The stone door was three meters tall and carved with a beautiful, mysterious relief sculpture. A square slot in the middle of the door was apparently an installation for opening it. Although the entire stone door looked ordinary and was mediocre at best-the knock of a hammer would effortlessly smash it to bits-Rhode could sense a strange aura coming from it. It was obvious that these fine relief sculptures weren't simply relief sculptures. Instead, they were powerful magical traps that would perhaps trigger if the method of inserting the key was wrong or if the door was forcefully opened.
However, this wouldn't pose a problem for Rhode, who held the correct key. Although he couldn't understand the secrets behind the patterns of this magical trap, he was clear of the steps in the strategy in opening it. Rhode retrieved the four key fragments from his pouch and inserted them into the slot in the sequence he remembered. The four key fragments aligned and embedded perfectly with the entire pattern of the huge stone door. The dusty, stone door opened slowly.
A cold, chilly wind blew through the gap and the fireballs around them faded into nothingness.
"Miasma." Gillian scrunched up her face and she returned to her normal expression after a mere second. "Master, you must be careful, okay? There may be a bunch of corpses and naked, skinless creatures extending their tongues dashing out from there. This is more interesting, isn't it?"
"Don't worry, this degree of miasma won't affect me much. Also, corpses are nothing new to us anymore." Rhode turned around and gazed at Gillian as he stepped into the pitch-dark maze.
Rhode didn't understand too much of this maze's history since he wasn't interested. Rhode knew the types of species lurking in this underground maze and that was all he needed to know.
There were no signs of light apart from the fireballs that Gillian had cast. The fireballs shone upon their surroundings and thick layers of moss inhabited the stone walls around them. Coffins filled with ghastly white bones were laid out in a hideous mess while spider webs were spread out along the tunnel. The footsteps of the trio were the only sound in this silent tunnel.
"Leader, what exactly are we looking for here?" Anne was overcome with boredom as she fiddled with her hair.
"We're looking for an important magical equipment which will help us a lot for the next guild mission. Anne, you must be wary too." Rhode explained patiently.
"Don't worry, Leader!" Anne brandished the shield on her hand proudly. "Anne will smash any creature that comes in our way!"
"No, what I meant was that you must be careful in controlling your strength... Because I don't want to be buried alive." Rhode stopped walking. Anne swiftly turned around to lean against Gillian while lifting her shield and vigilantly inspecting the dark tunnel.
"Ughh..." It sounded as though there was a person mourning inarticulately. It could have been the lamentation of the deceased or the deep howl of a wild beast. If a normal human being was in their shoes, perhaps he would be at his wits' end. However, the barking of a neighbor's chihuahua would be more threatening than this voice to the trio.
"It seems that they are finally here to protest." Rhode shrugged his shoulders and drew two daggers from his waist.
These two daggers were the ones Lydia had entrusted the Battle Angel Army to reward Rhode with. At this point in time, Rhode hadn't figured out exactly how he could awaken these two daggers. However, since they were weapons, they should be linked in countless ways with battles. Rhode had decided to battle with these daggers instead of his Crimson Blade. From another perspective, these daggers were a great aid to him. After all, the Crimson Blade's sharpness was its biggest merit. Also, apart from its unique technique, the sword's attribute was similar to an ordinary weapon. Furthermore, Rhode couldn't possibly let it absorb his blood anytime, anywhere. In other words, the attributes of these daggers outclassed the Crimson Blade and their might could be said to be on par with Star Mark and Succubus. However, the only flaw they had was their lack of a distinctive feature.
Considering that Rhode needed to consume his spiritual energy to summon a card from the Holy Sword Card Deck while these daggers didn't need his spiritual energy, he felt that it was a real bargain. Rhode decided to use this underground maze as a training location for the daggers. After all, there wasn't much danger and Rhode could use this chance to feel their formidable powers through actual battles.
In the darkness, the two daggers displayed their exclusivity. Their sharp blades glowed with magical radiance as though they had detected an approaching danger. And they were right, because at this moment, dark, slow-moving figures came into Rhode's sight one by one.
They were shriveled corpses in skin and bones. Holding a sword in their hands, their empty eye sockets emanated weak, fading flames of their last remaining soul as they growled unpleasantly.
"Gillian, don't attack." Rhode took a forward stance, at the same time alerting Gillian. "I want to give them a test."
"Sure, Master." Gillian snickered and backed off in a few steps. She leaned against the stone wall while folding her arms leisurely. "I'll stand here and admire your skills then."
"Don't worry, it'll be fine." Rhode slashed dazzling radiances in the pitch-darkness with the two daggers. "I'll leave those at the back for you, Anne. Be careful; hold back your strength."
Rhode dashed forward in the blink of an eye.
Although these Maze Zombies were sluggish in their movements, their actions were swift. In a blink of an eye, the Maze Zombies snarled nastily and slashed their sword at Rhode. Rhode didn't dodge even though he could easily sneak between their attacking interval. He stopped advancing and brandished the daggers in a criss-cross stance before him.
Clang! The ear-deafening collision shook the seemingly 'extremely delicate' Maze Zombie violently. Rhode was firm on his feet as he squinted his eyes to sense the feedback of the daggers' powers, trembling, weight, and balance. After all, the technique for dual-wielding swords was completely different than that for a single-handed sword. Rhode had to find the most suitable battle style and strategy. As for these Maze Zombies...
Rhode raised his right arm abruptly.
Gracier sliced the Maze Zombie's sword and hand instantly. As it stumbled backwards, Madaras pierced its throat in lightning speed. Rhode took one step forward and slashed its throat sideways. The sharp blade utterly severed the Maze Zombie's skull and at the same time, Rhode withdrew his right arm before stabbing the other Maze Zombie.
Glinting starlight erupted from the dagger and in a split second, the defenseless Maze Zombie was shredded into pieces. However, this wasn't enough to stop their aggression as another Maze Zombie pounced forward with razor-sharp teeth, attempting to tear his flesh and devour him wholly.
However, before its teeth could sink into Rhode's flesh, a glaring magical radiance flashed. Gracier penetrated its skull from the bottom-up and sent it into the depths of the abyss.
Not too bad.
Rhode pushed the dead Maze Zombie away and flicked off the remains on his dagger. At the same time, he lowered his head and gazed at the daggers. Rhode was amazed that it was as though the two daggers had become the perfect extension of himself. Also, he was able to slay the enemies flawlessly as though he had been using the daggers for a long time.
Why do I feel this way?
Rhode's eyes glistened curiously. Suddenly, two clear and sweet-sounding laughters sounded in his head.
Rhode looked up but he couldn't find anything apart from the Maze Zombies.
His ears fell into the silence of the tunnel again.