GDK 749: Fight for power
Fort Lasberg had been the biggest fort of the House of Lavers. It was one-seventh of the size of the City of Shadows. The mountains surrounding the fort were abundant in natural resources with several small-scale energy ore mines located there. It was the House of Lavers’ biggest foothold outside the City of Shadows.
Clearly, this Fort Lasberg was much more precious compared to the territories Andre handed to the lesser family clans. Besides being rather far from the City of Shadows, there was really no downside to inheriting the Fort.
As for the Lavers residence in the City of Shadows, it was the first place Han Shuo visited when he set foot in the City. Every building there was tall, piercing through the clouds. It occupied a massive area and had all the facilities one could think of. Energy towers and boundaries covered the whole area. It even housed more than a few gymnasiums.
In the City of Shadows where every inch of land cost an absurd amount of black crystal coins, a residence of that size would be worth an even more absurd sum of crystal coins. Even the Celestial Pearl Pharmacy where Han Shuo currently resided could not hold its own against the residence in terms of size. Unless one were to fork out at least a few million black crystal coins, it was impossible to acquire the residence.
Fort Lasberg and that residence in the City were the two biggest assets the House of Lavers had left behind. Now that those two juiciest assets were handed to the House of Han for nothing, it would be a wonder if the patriarchs said nothing of it!
Han Shuo did not foresee that Andre and Wallace would be so generous towards him, showering him with great fortunes all so suddenly. He couldn’t quite understand why they would hand him Fort Lasberg and the former Lavers Residence.
Andre and Wallace did nothing as the patriarchs of the lesser family clans quarreled. But after a while, seeing that they showed no sign of settling down, Wallace lightly cleared his throat and in his deep voice, said, “Bryan has made a great contribution to the City of Shadows by locating the biggest godhunter base we have ever known, allowing us to deal the godhunters a severe blow. Mirage City and Hushveil City know of this. Besides, the House of Han has just started out. It is not unreasonable to give them a head start.”
Now that Wallace had voiced his opinion, no matter how unwilling they were, those patriarchs of lesser family clans could do nothing but shut up. Their gazes towards Han Shuo were filled with envy.
“Don’t be disgruntled, the House of Han will not take the residence and Fort Lasberg for nothing,” Andre said to the crowd before turning to Han Shuo and smilingly demanded, “Bryan, you shall pay one million black crystal coins for those assets!”
“That won’t be a problem!” Han Shuo agreed immediately with a big, bright smile. A mere one million black crystal coins would never be enough to purchase both Fort Lasberg and the grand residence. This was especially the case for Fort Lasberg, which was basically a city of its own, several times the size of Profound Continent. To Han Shuo, the value of the Fort was simply immeasurable.
In addition, with the cash cow that was the Celestial Pearl, Han Shuo was in no lack of crystal coins. Candide, Emily, Phoebe, Ayermike Cotton and the others were all capable of managing and running a city. Han Shuo couldn’t even begin to imagine just how great of a benefit Fort Lasberg would bring him under their management.
“I will pay five million black crystal coins if the Fort and residence are given to me!” a patriarch of a lesser family clan uttered resentfully.
“The debate is over and the case settled. I will hear no more of it!” Wallace creased his brows and declared in a commanding voice. All those patriarchs shut their mouths tight.
“Ahem,” Andre lightly cleared his throat to get everyone's attention. He put on a faint smile and said, “Alright, now let’s move on to the next issue. My elder brother wants the vacant post of the Chief of Fifth Corps filled. All of you may nominate capable candidates for my elder brother to consider.”
As soon as Andre uttered those words, the patriarchs of the three major family clans, who had revealed not a trace of emotion since taking their seats, suddenly had bright lights glowing from their eyes. They sat upright and still, appearing to take it very seriously.
This is because for the three, being a Chief of Divine Guards meant power. Compared to those stores, houses and forts, which could earn them only monetary wealth, they attached greater importance to the position which could bring them a wealth of military power and privilege. Their family clans lacked neither forts nor shop lots. All those estates Andre bestowed upon them were mere specks of gold dust to their crates of treasures.
To be one of the Chief of Divine Guards of the City of Shadows meant they would gain the rights to build and own an elite army of divine guards. To them, being in command of divine guards meant having true power.
Although all large family clans in the City of Shadows had the rights to recruit divine guards of their own, they were restricted to a small number. The House of Sainte had enforced this stringent quota lest that other family clans would exceed them in the quality and quantity of divine guards possessed.
On Elysium, wealth, identity and status were won through the strength of one’s family clan. The most direct measurement of a family clan’s strength was in their military might - the quantity and quality of their divine guards. A family clan with two Chiefs of Divine Guards would be an untouchable powerhouse. Therefore, as soon as the patriarchs of the three major family clans heard the words ‘Chief of Fifth Corps’, their eyes lit up with desire and greed.
