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446 Underground Maze IX

 Rhode finally got his answer after hearing Metzel's explanation. Although Delno was a Battle Angel in-training and the undead creatures by the entrance didn't pose a problem to them, this led these people into a dungeon which was out of their reach. Perhaps they would've retreated at the entrance if they didn't have a Battle Angel with them.

Rhode didn't doubt Metzel too much because when Rhode's group battled with the Necromancer BOSS previously, the Necromancer BOSS did summon a group of mercenary spirits and an Angel spirit against him. Yes... It seemed that they might be the captured ones...

"So then, what plans do you have next?" Rhode asked.

"I..." Metzel bit his lips.

Logically speaking, since he was lucky enough to survive the ordeal, the best choice would be to return home safely. However, humans were greedy creatures, so Metzel hesitated after meeting Rhode's group. After all, he was a young man who just started his adventures and his honor and responsibilities hadn't been ground with harsh life experiences. If a seasoned mercenary were in his shoes, perhaps he might have left immediately after expressing his gratitude. After all, the one and only life important was his and there was no need to risk it for someone else. Furthermore, he wouldn't be dumb enough to not escape from this dangerous place now that he had the chance.

However, Metzel didn't choose to do so. He knew what the best choice was, but his companions were drained and they had nothing more to offer in this place. But what about the companions that the Necromancer had captured? Those companions listened to his order to visit Castel Plateau and he was responsible for their dire situation. So was it right for him to give up?

An irresponsible leader was indeed a headache for most. However, a leader with a strong sense of responsibilities wasn't that good either. Rhode remained silent as he read Metzel's mind through his hesitant expression. After all, Metzel's decision wouldn't matter to Rhode.

After a few moments, Metzel seemed to have decided. He shut his eyes and took in a deep breath before lifting his head. "Pardon my rudeness, Mr. Rhode. May I know why you are here?"

"I guess perhaps you guys aren't aware that this is the Castel Plateau Ruins, which is a dedicated 5 Star Mission for guilds. We're here to complete this mission in the name of Starlight," Rhode answered.

"5 Star Mission...!" Metzel was flabbergasted and color drained out of his face. Although he was just a leader of a small group of mercenaries, he was still aware of the mercenary missions and a 5 Star Mission was a presence out of his reach. Initially, he felt that this underground ruins wasn't that simple and now it seemed that it was tougher than he had imagined.

Metzel gnashed his teeth and gazed at Rhode. "Mr. Rhode, I have a request..."

"I know what you are going to ask." Rhode interrupted Metzel's words without hesitation. "But this isn't my problem. You can do whatever you want as long as you don't hinder us. We won't take special care of you and we definitely won't stop you from throwing your lives away."

Metzel's eyes glinted as he bowed to Rhode respectfully and turned around. "Shirley."

"Metzel?" A young lady treating her companion's wounds stood up hurriedly. "What's the matter?"

She was clad in a light leather armor with a wide bow behind her back and an exquisite dagger in her belt. She seemed to be a proper Ranger. The young lady named Shirley arrived at Metzel's side and gazed curiously.

Metzel pondered for a moment before retrieving a coin pouch from the fold of his clothes and placing it on Shirley's hand. The young lady accepted the coin pouch in confustion as she gazed curiously at Metzel. "Shirley, I will continue our task by myself, so bring the others back to the city. This coin pouch has all the money that we have accumulated to date. I initially planned to expand our team and apply as an official mercenary group. However, it is all meaningless now. Bring the guys back and split the money with them. Then disband our team... As for our fallen companions, I will need to trouble you to compensate their families... This is all that I can do for them."

"What are you talking about?" The young lady widened her eyes in shock as she couldn't believe her ears. "Metzel, are you crazy? You want to stay here? Didn't we suffer enough!?"

"But..." Metzel paused.

"I know what you are going to say, but Metzel, this isn't your responsibility. No one knew that there would be this powerful Necromancer that even Battle Angel Sir couldn't defeat. So, what's the point of you staying in this place? I understand that you have a strong sense of responsibility, but not only do you need to think of our captured companions, you must think about us too! Initially, everyone agreed to your calling and gathered for adventures together as a mercenary team. And we promised and made it very clear that we wouldn't repent if any of us were to die. But now... you choose to abandon us?" Shirley exclaimed.

Woah... This sounds like a good 8 p.m. soap opera.

Rhode was so engrossed in their argument that he had leaned against the wall to admire the show. At this moment, Anne hopped her way to Rhode's side and tilted her head as she gazed curiously at the two of them. "Leader, what are they doing? Are they quarreling?"

"Shhh... Shut up and watch the show. This is quite interesting." Rhode feigned ignorance as he placed a finger by his lips.

Anne piqued her curiosity and nodded with her mouth sealed. She began to concentrate on the TV drama.

This was a true blue soap opera and a third-rate one at best. There was nothing to describe the dispute between the two of them. Although the young lady named Shirley objected violently, the bullet-headed Metzel didn't seem willing to give up on those captured companions. According to Metzel, he wouldn't give up regardless of if his companions were alive or dead. Even if they had been transformed into monsters by the Necromancer, he needed to see it to believe it. To Rhode, their debate was really boring. However, since there was a live romantic soap opera before them, it would be a waste not to watch it. On the other hand, Anne watched eagerly and it went to show that as long as one was a female, some things would never change no matter the place or time.

"This is the duty of a leader." Metzel said righteously.

"Idiot!" The young lady snarled and slapped Metzel on his cheek.

Pow! Rhode and Anne couldn't help but shrink their heads as the clear, crisp slap echoed throughout the space. Shirley turned around and stomped off to her other companions while Metzel stood red-faced as this tight slap seemed to have left a deeper wound than the Undead Army had managed to. He awkwardly stroked his cheek as he gazed rather reluctantly at Shirley's back .

