An iron fist swung over with the momentum of wanting to cleave through mountains and split open rocks. The strong force rippled audibly through the air as an unbounded dominance spilled forth like the tides, making Han Shuo’s hairs stand on end.
Han Shuo took a deep breath in and circulated his magical yuan to his right hand, deploying his magical cultivation to its extreme and turning his hand into the color of black jade. His very bones seemed to be made of black jade as his hand sparkled with a faint light. A cloud of purple magic circulated in the palm of his right hand, appearing as spellfire.
Trunks and Emily had been shocked by the sudden development and was about to intervene when they saw Han Shuo’s right hand suddenly change. They all stood there, flabbergasted, and didn’t say a word.
After his hand had changed, Han Shuo suddenly shot out from his defensive position at an unparalleled speed. He then pulled his right hand back and materialized a purple-black streak of lightning, smashing it into Laureton’s oncoming punch.
A thunderous crash that was even louder than when Laureton had crashed into the pillar with the boulder sounded, the collision reverberating throughout the entire hall.
An overwhelming force traveled up Han Shuo’s right hand into his body. The strength was beyond his imagining. If it wasn’t for the perverse level of durability his body was at, his right hand would’ve absolutely shattered and exploded from this touch.
Even so, his body couldn’t help but fly backwards and crash into a black boulder in front of the hall doors with an audible crack. His body sagged to the ground, as chief Laureton stood firmly rooted like a boulder. However, an icy cold presence spread from his fist throughout his body and froze the small trickles of sweat running down his body into gleaming, translucent pearls. White smoke rose from his body as the frosty air covered him.
“Are you alright?” Emily flashed over to Han Shuo in the blink of an eye, reaching to help him up.
His arm was numb from his fist up to his shoulder, and it was still trembling lightly even now. Han Shuo panted heavily as his heart filled with shock, full of astonishment at Laureton’s strength.
“Laureton, it looks like your strength has improved once again. Don’t think I can’t tell even though you’ve held back some of your strength. You may have already materialized the level of being berserk thrice over!” Light danced in Trunks’ eyes as he stared at Laureton’s body.
Han Shuo had been about to comfort Emily when he heard Trunks’ words. The shock in his heart grew even greater. From Trunks’ words, Han Shuo knew that perhaps that blow just now may have been fierce, but it still hadn’t been Laureton’s true strength. Based on the domineering strength from that blow, Han Shuo was certain that Laureton wasn’t any less inferior to earth rider Clark or swordmaster Phoebe.
This wasn’t even his true strength! If Laureton truly brought his full strength to bear, then it’d be even more astonishing. No wonder he was the chief of the Cairo mercenary band and controlled the order of the Valley of Sunshine. Ice had covered Laureton’s body when cracking sounds suddenly sounded over his body. The frozen beads of sweat scattered down from his body down to the floor like gleaming pearls, shattering into shards of ice when they came in contact with the stone ground.
Shivering involuntarily, Laureton sneezed and wrapped a fur cape around himself tightly, then looking at Han Shuo with surprise. “What kind of technique was that? I couldn’t sense any fighting aura or magic, but why did it have the power of the two combined?”
“I couldn’t feel any ripples of fighting aura or magic from you either, but your strength isn’t any less than a swordmaster and his fighting aura. This is nothing to be shocked about!” Han Shuo shrugged and responded with a smile.
“Us berserkers have a special way of training, and a very specialized method at that. You’re not a berserker, how can you do this? This is truly very strange!” Laureton looked askance and shook his head.
“Alright, I think this wasn’t your point in inviting us here?” Han Shuo walked leisurely to the front and sat down on a stone seat not too far from Laureton, also calling out to Trunks and Emily as well.
After the blows they’d just exchanged, Han Shuo understood that Laureton was likely stronger than himself. The Cairo mercenary band’s greatest enemy currently was the Rainbow Sickle mercenaries, so Laureton definitely hadn’t invited them to come so he could act against them. Therefore, Han Shuo was quite at ease.
