Sereck's heart skipped a beat. When he repeatedly questioned himself whether if there was anything wrong with the barrier, he finally realized that the only possibility the green light could enter unhindered was if it exploited that small gap. Sereck sighed and raised his sword to receive the blow, and when the Spirit Bird finally collided, a raging storm arose.
Violent winds shook the ground, and the surrounding mercenaries who were unable to withstand the intense storm began to retreat. Even though the Spirit Bird's attack power wasn't high, its wind attribute shouldn't be underestimated. Sereck narrowed his eyes and swung his sword, tearing apart the violent wind with a brilliant light. However, what he saw next wasn't Rhode.
Rhode flipped his left hand and a red card materialized out of thin air which fell to his palm. In a swift motion, he gripped the card and threw it forward.
Followed by a tearing sound, the red card tore apart. An intense, raging fire immediately swept the ground with a violent pressure emitting in all directions, causing the surrounding temperature to ascend abruptly. At that very moment, a ferocious roar rang out as a fiery hound appeared before Rhode. It immediately unveiled its claws and fangs as it dashed towards Sereck, and Rhode, as though in harmony with the Flame Killer, immediately activated his Shadow Flash before slashing forward with his sword.
"What the heck is that!"
Observing the unbelievable scene that was unfolding, all of the surrounding mercenaries rushed to the front to get a firsthand view of this spectacle and they couldn't help but feel surprised. Even those veterans that had experienced countless of battles felt their blood rushing towards their head at this astonishing scene.
Sereck was no different.
But unlike those mercenaries on the sidelines, time was a luxury that Sereck didn't have. When an unknown factor appeared in mid-battle, he can only put all his attention on the crisis unfolding in front of him. While he had a feeling that the appearance of the hound wouldn't be life-threatening, but as a sword master, being forced into a corner with a large number of spectators looking at him would be a shameful act. Because of that reasoning, he chose to take the attack head-on. Sereck snorted coldly and took on a defensive stance, fully welcoming Rhode's attack.
A brilliant barrier of light appeared once again, abruptly parrying the hound's direct attack. However, this act of deterrence wouldn't be able to stop the Flame Killer. Sereck's attack only merely slowed down its advance, and it suddenly jumped to the side before lunging towards Sereck with its mouth wide open.
The hound cast a Fire Breath, causing a wave of scorching flames to envelop Sereck, burning everything nearby to cinders. Sereck didn't hesitate any longer, as someone with a high status such as himself, his public image was as important as his life. If he was defeated right now by a random stranger whose face was hidden, then he might as well drop his decades of prestige into the mud. Thus, starting from this moment, Sereck finally treated Rhode as a true opponent.
Akin to a dying brilliance of a setting sun, in a blink of an eye, orange flames lit up the skies, and as quick as its emergence, the last of the embers came and went in a flash.
But it was enough...
The flame finally disappeared.
No signs of flames could be seen on the scorched ground. The spectators only managed to catch a glimpse of a flash of light, and then in the very next moment, it instantly disappeared. With the exception of the ashes and smoke that lingered in the air, everything else completely disappeared.
Rhode furrowed his brows. He knew that Sereck was serious now.
But that was his intention since the beginning.
Even though Sereck was able to defend against the Flame Killer's attack, but he wasn't able to dodge Rhode and the Spirit Bird. Rhode also didn't plan to retreat as he lunged forward with his sword.
Blade of Destruction, ACTIVATE!
A splendorous light emerged from the ashes, rushing towards Sereck. Under the orders of Rhode, the Spirit Bird curved in an arc and flanked towards Sereck's right while the hound who had failed to penetrate his defense, retreated towards the left and prepared a collaborative attack with the Spirit Bird.
The Flame Killer then launched a Fire Breath once again, followed by a deadly swipe from its claw.
The scene was almost magical, like a fantasy.
The mercenaries along the sidelines had their jaws agape, unable to speak a word. Not one of them had seen such a way of fighting, nor have they ever seen the Light Swordsman fight at full force.
If it were any other ordinary mercenary, Rhode's tri-pronged attack would undoubtedly render them helpless if they didn't rush towards Rhode first, but Sereck's choice was different.
The first thing he attacked wasn't Rhode.
When Sereck raised his sword, it was as if time slowed down, and when he swung down his sword towards the hound, his sword appeared to fall incredibly gently, but seemingly impossible to dodge.
The Flame Killer roared in agony as he felt as though a heavy hammer smashed into its head. The sword in Sereck's hand fluidly changed its direction again and sealed the Spirit Bird's attack. And when the Spirit Bird fell to the ground, Sereck had already changed the course of his sword once again to face the oncoming Blade of Destruction.
Each moment was somehow very short, but it was also very long. Almost everyone saw what happened, but they were also unable to see it clearly. It was as if the scene before them was just a dream.
However, Rhode did not stop.
Within the tempest of light, he could feel a massive impact on the sword he was holding. In an instant, his body shook as though his internal organs shifted, and his HP bar plunged to orange from a healthy green. At this moment, his sword could no longer withstand the overwhelming impact and shattered into pieces.
Sereck immediately attacked, and a light appeared on his sword, rushing towards Rhode's chest.
However, Rhode didn't panic. He held up his right hand and paused for a moment before suddenly making a gripping gesture.
The black hound howled and rushed forward. Its whole body immolated in flames as it unhesitatingly made its way towards Sereck. In retaliation, Sereck snorted and swiped his hand. Following that gesture, a brilliant light split the black hound into two.
But it wasn't the end yet.
Born forth from the flame, and perishes in flames.
Sereck felt a huge energy emitting from the tip of his sword. His eyes widened, but it was already too late for him to react.
The hound which split into two pieces, began to turn bright red. It continued roaring and rolled towards Sereck, and finally, its flame resistant body couldn't contain the fiery energy within and imploded.
At this very moment, a red card materialized on Rhode's palm and he gripped it without hesitation.
A pair of white wings appeared out of thin air, shielding Rhode and blocking the flames.
When the fire and ashes finally scattered, it revealed two silhouettes close to one another.
Sereck stopped moving, the gap between his sword and Rhode's chest was only a few inches, but there was a thin barrier of angelic wings in between his sword and Rhode's body. At the same time, Rhode's sword stopped next to Sereck's neck.
"Elemental creatures, magic weapon, and swordsmanship mastery."
After a long time, Sereck finally broke the silence.
"Not bad, young man. You did great."
"Thank you for your compliment."
Rhode nodded slightly and removed the sword from Sereck's neck. Then he made a hand gesture to recall the Spirit Bird, which soon arrived and perched on his shoulder quietly.
"You're welcome. It had been a long time since I had so much fun."
Sereck revealed a rare soft smile as he expertly sheathed his sword.
"What is your name?"
"Rhode. Rhode Alander."
Rhode replied Sereck calmly.
"Rhode! What a great name! I like you, boy! In the Deep Stone City, you're the first one to make me suffer a loss!"
Sereck patted Rhode's shoulder and laughed.
In response to Sereck's hearty reply, Rhode only slightly nodded to express his thanks. Then he turned towards the old man who was standing on the sidelines with an ugly expression.
"So, old man, did I pass the mercenary assessment?"
Moby revealed a rather ugly expression. In fact, when he saw Rhode's skill, he already expected this outcome. However, this little devil still chose to ask him about the assessment directly. He could not accept this result and helplessly looked towards Sereck, non-verbally indicating for his assistance.
Facing the old president's gaze, Sereck smiled cunningly and winked.
"Frankly, with your talent, being a mercenary is a waste... However, since this is your choice, it's not my place to say anything else. However, with regards to the assessment, in my opinion, you've passed!"