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883 Unconditional Rescue?

 "Huhuhu..."

Not only was the young lady calm, but she also placed her finger on her lip and chuckled. What glinted from her golden eyes was full of mockery.

"It seems like my vessel didn't tell you anything about it, Mr. Rhode. But that's fine, I can do it for her. At least I know that I won't be held back by meaningless emotions. Although I'm curious as to how you'll deal with me, it's a pity that through her memories, I know that you're a man who loves to resolve issues using battles. So in order to avoid one, I don't mind telling you everything..."

The young lady spread her arms apart.

"Question one. Mr. Rhode, do you know where this place is?"

"If I recall correctly, I asked you this question earlier on."

Even though Rhode had the urge to rush ahead and slaughter her on the spot, he considered the situation with Anne and Lize still unconscious and this mysterious place which was most likely her home turf. Therefore, it was best to not act recklessly and gather more crucial information instead.

"Indeed. I've forgotten about it. Let me tell you the answer, Mr. Rhode. You're inside the tinder now."

"What?!"

Rhode revealed an astonished expression. There were many players who awakened the tinder in the game, but none of them cared about its structure just like how they wouldn't bother with a candlestick as long as it could be lit. Besides, judging from the appearance of this place, this so-called tinder was like a burning sphere about the size of a basketball. Therefore, even Rhode didn't expect that he could be within it. Even though he knew that many things were illogical in this world, he still had to say it.

This is too illogical.

"Alright, question number two. Could it be that you haven't related it to anything even now?"

"... I would rather you give me a detailed explanation."

Rhode sulked but quickly restored his poker face. At this moment, he definitely couldn't follow her lead. Although he detected something strange, he knew that he would make the situation worse if he gave more thoughts. The enemy wasn't an idiot. If she were to discover that he had let his imagination run wild, she would surely use the chance to mislead him.

"Alright, I will explain from the start."

The young lady said without any change in expression-or perhaps the smile on her face gave the illusion of an ice-cold smile.

"Tinder-Farysing was the first and final magical technology that I taught the Senia Family. The supreme spiritual protection over this continent preserved the great holy tinder of Order which survived the devastation of Chaos. The Senia Family merged the tinder with my soul and sealed me entirely within. As a form of secrecy and loyalty to the Tinder Origin, they offered a contract of spirit and flesh to me... So, why did you think my vessel came all the way here? It is all part of the contract. She paid with her soul and flesh to awaken the tinder and myself. My spirit shall leave this place with the vessel after the tinder is awakened."

The young lady narrowed her eyes.

"So then, do you understand the situation now, Mr. Rhode? Just as I mentioned. Our goals are the same. You want to awaken the tinder while I need a vessel for my spirit. So the sacrifice of the vessel and ritual is essential. Do you really want to disrupt the process...?"

Rubbish!

There was an instant where Rhode wished to curse the hell out of her. He wasn't a newbie who came to this dungeon for the first time. In the past, Starlight had long occupied this territory and back then, Marlene wasn't even a sacrificial offering and didn't he successfully awaken the tinder too? But now, this young lady thought that her utterance could trick him? Did she really think that he knew nothing? But... Shortly after, Rhode suppressed his wrath. Indeed, he had to admit that even though he always knew that his experience in the game was helpful, it was basically useless after entering this dungeon, where even the Centipede Warden could appear out of nowhere.

Currently, it was apparent that this dungeon wasn't the same as the one he remembered. Besides, he had also sensed the mighty aura as soon as the entrance opened. However... He felt that the situation just wasn't this simple. The enemy didn't sound like she was lying or hiding anything. But come to think of it... The players' research about the tinder was truly lacking. The tinder was the purest strength of Order, but it was also due to its high purity that no impurities were accepted within it. But now, if what she said were right, the space that he was currently in most likely wasn't in the tinder itself, but a space of her own. This was where the problem was-no matter how loyal one was to Order, one would still be considered an impurity within it.

If what she said was the truth, why wasn't she treated as an impurity inside the tinder and slaughtered instantly?

Of course, it could be explained that the tinder hadn't yet awakened. But she would still be killed as soon as the tinder awakened. There was no doubt about this. If one were to consider the situation from this angle, there was another set of reasoning for her explanations. What if she was sealed here? What if she told him about this because she didn't want to be slaughtered? Also... Rhode got a strange feeling when he looked at the young lady as though he was looking at the other 'Christie'.

"My other half..."

"My vessel..."

Although the terms used were different, they both behaved similarly. The other 'Christie' needed Christie's body in order to appear before Rhode and interact with him. Currently, this young lady who looked exactly like Marlene announced that she needed to fuse with her in order to attain a new life.

"Although you explained it in detail, it's a pity that there is no evidence to prove your point."

"That's right."

The young lady nodded firmly.

"The only way is to complete the ritual. But it seems like you aren't too willing, Mr. Rhode."

"Yes. Besides, my experience tells me that the tinder doesn't require any offering to be awakened, so I don't believe your words."

"You're just like the man my vessel thought you were. It seems like it is impossible for us to reach a consensus."

The young lady let out a sigh and stepped back. Then, the metal throne reformed behind her as she sat down.

"Although I don't need to prove anything to you here, I don't wish to be hated by you after fusing with my vessel. This isn't an ideal ending. So since I can't convince you, I shall..."

The young lady raised the staff in her right hand and tapped the air slightly. Shortly after, the metal cage that wrapped Marlene opened and she slowly drifted from above and landed beside Rhode.

