It was already noon when Rhode arrived at the Sacred Arena. After the glorious opening ceremony, the bustling festival quietened. Just like waves, there were peaks and lows. Got to say, Lydia had good control over this. After a whole morning of splendid celebrations, everyone was fatigued. Comfortable music and the sound of bells could be heard all over Golden City for everyone to calm their nerves and get ready for the next highlight.
At this moment, Rhode and the rest were led to the entrance of the Sacred Arena by the Battle Angels.
At this moment, all of them finally got to see how huge and tall this whole arena was.
As the most reputable building in the Munn Kingdom, the Sacred Arena was eye catching. This arena covered 23,000 square meters, had 150m tall high walls, and a huge arched door. When Rhode's group stood before the arched door, they sensed a stress as though this sky-piercing construction would suddenly collapse and devour them.
The newbies like Joey and Randolf couldn't help but swallow their saliva. Of course, they couldn't admire this magnificent construction with pure appreciation and exclaim like Lapis and Christie because they needed to withstand the pressure from the competition later on. Furthermore, over 100k people in the audience would be watching their fights, which left Joey and Randolf shivering at the thought...
Rhode remained as calm as ever. After gaining the likes of the Munn Kingdom to the 'Worship' level, Rhode once challenged for the title of 'Sacred Guardian' and won. Back then, he fought under the gazes of 100k people, which wasn't any different from this.
Of course, Rhode did notice the psychological changes in his men. Gillian was acting normally as she followed closely. As an Elemental Lord, she wasn't mindful with matters of such standards. On the other hand, Lapis was free from pressure as she knew that she wasn't going to participate. As for Lize... She had been calm on their trip here. But now, she held her hands placed on her chest with a pale expression.
Whereas for Anne, she carried her heavy shield and hopped around energetically. No one knew if she wasn't nervous at all or purposely putting an act to conceal her senses. According to Rhode's understanding, the former was more probable...
Rhode turned to the side, tapped on Christie's shoulder, and looked at Shauna. The rest of the mercenary group had also arrived at Golden City and settled in at the campsite. However, as the competition was about to start, they couldn't follow the participants. According to the Midsummer Festival rules, various guild members were arranged to be seated behind their participating members. This could strengthen their momentum and also show off their strengths. However, to Rhode, it was impossible to strengthen the momentum of this new mercenary group of his. But, he still allowed them to crowd around for the sake of cohesiveness. At the same time, this served as a test because he was clear of the situation his men would face in the Midsummer Festival, which would naturally affect the mercenary group's cohesiveness. That was why he allowed most of the members to join in and cheer for their members and also secretly polish the entire mercenary group. Rhode was sure that Starlight wouldn't be one of the favourites in the Midsummer Festival and would be disregarded by many. Under such circumstances, as newly joined mercenaries, would they be able to withstand this pressure?
Previously in the game, Starlight being overly powerful had faced many hostilities from players. Some had even formed alliances just to defeat Starlight. At that point in time, many players who joined Starlight felt that they were hated by the whole community and many chose to leave the guild under the pressure. However, at the same time, many stayed and became the pillar and foundation of Starlight's growth and development. Now, Rhode decided to use the same method to test their cohesiveness. If one couldn't withstand the pressure, one could leave.This also saved Rhode's time so he didn't need to understand and observe them.
"Alright. Shauna, I'll leave Christie in your hands."
"Please be assured, Sir."
Shauna nodded hurriedly. She had led a comfortable life in Starlight because in this mercenary group, she seldom heard of anyone gossiping about her using her body to seduce the leader in order to reach her current status. This wasn't a surprise. After all, there were many more young ladies who were more beautiful than Shauna. In terms of identity, Marlene was more grandeur. In terms of temperament, Lize was purer. In terms of body, Anne was hotter. The mercenaries' aesthetic conceptions were basically normal and they wouldn't believe that Rhode would give up the three beauties by his side and go for Shauna with average looks and figure. This in turn left Shauna at ease, but of course, still depressed her a lot. After all, she was still a woman...
But, the latter was only her personal issues.
After spending a long time in the stronghold, Christie was familiar with most of the mercenaries. Therefore, she was used to Rhode's entrustment and no longer hid behind his back whenever she met other mercenaries. Although she didn't bear to leave, she obediently nodded and followed Shauna to the other side of the entrance after hearing his words.
Rhode turned around after Christie disappeared by the corner.
The preparation room was much better than the underground colosseum, with no sinister and terrifying atmosphere. It was lit brightly and there was a holy mural carved on the walls. The room was decorated with exquisite tables and chairs and hanged with various weapons on the walls. Of course, these were only decorations.
Marlene happened to arrive at this moment and out of Rhode's expectations, she seemed to have transformed from head to toe after one night... Of course, this didn't mean that Marlene went for plastic surgery. Instead, it was the shiny reflections on her which he couldn't gaze at directly.
Medusa's Necklace, Nightmare robe, Moon bracelet, and crystal ear drops-All these god-tier accessories and equipment almost blinded Rhode's eyes. Natives indeed couldn't be messed with. The risk that Rhode had taken and time spent in building the mercenary group couldn't even be compared to half of the equipment that Marlene was wearing. Judging from the equipment, Rhode felt that if Marlene stood in the players' arena, the opponent would immediately leave the game followed by a quick 'GG'.
However, this was naturally good news for Rhode. From this, he discovered that the Senia Family was supportive of him. If not, she wouldn't be equipped with so much good equipment in just one night.
... Even though her previous equipment wasn't actually that bad.
After Marlene arrived, all the members were ready. Rhode nodded at Marlene and she replied with an unnatural smile. However, Rhode didn't notice it as he clapped his hand and everyone lifted their heads to attention.
"Alright, I'm sure you guys are clear that our match is about to begin," Rhode said. His peaceful voice and expression calmed the tensed crowd. Now, their breathing and heartbeats weren't as fast as before.
"I think all of you are clear that we cannot lose this competition. Others don't think we aren't capable of defeating the Sky Sword Guild. Just as I said, we aren't the favorites here and will only receive threats and humiliations. However, we are not here to do a catwalk on stage and simply go home."
Rhode's expression turned slightly stern.
"Don't forget that all of you have defeated the mercenary group elites in Paphield. You have proved to them that you're better, so if we lose here, what meaning would it serve to them that we're stronger?"
Rhode spread his arms apart.
"Could it be that all of you wish to return and hear their sarcastic sneers like 'Ha, since you're still defeated in the first round, does it make a difference if we attended or you attended'?"
Joey and Randolf twitched their brows and clenched their fists. Anne, on the other hand, jumped.
"That's impossible, Leader. Anne will not lose. Anne guarantees that the whatever Sky Sword Guild can't defeat me!"
Rhode nodded with satisfaction. He turned to Marlene and Lize and continued.
"Our goal is to win. Not only this round, but also the next few rounds... No matter who our opponents are."
Rhode paused for a moment.
"Now, I will arrange the sequence... Joey, you're up first. Next is Marlene, Gillian, Anne, then myself."
Rhode finished his sentence and turned to Joey who was dumbstruck. Joey thought that he wouldn't be the first to fight in such an important competition, but it seemed that things were out of his expectations, which forced him to stand up nervously.
"Joey, I assign the most important mission to you..."
Rhode raised his hand to interrupt Joey's words. Then, he said something which left everyone stunned.
"This match, you need to lose."