Chapter 419: A Deadly Secret
Translator: AtlasStudios Editor: AtlasStudios
Fweet! A burning sensation pierced Vulture’s back the instant he heard Rhode’s whistle. Vulture lowered his head subconsciously and found a white, flawless blade glistening with gentle holy rays puncturing his chest. Then, the Undead Knight’s vision turned pitch-black.
A black sword secretly pierced the back of Vulture’s skull, through his brain and blinding one of his eyes. However, this wasn’t the end because the Spirit Bird screeched and dove from the sky, clenching tightly onto the Undead Knight’s body and shrouding him with massive, dazzling bolts of lightning. On the other side, the Centaur Knight darted from the shadows with his pike raised highly.
Suddenly, a palm wrapped around with electricity extended and struck the pike. The powerful impact exploded, scattering dust and gravel, bending the pike with its raw strength.
The Black Hound arrived by the Undead Knight’s side and bit him on the arm mercilessly. However, Vulture, who was emitting black smoke and filled with fire sparks, once again extended his arm, attempting to grab the Black Hound’s neck. But he didn’t succeed because Rhode emerged before him like a ghost and brandished his scarlet sword.
The red radiance shot towards Vulture in a perfectly straight line. In the blink of an eye, it pierced through the Black Hound’s body towards Vulture. However, Vulture barely had enough time to guard against this non-threatening strike; he felt a glaring white radiance and an explosive wave sweeping towards him.
Bam! The ear-deafening explosion resounded in the entire mountains—even the gravel from the surrounding valleys began to crumble. At this moment, Rhode lost all his elegance. He frantically escaped from the scorching heat waves until he reached the side of the chariot. Rhode had exhausted his final bit of strength because ‘Legion Horns’ was one of the most energy consuming skills. This was why Rhode only used this skill now. All he could do was to wait for the next results.
A pillar of flame soared into the sky, rendering the clouds in a red halo. As though they were glowing in harmony, the marble white color of the dawn sky finally emerged on the horizon.
It was daybreak.
After the flames finally disappeared, Rhode stood on his feet and gasped for air. He patted the dust and mud off himself and lifted his head towards Vulture. Under the glory of the dawn, the Undead Knight remained on the same, burnt spot, retaining its motion in grabbing the Crimson Blade. When the first morning sunlight shone on his body, he crumbled and turned into dust entirely, drifting with the wind.
Rhode let out a long sigh of relief and collapsed on his bum once again. There was only one trump card left in his arsenal—’Self-breakthrough’. If Vulture was not dead by then, Rhode would go ahead and take a hit from him. In any case, Rhode’s energy was emptied after casting ‘Legion Horns’ and it wasn’t difficult for him to be killed in a split second. However, due to this, it increased the chances of triggering ‘Self-breakthrough’ and would give Rhode a chance to turn the situation around.
Without a doubt, such a deadly combination existed only in theory because no matter what, Rhode wasn’t willing to gamble his life for an experiment. Furthermore, the recoil of ‘Self-breakthrough’ was worse than ‘Legion Horns’. He could recover from ‘Legion Horns’ after a couple days of rest; however, it wouldn’t be surprising if he laid in bed for at least ten days or up to half a month from triggering ‘Self-breakthrough’. Moreover, he didn’t bring along a healer for this trip, so if something serious were to happen to him, he could only rely on the few bottles of healing potion.
Although Vulture was dead, Rhode felt a chill down his spine because this was the most dangerous battle he had ever experienced in this world. As a matter of fact, even in the game, it was the undead creatures that gave players the most headache—especially those high-level undead creatures…
From a certain perspective, undead creatures were kind of similar to players. For a player like Rhode to gather this much rich battle experiences and hold vast knowledge and mastery in battle tactics was mainly because he was a player who could revive again and again.
It was the same for the undead creatures. Not to mention low-level undead creatures; high-level ones such as the lich or bloodsucker types could revive just like players. Without a doubt, they couldn’t revive on the spot with full health like players could, but their battle experiences was not lacking.
