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849 The Sword Stained by Blood

 The glaring scarlet light column burst into the ceiling and in an instant, the air around the Bloody Field vibrated. At the same time, Rhode sensed an incredibly pure, powerful aura which silenced the entire battlefield.

The pure desire to slaughter, destroy, and perish; just like a shimmering blade that was unsheathed, announcing to the world its only purpose. The mighty aura sent chills down everyone's spines as though one was holding a blade against their backs and at the very next moment, would be slicing through their thin skin and puncturing their hearts, mercilessly eliminating their presence in this world.

"Damn it."

Rhode clutched the sword. This was the first time that he sensed such a pure, yet horrifying aura. But there wasn't a single trace of murderous intent or hostility at all. Instead, it simply harbored desires to destroy and slaughter every being. Could this even be considered a holy sword spirit?

Rhode pondered on how tough his life would be if he managed to obtain it...

The aura was so strong that even the Bow Knights had to shift their attention away from the devils before them and stare vigilantly at the red light column. On the other hand, the devils had an even more dramatic reaction. They snarled while turning around and launching their attacks at the red light column. It was extremely rare for the devils with disorderly natures to do something together, which proved how threatening the situation was to them.

"Let's go!"

Rhode came back to his senses. The surrounding devils were constantly 'spawning' and since most of them had turned their backs to him, it would be a waste if he let this chance go, wasn't it?

"Everyone, attack! Eliminate all the devils!"

The Bow Knights immediately regrouped and in the blink of an eye, they lined up in the formation of an inverted triangle with Rhode in the middle. Lesa stood behind them in silence and lifted her staff while the Bow Knights aimed with their bows. Shortly after, a dazzling brilliance shone from the tip of Lesa's staff and the Bow Knights released their arrows.

At the next moment... endless torrents of light engulfed the Bloody Field.

Thousands of light arrows streaked across the air, puncturing countless devils ruthlessly in an instant. Pale blue flames blazed in the sea of corpses and in the blink of an eye, almost half the devils were eliminated. The putrid pool of blood on the ground was devoured by the pale blue flames.

"A few of you, follow me. The rest, keep on fighting."

This violent attack temporarily cleared out the path leading to the red light column and Rhode led Anne, Lesa, and around 20 Bow Knights to it. The remaining Bow Knights swiftly continued their attacks on the devils who had retaliated.

However, Rhode didn't expect that the target had come to him instead.

As soon as Rhode arrived at the red light column, a sudden sense of nervousness forced him to a halt. Without any hesitation, he held his sword before him horizontally. This had nothing to do with experience or judgment. It was basically an instinct from the countless battles that he had gone through.

At the same time, danger appeared before him in a physical form.

The instant Rhode raised his sword, the devils' encirclement was instantly ripped apart by a whizzing red radiance that blasted from within and aimed for him. Rhode was stunned by this ambush, but he quickly coalesced all his spiritual powers into the blade before him. Shortly after, a translucent, flickering barrier emerged around him and the red radiance arrived.

Boom!

When Rhode came back to his senses, he had already been blasted away and watched the inverted scene before his eyes. The sounds in this world had as though been muffled. But after a split second, the familiar sounds returned and overwhelmed his ears.

"Leader!"

Rhode heard Anne's scream and found himself crashing into something soft. When he forced himself to his feet, he realized that Anne was behind him and gritting her teeth palely, with her shield already tossed aside. She heaved a sigh of relief.

"Phew... Leader, you scared Anne. Are you okay?"

"I'm fine..."

Rhode answered softly. But in fact, he was baffled. Although he reacted instinctively to the ambush, the passive defense talent [Spirit Armor LV3] was activated. Not only that, but he had also coalesced almost all his spiritual powers into his sword to form a spiritual barrier. But to his surprise, he was still struck away by the other party and relied on Anne for the rough landing. Moreover, he realized that his right hand which held Succubus was so numb that he couldn't feel anything!

Oh my goodness, this holy sword spirit is basically cheating!

Rhode exclaimed inwardly. The last time he was this desperate was when he fought the Duke Fiend. But even the Duke Fiend wasn't able to numb his arm. Besides, he was only around level 40 back then, but he had already transcended into the Legendary Stage! Furthermore, he possessed more strength than ordinary humans with that mysterious bloodline of his and yet he was still struck away? The strength of this holy sword spirit must be over the charts!

When he lifted his head to gaze at the ambusher's true identity, he was astonished.

There was a mountain of devil corpses and a man stood above it. He wore a set of armor that only military soldiers would wear. He gazed at Rhode with a pale, lifeless expression and Rhode instantly knew that he wasn't a human.

His body was ruptured with bloody organs flowing out from the large hole in his stomach. Not only that, but his arms and shoulders were also punctured with holes. If it weren't for him standing upright, perhaps no one would think that he was alive. Moreover, blood was flowing out of his body continuously, fast enough to empty out his body within a dozen seconds now.

However, what caught Rhode's attention was the huge, red sword in his hand.

The sword was nearly two meters in length and the blade was crafted from several scarlet materials and embedded with golden floral patterns like waves spreading across the blade, shaping into a bizarre pattern. What was more astonishing was that the sword seemed heavy and yet, the man actually lifted it with one hand. Not only that, but there were also thick steel chains extending out from the sword hilt, wrapping tightly over the man's right arm, and piercing through his skin and into his body.

But at this moment, he heard a few shrieks from behind.

"Leader!"

"Sir! What happened? Why are you in this state?"

"Do you guys know him?"

Rhode turned around and asked curiously. The patrol captain turned to the man and in an instant, all the soldiers widened their eyes in disbelief. He swallowed his saliva and nodded in fear.

