Chapter 1352: City of the Decisive Battle (9)
Clang! Clang! Clang!
A series of rasps rang out in the clash of blades. Sparks after sparks splashed and illuminated the dim hall. The two figures collided heavily with a shimmering scythe and sword in hand, sending airwaves rushing in all directions.
“Hoo-hoo, Human. I didn’t think you were this skillful.”
After letting out a crisp, bell-like chuckle, Eleanor dodged Rhode’s attack again as if she were weightless. In the face of her remarks, Rhode swept an unpleasant glance at her. At that moment, he realized that besides her odd scythe, her body was the most troublesome to deal with. Logically speaking, although this young lady supposedly owned a human body, the problem was that she was like a deep sea mollusk; whenever she moved, her body was so soft and flexible as if she had no bones.
There was once when Rhode stabbed at her and she abruptly bent backward into an inverted ‘L’ to avoid his attack. That wasn’t impossible to achieve. After all, one who practiced gymnastics could also bend back that far. But the problem was that he was dashing ahead at that time, while she was also backing off. What was even more bizarre was that after she bent backward, she suddenly leaped back to change from an inverted ‘L’ to a straight line with her body to draw a distance away from him as if she were swimming backward in the sea. After looking at this scene, Rhode was stunned. And he was almost killed by her scythe.
He finally understood that ‘Grim Reaper’ wasn’t actually a title, but a race instead. Judging from her flexibility, she was the true definition of ‘as soft as a bone’. Not only that, but she was also quick in battle like a fish swimming in the sea and could do anything she wanted. Combined with the scythe’s lethality, it made it impossible for Rhode to secure a win anytime soon.
“You too, Miss Eleanor.”
In response to her exclamation, Rhode responded sincerely. As the previous ‘test’ was messed up by Lapis, they weren’t really serious in dueling with each other. Of course, Eleanor didn’t show such traits back then, which was normal as under the overwhelming bombardment of Lapis, even if she were to dance around happily, she would still be blown to pieces.
“It was Catherine who went up earlier, right? I didn’t expect her to turn out this way… Hoo-hoo…”
The Grim Reaper said, covering her mouth to chuckle as if she were feeling relaxed. And upon hearing her words, Rhode raised his eyebrows. He finally knew which team was standing in front of him now. It was a team of three made up of the serious Catherine, lively Eleanor, and another Little Five. However, when they fought for the first mental crystal earlier, their Catherine was absorbed by the Catherine on Rhode’s team. Rhode initially thought that the two remaining members of that team would split up, but never did he expect them to stick together. Not only that, but they also went ahead of him to activate the second mental crystal, which was out of his calculations.
But now, it seemed like this Eleanor also wasn’t the core personality. After all, even though she was the Grim Reaper, her smiley personality gave him an impression of her being a rather frisky character. If that was the character of the core personality, Rhode would definitely have an impression. On the other hand, the Eleanor who ambushed him earlier was filled with the aura of death and fitted the image of the core personality more. But in terms of who had given him the better first impression, this smiling Eleanor was more endearing to him.
At this thought, Rhode narrowed his eyes and lay down the sword in his hand. Upon seeing his action, the Grim Reaper blinked curiously. Despite that, she didn’t put away her weapon. Instead, she continued gripping the scythe and looked at the young man cautiously.
“Do we still have to keep fighting, Miss Eleanor?”
Upon hearing Rhode’s words, Eleanor was taken aback. Soon after, that soft, cheery smile that was characteristic of a young lady appeared on her face once again.
“It isn’t like we don’t have to, Mr. Human. Little missy (Little Five) asked me to help her stop someone here. After all, you can’t fall twice in the same place, can you? Just in case, we’ll have to be prepared for that too. Besides, there’s nothing to do up there anyway, so it’s good to pass the time here, don’t you think?”
Upon hearing Eleanor’s reply, there was nothing that Rhode could do. However, he keenly realized a hidden message in her words. It seemed like Eleanor and Little Five knew who that mental crystal belonged to, which was why one of them activated the crystal, while the other stopped intruders. Otherwise, if they didn’t know who the mental crystal belonged to, they would have gone and activated it together, wouldn’t they?
“In that case…”
At that thought, Rhode didn’t say anything more but raised his sword instead. He didn’t want to destroy the Eleanor in front of him. After all, this was also one of the Grim Reaper’s personalities, so it would be a problem if he killed her. But then again, there were still benefits for strengthening the communication between him and her.
