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340 Deciding Match 2

 Lize nodded and looked at Rosen firmly.

"Mr. Rhode, I just have to do as you instructed, right?"

"That's right, it's all up to you now."

"I understand."

Lize clenched her fists and stepped onto the arena.

The entire audience abruptly turned silent for a few seconds and whispers filled the place.

"Wait... This young lady... That's a Cleric outfit, right?"

"Ugh... That's right, she's a Cleric..."

"Cleric... Can a Cleric even battle?"

"Don't ask me... I've had battle experience with powerful knights and bishops, but never with an ordinary Cleric..."

The crowd whispered into one another's ears. They racked their brains but couldn't figure out what a Cleric like Lize was doing on the arena. Although she had always been a part of the participating list of mercenaries, most of them disregarded her because Rhode assigned her as a substitute. And to them, the reason why Rhode placed her as a substitute was more just for the sake of convenience in case his men were wounded. This wasn't the first time that they witnessed this arrangement because this arrangement had been used frequently by every guild during individual matches as they wouldn't have the opportunity for the substitutes to participate. However, this was the first time a Cleric turned up for battle and even as the first participant. What exactly was going on?

If this was in the past, this decision would definitely be hissed over a hundred times by the audience. However, after the audience witnessed Rhode's prowess, they immediately became cautious. Humans survived under such profanities and if any ordinary human mentioned outrageous ideas, they would only be seen as freaks or idiots. However, if a genius mentioned the exact same thoughts, these ideas would immediately be treated as amazing and definitely something that not ordinary humans could think of...

It was the same case for the audience. Although they were doubtful, they no longer regarded Starlight as a mercenary group full of country bumpkins. A Cleric for battle-what kind of strength would she display?

"... That's odd."

Viktor adjusted his position and observed.

"What do you think about this, Barter?"

"It's strange, alright. But if you ask me, that kid perhaps planned this scheme to make Rosen retreat willingly because isn't this the rumored princess? Although both sides agreed to a life and death challenge, if Rosen killed her-ha, Royal Highness Lydia will definitely execute him and his whole family."

Barter snorted while rejoicing in Rosen's misfortune. However, Viktor shook his head.

"I don't think so, Barter. It's obvious that Mr. Rhode is genuinely concerned for his men. Normally, a Cleric won't possess any fighting strength. Indeed, just as you said, if we discuss this matter regarding death, it will turn into an issue if Rosen lays hands on her. This stubborn fart has always been devoted to the Reformist Party and it won't be too likely for him to do something that will make Royal Highness Lydia punish them. However, if this young lady is gravely hurt by him, the injuries may be for the rest of her life. Their difference in strength is too huge and it's practically a dream for her to resist against Rosen. Not only will he beat down the flames of the King's Party, but he will also cause unhappiness between Royal Highness Lydia and Mr. Rhode. No matter what, this young lady is Royal Highness' half-sister and Clerics aren't necessarily a class suitable for battles. Therefore, if there are any problems, Mr. Rhode will never be able to answer to Her Royal Highness."

"Eh? Is it that bad?"

Barter questioned and stood up. His expression turned anxious.

"This spells trouble..."

"I haven't finished my sentence yet, Barter. If you don't kick this bad habit of yours, you'll be on the losing end in the future."

Viktor smiled at the frantic Barter. The later pouted and sat down.

"I say... You educated people must have too much time on your hands to drag me into this pile of crap without speaking the main point. By the time you get to it, the enemies are already in our base! Alright, let me hear what you have to say."

"It's simple. It isn't that Mr. Rhode isn't aware of the situation. Besides, I feel that he didn't send her up first to threaten his opponent. Instead, the life and death challenge aren't bound by rules. If Mr. Rhode used her to affect the political strength, he would have chosen to send her when he was up against Sky Sword and your Purple Lily to guarantee a victory. That old fox, Mobis, would definitely not risk it and perhaps even you wouldn't dare to harm Her Royal Highness' sister right?"

"That... makes sense."

Barter rubbed his chin and nodded in agreement. Indeed, he was on the King's Party side and how could he allow his men to harm Her Royal Highness' sister? Even though Barter who wasn't as smart as Viktor knew that this wasn't possible.

"And then?"

"So I think... Mr. Rhode is confident in winning this match."

"But, that girl is a Cleric..."

"Yes, a Cleric. But, none of us have engaged in battles with Clerics before. Of course, Clerics usually won't partake in any frontal battles because they are mainly supporting roles. But, does this mean that Clerics definitely can't battle?"

Viktor shook his head.

"I'm rather suspicious of this. We have never seen a Cleric used any attacking spells in battles, but Mr. Rhode actually sent one up. Indeed, for the other classes to face Rosen now with their current strength is definitely asking for death. But, a Cleric may show different results..."

Barter turned his attention to the arena.

At this moment, in the VIP lounge, Amund made the same conclusion.

"... However, Your Highness, please pardon my rudeness. I have lived long enough and fought against Soul Knights, Guardian Knights, and even the Holy Bishops, but I have never battled a Cleric. After all, that's too..."

Amund couldn't find an expression to describe his feelings.

"I understand what you meant, Teacher."

Lydia sat up and looked at the arena. However, her gaze wasn't directed at Lize who was preparing herself, but was targeted at Rhode who crossed his arms. Lydia's eyes glinted in a burning radiance, like a kid who just discovered an amusing toy or like an artist who witnessed a beautiful artwork.

