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894 Under the Void

 As Christie and Alice announced, Marlene extended her arm and a metal staff appeared in her hand. Golden threads emerged from within and wrapped around the illusory spirit. Shortly after, the spirit that looked exactly like Marlene slowly shattered into bits and disappeared into the air. Then, Marlene opened her eyes and landed on her feet beside Rhode.

"Marlene?"

Rhode widened his eyes in bewilderment. Right now, Marlene wore a wide, luxurious robe with golden edges and with several embedded jewels glowing gently. Not only that, but Rhode also felt an unprecedented presence and imposing aura.

"What exactly is..."

"It's a long story, Rhode. But don't we have something more important to handle?"

Rhode pondered in silence and nodded firmly. No matter what, it wouldn't be too late to talk about this later. Currently, they needed to awaken the tinder, which was the main reason why he came here. He turned around and faced the tinder, taking in a deep breath and held his hand on it.

Then, system prompts emerged before him.

[Entering the next phase]

[Begin tinder awakening]

[Detected tinder summoner bloodline]

[Tinder summoner bloodline match]

[Activate Creator Dragon Soul Third Sequence]

Good. Everything seems to be going well.

Rhode heaved a sigh of relief. But at this moment, the string of system prompts before his eyes came to an abrupt halt. At the same time, he heard a loud, ear-piercing siren.

[Detected Original Creator Dragon Soul]

[Begin tinder replacement sequence]

[Force switch from number three to zero]

[Detected Dragon Soul in unawakened state]

[Begin Dragon Soul forced awakening procedure]

What's this...!

Rhode instinctively retracted his right hand, but it was too late. He sensed a powerful force bursting from his hand to his heart.

"Argh!"

This violent attack left him trembling as though an invisible hammer smashed on his heart. He half-knelt on the ground and Anne and Lize ran up to him to support him, only to be pushed away by that powerful force.

"Argh..."

Rhode gnashed his teeth. His five senses had been cut off completely. He could neither see the system prompts nor hear the concerned yelling from the others. At this moment, he was as though in an empty dark void and apart from his pounding heart, he could feel nothing else.

Pound... Pound...

His heart pounded faster and faster and he held his chest instinctively. His heart was pounding so fast that he thought that it was about to break out from his body. His blood flowed within him quickly, but the burning sensation in his body gradually lessened. After a short while, the comfort of tranquility and peace took over the agony. Then, he felt an ice-cold energy taking over his body and before he knew it, he felt as though his body had disappeared as the darkness consumed him completely...

The ice-cold sensation spread from his neck. Then, a dazzling radiance erupted.

"This is..."

He widened his eyes in shock, but it wasn't the tinder he saw. Instead, his view was as though from a satellite lifting off into the atmosphere. He witnessed the underground maze, tower, and even the defenders and mercenaries struggling against the Chaos Creatures that were about to break through the final defenses and enter the tower. The defenders and mercenaries began to retreat, attempting to enter the shelter to deal with this final wave of attack. Then, Rhode looked up at the night sky and white clouds when suddenly, the blinding radiance erupted once again-the spotlessly white brilliance from the top of the tower, bursting in a radiance like the sun. In an instant, all the buildings and shadows in the world vanished as they submerged in the radiance completely.

At the next moment, Rhode regained his vision and the tinder presented itself before him.

"It has ended..."

The dim hall had become a vast starry night sky with mesmerizing, flowing galaxies. He looked at the tiny sun before him and it had turned into a light column that burst into the clouds. Spiraling around the light column were golden, circular runes that formed into magical rituals.

"Phew..."

Rhode stretched his body and shook his head. He heaved a sigh of relief after realizing that he didn't lose an arm or leg. That strange occurrence scared him out of his wits. He had never faced this event when he awakened the tinder in the game. Perhaps no player would believe without screen shots that the tinder would switch the tinder sequence at the last second.

The so-called tinder sequence was the numbering for the dragon soul powers stored within the tinder. Number one was the Judgment \u0026 Ruling Twin Dragons, number two was the Dark Dragon, and number three was the Light Dragon. The players usually thought that the dragon soul sequences were fixed and never expected any changes. But... number zero? What was that?

