It was no surprise that Rhode agreed to John’s request . Apart from being a Guild leader, he was also a Baron . The troops that he led to the Cloud Summit Fortress could be considered his mercenaries and private soldiers simultaneously . With his identity, he had the rights to handle his captives and he had no qualms in releasing the Cavalrymen . In fact, he actually had the authority to release General Dade . After all, strictly speaking, General Dade was also his captive .
However, John and Rhode knew that it was impossible . General Dade’s identity had foreordained that he couldn’t be released that easily . John suggested because he wished to test Rhode’s reaction . If Rhode agreed instantly or put on an act to reject his request and try to give it a shot, John would surely turn around and leave without hesitation . But now, he had decided to accept Rhode’s invitation .
Both Rhode and John felt that there was nothing alarming for the King’s Party that Rhode had recruited a Cavalrymen Leader . Although John had a bad impression of the Northerners, he didn’t have a favorable impression of the Southerners either . However, he focused all his hate on ‘a handful of unrestrained enemies’ . Unlike Rhode, John didn’t see everyone who stepped out of the Country of Light as a person with problems from head to toes…
Of course, it was ‘family hatred’ for John while it was a ‘nation hatred’ for Rhode… There was still a difference in their level of hostility .
After seeing John away with his eyes, Rhode let out a long sigh . He suddenly felt exhausted .
It wasn’t exhaustion on his physical body . Instead, it was his mental mind that was beaten . After ensuring that his mission was accomplished, he felt as though his senses had relaxed like a tightened string that was released and a heavy, choking pressure emerged deep in his heart . He couldn’t help but pucker his brows . He exited the campsite and observed the surroundings .
The thin fog-filled Fortress was lit brightly with splendid lights and he heard the vague cheers of soldiers from inside . The sky had darkened and the celebration feast was about to begin… But now, Rhode couldn’t find the festive mood to partake in it . Instead, he only wished to plop right into bed for a fulfilling rest .
“Ah, Leader, I finally found you!”
Rhode turned around and saw Gillian and Anne walking toward him with relaxed smiles . Then, Gillian slid over like a slippery fish and hugged Rhode’s elbow against her soft, ample chest tightly . Anne didn’t want to lose out . She clung on to Rhode’s other arm and the young ladies sandwiched him like a flat ham . “Everyone’s heading to the feast now, so what are you still doing here? General Garcia wants to invite you . ”
“You girls go ahead . ” Rhode shook his head tiredly and stepped back after breaking free from their entanglements . He forced a twitch on the corner of his mouth and nodded before patting on their heads lightly . “I’m a little tired and I want to rest . Both of you shall replace me in joining the feast . ”
“Master?” Gillian tilted her head and looked blankly .
Anne hopped out and raised her right arm hurriedly . “Okay then, since Leader is tired, Anne shall accompany Leader!”
“Little Anne, you can’t do this . It has always been my job to warm his bed, okay?”
“Anne wants to warm Leader’s bed too . If worst comes to worst… how about the both of us together?”
“Alright, alright . ” Rhode’s head was swimming and he shook his head with knitted brows . “I don’t feel like it today . Go ahead with the feast and enjoy yourselves . After all, we are heading into Frozen Lake after this . Don’t worry about me and do what you should do . This is an order, understood?” Rhode turned around and returned to his tent .
Surprisingly, Gillian and Anne didn’t continue to pester him . Instead, they looked on silently as Rhode disappeared into the tent . After a few moments, Anne blinked and turned to Gillian worriedly . “Anne feels that Leader seems very tired . Did something happen? Sister Gillian?”
“… It’s nothing, Anne . ” Gillian twitched her ears and revealed a bitter smile to the young lady beside her . “Some things are decided by Master so he has to take up the responsibility . We can only watch from the side because we can’t make a difference in some matters . ”
Pitch-black darkness spread across the vast, boundless land .
The sky was covered by dark clouds . Rhode scanned the surroundings, but not only was there no vegetation, but there also wasn’t a single rock on the empty land . He also wasn’t sure how long he had been walking for, as though he had been walking forward ever since he had conscious . At this moment, fiery flames rose from the ground .
The flames surged violently in all directions and the entire world was painted in scarlet . As the flames raged, the darkness spread on the ground grew even darker . Finally, the ground shattered like a mirror and revealed a bottomless abyss…
Rhode got up abruptly .
