Rhode held the reins and was entranced by the picturesque scenery. Not only him, but Anne and Lize also held their breath as they gazed ahead at the majestic waterfall gushing from above and the water vapor turning into clouds that barely concealed the entrance to the valley. The green bamboo forest on both sides of the path rustled in the wind and looked as though an exquisite, tranquil painting that captured everyone's eyes.
The entrance to the Eastern Plains was between the valleys and also the only way for them to communicate with the outside world. However, the path was uneven and narrow and could barely fit two chariots driving side by side at once. The path made of slab and bricks extended all the way into the mysterious fog in the distance.
"Look, look, Leader."
Anne rode the horse ahead and touched the bamboo before her. She turned to Rhode curiously, waving her hand.
"Leader, you see. These trees look so strange. Anne has never seen such odd trees. Their surfaces are smooth and their leaves are in a weird shape.
"Alright, we have to get going now."
Rhode shook his head. Anne, Lize, Christie, and Nell looked at the surrounding in astonishment. In the entire Dragon Soul Continent, the only bamboo forest was located in the Eastern Plains. Rhode let out an inward sigh because he had to admit that he started missing home upon witnessing this scenery.
In fact, the presence of the Eastern Plains in the game had caused debates among players because the Dragon Soul Continent was generally a fantasy fiction game, which was why the races were mainly European and American. No matter the Country of Law, Country of Darkness, or Country of Light, the people were basically the same, apart from the barbarians and other races residing in isolated lands or mountains. To the contrary, the style of the Eastern Plains was entirely different from other regions as their scenery, buildings, and people were filled with rich oriental flavors. This was a fresh experience for the overseas players, but it felt rather awkward for the locals as though one was eating pizza with rice toppings or burgers with noodles as fillings. Many players couldn't understand why the game designers had specially created this place. However, most of the players thought that the reason was because they wished to please the massive market for the online players, which was why they added a region with an oriental style into this fantasy fiction theme. Of course, there were also players who tried searching for the Eastern Plains' history in order to find any evidence that proved that their existence wasn't accidental. But everything vanished into puffs of smoke after that enormous explosion.
The group heeded Rhode's words and continued with their journey. But even so, they were mesmerized by the exotic scenery before them. The mountainous path outside the Eastern Plains was steep, narrow, and filled with uneven rocks along the way. This was another reason why the Eastern Plains seldom got into contact with the outside world. The external merchants found it hard to enter the Eastern Plains. If the Eastern Plains was interested in interacting with the outside world, they would have already opened a path. It was apparent that they were totally disinterested, which was why there weren't many people using this path. Since Rhode's group wasn't in a hurry to reach their destination, they took a short, casual break and used the opportunity to admire the beautiful, refreshing scenery.
What surprised Anne and the others was that it was still winter, but the bamboo forest preserved their greenish colors. This was especially so for the bamboos on both sides of the road that had twisted and intertwined to form a dome over a natural corridor. The gentle sunlight spilled through the gaps. Fresh green bamboo leaves and snow merged as they covered the land in a delicate, gorgeous layer.
The group felt more relaxed as they advanced.
Rhode retrieved the pocket watch and looked at the time. It was noon and they should be arriving at the first assembly point soon. However, they had to move at a slower pace because Rhode had to care for Christie. There would be no issue for them to reach their destination by night if they continued with this speed. Rhode shook his head at this thought. He expected that Lize and Marlene would strongly oppose bringing Christie along for this adventure. Marlene thought that he shouldn't risk Christie's life for the sake of the Battle Mage Group. Without a choice, Rhode lied to her that completing this mission could improve Christie's conditions, so Marlene eventually agreed. Anne didn't object at all and guaranteed that she would protect Christie no matter what.
But, at this moment, Rhode heard a scream from the distance and realized that something was amiss. He knitted his brows, looked toward the direction, and gestured. Nell nodded and quickly disappeared into the shadows.
"Is anything the matter, Sir Overlord?"
Sovann leaned toward Rhode and asked. The latter nodded and looked ahead without replying. Sovann shifted his gaze forward-billows of black smoke had stained the azure sky in the distance.
Sovann widened his eyes. Then, before he returned to his senses, he heard a voice from ahead.
Sovann instinctively flinched as soon as he realized Nell was standing before him and Rhode. He was baffled because he didn't detect her presence before she spoke a word!
Nell swept a look of disdain at Sovann before shifting her gaze to Rhode.
"A chariot ahead has been attacked by Undead Creatures."