Rhode gazed at the young lady strangely.

"Since you aren't willing to believe me, I won't make things difficult for you. I'll give you a chance since you said you can awaken the tinder without a sacrificial offering. I shall temporarily return the vessel to you and wait to see your results. But if you fail... Forget it. This is all to our interactions."

"Tsk."

Rhode scoffed. He didn't ask the young lady if she did anything to Marlene because it was a really naive question. Marlene had been in her possession for a long time and this was also the young lady's home turf. If she were to do anything to Marlene's body, she would have done so earlier.

"I've abstracted some of her powers and in order for you to lose convincingly, the vessel can return to her senses and battle alongside you until the end. As for myself... I don't mind waiting a while longer for the stability of this future."

The young lady lifted her staff and shortly after, a golden radiance enveloped Rhode's group. Then, they vanished from the white bird cage. The young lady put her arm down and heaved a sigh, closing her eyes gently.

The radiance flashed.

Rhode was instantly blinded. The white space and golden bird cage around instantly turned into a dark, quiet stone room. He showed a bitter smile and extended his arm, where the brilliance of a summoning ritual emanated. However, as soon as the summoning ritual flickered, it was abruptly cut off by a mysterious force.

"Tsk... I knew this wouldn't be that simple..."

Rhode shook his head helplessly. Although he was unable to cast his most useful skills now, he wasn't too concerned because he knew his location at the very least. Right now, he was located in the core of the maze-the Wheel of Fate. Rumor had it that this was the most mysterious place in the Tinder Origin. In this place, the pure strength of Order blocked out all rules. But... It didn't exist in every Tinder Origin. To be exact, it only existed for the first ever Tinder Origin and the problem was that...

"The first tinder only existed where the Creator Dragon Souls were."

Rhode murmured under his breath. In the game, he had entered the Wheel of Fate more than once. No matter the Light Dragon, Dark Dragon, or Law Dragon, the Wheel of Fate was always within their palaces. After entering the Wheel of Fate, all spiritual powers would be frozen, where Mages couldn't cast spells and Swordsmen couldn't battle with spiritual powers. They could only rely on their strength to defeat their 'fate image' and only the winner could enter the core to attain the tinder. Back then, Rhode continuously defeated the Light Parliament and Dark Dragon in order to take their territories as Starlight's. Later on, he naturally had to enter the Wheel of Fate, but the fate images seemed to be randomized as he met a Mage-version of himself. In the Wheel of Fate, Mages were powerless and even though his Spirit Swordsman class wasn't considered a complete swordsman, it still was a piece of cake for him to defeat the Mage-version of himself.

After he led Starlight and eliminated the Light Parliament, he brought Canary, Mini Bubble Gum, Killer Angel, and Furious Cigarettes into the Wheel of Fate for the first time. Unfortunately, they met several 'physical' classes. Canary's fate image was a berserker while Mini Bubble Gum's was a Thief. Not only that, but the main attacker in their party, Killer Angel, also faced a powerful Knight of herself. As a result, their party was destroyed in the first round. After that lesson, Rhode brought four members of physical classes and dealt with the fate images.

But now...

The situation wasn't looking great.

Rhode puckered his brows and looked at the three unconscious young ladies. Apart from him, the only one he could rely upon was Anne. Lize and Marlene were basically meat in this dungeon and all he could hope for was that they didn't meet any physical classes later on. If not, it would simply be two versus four everywhere they went. Although he heard that Marlene and Lize learned some sword skills, he wasn't feeling hopeful at all because the level of the fate images were based on their actual levels. In other words, their levels would be perfectly copied and he refused to believe that a level 45 Mage like Marlene possessed the sword skills of a level 45 Swordsman. If the fate image she faced was a Swordsman, she would undoubtedly be killed in a split second.

Although he didn't know why there was a Wheel of Fate here, he was sure that he would reach the core area after passing the test. When that happened, he could awaken the tinder. As for Marlene... He swept a glance at her and shut his eyes.

Even though the Wheel of Fate stopped all output of spiritual powers, Rhode could still spiritually communicate with his subordinates. Shortly after, he got a hold on Lesa and learned that the Chaos Creatures were stopped by 'Christie' successfully. He heaved a sigh of relief but this wasn't the most important matter on hand.

"I have something important to discuss with Christie. Pass the message to her."

"Yes, Sir Overlord."

Lesa responded calmly. Rhode explained everything that happened to Marlene.

"Is the relationship between that young lady and Marlene the same as you and Christie?"

Silence.

After a few moments, Lesa's voice sounded from the other side.

"It is different, Sir Overlord. Madam Christie said that her other half is incredibly precious and irreplaceable. As for the young lady whom you met, Madam Christie said-although Miss Marlene is important to her, it is still different from Miss Christie."

"Hmm?"

Rhode twitched his brows. He instinctively realized an important hint from the answer.

"Are you sure she said that?"

"Yes, Sir Overlord. This is what Madam Christie said."

"Alright, got it."

Rhode nodded and cut off the spiritual communications. At this moment, Marlene opened her eyes gradually.

"Where..."

Marlene gazed blankly into the ceiling. But shortly after, a familiar voice rang in her eyes.

"Welcome back, Marlene."

She turned around and saw Rhode standing before her, looking at her in silence.

He displayed an incredibly vibrant smile.

Marlene instantly felt her chest tightened.

My secret... was exposed.