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 "..."

Rhode didn't know how to react when he saw what was happening.

Goddamn!

There were two Stone Statues roughly two meters tall. Rhode clenched his teeth and took a deep breath. He knew right away that this palace was somehow connected to his Summoning Swordsman class.

According to the legends, the Summoning Swordsman was an ancient mythological class. When the player chose this class, he or she would be labeled as its only successor that appeared on the continent once again.

Wasn't the class description and prologue meant to give the player a false sense of superiority, thinking that their chosen class was the 'one and only' unique class?

Now, it was hinted that the Summoning Swordsman class wasn't created specifically for the player, but it was actually connected to the Fascarl Kingdom.

Though currently, it wasn't the time to be thinking about these things.

"Mr. Rhode!"

Marlene's voice sounded behind him. When he turned his head, he realized that a golden barrier had divided the both of them.

Marlene stood at the other end of the barrier, staring at Rhode with uncertainty in her eyes.

Ah... so it is a solo test... What a waste. I can't even bring a helper along.

Rhode didn't dwell too much on it since it was meaningless to spend his time deliberating on the inevitable. The only thing he was concerned about was how to get out of this place alive.

Four against one? Do you want to bully me with numbers?

"Hmph." Rhode snorted inwardly.

He took half a step forward while raising a sword in his right arm. At that very moment, strands of light streamed down from the sword's hilt to his hand, then to his entire body, and finally down to his legs. A beautiful formation expanded below Rhode. Floating around him was a green and red card, seemingly intertwining both elements of wind and fire.

"---!!"

The Flame Killer and Spirit Bird made a majestic opening scene. Both of them roared to flaunt their strength at the two Stone Cheetahs.

But that wasn't all.

When he completed the Pavel Cemetery dungeon, the EXP he received took him straight to level 10; just a tad bit would enable him to level up once more. After killing the three black-cloaked men, the EXP he received was pretty good, especially the leader who appeared quite young. Altogether, he earned 2000 EXP for killing them, and it brought him directly to level 12. Two levels in one go.

It might seem as though killing them was quite profitable, but...

Rhode glanced at the wound on his left hand and sighed.

He wasn't able to easily shrug off that kind of injury.

[EXP 6000/2500, Level Up, Talent Tree Unlocked, Level 10]

Level up!

Rhode immediately wanted to make a choice, but the next system prompt shocked him.

[EXP 3500/3000, Level Up, Talent Tree Unlocked, Received 2 Skill Points, Level 11]

[EXP 500/4000, Talent Tree Unlocked, Received 4 Skill Points, Level 12]

Obtained 2 Skill Points?

Rhode wanted to rub his eyes. He thought that he was dreaming, but the fact was that the system wouldn't lie. Indeed there was a '2' in front of him.

Huh?

If I remember correctly, players only get 1 point per level. Why did I get 2?

Did the system change? Or is there a bug?

Although his mind was filled with doubts, Rhode didn't hesitate to add his newly obtained Skill Points. What happened later can be discussed afterwards. But if he died now, he would lose any chance to do anything. So no matter what, if these 4 Skill Points were real, then he should just use it!

[Used 1 Skill Point to level up. Soul Resonance LV2 (Every 10 levels, the character's max number of Summoning Spirits will increase +1)]

[Used 1 Skill Point to level up. Soul Resonance LV3 (Every 10 levels, the character's max number of Summoning Spirits will increase +1)]

[Summoning Spirit +3]

[Available Summoning Spirit 4]

[Used 1 Skill Point. Summoning Master First Talent has been unlocked: Integration LV1 (Fusion of two Spirits to create a new Summoning Spirit, will consume 1 Spirit)]

[Received Permanent Skill: Integration LV1]

[Used 1 Skill Point to level up. Integration LV2 (When using Soul Core, it will not consume the Spirit)]

[Soul Core detected. Use Integration?]

Rhode stretched out his left arm.

In his hand, he held the Soul Core he obtained from the Necromancer. A dark fog swirled around the fragile gem.

"Fusion!"