"Mr. Rhode, are you okay?"

"Leader, you alright?"

Lize's and Anne's concerns dragged him back to his senses. He lifted his head and nodded. "No problem. Everything's good. The tinder has awakened and the Chaos has been blocked off completely. They should be entirely gone by now."

Rhode answered while gazing at his system interface that was bombarded with prompts jumping across the screen as though undergoing a system update. Rhode wasn't surprised by this because after the players awakened the tinder in the game, the strength of Order would purge all Chaos within the territory, as well as remove the negative essences caused by the Chaos. After this step was over, the territory would 'restart' itself and display all data to the players who occupied it.

However, Rhode was still curious because in the game, the players could easily command the Order Refugees by simply circling them on the map and they would obey every order. But the Order Refugees shouldn't be that obedient in reality despite being completely cleansed by the strength of Order. They possessed human rationale and couldn't possibly obey Rhode's orders just like that.

Even though Rhode was dubious, he temporarily placed this matter aside as he would get his answer after the territory finished 'restarting' itself. Right now, there was another issue that he had to handle. He pulled up the system interface and scanned through it. Then, he was stunned.

[Name: Rhode Alander]

[Race: Void Dragon]

[Race Reward: Rule Suppression]

[Race Characteristic: Phenomenon Void]

... Void Dragon.

Rhode's brow twitched. Previously, he had vaguely realized that his unexplainable transmigration to this world just wasn't this simple. Firstly, he came to this world in his physical body and not the avatar. Secondly, his bloodline turned from a human to a mixed-blood, so he didn't feel any unbearable pressure when facing powerful figures like Lydia and Erin.

Previously, when he witnessed the activation of the dragon soul procedure in the system prompt, he was certain that he possessed the dragon soul bloodline. Although he knew a lot about the Law Dragon, he admitted that he wasn't as capable as to become the Judgment and Ruling Twin Dragons. The Dark Dragon and Void Dragon which he slaughtered personally held the most probability. The latter was more probable as he recalled the scene of him transmigrating to this world and it seemed like his judgment was right.

I don't seem any different anywhere.

Rhode scanned his palms, touched his face and head, and didn't find any scales, tail, or horns on him. He was no different from an ordinary human, but his attributes had been completely renewed. The question marks over his attributes were all revealed now.

Strength: 28

Constitution: 33

Nimbleness: 25

Determination: 23

Senses: 30

All of them surpassed humans, and were values not even angels and demons could achieve. Only beings like the Archangels and above could obtain such insane stats.

Wow... I didn't expect to enjoy the treatment of a BOSS.

Rhode exclaimed inwardly. Back then, as a player, he drooled after witnessing the BOSS' stats and it was his turn now. Then, he shook his head because there was another issue.

"You can tell me about it now, Marlene."

Rhode said and gazed at Marlene, as well as Christie and the other young lady. He remembered clearly that this young lady was the one whom he met in the library. But back then, he didn't see her as a crucial character and treated her as an ordinary resident. As for Christie's identity, he wasn't too surprised. A long time ago, he had guessed that the other 'Christie' might possibly be one of the Deity Wardens and this day proved that his guesses were right. However, he wasn't expecting Marlene to be one of the six Deity Wardens too.

"How did you become one of the Six Deity Wardens?"

"That's not the case, Master."

It wasn't Marlene who answered. Instead, Christie took a step forward and said with a smile.

"Sister Marlene didn't become one of the Six Deity Wardens. She is one of them."

"She is?"

Rhode puckered his brows. He discovered that this situation was just too strange. But this time, Christie didn't clear his doubt. She looked at Marlene and the latter stepped forth with her staff and said.

"Erm... If I recall correctly, your bloodline has been awakened, right, Rhode?"

"That's right. It seems like... all of you are aware that I'm the Void Dragon?"

"Yes, Master."

Alice responded and stretched out her arm where a black book appeared in her hand.

"We, Six Deity Wardens, have been waiting for the void bloodline to return to this world. And you are who we have been waiting for. You came to this place and awakened the world that belongs to you, just as the historical record shows."

