Rhode said this sentence with a strict expression and there wasn't any undulation in his tone or voice. However, to the both of them, it was like a bolt from the blue.
Representing the Paphield region in the Midsummer Festival... This could only mean one thing. They were going to compete in the guild battles!
A mercenary group that was formed not long ago was actually participating in the guild battles?!
"But... Sir, we are a mercenary group..."
Even Shauna, who was always calm, had swallowed her saliva and hesitantly voiced her thoughts after hearing this news.
"That's right. But we have already agreed with the Mercenary Association. If we are victorious in the Midsummer Festival, they will promote us to guild status."
The two of them were stunned and immediately blown away... Guild? Oh lord, are we going to become a guild? Gosh, can anyone tell us that we're not dreaming? This is the biggest dream of all mercenary groups!
"Sir, is this for real?"
Kavos patted his head as he hadn't recover from the shock. He opened his eyes wide and looked at Rhode, and the latter nodded slightly. Just this affirmation was enough to make Kavos speechless... A guild... After fighting for all his life, he hadn't seen a glimpse of hope in his mercenary group becoming a guild and yet, the dream was hanging right before him now?
"But, Sir... This should be a difficult task."
Shauna was the first to recover from the shock. She sharply sensed the meaning behind Rhode's words and couldn't help but frowned. Rhode said 'victorious in the Midsummer Festival' casually but as she thought about it, she quickly realised the true intention behind it. In other words, not only was Starlight participating in the battle, but they would also still need to win it.
Was this possible?
To the mercenary groups, guilds were highly regarded. Every elite in guilds was much stronger than the leaders of small scale mercenary groups. No matter the groups or individual battles, they wouldn't stand any chance in winning. And now, for Rhode to say that... Could it be that he was really confident of his chances?
"No big issue here. I'm already prepared."
Rhode was totally unconcerned with Shauna's doubt as he gestured.
"Your mission is to get the others to prepare for Golden City. There are many opponents out there and we can't possibly partake in battles alone, so it would be better if someone's out there rooting for us, isn't it?"
"Yes, Sir, we'll get going now."
The guild battles! The guild battles! To gain this opportunity, others would need to fight with all their lives, and yet they could directly achieve it! Although they had no idea about their winning chances, no matter what, this definitely was a good chance to solidify the group's powers! They went off immediately with this encouragement in their heads.
Everyone left the room and Rhode let out a long sigh. Of course, he understood the risks to Starlight in this situation. Previously, the Mercenary Association had given Paphield this opportunity as a form of assistance to the other four largest guilds. In other words, no matter if it the Mercenary Association or other guilds, neither of them believed that Starlight would be an obstacle. And Rhode could confirm that once this news got disseminated, not only would it create an uproar within the Paphield region, but it would also possibly create a chain effect in other regions. After all, no matter what, Rhode's Starlight was a mercenary group formed less than half a year ago. And for such a new mercenary group to directly obtain the chance to battle against the four largest guilds in the Midsummer Festival, that would definitely upset other mercenary groups. Well, that was human nature for you.
Rhode believed that, with such mentality, perhaps there would be more foes than friends in the mercenary groups that would also participate in the Midsummer Festival. They couldn't be blamed because they needed to fight for their lives in the side events first, then be granted a chance to battle with the four largest guilds. Rhode didn't need to do that, and if no one was envy or jealous of that, it would be a lie.
This was why Rhode was sure that Starlight would face huge pressure in the Midsummer Festival.
But, there would always be a bad side and a good side to the situation.
Such external pressure admittedly would make anyone nervous, but this would be a good chance to strengthen the group's teamwork. Although Rhode didn't intend to put the mercenaries into battles, this didn't mean that they were useless because he had planned for them to be more united through these stressful times. Even though the mercenaries weren't devoted enough to die for the mercenary group yet, they would definitely stand up and defend themselves together once they realised that almost everyone in this world was mocking, humiliating, and even despising them. Maybe they were resentful for certain matters within this mercenary group, but this was something private to them so they could swear and criticize!
