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610 Ivory Valley

 Gracier and Madaras didn't react at all as though they were caught off guard by Dale's attack. At this moment, they were bound by the semi-frozen air like trembling puppets. Dale had no intentions of letting this chance go. In a flash, Dale slashed his sword forward.

But his sword failed to reach them when he was about two meters away. The crowd was baffled as to why Dale didn't seize the opportunity to seal the deal and he slashed his sword on the spot ridiculously instead. But he answered their doubts shortly after.

Along with his 'missed' attack, the air around him rippled into billows. His sword strike was as though a pebble that fell into the pond, spreading visible, clear air rippling from the center. Strong threatening winds rose from the ground.

Apart from Gracier and Madaras, no one knew exactly how powerful the waves were. However, it was apparent that Dale had given everything he had, judging from how the waves crashed into the defenseless young girls who were bound in the air.

When the waves arrived at their bodies, the incredibly powerful wind pressure contained them thoroughly. Their hoods were forcefully lifted open and their hair fluttered like a waving flag. The violent airstream smoothened the creases in their clothes, but this was only the start... It was imaginable how the two young girls would end up like after the waves struck them.

The crowd exclaimed in awe and even the Elf Queen adjusted her position uncomfortably. After all, Gracier and Madaras were totally trapped and if Dale didn't hold back, who knew what would happen to them.

Suddenly, everyone witnessed a scene that they had never imagined.

The two young girls looked forward with smiles. But shortly after, Rhode realized a weird change in the situation. Gracier and Madaras widened their eyes slightly and their golden pupils emanated with faint radiance. Then, they shrunk into a thin, narrow line like the eyes of reptiles!

Boom!

The powerful air waves devoured and shattered them into nothingness. In an instant, dust fluttered wildly and formed a fierce hurricane, rustling the innocent leaves and forcing the crowd to turn away.

Clink.

A faint sound was heard, but it was devoured by the sound of wind before the crowd heard it.

After a few moments, the sound of wind weakened and when the crowd turned back to the circular plaza, they were astounded. Dale half-knelt on the ground while the two young girls stood in front and behind him simultaneously. They had placed their right hands by Dale's neck. Although the crowd couldn't see clearly from their positions, it was apparent that their concealed blades were pressing against his neck.

What exactly happened?

The crowd exchanged blank looks. Just a while ago, Dale had grasped the situation and pressured the two young girls entirely. But how did the situation took a turn in the blink of an eye? What did the two young girls do? How did they escape from Dale's Air Domain that easily? Not only did the two young girls escape, but they also turned the situation around?

Dale displayed a hopeless, bitter smile, but his helmet concealed his true disappointment.

From the beginning, the situation had developed as Dale expected, especially after he activated his Order Dimension. Dale clearly felt that he had grasped the positions of the two young girls, which gave him some confidence and courage. After all, from their previous exchange of attacks, he couldn't spot their positions as though they didn't exist. This gave him a much deeper understanding of the powerful and terrifying Carlesdines. In fact, he felt that the two young girls had shown mercy. If this were a true duel, perhaps he would have died twice.

Dale didn't give up, but he wasn't that thick-skinned to not admit defeat. Instead, there was one reason why he wished to continue this battle. He wanted to enjoy this battle fully. Carlesdines-they were presences of the Creation War and this was his only chance to battle them. Since this was only a competition and not a fight to the death, he had even more chances to feel the terrifying legendary presences.

And Dale got what he asked for.

After casting his Order Dimension to trap Gracier and Madaras, he thought that he had found the key to victory. But he knew that the since the Elf Queen had mentioned how frightening the Carlesdine were, they must possess some secret techniques. Therefore, in order to prevent accidents, Dale struck fast to curb their chances of counterattacking.

But he didn't expect that he had misjudged the Carlesdine's capabilities.

When the powerful air waves erupted, Dale felt that the presences who he had restrained suddenly vanished. Or perhaps, they had as though blended into the air and he couldn't locate their positions. However, before he followed up with his attack, he felt an ice-cold sensation on the front and back of his neck. He knew that the opponents were telling him that the game had ended.

This is too terrifying.

Dale shook his head slightly. In fact, as one of the strongest in the Elf Kingdom, he was rather proud and arrogant, especially after hearing the Elf Queen's description of the Carlesdine. After all, the Elf Queen sounded as though the Elves would be extinct if the White Elves didn't sacrifice themselves to become the Carlesdines. Dale was a Moon Elf and not a White Elf. Although he respected the White Elves and admired the heroes of the Creation War, he wasn't too satisfied with the Elf Queen's interpretation. It was due to this reason that he wished to experience the strength of the Carlesdines personally, which was why he suggested to participate in this Sword Dance Rite.

And now, he finally got what he asked for.

