When Lydia spoke, the crowd immediately silenced in reverence and anticipation .
Lydia’s promise held a great significance to the people and was the primary reason of many in this midsummer festival . The conflicts between both the Reformist and King’s Party were also due to this promise .
There were even ridiculous rumors of some mercenaries who wanted to request a night with Lydia or to marry her .
With Lydia’s personality, they knew that she wouldn’t easily go back on her words . But that didn’t mean that her subjects would allow their Monarch to be tainted by an insignificant mercenary . Furthermore, there would be no emotional ties between Lydia and the mercenary as it was just a one-time promise .
All the attention was now focused on Rhode .
Although the Reformist Party had failed, it didn’t mean that the King’s Party would succeed . While Rhode had indeed displayed his standing by removing two significant foes for the King’s Party, the relationship between true allies and political allies were vastly different . All he did was to pave the way for himself into joining the King’s Party, and unless personally declared, no one would be able to say for sure that Rhode was part of them .
And because of this, many nobles focused their attention on Rhode as they knew next to nothing about him or his Starlight mercenary group . They were worried that Rhode would request something that would disrupt their political power .
Judging from Rhode’s conduct so far, he probably wouldn’t make things difficult for the King’s Party . Still, influence was like a cake; if one takes a significant portion, the rest of the cake would nevertheless have to be split among the remaining people . And after all these years, the share of the cake had been split between the Reformist and the King’s Party . Now, there was a high chance for another potential new challenger to disrupt the balance, so their worry wasn’t unfounded .
Although these worries weren’t limited to a single party, the Reformist Party had the most headache out of it . Rhode’s hostility towards them was evident, and they were afraid that Rhode would request their portion of the share from Lydia . If that happened, they would’ve no choice but to accept their fate . After all, Lydia’s word was equivalent to a decree, and furthermore, the entire Munn Kingdom would’ve heard it for themselves .
It was impossible for them to blame Lydia for sabotage . All they could do was to vent their anger on Rhode verbally, but apparently his thick skin was impervious to any sort of humiliation .
So what will this young man wish for?
Even when under the scrutiny of the entire kingdom, Rhode didn’t reveal any signs of nervousness, pressure, or hesitation on his face . He bowed politely before Lydia and promptly lifted his head .
“Your Highness, I have something that requires your help . ”
Lydia widened her eyes curiously as Rhode continued to speak calmly .
“Your Highness, I have a sister… and due to something, her body became weak and is unable to live a normal life . Although the Clerics were able to cure her illness, they were unable to alleviate her condition fully . So, I implore Your Highness to treat her body so she can live on healthily like any other ordinary child . ”
Rhode spoke no more and stared at Lydia with resolution in his gaze . A few gasps and astonished cries could be faintly heard from the nobles . Whether it was the Reformist or King’s Party, no one expected Rhode to request such a simple wish .
This event was perhaps a once-in-lifetime chance for an individual to wish for something that would benefit them throughout their lives since this was the first time Monarch Lydia personally promised to grant a wish . However, this young man’s simple wish surprised everyone .
Even Lydia herself widened her eyes in surprise for the first time ever . After a while, the Archangel revealed a gentle smile .
“It seems that you love your sister a lot, Mr . Rhode . ”
“I only wish not to commit the same mistake, Your Highness . If one regrets twice for the same matter, then one would be foolish . ”
“Understood,” Lydia nodded faintly . “Mr . Rhode, rest assured that I will make your wish come true . ”
“Thank you, Your Highness . ”
Rhode lowered his head and bowed respectfully before withdrawing to the side . He could sense the amount of shock, suspicion, confusion, and admiration from the nobles . Clearly, most nobles from the King’s Party weren’t able to understand Rhode’s thoughts . Even so, some of them praised Rhode for his decision . They thought that he intentionally avoided stepping on their toes and initiated a request that wouldn’t put Lydia in a tight spot .
Since the start of the festival, Rhode had never planned to use this opportunity to expand his influence .
He understood his position as a newcomer in the city ruled by the King’s Party . Using the game’s terminology, his reputation in the King’s Party was only at the ‘Ordinary’ stage . It wasn’t even ‘Friendly,’ not to mention ‘Respectful . ’
If Rhode requested to expand his influence, it would cause his reputation to drop . A similar situation would be a newbie mercenary wanting to become the vice-leader just after joining the group .
Since there was no room for reconciliation between him and the Reformist Party, he couldn’t afford to anger the other party . Moreover, Starlight’s foundation was still too weak; if he expanded his influence too quickly, his whole mercenary group might fall apart .
As for other requests… Rhode could easily settle it himself without the need of Lydia’s power .
Only the matter involving Christie was currently out of his league .
Gillian had informed him that an Archangel or any rank above it could alter human physiques . Since the Light Dragon was out of the question, Lydia was the only one who could help Christie .
Although Rhode didn’t think that Lydia would reject his request, he still gave a sigh of relief after the Archangel agreed . It felt as though a heavy load was lifted off his shoulders .
Next up was Lize . She stood smiling before Lydia who returned a similar tender look .
“You’ve grown, Lize . No longer are you that young bird who requires protection . Now, you are spreading your own wings and seeking new heights for yourself . So… what is your wish?”
“I have one, Sister . ”
Lize fixated her gaze on Lydia, her eyes gleaming with resolution .
“I wish to continue my journey and adventure with my friends . This country doesn’t need me, Sister… I only wish to live the life I desire . ”
“… I understand, Lize . ”
Lydia nodded and extended her hand to caress Lize’s hair gently .
“I will grant your wish . But, you have to remember that Golden City isn’t just a palace . It is also the place where you were born — and most importantly, it’s your home . No matter what happens, if you ever tire from adventuring and wish to return, you will always be welcome . ”
“… Thank you, Sister . ”
Lize’s gaze lingered on her sister’s face for what seemed like an eternity, and a wave of emotions flowed through her soul . Ever since her mother died, she thought that she had no feelings left for this place, but when Lydia reminded her about home, it left her feeling inexplicably warm and fuzzy . As Lize stared blankly at her sister, it felt as though it was the first time someone waited for her to come home .
Did I make the wrong decision…?
A sudden uneasiness welled up in her heart . She had the company of many friends in the mercenary group, but what about Lydia? Was she being selfish when she left?
Lize began stuttering, but Lydia extended her finger and pressed gently onto her lips .
“Remember to visit me when you have the time . ”
Lize closed her eyes, and a few drops of tears rolled down her cheeks .
When she saw Lydia’s smiling face, she decided to keep silent . Eventually, she nodded and wiped the tears from her eyes .