Chapter 666: Between Light & Light (IV)
Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
Magical radiance shone from the hull . Spotless white luster enveloped the entire warship slowly to the top . An invisible barrier expanded and in the blink of an eye, the whizzing, chilly winds vanished to nowhere . Then, this enormous warship sailed forward .
Rhode looked into the distance from the trembling deck . He felt as though he had become one with this warship . He keenly sensed the roaring tempest beneath his feet engulfing this warship like a fury of huge waves . Most of the passengers stopped their conversations abruptly . They lifted their heads and gazed forward simultaneously . The ground had slowly ‘sunk’ and the distant sky was approaching them . The pointed warship bow split the soft bread-like dense clouds into two . There was an instant when they were shrouded in snowy clouds and mist entirely .
At the next moment, the warship broke out of the dense mass of cloud .
In the blink of an eye, the dense layer of cloud gradually faded away to the sides of the warship as though they were shredded into cotton by a violent storm . The bright, dazzling sun and azure sky re-emerged before their eyes . The boundless blue shaped a brand new world as though the enormous warship was soaring in the clouds and riding valiantly through the wind .
This dreamy, scenic view left Lize and Anne exclaiming in awe . Even though most of the people in the Munn Kingdom had experience boarding floating boats, but the floating boats couldn’t reach such heights, after all . The basic floating boats for civilians were only capable of hovering and moving along the wind due to the insufficient powers of their magical mechanisms . Only magic warships that were designed and built exquisitely were capable of self-driving .
Rhode gazed at the sky with a curious glint . During the day, it didn’t seem to be any different from the sky on earth . But the difference was apparent from the suspending full moon and halo in the night sky . Since the magical technology in the Dragon Soul Continent was so advanced that magic warship could reach this incredible height, would the magic warship be able to break the atmosphere if the technological development improved in future? If that happened… What would the view of the entire continent be?
But this was just his senseless guess .
No matter how breathtaking the view was, the day would come when one got sick of looking at it . Rhode turned around and headed into the warm cabin . Marlene, Lize, and a few other young nobles were gracefully chatting over tea and marveling at the stunning view through the French windows . This scene instantly reminded Rhode of an old movie, The Titanic… How ominous .
“Rhode, I didn’t expect that you’d be here . Wanna have a chat with us?”
Marlene stood up and greeted with a gentle smile . Her behaviors instantly attracted the attention of the nobles, and they turned to Rhode in unison . Rhode shrugged helplessly and approached the group .
“Sure, Marlene . As long as I’m not intruding your conversation . ”
“You’re not intruding into our conversation at all, Earl Rhode . ”
A young man who appeared to be in his mid twenties stood up and revealed a passionate smile . He stretched his hand forward for a handshake .
“Hi there, Earl Rhode . Nice to meet you . I’m Derick Vas . ”
“Hi there, Mr . Vas . ”
Rhode twitched his brows . He knew who this man was . The Vas Family was one of the three largest families in the Munn Kingdom and their ties with the Senia Family was like the sunlight and shade . The Senia Family was mainly responsible for producing ‘hardware’ like Mage Equipment for the Munn Kingdom, while the Vas Family’s mission was to nurture the ‘software’ like spell-casters for the Munn Kingdom . In the game, Derick Vas was a popular, good-looking talent in the Munn Kingdom . As Rhode didn’t compare him directly with Marlene before, he didn’t know who was more formidable . But now, he was sure that Marlene was ahead of him . Moreover, the player-created spell-casting techniques that Marlene had learned from Canary was more than enough to beat him .
Derick wasn’t well-known for his strength or wisdom . Instead, it was his marriage that garnered all the attention . When he was 25 years old, he married his biological elder and younger sisters . His elder sister was one year older than him while his younger sister was only 16 years old . Both of their appearances were as lovely as flowers . Even though the Vas Family had upholded this tradition of maintaining the pure blood within their family, this had gathered a whole lot of envy, jealousy, and hate among the players . Back then, several players had lamented that their deaths would be worth it if they could enjoy such a blissful life… This damn life winner should be burned to death!
