Chapter 348: Demon-rearing
Five days passed, and Fabian arrived at Brettel City, followed by a group of merchants. They had brought far more goods this time than their previous trip. The enthusiasm of the merchants who had tasted an untapped market far exceeded Han Shuo’s expectations.
Every merchant had brought along a caravan this time. Each had carriages pulled by earth dragons, laden with bags of various sizes. Inside the various pouches were goblin missiles and sacks full of crossbows and arrows.
The goods on the carriages at the rear were wrapped tightly in canvas. Although, from the look of the bulky packages, it didn’t take a genius to figure out that each carriage held ammunition, and lots of it. Two large and slow-moving earth dragons pulled a carriage, each 5 meters wide and 10 meters long. Each of these gigantic carriages were large enough to accommodate 10 battle wagons or catapults.
The carriages being pulled by the dragons contained at least 20 battle wagons, while the 27 smaller carriages behind them were pulled by warhorses. Although these 27 carriages weren’t as large as the ones pulled by the earth dragons, each was large enough to accommodate 3 battle wagons apiece.
Located even farther back were Cloudmound Beasts. Extraordinarily, these creatures were just as strong as the earth dragons, but also just as slow. They were twice as large as warhorses, each long leg as large as elephants. They carried sacks full of food and daily necessities. These should be able to replenish Brettel City’s warehouses.
The number of merchants had doubled, compared to last time, each wearing a smile that only grew wider as they drew closer to the city. They all wore casual expressions, each talking about their soon-to-be profits.
They hadn’t encountered a single corpse on the road from Seamist City to Brettel City, nor did they see hide nor hair of bandits. After Dorcas’ extermination campaign, all the bandits had been eradicated. Those who cooperated had been conscripted as hard working janitors, working to keep the roads free of detritus.
When they noticed these subtle details, the merchants began to gradually relax. When they reached the city, Jack, Brettel City’s finance minister, paid the merchants in one lump sum after completing an inventory of the delivered goods.
The merchants who had come such a long distance were utterly delighted to receive their money. They didn’t immediately leave Brettel City, but nagged Jack to allow them to open a store in Brettel City.
“Jack, the Boozt Merchant Guild also plans to open a branch here, help us prepare a suitable location,” Fabian said to Jack.
“Understood. The branch of the Boozt Merchant Guild will be the first to be arranged,” Jack promised, smiling. Despite the objections of the nearby merchants, he covertly brought Fabian aside, sneakily asking, “These merchants have finally come to their senses and want to set up shop in Brettel City?”
“Aye. Ever since the four great bandit groups had been defeated, Brettel City has become known as a merchant’s wonderland after our painstaking marketing campaign. To be frank, the mines surrounding Brettel City are rich in resources. As long as we have enough smiths, Brettel City will certainly be able to use these resources to create weapons.”
“Brettel City is also the closest juncture to the seven grand duchies. As far as the nobility of the seven grand duchies were concerned, the Lancelot Empire’s ornate clothing and porcelain were luxury products that they were willing to spend large quantities of money on. On the other hand, the hardy horses, furs and jewels produced by the seven grand duchies are also very much in demand by the Lancelot Empire.”
If it wasn’t for the fact that Brettel City’s safety could not be guaranteed, the ideal location of this city would’ve propelled this city to becoming the place to be for merchants. Now that word of the four bandit groups’ defeat is spreading, along with the guarantee of safe passage, many merchants will start to willingly seek out Boozt Merchant Guild to sell their wares here.”
“Just wait and see, this is only the first wave. As long as Brettel City can give the merchants a sense of safety, more and more merchants will come flocking. At that time, we’d be hardpressed to even try stopping activity.” Fabian explained to Jack.
“It seems that our choice was a wise one.” The little fatty smiled until his small eyes were nearly creases upon hearing Fabian’s words, “Guess what, Bryan made a trip to the underground world a while ago. Do you know how many valuable things he brought back? Haha, I now have two million gold coins at my disposal! If we include the crystals and other valuables, then the money at my disposal reaches three million! I would never have thought that I would be able to one day control so much money!”
Fabian was visibly shocked upon hearing Jack say these words, then sighed, “Follow Bryan well, you little brat. The very fact that he’s given you so much money to look after is proof of his trust. As long as you work hard, becoming a noble is only a matter of time.”
“Rest assured, uncle, I know what to do. The crystals, gold, silver, jewels and other valuables have to be sold through the merchant guilds. Brettel City is an iron stronghold as long as we have enough money,” Jack replied.
“There are a couple of merchants here who probably have an interest in your products. You should find them and negotiate directly.” Fabian laughed, and said “We’re off to see Bryan, Phoebe asked me to bring him a few things.”
“Go on in. He’s waiting for you.” Jack replied.
Fabian soon found Han Shuo’s room after leaving Jack. Han Shuo was waiting impatiently, as he already knew that Fabian was coming. Han Shuo welcomed Fabian in as soon as the latter’s footsteps sounded. Smiling, he said “Mister Fabian. Did Phoebe ask you to bring me anything?”
“Of course. This space ring contains what you need.” Fabian laughed, handing Han Shuo the space ring. Han Shuo focused his mental strength into the space ring and immediately joined Fabian in laughter.
“Take this sword to Phoebe for me. Be careful, and make sure that nothing happens along the way.” Taking out the divine weapon “Starry Sky”, Han Shuo handed it over to Fabian with a warning, “This is the divine weapon, “Starry Sky”, formerly of the leader of the Redbud Knights, Celt. You should know its value.”
Fabian’s expression immediately grew serious as he realized what he was holding. He stored “Starry Sky” into his own space ring, saying, “Rest assured, I will definitely bring this sword to Miss Phoebe.”
