Soon enough, Han Shuo caught up with Stratholme the old monster and water divine magus Tiana.
When they arrived at the defensive shield, a mortifying aura shrouded the land. A suffocating pressure pushed down against them.
The three exchanged glances aghast, before Stratholme the old monster exclaimed, “This can't be good. It has arisen!”
Han Shuo and Tiana both knew who the old monster was referring to. Tiana’s calm, frail face changed and she reached out her hand stick with utmost agility to the region defended by exotic energy. An ice awl sparkling with cold light suddenly materialized in her palm. The dense water element within was menacing. She directed the ice awl towards the space defending this area as it shot out.
The ice awl of the water divine magus, seemed to be pricked on the toughest iron and stone in the world. The ice awl shattered into a million pieces!
Their hearts sank in unison. Stratholme the old monster questioned, “Elder sister Tiana, what’s wrong?”
“The energy has been reinforced. I can’t break this defense!” explained Tiana with a trace of panic in her voice. Her face grew ugly.
Stratholme the old monster furrowed his brows. The longsword, which he had carried in his hand all along and never stored in the space ring, began to emit a fighting aura like fireworks, albeit colourless and formless. A dazzling white light flashed.
Stratholme gathered all the remaining energy he had and struck at the defense field.
Just as before, his bombardment seemed to have landed on an immovable stone. He pulled back his slightly trembling right arm. In an expression of overwhelming shock, he growled, “I can’t break it either!”
One magic attack and another physical attack, but neither worked!
“That thing got out. He must have reinforced the defense energy! We might not be able to break through it,” Han Shuo said heavily as he looked at the two bewildered demigodlike experts. It was clear to him that the six-horned alien race must have done just that.
A strange loud buzzing began in the distance. Unlike the previous buzzing that attacked Han Shuo’s and the old monster’s souls, this one came with some peculiar effects. It seemed to be able to rip apart the sky. Fine lines of space ripples appeared in the sky, bright,colorful chasms appeared beneath the cracks in the air.
The old monster Stratholme and Tiana exchanged glances. They simultaneously exhaled breaths of cold air. Gaping at the rifts in the air radiating colourful light, their faces turned an ugly expression.
Stratholme, who had just pulled out a scroll in his hand, turned to Tiana as though he would weep and said, “The fluctuation of the space is too violent. The space magic scroll can't be deployed at all. This guy has cut off all of our escape routes!”
At this point, even Tiana was at her wit’s end. She shook her head and sighed, “We’re going to die here. Stratholme, this is my fault. I’ve failed you. I never expected to face such a beast!”
The two with their demigod strengths were unable to break through the defense that enclosed this region by means of their own strength. The next best thing they could do to survive was to utilize a space magic scroll, rip apart spacetime and escape through it. However, that shrill caused fissures in space. Within a chaotic space, a space magic scroll was of absolutely no use. There, indeed, seemed to be no hope of escaping.
“My turn!” Han Shuo, who had not said anything but remained calm all along, suddenly spoke.
The reason Han Shuo managed to appear calm all the while was that he still had a few tricks up his sleeves!
The gazes of the two demigod experts immediately landed on Han Shuo’s body. The old monster stared blankly for a while before he asked, “You, you have a way?”
Han Shuo did not answer, but chanted an incantation. The foolish-looking earth elite zombie suddenly appeared. Stratholme the old monster and Tiana both looked at each other with obvious doubt in their eyes. They seemed to have no idea what purpose this low-level zombie warrior could serve at such a moment.
Suddenly, a most astonishing phenomenon occured before their eyes.
When the mindless zombie warrior fell to the ground, its body melted into the earth, much to their surprise. The hard ground seemed to pose no resistance against it and its body rapidly disappeared.
In this world, although an earth magus could utilize the power of the earth, they could only do so for offense or defense. They couldn’t explicitly utilize the energy of the earth to bore through it at will, like the earth elite zombie, the favoured son of the earth, could.
