It was never a difficult task for Rhode to find members of the Jade Tears Mercenary Group . He carefully followed the trail left behind by them . As for him being all alone in the tunnel, it wasn't anything new to him . Rhode had tracked countless of times and his current situation brought back many of his old memories .
It was not long after the Starlight Guild was formed when Rhode offended a powerful player guild of that time . Rhode had killed many of their players, thus it was natural that Rhode was on their most wanted list . Eventually, that player guild mustered almost all of their strength and manpower to trap Rhode within the tunnels to try and capture him .
However, in the end they did not succeed . Over a hundred elite players were separated as Rhode cunningly led them into his own scheme . In the end, the guild lost more than half of its members and had no choice but to retreat in shame . Of course, he wouldn't let them go that easily . Once Rhode went back to the surface, his newly formed Starlight Guild crippled the player guild and forced them to disband .
As he made his way along this desolate mining tunnel, it brought back some nostalgic feelings to Rhode, as if he was facing that player guild once again . The "nostalgic" feeling didn't linger for too long . As he made progress in the tunnels, his expression turned solemn .
It wasn't because he lost his way, but rather he realized that the direction that those men were heading towards was all but too familiar .
Returning to the old place was definitely not a good sign .
"Could it be that these guys…"
Rhode frowned as he squatted down at a corner of the mining tunnel . He examined the footprints on the ground and shifted his gaze to the front . The light from the torches seemed to be getting dimmer as it melded into the darkness ahead of him . However, Rhode was still able to sense the dangerous atmosphere hidden within the darkness .
Rhode held his breath and he gripped his Crimson Blade as he quietly followed the path ahead of him .
Soon enough, he spotted a mercenary guarding the mine road entrance . Rhode remembered that he had seen this mercenary before . He was one of those men that was led by that idiot during the fight in front of the Mercenary Association . He should be glad that he had luck on his side that day; otherwise, he wouldn't have lived until now .
The mercenary was wearing an old leather armor, leaning slightly on the wall while looking at his surroundings sluggishly, seemingly with no sense of caution at all .
"Let's see if he is just as I observed . "
Thinking of this, Rhode stepped forward .
Just as the torch flickered and the shadows briefly engulfed the entrance, Rhode pressed his body softly on the wall and quietly sneaked in . The cloak that Rhode was wearing could camouflage itself to its surroundings by distorting and refracting light . It was more than enough to hide Rhode's body . Not to mention that he was also borrowing the element of darkness and the big boulders from the environment to conceal himself as he slowly crept towards the mercenary .
This cloak that Rhode received in the Rock of Lament was finally put to good use . The mercenary did not notice Rhode . His eyes were only scanning around lazily without any intention of spotting an intruder . Well, it wasn't as if he could be blamed . Even those highly trained knights had times when they lost focus, not to mention these lazy bums .
Just as the mercenary lazily drooped his head, Rhode struck out!
Rhode removed his cloak with one hand and leaped into the air as he swung the Burning Blade in a downward arc, straight towards the mercenary's skull .
Facing Rhode's sudden attack, the mercenary hastily raised his head and took a large step backward while quickly unsheathing his dagger and swinging it upwards with the intention of creating distance between him and the unknown attacker .
His reaction was indeed fast!
But Rhode was way faster .
The mercenary was merely able to move his head and didn't even have the time to open his mouth when the Crimson Blade pierced through his skull . His body smashed against the wall, and his dagger was flung to a side . Before it hit the ground, Rhode dashed and grabbed it before shamelessly storing it .
The mercenary's corpse slid down along the wall like a tattered balloon . His eyes were still wide open, maintaining the shocked expression during the surprise attack . Fresh blood slowly oozed out from his eyes, forehead, and nose .
When Rhode pulled out his sword from the mercenary's skull, his face changed slightly and pierced the corpse as quick as lightning .
This time, the corpse started to vibrate vigorously, and at the same time, there were snake-like movements underneath the skin as if there were dozens of vile snakes slithering . Many marks started to exudate from the corpse with shock and agitation . Rhode clenched his teeth together as he continued pinning the corpse against the wall . After a while, the corpse slowly returned to its peaceful state and Rhode finally let out a breath of relief . Rhode then began to withdraw his sword from the body again . This time, however, instead of the usual red human blood, disgusting green slimy fluid seeped out of the wound .
Rhode frowned as he observed the blood stains on his sword .
This meant trouble .
In fact, Rhode did not drop his guard even after he hacked his sword into the mercenary's skull . One major reason was that he did not receive any experience points in his system prompt . Just this abnormally itself warned Rhode to remain vigilant . Although this was the reality, Rhode knew that as long he killed anything, he would receive experience points regardless whether they are monsters, alchemy creatures, or humans .
And previously, after he made a move that would have killed the mercenary, Rhode did not receive any prompt which could only mean that the man wasn't dead!
But based on the situation, this shouldn't have happened . . ?
Rhode's expression turned gloomy at this though . He considered himself to be a "walking library" since he was once the best player in the game, so he knew what was coming up as much as he refused to believe it . Only one factor could lead to this situation . Within this mining tunnel, only that goddamn mission would carry such an unusual feature .
And this was the mission that he was most unwilling to even touch .
"This is big trouble… . "
Rhode let out a low sigh as he sliced open the corpse's clothes with his sword . Underneath the skin of the body were disturbing, deep scars that were squeezed to form a shape of a roaring mouth .
At this moment, suddenly a crisp voice sounded in Rhode's brain, followed by a prompt that appeared before him .
[You have discovered an evil being . They breathe darkness and are struggling within the shadows, trying to return to this world — Mission triggered >]
Rhode was dumbfounded .
Ever since he came to this world, this was the first time he received a mission via the system prompt . Originally, Rhode thought that the system missions did not exist in this world . Previously, he led his mercenary group to complete so many tasks, but the system had never displayed any prompts like [You have received this mission] or [You have completed this mission] . This was why Rhode thought that this world and the game had distinct differences — But what does this even mean? He had already decided to assume that there were indeed differences between game and reality, but what was this? It was as if the system just wanted to mess with him .
However, Rhode didn't feel pissed . He was actually very familiar with > . This wasn't a mission that he could receive from an NPC, but could only be triggered by a series of coincidences . Of course, one would not be able to receive any rewards or equipment from any NPC after completing, but rather, one would be able to receive special rewards such as dynamic skills, experience points or even skill points . So far, as it seems, the system did not change anything related to the rewards . After opening the > mission, Rhode saw that the rewards are identical to what he remembered from the game . Completion of this mission will allocate 5000 experience points, 3 skill points and an undisclosed special random reward to Rhode .
Is this a game or reality?
Rhode felt confused and irritated .
As a player, naturally, he had completed this mission . Therefore, Rhode obviously knew how troublesome this mission was . As a matter of fact, there was a point where he just wanted to drop everything and just escape to the surface . Although he accepted this mission, he could choose not to finish it . At most, he could just cancel this mission since there was no penalty for canceling missions . But Rhode couldn't do it .
If it was really the Jade Tears Mercenary Group who caused the activation of >, then this spells catastrophe for the Starlight Mercenary Group and Deep Stone City . Considering his relationship with Jade Tears Mercenary Group, Rhode doesn't believe that those guys would be kind-hearted enough to not put himself and the Starlight Mercenary Group in their number one rank of their "to destroy" list .
A dangerous bud must be nipped before it was allowed to grow .
Once the > advances into its next phase > or >, then it would be too late for regrets .
Once he made his decision, Rhode stretched out his right hand .
Almost immediately, a white card spun and appeared on his palm .