Keller felt that Rhode's identity was too confusing. Originally, he wasn't interested in Rhode's background because even the nobility had classifications within their circles. As long one had the money, one could purchase a low-class title and enter the ring of nobles. Furthermore, from his gathered intel, he discovered that Rhode hailed from the Eastern Plain, a place that was independent and closed off to the rest of the world. That was why Keller didn't really care about his history. But now it seems like he must change his view on this matter. In any case, having a relationship with the Senia family wasn't something that can be easily achieved by ordinary nobles. The Senia family's influence spread wide across the continent. While the Keller family could be considered to be rich, but compared to the Sena family, it was just like a small boat in an ocean.
Of course, Keller heard of Marlene Senia, the rare and rising genius mage of the century. At such a young age, the young lady managed to reach the middle circle rank. Her future was limitless. There were even rumors saying that she had the chance to join the Royal Magic Guard.
And this once-in-century magic genius was actually standing behind Rhode?
Was she implying that Rhode's identity was higher than her?
If Marlene could hear Keller's inner monologue right now, she would immediately throw a few fireballs at him so he could sober up. The reason why Marlene stood behind Rhode was so that she could conveniently whisper to Lize. As for her status... at least Marlene would assume that her status was higher than everyone else in the banquet.
Keller, who didn't know the real reason why Marlene was at the back, became even more respectful as he ushered them to their seats. His actions sparked curiosity from many guests. Since the Keller family was considered a first-class family in Deep Stone City, they rarely saw him lower himself. So, this respectful act from Keller garnered even more curious stares towards Rhode.
Whether it was on purpose or not, Keller arranged Rhode to sit beside Sereck. Noticing Rhode and the others approaching him, the Swordmaster smiled and stood up.
"Hello, Mr. Rhode, I did not expect to meet you here."
"Hello, Mr. Sereck."
Rhode shook hands with Sereck and nodded.
"If it weren't for Mr. Keller's invitation, I would not have had the chance to come here."
"Ah? Is that so."
Hearing Rhode's answer, Sereck smiled and said nothing. After that, he looked at Marlene with a complicated expression.
"I already heard the news from Hank. Missy, your decision was too..."
"I don't think that my decision was wrong, Uncle Sereck."
Marlene proudly raised her chin.
"You also know the reason why I'm here. Father sent me to learn and gain experience, but I was just being locked inside the house, which I did not see any benefit to it. I think Mr. Rhode can help me, so I decided to join his mercenary group. In the end, we've succeeded in completing a mission. It's perfect, isn't it?"
"If something happened to you, I don't know how to explain it to your father."
Sereck shook his head, but Marlene clearly didn't care.
"I made the decision myself, so, naturally, I will explain it to my father."
She replied with a slight dissatisfaction in her tone, then she pulled Lize's hand and left.
"Sigh... This young miss is really too stubborn..."
Watching Marlene silhouette disappear into the crowd, Sereck sighed and turned around to look at Rhode.
"I'll leave that kid in your hands, Mr. Rhode. I hope that you can take good care of her. She has the ability, but she is far too arrogant. It's no surprise though as she possessed both power and talent. But in this world, having power and talent isn't everything. If she goes on like this, I'm afraid she will suffer setbacks in the future."
Sereck stopped for a while, then he scooted over to Rhode and whispered something in his ear.
"By the way, we've received a strange report. A spy from the Country of Light was looking for a black-haired young man who uses strange summoned spirits."
Rhode frowned slightly but did not reply.
"Do you have problems with them?" Sereck continued.
Sereck's tone maintained its steadiness; there was nothing strange about it. But his eyes were carefully scrutinizing Rhode, trying to detect any faint movement on his face.
But Rhode merely shook his head and shrugged.
"I don't know, Mr. Sereck."
Rhode narrowed his eyes and gave an ambiguous answer.
"I did not think that I've done something that could spark someone else's concern."
Sereck maintained his silence for a moment. Then he smiled and patted Rhode's shoulder.
"I understand. Don't worry. This is not the Country of Light. Those bastards wouldn't dare to do something in the open as it would bring nothing but trouble to them. However, no matter what is your problem with the Country of Light, I hope you won't involve Marlene in it since her identity is quite sensitive. Although the conflicts between the Munn Kingdom and the Country of Light isn't something new, it's better if you refrain from stirring the hornets' nest."
Hearing Sereck's assuring words, Rhode secretly made a deep sigh. The complicated conflict between the Munn Kingdom and the Country of Light was something that had been going on for many years. Although on the surface, the two countries were in a temporary alliance, the history between the two goes quite deep. This was because of something that happened a long time ago.
Even though the Country of Light was a country in name, but it was more of a coalition than a country. When it was founded, the first generation Light Dragon formed a parliament which had 13 lords as its members. Since the Light Dragon didn't agree with the totalitarianism proposed by the Country of Darkness, the Light Dragon chose a different path. It gave up all its rights on state affairs to the parliament, and any problems would be settled using a collective voting decision.
However, the Munn Kingdom was an exception.
The Kingdom's ruling structure was fundamentally different from the Country of Light. And because of this, the tension between both countries increased even further. Furthermore, to make matters worse, the Munn Kingdom's geographical location was superb. Situated around the borders of the Country of Light, the Kingdom's trade network spanned into many directions. They had ample lakes and rivers for basic needs as well as for trade. Surrounding their domain, magic crystals and minerals were abundant, which made the nearby countries jealous of their wealth.
