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653 Uninvited Guests I

 After several years, Sol was still deeply moved by this scene. Back then, he had become a powerful and respectable commander. He thought about when they first fought the Orcs on the Ice Field and let out endless sighs.

"Frankly speaking, I thought that we were doomed when the Orcs flooded toward us. There was a huge slip-up in our first battle and there were 10 times more enemies than us. All we had was a tattered fort and most of us bore a grudge against Sir Overlord. Although he appeared to be really calm, I thought that he was merely feigning it. But I finally understood where his confidence came from after witnessing his attack... I've never seen anyone with such powerful and threatening powers. The strong Orcs shuddered before him... And everything ended swiftly."

Rhode leaped down from the fort wall and dashed toward the sea of Orcs in a dark shadow. The Half-Demons gazed in awe and even though they had been through training sessions with Rhode, they had never fought alongside him. Therefore, they weren't aware of this young overlord's strength. They exclaimed in astonishment as he faced the 300 Orc riders alone. On the other hand, the group of mercenaries who had fought shoulder to shoulder with Rhode looked on calmly. They didn't fluster like the Half-Demons. Instead, they quickly hopped on to their preparations to coordinate with Rhode in his attack.

The Orc riders bellowed fiercely. Not only did they fail to capture any Humans after being led about by John's Cavalrymen like fools, but they also fell into the Humans' trap, where the fort wall collapsed and buried 200 of their companions. As soon as they witnessed a fearless Human dashing toward them, they howled fiercely and challenged him. The skinny, fragile Human wasn't worth a mention to them at all. They wanted to capture him, break his hands and legs, and leave him dying in endless pain. This was the only way to vent their frustrations!

"Human! Attack!"

A murderous glint flashed in Bobo's eyes. He stretched his hand out to push the Human down. But Rhode lifted his head and swept a glance at him.

A cold, shimmering light flashed.

The earth-shattering, vast sky of stars dazzled and the razor-sharp sword aura whizzed toward the defenseless Bobo. The flickering radiance ripped through his massive body without any resistance. Fresh blood splashed and the impact propelled him into the air. Then, he crashed lifelessly on the ground.

At the same time, Rhode struck forward.

No one could keep up with his speed. A series of afterimages leaped across the snowy field and in the blink of an eye, Rhode arrived in the middle of the Orc rider group. Even though he was surrounded by a dozen massive Orcs, he didn't fluster at all. In the Dragon Soul Continent, this was the favorite scenario for the Spirit Swordsman, one of the three best solo classes.

Grrrr!

The Orcs raised their weapons and brandished at him. However, the heavy weapons didn't hit their target. Rhode rolled through an opening and extended his right arm. A scarlet card emerged and blazing flames erupted in his hand.

Boom!

A dazzling, scarlet flare exploded and the Orcs around him retreated in fear. At the same time, the Hell Hound leaped out of the blaze and bolted toward the Orc, flames burning in each of its three mouths.

"Monster! Fire! Monster!"

The Hell Hound's grand appearance forced the Orcs back. As an ignorant and backwards tribe, the Orcs were extremely fearful of unusual presences. Although the Hell Hound was only capable of taking down two to three Orcs, Orcs had never seen such a creature that should belong to Hell.

The pitch-black shadows twisted and countless tentacles scurried from within to twine around the Orcs and Rhino Beasts, limiting their every movements.

But this was only the start.

A fully-armored Centaur Knight rushed forward with its pike and punctured an Orc. Then, it swept its pike into the air and flung the corpse away like a rag doll before taking down another target. Not only that, but the little mermaid also hovered in midair and unleashed sleet as arrows.

This ambush left the Orcs in confusion and disorientation. They couldn't understand why so many mysterious beings appeared all at once. The Orcs trembled in fear. The Hell Hound and Nether Tentacles were beings from Hell and naturally weren't pleasing in appearance, which deepened their fears.

"Human! Demon! Human! Demon!"

Facing this outrageous scene, the confidence in them had dwindled to nothingness. They cried frantically and turned away from the terrifying black-haired Human. The Half-Demons looked on vacantly from the fort wall. They didn't realize that Rhode possessed such a strange battle style. What exactly are those battle techniques?

Lize and her team of Clerics chanted softly. Flickering golden runes emerged above their palms and linked up to form a perfect gold chain. Randolf and his team of Rangers lifted their longbows and aimed at the enemies.

