The closing ceremony had finally arrived .
Unlike the past, the closing ceremony was now held at the Main Square in front of the palace . There were two reasons for this change; one, Lydia was the person who organized the midsummer festival and second, the Sacred Arena had been severely damaged due to the battle between Rhode and Waltz .
The countless people gathered at the Main Square gazed fervently at the castle towers, softly exchanging words with each other . The aftermath of the midsummer festival still lingered among the people, and they couldn’t help but discuss what was about to happen .
In the past, the midsummer festival was an unspoken tradition for the four Guilds to duke it out with each other . Many people had grown weary of such an arrangement that had already lasted for centuries, so when Rhode and his entourage appeared and broke the tradition, he immediately garnered the attention of everyone .
A mysterious mercenary group leader that popped out from nowhere, leading a bunch of average mercenaries to defeat Sky Sword, Purple Lily, and Liberty Wings? Outrageously outstanding!
Furthermore, there was that rumor that spread like wildfire after Starlight defeated Liberty Wings — it was practically impossible for the Northerners to keep silent after being ridiculed over the past years! Starlight’s presence could be said to be the solution to their bottled up anger and frustration . Both nobles and regular citizens alike were ultimately still humans; they had their pride and hated to be oppressed, so they immediately lashed out the moment the chance came .
They might not be Rhode’s supporters, but praising Rhode’s name meant that they could cause the other side to tremble in anger — something that they absolutely delighted in doing . Whether unaware or not, their actions increased Starlight’s prestige and influence in the city .
But of course, when there is light, there is also darkness . The conflict became a vicious cycle; the stronger the support, the stronger the objection . Southerners would rather dig their graves than to give Starlight or Rhode any respect . From their perspective, Rhode was merely a dog of the noble families, and Marlene’s identity further reinforced their beliefs .
Clearly, this man called Rhode was part of the powerful nobles whose purpose was to kill their hope with despicable means . Not only did he defeat Sky Sword and Liberty Wings, he even publically executed their hero Rosen and forced Waltz to turn into a depraved demon . Everything was orchestrated by this evil man!
However, we will never give up . No matter how powerful you are, our hearts will never yield to you and always be free . Perhaps the shameless nobles will recognize your success, but we will not acknowledge it!
As Rhode led his men towards the Main Square, all he could hear were waves of hisses coming from the crowd . Many stood upright with their wide-opened mouths, hurling dissatisfaction at Rhode and his mercenary group . While there was no physical contact, the sound of their hissing was enough to bring Rhode back to the center stage .
Some of the nobles from King’s Party looked at Rhode with respect . Vanity had always existed in humans; although both sides were against each other due to a difference in ideology, they still respected Rhode’s unwavering stature in the midst of the all the jeering .
Rhode appeared totally unaffected by his surroundings and even dug his ear with his finger . This sparked the wrath of some people who tried to break through the blockade set by the battle angels .
Eventually, their jeering became louder, but Rhode merely swept a glance at them and displayed a bored expression as though they were nothing but insignificant garbage before turning to Marlene to chat .
Who can tolerate this?!
Aggravated once more, the hissings once again reached a new high .
Since you look down on us, we will show you what we can do! We’re going to make a ruckus so you can’t even have a conversation . Let’s see if you will show some respect!
However, as much as they tried to disrupt Rhode’s conversation, their voice became hoarse from the incessant screaming . Soon enough, their jeering turned into a mess, and Rhode cast a sneer before turning back to chat with Marlene .
“Mr . Rhode, I think you’d better not provoke them anymore . ”
Marlene looked at Rhode hopelessly . This was her first time witnessing this side of Rhode . Although she knew that he was a self-determined and unwavering person, for him to actually disregard their taunts… perhaps he was the only one in the whole of the Munn Kingdom capable of doing this .
“Don’t worry . ”
Rhode understood her concern . On the surface, it might seem as though both Southerners and Northerners were eternally incompatible; but as a matter of fact, both of them needed each other’s existence . The North had abundant produce, plus they were the central hub for all food and minerals whereas the South had wealth beyond imagination . Both sides were equally disgusted with one another but neither could leave . Nothing was more irritating than not being able to leave someone you hate .
In the end, the most valuable resource in the world was money and authority . Money was necessary for Starlight to develop, and compared to Purple Lily or Cole Falcon who had operated for years to build a stable infrastructure for itself, Starlight’s foundation was quite fragile . Once something happens and the supply line gets cut off, Starlight’s development would easily screech to a halt .
But that wasn’t as important as what he was thinking right now . As they say, when the water is overly clear, there’s no fish . But on the flip side, if the water is too polluted, there will no fish either . As the situation between the North and the South were too complicated, the King’s Party was unable to get rid of the Reformist Party . Even if they managed to get rid of them, they would be negatively impacted as well .
The Country of Light were like ghosts, lurking in the shadows and waiting for an opportunity to strike . If the King’s Party did not manage to pull out all the roots at once, the Country of Light would take advantage of the situation to wipe them out . But of course the Reformist Party also had its own concerns, so they didn’t dare to defame their rivals publically .
(ED: Oh the irony . )
One had to give it to Lydia; her method was flawless . Using an analogy, the Reformist Party was now like a cancer-stricken patient . Even though they were going through terminal cancer, they chose to live on and spend money to take medication that would only prolong the inevitable . If they were sensible, perhaps they would request for euthanasia, alas it was a pity that common sense didn’t apply to them .
Back in the game, when the terminally-ill Reformist Party realized that their days were numbered, they decided to give one final blow to the King’s Party . But in the end, they were unsuccessful and were eventually double-crossed by the Country of Light .
Similarly, Rhode drew a distinct line with the South . While this action created a few enemies, it also forced loyal mercenaries to join the group . People who understood what enemies Starlight had to face and still decided to join were the ones worth trusting . Furthermore, using external pressure to temper strength was no doubt beneficial .
Compared to Purple Lily and Cole Falcon, Starlight’s foundation was like a speck of dirt not worth mentioning about . Because of this, Rhode had no choice but to remove the impurities within the group . Unlike guilds, Starlight didn’t have the power to deter those who they mistrusted . The only way was to use external pressure to force them to leave . Having matching ideologies, goals or missions could help foster unity and make long-term goals easier to develop .
If those furious people knew that their actions were actually helping Rhode, perhaps they would’ve committed suicide .
At this moment, the sound of the bugle suppressed the bustling noises in the Main Square . Then, a graceful figure appeared at the top of the platform .
The entire mass quietened as they bowed towards the figure . Standing on the highest platform before them, was the ruler of the country, Lydia Paphield Mila Frandrica .
Rhode lifted his head and squinted at the beautiful figure glowing against the sun rays .
Her golden hair shimmered as they fluttered in the gentle wind . A beautiful, slender body complimented by a fitting, elegant white dress . There was no royal crown on top of her head, but a bright halo glinted in its place . Behind her, were six wings gleaming with holiness . A symbol which only she had .
The symbol of an Archangel .
She hadn’t changed a bit .
Rhode lamented from the bottom of his heart as he reminisced the painful memories .
Lydia looked the same as that day .