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872 Opening the Door of Order

 Time's up.

Rhode gazed at the moving pointer in the old pocket watch. Then, he stood up and put away the pocket watch, lifting his head and gazing at everyone before him. Currently, there were his men and residents of the Tinder Origin. But no matter their identity, they only had the same goal in mind now.

"Is everything ready, Sol, Sovann?"

"Yes, Sir Overlord." Both of them answered promptly. "The Mage Armed Forces are positioned on the dominant point of this tower, where they can deal with all battles going on in every corner. We've also prepared the Order bombs but will not use them until the final moments."

"You don't have to wait until the final moments because the Chaos Creatures might be stronger than we expect. Once you realize that they are stronger than you can handle-just like Serras's projection back then, I permit you to use them." Rhode turned to Lesa and the latter took a step back. "The Bow Knights are ready. Betty will command them on my behalf."

"Good. Remember my words. If I recall correctly, the light halo can destroy all the Chaos Creatures that barge in. You have to grasp the timing perfectly; don't mess up. After the attack of the light halo ends, your duty isn't to eliminate the Chaos Creatures. Instead, you should delay them until the next light halo. Understand?"

Rhode nodded and spoke. Thanks to the Country of Darkness, they had no lack of experience in defense warfare. Besides, this tall tower wasn't an ordinary building. It was the defense tower of the tinder. He heard from Marlene that there were several automatic magical rituals and cannons targeted at Chaos. As long as they were used appropriately, it wasn't impossible to stop the Chaos Creatures. But... there was also a limit.

After doing thorough research on the tower, the strategy that Rhode proposed was to engage in an all-out defense with the Bow Knights as the core. The three humanoids would be responsible for leading the residents against the surface enemies and the remaining residents would be involved in maintaining and servicing the magic cannons. As for Rhode's mercenaries, they would be coordinating with the residents in defense. Although the strategy was simple, this was the best solution for now.

Furthermore, Rhode also learned from the elder that the vines that had climbed all over the tower were actually part of the defense... Back then, Rhode relied on over 80 players to defend the Chaos vortexes. But now, the vines which he thought were ordinary plants were actually useful...

Of course, they weren't the trump cards to stop the Chaos Creatures. Just as Rhode mentioned, there would be an unlimited number of enemies and his side couldn't eliminate them all. Therefore, their mission was to delay. After Rhode and his men found the tinder and awakened it, it would release a light halo every half an hour. The light halo would eliminate every Chaos Creature that entered the Order space. Therefore, what everyone had to do was to slow down the Chaos Creatures as much as possible, so they couldn't enter the refuge within half an hour. It would be easy in the beginning, but the pressure would amount gradually. Rhode couldn't care less about how others thought about how he gathered this information. After all, the most important thing for him now was to explain everything clearly to prevent accidents. If he were to only give a partial account, everyone would be doomed.

"All right, that settles it then."

Rhode heaved a sigh and made up his mind. According to the guardians of this place, there were five floors to go through in order to enter the core. Judging from experience, that would be five small-scale dungeons. However, he didn't know what the difficulty level would be. But since Marlene said that she would use the staff to dismantle the traps within, it shouldn't be too challenging for him. He turned around at this thought and looked at everyone-Lize, Marlene, and Anne were confirmed to enter the 'dungeon' with him. On the other hand, Bell and Christie were gazing at him in silence.

Lize was nervous despite the countless battles that she had experienced. Anne was still as carefree as ever, hugging her shield and snoring away. According to Lize, Anne had been eating and sleeping all day ever since they arrived at this place... That truly fit her character.

Rhode shook his head hopelessly and dismissed the meeting, and everyone went to their posts and to get prepared. Currently, there was only one thing that he needed to do.

"Let's go," he said.

The stone door opened gradually and as the fluttering dust dispersed, a deep, dark tunnel was revealed before them. Marlene led the way with the staff and shortly after, dazzling magical radiance shone on the walls and illuminated the space.

Then, the blinding magical radiance coalesced to form a beautiful ritual that extended across the walls.

"How magical."

Marlene exclaimed and widened her eyes in astonishment. Although it was their ancestors who created these things, she knew clearly that the Senia Family had lost more than half the magic technology over the centuries. Currently, the reason why the Senia Family was named the number one magic family in the Munn Kingdom was due to their remaining magic technology and hard work. The ancient technique that their ancestors used to create humanoids was completely lost. Come to think of it, perhaps this was part of the family's plan to preserve such a perfect, ancient magic technology here.

"Interesting. They actually used magical rituals to light up the place. Isn't that overly luxurious?" Anne said as she scanned the tunnel curiously. Marlene let out a bitter laugh and explained.

"These magical rituals don't just act as lights, Anne. They can also defend against the enemies. As you're a person of Order, it won't have any effects on you. But if it were the Chao Creatures, they'd be instantly shredded into bits."

"Oh... I see. That's interesting."

Anne stared at the magical rituals as though she was about to dig a chunk out for a closer look. At this moment, Lize anxiously held back Anne's sleeve to stop her from acting recklessly. Marlene shook her head with a bitter smile before shifting her gaze ahead.

