Rhode stood up and rubbed his ears as he glanced over at the formerly tidy room that was now tattered with broken stones and debris everywhere . Long cracks filled the entire room . The stone columns on both sides were badly deformed . Even the solid, metal pipes were twisted and raised at an odd angle .
"Woah… I can't believe I survived this . "
Rhode observed his surroundings and took a deep breath . The Core Guardian's self-destruct mechanic was the only life-threatening skill that he feared . According to the game manual, the damage dealt by this skill was fixed; the damage received was determined by the player's level . So when facing the Core Guardian, it was either to kill it off quickly, or weaken it and prepare for the self-destruct . Since Rhode's level wasn't enough to defeat the Core Guardian in a few strokes, he could only choose to defend against the explosion . Fortunately, it seemed that everything went well .
The ringing sound in his ears caused him to be temporarily deaf . Rhode glanced down and discovered Anne who was trying to stand up while using her shield as support . She rubbed her ears and seemed to be saying something, but Rhode couldn't make anything out of it .
"… as… it ended, Leader?"
Bits and pieces could be heard, but as Rhode's hearing gradually recovered, he could finally understand what she was saying .
"It ended . "
Rhode picked up his weapon while answering Anne's question . Luckily his Crimson Blade wasn't damaged at all even though the explosion was powerful . It seemed like this magical weapon had an excellent quality . The area where the Core Guardian formerly stood already had an enormous crater underneath . Within the hole were all charred metals, or at least that was what it appeared as .
Rhode knew that these 'scrap metals' were precious . As a magical creature handed down from ancient times, the Core Guardian was produced from high-quality magical metals . If these 'scraps' could be brought back to recycle, it could be converted to high-grade materials to craft great magical weapons .
But, alas, it was a pity that Rhode didn't have any artisan at his side that could craft magical weapons . Although he 'recruited' some people from the Mercenary Association, all of them were ordinary blacksmiths . None of them had skills to create magical weapons . But that was normal since not many people could produce magical weapons or equipment, and if there were any, they would probably be under the scrutiny of others .
"What a waste . "
Looking at all the scattered magical metals, Rhode could only sigh . As a player, he knew how useful these items were . If he had some players in his mercenary group that focused on weaponsmithing or armorsmithing, then he could use the materials to create magical equipment to improve their overall strength . He could even evolve Anne's gold shield into an elemental shield . But it was a pity that reality wasn't as giving as he thought . Eventually, he chose to give up this thought helplessly . Although Lapis was an Alchemist of 3 types, in this aspect, Rhode didn't have many expectations from her .
"Let's go . "
Rhode gestured to Anne . He didn't forget that they were rushing for time and the items here could still be recovered later . Unlike the games, these items will not disappear after some time . But if the Sphere of Mystery was seized, then it would be a waste .
The entrance into the Mystery Hall was located behind the Core Guardian . In contrast to the previous room, this place seemed rather neat . Rhode extended his hand and pushed the pitch black stone door .
The door appeared to be made of an unknown material which brought an icy cold sensation to Rhode's fingers . But Rhode didn't have the time to question because soon enough his attention was attracted by the scene in front of his eyes .
Contrary to the room before, this place was very dark . In this spherical room, blue lights hung on the wall as it blinked like a slow flowing river . Starting from the top, the lights flickered on and off as it converged to the center .
In that seemingly magical place, a metal ball a size of the human head floated in the air quietly . It gradually released a glow, as though responding to the surrounding magic lights . As the blue light grew intense, the metal ball turned darker . And as the surrounding lights dimmed, the ball became brighter . It was akin to a pumping heart .
Sphere of Mystery .
Looking at the round, metallic ball, Rhode took a deep breath . It was a relic of ancient times . Primarily, it was used to condense magic and in turn, provide powers to the wielder . You can treat it as some sort of CPU of a vehicle . Rituals and magic ruins that ran on magical powers required it, even huge golems and forging workshops needed it too .
The Sphere of Mystery varied in sizes . The largest and the most ancient sphere was located in the 'City within Myriad City', Mage Alliance's Central City Odyssey . That Sphere of Mystery itself was as massive as a castle . It possessed extraordinary powers; it could even levitate a city with tens of thousands of people at high altitude .
Those kinds of spheres usually belonged to large organizations . As an ancient heritage of magic, every Sphere of Mystery carried various abilities . Some could change or affect the surroundings, whereas some could strengthen or weaken an individual or group . Some of them could even influence the equipment by providing additional elements during crafting, and some could change the geological environment or even build a castle out of thin air .
These Spheres of Mystery were the most important crystal in ancient civilization . In the Dragon Soul Continent, the Sphere of Mystery was the invention from the top-ranked Alchemist players . Not only did they require much effort to create, but also many dungeon blueprints must be unearthed . Rhode's Starlight Guild triumphed in the Dragon Soul Continent for so many years, but he had only created three Spheres of Mystery!
But a pity, in the end, they lacked that little bit .
Brilliant civilization fell, and the manufacturing method for the Sphere of Mystery was lost entirely . Even the usage method was only discovered after hundreds of years later within the legacy books . Of course, since the start, these ancient relics were bombarded with people snatching them and even started many fights . However, later on, as the discovery of these spheres increased, the conflicts gradually decreased . Those powerful Spheres of Mystery were split among large organizations, forces, or countries . Only the smaller spheres were left to be fought for . However, most of the people had already started to lose interest in them . If there weren't any hint to activate this thing, then it would just be a rare ball that could glow . And every Sphere of Mystery required different rituals in order to be activated . So where can they find the rituals?
Even if it's a six core CPU, if you install a 32-bit WIN, it wouldn't have any effect .
Rhode wasn't sure if the Diamond Mercenary Group was aware of the Sphere of Mystery, because, in the game, players didn't mention anything related to it while exploring the ruins . It was only suggested that this place was an ancient ruin with many creatures, along with some old legends could put any kid to sleep .
When he discovered that the Sphere of Mystery was still around, Rhode finally heaved a sigh of relief . He walked towards it and stretched his hand out to pick it up .
Rhode felt hopeless . This damn thing, although it looked rather small, it was heavy as hell . Almost 100kg . Rhode used all his might but he couldn't shift it no matter what . Eventually, he let go and gestured to Anne helplessly .
"You do it, Anne . Be careful . "
"Yes, Leader . "
The maiden who was scanning her surroundings heard Rhode's call and quickly walked towards the center of the room . She tilted her head and looked at the Sphere of Mystery curiously .
How did this small, round ball cause such an expression on his face?
However, the maiden quickly extended her hands and attempted to lift it .
When Anne tried to lift the Sphere of Mystery, her expression suddenly changed . The maiden opened her eyes wide while feeling slightly surprised as she stared at this little thing in front of her .
This time, it was Rhode who was admiring her helpless expression…
Never did Anne thought that this little thing would be so heavy . Anne was always proud of her strength, and she was confident that she could lift it with one hand . But now, as if the ball challenged her guts, she unhesitatingly placed both hands and gripped it tightly .
Although Anne attempted to put on a tough front and lift it as though she wasn't putting much effort, her intense grunts revealed otherwise . But even so, Rhode didn't underestimate her .
And at this moment, Rhode's expression slightly dulled . Anne's expression as well . She frowned and turned her head towards the entrance .
Messy footsteps echoed from the opposite tunnel . Afterwards, a dozen of fully armored mercenaries rushed out .