Chapter 363: Twelve Ubiquitous Shadows
As the completely naked Han Shuo looked down at Helen, who was looking back in a daze, Han Shuo revealed a grin that was as brilliant and bright as the sunshine. As he walked towards the middle of the pool, water began rippling outwards. The water wrapped itself around him as he started to clean his bloodstained body.
Only after hearing the splashing water sounds did Helen Tina wake up from her enraptured state and start scolding her weak will. After looking at Han Shuo’s broad and healthy back, she shook her head, seemingly trying to scatter the detailed figure lingering in her mind. She smiled sweetly and said tenderly, “Alright, you should wash up first, I’ll wait outside.”
“Hehe, and here I was thinking that you would bathe with me. Well, if you actually come down, I promise I won’t do a thing, alright?” Han Shuo turned his head and laughed brightly before suddenly teasing her with an invitation.
Helen grew flaming red, like she was intoxicated. She seriously considered what was just said before smiling tenderly, “No, I’m afraid I won’t be able to control myself and directly jump into your arms. Hehe. Okay. Properly clean yourself first. I’ll come back after you have properly cleaned yourself.”
Han Shuo was momentarily startled. But because the sentence confirmed Han Shuo’s charisma, he laughed out loud and happily said, “Alright, I’ll wait for the day you truly set aside your modesty then!”
Helen threw her head back in a lovable laugh. For several months now, her heart had been covered in a depressing haze, but now it seems like she has finally pushed away the black clouds and allowed the rainbow within to spring forth. With an exceptionally happier mindset, she left behind a tinkling laugh, ringing through the air like a silver bell. After Helen left, Han Shuo stayed in the public bath, leisurely cleaning all the bloodstains off him. Afterwards, Helen switched with Han Shuo and began cleaning herself as well.
Han Shuo sat crossed legged within the guest room, drinking a cup of good wine and reading his thick book of necromancy while waiting for Helen to change into a loose, comfortable bathrobe. Seeing Helen’s amazingly beautiful appearance, as lovely as a lotus flower rising from the water, Han Shuo first smilingly gasped in praise. Then he waited for the corner of Helen’s mouth to curve into a smile before finally sighing lightly, “Your Helon Duchy is currently rife with internal troubles, and is mostly likely the weakest power among the seven grand duchies. While you were originally allied with Benedict Sackville, it is most likely that he’s the mastermind behind Kekaru’s betrayal and has probably been interfering with your national affairs. But our first priority is the internal strife. The sooner we settle that, the less likely that we’ll see any more negative developments.”
Seeing Han Shuo bringing up this topic, Helen creased her eyebrows and lightly sighed before saying, “Even if this bout of internal strife never occurred, my Helon Duchy would still be the weakest among the seven duchies. We have limited resources within our national borders; our ores and rations are naturally lacking in comparison to the other dukedoms.”
Over the past years, I have continuously traded our warhorses for rations from Narsen Duchy. I’ve also engaged in trade with the other duchies and the distant Brut Merchant Alliance for war materials. My nation was never destined to become prosperous from the start. Now, with the unceasing internal strifes as well, my Helon Duchy is really facing disaster after disaster. So when you blackmailed me out of six hundred gold coins, my grand and magnificent Helon Duchy was no more.”
As if suddenly remembering Han Shuo’s blackmailing, she hatefully eyed Han Shuo and heavily snorted with irritation after finishing her words.
Only after Han Shuo awkwardly forced a couple of laughs, did he open his mouth to say, “Honestly, if you hadn’t become hostile with the Lancelot Empire and decided to use Brettel City as a hunting ground, the merchants of the Lancelot Empire would’ve completely solved your problems. Lancelot Empire has no means of getting warhorses, thus, if your dukedom sold your valiant warhorses to them, you will definitely receive significant benefits in return.”