Therefore, when the body of earth elite zombie sank into the ground like quicksand, the divine magus and divine swordmaster both gawked in disbelief at the surreal sight before them and stood dumbfounded.
“Let’s go!” called out Han Shuo, who was already deep inside the underground tunnel.
The two demi-god existences turned from staggered to euphoric. They looked at each other and kept into the tunnel.
“Save... save me!” Just as the three entered the underground tunnel, the wailing of lightning sacred magus Reynold arrived from afar. His voice was riddled with fear.
A choking pressure approached like a strong wind. Han Shuo and the others who had just entered the tunnel understood instantly what was going on - the six-horned alien had emerged. Reynold attempted to flee towards the tunnel, presumably under the pursuit of alien experts.
Han Shuo turned towards Stratholme and Tiana, and found the two with similarly creased brows, maintaining their silence with extreme rapport.
They had given up on Reynold! Han Shuo understood this in his heart.
Han Shuo knew what he needed to do next. He issued an order to the earth elite zombie. The thick, solid earth slowly filled up the opening to the underground tunnel.
When Stratholme the old monster and Tiana saw the last trace of light vanished from above their heads, they exhaled. It was as though a boulder was relinquished from their hearts. Their appearances loosened up slightly as well.
In the dark, Han Shuo had very clearly seen the expressions on their faces. He gained a deeper understanding towards human nature.
It's every man for himself!
“Thank you, Bryan. You really are a lifesaver!” praised Stratholme the old monster, who was following behind Han Shuo.
“Don't fret it. We are partners. It's my duty!” Han Shuo replied in the darkness, although his heart could not accept that to be true.
The real reason Han Shuo brought the two into the underground tunnel was that Han Shuo couldn’t tell if he would run into any more terrifying dangers later on. Vaguely, through his instincts, Han Shuo felt that it wouldn’t be so simple to escape alive this time. But with these two experienced fighters beside him, the three might have a greater chance of staying alive. It was only under such circumstances that Han Shuo was so willing to save the two.
The three had obtained all the loot they seekers from the trip. There wasn’t much discrepancy between their strengths, therefore they would have greater odds of escaping alive by working together. As for Reynold, he was a far stretch short of their strengths. At such drastic times, he would be of no use. It was the inevitable, logical move to abandon him.
“Elder Sister Tiana, this is your Origin Crystal of Water!” Stratholme drew out a ruby, which glowed a soft, warm red light in the darkness. Stratholme handed over the sphere.
Turning his head to catch a glimpse, Han Shuo witnessed an unrestrainable excitement on Tiana’s face. Her hand trembled as she caught and held onto the round sphere. With her eyes sparkling brightly, she murmured, “Origin Crystal. I have an Origin Crystal!”
Tiana was quite old. After the Origin Crystal was put into her space ring, having lived for so long , she learned quickly how to stabilize her emotions. After taking in a deep breath, she looked ahead towards Han Shuo who was leading the way and asked, “How much longer until we get out?”
“Very soon! But I think you two can feel it too. Even here, deep underground, we can still feel that heavy pressure. I doubt we are truly safe yet!”
Just two minutes later, the earth elite zombie broke through the ground. The garish light of day peered through.
The three lept out from the tunnel. Han Shuo took a quick scan through the surroundings. Before having a clear idea of where he was, his consciousness suddenly felt as though it was targeted. This feeling was anything but reassuring. Han Shuo immediately yelled, “It knows where we are!”
Although Stratholme the old monster and Tiana didn’t have sensing capabilities as sharp as that of Han Shuo’s consciousness, that stifling pressure they felt did not disappear. They understood right away that Han Shuo’s words were true.
“Come with me. We'll walk and talk!” Tiana said with haste. The mist surrounding her turned once again thicker and she flew into the distance. Han Shuo and Stratholme followed behind her closely.
