Zenith Online: Rebirth of the Strongest Player
Chapter 329: Bladed Ghostmancer, A Titled Ranker's Strength

Since Altair had employed his Lightless Shroud to deal with the weaker opponents on the field that crossed a certain threshold, not many of them could make it past the small perimeter he set.

Due to the effects of the Lightless Shroud, if a player approached Altair, they'd walk into an unknown situation with their sense of sight disabled.

If not for his Eye of Darkness reaching the Shadow Illumination level, Altair would have also faced the same repercussions of having his Lightless Shroud active.

In fact, this was the reason why Zephyr had him train the ability before moving on to accepting the power from the Throne of Deathless Night.

Had he simply sat on the throne without awakening the Eye of Darkness, what he would have received would not allow him to utilize the Lightless Shroud at maximum capacity.

Nevertheless, because of Altair's actions, only one person nearby made it past his perimeter, though that was only due to the odd nature of their class.

Naturally, this individual was Soulless, who utilized the power of ghosts to augment either his attacks or body directly but that didn't entail the full scope of his class.

For example, when chasing after Kieran, he employed a powerful Wind Element ghost by the name of Wynsol. Thus, when Kieran felt this strange presence that could only be attributed to Soulless, he understood that the man was about to act.

"I must admit, your persistence is phenomenal. In this regard, I don't think I've ever come across someone of your standard," Soulless said, his voice monotone.

Soon, the unsheathed blade in his hand gradually lit up with a series of different colors, all of which matched whatever element the ghosts in his possession were.

However, out of the many symbols on the blade, one caught Kieran's eye. It was a symbol with an amethyst glow yet a silver outline, producing quite a breathtaking scene.

After looking at the blade for a moment, Kieran shifted his gaze back to Vielens and Xion, who remained occupied by the Blood Bind Kieran had unleashed seconds ago.

'According to what was known about Soulless, that last symbol is far from simple. I heard rumors of his class in the past, but I couldn't quite verify it. He was one of the few people who succeeded in finding a path that didn't deviate from his favorite class—the Ghostblade,' Kieran thought.

All of a sudden, a blend of amethyst and silver light traveled up Soulless' arm, steadily producing a change in his presence and appearance. His previously midnight blue hair gradually took on a deep amethyst color and grew until it reached his waist.

Though, at the end of every hair strand was a subtle silver glow.

Aside from this, an unusual headband with strange symbols swirling around an eye-shaped marking appeared on his forehead. From the headband, unusual symbols began covering every inch of his body.

Upon closer inspection, Kieran realized these symbols matched those found on Soulless' blade.

The incessant repetition of the symbol and the drastic change in Soulless' presence led Kieran to assume one thing—Soulless had unleashed a release-type skill.

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Most would find this behavior odd because they had yet to clash, but Soulless preempted the battle with the activation of a trump card. This alone conveyed how highly of an opponent Soulless considered Kieran to be.

Unfortunately for Kieran, he couldn't activate his own release-type skills and benefit from increased attributes.

Abhorrent Paroxysm still had some time to go before it would be off its cooldown period, while Deranged Spirit had just recently entered cooldown.

With the strange effects of Hekaina's seal, the latter wasn't a skill Kieran was interested in for the time being.

Granted, there was also the Ancient Crimson Aegis, but because of Scar's warning, Kieran decided to refrain from attempting the forced activation of it.

Despite all his growth thus far, he had yet to reach a state where he could activate the Imperfect Blood Armor without exhausting the Seed of Vengeance's essence.

Until he could confirm whether the essence of a Source could be replenished, Kieran decided it was best to keep the seed for nurturing purposes.

While the Nurturing Divine Mystic Spark could nurture Kieran's soul itself, it could do nothing for a Soul Trait of Kieran's nature.

For that, Kieran required items or emotional liberation of a compatible type.

After watching Soulless' transformation, Kieran lifted his hand without looking and began tapping on the screen.

Within seconds, both the stream audio and visuals were brought back online, which resulted in a surge of delighted viewers.

However, just moments after putting the stream back online, Kieran spoke, "Until now, you could argue that I have never once faced off against a worthwhile opponent, and you'd be correct. Though, after today, that will no longer be the case. In just a few moments, there'll be an addition to my conquest list of considerable names."

Following a pause, Kieran controlled the stream's focus to shift to Soulless in the distance. "The Midnight Revenant, otherwise known as the Titled Ranker Soulless. Or even more importantly, a Vice Guild Master of Umbra—this is the identity of the one before me."

