The mercenaries were no longer unfamiliar with these fiends. The fiends had sharp claws and were able to fly at high speeds. Their only flaw was their fragile bodies which couldn't withstand attacks from the mercenaries. After adventuring through the tunnels for five days, the mercenaries were already familiar with these damn things. Therefore, when these creatures suddenly rushed towards them, the mercenaries instinctively grabbed the flaming agent on their waist and threw it on the ground. Once the bottle broke, and when the agent made contact with the air, a wall of flames immediately engulfed the earth, following with a mini explosion.
The blast caused a sudden heat wave to surge towards the mercenaries, burning some of their clothes. However, compared to them, the fiends were less fortunate. Some of them weren't able to stop in time and flew into the flames. The lucky ones managed to use the momentum to bypass the wall of flames without receiving significant damage, but eventually, they met their doom at the hands of the mercenaries on the other side.
The extreme temperature caused discomfort to the mercenaries, but it was even worse for the monsters. A nearby Parasite thrashed its tentacles violently and rushed towards the intruders, garnering the attention of a few other Parasites along the way. While their fat and fleshy bodies were much slower than the fiends, their strength was incomparable. They could unreservedly puncture holes in the wall of flames without receiving much backlash. Frankly, if the mercenaries had long ranged weaponry, they could obliterate the Parasites before they reached the flames. Alas, it was a pity that the raging wall of fire was like a double-edged sword. It could obstruct the aggressive attacks from the monsters, but it also hindered their field of view. Thus, they weren't able to launch long ranged attacks on these Parasites.
However, that didn't mean that others would have the same problem.
Rhode and Celia flew over the wall.
The group of mercenaries was already familiar with the duo's method of fighting, and this situation was no different. Besides, they didn't even know how Rhode succeeded in bypassing the wall of flames. Both figures merely appeared alongside the wall and then suddenly disappeared.
"Come with me!"
Rhode burst through the wall of flames with a sword on his right hand, then, he lifted his left arm forward, materializing a green card on his palm which he soon crushed unhesitatingly. In less than a second, a pair of translucent wings began to bud on Rhode's back, rapidly increasing in size as he shot towards the fiends in front of him. When he took the third step, his toes pushed his body into the air as if he was as light as a feather. And at the same time, Celia flapped her wings and followed him closely. She held her sword with both hands, releasing a silver flame to repel the incoming monsters. Both of them flew to where the Parasites were.
The Parasites roared aggressively. They quickly opened their mouths and shot out numerous tentacles coated with a toxic liquid towards Rhode. But at right this moment, Rhode's body suddenly became translucent as he transformed into an ethereal form, and the poisonous tentacles phased through him without causing any harm. Then, Rhode used the opportunity to perform a leap which quickly propelled him towards the flank of one of the Parasites before hacking down his sword.
The razor-sharp Crimson Blade sliced through the Parasite's rotten flesh effortlessly, and when the blade was halfway through the body, a condensed light erupted from the sword, tearing a one-meter hole in the Parasite. From the gaping hole, dozens of smaller fiends scrambled to escape, gnashing their tiny rows of knife-like teeth at anything they could grasp. But they were quickly consumed by the brilliant silver flames radiating from Celia, generating a spark of beauty in this dark and evil space.
Rhode ignored the incapacitated Parasites as he knew that these injuries were just flesh wounds. Other than temporarily halting their progress, there was nothing else to it.
Within a few minutes, most of the Parasites were more or less lying on the floor, unable to move. They squirmed on the ground as they attempted to regenerate their wounds while the giant chunk of flesh frequently ordered them to move forward.
That's the last one.
Rhode somersaulted in the air before landing neatly on the ground. Then he shifted his attention to the last mobile Parasite. However, this Parasite was somewhat more intelligent as it didn't instinctively charge towards Rhode. Instead, it took a step back and protected its body by using its two humongous arms. Rhode's eyes widened in surprise at this change in behavior.
This development caused Rhode's usual strategy to fail. However, as an experienced player, of course, he knew alternatives to counter this turtling Parasite. Rhode quickly raised his arm again and materialized a black card.
As though descending from the heavens, the Centaur Knight came rumbling down from the mid-air, crushing the Parasite's arms with its iron hooves. At the same time, Rhode veered to the left to avoid crashing into the Centaur Knight. The Parasite had no idea that such an attack was possible. It attempted to react to the sudden development, but all it could do was to protect its chest which was to no avail.
When the Parasite finally collapsed to the ground, Rhode had already withdrawn his card. From a small gap in the fleshy walls of the disabled Parasite, Rhode discovered a face stuck to a chunk of flesh - Barney.