Emily and Trunks also walked over carelessly when they saw Han Shuo so relaxed, pulling over a stone stool each for a seat.
“Harris, what’s Florida’s condition now after returning to the Rainbow Sickles?” Laureton revealed an approving look at Han Shuo and the others’ nonchalance and lifted his head to look at Harris.
“Florida suddenly fell into a coma at the door in front of the valley and was brought back to the Rainbow Sickles. According to our reports, he should still be comatose, so we don’t know his condition right now either.” Harris displayed an appropriate amount of respect in front of Laureton and responded quickly.
Nodding, Laureton rubbed his gleaming, bald head and seemed to contemplate something. He looked at Han Shuo after a while and said loudly, “Your strength isn’t bad, I’d hoped that you would consider joining our Cairo mercenary band, but since you know Trunks, you likely won’t be willing to.”
“I know Florida’s strength, and I tested you just now. I think it’d be impossible for you yourself to harm him to that degree, not to mention that he had some experts by his side. Can you tell me what happened?”
“An enemy helped me. Edwin, who entered the valley today, happened to be enemies with Florida’s grandfather. Florida bumped into Edwin along the way and the two fought first, I just happened to take advantage of the situation.” Han Shuo responded honestly since the truth was easy enough to decipher, and there was nothing worth concealing about it.
“Edwin… Dark archmage Edwin of the Calamity Church—that old monster has entered the valley?” Laureton was startled and he turned his head to look at Harris.
“That would be him. Another masked woman entered the valley after a while and is staying with him for now.” Harris nodded and responded to Laureton.
“This person is very difficult to handle, he’s your enemy?” Laureton smoothed over his gleaming head again and appeared a bit troubled.
“Laureton, I haven’t heard that you were afraid of anyone all these years. Can it be that an old man is frightening you? It looks like the stronger you are, the more cowardly you’ve become!” Trunks seemed to know the meaning behind Laureton’s head rubbing and couldn’t help but mock him.
“I’m not afraid of him, I’m afraid of the Calamity Church behind him. This is the most evil cult in all of the Profound Continent, and they never adhere to any rules or logic. Their power is incredibly vast as well. They won’t rest if you provoke them, and all the kingdoms on the continent are quite scared of them, not just our Valley of Sunshine.” Laureton rubbed his head and spoke with some worry.
The Calamity Church was the disaster and nightmare of the entire continent. They nursed some unreasonable, fervent ideals and tried to use their power to destroy all those who didn’t agree with them. Even the Lancelot Empire would react as if facing an oncoming enemy when they heard of the Calamity Church, not to mention a mid sized mercenary band. From this point alone, it was apparent to see that the Church was very terrifying indeed.
“Edwin is my enemy and Florida’s as well. Now that he’s within the valley, I think he’ll be making a move!” Not much expression could be seen on Han Shuo’s face as he opened his mouth to speak dispassionately.
“I’ve heard that Miss Phoebe of the Boozt Merchant Guild is buying a shop for you. That shop is in a forbidden zone within the Valley of Sunshine. It’s rumored that it’s been cursed by an evil god. Any who’ve bought that shop in recent years have all died from having their blood drained. Do you really plan on buying it?” Laureton didn’t keep asking about Edwin as he raised the next topic of interest.
“Indeed, I’ve never believed in any curse from an evil god. I hope chief Laureton will sell that shop to me?” Han Shuo admitted and responded.
“Bryan, why do you want that shop? I’ve heard of that place as well. Many died there when the Rainbow Sickles were in charge. We even made an investigation once, but found nothing. That’s an unlucky place, don’t take that risk!” Trunks was quite startled when he heard this and immediately turned back to frown at Han Shuo.
Emily was also startled. She turned to fix her stare on Han Shuo. “No, don’t take the risk! I’ve heard of that place too, there’s an incredible curse there. You can’t take that!”
