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 In the end, it the outcome was as expected.

None of them could clinch a victory even though Rhode had picked new opponents for them and arranged for them to have the upper hand due to their classes. While it was true that everyone had improved tremendously and felt the incredulous change at the start of the battle, but once their opponent retaliated, their initial euphoria quickly turned into sorrow and defeat.

This time, Rhode arranged a one versus one fight and the rest would observe from the sidelines. This gave them a third-person perspective over the battle. Rhode wanted them to generate ideas by watching how the superior players played. In the past, they could only focus on their opponent in front of them. But now, by observing as a third party, they could expand their knowledge of various classes and hopefully create new techniques for themselves.

Obviously, Rhode didn't do this to torture them. So after every three matches, he would wave his hand to stop and gather everyone.

"Okay, I have a question. What do you think of their attacking style?"

The five of them frowned at Rhode's question. After thinking for a moment, eventually, Marlene was the first to answer, albeit hesitantly.

"They... seemed to like attacking. A lot."

Marlene wasn't wrong. Especially today, after the observations, all of them realized the five figures seem to possess a crazy level of passion in offensive play. Even a support class like the Cleric, she even dared to use 'Defense Wall' to trap her opponent. From this, they could discern how extreme these group of people would go regarding taking the offensive. It wasn't only the cleric. Marlene's battle with the Shield Warrior was also the same.

As a mage, one would think that she would have a natural advantage over the Shield Warrior, but alas, little did she expect that the 'Shield Warrior' would totally abandon her defense and used the shield for offense instead. This left Marlene dumbstruck. For a moment, she forgot to release the spells from her hand, and by the time she snapped back, it was too late as her opponent already entered her proximity. The shield smashed her away and then...

... then there was nothing more after that.

"That's right."

Rhode nodded at Marlene's answer.

"What views do all of you have on this?"

"This..."

This time, it was Lize who raised her hand.

"I don't think that what they did was orthodox, Mr. Rhode. Their attacks were too wild and were ignored their defense. If they were countered, wouldn't that be-"

"The question is, would THEY be able to counterattack?"

Rhode's reply immediately made Lize swallow her words. She opened her mouth, but nothing came out. Indeed, the opponents appeared to attack fearlessly, and in theory, there are many risks hidden within this battle style. Even Marlene and the others could discover it and wanted to take advantage of it. However, before they could conceive of any method to counter, their opponents had already rained blows on them until they were beaten black and blue.

And what's the reason for that? Was it the unfamiliarity with the opponent's attack pattern? The classes may be different, however, the five figures' attacking styles were similar. After training for many days, they were accustomed to that behavior. But this time around, the figures waited for them to begin attacking and didn't immediately strike the instant they started fighting. This was an opportunity for Marlene and the rest to get a hold of the rhythm. Otherwise, if they were to talk about strength, both sides had equal strength. If any single one of the illusory figures had superior strength, then all it needed was to sneeze, and the five of them would just fall over.

But why did they not have any solutions to their opponents' crazy attacks? Even if they knew their opponents' weaknesses, they still lost so easily. What exactly was the reason? No one knew why. In the past, they had an excuse because they did not know their opponent's weaknesses. Now that their style, strengths, and weaknesses were all laid bare in front of them, but why couldn't they grasp the situation?

"This is the content of the second phase. All of you have to learn this - Be the deviser." Rhode pointed to himself as he spoke. "There is no perfect style in this world, and there are flaws in every one of them. If you focus on attack, others would say your defense is weak. If you focus on defense, then others would say you are too passive. Sereck's weakness in his swordsmanship is glaringly apparent as well. His fanciful swordsmanship is gorgeous, but lack strength. In theory, he would be as good as finished if he faces an opponent who has a barbarous attacking style. But what's the point of saying all these? Isn't he still a Swordsmaster?"

Everyone sweated while listening to his explanation. Sereck was a representative of Deep Stone City, but he turned out to be so useless and pathetic coming out of Rhode's mouth...

"The reason why you fail is not only solely on mastery of skills, but also in your thoughts."

Rhode stared coldly at his people.