We're almost there...

Marlene slowed down her pace before taking a peek at Rhode behind her. At this moment, he was boringly looking at the magical rituals as though he didn't notice her. But...

What will he think of me after everything ends? He won't be able to accept what I'm about to do, right?

Marlene lowered her head and clutched the staff tightly. She understood his thoughts, but the thing that she couldn't change what she was about to do. Although the Senia Family had indeed lost countless ancient, inherited technologies, their core knowledge was still present. And now, Marlene was the 'key' to restoring everything for her family.

This is all that I can do. My purpose of living and fate. Rhode...

After a while, everyone came to a halt. At this moment, there was a large, metallic door that was five-meters-tall and three-meters-wide standing before them. There were also a dozen connected gears and bearings on its surface and a groove in the middle as though it was for a key.

This is it.

Rhode couldn't help but feel anxious. He sensed the dense aura of Order from behind the door. But this also felt as though it was a hibernating creature waiting to be awakened. Although he knew that this creature would be his watchdog after awakening, this massive force left him rather nervous. But... Rhode knitted his brows all of a sudden. Why did it feel as though he had felt this pressure before?

"This is the place, Rhode," Marlene said and it was apparent that she was also extremely nervous.

"As soon as we open this door, the tinder will enter the 'activated' mode. Are you ready, Rhode? Will the few of us here be enough to pass the test and reach where the tinder is?"

Ready?

Rhode puckered his brow. Then, he looked down at Christie who held onto his hand and Bell on the other side. There were also Marlene, Anne, and Lize...

"Indeed. We may not have a lot of people, but..."

Rhode snapped his fingers. Shortly after, a dazzling summoning ritual erupted from his body and overwhelmed the radiances on the walls. Then, five cards spun in midair and light beams of various colors burst out from the ground, enveloping them entirely. After a few moments, five figures emerged.

The Battle Angel in silver armor. The demon young lady with pitch-black wings. The White Elves wrapped in white robes. And...

"... Shira, are you alright?"

Rhode gazed palely at the pile of rotten flesh before him, at the same time shielding Christie behind him. Currently, Shira was in the state when she was ripped apart by Serras' projection. Her body had been split into three, and ribs and bones poked out of her flesh. Her skull was also slashed in half from the middle and her split tongue shook on its own. If it weren't for her right hand clasping the red sword trying to support herself up, perhaps Rhode would have believed that she was dead.

What's this situation?

Marlene looked with an ashen expression while Lize quickly turned around in discomfort. Bell covered Christie's eyes with her tiny hands and she watched the wall instead. No matter what, it was uncomfortable to look at a twitching, split corpse.

"Hahaha... I'm fine... Master... I feel as great as ever..."

Shira supported herself on the chunk of flesh that seemed to be her left leg and stood to her feet. Then, she let out a crazy laughter while shaking her left hand that was only left in bones.

"Hahaha... It's so painful, and yet feels so good. Hahaha... I'm captivated... Master..."

"All right. Hurry up and restore your usual self."

Rhode had to admit that even though he had killed countless people and was more used to seeing corpses than most humans, it was unbearable to see this young lady who he had intimate interactions with in this state-he never wished to experience this ever again.

"Hahaha..."

A scarlet radiance shone and enveloped her entirely. After a few seconds, the radiance dissipated and the disgusting chunk of flesh was nowhere to be seen.

The young lady wearing the tattered dress tilted her head, stood nonchalantly before Rhode, and her green eyes emanated a crazy aura.

"Hahaha... I was right to have chosen you as my master: there are so many enemies that can leave me in agony... Hahaha... I like it a lot, Master. So this time... who shall be our enemy?"

"Alright, get ready to battle."

Rhode swept a look at her. In the game, he had assistance from players, but he used his holy sword cards as replacements in this world. After activating Taboo Halo, the holy sword spirits transcended into the Legendary Stage, and it couldn't get simpler enough for them to deal with the 'dungeon' ahead. However, this meant that he would be consuming a lot of spiritual powers to power their strength. Gracier and Madaras were still manageable. However, for a violent freak like Shira, perhaps all his spiritual powers would be consumed and that would be troublesome. If it were in the past, Rhode would definitely not do this. But...

He reached out for the Illusion Crystal in his pocket and let out a sigh.

I don't have any other choices left.

"Let's start, Marlene."

Marlene nodded and gazed at Shira palely. Then, she went up to the door, took a deep breath, and pushed the mysterious staff into the slot.

Kacha.

The three biting gears on the tip of the staff fitted perfectly into the metallic door. Shortly after, the magical gems embedded all over the door emanated blinding radiances that coalesced toward the center. Marlene held the staff firmly in her hands and suddenly, the radiances flickered and the three gears rotated slowly.

Creak...

The other mechanisms on the metallic door began to operate and shortly after, two bursts of steam were ejected from both sides of the door. The incredible strength of Order erupted at this instant and a golden halo emerged from the door, sweeping past everyone before vanishing at the end of the tunnel.

Shortly after, the door that had been sealed for centuries gradually opened.