After noticing the doubt on their faces, Rhode quickly explained, "We simply don't have sufficient strength to go back that way."
"Each undead by itself isn't a problem, but it gets tricky when they rush in a horde. Since our group got bigger, we have to increase our protection radius and that would mean that we have to face more enemies. If we press forward, although the strength of each undead would rise, at least we won't have to deal with a large number like before. Moreover, high-level undead tends to roam alone and rarely work together which gives us a better chance of survival."
"But some high-level undead have the power to command low-level undead..."
Apparently Sereck knew quite a bit about the undead.
"Don't worry, that won't happen."
Rhode held his sword and drew a simple map on the ground. First, he drew a circle and then followed by a line.
"We are here. Fortunately, this place is considered to be the along the borders so we should be able to leave quickly as long we speed up a little. Then we will pass through here..." Rhode pointed at the line near the border and continued, "then we will arrive at another area of the plateau. There's a valley here and as long as we pass through this valley, we can leave this place."
"How do you know?"
Kudla couldn't contain his curiosity. He stared at the young man before him thinking that he might just be uttering nonsense.
"Because I've visited this place before."
As usual, Rhode didn't elaborate further and merely replied Kudla monotonously.
"There are two kinds of undead in the valley. The first one is the Giant Skeleton... I think that most of you can guess what it looks like by its name. It is a giant frame of bones that possess monstrous strength. What it lacks in agility is made up for by its strength."
"It has a unique ability to self-destruct at critical moments. Even if the battle seems like it's over, don't assume that you've already won. The numerous bones on its body can attack you even if separated from the main body. It has a weakness though — there is a Soul Fire hidden within its skull, so as long as we crush the skull, we can defeat the monster. The Giant Skeleton doesn't possess high intelligence, if we work together and dodge its attacks, we should be able to defeat it."
Rhode explained the strengths and weaknesses of the Giant Skeleton in a clear manner. Sereck and Kudla nodded their head after understanding how to deal with it.
"Next, near the end of the valley is the Death Knight's territory."
Rhode used his sword to draw another circle.
"The Death Knight is incredibly powerful. You can imagine its strength to be similar to Mr. Sereck. Also, as Mr. Sereck had mentioned previously, it is a high-level undead that has the ability to command low-level undead. The minions that he will command are those Giant Skeletons."
Rhode's hand stop moving.
"Which is why we must clear all the Giant Skeletons as soon as possible. Although the Giant Skeletons cannot telepathically alert the Death Knight even if it were attacked, if the battle becomes too loud and the Death Knight picks up the scent of us... then even a fool will understand that is a problem."
Kudla was slightly surprised and couldn't help but agree with Rhode's strategy. At first, he thought that Rhode was too young to be a commander, but now after hearing his detailed breakdown of the monsters and how to defeat them, all of his previous doubts washed away entirely.
Rhode revealed a way of instructing the group that he had never seen before. First, he would explain what kind of attacks the enemy would make and teach the group how to counter these attacks. It was so detailed that he even stated the type of skill needed to be used. What was even more admirable was his intricate grasp of these skills and seemingly immaculate knowledge of it.
In this area, Kudla knew right away that he wasn't of Rhode's caliber because he knew no other mercenary group leader utilized this method of command. At most, a regular mercenary group leader would just give the order to attack, defend or retreat and Kudla had firmly believed that was the way to command a mercenary group. He thought that the tricky part of commanding would be the mercenary leader's reaction speed and his subordinates' tacit understanding of each other. However, Rhode opened a new world to him.
Kudla was shocked. It was simply unimaginable.
Each mercenary had a different skill level, and their fighting style wasn't the same. Thus, it was almost impossible for the commander to teach them what to do individually...
Without a doubt, if Kudla were a player, he wouldn't be making a mountain out of a molehill. As Rhode had said before — prior to fighting any BOSS, every player will have to make their necessary preparations.
"Well, that should be it."
Rhode clapped his hands.
Back in the game, after his briefing, Rhode would usually add something like this: "If you don't pay attention, I'm gonna directly kick you out later." But since he wasn't playing a game right now, even if something went wrong, there would be no chance for redemption.
Rhode had no interest in arguing with dead people.
