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 Rhode immediately dodged the Core Guardian's attack by tipping his toes and jumping backward. The enormous golem's punch brushed past him and smashed into the ground, creating a massive crater. The aftermath wasn't pretty. It was as though the earth sank down a few inches and the flying debris managed to graze Rhode's body and face, causing a slight pain on his skin.

However, Rhode didn't bother about such minor matters. As he retreated, he gripped his sword firmly and slashed downwards in a single motion. When he confirmed that the golem was successfully staggered, he used this chance to roll backward before extending his left hand.

"---!!"

Accompanied by a crisp cry, a flurry of whirlwinds erupted beside Rhode. The Spirit Bird appeared behind him, spread its wings and stared at the enemy. Rhode unhesitatingly rushed forward with his sword with the Spirit Bird following closely behind him.

It was as though the golem ignored the existence of the Spirit Bird, it continued to rumble forward and punch out once more. The Spirit Bird darted forward without the intention to dodge and met the Core Guardian face to face. It was kind of surprising though; one would imagine that such a body with a large surface area would be clumsy and slow. The Core Guardian's movement was almost absurd for its size.

If any logical person saw the Spirit Bird charge head first towards that massive incoming fist, they would shake their heads. But reality was always unpredictable, and the punch simply phased through its body. Following that, a sudden massive electrical explosion occurred at the point of impact.

"Bam!!"

A deafening, thunderous roar echoed throughout the small room which numbed Rhode and Anne's ears. The Core Guardian tumbled a few steps back; its hard, metal body glinted with the color of lightning and sparks began emitting out from beneath its exterior shell. When the Spirit phased through the Core Guardian's body, it delivered an intense shockwave which paralyzed its foe momentarily.

But of course, the Core Guardian wouldn't fall just like this.

"-Chi!!"

Followed by a sharp, piercing sound, a massive cloud of white steam billowed out from the golem's body. The Core Guardian then raised its left arm, clenched its fist, and spun its torso 180 degrees. In an instant, it's left arm pointed towards its flank and locked onto the Spirit Bird. Just by looking at this, the Core Guardian's intention was obvious.

However, how can the Spirit Bird be an easy target? After delivering its payload, it immediately glided in an arc in an attempt to dodge the incoming 'rocket arm'. The Spirit Bird who barely grazed past the 'rocket arm,' apparently became agitated. It let out a high pitched screech, and a bluish electric charge discharged from its body. The electricity took the form of a whip and lashed out towards the golem, causing streaks of charred metal on the Guardian's outer shell.

The Spirit Bird can't be considered to be in the same league as before. In terms of battle strength, it couldn't be compared to Celia or the other summoned spirits, but a mere Core Guardian posed no major problem for it. The Spirit Bird was already at level 15, and the Core Guardian was only level 14 or 15. Thus, due to its unique innate wind element attributes, the Core Guardian had a hard time following its movements. On the flip side, the Spirit Bird was also unable to burst the Core Guardian down with heavy attacks. While the electric element could damage the Core Guardian, it still wasn't very effective as it wasn't its weakness. If both of them continued this method of fighting, then a long battle was inevitable.

Rhode wasn't worried. He summoned the Spirit Bird solely because he wanted to lock the Core Guardian's movements while dealing some damage to it. He would step onto the stage next to end the battle.

He was a Spirit Swordsman, not a mage that summons minions. This meant that his spirits would work in his favor forever, and not on their own.

Rhode held his sword in front of his chest on his right hand, then he stretched his left arm out, and in an instant, a pitch black card appeared. Rhode crushed the card without hesitation.

A black mist suddenly enveloped Rhode's body, and a vague image of the Centaur Knight appeared. A translucent barrier then covered Rhode as he merged into the center of the Centaur Knight.

And at this moment, Rhode darted forward.

While the Spirit Bird was distracting the Core Guardian, Rhode utilized this opportunity to launch a surprise attack using his Shadow Flash. His body slowly became one with the shadows, and he closed the distance between him and the Core Guardian within moments. Rhode then raised his sword, and along with this movement, the illusory Centaur Knight also raised its spear at the same time, matching Rhode's timing impeccably.

They struck forward.

"Clang!!!"

The massive impact generated by the clash caused Rhode's heart to tremble. The Core Guardian's fate wasn't pretty either. Its enormous body was sent flying to the back and crashed into a wall, creating a deep hole. Collapsing dust and gravel filled the entire room. However, though it seemed as though Rhode won the clash, he didn't follow up with an attack; instead, he hastily dug his feet into the ground and held his sword upright in front of him.

At the same time, the illusory Centaur Knight matched Rhode's stance perfectly; its long spear and shield came crashing down as it blocked Rhode's front.

"Hu!!!'

The moment Rhode finished setting up his defensive stance, a pitch black object flew out from the hole where the Core Guardian crashed into. The projectile's speed was incredibly quick, and if Rhode didn't switch to a defensive stance, who knew what would have happened.

It was the very same fist that was used against the Spirit Bird previously.

A long steel chain connected its fists to its arm. That was the difference between humans and golems. Golems weren't living objects; this meant that they could use any part of their bodies as a weapon. Many humans fell into the assumption that golems were similar to humans. Perhaps it was because they appeared similar to the human's anatomy? Or due to their inexperience?

But Rhode wasn't on that list. He was very familiar with golems and their tactics, as well as methods of how to defeat them.

It wasn't that the 'rocket arm' attack was weak, but rather, it was because Rhode wasn't fighting alone anymore. After activating his 'Shadow Follower' skill and fusing with the Centaur Knight, Rhode obtained the abilities of the terrifying four-legged demihuman; thus, Rhode could take on the attack head-on.

After discovering that its attack failed, the Core Guardian immediately withdrew its fist and rejoined it to its body. And at that moment, the Spirit Bird whipped up a whirlwind again and clashed with the Core Guardian.

Meanwhile, Anne wasn't having an easy time either. While she received Rhode's recommendation, she knew that she still lacked experience about golems. Since the start, Anne was able to defeat Guardian Golems, but she slowly grew weary. Moreover, Rhode's battle was ever-changing, and she couldn't keep up with their movements. And sometimes, his battle would block her field of vision, which caused her to miss the enemy who was rolling out of the pipeline. But when she finally noticed their presence, the Guardian Golems already began to attack.

"Heyah!!"

Anne screamed and swung her shield downwards at the enemy. The sharp, metal edge of the shield pierced through the Guardian Golem's outer shell. These Guardian Golems didn't have the opportunity to display their skills before being thoroughly smashed to pieces. Suddenly, she felt a blast of wind at her rear.

Anne realized what was happening without looking. Since the beginning, these Guardian Golems had only appeared one at the time, so she had an easy time dealing with them alone. But now, the spawning rate was unpredictable. Sometimes they would appear in twos or even threes, and in some extreme cases, they wouldn't appear at all.

She didn't choose to dodge. Instead, she released the grip on the back of her shield and slipped around it nimbly like a cat, switching from the back to the front. A split second later, the Guardian Golem's sharp blades landed on the golden shield, causing a screeching sound. Anne gripped her shield with both hands, waiting for the Guardian Golems to move into her attacking range. Once she confirmed her targets, she swung her shield upwards, smashing the golems into the air. Before they could regain their stability, the heavy shield once again landed on them from the skies.

"Boom!!!"

Metallic bits scattered everywhere. The once aggressive Guardian Golems were now broken into pieces under the golden shield, posing no threat.

"Hu..."

Anne finally caught her breath and lifted her head towards Rhode's direction.

Over there, Rhode's battle with the Core Guardian finally reached its climax.

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