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 Scarlet flames spurted and dazzling sparks ripped through the darkness as they scattered wildly. The dark figure let out a snort and dodged the flaming ambush. Cullen sulked as he laid his hand forward and clenched. Shortly after, dark matter between his shriveled fingers surged forward and instantly extinguished the blazing flames. The area that shone brightly had as though been reoccupied by darkness and everything went silent. After a few moments, a green radiance lit up the space. Cullen stepped ahead and gazed at the crystal ball with a sullen expression. His dark pupils glinted with curiosity and astonishment.

This \"Night Lich\" didn't appear too different from other Liches. Or perhaps, Undead Creatures looked the same to humans. Similar to other Liches, Cullen was also a walking skeleton and it was unbelievable that he was a highly experienced Lich due to his dry, crumpled skin and age-marks on his face. If it weren't for his pupils lit with spiritual flames in the empty eye sockets, perhaps others would regard this Lich clad in a violet robe as an old man who didn't have much time left.

Ordinary Liches didn't have skin and muscles. They abandoned their bodies after transforming into Undead Creatures and the higher tier Liches didn't even need physical bodies. But Cullen was an exception. Even though he was a Great Lich, he was persistent in keeping his body. Even before he transformed into a Lich, he used alchemy spells to modify his body, which was why he appeared rather similar to humans now. This interest of his had become a source of amusement for the dark spell caster community. Some even ridiculed him that he might as well become a Vampire since he loved his body that much. Thereafter, Cullen had indeed became close to the Vampires, which turned him into a laughingstock in Country of Darkness. But, as he rose in strength and position, the sneers and ridicules vanished.

\"The enemy countered my detection spell.\"

Cullen's hoarse voice echoed in the darkness. He stared at the extraordinary crystal ball, which was also his spell casting tool. Even though it was expensive, it couldn't withstand the powerful strength and crumbled entirely. Not only that, but Cullen was also left with filthy smoke stains and the shimmering accessories on him dulled instantly. Unlike many spell casters who weren't engaged in honest work, Cullen was currently below the Intermediate Legendary Stage because he focused all his effort on alchemy research. However, this wasn't too surprising since Undead Creatures had unique traits over humans that helped them transcend into the Legendary Stage: they weren't alive, didn't have friendships, relationships, and lovers-wrong. It was because humans had double protection with their flesh and mentality, so even if they failed to transcend into the Legendary Stage, they had the chance to restart if they protected themselves from the backlash of failure. However, the Undead Creatures didn't have flesh as defense and could only rely on their spiritual energy to break through. Once their breakthrough failed... They would vanish into thin air.

But the Undead Creatures were 'undead', after all, and as long as they didn't die to schemes and assassinations, they could live on forever. It was due to this that the Country of Darkness held such powerful forces over the years, unlike the Light Mainland where legendary humans would be dead at the maximum of 150 years old. Judging from the entire situation, the Country of Darkness was much stronger than the entire Light Mainland. Even though Elves, Dwarves, and Angels had longevity, their flaw was that there were too few of them. Besides, it was hard for these three races to reproduce the next generation. Although there were a lot of humans, they were also the most fragile, where they wouldn't live for more than 150 years. On the other hand, the Undead Creatures might have just transcended into the Legendary Stage after the 150 years.

Judging from this aspect, the advantage of the Undead Creatures was their longevity while humans had fast speed growth. Both sides had weaknesses too. Humans couldn't live for long while Undead Creatures required a long time to reach the Legendary Stage, where almost every Undead Creatures took at least 200 years. This meant that if all the legendary creatures in the Country of Darkness died, they would a minimum of 200 years to recreate a new generation of legendary creatures while humans only needed 40 to 50 years.

This was one of the reasons also why Rhode led the legendary players and swept the Country of Darkness continuously. After they eliminated the high-level Undead Creatures, they didn't feel the pressure even when they faced the thousands of level 50 Undead Creatures thereafter... Besides, they didn't lose in terms of quantity. In the early stages of the game, a player who trained all day only needed less than half a year to reach the maximum of level 60 and those who trained fewer needed less than a year. The rate of growth for the Undead Creatures was totally incomparable to the humans.