Whatever left of the 'courageous' swordsman was only an empty husk for the fiends to invade. There were visible gashes on his face which were filled with countless small tentacles, wriggling under his skin like fishes swimming in the sea.
However, Rhode wasn't surprised at all. He grabbed a small bag that hung from the Parasite and leaped into the air, seemingly disappearing into thin air. In Rhode's point of view, he had never regarded that man as an obstacle before. Not now, not before, and clearly not in the future.
Meanwhile, within the wall of flames, the battle was equally as intense.
Marlene lifted her wand up high, conjuring a pillar of fire which erupted from the ground, causing the battlefield to turn chaotic. Under the searing heat, the disgusting fiends turned into ashes. But before Marlene could catch her breath, the ground suddenly trembled. She immediately recalled Rhode's warning and swiftly jumped to the side, not forgetting to yell at the nearby mercenaries at the same time. Right after the words left her mouth, a sharp thorn impaled the space where she previously stood. If Marlene were just a second slower, she would have been directly pierced through.
Marlene stopped and glared at the fleshy thorn and its enormous eye that was blinking at her. She quickly raised her wand and chanted furiously. Suddenly, a thick tentacle swiped down from above, attempting to remove this insolent human from its sights.
However, a flash of lightning stopped it from advancing any further. Icy swords appeared out of thin air and pierced into the tentacle. Like shards of glass through the bare human skin, the swords easily sank deep into the tentacle, causing it to freeze at an alarming rate. Then, several earth spikes burst out from the soil and destroyed the freezing tentacle.
Regarding technique, Marlene had much more to learn. But when it came to battle awareness and personal style, Marlene's abilities were not far from the 'mentor' in the mirage.
Randolf raised his bow and aimed.
Whenever the Parasites entered the wall of flames, their bodies caught fire quickly. But they still used their fat and bulky frame to open a path for its allies. Alas, whenever any of them decided to pass the wall, a volley of arrows greeted them 'courteously.'
The blazing arrow tips tore through the air, piercing between Parasite's eyes as well as their wounded spots. Fire was the best element against Parasites which were overloaded with fats and oil. Within a few seconds, the flames spread from in between their eyes, then to their head, and lastly through their veins. Thus, under their rough skin, a fire appeared to be burning them inside out. After a while, when the trapped heat had nowhere to escape, the Parasites would then fall backward explode.
A nearby mercenary got caught in the blast and flew a considerable distance before rolling on the ground to a stop. Before anything else, he quickly got up and removed the mini tentacles writhing on his clothes, but when he turned around, a terrifyingly enormous blood-dripping mouth appeared in front of him. The mercenary's expression sank as he closed his eyes, accepting his imminent death... but suddenly, a golden shield encompassed his entire body!
Lize had a grim expression on her face as she raised both hands in the air. An illuminated golden halo condensed on her hands, causing the tentacles to retreat after smashing onto her shield. The monsters screeched under the blinding light, and with a wave of Lize's right arm, a sanctified holy aura burst out, liquifying every fiend into a puddle of black, pungent water. Just like snow in the summer.
Lize closed her eyes and exhaled a breath of relief. Unlike mages, clerics received a certain amount of power without the need for enchantment. In the mirage, both Lize and Marlene realized this, but compared to Marlene who went down the path of a destructive mage, Lize decided not to follow her 'mentor.' She took half a step back into the protection of the mercenaries and cast another layer of protection over the mercenaries.
A heavy shield smashed onto the ground, turning the scrambling fiends into minced meat. Anne lifted her golden shield in the air and extended the corners by at least twice, revealing the Heart of Rock embedded deep within. Then, she flipped her hand over and gripped the enarmes tightly. Razor sharp blades shot out from between the gaps in her shield, and at the same time, she threw it into the air like a boomerang.
The spinning shield created a tiny vortex wherever it went as it sucked the palm-sized fiends towards it. As much as they tried to resist the pulling force by flapping their wings, eventually, they were pulled into it and minced into pieces like boats attempting to outrun a hurricane. When the shield finally returned to Anne, the blood dripping off the edges made her look extremely indomitable.
After getting rid of the last obstacle, Celia and Rhode finally arrived in front of the colossal chunk of flesh. It wasn't until now that they had the chance of witnessing its true appearance.
Countless of squirming tentacles under the filthy, rotting meat wriggled endlessly. The many hideous eyes observed the dark surroundings for its foes, and at the base of the towering chunk of flesh were eggs the size of cantaloupe melons which was surrounded by bulging vessels that greedily absorbed the nutrients within.
"Remember your duties, Celia."
The battle angel nodded as Rhode reminded her softly. She clutched her sword while gritting her teeth.
