The dark clouds shrouded the sky, covering the already blacken ground. Among the surroundings, it was a chaotic mess. Bloodstained bodies were gathered around, their weapons and armor showing signs of severe damage. The slight fog gave a sense of desolation and death.
Rhode took a breath, unaware of the cold and bloody air. After all, it was only a game. Thinking of the current situation, Rhode gave a wry smile as he shook his head. Then he turned around and looked at his comrades lying around on the ground. Either slowly regaining strength or doing some repairs on their equipment. On the surface, it may not seem like it was too out of the ordinary, but Rhode is very clear about the increasing difficulty of this raid.
“How many people are remaining?"
He asked quietly.
Upon hearing this question, the crowd glanced at each other for a few moments. Then, a skinny Mage stood up.
“Ninety-six. Leader, this Void Dragon seems to be even more than we expected. The only fortunate thing is that our composition is still fairly neat."
Listening to this, Rhode simply nodded. Soon, the entire group fell into a deep silence.
If this were an ordinary group, they would have undeniably lost their courage or fell into chaos. After all, they were about to face the game’s most powerful and most terrible existence. A BOSS that had never been conquered, the Void Dragon. The final World-Level BOSS in this third chapter of the game, "Dragon Soul Continent". Faced with this battle, an average guild would dispatch at least ten groups before even attempting the raid. But now, Rhode only has ninety-six, not even enough to constitute a single group. But even so, there was not the slightest panic or confusion in everyone’s eyes. Instead, only calmness, confidence, and trust.
And the one that they all trusted so much was standing several steps away from them. Looking up into the cloudy skies, with a resolute and stony face, a cold scar running down from the brow. A glimmering set of armor that shone with magical markings. Causing him to look like an insurmountable wall.
Of course, they did not trust this man simply because of his majestic appearance. No matter how tough they look, it was only a character's game design. There was nothing about the scar that told a history, it was only one of the game's aesthetic options.
The real reason was the prestige and innumerable achievements behind this man.
The reigning supreme player.
The player who reached the top with one of the most difficult Heroic professions in the game – the Summoner Swordsman.
Since the first chapter of the Dragon Soul “Dark Advent” opened, he led the newly formed Starlight Guild, to sweep the rankings and records within the game. Soon rose a guild that dominated the continent and a man that remained unchallenged – Rhode.
He personally brought an end to the "Dark Advent Era" and opened the "Turbulent Era". After conquering that came the "Trial of the Void". And now, the end of this era will soon come to an end as well. However, he won't be able to continue down this path much longer.
How many years has it been?
Rhode thought as he glanced at the sea of clouds overhead. The occasional thunderbolt falling in the distance.
Since my sister’s death… it's been seven years since I started on Dragon Soul Continent. During these seven years, it's all been difficult to shed the painful past. Perhaps that’s why I've always set these seemingly unattainable goals. But only to reach them time and time again. Perhaps only the great excitement and glory may be a true remedy, perhaps…
However, that line of thought can only go so far.
A month ago, Rhode’s parents were on a business trip overseas and were killed in a hurricane that caused their plane to crash. Rhode can't remember his immediate reaction when he received the news, but he came to a decision. He needed to leave the game and return to real life, it's time to make changes.
A timid voice sounded out, interrupting Rhode’s thinking. Looking up, he saw a timid, female mage raising her hand among the crowds. Her eyes shining with a slight glimmer.
“Sir, do you really want to leave?”
Rhode nodded and started to quickly pack up his inner thoughts. Shaking his head, he took another look at the companions that followed him. All seven years of memories and hard work with these friends of his. But now, he will need to eventually leave them. Although this was only a game, this was more than he could hope for. Once that game helmet comes off, they will no longer recognize each other.
“My job search resume was sent out yesterday. I'm hoping to find a company that would like to accept me.”
“President, if I receive your resume, I will certainly arrange for you to work as a department manager. Do not worry!"
A bulking knight shouted as he waved his sword in the air. His words breaking the previously boring atmosphere.
“Thank you for your kindness, but unfortunately I did not mention anything related to the game on the resume. Our guild has many enemies, and who know who they turn out to be in the real world. If any of them received my resume I'm afraid my life will not be much better."
Rhode answered with a smile. After a few moment, he gave a short cough and became serious.
“I think we all know how far we’ve come all these years.”
Hearing this, the crowd quickly became quiet.
“We should all know that there are plenty of people who accuse us on the web forums. That we have ruined the game's balance; that we have monopolized all of the first kills for the Bosses; that we’ve made competition meaningless… Frankly, I never thought anything was wrong, but… ”
Rhode suddenly clenched his fist as it shot upwards.
“But what does that have to do with us? We are the strongest guild, we are the strongest team! We have the strength! Then we can take what we want! The other guild can only watch on. If they have the strength, they can break our monopoly. It is by our strength that we've been recognized by the game company! We will never back down, we will never give up, we will never fall from our glory! That this what we have all earned.”
Rhode paused before continuing.
