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983 Emerging Devils

 The apprentices gazed in disbelief. Everything happened too quickly. The Golem Puppet activated the trap and the apprentices thought that they would crash to their deaths from the tall height. Fortunately, Adella managed to save their lives with an emergency spell. But before they returned to their senses, another terrifying high-class demon appeared. On the other hand, Adella was struck by something and now lying unconscious on the ground.

"Is it a devil or Chaos?"

Rhode scanned Adella with knitted brows. After Celia sheathed the sword, she went up to Adella and heaved a sigh.

"It's the devils."

"Tsk. Those bast*rds again."

Celestina gnashed her teeth in frustration. Demons and devils were sworn enemies. The war between the two races had been incessant since the start of this world in the underworld. The number of slaughtered devils and demons were enough to form another Dragon Soul Continent. A high-class demon like Celestina harbored deep hate toward the devils.

"I didn't expect those guys to be this prepared."

Rhode scoffed. In fact, he had already heard from Celia and Celestina about the situation. He wasn't surprised that the apprentices had teleportation crystals with them. After all, it would be ridiculous for these elites to not have some life-saving means. But it seemed like the bad guys also noticed that and meddled with the crystals. As soon as the apprentices activated the crystals, they would be possessed by the devil stored within. Of course, it went without saying that the devil was stronger than them.

Rhode suspected that there was more than one demon emissary in the Mage Tower... He had a bad feeling. He sent Marlene and Alice to the Mage Tower. They wouldn't be clashing in a battle right now, right?

In fact, the situation was similar to his imagination.

***

The omnipresent magical radiance whizzed across the sky, only to vanish in the blink of an eye. Alice hovered in midair, the pages of the heavy tome in her hands flipping quickly and emanating a white dazzling brilliance. The high-level mages standing before her paled. They had used up all their strength, but the young lady was untouched by their attacks.

"Chaos's lackey..."

Alice murmured, sliding her right hand across the pages. In the blink of an eye, she swapped positions with the mages. The vanished magical radiance that the mages cast from before appeared once again, blasted at their defenseless casters. Screams of agony and loud explosions filled the room enveloped by roaring flames. At this moment, a putrid stench diffused throughout the room and swiftly eradicated the magical radiance and flames. But now, the mages looked entirely different. They were covered in pitch-black scales. Their goat-like horns and fat tail exposed their true identities.

"You all betrayed your soul to serve the sinister devils of the underworld?!"

Bireno widened his eyes fumingly. He tried to stop Alice when she suddenly launched her attack on his companions before. But now, he couldn't care less after witnessing them turning into these evil devils. He was enraged that so many of his trusted aides had turned into devil emissaries! Although he was the chairman of the Mage Tower, he focused his time and energy in research and historical studies, leaving other matters for them to handle. This was based on his trust in them. But now, the trust had been shattered and corrupted entirely.

"Hahaha. Bireno, you're old and failed to see the future of this world as clearly as us. The future belongs to us and you hadn't even noticed it!"

The devils snarled and raised their arms. In an instant, a mass of sulfuric stench diffused, causing the blazing flames to explode and engulf the group of humans. Alice had no intention of dodging. She gently flipped to the previous page.

Shortly after, everything reversed. The released flames became unlit while the devils' arms were down. Everything had returned to its original state. This was Alice, the History Deity Warden, capable of manipulating, replacing, modifying, changing, and even erasing the past. As long as she restored 'history' to before it happened, it would be enough to change everything.

"Damn you... Order's lackey. You won't get away with it. Mighty Chaos shall fall upon this continent. Your struggles are meaningless..."

Alice had no interest in hearing their nonsense. She lifted her arm and suddenly a massive pressure thronged the entire space. She clenched her empty right hand and swung her arm down, silencing the clamors immediately. Not only that, but the devil emissaries also turned into dust. They no longer belonged in the past and had disappeared in history.

"..."

In an instant, the room was left in a strange stillness. Bireno looked blankly at the fluttering dust, feeling like he had aged and even his lustrous white beard became dull and lifeless. He couldn't be blamed since he had never expected so many devil emissaries to have infiltrated the Mage Tower. He felt embarrassed and what worried him the most was that this was only a small group of people who followed him here after he heard from Marlene that Rhode wanted to discuss issues with him about his apprentices. Bireno was curious as to why Rhode was concerned about the apprentice test. But it seemed like the young dragon soul heir apparently had the correct judgment.

Initially Bireno objected to the idea of sending the apprentices to the Deepest Labyrinth for the test. But he was eventually convinced by the other members. Besides, back then he wasn't aware of the route that they would be taking to reach the Deepest Labyrinth. If he knew that they would be passing through the Enchanted Forest, he would have stopped them at all costs. Now it was apparent that it was premeditated for them to enter through the Enchanted Forest because if he found out that something was amiss, he would have a harder time stopping them. After all, the Deepest Labyrinth was too huge and he couldn't possibly find the apprentices through the other entrances. But if they entered through the Enchanted Forest, it would hugely decrease the rescue speed. After all, not anyone had the dragon's prestige like Rhode to scare the creatures away.

Bireno pinned his only hope on Rhode. He heard from Marlene that he was also heading to the Deepest Labyrinth and coincidentally met the apprentices. He wished that Rhode could rescue them along the way. After all, they were the fruits of labor of the Mage Tower!

