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 He's finally up for it.

Rhode clutched his sword hilt. He wasn't surprised at Lauren taking up the challenge as he knew that this battle was inevitable as soon as he made this choice. Even though Lauren was considered the upright party in the Light Parliament, this was just a problem of principles and standpoints and had nothing to do with personal emotions. No matter how disrespectful Rhode was to the Light Parliament, Lauren would still stand up for the nation that he protected no matter how much he hated the bunch of swines in the Light Parliament. This was why Rhode didn't unleash his full powers when he faced the soldiers' attack. Instead, he shuttled between them and made use of every second and inch. Although, strictly speaking, the soldiers were slightly stronger than the Orcs, Rhode could still eliminate them if he were to deal with them face to face. However, Rhode couldn't do that. Ever since he struck out, he felt that Lauren's aura had locked on to him. If he was distracted, Lauren would surely take him down. Therefore, Rhode placed all his focus on Lauren's aura while slaughtering the soldiers became his second priority.

Mosquitoes were still mosquitoes no matter how many there were. Numbers were still EXP no matter how small they were.

Lauren was formidable.

And Rhode knew about this. He wouldn't have any pressure against Lauren if he was at his maximum level. But now, he was 20 levels lower than Lauren, which was a disadvantage in terms of constitution and attributes. The only advantage he had was being a Spirit Swordsman because he had four Holy Sword Cards in his arsenal, which would be enough to offset the level differences. Moreover, he had a legendary artifact in his hand... He was confident in this show down with Lauren.

Rhode's expression remained unchanged as the tall, burly man clasped his sword and strode toward him. However, he was eager to give a shot, which was a common problem for players. They had talents, skills, and equipment. But they couldn't help but feel excited and nervous when they faced an opponent in the higher levels. This was like a practical test for them. Was the equipment as effective as they thought? Were their talents as amazing as they had imagined? Were their skills able to deal enough damage to the enemy BOSS?

Thrill, excitement, and anticipation were factors that urged the players to constantly explore and seek for the essence of origin.

What a strange young man.

Lauren gazed with glints of interest. He had never expected to meet such an amusing young man by the border glacial land. However, he was equally dubious about Rhode as he was with any other enemies. Judging from the sword aura that Rhode emanated, his swordsmanship must have entered an extraordinary realm. Bu, strangely, his imposing manner was rather weak. Of course, it was rare for him to have such an extent of aura for his age, but Lauren felt that something was amiss.

This young man is interesting, powerful, and smart.

Lauren clutched his sword hilt and narrowed his eyes. As a being who had transcended into the Peak Legendary Stage, he could sense the atmosphere around him clearly. His aura had locked onto the black-haired young man. If it were the others, perhaps they would have been shuddering under the immense pressure. However, this young man had no reaction at all. On the contrary, Lauren sensed a razor-sharp, chilly aura flowing skyward from him as though he was holding a sharp blade in his hand and he would cut his palm after applying pressure in his grip.

Lauren seldom met young men with such imposing aura in the Country of Light. Although the Country of Light was a vast territory with abundant resources and with countless young talents, the young talents were mainly arrogant and proud. However, Lauren wasn't worried about that. In his opinion, this was a period that every young talent would go through and this proved the strength, ambition, and pride that they possessed. Those who learned from their failures to control their desires had the right to step on the path of becoming an elite. On the contrary, those failures who indulged in their desires would eventually face elimination.

But this young man was different.

He was arrogant, but his arrogance didn't stem from his confidence in his strength. Instead, it was an arrogance forged from the vicissitudes of life like the presence of superior steel that wouldn't be easily bent or shrunk. What has this young man gone through in his life? Lauren remembered that there was only one person who was similar to this young man in the Country of Light. However, even that person was less menacing. If Rhode wasn't a member of the Munn Kingdom, Lauren would even recruit him into his army to become his subordinate.

But...

