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734 Darkness Falls I

 \"They're here.\"

Rhode stood above the city walls and gazed into the darkness. The world wouldn't be changed by the will of people. No matter how much they disliked it, the Undead Creatures wouldn't care about their feelings. Fortunately, it was peaceful in the fortress during this period of time. After they heard that the Undead Army was about to launch their attacks, the soldiers appeared rather anxious. Rhode secretly observed that his men who participated in the previous battle were more confident. On the other hand, Bayer's men seemed concerned as it would be their first experience taking on the Undead Army. In order to prevent accidents, Rhode split and merged them with his soldiers to 'infect' them with the confidence of the 'veterans'. Sometimes, simple speculations were more frightening than reality and Rhode didn't wish to see his side crumble to delusions and fear before the war began.

Moonlight illuminated the leaves that rustled in the chilly night breeze. In contrast, the snowy field seemed as though a sheet of pure, white paper: eye-catching and dazzling. Rhode knitted his brows, at the same time cursing the Undead Creatures for always attacking at the worst possible times. But, he was also aware that they did this to make the enemies uncomfortable and for their own benefits. As Undead Creatures whose powers came from the source of darkness, they would be heading down a path of destruction if they revealed themselves under the sky of the Light Dragon Soul. They didn't send out a thousand Vampire just to see them perish.

Everything will officially start tonight.

Rhode took in a deep breath. The only thing that both sides had to do was to compete on patience and resources. The last side standing would be the victor while the loser would lose everything.

\"Leader Beni.\" Rhode turned around. \"I'll be relying on you next. Everything will be fine if you go according to our plans.\"

Beni pondered for a moment with her eyes closed. Then, she looked at Rhode and nodded firmly without any signs of fear and nervousness in her eyes. They were as clear as usual and with some burning determination.

\"Of course, Sir Overlord. We're ready.\"

\"Good.\"

Rhode nodded in satisfaction. He turned around and his expression became stern. He gazed at the map in his system interface where darkness was spreading across his territory.

\"The battle has begun.\"

Cullen raised his arms high. His eyes were surging in excitement and craze. He clenched his fists and even his ice-cold body was as though heated up once again. He lowered his gaze. Countless Undead Creatures. Skeleton Soldiers assembled neatly in rows while Death Knights and Skeleton Guards stood by their far ends and rear. The Skeletal Trolls stood among them and shoulders were full of Ghouls and Skeleton Archers with their large crossbows aiming forward. On the other hand, the hills were filled with Gargoyles and Soul Griffins while Vampires waited in silence below them. However, their scarlet, dazzling eyes showed their eagerness to strike.

\"This will be the start of our glory! From now onward, darkness will fall and take over every corner of this continent. The dead will be resurrected and we will gain supreme honor! Everything is for the sake of the Country of Darkness. We will make mortals taste the true meaning of death and bow down to the Undead forever! This supreme honor will be offered to our mighty majesty. He shall lead us to victory!\"

Cullen swung his arm. The spiritual flames in his eyes pulsed intensely.

\"Attack!\"

The Necromancers stood in their positions hurriedly in a perfect circle with the summoning stone in their middle. Then, they chanted curses in unison and magical powers flowed through the ritual circle beneath their feet. As their chants became louder, the ten furnaces around them reacted. Magma spurted wildly into flame columns and thick sulfuric air exuded from within. The powerful magical energy captured the worthy creatures to be brought into this world and created a channel for them. Shortly after, they entered the widely opened doors to this world...

\"---!\"

Along with an ear-deafening screech, the peak of the flame columns erupted and spread in all directions to form an enormous, burning 'cloud'. Then, the 'cloud' headed toward the indistinct fortress that was illuminated by the bright moon. As the cloud soared forward, the layer of snow on the ground melted and evaporated into white mist while the ice-cold soil softened. Shortly after, the magma overflowed from the furnaces and engulfed everything. They twisted, gathered, and transformed into the shape of a wild animal.

The burning 'cloud' charged ahead.

They're here.

Rhode gazed at the exceptionally glaring scarlet cloud in the distant dark sky, where the ground beneath lit up like in conflagration.

That was neither a cloud nor forest fire.

The flames in the air formed the shape of an enormous bird flapping its wings while its three, dazzling long tails streaked across the sky. The ravaging flame creatures on the ground darted across the snowy field, melted everything in their path, and revealed the ghastly pitch-black soil.

\"W-What's that!\"

Many soldiers screamed in horror and were at their wits' end. Rhode's brow twitched after watching their reactions and shook his head slightly. But this was the reaction he had expected. After all, the natives weren't players and he didn't intend to rely on them from the start.

\"Master.\"

An apathetic voice sounded and he recognized it immediately. Agatha and the other Ocean Elves had arrived. They stepped to the front end of the city wall and even though the soldiers didn't know what the Ocean Elves were up to, they quickly made space for them.

\"We're ready.\"

\"I know.\"

Rhode nodded. He stretched out his right hand and shortly after, a golden interface emerged before him.