Cullen was the perfect proof. Before he became a Lich, he was only an ordinary human apprentice under a Necromancer. Thereafter, he worked hard to change his destiny and touched the gates of the Legendary Stage within 40 years. In the end, in the face of death, he staked everything on one throw and became a Lich to break away from the Necromancer's control and eventually kill it. That was when Cullen inherited its assets, treasure, and territory and this became his foundation to strengthen his developments.

However, within the 300 years of being a Lich, Cullen had slow understanding of magic spells. In player terms, he merely leveled up from level 60 to 67 in the 300 years. Increasing by seven levels in 300 years. This pace was insanely slow to the players.

But this was the ordinary pace of the Undead Creatures.

No matter the Lich, Necromancer, or Vampire, their rate of growth were extremely slow. Besides, in addition to the numerous conspiracies and internal family frictions, some rising talents were killed before they revealed their outstanding feats. But due to long accumulation of time, not only did the internal family frictions not turn the Undead Creatures weaker, but they also separated the wheat from the chaff and uncovered the terrifying, powerful figures.

Although Cullen wasn't considered the best among the Liches, his expertise in creating magic equipment and alchemy potions was stellar. He didn't mind using external powers to compliment his magic equipment in boosting his strength into the Intermediate Legendary Stage. This was his proudest achievement because the higher the spell caster's level, the deeper they entered the Magic Circle and the lesser the assistance was required from external factors. It didn't mean that Cullen was weak and his magic equipment boosted him into the Legendary Stage. Instead, the magic equipment proved his achievements.

Cullen was proud of this. But this time, he realized that the situation was different from what he expected.

He sensed that there was a Mage spying on him and his army. Then, he stepped up and stopped them. This was a common situation for him and he was full of confidence because detection spells were incredibly fragile. No matter which type of detection spell it was, they were cast using the spell caster's mental strength and the farther the distance and wider the range, the more mental strength it required. But no matter what, there was no endless source of mental strength to support the spell, just like a kite that flew far away would eventually fall after its string was cut.

However, Cullen sensed the surging, powerful strength when he resisted and attacked simultaneously.

That pure, formidable magical power was as though a pouring storm, which caught him off guard. If it wasn't for his quick reaction to activate his defense accessory, perhaps he would be a goner by now. He was baffled.

Oh my gosh. That was so powerful. Will I stand a chance against the enemy when we face each other?

\"It's a Mage in the Peak Legendary Stage.\"

Cullen sulked and muttered under his breath. He stretched out his hand and touched the crystal fragments hovering in midair. They appeared to be burned by flames. Cullen narrowed his eyes and scanned carefully.

\"... Was it Amund?\"

A Necromancer beside Cullen asked with weakened spiritual radiance in his eyes. It was apparent that in the previous clash, this unfortunate Necromancer didn't hold as much protection equipment as Cullen, which resulted in his injury. But his plight wasn't too bad considering that the other two Necromancers assisting Cullen had perished into dust due to their low levels. This proved just how powerful Canary was.

\"It wasn't Amund.\"

Cullen shook his head. He sensed pure flames within the powers. Amund wasn't a fire elemental Mage, so this powerful strength definitely didn't belong to him. Not only that, but Cullen also sensed the presence of the wind element, which confused him.

\"T-That...\"

A timid voice sounded. Cullen turned around and spotted a young Vampire clad in a black, long robe. The latter gazed at Cullen hesitantly and subconsciously tightened his hug on the white cat in his arms.

\"... I-I heard that the young overlord has a subordinate who is a spell caster and has entered the Legendary Stage... Besides, in the previous battle, she was present too.\"

\"Oh?\"

Cullen's eyes glinted as he stared. At this moment, he recalled that this Vampire named Schrodinger standing before him was involved in the previous battle and was fortunate to escape. This time, Cullen had also brought him along in order to receive some intelligence and it seemed that his choice was right.

\"Really?\"

\"Y-Yes, Sir.\"

The young Vampire answered worriedly.

\"B-Back then, Master Simon was about to activate the supreme spell, but the young lady's spiritual body emerged out of nowhere. Then, she extended her hand and broke the supreme spell from Master Simon's supreme spell... It was the same back then. The gushing, dazzling flames almost devoured everything and Master Simon was gravely injured by it. That... It was the same for me, so...\"

Schrodinger didn't finish his sentence, but Cullen understood what he meant. It was apparent that the scene had scared him witless, which he fled and escaped death, unlike Simon and his pitiful men who were annihilated. It was punishable to flee at the last moment, but Schrodinger had the highest level among those who escaped and his life was spared so he could describe the entire situation perfectly. If it wasn't for Cullen who was heading into Land of Atonement fortress and needed someone to help him familiarize with the situation, perhaps Schrodinger would have been thrown into prison.