Dale was confidence in his strength, but it wasn't arrogance. He discovered that the strength that he was so proud of stood no chance against the Carlesdines. The two young girls didn't waver to his attacks and taunts at all. They were this formidable and confident.

Creation War...

Dale felt that it was such a pity that even the powerful presence like the Carlesdines vanished entirely in the Creation War... Just how horrifying was that war? He was regretful that he couldn't participate in that war. But... He considered this as realizing one of his dreams.

"Thank you."

Dale let out a sigh and said softly. Gracier and Madaras didn't respond. Instead, they nodded slightly and laid down their arms. Along with this motion, the concealed blades in their palms retracted silently into their sleeves.

Dale stood to his feet and took down his helmet. He had restored his plain, warm expression and no one could read his emotions. He didn't react to the gazes of his compatriots and he turned to the Elf Queen to bow respectfully.

"Your Majesty, the two young ladies have passed the Sword Dance Rite. I can guarantee that they possess pure souls and graceful, formidable skills. They are the pride of us Elves and I'm certain of that!"

Dale lifted his head and gazed at the Elf Queen. The Elf Queen nodded with a smile and shifted her gaze to Rhode on the other end. Although the Elf Queen didn't comment, Rhode knew that his request to enter Ivory Valley had been approved.

The Sword Dance Rite had come to an end without a grand ceremony. The Elf Queen gave Gracier and Madaras their blessings and ended the entire rite. Afterward, the crowd stayed behind to discuss about the fascinating duel instead. As for Rhode's group, they left the plaza and headed off under Corina's lead. Anne pestered Rhode about the identities of two young girls curiously and he told the group everything about them. Of course, he didn't reveal his secrets as a Spirit Swordsman and told them that they were his summoned spirits just like Celia and Celestina. As the two young girls had some wishes that weren't granted yet, he had come to this Elf Kingdom to fulfill their wishes.

Anne and Lize trusted him. After all, they had been following him for a long time and it wasn't particularly strange that he was capable of summoning mysterious things and characters. In fact, Rhode had also been cautious and the young ladies didn't suspect him of keeping any secrets. This was a reason caused by their differences in statuses and standpoints. For natives like Lize and Anne, the world was full of extraordinary things. Therefore, they simply believed that Rhode was one of the rare people who was capable of summoning spirits in battle. As for Rhode, he instinctively looked at things from the standpoint of a player who was familiar with the game, such as understanding the specific types of military soldiers in different countries, specific classes in races, and specific skills in forces. Players would get curious as long as there was knowledge to be learned and investigated. This was why Rhode seldom displayed his strength and preferred to remain mysterious than to expose his true identity. Even though he was close to Lize, Anne, and Marlene, he wouldn't unnecessarily explain to them in details because it wasn't that straightforward...

Anne and Lize knew the strength of Rhode's summoned spirits. Just Gillian and the little mermaid's performances were enough to take on a fully armored mercenary team. There wasn't anything wrong for Rhode to come here and fulfill one's obligations and increase the strength of the Guild simultaneously. Moreover, they had also witnessed how powerful the two Elf girls were.

But...

"Leader, you sure have a lot of pretty girls among your summoned spirits."

Rhode felt a peculiar gaze from Lize after Anne gave this innocent remark.

But Rhode knew how to handle Lize. He had used all sorts of methods to resolve the conflicts back home and successfully led Lize into a satisfying, sweet dream. Not only that, but he had also used physical actions to prove that the setback was only an accident. He didn't always strained his waist.

But these were only the small details. After passing the test of the Sword Dance Rite, he finally achieved his goal to enter Ivory Valley.

"Mr. Rhode, please be careful."

Corina turned back and said softly. On the second morning, Corina looked for Rhode with the Elf Queen's orders. The Elf Queen had granted his entry to Ivory Valley, but for safety's sake, she had assigned Corina to accompany them and bear the responsibility of being their guide.

Rhode didn't feel that there were any problems with this arrangement. After all, Ivory Valley was a sacred place for the Elves and he didn't wish to have any misunderstandings with the Elves if he entered alone. With Corina by his side, he could avoid unnecessary such problems. At this moment, Rhode was following Corina and heading into the depth of the forest, casually chatting about the Sword Dance Rite that happened last night.

"Frankly speaking, Mr. Rhode, I'm really surprised. Dale has never suffered such a straightforward defeat. After the rite last night, we learned about the identities of the two young ladies from the Elf Queen. But... They were much more formidable than I've imagined."

"Oh?"

Rhode twitched his brows. He discovered that the corner of her mouth perked up amusingly when she spoke about Dale, which was unusual to see in her.

"Miss Corina, you seem really close with Mr. Dale?"

"Yes, Mr. Rhode. Because Dale is my..."

Corina shut her mouth and came to a halt abruptly. She turned to Rhode and beckoned.

"Mr. Rhode, we have reached Ivory Valley."