Han Shuo continued “Unfortunately, even those greedy merchants do not dare to rashly come here after the stories of massacres and raids on Brettel City. To those merchants, all of the seven grand dukes are as dangerous as savage beasts and fierce floods. Thus, they naturally won’t open trade with you. Consequently, you will also be unable to use the natural resources within your borders and gain the goods you need.”
“Humph. In reality, your Lancelot Empire was asking for it. At the time, if it wasn’t because your Lancelot Empire wanted to conquer us seven grand duchies and enter our borders, killing and looting everything, would we have suddenly stopped our bickering? Would we have recklessly formed an alliance to defeat your Lancelot Empire?” As if suddenly remembering the time when the Lancelot Empire’s army troops arrived like savage beasts, Helen’s voice had an undercurrent of anger even as she continued to have a charming expression on her face.
“The relationships between nations will always be either that of the conquered or the conquerors. Every nation’s king will always use whatever methods they have at their disposal to expand their territories. Lancelot Empire is like this. Kasi Empire is like this. Even the seven grand dukes are like this. Otherwise, what would be the point to the unceasing strife between them?” Han Shuo conveyed this eternally inarguable fact to Helen before laughing wryly, “The past is unrelated to us. But with our current relationship, we can privately smuggle and participate in some shady business. Do you have any completely trustworthy subordinates at hand?”
“Naturally. My family’s trusted aides can be completely trusted. No matter what kind of decisions I make, they will always support me.” Helen proudly said.
Han Shuo nodded his head and said, “Great. Let’s do it like that. It so happens that I can also use Lancelot Empire’s war materials and exchange them for your Helon Duchy’s warhorses. Hmm, rations can also be included. This exchange will be beneficial for both of our sides.”
After listening to Han Shuo’s words, Helen smiled sweetly and agreed, “Our Helon Duchy’s warhorses are widely renowned. How many horses and how much gold are you planning to pay?”
“This sort of business should be discussed by our subordinates. We only need to focus and make decisions on the big picture.” Han Shuo shot a glance and lightly smiled at Hele before saying, “Don’t think about trying to tempt me with things like seduction. I will personally organize suitable talents within Brettel City that will discuss this with your subordinates. Thus, we won’t need to discuss it precisely and accidentally hurt our feelings!”
Hearing Han Shuo’s words, Helen spat on the floor saying with a red face, “Who has feelings for you! You treacherous and stingy man, I can’t even get a small advantage off you!”
“Alright. Alright. I am going on a trip tonight. You should be extra careful. Right now, Kekaru’s family are all dead, and it’s best if you take precautions as soon as possible. Starting tomorrow, you’ll become extremely busy, so now’s not a good time at all to talk about our love and passion for each other.” Han Shuo said to Helen.
“You. You actually killed Kekaru’s entire clan!” Helen was suddenly frightened and was unable to react for a moment, staring appalled at Han Shuo.
“Mm. Don’t worry, any kinsman with the qualifications to succeed his dukedom is dead. Even several of his loyal subordinate will not be seeing dawn. Tomorrow, you’ll see true chaos erupt in Seagate City. You should probably seize an opportunity to get rid of Kekaru’s corpse. Additionally, create a mess to show that you suffered an assassination attempt. Even better, you should also capture a few people and make them seem like they’re from Narsen Duchy.” Han Shuo said to Helen with a smile.
“Well done, well done!”Helen trembled in joy before smiling sweetly. Her eyes glittered with a sinister light as she said, “Rest assured, I am an expert at such things. At this time tomorrow, Seagate City should be within my grasp. I have waited for such a day for far too long.”
“Hehe. I like it when you emit such confidence. Alright, I will leave for now. You should summon Firewind and guarantee your safety first.” Han Shuo finally left after repeatedly warning her.
Back at the Lancelot Empire’s Dark Mantle organization, agents could be seen everywhere. After Han Shuo had arrived in Brettel City, the Dark Mantle’s stronghold had gradually strengthened as Candide personally prepared members to infiltrate Brettel City who Dick later arranged to go to the seven grand duchies.
