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40 The Undead

 This battle was somewhat odd. It was dark and silent, yet intense.

From the exterior, no one could tell that an intense battle was raging within. The indication that a battle was happening were the sporadic flashes of light leaking out the windows.

The Star Mark curved in an arc.

Whoosh

Countless of decaying wood flew in all directions whenever the white sword hacked down. And after every slash, a bright, red flame would soon follow as it incinerated the evil spirits. As much as they tried to escape through the walls, they still couldn't outrun the sea of flames and were eventually swallowed. Besides the leftover burn marks, not even a piece of slag was left behind.

Rhode and the Flame Killer's teamwork steadily improved as they battled the evil spirits. He used this quest not only to temper Lize's skill, but also to build his teamwork with his summoning spirit. After all, the summoning spirit that he possessed had various variations, and the three cards in his deck right now were cards that he had never obtained before in the game. While he did have experience with similar cards, ultimately, the characteristics were still different, so he still had to do trial and error to find out the most efficient way. The battle with Sereck was a good example. If he was familiar with the Flame Killer's personality and character, the match probably wouldn't have ended as a draw, but a win instead.

However, although there weren't any 'ifs' in this world, it didn't mean that there was no way to make up for it either.

Rhode retrieved his sword and retreated. This sudden change in behavior caused the evil spirits to swarm over. However, how can it be that easy to overcome Rhode? The moment he retreated, the black hound switched positions with him and launched a breath of fire towards the evil spirits.

One covered while one retreated. Their timing was impeccable.

And once again, the flame swept over and engulfed the evil spirits. These low-level evil spirits who were even weaker than the will-o-wisps were ideal opponents for practice.

Lize's face was tense. Her right arm was constantly in motion as she cast light beams one after another. Whenever the holy rays poured from the heavens, multiple evil spirits would wither and perish. Indeed, this Spirit Master was a fast learner. Within less than an hour, she was already able to master it. Now, she even attempted to alter the strength and speed of the skill...

Rhode knew that this method of casting was somewhat unorthodox. Although the skill itself didn't differentiate between good or evil, but the element still had to correspond with the spell used. For example, just like a stone, as long it has the title 'stone' in it, it will be a meaning object that existed in the world. Spells were the same, while it had its own mysterious definition and letters, water spells were still water spells, and ice spells were ice spells. If one treated water and ice as one, or vice versa, then the result wouldn't be favorable.

Lize was at such a stage. Since she wasn't at level 10 yet, she didn't have the means to learn the holy spell 'Sword of Judgment'. However, that didn't mean that it was impossible to cast. Since she had an half-angel bloodline, it could make up for her other half which would weaken her holy power. And furthermore, it was beneficial for her to adapt to the attack rhythm as soon as possible.

"Keep focusing on the rhythm of the spell. The enemy's speed isn't fast, but you still have to pay attention to your own safety. Some undead monsters possess long-range abilities..." Rhode said calmly without looking at Lize, and suddenly, his eyes flashed to the side, "For example... the one on the left!"

He tugged Lize's collar abruptly and pulled her to safety. Less than a second later, a fiendish green light sped by her previous position and smashed into the wall nearby. After confirming that she didn't sustain any injuries, she looked towards the source of the attack and discovered a few skeletons holding bows and arrows aiming towards them.

The eerie and desolate, empty eye sockets lit up in the darkness like fireflies in the night.

As expected, it's coming.

Rhode clenched his sword tightly. If it were just mere evil spirits that dwelled in this haunted mansion, it would be impossible for them to last so long. Deep Stone City didn't lack any strong warriors. Even the 'Light Swordsman' could singlehandedly slaughter these mindless monsters. Thus, this mansion undoubtedly housed something much more mysterious, and terrifying. Now, the actual battle had just begun.

"Lize, cast your shield above now!" Rhode shouted suddenly. He raised his sword above his head and pointed his left hand towards the front. Upon receiving Rhode's command, the Flame Killer rushed forward immediately and broke past the barricade of evil spirits before landing right in the middle of the skeleton archers.

Fwee...

The greenish arrow shot out once again. But it was deflected off the protective shield that Lize cast.

Rhode shifted his stance and used his sword to parry the evil spirits circling them.

Suddenly, he reached out, grabbed Lize's hand and said, "Let's move. Don't forget to re-cast your shield over yourself." Before she could even reply, he immediately pulled her out of the encirclement and ran out towards the left side of the stairs.

