GDK 731: You are the first!
“These dummies aren’t perfect - you could tell that these are false images just by probing it with your soul from a short distance. Nevertheless, it does the job. Those godhunters are afraid of coming near me. They won’t be able to discover that something is amiss from a distance. Drawing those godhunters away won't be an issue for me. You just have to stay behind and conceal their auras. Then, after hiding here for a little while, take them to escape in another direction. Problem solved!” Han Shuo said with a smile.
“What about yourself? Once those godhunter leaders arrive and surround you, wouldn’t you be a dead man?” Andrina asked concernedly after thinking for a moment.
Upon hearing those words, Fanny and the other ladies started to disagree with Han Shuo’s plan out of concern for his safety.
These ladies may have had confidence in Han Shuo but it was no longer absolute and unquestionable, especially after they arrived on Elysium and witnessed first-hand just how powerful the experts in this world were. They were worried for him.
“I'll be fine! I know I’m no match against them, but no one can stop me from leaving if I want to go!” Han Shuo said smilingly, “You should know that I’m among the best of the best when it comes to the art of escaping!”
“Are you certain that you can escape from the encirclement of those people?” Andrina was still rather skeptical as she had the experience of nearly getting killed by those leaders.
Han Shuo nodded and said with complete confidence, “Absolutely!”
After hesitating for a moment, Andrina agreed to Han Shuo’s proposal. “Alright then. As long as you can draw those godhunters away, I guarantee that they will arrive at the City of Shadows safe and sound.” After all, she couldn’t come up with any better ideas.
But above all, it was because she felt that the mysterious Han Shuo was hiding many more secrets that could ensure his own survival. After having known Han Shuo for so long, she knew that Han Shuo most definitely wasn’t one who would boast or lie. He definitely wouldn’t have made such assurance without having absolute confidence.
“Bryan, we are sorry to be burdening you,” Ayermike said in an embarrassed, dejected manner. Back on Profound Continent, he was a character who could bring about the rise and fall of empires. He never expected that there would come a day that he would be so helpless and reduced to dead weight.
“It’s alright. Ladies, gentlemen, don’t feel dejected. Given your talent and skills, it is only a matter of time before you achieve great things in this expansive world. In the near future, you will all reach godhood and you won’t be in such constant fear anymore!” Han Shuo said smilingly.
“We are really lucky to have you. Had we come to this Plane of Gods by ourselves, I’m afraid that none of us would live long enough to reach godhood!” Stratholme shook his head and lamented. He had fully come to recognize just how important it was to have powerful friends.
“Alright, that’s enough. Save those words for the future!” Han Shuo took out a bag of black crystal coins and handed it to Andrina. He reminded, “These are for you to buy an airship. Don’t eat them!”
“You are such a punchable person,” Andrina put away the crystal coins and groaned resentfully.
“Farewell, everyone! See you all at the City of Shadows!” Han Shuo waved his hands and unswervingly left with the group of dummies made from his demon generals.
Without Ayermike and the others dragging him down, Han Shuo was able to travel at a much faster speed even though he continued the journey on foot.
A portion of Han Shuo’s demon generals took the appearances of Andrina and the rest of the party while some of the demon generals remained in immaterial state and dispersed all around him. These demon generals were monitoring every single activity within a hundred mile radius. Even the slightest sway of the grass caused by the gentlest breeze couldn’t escape Han Shuo’s detection.
The godhunters dispersed and surrounded Han Shuo from every direction while keeping a distance from him. These godhunters were assorted in strengths with a majority being early and mid-stage midgods. There were no highgods present yet.
They were all very careful in keeping a distance from Han Shuo and avoiding detection, likely being cautious of Andrina.
By using the visions of his demon generals, Han Shuo determined where the godhunters were the weakest and most sparse and traveled in that direction. He would also disrupt their steps, forcing them to change their approach and courses.
This continued for five days. Han Shuo along with his dummy figures made using demon generals had traveled close to the center of the mountain range. It was at this time that a demon general discovered a godhunter with highgod strength had arrived to join the party.
He was an ugly young man with unkempt, golden long hair and wearing ragged clothing. His face was bumpy and scarred as though he had been severely burned. He cultivated in the energy of darkness. Upon arrival, many of the godhunters in his surroundings approached to greet and fawn over him and respectfully inform him of the latest developments.
As highgods possessed extremely acute senses, lest that he would discover the presence of the demon generals, Han Shuo commanded the demon generals in the region to distance themselves from the highgod. With that, Han Shuo could only vaguely see their figures but couldn’t hear the contents of their conversation.
It was obvious that they were afraid of Andrina. Even after the highgod arrived, the godhunters did not immediately launch an attack but continued to encircle and stalk Han Shuo.
For the purpose of drawing the godhunters further from Andrina and her party, Han Shuo headed towards remote and uninhabited regions. Those godhunters would move and maintain a good distance from Han Shuo if he got too close.
