The crisp system prompt sounded in his mind .
Standing at the end of the caved-in tunnel, Rhode smiled as he enjoyed the constant prompting of the system and checked how much experience points he gained . These demonized mercenaries brought loads of experience points . Just 15 of them earned Rhode nearly 8000 points .
"So then, only one more left," Rhode mumbled to himself as he turned around .
A blur silhouette of a human figure could be seen walking towards him .
Frank furrowed his brows .
Sharp, agonizing screams echoed in his mind . These were the screams when one would make when they experience death . The death cries of his men kept flowing into his mind one after another as they died .
He stopped in his tracks and rubbed his nose .
Frank had no idea why he rubbed his nose, but after his group of idiots went silent, he suddenly felt tranquility . The hatred, anger, intents, happiness, and even pain seemed to have disappeared .
He lifted his head and met Rhode's gaze at the end of the tunnel . An unfamiliar, yet familiar existence stood in front of him, blocking his way .
"So it's you again, Mr . Rhode?" Frank asked rhetorically, with unnatural calmness in his voice .
Even he was surprised with his own composure . He thought he would be overwhelmed with hate, followed by cursing and words of humiliation when he met the man . But at this moment, Frank realized that he didn't really care anymore . It felt as though as if he was a kid that wanted to play with other kids, but when he was given the chance to play, he turned his back and walked away from it .
Play? What play? What's left to play?
Frank was unsure that if the current state of unnatural tranquility was a reflection of hopelessness and despair . In any case, he felt that he hadn't experienced this feeling in the past 10 years of his life . It was either anger, fear, anxiousness or pain . Comparing to those emotions, this actually felt great .
When there's no hope, there will be no disappointment . When there's no goal, there will not be any effort . When there's no effort, there will be no regrets .
While thinking of this, something deep within Frank's soul started to stir . He couldn't find the will to subdue it any longer .
"Long time no see, or should I say this is only our second meeting?"
Frank shrugged his shoulders and sighed . He replied with a light tone, as if speaking to a friend .
"But you always bring me surprises, right?"
Rhode frowned .
Frank's calm reply took Rhode by surprise . Rhode thought that this man standing in front of him would be more like his usual f*ked up self, teasing women like a hooligan, not accomplishing anything much in life . But instead, Frank was just standing there calmly . Rhode didn't fancy surprises, but he didn't mind Frank's attitude too much .
Inside the gaming world, players who lie and do suspicious things to deter others' judgment were uncommon . Rhode had long cultivated this good habit — As long as he does what he thought was right, what others do doesn't matter to him .
That was why he did not reply Frank . Instead, he drew his sword and returned his gaze . Even without the help of Gillian, he could already sense the strong energy from hell . The demonic energy gradually emitted from Frank's skin pores, forming a turbid vapor that slowly enveloped his body; inciting a nauseating sensation to people nearby .
"I've always been curious . "
"Why are you always blocking my path…?" Frank glanced upwards for a moment and questioned, as if speaking to himself, "Actually, I don't really care anymore . You've succeeded again, and I have failed . This time, I've got nowhere to escape . "
Rhode lifted up his sword .
"If you have any last words, I might be able to help you pass it . "
The Crimson Blade started gleaming .
"There is no need . I have nothing to say to anyone . " Frank shook his head .
Suddenly, a deafening silence fell over the entire tunnel .
In an instant, a sharp whistling wind whizzed past .
Rhode let his body drop forward as he transformed into a dark shadow and lunged forward . He then drew up his sword, pointed the tip towards Frank and tilted the blade . Countless of blades erupted from the sword, delivering consecutive flashes towards the target in front .
Responding to his sudden attack, Frank merely unsheathed his weapon and swung it in a clean vertical motion . Darkness exploded out from his sword, forming a shape of a whip which silently and easily swallowed the endless blades .
Rhode switched to a defensive stance and blocked the whip formed by darkness . The whip was extremely flexible, as if it was a snake . The clash between the blade and whip produced a loud screeching shockwave that sent reverberations throughout the tunnel .
The very next moment, Rhode suddenly struck out with his left hand .
A Spirit Bird flew out from his hand, followed by a series whistling as it tore through the air . Frank frowned slightly when he saw this attack . He instantly pulled back his whip, transformed it into a huge net and tossed it out towards the Spirit Bird in one fluid motion .
Frank didn't notice the glowing summoning circle on the back of Rhode's hand .
Just as the net fell upon its prey, the Spirit Bird suddenly disappeared . Instantly, a bright shooting star appeared from within the net and transformed into a sword that released a brilliant ray of holy light . The holy light easily cut through holes in the net, moving towards Frank's heart unhindered .
Frank didn't panic when he saw the transformation, instead, he leaped backward and evaded the attack . He then defended himself with both his swords in front of him, barely scraping through . This kind of circus show meant nothing to him . As long as he put in more force, he could easily smack Rhode's sword away . He wondered what other styles could this young man come up with…
Rhode did not expect such light resistance from Frank when they clashed, but he still felt a strong pressure .