The skeleton archers didn't possess much threat in melee attacks. Before they could launch a counterattack, the black hound had already rushed towards their flanks and tore their formation apart with its ferocious claws. Those fortunate ones who managed to escape the first wave of attacks immediately suffered from a sea of flames.

Third floor.

When Rhode reached the third floor, he could faintly hear the clashes between the skeleton archers and his black hound. Occasionally, a roar would shake the entire mansion. Rhode knew that the black hound wouldn't last much longer against the myriad of archers. However, since it didn't matter because he could quickly resummon it after its death as long he had enough soul power, he didn't worry too much.

"S-sir, it can't be that you're thinking of burning down this place, right?" Lize asked with a worried expression.

Rhode glanced at her oddly, "No, I'm not planning to tear down this place. After all, this is our stronghold..."

After saying that, he raised his sword and swung it in a downward arc.

Clang! His sword collided with something tremendously heavy, causing Rhode's sword to bend at an awkward angle before being forcibly rammed into the wall. Although the thin, wooden wall cushioned the impact, Rhode still lost his balance.

"Now!" Rhode shouted to Lize who was hiding behind him and she immediately stretched out her hand, casting another light beam.

The beam swiftly landed on the new undead monsters, but compared to the evil spirits from before, the vitality of these undead were clearly superior. After receiving the full brunt of the attack from Lize, they merely took a few steps back. At the same time, the area surrounding them was lit up by the attack.

Finally, they could make out the features of their foes.

A decaying skeleton that had a gaping hole in its abdomen appeared before them. The undead towered almost at two meters high; rotting flesh hung at the edges. It wore a damaged armor while wielding a sword that was severely chipped. Although it was stronger than the evil spirits, it still couldn't help but retreat several steps. After all, the holy element was not something an undead could resist.

"This is..." Lize stared at the monster with a disgusted face.

"This is a zombie... I will initiate the attack. Pay attention to both sides."

Rhode arched his body downwards and jumped nimbly towards the nearest handrail. While in the air, he twisted his body and dipped his sword downwards, generating the momentum which caused his body to spin, violently slashing towards the giant zombie's chest.

When Rhode's attack was about to reach the zombie, a sword suddenly appeared from the darkness and parried it. The zombie didn't waste time and used the opportunity to launch a crazed attack towards Rhode. It opened both of its palms and rushed forward. A normal human definitely wouldn't use this kind of self-harming move, but for an undead, it didn't feel any pain so these sort of attacks were terrifyingly dangerous.

However, Rhode's demeanor didn't change the slightest. He flipped over his right palm and a ripple effect formed by rays of light emerged from the sword.

Sharp Edge Technique, activate!

Just when the zombie was about to grab Rhode, his sword gleamed and split the left shoulder of the zombie cleanly. With the buff on his sword, his strikes became even more deadly. It didn't matter if it was dry skin or thick bones, his sword would slice through all of them easily. Another slash came in quick succession and sliced the entire left arm off as easily as though it was paper.

The sword appeared once again as it hacked down towards Rhode.

At the rear, Lize's expression tensed up. When the zombie attempted its first sword attack on Rhode, she had detected this malicious intention lingering in the shadows. Before she could speak to him, the sword was already beside Rhode and in a few seconds, that sword would cut Rhode's head off.

But Rhode pulled off an unexpected move.

Instead of dodging the sword by retreating, he leaned his body towards the source of the attack as though he lost his balance. The sword which followed its intended trajectory, missed its target and slashed at empty space.

The body emitted a putrid stench, and Rhode couldn't help but gag slightly. But soon, he managed to regain his composure and rammed his shoulder into the decaying body before raising his sword to his front.

A brilliant light emerged from the tip of his sword, and he drew a beautiful crescent moon as he swung his sword gracefully downwards. However, while it may seem harmless, the attack was nothing less than fatal.

The undead body finally stopped moving. Dark lines slowly appeared on the body where Rhode had cut.

"Sigh..."

Rhode stood on the top of the giant undead carcass as he patted the dust and decaying matter off his shoulder. Back in the game, he couldn't experience - nor did he want to experience this foul stench. But since this was the real world now, he could finally understand why the description of the zombie was 'zombies had a strong stench.' He was even thinking of discarding this set of clothes that he wore today.

"Let's continue to move on."