The eyes of the patriarchs of lesser family clans too were blazing brightly. Obviously, they too understood that with sufficient military power, obtaining all those shops and houses would just be a matter of time. The only thing that distinguished the House of Sainte, the House of Kinson, the House of Lavers, the House of Kisa, and the House of Buller from all those lesser family clans was that they were in control of the City’s military agencies.
The House of Sainte had managed to remain so far ahead of all other family clans because, other than the fact that divine guards in their family clan were powerful, the top three Chiefs of Divine Guards were from the House of Sainte!
To the three major family clans, the position as the Chief of Fifth Corps meant a leap forward, becoming the most powerful family clan second only to the House of Sainte. To the lesser family clans, the position meant they could advance to be one of the top family clans in the City!
Everyone in the crowd coveting for the post immediately leaned in after hearing that Wallace wanted someone to fill the seat.
“Lord Andre, if I remember correctly, the condition named for the position was that one exchange it with Avery’s head, isn’t that right?” a patriarch of a lesser family clan asked, scratching his head.
“Avery has disappeared for too long. The Fifth Corps cannot be left unmanaged forever and someone will have to take his place, at least until someone finally takes his head,” answered Andre.
These people had been drooling for Avery’s position for a long time. They began whispering into one another’s ears, discussing the vacant post. Even the patriarchs of the three major family clans couldn’t maintain their poker faces and began whispering with their clan members excitedly.
Wallace cleared his throat and announced in a deep voice, “One must bear great responsibilities as the Chief of Fifth Corps. The duty requires great strength and capacity. Fellow lords, name your candidates.”
As soon as Wallace finished those words, those in the crowd began naming people by the truckloads. It was like a flood gate had been opened.
After a moment of observation, Han Shuo noticed that those people would only nominate members of their own family clans. They showed great interest and determination in winning the nomination.
The hall turned boisterous with various characters being recommended. No party would yield an inch and therefore the situation turned into a stalemate.
Seeing that the clamour was only growing louder and the list of candidates was only growing longer, Wallace revealed impatience on his face and uttered in a deep voice, “The Chief of Fifth Corps is a great duty. The candidates named must at least be highgods!”
Those words of Wallace’s meant that several lesser family clans were eliminated from the race. Most of them had recommended midgods as it was very rare to have highgods in small family clans, although most of their patriarchs were highgods. Those of lesser family clans began nominating their respective patriarchs for the position.
Han Shuo quickly counted and learned that there were nine candidates named in total.
Andre named the instance the congregation hushed. “I think Bryan could do the job well. He has demonstrated his capabilities raiding the godhunters. He is a qualified candidate!”
The patriarchs of the three major family clans raised an eyebrow and their eyes started to flicker while the patriarchs of the lesser family clans immediately went silent. The hall was, all of a sudden, still.
Andre is second-in-command in the House of Sainte. If he says so, then doesn’t that mean the House of Sainte is standing behind Bryan? Could this also be the wish of Wallace? wondered the attendees.
Han Shuo had long known that Andre and Wallace had the intention of handing him the Fifth Corps. However, he pretended to be astonished by Andre’s words and said modestly, “You’re flattering me, Lord Andre!” He displayed neither inclination nor disinclination for the position.
“Bryan does seem suitable,” Wallace suddenly said, breaking the long silence.
The patriarchs of the lesser family clans felt aches in their hearts when they heard those words from Wallace. However, they did not reveal their feelings on their faces and did not voice their opinions.
Although the patriarchs of the three major family clans were not close to Han Shuo, some members of their family clans were because of his Celestial Pearl Pharmacy. Had this been any ordinary post, the three might just have gone with the flow and let Han Shuo have it. However, the Chief of the Fifth Corps was no ordinary post. Even if they had good relations with the Celestial Pearl, there was no way they would readily yield.
The patriarchs of the three family clans remained silent but their eyes flickered indecisively. Although they did not utter a word, they had clearly shown their disapproval.
Wallace clearly took heed to the three major patriarchs. Seeing that they wouldn’t utter a word, he took the initiative to ask for their opinions, “What do you think about Bryan?”
The three exchanged glances. After a moment of hesitation, Kinloch of the House of Kisa answered, “Bryan is rather young and isn’t too familiar with the state of the City of Shadows. He has only just formed a family clan and hasn’t demonstrated his capabilities for certain. Isn’t taking over the Fifth Corps too big of a leap?”
After Kinloch, the other two patriarchs nodded, saying that Bryan was bright but still lacked experience. There was no way that the three would easily give up a post as significant as this without a fight.
“I see,” muttered Wallace. He then turned to the patriarchs of lesser family clans and asked, “What do you think?”
Naturally, they all agreed with Kinloch’s view.
Seeing that the majority in the room was opposed to the idea, Wallace couldn’t plainly favor Han Shuo’s appointment. He kept silent for a moment before he suddenly proposed, “Alright, how about this, let’s forget the thing about Avery. There is this thorny problem currently in my hand. I have received intel that an enormous energy crystal deposit was discovered near Fort Lasberg. The deposit isn’t near the border of any city and various forces are gathering there. I, too, have sent some men but have received no news of them even till now, which means they have likely perished. Whoever can locate the energy crystal deposit, establish our City’s presence, and take control of the deposit for our City, will be the new Chief of the Fifth Corps. Fair enough?”