And now, Derick, who was nominated by the players into the rankings of characters who should be burned to death on the flame rack, was full of mettle . It was apparent that he was valued highly by Lydia too, which was why he had joined the representative team . In fact, Rhode had also discovered that, apart from him, the others were also more or less excited in participating in the Dragon Soul Ceremony . Perhaps the ultimate reason was that they were people of the Munn Kingdom, after all, and they were educated since young about worshiping the Light Dragon Soul . It was considered a supreme honor for them to witness the Light Dragon Soul personally and receive blessings . Even a carefree young lady like Anne appeared seemingly excited . On the contrary, Rhode felt rather dispirited like an unsociable person who drank alcohol to drown his sorrows at the corner of a crazy dance party . As a transmigrator and a player who had been implicated by the Light Dragon Soul in the game, Rhode found it hard to look forward in meeting the Light Dragon Soul ‘innocently’ . Although he knew that the uselessness of the Light Dragon Soul hadn’t brought any disaster to the Munn Kingdom yet, and the conflict between the Munn Kingdom and the Country of Light was still going on privately and hadn’t exploded to the surface . Rhode loathed the Country of Light—don’t ask why . He just hated them to the core .
“You came at the right time, Earl Rhode . We were just talking about you . ”
Although Rhode appeared rather apathetic, Derick didn’t seem mindful at all .
Rhode gazed at the group curiously . As expected, there were glints of curiosity and fascination in their eyes .
“I hope you guys aren’t saying things behind my back . ”
“Of course not, Earl Rhode . We were just a little curious . ”
At this moment, a young lady seated beside Marlene pushed up her golden-framed spectacles .
“We heard that Royal Highness Lydia also invited your two legendary companions to the Dragon Soul Ceremony, but they aren’t here… This was something that has piqued our curiosity . ”
The nobles nodded slightly . Lydia’s invitation wasn’t kept a secret and the list of names were public to them . Mini Bubble Gum and Canary’s names had naturally garnered a whole lot of attention . Not to mention their strange names, the rumors regarding them were enough to attract their eyeballs . They were only about 16 years old and yet, possessed the formidable strength of the Peak Legendary Stage . Many of them were dubious about the rumor of them defeating the Duke Fiend hand in hand . However, it further proved their credibility when Mini Bubble Gum crippled the Mist Sword Saint thereafter . After all, no one had ever seen the Duke Fiend, but the news that the Mist Sword Saint was moving about as a handicapped person had spread all around the continent .
Many of them had hoped to meet the two legendary figures in this ceremony and witness their heroic mannerism . But they didn’t expect that they actually refused Lydia’s invitation and didn’t turn up!
Fortunately, Lydia was respectful of Rhode and she didn’t question their absence . On the other hand, Rhode had no way to explain the existence of the Phantom Guardians . It would be incredibly absurd . He didn’t need to explain to Lydia, but he had to face the inquiries of others .
But he was prepared for them .
“They were ecstatic when they received Royal Highness’ invitation . But they have their own research to complete and couldn’t find the time to join us . Moreover, they aren’t too favorable of the Country of Light, so, frankly speaking, they dislike heading into there . ”
“I remember that Miss Canary and Miss Bubble used to be your subordinates, right, Rhode?” Marlene said . “If that’s the case, they’ve been to the Country of Light with you in the past?”