A huge shadow suddenly appeared in mid-air . The moment Celia transformed back into her angelic form, she spread her magnificent wings and swung her swords on both hands, striking downwards . Holy silver whitish brightness covered her whole body as she put her entire might in her attack .
A wrong analysis of the situation was the beginning of a tragedy .
Frank totally didn't expect this angel to suddenly appear in front of him . Just as he felt the strong pressure from her and tried to make adjustments, it was too late .
Celia easily broke Frank's guard with her swords . When she was one step away from destroying this detestable being, Rhode rushed towards Frank's flank to assist Celia in finishing him off,
However, they were one step too late .
Facing both Celia and Rhode's sword attacks, Frank's eyes flashed a creepy red light, Afterwards, his whole body violently turned into a dark fog, dodging backward . And once again returned to human form after reaching the corner .
"What a strong assistant you got there . "
He lifted his head as he spoke calmly . His face was expressionless as he stared blankly at the two of them .
"To be honest, you surprised me . I have never heard of anyone using an angel to be his servant . Not even those experienced faggots in the mercenary association dared to do so even if they had the chance . But you actually have gotten yourself a beautiful angel woman . You make me envious… but this makes me lose with injustice . "
"Master . There's something wrong with him! Don't delay any longer! We must finish him off before he transforms into the second stage!"
Gillian's tone suddenly turned stern, unlike her usual casual self .
Rhode frowned without saying a word . Of course, he wanted to kill him off too, but this narrow tunnel restricted his potential . Not to mention, this whole area was so fragile, even Rhode couldn't use his full power to kill him like the incident in front of the Mercenary Association . And this man was indeed acting strangely . According to Rhode's understanding of him, this man was not diligent enough to see through his plans .
Rhode lifted his sword again and struck forward .
The narrow tunnel could at most allow three people walking in a row . But this situation wasn't just a 2 versus 1 . Although Rhode did not summon his spirits, Frank suddenly erupted with darkness power that followed his movements, and with that darkness, he summoned four to five little ugly creatures .
Celia's expression changed after seeing those little creatures . She ferociously flapped her wings . A white curtain following her wings fell upon them and formed a six-sided barrier, blocking those fireballs that were thrown by the imps who were squeaking like monkeys .
The small fireballs dissipated quickly after hitting the barrier . At this moment the angel fumed .
"You actually received such strong powers from hell? As a human, why did you go to the dark side!"
"Stop your crap, just finish him up . We can slowly question this after we get his corpse!"
As if reacting to Gillian's rage, Rhode struck out again .
The slashing motion of Crimson Blade created a gust of wind .
The blade energy cleaved those imps into half, followed by shots of starlight that passed through their body easily, returning those beings who don't belong to this world back to their homeland . Frank wasn't upset at all, instead, he just smiled . Then he dashed forward with his sword and clashed with the Crimson Blade . Dazzling flashes sparked in between both of them . Facing such an assault, Celia had no choice but to retreat .
But Rhode had other cards up his sleeve . Once again, he raised his left hand and materialized a black card within his palm, forming a small shield that blocked Frank's attack .
Then another huge shadow galloped out of the point of summoning, causing the wind to blast out .
Frank's sword was tossed to a side from the impact of the Centaur Knight's shield . It then continued to charge towards Frank as it used its shield to smash his body . Frank flew a distance and crashed into a wall . Before Frank's body could even fall to the ground, Rhode and Celia's swords had already found its target . It pierced through his body, pinning him to the wall .
The follow-up attack from the Centaur Knight smashed the man's skull . Fresh blood scattered along with bits of brain matter .
No matter how you look at it, Frank couldn't have survived .
But Rhode and Celia's expression didn't drop their guard a single bit .
"Careful, Master! This guy is going to transform!"
Along with Gillian's warning, Frank's body suddenly turned into dust . The dust then formed a whirlwind that manifested into a human body nearby .
"Do you two really think that I would fall for the same attack twice? How foolish…"
Frank said calmly as ever . But his features were nothing near peaceful . Every inch of muscles began to twitch on their own and his skin started to crack bit by bit like old linen . The insides of his body revealed muscles that were not blood colored, instead, they were pitch black scales . Tubes of blood vessels bulged from under his skin, pumping strong blood and energy . Frank's skull started to swell like a big rubber ball, even his voice turned much deeper .
"But this makes it interesting . If you want to kill me, then try it with all your might . "
Transform complete .
His human form was nowhere to be seen . What stood in front of Rhode was a gigantic fly blocking the whole tunnel . It opened its mouth and let out loud hisses . Two disgusting apposition eyes appeared on the sides of his head, emitting green reflections from its lenses . Thick, sturdy black hairs protruded from between the slits of the hard scales . The four front claws had sharp nails and a number of tentacle arms protruded out from the anus .
The putrid smell dispersed all around the underground mine was enough to suffocate a person .
Celia started flapping her wings vigorously . Thankfully, due to her strong aura, she wasn't affected by the filthy evil .
"Oh no, seemed like we played it big this time, Master . "
Since she was referring to something serious, Gillian's tone didn't sound one bit energetic .