“There are still some unclaimed shops within the valley. I just want to know, why that one?” Laureton obviously didn’t care about Han Shuo’s wellbeing. He only wanted to know Han Shuo’s intentions, which was why he was questioning Han Shuo.
“I have no comment about this, but I hope you can give the shop to me. I’ll pay you a reasonable price!” Han Shuo could understand from Laureton’s words that Phoebe hadn’t succeeded yesterday. Laureton looked all brawn and no brains, but Han Shuo knew that he certainly wasn’t as simple as he appeared on the surface. If he was, he would’ve sold that cursed land to Phoebe a long time ago.
“Of course, I have no right to interfere in your personal matters, but I do have the rights over the shop in the valley. I have the authority not to sell it to you.” Laureton put on a dashing air and laughed heartily.
Taking a deep breath in, Han Shuo said, “Alright, I won’t push it if you don’t want to sell it to me. If there’s nothing else, I think we can leave. There certainly doesn’t look like there’s much left for us to do in the Valley of Sunshine!”
“Perhaps you do need to leave, but Trunks will likely stay. Heh heh, is that right, Trunks?” Laureton looked at Trunks with a look of confidence on his face.
Snorting coldly, Laureton had indeed touched up on a matter important to Trunks as the latter threw out a ferocious glare.
Han Shuo was absolutely confident in obtaining the place of extreme water. He’d pretended he was going to leave only because he wanted to haggle with Laureton. However, it’d seemed like Laureton had seemed to understand something and had seized on Trunks’ weak point.
Laureton had been observing Han Shuo and Trunks’ expression since they’d walked in and was certain that they had a deep friendship. When he’d tested Han Shuo, Laureton had mentioned the matter of the shop. Han Shuo had then taken out his full strength in response. This made Laureton understand that Han Shuo cared a great deal about this shop.
“I said in the very beginning that I wanted to talk about a spot of business with you. I tested your strength just now, you do indeed have the right to sit down and talk with me. Now with Florida in the mix, this matter will be a bit easier to handle. This is a win win situation, I wonder if you’re interested?” Laureton was completely unafraid that Han Shuo wouldn’t accept as he chuckled.
“Speak, what kind of business?” Han Shuo sat down lazily on the chair and flicked a glance at Laureton.
“Very simple. You continue about your business, which is to kill Florida. Our Cairo mercenary band will supply intelligence and can also guarantee that the Rainbow Sickles won’t send forth their troops against you. After the deed is done, you can get that shop for free and Trunks will have gotten his revenge. There will also be one less threat to us. Isn’t this great joy all around?” Laureton raised a very alluring proposal. It seemed like a win – win – win no matter how one looked at it, with no one being the worse off.
However, Han Shuo still didn’t immediately agree to it. Rather, he remained silent for a while and suddenly said, “You need to provide men as well to help us handle Edwin. Otherwise, our safety isn’t guaranteed with this person around.”
“Friend, don’t ask for too much. Actually, if we go find Edwin, we may have a better partnership effect with him.” Laureton shook his head and declined with a darkened expression.
“Alright, then go cooperate with Edwin!” Han Shuo spread out his hands and couldn’t seem to care less.
The Calamity Church wasn’t made of kind people. Anyone who cooperated with them had to worry about going up in flames, particularly as Edwin was a dark archmage. If Laureton cooperated with him, it wasn’t completely assured that Laureton could maintain control over the situation.
In addition, the Calamity Church had always been an organization on the continent that was hated by men and gods alike. If the Cairo mercenary band cooperated with Edwin, this would become a lethal blow to their reputation if this matter was leaked. All of the merchants within the valley would surely be incensed and the Cairo mercenary band’s position within the valley would be subject to great challenge. Han Shuo had correctly deduced this point.
“We can’t help you fight Edwin as it’s not a wise move to offend them for Florida’s matter, but we can use our advantage in the valley to supply you with intelligence of Edwin’s movements. We’ll tell you in advance no matter where he wishes to go. This way, your safety will increase as well. This is the best we can do, otherwise we really have no deal!” Laureton said slowly.