[Activate the Fantasy Channel-Silver Ocean]

\"---!\"

\"What happened?\"

The soldiers heard sounds that resembled waves crashing the shore and looked over the city walls. Shortly after, they witnessed the moat receding like the tide as though they were attracted by a force. Then, the receded water spurted.

Boom!

The spurted water created a barrier over the city walls while chilly air spread to form a thin layer of frost. Waves threshed continuously and crystal-like wild beasts leaped out from within. They snarled and extended their claws. Not only that, but there was also a school of translucent, elegant Batfishes hovering above. They flapped their fins and their thin, shining tails were as though beautiful masterpieces under the bright radiance of the moon.

\"Oh my goodness...\"

Frederick murmured under his breath and clutched his sword hilt blankly. Even though he had been guessing what Rhode relied on to resist the Undead Army, he finally realized that the situation was beyond his wildest imaginations. He felt as though he was in a legendary, fantasy story right now.

But this wasn't the end.

Rhode gazed at the rising numbers on his system interface. Unlike the Undead Army's pathetic elemental summoning door, the Fantasy Tree in his possession was much purer and stronger. In fact, it didn't require much magical power to summon creatures from other planes of existence. What was more important was to establish a secure channel and provide them with presences that allowed them to 'attach' to. As the Undead Army's ritual was too impromptu, they needed to rely on numbers to win, which was why they built ten elemental summoning doors. On the contrary, Rhode didn't need to rely on these numbers to secure his sufficient manpower.

The quantities of [Batfish] and [Phantom Beast] had been increased to 5000. The silver-whitish clouds and flickering ice radiance on level ground had almost blended into one. The only ones unlucky were the soldiers standing above the city walls, where the bone-chilling cold air left them shuddering.

But quantitative advantage wasn't the only thing which Rhode wanted to secure.

He snapped his fingers.

Shortly after, a dark halo spread out with him in the middle!

[Taboo Halo]. Activated.

At the same time, all the elemental creatures around him reacted.

Grrrr!

The Phantom Beasts lifted their heads and let out menacing growls.

Their body became even clearer and larger. In the blink of an eye, the wolf-sized Phantom Beasts became as huge and tough as rhinoceroses. Not only that, but razor-sharp ice thorns also extended from their shoulders. In midair, the transparent Batfishes were now equipped with thicker ice armor. Their beautiful long tail had extended by more than two-meters while the sharp, dazzling ice edges on their tails let off an ice-cold radiance. On the other hand, the Ocean Elves became taller, took up the shape of the standard Elves, and their tentacles turned into ornament-like ribbons and sleeves that connected their bodies. Not only that, but their hair also became smoother and silkier and the constantly moving tentacles looked as though seaweed swaying in the sea.

Rhode looked ahead and gave a short command.

\"Attack.\"

At the next moment, the scorching sea of flames and silver-whitish waves clashed heavily.

Water versus fire.

The Ocean Elves above the city walls chanted in harmony and under the enhancements of Taboo Halo, their abilities were enhanced to about the standard of Elite Stage Mages. Moreover, they had advantages over fire elemental creatures with their water element attribute. This was also why Rhode brought Agatha and the Ocean Elves into battle. Besides, they didn't need to gather elemental powers like humans through long, complicated chants.

They extended their tentacles and gestured swiftly. Then, ice-cold mist erupted from level ground and their coldness froze the water element floating in midair, which devoured the fire elemental creatures.

What's an archenemy?

An archenemy is one who understands your weakness the most.

The burning flames on the fire elemental creatures were weakened drastically as soon as they charged into the mist. But this was only the start because at this moment, the Phantom Beasts pounced and slashed their menacing claws. Even though the Phantom Beasts became as enormous as rhinoceroses after the enhancement from Taboo Halo, their movements were surprisingly quick, like fish swimming freely in the water. The flames burning on the wolf-sized fire elemental creatures extinguished immediately after they crashed to the ground. However, they stubbornly widened their jaws and blasted scorching flames which struck the Phantom Beasts and left ghastly, melted scars on their crystal clear bodies. But even so, the Phantom Beasts crunched the enemies' throats and the enemies died in their self explosions. After a few moments, the smoke dispersed and the Phantom Beasts shifted their attention onto other enemies.

On the other hand, the battle between the Flame Crows and Batfishes were equally unstoppable.

Silver radiances flashed.

One of the flexible, elegant Batfishes flew over and slashed its tail on one of the Flame Crows. Steam burst out from the Flame Crow's wound and it let out an anguished wail. However, it extended its razor-sharp claws to retaliate and both sides clashed it out in the dense steam.

The soldiers above the city walls were completely stunned.

They stared blankly at the scenes in the air and on the ground that were filled with steam and chilly mist. Bright flares flashed from time to time and loud explosions were heard.

\"Leader Beni.\"

Rhode wasn't in the mood to admire this beautiful scene.

\"How's the situation?\"

\"We don't have a chance yet.\"

\"Hmph.\"

Rhode twitched his brow and let out a grunt.

\"Don't worry. I shall see how long they can hold back.\"

Rhode extended his arm and along with his movements, the waves that were as tall as the city walls extended once again. Then, tens of thousands more water elemental creatures emerged and joined in the battle.