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189 Arrived the Mystery Hall

 Silence.

Rhode stood up and rubbed his ears as he glanced over at the formerly tidy room that was now tattered with broken stones and debris everywhere. Long cracks filled the entire room. The stone columns on both sides were badly deformed. Even the solid, metal pipes were twisted and raised at an odd angle.

"Woah... I can't believe I survived this."

Rhode observed his surroundings and took a deep breath. The Core Guardian's self-destruct mechanic was the only life-threatening skill that he feared. According to the game manual, the damage dealt by this skill was fixed; the damage received was determined by the player's level. So when facing the Core Guardian, it was either to kill it off quickly, or weaken it and prepare for the self-destruct. Since Rhode's level wasn't enough to defeat the Core Guardian in a few strokes, he could only choose to defend against the explosion. Fortunately, it seemed that everything went well.

The ringing sound in his ears caused him to be temporarily deaf. Rhode glanced down and discovered Anne who was trying to stand up while using her shield as support. She rubbed her ears and seemed to be saying something, but Rhode couldn't make anything out of it.

"... as... it ended, Leader?"

Bits and pieces could be heard, but as Rhode's hearing gradually recovered, he could finally understand what she was saying.

"It ended."

Rhode picked up his weapon while answering Anne's question. Luckily his Crimson Blade wasn't damaged at all even though the explosion was powerful. It seemed like this magical weapon had an excellent quality. The area where the Core Guardian formerly stood already had an enormous crater underneath. Within the hole were all charred metals, or at least that was what it appeared as.

Rhode knew that these 'scrap metals' were precious. As a magical creature handed down from ancient times, the Core Guardian was produced from high-quality magical metals. If these 'scraps' could be brought back to recycle, it could be converted to high-grade materials to craft great magical weapons.

But, alas, it was a pity that Rhode didn't have any artisan at his side that could craft magical weapons. Although he 'recruited' some people from the Mercenary Association, all of them were ordinary blacksmiths. None of them had skills to create magical weapons. But that was normal since not many people could produce magical weapons or equipment, and if there were any, they would probably be under the scrutiny of others.

"What a waste."

Looking at all the scattered magical metals, Rhode could only sigh. As a player, he knew how useful these items were. If he had some players in his mercenary group that focused on weaponsmithing or armorsmithing, then he could use the materials to create magical equipment to improve their overall strength. He could even evolve Anne's gold shield into an elemental shield. But it was a pity that reality wasn't as giving as he thought. Eventually, he chose to give up this thought helplessly. Although Lapis was an Alchemist of 3 types, in this aspect, Rhode didn't have many expectations from her.

"Let's go."

Rhode gestured to Anne. He didn't forget that they were rushing for time and the items here could still be recovered later. Unlike the games, these items will not disappear after some time. But if the Sphere of Mystery was seized, then it would be a waste.

The entrance into the Mystery Hall was located behind the Core Guardian. In contrast to the previous room, this place seemed rather neat. Rhode extended his hand and pushed the pitch black stone door.

The door appeared to be made of an unknown material which brought an icy cold sensation to Rhode's fingers. But Rhode didn't have the time to question because soon enough his attention was attracted by the scene in front of his eyes.

Contrary to the room before, this place was very dark. In this spherical room, blue lights hung on the wall as it blinked like a slow flowing river. Starting from the top, the lights flickered on and off as it converged to the center.

In that seemingly magical place, a metal ball a size of the human head floated in the air quietly. It gradually released a glow, as though responding to the surrounding magic lights. As the blue light grew intense, the metal ball turned darker. And as the surrounding lights dimmed, the ball became brighter. It was akin to a pumping heart.

Sphere of Mystery.

Looking at the round, metallic ball, Rhode took a deep breath. It was a relic of ancient times. Primarily, it was used to condense magic and in turn, provide powers to the wielder. You can treat it as some sort of CPU of a vehicle. Rituals and magic ruins that ran on magical powers required it, even huge golems and forging workshops needed it too.

The Sphere of Mystery varied in sizes. The largest and the most ancient sphere was located in the 'City within Myriad City', Mage Alliance's Central City Odyssey. That Sphere of Mystery itself was as massive as a castle. It possessed extraordinary powers; it could even levitate a city with tens of thousands of people at high altitude.

Those kinds of spheres usually belonged to large organizations. As an ancient heritage of magic, every Sphere of Mystery carried various abilities. Some could change or affect the surroundings, whereas some could strengthen or weaken an individual or group. Some of them could even influence the equipment by providing additional elements during crafting, and some could change the geological environment or even build a castle out of thin air.

These Spheres of Mystery were the most important crystal in ancient civilization. In the Dragon Soul Continent, the Sphere of Mystery was the invention from the top-ranked Alchemist players. Not only did they require much effort to create, but also many dungeon blueprints must be unearthed. Rhode's Starlight Guild triumphed in the Dragon Soul Continent for so many years, but he had only created three Spheres of Mystery!

But a pity, in the end, they lacked that little bit.

Brilliant civilization fell, and the manufacturing method for the Sphere of Mystery was lost entirely. Even the usage method was only discovered after hundreds of years later within the legacy books. Of course, since the start, these ancient relics were bombarded with people snatching them and even started many fights. However, later on, as the discovery of these spheres increased, the conflicts gradually decreased. Those powerful Spheres of Mystery were split among large organizations, forces, or countries. Only the smaller spheres were left to be fought for. However, most of the people had already started to lose interest in them. If there weren't any hint to activate this thing, then it would just be a rare ball that could glow. And every Sphere of Mystery required different rituals in order to be activated. So where can they find the rituals?

Even if it's a six core CPU, if you install a 32-bit WIN, it wouldn't have any effect.

Rhode wasn't sure if the Diamond Mercenary Group was aware of the Sphere of Mystery, because, in the game, players didn't mention anything related to it while exploring the ruins. It was only suggested that this place was an ancient ruin with many creatures, along with some old legends could put any kid to sleep.

When he discovered that the Sphere of Mystery was still around, Rhode finally heaved a sigh of relief. He walked towards it and stretched his hand out to pick it up.

Rhode felt hopeless. This damn thing, although it looked rather small, it was heavy as hell. Almost 100kg. Rhode used all his might but he couldn't shift it no matter what. Eventually, he let go and gestured to Anne helplessly.

"You do it, Anne. Be careful."

"Yes, Leader."

The maiden who was scanning her surroundings heard Rhode's call and quickly walked towards the center of the room. She tilted her head and looked at the Sphere of Mystery curiously.

How did this small, round ball cause such an expression on his face?

However, the maiden quickly extended her hands and attempted to lift it.

When Anne tried to lift the Sphere of Mystery, her expression suddenly changed. The maiden opened her eyes wide while feeling slightly surprised as she stared at this little thing in front of her.

This time, it was Rhode who was admiring her helpless expression...

Never did Anne thought that this little thing would be so heavy. Anne was always proud of her strength, and she was confident that she could lift it with one hand. But now, as if the ball challenged her guts, she unhesitatingly placed both hands and gripped it tightly.

"... Aaah!!"

Although Anne attempted to put on a tough front and lift it as though she wasn't putting much effort, her intense grunts revealed otherwise. But even so, Rhode didn't underestimate her.

And at this moment, Rhode's expression slightly dulled. Anne's expression as well. She frowned and turned her head towards the entrance.

Messy footsteps echoed from the opposite tunnel. Afterwards, a dozen of fully armored mercenaries rushed out.