"Yes, Sir. That man used to be our captain. Our purpose of coming with you here is to look for him. But... why did he..."

"Does that sword belong to him?"

Rhode was disinterested in the man's past because the sword was the most important detail.

"No, that sword... I heard that he found it while patrolling... Yes! That sword must be the curse of the devil! Ever since he picked up that sword, he became a totally different person. He became constantly preoccupied and even broke off from the patrol team and came into the Bloody Field by himself! If it weren't for that sword..."

"I see."

Rhode interrupted. He finally understood why that sword was possibly stronger than Succubus. Although he knew that none of the holy sword spirits were weak, this was still the first time that he witnessed one that was this insane. He lifted Succubus and injected some spiritual powers, when suddenly a familiar presence emerged.

"Celestina, still alive?"

"Of course. What kind of stupid question is that, Master?"

Celestina grumbled impatiently.

"How much do you know about this spirit?"

"I do know a little about it, but you're really unlucky, Master. Now that Third Sister isn't around, no one here can hold her down. You can only pray for good luck now. Although Shira certainly respects Sister Gracier and Sister Madaras, you're better off doing it yourself if you want her to obey you."

"Hahaha...!"

Suddenly, the man standing above the mountain of corpses burst into a deep, crazy laughter that didn't resemble a man's, woman's, senior's, or a child's. Then, what came next was the crisp, melodious voice of a young lady.

"Celestina, I've finally found you. My adorable little sister, why are you here? Do you want to be with Big Sister? What a spoiled little sister. What do you intend to do if I win this time? Are you ready? Have you made up your mind? You want your Big Sister's reward? What a greedy child. Big Sister will treat you really gently this time, okay?"

"I will never let you cut off my wings again!"

"..."

Rhode realized that it was a terrible idea to bring out Succubus and wasn't sure if it was too late to summon Celia instead... Judging from Celestina's furious tone, she definitely must have lost to this holy sword spirit named Shira.

And not just once.

"---!"

At this moment, perhaps unable to bear with the murderous aura, one of the devils pounced on the man fiercely. It raised its arms and scorching flames erupted from its palms. It widened its jaw, but it didn't realize that what it was facing was more cruel than death.

Shing!

The huge red sword glowed, which the man dodged swiftly despite his rotten body and slashed a scarlet arc that sliced through the devil's left arm like butter. The tremendous pain left the devil bawling, stretching its right arm instead to catch its prey. But at this moment, something strange happened.

The steel chains that were bound on the man's right arm flew skyward as though they were self-conscious. Then, they wrapped the devil and the man gave it a slight tug to drag it to the ground. However, this was only the start of its unfortunate fate because when it lifted its head again, the only thing it saw was the massive shadow of a blade.

--!

Without any hesitation, the man brandished the huge sword, instantly smashing its skull and its brain splattered all over his body. But he wasn't mindful at all. Instead, he raised the sword with a sinister smile and attacked once again.

Boom!

A powerful force erupted and blasted off another three devils who pounced on him at the same time. At this moment, the man turned to Rhode, ignoring the disgusting flesh and blood that had splashed on him. He ripped away his own mouth that was corroded by the devil's blood and revealed an incredibly unsightly smile.

"... Celestina, I won't become like that if I use that sword, right?"

"Are you regretting now? Do you think you have any other choice?"

"I was just asking."

Although the man didn't say a word, from the fact that he pointed the sword at Rhode, Rhode knew what the holy sword spirit meant-want to be my master? You'll need to pass my test first.

"Anne, Lesa, lead the rest to clear out the remaining devils. Leave this guy to me."

"Okay, Leader. You can do it."

Anne gazed curiously at the man before patting on Rhode's shoulder. Lesa took half a step back and bowed slightly.

"Understood, Sir Overlord."

Rhode lifted his sword and slowly approached him. However, his gaze wasn't fixed on the man. Instead, he stared at the huge scarlet blade in his hand. Judging from how the man fought the devil, Rhode realized that the man (or perhaps the corpse) was entirely a puppet manipulated by the sword and it was pointless to analyze his next moves from his eyes. Since this was the case, he could only judge the situation with his experience.

At this moment, Rhode had heightened his senses. He had blocked off the battles between the devils and Bow Knights and fully focused his attention on the enemy before him. This holy sword spirit was extremely violent and powerful. Rhode was sure that any distraction would be the cause of his death and it also depended on if it was in the mood to show mercy or not.

However, the thought of that devil's predicament made him feel that it would still be too hard for him even if it showed mercy... So, he was better off relying on himself.

Red radiance flashed across the sky.

The instant Rhode witnessed the red radiance, a strong sense of fear consumed him. He took a step back hesitantly and a powerful force exploded on the ground before him, sending dust fluttering. Rhode burst forward with his pitch-black sword in hand.

"---!"

The clashes between the red and pitch-black blades shone in the fluttering dust. Rhode seized the chance and disappeared into the shadows. At this instant, a red radiance shot out and blasted the boulder where Rhode's shadow was, smashing it into bits.

The smoke dispersed and the man clutching the huge sword stood blankly as though planning his next step.

At this moment, the pitch-black viper struck.

Clang!

The man turned around swiftly, brandished the huge blade against the pitch-black viper that almost tore at him and slashed it away. Then, the man darted forward with the huge blade and showed up behind Rhode.

Now's the chance!

Rhode lifted his left arm where a card shone in his hand.

[Summon: Nether Tentacles]

The shadows wriggled and countless tentacles shot out of the darkness and bound their target.