“The six-horned tribal king of the Soul Race has locked onto our souls. As long as we are within the Profound Continent, he will be able to find us. Their kind are innately good at understanding souls. They possess a profound understanding of souls, which I believe you have experienced for yourself. We simply can’t break free from his soul targeting!” Tiana said to Han Shuo and Stratholme the old monster as she breezed past like the wind.
“Soul Race? What race is that? Why is it that I’ve never heard of it?” Han Shuo asked, creasing his brows while trying to keep up.
“This is not a race from the Profound Continent. They appeared once in Profound Continent several thousand years ago, but then they disappeared and were never to be seen again. As to why they would suddenly show up in Tarrag Canyon this time, I have no idea either.
“The knowledge I have of this race, I’ve only inadvertently come across it in an ancient scroll. I have no way of knowing the specifics of what happened all those years ago. It was from their appearances that I surmised they are of the Soul Tribe,” Tiana explained.
Tiana’s eyes twinkled. Han Shuo did not expect Tiana to know nearly this much about the Soul Race. However, it’ would have been inappropriate for Han Shuo to get to the heart of that matter.
“Elder Sister Tiana, could it be that once the six-horned tribal king of the Soul Race recognizes our souls, we will have no option at all, but to merely wait for him to catch up and kill us?” Stratholme the old monster asked, concerned about his own safety.
“Not really. We have the Origin Crystals in our hands now. As long as we merge it with our souls and form Soul of Element, not even this six-horned tribal king of the Soul Race will be capable of sensing the locations of our souls. Once a Soul of Element is formed, we will fuse together and be one with the elements found everywhere between the heaven and earth. He will not be able to locate us,” Tiana explained.
“But the process of merging one's soul with an Origin Crystal takes time, during which he could possibly locate our souls, and kill us one by one. What are we to do?” Stratholme said with a bitter smile, as though he was overcome with sorrow having obtained a most valuable treasure that he would be unable to enjoy.
A thought struck Han Shuo. He recalled that he could make use of the skeletal staff to have his consciousness descend into the netherworld. Separated by boundless distance of different planes of existences, no matter how remarkable the abilities of this six-horned tribal king, there would be no way for him to detect the position of Han Shuo’s consciousness. Han Shuo could simply fuse the Origin Crystal with his soul in the netherworld and hide from the pursuit of this terrifying being.
This would be the most dependable method. Furthermore, Han Shuo’s consciousness was not like Tiana’s or Stratholme’s souls. Once one attained a certain realm in demonic arts, his soul underwent an evolution into an incomparably superior consciousness. Han Shuo reckoned that, given a little bit of time, his consciousness would surely find a way to break free from the sensing of the six-horned creature.
With that in mind, Han Shuo became at ease. But Han Shuo was still rather curious about this Soul Race, hence, he did not hasilty depart, but stayed to continue listening to the conversation between Tiana and Stratholme.
“There’s still a way out for us,” Tiana said in a weird expression.
“What is it?” the old monster asked anxiously. .
“By utilizing the transportation matrix facilities of various countries, we can travel faster than him. Then, if we bring him to a powerhouse with enough strength to contend against him, we could pit him against one of those few formidable existences within the Profound Continent. Then perhaps, we really will have a chance to escape this alive!” Tiana said to Stratholme after hesitating for a moment.
The old monster’s eyes lit up as he immediately understood what Tiana meant, and replied, “Beings within Profound Continent that could resist the six-horned king of the Soul Race, you can count them with a single hand. Plus, the majority of them don’t live in fixed locations. The only ones in fixed locations are those in the headquarters of the Church of Light and Calamity Church!”
Han Shuo, who was planning to leave, was shocked, but continued to decide, “Church of Light it is then!”
Tiana and Stratholme the old monster both made a strange expression. The two exchanged glances, remained silent for a moment, and finally nodded in agreement with Han Shuo’s proposal.
For the Church of Light, who had always taken it upon themselves to exterminate heretics, to have such an obviously unkind race appearing at their headquarters - Han Shuo thought this to be amusing.