“Sigh…” Lize sat by the table with the wine glass in her delicate hand .
The celebration feast wasn’t that grand, but it was extremely lively . The residents welcomed the faraway guests passionately after they were finally released from the painful curse of Frozen Lake . This feast was perhaps also to make up for their rudeness from before . Rhode was supposed to be around during such an occasion, but he threw everything into the back of his head and left without even stepping in here . The residents who didn’t express their gratitude were rather worried as they had heard from the Law Enforcing Officer just how powerful this young man who looked like a beautiful young lady was . A several meter tall creature couldn’t withstand his sword strike and furthermore, he was also a noble . If he was dissatisfied with the residents’ behaviors from before, perhaps they wouldn’t lead a great life even without the existence of that plague .
Lize knew that Rhode always disliked such occasions and she had to take up the responsibility of the guild with Rhode’s absence since she was second only to Marlene in terms of position who also wasn’t around . Besides, she was a kindhearted girl and she felt uncomfortable seeing the residents trembling with fear in such a joyous occasion . Therefore, she approached them and consoled them that Rhode wasn’t unhappy and everything was fine . But it was also due to this that the residents were exceptionally passionate toward her which left Lize catching her breath . After the celebrations ended, Lize felt exhausted and dizzy even though she drank only fruit wine .
“What’s wrong? Sister Lize doesn’t look too well . Is Sister Lize feeling ok?”
When Lize was sighing and shaking her head, a vivacious, skylark-like voice sounded in her ears as Anne skipped toward her and looked at her with a curious smile . Lize forced out a bitter smile as she couldn’t understand how Anne managed to stay this awake after she had been forced to drink that much alcohol . Lize had witnessed Anne gulping down a whole barrel of spirits and she was worried that Anne would simply collapse into a deep sleep after she finished the last drop . In the end, this little rascal became even more energetic as though she just drank a whole bucket of cool water . On the contrary, she had filled so much of the residents’ glasses that they had become drunk…
“It’s nothing,” Lize shook her head and gazed toward the horizon . “I was just thinking that this feels like a dream…”
“Dream?” Anne blinked her eyes curiously and sat beside her . “What nice dreams did you have?”
“If it was a nice dream, then I would be in the most wonderful place now . ” Lize turned to Anne . “Anne, you still remember the day when you first joined us, right? We, Starlight, were only a small mercenary group . No, we could hardly call ourselves a mercenary group . Based on the number of people we have, we should be called a mercenary team instead . Back then, there were Mr . Rhode, you, Marlene, Mr Walker, and me… But now… ” Lize paused and looked into Anne’s puppy eyes with mixed feelings .
As a Cleric, Lize had heard a lot regarding Starlight and the rumors surrounding it, especially after Anne murdered Rosen during the Midsummer Festival and shot to fame . If Anne was only known in the Deep Stone City in the past, she could be considered a widely popular Shield Warrior in the entire Munn Kingdom with the nickname of ‘Child of the Storm’ . Not only Anne, but even newbies like Joey and Randolf had also become well-known figures in the whole Paphield Region . There were even some rumors going on about Starlight gradually looking like Munn Kingdom’s number one Guild . Lize was also praised for her great battles in the Midsummer Festival and her impressive performances afterwards .
But everything seemed surreal to her .
In the young lady’s imagination, the legendary beings had eminent statuses, powerful strength, and were dignified . However, Anne was merely 15 years old and no matter how the world saw her as a powerful Shield Warrior, she would always appear to be the same Anne as when she first joined the mercenary group in Lize’s eyes . She continued to eat, sleep, play, and repeat and she didn’t have the graceful bearing of a ‘Child of the Storm’ in her at all . Whereas for Lize, she felt incomparably frightened of those who praised and admired her greatly . She was only doing her part and couldn’t be considered as a hero or sort . However, she was treated like a character in a hero story spread within a night pub which she didn’t know how to react to them .
Moreover… Starlight .
Lize still remembered the situation when she and Rhode returned to the Deep Stone City . She was the only survivor in the entire mercenary group and her future was looking bleak . She was only a powerless Cleric and wasn’t a formidable Warrior who could carry the entire mercenary group by herself . Therefore, when Rhode suggested helping her build Starlight up, she agreed without any hesitation . Back then, Lize wasn’t a newbie who had just left the Golden City and she knew how to get on in the world . It was also rather ridiculous thinking back now when Rhode suggested helping Lize rebuild the mercenary group . Lize had suspicions if this man was just eyeing for her body, but she didn’t have other choices . Even if Rhode’s target was really her, she would have no choice but to become his woman if it was what it took for the mercenary group to survive… Moreover, compared to those fat and arrogant men, Rhode appeared much better than them .
