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 Magic condensation?

Rhode was slightly surprised, he played the Spirit Swordsman profession for seven years and had seen many strange situations. But he was sure that he never encountered this kind of situation.

The so-called magic condensation refers to the player's compatibility with the long-term used summon spirit. They would 'nurture' the summon spirit in the evolution process. According to the game, it meant that when they evolved too fast, it would result in excessive magic condensation --- In other words, it would turn into a piece of equipment.

On the other hand, when the player reached a high compatibility rating with the summon spirit, it would give them a surprise...

But this wasn't something realistic for most of the time. Firstly, the equipment level from summoned spirit wasn't often high, and secondly, these equipment were an illusion created by Spirit Swordsmen only. If it was thrown away, it would just disappear into nothingness. As a result, it could not be traded or given away, so it as good as 'half valueless.'

Rhode wasn't surprised when his summon spirit condensed. After all, this sword had been with him up until now. But what made him surprised was --- wasn't the holy sword supposed to be a piece of equipment?

Usually, only creatures with self-consciousness would have the characteristics of magic condensation?

What's going on?

Unmistakably, the holy sword wasn't a living creature.

Rhode fell deep into thought for a moment, but he couldn't make a concrete decision because the system prompt did not let him confirm anything. It merely told him what was happening, nothing more. The golden texts then disappeared as quickly as it appeared. He looked down at his hand, realizing that the deck of cards on his palm also disappeared somehow.

Lize and Matt stared at each other but did not say anything. In fact, they were not very clear about Rhode's identity. Even though it looked as if he was a swordsman, but besides his sword skills, he also did a lot of things that were unlike swordsmen.

But the two of them did not ask. Lize was an adventurer, of course, she knew that many swordsmen had their own unique abilities and legacies. On the other hand, Matt was very sure that Rhode was one of the descendants of an ancient clan, since only they would have this kind of extraordinary presence.

Although he could feel that Lize and Matt were staring at him, but he didn't feel the need explain. As a guild leader, he was very clear that he did not have to say and do unnecessary things. He remembered that when those players on the internet started a war of words, it would become incredibly intense. The moment you said one word wrong, the opponent would seize the opportunity to turn the tables.

This was particularly important when Rhode became the first guild leader. As the saying goes, great winds blow upon high hills. His enemies would take his every word and action to their advantage. The more you explain, the more loopholes would appear, it was better to say nothing and let them misunderstand. He took back his card and began to sort out his other items.

Mages were usually rich.

Not only did Lize and Matt find the Gargoyle's controller device in the church, but they also found a small pile of precious gems and magic crystals which had lost its magic. Rhode took all of these items since his other profession was an alchemist, those things were still useful to him.

What surprised him further was Lize finding a diary on the desk. It recorded the mage's life after coming to this small town.

This aroused Rhode's interest. Even as a player, he was very clear about the Fog Ruins dungeon ins and outs. But it was his first time looking at it from an NPC point of view.

Most of the diary's content became unreadable due to the passage of time, but there were still some records left.

The year of Saints, the 5th of the month of Thunder.

I succeeded! By sacrificing countless innocent lives, I finally saw her shadow in the middle of the magic circle. She smiled at me. It was the same gentle smile, I was so excited that I called out to her, but she was not able to hear my response. The spell was not complete, but I already have some hope since my idea is indeed correct!

The year of Saints, the 15th of the month of Thunder.

Praise the Holy Spirit! I finally got to see her again. I've attained enough power to conquer all things! By bringing back the dead soul, she finally could see me! I could touch her and feel her warm body, she hugged me and called out my name. At that moment, I feel that everything that I have done was all worth it. Ah... my love, Hina, she was still as gentle, beautiful, and caring as when she was still alive.

I was in a dilemma, but I still determined to confess, I told her about what I have done. But she forgave me. She was still the same as before, she smiled and forgave me. At that time, I felt like life was so beautiful, even the sun outside was splendid. I decided to take her away from here and live a normal life. I won't come into contact with evil anymore, nor will I use magic again. We will move to a remote mountain village, get married, have children, and die like ordinary people.

