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879 Exceeded the Expected Results

 "I'll leave it to you next, Marlene."

Rhode sat on the ground and leaned on the stone column, feeling all exhausted. Although the spiritual powers were supplied by the Illusion Crystal, he couldn't replenish his mental stamina, after all. The holy sword spirits' final attack and the blast from the magic cannons might have defeated the Centipede Warden, but his mental stamina was almost completely drained. It felt as though he didn't sleep for an entire week...

But looking on the bright side, this attack became a new move for him as a Spirit Swordsman.

Rhode shifted his gaze to the Illusion Crystal in his hand. Although this crystal could also restore his spiritual powers after battle, the speed of release from it was still too slow. It seemed like he had to discuss this issue with Sara and Lapis afterwards. It would be awesome if they could come up with a construct that could automatically supply spiritual powers to him.

However, this wasn't the time to consider this issue.

Rhode puckered his brows. Perhaps due to Marlene joining him, he realized that the difficulty of this dungeon had increased immensely. According to his memories and experiences, the construct that defended the first floor should be a level 65, automatic attacking weapon. But now, they faced a Centipede Warden, so what would come next? The Flame Giant? Destroyer Wyvern? Or Castilla Demolisher?

He let out a helpless sigh and felt really unlucky. Come to think of it, he had been unlucky ever since entering the Land of Chaos. Not only did he meet Serras's projection, but he also faced this modified dungeon where the first BOSS was this threatening Centipede Warden.

Although the five dungeons were unique on their own, according to his judgment as a player, the difficulty would surely increase the closer they were to the core. The first BOSS was already the Centipede Warden, so he couldn't judge the situation with his experience anymore. If this was the case, the battles might be much harder for his group than expected.

Rhode basically held the strongest firepower with him at the moment, which should have been more than enough to let him awaken the tinder safely. But if the dungeons were this difficult, the situation would be entirely different. Not even the strongest players could survive the Deepest Labyrinth, so he was basically asking for death with his team even if they were enhanced by the Taboo Halo into the Legendary Stage.

"How troublesome..."

Rhode murmured under his breath. There were no other ways around this. He could only pray that the Chaos Creatures outside were the same as the ones he remembered.

Where exactly had he gone wrong?

Rhode knitted his brows and recalled everything that happened. The manipulated construct and enhanced BOSS were all related to Marlene. It was especially so after she used her staff and opened the entrance, when he felt a powerful aura exuding from within for a split second as though one had been woken abruptly before falling back to sleep.

It was a dangerous, menacing aura. Judging from the current situation, it seemed like his judgment was accurate. If this continued, he didn't know who exactly he would be facing in the end. Even though he reached level 69 after this battle, it wasn't enough to pull him through the entire adventure. Even if he instantly upgraded to level 85, it still wouldn't be enough for the upcoming battles. Back then, thousands of the most powerful players in Starlight were injured gravely in the Deepest Labyrinth, not to mention with his current strength.

And now, with this amount of people...

If this continued, surely the BOSS wouldn't be the Void Dragon, right? Hahahaha. That would be a sick joke.

Rhode flipped the two cards in his hand around and squinted. He did have some solutions. It was extremely common to face surprises when exploring new territories. Therefore, he had the habit of retaining a few trump cards and this exploration was no exception. Currently, the two final and strongest trump cards in his arsenal were Gillian and Orchid Heart.

The summoning cards weren't restricted in the Land of Chaos, which meant that he could restore Gillian and Orchid Heart into their cards and summon them perfectly here. Gillian's three unlock chances had restarted after they entered the new year while Orchid Heart was currently at level 60. What was more crucial was that she was the core card of the [Ultimate Army] deck and the effects of a deck with or without a core card varied drastically.

When Marlene and Lize weren't present in the fortress, Gillian and Orchid Heart were the only pillars of support left. Canary and Mini Bubble Gum were only suitable as mascots and slaughter weapons, and it would be asking too much of them to deal with the nobles. How would they possibly care about the etiquette between nobles when they also came into this world from modern society like Rhode?

If he were to make them in charge of diplomatic matters, perhaps he would instantly get into another war as soon as he returned to the fortress.

The barrier over the Land of Chaos cut off all spiritual communications from the outside world and he couldn't ask Gillian and Orchid Heart to get prepared. Back then, he left Gillian in the fortress after Marlene insisted on joining him. If not, he wouldn't be in this conundrum. Currently, Gillian was responsible for intelligence gathering and internal affairs while Orchid Heart was in charge of military training. If they were to go missing, it wasn't hard to imagine how Canary and Mini Bubble Gum could maintain peace and harmony in this leaderless fortress...

So... Should I summon them or not...

"Leader?"

He turned around and saw a smiley Anne waving a bottle of water in his face.

"Leader must be tired. Have some water."

"Thanks, Anne."

Rhode took the bottle and turned around curiously.

"Where's Lize?"

"There."

Anne pointed to the lifeless young lady leaning onto the stone column at the corner.

The humiliation from the Prison of Mad Love just wasn't tolerable for almost any rational person.

Rhode shook his head hopelessly. At this moment, he smelled an aromatic scent as Anne's face appeared before him. Apart from sleeping, eating, and battling, this usually carefree young lady appeared strangely solemn now.

"Leader, it's going to be tougher later on, right?"

"Yes."

Rhode nodded firmly. Perhaps being born as a mercenary, Anne's instincts were much sharper in battle, so she could immediately detect the advantages and disadvantages between her and the enemies. This was also why he always brought her along everywhere he went.

"It will be really troublesome later on. If it isn't because we can't turn back now, I really want to head home and sleep right away..."

"No choice, then. We can only continue since Leader says that we can't turn back, isn't it? Don't worry, Anne will be with Leader all the way, okay?"

Anne revealed a wide grin as she gazed at the admirable man before her.

"I knew you would say that..."

Rhode let out an inward sigh.

Young lady, please don't go about raising the red flag...

But she was right, after all. No matter how difficult the path ahead would be, he couldn't turn back now. If the next BOSS was still as hard to deal with as the Centipede Warden, he could only choose either Orchid Heart or Gillian to deal with it.

Rhode stood to his feet and at this moment, Marlene approached. The chunk of flesh and metal had completely turned into dust after losing the spiritual energy to maintain its presence.

"Marlene, did you find anything?"

At this point, the only thing that could cheer him up was to hear from Marlene that she found something amazing. But... the young lady gave an odd expression and pondered for a few moments.

"... Sorry, Rhode. I've got nothing."

"Huh?"

Rhode gazed blankly.

"There was nothing else except for some broken metal. I didn't find anything valuable..."

At this moment, Rhode had the urge to kill himself.