The Calamity Church headquarters was several hundred meters under the desert. Its compound was as vast as the sands. Compared to the Dark Mantle headquarters, not only was this facility infinitely bigger, it also had much tighter security. It was much like a mini city.
Although they were underground, the space did not appear eerie dark as Han Shuo had imagined. Bright magical illumination balls could be found at every corner, lighting up every inch of the surface. The facility was separated into several units. There were blacksmith workshops for refining all kinds of weapons and magical instruments, temples for consecrating and worshipping the evil god, training grounds for meditation and martial arts training, libraries where all kinds of ancient magical tomes could be found, storerooms containing precious and rare materials on magical beasts accumulated over hundreds of years…
This place had everything that a solid religious organization should have. Other than those essential facilities, there were amenities for relaxation and resting. For instance, there was a bathhouse with pools of hot groundwater where people could relax their muscles, and an expansive promenade complete with patterns of countless unnamed evil gods carved into the walls where people could socialize and discuss their cultivation.
Although the Calamity Church was a stringent organization, the people in this place did not appear heavy and down. Han Shuo, with a formal smile on his face, followed behind Belinda and Edwin who lead him through every region. He even tried out the hot bath and got a change of clothes. He was absolutely unwound.
As those members of the Calamity Church that Han Shuo met along the way were not aware of his identity, they did not make a clamor.
Han Shuo carefully observed around for a moment. He noticed that all those members of the Calamity Church he came across all seemed completely complacent, almost to the point of delight. It was as though they had met with something happy. This got Han Shuo curious. He didn’t hesitate to ask Belinda beside him, “Did something joyous recently happen to the Calamity Church? Why is it that all those people we passed by appear quite happy?”
Belinda was somewhat stunned. She gave Han Shuo a meaningful look and made a rather awkward smile before explaining in her sweet voice, “The reason they are all so happy, is you!”
“Me?” Han Shuo was shocked. He asked, “What has that got to do with me?”
“Because of you, not only is the Church of Light now far weaker than ever before, they are trending towards complete and utter destruction. To us members of the Calamity Church who view the Church of Light as a mortal enemy, nothing can get more exciting than this news. In addition, they caught wind of your plans to come here. You are an idol to everyone here; all of them want to meet you. Naturally, they grew even more excited when they learned of the news,” Belinda earnestly explained to Han Shuo.
“Furthermore, because of the Church of Light’s existence, we have been forced to live in the dark all this while. Generally, we wouldn’t dare to openly state our identity before the commoners. But now, as the Church of Light’s grip has sharply declined, according to His Holiness the Pope, it won’t be long before our Calamity Church will truly emerge from the shadows and can honorably walk on the surface of the continent.
People like us may have surrendered everything we had to the Church, but we still have family and friends. Normally, we would deliberately conceal our identities from them and live an exhausting double life. There are some who don’t have the courage to see their family for years, while some have even been disowned by their family. But the situation this time is truly different. For these people, the sooner the Church can walk out from the shadows, the sooner they can return to their homes and families. That’s why everyone looks so happy,” Edwin added to the explanation while wearing a satisfied smile before thanking Han Shuo sincerely.
After giving those words a thought, Han Shuo finally understood. Because of the Church of Light’s defamation, the Calamity Church became the public enemy of the continent. These disciples who devoted their all to Calamity Church also had parents and family. However, as the public was swayed to oppose the Calamity Church, these members of the Church were afraid of revealing their identities to the people close to them. Meanwhile, those whose identities had been exposed dared not to make contact with their loved ones and had to spend their days away from them. This was surely a painful experience.
“Huh? What is this place?” Following behind Edwin and Belinda, Han Shuo came to a region with a coarse architectural style which was sealed off by a big, dark door made of iron.
The reason he asked was he could sense the presence of a basegod and two demigods behind that dark iron door. Han Shuo had only noticed the presences of these experts when he got close. For some reason, the presences even felt rather familiar. Han Shuo’s curiosity was piqued.
Ka Ka! Before Edwin or Belinda replied, that heavy iron door swung open. A gloomy, cold and unfeeling aura roared directly in his face. An alien that Han Shuo was most familiar with walked out from behind that door - it was the six-horned tribal king of the Soul Race!
During an excursion to Tarrag Canyon a while back, Han Shuo, Stratholme the old monster and Snow Celestial Tiana ganged up and plundered several elemental Origin Crystals from the Soul Race. They were being pursued by the six-horned tribal king who suddenly emerged in the middle of their heist. They were chased all the way to the sacred mountain of the Church of Light but managed to make an escape thanks to the sudden appearance of Saintess of the Church of Light. Han Shuo and Stratholme spent the following days in fear, deeply afraid that they would be caught before they could fuse their souls with the Origin Crystals.