“That’s right, Marlene . ”
Rhode turned to Marlene . Of course, he knew the reason behind Marlene raising this question . In order to receive the recognition of these young talents, they had to be convinced that Rhode had rich experience, knowledge, and wasn’t only powerful in strength . Marlene was giving Rhode a chance to come out strong to dispel their hostilities . This was a kind of rule in the circle and Rhode wasn’t about to give this opportunity a miss . He didn’t wish to make enemies without good cause . Even though he had several enemies, he was aware of their capabilities . He didn’t want to be struck down for no apparent reason by some unknown haters…
“Previously, I’ve been going on adventures with my companions and subordinates for a long time, exploring and unraveling the secrets and mysteries of this continent . There was a saying in my hometown that reading thousands of books isn’t as fulfilling as traveling thousands of miles . There will be many times when you personally experience the benefits that books can’t provide . Of course, I’ve been to Country of Light and the experience left unpleasant memories in my head . I guess you’re aware that in the Country of Light, they will treat you passionately like any ordinary person if they aren’t aware that you’re from the Munn Kingdom . As soon as they knew that you’re from the Munn Kingdom, they will instantly put up a long face as though they’re looking at a bunch of thugs, villains, and rogues…”
Rhode shrugged and let out a long sigh .
Was Lydia a great ruler? Of course she was . What about her domination? Of course she was wise and brilliant .
But it was definitely impossible to say that the ruling class in Munn Kingdom was perfect . In fact, Rhode found that there was a lethal shortcoming .
And that was their arrogance .
Why was the Country of Light able to receive strong support from their people? One of the reasons was that their politicians often dove into the crowd of their people and announced their thoughts and heartfelt wishes to the people through means of speech and propaganda . Regardless of the amount of lies in their speeches, the politicians had at least gotten off from their high horses and enjoy the experience with the people together, in exchange for their respect, value, and favorable impression on the Light Parliament . In contrast, perhaps due to the difference in races, Lydia and the Battle Angels had never done so . They had never stepped down to explain, encourage, or incite the people with their thoughts and goals . They were only responsible for giving out orders and ensuring the people abide by them . The same went for the nobles . Taking Marlene for example . Although she could usually communicate and stay in contact with the civilians in peacetime and listen to their thoughts and opinions, she didn’t regard the civilians highly because their opinions were only worthy as references . As a noble, it was impossible to change their own thoughts and ideas with the opinions of civilians because it would be an insult for the nobles .
The lack of the right to speak was a weak spot and shortcoming of the Munn Kingdom . The Reformist Party was able to receive the support of their people because the people had learned the methods that the Country of Light often carried out . Even though Southern nobles and merchants didn’t reveal themselves in public, they manipulated mercenary groups and guilds under them to subtly spread rumors that were beneficial for them, at the same time smearing the reputation of the Munn Kingdom . Ordinary tax collection could be manipulated into Lydia wished to purchase new furniture and satin, which was why she tried to exploit the people’s assets . A group of bandits attacking a regular military team could be exploited into people rebelling against the tyranny . Anyway, the Royal Family wouldn’t get off their high horses to refute the rumors . Moreover, the Southerners were generally far from war and threats . People who lived in peaceful society for a long time would naturally believe whatever they listened . As the saying ‘a thousand lies transform into the truth’ goes, the Reformist Party spared no effort in tarnishing the Munn Royal Family while the Munn Royal Family did nothing to retaliate, which led to social unrest and turmoil . The Munn Royal Family appeared to be adopting a ‘the wise man knows he knows nothing, while the fool thinks he knows it all’ kind of passive response . They believed that as long as their conscience was clear, they wouldn’t need to clarify the situation like a crime suspect .
The reason why the Northerners didn’t believe the rumors was that the stability of their lives were different from the South’s . They were directly threatened and the Myriad Flowers Battle was the shame and pain for all Northerners . Under such a circumstance, the North naturally leaned to the Royal Family for support and also presented the spirit of ‘we must support those who the enemies oppose and oppose those who the enemies support’ in resisting the South . Therefore, from this aspect, the main reason why the North wasn’t affected by the rumors from the South was that they were protecting their benefits and Lydia’s charisma and had nothing to do with the Royal Family at all . The entire ruling class had always been apathetic to people, apart from occasionally announcing important events publicly or revealing themselves during ceremonies or banquets to speak a few words to inspire the people . This was because the arrogance and pride of them as nobles made them feel like they were superior . It would be too embarrassing for them if they were to respond to whatever the people commented .