Of course, the Country of Light was no exception. Throughout the years, they'd been increasingly envious of the Kingdom's natural abundance. Thus, on the exterior, they tried to improve ties between the countries, but inwardly, they loathed the Munn Kingdom's achievements and assumed that the Munn Kingdom was employing the Country of Darkness's tyrannical ways of ruling which would eventually drag the whole kingdom into the abyss. Therefore the Country of Light looked down on the Kingdom and criticized them from time to time. In their opinion, they were colluding with the Country of Darkness by trading with them, and their country was the 'savior' who would vanquish the 'evil' from the Country of Darkness.
As for the Munn Kingdom, they felt that they were innocent. Neither did they steal, force, nor trick anyone. There was no reason for the Country of Light to despise them so much. Is it their fault for living in prosperity?
Thus, the Munn Kingdom's impression of the Country of Light plummetted. Furthermore, they disliked how the Country of Light acted as the 'savior of the world,' and anything they said was law while dismissing the view of other countries.
In the shadows, the Country of Light coveted the Munn Kingdom's territory and wealth. They continuously lashed out conspiracies in an attempt to pull this 'disobedient' leader off the throne so they could easily absorb their land into the Country of Light's territory in the name of 'glory and freedom.'
And this was the reason why there was so much tension between the two countries, though most of them were privately resolved. That was why, in Sereck's opinion, it wasn't too much to ask for.
But only Rhode who experienced the future, understood that the Country of Light was playing dangerously with fire.
Elegant music played in the background.
After thanking Sereck, Rhode walked towards the window and stared out at the night sky, holding a wine glass between his fingers.
Many times during the conversation, he thought of just revealing the truth about the Country of Light's nefarious plans to Sereck. He could easily pinpoint the current problems as well as solutions to safeguard for the future. But in the end, he did not say anything to Sereck. After all, explaining to someone that you could read the future was something extremely tedious to begin with, and even so, he needed substantial evidence to back his claims. So, in the end, what was the point of saying it? It would only bring trouble to himself.
At this time, Lize's voice suddenly sounded from behind. She walked towards him and blinked with worry in her eyes.
"What happened? You don't seem to be well."
"Well, something happened."
Rhode sipped the glass of wine on his hand, enjoying the sweet, lingering taste. But it wasn't enough to drown the thoughts in his mind.
"Remember those guys that we met in the Twilight Forest? After speaking with Sereck, it seems like those guys followed us here."
Hearing this shocking revelation, Lize immediately paled. Judging by the way she clenched her fists ever so tightly, clearly, she was extremely surprised.
"Who are those guys and why are they coming here?"
"According to Sereck, they are most likely to be spies from Country of Light."
Rhode snorted coldly.
If he could rank the most hated things in this world, the Country of Light would take the first place. While the actual perpetrator of the entire war was the Country of Darkness, being betrayed by your so-called ally was an absolute disgrace.
Rhode's current strength was insufficient to challenge the Country of Light, but since they sent some appetizers to help him warm up, he would gladly take up on their offer.
Then the music stopped suddenly.
Rhode and Lize turned around at the same time and discovered that many other people did the same.
At the entrance, a young man donning a white robe held a black cane and stood confidently with a broad curve on his lips. There was an air of superiority surrounding him, and behind him, two Keller family guards appeared quite miserable.
The atmosphere turned awkward. Keller sifted through the crowd in a hurry, and when he saw the man, he displayed a slightly shocked expression on his face before promptly welcoming him.
"I didn't expect you to come. Please forgive me for not greeting you."
"You don't have to apologize to me, Mr. Claytor."
The young man called Billy laughed and raised his hand. Though his voice wasn't loud, it still echoed throughout the now-silent hall.
"I'm just doing this on impulse; I suddenly felt like visiting, so I hope you don't blame me for coming here uninvited."
"You're too kind."
The smile on Keller's face didn't fade a bit, as a family whose roots originated from merchants, smiling was a crucial skill.
"I was so worried that Mr. Billy would think that this banquet was too shabby and refused to visit. It's me who's at fault."
"Who is that guy?"
Looking at that young man, Rhode frowned. He did not remember someone with that appearance or status in Deep Stone City.
"He's the special envoy from Country of Light."
Hearing Rhode's question, a noble who stood beside him answered. From his tone, it was clear that he too wasn't pleased with the appearance of this so-called 'special envoy.'
"It was a week since his arrival in Deep Stone City. I don't know what is his purpose here, but his presence meant that the Country of Light is up to no good again."
A special envoy from the Country of Light?
Rhode and Lize looked at each other. Clearly, they've never heard of such a character.
"You don't have to be modest, Mr. Keller. The truth, I came here because of a person."
The young man displayed a splendid smile; he turned around and walked towards the crowd before gently holding up a someone's hand.
"Beautiful lady, we've finally met."
Rhode's wine wasn't finished, but it's all sprayed out. Lize who was standing beside him also immediately covered her mouth in shock when she saw the young man standing before Marlene.
Right now, Marlene's face's also turned pale.