However, having an extraordinary consciousness, Han Shuo later found a method of concealing his soul from the tribal king’s tracking. Furthermore, he had even deliberately broadcasted his soul energy to bait the six-horned tribal king to the Shrine of Ice. However, en-route, when this six-horned tribal king arrived at the territories of Angela Empire, he had, for whatever reason, ceased to chase Han Shuo, who was waiting for him at the Shrine of Ice.
After Han Shuo took care of things at the Shrine of Ice, he decided to return to Lancelot Empire, on his journey which he encountered the Primordius Dragon at Dragon Valley right in the lush of the Dark Forest. There, he was betrayed by the Primordius Dragon and the Church of Light and was cast to the Abyss realm. After returning to Profound Continent, he was busied with matters related to Lancelot Empire and exacting vengeance, and neglected this enemy. Never would he have expected to bump into this six-horned tribal king at the Calamity Church headquarters. Han Shuo thought about the unique position of this facility within Angela Empire and traced back the position where he sensed the six-horned tribal king to be those five years prior. Just like that, everything became clear to him. He blurted out, “Ah-hah! It appears that five years ago, either you fought with the Pope or something happened here!”
When the six-horned tribal king of the Soul Race walked out, his two five-horned subordinates followed behind. At the sound of Han Shuo’s voice, the tribal king showed a sense of befuddlement behind the façade of his ice-cold unfeeling eyes. He looked at Han Shuo up and down for a long while before asking Han Shuo using the common language he wasn’t quite fluent with, “Who are you? Do I know you?”
Han Shuo was stunned for a moment but soon came to his senses. As his strength had been advanced by leap and bounds in the recent years, especially as his consciousness transformed after he entered the Nine Changes realm, his soul profile must have changed dramatically since their last encounter. This six-horned tribal king of the Soul Race must not have been good at distinguishing human faces, similar to how Han Shuo couldn’t see much differences in magical beasts of the same species.
Han Shuo recalled how sullen he was when facing the tribal king back then. He slowly altered his consciousness and transformed his soul profile to mimic the strength and condition he used to be in. He smiled mischievously as he gazed at the six-horned tribal king, “Recognize me now?”
“It’s you! That petty thief who stole my stuff!” the six-horned tribal king coldly shouted. He was all too familiar with that soul profile of Han Shuo’s.
Petty thief? Han Shuo shook his head and involuntarily laughed. For all these years, he had received numerous appellations. For example, ‘demon king’, ‘devil’, and ‘the biggest heretic on Profound Continent’. But this was the first time anyone had called him a ‘petty thief’. Han Shuo was truly between laughter and tears.
However, the more he thought about it, it wasn’t that surprising that this tribal king would call him so. Back then, Han Shuo and his party had indeed behaved like petty thieves. They went in and stole several origin crystals that belonged to the six-horned tribal king before he could emerge. What else should they be called other than petty little thieves?
After letting out that cold shout, before Han Shuo could say another word, the six-horned tribal king that flew into rage suddenly charged over. His python-like tail that gave off that loud buzzing ferociously whipped at Han Shuo as he directly launched the same old piercing soul attack at Han Shuo’s consciousness.
However, after so many years had passed, Han Shuo was no longer the same person who had to flee in panic. Against the six-horned tribal king who hadn’t evolved much, not only was Han Shuo not afraid, he appeared completely unruffled. With a raise of his hand, he caught the six-horned tribal king’s tail as it flung at him. There he stood, as stable as a boulder. His consciousness too remained intact and unharmed by the six-horned tribal king’s attack.
Even till this day, Han Shuo had no idea what energy this six-horned tribal king of Soul Race cultivated in. All he knew was that his strength could be approximated by counting the number of horns on his head. Han Shuo reckoned that the energy likely had something to do with the special ability of his race.
“How, how did you get so strong so suddenly?” The six-horned tribal king of the Soul Race was startled when the dual attack on the body and soul was easily intercepted by Han Shuo. He stammered as he cried out in surprise.
Han Shuo laughed mischievously. The demonic yuan in his body suddenly erupted. His other free hand shot out at lightning speed and dug into the tribal king’s neck in an instant. He sent his enormous body straight against the dark ironstone wall right behind him and locked him firmly in place.
Cling! The Demonic Blades were unfurled and stuck into the wall next to the six-horned tribal king’s neck. The frosty aura that the blades gave off made the six-horned tribal king afraid of budging even by a hair's breadth.
“As of now, it'd be too easy for me to just off you like that. Do you understand?” Han Shuo said indifferently as he looked at the six-horned tribal king with a smirk.
The fear showing in the tribal king’s eyes grew more and more intense. He stared straight into Han Shuo’s eyes for a few seconds before nodding in a stupefied manner.
“Good. Then you better behave yourself. Let’s have a chat!” Han Shuo said composedly, letting go of his big hand pressing against his neck.