Rhode heaved a sigh as he accepted this new reality. Groaning as he laid back down.
Just from chatting with the girl, Rhode could confirm that this was indeed the world of Dragon Soul Continent. Moreover, this was a time from the distant past, the Dusk Period. Before the events of the game really began. That is, during the Beta period.
But why here?
Rod sighed and shook his head. It’s no use thinking about these weird and mysterious things right now. Now that he’s already here there's nothing that can be done to change that fact. But, what should be done next?
First, Rhode wanted to try something out. Thinking it over and over, soon a clear and familiar system window opened. Listing his current state and attributes.
Race: Mixed (?)
Talent: Not unlocked
Racial Reward: Locked
Racial Characteristics: Locked
Class: Summoner Swordsman (Heroic)
Class skills: Summoner Magic (Proficiency E)
Sword Skills: Moonlight Sword Style (Proficiency E) (Available Skill – Broken Blade)
Side Profession: Alchemist
Innate Skills: Shaping Breath (Proficiency E)
This is both a very normal yet also a very unusual stat sheet. Especially at the description of race, Rhode almost shouted out loud in shock.
Mixed? Why is it mixed?
The so-called mixed race in the Dragon Soul Continent did not necessarily refer to the interracial marriage between people of a similar race. On the contrary, it meant inheritance from a human and a non-human. In-game, half-beast NPC were not common but still existent. However, Rhode’s very clear that his character was certainly a human being. During character creation, he never chose anything else. But why then would it say mixed? And also, there is a question mark behind it. This meant that the blood is not awakened yet and that all racial rewards and skills were sealed. This meant that Rhode has no way of knowing his full race until he gains the power to awaken the blood himself.
This an annoying feature. Usually, racial rewards are provided right after the character is created. An example is that for humans, they can learn new skills quicker than other races. Depending on the race, there are different advantages such as poison-resistance or a reputation bonus. But now, Rhode was stuck with nothing as his racial rewards are completely locked.
But the rest was not completely without surprises. Especially in Sword Skills and the box regarding alchemy skills. The dozens sword and alchemy skills he had learned previously were not forgotten, only fuzzily displayed below. This meant that they couldn’t be used with Rhode’s current level. He wasn’t very concerned about because as long as he kept enhancing his strength he’d eventually regain those skills. Of course, the biggest disappointment was that his skill levels were all reduced to the lowest Proficiency Level of “E” instead of “SS”.
But Rhode didn’t put too much thought into these small issues. What he valued most about the skills were not the proficiency but the skills themselves. There were many swords skills in the game and many were challenging to learn. Not only did it have level and attribute requirements, most of the time it also required the completion of various tasks. Requiring a lot of money, time, and luck. Hence, simply having the skills assured that he wouldn’t need to go through the trouble of completing these missions again. Only during the past year did Rhode finally managed to fully complete his character. A full six years of work. Only because of this could he challenge the Void Dragon.
Then, Rhode moved onto the most important trait for a Summoner Swordsman, Spirit Summoning.
In the game, the Summoner Swordsman was somewhat of a controversial class. Right after launch, this occupation attracted everyone’s attention. But after starting, players started to notice something. The class, along with its playing style was incredibly complex. The use of Spirit Summoning needed to be used in tandem with the player’s sword skills. Also, every time anything’s summoned, it constantly drains mana. That along with the high consumption of skill points, it gained the reputation of being an endless pit that sucked player’s time and points.
On the surface, the summons seems almost indistinguishable from regular Summoners. However, in fact, the two are completely different. A traditional Summoner’s summoning process is by consuming some of their power and tearing a rend in space. Calling their creatures that they’ve previously caught to serve them. The Summoner Swordsman is different. They lack the ability to tear open space. Instead, all of their summons are truly summoned. One of their abilities is to reclaim souls from items. Particularly those of long history and mysterious power and using their unique skill to re-sealing in a contract.
Although it sounds all good and powerful, it comes with a lot of problems. In fact, in the beginning, many players were confused by this description and chose this class. In their opinion, as long as they raided some ruins or bought some broken artifacts, they could effortlessly obtain some powerful summons.
Unfortunately, the dream is very beautiful but reality is very cruel. Because these souls have lost their physical form, their power is much less than originally. Hence, the summoner must be higher leveled than whatever he wants to bind. Take Rhode’s quasi-artifact “Dragonfury”, only after he was at max level did he extract the soul from the artifact weapon. Because of that, rarely were high-level summons ever found. This alone caused many players to become dismayed and eventually switch out. Not to mention that maintaining the summons drains mana. Although mana consumption is much lower than a Mage’s, it didn’t stop people from labeling the class as inefficient and impractical.
There are three ways for a Summoner Swordsman to obtain a spirit summon. One is to awaken a spirit nucleus after killing a magical creature. However, that can be somewhat tricky and complex. The summons are random and can change based on the summoner’s attributes and even the outside environment. For example, if a Summoner Swordsman gets a spirit nucleus from a serpent monster in a snowy environment, but awakens it in a hot environment, the stats of the summon may be negatively affected. It would be the same situation if the summoner was wearing a set of attribute-infused armor that clashed with the attribute of the summon.
