After receiving Anne's 'consent,' Rhode called the rest and briefed them on the current plan. Once they heard what Rhode was planning to do, everyone was surprised.
"Why am I not the one to take on this dangerous task?"
Naturally, Sereck questioned.
"You'll have to face the Giant Skeleton alone which is already quite different from before."
Rhode shook his head and answered Sereck before shifting his gaze to Marlene.
"Ms. Marlene, you won't have to use Silence anymore since the Death Knight will notice us anyway. For the upcoming battle, I will require you to use your offensive spells on the Giant Skeletons. They have quite a decent amount of magic resistance, but I believe you will have your way to deal with it."
"I will try my best!"
Unknowingly, Marlene clenched her fist and raised her voice. The pressure on her was indeed quite significant; not only would the battle be difficult, but also...
Her thoughts trailed off as she turned her head to glance at the group of people before resting her eyes on Anne.
"Lize, once the two Giant Skeletons are down, we will need to find Anne immediately and assist her. This is of utmost importance."
"Yes, Mr. Rhode. I will try my best."
Lize clenched her fist tightly and nodded.
"Mr. Rhode, what about us?"
Standing behind Rhode, Kudla couldn't help but ask.
"We also can..."
"Our mission is to save you guys. Now, we are only one step away from mission success; therefore I cannot let you take this risk. Moreover, someone needs to protect the Clerics. If you guys take part in the battle, who are they going to depend on for protection?"
Kudla was at a loss. He looked at the nervous Clerics beside him and immediately knew that they wouldn't be able to make it to the exit without help. He was also unsure whether he would be able to delay the Death Knight. According to Rhode, the Death Knight was almost as strong as Sereck and it was a high-level undead that was on the verge of the Commander level. Kudla felt pretty certain that he wouldn't be able to block a full-strength attack from a monster like that. So, he quietly nodded his head and gestured towards his mercenary group.
"Alright, everyone! Get into your positions!"
Rhode clapped his hands and shouted. Then, he glanced at Celia who was beside him.
"After defeating the enemy, fly over immediately. Remember you must protect Anne at all cost. Do not let anything happen to her."
If Anne died, no one would be able to resurrect her, but if a summoned spirit died, Rhode could still resummon it later. If not because of Celia's passive ability that was incredibly useful to help kill Giant Skeletons, Rhode would rather send Celia to delay the Death Knight instead of Anne.
Sending Anne was the best decision Rhode could make based on their current situation. Even though Rhode had a rough gauge on her strength due to the test he had given her, their time together was simply too short for him to realize the true extent of her power. Therefore, all he could do now was trust her as she was the only person that had the highest chance of succeeding.
The spark to start the battle was no different from before.
Old Walker shot an arrow and lured the two Giant Skeletons as per normal. Both of the monsters lumbered slowly towards the noise. This wasn't a good sign because it confirmed Rhode's fears.
Although Rhode wanted to keep using this tactic to lure these two Giant Skeletons as far as possible, as if detecting something was wrong, the monsters suddenly stopped.
Once Rhode saw this, he knew that it was time to begin. He clenched his teeth and shouted.
Marlene raised her wand and shot a spell at one of the Giant Skeleton's skull. The very next moment, grey, tumultuous clouds formed above the skeletons.
The battle-starved Marlene who had held back for the past five hours finally released all her pent-up frustrations with a humongous lightning bolt that fell from the sky.
Craaack! Countless streaks of lightning came crashing down onto the helpless Giant Skeletons. The sound of the electrostatic discharges caused a few people to tremble, and the ground shook along with the thunderous impact. For the sake of her comrades and victory, Marlene didn't hold back her power. She depleted most of her Soul Power for that one single destructive spell.
As a result, the Giant Skeletons that were caught unprepared appeared to be under significant pressure.
Even if they had flesh no more, they still had a decent resistance towards magic. But it wasn't unlimited. After ten seconds, the Giant Skeleton's body began to crack under the immense pressure of mother nature.
