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885 The Ridiculous Fate Images

 Nothing was fair in this world.

Rhode knew clearly of this. Some players were rich while others were so poor that they couldn't even purchase memorable event items. This was the same for all games. Some players tried so hard that they had cramps in their hands but couldn't even win in the arena. On the contrary, some players could easily win 10 fights in a row. But there was a difference in something that shouldn't be neglected... That's right. Rhode was referring to the two young ladies behind him!

Of course, he knew that Marlene often discussed battle strategies with Canary while Mini Bubble Gum taught Lize as though she was her favorite disciple. After all, although Canary was self-taught and would theoretically be defeated in three minutes, she had destroyed the Mage Association on her own. On the other hand, apart from the 'Treating foes as friends' technique that Mini Bubble Gum came up with, she was also an expert in several other battle tactics. What surprised Rhode was that he didn't expect Marlene and Lize to learn techniques other than spell casting!

From the players' perspective, it would require at least level 50 to obtain the 50 to 60 skill points in order to enhance both the spells and sword skill levels to the Master Stage. But Marlene was only level 48 while Lize was level 43 and yet, Marlene's sword skills and Lize's martial arts had reached the same level as their spell casting abilities?

Players had to put in hard work by completing missions and digging for secret scrolls to increase their skill points. But the two young ladies managed to simply practice and reach this level? Oh my goodness! Although it was already ridiculous that players could increase the strength of their techniques through mastery, wasn't this a totally higher level?

Of course, Rhode only cursed inwardly. Although the two young ladies said with certainty, he didn't believe that they were that capable. Even if Marlene's sword skill and Lize's martial arts had indeed reached that level, they were still spell casters and wouldn't normally have the opportunity for close-combat battles. Just look at the robes on their bodies-perhaps they would tear during battle.

No matter what, at least they possessed some abilities for self-defense and that was much better than being killed instantly. Rhode heaved a sigh of relief. With Anne around, perhaps the battles with the fate images wouldn't be as terrible as he had imagined.

"I repeat myself."

They reached the end of the corridor made of countless mirrors and witnessed an enormous, circular plaza glowing in a faint, white radiance. Not only that, but there were also frameless mirrors hovering above.

"Your fate images are projections of yourself from the other dimensions. Their lifestyles may possibly be different from you, just like how your decisions in this world brought you here today. Likewise, they made their decisions and ended up where they are right now. But no matter how they behave, don't forget that they are just like Serras-a projection and not a living human. Perhaps they have the same memories as yours, but don't be fooled! Understood?"

Rhode wasn't unreasonable in this explanation because players in the game often treated this place as a fun, fortune-telling game. Some fate images held entirely different fates from them. Some couldn't find themselves partners while some were actual playboys in other dimensions. Some couples might turn out as sworn enemies in other dimensions too. Of course, players basically wouldn't take them to heart, which was why they treated it as an interesting fortune telling mechanism.

But this wasn't the game. Marlene, Anne, and Lize wouldn't treat their other selves the same way as players.

Even though the results were entirely different from their decisions, the fate images were still undeniably them. Their memories and way of thinking were similar. Besides, Rhode was clear that everyone had regrets in their lives, just like "I regret not doing this well last time" or "Why did I make such a foolish decision?" What if the fate image that emerged before them happened to be the kind that 'made up for' their regrets? That would be a huge mental blow to them.

"But, Leader, if they are us, why will they fight us? If the fate image is Anne, Anne will definitely not fight herself."

Anne tilted her head and asked curiously.

"That's why I said... They are only pure images. Perhaps they might find several reasons and excuses to engage in a battle with you, but in the end, this is the final test that the Wheel of Fate presents to us."

Rhode came to a halt.

The circular plaza and its perfect, white slab floor flickering with faint radiance stood just before him. Shortly after as the four of them entered the area, the hovering mirror fragments began to spin, connecting to one another like a puzzle. After a few seconds, they merged into a flat, dull mirror and a dazzling flash blinded the visitors.

"..."

Not only Rhode, but Marlene, Lize, and Anne also quietened down instinctively. They stared ahead as they were filled with anticipation, anxiousness, and uncertainty. After all, even though Rhode said that the fate images were just projections, he didn't deny that the projections weren't them. Perhaps Anne didn't realize this, but it was impossible that Marlene and Lize weren't aware.

But unlike the three young ladies, Rhode puckered his brows and cautiously pondered over the upcoming BOSS battle. Right now he could only wish that fate images were in the spell-casting classes. Just like them, the fate images couldn't unleash spells and could only rely on their physical strength to battle. Since this was the case, the threat of the spellcasters was basically zero. But Rhode was aware that expecting to face four fate images in spell-casting classes was just his wishful thinking.

Thud... Thud... Thud...

They heard footsteps.

Then, a shadow appeared within the dim mirror and a familiar voice sounded.

"Anne?"

Lize and Marlene shrieked in surprise. The young lady before them looked exactly like Anne; a head full of soft, golden, long hair, a pair of emerald green eyes, and the slender body. But... the young lady was somewhat different.

