Shaking her head, Candice rejected Lawrence’s suggestion. She looked resolutely and admonished, “This isn’t just about the money!”
Candice noticeably held the upper hand in this situation. With the aid of Han Shuo and the authors, Belinda and Johnny couldn’t do anything at all. It was apparent from Belinda and Johnny’s equipment and weapons that the Calamity Church wasn’t short on money. Belinda could easily settle this matter with a bit of money, so she was being surprisingly stubborn this time.
“The Calamity Church isn’t someone you can threaten!” The scar on the injured Johnny’s face became even more apparent because of his rage. The longsword in his hand shone with blinding electrical light thanks to the power of thunder and lightening.
Just as Han Shuo was about to open his mouth, Johnny’s body suddenly moved forward and charged at Han Shuo. He had a look of killing intent on his face and the longsword in his hand was as if an electrical dragon, exploding with the frightening power of thunder and lightning and lighting up the somewhat dark cave.
“Be careful!” Phoebe and Emily were both shocked by Johnny’s sudden motions and couldn’t help but cry out in reminder.
A pile of white bones suddenly gathered in the air and formed a white bone shield, blocking the longsword that was striking like an electrical dragon. Two bone spears flew out viciously afterwards, crashing into Johnny’s longsword, which was wreathed in lightning before it had a chance to strike the white bone shield.
Some light cracks rang out as the bone spears exploded. The longsword angrily gave off sparks as it smashed into the bone shield beneath Johnny’s thrust.
The white bone shield immediately fractured into many bone fragments as Johnny’s thrust still made viciously for Han Shuo despite being thwarted twice.
The Demonslayer Edge finally howled as it made its appearance. A metallic clang exploded through the air as a cold light flashed in Han Shuo’s hands. Han Shuo grunted as he was driven back for a few steps. The lightning flared once on Johnny’s longsword as it abruptly extinguished.
Johnny’s imposing momentum finally slowed down at this point, and when he planned on regrouping for another attack, Caspian, Emily, and Phoebe were already standing by Han Shuo’s side and glaring at Johnny angrily.
“I don’t think I’m your enemy, hmm?” Han Shuo steadied himself and circulated the magical yuan around his body, confirming that he’d suffered no harm before directing a cold look at Johnny and asking faintly.
“You lied to us during the Bob Ascher operation and made us cannon fodder. Apart from distracting a few people for us, you didn’t go to any other efforts. Now that everything’s over, don’t think I don’t know what plans you’re making in your heart. You’re the one who deserves to die the most!” Johnny grimaced as he looked frostily at Han Shuo.
Since Bob Ascher was the chief of the Gryphon Legion, whether or not Han Shuo and Emily had concrete evidence, they had no right to condemn Bob Ascher to death, not to mention engaging in an assassination attempt like this.
If Han Shuo and Emily had colluded with the Calamity Church to kill Bob Ascher, then there would’ve been severe consequences from the Dark Mantle’s side afterwards. Not to mention that Han Shuo knew full well the exact strength of his intended victim, and that it was impossible to kill Bob Ascher in Valen City. Only fervent religious followers would do something that held such a high risk.
Nodding, Han Shuo smiled faintly. “Since things are out in the open, don’t blame me for cutting our relationship here then. You’ve already made a move against me, don’t blame me for doing the same.”
Han Shuo turned to look at the wryly smiling Lawrence after speaking, “You still want to help them now?”
Spreading his hands, Lawrence took a few steps back. He smiled ruefully, “I’d been quite interested in the Calamity Church’s golem and wanted to obtain the method to make one through peaceful means. It looks like that’s not too likely now.”
Lawrence’s words also confirmed Han Shuo’s earlier speculation. For someone concerned with only his matters, he must have had something else on his mind to suddenly give Belinda and Johnny a helping hand. Lawrence’s words were an obvious indication that he was standing on Han Shuo and Phoebe’s side.
Nodding, Han Shuo smiled slightly at Lawrence. “Many thanks!”
“Do you think you’ve got us?” Standing behind Johnny all this time, Belinda finally spoke up and took out the item she’d used to seal the golem. It looked like she was finally going to make a move.
“Heh heh, you won’t have the chance to use that!” Han Shuo laughed for a long while and used the demon infant to manipulate the drop of blood essence hidden within Belinda. A mere thought was enough for the frosty air within the blood essence to invade Belinda’s body. She felt her neck grow numb and fell backwards in a dead faint.
“What, what did you do to her?” Belinda’s sudden faint shocked Johnny as he looked at Han Shuo in great panic.
“She’ll live, but there’s no need for you to continue living. It’s too dangerous to allow you to live.” Han Shuo smiled coldly and suddenly opened his mouth to chant a necromancy spell. A hate warrior appeared out of thin air along with three other zombie warriors standing in front of Han Shuo.
Johnny knew that Belinda wouldn’t be able to help him now that things had deteriorated to such a stage. He hesitated only slightly and immediately turned to run, trying to leave from the only entrance. Both Emily and Caspian suddenly started chanting and several thick branches snaked over adroitly, as well as a cloud of black mist.
“You can’t escape!” Emily chuckled and chanted another spell. The cloud of black mist seemed to be some kind of restraint as Johnny’s body suddenly stiffened as soon as it neared him. The flexible tree branches then entangled his body.
