Lydia's eyes glinted as she gazed steadily at Lize while revealing a thought-provoking smile.
"What do you think, Teacher?"
"Please pardon my bluntness... This is the first time that I've witnessed such a battle technique."
Amund repositioned himself to the window. Anyone who reached this level of mastery in skills like himself could easily read the situation.
"But... Never did I think that a Cleric could be so capable."
"If used appropriately, it indeed can bring down threats to a certain extent."
Lydia nodded and rested her chin on her hand. She narrowed her eyes and observed with anticipation.
"But... To face someone whose strength is so much stronger... How far can Lize even go? Exciting."
As Lydia and Amund exchanged opinions, the audience finally realised that something wasn't right. Although they weren't too sure what exactly happened, Rosen's strange performance raised speculations.
"Something's up with that young lady," Barter said. On the other hand, Viktor also nodded in agreement.
"I knew things wouldn't be that simple and it seems that... Mr. Rhode is indeed impressive. How did he even come up with this?"
"Yea... Look over there."
Barter let out a mischievous laugh. Not far away on the platform, there were several men dressed in priesthood robes who put up shocked and joyful faces.
"You could tell from their expressions that this technique that the young lady used is probably unheard of by the church... If that's true, it's going to be much more interesting."
"However, just this won't be enough."
Viktor swept a glance at Barter before turning his attention to the arena. To Victor, this matchup was more crucial than the emotions of some bishops with grandeur statuses.
Viktor was right.
Rosen realised the source of the problem. In any case, he was in the Master Stage and although he couldn't figure out what Lize did exactly, he was sure that it was all her doing. Rosen groaned and admitted that this strange battle technique discomforted him. Furthermore, he couldn't find a corresponding solution... But, why must he face this odd battle technique of hers?
Could it be that she thought she could defeat myself by using such techniques? Dream on!
Rosen took half a step forward and tilted his body to the right. Then, he swung his left arm abruptly.
Along with the crisp sound of chains, the huge, pitch-black shield projected forward. This time, Lize was totally caught off guard. His movements weren't drastic but his fake move distracted her for one second and it was this one second which cost her.
The pitch-black shield whizzed forward and forced her back subconsciously. However, she quickly came back to her senses and swung her left arm.
A golden barrier emerged like a flower at full bloom. At this moment, the pitch-black shield arrived.
The first layer of the defense barrier shattered into dust. There was no doubt that his massive strength resembled a wild, enormous beast charging forward.
Rosen raved and brandished his other shield. It was apparent that this was his tactic to utterly destroy the defense spell that Lize cast to protect herself and also divert her attention.
A beam of radiance flashed.
He stooped over and plunged his shield before him. Just as he looked forward, he saw the other pitch-black shield revolving back toward him, to which he triggered the mechanical button to instantly drag the shield back to his left hand using the connected chains.
This time, all he saw was Lize's calm, determined face and the restored defense barrier.
Rosen was taken aback. How was that possible? His opponent was only a weak Cleric. Although it was true that many Clerics had powerful defensive spells, most of them couldn't resist a Swordsmaster like him. He had experienced thousands of battles and even though he had never fought against a Cleric, he still had experiences in battling enemies who were supported by the Clerics. His attack was at least 70 percent of his full strength and should have been enough to shatter all of her defenses.
But now, what's going on?
Lize let out a sigh of relief. In fact, she thought that his attack would destroy her barrier. She subconsciously swept a glance to Rhode who stood behind her.
It's quite effective.
Rhode nodded in satisfaction. Before the match started, he made Lize consume a bottle of the "Guardian Mixture."
This potion wasn't used to increase one's strength. After all, it wasn't that easy to boost strength, just like when Rhode initially jumped from the Elite to Legendary Stage previously. if it weren't for Lize's healing spells and Lapis' potion buffs, perhaps he would have been dead from the pressure that his body couldn't withstand. Rosen might be powerful and although Rhode's men had been through harsh training sessions, they weren't powerful enough. Although their strength could be boosted to similar levels to Rosen, the price they had to pay was equally demanding. Permanent enhancement would diminish one's lifespan while temporary enhancement would bring countless side effects to their future developments and most players couldn't tolerate attribute damage, not to mention natives.
