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 Attack!

The mercenaries surrounding Rhode lurched forward with their bare hands. This young lady has been completely trapped and she has nowhere to escape!

In fact, just as the mercenaries had expected, Rhode didn't move at all. He allowed them to grab his arms and shoulders. Afterward, Rhode revealed an even wider smile. "It seems that I'm right. Who exactly are you people? Why are you here to unlock the seal? Can anyone give me an acceptable answer?"

"It has nothing to do with you, Miss. We won't give you a hard time if you listen to us..."

The mercenary leader displayed a disdainful smile. After all, there wouldn't be any more trouble after subduing this young lady. At this moment, he discovered that something was off with the mercenaries beside 'Miss Seren'.

"What's wrong?"

"L-Leader, this woman -!"

It was no wonder that they were so terrified. They sensed a powerful aura emanating from her body and her slim arms let off an iron pincers-like overwhelming pressure.

"Waa!"

Powerful streams of air exploded from Rhode's feet and the mercenaries were blown away instantly like garbage fluttering in a gale. Rhode stood on the same spot and maintained his smile. He lifted his right arm and cupped over his mouth like an elegant young lady. "I won't force you since you are unwilling to tell me. But... It seems that this seal hasn't been fully unlocked. Would you like me to give you a helping hand?"

Rhode dashed at lightning speed toward the stalactite pillar and the mercenary leader became ashen-faced. He stood up hurriedly and yelled frantically. "Stop her!"

He's too slow!

Rhode spotted a complex and elaborate magical device on the peak of the towering stalactite pillar. It looked like a disk decorated with mysterious, complicated patterns and its edge was embedded with gems. Rhode recognized it immediately.

The Talisman Mirror.

He finally knew how the Howard Trade Association managed to control the Earth Elemental Spirit's powers. The Talisman Mirror could suppress the disorderly powers to a certain extent. In the hands of a Mage, it could turn into a magical device to control a summoned presence. Although a powerful Elemental Lord like the Earth Elemental Spirit couldn't be easily controlled, its self-consciousness was still sealed and it wouldn't be too challenging for a being with magical knowledge and familiarity with the magical device to indirectly control it.

Someone actually thought of this method.

Rhode let out a snort at this thought. However, this Talisman Mirror had no value to him and its only purpose was to be destroyed by him!

The mercenary leader was closing in. Rhode tiptoed and sprung to the top unhesitantly. At the same time, he retrieved Gracier from his pocket and struck toward the Talisman Mirror.

Clang! Suddenly, a sword flickering in ice-cold radiance deflected Rhode's dagger. Not only that, but Rhode also felt an immense cold air blow against his face and the surrounding temperature seemed to have dropped tremendously. Rhode landed on the ground steadily before darting ahead once more while the enemy also bolted forward. His shimmering sword was bursting with icy-cold air from its blade.

Bam! Their blades collided and Rhode landed on the ground gracefully, maintaining the beautiful smile on his face. He flicked off the thin layer of ice crystals on Gracier and faced a man that had emerged out of nowhere.

The man was about the same age as Rhode, clad in black, compact Swordsman's armor. His light maroon short hair and deep blue eyes indicated that he was born in the Tost region of the Country of Light. He held an azure sword, gazing solemnly at Rhode.

"Sir!"

It was apparent that this man held a high reputation among the mercenaries. The mercenaries heaved sighs of relief and came forward rapidly to surround Rhode once again. But this time, the mercenaries unsheathed their weapons and scrutinized Rhode sternly. It seemed that they had recognized Rhode's strength and they treated him seriously now.

"She..."

"Back off, all of you aren't her match." The man interrupted the mercenary leader's words. He raised his sword and gazed at Rhode with a dignified expression. He knitted his brows and scanned him from head to toe. "Who are you, Miss?"

"I've already said my name. I don't think I need to say it once more." Rhode said calmly and swept at glance at his azure sword: Neptune's Sigh, an incredibly powerful magical weapon equipped with pure Water Elemental powers and possessed a certain probability of freezing and decreasing the enemies' speed. It was also a decent weapon that complimented large AOE skills, but... Shouldn't the Neptune's Sigh be asleep in the Fountain of Silence in Bodomir? Why is it here?

If this were in the past, Rhode would have come up with ways to get his hands on that sword. But now, he had no need for it. After all, he had obtained Gracier, Madaras, Star Mark, and Succubus, the four weapons with different attributes in the Holy Sword Card Deck. Moreover, these weapons of various attributes could develop to become even stronger. As a Spirit Swordsman, Rhode was more efficient at switching weapons than most swordsmen. Compared to the high-tier weapons that possessed magical and physical immunity and holy, curse attributes, the Neptune's Sigh was nothing valuable in his eyes.

Instead, this man is... rather strange.

The man seemed to be about level 35 and was slightly weaker than Rhode. However, with the stat boost from the Neptune's Sigh, this man wasn't totally harmless. In order to maintain Rhode's disguise, he had to refrain from summoning his spirits to avoid suspicion. It would be a huge failure if he were exposed. He didn't shamelessly wear a dress just for others to expose him.

The outcome of this battle would be difficult to determine if Rhode had to face him using swordsmanship only. He sensed from the earlier encounter that the man was a pure Swordsman and his swordsmanship was naturally buffed by his class. Rhode didn't use his core 'Shadow Dance Swordsmanship' and surprisingly, he realized that the man was evenly matched with him... Rhode twitched his brows at this thought.

The swordsmanship level -1 punishment for the Spirit Swordsman seemed like such a headache at this point in time.

But Rhode believed that this was nothing significant. "I'm not sure if I'm honored enough to know your name, Sir? From your appearance, I don't think you're a miner hired by the Howard Trade Association, right?"

