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329 Self-Breakthrough

 Rhode's timing was just right.

When he appeared beside Barter, Barter had left an opening while he lifting up his swords. The hot flames and whirlwinds that surrounded him had blocked his sight and hearing. Not to mention, Rhode's agility was much higher than his. Although in terms of physical strength Rhode was still lower than him, but whether its agility or level, Rhode was far beyond him.

At this moment, facing the opening that he left him, Rhode quickly activated his strongest skill.

[Strom Slaughter, activate]

[Detecting attribute level breakthrough, Spatial Displacement activate, duration 5 seconds]

[Select location]

One to two, two to four, four to eight.

Rhode moved and his bright red sword beams flashed over and over. The straight red lines weaved into a spider web and warped Barter inside it. This scene couldn't help but make everyone shocked. That sharp sword seemed to have slashed the surrounding fire apart and trapped Barter inside it. At this time, Barter finally calmed down. He fiercely clenched his teeth and drew his swords once again.

"Earth, destroy my enemies!"

The two greatswords broke through Rhode's swordsmanship blockade without stopping and heavily hit the ground. His sword aura emerged from the ground and completely shrouded him like a barrier, sturdy as a mountain, blocking Rhode's sword attack from all directions.

"Clang!!"

Rhode's shadow flashed, but his speed was still unable to break through Barter's strength. For Barter to display his full power was already troublesome enough, not to mention his current berserking state. As long as Barter still stood on the ground, then he could use an unlimited supply of the earth's power. This part had put him at a disadvantage.

It's really terrifying.

A powerful force emerged from his swords, the impact making Rhode feel a little bit numb. His bright red sword issued a harsh colliding sound. At the same time, it also started slanting to the other side. If this Crimson Tears wasn't an artifact level weapon, then this blow would be enough to completely break it.

However, facing this attack, Rhode wasn't panicked. Instead, he was happy.

Nice!

As he thought of it, he released his right hand in an instant. The red sword that had lost its grip whistled and hovered into the air as if there was a power supporting it. Rhode backed down and stretched both of his hands to the side. Currently, there was a black and a white card in his hands.

[Give 75% damage, activation effect-Self-breakthrough]

Rhode stepped forward.

The black and white sword gave off a distinctive, different aura. It crossed over and broke through Barter's earth barrier.

The audiences couldn't see what happened clearly.

They only saw Barter slam the ground as he was trapped by Rhode's attack. Then, the earth shook and rushed up, swallowing up the bright red sword, flames, whirlwinds, and everything around it. However, after less than three seconds, everyone felt as if the entire world had suddenly disappeared. The earth barrier that was shrouding Barter was suddenly destroyed and someone flew out from it. That person hit the wall on the side of the ring. The impact was so great that even the audiences could feel the earthquake-like motion. The walls that were reinforced with steel plates and granite stones were unable to block the impact and the person formed a hole. He was just slammed like a giant beast and destroyed the entire arena. Even some of the audience had fallen from into the crack.

The disaster continued and stopped until it reached the third platform. The crowd stood at the front, surprised as they saw Barter stuck there. He was still holding both of his swords crossed before him. It seemed like he still managed to defend himself in the end.

How... how could this be?

Viktor gasped and subconsciously stood up. Not only him, but everyone also looked at him the same way. They were looking at Rhode who quietly stood in the ring, speechless. The powerful Barter was actually defeated easily by him? Who is this young man actually?

Naturally, the audiences was unable to see their actions clearly; they only knew that it was very intense and ended very fast. Judging from this point, Rhode's strength definitely had surpassed Barter's. Only the veterans were able to see the truth behind his victory. Including Anne: she also had noticed that their next attack would be a fatal blow to determine the winner. However, in the end, she still couldn't really see what happened.

It was no wonder; even Rhode himself couldn't figure out what was happening.

He only stood there, looking at Barter who was lying unconscious on the high platform. His mind was currently in a state of confusion.