However, if it was only used to enhance a certain aspect, it wouldn't be an issue.
The "Guardian Mixture" that Lize consumed was a booster potion for Clerics before they entered dungeons. It increased a Cleric's defense points by three points. Although this enhancement was nothing out of the ordinary, it was popular among the players due to its affordable price, non-existing side effects, and fairly simple creation process. Although Rhode didn't learn alchemy skills, he was fortunate to remember the formulas. Furthermore, since Golden City wasn't a backcountry like Deep Stone City, the prices for ingredients to make the 'Guardian Mixture' weren't too expensive. Moreover, with an Alchemist Master like Lapis around, there weren't other issues.
After consuming the 'Guardian Mixture', Lize's defensive spells were strengthened. If this happened in the game, Lize would be around level 17 to 18 and would be about to enter the Elite Stage. Furthermore, with the aid of the Guardian Mixture and her half-angel bloodline, the defense spells that Lize cast were boosted to the Intermediate Elite Stage.
"Hmph, little tricks."
Rosen frowned as he discovered that things were out of his expectations. The strength that she displayed and the strength that her body possessed didn't match. In simple terms, an ant that he could easily crush actually resisted his finger.
After Lize repaired the barrier, she stood quietly on the same spot and observed Rosen.
What is this? Isn't this a life and death challenge? She's just going to defend all the way until she gets the victory?
The audience pondered.
Although Clerics possessed attacking spells with some of them being actually powerful, they were all basically useless. A Mage could cast any two magic attacks and their threat could be as strong as a mid-range spell attack. Furthermore, a Mage required only a short span of time to cast long-range magic attacks. Therefore, even if Clerics were to battle, they wouldn't have any chance of attacking, not to mention killing one.
Rosen wasn't the type that would be easily killed because he was a Shield Warrior.
So then, what was the point in continuing this match?
This time, he didn't hold back. He lifted the shields before him in a crisscross stance and crushed Lize's defense barrier.
But at this moment, a silver-whitish defensive barrier emerged around her to stand against the menacing shields. At the same time, the cracked defense barrier restored quickly to its best condition.
This time, Lize lifted her arms and a glaring holy power coalesced in her hands.
Is this a counterattack?
Rosen let out a snarl before swiftly withdrawing with his shields. At the same time, he stayed vigilant against the young lady even though a Cleric's spell attack wasn't as powerful as a Mage's. It could also be said that a Cleric's attacking spell was purer and stronger in penetration power than the Mage's.
If it was in the past, Rosen wouldn't care what Lize was chanting and would instantly dash forward. But now, he discovered an obvious difference in strength between the spells that she casted and the actual strength she held. Rosen decided to observe carefully before making any drastic moves. After all, she was basically defenseless when casting spells and as long as she was within reach, he would dash forward to give her a whipping.
Lize's chant ended. She abruptly spread her arms apart and countless mysterious runes emerged. Then, along with her movements, the runes spread out to form layers of barriers, which revolved around her.
Rosen's expression turned sour immediately.
Because what Lize cast wasn't an attacking spell, but an extremely tough defensive spell which Rosen was very familiar with: Rune Vows.
What's this damn woman trying to do?
Rosen had almost gone insane.
Lize didn't attack at all from the start. Instead, she kept defending, defending, and defending. Of course, even when he overcame her defense, she would come up with weird tricks to turn the situation around.
How is this even a life and death challenge?
The Rune Vows was the strongest defensive spell of Clerics. If Lize was said to be protected by a small fort, she would be seeking shelter in the tenth underground floor now. Although defensive spells didn't usually require chanting, some stronger defensive spells would still require guidance from the spell caster. The Rune Vows belonged to the latter category.