But what Rhode didn’t expect was that just as he lifted his sword to ‘communicate’ with Eleanor again, a series of deep rumbles sounded all of a sudden. The stable tower trembled as if an earthquake of magnitude 10 struck. The solid ground rose and fell like ocean waves. A crack appeared like a spiderweb on the wall, gradually extending in all directions. From time to time, gravel dropped as if the building were on the verge of collapsing.
What? The battle up there has ended already?
Realizing that possibility, Rhode shifted his gaze to the top floor in astonishment. It would be a lie if he said that he wasn’t worried. Even players who randomly teamed up for a dungeon raid would add one another as friends as long as they didn’t get along too badly, not to mention that Rhode had teamed up with Little Five and Catherine for a while and got along well.
At that moment, he was a little concerned about whether it was Little Five or her other self who won the battle. But unfortunately, he was unable to confirm who the winner was because while the building crumbled, a glow that he couldn’t be more familiar with enveloped his vision. At the next moment, his world plunged into the same pitch-blackness as before once again.
“Argh… Here we go again…”
Before Rhode opened his eyes, he already felt the damp and moist air around him and heard the sound of waves crashing onto the shore. Hence, without even looking at his surroundings, he was somewhat certain of where he was. As a matter of fact, right after he opened his eyes, the first thing that came into sight was a deep and dark ocean. At his feet was a small observation platform with a spectacular view.
The moment he confirmed his position, he turned around and looked at the nearby tower immediately. Only seven mental crystals were left. The mental crystals were getting fewer and fewer, which also meant that time was running out. Of course, in addition to that, the amount of time needed to search and obtain the crystals were also limited. However…
“Looks like it’s just me now.”
Unlike before, this time there were no Catherine and Little Five around. Rhode couldn’t help but let out a sigh. But as soon as he muttered those words, he heard a soft and somewhat familiar voice from behind.
“Gee, Mr. Human, you can’t say that; I’m with you, aren’t I?”
Upon hearing that voice, Rhode turned around and gripped his sword instinctively, only to find that Eleanor, the Grim Reaper he fought earlier, ‘floating at the edge of the observation deck and looking a little terrifying and eerie. But shortly after, she let out a string of laughter that diminished the bizarre atmosphere. Staring at Eleanor, Rhode felt nervous at first. But soon, he felt more relaxed.
“Oh, it’s Miss Eleanor…”
Rhode finally considered himself to have completely figured out the rules set by Karin. At the end of the day, the teleportation wasn’t randomized, but depended on who was closest to him at the time of teleportation. When he was about to activate the mental crystal, perhaps Eleanor’s team was fighting below them. And after he activated the mental crystal, the Catherine from Eleanor’s team was teleported directly to the top floor to start a one-on-one duel just like the Little Five on his team.
Meanwhile, the other two members in the team had to tragically climb the stairs. But before they climbed to the top floor, the fight on Rhode’s side ended. Hence, Rhode and his team were randomly teleported to another location. And naturally, Eleanor and Little Five below them were also teleported away. And this time, he and Eleanor were below them, so that meant that the Little Five and Catherine above should also be teleported to another place.
“What are your plans, Mr. Human?”
Despite being separated from her companion, Eleanor appeared rather calm. She sat on the railing and gazed at Rhode with her hands resting on her cheeks, wearing a playful smile. Judging from her reaction, it was as if she wasn’t an enemy he just fought with, but a friend he hadn’t seen for a long time. This Grim Reaper had a likable personality though, or at least was very thoughtful. And since the young lady was so kind, Rhode naturally wouldn’t be petty about trivial matters.
“I’m going to look for the other mental crystals to check on the situation. If it’s possible, would you like to come with me, Miss Eleanor?”
After hearing Eleanor’s question, Rhode extended an invitation to her instantly as if it were someone else’s head that was about to be hacked off by her earlier. Upon hearing his words, Eleanor giggled, drifted down from the railing, and went up to him.
“Sure, Mr. Human. I have nothing better to do anyway. Besides, I feel that if I follow you, I’m sure I’ll encounter something interesting.”
“Please don’t call me Mr. Human; it sounds really awkward. I have a name too. I’m Rhode…”
“Yes, Mr. Rhode!”