Moreover, there were two areas where the undead creatures were scarier than players. It was harder to kill them and most of them didn’t have any negative emotions such as fear—this was something that players weren’t able to achieve. These high-level undead creatures were as cold as a sharp blade, without a care in the world as long as they could take the lives of their enemies.
After this battle, Rhode gained a new understanding of the high-level undead creatures in this world. Vulture could be considered as the highest level Undead Knight he had ever met. Although those army deserters from the very start of Rhode’s journey in Silent Plateau were also Undead Knights, they were nothing compared to Vulture. However, this wasn’t the most troublesome matter: Rhode was most concerned about the characteristics of these undead creatures, which he had sensed during this battle.
After entering this world, Rhode realized that there were many differences between real life and the game. Take Rosen for example: in the game, he had hundreds of thousands of HP and an ordinary group of players wouldn’t be able to defeat him. However, in real life, he was still a living creature, so a punctured heart and a hacked skull killed him instantly. Unlike in the game, no matter how many times one tried to puncture his heart, he wouldn’t die as long as his HP didn’t deplete to 0. Such an illogical reasoning wouldn’t make sense in real life.
However, for a high-level undead creature like Vulture, he was almost similar to the ‘HP’ characteristic in the game. Undead creatures possessed souls, but their souls weren’t located in their chests or heads. For high-level undead creatures, it was most likely that they had a secret vessel to store their source of soul. When facing such an enemy, the only way to defeat them was to demolish their spiritual energy continuously until they lost the energy to support their bodies, just like a BOSS near the brink of death.
In the game, there was also a similar comparison: the war between the Country of Darkness and the Country of Light. Although the low-level Undead Soldiers didn’t possess powerful strength nor intelligence, their fearless, ruthless, machine-like discipline accompanied by their overwhelming quantities made them stronger than ordinary soldiers. These Undead Soldiers didn’t even require training or cultivating; they could go for wars as long as they picked up a weapon and their enemies were the fearful, emotional, and extremely fragile humans.
As for those high-level undead creatures, they were sly, possessed powerful strength, had more battle experiences, and lived much longer than the strong ones in the human civilization. Although the human race had elites who were on par with those high-level undead creatures, there was something that they lacked. And that was the ability to revive. If both were equally-leveled elites who had their skulls hacked at the same time, the undead creature would only need to expend some energy to recuperate from their ‘severe injuries’. However, the human elite would face a proper death.
This was the reason why only Lydia was capable of stopping them. As an Archangel, she perfectly displayed her non perishable feat of survival as long as the sun existed to oppose the army of the Country of Darkness.
Rhode thought that if the game was different from real life, perhaps the undead creatures might be easier to be dealt with. However, he discovered that according to this reality, living creatures were much easier targets to handle. The difficulty of dealing with living creatures had decreased from Normal to Beginner level and those undead creatures had passed the Difficult and even Nightmare level…
Does this mean that the army of the Country of Darkness will be much harder to oppose than I had expected?
This was the most tricky question to Rhode right now.
However, even though this question was bugging him, he didn’t need an answer to it now. He decided to throw this thought away, pulled himself up, and approached the corpse dust of Vulture. At this moment, the ferocious Undead Knight was nowhere to be seen. What remained was a pile of pale, white dust as a tribute to his final moment in this world.
The entire commercial route had been blasted beyond recognition. Apart from the destruction which the Black Hound left after self-exploding, Gillian’s flip out and Anne’s banging with her shield had brought along many chaotic scenes. Just look at the broken bones scattered around and the plants that were burnt…
And in this complete disorder, the number of spoils that Rhode could find was limited.
