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238 The Sealed Place 8

 A violent tremor forced the mercenaries to halt.

What happened?

While the mercenaries looked at each other in confusion, Rhode's expression turned gloomy. A system prompt appeared informing him that Lapis was in grave danger.

Due to the mercenary group system, Rhode was able to receive information of important members of the group, especially when they were in danger or close to death.

When Rhode was configuring his Stronghold settings, the first member he chose to monitor was neither Lize, Marlene, nor Anne. Instead, it was Lapis. Compared to the three, Lapis' ability to protect herself was almost nonexistent. Rhode even believed that even if she were given a knife to fight a defenseless enemy, she would end up injuring herself instead.

Nevertheless, disregarding her combat ability, Lapis' importance to the mercenary group was indisputable. She was an expert in manufacturing - a rarely seen trait among mercenaries.

For Rhode to build a top-rate mercenary group whose goal was to become a guild, they must strive to be self-sufficient. Starlight would naturally be expanding, but the Paphield Region wasn't able to provide enough talents in the manufacturing field, and therefore Rhode was exhilarated when he met Lapis.

Rhode had always been looking out for her to prevent any mishaps. If it was possible, Rhode would rather keep her inside a cage to stop her from contacting the outside world - after all, Starlight had made quite a few enemies.

Thankfully, Lapis was a female 'geek' who preferred to stay in the Stronghold. Unless absolutely necessary, she wouldn't leave the safety of the Stronghold. Even if she had to leave, she would bring her friends like Randolf or Anne along. It could be said that the woman's introverted character had been her best protection, yet now...

Rhode frowned. Although he did consider the possibility of danger when he brought her here, he relented to her endless pestering in the end. Initially, he felt somewhat glad as Lapis would trigger her personal quest, and if he assisted her in the completion of her quest, perhaps she would upgrade her strength substantially.

Alas, Rhode miscalculated when he thought that Gillian and himself would be able to prevent Lapis from falling into any grave danger...

Rhode looked at the flight of stairs.

He knew where the path led to. At the end of the stairs, they would enter a room filled with Golem Guards who hid within thirty suits of armor. They had to clear these mobs before entering the control room where another major battle would occur. This was when Rhode realized that he had to make changes to his plans.

"Kavos."

Rhode hooked his finger and beckoned Kavos to come. Kavos quickly made his way towards him and was shocked when he saw Rhode exhibiting a never seen before grave expression.

"Order everyone to get ready, we are going in!"

"Yes, Sir!"

Kavos didn't understand why Rhode would do this, but he swiftly followed his commands. Meanwhile, Gillian suddenly appeared with her iconic smile on her face. Her twitching ears indicated that she was also starting to get serious.

"Are we starting, Master?"

"Of course. You know what to do. Let's move!" Rhode replied Gillian with a cold expression.

He swung his sword and quickly transformed into a shadow. Then, in a blink of an eye, he disappeared up the flight of stairs with both Celia and Gillian following closely behind, leaving a trail of flames and holy light which illuminated the dark cave.

Kavos stared blankly at the trail of flames and light for a moment. Then he took a deep breath and shouted at the mercenaries who were equally astonished.

"Ready your weapons and move it you idiots! It's time for battle!!"

-

Rhode once again realized that things were out of his expectations.

In the game, the Golem Guards would only move after detecting trespassers in their territory. But when Rhode was dashing up the stairs, he realized the Golem Guards had already been activated and were advancing towards him.

Another unforeseen circumstance.

But so what?

Rhode didn't care about these changes. He extended his arm and summoned the Black Hound who leaped out from flames and rushed towards the aggressive Golem Guards. At the same time, Rhode opened his right palm and swung his hand to the side. Two additional cards shot out and smashed into bits, following with a screech and a loud roar. The Spirit Bird and Centaur Knight appeared once more!

Rhode quickly used all his strongest cards so he could instantly clear all these obstructions. When Spirit Bird and Centaur Knight arrived on the field, the poor suicidal dog sacrificed its life once again and kicked the bucket with an explosion.

Boom!! When the Golem Guard's sword pierced into the Black Hound's torso, a huge explosion erupted and rocked the whole cave. This time, with the help of the fire element lord, Rhode could contain the blast to a specific radius. Finally, Rhode could now freely utilize the Black Hound's self-destruct ability without injuring his own men.

The impact of the shockwave tore apart a few Golem Guards like an invisible hand sweeping through. However, it still wasn't enough to stop the other Golem Guards from advancing. Unlike humans, they were devoid of fear and thus, the rest of the surviving Golem Guards commenced their primary goal to eradicate any intruders.

Rhode, Celia, and Gillian finally arrived in melee range.

Rhode chose to use Fury Trial instead of his recently acquired Shadow Dance. The Crimson Blade lost its agileness, but instead gained a huge increase in range as the condensed beam of light at the tip of the sword swept through the Golem Guards. Along with a loud bang, a heavily-armored Golem Guard was sent flying. The massive force left a deep depression on the Golem Guard's thick metal armor, and when it crashed into the wall, its body split into half.

Gillian's battle was equally as exciting.

Compared to Celia who used a sword, the fire elemental lord had no interest in using weapons at all. The fox-eared lady made a few gestures with her hand, invoking countless of tiny fireballs in the air. She lined them up in front of her, creating a 'fireball minefield,' and when the Golem Guards mindlessly rushed towards her, it was the start of their tragedy.

Hundreds of fireballs exploded at the same time, engulfing the pitiful Golem Guards. While Gillian couldn't single-handedly clear out all the obstacles here with her current strength, her innate powers of a fire elemental lord were sufficient to create hundreds of tiny fireballs to form a minefield.

Perhaps one or two fireballs wouldn't be able to damage the Golem's thick armor, but when a hundred exploded at the same time, even the strongest Golem of them all wouldn't be able to come out unscathed. After the series of explosions, what was left in the smoke were unrecognizable broken parts that had once been part of a Golem Guard.

As for the Centaur Knight, these Golem Guards didn't pose any threat to it at all. The Golem Guards could attack all they wished, but the Centaur Knight would just sweep them with its long spear. The sturdy Golem Guards lost the battle of durability when faced against the Centaur Knight and were eventually smashed into bits.

At this moment, the mercenaries finally arrived.

Of course, they couldn't fight a Golem Guard one-on-one like how Rhode, Celia or Gillian could, but these mercenaries could utilize team-based tactics to overwhelm the Golem Guards. For experienced mercenaries like them, it wasn't too difficult of a task.

Bam! Another Golem Guard slammed into the floor and smashed into pieces. Rhode took in a deep breath and lifted his head towards the big door in front of him.

The BOSS fight was just behind this door.

If he didn't guess wrong, Lapis should be in there somewhere.