Rhode was speechless in the face of this vivacious Grim Reaper. Little Five was also talkative, but she simply enjoyed chatting, with others and with herself. But this Eleanor was clearly not that kind of person. In terms of atmosphere, she was more like Anne to Rhode.
Even if Eleanor didn’t specifically do anything, as long as she was around, she would lighten the atmosphere with an unexplainable sense of joy and cheerfulness. It was imaginable that if this young lady went out as the Grim Reaper, one would be glad to give one’s life to her… Perhaps?
Rhode commented about her lively personality inwardly and didn’t give much thoughts. Besides, he didn’t hate teaming up with this Eleanor. After all, she seemed to have a decent personality. Not only that, but he also felt like she was stronger than Little Five after their exchange in blows.
As for the problem with the other Little Five, Rhode didn’t mention it again. Although he was a little worried that she would be defeated in the earlier battle, he would be a fool if he discussed this question with Eleanor. Since Eleanor was all too wise not to ask him of his teammate’s situation, he certainly wouldn’t bring it up either.
“So Miss Eleanor, where do you think we should head to?”
Although he had no intention of touching the sensitive topic, he still asked this question without batting an eyelid. In fact, he hadn’t given too much thought about it earlier, but after two consecutive battles, he developed an unprecedented suspicion. Despite that, he didn’t show his doubt, but pretended to be quite a gentleman and asked Eleanor the question instead.
When she heard his question, she didn’t state anything. On the contrary, she squinted and pondered for a moment, before reaching out her hand and pointing to a nearby tower with a mental crystal located by the sea.
“How about there, Mr. Rhode? I can feel it; the mental crystal has my aura on it.”
“… Huh? You can feel the aura on the mental crystal?”
After hearing Eleanor’s answer, Rhode was taken aback. Not to mention anything else, her answer was indeed unexpected. Upon hearing his question, Eleanor gave a matter-of-fact nod.
“Of course, Mr. Rhode. Otherwise, why do you think we met twice in a row? My team chose to head there because Little missy’s (Little Five’s) and Miss Catherine’s mental crystals were relatively close to each other. Just that I didn’t expect our luck to be so bad… But that’s fine too…”
What in the world!
After hearing Eleanor’s words, Rhode twitched the corner of his eyes. He didn’t detect any aura from the mental crystals at all. But what Eleanor said wasn’t completely unreasonable, or else he wouldn’t be able to explain why they ran into each other twice in a row. But… Why didn’t the Little Five and Catherine on his team mention a word if they were able to feel the aura on the mental crystals?
Rhode didn’t think that they were tricking him because from the very beginning, the two of them always listened to him and hadn’t made any comments about that at all. One had to know that there were mental crystals belonging to four people in this world. And chances were Rhode could find the right mental crystals for both of them, too. Wouldn’t they be wasting time if they ended up targeting and retrieving mental crystals belonging to Dona or Eleanor?
After giving it some thoughts, Rhode felt like the biggest reason was most likely that they didn’t care too much, though they were aware of it. After all, based on his observation, that foodie, Little Five, basically didn’t care about anything but the snacks in her hands. On the other hand, Catherine was a taciturn person. So even if they sensed something, they wouldn’t take it too seriously.
Of course, this also had something to do with Rhode being too strong. After all, he was always the one who made the decisions and those two barely commented. But… It wouldn’t kill them to give their input!
At this thought, Rhode felt like weeping, but had no tears. He didn’t expect to be burdened terribly by incompetent teammates in a place like this… But fortunately, things changed for the better; this Eleanor seemed much more reliable than Little Five and Catherine; it was just that he didn’t know how those two could survive without him.
“Eleanor, can you sense the aura in the other mental crystals?”
With that in mind, Rhode looked to her again to ask the question. But this time, she shook her head.
“I’m sorry, Mr. Rhode, but I can only feel the aura of my mental crystals; I can’t sense the aura of anyone else’s.”
“Is that so…”
After hearing her response, Rhode sighed. He initially decided to let Eleanor take him to the other mental crystals to keep watch over them. But it looked like it was hopeless now. However, he wasn’t that mindful. After all, those two young ladies weren’t that stupid (perhaps?), so they should be able to handle troubles themselves. As for Rhode, since he teamed up with Eleanor, it would be better to follow the Grim Reaper to see what was going on, which was much better than scurrying all over the field himself anyway.
At this thought, Rhode made up his mind quickly.