The three girls noticed that Rhode was walking towards them and lifted their heads in response.
In all honesty, they were Starlight's trump cards because Starlight lacked experienced mercenaries and they were all beautiful females nonetheless.
Some mercenary groups got jealous when they saw the three capable yet beautiful women. They even secretly called them prostitutes when the three were together.
Of course, these things could only be spoken secretly; no one would dare to publically denounce Starlight when they heard news of Rhode beating up Jade Tears into such a miserable state.
Still, it didn't prevent them from being jealous of Starlight.
Among the three women, Lize was the adorable type. Her white Cleric robes matched with her luscious golden hair made her look like a delicate lily. Although she was smiling right now, a trace of gloominess still hid deep within.
Marlene was as prideful as always. She placed her hand on her knee while her white, long hair waved around as she moved. Her crimson red eyes emitted a beautiful gleam, just like a flower that grew on a mountain; hard to reach, but incredibly beautiful.
Anne was much bolder than the lot of them. Even if someone were to scribble the word 'bold' on their head, they still can't possibly rival Anne in revealing her innocence to the world.
Anne yawned as she lay flat on the grass and enjoyed the warm sunshine. Her golden hair was tied up in a ponytail, emitting a youthful and wild charm. Contrasting against Lize's and Marlene's conservativeness, Anne seemed to prefer to show off her figure. The armor she wore right now was tight-fitting and emphasized her slim waist. With her vivacious personality, who knew if she intentionally picked this set of revealing attire.
Randolf and the rest were almost immune to Anne's outfit as they were already used to it. On the other hand, Shauna's subordinates eyes glued onto Anne. This made Shauna angry, and she scolded them for being a group of good-for-nothings that couldn't control their inner desires.
Honestly speaking, Shauna can be considered to be a beauty herself. While she wasn't as striking when compared with the other three, a strong and mature woman like her did attract plenty of men.
If Rhode were an ugly, lecherous fatty, perhaps everyone would've called him a lewd b*stard. But even though they knew that he recruited many beautiful women into Starlight, no one called Rhode lewd. So why was that?
The reason was simple. It was because of his appearance! His looks weren't far off from the rest of them. Saying that he was lewd? Wasn't it better for him to buy a mirror to look at himself if he'd ever felt lustful?
While many were busy with training, the three women chatted about a variety of topics... well, actually it was only Marlene and Lize who was having a chat. At the side, Anne's blissful facial expression revealed that she was having a pleasant dream.
"Ah, Mr. Rhode."
Lize quickly stood up. Marlene also smiled and nodded.
"How do you feel?"
Rhode asked Lize.
"It's slightly weird... the last time we came to Twilight Forest was for a mission and didn't have time to take in the scenery. This is my first time coming here without taking on any mission."
Lize said with a smile as her gaze fell upon the sea of trees not far from her.
"It's really beautiful. I recall that I was so nervous that my head started to spin when I first took on a mission here. At that time, leader and the others would laugh at me..."
Lize stopped speaking and gazed at the forest silently. She knew she shouldn't say these things, but she couldn't help but think of it.
Looking at her gloomy expression, Rhode frowned. It's not like he didn't notice her mood, but her painful memories weren't something that could be erased easily.
If it was a problem in battle, Rhode might be able to think of a solution, but this was a psychological problem, and Rhode's ability to guess what people were thinking was as good as the average person next to him.
Lize looked fine on the outside, but deep inside there was a scar that no Cleric could heal. If a similar accident were to occur, perhaps this scar might once again open up and bring a greater injury to her mental state.
"I will go and check on everyone."
Lize seemed to have noticed something, so she made a faint smile and made her way to the others. Rhode stared at her leaving figure and was lost in thought.
"Seems like that accident left a deep scar."
Marlene, who had been quiet for a while, finally opened her mouth.
"Do you have a plan, Mr. Rhode?"
"For now? No."
"Since its something hard to bring up, we can only act according to circumstances. Marlene, can you inform me if anything happens to her?"
