"... It's you?"
Sovann looked in confusion. Within the blue flames was a silhouette of a man walking toward the edge of the altar. He appeared to be around the same age as Sovann. But unlike Sovann, the man appeared to be sinister with his stretched, wolf-like face. Then, a ghastly whiteness spread over Sovann's face as soon as he recognized the man.
"Lennon?! How is this possible?! Aren't you dead?"
"Hahaha... Sovann, is that the only thing you can say to this old friend of yours?"
Lennon burst out in a cold laughter. The tattered black robe on him trembled while something below it bulged and shrunk almost immediately. Rhode twitched his brows at this sight. He took two steps back and gestured, which Nell, Lize, and Anne shifted their positions cautiously. They stuck close to one another with Celia in front of them, wielding her sacred sword. Celestina looked up proudly, and the thorn whip in her hands transformed into a pitch-black, razor-sharp steel whip. She strolled to Rhode's side and her scarlet eyes glinted in an odd maroon radiance. Nell laid her arms before her and two daggers emerged from her hands. Lize hid behind Anne's raised shield while Anne carried Christie in her other arm, scanning the surrounding vigilantly.
"Boss and I killed you ourselves. I watched you fall off the cliff!"
Sovann gritted his teeth and clenched his fists. He had never expected to see Lennon again.
What exactly is going on? Why is this traitor of the Battle Mage Group here? Didn't Leader and I kill him?!
But unlike the bewildered Sovann, Rhode was much calmer. Earlier on, he realized that there was likely a mole in the Battle Mage Group as soon as he realized that the Guardian Spirits were manipulated by undead spells. If not, why would this altar that only elite members of the group could enter be stained by undead spells? The only explanation was that the Battle Mage Group had been infiltrated by the Undead Creatures and someone became their lackey-no, it wasn't this simple...
"Why are you so surprised, Sovann?"
Rhode's voice broke the silence in the darkness. Sovann and Lennon shifted their attention to him. Lennon narrowed his eyes and scanned the young man in silence. On the other hand, Sovann gazed dubiously and couldn't understand what he meant.
"I don't get what you mean, Sir Overlord..."
"It's simple. You killed him and yet he's standing here chatting with you. There's only one reason for this. He sold his soul to some fella who doesn't wish to be buried in the soil in exchange for something that he wanted."
Rhode swept a look of disdain at Lennon who stood on the altar. The latter revealed a proud smile, but his expression instantly turned distorted at the next moment.
"... But, I have to say, Mr. Lennon, you've got bad tastes. Frankly speaking, it's true that humans would betray their soul for immortality. I don't object to such thoughts of yours, but even if you're a traitor, you should also be aware of the other party's identity. It is understandable for traitors to join the ranks of the undead, but it is an entirely different matter if one gives up on Order and turns into the claws of Chaos."
"What did you say!?"
Everyone looked at Lennon in astonishment. Lennon took two steps back, gritted his teeth, and glared fiercely at Rhode. The black, flat robe on his body bulged and shrunk once again as though there were another source of life in his body.
Just as Rhode expected, it wasn't considered a huge matter if humans sold their souls to Undead Creatures because they couldn't resist the temptation to immortality by joining the undead. Even in the real world, evil BOSSes in Hollywood movies often sought this ambitious goal by destroying the world. However, the stories were fictional and weren't true. On the other hand, the Country of Darkness existed in this world, so it appeared to be an act of defection to the enemies when humans sought support from the undead.
However, it was an entirely different matter when one threw oneself into the lap of Chaos. In the entire Dragon Soul Continent, devil worshipers were public enemies, where they weren't welcomed in the Light Mainland, Country of Darkness, or even in hell. The evil demons, Undead Creatures who sought immortality, and mortals saw them as eternal enemies.
If the Undead Creatures were considered 'enemies' to the mortals, the followers of Chaos were their 'arch-enemies'. There would come a day when the hatred between enemies was untied (in the unknown future), and the 'arch-enemies' meant that they would fight to their last gasp.
Therefore, everyone was bewildered after Rhode revealed Lennon's identity. Nell was no exception. Perhaps the Dark Elves were seen as brutally heartless, but they were ultimately beings of Order, after all.
"Is this true, Lennon?"
Sovann asked the man before him. At this moment, he wasn't as anxious anymore. Instead, he put up an unprecedented solemn expression. Lennon's face twitched slightly.
"I don't know what you're talking about. This is getting boring. Since you people are here, don't ever think of leaving. Sovann..."
Lennon extended his arm.
"... Hand over the spiritual symbol and I will consider killing you painlessly. Not only that, but I can also help you be reborn to join me as a companion."
Sovann grunted. He gritted his teeth and glared at Lennon.
"Dream on! I would rather destroy it than let a bastard like you stain the ideals of our ancestors!"
"Well, that's a pity then. You're aware that the Battle Mage Group has been fighting hard all their lives to seek the spiritual symbol and gain the inheritance from our ancestors, right? If Leader were here to hear your thoughts, he would be so disappointed."
"If Leader were here, he would surely agree with me."
Lennon nodded in agreement which surprised Sovann.
