Chapter 340: The upside down Gourd Mountain
“No wonder, Celt has captured and killed three of our members during this time. He must have heard from Kassel that it was you who saved us last time. Celt should already know your identity by now.”
The traitor druid, Kassel, had been pursuing Cecilia and her group when Han Shuo had suddenly rushed out to block him. After returning to the Redbud Knights, Kassel must have reported the situation to Celt. As many members of the Dark Mantle knew of Han Shuo, the three captured must have revealed the truth under Celt’s torture.
“If that’s the case, I’d also like to use this opportunity to kill Celt. I’m sure he has yet to recover from his injury. Now is the best time to go for it.” Han Shuo’s voice was as cold as the tundra wind;he was determined to destroy his enemy at the roots.
“You’re right, Celt indeed hasn’t recovered, but because of this he is now heavily protected by the guards. The Redbud Knights are one of the top ten knight troops on the Continent, and Celt and Kassel aren’t its only experts. This time, I heard that the fire grand magus Marceau had also come along. That old woman’s too powerful, and extremely difficult to deal with.” Fearing that he had taken this matter too lightly, Emily hurriedly told Han Shuo everything about the Redbud Knights.
Han Shou’s lips curved into a disdainful smile as he replied, “That fire grand magus is already dead, so she won’t be posing a threat anymore. No worries there!”
Emily was once again stunned when she heard these words. She stared blankly at the confident Han Shuo, trying to feel him out, “You killed her too?”
Nodding his head, Han Shuo said, “Yup, still me!”
Emily was speechless.
Pulling Emily into his embrace, Han Shuo whispered with a grin, “I haven’t seen you in a long time, and I’ve really missed you too much. Bringing me to this remote corner, is it that you want me to… heh heh……”
Han Shuo’s hands started misbehaving as he clung to Emily. Panting softly under his skillful hands, her eyes turned soft as she petulantly proclaimed, “I only intended to discuss business quietly, don’t misunderstand!”
“I’ve already misunderstood!” Han Shuo let out a low growl, picked up Emily, and ran straight into the cave. The sound of suppressed panting and moaning echoed out from inside moments later.
After a long while, the two walked out from the cave, their clothes still a little messy. Emily’s eyes were watery, moist with a charming subservience. Her soft body leaned on Han Shuo as she spoke with a hint of worry, “Cecilia is in charge of this mission. She seems to have some prejudice against you; what should we do?”
“It doesn’t matter. My mission and yours don’t conflict, and I have no intention of taking credit from her. I only need to kill Celt, then go see if I can get any magic crystal ores.” Han Shuo didn’t care about Cecilia’s impression of him, nor did he hold any goodwill towards her. If it wasn’t for Emily being on her team, he wouldn’t have blocked Kassel from pursuing them last time.
“Aii!” Emily heaved a sigh and said to Han Shuo, “Cecilia is actually a very nice person. She is friendly with everyone, and my private relationship with her is even better. I don’t know why she would be like this towards you.”
“Let’s not talk about this anymore, I need to go to the mine. If anything happens, as long as I know you’re still here, I’ll come for you. Rest assured that no one will find me if I don’t want them to.” Han Shuo had obtained all the necessary information from Emily and didn’t intend to stay any longer. He was ready to go explore inside the magic crystal mine by himself.
The Dark Mantle’s purpose in taking a trip to the Dark Forest this time was to observe the movement of the Redbud Knights of the Brut Merchant Alliance. The higher-ups of the Empire naturally needed a clear grasp of what the Redbud Knights were doing at the border of Lancelot Empire. Cecilia was in charge of matters outside the border, so she had taken on this important mission. Her reports were needed to slowly unravel the intentions of the Redbud Knights.
Magic crystal mines were a scarce resource for any country. However, the underground world held all kinds of races, and their numbers were countless, almost beyond imagination. As such, the higher-ups of the Lancelot Empire didn’t intend to keep their knowledge of this mine to themselves. They only hoped to disrupt whatever the Redbuds Knights were planning and gain enough of an advantage to obtain some magic crystal ores.
When the Redbud Knights advanced into the underground world, they’d vanished without a trace after a tragic defeat at the magic crystal mine guarded by the lizardmen. However, according to Emily, they had yet to leave the underground world and seemed to have started plundering the other races down here.
Various races held sway over different regions in the underground world. The dark elves possessed a great number of dark magic equipments, the merpeople territory was rich with a variety of beautiful crystals, and other strange races had various rare resources.
Exploring the underground world was the same as entering a hunting ground to Celt. All of the races of this world had become his prey Except for the setback at the magic crystal mine where the lizardmen hindered his army, the valuables of the other races were all his for the taking.