I do not know whether I deserve this happiness, but I will strive to fight, hope Holy Spirit bless me.

The year of Saints, the 3rd of the month of Blasphemy.

That isn't Hina. I have this...feeling... Even though her appearance and memories were all the same, I have the feeling that wasn't her. When I told her about my plan, she just smiled and agreed. It was so strange, while she was a smart girl, she was also assertive. She did not usually listen to me.

I was suspicious. What if there was any problem in the spell?

Why didn't she doubt my words?

I want to test it again, to confirm if my hunch is correct. Holy Spirit, bless me, I hope that I am wrong...

The year of Saints, the 4th of the month of Blasphemy.

Holy spirit above, why did such things happen!

That wasn't Hina! She was just a monster in Hina's body! I told her that I would kill people for her. Whether it was elderly, children, or women. I said that she alone wasn't enough, I need other women besides her. If it truly was her, then she would absolutely disagree! But what surprised me was that she only sat quietly on the bed. She smiled and listened to me then softly said yes!

This is impossible! This is not her! This is not the person of my memories! What is she? What is she? What is she? The writings began to turn messy.

The year of saints, the 9th of the month of Blasphemy.

May the holy spirit forgive my ignorance.

This... perhaps is my punishment for violating the law. Since I wanted to reverse life and death from the soul that was long gone. But I've failed, and this is my punishment. That thing was not Hina. It simply did not have a human soul, it was just an empty shell. It was living by instinct and snooped the depths of my soul... I wanted to kill it, but I could not, it eventually sucked all of my strength...

I'm going to die; I have no power to stop it.

Be it so... Hina, since you could not come to my side, then let me cross the river of darkness to find you...

May the holy spirit be able to accept my sinful soul ...

The diary was written until here; the remaining part was left blank. Rhode closed the diary and shook his head.

It seems like this mage was indeed in love just as the rumor said... But if he chose to commit suicide earlier, many people would not have perished...

But something was bothering him. It quickly flashed through his mind without any warning.

What was wrong?

Rhode frowned and deliberated for a long time. But he still did not get the answer. However, he quickly put the matter behind, closed his eyes and soon fell into a deep sleep.

This was just a small part of their journey. The three rested for a night in the abandoned church and made their way towards the depths of Fog Ruins once again on the next day.

"Swoosh!"

A dazzling white light flashed, followed by the screams of will-o-wisps.

Compared to before, the evolved Star Mark became more beautiful. A beautiful and delicate hollow pattern engraved itself on the blade of the white sword. The pure white wings on it began to spread. A thin, silver line circled the sword handle. It resembled more like a work of art rather than weaponry. This sword should not appear on the battlefield, but in a museum or treasury instead.

"What a fantastic masterpiece."

Staring at the shining sword on Rhode's hand, Matt couldn't help but praise it.

"Please forgive me, Mr. Rhode. I have been working as a merchant for so many years, but I have never seen such a beautiful weapon ..."

Matt said while narrowing his two small eyes.

"Were you possibly..."

Rhode waved his hand suddenly, but it wasn't to answer Matt question. He focused on the path ahead and replied.

"We've almost arrived."

"What?"

Upon hearing this sentence, Matt and Lize immediately glanced upwards, following Rhode's gaze. Soon, they noticed a plaza full of clustered weeds. To the side, two broken giant wooden doors flickered under the shrouded fog.

"As long as we pass through this door, we would reach the entrance of Araga mountain. And after that, we can exit the mountain."

As soon as he said this, Rhode felt slightly relieved. After all, ever since he awoke on this world, he had always been on high tension. Although players found adventures to be a very enjoyable thing, if they were seriously injured and full of pressure, then even the players wouldn't be too motivated.

Not to mention that this wasn't a game. He could not go offline to drink or play mahjong anytime as he pleased.

But before that, there were still difficult challenges that he needed to overcome.

Rhode frowned, carefully scrutinizing the fog in front him. He held his hand up, hinting at the two people behind him to be careful.

"What's the problem, Mr. Rhode?" Noticing Rhode's hand gesture, Lize reacted quickly and walked closer to him.

