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834 Welcome to the 71st Refuge

 Thereafter, everyone met with several ambushes, but they had gotten used to their attack patterns and dealt with them easily. However, this didn't mean that their test had come to an end.

"How much longer before we reach our destination, Rhode?"

Marlene wiped the sweat off her forehead. For a young lady born as a noblewoman, walking for hours was a torture for her. Not only her, but Lize and the others were also exhausted. What made the situation worse was that they didn't even know how long they had been walking. Was it a few minutes or hours? Marlene retrieved her pocket watch and saw the pointer positioned at three o'clock. If she recalled correctly, the previous time it was at six o'clock and now it was three o'clock... Could it be that they had been walking for nine hours?

Then, Rhode's answer devastated them.

"I don't know."

"You don't know?"

Marlene widened her eyes in disbelief. On the other hand, Lize's complexion turned ashen while Joey rolled his eyes hopelessly.

"Don't say that, Boss. Those people should be aware, right? How about asking them?"

"They won't know the answer either."

Rhode waved his hand and narrowed his eyes at the three Order Refugees. At this moment, they were raising their torches and moving in large strides. A dazzling silver thread on the burning torch acted as a guiding line that extended forward into the end of the Chaos fog. Of course, there were no forms of direction in Chaos and there were several times when Rhode felt as though he were walking around in circles. But...

"There is no distance, time, or anything that you can imagine here. Everything is shattered. Simply speaking, our connection to Order determines how long it will take for us to reach the refuge. If we're lucky, perhaps we can see the entrance in about 10 minutes."

"But what if we're unlucky?"

Anne asked excitedly. Judging from her looks, it seemed like she was fine with staying around here for much longer. Rhode slowed down his pace and turned to the curious young lady. Then, he shrugged.

"Then we will continue walking for days. Of course, this is according to the time that we all recognize. All in all, the destination is right there. We'll reach the place when we're there. If it isn't time for us to be there, then we're not there. So, it is still the same no matter if you walk or run."

"Oh my goodness. This is crazy!"

Joey hugged his head and yelled painfully. At this moment, the others were equally bewildered. Ever since entering the Land of Chaos, everything that happened had been illogical.

"Since that's the case, why do we keep walking? Boss, let's have a rest. Perhaps we may reach our destination after we wake up?"

Joey sobbed while rubbing his sore thighs. Then, he gazed out of the Order barrier at the Chaos fog. What made the situation worse was that this place wasn't in complete darkness as there were occasional dazzling flashes of radiance ripping through the darkness and merging to form an orange brilliance. But shortly after, the brilliance would turn azure or green, as though the mercenaries were in a disco. Apart from the glaring yet mesmerizing radiance, shadows would also emerge and dazzle their vision.

But most of the time, the Chaos fog shone a bright light of an unexplainable color, so no one could even shut their eyes for a rest. Although Marlene had cast a masking spell after getting Rhode's permission to weaken the brightness, it was still painful for them.

"Don't worry."

At this moment, the leader spoke.

"In here. Order is stable. It won't take. Too long."

"I hope so."

Rhode twitched his brow before sweeping a glance at Joey.

"In this Order barrier, our determination is also a form of strength. As long as we maintain the thought of 'reaching our destination' and push on, we will strengthen the Order barrier's strength and eventually reach our destination. So, stop grumbling and move on."

"Oh my goodness..."

Joey gave up and lowered his head helplessly while the others dragged their feet. Although they didn't complain, Rhode read their minds from their helpless expressions.

The influence of Chaos was everywhere. In this place, any action that denied the presence of Order would turn into the strength of Chaos instead and this was no exception to the players. Rhode clearly recalled that there was an unlucky player who lost his sense of time from being nonchalant and couldn't escape from Chaos. As a result, he had no choice but to restart with a brand new character.

The land beneath their feet suddenly turned into a path full of dry yellow soil and rocks without any lush greenery. Moreover, there was suddenly a gentle downward slope which perked everyone up. Although they didn't know what this meant, they instinctively felt that this was a great sign.

As expected, at this moment, the three Order Refugees came to a halt. Then, they raised their Order torches and yelled in a strange, unrecognizable language. The flames on their torches blazed while the silver thread ejected from within, spreading and merging with the indistinct road mark and strong gales blew out of a sudden.

"Wow..."

Anne widened her eyes in astonishment. After the whistling gales stopped, the Chaos fog around the barrier dispersed and revealed everything before them. They discovered that they had arrived at the entrance of a cave where there was a large, circular, and rusty metallic door with two flame torches hanging beside it.

As the three Order Refugees approached, the two torches hanging by the metallic door surged and shone a golden brilliance to form a dense net of light that spread to both sides. Rhode twitched his brow at this sight.

Not every refuge is capable of attaining such a pure Order protection.

"Who's out there?"

A deep, hoarse voice sounded. Then, the leader replied.

"It's me, Sir. I brought. The guests. That you invited!"

"..."

After a few moments of silence, the deep, ear-piercing screech sounded from the metallic door. The metallic plate on the door rotated and after a loud rumble, the door opened gradually.

"Marlene, Lize, Anne."

Rhode took a few steps back and gazed sternly at them.

