Chapter 614: He & She (III)
Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
This scene was unbelievable for the nobles gathered in the hall . They stared in astonishment at Rhode and the two young ladies hugging his arms . Every movement and even glance had specific meanings to the nobles, especially on such a grand occasion . An unwed woman wrapping her arms around a man’s elbow only represented one thing—their unusual relationship with each other . And now, the two young ladies beside Rhode had extraordinary identities .
Although Lize had announced her departure from the royal family, she was still reputable among the noble circle . Besides, she had an innocent and adorable appearance, with no lack of pursuits from young nobles . Even though the attention on her lessened after she left the royal family and the noble circle, she regained her fame after her outstanding performance in the Midsummer festival . An ordinary Cleric wouldn’t usually be worthy of their attention, but Lize’s blood relation with Lydia and her impressive abilities gathered the attention of the Church . Fortunately, Lize had going on adventures with Rhode and Starlight was based in the far Land of Atonement, where the young nobles had a hard time pestering her .
As for Marlene, she was highly reputable within the noble circle and her capabilities were strongly recognized after this internal battle . She could also be considered the shining star of the Munn Kingdom . On the other hand, even though Lize had left the royal family on paper, she was still Lydia’s sister, after all . On a certain extent, Marlene and Lize each represented the forces of the noble and royal family individually, and now, they actually stood by the same man and displayed such intimate actions .
The nobles were astounded because they knew what this meant . Marlene wasn’t an innocent and naive young lady who would give up everything recklessly for the sake of love . She was bright and had never flustered when dealing with every matters . For her to behave this way in this formal occasion… Did this represent the Senia Family’s will?
The senior noble family leaders focused their attention on the man beside her . This young man must have a powerful backing, so powerful that he received the likes of the Senia Family . Everyone in the Munn Kingdom knew that the Senia Family was one of the ancient families and it could also be said that they had existed since the beginning of the Munn Kingdom . It was due to this that it wasn’t easy to have an arranged marriage with this powerful family where any impressive young man could simply be accepted by them . There were many times where the family’s strength, identity, position, and even political standpoint were taken into consideration as part of the important factors of marriage . This was the sorrow for many families, just like it was Romeo and Juliet . Of course . Talk was cheap . However, the nobles didn’t treated it this way, especially the sons who would be the heirs to their families . Their relationship didn’t only concern them, but affected the entire family too . Marlene was the only heir and if she fell in love with a noble who supported the Reformist Party or perhaps an ordinary handsome young man, would the Senia Family agree to it?
This was definitely impossible .
Because she was the one and only one who would inherit the entire Senia Family and their fate and future laid in her every action . Marlene was also aware of this point, so she had been keeping her hands clean . Several of the patriarchs of well-established noble families had secretly admired how blessed the Senia Family was to bear such an outstanding heir . Not only was Marlene skillful and talented in politics, but she could also contain herself . There were no lack of talents in the noble circle because the education that they received was much more prestigious than that of ordinary folks and they could get in touch with things that ordinary folks could only dream of . However, the smooth sailing environment led to young men’s arrogance . They often believed that they were talented and capable in ‘breaking free’ from the chains of fate . Although the young men matured as they grew older, the troubles that they had caused when they were younger left the patriarchs with headaches . Many of them had discussed privately how wonderful it would be if they had a confident and capable heir like Marlene . Look at the bunch of useless playboys! What else can they do apart from drinking and enjoying the pleasures of life every now and then!
To the young nobles, they didn’t care about the political significance of this matter . Instead, it was more of being envious and jealous of Rhode .
After all, Marlene had always been the prime target of the young nobles . Some chased her for her beauty while some valued the strength and support that the Senia Family could provide . However, this wasn’t anything strange because it was normal in marriages between nobles, where romance was nothing more than a stepping stone . The truth behind arranged marriages between noble families was an undisguised political transaction . As the heir of the family, one had to be prepared that the other party wouldn’t only be valuing one as a person . Instead, one’s family background might be the main reason for marriage and this went for both men and women . A pampered noble wished to pursue a pure, beautiful love? It was impossible for all the great things in the world to be taken up by all of them, right?
Ever since Marlene was 14 years old, she had had countless of young men pursuing her and she rejected them all . Fortunately for her, the young men who were left out in the cold didn’t persist . After all, they had to consider their own values against the massive Senia Family . Moreover, Marlene had strict requirements for herself . She never joined hideous drinking parties and apart from going for formal occasions while representing her family, she seldom went for any private gatherings . She valued the relationships with the people around her highly . She didn’t interact with strangers much other than her few close female friends . However, as the saying went, ‘one that touches the pitch shall be defiled’, Marlene had almost fell head-first in the Midsummer Festival .
If Marlene had chosen a remarkable young man with a strong background, others would’ve admitted defeat convincingly . However, most of them were stunned when they saw that she had chosen Rhode . Although Rhode performed outstandingly, he wasn’t especially impressive and the type of guy who would make them accept defeat wholeheartedly . After all, Rhode had been accomplishing missions privately and he wasn’t flamboyant about them . Therefore, a lot of nobles had an impression of him hailing from the Eastern Plain with powerful swordsmanship, resisted two waves of attack from the Southern Legion in the Paphield front line, and captured an enemy commander . These ‘achievements’ didn’t seem glorious enough, so why did Marlene choose him?
They couldn’t understand the exact reasons and were extremely discontented .
Antonio was one of them .
He gazed at Rhode with an ashen expression and clenched his trembling fists . If he were closer to them, the gritting of his teeth could even be heard .
