With all the necessary items secured for their venture into the Netherworld, Ren and Evie completed their preparations and moved forward.

Meanwhile, Salister Kane's nefarious plans were already in motion.

In the dark recesses of his lair, Salister conducted a chilling ritual that stretched across 24 harrowing hours.

As the ritual reached its dreadful conclusion, an agonizing wave swept through any creature whose soul was owned by Salister Kane or bound by an active contract.

The pain was unbearable. For creatures with 10,000 HP less, death was instantaneous, their souls forcibly seized by Salister.

Those with more than 10,000 HP endured excruciating torment, suffering psychic damage equal to half their maximum hit points.

To ensure no survivors remained, Salister dispatched two groups of his minions, relentless in their pursuit to finish off any who escaped the initial onslaught.

At this critical juncture, players faced a momentous decision. They could align themselves with Salister, becoming his new lieutenants in his dark quest to conquer hell.

This choice promised an epic high-level story arc, its consequences bound to reshape their journey profoundly.

Alternatively, if they chose to oppose him, the odds were stacked against them.

To level the playing field, they might seek aid from powerful allies –– perhaps enlisting the support of angelic forces or even enigmatic demons drawn out by the chaos, their shared enmity for devils surpassing their disdain for mortals.

The battle lines were drawn, and the players stood at the precipice of a cataclysmic confrontation.

Despite the escalating chaos in the virtual realm, Ren remained steadfast in his original plan. He was resolute in tackling the mission with only himself, Evie, and the two princesses by his side.

In his mind, the quartet was more than capable. Ren believed their collective strength and skills were sufficient for the task at hand.

Besides, his strategy did not involve engaging in battles with formidable bosses within the Demon Realm.

His objective was more straightforward: to open the portal alongside Heaven's Realm, a feat he believed could be accomplished without straying too far from his goal.

Ren's singular purpose revolved around infiltrating Vanadon-Necroth's lair and seizing all the recipes in a single swift operation.

His plan was concise: infiltrate, gather, and escape promptly, ensuring minimal exposure to the dangers lurking within the Demon Realm.

Ren was determined to execute his mission with precision and efficiency, undeterred by the surrounding turmoil.

Meanwhile, a sudden, inexplicable calamity struck. Players and NPCs alike found themselves falling to the ground, lifeless avatars dissipating into digital fragments. Their deaths were swift and mysterious, without apparent cause or reason.

Panic rippled through the Renais Empire as thousands of NPCs collapsed, their screens fading to black in an unsettling display of finality.

The death toll escalated at an alarming speed. Players who have contracts with Salister Kane were now left powerless and dying left and right without knowing the reason.

Even the mightiest warriors and skilled mages succumbed, their health bars dwindling to zero as if drained by an unseen force.

The system demanded an exorbitant HP penalty for resurrection.

Chaos reigned supreme as guilds and players alike found themselves in disarray.

Desperate chatter filled the online game as players shared their experiences, trying to make sense of the inexplicable deaths.

Guild leaders were now confounded and concerned. The abrupt demise of their members was not just a loss but a mystery that demanded immediate attention.

Even Ren and World Conqueror faded from the collective consciousness of powerful guilds like Black Lion, Fate Alliance, Great Dynasty, and Sleeping Dragon.

Their attention shifted entirely towards unraveling the mystery behind the sudden, inexplicable deaths that plagued their members.

The guilds were consumed by the urgent need to understand why their comrades were perishing without any apparent cause or explanation.

Ren and his endeavors became inconspicuous shadows amidst the turmoil, forgotten in the face of the looming crisis.

For the guilds, however, this crisis presented an opportunity amidst the chaos.

Leaders saw this as a chance to investigate, to uncover the root cause of these unprecedented events that may lead to the discovery of an Epic Quest or much greater like a World Quest!

Guild researchers delved into the game and online, seeking knowledge that might shed light on the situation.

Scouts scoured the virtual realms for clues, their eyes sharp and senses heightened.

The once-thriving realm of Guildbane, which had been full of boundless adventure, now stood shrouded in an atmosphere of fear and uncertainty.

Players, bewildered and alarmed by the inexplicable deaths, flooded social networks with their distress, seeking solace and answers for the fear that they might be next.

Desperation fueled their messages, pleading for an explanation, but the developers remained ominously silent, their responses reduced to a cryptic mantra: "It's not a bug."

This standard reply offered no comfort, leaving the players in a state of profound unease. The lack of communication from the very architects of their virtual world deepened the sense of disquiet, leaving the community on edge and rife with speculation.

Whispers of conspiracy and glitches filled everyone's thoughts, amplifying the feeling of helplessness among the players.

Amidst the unfolding chaos, Ren and Evie were having a good time in a quaint restaurant located not far from the chapel.

Ignoring the pandemonium outside, they were immersed in their own world, savoring a quiet date filled with laughter, good food, and the warmth of each other's company.

In a moment of serenity, Elena finally made her appearance. With her came Princess Lorelai.

Possessing an ethereal beauty that could capture the gaze of anyone in her vicinity, the Princess's hair, the color of platinum, cascaded down her back in gentle waves, glinting like strands of precious metal under the sunlight.

Her eyes, a vivid shade of blue akin to the endless depths of the ocean, appeared like glowing stars in the moonlight.

Princess Lorelai wore deceptively unassuming armor, resembling the attire worn by the guards patrolling the city streets.

The ensemble was practical and functional, lacking the ornate embellishments often associated with royalty.

Her helmet, in particular, was crafted to conceal her face completely, shrouding her identity in secrecy. The unadorned design served a purpose –– to ensure that no one could recognize her while she moved among the common folk, safeguarding her anonymity as she navigated the world outside the palace walls.