At first, the situation was still going according to his plan. He used his full power by activating Storm Slaughter and the limit breakthrough triggered one of the Composition Adornment's attributes, Spatial Displacement. At the same time, Barter's counterattack disrupted his attack. Even so, the buff from Spatial Displacement didn't disappear, due to Barter's counterattack having exceeded Rhode's tolerance. Instead, it had triggered the second Composition Adornment attribute, Self-breakthrough.

As for the third attribute of Composition Adornment, it was calculated and displayed separately according to the additional attributes of the holder's equipment. The Spatial Displacement was derived from the Rhode's agility and additional agility attributes carried by Rhode's equipment, plus the agility boost from the skills outbreak. The trigger condition was reached after the three values of the agility attributes were added. As for Self-breakthrough, the second attribute of his equipment was vitality.

Although Rhode was clever enough to obtain many pieces of equipment from mercenary groups, naturally, a player's equipment wasn't standard like an NPC's. Rhode needed more equipment that could add more damage and critical chance. After all, for a player, higher DPS meant a higher winning rate. But for NPCs, they valued equipment that could save their lives more. Even though they didn't have a system that could show the equipment attributes like Rhode did, their first choice would always be equipment that would make one stronger and less likely to die.

It was precisely because of this, most equipment he had obtained was like this. The equipment was either for HP restoration, increasing vitality or physical defense. The equipment that Rhode needed the most, for increasing speed and critical chance, was nowhere to be found.

Those NPCs were deserved to be killed by the players and get their loots taken. Who told them to use all the MT gears that had no damage? But since the equipment attribute of the Composition Adornment still had to be decided, in the end, Rhode chose to add vitality. The reason was also very simple; the Composition Adornment needed its own attribute in order to exert its ultimate effect. If he didn't choose a good attribute, the effect would be less satisfactory. So far, his mixed-race had not yet been identified; thus, he could only guess his own attributes. Although currently, his agility should be the highest, but he believed that his vitality was certainly not low either. This point could be proven from the fact he had survived after falling off from a floating ship even though he was heavily injured. Precisely because of this, Rhode chose some pieces of equipment that would increase his vitality. If he could trigger a special effect such as increasing vitality or a self-recovery ability, then it would be worth it.

But he didn't expect that the effect triggered would be like this.

[Self-breakthrough: 50% of damage dealt during the skill duration will be absorbed and all the attributes will be increased one level above the opponent level. Lasts for 5 seconds.]

This skill seemed odd at the first glance, but he still felt relieved after he saw it because it was just as good as Spatial Displacement.

The effect of this skill was actually very simple to explain. Assume that Rhode was a Level 1 player and he suffered from a damage caused by a Level 10 monster. Because in this world, skill level was linked to character level, Self-breakthrough would be automatically triggered and his physical attributes would be forcibly increased to Level 11 to resist the damage.

Although this skill seemed bland and could only be used to resist damage, Rhode was very clear that when this skill was triggered, all the attributes in his body, including agility, will, vitality, and all others would be forcibly increased to Level 11. Even though it could only last for 5 seconds, the fact that Rhode's attributes would increase didn't change.

This battle wasn't as simple as the battle between a Level 1 player and a Level 10 monster. This was a battle between two swordmaster.

Although there was no way in a normal battle between two swordmaster, the other person would receive 50% damage, Rhode was an exception. Although he had a skills of a swordmaster, he didn't have the physical attributes of a swordmaster. His current physical attributes were only at the elite level at most. Even if some of his attributes were higher than the others, but overall, he was still incomparable to Barter.

That was why Rhode had been waiting. He had been preserving his strength to face the opponent's fatal blow. He knew if Barter attacked him with full force, then he would definitely be unable to withstand it. But as long as he dealt 50% damage, the [Self-breakthrough] skill would immediately activate.

According to the description of this attribute itself, it was bound to automatically increase Rhode's physical attributes one level higher than master level.

That would be the legendary level.

In fact, when [Self-breakthrough] was triggered, Rhode did feel as if he had broken through an invisible barrier and entered an area that was out of a mortal reach. At that moment, he had enough confidence to defeat Barter and achieve an overwhelming victory.