“I love this guild and I will miss the seven years that I've spent with all of you. But the real world is full of other delights. However, I will never forget everyone who walked this path with me. I will never forget this guild, this place that holds many of my most painful and fondest memories.”
Soon, Rhode pointed to himself.
“A lot of people have been saying many things about me. I think by now, many of the other guilds have heard the news. I’m sure they’ve been dreaming for the day that I leave. Surely, they greedily eye our treasures and our belongings. But they underestimate us. I may be strong but these achievements are not mine alone. I had no way of making a guild myself nor organizing a team by myself. Let alone get a first BOSS kill by myself. So I hope that after I’m gone, you can keep our guild’s progress. Let them know the true reason our guild is so strong!”
“No problem, President!”
“Leave it to us. I will give those fool a perfect answer!”
Rhode nodded then turned and faced someone on the right side of the crowd.
Rhodes greeted as a tall and thin Mage walked out of the crowd. Walking until he was right in front, Rhode gave a brief look before handing over a badge off his chest.
[System Bulletin: Guild Leadership Change Authorized – Guild President Title Transferred]
“This new era will be your time.”
Rhode said with a serene voice, his voice not wavering in the slightest.
“So, this battle will be yours to direct.”
The Mage nodded but soon opened his mouth once more.
“Then, as President of the guild, I command you to lead this team.”
At this order, Rhodes frowned but was not completely surprised. On the face of the Mage was a light smile as he patted Rhode’s shoulder.
“Rhode, there is a beginning and ending to everything. This era was opened by you, it is only fitting that you close it as well.”
After a silence, Rhode looked at his other companions. Seeing their expectant gazes, he inwardly sighed. Clenching his sword, he turned and faced the dark tower in the distance.
Then, Rhode raised his sword as he pointed forward. Only such an extraordinary ending to an extraordinary journey.
This Void Dragon was really powerful.
Rhode had battled against all of the top BOSSES in the game, even the other World-Class Dragons. Not only was this particular BOSS's base stats astronomical, but its attack patterns were very complex. The damage it dealt was at least several times higher than the average BOSS. Needless to say, it terms of speed, reaction time, or almost any other area, it was virtually unmatched.
This was indeed an unbeatable opponent.
With his sword in his hand, he clenched his teeth and watched the monster in front of him. At this crucial point in the battle, Rhode was now the last survivor. If he died then this raid would be a failure. But even in this moment, he did not display any timidness. Only his virtual blood that dripped a dazzling red reminded him of his increasingly low Health.
Then what about the Void Dragon?
Looking at the monster’s pair of blood-red eyes. Radiating an angry look, as if it was a real being. Rhode suddenly had a strange feeling. As if he could feel the other side’s mood. The game’s most powerful BOSS was about to fall, it must be a strange sensation.
“Well then, let me accompany you.”
Think of here, Rhode raised his left hand.
The crisp cry of a bird rang out. Accompanied by Rhode’s sword to flicker as bright flames appear upon it. A flaming phoenix soared forth towards the Void Dragon. The Void Dragon issued a mighty roar as it lashed out with its black talons.
Rhode felt sway slightly as a powerful force slammed into him. The Phoenix fell in dismay as it was stuck and exploded into a dazzling explosion. The moment of the explosion, it crashed into the dragon’s claw and forced open an opening in the dragon's defense.
For a brief time, a path to victory emerged.
Rhode bit down on his teeth as his vision turned even redder. Suggesting that his injuries have reached the critical point. But now was not the time for consideration. This was the last chance. It was either success or destruction. He lifted his sword lifted it up towards the skies. The air seemed to crackle with lightning as a vortex of clouds condensed overhead. The Void Dragon gave a deafening roar as it launched forward to flatten Rhode’s body. While at the same time, Rhode threw the sword in his hands and it flew like a javelin towards the incoming dragon.
Rhode watched attentively as the shining sword neared the dragon’s chest. At the same time, it pierced the dragon’s scales, a bolt of lightning descended from the skies and reached the tip of the sword.
A blast that shook the ground sounded as the area turned white for a moment. But by then, the huge dragon claw had already filled his vision.
As his vision was fading, Rhode could no longer see the scene at the battlefield. However, a system notification in the corner of his vision gave him a hint.
[System-Wide Announcement: Congratulations to the Starlight Guild for securing the first kill on the Void Dragon. An eternal evil has been eliminated.]
[Warning: Player has sustained too much damage – unable to continue.]
“So, it’s finally over.”
Looking at this line of alerts, Rhode revealed a slightly joyful expression.
Then, a bright beam of light fell from the sky.
The soft, white light illuminated the once dark sky. Dispersing the lingering clouds.
Just then, those resurrected players who were rushing to the teleportation platform suddenly stopped. The entire game, who had been bustling from the previous announcement of the Void Dragon kill, quieted down.
As a new line of information of information emerged.
[System-Wide Announcement: Player “Rhode” is now offline.]
The rule over the three chapters of the game, has ended.