Three more days passed. Several more godhunters had arrived at the mountain range. Among the new arrivals were two highgods - one was a muscular man cultivating in the edict of destruction while the other was an old woman with gray hair cultivating in the element of death. From his limited understanding of the Godhunter Alliance, Han Shuo surmised that the muscular man cultivating in the edict of destruction was Brovst, who he had previously met in the valley.
After the highgods of death, darkness, and destruction arrived at the mountain range, another batch of mid to late-stage midgods, around a dozen or so in numbers, joined the hunting party. The force currently gathered around Han Shuo could rival any large family clan in the City of Shadows. They finally felt ready to strike and started to contract the circle around Han Shuo.
Han Shuo immediately got into high alert upon realizing that the godhunters were closing in. He had been moving towards the most vulnerable and weakest part of their encirclement all this while. Han Shuo suddenly had those demon generals that were disguised as Andrina and the others dematerialize and hide among the lush leaves and branches of big trees.
After they vanished from sight, Han Shuo immediately concealed his own aura and hid atop a big tree.
“Lord Brovst, our targets have all suddenly disappeared!” a midgod cultivating in the edict of destruction rushed to the muscular man and reported in a low voice.
“Disappeared?” Brovst bunched his thick brows. His eyes sparkled with radiances as he nodded and said, “Andrina’s powers are extraordinary. It seems that she has discovered us and must have used special methods to conceal their auras. They can hide, but they cannot escape. We just have to constantly and gradually shrink our encirclement and we will find them!”
“That’s right. We have already confined them to a small area. There is no way they can sneak out from our encirclement. We must find Andrina even if she is hiding three feet under the ground. Her threat to us godhunters is simply too great. Our Godhunter Alliance will suffer even greater losses if she remains alive,” the ugly young man said ferociously.
“Everyone stay vigilant and report back immediately if you discover the slightest movement. Huehue, they are carrying a group of ants that have not even reached lowgod strength. There’s no way they could escape!” the old woman said in devilish laughter.
After having heard the words of their leaders, the godhunters rapidly left to relay their commands. The godhunter party who had occupied every geographical advantage continued shrinking the encirclement bit by bit. They were all well trained and were used to hunting people in mountain ranges. They operated with good rapport and excellent coordination.
Unfortunately for them, Han Shuo was able to see every action and step they made. Without Stratholme and the others tying him down, in this region where towering trees and numerous places to hide could be found everywhere, locating Han Shuo, who could see their every movement, would be beyond impossible!
Under the shade of a tall, dried tree, Han Shuo dug himself a small hole. It was just big enough to fit his body completely. He held his breath, closed his eyes, and focused his mind. He opened his soul and set his consciousness empty. He became one with the environment.
The godhunters walked past him one after another and none of them discovered Han Shuo who was hiding underground and mere steps away from them. Even that highgod of darkness did not notice a thing when he walked past the region.
Soon enough, the circle of godhunters converged at the center.
“We discovered nothing!”
“Nothing on our side either!”
“Nothing at all!”
The godhunters reported their non-discovery to each other.
“How is that possible?” that ugly looking young man cried out in a low voice, “They were obviously within our encirclement. There’s no way that a group of that size could disappear just like that!”
“Don’t worry, Gallas. They definitely have yet to leave this region. Andrina has probably deployed certain boundaries that conceal their auras and presences. Given her strength, it’s not surprising that we would walk past where they were hiding,” Brovst said in a deep voice after thinking for a moment.
“Then what should we do?” that highgod cultivating in the element of darkness named Gallas asked softly.
“It’s simple - we disperse and launch attacks in every direction. Any barriers or seals would produce reaction when attacked,” that old woman said with a sinister smile.
“That’s right. Everybody disperse and attack everywhere! You don’t have to waste much of your divine energy - even a small bone arrow will let you know if there’s a barrier!” Brovst instructed.
The godhunters started executing the command and spread out, traveling back along the path they had just taken. Myriads of attacks were fired in every direction, causing the entire region to be covered with dust and sand. They were attempting to locate the nonexistent boundary they assumed to be concealing Andrina and her party.
Damn, luckily I have a big brain and have left them behind. Otherwise, under such thorough search, no matter how miraculous Andrina’s boundary was, there’s no way we could remain hidden to these people! Han Shuo inwardly remarked as he emerged from underground.
Han Shuo had, by then, escaped their encirclement. If he were to just fly away and leave, none of the godhunters would be able to stop him or even discover him.
However, if Han Shuo was to escape noiselessly right then, the godhunters would definitely not give up and would search the entire mountain range. Andrina and her party would be in danger as long as these godhunters were inside the mountain range.
Therefore, Han Shuo took the best action he could and deliberately attracted attention to himself. Snap! A decently sized tree suddenly fell.
This made a clear noise. The godhunter closest to Han Shuo immediately sirened, “Here! Over here!”
Multiple shadows streaked through the forest. Terrifying auras started gathering towards Han Shuo from all directions.
Han Shuo ran away at lightning speed, all the while leaving deliberate tracks behind him. Every once in a while, he might break a tree branch, or perhaps leave some footprints on the ground.