It seems that this battle is gonna be tough.

Cullen narrowed his eyes. A Peak Legendary Mage was unlike a Warrior. Mages' powerful spell casting abilities predetermined that they could control the entire battlefield. But for unknown reasons, Cullen felt that the enemy was stronger than the Peak Legendary Stage. He couldn't put a finger on it. After all, he was only in the Intermediate Legendary Stage and wouldn't understand things which he didn't grasp.

But apart from this, what made Cullen worried the most was the other report which mentioned that Simon's Undead Army suddenly disappeared from the battlefield. Any legendary beings could imagine this to be dragging others into their Order Dimension. But... how much strength was needed to drag the entire army in? Perhaps even the Light Dragon Soul couldn't achieve it.

Cullen felt that the situation was getting out of hand. The Undead Army had stationed here for a long time, but failed to capture detailed information about the enemies as the scouts that he sent were all discovered. Not only that, but he had also lost his precious Corpse Slave - Back then, Cullen was scared witless after he discovered that the black-haired young overlord tried to capture his spirit. If Cullen didn't abandon his ideas and flee right away, perhaps this entire army would have a new commander now. It was due to this that Cullen stopped dispatching high-level scouts whose might possibly be captured. All he could do was to use magic spells to observe the fortress from a distant. But the amount of information he could gain from it was limited.

It seems that the young man is retaliating... But this is fine too.

Cullen revealed an ice-cold smile. Then, he turned to his subordinates.

\"My detection spell has been destroyed and can't be cast for the time being. I expect the enemy to dispatch their troops to investigate our whereabouts any time soon. Strengthen our defenses and immediately report if there are any findings.

Cullen swept a glance at the empty seat and said in dissatisfaction.

\"Where's Nell?\"

\"Sir, she has left the campsite early in the morning. She said she has a mission to complete.\"

\"Hmph.\"

Cullen let out a snort.

The group of lowly Dark Elves was unpleasant to his eyes for a long time. If it wasn't for Balende, he wouldn't have led them here. Even though the Dark Elves held a higher status than the humans in Country of Darkness, they were nothing more than slaves and playthings to the Undead Creatures. Cullen had always suspected that the Dark Elves had other motives for coming here, but it had nothing to do with him.

Cullen was better off minding his own business.

Rhode came to a halt.

He scanned the surroundings. At this moment, there wasn't a single ray of light in the forest apart from the blood moon hanging high above. The pitch-black Dragon Soul protection from above had concealed all other radiance. Rhode found it amusing because, simultaneously, the sun was shining brightly on the other side of the boundary line. It seemed that science was completely cut off from this world.

Scarlet, dusky radiance from the blood moon illuminated and formed indistinct shadows from between the dense, withered branches. Rhode slid along the snowy path lithely without leaving any footprints. Ever since he entered the Legendary Stage, he realized that his nimbleness had reached a new height.

Celestina, on the other hand, didn't have any reasons to worry about this problem due to the pair of black wings behind her: she didn't need to walk.

\"Just a little more in this direction... We'll reach our destination after climbing over that mountain.\"

Rhode leaned against a boulder. He looked up and pierced through the darkness with his sharp gaze. According to Canary, there was a hill with deathly stillness on the other end. It was desolate and barren with white snow covering its gray grounds. Although it looked empty, Rhode detected the 'dead' hidden under the snowfield and the magic eyes concealed within the forest, which proved that he was on the right path and was getting closer to the Undead Army.

\"How troublesome. Those lowly Undead Creatures are still as annoying as ever.\"

Celestina knitted her brows and let out a snort. She crossed her arms and her scarlet eyes glinted with obvious disdain. \"What do you intend to do, Master? Why don't we slaughter our way through? Isn't this your specialty?\"

\"We...\"

Rhode turned to her, but as he was about to respond, he gestured hurriedly. Celestina nodded slightly and dark smoke erupted from her. After a few moments, she vanished and Rhode blended into the shadow between the two trees.

At this moment, three shadows leaped from above and surrounded Rhode silently.