"Allow me to explain."

Marlene started explaining the details and Rhode finally understood everything behind this.

When the Dragon Soul Continent was first created, there was ten times more land than now. Back then, all people of Order lived on the continent. It was the strongest dragon soul among the five who created this world-the Void Dragon. It forcefully opened up a space of void from the endless Chaos and within the void was where the other four dragon souls created the land, sky, river, and life. In other words, if the other dragon souls created the 'world', the Void Dragon's creation would be the 'space' in the world and its territory was the biggest and most prosperous among them all.

But... Just as the hunter would shoot the bird that stuck out, as the pillar of the Dragon Soul Continent, the Void Dragon would naturally be targeted by Chaos. As a result, after a desperate battle, the Void Dragon used itself as a bait to resist Chaos's attack in order to protect the final space of Order. This also led to the territory of the void race turning into the land of Chaos.

Back then, the strength of Chaos was so powerful that not even the Void Dragon's Six Deity Wardens managed to stop them. In the end, five of the Deity Wardens died in the war while the final Deity Warden, Christie, who was also the first seat, escaped to the Astral Temple in the Seven Fantasy Boundaries. She used her powers and defended against Chaos from breaking down the final obstacle.

Back then, Marlene's predecessor-the Wisdom Deity Warden, Margaret, was also one of them. But none of the Deity Wardens were willing to give up, just like Alice who bound her soul to the library while Margaret used her wisdom and got into a transaction with her race. She offered the most essential part of her spirit and flesh and used skills unique to the Deity Wardens to seal herself to the Senia Family, who were her followers. The Senia Family became her vessel and throughout the years, she hoped for the day that she could revive and return to this world. This was the reason why she ordered the Senia Family to create the bloodline seal because this way, only the heir to the Void Dragon would hold the rights to awaken the tinder.

"But how do you explain the other spirit that looked exactly like you?"

Rhode asked with knitted brows because what Marlene just said contradicted what she had said before. Marlene shook her head.

"The other me was left behind by my previous self and she served as a backup awakening device. In order to prevent humans from discovering and making use of it, the essence of the Deity Warden won't be awakened automatically. Unless one offered one's body, experienced death, and was touched by my other self, the tinder wouldn't be awakened. As for her identity... Perhaps she stayed within the tinder for too long and lost all abilities to follow orders, which caused her to forget her mission."

I see.

Rhode nodded. He had to admit that the Wisdom Deity Warden was indeed knowledgeable. Once the strength of a Deity Warden was discovered by humans, they would easily take advantage of it. This explained why the tinder was kept in the deep underground. But this was obviously not sufficient, which was why she designed an awakening device to serve as double security. This way, even if the tinder wasn't awakened, it wouldn't be awakened by itself no matter how many powers of the Deity Warden that Marlene had inside her. In other words, it would be useless no matter how many times she died.

"Alright then. The final problem."

Rhode gazed at Marlene's mesmerizing maroon eyes that were emanating faint, spiritual radiances.

"How can you make me believe that you're still the same Marlene and not a substitute taken over by the Deity Warden?"

That's right. Unlike Christie, who possessed two spirits right now, Marlene was also the Deity Warden Margaret. So then, was this young lady the 'Deity Warden who possessed Marlene's memories' or 'Marlene who possessed the Deity Warden's memories'?

"I can't give you an answer, Rhode."

Marlene smiled and shook her head.

"The memories of the Deity Warden have merged with mine. The Deity Warden from the past is me and I am the Deity Warden. We aren't individuals and have always been together as one."

Lize knitted her brows while Anne revealed a confused expression. Rhode pondered in silence before placing his hand on Marlene's head.

"Welcome back, Marlene."

Marlene shut her eyes and rested her head on his chest.

"I'm back, Rhode..."

At the same time, a system prompt emerged before his eyes.

[World settings complete. Begin System Rebooting]

[Begin System Reboot Countdown--3, 2, 1--]

[Activate System reboot]

In a split second, a dazzling radiance burst and shrouded everyone.