"I'm glad to see that you have been successful in dealing with the demon, Reign." The king suddenly said as he approached Reign.
With Reign arriving back to the army, the whole situation was turned around. The hard fight they had been going through with the demons and demonic creatures ended the very moment he arrived as his aura alone was enough to heavily pressure the enemies.
With his help, the king and the others were able to quickly deal with the enemy Tier III combatants before helping out the soldiers and dealing with the remaining demonic creatures left in the enemy army.
With the enemies finally defeated, the whole army was finally free of fighting any longer. Millions of enemies had charged at them, only to be met with fierce resistance and destruction.
The enemies were dead while they were alive, although many had fallen during the battle. The final number of surviving soldiers was only about 220 thousand, with many of them being injured.
The demonic creatures went into some sort of frenzy after Reign had arrived and suddenly started fighting even more ferociously. Eisenhorn was there to help, and he tried his best, but he was still unable to save all of the soldiers as the shift in the demonic creatures behavior was too sudden.
Reign went inside a tent, where the healers quickly came at him to inspect his wounds and use their magic. Thanks to Reign already using the potions, his wound was much better now, but it was still bleeding and it would still take time for it to heal up properly.
The healers used some of their spells in order to at least fully stop the bleeding, but they were unable to even do that, although they did manage to help.
Reign knew that if they continued, they would use up too much mana and wouldn't be able to heal those that were seriously injured, thus he told them to stop and go help the others.
The healers graciously bowed to him before making their way to where they were needed most. Thanks to most soldiers being below Tier I, they were able to heal them with incredible efficiency and could minimize deaths that came as a result of heavy wounds.
Reign stayed in the tent and rested. The battle had been long and hard-fought, he deserved some rest.
One thing that caught his eye was the fact that the challenge had still not been updated.
He had finished the first step. The four souls were gathered, but the system seemed to need some time before giving him the second one.
[ The player has successfully finished the first step of the challenge, the instructions for the second step will be given soon. ]
It wasn't the first time a mission from the system needed some time before it was given, but it was the first time that Reign had gotten one with multiple steps so he had no idea what to do.
He, however, simply smiled before shaking his head and lying back on the bed. He had earned some rest, and he was definitely going to take it. He had felt a sudden drowsiness overtake him a while ago, but he fought it off until now.
Reign quickly fell asleep, and he had no idea how long he had slept before finally waking up.
As he woke up, he felt something strange.
He couldn't hear anyone.
It was late at night, and it was a given that there would barely be any noise right now, but even still, there should at least be some noise coming from outside. There would definitely be guards and patrols stationed around the tents, but Reign couldn't hear anything.
He got up from the bed before summoning his armor and weapons. His two swords were in their sheaths that were hanging from the sides of Reign's waist as he carefully walked and stepped outside.
It was late, but he could easily see thanks to the torches that were still lit up, but there was nobody present near him.
Reign could feel a strange aura in the air, one that made him feel uneasy, but he continued walking nonetheless.
His injuries still hadn't healed, and for some reason, his mana was also low, almost empty.
'That's weird, by all means, my mana should have filled up by now, it should at the very least be 80% full, and yet it's almost empty.' Reign thought as he walked through the giant camp the army had made during the day.
Since they had managed to win the battle, the soldiers were going to rest up here before heading back to Riplas. Forcing the soldiers that had fought against the demonic creatures to immediately march back was not something anyone would do, after all.
As Reign moved through the camp, he was even more perplexed as he truly could not find a single soul in it. He tried to sense mana, but there was nothing, he tried to sense souls, but once again, nothing.
'Where the hell is everybody, for more than 200 thousand people to suddenly disappear is simply impossible.' Reign thought to himself as he continued walking.
'Hey, Aethion, you there?' Reign suddenly asked.
"Yes, and before you ask, no, I have no idea what is happening either." Aethion suddenly spoke out.
"I was awake and present when you were sleeping, and yet even I failed to notice anything wrong," Aethion said as screams of pain echoed through the space he was in.
All the demons whose souls Reign had taken were presently there, even the leader of the demons.
His soul had been damaged thanks to his trying to pour in more demonic energy than possible. Aethion had started torturing the demon, but he always made sure to keep track of the surroundings and made sure to know just what was happening outside, which made this whole situation even more confusing.
Although he was severely weakened, Aethion was still a being that was once a Transcendent, and fooling his senses was something more difficult than fooling Reign's.
Both of them understood that whatever was happening, was not normal and that something fishy was going on. The weird atmosphere, the strange mist that Reign could suddenly see coming from around the camp, and the lack of any people were all signs that something bad had happened.
Reign could see food on some small tables that the soldiers had placed, some of it was still even warm, which made Reign believe that whatever happened, happened fairly recently.
Perhaps that was the reason why he had woken up. He woke up tense and immediately felt something was wrong, thus taking out his armor and weapons.
He carefully searched the temporary camp the army had set up, but there was nothing to be found.
Weapons were all left, armor pieces could be found in almost any tent, and even food was still present there.
Reign then proceeded to go to the bigger tents that housed the generals and the higher realm combatants of the kingdom. Still, nothing could be found.
Even after going to the king's tent, Reign was unable to find him or anyone else present.
'For not only normal soldiers but also Tier III beings to suddenly disappear, what sort of thing could have done this?' Reign asked as Aethion had an ugly expression on his face.
"I'm not sure boy, but this aura, it seems familiar, but I can't place why," Aethion said in a worried tone as Reign simply nodded to him.
"It's bad news, that much I can tell you, this mist as well, it's interfering with both of our senses, making it nearly impossible to normally sense mana and souls."
"The mist is nothing but trouble, and for something like this to appear here, there has to be a reason, an array or some sort of formation that had been created around the area." Aethion suddenly spoke as Reign stopped moving for a bit.
'For someone to make that here would mean that whoever was responsible for it, had created it days in advance.'
"Correct, this was planned, someone had managed to correctly guess where the army would make a camp, and had created an array around the whole area, shrouding the area in mist and making it hard for anybody to notice anything."
"But one thing still makes me a bit worried, and that is the lack of every single person here, even if the enemy had created such an array, it should be impossible for everybody to suddenly disappear or die." Aethion suddenly said in a serious tone as Reign nodded.
'There's no signs of battle anywhere, which means that whatever happened here, happened fast before anyone could respond.'
'There are no footprints anywhere either as if nobody was here for a long time, but the fires, tents, and equipment left show otherwise.' Reign said in a solemn tone as Aethion nodded.
"This is bad, no matter what it is that we are facing, we have been trapped, and the enemy seems to have predicted our every move."
Suddenly, the sounds of footsteps echoed through the area as a hooded figure appeared a couple of meters in front of Reign.
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