Not running into any further danger along the way, Han Shuo and the others made it safely out of the underground world, exiting from the mountain valley they’d come in through.
Although this time’s outing had been a bit different from the original plan, he was still satisfied with the overall result. Not only had he received two cartloads of gold and jewelry from the dark elves, he’d also received a chest of beautiful crystals, a mysterious bow and a dark dragon subordinate. Han Shuo felt that this trip had been quite worth it.
As they walked towards the forest trolls’ village, dark dragon Gilbert kept complaining, switching tracks between wanting Han Shuo to return his chest of crystals to him, and Han Shuo finding beauties for him. Indifferent to his whining, Han Shuo turned him down flatly.
The dark dragon knew a lost cause when he saw one, and didn’t continue wasting his breath, preferring instead to sulk in a corner and tend to his wounds. Meanwhile, Han Shuo didn’t remain idle either. He mastered another journeyman level necromancy magic, “Dark Fog”. Not only could this magic create fog within a certain perimeter, but it was cast in such a way that the caster would be unaffected, allowing only enemies’ vision to be obscured. It was a very practical magic to use in attacking and running away.
Han Shuo had mostly grasped the Art of the Demonic Ninth Heavens by now. After some testing, he discovered that apart from some issues in grasping direction, all his other problems were being resolved through continuous practice. It would appear that he really would be able to soar through the air before too long.
When they passed by the forest trolls’ sacred ground, Han Shuo had the forest trolls wait outside. He and the little skeleton went inside and stored all the remaining treasures within his space ring. The place of extreme wood still had great use for Han Shuo, so he left specific instructions for the forest trolls guarding the sacred ground to keep an eye on this place.
After returning to the village, Han Shuo discovered traces of a violent fight outside the village. As he entered the village and listened to the old priest’s summary, he learned that the forest trolls that had gathered from all areas had engaged the elves after they’d left. The forest trolls’ superior numbers forced the elves to retreat after losing a few of their number.
As the god that the forest trolls worshipped, the little skeleton received adoration from all the forest trolls. Han Shuo then gave instructions to the old priest and took all the luxury items that they’d robbed from the McGrady Guild. Using the excuse of observing potential targets, he left the forest trolls along with the little skeleton and lewd dragon Gilbert.
Han Shuo arrived at the cemetery of death after a few days of walking. Because of the contract, Han Shuo wasn’t afraid of Gilbert spilling his secrets and led him directly into the cemetery of death. When Gilbert discovered that Han Shuo possessed the cemetery of death, a string of fawning words poured out from his mouth and lauded Han Shuo up to the heavens.
“Alright, you stay here temporarily and rest up. I’ll come find you if I have any instructions.” Han Shuo paid no attention to Gilbert’s rambunctiousness and left through the transportation matrix. He returned to the Empire’s capital of Ossen.
Han Shuo discovered Emily’s marks right after walking out of the cemetery of death. This cave was where Han Shuo had placed the transportation matrix for transporting in and out of the cemetery of death. Only Emily knew about it apart from Han Shuo.
From Emily’s message, Han Shuo knew that Emily had come looking for him and wanted him to contact Chester at the Dark Mantle as soon as he’d returned from the cemetery of death.
He picked up the transportation sticks from the ground and didn’t return to the Academy, but made for the Dark Mantle stronghold instead.
“Oh, you’ve finally appeared! Mistress Emily has looked for you many times already. I’ve also been to your Academy to look for you but couldn’t find traces of you. In the end, Mistress Emily told me to stay here and said you’d contact me. To think that you’d actually appear!” Coincidentally, the bandit guard Chester walked out as Han Shuo arrived at the Dark Mantle’s stronghold and started yelling excitedly.
“Has something gone wrong that Emily is looking for me so urgently?” Han Shuo asked askance when he saw Chester’s look of anxiety.
Chester nodded and shook his head, speaking with a wry face, “Something must’ve happened, but Mistress Emily didn’t tell me specifically what had happened.”
“Then, what did Emily tell you?” Han Shuo knew that Emily would not tell Chester information he had no right to know, and thus asked about Emily’s instructions for Chester.
