Han Shuo took a stroll around the entire valley and discovered that the Valley of Sunshine was formed by interestingly shaped buildings. These buildings were built from different materials such as durable, gray rocks or wood from hundred year old trees. Some were round and others pointy with a chimney.
It was because so many merchants and adventurers from various countries co-existed here that caused the architectural style to also be heavily influenced in a multitude of different ways.
Early in the morning, inhabitants walked out of their homes to shovel away snowfall that had accumulated from the previous night, clearing the space in front of their door. This was also similar to a small city, as there were all sorts of vendors and stalls here, displaying their wares from a variety of countries.
“These stalls all belong to small merchants. The larger merchants only spend a few days here because they have long since been in contact with their business partners, and are just here to conclude the transactions.” It wasn’t Phoebe’s first visit to the valley. She held onto Han Shuo’s arm with her slender fingers and explained in a soft voice.
“Alright, you guys have fun shopping, I’m going to take care of business first. When you tire later, you can rest in the last store on this street, I’ll arrange for someone to meet you there!” Emily’s thoughts were completely preoccupied by the mission.
Nodding, Han Shuo understood that she was quite anxious and said, “Go and take care of business, we’ll come find you later!”
A thought struck Phoebe after Emily left as she suddenly recalled, “Oh right, I haven’t had time to collect the materials on the list that you gave me. There are many rarities here from other countries. Why don’t we take a look around? Maybe we can find some of the materials you need.”
Han Shuo finally recalled that he’d once asked Phoebe to help him collect the materials he would need to refine a wood elite zombie. The yin demon cave and earth elite zombie were operating without a hitch back in the cemetery of death, but he had yet to obtain all the materials required for the wood elite zombie. Han Shuo readily agreed to Phoebe’s suggestion.
Thus, Han Shuo followed behind her and started making his way through shops, starting with the first stall.
Phoebe was patently very happy to have Han Shuo’s companionship. As the leader of a guild, once she started conducting a transaction, she would transform into a very shrewd person. She was able to identify the true price of ingredients that Han Shuo needed amongst the stalls they passed without a flicker in expression.
She paid seven thousand gold coins without hesitation just to get Han Shuo a vital ingredient that he had been lacking. When Han Shuo took out his crystal card to pay, Phoebe served him with a fierce glare, saying, “You still have some gold coins stored with me, what are you taking your crystal card out for?!
Han Shuo was speechless and decided to stay out of this matter. He continued to stand by Phoebe’s side and watched her barter with several merchants with a distant expression.
There were indeed many rare materials within the Valley of Sunshine. Two vendors had stock of black iron ore and black gold ore that couldn’t even be found within the Empire. There were even a few items, that had been banned by the country’s governments, that were openly placed on stalls to attract customers.
There were a few strong aphrodisiacs, as well as powder that could melt corpses with a pinch. There were even strong weapons that had just been developed, along with the cores and bones of some strong magical creatures. Everything that one would want could be found here.
Some of the owners of the stalls were humans, while others were orcs or elves. There was even an interesting merman laying half submerged within the water. Because they all used the human language to communicate, there were no barriers of communication. When the two had made a full circuit of the premises, they both felt that this trip had been worth it as some rare materials had gotten added to their space rings.
“Alright, that’s good, let’s go meet up with Emily first the day. We can’t possibly finish perusing all the stalls in the valley in a single day. As long as we pay particular attention, I think we should be able to collect all the ingredients you need!” Phoebe was a bit fatigued after entering more than a dozen stalls and bargaining heatedly with all their owners. She raised this suggestion to Han Shuo after they walked out of the latest stall.
The skies over the valley had darkened due to the setting sun, unbeknownst to either of them. The entire valley was cloaked in a red light as dusk began. Han Shuo felt that Emily was most likely done reporting her matters after so much time had past and he too was eager to find out how they’d gone. He directed Phoebe to the place that Emily had mentioned when she raised her suggestion.
Because he didn’t know what danger the little skeleton had met in the other dimension, Han Shuo didn’t send the little skeleton back and kept the latter by his side. There were all sorts of unconventional characters within the valley, so Han Shuo didn’t stand out that much with a little skeletal warrior by his side.
On their way to Emily’s predefined place however, the little skeleton suddenly stopped in front of a stall without moving, its empty eye sockets staring at the door, seemingly attracted by something at that very moment.
“What’s wrong?” Phoebe also stopped when she saw that Han Shuo and the little skeleton had stopped. She paused and looked back in surprise.
“Something inside is calling out to him!” Han Shuo’s expression was quite bizarre as he looked at Phoebe and then shifted his gaze back at the little skeleton.
Phoebe had only been a bit confused when her perplexed expression immediately turned into one of shock. She looked around and walked over to Han Shuo when she confirmed that no one was paying attention to them. She looked at the little skeleton with incredulity, “You mean, he has his own thoughts?”
Nodding, Han Shuo said firmly, “Yes, I’m sure this is the case. I don’t know what’s going on either, so don’t ask me anything, because I don’t know when this happened either!”
Phoebe was even more befuddled with Han Shuo’s words as bewilderment suffused her expression. When she raised her head to look at the store, she exclaimed in surprise. Han Shuo looked back at her for an explanation. “Why is it this store? It’s not my first time in the Valley of Sunshine, but I’ve never seen this store open for business. I think that those inside aren’t willing to sell anything, otherwise they wouldn’t be concealing their front door.”
This was indeed the case. All the stores and stalls on this broad street strived mightily to invite and attract customers to visit. Only this one covered its front door, like no one was home, and appeared quite at odds with everything else on this street.
The little skeleton suddenly walked towards the store without Han Shuo’s order. He raised his hand to push open the door. Contrary to his expectations, the door lightly creaked open and revealed a stone paved hallway.
Phoebe blinked and said with some hesitation, “It’s against the rules to enter someone’s store against their volition!”
“Is there someone inside? Is there someone inside??” Han Shuo nodded and followed behind the little skeleton. He suddenly started talking loudly, as if to ascertain if someone was inside or not.
Sadly, he received no response after calling out a few times, and the little skeleton naturally didn’t understand what rules were. He hurtled deep into the structure.
Spreading out his hands, Han Shuo said, “There’s no one in here anyways, it shouldn’t matter if we go in and take a look.” He turned and shut the door that the little skeleton had opened, casting a glance Phoebe and taking her by the hand to walk inside.
The little skeleton made straight for a round well in the back garden. He stood by the well and looked inside, seeming to be looking at something. When Han Shuo and Phoebe drew close, Han Shuo suddenly felt a frosty, evil presence exuding from the well, as if an enormous demon was inside.
“Something’s wrong.! The temperature is too low here, even I feel a bit cold!” Phoebe’s body suddenly trembled as she looked at Han Shuo.
“That’s right, this is a place of extreme water, a place that I need to refine water elite zombies. The thick water qi within has been absorbed by wraiths and transformed them to water demons!” Han Shuo was overjoyed.
He sensed closely and could clearly feel the thick water qi within and two currents of frosty, sinister water qi. Han Shuo immediately understood that the water elements within were being absorbed by the two water demons.