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At the Pandemonium, inside a massive underground gymnasium.
Sanguis was wielding his broadsword that was bursting with blood-red radiance and fighting Bollands and Gilbert. Han Shuo was sitting on one side, quietly observing the battle.
There was a thin mist made of blood surrounding Sanguis. His skin seemed to be stained by blood and his eyes were glowing like a pair of terrifying red flames. Gilbert and Bollands were exerting themselves, pushing with their full strengths but were only barely able to resist Sanguis’ ferocious attacks.
Sanguis was born with the ‘Body of Sanguis’, an extremely rare type of body that was most suitable for cultivating Bloodgod Mantra, a subsect of Demonic Arts. Having tirelessly trained and cultivated, Sanguis had now reached an extremely profound realm in Bloodgod Mantra. Sanguis was able to easily route Gilbert and Bollands’ attacks and push them back by shooting bloody radiances from his broadsword.
Han Shuo had been silently but closely watching the battle. When Gilbert and Bollands were pushed so far back that they had no more room to retreat, Han Shuo finally intervened. He raised a hand and an enormous palm materialized out of nowhere, blocking the two sides and ceasing their battle.
“Well done, Sanguis, you have reached the most advanced level in Bloodgod Mantra,” said Han Shuo as he nodded. He then turned to the rather disappointed Bollands and advised, “Advancing in the Godslaying Devil Path requires constant bloodshed. Although you have reached the Bloodlust realm, it seems that you’re still lacking in your realm state. Bollands, there are times when you have been too calm. This will make it difficult for you to go berserk in a battle and fall into a demonic trance state. If you can get into a controlled demonic trance in every battle, your strength will manifold. You need to put more effort into this aspect.”
Bollands put away his flying sword, humbly bowed at Han Shuo, and asked, “Senior brother, how do I make myself fall into a demonic trance state during a fight?”
“You need to allow yourself to lose rationality and go wild. This usually requires provocation from your enemy. However, you can still practice entering the state by yourself, or at least close to it. Try imagining things that make you mad and imagine your opponent as the person you hate the most. And try not to think too much when fighting - just fill your mind with the desire to slaughter,” replied Han Shuo after thinking for a moment about his past experience of entering demonic trance.
“Gilbert, a major component of your demonic arts practice is in tempering the soul. The other major component is your body which I had forged in the same way that I would make a demonic weapon. Other than cultivating the energy of darkness, you must also pay attention to those two aspects.”
“Master, I have reached the early-stage highgod realm and my darkness energy is starting to merge with my demonic energy. However, I still feel rather stuck. Is there any other way to make the darkness energy fuse better with my demonic energy?” asked Gilbert. He was the weakest of the three and he was most desperate to improve his strength.
“I do not have relevant experience to guide you on fusing those energies. You’ll have to figure that out by yourself.” The Demonic Arts that Han Shuo cultivated was of the orthodox school which was not practiced by Sanguis, Bollands, or Gilbert.
Even though Han Shuo had two avatars cultivating the death and destruction energy, he cannot fuse it with the demonic yuan of his main body as the demonic yuan would reject those Fundamental Forces. In addition, as the power of his demonic yuan was orders of magnitude greater than that of his divine energies, fusing those energies would be extremely difficult. Han Shuo only had experience fusing two energies found in this universe but not in fusing energies from different universes.
“Master, why don’t you teach me one of those demonic arts? I noticed that Bollands and Sanguis are making progress much faster than I am by focusing their cultivation on one energy. Perhaps if I focus my cultivation on just one energy, I might make much greater improvements,” said Gilbert.
“That won’t be necessary.” Han Shuo shook his head and replied, “You are already at the early-stage highgod realm in your cultivation of the darkness energy. It would be a waste to discard that power. Besides, you are not on the wrong path, you’ve just yet to get the knack of it. Han Hao cultivates in two energies just as you do and he has been improving rapidly. Right, Han Hao will be here in a moment. You should ask him for advice later. He would have more relevant experience that would help you make breakthroughs.”
From the Pandemonium, Han Shuo could sense Han Jin and Han Tu’s souls while they were constructing Han Hao’s new underground palace. Han Shuo and Han Hao could easily sense each other’s presence from their respective bases. Therefore, Han Shuo immediately knew that Han Hao was on his way to the Pandemonium using the underground tunnel connecting their bases.
Gilbert was delighted to hear those words. He laughed out and said, “So it turns out that the little fella is also dual-cultivating! It’s been a while since I last saw him. I wonder what he is like now.”
Gilbert had known Han Hao since way back. Centuries ago, Gilbert and Han Hao had been murdering and looting unsuspecting victims with Han Shuo back in the Dark Forest of Profound Continent. He had heard a lot about Han Hao’s accomplishments and wanted to see how much Han Hao had grown in this hostile world called Elysium.