"He had been totally eroded by the demonic hell and is not that idiot from before . This guy here is the real puppet of the Demon Lord . He lost all his compassion… Hah, Master, this man must have hated you so much that he chose to allow the Demon Lord to erode his soul just for revenge — This Boss will not be easy to defeat~"
"Of course I know . "
Rhode readied his sword and stared at the abomination that had lost all of its human appearance .
"He is nothing but a puppet — If that's truly the case, we should have a better way of dealing with him . "
Rhode took a step back, grabbing his sword with both hands, he twisted his body and dashed past Frank . At the same time he un-summoned his Centaur Knight, to prevent it from being the target of the monster .
Rhode's sudden feint stunned Frank . Frank reacted with a high pitch screech and in an instance, a mass of dark fog erupted from his gruesome body, spreading in all directions .
"It's the breath of hell . Master, you'll be in big trouble if you get engulfed by it . That monster can freely change his position . Please do not fight with him, or we will all be dead!"
Rhode noticed the danger within the black fog even without Gillian's reminder . Of course, he knew what Frank had become . If he had a choice, he wouldn't want to face such a monster, but now he seemed to not have any other choice .
Rhode continued dashing into the deep parts of the tunnel without turning back . The black fog was slowly catching up from behind, engulfing the dim light originally on the torches . Celia spread her wings to defend Rhode's back . But her white perfect shield of light wasn't able to deflect much . Although water could extinguish flames, if you pour a bucket of water into a volcano, it would be futile .
"We have to find the ritual altar and destroy the link between hell and this world!"
After hearing Gillian's warning, Rhode immediately changed his direction and jumped into the split road on his right . The dark fog did not stop in time and continued flowing forward . But soon enough, the fog started to branch out as it expanded to fill the other tunnel, but still flowing towards Rhode . Condensed darkness spread on both sides of the tunnel, followed by squeaky sounds which transformed into Imps . They squeaked like mice, chasing closely behind Rhode . They ignited their fireballs and threw towards Rhode but to no avail . Celia easily negated their attacks .
The sword blade flashed .
Dazzling silver-whitish brightness flashed and once again defeated those obstacles in front of their eyes . Frank's body emerged within the dark fog . Taking large steps, chasing closely .
"Come on, kill me . Just come and kill me like how you killed them . Quick . Didn't you come here for this?"
Frank's voice was as deep as usual, but was mixed with panic and craziness this time . Facing such an enemy, Rhode had no intention to reply him . He could only try his best to escape from the dark fog attack, and at the same time using the complicated terrain to distance himself away from the monster .
This wasn't an easy feat .
The dark fog could flow into any corner, filling any gap . And Rhode's only way to avoid it was to run faster than it moved . Once he contacts with the fog, not only he will be affected by the hellish energy, Frank would also be able to give a direct attack . The only fortunate thing was, without the help of the dark fog, Frank's transformed body could never ever catch up Rhode's speed .
But this didn't mean that Rhode and company are having a good time . From the start, Rhode and Celia attempted to counter-attack to slow down Frank's speed, but Frank seemed to be invulnerable, no matter how much damage he soaked, it couldn't stop him . Rhode even tried summoning the Black Hound, hoping that it could create some trouble for Frank, but it was of no use .
"This is crazy!"
Once again, Rhode evaded Frank's attack from within the dark fog . Gillian who had been silent, finally snapped .
"This monster is under the effects of the breath of hell, we will not be able to hurt him . It's is as good as invulnerability! We have to cut the connection! Master!"
"How far away are we from the ritual altar?"
Rhode concentrated on the tunnel in front of his eyes and leaped . Under his body, the dark fog washed through like flood waters . Dozens of dark tentacles stretched from within into the air, trying to capture their prey and drag it into the evil quagmire .
Silver-whitish flames erupted and instantly destroyed the tentacles .
"Master, please be careful!"
Celia flew in the air, hugging Rhode tightly from the back as she dashed forward . Both of them fell and rolled on the ground . Then they swiftly sprung up and continued running . Not far behind, a deep banging sound could be heard . Crushed sand started falling from the ceiling, even the ground started to vibrate lightly .
Frank once again appeared at the edge of the dark fog . He expanded his huge mouth, roared and stretched out his forelimb .
At the same time, Rhode finally spotted a strange fountain .
That was his target!
Now's the chance!
Celia heard Rhode's yell and immediately flew at fast as she could, raising her sword high up above the fountain . And at that moment, the angel's holy, bright and dazzling light shone on the fountain, the surrounding fog and darkness started to rattle in agony . They let out silent screams, and escaped to the corner, avoiding their nemesis .
"No! Stop it!"
Frank could no longer keep his cool and shot out from his protective dark fog . He roared and dashed to the front, attempting to stop Celia .
At this crucial moment, Rhode appeared in front of him . Gritting his teeth, he raised his sword high up .
Brilliant bright light streamed upwards along the sword blade and converged at the tip .
Rhode readied his offensive stance and slashed down with all his might .
Both Rhode and Celia yelled in unison as they delivered their powerful attacks . Celia's sword finally pierced the sculpture on the fountain .
Holy flames erupted and devoured everything!