"No problem, leave it to me, Mr. Rhode."
Marlene had no reason to reject as Lize was her best friend. Even if she was a genius Mage, she was no psychiatrist either. Other than staying beside her, there was nothing she could do.
Rhode nodded. Then he walked towards a stream by the hillside.
Marlene frowned when she saw Rhode's figure. She felt that it was familiar.
Ah, yes... it was just like in Silent Plateau. He went into the forest and summoned an angel, right?
But what was he doing now? Was he going to summon someone again?
Marlene fell deep into thought for a while before shaking her head. Rhode had too many secrets. It was no point for her to pry his secrets. She believed that he would tell them the truth when the time came.
But when she looked at where Rhode was heading to, she couldn't help but think about the underground palace. The Fascarl era buildings... the strange statues and the trial...
Is he really...?
Suddenly, her eyes flashed a trace of shock. She didn't realize that her heart was beating really fast. An unbelievable thought just hit her. If it's just like she thought, then Rhode is...
She shook her head and threw away the frightening idea.
At that moment, Anne, who was supposed to be sleeping, quietly opened her eyes and peeked at Marlene. Her beautiful and refined face was currently flushed red.
Rhode felt that this forest was somewhat fated with him.
He walked towards a dense thicket, and after making sure that there was no one around, he took out a small Soul Core. It was the second Soul Binding Stone. Inside the stone was the soul of the Death Knight that he previously defeated. Frankly, Rhode didn't expect to bind its soul since he was actually trying to avoid the fight. However, Anne's stubbornness altered the plan. So, Rhode changed his mind and took out the Soul Binding Stone to seal the Death Knight's soul.
Unlike the Necromancer, the Death Knight's soul wasn't pure black; it was grey. Rhode couldn't help but feel nervous when he saw the swirling fog.
The Death Knight was a monster above level 30 and he was currently only level 15. He wasn't even half of its level. A Soul Core from a higher level monster would enable him to summon a high-level spirit. All he had to do now was to suppress its instability to the lowest.
High-level cards were very rare. In the game, the majority of the Summoning Swordsmen players had to fuse three high-level cards to get it. Of course, if one obtained a high-level Soul Core, he or she might acquire a high-level card as well though the success rate of obtaining one was much lower than fusing three cards.
Rhode hoped that the level 30 Soul Core wouldn't turn out to be trash. After thinking for a while, Rhode finally made the decision to go for it.
Rhode took a deep breath as he stared at the foggy Soul Core in his hand.Once again, he scanned his surroundings to make sure that no one would disturb him. Then, he closed his eyes and began.
Soon, a stream of mysterious lights appeared from his hand. Like a river of water, it flowed from his body to the ground. After that, with Rhode as the center, it formed into a huge and majestic magic circle!
Then, a deck of cards floated in the air; they were hovering inside the circle, all of them shining with a different kind of light.
At that moment, Rhode lifted his right hand to present the Soul Core to the deck.
This was a method he thought of. Rather than letting the Soul Core form itself, it was better to place it into a card he had. By doing so, he can obtain a higher success rate of getting high-level spirits. That was his conclusion after countless trials and error and research from the forums.
And now, he finally got the opportunity to experience it.
As if aware of the Soul Core, the deck began shining with a mysterious light. The Soul Core began to change color as though it was communicating with the deck. The Soul Core flickered and changed colors rapidly from white to black, to red, and to green. The colors started to change faster until Rhode's eyes couldn't keep up with it.
But suddenly, Rhode's expression changed.
He found out that something wasn't right.
The Soul Core on his palm began to tremble, and the magic circle also began to distort.
What happened? He had never encountered this kind of situation before.
Rhode calmed down and kept his doubts in his heart. He tried to suppress the magic circle, but he didn't expect the feedback was getting even more violent and the formerly stable magic circle exploded with a powerful force.
When the Soul Core on his palm broke, his body suddenly felt extremely painful.
There was only darkness before him; he lost consciousness.