"That stubborn fart always acted that way. I knew that he didn't like me for a long time. He only cares about chess pieces who listens to him because he will then be able to do what he likes! Hmph! He didn't mend his ways even in the face of death... Did he really think that he was the king of the Battle Mage Group? But it doesn't matter anymore. After all, the spiritual symbol is here. Since you're not willing to hand it over, I shall take it from you myself."
"You're alone, Lennon."
Sovann knitted his brows. Lennon's fearless behavior astonished him because he was the weakest among the three vice leaders and never focused on enhancing his strength. Even though he wasn't liked by the higher-ups of the Battle Mage Group, Sovann had to admit that Lennon held a certain extent of influence on the subordinates. This was also why he managed to convince members who weren't willing to leave the Falcon Peak to join him. Of course, from the final results, those members were only taken advantage by him.
Lennon let out a chuckle.
"My foolish friend. Did you really think that I'm alone?!"
Lennon raised his arms and the blue flames burning in the brazier behind him surged. Then, the flames splashed to the ground before everyone. Then, they didn't fade away. Instead, they spread to both sides and burned even wilder with figures emerging one by one-Spirit Warriors!
"They're once my brave warriors. They carried the crucial responsibility of defending the doors to the spiritual path. But now, they have become my subjects and loyal servants! Sovann, do you have anything else to say?"
Everyone sulked at this sight. There were about 600 Spirit Warriors clad in armor standing before them and equipped with spears and shields. Their faces were distorted and exuded an incomparable murderous intent and aura of death that sent chills down everyone's spines. This proved how terrifying the strength of these Spirit Warriors were!
"Oh my goodness..."
Lize clutched her hands and widened her eyes at the enemies before her. She sensed the rule powers exuding from them and knew what this represented-they were an army of warriors in the Legendary Stage! Would she still stand a chance against them?
Clap... Clap... Clap...
Out of the sudden, Rhode started clapping as he strode forward. He looked at Lennon with an unnoticeable smile. Then, he shook his head helplessly.
"To be honest, Mr. Lennon, I have never... hmm, how should I put it? Yes, I should say that it's been awhile since I have seen such an idiot like you. Even though the worshippers of Chaos are as erratic as their followers, it is rare that one can be as stupid as you."
"... It's useless no matter what you say."
Lennon let out a snort.
"All of you shall eventually die here, but be assured that I will awaken your corpses to become my most loyal servants, especially you, Mister. You have such a beautiful face. It would be a pity if it gets destro-"
Lennon couldn't finish his sentence.
Because the air temperature dropped drastically and made the Spirit Warriors restless. At the same time, Rhode lifted his head and revealed a vibrant smile.
"Good, Mr. Lennon. I suppose there are many problems for us to discuss. But I have to tell you something..."
Rhode extended his right arm. Then, a glaring ray of light erupted from the back of his hand. In the blink of an eye, a massive ritual circle emerged beneath his feet with several cards spinning and circling him. Rhode pointed forward.
"You're not the only one who has reinforcements..."
[Activate Card Deck: Ultimate Army]
Heavy footsteps sounded.
A dozen heavily-armored warriors holding spears and shields emerged out of thin air. They lined up in two rows and erected their shields into the ground. They raised their spears and set it up in the recess of the shield. The second row of warriors lifted their shields and held them above the warriors before them. Their formation was as though an enormous monster who had snapped its jaw opened at the sky.
[Spear Defenders-The barriers built by flesh and blood are insurmountable.]
But this was only the start.
Rhode raised his right arm and another card flashed in his hand. Then, a dozen Dark Rangers emerged behind the two rows of Spear Defenders. They lifted their weapons and released black smoke that shrouded the Spear Defenders.
Lennon was taken aback. He stared in fear at the enemies who appeared out of nowhere. However, he hesitated no more and swung his right arm forward.
The Spirit Warriors advanced in large strides to launch their attack, not giving a damn about the defensive barrier set up by the Spear Defenders. They crashed forward like a fierce, persistent wave.
Rhode's eyes glinted with a trace of evil smile. Then, he lifted his right hand again.
This time, another summoning card glowed in his hand. Shortly after, a scarlet flag also emerged in his hand. He raised it high and pointed the flag at the Spirit Warriors.
In an instant, the Spirit Warriors' perfect formation crumbled. Although they continued to push forward, an invisible strength split their assault instantly.
How is this possible?
Lennon stood frozen to the spot. He couldn't understand how the young man summoned so many humans at once.
Could it be that he also has the power to manipulate spirits? But, no matter how I see it, they all seem to be humans with physical bodies!
Rhode had no intention of slowing down. He put away the scarlet flag in his hand and swung his left arm forward-a dark mist emerged and a dozen archers in light-armor leaped out. They aimed their crossbows at the enemies ahead.
What's going on?
Not only Lennon, but even Sovann was also stunned. This was the first time that he witnessed Rhode cast his skills as a Spirit Swordsman. He had never expected that so many reinforcements would emerge in the blink of an eye. But, before he figured out the exact situation, Rhode raised his right arm. This time, in an eruption of a dazzling lightning bolt, the Spirit Bird soared with its majestic wings.
Rhode pointed forward with his finger. Then, he let out a snort.