Lauren shifted his gaze to the burned corpses by Rhode's feet and let out a subtle sigh.

The black-haired young man had killed Light Parliament soldiers. No matter what reason he had, Lauren couldn't watch with folded arms. Even though the investigations team was indeed reckless, such matters could only be discussed behind closed doors and they couldn't show weaknesses to outsiders. The honor of the Country of Light mustn't be insulted, questioned, or defiled.

Even though the truth was otherwise.

Lauren displayed a bitter smile and pointed his sword at Rhode.

Here he comes!

Lauren's aura coalesced into an invisible pressure that engulfed Rhode entirely. Rhode knew that this was only the prelude. He laid Succubus horizontally before him while gazing at Lauren. In his head, he searched for the 'tag' regarding Lauren and flipped open the book page labeled with his name.

If I recall correctly, Lauren's talent powers are...

The sky gradually darkened and an unpleasant smell exuded in the air. Faint lightning radiance flashed and flowed into the air like ripples in a transparent stream. Lauren slowly lifted his sword. The silver-whitish blade edge flowed in a blue radiance. Although his movements weren't quick, his every action brought along a string of afterimages, as though the entire world had slowed down in this instant.

Then, a bright radiance flashed.

At the same time, the sword radiance on Rhode's blade erupted. He darted forward with his sword in a dazzling radiance while Lauren slashed his sword downward. Then, an incredible scene happened. The air exploded in roaring thunder and lightning bolts as though Lauren's sword had attracted them. In the blink of an eye, Rhode was struck by the bolts of lightning. A glaring white radiance erupted and forced everyone to turn away.

It was due to this that they didn't witness the smear of darkness in the spotlessly white scene.

Shing!

The pitch-black sword slashed through the air in an engulfing air stream. Rhode's expression didn't change at all. The bolts of lightning struck toward him, but they weren't able to move an inch closer. A black, unremarkable ring on his right index finger emanated a layer of faint, colorful radiance that shrouded him entirely. No matter how the lightning bolts attacked, they were immediately deflected as soon as they struck the barrier.

"Oh?"

A curious glint flashed in Lauren's eyes, but he returned to usual shortly after. Every powerful beings more or less had some magical equipment on them. Therefore, he didn't find it strange that Rhode managed to resist his lightning bolts. He rotated his wrist and struck forward with his sword.

Lauren darted forward with his silver-whitish sword in the speed of light. However, Rhode wasn't any slower. He let out a snort and swung his sword forward to resist Lauren's attack. The swords collided and a deep, ear-deafening sound of friction rang in their ears. The lightning bolts in Lauren's sword erupted and Rhode swiftly retreated in two steps.

It looks like I still can't do it.

Rhode let out a hopeless sigh after sensing the numbness in his hand from the collision. As Rhode's bloodline had always been sealed and was unknown, he could only guess his attributes, strength, dexterity, and other values. Even though they were mostly within his control, the drawbacks of a lack of accuracy were apparent when facing such a powerful being. However, Rhode's reaction was quick as he seized the opportunity to retreat. He slashed Succubus forward and resisted the second wave of lightning strikes. At the same time, he stretched out his left hand and a card emerged in his hand: the front of the card had a picture of a dark, opened steel coffin.

[Lustful Maiden (Artifact Card Attribute): Use on one target. Infusible. Mental Elemental Attribute. Seven Sins Materialize. Holder can specify an individual target and summon the Lustful Maiden to restrain and extract the target's spiritual powers. Inescapable. Unavoidable. Can be dispelled]

Dark fog erupted.

"Hmph, little tricks."

Lauren had no intentions of dodging the dark fog at all. He swung his sword forward and dazzling lightning bolts struck out like flexible whips from his blade, ripping apart the dense, dark fog. At the same time, Lauren spotted a huge, dark steel coffin flying toward him. The coffin lid widened to both sides and revealed its countless sharp nails under the radiance of the lightning bolts.

What is that?!

