Chapter 347: Becoming a Dark Sun envoy
Han Shuo stayed deep underground for the next few days. With the help of Ancient Lizard King Dagassi, he collected as many magic crystal ores as he could from deep within the mountain. Finally, when his space ring was stuffed to the brim, he exited the ruins of the gourd mountain ruins. This trip to the underground world had bestowed him with a large harvest. Not only was Celt dead at his hands, Han Shuo had even won the friendship of the lizardmen.
Apart from the magic crystal ores, Han Shuo’s space ring was also stuffed with everything he’d looted from the Redbud Knights. He’d thoroughly ransacked their corpses, plundered Celt’s carefully saved up wealth, and appropriated some of Arlen’s magic equipment. His total harvest, if converted to gold coins, would total just above two million gold coins.
“Alright, I’ll head out from the underground world for now. I’ll collect the rest of the ores on my next visit. I’ll bring along some weapons for you then. It should help you resist the dark elves’ invasion.” Han Shuo said his farewells to the lizardmen leader. From the side, Dagassi glanced over at Han Shuo, ready to make his way out. “Next time you arrive, I’ll have already left this underground world. I hope you’ll take care of my children in my absence. If fate wills it, we’ll meet again”.
“Rest assured, I will help you take care of them.” Han Shuo agreed with a vow.
In the past couple of days, Dagassi had acted as a kind elder, imparting many interesting and useful things to Han Shuo. Unconsciously, Han Shuo had begun to develop a favorable impression of Dagassi, to the point where he was now tad reluctant to leave. From Dagassi’s tone, Han Shuo understood that the old lizard wasn’t simply intending on leaving the underground world, but rather that plane that contained the Profound Continent.
However, Dagassi only glossed over some of the deeper secrets, not letting Han Shuo plumb the depths of his knowledge. Han Shuo was entirely unfamiliar with how demigods thought, so he didn’t pursue things too far with his questions. He only faintly understood that Dagassi’s enemy was just as terrifyingly powerful as Dagassi.
Han Shuo’s farewell to Dagassi was cool, calm and didn’t drag on. After leaving the lizardmen, he didn’t remain long in the underground world. It only took him a few moments to recall the old road he’d memorized on his way down. Han Shuo didn’t encounter anything out of the ordinary along the way. He occasionally met a few other races who intended to rob him. They paid for their recklessness in blood and lives, and he easily made it back to the Dark Forest.
Having stayed in the underground world for close to two weeks, Han Shuo felt a ray of warmth spread through him as he saw the sun shining high above him. The gentle sunshine bathed him in light, like he’d been reborn. His mood was elevated to joy at this simplest of pleasures.
The Dark Forest was rich with lush green trees and exotic plants. Their fragrances drifted through the warm spring light, and suffused his heart with a peacefulness that soothed his mind. It was a far cry from the gloomy, humid underground world, and Han Shuo couldn’t help but luxuriate in this warmth for a moment before heading for the Cemetery of Death.
Once he reached the Cemetery of Death, Han Shuo didn’t linger for long, using the transportation matrix to head straight for Brettel City. His pockets flush with money and resources, he immediately set up a meeting with Little Fatty Jack, Dorcas, Faulke, and Chester.
“You were gone all of a sudden for more than ten days, where did you go?” Jack had the closest relationship with Han Shuo, so he started peppering the latter with questions immediately.
“Hehe, I made a trip to the Dark Forest. Have things been quiet in Brettel City recently?” Han Shuo smiled slightly, not intending to hide his trip to the Dark Forest. Only the existence of the Cemetery of Death remained under wraps.
The Redbud Knights and dark elves had suffered heavy losses in the underground world. However, there were still remnants that managed to get awawy. So, news of Han Shuo’s actions in the underground world must have spread already.
Dick, the local Dark Mantle liaison, bowed respectfully to Han Shuo and said, “My Lord, I would like to report some information alone.”
“This room only contains our people. There is no need to hide anything, you can speak directly.” Han Shuo knew that Dick must have received some information from his superiors. However, Jack, Dorcas, Faulke and Chester were all his trusted people. Since Faulke had been sent here by Lawrence, the latter must have mentioned Han Shuo’s identity as a Dark Mantle member to him already. Han Shuo had nothing to hide in front of him.
Jack and Dorcas had spent a lot of time with Dick lately, so they were more or less aware of his identity. The existence of Dark Mantle in Lancelot Empire was more of an open secret. Although not talked about openly, the citizens were all aware and mindful of them. .
“Master Candide has asked to me to relay that your deeds in the underground world are highly appreciated. Since the Dark Forest is on the edge of our Empire’s border, it is unlikely to provoke a radical response from the Brut Business Alliance even if the Redbud Knights suffer heavy losses. They will likely be extremely indignant, but Master Candide has told you to be at ease.” Dick’s report was concise and informative once he saw that Han Shuo had no qualms about privacy.
