It looks like everyone was eager to gossip judging by their expressions . It seems as though they cared about this problem more than the life and death of their mercenary group .
The man who was emotionlessly sitting on the chair immediately shot an exciting look at the Old President .
On the opposite side, Rhode rested on his chair lazily . Looking at his relaxed expression, it seemed that he didn't even put the Old President in his eyes .
That stinky kid!
The Old President almost verbally blurted out his displeasure . He thought that Rhode would at least care for the matters relating to his mercenary group and wanted to wipe off that placid look on his beautifully emotionless face . But on the contrary, it made him angry instead .
Hmph . There's still plenty of time for us to settle this later, kid!
The Old President glared fiercely at Rhode, but he suppressed his anger and continued his speech .
"According to our investigations, we have enough evidence to prove that Jade Tears is the instigator of the matter . However, Starlight's leader clearly overreacted . So we have made a decision what to do with the both of them . But before I reveal the decision, I want to ask if the both of you have anything to add . "
At that moment, the man who had stayed silent from the start finally stood up .
"The Jade Tears mercenary group can't tolerate this act of provocation . Until the leader of Starlight is willing to apologize, there will be no peaceful resolution between the two of us . "
After those words were said, everyone felt shocked . Then, they turned their curious gazes to Rhode .
Rhode didn't disappoint their expectations . He opened his eyes and glanced at the man before revealing a gentle smile . From the others' perspective, however, this smile gave them a chill as though they've dipped in freezing water .
"I will pay back any grudges ten times fold . Anyone who insults me will get punished accordingly . For a group that collects trash as members should be regarded as trash instead of being allowed to attend this meeting . "
The atmosphere immediately tensed .
Everyone looked at each other . They didn't expect that Jade Tears would be so daring in front of the Mercenary Association . Rhode was also being unyielding and he even blatantly said that he intended to destroy Jade Tears . This meant that both mercenary groups have declared war against each other .
The crowd finally realized that matter had become big!
There're plenty of mercenary groups who didn't get along with each other, but if they lost their lives because of disputes like these with no clear reason or benefit, it's just not worth it .
However, Jade Tear's leader had been left bedridden by Rhode . Surely they wouldn't accept their leader being beaten up and their group being ridiculed because of their bribes? If they chose to bow their heads now, wouldn't they become a laughingstock in the future? By that time, even if Rhode didn't do anything, Jade Tears would probably be too embarrassed to stay here .
What Rhode had did made everyone feel a little scared . Yes, he was insulted, and as a man, they empathized him . However, even if he got angry, he shouldn't kill an entire group just because of anger, right? That's tyranny!
If it were anyone else who claimed what Rhode had said, everyone would only think that they were merely venting their anger . But recalling Starlight's recent achievements, Rhode defeated them in front of the Mercenary Association's entrance . So it does indeed show that he had the strength to back his words .
What should they do?
Although the times they lived in weren't lawless, ordinary laws did not apply to mercenaries . If a mercenary killed an ordinary citizen, they would be dealt with the law, but if a mercenary killed another mercenary, the decision would be left to the Mercenary Association to decide .
However, its effectiveness was hard to say . Of course, if what both parties had done were too much, the Mercenary Association could also give a punishment similar to life imprisonment, or even capital punishment . But such a situation was rare .
And this time, both of their positions were rather special .
Rhode and Frank were nobles, except one of them was from the Eastern Plains, Munn Kingdom, and the other one was a noble from Barce Dominion, Country of Light . It can be said that this fight wasn't only a collision between two mercenary groups, it may even rise to fight between noble and noble, or even turn into an 'international issue' between the Munn Kingdom and the Country of Light!
Everyone waited for the Mercenary Association's decision .
No matter what decision they made, it definitely would benefit only one side . The Mercenary Association wouldn't be able to punish them too severely, so wouldn't they cause trouble again soon?
Rhode had killed someone in public, so Klautz, the Duke of Deep Stone City, already sent people to investigate the matter . If they continued to make trouble…
Anyway, Old President and Sereck were puzzled . In their opinion, Rhode was a very stubborn individual . But this was the first time that he mercilessly attempted to kill someone . Although they suspected Jade Tears was up to something, it was only a conjecture, after all . But it seems like Rhode would kill 99 people than to let one escape .
Old President could never tell what Rhode was thinking . However, he was sure that he was standing on the Munn Kingdom's side . Still, his actions were sometimes inexplicable . When he met Frank for the first time, he easily exposed his identity and then actually killed someone in broad daylight without hesitation . If it wasn't for that mysterious old man who suddenly appeared, Frank would've definitely have died that day .
It wasn't as though Jade Tears was innocent . After the incident, Old President sent out people to investigate the mysterious old man who saved Frank but couldn't find any traces of him as if he didn't exist at all .
Since both Jade Tears and Starlight were acting very strangely, there must be something happening behind it!
The Old President sighed and said .
"According to the Mercenary Association regulations, Jade Tears mercenary group started the provocation first . Their punishment will be two points deduction and a fine of one thousand gold coins . Starlight mercenary group— though have their reasons, — leader Rhode still killed someone in public and gave a bad public image . Their punishment will be two points deduction and a fine of one thousand five hundred gold coins . From this moment on, both sides are strictly prohibited from resuming the conflict or similar reoccurring incidents . Otherwise, the Mercenary Association will dissolve the mercenary group!"
Everyone was surprised .
It seemed like the Mercenary Association gave them quite a heavy punishment .
But, will Jade Tears and Starlight let this matter go?
Looking at Jade Tear's vice-leader gloomy expression and Rhode's impassive face, even the Old President didn't believe that this matter would end just like that .
Both sides were silent and that made the everyone worried . The punishment handed to them wasn't light . If a similar incident happened, they would be forced to disband and to a mercenary group, that was the worst outcome .
They wouldn't continue to fight… right?
So, the mercenary joint meeting finally ended . Everyone left with different opinions about the situation . Although many things happened during the meeting, most mercenaries were satisfied with the outcome . At least they were given enough time to recover and bolster their strength before taking on missions again . And as for those mercenary groups that didn't receive heavy casualties, this was the best chance for them to take a rest .
Rhode also had a similar plan .
The 30-day prohibition didn't only benefit other mercenary groups, but was also an excellent opportunity for Rhode to develop his ability .
He wanted to take advantage of the time to train all the newcomers until they reached his requirements . If they were better than expected, then that would be the best outcome .
So, after returning to the stronghold, he immediately gathered everyone and told them to prepare for training . In three days, they were going to the Twilight Forest!