Johnny was a thunder swordsmage alright. He could still barely manage to move even when restrained like this. He lifted the longsword in his hand with difficulty and planned on chopping away at the tree branches that held him down. However, the three zombie warriors and hate warrior had already closed in on him.
A bolt of lightning flashed as the longsword sliced through the air, hitting the two zombie warriors that arrived first and sending electricity through the zombie warriors’ bodies. The slash of the longsword made the two halt abruptly and never move again.
As he deployed the longsword with difficulty and planned on making a move on one of the other zombie warriors, the hate warrior’s club crashed downwards and connected with Johnny’s sword wielding right hand. The sharp sound of a bone breaking rang out and the sword slid to the ground after a wail of pain from Johnny.
Han Shuo had been standing beside Phoebe and the others when he suddenly flashed behind Johnny, deploying the “Demonic Art of Assimilation” with his back to the others. He absorbed Johnny’s wailing soul into the demon infant. When the demon infant had overcome Johnny’s soul, it was as if Han Shuo had been greatly fortified and only then did he bring a punch down on Johnny’s back.
A thud sounded as life drained from Johnny’s eyes. He fell down listlessly, a caved in handprint apparent on his back.
After wiping out Johnny, Han Shuo’s demon infant grew noticeably and began to use the magical yuan to purify Johnny’s soul, turning it into nourishment for the demon infant. As a thunder swordsmage, the strength of Johnny’s soul was noticeably more abundant than that of the Gryphon Legion soldier’s. Han Shuo could clearly feel the demon infant grow and develop as it did so.
“He’s dead.” Emily slowly walked over when she saw that Johnny had died. When she saw Han Shuo stand there without moving and not searching Johnny’s body for valuables as usual, she spoke up to alert him of the fact.
Han Shuo abruptly came to himself as he was thoroughly reflecting over the changes to the demon infant. He continued to operate the “Demonic Art of Assimilation” without change in expression and nodded towards Emily. He pointed at Johnny, “Can you handle this? I need to rest for a bit.”
Han Shuo sat down cross legged after speaking and focused his attention on the changes in the demon infant after it had absorbed Johnny’s soul. The stronger one was, the stronger his soul. The strength from Johnny’s soul seemed to be accelerating the demon infant’s growth.
The demon infant was the foundation of the “true demon” realm. Han Shuo would be able to break through to the next level, the bloodlust realm, only after the demon infant reached a certain level. He would only need the power from souls in this realm. Once the demon infant was strong enough to reach the “bloodlust realm”, it wouldn’t require the energy from the souls anymore and it would be able to be deployed to greater uses.
Just as Han Shuo was quietly training, everyone else huddled together and chattered away. After Belinda had been captured and Johnny was killed, there were no other suspicious characters in the cave. Candice had seen Belinda mysteriously taken out by Han Shuo and didn’t mention anything about compensation. She laughed as she chatted with Phoebe and Emily.
Lawrence and Phoebe finally had time to converse with each other. Caspian was also reunited with Angelica after his long absence and could breathe a sigh of relief. Angelica was pouting that he wouldn’t describe the events of the past two days.
Han Shuo had been meditating with his eyes closed when he suddenly opened them and raised his finger to make a “shushing” noise.
Han Shuo walked cautiously towards the entrance of the cave without saying anything. Everyone watched him place his ear against the entrance of the cave as their relaxed emotions once again grew nervous.
Footsteps slowly grew louder and approached from the distance. The sounds of several people talking traveled into everyone’s ears at this moment.
“The Kerlan Grand Canyon is so vast that there’s no way we can find them after they’ve escaped in here. What’s the point in searching aimlessly like this!” A voice said.
“I know right, but the chief is crazy with anger this time. His two sons have been murdered and someone has been so bold as to attempt to assassinate him within Valen City. They’ve even gotten away with it. The chief has been fighting on the north and south all these years and have seen all sorts of situations, but has never been humiliated like this before. I don’t think he’ll rest before he’s caught these people and killed them!” Another person responded with emotion.
“I’ve heard that so much has happened in Valen City because the chief offended those in the capital. If this really is the case, then the chief is in for a world of trouble and I wonder if we’ll be affected as well.”
“Don’t worry, we were just following orders. Nothing should happen to us as long as we take note of the greater picture. We’re also not the chief’s confidantes, and we should listen to the orders from the king. We’ll just follow orders before any further developments.”
“Come, there’s no place to hide here anyways, let’s try someplace else!”
The group of people passed by the cave in which everyone was hidden in. They didn’t discover anything out of the ordinary, and the sounds of them conversing grew fainter and fainter before vanishing entirely.
Another two groups of people passed by afterwards. Thanks to Emily and Caspian’s actions, the entrance to the cave was well concealed. No one discovered anything out of the ordinary and didn’t spend more time there.
“Alright, it’s been a tiring night, everyone take a rest!” Han Shuo waited for a while and noticed that there were no further movements outside, so he turned and smiled to those inside.
Everyone sighed in relief and nodded, before starting to meditate, or went to sleep by the warm bonfire.
Everyone rested for a day within the cave and spent a full day recovering their strength. Han Shuo mediated for the entire day and fully absorbed Johnny’s soul, recovering his mental strength and magical yuan.
“It’s nighttime now, I think they’ve forgotten after a day of searching. We can leave now!” Han Shuo got up.
Everyone else got to their feet as well and packed their belongings. Emily and Caspian took down the boundary at the door and the group walked out of the cave.