Lights of excitement suddenly flashed across Sanguis’ eyes when he heard that Han Hao would be there soon. Sanguis had long wanted to meet Han Hao and duel with him to test their strengths but he never had the opportunity. And during the recent period, Sanguis had been arduously tempering himself and made another giant leap in strength. He was in his top shape for a duel. This was the perfect opportunity that Sanguis had been waiting for. Therefore, immediately, Sanguis went to Han Shuo and requested, “Shifu, I wish to challenge Han Hao to a duel!”
“Haha, sure, go ahead. Through battles one identifies their weaknesses better. You need not restrain your power or give him any warning - just attack him right away. You can even launch a sneak attack. With me as the referee, it will be quite harmless,” agreed Han Shuo immediately. Not only did he not show the slightest concern, but he also seemed very happy about it.
“Thank you, Master! This is fantastic!” Sanguis was elated as he thought that Han Hao wouldn’t have allowed it.
Sanguis had always felt that no one, other than Han Shuo, was stronger than himself. Being a competitive youngster, Sanguis had been eager to prove that he was stronger than Han Hao through a duel ever since he found out about Han Hao’s existence and identity.
Time and time again, Sanguis came across credible rumors that Han Hao would be an extraordinarily powerful opponent. However, instead of making Sanguis think twice, it only made Sanguis even more excited to fight Han Hao. This was the opportunity he had been looking forward to for a long time and he wasn’t going to let it slip by.
“He will be here very soon. You may go all-in as soon as he steps inside,” said Han Shuo with a smirk to the incredibly excited Sanguis.
“Sanguis, do not hold back! If he could make someone like Polo kneel under his command, he should be more powerful than you are. Attack with your full strength!” advised Bollands. He was also feeling excited as he had been looking forward to witnessing Han Hao’s power.
“Sanguis, Bollands and I are no match against you, but that little guy definitely is. This is going to be interesting. Let’s see which of you is stronger!” laughed Gilbert as he walked to Han Shuo’s side with Bollands.
As Han Hao did not conceal his footsteps or his aura, all those in the gymnasium could hear him approaching and sense the faint killing intent he emanated. They knew that Han Hao was right outside the gymnasium’s entrance and they stared in his direction with anticipation and excitement.
“Master is inside,” said Zovic softly after leading Han Hao to the outside of the gymnasium.
Zovic was one of the few Fringedwellers who knew about Han Shuo and Han Hao’s relationship. For many years, Zovic had been in charge of exchanging intelligence with Han Hao’s followers. He was very much aware of the appalling acts the youngster standing before him had committed. And as a well-informed person, he knew that Han Hao undoubtedly commanded the greatest forces in the Fringe after Han Shuo, Tyre, Logue, Ossora, and Wasir. And from certain aspects, the relentless and merciless Han Hao could even be considered as a character more terrifying than the Sovereigns.
The Fringe has always been a place where the strong are honored. Therefore, even if Han Hao wasn’t his master’s son, Han Hao would still be treated with great respect.
When Han Hao came to the gymnasium’s entrance, he creased his brows, turned to Scarlett, and instructed, “Scarlett, stay here for a moment.”
“Okay,” Scarlett nodded. She was feeling rather nervous and bashful as she knew that she was going to meet his ‘father-in-law’ with Han Hao.
A so-called sneak attack would be completely ineffective against Han Hao as his soul was just too sensitive. He could sense the faint energy targeting him from inside the gymnasium before he was even close. Even though Sanguis had tried his best to conceal his aura and energy, Han Hao could still detect that Sanguis’ killing intent was locked onto him.
Han Hao also detected Han Shuo’s presence in the gymnasium and he reasoned that this person planning to ambush him was probably not an enemy. He was not worried about his own safety but had asked Scarlett to wait outside lest she be affected by the aftershocks of them clashing. After all, she was just an early-stage highgod.
After hearing Scarlett’s response, Han Hao took on an aggressive demeanor. A three-meter long bone spear suddenly emerged from the palm of his right hand. A chilling aura and terrible killing intent erupted from the bone spear in Han Hao’s grasp. This shocked Zovic. Puzzled and panicking, he cried, “Young Master Han Hao, what are you doing?”
“Don’t worry, someone wants to duel with me. It’s gonna be fine,” explained Han Hao before he finally stepped into the gymnasium.
Immediately, the gymnasium was lit up by an intense burst of blood-red light like a sun made of blood had appeared out of nowhere while an intense reeking of blood flooded the gymnasium. Sanguis, carrying his blooded broadsword and the sky filled with daggers made of blood, began descending upon Han Hao.
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