Lauren was wide-eyed, but as an experienced swordsman, he swiftly adjusted his sword. However, to his surprise, his sword actually penetrated the solid steel coffin as though it was nothing more than an image. What astonished Lauren even more was that it was too late when he instinctively retreated. The gigantic steel coffin had arrived at his face and closed its lid heavily to devour its prey.

Boom!

Lauren heard the loud slamming of the steel lid. At the same time, his vision distorted for a moment, but it quickly restored to normal as though it was nothing more than an illusion.

What exactly happened?

Lauren couldn't figure out what happened and Rhode had struck out again.

The pitch-black sword blade tore into the flawlessly white, dazzling lightning bolts like a pair of viper fangs, sneakily stabbing toward Lauren's neck. Lauren had no time to consider the mysterious black coffin anymore. He thrust his sword forward and in an instant, dazzling lightning bolts struck out from the ground like a tsunami. Then, his blade suddenly split and several white light blades burst out and pierced toward Rhode.

Rhode raised his arm in defense. However, the lightning bolts whirling on the ground erupted and bound his limbs tightly like shackles. Then, the light blades penetrated through his body.

"Phew..."

Rhode didn't collapse. Instead, under the devouring of the lightning current, his body twisted abruptly and in the blink of an eye, it vanished entirely like melted snow. But shortly after, a whizzing sword airstream struck out from behind Lauren's back and aimed for Rhode's neck.

The crowd observed the battle with their jaws dropped. The sky had darkened while Lauren emanated a contrasting, dazzling lightning radiance. The lightning bolt that belonged to nature had as though been completely controlled by the man. All around him was rolling thunder current that had blended into one with the white snow. On the contrary, Rhode was like a tiny leaf in the stormy waves, where he was devoured within from time to time and re-emerged thereafter.

John was speechless. All he could do was stare at the striking smear of darkness among the white radiance with wide-opened eyes. Although he tore to the glaring brilliant rays, he continued to look ahead as he was afraid that the pitch-black figure would be thoroughly devoured by the lightning bolts.

Lauren brandished his sword.

The pitch-black and silver-whitish swords collided and struck out dazzling sparks. Lauren gazed at the black-haired young man who was still looking as calm as ever. Even though Rhode was in a disadvantageous situation and basically couldn't win, Lauren sensed that his imposing aura hadn't weakened at all. On the contrary, Rhode's sword aura became stronger as though something was breaking out of its shell.

Lauren retaliated, but Rhode once again slipped away like a slippery fish. As Lauren had decided to give chase, he suddenly felt a sense of dizziness, which forced him to come to a halt. He sulked slightly and clearly detected the slight, constant lost of his energy!

How is this possible? What exactly happened?

Lauren was sure that the changes to his body must be related to the young man. He had intended to hold back his strength and capture the young man back to the Country of Light. But now, it seemed that the young man was much harder to defeat than he had expected. Besides, the young man also had some ridiculous moves that he had never seen before.

I can't drag this on any longer!

Lauren raised his sword high and the dark clouds directly above him whirled into layers of circles and spun in flying speed. A flickering radiance occasionally flashed within them and suddenly, the loud roaring thunder numbed their ears.

No one had imagined this scene. The endless lightning strikes from the dense, dark clouds shrouded everyone within like a heavy downpour. At the same time, three distinctive halos emerged and expanded in all directions wildly!

Now's the chance!

Rhode gritted his teeth. He knew clearly what Lauren was up to. This was a technique that belonged to the Peak Legendary Stage and a supreme proof of their strength-'Mystic Realm'. A unique world created by the beings of the Legendary Stage, where he became the God of this world.

Rhode passed his sword swiftly to his left hand and resisted another lightning bolt that struck at him. Then, he extended his right hand. The quaint brass wrist guard changed its color.

At this moment, the halo that was expanding alongside the roaring thunder and lightning bolts had arrived before Rhode.

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