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874 A Two-sided Battle 1

 The radiance of the tinder grew ever brighter, but only lasted for a short while. It didn't happen due to the attack that it received. Instead, it was a deeper layer of darkness that concealed its brilliance. The dense layers of cloud hovering by the horizon merged to form enormous vortexes that launched at the final defense of Order in their land.

Countless trails of magical radiances flashed across the sky. In the blink of an eye, explosions that shook the ground swept along a series of storms and filthy, pitch-black gravel. Looking from a distance, it seemed like there were several fluffy tails swaying on the ground and separating the two sides. The mercenaries wielding their modified magic weapons didn't need to aim at their enemies because there was a sea of them in a messy sight. Even if the mercenaries were to blindly blast their attacks, they would undoubtedly be sharp shooters. However, this was meaningless for them.

"Firebombs!"

Sol raised his arm and commanded. The half-demons around him quickly retrieved a magazine filled with red projectiles and inserted it into the magic staff. Then, they scattered their positions and aimed forward. Scarlet radiances emanated.

The dark, disturbing Chaos vortexes were immediately ignited and divided by tall walls of blazing flames. Before the Chaos Creatures reacted, colorful magic arrows streaked across the air and enveloped everything-scorching heat descended from above and surrounded all beings. The blinding lightning bolts blasted the rolling mass of enemies into bits. The dazzling, massive power of Order flipped the land of its soil and stopped the enemies from advancing forward.

The magic cannons released powerful blasts and the faint radiance encircling them became increasingly brighter, where every light beam was as blinding as the sun.

However, the Chaos Creatures continued to charge forward without stopping. The battle between Order and Chaos lasted for millennia. No matter if it was in the past, present, or future, they would continue battling forever until death. No, not even death would stop them. Order and Chaos would exist for eternity. They hated each other, which was why they slaughtered, devoured, and repeated the same battle over and over again.

Bloody flesh, gravel, and soil were blasted into the air and before they touched the ground, they shattered into powder by the second wave of cannon blasts. The originally run-down tower revealed its prestige at this moment with golden rituals of Order emerging one after another like spider webs on its surface. Magic weapons that once destroyed and repelled Chaos enemies millennia ago emerged on the nodes of the rituals, shining in the glory that they once had. Magic beams of various powers descended from above like storms, evaporating every presence beneath it. Black smoke rose and merged with the dark clouds, engulfing the graveyard of death completely.

The blazing, white magic beams were like knives slicing through butter. Moments later, the scorching waves burned everything in their path into powder. The land twisted, rolled, and crashed like violent waves burying the enemies to their graves. The mushroom clouds were as though the signs from the Grim Reaper, warning them of the price of their crime.

Smoke shrouded the entire battlefield. The Bow Knights raised their bows and released their arrows, which flew across the darkness, once again. The blazing flames splashed as they struck the ground, melting the Chaos Creatures like wax in a sea of flames.

But that was only how it seemed.

Chaos continued to push forward without the harsh discipline of the Undead Army. But it was this berserk style of attack that gave everyone unprecedented pressure. There was only one word that emerged in their minds right now.

Kill.

The twisted Chaos Creatures were pounded by the magic beams into powder. However, they didn't stop at all. They used their everything to fill up the openings in the battlefield in order to resist death and the magic cannons-all for the sake of destroying the Order tinder and restoring this land with Chaos.

Everything was simmering and boiling as if they had reached the critical point of the pressure cooker. In the blink of an eye, the vortexes rose wildly while lightning struck heavily from the dense, dark clouds. The power of destruction swept across the battlefield instantly with wild winds shifting their trajectory and spiraling around the lightning bolts to form thunderstorms. Everything sounded like murmurs-as though millions of people were murmuring in one's ears. Although one couldn't discern the true words behind the clamors, one instinctively knew one thing-and that was to raise one's weapon and do their best to slaughter all these bastards.

"----"

At this moment, a blinding halo spread from the peak of the tower in all directions with the tinder in the center. It wiped out the dark clouds, revealing the pitch-black night sky once again. The Chaos bits and fragments floating on the surface were immediately turned to ash and verdant grass grew on the land just like before. Absolute Order suppressed Chaos in the blink of an eye. The battle came to an instant halt and the place returned to peacefulness.

But...

At the next moment, dark clouds once again gathered and the destroyed Chaos returned with no hesitation. The lush grassland withered and dark lightning bolts struck in loud explosions. The Chaos Creatures and the dazzling magical radiance once again became the protagonists of the show, symbolizing the start of a new page of the endless eternal vengeance between Order and Chaos.

"It" opened its eyes.

Even though it was a few hundred meters underground, it sensed the atmosphere from the battlefield. The trembling ground from the blasts affected it. The familiar, mesmerizing urges in battles were messing with its senses constantly. The stench of Chaos and even the infiltrated soil wrapped its body wildly. The unforgettable crime was re-emerging in a totally different form while taunting Order.

But it could only remain here.

"It" opened its eyes slowly, suppressed its hatred of Chaos and continued to quietly wait just like it did for thousands of years. All it had to do was to wait in silence for the right moment.

"---!"

