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848 Callings of the Bloody Field

 The bright flares couldn't disperse the dense darkness in the tunnel leading to the Bloody Field. If it were in the past, the patrol team would be in tremendous pressure gazing at this endless dark tunnel. They knew how terrifying the devils were. Although the devils might be low in level, it was their fearless mentality that frightened the soldiers. If the soldiers couldn't slaughter them all, they would be submerged and devoured by the bottomless swarm until the true, mightiest devil showed up. Some of them had witnessed such a scene. Unless one was extremely lucky, one wouldn't escape death.

But now...

Everyone gazed in complicated emotions at the Elves who clad in glass armor, carried long bows on their backs, and had thin swords hung around their waists. They had lined up in a triangular formation, protecting the patrols in the middle. The patrols who should have been escorting them became the escorted ones. Although they didn't feel great about that, they couldn't find a reason to grumble at the sight of these Elves.

The soldiers naturally sensed the powerful, overwhelming aura from the Elf young ladies who seemed to be around 17 years old. Even in an army, only the most powerful beings in the Legendary Stage held the right to possess such an aura.

They didn't expect to enter the Bloody Field under such a circumstance.

However... These warriors were unlike what they imagined.

"Lesa."

Rhode walked in the middle, knitting his brows at the Elves. Frankly speaking, these Bow Knights indeed made him proud when they first showed up. Besides, they were serious and swift in executing commands, which left General Kaplan gawking in admiration. But after advancing in the underground tunnel for a while, the Bow Knights immediately dismantled their stern selves and began to chit-chat with one another. Although their voices were pleasing to the ears like melodious tunes... The impression that they had given Rhode was too different from what he imagined. It seemed as though they were here for an excursion rather than a terrifying battle.

"Is anything the matter, Sir Overlord?"

Lesa said.

"These girls... usually behave this way in the Astral Temple too?"

"Yes, Sir Overlord. Is anything the problem?"

"Nothing."

Rhode rolled his eyes inwardly. Perhaps the first impression that the Bow Knights had given him was too deep, so he subconsciously thought that they were a serious bunch. But it seemed like... Forget it. This was fine too. With this many legendary Bow Knights by his side, the devils wouldn't stand a chance against them. Although the devils had the upper hand in quantity, he held the advantage in quality. Besides, the carefree atmosphere now was great and much better than the depressed mood as though they were stepping onto the execution platform. But Rhode couldn't help but recall the scene when he led the players for large-scale dungeons back in the game. Back then, everyone was also chit-chatting leisurely...

On the other hand, Anne wasn't mindful about the chatteings. At this moment, she was also having a fun conversation with one of the Bow Knights. On the contrary, the soldiers were somewhat trembling with fear. But they couldn't be blamed. Although the Elves weren't speaking too loudly, the gathered voices weren't too soft either. Their crisp voices spread throughout the tunnel and it would be troublesome if they woke up the underground creatures. The soldiers had been patrolling in the underground for years and naturally knew that the creatures mostly relied on sound to identify direction and prey. Even though they weren't as annoying as the demons, the underground creatures were also hard to deal with.

"This is the place."

The patrol captain lifted the torch to illuminate the path before them and said while gazing at the map in his hand. He looked straight into the pitch-black tunnel ahead with some lingering fear. In fact, Rhode had already smelled the bloody scent from the chilly air. It seemed like it was appropriate that the soldiers called that place a 'Bloody Field'.

The bloody stench was so strong that it instantly stopped the Bow Knights from chattering. It could be seen from their instant regrouping that they turned solemn.

Rhode held his hands together and shut his eyes. As expected, even if he didn't use the Fate Exploration, he detected that something was calling for him at the end of the tunnel. It was an ice-cold, menacing, murderous intent. Rhode opened his eyes and nodded to the soldiers.

"Thanks for leading the way. You guys can return now. Leave this to us."

"Okay, Sir..."

To Rhode's surprise, the patrol captain didn't turn around immediately. Instead, he gazed with hesitation while the soldiers around him also gave complicated looks. After a few moments, the patrol captain had as though made a decision and said.

"This... Sir, please pardon my rudeness. Although our order is to escort your team to the entrance... If possible, can... we follow you into the Bloody Field?"

"Oh?"

Rhode twitched his brows. He had to admit that he was genuinely surprised. When the soldiers heard that they were heading to the Bloody Field earlier on, their horrified expressions were as though they were being sent to hell. So, what was with the situation now? Why did they take the initiative to follow him into the Bloody Field?

"Sure. Come if you want to."

Rhode wasn't mindful at all. No matter what kind of grudge or conspiracies the soldiers had toward the Bloody Field, he was confident that his Bow Knights were strong enough to eradicate everything. He gestured to the Bow Knights and moved ahead.

Thud... Thud...

Everything was in silence.

Perhaps detecting the bloody stench, the Bow Knights became serious. But they weren't overly nervous, nor did they draw their weapons like the soldiers. Their bows still hung on their back while the thin sword remained on their waists. But if one were to listen carefully, one would realize that the sound of footsteps was missing.

Although there were almost a hundred Bow Knights walking in the tunnel, not a single sound of footsteps could be heard from them. At this moment, only the soldiers' footsteps could be heard-not even Anne's, Rhode's, or Lesa's. Upon sensing this mysterious phenomenon, the soldiers subconsciously went easy on their steps. But what depressed them was that no matter how careful they were, their footsteps could still be heard. On the contrary, the Elves in glass armor completely silence!