Followed by his shout, the formation below him shone even brighter than before. Both the Spirit Bird and Flame Killer turned into cards once more and spun around Rhode. As the cards slowly closed into the center, at the same time, the Soul Core began to tremble. A black fog appeared and condensed into an astral object. The two cards attracted to one another as though they were magnets, and once they got close enough, it suddenly collided.

Swoosh!! A dense fog billowed and engulfed Rhode. Marlene was shocked when she witnessed this scene. Even the Stone Statues and the Stone Cheetahs also revealed some form of vigilance.

A while later, a black card appeared inside the fog. It slowly descended onto Rhode's palm. Above the card was an image of a Centaur Knight which donned a heavy, black-colored chest plate. On its head, it wore a fitting black helmet which hid its glowing red eyes. And in its arms, it held a sharp pike.

[Obtained Army of Abyss 1/5, Soul Hunter Knight]

[Soul Hunter Knight (Dark Element): Available for Fusion. Attack has a Corrosion Effect. Special Skill -- Charge (Pressing forward without looking back is the fate of a Centaur) LV5.

Received the baptism of Wind and Fire. Inherited the elemental characteristics.

Weak attacks are unable to penetrate its armor, Heavy Armor Type]

[Offense: 3, Defense: 4]

Nice!

Holding the card in his hand, Rhode felt a wave of assurance surging through his body.

And now...

When he was about to begin the battle, suddenly another system prompt appeared.

[Magic condensation completed, your sword has begun to resonate. A Soul Core will soon be absorbed.]

What is it doing?

Looking at the information on his system prompt, Rhode frowned. Although he had already acquired several Summoning Spirits, he still wasn't quite sure about the mechanics of the Holy Sword Deck. Previously, when he forced the deck to level up, the system prompt had informed him about magic condensation and he chose to ignore it. But he didn't even summon it right now, why would the prompt appear on its own? Why did it want to absorb the Soul Core?

Rhode understood that protesting was futile, so he decided to not think about it anymore. Anyway, the Summoning Swordsman class had always been a troublesome profession. He was absolutely certain about that.

The Soul Core on Rhode's hand was destroyed and turned to dust. A white card suddenly appeared on his palm.

[Please Select Swordsmanship Binding]

What the hell is happening?

If this had happened in the game, he would definitely record all of this information down and post it on the forums so everyone could analyze it together. But now he was obviously unable to do so. Moreover, the system didn't even give him the chance to choose 'No.' So, should he answer 'Yes,' 'Ok,' or 'Sure'?

He had no choice in this apparently.

[Swordsmanship Binding: Moon Shadow Swordsmanship]

Rhode cursed inwardly, but he still chose the Moon Shadow Swordsmanship since it was the best out of the bunch.

However, the next prompt made him slightly happier.

[Swordsmanship Binding completed, please choose 'Yes' or 'No'...]

Without hesitation, Rhode chose 'Yes.'

At that very moment, a light appeared.

The fog which shrouded Rhode previously was split apart by the light. In fact, it shone so brightly that Marlene was forced to close her eyes. A moment later, the light disappeared and everything returned to normal. When Marlene opened her eyes, she couldn't help but stare wide-eyed at the scene before her.

Rhode was still standing motionlessly at the same place. On his left was the black hound, and on his right was the two meters tall pike-wielding Centaur Knight. And as usual, the Spirit Bird perched on Rhode's shoulder, focusing its sharp gaze to the front.

But there was an additional figure amongst the summoned spirits.

A young, petite figure stood next to the Centaur Knight.

It was a girl, an angel, to be precise.

Her long and lustrous white hair fell upon her shoulders, accentuating her delicate and beautiful face. She wore a Valkyrie-esque helmet, and her deep, blue eyes emitted a cool aura. She was also donned in an intricately carved ornate armor which emitted a faint white glow, and the white wings on her back flapped ever so slowly as she slowly descended to the ground. In all, her appearance was just like a sword that left its sheath; sharp, yet beautiful.

She single-handedly raised her sword with an indifferent expression on her face.

"10th Ranked, Eternal Holy Sword, Star Mark heeds your call, Master."

"Very good."

When Rhode laid his eyes on her, he couldn't help but feel amazed.

But he still managed to hide his astonishment and nodded his head to acknowledge her. Then he lifted the sword in his hand and pointed forward.

"Well then, time to get started!"

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