The godhunters, not suspecting anything was amiss, pursued Han Shuo relentlessly. After around half a day, Han Shuo ceased to leave behind breadcrumbs and again concealed his presence.
When the godhunters discovered the last trail left by Han Shuo and noticed that there were no more trails to be found, they started to get anxious as their pursuit became a lot more challenging.
“What should we do?” one of the midgods inquired.
“They are carrying a large group of burdens so they can't be too far away. There is only one possibility for them to have stopped leaving trails!” Brovst smirked and said, “They must have gone into hiding again. Everyone spread out and continue searching using the method we used earlier. I believe all that running and chasing has worn them more than it has worn us. They are probably too tired to go anywhere!”
“Search meticulously, boys. Remember, for as long as Andrina remains alive, it's your lives on the line!” Gallas barked.
The party of godhunters ceased discussion and got into action. The three highgods, each taking a few of their own subordinates, spread out and searched in three directions. The remaining would disperse and search on their own.
Han Shuo knew each and every step they took by observing using his demon generals. He was quietly waiting for an opportunity.
This time, as there wasn’t any encirclement, their search expanded outwards from the center. Instead of shrinking their encirclement, the godhunters trailed further and further apart from each other.
The godhunters thought that they were pursuing Han Shuo, Andrina, and a group burdensome mortals. It was due to this assumption that they had committed mistake after mistake in their judgments and decisions. Allowing the party to disperse was a grave error that made the godhunters vulnerable to Han Shuo’s predation.
One of the godhunters bombarded the area around him with the divine energy of darkness, sending clouds of dust and sand into the air. He carefully ventured forward and looked around with his eyes wide open, looking for any abnormal scenes which could indicate the presence of a boundary.
“Fucking hell, they are really good at escaping!” the godhunter mumbled and cursed. He had unknowingly walked some distance away from the person nearest to him. He was completely focused on the search and had failed to notice that.
He arrived before an ancient tree, raised his head, saw the lush growth of leaves, and casually delivered a burst of darkness divine energy. Ka-chack! A section of tree branches snapped off.
He proceeded forward slowly and carefully. After he walked under that big tree he tested, he shot a burst of darkness divine energy into the small pond in front of him.
“Dang, still nothing!” he cursed before suddenly noticing that there were no other godhunters around him.
Have I walked too far away from the others? he thought. He finally realized that he was a ways away from his gang and right away, he wisely turned on his heels and began moving towards the closest godhunter.
It was at this very moment that a dozen or so dark, shadowy figures abruptly descended from the lush tree leaves over his head and entered his body. He became frozen still in an instant and didn’t even have the chance to scream!
Han Shuo gently glided down from the tree as the Cauldron of Myriad Demon flew out from his body and covered over the godhunter’s skull. Creak! Han Shuo’s Demonic Blades had pierced through his abdomen. Demonic yuan penetrated his body and instantly destroyed his internals. At the next instance, the Cauldron of Myriad Demon was activated and it collected his divine soul.
The dozen or so shadowy figures abandoned the godhunter’s body and flew away like bats. Han Shuo opened his palm and the Cauldron of Myriad Demon returned into his body. The lifeless body was given a gentle push and it collapsed on the ground like a fallen statue.
“Congratulations, you are the first!” Han Shuo uttered before his figure turned fuzzy and disappeared into the shadow cast by the tree.
Over on another side, another godhunter who had also ventured too far from the rest stepped on soft soil. Right when he noticed that something wasn’t quite right with the ground, a hand suddenly popped from the earth and grabbed his feet. A burst of terrifying energy rushed into the godhunter’s body and restrained his ability to scream.
Right after that, a dozen or more shadowy figures flew to the scene and swarmed into the godhunter, completely freezing his body.
The Cauldron of Myriad Demon flew out from Han Shuo’s palm and into the godhunter’s chest. Thud Thud. The godhunter’s divine body exploded and his divine soul was taken into the Cauldron of Myriad Demon.
Han Shuo left noiselessly and went into hiding again, continuing the search for his next victim. He sneered in his mind, You fuckers take me as prey? Let’s see who will be the real prey here!
By using demon generals to observe the surroundings, Han Shuo was basically all-seeing. To add to his talent and skills in hiding, in this mountain range where locations suitable to hide in were aplenty, Han Shuo had become the godhunters’ worst nightmare. He specifically preyed on those with below-average strength and whom were relatively isolated from other godhunters. And once he got a kill, he would evacuate from the area and wait for the next prey. Within a very short time, he managed to slaughter seven godhunters.
An ear-piercing shriek sounded from the distance.
The godhunters rushed towards the source of the sound and when they arrived on the scene, they found one of their comrades lying on the ground, completely lifeless.
Soon after that, the godhunters discovered even more bodies of their comrades. The godhunters who were originally hunting with confidence started to panic after finding more and more of their fellow godhunters killed while they remained nowhere closer to finding their stealthy opponent.
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