None of the crowd disagreed. The patriarchs of the three major family clans were the first to nod their heads.
Their family clans had stood proud in the City of Shadows for countless years and held an advantage over other family clans in various aspects. This challenge was a competition of resources. They obviously considered themselves to hold an enormous advantage and therefore immediately agreed to the challenge. Those of lesser family clans, seeing that the three had agreed, knew that the matter was basically decided and their opposition would be futile. Therefore, they too nodded and agreed to it.
“Very well. Then it is decided!” declared Wallace. “I will send men to observe. I hope that you will not utilize the manpower of your family clans, especially you major ones. Every competitor may bring a maximum of ten men with them. And other than the competitor himself, there cannot be any highgod in the party. Anyone who breaks those rules will be disqualified!”
The three patriarchs stiffened their lips after hearing those conditions listed by Wallace, and did not speak a word. They thought that divine guards of their own family clans were the real elites. Even though they were limited to bringing a force of only ten people, they could utilize the tremendous power of their family clans to scout out ahead before departure.
“One final reminder, killing those on our side is strictly prohibited. Should you violate this rule, you know the consequences!” Wallace then gestured and announced, “That will be all for today. You are all dismissed!”
The crowd stood up from their seats, saluted Wallace and Andre and left the hall.
Just as Han Shuo was getting ready to leave, Andre lightly cleared his throat and said, “Bryan, we need to discuss the payment of a million black crystal coins!”
Han Shuo nodded with a smile. He knew Andre would have something for him.
Those patriarchs who were leaving knew that Han Shuo had deep-rooted relations with the House of Sainte. They silently cursed and grumbled but no one dared to say a thing.
Soon enough, the hall was evacuated. Wallace got up, nodded at Han Shuo, and said with a faint smirk, “Although I have a mind to let you take the Fifth Corps, the resistance is just too great. Therefore, in the end, getting the position still comes down to your own capability!” After a short pause, Wallace went over and patted on Han Shuo on the shoulder in a friendly manner. He continued, “Work hard, the City of Shadows will reward you well!” Wallace then nodded at Andre and left.
After Wallace was gone, Andre smiled and said, “My elder brother believes that only those who have survived cruel competition should rise to top positions. Your performance at the raid on the godhunters has earned you Fort Lasberg and the Lavers Residence. As to whether or not you will take the Fifth Corps, it will likewise be your effort and capability that decides!”
“Lord Andre, you did not ask me to stay just to tell me this, did you?” asked Han Shuo teasingly.
“Haha, correct, indeed!” chuckled Andre before tipping Han Shuo off. “Erebus is currently at Fort Lasberg. I asked him to pay attention to the matter long ago. Go there and have a chat with him. I believe he will tell you the latest information he has gathered!”
Nothing is ever truly fair in the world. Andre was clearly helping Han Shuo, giving him an unfair advantage by providing him with a lead to follow. Given that Han Shuo had previously saved Erebus’ life, he was more than willing to share all the information he gathered with Han Shuo without the slightest hesitation. If Han Shuo asked, he might even lend Han Shuo his elite troops at the Third Corps.
“I knew Lord Andre would have gifts for me in asking me to stay!” laughed Han Shuo.
“Alright. The House of Sainte is lucky that you have come to the City of Shadows. With the Goddess of Destiny having such a great impression of you, perhaps someday in the future, our House of Sainte will benefit from being associated with you!” joked Andre. He then patted Han Shuo on the shoulder and said in a friendly manner, “You know, those one million black crystal coins are to stuff the mouths of some in my Sainte Family. I believe Phoebe can take care of it for you,” after a short pause, Andre praised, “Young man, you really are a lucky one. Your Phoebe truly is a master at running a business. I believe that Fort Lasberg will do fine under your family clan’s management!”
“Alright, I know what to do next!” Han Shuo replied smilingly and left the Sainte Residence.
For all those years, Phoebe had always delivered Carmelita’s share of the Celestial Pearl’s profits on time. As the Celestial Pearl grew more and more prosperous with each passing day under her management, Carmelita’s dividends grew and grew. The House of Sainte was very pleased with this. They even began to admire Han Shuo for his ability to recognize talents.
Upon returning to the Celestial Pearl, Han Shuo gathered everyone and shared the great news with them.
They were all incredibly excited to learn that the House of Han was officially established in the City of Shadows. Phoebe, Emily, Fanny, Lisa, Jasper, and a long list of ladies were eager to move into the luxurious residential complex.
“Go ahead,” Han Shuo delegated the relocation task to them. He then instructed Phoebe, “Direct one million black crystal coins to the House of Sainte.” Then, he pointed at Sanguis, Bollands and Gilbert, and said, “Three of you, come with me!”
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