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 "Phew..."

Marlene let out a sigh of relief and sat back down.

She looked at the arena with complex emotions. This wasn't the first time Marlene participated in the Midsummer Festival and every time, she sat in this grand, comfortable VIP lounge which belonged to the Senia Family. However, she didn't like this arrangement as she preferred to stand in the arena alongside Rhode and the others to withstand the harsh test.

This time, Marlene wasn't allowed to participate as her identity was too sensitive as the heir of the Senia Family. If she were to kill a member of Liberty Wings who supported the Reformist Party, it could easily be deemed as an official falling out, which would set the Senia Family and the Reformist Party against each other. Therefore, she could only observe her fellow companions in battle from above.

It's unbearable.

Marlene subconsciously placed her palms on her chest. Her heart beat faster, yet she didn't know why. Was this due to her not being able to stand alongside the others or because she suspected that Rhode made this arrangement to keep her away?

Thinking of the latter possibility, Marlene felt terrible and seemed to lose her mood to watch the following matches. Regarding the matter that happened to her previously, she accepted it tacitly. Furthermore, her body would sooner or later belong to Rhode and that was her fate from birth. But now, she didn't know how to explain to Rhode and neither did she know how to be honest with him on that matter. Regarding the secrets of the Senia Family, she couldn't make them known to him. But on the other hand, for her to speak to Rhode personally on this-Marlene blushed at the thought. After all, she was still a young lady who didn't get into a love relationship. Spending her time in the social circles of nobles led her to receive many compliments and confessions. However, for her to be the one confessing was totally opposite from receiving them. Oh my goodness. The anxiety was enough to make her pass out...

"...!"

Marlene did her utmost to shake off this feeling.

At this moment, Randolf stepped onto the arena.

The entire place remained in an awkward silence. No one expected that Lize would jump down the arena and admit defeat. The tension between Rhode and Waltz led to a high expectation that the upcoming matches would be a good fight, but it got really disappointing.

What the hell? What the hell's going on?

Randolf sensed the murderous gaze from Rosen. He held his bow and skipped to loosen the tension in his body. Then, he lifted his head and nodded to Lauren for the start of battle. Lauren watched his complex emotions and swung his arm down.

"Second battle, start!"

Rosen violently swung his shield. He was fuming from the previous battle and what angered him more was that his opponent actually kept backing off from him and admitted defeat. Rosen urgently needed a target to vent this frustration and was delighted to witness a little hare like Randolf.

"Go to hell!"

He threw his pitch-black shield forward. However, Randolf seemed to have predicted his every move. The instant when Rosen launched his attack, Randolf dashed along the circumference of the arena and became illusionary. The shield crashed onto the arena like a cannonball, but it failed to hit Randolf.

"Hmm?" Rosen frowned.

At this moment, Randolf initiated his counter attack.

He flipped his wrist around and stretched five arrows that were shimmering in elemental radiance on the bowstring. Then, he released them.

"Little tricks!"

Rosen dragged the steel chains to his shield and threw it across the air, which rose in a pitch-black whirlwind that deflected all arrows.

At this moment, the situation abruptly changed.

Bam!

A series of explosions sounded. The elemental radiances flashed in midair before darting down the chains like lightning bolts.

"Magic Arrows?"

Rosen was stunned. The magic arrows were the strongest weapon a Ranger could have. These magic arrows could activate instantly and didn't require any enchantments or preparations. The only flaw was that the production price was too costly, where the price of one cost up to thousands of gold coins.

The exploding magic arrows blasted the heavy, steel shield away. The lightning bolts flowed along the chains, but Rosen's experience was more than adequate for this situation. He crooned and released the chains in his hand. At the same time, Rosen brandished the shield in his right hand.

The shield whizzed toward Randolf. Randolf shifted his right arm and projected five more magic arrows.

"-!"

Magical radiance flashed.

A series of explosions sounded. Flames and lightning bolts merged into a huge web that shrouded Rosen entirely.

Damn rascal, do you really think that this attack will be effective on me?

Rosen sneered. He clutched his shield with both hands, struck off Randolf's attack, and brandished his shield.

Randolf failed to avoid Rosen's attack.

"Ah!"

The shield brushed his shoulder and the mighty force pushed him off balance. Randolf pushed himself off the ground and flipped in midair to regain his balance. Five shimmering arrows once again emerged in his hand.

