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248 Ambush

 Awesome!

This was Rhode's first reaction when he read the introduction of the Zero Refining Equipment.

As a support artifact, the normal Composition Adornment had two attributes. One for fusion rates while the other for set equipment attributes. Both would affect each other. A set equipment with high fusion rates would have stronger attribute effects, whereas the set equipment attributes' numerical value would be decided by the grade of the Composition Adornment. The majority of the Composition Adornments only had one set equipment attribute, which meant that after equipping the Composition Adornment, they would only receive the highest effect of the set equipment attribute. The highest of all the attribute values would be totaled up.

But now, it seemed that this Zero Refining Equipment had three instead. In other words, after equipping the Composition Adornment, unlike other normal players, who would change only the highest valued attribute, it would increase the top three highest ranked numerical values. This way, not only could the speed be increased, but even the strength and defense. Of course, the final result would still depend on Rhode's current equipment.

But the three set equipment effects were obviously better than one.

Moreover, this Composition Adornment came with an Aura attribute, which meant that not only could Rhode benefit from it, but others would too as long as they were within close proximity to Rhode. This was particularly important for Rhode, who led his mercenaries. In order to prevent his mercenaries from suffering unnecessary harm, he often chose to lead them. And now, with this aura attribute, if Rhode could activate it to increase defenses, then even he would be more confident in leading the mercenaries through more adventures.

After all, although Rhode was always leading newbies into dungeons for them to level up quickly and receive armors and weapons, he had no choice but to choose easier dungeons. But if he continued this way, it would restrict themselves from leveling up quickly. Wasn't the ultimate goal to have everyone battling together? No matter how good Rhode was, he definitely couldn't face the five Creator Dragon Souls alone.

Furthermore, with the 100% fusion rate and increase in magical equipment by 15%, this effect was already considered the most godlike of the godlike and best of the best...

Rhode lifted the bracer and equipped it on his right arm.

In an instant, the heavens fell and the earth was rent asunder, and huge hurricane suddenly arose. The splendid skies instantly filled with dark clouds as thunder roared. Strong storms blew and the ground cracked, announcing the start of a new legend. But that was impossible.

Nothing happened.

After equipping the bracer... Everything was normal. No matter how godlike the attributes were, the Composition Adornment was still a support equipment. As the name implied, it was for support only.

This was considered normal since Rhode didn't have much equipment to begin with. The equipment that Starlight had gotten were all given to the mercenaries. In terms of the game, Rhode was actually only equipped with nothing but a Crimson Blade on his hand after level 20. Why he could fight all the way here was due to his techniques and knowledge.

And because of that, although Rhode had equipped this godlike equipment on himself, there wasn't much difference. The only difference was that after the bracer came into contact with his arm, it quickly transformed into a silverish, non-striking tattoo-like rune. And as long as Rhode commanded with his thoughts, the bracer would immediately return to its original state and fall off from his arm.

It seemed to be nothing special at all.

After confirming the specialty of the Zero Refining Equipment again, Rhode lifted his head and turned to Gillian and Lapis. Both of them were looking at himself from the side. The voice had also gone into silence after handing over the Zero Refining Equipment. What replaced the voice was an oval shaped door before them. If Rhode wasn't mistaken, this door would be the exit to leave this place.

He only hoped that he wouldn't fall into that goddamn endless hole again after entering the door.

"Let's go."

It was only a matter of time that they passed through the door.

However, after Rhode took a step through, what greeted him wasn't a warm, crowded welcome, but an ice cold arrow.

Shing!

Rhode instantly tilted his body as soon as he saw the arrow shooting for him. At the same time, he unsheathed his Crimson Blade and deflected the arrow.

Unlike what Rhode had expected, they didn't return to the central control room. Instead, they returned to the tall platform where the Ophenian Researchers had opened the hidden huge door from. Well, at least Rhode didn't have to worry about falling downward.

But, there were still troubles ahead as Rhode discovered the battle happening right now...

"Sir, you are finally back!"

Just as Rhode finally figured out the situation, Kavos and Shauna ran over to his side with sweat pouring from their foreheads. Both of them were petrified when this odd, oval shaped door suddenly appeared out of nowhere. Now that Rhode, Lapis, and Gillian had come out of it, both of them let out sighs of relief and explained the whole situation.

Luckily, although both of them were panicky, they were once mercenary group leaders and had no problems relating and expressing the issue. It only took a while for Rhode to get a grasp of the situation.

These mercenaries were quietly following instructions to wait for the return of Rhode and the others on the tall platform. However, as they didn't know what happened to Rhode, they were devastated. The Ophenians seemed to have realised the tragedy that the mercenaries were facing. Hence, they didn't speak much and continued with their individual tasks.

Previously, everything was engaging smoothly, but things changed when it turned past midnight. A bunch of vines and mischievous rats appeared out of nowhere and attacked the mercenaries. From the start, the mercenaries were unprepared against the ambush and were overwhelmed. However, with Celia's alertness, she immediately led the team to destroy the pests.

"Afterwards, we discovered many naked men, which was unusual, because they were unarmed and yet so powerful. Their movements were incredibly quick too, which injured many of our men. Luckily Miss Celia was around to suppress the unknown forces. Now they have returned to the entrance, and it seems like they won't be coming back for a while."

Rhode went silent after listening to Kavos's description. He frowned and asked, "How's the situation with the Ophenians?"

"The ambush killed three to four of them. The remaining were injured but are still in a generally good condition."

"I understand."

Rhode nodded in agreement. He turned around and saw the Ophenians on the other side. From their expressions, it seemed like this ambush terrified them. The male researchers held weapons in their hand, guarding their female counterparts, who were behind. The Ophenians were glad to see Rhode return. They knew that the ambushers were the group of Druids that had attacked them in the forest. However, at that point in time, Rhode and Gillian weren't around to defeat the Druids, which worried the Ophenians. Now that both of them were back, they were glad.

But Rhode had other ideas.

Previously, Rhode had intended to wait for the Ophenians to dig up the Composition Adornments before finding an opportunity to kill them off, at the same time retrieving all the information on the Composition Adornment. However, it seemed like there was no need for that anymore. Rhode had specially consulted Lapis and the latter had confirmed with him that he had received the Composition Adornment's production process for the most perfect crafting. Of course, it would require some time in order for Lapis to be totally familiarized with the process and formulas.

So then, should I spare the lives of the Ophenians?

Although sparing their lives was fine based on the current situation, Rhode wasn't willing to let them leave with the intention of preventing any future enemy attacks or to deliver a setback to his enemies. Although he was unsure of how the Ophenians had initially retrieved the production process of the Composition Adornment, they were more or less related to the slabs that were dug up previously. If Rhode let them off, who knew what would happen in the future?

However, Rhode quickly thought of an idea to get the best of both worlds.