This was the first time that Rosen felt that things were getting thorny. However, he quickly calmed himself in just a few seconds. It was obvious that this young lady was trying to taunt himself to make a move, and since that was the case, he would just stand still to see how patient she was!
In an instant, both sides went into a deadlock.
To the audience, this was merely a temporary one, but,it turned out rather long. Almost thirty minutes had passed since the start of the battle and they still stood firmly. Lize timely replenished her defensive spells before recasting another Rune Vows. It seemed that she was determined to wait for her opponent to lose his patience. On the other hand, Rosen was equally patient and didn't move an inch like a statue.
20 minutes... 25 minutes...
The arena was dead silent.
"What the hell's going on?"
"Go on and fight! What are you standing there for?"
The audience lost their patience. Of course, most of them were instigating Rosen. After all, he was stronger in strength and the young lady was only a fragile Cleric. It was unbearable for the audience to witness the much stronger Rosen not doing anything.
"What's this Rosen doing?"
Gunst's expression turned sour as he turned his head and pointed.
"This is the pride of our Reformist Party? This is our 'Crazy Rosen'? He's just a pig that's as timid as a mouse! Get Waltz to make this bastard move, damn it! She's only a Cleric and he dragged this match on for so long. Is he intending to make the Reformist Party a joke?!!"
Gunst's fat stature shook as he berated. The butler scrambled out the room and Gunst sat back down while panting for air.
"That old fart is getting useless!"
Rosen frowned at Waltz's gesture and looked at the VIP lounge above. He knew who gave this order and was also aware of their worries. But... is this the right move?
Rosen had no rights of choice. Waltz communicated with him that if he chose not to attack, Waltz would have no other choice but to follow the orders from the 'top' to announce that Rosen admitted defeat.
So then, I shall just try.
Rosen lifted his head and sized up to Lize. The young lady's gaze was as determined as ever even though she was only defending. Rosen sensed the courage and willpower from her that she would never back off from danger.
How can she be so determined? But everything ends now!
Rosen snarled and dashed forward like a whirlwind.
Lize shifted her left hand slightly.
Rosen once again lost his balance but this time, he didn't stop. He adjusted his footing to regain his balance.
"You want to defeat me with such little tricks? Dream on!"
He took half a step forward and raised his right shield. He gritted his teeth while resisting the mysterious effects taking over his body. Then he charged forward!
Lize changed her stance.
In an instant, Rosen threw out the other shield on his left hand and it smashed onto her defense barrier.
Boom! Boom! Boom!
Rosen darted forward like an aggressive bear who brandished its huge, sharp claws onto her barrier. Lize gritted her teeth, frantically strengthening her barrier layer by layer and using the 'Treat foes as friends' tactic to break his momentum. However, he disregarded all the disturbance from the spells, overcame the obstacles, and struck out like a machine.
His shield smashed the barrier and the Rune Vows cracked before disappearing into the air in golden specks of dust. He gasped, lifted his left shield, and brandished it again.
A gentle radiance emerged abruptly.
Rosen lost his balance, but he pulled through. He grunted and slashed his shield forward. Although he lost his accuracy due to the excessive reaction force, the massive shield easily crushed holes in the defensive barrier.
Lize gritted her teeth and cast a series of defensive barriers to make up for the broken holes.
"You're asking for death!"
Rosen unleashed all his strength and lifted his hands high. Shortly after, whizzing spiritual aura burst from his body! Then, the shape of his shields transformed and struck out!
A whirlwind rose from level ground and almost destroyed half of the audience stands. The barrier before Lize was ripped apart like pieces of thin paper and the spiritual radiance scattered under the powerful gales.
Rosen stood within the mighty whirlwind and his line of sight was concealed by the fluttering dust and gravel.
Where's the young lady?
He looked ahead.
Then, after the smoke dispersed, what remained was only a crushed arena.
On the other side, Lize looked up from below the arena while a thin barrier protected her.
"I admit defeat," Lize said and turned to Rhode.