he walked in.
Starting, Han Shuo was surprised. “What good news?”
“Remember Odysseus and the six others who adventured with you in the Dark Forest?”
“What about them?”
“I saw them enter the valley when I was returning today. Their strength is exceptional, and they have a deep relationship with you. Our mercenary band has only just formed and needs people like them. I think they’d want to join us if you invite them!”
Han Shuo was delighted when he heard Trunks’ words, “Good news indeed. Odysseus and Gordon are two senior swordsman, with Aphrodite being a water archmage. The thunder journeyman mage, and the elven female archer Nia as well make up an altogether strong team.”
“If they join us, I think our band’s strength will be rounded out immediately. It looks like we are indeed quite lucky, heh heh!”
“They seem to be protecting someone this time. I spoke with them and they said they’ll come by tomorrow and catch up with you. It looks like there will be no problems!” Trunks smiled.
Han Shuo’s brow suddenly furrowed as he listened to Trunks. He looked at a tree not too far off in the distance and said lowly, “Mister Edwin, since you’re already here, come inside for a chat !”