Nodding his head, Han Shuo smiled, “You may carry on.”
Dorcas, Jack and Faulke listened but couldn’t understand much. Of the three, Faulke and Dorcas recognized the name Candide as one of the three heavyweights of Dark Mantle. From Dick’s words, they could surmise that Han Shuo’s relationship with Candide was far from superficial. That, in and of itself, was enough to amaze them.
“Since Master Candide has said that you have achieved a great deed this time, His Majesty has approved your rank as a one star Dark Sun envoy from now on. You can upgrade your badge once you visit the Dark Mantle headquarters. Congratulations and felicitations, my Lord!” Dick’s face turned almost worshipful as his excitement threatened to break free of his control.
“Dark Sun envoy, hehe, it seems that Cecilia didn’t conceal any of my credit. At the very least, this woman knows what to do.” Han Shuo’s voice was a low murmur as a contented smile crossed his face.
Going from Star to Moon was one level, from Moon to Sun was another. Becoming a Dark Sun envoy meant that from now on, Han Shuo was officially a high ranked member of the Dark Mantle and was now able to enjoy even more special treatment. He could recruit his own subordinates and redistribute the organization’s members in a location.
“My Lord, Dark Sun envoys have the right to assign missions to Dark Star members, and can also directly bestow credit to raise their level.” Chester reminded Han Shuo excitedly. “Rest assured, now that I’m a Dark Sun envoy, you will naturally receive some benefits.” Han Shuo laughed as he responded, then turned to Dick, “Anything else apart from this?”
“…Master Candide said that you don’t have to worry about anything else, he will take care of the ill remarks rising against you. Your focus can remain on Brettel City.” Dick hesitated a moment before answering. Han Shuo nodded at him, understanding the subtext. It seemed that Cecilia had accurately reported all of her encounters with him, including the time he’d stopped her from acting against the forest trolls.
“Alright, I understand.” Han Shuo turned to Dorcas and Faulke, “How is the situation within Brettel City? Have the mountain people descended the mountain? Have the seven grand duchies made any moves?”
“A total of twenty thousand people have come down the mountain to take up residence in Brettel City. The five chieftains of the mountain people are actively cooperating with us, so the transition is proceeding smoothly. The fighting in the seven grand duchies has slowly been subsiding, with the exception of the Helon Duchy. They are still struggling with rebels within, but the matter is drawing close to an end now.” Dorcas replied.
Ever since Dorcas joined the army, he had gradually supplanted Faulke as head of the military, due in part to his own efforts, and in part to Han Shuo’s deliberate arrangements. Dorcas was a military man through and through and had never hidden this desire to fight. His many years of formal military education had made him far more adept at leading operations than Faulke, who was originally a knight.
Faulke also understood in his heart that Dorcas was superior to him in that aspect. Since the latter had also won Han Shuo’s trust, Faulke was powerless against this gradual shift in power. Fortunately, Han Shuo didn’t mistreat him, allowing him to transform his own team of trusted confidants and soldiers into the brigade of a thousand knights.
Han Shuo didn’t skimp on equipping this knight brigade either. Their armor, weapons, and other equipment were the most expensive in Brettel City. Han Shuo had poured a great deal of resources into this brigade, equipping with the best on the current market. As it stood, his current investment stood at three hundred thousand gold coins. Except for the lack of warhorses, the equipment alone left them no inferior than the official Royal Knights of the Empire.
Of course when compared to the top ten knights associations of the Profound Continent, this brigade fell far behind in both fighting power or equipment. However, in Brettel City, or even the surrounding seven grand duchies, this fledgling brigade was not to be underestimated.
As a pure knight at heart, nothing was more rewarding than commanding an official brigade of knights, so Faulke wasn’t too moved by the loss of military power. On the contrary, he poured his time, effort, and heart into training his brigade.
“So for the time being, the seven grand duchies seem to lack the power to deal with us?” Han Shuo asked with a smile.
Dorcas nodded, “The seven grand duchies won’t be starting anything for at least a month. But, when they start their activities again, they’ll be coming in droves, never alone. News of the four great bandit regiments suffering heavy losses have spread across the seven grand duchies. They’re well aware that even if they squeezed every iota of effort out of their duchy, they can’t match the combined force of the four great bandit regiments. With that defeat as a lesson, they definitely won’t act before creating a plan they’re wholly confident in.” Dorcas took a breath, continuing, “In other words, while the seven grand duchies won’t act now, when they do, Brettel City will have to face another uphill battle!”
