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990 Cleaning Up

 Karin's runes were unlike those Rhode had ever seen before. Even though he didn't understand what they meant, he recognized them as words, just like how modern people read oracle script. In comparison, Karin's runes were more like electronic codes that appeared in system errors.

All of a sudden, the teleportation ritual devoured by the abyssal flames flickered in an azure radiance, its patterns shifting across the surface. More and more devils appeared from the void of dark clouds hovering on the ceiling. On the other hand, the devils that were summoned before were all sucked back into the dark cloud. The entire teleportation ritual had turned into a strange machine that sucked and spit out devils as bright rays shone and reshaped it.

Meanwhile, a powerful, pitch-black energy flowed throughout Gabe's body. The only thing that could prove his existence was his blood-curdling screams. But even the screams vanished after a few seconds.

Everything seemed to have ended in an instant. The remaining stone giants and metal guards stopped attacking. But no one believed that this was the end of the fight. They also sensed a massive, evil aura exuding from the dark clouds as though one was pouring a bucket of black water from above.

"Oh, my goodness. What are they trying to do?!"

The mages exchanged glances anxiously. They previously asked Rhode about his intention in coming here, but according to Rhode, they only coincidentally met the apprentices and provided help since it was along the way. This was why the mages subconsciously believed that they were here to help them eradicate the devils. But now... What were they trying to do?

Although they didn't know what the short-haired young lady was up to, they clearly sensed a powerful, evil energy flowing into this world. The pressure was so huge that the mages felt ill at ease as though they were standing on an ebbing beach, certain that an enormous tsunami would soon be crashing on their defenseless selves.

"Alright, everyone."

Karin approached the group of mages.

"You can leave now, just like we agreed. Please head to the area where the signal crystal was placed and protect it. Don't worry, the metal guards in the maze will assist you. All you need to do is to delay time."

The mages knew from the dense flowing energy that they would be doomed if they continued to stay here. The battle in this place was on a totally different level now and ordinary people like them should run as far away as possible. They nodded firmly and left the place.

"I wonder if I can reach level 80 after this battle."

Rhode retreated and gestured to his group. They quickly scattered and surrounded the powerful energy. This was a premeditated plan to deal with the devils after learning what they were up to. Their goal was simple-lure the Devil Monarch Grazite from the Bottomless Abyss, defeat him, and receive intelligence after controlling his soul.

This thought would be shocking to ordinary people, but nothing to players who were perfectly 'bold, talented, and skilled' like Rhode, Canary, and Mini Bubble Gum. They had faced about a dozen Devil Monarchs in the game and annihilated innumerable high-class devils, which explained why they understood the traits and attributes of the devils. Celestina, who came from the Ninth Floor of Hell, was also particularly familiar with their symbols and flow of energy. On the other hand, Karin could change and manipulate every form of energy created by magic. Furthermore, the teleportation ritual in the Deepest Labyrinth was also her creation, so it posed no challenge for her to modify it.

But a devil like Grazite wouldn't arrive in this world by himself. Devils were unlike demons; they were a race that was affiliated with Chaos because the presence of Order in the main plane would greatly weaken their strength. It wouldn't be worth it if he arrived in this world, only to be eliminated. Fortunately, Rhode had a wide range of experience in dealing with the devils. As soon as the Devil Monarch realized that his servants failed to fulfill the mission, he would most likely transfer a portion of his energy to strengthen his worshiper, creating a clone of him to get the job done. This way, he would only lose his clone if he lost. For a presence like the Devil Monarch, waiting in solitary for a few more centuries before striking again wasn't going to be an issue.

But it was due to this reason that this brought an opportunity to Rhode. The reason was simple. After they defeated Grazite's worshiper and subjects, Grazite would show up personally. And as long as Rhode seized the opportunity and reversed the ritual, he could drag Grazite out from the Bottomless Abyss. The scenario would be similar to fishing where Grazite was the fisherman and his worshiper was the fish that took the bait. Meanwhile, if the hooked fish suddenly transformed into an enormous whale, the fisherman would be pulled into the ocean by the mighty force.

Rhode was waiting for this moment to happen.

However, a Devil Monarch like Grazite could easily break free from the reversed ritual if the ritual were an ordinary one. This was why Rhode had to provide his powers as the Void Dragon to strengthen the ritual. Although they could also choose to defeat Gabe and gain control over the ritual, Grazite might become more wary and stay away from the ritual after sensing the presence of dragon soul power. This was the reason why Rhode decided to take action after Grazite transferred his powers to Gabe. Even though Grazite was careful, he couldn't avoid violating the laws of nature. Since he wanted to create a clone, he would need to have contact with the main body and for this reason, their fates were ultimately bound.

And since the plan worked, the surging devilish energy poured into the ritual from the void of the dark cloud above. Anne raised the shield, protecting Christie behind her, while Mini Bubble Gum clenched her fists, gazing ahead in excitement. Canary folded her hands, golden runes and magical powers coalescing around her. A single thought could rip through the sky and rupture the ground. Celestina wielded the chain sword, narrowing her eyes at the surroundings. A puzzling scarlet ritual had appeared underneath her feet with a hint of evil and death. Even she had to be careful against a devil of Grazite's caliber. Gracier and Madaras were nowhere to be seen, hidden away in the shadows. But as master assassins, frontal battles weren't their forte to begin with.

The downpour of dark energy stopped, leaving a large, pitch-black 'lake' over the ground. Shortly after the ground trembled. A raging presence emerged from the peaceful 'lake'.

"---!"

It was an enormous, pitch-black, human-like figure. It expanded the black wings on its back with the blazing aura of purgatory. Rhode widened his eyes immediately, extending his hand forward.

"Christie!"

"... Yes!"

Christie nodded firmly and raised her right hand. All of a sudden, the radiance of Order shone from above, producing a white scroll and feather pen in her hands. Lines of text swiftly appeared above the empty scroll-the enormous, vicious Devil Monarch emerged from the darkness, snarling and glaring at the enemies. But the power of the main plane imprisoned it...

Then, Christie inked the scroll with the feather pen, adding a final statement-diminish its powers and cut off all connections from the Bottomless Abyss.

"No---!"

The gigantic figure suddenly shrunk like a deflated balloon, howling furiously. It expanded its wings and zoomed toward the little girl.

At the same time, Rhode unsheathed his sword.

"Attack!"