Everyone in the Dragon Soul Continent knew that their world was in a 'round' shape.
However, their concept of 'round' was different from Rhode's perception of a 'globe'. In the legends of the Dragon Soul Continent, this continent was enclosed in a circular, egg-like existence. No matter if one was lifting one's head to the sky or lowering it to the ground beneath one's feet, the sceneries were all 'inside the shell'. Whereas, the 'outside the shell' was filled with chaos, disorder, and destruction. The Mages' historical studies on this world concluded that apart from the surface that they were standing on, there were other Planes of Existence. Other than the underground world and the bottomless abyss, there were the Four Main Elemental Planes of Existence and the so-called Seven Fantasy Boundaries. According to the Mages' research and ancient legends handed down from generation to generation, the Seven Fantasy Boundaries belonged in another dimension of the Dragon Soul Continent. No one was clear of their exact origins and there were two explanations to the Seven Fantasy Boundaries.
One explanation implied that the Seven Fantasy Boundaries branched out beneath the Four Main Elemental Planes of Existence. The other explanation believed that the Seven Fantasy Boundaries were where the Creator Dragon Souls were born. Although there were many different statements regarding this subject, no one had ever stepped into the Seven Fantasy Boundaries. However, a Mage's summoning spell could prove its existence because the summoning spell could summon presences that belonged out of this world. According to the summoned creatures, the world they came from was the Seven Fantasy Boundaries. But no matter what level they were, they couldn't provide further details regarding their world as though they were bound by a certain contract. Some Mages attempted to force the summoned creatures for answers, but as long as the summoned creatures' forbidden explanations triggered their hidden core, their contract would be terminated instantly and they would be sent back. Until now, the only answer that they received regarding the Seven Fantasy Boundaries were the names of each boundary: Shadow Ravine, Silver Ocean, Shade Forest, Fiery Plain, Steel Terra Firma, Heavenly Palace, Forgotten Land.
If one were to view this entire world in the shape of an eggshell, the Four Main Elemental Planes of Existence would be its base while the Seven Fantasy Boundaries would be the pillars to support the roof. Lastly, the roof and walls would be the Five Creator Dragon Souls. All of them formed a firm and substantial barrier to protect the Dragon Soul Continent from the dangerous outside world.
Marlene was an Elemental Mage and she learned about the Seven Fantasy Boundaries in her compulsory academic course. Furthermore, powerful Mages in the school had once created a similar spell to summon a creature from the other dimension to serve himself. But...
"Rhode, that crystal in your hand... links to which Plane of Existence out of the Seven?" Marlene felt uneasy because she had interacted with creatures from the Seven Fantasy Boundaries. Normally, creatures from the Shade Forest and the Heavenly Palace were gentle and reasonable whereas, creatures from the Fiery Plain and Shadow Ravine were extremely dangerous with an aggressive and irritable nature. If possible, Marlene didn't wish to see the Fortress in a tizzy and would want to continue living a peaceful life.
"I'm not too sure. Let's try it out," Rhode paused for a moment before gazing at Christie. Unlike the aborigines in the game, many players suspected that the Seven Fantasy Boundaries might belong to the Six Devil Guardians's territory. This was particularly so for the players who loved to unearth the game's content and they discovered the similarities between the Seven Fantasy Boundaries and the Six Devil Guardians's territory. These players posted a research report of 10k words on the forums to prove that the Seven Fantasy Boundaries was where the Six Devil Guardians and their masters lived and ruled through a series of data, attributes, and equipment relics. However, as this report was overly complicated and Rhode wasn't a maniac in researching the game's background, he didn't analyze the report clearly.
But if the Seven Fantasy Boundaries really had something to do with the Six Devil Guardians...
Christie didn't seem to act peculiarly at all. Like Anne, Christie looked at the crystal on Rhode's hand with pure curiosity and excitement and it seemed that the little girl wasn't rattled by Rhode and Marlene's conversation. But Rhode had no anticipations of getting any answers from Christie, so he turned his gaze from the little girl to the crystal instead. Then, he shut his eyes and activated the Construction Menu.
[Detected the Fantasy Key. Confirm to build the path that links to the Plane of Existence?]
Rhode nodded slightly and opened his eyes.
The crystal suspended gradually and floated to the dome above the hall. At this moment, everyone stopped their discussions and focused their attention on the beautiful crystal glittering under the sunlight that spilled through the dome.
Golden light rays flashed from the complex and exquisite murals at the edge of the dome. The vertices on the two segments of the dome shone with bright, dazzling magical radiance. They formed two magical lines and linked with the crystal floating in the middle of the dome. The magical lines propelled and the crystal began to move closer to the mural.
Marlene puckered her brows slightly.
