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443 Underground Maze VI

 Metzel was exhausted.

The sword was never this heavy in his arms before and everything he slashed, it felt as though he was using up his remaining strength. He couldn't differentiate companions from enemies anymore. He brandished his sword innately at the black figure before him and that was his only countermeasure for dealing with this situation. Metzel fended off the enemies with his holy flames while his companions were responsible for annihilating the creatures that had broken through the silver-whitish flame barrier. However, how long could they sustain by doing this? Metzel didn't know and he couldn't grasp the elapsing time. Had one second, one minute, or one hour passed? These questions became meaningless to Metzel. Initially, these mercenaries thought that this would be the only wave of undead creatures and they would be fine after dealing with them. However, the never-ending stream of attacks had debilitated them mentally and physically.

"Argh!" A scream sent chills down Metzel's spine as he witnessed yet another companion of his dragged out of the flame barrier by a pitch-black charred arm. The companion struggled and stretched his hands to Metzel for help but, he disappeared to the other side of the flame barrier before Metzel could even react.

"Ahh!" The ear-piercing screams died under the howls of the devouring undead creatures.

"I can't hold on any longer, Metzel." The gentle voice of the Battle Angel sounded.

The Battle Angel gripped his sword tightly with an ashen expression. A young lady dressed as an archer scuttled towards him hurriedly and chanted with her arms apart. A soothing beam of radiance shrouded the Battle Angel and comforted his stricken self. However, it was an utterly inadequate measure.

"Metzel, do you have any solutions? If this goes on, everyone will be dead! Apart from these undead creatures, there are still those horrifying metallic creatures!" One of the mercenaries screamed.

"I..." Metzel knitted his brows, but his head was a mess.

The flustered young swordsman didn't know what to do to survive this life-threatening situation. Yet, as a leader of the group, he couldn't give up. Metzel was clear that no matter what, he couldn't give up his responsibilities as a leader. If not, death would find their way before they even knew it.

"What do we have left?" asked Metzel.

"Nothing left, Metzel," the young lady replied anxiously. "We do have some weapons left. I've run out of flame arrows and explosive arrows. What else can we do?"

What to do? I'm more curious to know the answer than you! Metzel felt helpless but even so, he had no intention of giving up. No matter what, he had to hang on. "Hang on, guys! Shrink our defenses! Sir Delno, please move back a little and don't minimize the size of your barrier!"

Live on. No matter what, we have to live on and every second counts. This isn't about honor or pride, but our human instinct to survive. No matter how incomparably hopeless it seems, we must hang on to the final second. The person who gives up life first will only face death. But, if we hang on, perhaps there will be miracles.

Everyone retreated and shrunk their defense circle. This forced them to the corner and apart from the tall, thick city walls, there was nothing else to protect them. However, even the city walls had become their enemies. They had no chance of escaping and they could only rely upon their backs against their final defense and hope to continue fighting back.

"Heyah!" The young swordsman slashed his sword at the skull of a Skeleton Soldier that barged through the flame barrier. But, instead of slicing it into two, his sword got stuck in the chink deeply.


Feeling a powerful pulling force, Metzel let go of his hands and the Skeleton Soldier dragged Metzel's sword out of the defense barrier instantly. If Metzel didn't let go of his grip in time, perhaps he would have been devoured by the undead creatures.

However, this struggle had exhausted the young swordsman's final bit of strength. He fell to the ground and couldn't raise his arms anymore.

"Metzel!" The young lady on the other side screamed in panic as soon as she saw Metzel fall on the ground.

The exhausted Battle Angel was unable to hold on any longer. The flame barrier once again thinned and the mercenaries couldn't contain their fears and desperation anymore. They worked so hard for this and in the end, they still weren't able to escape the claws of death?

At this moment, a bright, glaring radiance flashed.

The fascinating magical radiance flashed through the ground and deep, loud bells rang.


Perhaps they knew that death was near, or they had already given up. At this moment, the group was no longer concerned about the creatures that were about to pounce on them. Instead, they turned their heads towards the bell tower, where the heavy, depressing bells sounded from. That bell tower is still working it seems...? This question popped up in their heads.

Then, they realized that something was off.

A magical radiance flashed by. The undead creatures stopped moving and turned around as though they detected danger. But they turned back around and gazed at their trapped prey almost immediately. Those vivid lives and the glaring fighting spirit of their souls were the presence that the undead creatures were longing to perish.

The Battle Angel finally ran out of strength as he collapsed to his knees. The silver-whitish flame barrier vanished entirely.

Is this the end?

Seeing their most reliable companion collapsing to his knees, everyone shut their eyes and awaited the death that was about to strike them.

But suddenly, someone chided them. "It's too early to sleep, isn't it?"

"Eh?" The mercenaries widened their eyes in shock and they looked up curiously to find Anne landing on the ground from above.

The young lady crushed the ground with her shield mercilessly and sent rapid shockwaves across the place. In a blink of an eye, the undead creatures were blasted away. Anne raised her shield and the green wind element emerged. She roared and pushed forward.

Boom! The whizzing whirlwind erupted from the shield and swept the undead creatures away. The densely gathered undead creatures were as though gusted away by a leaf blower and in a split second, the battleground was cleaned out entirely.

"Phew... Easy peasy." Anne observed the damage that she had done and said with a proud smile. She turned around and winked at the frightened, yet relieved mercenaries. "It seems that you guys had a hard time. But don't worry. Leader said to rescue all of you, so you can be assured now."

"Leader?" The mercenaries lifted their heads and gazed towards the direction where Anne focused her attention on. A young man in a black attire walked towards them from the other side of the square.

"..." Even though that young man was alone, the undead creatures fixated their stares on him and roared aggressively while ignoring Anne and the other mercenaries.

"This brings back memories... Alright then, I shall see how different it is to clear this dungeon the traditional way," Rhode said with a smirk.

Countless magical rays radiated from his arms and coalesced into a huge, gorgeous summoning ritual emerging beneath his feet. Numerous flashy cards appeared from thin air and formed a circle with Rhode in the center. Undead creatures darted forward as soon as they realized the incoming danger.

Rhode smacked his palms together.

Pow! The colorful cards circulating around Rhode shattered into bits. A harmony of crimson flames, mysterious mist, bolts of lightning, and flawless radiance shrouded Rhode entirely as they emerged one after another. But this wasn't the end. As the cards shivered, a golden halo erupted from Rhode's body and spread across the square in a blink of an eye.

Taboo Halo, activated.