"Remember to inform the others that after we enter the refuge, don't separate themselves from the team and don't eat anything that they offer us. No matter if the food is given by the seniors or children, just don't eat them. I don't want to see any idiots turning into bargaining chips that will be used to blackmail me. Just treat this place as a mental asylum. Understand?"

Rhode turned around. "John, Marfa. Look after the rest and don't let them act alone. That includes going to the loo. Understand?"

"Yes, Sir."

John and Marfa nodded firmly. Then, Rhode shifted his gaze to the entrance that was opened wide. The leader gazed coldly at Rhode before beckoning to him.

"Welcome. To the. 71st Refuge."

He said.

The refuge. A spectacular miracle.

In the ancient, indescribable past, the Creator Dragon Souls used their bodies to create this continent and eradicate Chaos. However, Chaos didn't retreat immediately and did their best to return to this world. Back then, the first generation of ancestors avoided the threats of Chaos and escaped into the underground to establish this refuge. They stored the tinder that was closely connected to Order within it and defied Chaos. After Order stabilized entirely and eliminated Chaos from this world completely, people would walk out of the refuge and lead their lives on the surface and this refuge would also be sealed...

And now, Rhode and his men were walking in this miraculous history.

This refuge appeared like an underground city. On both sides of the ten-meters-tall ceiling were several buildings. The entire refuge looked like a cone assembled by countless small squares. The narrow path that only two people could walk side by side at once was built on these square buildings, forming several paths and stairwells. Looking from a distance, it seemed like a dense spider web had enveloped the city.

However, this city lacked vitality.

Marlene knitted her brows and gazed anxiously at the surrounding. Perhaps due to the fact that outsiders seldom visited them, the residents scanned them curiously. Marlene had been to slums after becoming a mercenary and thought that the people living in slums were the most pitiful ones. However, compared to the Order Refugees, it was as though the difference between a noble and beggar! The Order Refugees were all skinny, malnourished, and most of them were unclothed, except from being covered by a few tattered clothes. Not only that, but they were also unwashed and unkempt. It was due to this that Rhode's men who were dressed properly looked more like the weird ones.

Moreover, there was also an unbearable stench exuding in the entire city, where even Anne pinched her nose...

"Boss sure is cool..."

Joey exclaimed in awe as he gazed at Rhode who strolled casually with his hands behind his back. Randolf and Sol nodded in agreement. Although Sol was a Half-Demon and led a tough life, this unbearable stench was still too much for him. On the contrary, Rhode didn't even bat an eye and this left Sovann admiring him even more. No matter what, he treated Rhode also as a nobleman, so he didn't expect him to be this tolerant. Since their leader could handle it, they shouldn't embarrass him further.

Perhaps due to Rhode's group being fully equipped, they were especially eye-catching in this place. However, no one tried to stop them. Instead, they quickly moved away like frightened animals as though Rhode and his men were terrifying monsters who would prey on them anytime.

"How pitiful..."

Lize gazed at the Order Refugees and muttered under her breath. She shook her head in complicated emotions. In fact, she wasn't sure why Rhode was searching for the tinder until after Marlene explained to her the relationship between the tinder and the Order Refugees in this refuge. In other words, the ancestors who appeared poorer than beggars had been living here since centuries ago? They escaped to this place in order to avoid the Chaos. But now... Perhaps no one imagined that they would be living in such conditions.

Everyone ascended a spiraling staircase and reached the highest point of the refuge. They stood on a triangular, three-storey-tall stone tower. Then, the leader went up to the stone door and knocked.

Then, the stone door gradually opened. The leader turned to Rhode.

"The elder is in here. You people..."

"I will meet him alone."

Rhode interrupted. Then, he swept a glance at his men before shifting his gaze to the person standing by the rear.

"Gillian."

"Ah. I'm here. Is anything the matter? Master?"

"I'll leave them to you."

"Got it. Just leave them to me. I guarantee that these idiots won't do anything stupid."

"Good."

Rhode nodded in satisfaction. Then, he turned around and entered the stone tower.

The heavy stone door closed behind him. Rhode strolled forward while dark green radiance shone from both sides of the walls, illuminating the dark tunnel. Rhode held his guard up, narrowing his eyes and laying his hand on the side. The moment he entered this stone tower, he instantly sensed a chilly aura locking onto him. It was apparent that the other party had also entered the Legendary Stage. If not, he wouldn't possess such strength. However... Instead of saying that the other party was spying on him, it would be more appropriate to say that he was purposely displaying his strength. Since that was the case...

"Hmph."

Rhode squinted and let out a snort.

In an instant, razor-sharp spiritual energy erupted from him and entirely crushed the aura that was locked onto him. Thereafter, hastened coughs were heard echoing through the corridor. Then, after a few moments, a frail voice sounded.

"Young man, don't you think this is too much?"

"I apologize, but I don't think so."

Rhode said expressionlessly.

"Before you complain, you should consider if what you're doing is right. Although I'm the guest and am not in the place to grumble, I have to tell you that I dislike being watched from the dark, especially by one who is this brazen. I'm sure you can give me an explanation? If not, I may take actions that involve the Order Refugees out there."

"Hahaha..."

The frail voice burst into laughter instead of being furious.

"It seems like. You understand us well. Young man. I think. We can have a good talk. Come in..."

At this moment, the slab on the corridor shifted their positions and formed a black door. It slowly opened and candle flames dazzled from within. Rhode twitched his brow and pushed the door open.