Marlene came to a halt. Just a few seconds ago, she felt her heart pounding and a scorching sensation flowed inside her. Although it didn't hurt her, it disrupted her spell-casting move, so she took a step back while gnashing her teeth, barely dodging from the metal construct's attack. On the other hand, Anne darted to her side and swung her shield to strike the enemy away. Then, a silver radiance flashed and Celia descended from above with her expanded wings. She punctured the enemy before her with her dazzling blade and rescued everyone from the crisis.

"Marlene, how are you feeling? Are you alright?"

Lize went up to her side and asked anxiously. As a Cleric, it was essential that she was aware of her teammates' health. Therefore, Lize instantly realized that something was amiss. Marlene bit her lip and shook her head.

"It's nothing, Lize. I was just..."

Although Marlene said so, she knew that the situation wasn't this simple. Ever since they entered the door, she felt as though something inside her was moving. Even though the strength of Order in this area was stable and the flow of magical powers in her was smooth without any issue, she quickly discovered that there was a weak, burning power slowly waking up. Previously, it only beat occasionally like a heart and didn't affect her in battle. But now... This presence affected her judgment in battle.

How strange. I don't remember Father mentioning this strange power. Where did it come from?

"What's wrong, Marlene? Is anything wrong?"

At this moment, Rhode knitted his brows and went up to her. In fact, Rhode was also feeling disappointed because apart from finding rare equipment after defeating the metal constructs, the truly wonderful equipment was usually locked up in treasure chests located in ancient dungeons. This was the reason why players generally came to such places when exploring new territories and they brought players who were experts in unlocking chests. But now, he only had Gracier and Madaras, and he couldn't possibly waste their strength on that. This was why when they probed the traps, he got them to open chests along the way. But what disappointed him was that there were no signs of equipment at all. It was either ancient gold coins or a pile of materials for the constructs. The best results were only a few high-grade soul cores. He had even gotten Marlene to open the chests, but the results were the same. It seemed like luck was determined for all the chests since the instant he opened the first one?

After a few worthless attempts, Rhode could only give up this idea and focus his attention on the BOSS.

"Rhode, I..."

Marlene puckered her brows and shook her head. She didn't intend to explain much, but at this moment, she changed her mind and nodded firmly.

"Ever since we entered through the door, I felt strange. It feels like some powers inside me have slowly awakened. But I don't recall anything about this from my family documents or from my father. Although the powers seem harmless, I still can't figure it out."

"Oh? Such a thing exists?"

Rhode knitted his brows. It was common for NPCs to come up with such symptoms in hidden missions. However, players often had no solutions. Normally, players would just follow the NPCs around whenever something was wrong and NPCs would seek help from them after finding the source of the problem, which usually involved dismantling a seal, escorting them, or something similar. Players just had to complete their tasks and wouldn't intervene with their personal matters.

If Rhode were to judge based on his experience in the game-they were currently in a maze that her family had built and she felt that something awakened inside her. This shouldn't pose too big of a problem. But... He glanced at Marlene dubiously. He understood her very well. Just like Lize and Anne, Marlene wasn't one who loved seeking help from others, especially during critical junctures. He knew that she wouldn't show weakness unless she really couldn't handle it herself. Therefore, Rhode just let out a casual remark and to his surprise, she came clean instantly. Come to think of it, she had been behaving uncharacteristically ever since coming to this place... As though she was hiding something. Even though he didn't know what was going on in her head, it seemed like it wasn't something great, judging from her reaction.

"All right. Anne and Lize. You two protect Marlene from behind. Be careful of your surroundings, understand?"

In fact, if it weren't for Marlene who insisted on following, Rhode would have assigned Lize and Anne to the refuge and defense of the tower while he slaughtered his way with his holy sword cards. However, he had to change his plans to let Anne and Lize protect Marlene. No matter what, this was the maze that her family built. Perhaps he might need her help in the final moments and it seemed like his thoughts were right.

"Got it, Leader."

"Yes, Mr. Rhode."

Anne and Lize nodded firmly. They knew what their roles were. After all, apart from them and Rhode, the holy sword spirits didn't need healing or protection. Therefore, they understood why Rhode had gotten them to follow him. This was why they didn't leave Marlene's side during battle, in order to prevent a tragedy from happening.

"Let's go."

After confirming that the constructs around them were all destroyed, he beckoned to them. Currently, they were in a narrow, metallic corridor. A few moments ago when they entered this corridor, the constructs serving as decorations by the walls immediately launched their attacks. However, this standard of attack wasn't worthy of their concern at all.

But Rhode didn't let his guard down. If he recalled correctly, they would be facing the BOSS of this floor after passing through this corridor. That BOSS wasn't easy to deal with, especially when its powers were enhanced in its territory.

A few moments later, everyone reached the end of the corridor. Marlene raised the staff and tapped on the metallic doors which shook and opened gradually. However...

"Hmm?"

Rhode knitted his brows. The construct that should have been sitting quietly in the hall was nowhere to be seen. The entire hall was empty. There was nothing on the enormous platform. What exactly was happening? Could it be that the BOSS had disappeared due to the triggering of the hidden mission?

"...!"

Just as Rhode approached the platform curiously, a sense of danger shook him. Then, he retreated without hesitation. At the same time, a dense, pitch-black shadow descended from above and crashed into the spot where he stood earlier.

Rhode sulked as soon as he witnessed the enemy.