“Leave the capital with me immediately. We need to head for Valen City. Mistress Emily should be there already.” Chester responded and then added, “Mistress Emily told me to take you to Valen City and contact her through the organization. She’ll explain in detail to you then.”
“Then let’s go!” Han Shuo nodded in agreement.
Valen City was on the western frontier of the Empire and was separated from the Kasi Empire by the Kerlan Grand Canyon. The Empire’s Gryphon Legion was stationed there to defend against the Kasi Empire.
Han Shuo only realized the Dark Mantle’s true strength when they were on the move. Han Shuo and Chester used the Dark Mantle transportation matrix to directly travel to Valen City from within the Dark Mantle headquarters.
When the two arrived at Valen City and contacted the local Dark Mantle members, the local members immediately prepared a carriage for them when they heard the two were on business for Emily. The carriage drove directly to the hotel where Emily was staying.
The soil of Valen City was poor, so the entire city would only bustle with activity when the Lancelot Empire went to war with the Kasi Empire. But after so many years of war, the originally poor Valen City became even more impoverished. Many locals had already moved to other places and the ones who remained conducted their trade with the army.
Han Shuo hadn’t seen Emily in quite a while. Emily had taken up residence in an elegant room within the spacious hotel and was furiously writing away at something. She was quite overjoyed when she saw Han Shuo, but grew serious as she saw Chester following behind him, “Chester, you wait outside first, I have some words for Han Shuo.”
Chester wasn’t unhappy at all and retreated quite respectfully. He stood guard outside for Han Shuo and Emily, preventing others from disturbing their conversation.
“I’ve already left instructions with the forest trolls. Whoever comes to purchase the siege weapons will be able to do so.” Han Shuo walked directly towards Emily and arrived at the side of a burning brazier.
“Our target this time is the Gryphon Legion. According to our speculations, the chief of the Gryphon Legion plans to rebel. What I need to do is gather evidence.” Emily didn’t conceal anything and directly gave voice to their plans.
Han Shuo gave a start of fright but then felt joy slowly forming inside. As the sons of the chief of the Gryphon Legion, Claude and Clark had long since formed deep grudges with Han Shuo. Claude had died at his hands and Clark had tried to assassinate him earlier. It looked like he’d be able to kill off Clark during this time’s mission as well.
“Why does the chief of a legion want to rebel?” Although he was happy, Han Shuo didn’t forget the task at hand and asked in confusion.
“His Majesty’s health has continued to decline, becoming poorer and poorer. The two princes aren’t worth much and neither of them are able to truly obtain his trust. Curiously enough, the chief of the Gryphon Legion petitioned His Majesty to have the princess marry his son Clark. Even though His Majesty declined him in the end, the chief still holds great military power in his hands, and his motives for his petition remain unclear.”
“The Dark Mantle then discovered that his movements were becoming a bit suspicious. They seem to indicate that he has some contact with the Kasi Empire. Our goal is to collect as much evidence as possible. As long as we have enough evidence, my brother will personally make a move and arrest the chief of the Gryphon Legion.” Emily looked at Han Shuo and explained.
“Then, what should we do next?” Since Emily knew the detailed particulars of this mission far better than Han Shuo, he didn’t dare express any opinions and directly asked Emily.
“According to our Dark Mantle’s observations, a storm seems to be brewing within the Empire. The Kasi Empire is watching us with greedy eyes, and seems to be prepared to launch fierce attacks as soon as His Majesty dies. The chief of the Gryphon Legion won’t make his move immediately, but since you’ve already given your orders to the forest trolls, I think the siege weapons stolen from the McGrady Guild will appear in Valen City before too long.”
“This batch of siege weapons could be what Gryphon Legion chief Bob Ascher is planning to use when attacking the palace. As long as we can discover this batch of siege weapons in their house, we can arrest them before they start their rebellion.” Emily explained as she looked at Han Shuo.
“His son Clark isn’t in Valen City right now. I want to kill him first!” Han Shuo suddenly spoke with a low voice when he finished listening to Emily’s words.
Emily started when she heard these words. She couldn’t fathom how Han Shuo would know Clark and moreover, hold such hatred towards him.