Is this the difference in strength?

Rhode didn't care about what the soldiers thought because at this moment, they had arrived in the underground world of the Bloody Field.

It was in complete red.

Everyone including Rhode puckered their brows at this sight. Without the need of flares, an underground cave the size of an indoor stadium was presented before them. There were glowing mushrooms all around the oval cave, emanating an ice-cold, snowy radiance that illuminated the world that was supposedly devoured by darkness. There was only blood; thick, gluey blood on the sunken hole that formed an enormous blood lake. All kinds of white bones, armor, corroded weapons piled as high as the hills stacked around it. But this wasn't the strangest. Instead, it was the silence in this place.

This is too quiet.

The stench was so strong that even Anne's nose twitched and she revealed a distasteful expression. Judging from the pile of bones and vestiges, there were definitely violent battles that took place here, involving humans and non-humans.

"This is really troublesome."

Rhode knitted his brows. He didn't expect that the bloody stench would be this dense where the spiritual undulation belonging to the holy sword card spirits that he sensed earlier on had been totally buried in it. Rhode felt rather annoyed, but shortly after, he raised his right arm and summoned Gracier and Madaras.

Fate Exploration. Activate.

"---!"

A glaring, scarlet radiance that emanated from the two cards illuminated the place instantly. Rhode spat in disdain and put away the two cards.

It seems like I will need to rely on my instincts to search for that mysterious holy sword spirit...

"Let's go."

After pondering for a few moments, Rhode ordered.

The aura of death and despair was omnipresent. After entering the Bloody Field, everyone instantly felt that the air in the atmosphere had transformed into blood that engulfed them. Some of the soldiers turned pale instantly. The air was so thick that they thought that they had fallen into the blood lake. Their every step was as though walking on an invisible thread: incredibly painful and torturous. Perhaps... they shouldn't have come here.

But they still came for that only... possibility.

The slimy blood beneath their feet was disgusting. Rhode puckered his brows while cautiously scanning for any clues to the holy sword spirit. But what left him helpless was that the holy sword spirit who previously hinted its presence had gone into hiding. It seemed like he could only...

"Lesa, order them..."

Rhode turned around and gave a command to Lesa. But at this moment, a mysterious tremble interrupted his thoughts and a powerful, bad omen surged in his head. Not only him, but the Bow Knights also lifted their bows and scanned vigilantly.

At the next moment, the silent space shook and shortly after, hundreds of pitch-black, enormous shadows emerged around them. They were putrid and their ugly faces were full of insanity and killing intent. They clutched their weapons and let out gruesome roars.

"It's the devils!"

The soldiers screamed in horror and felt as though they had fallen into the bottomless abyss with chills running down their spines. What they feared most had emerged before them in the worst scenario possible. The devils who barged their way through the gaps in the enchanted field had arrived!

"Captain, what should we do?"

The soldiers asked anxiously, wielding their weapons and gazing in despair at the enemies. However, their captain wasn't able to answer them. He gazed blankly at the enemies as though that day had surfaced once again. Back then, this was how the terrifying enemies suddenly emerged before them, and hundreds of fully-armored elite soldiers couldn't defy them at all. All they could do was to escape with all their might...

Shing!

A dazzling brilliance flashed and interrupted everyone's helpless thoughts. At this moment, they shockingly realized that the devil standing before them had been sliced into two as its body collapsed to the ground. Faint, blue flames burned and devoured the huge corpse.

"Glittering Meteors!"

Lesa raised her staff, neglecting the three-meters-tall enemy slashing its claw at her. A glaring radiance shone from the tip of her staff and transformed into meteors that penetrated the devil, and pale blue flames erupted and wrapped the shredded corpse. Perhaps she couldn't match against enemies who were overly powerful, but as the guardian of the Astral Temple, she didn't have anything to fear against these weak devils who broke through the enchanted field and came to this plane of existence.

The situation was one-sided.

Light arrows streaked across the air and bombarded the devils. The Bow Knights didn't even get to use their swords and merely lifted their bows and released the string with their right hands. Shortly after, arrows coalesced with spiritual powers emerged out of thin air and shot from their bows. No matter how the devils defended or fled, each arrow was able to quickly spot its target and penetrate it completely. The devils who were lethally damaged burst into pale blue flames and turned into ashes.

However, the number of devils was more than Rhode's expectation.

Although the Bow Knights were powerful and could instantly eliminate the devils around them, another wave of more than a hundred devils showed up almost immediately after, which disrupted their formation.

"How troublesome."

Rhode's eyes glinted in disdain. Frankly speaking, he wasn't concerned about these devils at all. In the game, these devils were basically for him to grind EXP. However, what made the situation worse was that the spawn rate of these devils was just too quick! In the blink of an eye, the entire Bloody Field was filled with devils. Although they were low-level devils who couldn't possibly harm the Bow Knights and him, how could he spot the holy sword spirit if this continued?

Should I keep this up until we defeat them all or search for the holy sword spirit as we fight and retreat thereafter?

But the problem was that... How exactly should he look for it...

Shortly after, he didn't need to worry about this problem anymore.

Boom!

In a loud explosion, a scarlet light column erupted and the blood-curdling screeches from the devils were heard. At the same time, Rhode felt the strange, yet unique spiritual undulation that was filled with a bloody aura again.

"Is it there?"

Rhode murmured under his breath while gazing at the scarlet light column in the distance.