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313 Victory by a Fine Line

 This sudden change surprised everyone as they had never witnessed a sword that could change its own form. On the other hand, Mobis remained calm and as a Master Swordsman, he was experienced in facing such sudden changes in situation. Even though angles and timing determined by Rhode were crafty, a sly fox like Mobis wouldn't be so easily taken down. Mobis slowed down his pace and brandished his Chrysoprase Sword which suppressed the viper blade. He tilted his head and the sharp blade scraped by him along with a few threads of hair.

The older, the wiser.

Rhode exclaimed in admiration at the sight of Mobis dodging his attack.

Mobis didn't panic at all. Instead, he adjusted his speed to ensure more space for his maneuver. He was clear that such attack couldn't be figured out nor defended against. Although an extendable weapon could catch the enemy off guard, it had its flaws too. The extended sword was an interconnected whole, so even though Mobis couldn't capture its attack trajectory, it would be much easier to handle when the attack came in a straight line.

Mobis tried to deceive Rhode, so wouldn't Rhode try to deceive him too? The former tried to bait Rhode by acting weak, and Rhode replied with his Shadow Embrace, which utilized afterimages to force Mobis into consuming his own energy.

But now, both sides were getting harder to deal with.

Mobis's plans to murder Rhode had failed and he understood that this young man could figure out his thoughts, which meant that he couldn't continue turning his thoughts into actions openly. He had purposely disguised an accident in order to prevent trouble, but if he overdid it and this was noticed by Rhode, it would bring even more trouble.

Rhode felt rather hopeless. [Dark Brandish] was a deadly sword skill, but it was obvious that he had no intentions of killing Mobis. However, both sides had similar strength and based purely on sword skills, it would probably bring about danger if he tried to preserve his energy against Mobis. However, if he gave his all and accidentally killed Mobis, the result would be worse than anything else.

Although Rhode was biased toward the King's Party and Lydia, he wasn't as loyal as Mobis, who could commit suicide for the sake of loyalty. The reason why Rhode supported the King's party was because his impression of Lydia was favorable all along in the game. Moreover, the King's Party's and his target benefits coincided. However, Rhode would not be like Mobis and sacrifice his mercenary group for the benefit of King's Party. He would definitely not do it.

That was why he didn't wish to kill Mobis in this competition.

But once one had concerns during battle, one would surely feel constrained.

Not to mention, Rhode had no intentions to summon his spirits yet.

Just as Anne had suspected, Rhode didn't have intentions of summoning his spirits as of now because he was clear that there were a lot of people observing his every move.

But Rhode would be in a disadvantage this way.

The forte of a Spirit Swordsman depended on the tactic of ganging up with summoned spirits. However, this world was balanced in the way that if one received something, something else would be taken away. A Spirit Swordsman's sword skills would forever be weaker than a pure Swordsman, and that was the price in exchange. Although Mobis was a native and not a strong player-like presence, such restrictions and limitations on levels still existed. Although Rhode seemed to be equally matched with Mobis, that was more likely due to the difficulty Mobis had grasping Dark Brandish.

If they compared solely on sword skill masteries in player terms, Rhode was only at Rank C while Mobis was at least a Rank A. A two rank difference.

If Rhode relied on pure sword skills against Mobis, it wouldn't be as easy as everyone else just saw.

However, it didn't mean that Rhode had no chance of winning.

The sound of wind changed abruptly.

Detecting the wind at the back of his head, Mobis turned around. He saw the pitch-black sword which he had subdued revolving and striking toward him as though it wasn't a sword, but a real, conscious viper.

What exactly is that weapon?

Mobis realised that this pitch-black sword wasn't as simple as it seemed. However, he didn't have the time to consider the problem because the strong whirlwind erupted and deflected Rhode's sword blade. Using this chance, Mobis slid back along with the wind.

But Rhode wouldn't let him off with this opportunity. Just as Mobis retreated, Rhode stopped his movements and without hesitation, he charged forward.

In an instant, there was a huge contrast in the situation. Just a few seconds before, Mobis was the one charging toward Rhode and the latter only dodged and retreated. But now, in the blink of an eye, both sides exchanged roles: Rhode attacked Mobis unforgivingly while the latter drew distance away from him.

It was a pity that he wasn't successful.

The whirlwinds that Mobis had cast drained too much of his energy and he temporarily didn't have enough energy to face Rhode's frontal assault. Although Mobis hoped to draw a distance away to recover and initiate a counterattack, Rhode wouldn't give him this chance.

Shing!

Along with the wind, the whizzing shadow twisted like a whip as it launched at Mobis. Pressured by Rhode's attack, Mobis frowned and slowed down his pace, at the same time brandishing his sword.

The radiance emanating on the Chrysoprase Sword flickered. A magical barrier forming a hexagonal crystal emerged beside Mobis and at that moment, the viper once again reared its head.

This time, Mobis didn't notice the black, razor-sharp tip and another transparent tip suddenly emerge.

Clang!

The pitch-black sword crashed into the hexagonal crystal barrier and was deflected by Mobis' left arm. Mobis was pleased, but before he prepared himself, he felt a cold, icy energy spreading into his arm. In the blink of an eye, half of his body turned numb and stiff.

What's going on?

He stared at his left arm in shock as there didn't seem to be any signs of injury and he couldn't feel any pain. As a matter of fact, only half his arm felt numb and stiff as though a shapeless blade had cut off his arm in an instant.

Damn!

Although he didn't know what happened, the rich battle experience in him instantly informed him of the danger this entailed. As his left arm was no longer nimble, it slowed him down drastically. In the blink of an eye, Rhode closed in on their distance.

Mobis lifted his head and witnessed the expressionless face before him.

The young man didn't seem to mind what happened at all.

But, Mobis was sure that Rhode's eyes were glinting with smiles.

He instinctively lifted his sword, but it was a pity that it was too late.

Storm Slaughter, activate.

In the blink of an eye, Rhode divided into dozen copies and and engaged in attacks with different stances. The whizzing blade air blasted at Mobis in its entirety.

This time, Mobis couldn't defend against Rhode's attacks because these attacks were genuine. All the copies were his actual presence and every sword carried equally terrifying strength and speed which even Mobis couldn't withstand.

Mobis struggled to brandish the sword with his right arm and desperately stop two rounds of offense from Rhode. However, with his numb left arm affecting his movements, he couldn't keep up any longer and staggered backward. At this very moment, a pitch-black shadow streaked across his body.

Fresh, red blood splashed into the blue skies.