The Light Parliament was smart in capturing and exploiting them, spreading words among the people that the Munn Royal Family was domineering and treated people as animals . The Munn Royal Family looked down on the Light Parliament to begin with, and had never thought of retaliating, which resulted in them sinking even deeper . From a certain perspective, the reasons for the Munn Kingdom’s sufferings from the accusations weren’t totally unrelated to them .
But Rhode knew that this was a profound social and cultural issue, where over a thousand years weren’t sufficient to come up with a solution to resolve this problem, even on Earth . No matter which country, the privileged class was always above the civilians and the only difference was that some knew how to manipulate and take advantage of the public opinions to attain a positive facade . But even so, that was only on the surface . In fact, a beggar roaming the streets would never be compared to the glamorous tycoons cruising down Wall Street . The latter could manipulate the media to his benefits while the former could only protest, protest, and protest . Even if they protested to their deaths, the problem wouldn’t be resolved . The only meaning of their existence was that they had protested .
That was in Earth where the strength of Humans were almost equal . In this alternate world where the constitution of each unique races were in a serious unbalance, it was almost impossible to convince the privileged class nobles to respect the opinions of the civilians . Rhode felt that this was too exhausting and he lacked the capabilities to do so . He was neither Martin Luther King nor Abraham Lincoln . Furthermore, even they had proven that shooting their mouths off wasn’t omnipotent—a bullet would be able to stop them in the shortest time possible even without the existence of magic and spiritual powers .
However, Rhode could only process such thoughts privately and had never mentioned this to Marlene before . He also couldn’t mention this complex social problem before this group of people . Therefore, he changed the topic and talked about his ‘Adventure History’ on the continent . With his rich experience in the game, he could easily come up with something that would be an eye-opener for them .
In fact, that was the truth .
Even though there were experienced ones among them who had traveled abroad and seen the world, they definitely couldn’t beat Rhode who had left his footprints on almost every corner of this continent, including Hell and the bottomless abyss . Rhode appeared exceptionally aloof, but the group was astounded when they realized that he wasn’t reticent at all . Not only was he familiar with the unique customs and cultures of various places, but he was also knowledgeable about the mysterious, historical rumors . Besides, he was eloquent and instantly intoxicated the group with his stories .
When Rhode’s stories came to an end, the group realized that it was already dusk . The sun had fallen into the clouds below and painted a layer of golden brilliance to them .
“It’s unimaginable, Earl Rhode . ”
A young lady folded her hands and placed them by her chest . She gazed at Rhode with widened eyes .
“I’ve never expected that someone could experience such plentiful adventures . You make me wanna report back home immediately after the ceremony and request for permission to travel abroad for some time . After hearing your stories, I realized that the knowledge gathered from the books are so inadequate . Perhaps… we shouldn’t only rely on our heads to think of the problems because experiencing them for ourselves are equally important . ”
“You’re right . ”
Another man beside her nodded meaningfully . During the conversation, he had raised a few doubts to Rhode about the contents in some books, but Rhode managed to resolve them easily . Not only that, but Rhode also corrected him about the misconceptions between the book contents and reality .
“Now… I think I understand why you were able to achieve such accomplishments in a short period of time . ”
Derick Vas revealed a pensive expression and looked at Rhode with an admirable glint .
“Honestly speaking, Earl Rhode, I have previously thought that luck played a huge part in your success . But it seems that your rich experiences was the fundamentals to everything . I hope… we will have more opportunities in the future to seek your guidance . ”
“Sure . I would be glad to do so . ”
Rhode nodded slightly and shook hands with Derick .
Rhode sensed that the hostility and doubts in Derick’s eyes had turned into admiration, astonishment, and even some respect .
Rhode turned to Marlene while the latter presented a warm smile . Her eyes glinted with flashes of smiles .
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