Before the battle, Rhode and Celia exchanged opinions about the relic. The holy relic which belonged to the church was hidden within this creature's body. In the past, the relic used its divine energy to seal this creature, however, the previous pack of idiots roused it from its slumber, causing the seal to vanish and the holy relic lost its power. Therefore, Rhode decided to tear the devil's body apart using brute force and search for the location of the holy relic before getting Celia to trigger it with her holy energy which would ultimately reseal the devil. And once the seal is active, Rhode could easily defeat this devil.
This strategy was only possible because of the existence of Celia. He didn't have many men who possessed the holy element and Lize was unsuitable, so he could solely depend on Celia. Fortunately, Celia was a summoned spirit. If any unexpected incident occurred, she could still 'survive' through resummoning. As a Summoning Swordsman, Rhode always had a way of communicating with his spirits, and if anything went wrong, Rhode would immediately summon Celia again, just like what he did in High Cliff Village.
After reminding Celia, Rhode swiftly drew his sword and plunged it deep into the ground. Suddenly, a series of violent shockwaves erupted with Rhode as the epicenter. Many of the delicate eggs were defenseless against this force and began to shatter. Furthermore, the underdeveloped fiends within instinctively crawled out - but only to meet their demise shortly after.
The devil let out an enraged roar after realizing the death of its kin. The tentacles which were previously working on transmitting the nutrients began to rise from the ground and shot towards them at ridiculous speeds. However, Celia and Rhode were already prepared for its attacks long before destroying the eggs and had already flown off the ground. The attack wasn't even close.
However, that didn't mean that the devil would give up. It swiftly released another dozen tentacles from its body towards Rhode and Celia.
Rhode frowned when he saw the smelly flesh-colored tentacle.
You think you're the only one with that many limbs?
Rhode snorted coldly, and a black card flew out when he waved his hand.
Soon, countless of black tendrils emerged from the shadows and bound itself on the flesh-colored tentacles attacking Rhode and Celia, forcing them down to the ground. The devil then summoned more tentacles while facing this unwelcomed guest - but how could it exterminate its own shadow?
At this moment, Rhode sped downwards with incredible speed.
The Crimson Blade started releasing a brilliant light. For a normal human to search for the relic within the devil's body was like finding a needle in a haystack, but as for Rhode who had completed this mission many times before, it was a walk in the park. He had already detected the presence of the holy relic, so the next thing he had to do was to expose it completely.
Blade of Destruction, activate.
A blinding radiance radiated from the Crimson Blade as Rhode drilled his sword towards his target. The sword tore through the air and collided with the devil like a meteor. Then, a long screeching sound echoed throughout the cave, followed by the sound of flesh tearing apart. Rhode's attack punctured the hard, exterior surface of the devil, revealing a more vulnerable flesh trembling within.
The intense light coalesced on the blade reached its peak, and Fury Trial, under the guidance of Rhode's intent, began vibrating violently like a wild beast attempting to escape its cage. At this moment, a pale figure blocked Rhode's path.
The half-elf maiden whose limbs were tied up, lifelessly opened her mouth, seeking for the young man's help.
"Help me... I don't want to die..."
A tentacle suddenly emerged from within the maiden's mouth and shot towards Rhode, but it soon vanished under the tremendous power of the sword light.
Rhode swung his sword without the slightest hesitation.
The sword which was already glowing terrifyingly bright, erupted as it pierced into the half-elf maiden's skull. Then, Rhode mercilessly lunged his sword into the wound that he caused earlier, and almost instantaneously, an extremely black, blood clot appeared, contrasting against the brilliant light from his blade.
"Throw the scrolls! NOW!"
Rhode yelled at the top of his voice, and at the same time, he emptied the small bag that he took from Barney. More than ten Fire-type scrolls fell out. Then, he unhesitatingly threw them all towards the blood clot after removing the seals on the scrolls.
All of the mercenaries immediately complied with Rhode's command. They unsealed their scrolls and threw them towards the ray of light. Suddenly, the bloody flesh carpet, the eggs, and tentacles all ignited in flames at the same time. Marlene quickly cast a fire resistant shield with Lize to protect the mercenaries from the lack of oxygen and the scorching heat waves within the enclosed cave.
The devil's fleshy exterior began to melt, just like a soap bar returning to its liquid state. The murky blood and mournful cries intertwined; its sound was enough to cause everyone to tremble in fear.
Meanwhile, Rhode finally found the object he had been looking for. Although it flashed for a mere second, it wasn't enough to escape from Rhode's eyes.
The battle angel shot down and sped into the devil's body following Rhode's coordinates.