Scorching flames devoured everything ahead with two broken chariots by the sides of the road and baggage scattered to the ground. Ghastly blood and corpses stained the snowy field.
When Rhode's group arrived at the crime scene, the battle had already ended. Four to five young men stood around the chariots with swords in hand and contended with the Undead Creatures. There were about six to seven women; some old and some young. They clutched one another's hands worriedly, gazing at the terrifying enemies in despair. In the middle of their group was a pale old man. He raised a piece of gem in his hand and the white radiance emanating from it formed a barrier that protected them.
They appeared so desperate and helpless. Perhaps the only thing that they could do now was to resist until they get slaughtered by the Undead Creatures. There was a team of Death Knights riding Incubi and circling the chariots. Standing before the Death Knights was an enormous Abomination. A Necromancer stood behind the entire team with a staff in hand and chanted a sinister curse under its breath.
This is indeed the Eastern Plains, Rhode exclaimed inwardly. What surprised him was that these ordinary humans actually succeeded in resisting the attack from a team of Death Knights, an Abomination, and Necromancer.
If the enemies were to turn up in other regions, perhaps the humans would have been annihilated on the spot. But now, they actually held on for so long. Judging from this, it could be seen that the average level of strength in the Eastern Plains was much higher than other regions. Rhode had even witnessed the young men releasing blade airstreams to ward off the Undead Creatures, which meant that they were around level 25 to 30!
However, Rhode's group wasn't only here to enjoy the show. He had to admit that even though the humans were strong, the Undead Creatures were much stronger. What made the situation worse was that the humans had to protect their loved ones cowering behind them. The gem in the old man's hand was obviously meant to counter the Necromancer's undead spell. However, the flickering barrier proved that it couldn't last much longer.
"Sovann and Anne, deal with the Death Knight. Nell, I'll leave the Necromancer to you. I'll get the Abomination myself. Lize, support us!"
Rhode leaped and dashed forward with his blade in a glaring radiance.
Anne grabbed her shield and jumped off the hillside like a huge bird with its expanded wings. She brandished the shield at the Death Knight below her!
"Be careful, Miss Anne!"
Sovann broke out in cold sweat. He had only joined Rhode's group a while ago and wasn't familiar with their abilities, which was why he was shocked to see Anne charging into the group of Death Knights with her shield. Sovann was born in the Eastern Plains, so he knew how strong the Death Knights' assault was. But now, this young lady actually tried to attack by force?
Sovann swiftly gestured and four magical light circles emerged around his limbs. He lifted his head and glared at the Death Knights.
Damn skeletons. This is the Battle Mages' revenge!
At this moment, Anne crashed her shield into a Death Knight and sent it flying... The unfortunate Death Knight spun in midair before crashing to the ground and shattering into a pile of remains.
Sovann's jaw dropped at this sight...
On the other hand, the unlucky Abomination didn't expect to be ambushed. As soon as it detected a dangerous presence and turned around, Rhode's shimmering holy sword had penetrated through the middle of its skull!
The ambush infuriated the Abomination. It stretched two of its four strong arms for Rhode while the other two arms brandished the scimitars at him. If Rhode were an ordinary human, he wouldn't be able to dodge this attack. But Rhode was obviously much stronger than one.
The two scimitars slashed through his body without any resistance. Then, Rhode's figure distorted and a bright arc of blade ray slashed off the Abomination's skull. The Abomination couldn't resist this lethal blow. It flinched and its body instantly bulged like a balloon. The young men around the chariot were terrified by this scene because they knew what this meant. As soon as the Abomination swelled, they frantically hid behind the broken chariot to dodge the almost avoidable explosion.
At the same time, a glaring white radiance descended from above and struck the Abomination heavily.
The Abomination swelling body instantly deflated like a shriveled balloon. Then, silver-whitish holy flames surged and devoured its entirety.
The Necromancer was stunned because Rhode was simply too quick. The Necromancer was dazzled and before it realized, the Abomination had been destroyed. However, the Necromancer also let out a sigh of relief because this proved that the humans weren't familiar with what the Abomination was capable of. In normal circumstances, the humans should attack the Undead Creatures' leader, but this young man targeted the Abomination instead. Didn't he know that the Abomination would self-explode?
But, at the next moment, the Necromancer changed its opinion because the holy light beam that descended from above was clearly a Cleric's attack. Judging from this point, the humans obviously knew the Abomination's moves!
Since the humans know about us so well and didn't attack me instantly, could this mean that...