After becoming a two star Dark Sun in the Dark Mantle, Han Shuo used his privileges and expanded the number of secret agents. He commanded Jack to set aside a hundred thousand gold coins as operational funds for the agents who would infiltrate into the seven grand dukedoms. With enough funds, they could set up their own stronghold within the dukedoms and gradually scale in power and influence.
As Brettel City’s city lord and Dark Mantle’s two star Dark Sun Envoy, Han Shuo only needed to arrive at any one of the major cities amongst the seven grand duchies to find the Dark Mantle agents. After meeting these agents, Han Shuo would receive all the latest information concerning those cities and use them to build a direct communication link to Brettel City.
The night before Han Shuo assassinated Kekaru, he’d left a message within Seagate City. After Helen left, Han Shuo headed straight towards that area. Right as Han Shuo entered the streets, he suddenly noticed that the entire Seagate City had erupted like an overturned nest of ants. Squads of imperial bodyguards wearing incomplete armor and fearful faces started going house to house in a manhunt.
Suddenly, Seagate City was enveloped with the sounds of iron hoofbeats of warhorses and the panicked screams of civilians. As Han Shuo looked at this kind of situation develop, he immediately realized that the massacre at Kekaru’s castle had already discovered by the people. Otherwise, there would not be such a chaotic situation at Seagate City. The city gates were locked down and civilians could not leave the city without permission. A couple of Seagate City’s knight captains had terrified expressions as they walked out of Kekaru’s castle shouting out to lock the city gates. Afterwards, they directly headed towards Helen’s manor.
These individuals were just some small and insignificant outer members of Kekaru’s group. Perhaps, they didn’t even know that Kekaru had thoughts of betrayal. Now, suddenly seeing Kekaru’s castle becoming an enormous murder case, they first believed that the enemy duchies were invading with their armies. Thus, they arranged soldiers to defend the city gate while rushing towards the true grand duke of Helon Duchy.
Before he’d even entered Seagate City, Han Shuo had already realized that there were already a couple of Helen’s chess pieces amongst these people. Currently, Kekaru’s power structure had been swept clean by Han Shuo. Thus, the individuals without the qualifications to become the high-ranking official of Seagate City’s army suddenly became the ones with the most power. They were naturally able to hold temporary office as the commander-in-chief.
As Seagate City descended into chaos, Han Shuo quietly arrived at the messiest street furthest from the chaos. Next to a courtyard was an elderly man wearing a panicked expression looking in all directions, waiting. The major news of the huge changes at Seagate City had not arrived here, but the city guards were still advancing in all directions. Perhaps the elderly man wore a panicked expression because he had already received the news.
After Han Shuo suddenly stopped, the elderly man was obviously frightened for a moment as he hurriedly retreated backwards. After noticing the tablet that Han Shuo revealed in his hands, he loosened his breath and saluted respectfully, “Honorable Sir!”
“Let’s go. Bring me somewhere we can chat!” Han Shuo said. The elder did not hesitate to bring Han Shuo along the very messy street. Only after walking past six blocks did they stop inside a small farm. The farm was raising a few thin and weak warhorses while the horse-shack was filled with stinking weed.
After arriving here, the elderly man entered a small room made of thatch. After entering the room, the elderly man threw a couple of glances outside the shack through a small hole before finally opening the secret pathway under the bed. He then stepped aside, letting Han Shuo enter first.
After passing through a dark tunnel, they finally arrived at a underground private hideout with three rooms. There were four individuals inside wearing four different expressions. They were dressed in either business type clothing or farmer type clothing. They were all extremely shocked at the sight of Han Shuo. Only after Han Shuo showed the tablet in his hands did they slowly calm down. They hastily bowed before saying, “Honorable Sir Envoy!”
The individuals within the Dark Mantle only obeyed the high ranked individuals within the Dark Mantle. Thus, Han Shuo did not use his identity as the Brettel City’s lord, but instead only used his identity as the Second Dark Sun envoy to make them docile and obedient.