The Black Hound’s self-explosion let off an impact comparable to a medium-range missile, which annihilated a fatigue Master stage Undead Knight like Vulture. This went to show just how limited the spoils that remained were. After searching in the pile of ‘ashes’ in the Undead Knight, Rhode was only able to loot a couple of unimpressive items. There was a blown up ruby ring, recoverable with some patchwork, which Rhode valued as only a dinner worthy of a few gold coins. The Cyan Moonlight was much more unfortunate. Perhaps it was the first victim of the explosion which led to it being split into half, and this rare weapon instantly turned into worthless metal with a value less than the ruby ring.
The only valuable loots to Rhode were Vulture’s ‘Soul Core’ and ‘Soul Flute’. As a high-level undead creature driven by the power of the soul, the quality of Vulture’s Soul Core was impressive. On the other hand, the Soul Flute was a magical equipment used to order about the Bone Griffins. Rhode could use this equipment to summon a Bone Griffin as his personal escort. However, even though this was asking for death under the sky of the Country of Light, Rhode could still command the Bone Griffin to investigate the surroundings in the border area of the Land of Atonement with the dark night as cover.
Of course, with the precondition that no one discovers it.
That was all for Rhode’s spoils of war.
Rhode wasn’t entirely furious or dissatisfied with this result. After all, that battle involved his life, which was unlike the game, where he could revive instantly. He felt fortunate enough to survive this ordeal. As for the equipment, he could count himself lucky if there were good ones, but so be it if there weren’t any. At least he got to keep his life.
Harboring this thought, Rhode packed his loots and approached the chariot. It was seemingly impossible for them to hasten on with their journey because the unfortunate senior chariot driver was long dead and the few horses were murdered by the undead creatures at the start. Furthermore, in order to resist the explosion, Gillian forcefully used the chariot to defend against it, which left huge damage. Now, they only had two choices. They could choose to continue their journey while carrying all their luggage from the chariot. However, this wouldn’t be an easy task because even with the chariot, they would need at least half a day’s time to reach the Eagle City. If they were to walk, they would need at least two to three days.
The second choice was to ‘hitch a ride’. After all, this was a commercial route and there would be merchant chariots passing through from time to time. It wouldn’t be too difficult to hitch a ride with thorough explanations. However, Rhode didn’t wish to start any incident again as he had had enough.
In the end, Rhode decided to go on foot to the nearest village to see if they offered any chariots or horses for rental—at least he could avoid relying on his legs to reach the Eagle City. Rhode knew that the local garrisons would be notified of this incident; however, he didn’t have the intention to reason out with them because everything would be resolved after arriving in the Eagle City.
But, before that…
Rhode approached Natasha and Grendy with a stern expression. At this moment, the young lady was pale-faced as she hadn’t fully calmed down from the earlier battle. In response, Natasha nodded instinctively; however, Rhode’s next words to the young lady changed her expression greatly.
“I didn’t want to meddle in your business. But now, since I’ve been dragged into this, I think I have the right to know what exactly am I protecting.”
Natasha’s stomach turned to ice. The young lady took two steps back in uncertainty and found herself against the chariot door. At this moment, Gillian and Anne arrived timely.
“That’s right, that’s right. Anne doesn’t even know what was Anne fighting for.”
“I agree, Master. No matter what, we have sacrificed our chariot, the poor chariot driver, and our precious time. I think we need to affirm if the thing that we’re protecting was worth this much energy and time of ours.”
Grendy and Natasha sulked and didn’t know how to respond. However, what Rhode said was reasonable. There must be an explanation for them to put up a fight against undead creatures. Even if the contradiction between the living and the dead was irreconcilable, Rhode wasn’t a brainwashed citizen of the Country of Light who would kill any undead creatures whenever he spotted one. After fighting for the whole night and even putting himself on the line, Rhode was definitely curious what triggered Vulture to lead his elite unit in person.
Natasha exchanged glances with Grendy and the latter nodded helplessly. After gaining her companion’s agreement, Natasha let out a sigh and she handed over the wooden box that she held tightly in her arms.
Rhode took over the wooden box curiously and opened it.
Then, his expression suddenly changed.