Thus, the first battle began! Although the iron soldiers' individual strength merely stood at the peak of the Transcendent Rank, they didn't have gravity to worry about. Fluid moves and perfect coordination rapidly showcased the seriousness of their threats.
Without the use of mighty spells, though Konrad could effortlessly cleave a path for himself, for those at his back, that was another story.
Or so he thought…
As soon as his sword slash split the ten iron soldiers in two, their two halves again joined one another, returning to a perfect state before resuming their charge toward the group.
"Since when do the guardians regenerate mid-fight?
Don't even mention Transcendent Rank experts. With such a trial, how do low and mid-level Semi-Saints survive?
Is the tower deliberately making things difficult for us?"
Konrad wondered, but he wasn't given much time to pursue his thought. Though the narrow passageway guaranteed that they could only battle a small enemy wave at a time, with their foes' instant regeneration abilities, it also made fighting their way out nigh impossible!
Horizontally bending her energy sword, Iliana stopped the offensive of three iron guards, deflected their strength, then beheaded them. At her side, Jasmine skewered them one after the other while at their back, Daphne summoned a bow, and fired energy arrows at the incoming troops.
The others didn't fall behind.
Freya and Astarte who cultivated the Battle Scripture seemed to get stronger as the fight dragged, the intensity of clashing steel empowering their moves.
Zamira and Lena who possessed the highest cultivation led the charge, while Faidra and Aliki assisted Diyana in firing spells.
Meanwhile, Konrad handled the front, cleaving dozens of enemies with every single sword slash. But to no avail!
Worse, they didn't dare step forward because they knew well-enough that doing so would allow the reconstructing guards to divide and encircle them!
The Hundred Flower Scripture practitioners could turn into light particles and flee. However, that decision came at the cost of the others. And in this current situation, using a stronger arsenal such as lineage weapons served no purpose.
It wasn't about how many they could kill. They had to find a way to stop the regeneration process. And following half-an-hour of melee, though the rear still stood firm, Konrad didn't doubt they would soon start faltering.
He'd long since considered pulling them all into his space pouch but realized he couldn't.
He could neither bring people in nor bring them out. Only items were allowed.
"Since the guards are invincible, to begin with, why forbid the use of sixth circle spells? It's not like it would anything. On the contrary, I would exhaust me faster.
What can I do with a sixth circle spell that I can't do with arms?"
Konrad wondered while beheading the assailants. And suddenly, the realization dawned onto him.
"Kill them all…at the same time…in a single move."
Understanding the scheme, Konrad closed his blind eyes, focusing solely on his Origin Sight.
Words spoken by Yvonne during one of their numerous sparring sessions echoed within his mind.
"All things in this world possess a force. The question is whether we can harness it or not. Weapons are no different. Swords, spears, hammers, staves, all possess an innate force which once channeled will let their might skyrocket.
But unleashing a weapon's innate force is one thing, combining it with yours is another. Once you can achieve that, even an average weapon can rival Holy Artifacts."
Konrad lowered his broadsword, and from it, thin strands of white light slowly emerged. The thin strands thickened, becoming dazzling white rays whose mere presence hacked several of the assailing guards.
The Miraculous Transcendence swirling around him, then shrunk to coil around the sword, the two forces merging to become one.
Again, Konrad's eyes opened, and though no aura swirled around him, the pressure emanating from his presence rose to a new level.
With a three-hundred-sixty-degree rotation, he drew a perfect sword arc, releasing a dazzling sword force ring that spread throughout the five-hundred iron guards blocking them front and back!
The iron guards stopped dead in their tracks, their armored bodies quivering.
And simultaneously, they exploded in thousands of perfectly cut metallic pieces. This time, they didn't regenerate.
With her limited vision preventing her from grasping the situation, Diyana was startled. However, the others were undisturbed.
It was almost as if Konrad's achievements were all natural and needn't trigger surprise. Indeed, this was faith.
Konrad ordered after making sure none of his girls were injured.
And the team resumed its advance.
This time, they carried on undisturbed and reached the end of the road.
The shining light clearly marked the exit, but before they could cross it, a figure emerged from the light and landed before them. That figure looked almost identical to the iron guards they'd previously faced.
However, it was twice the size, and an iron crown also rested on top of its head. Konrad identified it as the First Floor Guardian. Rather than sword and spear, the Guardian wielded a glaive, and the aura emanating from it rivaled that of peak-stage Semi-Saints.
The Guardian assumed its battle stance, aiming its glaive at the group. Guardians didn't have to be defeated. As long as the team could bypass them, they could carry on.
However, without defeating the Guardian, they could only have access to the scattered floor loot. The primary loot would remain out of reach.
Freya replied to Konrad's call.
"You have ten moves."
"I will do it in five."
Freya replied and stepped forward. Diyana felt that woman too conceited. Although the Guardian was a metallic construct, it possessed spiritual intelligence and a robust foundation.
Even if Freya's victory was guaranteed, claiming to triumph in five moves was simply arrogant. To say nothing of the gap of an entire rank that ensured she could, at best, obtain a pyrrhic victory!
The Guardian stomped its right foot and shot toward her, aiming its glaive at her neck.
Freya bent backward to let the flow fly by her nose, then drove her sword toward the Guardian's torso.
In the blink of an eye, the Guardian raised its knee, slamming the flat side of the sword to deflect the blow while rotating on the left to land back on its feet.
And as Freya readjusted her stance, it flew toward her with a frontal thrust!
Vast Semi-Holy force erupted from the glaive, but as it approached her bountiful chest, Absolute Transcendence exploded from Freya.
She sidestepped, split the glaive in two, lopped off the Guardian's legs, and tore off its head!
All in three perfect moves that took less than one-thousandth of a second!
What remained of the Guardian collapsed on the floor, and its iron carcass then vanished in light particles.
Konrad nodded and beckoned.
Again, only Diyana was startled. The realization that she'd fallen in a team of monsters led by a horrifying creature finally dawned onto her!
Now, she finally realized why Konrad paid her such little heed. It wasn't that he looked down on her. With the team he already had, there was nothing to look up to.
She could only become "another one."
Freya stopped by Konrad's side, her fluttering eyelashes begging for attention. While to others, she remained uncompromising and overbearing, before Konrad, she would immediately turn into a loving pet craving attention.
"Dear husband, did I do well?"
"Well, very well. I must reward you."
With a roguish grin, he seized her by the waist, holding her firmly in one arm, while his lips pulled her into an ardent kiss. Unable and unwilling to resist Konrad's coiling tongue, Freya melted in his arms.
But the brazen demon prince didn't stop there, pushing his knee between Freya's thighs, and rubbing her snatch beneath the fabric.
The combination triggered a mini orgasm that sent a small tremor throughout Freya's supple body. She collapsed on Konrad's chest.
Faced with Freya's "express care," the others resolved to strive for merits on the following floors!
And alarmed by this odd scene, Diyana's eyes went from Konrad to his harem girls, wondering what drug he injected in them that they sought his touch at every turn.
"Alright, enough playing around."
Seriousness returned to the troops, and without further delay, they stepped into the light, landing in a spacious room where three massive gates stood. Before anyone could react, the middle gate fired a beam toward Freya's forehead, then opened.
Clearly, the primary loot lied there.
As for the other two, they had to be pushed open.