The vast underground world covered an enormous area. Even the Dark Mantle, with its large manpower and secure base, couldn’t find any trace of the Redbud Knights; Han Shuo naturally wouldn’t waste his time on them. He was interested in the magic crystal mine and even more curious about the powerful entity that lived within it. He wanted to know how it could force Celt, a foe armed to the teeth, to retreat empty handed.
Han Shuo nimbly made his way through the lush shrubs of the lizardmen territory like a lightly flying insect. Numerous caves were hidden in the various crevices of the area. Thanks to his powerful consciousness coupled with a yin demon covering the area, Han Shuo didn’t rouse the attention of a single lizardman. He flew all the way to the innermost line, and stopped only when he reached a reddish-brown mountain with a bald top.
The underground world didn’t go without light all year round. Various glowing plants grew on top of the thousand-meter high rock wall, covering the underground world in a soft, dim light. The reddish brown bald mountain was roughly two hundred to three hundred meters high. No other plants or animals resided on it except for some reddish brown rock.
Looking from afar, this mountain was like an upside down gourd, wide at its peak and leaner further down. This made one worry if the slender mountain foot could bear the weight of the two heavy, gourd-shaped spheres of rock. Many large and small caves could be seen dotted across this bald gourd mountain. None of them betrayed their depths, seemingly bottomless and leading to who knew where.
Several reddish-brown lizardmen with weapons in hand were cautiously guarding the caves, alert against the possibility of the Redbud Knights invading them again. There were many messy footsteps, several uneven potholes, and some shrubs with scattered leaves around the mountain as if they had been cut across by a sharp knife.
Looking at this scene from the outside, Han Shuo understood that this place must have been the location of the battle. He examined the area minutely, brainstorming a method to infiltrate the magic crystal mine. Finally, he summoned the earth elite zombie and had the zombie take him to the depths of the bald mountain, to feel out the situation. If he couldn’t reach the center of the mine through the earth elite zombie, he would have think of other ways.
As long as the ground was soil, it wouldn’t hinder the earth elite zombie. The earth elite zombie appeared along with Han Shuo’s magic incantation, then disappeared into the earth in the blink of an eye. Through his spiritual connection with the earth elite zombie, Han Shuo knew he was slowly advancing to the mine as per his orders.
End of part 1 of the chapter.
However, the earth elite zombie had yet to draw near the area when suddenly, a howl came from within the magic crystal mine. It shook the mountain, as if a sleeping monster had been awoken. A strange energy swept into the earth from the mountain, heading straight towards the earth elite zombie.
Han Shuo could immediately sense the powerful presence within the bald mountain. He quickly assessed the situation and concluded that this was a powerful creature comparable to the Lord of the Flames. The earth elite zombie was still far from the mountain, so Han Shuo hastily ordered him to retreat.
The earth elite zombie retreated nimbly, like a little eel, to Han Shuo’s feet. He jumped out of the earth to Han Shuo’s side without waiting for that strange energy to draw near.
Han Shuo waved the white bone staff in his left hand. A mass of black mist appeared, wrapping around the emerging earth elite zombie, and the white bone staff issued a light breeze. As the breeze gradually dispersed the black mist, the earth elite zombie had also disappeared without a trace.
Upon reaching Han Shuo’s feet, the strange energy suddenly lost its target, and returned to the bald mountain’s depths. After the mountain-shaking howl, hundreds of lizardmen sprang out from the various caves with weapons in hands, cautiously prepared and ready for any incoming attack.
“No wonder Celt failed multiple times. With such a powerful creature guarding the magic crystal mine, this would certainly give him a headache.” Han Shuo muttered to himself, slowly retreating to a darker, more remote corner. He watched the now alert lizardmen from afar, knowing that they had received news of his invasion with the help of that strange creature.
With such a powerful creature entrenched in the upside down gourd mountain, it would be somewhat difficult if Han Shuo wanted to advance into the mine. This creature had a terrifying spiritual presence, it had even discovered the earth elite zombie sneaking in from beneath the earth. As such, Han Shuo couldn’t guarantee if he himself could enter the mine by suppressing his presence.
Han Shuo naturally wouldn’t risk it as long as there was a single shred of uncertainty. Not to mention the powerful creature, just the hundreds of lizardmen endlessly appearing from within the mine would leave him hard pressed.
After hesitating for a bit, Han Shuo temporarily dispelled the idea of sneaking in. He’d wait for the Redbud Knights’ to arrive to aid Celt, and then decide his next course of action accordingly.
Be it Celt or any other person, as long as their final goal was the magic crystal mine, they would appear again. Han Shuo fully understood this, so he wasn’t in a hurry to leave. Instead, he remained hiding beneath the rocks, silently meditating while awaiting the arrival of those people.
