It was an ancient key, but despite its long years of existence, it seemed as though it was well-maintained . Rhode gazed silently at the key with knitted brows . Then, the little girl pointed to the stairs leading to the highest point of the refuge where a sealed metallic circular door stood .
“Follow me . ”
The little girl said . She turned around and headed toward the stairs . Rhode’s group ascended the stairs under her lead . Unlike the other areas, there weren’t any buildings in sight on both sides . On the other hand, in the distance ahead was a flat plaza and a circular metallic door embedded on the wall . It seemed like the same door as the one they saw when they entered the refuge .
This old fella has it all planned out .
“As long as you defeat all the creatures inside, the elder will hand over the coordinates . ”
The little girl didn’t seem to like speaking . After telling Rhode the conditions, she stepped aside instantly . However, Rhode didn’t agree just yet . On the contrary, he sized up the little girl curiously and made her pale and nervous . When she bit her lip and was about to speak, Rhode shifted his gaze to the door . Then, he ordered .
“Lize, Marlene, Anne, follow me . Gillian, I’ll leave the rest to you . Remember . If we don’t return after one hour, destroy this refuge completely!”
“Got it, Master . You can count on me . ”
Gillian snapped her fingers and raised her right arm . Then, a scarlet flame column burst into the sky with her in the center . The flames turned into waves that blazed and spread throughout the arc-shaped ceiling . This sudden phenomenon caused an uproar among the residents with many fleeing and peering at the dazzling flames that merged into the shape of a clock . Although the second hand on the clock ticked slowly, the pressurize was massive for them .
“Mr . Rhode…”
Lize gazed at the little girl awkwardly, but it seemed like the latter wasn’t too concerned . However, Lize felt that it was too rude of Rhode . No matter what, didn’t the other party agree to hand over the coordinates? It wouldn’t be too nice to do this, right?
“I’m going to check on the situation inside . You girls will stand guard here . ”
“Yes, Mr . Rhode . ”
Rhode turned a deaf ear to Lize’s concerns while Marlene gazed at the panicky residents helplessly . The previous encounter with the little boy made her realize that the ‘rules’ that she was familiar with weren’t applicable in this place . Indeed, such brazen threats from Rhode definitely wouldn’t be welcomed if they were in another place . But in here… It seemed like Rhode was familiar with the situation, so she was better off leaving it to him .
“Good . ”
Rhode nodded before taking the ancient key from the little girl and slotting it into the door .
Rhode turned the key and the metal railing used to seal the door shifted while the metal disc rotated slowly . The shackles that were originally aligned with each other loosened and the metallic door opened, revealing a deep, huge tunnel before them . But what surprised them was that the tunnel wasn’t completely dark . Instead, faint radiances from both sides of the wall extended into the depths as though they existed to guide their path .
“Anne, come with me . ”
Rhode gestured and entered the tunnel . Anne responded excitedly and waved goodbye to Lize and Marlene proudly with her chest perked out . Marlene and Lize watched them with complicated emotions and the latter let out a long sigh after they disappeared into the tunnel .
“Should we… practice some sword skills…?”
“… Even if we practice, we probably won’t reach Anne’s standard…”
They gazed at each other before letting out a sigh in unison .
Rhode scanned his surroundings solemnly despite placing his hands on his back nonchalantly . Shortly after, the magical radiance from the back of his right hand shone and formed a large brilliant ritual . Then, summoning cards emerged one by one: Celia, Celestina, Snow, and the Hell Hound . Rhode swung his arm and the dazzling magical radiance in his hand extracted the shadows to form a pitch-black sword in his hand .
“Leader, are the enemies strong?”
Anne asked . Although she strolled casually, her gaze was incredibly serious . In terms of battle, Anne’s instincts were much sharper than the veteran players like Mini Bubble Gum and Canary . It was imaginable how she could become stronger than Rhode when she entered the Legendary Stage in the future .
“It will be rather troublesome, so I need your help . ”
Rhode answered softly .
“I left Gracier and Madaras outside . I can only rely on you here, Anne . I will attract the BOSS’s attention later and I need you to retrieve the core for me . ”
Anne asked curiously . Then, Rhode nodded .
“Yes, it is the core that is contaminated by Chaos . In simpler terms, the core existed to strengthen the refuge’s defense against the Chaos . But it may have possibly turned into a channel for the Chaos, which explains the reason why they sealed this place up . What we need to do is to purify it, so the refuge can regain the strength to deal with the Chaos . ”
Rhode paused . The core of the refuge was like a system firewall against viruses . It would filter and eliminate harmful viruses to ensure that the refuge was safe . Therefore, not just anyone could enter this protected place . After hearing from the little girl about the elder’s request, Rhode had no choice but to hold back on the idea of slaughtering everyone here . After all, it was easier for him to eradicate the creatures than them .
However, Rhode was also aware that the elder harbored ill intentions . Normally, the corrupted core would only react when someone approached . The level limit of the Chaos Creatures that it summoned would be in accordance to the enemy with the highest level . This was the reason why Rhode left the rest outside because they wouldn’t be able to deal with the Chaos Creatures if their strength was based on his level . He brought them here only to familiarize them with the characteristics of the Land of Chaos and didn’t mean to send them to their death .
Since Rhode might be able to purify the core, the elder wouldn’t let this chance slip as there would at least be a guarantee to the refuge’s safety . If Rhode failed, his men would be in dire straits and might even perish in this place while the refuge would still be in safe hands…
The older, the wiser indeed .
The reason why he brought Anne along was that she held a shield that was immune to the corrosion of Chaos . Judging from this, Anne was much more ‘invincible’ than Rhode .
After briefly explaining to Anne that they were about to face a BOSS, they reached the end of the tunnel and arrived at a wide circular hall . Judging from the layer of filthy dust above the decorations, it could be seen that this was once a luxurious place . But now, there were only faint radiances and a dark sphere floating in midair .
Rhode clutched his sword and took a step forward .
Suddenly, the dark sphere bulged and spurted dark liquid from within which shrouded half the hall .
Then, the dark liquid coalesced and formed individuals one by one .
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