"You subconsciously believed in defending against the opponent's attack first and follow up with an attack later. You wanted to excel in both aspects, but that's impossible because of your individual traits. Some of you love to defend, and some of you don't. Not everyone can be an all-rounded warrior!" Rhode explained. "Not only that, you did not exhibit your specialties and instead continuously revealed your weaknesses. It's no wonder all of you kept losing."

So that's why!

Marlene's eyes brightened after hearing Rhode's explanation. She finally understood why she couldn't control the rhythm of the battle and was always led by the nose. They just have to attack; only knowing how to attack, and love to attack. They didn't have much choice and could any do as they wished. But what about Marlene? She can attack and also defend. But should she attack? Or defend? Marlene didn't have a clear goal. She'll defend when the opponent attack, and she'll attack when the opponents stop attacking. This way, the rhythm of the battle would naturally be led by the opponent. As she didn't possess a personal battle style, she wasn't sure and didn't know what she should do. In a fierce battle, even a second of such hesitation could decide the outcome.

"In my hometown, there is an idiom, 'to foster strength and avoid weaknesses.' In other words, you need to display your specialties and keep away from your shortcomings - just like those fellows," He said while pointing towards the five figures. "Indeed, you would think that their frenzied attacks would weaken their defenses, and would be deadly if their opponents strike back. But as you can see, under their attacks, you didn't have any chance to counterattack, so why did you even think of attacking their weaknesses? A theory would remain as a theory, which anyone could debate about. But the truth isn't as simple as by speaking based on theory only."

Rhode stopped speaking, he noticed everyone's pensive expressions and nodded his head with satisfaction.

"You should understand what I'm trying to say. Remember, be the deviser. The battle style that you chose may have flaws, but that's okay. In theory, there are no battle styles that don't have any weaknesses; even the godly Archangels can be defeated. So, don't mind what the others say, remember what you should do, trust your decision, don't waver and hesitate, and it will be enough."

It wasn't illogical for Rhode to have such information. After all, he had seen many players struggling with this dilemma. Some people had their own special talents and traits, however, under the constant negativity of other people, they eventually gave up.

Just like this projection of 'Mini Bubble Gum' standing in front of Rhode. Since the inception of her character, she knew she wanted to choose the cleric job for PKing. Everyone doubted the cleric's battle abilities. Some of them even analyzed the data of cooldown, damage range, and spells. Some asserted that it was impossible based on their personal experiences in using a cleric to PK. In the beginning, 'Mini Bubble Gum' had indeed lost many times in a row.

Many players began started expressing their views on how clerics were not suitable for PK, and how the gaming company had never designed this job with the intention of possessing battle skills. If it were any other player, they would have already given up much earlier on. But since she was still a girl in her rebellious stage, the more they resisted, the more she wanted to prove herself. Rhode also supported her by giving her recommendations based on his experience. In the end, 'Mini Bubble Gum' created the most popular battle tactic of all Clerics, the 'Double Boom'' tactic. Eventually, her PK rankings shot through the roof and secured a spot in the Top 10 Hall Of Fame, and was the only Cleric in the Top 50 PK rankings.

This story was the prime example of how other opinions were just opinions, and at the end of the day, the one with the final say would be the person herself.

Rhode didn't intend for them to have the same desire for offensive tactics. He just wanted them to experience themselves through this method the importance of persevering in their own style. If they were to do what everyone says, and not have their own style, then when it comes to the real fight, they would eventually still lose. Just like what Marlene had thought, it was impossible to gain victory if they were to react according to what their opponents do.

One lucky thing was, this wasn't like the game. In the game, many people would criticise and discuss others' decisions which would create tremendous pressure and may cause one to give up on their path. In other words, the only opponents that Marlene and the rest had to face were their inner selves. If they can overcome this tribulation and decide on their battle style, then that would be a big success for them.

After saying all that was needed, Rhode turned around and left the training ground. He gave the remaining time to the group to ponder and understand their abilities. Rhode did all that he could and the next part would rely on their own comprehension. Rhode believed that if all of them understood the point he was trying to make, then at least they wouldn't be defeated by their opponents in mere seconds. As long as they could do this, they were considered to have passed the test.

But Rhode didn't relax due to this. As the days passed, he began to grow busy.

-

And the ban from the Mercenary Association finally ended.

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