Now that Gillian had mentioned it... This scenery was on the 8th floor of the Infernal Abyss: a landscape of burning purgatory. The indistinct, visible tall building was the symbolic Atonement Tower. Actually, Rhode wasn't any stranger to that place as he had led his men and ransacked the region before killing the Void Dragon. However, he subconsciously believed that this scenery should have been in the Dragon Soul Continent and didn't think of that place as hell. Now, it seemed like this was exactly the same as what he remembered.
"Huhuhu, this is getting interesting, Master."
Gillian let out a chuckle and lifted her head. She winked at Rhode playfully. He knew what Gillian meant because no matter what, Christie had never been to hell and even if it was based on the little girl's imagination, the depiction was too similar. If he didn't learn about Christie's past, he would have thought that she had been there before. However, that was totally impossible, as the burning purgatory belonged to the deeper levels of hell. Volcanoes erupted and flowed with magma while the air was filled with pitch-black billows of smokes and ash that danced like snow- Beautiful, yet deadly. No humans could survive there; not even players like Rhode. He was only able to survive due to him securing equipment that was immune to fire elements. If it was Christie, she would have turned into ashes immediately the moment she entered.
That was why Gillian thought this was getting interesting.
Accordingly to Marlene, Christie didn't seem to be aware when she painted these sceneries and only when she finished them would she get a huge shock. So what did all this mean?
Rhode rubbed his forehead, feeling a little fatigued as another difficult problem rose before his eyes before he could even get a good night's rest.
"What did the others think about this?"
"Miss Anne wasn't interested and Lize was worried. As for the rest... they aren't aware of this yet. I don't think Christie would go around talking about it either."
Christie was popular among the mercenaries, mainly due to her appropriate behavior. Maybe it was due to her harsh childhood that she didn't have the willfulness of girls of her age. She was obedient, clever, and everyone adored her cute appearance.
"Okay, we will leave it as it is for now."
Rhode shook his head hopelessly.
"How much money do we have on our hands?"
Marlene wasn't sure. She tilted her head, closed her eyes, and pondered for a moment. Then, she unrolled a scroll in her hands.
"Currently, we have 53,600 gold coins, Mr. Rhode. Our main income comes from adventures and missions. And because you don't sell our spoils of war, our income from this aspect is quite low. As for the blacksmith shop that you received from the Keller Family, after subtracting the basic fees, it brings us about 200 to 300 gold coins. That's all."
Rhode was surprised. Marlene shrugged her shoulders helplessly while showing a bittersweet smile.
Perhaps Shauna and Kavos would have dropped their eyeballs after hearing Marlene's report, as 50,000 gold coins was an unimaginable amount of money to a mercenary group. It wasn't because they weren't able to earn that much as a normal person could earn tens of thousands every year in modern society too. But, on average throughout the months, that amount would be pathetic. Not to mention the lodging and expenses on food - No one would feel that they earned a lot.
It was the same logic for mercenary groups. As long as the missions weren't too low in grade, getting thousands of gold coins as remuneration was always possible. However, mercenaries needed to repair their equipments and also pay for lodging and food expenses. After all these deductions, every mercenary group could only save up a few pennies.
As for why Rhode's Starlight was able to earn that much, it was partly because he didn't have many members in the initial stages and there wasn't much profit sharing. Moreover, the missions that they had completed were of high grades and risks. A series of missions from the association and his opportunistic approaches toward the president of the Mercenary Association gained him the financial results he saw today.
However, it was a pity that although this sum of money was considered a huge amount for normal mercenary groups, in Rhode and Marlene's eyes, it was nothing. As a leading guild in the game, the cash flow into Rhode's hands were in the millions. Not to mention that a mere 50k gold coins wouldn't even be enough to capture his attention. Marlene, as the heir of the largest noble family in Munn Kingdom, only thought of money as mere worldly possession. In fact, ever since Marlene had joined Starlight, she never asked for a single penny as remuneration. According to her, since she was the one who wanted to join a mercenary group to sharpen her skills, then she should be responsible for herself. The mercenary group shouldn't spend anything on her. All in all, money was never a problem to Marlene...
And because of that, both of them were dissatisfied with the current financial status of the mercenary group. It was just that both of them had different standards of reference for comparison.
After listening to Marlene's report, Rhode let out a helpless sigh. He had initially planned to buy up some equipment from the auction market in Deep Stone City, but it seemed like he couldn't even afford a single piece with that much money.
Don't tell me I have to wear plain equipment for the Midsummer Festival?
Rhode wasn't resigned to it yet and that was being human for you. If he didn't obtain the Zero Refining Equipment, he would be fine going to the Midsummer Festival in this state. But now that he had received such godly equipment, it would be a huge waste if he wore it as an accessory with no other purpose. Since he didn't have enough money for equipment...
I'll need to play by ear then.
Rhode came up with a plan and decided not to ponder this problem anymore. He turned around and left Lapis' room to catch a break. He was exhausted after being outdoors for so many days. Now that he finally had the chance for a break, of course he wouldn't let it slip by. He temporarily threw all these headaches to the back of his head and plopped into bed. After leaving the historical remains, Rhode had to be on guard against those Druids who were enough to keep him restless. Now that he had finally returned to his comfortable bed, he fell into deep sleep immediately...
As for Marlene, she left Rhode's room with a gloomy expression. Although Rhode was expressionless most of the time, he was energetic and seldom rested during the daytime. Marlene noticed the fatigue on his face, which piqued her curiosity. Could it be that something happened during the mission? Or, is he troubled over something? But...
Marlene left with this thought.
Even if it was Rhode, he was bound to be fatigued after going on an adventure for several days. It was almost evening when he woke up. The sun had almost called it a day as it lit up the horizon and white clouds were painted in a warm redness. Rhode stood and while he tidied his clothes, someone knocked on the door. Marlene's voice sounded.
"Mr. Rhode, are you awake?"
"Marlene? Yes, come in," Rhode said. The maiden pushed the door open and made her way in. Rhode quickly noticed her unusually gloomy expression. "Did anything happen?"
Marlene thought for a moment.
"Lize, Anne, and Christie haven't return since they went out this morning to buy some painting materials. They should be back by noon, but..."
"You're saying that they are nowhere in sight?"
Rhode glanced out of the window subconsciously. The sun had fallen below the horizon. This should be the time mercenaries returned, unless they went out to have a drink or two. However, Lize, Anne, and Christie clearly didn't have such a habit.
"Yes. I dispatched someone to search for them, but..."
Before Marlene could finish her sentence, rapid footsteps could be heard from the hallway. In an instant, Joey barged into the room with a head full of sweat. He panted and pointed his shaky finger out the window in a pale expression.
"Miss Marlene, Leader, n-n-no good! Someone is trying to capture Miss Lize, Anne, and Christie!"