Chapter 15: In the Ruins

Rhode looked at the scene of the destroyed ghosts and wiped his forehead of sweat. His expression showed a trace of exhaustion. So far, they’ve faced a full fifty-six ghosts. If they were a five-man squad, this would be nothing. But with only one of Rhode, they were unable to fight with conventional methods. Actually, the entire process was tiring as it involved Rhode cautiously attracting the ghosts, Leiya casting healing to weaken their defenses, and then him killing them as fast as possible.

Because these ghosts are at least level 10 elite monsters, even if it’s weakened defensively their offensive stats will increase inversely. The only reason he could take down so many monsters is because he had Star Stream and because he purposely aims for the critical spots for maximum damage.

But human beings, after all, are not machines. Even in-game, such exhaustive combat demanded a lot of mental focus. Not to mention that this was no longer simply a game. Considering his physical body, exhaustion was a true concern and failure meant death.

This pressure for survival made Rhode fight even harder. But even so, he looked up at the misty ruins in front of him. He finally let out a weary sigh as he determined that there would be no more monsters for the time being.

“Mr. Rhode, do you want to take a break?”

Immediately after, the girl worriedly said at Rhode. Although she was only a Healer and wasn’t very knowledgeable of his every move, she was still able to feel the pressure he bore.

“No… Not now…”

Rhode shook his head. Although the mobs have all been cleared, he always felt a slight danger. He looked around vigilantly, but he could not locate the reason for his faint sense of foreboding. According to their position, they haven’t yet reached the BOSS area. There shouldn’t be anything too dangerous in this area. Furthermore, Rhode was quite familiar with the distribution of the undead here. He could confidently state that the monsters in this area have been cleared out.

So, where exactly does this feeling of crisis come from?

Rhode looked around again but there was still nothing. But at that moment, the fat merchant suddenly shrieked.

“Ah!!”

“What is it?”

Rhode and Leiya hurriedly turned around to see Metz’s pale face and trembling hands. One hand was tightly clenching the bag and the other was pointed towards the thick mist.

“Just then, there was a shadow…”

“A shadow?”

Leiya looked at the direct that Metz pointed to. But besides the mist and dim sunlight, nothing else could be seen.

“Huh, there’s nothing…”

“Get down!!”

A sudden realization flashed in Rhode’s mind as he finally understood where that ominous feeling came from. As he shouted, he took Leiya and pulled her to the ground.

“Woosh!!”

Almost at the same time, a dark shadow flashed across the sky. Rhode could almost feel the cold claws brushing upon his scalp.

Damn it!

His heart sank as he immediately identified the flying creature. A gargoyle!

In the lore, the Misty Ruins used to be a lively and prosperous town. But as commerce dwindled, it was gradually abandoned. Years later, a mage came to this abandoned town to study the death arts and find a solution to bring back his deceased lover. However, the final study failed and the mage died. However, the death aura did not dissipate and created a dense mist and became a nest for undead.

But the lore also mentioned that the mage had left behind a gargoyle to protect his belongings. A level 15 elite!

If he had a raid team organized, Rhode would be quite happy. Certain elite monsters are very rare and yielded a higher possibility of loot and experience. But now, he can only feel his heart grow cold. Not only is this gargoyle a level 15 elite but it is also a flying-type monster. Furthermore, it just happens to be resistant to their group’s strongest abilities! A gargoyle is not an undead so Leiya’s healing is practically useless. Coupled with its hardened blackstone body, ordinary attacks will deal very little damage. That is if Rhode can even land a strike against this flying creature.

Rhode had played this mission more than thirty times and although he knew of the gargoyle, he never had encountered it. And so, he unwittingly forgot about this hidden danger.

Is this supposed to be good luck or bad luck?

However, Rhode was not in the mood right now to tangle his mind around this problem.

A head-on attack doesn’t seem promising. After all, it’s almost impossible for a character below 10 to challenge a level 15 monster. Even with Star Stream’s attack buff, there is not much that can be done.

“Run!”

Without much hesitation, Rhode immediately shouted an order. He pulled Leiya by one hand and yelled again.

“Come with me! Keep your heads down, do not look up!”

To retreat now is already impossible. The only solution is to find the gargoyle control tablet and completely destroyed it. Perhaps simply escaping out of the attack range is an option. However, after Rhode thought about his team configuration, he deemed it hopeless. If only he had a Ranger of a Thief with them. In that case, finding a suitable route would be easy.

But now is not the time to complain about bad circumstances.

Under Rhode’s orders, Leiya and Metz stumbled forward through the mist with their heads down. The surroundings mist started to stir as the commotion attracted the other ghosts. Now there were four or five ghosts that appeared out of the mist and glided in the direction of the three.

“Leiya, attack! Do not stop!”

“Yes!”

Although casting spells while running is difficult, she could only clench her teeth and extend her right hand. Soon, four beams of light fell from the sky like lightning. Rhode was not far behind as he quickly stabbed at the temporarily paralyzed ghosts. Just then, he saw a new system prompt flash in his vision.

[ Experience Points 1900/1800
Upgradeable to Level 8]

But there was no time for him to care about this new system prompt. More and more ghosts arrived as they drifted from the surroundings. Their movements were somewhat hesitant when faced with divine light, but their sheer numbers quickly made up for that gap.

Compared to these indecisive ghosts, the gargoyle did not care about the divine light. Although its body was also fueled by negative energy, its blackstone body is enough to resist the power of the divine light. Immediately after noticing that its first attack failed, it began to stalk the group of three overhead. In wait for the opportune chance to attack. Unlike the instinctive undead, the artificially-intelligent gargoyle was much more of a thorn to deal with.

“Ah!”

Just then, Metz fell heavily to the ground. The gargoyle, who had been waiting patiently above, immediately descended down. The two sets of sharp talons poised to sink into the clumsy prey. By the time Metz turned his face, its shadow had almost covered his whole body.

“My God…”

The speed of the gargoyle was indeed fast and as Metz closed his eyes to await death, a faint, golden barrier appeared out of the naked air. Shielding him from the blade-like claws. With a bang, the unprepared gargoyle was knocked into a cluster of ghosts below. Leiya rushed forward and forcefully pulled the fat merchant up and continued forward.

“Here!”

After escaping the siege of ghosts, Rhode finally led his group out of the majority of the encirclement. As he looked up, he found his goal. It was an abandoned church. It served as the primary place for the mage’s experiments and according to Rhode’s memory, it should be where the control tablet for the gargoyle is.

But this place is also riddled with dangers. He told the other two to wait nearby as he rushed for the entrance.

Just before Rhode reached the door to the church, he felt a dark presence in front of him. Almost unconsciously, he shadow flashed out and saw a dark gargoyle squatting just where he had stood. The hard claws dug deep into the stone bricks below.

“Damn it.”

Rhode whispered a scolding to himself. At the same time, he quickly glanced around. He found that two statues that originally decorated the church door disappeared from their pedestal. As for where they went, one can imagine.

If he actually met two, he might as well buy a lottery ticket today.

That is if he’s still alive.

“Go in and find the control tablet!”

Rhode glared at the gargoyle in front of him as he shouted orders to Leiya and Metz.

“These ghosts should not go in to find trouble. I will keep these two guys occupied. You take this opportunity to go in and find the control tablet and destroy it.”

“But… Mr. Rhode, you…”

“This is an order.”

Rhode cold interrupted Leiya as he turned around. Star Stream had a slight glow in his hands as he charged forward. The gargoyle, sensing his intent, also attacked at the same time. In this close and fierce fighting, Rhode yelled as he opened a path into the church.

“Go!”

 

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