The second method is by defeating a non-human creature. Then, after satisfying certain conditions, they could be bound by contract and become a summon. This is a common method but it has its downsides. In-game, the summon will retain its old consciousness and have a random disobedience penalty. Depending on its attribute, the summon can occasionally resist the summoner’s command. Of course, was terrible for the players who hated uncertainty.
As for the last method, it requires the player to be at least level ten. Then, they will have the ability to fuse several spirits together to form higher-leveled spirits. The advantage is that, to a certain extent, it negates the uncertainty of the summon’s attributes. If the player takes into consideration the characteristics, race, and attributes of the spirits, then the final result can usually be guessed. But of course, it is also plagued with downsides. That is, the level of the final summon is unknown. It is entirely possible to combine two high-level spirits to form a level 1 spirit. Or, the resulting spirit is too high-leveled to even be used. If it’s latter it’s okay, all the player needs to do it to rank up. If it’s the former, then they can only blame their luck.
The biggest killer is that the experience points of the summoned spirits are deducted from the player. This is the main reason why it’s so slow to level up compared to other careers. Since the summoned spirits also level up alongside the player, it’s difficult to allocate how much experience goes to the player instead of the summon. Of course, the player can just choose to not summon the spirits and take all the experience for themselves but what’s the point then of being a Summoner Swordsman?
It is precisely because of these many pitfalls that the Summoner Swordsman is placed among the “Top Ten Most Frustrating Classes” on the game’s official forum. And so those who choose the Summoner Swordsman are often only rookies enthralled by the class description. The others were just players too stubborn to change classes. And of course, the final category, because of Rhode.
To know that the strongest player in the game, one that conquered the three eras one after another, held this infamous class was enough to cause many players to drool with excitement.
Ordinary players would learn to despise the complicated nature of this class. But Rhode was perfectly content challenging the unknown. The reason why he chose it even with the warning signs posted online. In fact, he had encountered and been victim of many of the class’s pitfalls. However, this was nothing to dissuade him. Only by conquering these obstacles could be satisfied.
He spent a full seven years and trained dozens of summons to max level. But now they were all gone. However, he still had the summoning symbol on the back of his right hand. It’s just he didn’t feel the presence of any spirits at all within it. If this was the game and this his avatar, this would be all normal. But now with his real body, he still had the same summoner mark.
Thinking of this, Rhode could not help but touch his chest pocket. Sure enough, he felt the outline of a card on his chest pocket.
Taking it out, he carefully examined it. It was a gleaming white color. In the middle was an immaculate white sword surrounded by thorns. Wrapping around the sword were complex runes. The handguard was a pair of folded wings. On the card, were four markings on the four corners of the card. On the upper-right corner was a white semicircle. On the upper-left was a small “x”. On the bottom were two numbers, both were “3”. Flipping to the other side, a line of silver text emerged.
Eternal Holy Sword (10th): Star Stream, no attributes, can be integrated.
~ The dust of history cannot bury its dazzling glory ~
It’s still here?
Looking at the card in his hand, Rhode was slightly surprised for a moment. This was something used exclusively by Summoner Swordsmen. The summoning cards. This particular one was quite special. After he led the Starlight Guild to conquer the first two eras, he was gifted this rare souvenir by the game company. In recognition of his status as the peak of players, this card was specially made for him. Of course, similar cards have long since also circulated around. However, Rhode was never one to waste money and buy these decorational cards. Since this was a sort of prize, he’d always carried it around with him.
Originally, this was only a memento without any real purpose. But now, the card seemed to emit a faint light.
Should I try it?
Only hesitating for a moment, he clenched tightly to the card. Then, the symbol on his hand started to light up as blue lines traced towards his fingers. Working its way up his palm then fingers. As it reached the card, the room burst into dazzling white light.
At that moment, within Rhode’s vision emerged a line of system prompts.
[Eternal Deck Completion: 1/10
Acquired 10th Rank Holy Sword – Star Stream]
Seeing the system prompts, Rhode sighed heavily. Although it’s still a mystery why a decorational card now has the function of a summoning card, it’s not important at the moment. Rather, it’s all Rhode has. Any weapon with a +2 attribute is hard to find below level 15. Since Star Stream is +3, it should allow a Summoner Swordsman to compete with an actual, genuine swordsman. Due to its “integratable” characteristics, so long as the right spirit can be found, the weapon’s properties can also be altered. Although the weapon is not physical and requires mana to sustain itself, its strength is too powerful to be ignored.
But even now, Rhode is having trouble getting excited. Because this situation was just too weird.
Is this a game? Or is this reality? If this is reality, then what should I do?
Just then, a noise from the door sounded.
Looking up, Rhode saw a middle-aged man walk into the room. Wearing light leather armor and a head of casually-kept red hair.
“Hello, sir. I am the head of the Moon and Stars Mercenary Group, Carter.”