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 In the end, Rhode had decided to temporarily put the two cards aside and he wouldn't use them unless the situation was extremely dire and critical. Got to say, he struggled a lot while making this decision. On one hand, the [Prison of Mad Love] was too outstanding and there were a few times when he convinced himself to not give up on such a great summoning card due to maintaining his reputation. I'm a player, so I must consider things from a player's point of view. But, on the other hand, I'm a human, after all. And as a human, is it a good idea to give up on my self-esteem in such a degrading manner?

Rhode had even suspected if Celestina was just seeking revenge and throwing him into the pit.

But Rhode didn't grumble too much. After all, what was done couldn't be undone, and he quickly arranged his frame of mind to get prepared for what was coming next. After accomplishing the Frozen Lake mission, Rhode input all the 6 Skill Points that he had gained into his newly created swordsmanship, Fantasy Daybreak. And now, he had decided to input all the 5 Skill Points that he received from accomplishing the mission and leveling up into his Talent Tree. After returning from Soraka Mountain, there weren't too many adjustments made to his Talent Tree and it was mainly because it had provided sufficient support to him and it didn't require drastic improvements. On the other hand, it was also because this was the first time that Rhode had met with the fusing of the three Talent Trees. He had to figure them out clearly before making reckless decisions.

There should have been a total of 11 Talents on the fourth layer of the three Talent Trees. However, there were only 5 Talents available after the Talent Trees had fused. There was a mission reward which Rhode could activate a Talent without inputting 1 Skill Point while the other Talents would require his 5 Skill Points. Moreover, there was also another Talent strengthening reward waiting for him.

This time, Rhode didn't hesitate for too long. After experiencing so many battles, he had confirmed his battle style and the build for his Talent. With the additional Skill Points and the various summoning cards, he didn't need to waste Skill Points on Active Skills which required consumption of spiritual energy. Instead, he could focus more on Talents which didn't require too much consumption of spiritual energy and could enhance himself simultaneously.

In the end, Rhode chose [Throne Territory] and [Silver War Flag].

The [Throne Territory] was an AOE Passive Skill. When its effect was triggered, Rhode's abilities would be enhanced by one-tenth of all his summoned spirits' offense and defense values. In other words, it could be considered an evolved version of the [Pursuit] skill. However, unlike the [Pursuit] skill, the [Throne Territory] could only stack the values, but it couldn't magnify the summoned spirits' special effects. Therefore, if Rhode wished to summon the Spirit Bird and soar into the air, it would only be effective if he chose the [Pursuit] skill instead.

It was hard to come by that the [Silver War Flag] wasn't targeted on the summoned spirits. Instead, its buff halo targeted all the creatures within its certain range. Not only could it buff the defense of all the creatures around the user, but it could also automatically cast a protective barrier of the Spiritual Attribute. This would be a useful technique in large-scale battles.

Rhode gave the Talent Attribute Enhancement Point from the mission reward to [Taboo Halo]. In the battle with the Angel in Soraka Mountain, Rhode had witnessed the benefits of [Taboo Halo] on Celia and Celestina. In the range of the halo, both of them broke through their limits and entered the Legendary Stage even though their true strength was sealed. And now, after strengthening the effects of [Taboo Halo], not only could Celia and Celestina enter the Legendary Stage, but they could also reach the level of the Legendary Stage.

Normal summoned spirits wouldn't be able to reach this standard because it would be so overpowering that the balance would be broken. In fact, Rhode had to thank his lucky stars if the other summoned spirits even reached the Master Stage within the effects of the [Taboo Halo]. Only the blessed [Holy Sword Card Deck] that exceeded basic attributes could reach such an extent.

Rhode was a little hesitant at this thought. Once he had collected all the ten Holy Swords, perhaps he wouldn't need to rely on Canary and Mini Bubble Gum anymore. As long as he cast [Taboo Halo] and transformed the ten Holy Swords into human forms, it would be equivalent to a 10-men party.

But the amount of spiritual energy required to maintain the human forms of the Holy Sword Card Deck would be a big problem.

"All settled."

Rhode closed his eyes and stood up to stretch his arms. It was already evening. He gazed out of the window and there was nothing apart from the faint radiance emanated from the moonlight plant. The little mermaid was quietly curled up in her water ball and sleeping soundly. Judging from her blissful smile and the continuous string of bubbles escaping her tiny mouth, she must be having a sweet dream.

Knock knock knock.

Someone knocked on his door.

"Come in."

Rhode twitched his brows and the door gradually opened.

"Lize?"

Rhode was slightly surprised by her visit. He thought it would be Anne; he never expected it to be Lize who should be lying and resting on her bed.

"Is anything the matter? Where's Anne?"

"Anne... is still sleeping."

Lize closed the room door and answered while lowering her head. Both of them stood quietly and the air in the room seemingly stopped flowing. After a few moments, Lize bit her lips and lifted her head determinedly.