Her emerald eyes were completely lifeless. She wore a steel armor of red and black and held two large, sawtooth blades that were two meters in length. Not only that, but she also exuded a murderous intent of a ferocious beast as though a hungry wolf trapped in a cage and dying to pounce on its prey!

"Argh... It seems like the other Anne isn't too happy."

Anne muttered under her breath. In fact, judging from the scars on the enemy, the group knew that she was more like a disobedient pet that was whipped by her owner-they definitely weren't scars from battles.

"Anne..."

Lize held Anne's hand and the latter shook her head firmly and revealed a lively smile.

"Sister Lize, don't worry about Anne! Anne will be fine. Although the other Anne looks pitiful, Anne feels really blissful now."

"Hmph!"

The other Anne let out a distasteful snort that was filled with murderous intent. She had no other desires apart from wanting to destroy and shred everything into bits.

Lize and Marlene watched nervously. The young lady before them was obviously Anne, but due to the different decisions in her life, she became like this. They weren't sure if they could take it so easily as Anne when they faced their fate images later on.

This is troublesome.

Unlike Marlene and Lize, Rhode wasn't in the mood for such thoughts. He also wasn't a sentimental person, not to mention that he knew the fate image ultimately wasn't him. It was apparent that the enemy was the 'berserker' class. He had to admit that this class suited Anne perfectly. But what worried him the most was that berserkers were experts in attack while shield warriors were best in defense. He could count himself fortunate if Anne could result in a draw for this match up. But he didn't know if the enemy had awakened her beast bloodline and the situation would be dire if that was the case.

At this moment, a second figure appeared. Rhode lifted his head and narrowed his eyes.

Marlene.

Unlike the Marlene beside him, the enemy 'Marlene' was clad in red leather armor with a magical sword hung on her waist. If there were something that they both shared, it would be their confidence, pride, and arrogance. But unlike the Marlene who wore pure white robes, the enemy 'Marlene' seemed more like a burning flare.

This is getting...

Rhode twitched his brow. In the game, wasn't this how the young lady who established the all-female mercenary group looked like? Besides, if he recalled correctly, this enemy 'Marlene' held the Magic Swordsman class... In other words, wasn't she the 'Marlene' who was drugged and humiliated before being rescued by her family during the Midsummer Festival? This was also a hell of a situation. Rhode knew that the young lady was incredibly powerful, so would the Marlene by his side be able to stop her?

Lize was next.

Rhode felt rather curious. Even though he was astonished by Marlene's and Anne's fate images, he had sort of expected this result. It was extremely normal for Anne to be a berserker with that mighty strength of hers. On the other hand, Rhode knew the background of the other Marlene. But he couldn't imagine a fragile, timid young lady like Lize to take on other classes.

She couldn't possibly be a Thief, right? Hahahaha. That would be interesting.

As though responding to Rhode's guess, a silver radiance shone from above and landed on the ground before Lize. At this moment, Marlene and Anne turned around and gazed curiously at the figure.

For some reasons, Rhode had a bad omen and it was too late.

The radiance dissipated.

The enemy Lize hovered in midair with a pure, white shield in her left hand and a sword burning in silver flames on the other. A pair of spotlessly white wings expanded from her back, emanating a dazzling radiance.

"What the..."

Rhode had the urge to slam the lid of his computer and head off to bed. How could he forget that Lize was Lydia's half sister?! In other words, the person who gave birth to her was the former Archangel and she had half the angel bloodline!

"T-That's my...?"

Lize stared blankly in disbelief. Although she knew that she had the angel bloodline, she treated herself as a human and not an angel.

This is terrible.

Although the Wheel of Fate sealed off all spiritual powers, the problem was that a battle angel's constitution was much stronger than humans, where not even Marlene and Anne could take her down together. What should they do?

Rhode puckered his brows and scanned the battle angel. The latter turned to him and revealed a surprised expression.

"Mr. Rhode! You're still alive! Wonderful! Weren't you killed by Sister Lydia?"

"..."

The three young ladies turned to him in unison and Rhode twitched his brow.

Why does it sound so ridiculous? What has the other me done to get Lydia to kill him? What sort of tragedy has unfolded? Argh, forget it... I'm not the unlucky one, anyway.

Rhode threw this thought to the back of his head. Then, the final enemy...

Boom... Boom...

The group heard deep, heavy footsteps as a gigantic shadow emerged from the mirror. The figure appeared before them and gave a forthright smile, waving his enormous arm.

"Yo! How are you, my other self?"

"..."

"..."

"..."

Marlene, Lize, and Anne sunk into complete silence. They couldn't be blamed. The man was two meters tall and as muscular as a bear. He also held an enormous black sword. But the problem was that...

"Leader, who is he?"

Anne leaned over and asked softly. Rhode didn't reply immediately. Instead, he stared blankly at the man.

Yes, how did I forget about this? If the fate images are based on the fates in the Dragon Soul Continent, it is only right that my avatar in the game is here, isn't it? But... It is all too late now.

"Argh..."

Rhode clutched his sword and a burst of murderous intent erupted from him.