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 Of course, Rhode was kidding. There isn't a way for her to delete her character since this world isn't a game.

Rhode and Marlene pitied her. She had the talent, but she didn't have a proper tutor to guide her the way to study alchemy. Perhaps if she had, she would be one of the next alchemy geniuses on the continent.

But Rhode didn't plan to give on up her just like that. Since Lapis had already joined Starlight, he could still try and salvage what he could. Although Lapis did what no player could do, it wasn't all that surprising as NPCs had different characteristics from players. Rhode turned towards Marlene and looked at her. Just like that young genius mage beside him who excelled in 'all forms of magic.'

"It's impossible, Mr. Rhode."

Marlene said, as though she read Rhode's mind.

"While I did learn how to concoct potions, I'm not too sure about the other two divisions. Even if you want me to teach her, I can't teach something I don't know."

After all, being a genius doesn't mean that she's omnipotent.

"Just give it a try."

Rhode understood Marlene's difficulties as his class had a similar problem. One of the skill requirements for the Summoning Swordsman class was also mysterious creation.

Marlene had a look of bewilderment on her face; her usual confidence was nowhere to be seen. Rhode knew that he shouldn't force things to progress quickly so he didn't require her to complete the task if she couldn't. It's just that he didn't have anyone else who had more knowledge of magic than her, thus he could only give it a try.

After hiring the four of them, Rhode told Old Walker to halt the recruitment.

With the addition of Shauna, Randolf, Lapis and the others, Starlight had met the minimum requirements of 12 members. It took some time, but Rhode finally did it.

Although there were no geniuses among the new recruits, Rhode didn't worry about it. These mercenaries were still young and had enough time to train. Rhode was once the leader of a massive guild, so he had plenty of experience in developing newbies. As long as he had enough time, he was certain that he could bring them up to a similar standard to that of a regular player. While he couldn't guarantee that he could train them up to a level similar to Marlene, at least they would be self-sufficient when going for missions.

Now that's settled, Rhode still had one more thing to do.

Attending the Mercenary Association Joint Meeting.

When Rhode arrived at the Mercenary Association, it was already dusk.

"Hello, Mr. Rhode."

The mercenary who was responsible for greeting the guests promptly paid his respect to Rhode and politely ushered him inside. When he entered the hall, he found that the Mercenary Association looked different than the usual.

The tables and chairs the mercenaries sat on were gone; the only traces of furniture was the 32 chairs placed in a circle at the center of the hall. Many people had already arrived, making the large hall seem somewhat crowded.

Some were discussing something quietly while others quarreled openly. And among them, some people were unhappy, while others were coldly watching by the side.

These people were Paphield Region's 32 mercenary group leaders. At this moment, all of them were assembled together.

Rhode's arrival caused many people to stop talking as they shifted their attention to the appearance of the rising star. Ever since Starlight was formed, it was a group that didn't shy away from controversy. From how it was created, to where its stronghold was located and to the attractive rewards from the missions they received. Moreover, the recent conflict between Starlight and Jade Tears also sparked another wave of controversy among the mercenary groups. These events put Starlight in the limelight, and the mercenary group leaders were curious about who this mysterious young man was.

Under the attendant's lead, Rhode finally made it to his seat and sat down. The chairs were arranged according to the rank of the mercenary group, and the Starlight mercenary group's seat was the second to the left, which was the third-ranked seat.

Some people were unhappy with Rhode occupying the third rank, but before they could display their dissatisfaction, the Old President slammed his hammer down and silenced the crowd.

"Enough! Since everyone is now present, I now declare the commencement of the Mercenary Joint Meeting."

All the leaders immediately stopped speaking and gazed at the old man in anticipation.

This old man has such high prestige? That's unexpected.

Rhode sat on the chair with his arms crossed, looking at the Old President in amusement. He didn't stare too long before glancing around to look at the other leaders since some of them might be his future allies or foes.

Rhode was familiar with three of them, though. The person sitting in the first seat was a Swordsman who wielded a two-handed sword, 'Flame' Hiller. He spent twenty years to bring his mercenary group to the top. He also obtained the 'Flame Spirit Blessing' which was an artifact envied by many players.

It was even said that the massive two-handed blade on his back was made out of pure fire elemental condensation. Once the blade touches something, its temperature would shoot up to the point of melting anything around it.

Contrary to the fiery sword that appeared tyrannical, its master, 'Flame' Hiller, was a calm and brave man. Hiller's luck wasn't that good. During the past two decades, he upgraded his mercenary group to a guild several times, but they quickly relegated back into a mercenary group in the very same year. Still, though Burning Blade couldn't be compared to a mercenary guild, among the mercenary groups, it's still first in its class.

Sitting next to Hiller was 'Shadow' Shawn, the leader of the second-ranked 'Dark Fang.' He wore a white mask with a black cloak covering his entire body. It was rumored that he used to be a Rogue in one of the northern countries, but because of a mistake, he fled to Deep Stone City and took refuge there. Compared to orthodox mercenary groups like Burning Blade, Dark Fang was more of a society for Thieves and Assassins. The way they trained was based on subterfuge and hidden weapons. This made the mercenary group popular among dexterity-based classes like Rangers and Thieves.

However, Shawn didn't seem interested in promoting his mercenary group into a guild. He led Dark Fang for many years, and each year he consistently held the second rank, but never the first. Because of this, Dark Fang being referred to as the 'Eternal No.2' was an open secret. But after some time, this nickname of theirs faded away.

Just next to Rhode was the leader of Anne's former mercenary group, Mark White. He stared at Rhode with open animosity as Starlight had overtaken their position as third. Moreover, Rhode had 'bought over' some former Mark White members. Although it was a fair trade, the presence of their ex-members still made them feel slightly uncomfortable.

Just when Rhode stopped studying the appearances of all the leaders, the Old President also completed his boring opening speech. After that, he coughed and tapped the hammer on his hand.

"As you all should know, the recent incidents have caused considerable damage to all mercenary groups in Paphield. This meeting is to decide what happens next. Now, I'm going to announce the final decision determined by the Mercenary Association as we've discussed earlier."

Many mercenary group leaders were surprised. Even the leader of Burning Blade frowned. If the Mercenary Association made the final decision, the mercenary groups wouldn't be able to defy it unless they wanted to go rogue.

"The Mercenary Association has decided that because of the complexity of this incident, we will postpone the assessment to ensure that every mercenary group has enough time to rebuild. During this period, the Association will not release any missions and also forbid any mercenary groups to receive missions in private. If you violate this rule and undertake a mission, the Mercenary Association will not be liable for your loss and will not compensate you in any way."

Once the Old President finished, the quiet hall turned rowdy. Then, a man suddenly jumped up from his chair and yelled.

"I object!!"

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