Upon reaching the separate demon realm of demonic magic, one would reach a bottleneck, and future progress would become increasingly harder. However, with each realm’s breakthrough, the cultivator’s power would immediately increase ten, a hundred fold compared to before. Chu Cang Lan was able to fly to the moon at the mere peak of the nine changes realm. Reaching that realm in this world could be comparable to the gods.
Han Shuo only needed to make a breakthrough from the realm of “separate demon” to “carnal”, and then take one more step to reach the “nine changes” realm. Unfortunately, starting from the “separate demon” realm, each realm would composed of many obstacles. Without fortuitous encounters during their cultivation, demonic practitioners would have to spend year after year in hard training before they could take another step forward.
According to the memory of Chu Cang Lan, Han Shuo knew that without fortuitous encounters, it’d take at least a hundred years to advance from the realm of “separate demon” to the “carnal” realm. Even five hundred years wouldn’t necessarily be enough to go from “carnal” to “nine changes”. No one could say if the cultivator wouldn’t go mad with obsession midway through their practice either. As for breaking through from the “nine changes” to the “omen” realm, even Chu Cang Lan had no clue. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have kidnapped t Han Shuo, taken him to the moon and fought the three strong experts to seek a chance of breaking through in the decisive battle.
“One hundred years is really too long. I need to find other ways to do this.” Han Shuo murmured, silently imprinting the information regarding “fortuitous encounters” from Chu Cang Lan’s memory in his heart. He would be ready for any opportunity in the future.
The so-called “fortuitous encounter” was simply a place with an enormous amount of demonic qi suitable for his magical cultivation or swallowing a treasure nurtured by heaven and earth for hundreds of millions of years. It could also mean refining magical treasures and then using those to nourish the demon infant. There was also the method of devouring fellow demonic cultivators.
Sitting cross-legged behind a rock, Han Shuo considered the feasibility of these “fortuitous encounters” as well as some other things, such as the way to cultivate both magic and demonic magic together. After a few days passed unknowingly, Han Shuo’s mind brightened as he suddenly thought of a new idea.
The last time he fought Kosse, the latter had destroyed much of Han Shuo’s necromancy magic with his divine artifact “Revelation”. The undead creatures and Acid Bog had all dissipated after being purified under the holy light. To a necromancer like Han Shuo, this was simply a fatal blow.
Had it not been for Han Shuo’s practice of demonic magic that allowed him to use mysterious methods to create five divine elemental zombies, he would have lost the fight against Kosse and the knights.
The reason why the Church of Light and the Calamity Church were so afraid of Han Shuo was that his little skeleton and creatures didn’t fear light magic. Han Shuo was planning on honing in precisely on this point.
High-ranked undead creatures such as the evil knight possessed frightening lethality and attacking abilities, so they weren’t too afraid of normal light magic. However, if Kosse used “Revelation” to release the holy light, Han Shuo knew that even evil knights would be hard pressed to avoid serious injury.
Necromancers and the Calamity Church actually possessed a long and illustrious history, but due to the effect of holy light on undead creatures, they’d always been at a disadvantage against the Church of Light. Once this rule was broken, Han Shuo believed the Church of Light wouldn’t be able to hold onto their absolute advantage forever.
The Church of Light fears this the most, so I really should leverage this. I have the high-ranked evil knight and soon I will be able to summon bone demons and old fey zombies. I don’t expect them to have the same ability as little skeleton or the earth elite zombie. However, if I refine them again with the demonic magic secret bone method, then they shouldn’t fear the corrosion of light magic anymore right?
High-ranked undead creatures such as the evil knight, the bone demon and the old fey zombie would be frighteningly lethal without the weakness of holy light. When the Church of Light has to face a never ending stream of undead creatures fearless in the face of their light magic, won’t they be scared to death then?
The more Han Shuo pondered, the more he understood that this was the fastest way to improve his strength. As long as he successfully created anti-light creatures, Han Shuo believed Kosse would meet his maker no matter how many knights he had backing him up.
“It looks like I need to start experimenting with how to rid the undead of their weakness to holy light upon my return to the Cemetery of Death this time.” Han Shuo thought to himself as he made up his mind.
At that moment, the yin demon around Han Shuo sensed a big group of living creatures coming near. It looked toward their direction and saw some familiar dark elves, in addition to the brightly armored Redbud Knights. Even dark elf Dana, with whom Han Shuo had dealings with before, had brought her tribe to follow Celt.
“Interesting, all of my enemies have gathered!” Han Shuo muttered, standing up from his cross-legged posture. He was ready to see how this group would deal with the powerful creature residing inside the mountain.