Bireno cleared his head, turning around to gaze at Marlene who presented an apologetic smile. In fact, Marlene didn't expect Alice to attack without warning. Before both sides began their discussion, Alice immediately launched her attack on them. On the other hand, even though the other mages who came with Bireno weren't hurt, they expressed complicated looks. But this wasn't something that Alice was concerned about.

It was Marlene instead.

"Chairman Bireno, I think you understand the severity of the situation now."

Marlene sighed, sweeping a glance at Alice who stood beside her, hugging the tome in her arms.

Meanwhile, Rhode's group arrived at the eighth floor.

It was a total coincidence for his group to meet Adella's team. Adella's team was the quickest among the apprentices where they reached the end of the fifth floor. But after getting caught in the trap, they plummeted straight to the eighth floor. Fortunately, Adella responded quickly enough to save her team from crashing into minced meat. And now, she discovered that the situation was developing toward an unexpected direction.

Frey gazed with complication emotions at Rhode's group. She realized that the teleportation crystal was meddled with, which caused Adella to be almost possessed by the devil. She imagined the consequences and shivered in fear. She had decided to head back before Celestina and the others arrived to their rescue. If it weren't for them, perhaps her team would be tarnished by the devils and became their servants. But now...

Frey turned to the pale Adella. As she was rescued in time, she managed to survive. In fact, she was on the verge of death until Mini Bubble Gum cast a revival spell on her. On the other hand, Clark with his legs broken was also healed by her.

At this moment, the apprentices were feeling perplexed after learning the entire situation from Rhode. But they were too young and inexperienced, after all. They were totally clueless. Their mentor was conspiring with the devils and this apprentice test was premeditated by them. In this case, the teleportation crystals were no longer working and they couldn't leave the Deepest Labyrinth. They also couldn't contact the mentors to seek help from the Mage Tower. What exactly should they do?

Apart from following Rhode's group, they had no other choices left. This was the eighth floor and they couldn't head back on their own. They could only wait until they arrived at the tenth floor and find other ways to activate the teleportation ritual that would send them back. Of course, since this was part of the devils' conspiracy, would they be able to leave even if they reached there safely?

Not only that, but there was also a high-class demon among them... Frey peered at the slender figure. What left her dubious was that they had met Rhode's group before entering the Deepest Labyrinth and there were only six members in his group. But now, there were almost twice as many. She was sure that she didn't see the twin elves, angel, and demon before. Where exactly did they come from? Also... What was the relationship between them? Frey couldn't figure it out. She thought that this demon was Rhode's captive but realized later that she wasn't. The high-class demon's arrogant attitude removed the possibilities of her being one. On the contrary, the Battle Angel behaved timidly around them and Frey recalled hearing her calling the demon 'Big Sister!".

This isn't logical at all...

"I guess I'm close to finding out who the mastermind is behind all this, Master."

Celestina ignored the gazes from the lowly humans. She gnashed her teeth and said indignantly.

"It must be Grazite, that shameless bast*rd. This half-*ssed imitation looks disgusting. He must be the one. Ahhh, I'm angry just thinking about it!"

"The 'devil who most resembles demons'?"

Rhode asked. He wasn't surprised to hear this from Celestina. Grazite was indeed an unconventional devil. He had the cunningness of demons and chaotic nature of devils where he often became nonchalant after conspiring plots. The demons detested him. Conspiracies were basically a form of art to demons. But Grazite threw this wonderful piece of art to the ground and trampled all over, disregarding its precious beauty and value. Sometimes, he would overestimate his capabilities and come up with conspiracies. To the demons, grasping one's strength was critically important. On the contrary, Grazite didn't care if he could reap benefits from his conspiracies or if neither side won. He was such a nightmare.

"Master, I have a plan."

Celestina changed her tone all of a sudden and said with a smile. She took out a pitch-black crystal which was the teleportation crystal for the apprentices.

"I analyzed it while those lowly humans weren't noticing. Even though I don't have any concrete evidence, I guess that it should be connected to the Bottomless Abyss. Besides, if Grazite was the mastermind, I'm sure he would open the path directly to his glass courtyard. I have a plan to strengthen the signal and this way... Huhuhu. We can capture that annoying devil lord and show him who the real conspirator is!"

"How confident are you?"

Rhode didn't disapprove of her suggestion. He felt like the situations regarding Chaos and devils were getting out of hand. Even though they had many battles with Chaos and devils at the later stages of the game, that was under a crumpled dragon soul protection. But now, the dragon soul protection was in perfect condition as he opened up a new territory as the Void Dragon. In this case, something must be wrong for Chaos and devils to be this active.

Grazite was known as the 'devil who most resembled demons'. Based on this, there must also be some goals for his plan and it was perhaps related to the current happenings. Besides, there was a high chance that he wanted something from the Deepest Labyrinth, which was why he opened up the channel. Rhode felt pretty lucky. If he didn't meet the apprentices coincidentally, he wouldn't be aware of all this.

"100 percent. I'm unlike those brainless devils. Please don't worry, Master. This time I will show that devil the art of being a true demon. But..."

Celestina narrowed her eyes at the apprentices.

"I need some bait."

Rhode pondered in silence before shifting his gaze to the apprentices behind him.

"I'll leave it to you."