This wasn't the first time that she had observed this mural. Until this moment, she had never realized that this mural was indeed something special. The sleek stone wall was engraved with patterns of huge trees that almost extended to the vertex of the dome. There were seven remarkably fine circles above the treetop sand the circles seemed as though incomplete carvings of flower buds on the branches. However, Marlene discovered that the seven circles seemed to accommodate the crystal like it was all pre-planned.
Marlene gaped but closed her mouth hurriedly after noticing the crowd around her. She had suspected that this Fortress wasn't that simple. Even though Rhode didn't tell her the truth, Marlene realized this by herself because she wasn't as brainless as the mercenaries that lived day by day. But everything now was just... Exactly the same as the prophecy.
Marlene closed her eyes while placing her palms on her chest.
Under the guidance of the magical lines, the crystal slowly shifted to the circle gap at the top of the mural. A glaring magical radiance shone and in the blink of an eye, the crystal blended in with the mural perfectly as though it belonged there from the very start.
"-" From the top of the mural, a blue radiance shone and descended straight into the ground. At the same time, ritual circles emerged on the floor of the plain hall while releasing a cold aura.
The aura was so bone-chilling that even Rhode shivered. He changed his position and protected Christie while Anne squatted down and hugged the little girl hurriedly. On the other hand, Marlene and Lize turned their backs against the ice-cold aura with their eyes closed while Gillian stood on the same spot proudly. Rhode was unsure if it was because of her pride as the Fire Elemental Lord or she didn't actually need to worry about such a low standard of a chilly aura.
Soon, the ground froze thinly and quickly disappeared along with the cold aura. When everyone opened their eyes, they discovered a stranger standing before them.
"Nice to meet you, my Master." A crisp voice sounded as though a stream flowing through the deep mountains and floating ice on the surface of the ocean. There were no emotions nor any cadence in her tone as though one was facing a tombstone covered with hoar frost.
It was a young lady composed of ice and snow, like a beautifully crafted ice sculpture. Her fair, snowy cheeks reflected her baby-blue eyes clearly while the brilliance that gleamed in her pupils belonged to beings from other dimensions. Her adorable face represented her innocence, but her contradictory, cold, and indifferent expression brought out a unique, mature charm.
The young lady's upper body was no different from a human being's. However, it was entirely different from her waist down. The lines were like the ruffles of the evening gowns worn by the noble ladies at a ball. But, with a closer look, these ruffles that formed the skirt actually blended perfectly with her legs. Or perhaps, there wasn't too much of a difference. Both her legs and her long hair were also the product of slim, tentacle-like strands. And even when the young lady was standing still, her hair would still gently twist, curl, and reveal the suckers within.
"Master, it seems that you just can't stop summoning these impressive creatures." Gillian giggled while Rhode shrugged his shoulders and turned to the young lady.
"You are..." Rhode asked.
"You can call me Agatha, Master." The young lady bowed. However, even though her tone was highly respectful, her ice-cold facial expression didn't change at all. Moreover, there was not the slightest cadence in her tone as though she were plainly reading a line of dialogue.
The young ladies around Rhode began to whisper from ear to ear.
"Woah, it's so cold. Anne can't take it anymore," Anne was the first amongst the young ladies to break the silence. She glanced at Agatha secretly before rubbing her arms for warmth. "This sister doesn't have any expression at all, just like Leader."
"... I think... She is very beautiful..." Christie commented with a smile as she scanned Agatha curiously while folding her tiny arms.
"She... doesn't seem to be a human?" Lize's concern seemed to be much more essential.
"If I'm not mistaken, she must be an Ocean Elf." Marlene turned her gaze from the self-twisting tentacle-looking hair on the young lady and answered softly. Apart from Rhode, Marlene had the most say when it came to questions about the magical creatures.
"Ocean Elf... Sister Marlene, are you saying that... She is a different kind of Elf?" Anne widened her eyes in astonishment before turning around once more to scan Agatha from her head to 'toe'. "But... She looks so different from all the Elves Anne has seen."
"I'm not too sure about this either..." Marlene hesitated unusually but continued to explain after a few moments. "But I have read one of the books in my school's collections. Rumor has it in ancient times, some Elves left the continent and lived in the other Planes of Existence. We don't know how they managed to leave, but we do know that the Elves transformed themselves in order to adapt to the living conditions in the Planes of Existence. I think..." Marlene paused and stole a glance at the Ocean Elf. She observed the eight tentacles supporting her body that seemed as though a noble lady's dress and the hair ends that were twisting and turning by themselves. "... Maybe, Miss Agatha is really one of those Ocean Elves."
"Woah..." Anne cried out in surprise as though she understood what Marlene had explained. However, she exposed herself with her next remark immediately. "That sounds awesome."
"..." Marlene rolled her eyes upon hearing Anne's typical, innocent answer. She turned around and gazed at the exquisite mural that had returned to its original state. The colorful radiances were gone and the crystal had blended into it perfectly. But this time, Marlene's gaze was totally different.
"Nessingemlce..." she mumbled softly.