A second later, Kieran shifted his gaze to Vielens and Xion before snapping his fingers. The Blood Bind that tracked their every move, attempting to bind them, was abruptly canceled by the action.

"To commemorate my first clash against an admittedly tough opponent, I'll let them do as they please. I guess because I'm nameless, there's this belief that I can be trampled upon, belittled, and targeted. Let this stream serve as a warning to you guilds that are considering to move against me. Because I owe it to my supporters, I have a certain level of supremacy to uphold."

In response to those words, the stream chat erupted with messages of a single kind—ones that voiced how arrogant Kieran's words were.

However, Kieran didn't care about the opinions of his arrogance.

Quite frankly, Kieran was exhausted with the way Overlord and higher guilds wantonly threw their weight around to commandeer whatever they pleased.

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An example was in order.

The idea that he was unknown and therefore an easy target was a fallacy. Whilst other players focused on conflict, Kieran encountered many opportunities to structure his future.

Whether it was his class, subclass, or the imprint on his body—all of it held dire importance for the future.

"The blatant disrespect toward Vice Guild Master Soulless is ridiculous!" Vielens scowled. Aside from feeling anger for that reason, Vielens also felt denigrated.

How could Kieran so confidently claim that he would go against one Titled Ranker of immense skill while simultaneously battling against two High Rankers?

The arrogance was simply unprecedented.

Though he was skilled, because Kieran had yet to participate in an Exemplar Series, which was part of the Gamer Republic's Global Examination, there was no official rank attached to him.

Yet, if he did manage to pull off what he claimed he would, then his ranking, while unofficial, would be comparable to or perhaps slightly higher than Soulless.

Though, that would only pertain to Zenith Online's standards since the condition of Kieran's real body was unknown to the public.

After voicing his intention, Kieran lifted Crimson Ashrune.

In the background, Altair continued to reap lives at a frightening pace. 'Despite having just received the class, he embodies a Shadow Dancer well.'

Aside from the blinding effect of the Lightless Shroud, Altair's Night Embers also produced a corrosive effect. As a result, many of the players caught in his shroud experienced a gradual decline in their Health.

If it couldn't be rectified quickly, the gloom of the Lightless Shroud would eventually permeate their bodies, resulting in feelings of sluggishness and disorientation.

When it came to reaping lives and creating unfavorable circumstances for an opponent, the Shadow Dancer Class was essentially unmatched!

"I understand that arrogance is common amongst those with skill. But overconfidence can be lethal. Also, you shouldn't consider me your typical opponent. ," Soulless said.

Afterward, he settled his blade at a slant and suddenly slashed it.

In an instant, a wave of eerie pressure blasted toward Kieran, bombarding his body as he slashed Crimson Ashrune down.

During this brief contact, Kieran realized something strange about this attack. It had zero physical aspects.

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'I thought the Bladed Ghostmancer Class is a mixed damage class. Why is this purely magical damage?'

When it came to distinct damage, there were three types.

The first type was physical damage, which was what melee classes inflicted.

The second type was magical damage, which was what Mages and other magic-type classes inflicted.

The last, and admittedly most common due to the principles of Mana, was mixed damage.

From what the name suggested, it consisted of both physical and magical damage. In fact, even Kieran's skills dealt mixed damage, which was why Crimson Ashrune possessed Mag. Atk. Though, compared to Kieran's Phys. Atk, it was pitiful, to say the least.

Nevertheless, Kieran could ignore the problem that raw magical damage produced.

All of a sudden, as Kieran was about to unleash a skill to break this ghastly pressure, a cold voice steeped in a lack of emotion resounded.

"Spectral Tread!"

Oom!

In place of the ghastly pressure, Soulless appeared before Kieran in the blink of an eye before slashing down while uttering another phrase.

"Ghost Imbuement: Hulking Throgal!"

Bang!

Contrary to Kieran's expectations, clashing against Soulless' attack resulted in him sliding backward. However, what was extremely surprising was that, although he slid backward, he lost no Health whatsoever.

This led Kieran to realize something strange. 'That's an enhanced Knockback effect. His STR and Phys. Atk are inferior to mine, but the effects of these ghosts are... strange.'

One of the reasons players hated going up against spectral creatures was their tendency to possess invasive abilities that bypassed one's external defenses.

Unless one could match the strange nature of ghosts with overwhelming magic power, they were a tricky opponent to deal with.

Instead of growing frustrated or despairing, Kieran smirked. 'There are no ifs, ands, or buts about this—Soulless' mental prowess has reached a staggering level. He can become my mental whetstone.'

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