A dagger flickering in magical radiance streaked across the sky and aimed for the Necromancer's back. But at the same time, a bone shield emerged behind it and blocked the ambush. Nell remained expressionless and thrust her right arm forward...
The strong bone shield cracked and shattered instantly. Then, she penetrated the pitch-black dagger into the Necromancer...
The Necromancer raised its hands helplessly. The spiritual flames in its eyes dimmed as it turned around to catch a glimpse of the ambusher. But it failed to do so because Nell had brandished the left dagger into its neck. She swung her arms, decapitated it, and its skull spiraled into midair before rolling on the ground. Its headless body collapsed and its spiritual flames extinguished to nothingness.
The battle ended quickly.
Even though Rhode didn't bring a lot of men with him this time, they were mostly the best forces under him. Anne and Nell were talents who had transcended into the Peak Master Stage. On the other hand, Sovann was the vice leader of the Battle Mage Group with the strength of the Intermediate Master Stage. Although Lize had just entered the Master Stage, she wasn't far away from level 45. What about the enemies? Apart from the Abomination, the Death Knights were only around level 40 and the unlucky Necromancer wasn't even level 45. No matter if it was in terms of strength or level, the enemies couldn't stand a chance against Anne and Nell. Therefore, this battle wasn't challenging for them at all.
On the other hand, the young men who fought bitterly stared blankly at the scene. Just a few moments ago, they thought that they were dead. But in the blink of an eye, heaven and hell swapped places. They held onto their weapons blankly and watched as silver-whitish flames devoured the corpse of the Abomination. They were speechless.
Rhode sized up the group of people curiously. It was apparent that they were ambushed while leaving the Eastern Plains. There were less than 10 of them and it was surprising that they managed to resist the Undead Creatures for so long. However, Rhode was more concerned with their intentions than identities-could it be that the Undead Army was dominating the place that they had to escape?
If that were the case, Rhode had to rethink his plan. He didn't wish to get caught in a random huge explosion for nothing later on.
At this moment, someone spoke.
"Thank you for your help... Sir."
Rhode returned to his senses and realized that a young man had walked before him and expressed his gratitude. However, judging from his awkward gaze, it was apparent that this young man wasn't sure of Rhode's true identity (or perhaps gender)...
"You're welcome. It's nothing much, really."
Rhode said and gazed at the group of people behind the young man. Some of them were consoling the sobbing women while others packed their bags.
"... Are you from the outside?"
The young man scanned Rhode curiously, hesitated, and asked. Even though Rhode also had black hair and pupils, his style of clothes showed that he wasn't from the Eastern Plains. Rhode wore straight, black noble attire which wasn't low-profile, ordinary, or convenient for his movement. However, this attire was the best identification for others to not mistake his gender and it seemed that his persistence was effective. Even if he looked imposing and unkind, at least others wouldn't mistake his gender, right?
Anne, Nell, and Lize came up to Rhode and affirmed the young man's guesses. No matter what, the Eastern Plains was an isolated area and ordinary outsiders wouldn't visit for no particular reason.
Rhode nodded and shifted his gaze to the young man.
"If I'm not mistaken, you're heading out of the Eastern Plains, right? Did something happen? Why were you attacked here? This is the Eastern Plains' hinterland... Could it be that the Undead Army has invaded their way here?"
"This was what happened..."
The young man looked rather helpless as he explained.
"Recently, the Undead Army's attack on the Eastern Plains has been getting increasingly aggressive with many places erupting into chaos. But the biggest problem is that the Undead Army has occupied Falcon Peak! The Battle Mage Group failed to defend the place and the Undead Army wrapped around the frontline and turned up in our village from time to time! There isn't a problem for the bigger towns, but a small village like ours can't handle it. This is why we decided to temporarily leave the Eastern Plains and return only after the situation has stabilized. But now..."
The young man sighed and shrugged.
"A few days ago, I heard that the overlord from Grenbell will be delivering something effective against the Undead Creatures. I hope the elders can use this chance to repel the Undead Creatures."
Rhode swept a glance at Sovann who put up an awkward expression. It was apparent that he had heard the young man's grumble about the Battle Mage Group, but what could he say? However, this wasn't Rhode's concern.
"How's the situation in Falcon Peak? Are there a lot of Undead Creatures?"
"There's quite a lot of them and they are hard to handle. But the elders are recruiting forces to snatch the Falcon Peak back and stabilize the situation in the front line. I just hope that they'll succeed."
Rhode twitched his brows.
This seemed to be a wonderful chance for them.