“Alright, then it’s settled!” Han Shuo understood that this was the most that Laureton could do. The threat from the Calamity Church was so great that the Cairo mercenary band wasn’t willing to make enemies of them.
“Very happy to be working with you. If you’re willing, please stay for lunch first!” Laureton seemed to be in a great mood having settled the matter and made this suggestion with a hearty laugh.
“No thanks, we have other matters to discuss.” Han Shuo demurred and then walked out with Emily and Trunks.
“Bryan, are you familiar with Miss Phoebe of the Boozt Merchant Guild?” Trunks’ expression was a bit strange on the way back and he suddenly stopped in a quiet corner to ask Han Shuo.
Nodding, Han Shuo said, “That’s right, our relationship is very good. She’s my girlfriend, what of it?”
Trunks’ handsome face revealed a strange light to it beneath the rays of the sun. He looked deeply at Han Shuo, “Bryan, look. The Valley of Sunshine is a marvelous place. You can start your own power if you have enough ability and if we develop using the Valley of Sunshine as our center of operations, we can have our own faction as well.”
“You have Miss Phoebe as your friend, and so you’ll definitely have enough gold. I have some seasoned mercenaries on my hand. We can absolutely use these resources to form our own mercenary band and form our own power. If we hold greater power in our hands, we’ll be able to obtain more and won’t have to be restrained by others anymore.’
“Honestly, with Lauren’s strength, he doesn’t need to fear that old monster Edwin. Add to that his Cairo mercenary band, it’s not difficult if he wants to kill Edwin. He fears the Calamity Church behind Edwin. He’s also on his guard against Florida not because of his own strength alone, but the Rainbow Sickles that follow him as well.”
“After all, one person’s strength is insufficient to contend with a faction’s. As long as we work hard, with the combination of our advantages and the peculiarities of the Valley of Sunshine, we can absolutely form an independent power. This way, no matter where we are in the future, others will definitely have to carefully weigh our words!”
This suggestion was filled with a fervor that filled Han Shuo’s mind like the finest cream. He suddenly understood something, as a heart that had never been willing to be ordinary suddenly started beating even more fiercely.
“You mean that the two of us should build a power that belongs to us alone?” Han Shuo’s voice sounded a bit emotional, at complete odds with his usual indifference.
Nodding his head firmly, Trunks continued. “Indeed, some of the original Rainbow Sickle brothers are hidden in the mountain ranges around the valley after receiving my news. However, although their talents are extraordinary, life has been a bit difficult for them because they’ve lost the halo of the Rainbow Sickle mercenary band. However, their strength and quality are without a doubt the best.”
“I’ve been hunting all sorts of magical creature cores in the Dark Forest these years and have created a small stash of wealth with my greed. However, it’s still a bit difficult to satisfy the needs of the operations of a mercenary band. But you have a deep relationship with Miss Phoebe, and if we obtain the support of sufficient gold, we can absolutely form a mercenary band with my current network. When our operations are large enough and we have our own reputation, not only will we not need additional gold, but we’ll be able to amass our own wealth through various missions. We can also use those methods to slowly strengthen our power.”
“If our mercenary band can take control of the valley like the Cairo mercenary band to protect the profits of the merchants, we’ll have several hundred thousand gold coins in fees every year. With such a power in our hands, our identity will be different in front of any person or country!”
“Bryan, Trunks’ suggestion is sound. The organization won’t mind another identity. In fact, the stronger your other identity is, the more useful you are for the organization. The speed of your promotion will increase according to your organization’s size; it’s a good complement. If you reach a certain scale, then maybe the upper levels will send someone to help you so you have even more power!” Emily was also an ambitious woman and her voice had become charged with emotion the more the conversation progressed.
“Come, let’s go back and thoroughly discuss this!” Han Shuo’s decision had already been made. He spoke lowly with a strange smile on his face.