"I think I want you even more now... Mr. Rhode Alander."

Amund rolled his eyes and at the same time looked at Rhode with pitiful eyes.

I wish you luck, young man.

The bugle horns sounded.

Lize drew a distance away from Rosen. She focused her attention on him, at the same time reciting Rhode's instructions. This was the second time she stood on the arena and she wasn't nervous at all. The support she received from her companions behind her was like a comforting, solid wall.

I will not fail. I will win as long as I follow Mr. Rhode's orders!

Lauren stood between them and looked at Lize with a bitter smile. As the president of the Mercenary Association, he had definitely heard rumors regarding this 'princess'. He thought that as Lize stood on the arena, Her Royal Highness Lydia would definitely give certain orders, but there were none.

What exactly is this boiling down to?!

Lauren felt hopeless, but there wasn't any chance for him to intervene. In the end, he moved aside and swung his arm...

Battle start!

Lize instantly cast a defensive barrier around her while Rosen let out a grunt. Just as Viktor predicted, Rosen had no intentions of killing her and he wouldn't be that dumb to commit a crime for Her Royal Highness Lydia to punish him. However, it wouldn't be difficult for him to teach this little girl a lesson.

"Girl, this isn't your playhouse."

Rosen lifted his shields and coldly stared. Lize looked at him in silence.

Rosen revealed a grim smile and charged forward like a rhinoceros!

The audience held their breaths. In every battle, Rosen always pushed forward and smashed anything that was in his way and seldom did his challengers withstand his strength as they flew off the arena. Some luckier ones dodged, but were eventually caught off guard by his next rolling attack.

Not to mention, it was a fragile young lady before him that was about to withstand his powerful strength.

Then, something happened and left them dumbfounded.

Rosen, who had taken up to five steps, suddenly lost his balance and slipped. Luckily for him, his reactions were quick enough for him to smash the arena with his shield to provide support.

Boom!

His heavy shield crushed the arena and gravel burst into midair. Then, he brandished and swept them forward like bullets.

Fortunately, this wasn't dangerous for Lize. After experiencing the torturous training sessions, she was familiarized with the Holy Book that Rhode retrieved from the Necromancer. Although Rosen was a top-class Swordsmaster, these hurriedly fired attacks weren't a concern for her fortified defense spell. The bullet-like gravel struck the barrier and was negated entirely.

What happened?

The audience couldn't figure out why Rosen, who initiated the attack, stopped all of a sudden.

Something's wrong!

Rosen lifted his head and scanned Lize.

The young lady didn't move one step. She looked at him with both hands hanging by her sides, as though she did nothing. However, Rosen was sure that when he charged forward with his right foot, his speed increased more drastically than usual and it was that instant that his perfect pace was disrupted.

What exactly happened?

Rhode nodded in contentment.

Good.

The biggest difference between spiritual spells and magical spells was that spiritual spells could be dodged, but never resisted. In other words, all spiritual spells cast by even the weakest of all Clerics were effective on legendary beings. If the opponents failed to dodge, the spiritual spell would still be effective. Of course, due to the difference in levels, the spiritual spells' effectiveness would be greatly reduced in terms of duration and cooldown. But there would never be any situations where the opponents were immune. Unlike magical spells, spiritual spells were cast from spiritual energy and therefore, all living things would be affected by them. Itt was the same even for special beings like Gillian and Lydia. Of course, due to the gap in strength, as long as they didn't dodge, any ordinary Cleric's spiritual spell would still take effect on them despite only lasting for a millisecond.

Therefore, after the 'Treating foes as friends' tactic was created, it became a norm for Clerics to issue PVP challenges to opponents with much higher levels. Of course, there was a higher requirement for such battles. As mentioned, for the spiritual spells to be effective, the Clerics needed to lock onto their opponents' positions in order to cast their spiritual spells. Once their opponents dodged, the spiritual spell would be useless.

If Rosen was a swordsman with agility as his main forte like Rhode, or a fast-moving class like Thief or Ranger, Rhode would definitely not send Lize for this battle. But Rosen was a Shield Warrior with incredibly high defense and movement speed that was slightly quicker than a normal human.

This kind of opponent was the Clerics' favourite in PVP challenges.

Due to this reason, Rhode didn't reveal Lize and only now did he finally send her. Next, it would depend on her ability to adapt to the situation.

At this moment, Lize cast two more defensive barriers and they became almost impenetrable. Unlike the warm-up matches, Lize didn't give up her defense in order to bait an attack from the opponent. With Rosen's strength, she would probably be defeated instantly if she didn't put up her strongest defenses. She wasn't strong enough to withstand his attack yet.

Tch, little tricks. Did she really think that she can stop me? Ignorant!

Rosen's expression turned ice-cold. He took a step forward, shifted his left shield into position, and prepared to charge forward. Suddenly, he felt an unknown boost in strength, but he was ready for it this time and quickly straightened his posture.

Again?

Rosen frowned. He felt that his strength increased dramatically and as a result, his body wasn't ready for it. The imbalance of strength immediately restricted him from moving ahead.

What's going on?

From the start, Rosen thought that his slip was only an accident. Of course, he did doubt his old age or abilities to capture the right moment in strength, but it made him dubious after it happened twice.

After all, that was too odd.

Could this be another trick from that rascal?

Rosen gazed at Lize grimly.

What's this sorcery?