"Today... It's all my fault. Sorry, Mr. Rhode. If I didn't act on my own accord, you and Anne wouldn't face such an accident... I'm really sorry, I shouldn't have done it..."

"You really shouldn't have done it. You should know it too, Lize. The consequences are serious for disobeying my orders."

Rhode said without moving an inch as he stood by the window. A reddish blush smeared across her face and she bit her lips, looking at the man before her with complicated emotions. Although Lize had been resting on the bed after returning to the inn, she wasn't able to fall asleep properly. Everything that had happened in the mental world including the fuzzy, perplexed phantoms, and the dreamland kept spinning in her head. The agony, wrath, sweetness, and sorrows lingered in her heart.

Besides... it's about time that I make the move now.

"I know that, Mr. Rhode."

Lize lifted her head and gazed at Rhode with her clear, round eyes.

"I know I must be punished, so... I'm here to accept my punishment."

"Oh?"

The corner of Rhode's mouth twitched. He approached the young lady while looking at her fair, delicate face.

"So then, what kind of punishment are you thinking of, Lize?"

"..."

Lize didn't respond. She simply looked into Rhode's eyes and unknotted her robe.

The snowy Cleric robe dropped gently to the floor and she displayed her youthful body entirely to Rhode. Her fair cheeks blushed as she hugged her chest. Her slender body trembled slightly, but no one knew if she was nervous or uncertain.

"Please punish me, Mr. Rhode... I guess... This is the punishment that I deserve."

Rhode didn't respond immediately. Instead, he extended his arm and made a hand gesture. In the blink of an eye, the little mermaid disappeared to nowhere and he stepped forward to gently stroke her reddish cheek.

"Is this a punishment, Lize? Alright then. As punishment, I guess you should be more active. There are some things that you haven't told me, right?"

"Yes... Yes..."

Lize's body stiffened and she gazed blankly at Rhode. She gaped but spoke nothing, as though this simple sentence required more courage than baring herself naked. But, even so she had to say it out. She sucked in a deep breath, placed her right hand on her chest as though to control her pounding heart. Then, she opened her eyes.

"I like you, Rhode... I want to be with you forever..."

"Good. That's the correct answer."

Rhode wrapped his arm around her waist and pulled her into his embrace. He lowered his head and pressed his lips against hers.

"Mm-!"

Lize trembled instinctively. She pressed her hands against Rhode's chest and her reflexes tried to push him away. But, she stopped rejecting abruptly and closed her eyes to clumsily take in everything. This wasn't the first time Lize kissed Rhode. Previously in the Cloud Summit Fortress, Rhode could be considered to have stolen her first kiss. Back then, Lize felt that her head was in a complete blank and a sense of unprecedented fear and shock took over her. It was due to this reason that she rejected Rhode's hug.

But it was different now.

Lize wasn't afraid. She welcomed Rhode's advancement and allowed his hands to roam around her body. Lize discovered that his fingers were as though a magical presence where numbness spread from where he had touched. She trembled and her body temperature rose. When Rhode finished savoring her lips and separated his lips from hers, she felt as though she had lost the strength to stand upright. She laid limp in his arms while he hugged her and placed her on the bed.

"This time, I won't stop, Lize."

"Okay..."

Lize responded instinctively. She felt that her body fit snugly with his as his lips and hands continuously invaded every inch of her skin. This unprecedented sensation stimulated her senses and body. Her conscious fuzzed and a white haziness shrouded her eyes. Everything that was happening had seemingly linked up with the illusions that she saw in the mental world. Like a dream of fantasy.

"Mm... Mm..."

Rhode revealed a cheeky smile as he gazed at the moaning young lady. He gently stroked and teased her soft, pretty bosoms and even though they weren't huge in size, they were tender to his touch. Lize's complexion had become red through and through. She gasped for air and shifted her body innately, unsure if she was avoiding or encouraging Rhode to take further actions against her.

"How adorable, Lize."

Rhode muttered under his breath. Then, he leaned forward, pressed on her slim waist, and thrust strongly.

"Ah-!"

Lize widened her eyes as though her beautiful dream was shattered. The thick, massive presence ruthlessly crashed into her body, sending stimulating thrills and pain throughout her senses. Lize hugged defenselessly to the man above her, groaning and whimpering to every pounding. Then, the pain slowly faded and she felt the flames in her body burning even wilder. In the end, the burning flames spurted out and shrouded her entirely.

"Haa... Haa..."

After a few moments, both of them regained senses with their arms around each other. Rhode looked at the lustful young lady who was drenched in sweat. She blushed to Rhode's gazes, but shortly after, she looked up with blissfulness and hungry desires in her eyes.

"Mr. Rhode... I don't think... It's enough..."

A glint of surprise flashed in Rhode's eyes. Then, he smirked.

"Don't worry, I will make sure you're well fed."

Then, the battle began once more.

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