Rays of magical radiance projected from his hands. However, the magic arrows didn't aim for Rosen as expected by the crowd. Instead, they streaked across the sky and created a dense net full of flames and lightning bolts.

"This..."

The audience was speechless. The experts among them noticed that Randolf's all-out aggression in his attacks successfully suffocated Rosen. The magic arrows weren't those of the highest grade, but even so, if they were to be exchanged as gold coins, they could form a golden mountain to crush Rosen!

However, were they useful enough?

Randolf paced along the edge of the arena with his shoulder injuries. He gritted his teeth and acted out his plans to release more magic arrows.

"Argh..."

Randolf's movement were sluggish but quickly returned to normal. Even though he consumed the 'Blast Mixture', the crazy amount of shooting went beyond his limits. But even so, he toughened on and moved forward in accordance with Rhode's command.

He drew an arrow from the quiver and shot it without aiming. Then, he drew another arrow again. Randolf bit his teeth and bore the pain as he repeated his motions like a machine. Right now, in the middle of the arena, Rosen was surrounded by a sea of flames and lightning bolts.

Damn this bastard!

Rosen defended himself with his shields in the sea of elements. If he were in his normal form, he wouldn't even need to defend against such lowly magic arrows. But after he used up most of his strength in his match with Lize, the spiritual energy within him was in disorder. He had no idea how to totally defend against the damage from the magic arrows. Indeed, Randolf wasn't powerful. But the powers of the magic arrows didn't need to rely on the user's strength. Although one or two arrows couldn't pose many problems, quantitative change would lead to qualitative change, after all, where even a person of Rosen's caliber had to defend himself when so many of them exploded around him.

"Hmm?"

Rosen realised that this scene was familiar. Yes! Didn't that young lady do the same thing?

Although the defensive spells that she cast didn't threaten him, he had a hard time trying to break them.

Damn it. Could this guy be thinking of doing the same thing?! No wonder!

Rosen quickly understood what Rhode was up to. Then, he responded.

Bam!

Another arrow exploded by his feet. The swirling lightning bolts fluttered into the air and formed a huge net which concealed the audience's line of sight.

57!

Randolf drew another arrow and aimed at the arena. At this moment, the cloud of smoke dispersed and a violent whirlwind erupted. A dark figure darted toward him swiftly.

Sh*t!

As this thought flashed in Randolf's head, he quickly somersaulted backward. The sturdy shield dashed under him and swept the whirlwind that flung him off.

At this moment, Randolf heard a whistle.

That's the signal!

Randolf pondered no more and discarded his bow and arrow before rolling on the ground strickenedly. But this time, he had no intentions of regaining his balance. Instead, he rolled on the ground, stood on both feet, and leaped up.

But a dark figure emerged above him.

This...

Randolf looked up in astonishment and witnessed Rosen's ferocious smile that was just within reach.

"It all ends here! Kid!"

Rosen's shield smashed into Randolf's chest and the latter flew off like an artillery shell. He crashed into the wall and slowly slid to the ground.

The clean white wall was smeared with fresh blood.

"Randolf!"

Lize and Lapis rushed to his side. His chest had split open and it revealed ghastly white bones. Lapis shrieked in horror and almost fainted. On the contrary, Lize was more poised. She extended her hands and cast a spiritual spell over him.

"Quick, Lapis! Get the item that Mr. Rhode had you prepare!"

"Ah, ah! Okay!"

Lapis returned to her senses before frantically searching and retrieving a bottle of white potion. Lize took it and poured it into Randolf's mouth. Soon enough, the bloody mess on his chest healed before their eyes and his weak, short breaths became calmer.

Rhode felt relieved after Lize gestured to him that everything was fine. He shifted his gaze to the arena. Rosen proudly lifted his head and looked down upon Rhode.

"Kid, do you think your little tricks will work on me? If you're a man, come up and have a battle with me fair and square! Ball-less bastard! Do you have the guts to accept my challenge!?"

His voice resounded throughout the entire arena.

The audience knew what Rhode was up to now. They watched attentively with complicated emotions. However, even under the pressure, Rhode remained expressionless. He simply turned to Joey and neglected Rosen.

"Are you afraid?"

"That's for sure, Sir. But... I'm not afraid anymore since Randolf was rescued. Heh heh, but then again, if everything goes according to your plan... I will still feel honorable for giving such a well known and strong opponent some trouble."

"Good."

Rhode nodded in satisfaction and took a step back.

"Alright, go on."

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