After finishing his discussion with Sereck and Kudla, Rhode gathered everyone and explained what kind of danger they would face as well as administer their individual responsibilities. This time, the formation was slightly different. Rhode, Celia, and Sereck would lead the main offense while Anne would be responsible for protecting the Clerics. As for the mercenaries, they didn't bear any heavy responsibilities because Rhode wasn't familiar with them. Instead, he arranged for them to guard the rear together with Kudla since he was already briefed on how to deal with the Giant Skeletons. Rhode saw that he was a smart person, so there shouldn't be any problems.
However, there were two significant changes this time.
"What about me? Do I not have to attack?"
"Your large area of effect spells will cause a great disturbance to the surroundings. Our objective is to finish the battle in the shortest possible time without drawing much attention to us."
After hearing Rhode's explanation, Marlene nodded. Then, after a moment, she added, "If that's the case, why not let me cast Silence? That way, I can prevent the enemy from hearing anything."
Rhode was subtly surprised for a moment.
"You can cast Silence?"
Marlene nodded as if the sun had always been rising from the east.
"Aren't you an Elemental Mage?"
"I'm proficient in elemental spells, but I'm also fairly well-versed in illusory and arcane spells."
Rhode stared at Marlene who proudly raised her head. Rhode finally understood why the people called her a rare magical genius of a hundred years... No wonder many players complained about not being able to defeat her. This young miss was simply a copy of a BOSS in the making.
"Kid, I know what you want me to do..."
Old Walker fondled his chin and revealed a complicated expression. His previous role was to scout and detect enemies from afar. To put it bluntly, he didn't participate in battles at all. However, Rhode decided that he needed to contribute his strength this time.
"You want me to attract that monster's attention, aren't they very sensitive?"
"But don't worry, I will tell you what to do."
As for both Anne and Lize, their role didn't change much. He didn't even have to tell Lize what to do and merely asked her to master the attack rhythm. Not only was the upcoming battle a test, but it was an excellent opportunity to gain more experience. Lize had been rather consistent in combat, so he didn't have to worry about her.
Rhode didn't have to say much to Anne as well. But he finally understood why the vice-leader of Mark White wanted to find an opportunity to kick her out. The way she expressed her thoughts was too direct. Most of the mercenaries were glaring at her right now, let alone the half-elf thief who would've killed her if she had the chance.
Still, under this tense atmosphere, Anne had the guts to continue humming a song as though nothing was wrong, albeit unintentionally. Have to say... she truly deserved to be called a tank. The way she pulled and held the aggro was top-notch.
After pushing away the boulder, a cold wind blew in and made everyone shiver.
Rhode said coolly as he walked out from the cave with everyone following closely behind him.
Perhaps lady luck was blessing them as they didn't encounter an ambush when leaving the withered forest. When they finally left the forest, everyone felt relieved, but before they could relax, they immediately fell upon a new hurdle.
Boom! Boom! Lize immediately snuffed the Holy Light. They were now at the edge of a cliff, quietly looking down at a huge shadow that was moving back and forth in the valley. Everyone could feel a chill when they saw the monster.
As their name suggested, they were giants without flesh. They towered over three meters tall, and their skeletal structure didn't seem weak and brittle at all. But all they did was mindlessly wander around the valley, only turning its huge head to look around from time to time. Inside its empty sockets was the Soul Fire that gave it life. It shone like a small sun, emitting a green light that swept around the valley like a lighthouse.
Facing such a powerful enemy, can they really win?
No one had the confidence.
"Okay, listen to me closely."
Rhode took a deep breath and lowered his voice. He turned around and gestured to Old Walker.
Old Walker quickly bent down and came forward. Two shadows quietly stepped towards a huge boulder near the valley.
Rhode pointed towards the Giant Skeleton not too far away from him. It wielded an enormous bone club as it sauntered back and forth. Old Walker traced the area where Rhode pointed to and nodded.
"Shoot the arrow there. Remember, don't at shoot it, but near it. About five meters away from it."
Old Walker nodded. Then he pulled his bow and aimed towards the target with intense concentration. Everyone else couldn't help but hold their breath while watching him.
When the Giant Skeleton looked back and walked towards the other side of the valley, Rhode shouted.