But things didn’t develop in the way that Lize had imagined .
Mr . Walker came . Marlene came . Anne came . Randolf, Joey, and Lapis also came . Afterward, due to the crisis of the Paphield mercenary group, Rhode took in Shauna and the mercenaries under her . Then, they participated in the Midsummer Festival and defeated the Sky Sword and Liberty Wings Guilds to become the winner of the event . Thereafter, Starlight promoted to become a large-scale Guild .
And now, they had built their Fortress and conquered the Land of Atonement…
Such amazing changes happened within half a year with a soaring speed as quick as a rocket . There were many times when Lize couldn’t believe that she was in the Starlight Guild that she had heard others discussed .
Anne, whose nickname was the ‘Child of the Storm’, was still an innocent and naive young girl who loved to eat, sleep, play, and stick around Rhode’s side idly like a little puppy . There were no apparent relations of the word ‘Storm’ to her at all .
Joey, who was often named as a potential ‘Talented Thief’, was still in his sloppy self who sometimes cracked vulgar jokes with the mercenaries all day and often stuck around the Clerics under Lize, trying to gain the likes of one of them . He didn’t seem like a so-called ‘Talented Thief’ at all .
On the other hand, Lize had never felt that the ‘Mysterious Alchemist Master’ Lapis was any mysterious at all . Lize had always seen her sulking and covered in smoke stains from head to toes miserably . She had also treated her more than once for the mistakes in her alchemist experiments .
There were many times when Lize had misconceptions whenever she woke up from her dreams . It was just as the outsiders had described . The powerful, prosperous, talent-filled Starlight was like a wonderful dream . In fact, Starlight had only entered the Guild stage and still needed to gather more strength in baby steps . Naming the Starlight the number one Guild in the Munn Kingdom would be too unreal, exaggerating, and unacceptable . Starlight didn’t have more than 300 mercenaries and they couldn’t be compared to the large-scale Guilds like the Purple Lily and Cole Falcon in terms of strength where the territories that they had owned and operated on lasted for decades . What rights did a newly established Guild have to become the number one Guild in the Munn Kingdom?
Sometimes, Lize couldn’t explain her thoughts either . She looked forward to the future that everyone had been speaking about . The powerful presence that could represent the Munn Kingdom was what she had always yearned for . However, she feared that she would lose the current feelings that she had . The Guild was like a heartwarming family to her . Rhode was like the parent while Marlene, Anne, Lapis, Joey, and the others were siblings with unique personalities . Lize loved living such a life and she didn’t wish to see Anne becoming the dignified ‘Child of the Storm’ that the public had called her . She didn’t wish to see Joey keeping his cheeky smile and order his men arrogantly . She also didn’t wish to see Lapis becoming even more secretive and not interact with others as though every word that came out of her mouth costed money . Lize was afraid of such a future, but her concerns weren’t baseless . She had lived with mercenary groups for years and she had personally seen drastic changes . There were many times when people could work together as one when they were poor and less developed . However, they would lose the sense of unity once they became successful and turn against even their closest companions .
Perhaps Starlight would become a massive figure that everyone respected by then . But, will everyone still be as close with one another when that day comes? People change as time passes so will I remain the same?
Lize gave a shiver at the thought of the unknown future .
“Sister Lize?” Anne’s voice rang in her ears and dragged Lize out of her deep thoughts . Lize lifted her head and saw Anne’s round, widened eyes looking at her worriedly . “Go back and have a rest first if you’re feeling tired . Anne will handle the rest of them!”
The young lady raised her chin proudly and Lize let out a chuckle . The thoughts clouding her mind had seemed to dispersed after listening to Anne’s innocent speech . But Lize hesitated for a moment and she couldn’t hold in her impulse any longer . “Anne, do you wish to change?”
“Change?” Anne felt a little surprised . She looked at Lize curiously with widened eyes . “Why would Anne need to change? Change what?”
“This… Hmm…” Lize pondered for a while and forced out a response . “… In other words… We will all grow and change . In the future, we may turn out different from now…”
“Anne will become different in the future?” Anne frowned and fell into deep thoughts for a while . Then, the young lady raised her arms and had a stretch . “So you’re thinking of such things… Anne doesn’t want to think about something that far away and Anne will be happy as long as Anne is able to live life like this while following Leader . You must be tipsy to be thinking about such boring matters… because, wouldn’t we all know when that happens?”
Anne let out a giggle . “Sister Lize, everyone is having so much fun, so don’t be bothered about it anymore . ”
“Well, I guess…” Lize let out a long sigh and lowered her head to gaze into the bottom of the wine glass . “I will know… when it happens . ”
Lize muttered under her breath .