One after another, bolts of lightning assaulted the two Giant Skeletons. It roared loudly in pain and anger, but it was futile as they were still trapped within Marlene's 'thunderbolt prison.'
More... just a little bit more!!
Everyone stared at the miserable monsters that were being pounded by millions of volts of electricity again and again. They clenched their fist and silently prayed that everything would go smoothly like this until its death, but unfortunately, that was only their wishful thinking.
The thick gray clouds suddenly dispersed. Marlene's arms slumped down, her face pale. At the moment, she was leaning against a tree with her face full of sweat; she found out that both of her hands were trembling uncontrollably and wasn't able to lift them up. She might be a magical genius, but there was still a limit to her power after all. The spell she cast consumed a lot of Soul Power, and to channel it for such a long duration was already an incredible feat.
Wisps of smoke trails rose up into the air. Their bones were filled with fractures and covered in a thick layer of soot, but they were clearly still standing.
Rhode cursed under his breath. A trace of disappointment flashed across his face; but as an experienced leader, he knew it was pointless to complain.
He swung his sword and pointed forward.
Immediately after saying that, he shot forward with Celia towards the leftmost Giant Skeleton. Meanwhile, Sereck also made a move on the rightmost Giant Skeleton.
Before it could recover, the duo was already before the Giant Skeleton. One holy sword and one crimson sword slashed down in concert one after the other.
As Celia had wings, her flying speed was faster than Rhode. She reached before him and swung her sword at the Giant Skeleton. As the Giant Skeleton hadn't recovered fully from the lightning attack, it didn't think much and used its hands to block. This time, Celia wasn't thrown back by the impact; instead, she ignited her sword with holy flames and burned the Giant Skeleton's hand.
At the same time, Rhode arrived from behind!
Celia waved her silver sword and sliced off the Giant Skeleton's right leg. After losing its support, it roared angrily and fell to the ground. However, that didn't mean that it gave up, on the contrary, the moment it fell to the ground, all its bones scattered everywhere on the floor.
Rhode cursed again. From his countless experiences, he knew what was coming up. Unfortunately, the one thing he wished not to happen was about to become a reality.
Rhode clenched his teeth and held out his palm. A red card materialized and flew out, forming into the flaming black hound who immediately rushed towards the skull.
Suddenly, the scattered bone fragments that were idle a moment ago began to swirl rapidly around the skull. After a while, it formed a huge whirlpool in the air, creating an impenetrable fortress that blocked Rhode's attack.
Rhode waved his sword and sent a Blade of Destruction towards the whirlpool. However, the light was eventually swallowed and disappeared without a trace. Meanwhile, Celia fluttered her wings and tried to enter from above, but when she was halfway through, the spinning bone fragments blocked her way forward.
This is going to be troublesome...
Rhode panted as he stared at the whirlpool of bones before him. The only thing he could do now was to wait.
Then, a sudden dazzling light fell from the sky and crashed into the whirlpool. Due to the impact, the bones shook violently, and together with a loud roar, a faint explosion surfaced from inside the bone fortress. Soon, the bones began to slow and several fragments were strewn to the ground. Apparently, the black hound had used its self-destruct on the skull which took out half of its face. The Soul Fire in its remaining half was evidently dimmer than before.
Although Marlene's spell couldn't destroy the Giant Skeleton, the damage that it had done was considerable. At this moment, it finally had shown its effectiveness.
The angel rushed forward without hesitation. While in mid-air, her sword transformed into a silver light and pierced through the Giant Skeleton's skull. The surrounding bone fragments finally fell to the ground and stopped moving once its life source was destroyed.
Rhode didn't bother to watch Celia finish off the monster because he had already rushed towards the other side in with full speed. Sereck was in the same situation as he, fighting the Giant Skeleton's whirlpool defense. Rhode knew that they were already running late on time, so he had to finish it fast!
But he was still too late.
Suddenly, there was a sharp, resounding neigh of a horse in the distance.
The Death Knight has arrived!