Today's episode has ended. Please watch the preview for more information on the next episode.

Rhode lifted his shoulder in a half shrug and decided to leave. As he turned around, a tall figure blocked his path: the Battle Angel who was previously with Metzel's group. Rhode had heard from Metzel that this Battle Angel trainee was named Delno .Although Delno was still a trainee, he felt that this Battle Angel was much more experienced than Celia, an official Battle Angel. If Rhode were to compare a Battle Angel's age with a human's age, perhaps Delno would be in his middle years. Delno placed his right hand on his chest and bowed respectfully.

"I'm deeply grateful for your help, human," Delno said with a stiff voice and emotionless expression.

However, even so, Rhode detected a sense of danger in his tone. He squinted his eyes and carefully examined the Battle Angel before him. Delno lifted his head immediately after expressing his gratitude with sharp radiances in his eyes and questioned solemnly. "But human, why would you be with an evil Demon?"

This question finally made its way here.

Rhode knitted his brows as he expected the Battle Angel to question this. After all, the anti-undead spell that Celestina cast was loaded with a sinister aura that even humans would feel was strange, not to mention, a Battle Angel who was extremely sensitive to Demons. To be frank, it was very courteous of the Battle Angel to not declare war with Celestina instantly. If it were any other Battle Angel, perhaps they would have attacked without any signs of warning.

However, before Rhode could answer, an aroma spread from behind him.

"This is Master's choice. What has it got to do with you, a chicken with wings?" Celestina raised her head proudly and gazed at the Battle Angel with spiteful eyes.

She tugged the thorny whip on her hands and lashed out at the ground. This action reminded Rhode of an adult-rated scene that wasn't suitable to be made known to others... Okay, back to the fight. Celestina spread her pitch-black wings apart widely to provoke the pitiful Battle Angel.

"A small, little-underaged chick has the guts to talk trash before my Master? Who do you think you are?!" Celestina reprimanded furiously.

"Evil presence!" The Battle Angel burst into a fit of rage.

He sprung backwards and lifted his sword. Soon, holy flames began to burn on the blade. Although this Battle Angel was exhausted from the previous torment, he decided to ignite his life energy to exterminate the evil presence.

However, this 'glowing chick' before Celestina was no threat at all. She swung her right arm and lashed out a thorny whip. In a blink of an eye, the thorny whip extended swiftly and bound the Battle Angel's hands and legs before he could even reacte. The burning flames on his blade extinguished and faded, replaced with thick pitch-dark mist.

Celestina's evil powers were far beyond Delno's holy powers. This Battle Angel had no chance in fending off Celestina's ambush. His face began to pale and his hands started to tremble. Furthermore, rays of darkness stained his pure sword blade.

"You, this... evil..." the Battle Angel's expression sunk at the sight of the darkness on his sword.

He gritted his teeth and replaced his painful, hesitant expression with wrath. He snarled and the extinguished white flames once again erupted on the sword. However, this time, the holy flames seemed like a shivering small flame under the blizzard.

Everyone was dumbfounded. Metzel's group stood foolishly on the spot as they watched the confrontation between an Angel and a Demon. After all, as humans, they lacked the hatred towards evil that the Angels had. Furthermore, Celestina was a high-level Demon and even though she had dwindled her enticing powers, she was a gorgeous young lady in their eyes. Humans were always lied to by their eyes. It was hard to believe that such a stunning young lady was a sinister and terrifying Demon. However, there was no doubt that the pair of pitch-dark wings behind Celestina's back proved that she was one who belonged in the eternal evilness and darkness.

Furthermore, these people were the ones who rescued them from the undead creatures and these newbie mercenaries wouldn't even dare to rebel. However, Delno was also their benefactor and if it weren't for him, perhaps they wouldn't have held on until Rhode's group was here to rescue them. So which side should they help?

While the mercenaries were hesitating, Anne was clapping her hands and cheering on as though she was watching the continuation episode of the soap opera. However, not everyone was that amused.

Shing! A glaring white radiance flashed by and split the thorny whip in half, releasing its bind on the Battle Angel's sword. Delno lacked the strength to support himself anymore and he fell to his knees.

"That's enough." Celia sheathed her sword and gazed at Celestina in censure. "Now isn't the time for this. We still have to eliminate threats for Master. It's better to stop wasting time here."

"Hmph." Celestina held back a little and swept a glance at the half-kneeling Battle Angel. "Celia, I can understand your feelings and reparations for your foolish Angel companion. But to me, this profanity is an unforgivable felony. Not to mention, he tried to threaten my Master. Only death can apologize for such a disrespectful sin!"

Celestina smirked, followed by a taunting gaze. "Sure, I can forgive him. But, he has to apologize to me... Yea, by licking my boots clean! How about that?"

"You...!" Celia exclaimed and the air around them froze.

Even Metzel's group could sense the dark, evil, yet alluring aura leaking from the demonic young lady. It was as though an incapacitating agent was baiting them into the abyss and even though they knew they would perish in the end, they continued to pursue with no second thoughts. They would be humiliated and ridiculed by kneeling before her, however, as soon as they noticed her slender legs, they would lay on the ground uncontrollably to do anything for her. As long as they could get on intimate terms with her, even they would be willing to commit suicide.

However, this deadly lure was the source of sins to the Battle Angels.

"You, this evil..." Delno muttered furiously.

"Sister!" Celia detected the aura that Celestina released on purpose and yelled hopelessly.

"Why? Wanna go against me, Celia? Under such circumstances?" Celestina smirked and taunted.

"Under such circumstances, I think you two better stop." Suddenly, a nonchalant voice sounded and Gillian emerged between the both of them in a puff of smoke. "Master didn't summon you two here to watch you fight. Stop right now."