"Be careful. The battle isn't over. We have yet to conquer the most troublesome BOSS."

"...BOSS?"

"Umm... I mean monster."

Rhode shook his head. He was already accustomed to the gaming terminology, and could not change this habit in a short time. But apparently right now was not the time to care about this little detail. He took a deep breath and turned his head around, looking at Lize and Matt.

"Do you guys know the origins of the Fog Ruins?"

Hearing Rhode's question, both of them were surprised for a moment then shook their heads.

"It was a bustling town before. But after the air passage opened, this place gradually became desolated -- After that, there was a mage that arrived here, trying to find his dead lover. He conjured a forbidden magic experiment but ultimately failed in the end."

Rhode has stopped and scanned the fog that has shrouded the town.

"From that moment on, it became a ghost town."

"Then Mr. Rhode, the monster that you meant was..."

Matt brows furrowed. He thought that the two Gargoyles from before was already the most difficult monster, but there was actually something more terrible than that?

"Shadow."

The word that came from Rhode's mouth sounded insignificant. But the way he spoke that name made the two shiver.

"This monster was born from the mage's failed final experiment. It was the most terrible monster. If we were not careful, then all of us might die here."

"Is it very powerful, Mr. Rhode?"

Even though she was confused as to why Rhode knew about this, but to Lize, the most important thing was the current situation. Unexpectedly, Rhode shook his head.

"Frankly, it isn't strong. Its offense and defense are weak and almost the same as Will-o-wisp."

"Then..."

Hearing Rhode's explanation, Lize was a bit confused. If it was almost the same as Will-o-wisp, how could this thing be dangerous?

"Because the Shadow has a special skill."

Rhode hesitated, but finally decided to say it.

"It can look into the depth of your heart and turn into someone that you're familiar with. If you can't wake up from the nightmare and steel your faith, then you will die."

Rhode wasn't very sure when he explained to the two. In the game, this boss would only appear when all of the adventurer party gathered. It would then pick one of the players' avatar to confuse the other players.

When the players first encountered the boss, they found it very troublesome, and a lot of parties perished. But very quickly, some players managed to find the way to deal with it. They realized that the Shadow's strength was actually low. Other than copying the player appearance, it wasn't particularly dangerous.

This meant that if only one player faced it in battle, then it could simply copy his only opponent. Of course, a one-on-one battle was nothing complicated. So, after the way to defeat Shadow was discovered, many players use it as a training dummy to practice 'solo bossing'... It was such a tragedy.

But...

What was this feeling that hounded him since just now?

Rhode frowned. His instinct told him that things weren't that simple, but he could not figure it out at the moment.

The fog started to thicken.

Even the maximum power of the holy light could not be able to penetrate through this ocean of fog easily.

Rhode stopped abruptly.

He could feel their worried expressions. But this was the most efficient way, and also the only way.

"Swoosh!"

A sharp white edge appeared out of thin air. The clouds churned but soon returning to normal. Then the clouds started swirling around Rhode as it pushed everything out of its area, leaving Rhode alone in the center.

The air became dank and heavy.

It's coming.

Rhode began to restore his spirit by moving his fingers. The Ring of Will that he wore released a cooling sensation that made him calmer. He understood his opponent power, attributes, even its attack pattern and attacking range. Rhode thought it would be nothing difficult...

But perhaps not so.

A silhouette began to appear from inside the fog. Followed by its appearance, the surrounding air also became restless. The constant flowing fog reflected the silhouette that was moving indefinitely. It looked extremely bizarre. Suddenly, a burst fragrance flooded the air, mixed with a peculiar scent.

That was a smell of disinfectant.

Rhode sharpened his gaze. He thought that this smell was somewhat familiar, but he did not have the time to think. The fog in front of him suddenly dispersed, revealing the presence that was hiding inside.

Rhode immediately froze. He stared at the silhouette in front of him with eyes wide open in disbelief. His mind just blanked out. Sealed memories sleeping within him flashed through his mind at this moment and resounded intensely at his heart.

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