Facing the impulsive Marlene, Rhode could only sigh in helplessness .
Rhode didn't have the intention to sign a contract with Marlene from the very beginning . Although this missy had lots of positive results, contributions, and could even be considered a vice leader from a certain perspective, Rhode was very clear that it was impossible to keep Marlene .
The reason was simple . She's Marlene Senia .
To nobles, their surname was more important than the first name .
Frankly, this situation felt like a daughter of a rich family working in a fast food restaurant . If she worked for only a short few months, the boss wouldn't have any objections and may even help her gain more experience . But if she decided to work for many years — none of the bosses would be able to accept it .
Moreover, Marlene's role in the mercenary group was different from the rest . Neither would she get a share of the mission rewards, nor did she actually care about it . Her motivation was to acquire real-life experiences and nothing more . Although Marlene performed well in terms of commanding and reassuring the team, those actions weren't for material benefit,s but just purely her daily behavior as a noble . Sometimes when Rhode was too busy, Marlene would take over the command temporarily .
As an assistant, Marlene was very competent . However, as a mercenary, she was simply no good . As such, Rhode had never considered drafting Marlene a mercenary contract .
Of course, he could still choose to use the contract to tie this genius mage by his side . However, Rhode was very clear the consequences of doing this . Although the law would still protect all him based on the contract, the Senia Family wouldn't give a damn about such things . If he manages to stir their ire, it wouldn't be a good thing for Rhode . Moreover, the Senia Family was the backbone of the King's Party, so Rhode didn't see the need to invite potential trouble for himself .
"I think you should be very clear about your identity, Marlene . You're a mage; not a mercenary . "
As he said this, Rhode gestured for her to calm down .
"Besides, your Senia Family will not agree to this . Regarding the contract's content, I'm pretty sure you've already seen it . You, as a successor of the Senia Family, will you be able to accept?"
Marlene's face changed and slumped on the chair as if she lost her energy .
Without a doubt, she was very aware that if she was just 'Marlene', there wouldn't be any complications . But if she had to decide as 'Marlene Senia' then it would be very difficult .
Rhode knew this all along, so he didn't consider drafting her contract from the start . But by doing so, it was equal to not giving her a choice to choose between the mercenary group or her own family . And knowing Marlene, Rhode knew she definitely wouldn't choose the former . Marlene was a reasonable person who had been under strict education since young, and priority of matters had been clear-cut to her . Under this situation, she wouldn't let her emotions make the decision .
Instead of making both parties awkward, it'd be better to not mention about the contract . But Rhode could understand well why Marlene was questioning herself not receiving a contract . After all, she'd been in Starlight for such a long time, and had naturally developed some feelings here . Now that Rhode had given everyone a contract and left her out, so of course she would have some complaints . It was normal .
Rhode wasn't sure himself how long could Marlene stay within the mercenary group . But he knew that the duration wouldn't be too long . Honestly, to have a genius mage by his side would lessen the burden by a lot . If possible, he hoped to find a few other real mages through Marlene to join the Starlight mercenary group . The level requirement wasn't too high as Rhode believed that those acquaintances of Marlene shouldn't be too weak . Since this rich missy was a very proud person to begin with, she wouldn't mix around with those 'ordinary' folk . Hence, the people whom she recognized as capable shouldn't be a problem .
But Rhode did not intend to mind about these things as it wasn't the time yet . He believed that when it's time for Marlene to leave, she would also think of this problem since she was a very responsible person .
Contrary to his expectations, Marlene's reaction gave Rhode a huge surprise .
She sat on the chair silently for a long time . And when she finally lifted her head, she said something that gave Rhode a shock .
"So that means, if my family allows me to stay then I'll receive a contract like… Lize?"
Rhode was stunned speechless for a moment . Never did he expect Marlene to care so much about this matter . It just doesn't seem to be beneficial for her .
"Things aren't as simple as you think . Miss Marlene . "
Rhode decided to come clean and speak the truth once and for all .
"After spending a considerable amount of time with us, you should understand the nature of being a mercenary . I can tell that you don't have interest in being a mercenary apart from going on adventures . So, I don't think she should sign this contract as this would bring no benefits to both of us . "
"I… I am aware of this . "
Marlene nodded with unwillingness .
"But… I still hope to receive the same treatment as Lize . Besides…"
Marlene suddenly realized she may have said something wrong and quickly shut her mouth . Rhode started to suspect something after hearing her words .