“Mm, we’re all on the same side, so don’t bother with formality!” Han Shuo said indifferently before bluntly sitting down on the central seat. At this moment, the elderly man that let Han Shuo enter first entered as well.
“Informing Sir, Seagate City has broke out with an extremely frightening murder case. Seagate City’s Honorable Marquis Kekaru’s entire family as well as all of his clan members have been massacred. We have just received this information. This event will completely alter the power struggle within Seagate City.” The elderly man paid his respects and hastily reported the groundbreaking news to Han Shuo.
The search had only just begun in the core regions of Seagate City. Being able to receive accurate information in this remote and dirty region was a feat in and of itself, and left Han Shuo extremely satisfied. Nodding his head, Han Shuo said, “I already know about such things. You are doing well.”
“Honorable Sir, the Helon Duchy’s grand duke is currently residing within Seagate City. This vicious woman will definitely seize this chance to take control of the city. Now with Kekaru’s entire family wiped clean, we still don’t know whether this was done by this woman or not. However, according to our intelligence, this woman should not have such power at her disposal. Thus, we believe it was not done by her…..” The elderly man strenuously creased his eyebrows and analyzed, seemingly wanting to come to another clue.
Han Shuo waved his hands, stopping the elderly man from continuing. He smiled. “That’s enough. Let’s not talk about this for now. I will write a letter and you just need to dispatch someone to give it to Dick. We don’t need to discuss anything else.”
Hearing Han Shuo’s words, the elderly man immediately stopped his speculations and respectfully nodded, “As you command, honorable sir!”
Taking out a piece of paper and a pen, Han Shuo wrote a flowery letter in a very meandering way before sealing it up and handing it over to the elderly man. He smilingly asked, “What is your name?”
“In response to the honored envoy. I am Delante, a Third Dark Star and the person currently in charge of Seagate City. In the past, I was doing missions in the southern part of the empire. However, I migrated to the seven grand duchies under Candide’s command.” Delante replied very respectfully.
Nodding his head, Han Shuo smiled, “Place this letter in Dick’s hand as quickly as possible.”
“I understand, Sir!” Delante answered.
Inside the Dark Mantle, there was always be a secret magic array that connected directly to others located in other cities. However, only the Dark Mantle could grasp such technology and generally only with a grand space magus could they set up such a technological marvel. However, there would naturally be no need to use a huge amount of financial resources just to create a magical array to communicate with Brettel City from the seven grand duchies. Thus, they could only use this kind of old-fashioned way of communicating.
After Delante carefully put away the letter, Han Shuo once again looked to him for more news about Seagate City. Only after Delante had gone on at length did Han Shuo finally say, “Alright. All of you must properly conduct your business here at Seagate City. The Empire will not forget your former contributions. All the information you gather, all the missions you do, they will all be recorded by the Dark Mantle.” After all the other Dark Mantle members heard Han Shuo’s statement, they bowed, showing their compliance.
“Right now, Seagate City is dangerous beyond any semblance of doubt. Take extra care and do not be exposed by any means.” After repeatedly warning them, Han Shuo left the secret stronghold and disappeared into the darkness of the night.
Han Shuo stopped in the deepest parts of the jungle outside of Seagate City. Using the earth elite zombie, he created a secret cave within the earth and set up the transportation matrix that connected to the Cemetery of Death to directly return there.
Calculating the time, Han Shuo knew that the twelve mystical demons should be emerging from the refining process. He’d gone to Helon Duchy alone this time. As long as he had the twelve mystical demons, Han Shuo would basically have twelve shadows that would be of immense help.
Compared to original demons and yin demons, not only did the mystical demons have more wonderful uses, but they could also range ten times as far from Han Shuo. As long as the twelve mystical demons came out, they could scatter and hide within any nook and corner of Seagate City. Even if Han Shuo did not take one step out of his room he could still monitor the entire situation of Seagate City through the twelve mystical demons.