"..." The man remained in silence. Then, he shook his head. "You don't have to know who I am, Miss. You also don't need to know what we're doing here. I know who you are... Miran Seren of the Seren Trade Association in the Country of Light. Now, I hope you can turn around and leave this place. If you do that, I will promise to send both of you safely to the surface. Not only that, but you will also receive my respect and friendship."

"Funny. A man who doesn't dare to say his name actually wants to talk about a promise?" Rhode squinted. "What if I'm unwilling to comply with your request?"

"I'm sorry. If you insist, we will..."

Rhode dashed to the side swiftly and an azure lightning cage that emerged out of thin air landed on Rhode's previous position. The man widened his eyes in shock. He didn't expect that this young lady had detected his trap!

"It seems that I don't have to trust your promise anymore, Sir."

In fact, Rhode knew that a Mage was hidden in the darkness as soon as he spotted the Talisman Mirror. There wasn't a single Mage among the mercenaries and now that this man was a Swordsman, Rhode could confirm that a Mage was lurking in the shadows and waiting to strike. In this outnumbered battle, it was obviously more advantageous for the Mage to cast a weakening spell on him than to cast a large-scale attack spell that might implicate its own people. Rhode chuckled and his glorious dagger once again flew into his hand like a butterfly. Spiritual blade rays erupted and burst out into a dazzling array of starlight.

"This is...!" The man bit his lips tightly.

He bellowed and darted forward with his brandished sword. In an instant, the omnipresent azure, icy-cold air gushed toward Rhode's glaring starlight that had filled the entire space.

A waterfall-like spiritual blade radiance smashed into the vast sky full of stars. Sharp, explosive blade airstreams burst apart, scarring the thick rock walls, and the shattered fragments of the magical crystal ores fluttered in the engulfment, cutting their fragile skin. The mercenaries ran off to avoid this ferocious collision.

The brutal ocean overwhelmed the twinkling stars and Rhode's blade rays vanished within. Then, the man revealed a delightful smirk. He bolted forward and brandished the dazzling azure sword in his hand! "Heyah!"

Along with his roars, the bracelet around his wrist emanated brilliantly in gold and shrouded him instantly. In the blink of an eye, his movement speed increased abruptly. His sword engulfed with the blade airstream smashed Rhode's defense and forced him to the rock wall helplessly.

A victorious smile unrolled on the man's face. But it lasted only for a second.

He realized that the defenseless 'Miss Seren' wasn't panicking at all. Instead, she maintained her smile and took half a step back. She blended right into the shadows.

What...?!

The azure sword had struck into the rock wall and the immense spiritual powers smashed a meter-long hole. But there was no joy on his face. Because there was no one before him. He turned around urgently.

"Ah-!"

At this moment, he heard a young lady's scream.

I found you!

Rhode sprung out from the shadow with Madaras in hand, pouncing on the young lady before him. She was an Elf Mage, wearing a white Mage robe that was lined with golden edges and holding a staff with three Ioun Stones hovering above. Her thin, long ears revealed that she was of an Elf identity. Madaras emanated a trail of vicious blade rays toward her neck.

But as the razor-sharp edge was only inches away from her, Rhode couldn't push forward any farther as though he had struck a tough, yet soft object that forced him back.

Tch. I failed!

Rhode quibbled inwardly. He was betting that luck was on his side to trigger Madaras's 15% magical immunity and assassinate her entirely. But now, the Elf Mage cast a meddlesome defense spell after the ambush had failed.

Rhode backed off quickly and hurtled his left hand across the wall, splashing a harmless burst of sand and stone at the Elf Mage's face to fluster her.

However, she was much calmer and quicker than he had imagined. She raised her staff and chanted two curse lines, launching a dozen wind blades at him.

At the same time, an icy-cold stream of air blew against Rhode's back. "Get away from her!"

The man darted forward, brandishing his sword at Rhode. Sharp blade rays erupted from his azure sword and sealed Rhode's way of retreat.

Interesting. But this isn't enough.

Caught in the double-team of wind blades and spiritual blade rays, the smile on Rhode's face remained unchanged. He lifted his skirt with his left hand elegantly, dodging to the side, and sliding into the shadow like a young lady in a ballroom.

Boom! The wind blades and spiritual blade rays crashed and Rhode had gotten away scot-free.

"Damn it. She got away again. I never thought that she could... Cheryl. Are you alright?!" the man said.

"I'm fine. Be careful, she may still be nearb-..." Elf Mage scanned the surroundings and her expression froze abruptly. "No!"

"You're too late."

Rhode dove from the shadow on the ceiling, but this time, he wasn't brandishing his dagger at them. Instead, he aimed for the magical device!

"Sh*t!" The man leaped up hurriedly to defend the device with his sword.

But he was one step behind.

Madaras pierced the Talisman Mirror without any resistance and the expensive magical equipment shattered into bits before them. Rhode withdrew his sword and somersaulted in the air before landing on the ground. He turned his attention to them, revealing a gentle, graceful smile.

"I shall take my leave. Please continue to enjoy your time here," Rhode lifted his skirt and bowed girlishly. In the blink of an eye, he vanished into the darkness within the tunnel.

"Chase her. Don't let her get away... Damn it. What should we do without the Talisman Mirror..."

"Oh no!" The Elf Mage shrieked in horror.

The man turned around and he froze to the spot entirely.

Cracks spread on the smooth, flat surface of the gigantic stalactite pillar. At the same time, the ground started shaking violently.

"T-This is..."

The man was scared stiff because he knew what this meant. This wasn't simply just a failure.

"How is this possible?! How did she do it!!"

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