The long, narrow passage was dark and tortuous.
The seemingly unnatural scenery from the beginning had disappeared and was replaced by artificial, smooth walls and stone steps. The ceiling of the entire passage was as low as the heights of Anne and Rhode and spider webs were just hanging above them as they lifted their heads. It was apparent that this wasn't a passage built for humans.
The mercenaries advanced cautiously as only God knew what in the world would appear in this historical underground passageway. Rhode recalled that apart from some Goblins lurking in this underground passage, there was almost nothing else present that could hinder them.
Rhode sensed the astonished and confused stares from the Chairman behind him. The stares were also filled with strong, inconspicuous vigilance and hostility.
Rhode was clear about where this hostility stemmed as Soraka Mountain had a lot of legacy 'historical problems'. One of them was the most important issue of Soraka Mountain's ownership. Although logically speaking, Soraka mountain was ruled by humans, the Dwarves had sought for the ownership of Soraka Mountain in the past. According to the stubborn Dwarves, Soraka Mountain was first discovered by their ancestors and humans had gotten involved later and took over the ownership with their large numbers. This violated the original covenant signed by humans that sought for the Dwarves' protection and this was why the Dwarves wanted to regain ownership of Soraka Mountain.
This definitely wasn't a piece of great news for Soraka Mountain's Parliament. They denied the Dwarves' accusations flatly and at the same time, they claimed that Soraka Mountain was discovered and built up by both the Dwarves and humans. As the architectural style of many buildings including Mithril Hall was designed for the Dwarves, Soraka Mountain's Parliament didn't deny the fact that the Dwarves had participated in the building of this city. However, they couldn't accept the saying that the Dwarves had discovered this place.
It had been over a few centuries between the conflicts of the Dwarves and Humans. Although Dwarves possessed longevity and the ancient records had been passed down, humans didn't believe them. After all, generations of humans had changed along the centuries and the crucial humans that knew who exactly built and discovered Soraka Mountain were all dead. The newer generations of humans were educated by their parents on the history of their homeland and they believed that Soraka Mountain was discovered by the Dwarves and humans together. Due to this reason, Soraka Mountain was dissatisfied with the persistent and demanding Dwarves. Furthermore, a few centuries had passed and you Dwarves are still hanging on to this matter?
However, the concept of time for the Dwarves was completely different from that of the Humans. In the eyes of the naturally stubborn Dwarves, humans were untrustworthy and scheming. Therefore, this conflict might go on forever as long as both races were still alive...
The disputes between the two sides were even reported to the Country of Light, Country of Darkness, and Country of Trial. But the Light and Dark Dragons refused to get involved with this complicated historical issue. On the contrary, the Judgement & Ruling Twin Dragons suggested to carry out an investigation, but there was no follow up to it. After all, the Country of Light and Country of Darkness preferred to deal with humans than the stubborn Dwarves. As a result, the conflict about the ownership of this region extended endlessly. Staring at the pitch-black figure before him, the Chairman had a bad hunch.
Although the Chairman was an elderly man, he clearly recognized that this passageway wasn't designed for humans. From the height to the management of the steps and the knowledge on the usage of the natural environment, only Dwarves that lived in these environments for years were capable of building them. This caused the Chairman to be suspicious of Rhode's identity because even he wasn't aware of this secret passageway-how did this man know about this passageway? What did he have to do with the Dwarves?
"Kala," several black figures jumped out from the sides. They chattered in an unknown language while brandishing their wooden clubs and charging towards the group. They had short statures, shriveled skin and sinister, small eyes...
"It's the Goblins!" The experienced mercenaries recognized this maggot-like evil race that inhabited the ruins immediately. They drew their weapons and displayed their best mercenary qualities swiftly.
Viktor's mercenaries prioritized the protection of the Chairman's group by forming a human wall with their shields. Meanwhile, Joey's group by the perimeter halted and gathered towards the middle quickly. At the same time, they threw flying knives towards the Goblins swiftly.
The charging Goblins collapsed after a round of flying knives struck them. At the same time, Marlene cast a firewall to block off the other Goblins while Lize strengthened the defense of the mercenaries with her spell. The Goblins whined at the sight of the firewall and perhaps because they hadn't met any prey for a long time, these cunning creatures continued to surround the group.
"Continue to move forward!" Viktor gazed at Rhode who beckoned and strode forward. Viktor brandished his sword and berated loudly. "We don't have time to play hide and seek with these Goblins. Move! Frank, you deal with those evil creatures and make sure they stay away from us!"
This originally quiet passageway was instantly filled with disorientation and warcries. Rhode led the pack as his eyes penetrated the darkness to find the critical path in this complicated underground...
Suddenly, there was a sudden gust of wind.
A snowy-white string of web shot from above and formed a huge spider web that wrapped towards Rhode. Rhode rotated his wrist and tore apart the web with glaring blade rays. However, at this moment, a three-meter-long spider dived from above with its sharp claws. It let out a chilly hiss and pounced forward with its venomous, pungent teeth.
