The next reward wasn’t as impactful . ‘Stronghold level +3’ might sound great, but it wasn’t essential as the current Stronghold level was still quite low, so it wasn’t difficult to raise its level .
‘Stronghold level +3’ increased Starlight’s Stronghold from low to intermediate — unlocking various facilities such as the ‘Sentinel Tower,’ ‘Guard Tower,’ and ‘City Wall . ’ However, the production of them wasn’t free .
The range of the Stronghold also expanded by one-third which was slightly better than the new facilities but at least it was better than nothing .
Other than these changes, the ‘Hidden Reward’ left Rhode slightly surprised . It didn’t benefit Rhode directly — instead, it added a new structure called the ‘Summon Gate . ’ Even in the game, it was considered a rare structure .
After constructing the Summon Gate, players belonging to the mercenary group would receive a Summoning Rock . Unless the players were in a magic-interference area or prohibited from teleporting with sealing spells, they could instantaneously return to their Stronghold after activating the Summoning Rock .
Furthermore, higher-ranking members could even pinpoint a destination and open a portal to transport others to that location .
In the game, all the top ten guilds had this structure as the benefits of it were evident especially during long journeys or when facing troublesome BOSSes .
They could send a one-man forward party out while others spend their time doing important things in the Stronghold . Once the forward party reaches the specified location, he or she could activate the Summoning Rock and transport all the members instantly, saving time and resources .
In the game, the Summon Gate was categorized as an ancient relic; thus, ordinary NPCs wouldn’t be able to lay their hands on it . Some areas with considerable development in magic like the underground cave beneath Golden City possessed it as well .
Rhode knew where the Summon Gate was — and of course most people had no idea of it at all . But anyway, it was basically impossible to ambush other capitals using the Summon Gate because most capitals possess barrier enchantments against teleportation . Therefore the most significant benefit of the Summon Gate was to use it against BOSSes .
Rhode felt a little odd seeing this here . The thought of being able to teleport just like a player caused him to have second thoughts of the truth of this world . Was it still just a game?
Moving on, whether it was the Summon Gate or the Sphere of Mystery, all of these were merely worldly possessions . The next item was the most important of them all .
Experience Points (EXP) .
After receiving the EXP from the mission reward, Rhode’s level once again had a new breakthrough . However as the EXP requirement for each level increased along with his levels, Rhode only managed to level up by five . He barely hit level 28 and wasn’t able to reach the 30th mark . He received a total of 13 Skill Points with an extra three from the mission reward .
These 13 Skill Points seemed like a lot, but Rhode knew that it was only enough to upgrade one Swordsmanship by two levels . Both Starfall and Dark Swordsmanship were Rank ‘C,’ meaning that Rhode could only upgrade either one of them to Rank ‘A . ’ But even so, Rank ‘A’ was already considered very powerful . To put it simply, a Rank ‘A’ Swordsmanship would be equivalent to the Legendary Stage . However, whether his body could support a Rank ‘A’ Swordsmanship was another problem altogether .
Facing this dilemma, Rhode shook his head and closed the Swordsmanship interface . Instead, he guided his thoughts and opened the long-neglected talent tree .
Whether it was the ‘Summoning Master’ or ‘Soul Messenger,’ Rhode had already activated both of their third stages . The ‘Summoning Master’ tree featured: , , and the ‘Soul Messenger’ tree had: , , .
: The Spirit Swordsman’s first Aura Skill . Within the AoE of the aura, the level of summoned spirits will increase by +1/+2/+3 . Can be superimposed with other auras .
: Passive Skill . When your summoned spirit attacks, there’s a chance to curse the enemy with its own attributes . Can be dispelled and resisted . Strength of level +1/+2/+3 .
: Passive Skill . Summoned spirits will increase their resistance against attacks on their weaknesses +1/+2/+3 .
: Active Skill . Available once per day . Once the summoner successfully hits its target with this skill, the Spiritual Energy of its target will be extracted for himself . Can be resisted .
: Summoner can pinpoint a target and summon all his spirits at the designated target . Duration +1/+2/+3 .
: Summoner can select a summoned spirit in his party to transform into his looks . No changes to the attributes, levels, and skills of the spirit . Duration 1 minute . Able to transfigure +1 +2/+3/+4 spirits .
Rhode didn’t hesitate for long before making his decision . While both talent trees had decent utility, there weren’t many skills he would use . Therefore he quickly used 6 out of his 13 Skill Points to max out and . Then, he allocated 4 points to and before dumping 3 points into .
No matter what, Rhode required maximum proficiency of his summoned spirits . Even though Rhode had the ability to maintain a vast amount of spirits simultaneously, he was greatly limited by the duration . With Legion Horns, Rhode could pinpoint a target and all of his summoned spirits would be instantaneously summoned at the designated target . Although the skill could last up to three seconds, Rhode believed that three seconds would be enough to turn the tide of the battle .
Rhode chose Taboo Ring because Composition Adornment didn’t live up to his expectations . As for Soul Extraction, its effects were far more beneficial than the previous skills . Since Rhode was a Spirit Swordsman with a maximized talent in enhancing Spiritual Energy, his Spiritual Energy had far exceeded other swordsmen . However, it still lacked when compared to the casting classes .
As a Spirit Swordsman, he needed a lot of Spiritual Energy to maintain his summoned spirits . Therefore, it would be the best if he could replenish his Spiritual Energy during battle — and this talent was perfect for that . Anyway, this talent was also a necessity for Spirit Swordsmen who chose the Soul Messenger talent tree .
As for and , Rhode chose them for support purposes . Rhode could cloud his enemies’ judgment and reinforce the resistance of his summoned spirits .
At least with Enhanced Resistance, his summoned spirits wouldn’t be knocked out in one hit from its elemental weakness . The weaknesses of pure elemental spirits were obvious, so Rhode didn’t wish that such situations would occur .
After tapping on the final talent tree interface, Rhode let out a long sigh . He could feel a wave of power surging through his body . Perhaps if he were to fight Barter right now, he wouldn’t need to rely on the set effects to defeat him .
In the end, it can be said that Rhode’s real objective wasn’t as simple as other guild leaders . During the last moments of the fight against Waltz, Rhode didn’t believe that Waltz could acquire the Demon Bracelet through luck alone . In fact, he could almost guess who was secretly backing Waltz .
The people backing Waltz were indubitably Rhode’s enemies, and now it appeared that they were about to take things into their own hands . Without a doubt, Rhode wouldn’t allow them to have their way because everything that he did in Paphield and the midsummer festival put him on the other side of the fence . Thus, Rhode had no choice but to gather his strength to resist the opposition .
But before that, he had something important to do .
The closing ceremony would take place the day after today and Royal Highness Lydia would be granting the victor a wish .
Could she grant his wish?
Rhode lifted his chin and gazed at the horizon that was slowly turning brighter .
The sun had begun to rise .