Lize stopped chanting and pushed her hands forward to send a golden, dazzling sphere of light forward. It flew across the sky and struck their way of retreat. Shortly after, the tiny sphere of light spread in two directions, forming a golden wall that obstructed their retreat.

Randolf and his Rangers didn't stand by idly either. They knew that they could only rely on themselves in the absence of John's Cavalrymen. They released their precious magic arrows at the enemies and in an instant, a harmony of lightning, thunder bolts, and fireballs bombarded the frantic enemies. The Orcs tried to escape, but could not break the invisible wall. At this moment, the Centaur Knight and Hell Hound pounced forward from both sides and launched their attacks.

The situation had become one-sided in an instant.

This wasn't anything surprising for Rhode. He was level 50 and his summoned spirits had also grown dramatically in strength. Apart from the Spirit Bird with low inner qualities and could only rely on elemental powers to bring trouble to the enemies, summoned spirits like the Hell Hound and Centaur Knight had increased tremendously in strength. The Nether Tentacles' defense values had increased to 15 points and could be considered an elite card at its peak. This meant that spells or swordsmanship techniques that were weaker than the Peak Master Stage couldn't breakthrough the Nether Tentacles' restraint and defense. It went without saying for the Orcs. If Rhode was capable enough to fill the entire venue with the Nether Tentacles, perhaps the Orcs would be bound tightly and obediently waiting to be shot dead.

As the situation took a drastic turn, the group defending the fort turned around and launched their attacks on the Orcs altogether. The evil, mysterious creatures and Humans combined hands to take on the Orcs, which stirred up the Orcs' aggression. The Orcs turned around and yelled as they pounced toward their enemies.

But this was their final assault.

The tri-headed Hell Hound leaped across the snow field with its widened mouths burning in sulfuric-smelling flames and blasted everything in its path. Instead of dodging the attack, an Orc clutched the Hell Hound's neck in spite of the flames burning on his lacerated chest and arms.

The Orc didn't realize that Rhode had raised his pitch-black sword.

Rhode twitched his brows slightly as he gazed with smiling eyes. A dazzling spiritual radiance emanated from Succubus in his hand. Then, he swung forward.

Countless meteor-like blade rays sliced through the air. The immense air stream swept up the thick snow and the broken sound barrier pierced their ears and enveloped them entirely.

At the next moment, a contrasting red smeared across the white, fluttering snowflakes. The incredible explosion of scarlet flames devoured the pure white snow as though an oil painting changing its colors in an instant.

The battle had ended.

The Orcs had been scared witless. They were caught off guard by the alliance of Sol and Marfa's groups from the rear and the magic traps set up by Joey previously. Then, Randolf's magic arrows had wiped out nearly 200 Orcs. Moreover, Rhode's appearance instantly increased the count to over 500 deaths. The remaining Orcs had no chance against the well-equipped elite squad and were wiped out in the blink of an eye.

This was also why Rhode was so confident in this battle. In fact, if he wished to eliminate the Orcs, he wouldn't need their help at all. As long as Celia, Celestina, Gracier, and Madaras were around, he could slaughter his way into the fort, activate the Taboo Halo, and grant freedom to the four presences in the Legendary Stage to wipe out even thousands of Orcs.

However, Rhode didn't take action until the very end in order to strengthen the coordination of his men. He realized that the situation at the end was rather concerning, which was why he had chosen to settle the Orcs by himself. But he wasn't feeling delighted because, even though his men coordinated well at the start of the battle, he wasn't able to test out his tactic fully. Although his men were trained in the situation where the reinforcements from the rear failed to appear, that was established under the fact that the main forces were trapped or defeated by the enemies. Under such a circumstance, there were only three choices for Rhode. Firstly, he could choose to retreat instantly and escape to the Land of Atonement using the Teleportation Door. Flee if one couldn't win in battle-that was the essence of guerrilla warfare. Second, Rhode could shield the others as they retreated. Even though he was level 50, the four Holy Sword Cards in his arsenal were as strong as the Legendary Stage. Even though the four cards were restricted by their seals, the Taboo Halo could only transcend them to the Legendary Stage and they couldn't use the Order Dimension like other legendary weapons, Rhode trusted that he would have a high chance of success with the average low battle strength and level of the NPCs in this world, unless he was facing presences such as the Four Legendary Generals or the heir of the Dragon Souls.