“Hmph! The seven grand duchies want to use Brettel City as their hunting. It’s high time we smash this perception of theirs. Only when we dye our walls with the blood of those who’ve tried to storm them will they commit that fact to their memories for the rest of their lives.”. Han Shuo’s face was an ice cold mask. Silence reigned for a moment before he suddenly spoke to Dorcas and Faulke, “Make good use of this time, while Brettel City is safe, to train your soldiers. Use the bandit groups that have attacked in recent years as targets for practice. There should be seven or eight smaller bandit groups other than the four great bandit groups out there. Think of ways that you can squeeze every drop of what they looted from us out of them.”
Dorcas’ eyes sparkled with a fierce light after he heard these words, he immediately replied, “My Lord, rest assured, I know what to do.”
“Heh heh, from my trip to the underground world this time, I’ve come to realize that in order for Brettel City to quickly gain strength, the fastest way is to plunder resources from others. Train our soldiers on one hand, plunder others with the other. With that, we get the best of both worlds.” Han Shuo had garnered a fortune in dirty money from the underground world. He finally understood why there were so many bandits in the seven grand duchies. There was no lack of targets. Even one of the top ten knight troops of the mainland, the Redbud Knights, didn’t mind traveling thousands of miles all the way to the Dark Forest.
“My Lord, I have some interesting news.” Dick’s creepy grin raised Han Shuo’s hackles. That perverted smile only came out when he’d latched onto a particularly juicy piece of gossip. Han Shuo wasn’t angry though, “What interesting news? I can’t help but want to beat you after seeing that smile.”
“Heh heh, well, the originally very friendly Narsen Ducy seems to have a recent change in policy towards Helon Duchy. Grand duke Benedict of the Narsen Duchy didn’t even help Helen Tina with her internal strife. Do you know why, my Lord?” Dick looked at Han Shuo with an evil cackle.
Furrowing his brows, Han Shuo said, “Why?”
“It’s entirely due to you, my Lord. By now, everyone in the seven grand duchies know that you’ve had Helen tine. Benedict, an ardent pursuer for many years, has also come to know. In contrast to pursuing her in vain for so long, my Lord was able to have her after just arriving in Brettel City a few months ago.”
“For Benedict, a used woman has naturally lost her flavor. Consequently, his attitude towards the Helon Duchy also changed greatly. He only stood on the sidelines to watch as Helen Tina faced her enemies.” Dick was beset by gales of laughter as he sputtered out an explanation. He sighed dramatically, “My Lord is certainly farsighted, easily splitting up the two most solid of allies.”
“Indeed, my Lord has great vision. Compared to him, our charisma is utterly inadequate. Wedefinitely have to learn from my Lord!” Chester had the same look of admiration on this face as he nodded and sighed emotionally.
Han Shuo’s expression darkened. He looked at these innately dirty fellows and grunted, “So you spread this news. I didn’t think you would be so despicable.”
Chester and Dick laughed awkwardly without a word, while Jack was full of interest, saying enviously, “Bryan, I heard that she’s very beautiful, you really are blessed!”
It appeared these fellows wouldn’t believe his explanation, so Han Shuo didn’t bother trying to explain himself. Instead, he took out Celt’s space ring, which contained all the armor from the Redbud Knights and an enormous amount of magic crystal ore. He handed it to Jack, saying, ‘This ring is filled with armor from the Redbud Knights and a pile of magic crystal ore. Store them in the warehouse;, you can keep the ring.”
“You’re giving this space ring to me?” Jack’s voice went up an octave as he gazed at Han Shuo, hands tightly holding onto the space ring.
“Mhm, this ring originally belonged to the leader of the Redbud Knights, Celt. The space inside is enough for you to transport goods.” Han Shuo smiled at Jack, then took out fire grand magus Marceau’s space ring and handed it over as well, “There are a number of crystals, jade and a variety of jewelry inside, worth nearly a million gold coins. They are to be used as the capital for Brettel CIty’s operations, you have full control over them.”
Jack probed Celt’s space ring. When he discovered the massive amount of armor and magic crystal ore inside, he smiled excitedly at Faulke, “Faulke, you can have even better armor now! The magic crystal ore inside is also enough for our magic crystal cannons to use for a while.”
“Very good, His Lordship took one trip outside and reaped a truly really rich harvest!” Faulke let out a happy cry hearing Jack’s words.
The total harvest had come from the mined ore from the gourd mountain; armor from the killed Redbud Knights; and the crystal, jade and gold coins that had come from Celt and Marceau’s space rings. Han Shuo had transferred some magical equipment, “Starry Sky”, and the magical space tent to his own space ring.
Everything he’d given Jack had immense monetary value, and such things didn’t have practical benefit for Han Shuo. Brettel City was currently his greatest asset, and everything he could do empower it would in turn, benefit him. These gold coins would fully exhibit their potential in Jack’s hands.
“Good, I’m counting on you to make good use of these things.” Han Shuo said to Jack and the others. With this harvest, he knew that Brettel City would soon become even more powerful.