Rhode split into two and disappeared into nowhere in a blink of an eye. The spider lifted its head and widened its mouth instantly. Then, as though an invisible sword had struck its body, it split into half and crashed to the ground. Marlene cast a blizzard swiftly to freeze the splashing venom and the spider carcass.
However, this wasn't enough to stop the evil creatures inhabiting this dark underground."...!" All kinds of shrieks resounded in the entire underground passageway. Viktor supported the Chairman by his arm and followed Rhode. Both Viktor and Rhode had no intention of stopping as they gazed at the blurry figures hidden in the dim path. Viktor ordered his men to fend off the creatures who were giving chase. Meanwhile, Joey and the others were roaming on the perimeter and dealing with the Goblins that sneaked out from the cracks on the rock walls. At this moment, only Lize, Marlene, and Anne were following closely to provide protection to the Chairman. Gillian had been ordered by Rhode to provide support at the back-after all, a mask wasn't enough to conceal the fox-eared young lady's unique features. For safety precautions, Rhode had no intentions of letting her travel with him together.
The twin daggers shone once again. Rhode tilted his body and his left dagger pierced into a Goblin's skull effortlessly. As he withdrew his left dagger, he raised his right dagger and brandished downwards. Gracier drew a crescent arc and the Goblins shrieked in fear of this horrifying attack. Although they scattered like mice, they had no intentions of giving up. Soon, they threw some wooden club objects at Rhode.
Rhode knitted his brows at their meaningless aggression. In fact, these low-leveled creatures wouldn't stand a chance if Rhode summoned his spirits. However, this would expose his identity instantly. After all, Rhode was well-known for summoning creatures and therefore, he had decided that unless necessary, he would definitely not summon any spirits. Moreover, Madaras and Gracier were more than enough to deal with these Goblins.
"Hmph!" Rhode stacked his daggers in a cross and once again struck off the attacks. This was the reason why most players hated to enter such low-level dungeons. Apart from not earning any EXP from these creatures, the players also needed to fend them off endlessly. Even though these creatures were non-threatening, they were as annoying as mosquitoes and houseflies.
We have no more time to waste here.
Rhode laid his daggers flat and swept a glance forward.
Storm Slaughter, activate!
Rhode disappeared and blended into the darkness in the blink of an eye. In the dimly-lit passageway, glaring white and green blade rays flickered irregularly. Annoying clamors from the Goblins ceased abruptly as though a giant hand was cupped over their mouths.
The path was filled with Goblin corpses in their attacking stances. However, the flames of life were missing in their evil, dark eyeballs. The Goblin corpses were filled with ghastly slashes that had penetrated their bodies.
Rhode lifted his head and looked the path before him.
The narrow passageway had widened gradually as they entered deeper. A large, arena-like structure presented itself in a massive, empty hole. With the powers of the night-vision pendant, Rhode easily spotted the neatly aligned sculptures and murals that symbolized the victors.
It should be here...
Boom... Boom... Heavy rumbles sounded. Rhode scanned the still surrounding and there were no signs of life. However, Rhode sensed the slight tremors on the ground sharply. He sheathed his daggers and retrieved pocket watch from the fold of his clothes. Three hours left before the start of the parliament meeting.
"... Sir!" Viktor and the group caught up to Rhode and they stared with widened eyes at the massive arena. However, Viktor knew that this wasn't the time to admire the ancient ruins. Moreover, he also sensed the dangers hidden within. "This is..."
"Be careful. This is one tough enem-" before Rhode finished his sentence, the flat ground rose abruptly and a gigantic, black earthworm-like creature emerged from within.
"It's the Giant Megadrile!" Viktor witnessed its hextuple layers of razor-sharp teeth and recognized its identity instantly. The Master Swordsman raised his sword and its blade erupted in green, lightning radiances. He struck his sword towards the incoming Megadrile heavily on its body.
Bam! The ear-deafening collision resounded in the massive arena and filthy dust engulfed the entire place. However, this attack wasn't powerful enough to annihilate the Megadrile. This gigantic, terrifying creature had a thick, protective layer of rock on its skin and Viktor's attack wasn't able to shatter them.
Fortunately, the vision of these underground creatures was terrible even though they had sensitive hearing. Although Viktor's attack wasn't effective, the loud explosion had stunned the Megadrile. In an instant, the Megadrile paused its movements as it couldn't spot its target with its hearing. Then, it dove right back into the ground.
"Leave it to me, Sir!" Viktor yelled out to Rhode as he gazed at the arena in his attacking stance attentively. Viktor was aware of Rhode's intentions as he didn't summon any of his spirits along the way. "Continue to escort the Chairman. You must make it before the meeting begins!"
"..." Rhode nodded and turned towards Anne. "... Let's go!"
Anne replied instinctively. She lifted the Chairman on her shoulder while Lize cast a defense spell on him. Then, the group charged towards the exit under Rhode's lead.
Viktor shifted his attention to the arena with his sword quietly.
Shortly after, the ground ruptured once again.