“Tell Phoebe to continue collecting the things on this list.” Han Shuo once again took out a list and handed it to Fabian.
“Understood, I know what to do.” Fabian tucked the letter away, continuing to reassure Han Shuo.
After Fabian took his leave, Han Shuo found Chester and gave him some instructions, then returned to the Cemetery of Death.
The Cemetery of Death was immersed in the aura of death all year round. A large, oval hole had appeared amongst the white bones. The hole was surrounded by 12 colourful banners, each around 10 meters tall and still managing to flutter despite the complete lack of wind. Each banner was emblazoned with an exotic symbol.
The oval pit was filled with large bone spikes, all sticking upwards. Some of these bones had been pulled from the green dragon’s corpse by Han Shuo, while the others came from the taboo land from last time. All of the bones were from deceased powerful magic creatures.
Han Shuo dumped buckets of black and shimmering violet liquid into the oval pit. Bucket after bucket were dumped in, Han Shuo seemingly having an endless supply from his space ring. All of it went inside the pit.
This liquid was either metallic-smelling blood or juices of a much more gruesome nature. It came in many colors, and the smell was far from flattering. After tens of buckets had been dumped into the pit, Han Shuo took out a dagger and shallowly slit his wrist. He held it over the hole as drops of fresh blood dripped from his arm.
As Han Shuo’s fresh blood splashed into the hole, the liquid began to emit red smoke. Surprisingly, the drops of Han Shuo’s blood didn’t diffuse, instead swimming around like red agates. The tranquil liquid began to bubble, catalyzed by Han Shuo’s blood, as crackling filled the air.
Han Shuo tilted his head up and whistled, a long low dragon’s cry that promised of sinister things to come. The Demonslayer Edge shot out from the nape of Han Shuo’s neck, bringing with it the ghosts of the fallen. The silently flailing and screaming ghosts resembled a nest of snakes as they were drawn into the twelve banners. After hundreds of ghosts were absorbed by the banners, a killing aura began to drift out from the banner, slowly rising to the skies.
The killing aura seemed to be attracted to the liquid in the hole, arcing down into the hole at a speed visible to the eye. With the help of this killing aura, Han Shuo’s originally emulsified blood gradually dissolved into the liquid contained within the hole, soon vanishing without a trace.
Taking a deep breath, Han Shuo circulated his magical yuan towards the wound on his wrist, watching as the cut made by his dagger rapidly healed.
Taking out the skeletal staff, Han Shuo began to rapidly chant an incantation. Three horsed evil knights suddenly appeared in front of Han Shuo. He pointed his staff at the hole in the ground. The contract-bound evil knights didn’t hesitate, jumping in one after the other into the hole.
When the first evil knight and his horse landed in the pit, the previously silent knight and horse suddenly threw their heads back in a soundless roar. Not a sound came out of the pit as the two wailed, the knight’s bronze colored armor and horse sizzling as they came in contact with the liquid. Both of them gave off clouds of smoke, which rose high into the air.
The evil knight and his mount appeared as if they were suffering the worst pain imaginable. The evil knight, who normally would not dare violate the contract, suddenly attempted to break the power of the contract, trying to leave the hole that caused him so much suffering, his body twisting and thrashing in his agony.
The evil knight wasn’t a lowly existence like the skeleton warriors. These strong fighters had their own version of intelligence in their dimension. Although their prodigious strength was restricted by the magical contract, the harrowing pain that exceeded that of death forced him to instinctively struggle against the contract.
Han Shuo cursed under his breath as he held the skeletal staff. “How can you be reborn if you don’t suffer this kind of pain? You don’t know what’s good for you. You’ll know what this pain has brought you after you’ve been tempered and your body reforged. Just the materials required for this “Twelve Demon Rearing Fragments Formation” costs at least a hundred thousand gold coins. Stop struggling!”
As Han Shuo cursed, he used his consciousness to suppress the evil knight’s struggles and force the other two evil knights into the pit as well.
Just like the first evil knight, the other two evil knights who were forced into the pit also began resisting due to the overwhelming pain, attempting to break the contract Han Shuo held over them.
Han Shuo could easily deal with a single evil knight’s rebellion. However, if three evil knights and their steeds resisted as a group, then even he would have trouble dealing with them. Han Shuo was forced to use all of his available mental strength to firmly suppress their combined assault on the magical contract.
“Nine cycles of demon reincarnation, scattered souls return to your positions, reduce!” Even as Han Shuo used his mental strength to yank the evil knights back under control, he still had to split some effort out to manipulate the spell.
After he spat out the words, the killing aura drifting out of the twelve banners began to thicken. The mysterious patterns that the banners were inscribed with began to form faces. Under the infusion of the ghosts’ power, twelve sinister demon faces gradually appeared. Although each demon’s face was unique, they had one frightening similarity. They struck fear into the hearts of men and women alike.
These twelve demon faces were identical to the demon heads that had entered Han Shuo’s body when he advanced to the separate demon realm. After the twelve grimacing demon faces had all appeared on the banners, twelve demon heads slowly emerged from Han Shuo’s body, floating in front of their respective faces.
After the twelve demon heads had returned to the banners from Han Shuo’s body, the killing aura exuded by the banners suddenly swirled into a vortex, gathering in the center of the central pit. The three knights and their mounts felt like their souls had suddenly been set afire. Their pain had doubled, and they began to struggle even more fiercely against the contract that bound them.
Han Shuo froze in place, barely managing to put the skeletal staff away. He sat in place in front of the pit, using every iota of his formidable mental strength to suppress the evil knights and their steeds. In the pit, the evil knights swung their bone lances wildly, as if wishing to decapitate Han Shuo that very instant.