Of course. Rhode was clear that this was just taking chances. The mercenaries gave their all to defend their mercenary group, but if the mercenary group turned out to be a huge letdown, then the pressure wouldn't turn into motivation, but devastation instead... But, Rhode was never worried about this. In the game, he had led Starlight through any situation. They started from zero and went through spite and hatred, but they eventually survived. In the end, they became legends.
So then, what pushed Starlight into becoming the game's leading legend?
Dreams? Beliefs? Ideals?
Without results, there would be nothing. Without victories, even determination, courage, and beliefs were useless. Of course. This statement could be flipped over. If there was no determination, courage, or belief, there would be no victories.
This was why Rhode said to be victorious in the Midsummer Festival. Originally, the Mercenary Association said that if they could achieve a good result in the Midsummer Festival, the association would consider promoting them to guild. But, what exactly signified good results? This was too vague that even Rhode wasn't able to accept such an evaluation. To him, since he had to do it, then it was going to be the best. Other than victory, no other results were acceptable. If Starlight could be number 1 under such earth-shattering resistance, then no one would ever doubt their abilities in becoming a guild!
Nothing would be an issue as long as they were victorious. To the contrary, if they could win, even the smallest issues would be magnified.
But Rhode was already prepared for that.
Knock Knock Knock
Rhode answered. The door opened and Sereck stood with a bitter smile and nodded.
"Long time no see, Mr. Rhode. I didn't expect you to look for me."
Sereck paused for a moment and turned his gaze to Christie. who was holding onto a canvas and secretly sizing him up.
"Could this be Miss Christie? What a cute little girl... Hi there, beautiful lady. I am Sereck from the Mercenary Association. It's nice to meet you."
"... Hi, Sereck... I am Christie..."
Christie shyly stood up in response to Sereck's introduction. Unlike others, the little girl would always address others without their titles. It would sound rude if others addressed Sereck this way. but Christie's way of addressing had always brought along a pure, innocent feeling that no one was willing to reprimand her for it.
Sereck was no exception. He displayed a genuine smile and nodded before taking a seat opposite Rhode.
"Okay, my men are here. Mr Rhode, what do you need?"
"Where's that old dude though?"
Rhode didn't answer immediately. Instead, he put on an act to look behind Sereck. Of course, there was no one there.
"He's not coming. Don't even think about it."
Sereck couldn't help but let out a bitter laugh. His ears were still ringing with the roars of the old president of the Mercenary Association when he heard that Rhode had invited himself for discussion. That scream had almost left Sereck dead.
"Okay, no matter what, I can represent the Mercenary Association, so what is it regarding?"
"It's like this..."
A joke could only be funny for only so many times, so Rhode immediately jumped into the real topic.
"The Midsummer Festival is nearing and you guys are about to announce the news soon. What do you think will be the reactions of the other mercenary groups? Has the Mercenary Association come up with any plans?"
"What plans could we possibly have?"
Sereck forced out a smile. Of course, he knew that as soon as the list of names was announced, the entire Paphield region would perhaps flip the sky, but what else could he do?
"We can only try our best to console them. After all, most of the mercenary groups understand their current situation, so I think it wouldn't pose much of a problem. Of course, that's all we can do as the Mercenary Association. In the end, it will all be on your performance in the Midsummer Festival."
"But, if we were to console them, it would already be too late... Besides, even if nobody spoke up, everyone would still have opinions about it. Currently, our Paphield region is facing many problems and at this point of time, we mercenary groups should gather and not divide... Do you agree?"
"This... is undoubtedly right."
Sereck gazed at the black-haired young man in doubt. From his impression, Rhode wasn't such a person. Why would he be worried about the social order of mercenary groups within the Paphield region? Hey, weren't you not in the least bit worried when you destroyed the Jade Tears mercenary group?
"Therefore, I have a suggestion... Since the mercenary groups will be unconvinced, then we could use a fair and equal method to make them accept this arrangement wholeheartedly."
This piqued Sereck's curiosity, and if such a method existed, it would be the best for the Mercenary Association.
Rhode sat up straight and folded his arm. He revealed a sly smile after noticing Sereck's surprised expression.
"I can guarantee that this will definitely be a fair, equal method that leaves no complaints."