The third choice was to defend their position and wait for the main forces from the rear to arrive before launching the pincer attack. Rhode had intended to use this third method to train his men. However, John's sudden disappearance was too unusual and he might as well end the battle as soon as possible.

"Mr. John... Where could he be?"

Lize murmured behind Rhode and scanned the surrounding ice field worriedly. However, there were still no signs of him or his Cavalrymen at all. After sweeping up the battlefield, everyone gathered around with unique expressions. But their suspicions were all the same. Even though eliminating the Orcs wasn't an important mission, this was their first time engaging in a coordinated tactic, after all. However, John vanished into thin air without any proper reason, which left them rather resentful. They also wished to see this tactic succeed. Everything had gone smoothly from the start, but the unexpected situation at the end forced Rhode to take actions himself. Although this could also be considered part of the tactic, some of them felt dissatisfied. It would be fine if Rhode assisted them in the face of the Undead Legion. But it wasn't desirable that these Orcs landed them in such a miserable state.

At the same time, everyone had the same doubt. Where in the world are John and his troops?

Everyone was informed beforehand the tactic and they were clear of the Cavalrymen's strength. Although in terms of individual strength, the Cavalrymen weren't comparable to the elite squad, their gathered forces shouldn't be belittled. No one believed that they were murdered by the Orcs. But if that wasn't the case, what else could explain it?

"Boss, do you want a few of us to search for them?"

Joey flipped the dagger in his hand and scuttled toward Rhode. His usual witty smile had been replaced by a stern expression.

"We didn't find any spoils of war from the Orc corpses. I guess that fella John wouldn't be defeated by them that easily. Perhaps an accident has happened?"

"Ah, Leader. Look!"

As Rhode nodded in agreement, suddenly, Anne jumped up and yelled loudly. She pointed forward and everyone followed her gaze. They were astonished. On the horizon of snow, a black figure emerged and darted toward the group. Even though the figure was sprinting, it appeared seemingly slow in the eyes of the anxious group. They opened their eyes wide and stared at the figure in the distance. But at this moment, Rhode frowned and instantly recognized that the figure was indeed one of the Cavalrymen. However, he felt that something was amiss. The Cavalryman didn't seem to be injured and there were no signs of damage on his armor. On the contrary, his expression was filled with anxiety. What happened?

In a few moments, the Cavalryman witnessed the pile of Orc corpses and his eyes brightened instantly as soon as he spotted Rhode. He urged on his warhorse and flipped down his saddle hurriedly before the warhorse came to a halt.

"Sir! Sir! It's great that everyone's doing fine... W-We have met with trouble!"

"Calm down."

Rhode twitched his brows and responded softly. The Cavalryman took in a deep breath and held himself together.

"Sir John and the others have been trapped!"

"What?!"

The men exclaimed in shock. Rhode waved his hand for them to remain silent before gesturing to the Cavalryman for him to keep talking. This was what happened. While John's Cavalrymen lured the Orc riders away, this Cavalryman had led his warhorse much farther away from the others due to fear. As a result, he failed to return to the group immediately. He knew that John was strict on discipline, so he desperately tried to return before John led his Cavalrymen back to the fort.

However, he never expected that an accident would happen at that moment. A group of Mage and Warriors emerged out of nowhere and surrounded John's group. The Cavalryman smartly came to a halt and flipped down his mount to peek at the situation from behind the snowy hills. The intruders came aggressively and John seemed afraid to take them on bravely. Shortly after, John's group were stripped of their equipment. This lucky Cavalryman realized that the grave situation and he hurried back to the fort to report the situation to Rhode.

"Stripped of their equipment? Who dares to do that?"

Marfa exclaimed in surprise.

"We're the private soldiers of Sir Overlord, so even regional corps have no rights to do this!"

Many of them nodded in agreement. Yes, they weren't mercenaries anymore. Instead, they were private soldiers governed directly by a noble and weren't restricted by any regional corps. The regional corps by the borders wouldn't dare question them at all as soon as they announced Rhode's name. But now, there was a group of people who dared to do that?

Rhode wasn't as astonished as Marfa. He calmly listened to every word of the Cavalryman and said.

"Have you seen who they are?"

"Y-Yes, Sir. As clear as crystal."

The Cavalryman sucked in a deep breath and stuttered.

"T-They are... the Country of Light's army.