The sun was shining brightly on the campsite . Rhode squinted and adapted to the brightness after a few moments . Golden sun rays had spilled from the opening of the tent and he vaguely heard noises from the mercenaries outside . He held his hand against his forehead and realized that his forehead was filled with sweat .
“Ridiculous,” Rhode lowered his head and cursed .
Anyone would surely be startled to see him in this state . Rhode didn’t put on his signature aloof expression and he wasn’t carrying his warm, gentle smile that he had disguised in Fiat . Instead, it was a complicated and ashen expression gathering all the negative emotions . The complexity was indescribable using words . At this moment, there was a distinct, vengeful glint in his eyes like an injured wild beast .
However, this expression lasted only for a second .
Rhode stood up and returned to his usual calmness . His calm eyes were as though everything before him was nothing but an illusion . Perhaps, that was just a BUG in the process .
At this moment, Lize called out from outside the tent . “Mr . Rhode, are you awake?”
“Yes, I’m up,” Rhode changed his clothes swiftly . He lifted the tent entrance and saw Lize waiting for him worriedly . “Is anything the matter? Lize?”
“Ah, Mr . Rhode . Miss Gaya wants you to see her . She says there’s something very important to inform you,” said Lize .
“Gaya?” Rhode looked vacantly before nodding in acknowledgment . “Got it, Lize, I’ll head over now . By the way, I guess you’re aware of John’s matter already . I want you and Gillian to manage the releasing of the soldiers today . ”
“Yes, Mr . Rhode . I will handle it right away . ”
Even though Lize said so, she didn’t leave immediately . Instead, she rubbed the hem of her skirt with both hands and looked at Rhode worriedly . Then, she took in a deep breath as though she had made up her mind . “Mr . Rhode… Are you feeling unwell? You didn’t join the celebration feast last night and I heard from Anne that you seemed rather tired…”
“I’m just tired from the long journey from the South . I will be fine after a rest, don’t worry . ” Rhode shrugged and said swiftly .
Lize remained silent for a moment before nodding . “Alright, Mr . Rhode . But… If you feel unwell, please let me know . ”
“Don’t worry, Lize . You will be the first person I look for if I have any problems . ” Lize showed a relieved expression and left with a smile . Rhode heaved a sigh of relief and narrowed his eyes on the Fortress . In fact, he had guessed the reason why Gaya looked for him .
When Rhode entered Gaya’s room, the black-haired young lady was seated quietly by the window with her huge harp, just like how they first met . The young lady’s expression and position were almost identical from before . Gaya turned around and nodded slightly to invite him for a seat… It seemed that she wasn’t in a good mood .
But Rhode understood why she was in a bad mood . Although he didn’t understand her a lot, he inferred that she wasn’t a ‘selfless model citizen’ . She wouldn’t take matters into her own hands unless she had received Lydia’s orders . In order for Lize’s plan to succeed, Rhode purposely checkmated Gaya . He used his mission reward and forced Lydia to order Gaya in complying with Lize’s battle plan . It was no wonder that this young lady wasn’t putting up a likable expression .
Even though she didn’t show any likable expression to Rhode, that was .
“Please have a seat, Mr . Rhode . You’ve accomplished your mission successfully and the Royal Highness is satisfied with your work . Although I personally, detest your little tricks, that is . ” Gaya gazed at Rhode silently and Rhode couldn’t read her thoughts at all .
However, he was most concerned about another matter because Gaya surely didn’t ask him here just to complain about his little tricks . Indeed, Gaya continued shortly . “I’m about to convey the order from Royal Highness Lydia . She hopes that you will return to the Golden City and explain further your operations in the Grosso and Fiat regions . ”
As expected .
It seemed that things were as he had expected . Royal Highness Lydia wished to receive an explanation on the riot caused by the Undead Army in Grosso . No matter what, he accepted her mission and headed into the Grosso Region and suddenly, there was a riot caused by the Undead creatures . Lydia wasn’t a fool . She naturally would request for Rhode to report everything to her .
This time, things might be a little more complicated . Lydia was an Archangel and Angels wouldn’t usually accommodate to circumstances . To them, evil was evil and evil must be purified, annihilated, but never unrestrained . And this time, it wouldn’t be as simple as to deliver a report to Lydia in the Golden City which proved that she had an entirely different view from before .
But even so, Rhode had his countermeasures ready .