However, the next thing that happened was beyond his expectations.

He originally thought that after raising his attributes to the legendary level, his agility attribute would have evolved to something similar as Spatial Displacement or Spatial Tear. Since before he triggered [Self-breakthrough], due to the [Spatial Displacement], his agility attribute was the highest among all of his physical attributes. In that case, when he reached the legend level, it should be natural for his next attribute's evolution to be related to agility too.

But reality was completely different.

When both of Rhode's swords collided with Barter's attack, it seemed like his attack had been anuled. Even Barter's attack seemed to have instantly disappeared. It was as if the whole world had turned into nothingness. Rhode only saw a chaotic circle rune appear in the center of the place where his swords crossed, and then Barter's earth power suddenly disappear. Afterward,s Barter was heavily sent flying.

What exactly happened?

He also had no idea what happened, but in any case, he was certain that it was definitely not an attributes evolution. Thinking until here, he instinctively wanted to replay the previous battle recording and finally realized that this was not the game world and there was no battle recording extension in his brain.

Fortunately, the system didn't show the skill record in the previous battle. Otherwise, he would have been annoyed long ago. But now, he would probably think that it was better to be annoyed.

That power was too weird. At that time he felt like everything had turned into nothingness. It was as if he or his enemy and all the things in this world no longer existed or had never existed. This bizarre feeling made him feel very uncomfortable, and he even dozed off at the same time that strange power broke out and sent Barter flying.

However... this skill was really easy to use, it's just that...

Rhode couldn't help but calm himself down and swallow the blood in his throat that had almost blurted out. Absorbing the damage did not mean that the damage didn't affect him. It was impossible to increase a physical attribute without any cost. Right now, he couldn't even lift up his sword. Now, Rhode felt that it was already impossible for his hands to lift a sword, but fortunately, Star Mark and Nightmare weren't ordinary weapons. Else, there was no way he could stand all the way to that moment.

In the eyes of others, Rhode didn't seem to be affected at all. Currently, Rhode's usual poker face turned out to be useful. Although he felt really bad, his face was still as indifferent as usual. This made everyone think that Rhode was only waiting for the result to be announced.

Crumble.

At this moment, a crumbling sound sounded. The sturdy, tall figure that was pinned into the stone wall suddenly stood up. Barter was using both of his swords to support his body and stand up. It seemed that he was currently heavily injured and couldn't even stand up properly. However, the fact that he was still alive made everyone feel surprised...

"Hey kid, not bad."

He ignored the inexplicable gaze of others as he smiled at Rhode and spoke. It seemed the burning flame in his eyes hadn't dissipated.

"It's been a long time since I've felt this excited. You are amazing! Not bad; we should spar again next time!!"

Having said that, Barter put his swords back. Then, he walked to the high platform and waved his hands towards his subordinates.

"Alright kids, the show is over. Let's go back and have a drink!"

"Is it really okay, Mr. Barter?"

At this moment, Rhode frowned and curiously asked.

"Although I admit that keeping promises is a virtue, I'm still curious: why did you propose such a bet? To tell you the truth, I'm also very exhausted now, and if you continued, perhaps you could still eliminate us."

"You're just as sly as Viktor."

Upon hearing Rhode's question, Barter laughed and pointed a finger at Rhode.

"You don't have to talk in circles. If it's not because of that bet, there's no way that you would have fought me with your full power. If that happened, who knew what the result will be. It's okay now; it's been a long time since I met someone who could make me look this pitiful. Kid, I shall leave the rest to you. Go and bury that b*stard Rosen in the arena!"

After saying it, Barter turned away without looking back and waved his hands.

"Let's go celebrate our loss, kids and compensate the regret that you kids felt since you guys weren't able to join the match. I'll treat you today and let you guys have a good time! Ah..."

Saying this, Barter couldn't support his body anymore and lost his balance. At this moment, the masked girl who stood beside him quickly held him up. She looked at Rhode and nodded as she left.

Seeing that the people from Purple Lily had left, Rhode also turned around and walked towards his subordinates.

"Alright, let's go back," said Rhode.