He realized that Marlene had been mentioning Lize since the beginning of the conversation as if it wasn't fair to only issue a contract to Lize and not to her . Marlene should be very clear about Lize's status in this mercenary group so why would she carry such childish thoughts?
Something's not right .
Under Rhode's gaze, Marlene coughed awkwardly and her face blushed slightly .
"I can understand what you mean, Mr . Rhode . But no matter what's the reason, I contributed plenty to the Starlight mercenary group too, therefore I should have the rights to receive similar treatment . As for my family, you can rest assured . I think they wouldn't be too affected by this matter . No matter what, I hope I can become the most special one in here . "
"… I will consider . "
In the end, facing Marlene's persistence, Rhode eventually nodded his head .
After returning to her room, Marlene leaned onto the door as she let out a long sigh . She placed her hand on her chest and felt her heart pumping really fast .
As a smart woman, Marlene was well aware that she was behaving a little unreasonably since she knew Rhode meant well for her . But for some unknown reason, when she witnessed Lize's and Anne's excited expressions when they were discussing their future-deciding contract, she felt a little upset . The feeling of being outcasted made her feel uncomfortable .
Being outcasted wasn't anything unfamiliar to her though . Even more so as she was the successor of an influential family, and as a genius mage . Other people whose status, wealth and titles that weren't as good as her, hid from her . Those people whose talent and abilities that weren't as good as her, outcasted her . But these matters didn't affect Marlene . She didn't feel outcasted . Rather, she felt that this proved that she had succeeded .
However, when she joined the Starlight mercenary group, Marlene's thoughts regarding this matter slowly eroded away .
She got along well with everyone here . Lize, Anne, and the others . Although she didn't regard the other mercenaries as friends, they bonded better than her classmates in elite schools . The mercenaries weren't too bothered about her family and identity . They treated her well purely due to her abilities which made Marlene feel satisfied . She felt that her decision to join the Starlight mercenary group was the best decision ever .
Nevertheless, she could understand Rhode's reasons for not giving her a contract, but even so, she still hoped that she could be treated the same as the rest . Marlene clearly understood that human relationships were built on common interactions . Now that she was comfortable here, naturally, she didn't hope to leave .
But Marlene clearly knew that these were all excuses .
And her main reason was…
Marlene quickly shook her head and threw those annoying thoughts to the back of her mind . She then took in a deep breath and calmed down . Later, the maiden took out a badge from her pocket and placed it on the table . She softly chanted a verse after closing her eyes .
The mosaic gem on the badge started shining, then, it released a gentle light which formed an illusionary human silhouette resembling a man of his fifties . He stood upright and swept all his hair back with a comb . A trimmed black robe revealed the man's tall and huge body . His hand held a white staff, gazing sternly at the maiden directly in front of him .
At the same time, a deep majestic voice sounded .
"It's been a while, my child . "
"Yes, long time no see, Dad . You still look great as always . "
Marlene lifted the hem of her skirt lightly and bowed towards the man .
"You too, my child . I'm glad to see you full of energy . "
The man revealed a slightly warm smile . Although the smile was not obvious, Marlene could feel the care and warmth from within .
"I heard from Mr . Sereck that you've joined a pretty interesting mercenary group . So now that you've contacted me, is there any matter?"
"You're right, Dad . "
Marlene cleared her throat with a slight cough and proudly said .
"The reason why I contacted you was that I have two matters to report to you . "
"Oh? What about them?"
"The first matter . Regarding my current progress, Dad, I can confidently say that I have breakthrough the middle circle's 6th layer and almost reaching the 5th . "
The man's expression revealed a shocking and happy expression .
"So quick? Seems like you're doing well my child . But you have to remember to be humble in the path of magic . Although you've improved considerably in such a short time, you must remember not to be arrogant or rash . Building the solid foundation is also important . "
"Yes, Dad . I will remember it in my heart . "
Marlene bowed deeply . She was already conditioned to her father's advice . In the beginning, she felt that he was being naggy, but as she matured, she understood that this was just an act of love .
"So then, what's the second matter? You have given me good news so far, let's hope the next one wouldn't disappoint . "
"No, it's nothing like that, Dad . I think you'll be very excited about the second matter . "
Marlene lifted her head with a little flush across her face, but in between her brows were strong emotions that couldn't be spoken .
"I can confidently say that I have already found the destined King of my life . The knight that our Senia Family have always been waiting for!"