Antonio Williams was considered one of the popular young nobles in the Munn Kingdom . When he was still a child, he had outstanding talents in military affairs and swordsmanship and was termed as a talented member of the Williams Family . It was due to this that Antonio had been longing for Marlene, who was also called a ‘rare magical genius of the Munn Kingdom’ . He was a proud, arrogant man and he didn’t believe that any other woman had the qualities to match against him like Marlene . Although he had also witnessed Marlene rejecting other young men, this piqued his interest toward her even more . Unlike the bunch of foolish men who wagged their tails to Marlene, he knew clearly that it was impossible for them to be in the good books of the Senia Family . As long as he worked hard and attained high achievements, status, and honor, he would surely be qualified to pursue Marlene . The beautiful and confident young lady was like a Goddess in his eyes and the one and only person in his life who he must pursue .
Antonio had a great scheme and he had fortunate luck too . During the internal battle, the Mage team led by Marlene had coincidentally arrived at the Flourishing Blossom Fortress that he was administering, which presented a great opportunity . Antonio dispatched his troops and personally led his soldiers in assisting Marlene against the Southern Legion . It could also be said that one-third of the credit belonged to him .
Perhaps due to this reason, Marlene had been behaving politely toward him . Both of them would often have tea sessions after the battle ended . It wasn’t that Antonio wished to be spending time alone with her in a room, but he was glad that Marlene had accepted his invitation . He had intended to seize the chance to bring himself closer to her, and he had chosen to invite Marlene as his dance partner in this banquet .
However, he didn’t expect this from Marlene and he couldn’t accept the reality .
Why? Why him?
Antonio looked down upon Rhode . Even though Rhode had proven his capabilities in the Midsummer Festival, Antonio had always treated the Midsummer Festival as merely a game and a so-called honor which the mercenaries valued highly . One with true strength and status wouldn’t give a damn about that . In the noble circle, one couldn’t rely solely on a great swordsmanship to succeed . One must have connections, strength and prestige, but did that Rhode have any of them?
Antonio saw that Rhode wasn’t capable in military affairs and held the lowest feudal rank among the nobles . He also believed that the rumors of him having a couple of subordinates in the Legendary Stage were nothing but a coax . He had been in the noble circle for years, so surely he understood how the nobles behaved, right?
But Antonio didn’t expect that Marlene had actually chosen such a man as her partner .
He felt deeply betrayed!
This was especially so after Marlene and Rhode had kissed before his eyes like a razor-sharp blade ripping through his heart . Judging from their actions, he believed that their relationship wasn’t only just that and he was sure that they had a much more intimate relationship .
The inferno in his heart blazed wilder at this thought, especially after he imagined his Goddess laying nakedly before the sissy-looking man . Not only that, but Rhode had also swept a glance at Antonio as though he was worth nothing! Even though Rhode didn’t say anything, Antonio could sense the disdain in his gaze .
That bastard . How dare he look down upon me!
I’m an Earl and he is nothing more than a Baron! I’m the main commander of the Flourishing Blossom Fortress of the Munn Kingdom and what about him? He is just a lowly guild leader! What rights does he have to look down upon me?! Who does he think he is?!
Antonio could feel his blood boiling . He gritted his teeth and breathed deeply like a grunting injured beast . He no longer regarded the people around him and he had totally forgotten about the occasion he was in and how he should behave…
Rhode couldn’t care less about anyone’s opinions on him . Or perhaps, he was unconcerned about any men’s views . Although he had noticed Antonio’s ashen expression and fiery eyes, he didn’t give a damn at all . The barks of a defeated dog mean nothing to a winner like me, so must I fuss over such minor matters with a loser?
Instead of focusing his attention on the jealous losers, Rhode was more interested in another matter . Marlene had hugged his right arm while Lize hugged his other . Anne hopped around at the back carelessly . However, this didn’t mean that everything was calm and peaceful . When Lize came up and hugged his arm, Marlene shot a meaningful look and he felt Marlene’s grip tightening and dragged his arm into her round, ample bosoms . Lize didn’t back out either . She wasn’t as experienced as Marlene, so she stretched her arms out clumsily and tugged his elbow toward her . Fortunately, the trio was standing closely to one another . If not, they would have been mistaken to be in a tug-of-war competition .
This was a blissful torture for Rhode and fortunately, this lasted only from the hall to the banquet venue . After Rhode’s group arrived at the grandly decorated banquet hall, Marlene and Lize let go of their arms simultaneously . No matter what, this occasion wasn’t appropriate for them to show off their intimate relationship with their partners .
Nobles arrived continuously at the banquet and Rhode, Lize, and Marlene gathered a lot of attention . However, unlike before, Rhode sensed that the gazes toward him were filled with complexities and even hostilities . Of course, most of them came from the young men .
Lize lowered her head with a blush as though she were embarrassed at her daring behavior . However, she quickly found something to turn her attention toward… She approached Anne and instructed her softly to stand obedient on the spot . The banquet hadn’t begin, so she shouldn’t lay her hands on the sumptuous food immediately…
Rhode shrugged and shook his head as he gazed at Lize and Anne . Then, he turned around and spotted Marlene’s smile .
“You haven’t changed one bit, Rhode . ”
“On the contrary, you’ve changed a lot, Marlene . ”
All sorts of feelings welled up in Rhode’s heart . In the past, although Marlene had always been behaving steadily before him, she would occasionally reveal an inexperienced side of her . However, she had become much more mature and steady now . The battles had polished a beautiful diamond like her into emanating a dazzling radiance .
“Can I treat this as a compliment? Rhode?”
“Of course . ”
Rhode nodded while Marlene winked cheekily . Then, the corners of her mouth perked up and she revealed a crafty smile .
“So then, Rhode… Later… Shall we…”
Suddenly, a deep, loud bugle horn sounded and caught everyone’s attention . Marlene winked at Rhode and turned around swiftly, putting a pause to their conversation .
At this moment, the majestic doors gradually opened .
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