The glaring sun rays instantly forced everyone to narrow their eyes upon exiting the tunnel. The clamors came crashing into them. In an instant, everyone held their breaths as though a huge wave was about to engulf them. Soon enough, the brilliance dissipated and up until this moment, they could finally see the arena clearly.
Apart from Rhode, everyone was silenced.
It wasn't that they didn't go through similar situations. During the fight in the underground colosseum, Anne and the rest had experienced this once. But, the area was decorated simply and was a broken beast colosseum, so how could they compare it to the Sacred Arena?
Joey trembled his way out of the tunnel and looked attentively at the audience. Although the three-meters tall wall guaranteed their safety from the sea of people, Joey was still scared out of his wits upon facing such a spectacular scene. The rest weren't any better. Randolf and Lapis were pale while Lize held her hands to her chest and took in deep breaths to calm herself down. However, it wasn't any easy feat.
That was why Anne wasn't a normal human to start with.
After everyone from Starlight emerged on the arena, the cheers increased massively, which left Lize and the rest at their wits' ends. They stared blankly into the black tide of people. They felt that the increase in speaking volume should be more or less related to them, but they couldn't figure them out. The voices from all directions were like house flies around their ears and even they couldn't hear themselves.
Why is it this scary?
As everyone exchanged worried looks, the clamors in their ears weakened within seconds. Then, the noises once again burst into a roaring thunderstorm of cheers!
That's right, cheers!
The loud cheers shook Lapis so much that her legs softened and she collapsed to the ground. The rest weren't anywhere better as they felt like little animals who were about to meet their hunters. They curled up and scanned the surroundings nervously. At this moment, on the other side of the arena, the members of the Sky Sword Guild had emerged.
It seemed like the cheers were for them.
Although Rhode had introduced them to his members, they couldn't understand why a guild could have such strong influence.
They couldn't be blamed. They had always lived in Paphield, which lacked strong and consistent guilds. Hiller's Burning Blade always lacked vigor, so Lize and the others weren't familiar with the influence a guild could have on the people. They only knew that a guild could have strong influence, but wasn't sure as to what extent.
But Rhode was clear about it.
One of the most important reasons as to why guilds were popular amongst the civilians was that they weren't official organizations, which represented the voice of civilian's benefits. The guilds controlled a certain territory and affected the lives of the civilians. Taking the four guilds for example; Cole Falcon represented the trade associations and political rights in the high plains, Purple Lily represented the poor civilians in the Desolated Grounds, the Liberty Wings' backing was the impoverished social class in the Southern Port, and the Sky Sword's influential range covered the Southern riches and noble elites.
And because both sides benefited each other, the guilds were popular amongst the people. Of course, it was because of this that the conflicts between them were so deep, just like the discrimination of regions that existed in every world.
The conflict between Cole Falcon and Sky Sword was actually the simplest to understand. Their targets were simple as they represented the King's Party's controlling class, Reformist Party's elites, and merchant groups in the fight for the Munn Kingdom's regime's authority. The King's Party racked their brains to force away the Reformist Party, and the Reformist Party tried their best to overthrow the King and form a ruling class of their own. This was purely just the fight for authority.
But compared to them, Purple Lily and Liberty Wings had the most complicated conflict. The reason was simple. The Southern Port thought that the King's Party of Munn Kingdom was overly-protective of the Desolated Grounds and in turn ignored their living standards. However, the people of Desolated Grounds objected this saying. For example, the poor people from the Southern Port belonged to those who couldn't afford white bread, but was able to afford black bread if they worked harder. That was why their request to the King's Party was to at least have white bread for every meal.
However, the civilians of the Desolated Grounds couldn't afford white bread and could only afford black bread after they worked hard, and if they didn't work, they would starve to death. That was why they wished that they could at least have black bread, and whereas for the white bread... They didn't want to think about it temporarily.
The people of Desolated Grounds thought that the idiots from Southern Port were lazy and asking for too much. The idiots could at least afford black bread, but still wished for assistance? What logic was that? In turn, the Southern Port's point of view was that it was the Desolated Grounds' own issues that they couldn't afford black bread and it wasn't a reason to steal their rights to ask for white bread.
If you people were more capable and didn't become the slaves of the King's Party, then you wouldn't have issues of not affording black bread. We are not a bunch of brainwashed slaves because we have our own ideals and expectations. Affording white bread is our right, so why do you even care? And besides, even if we're poor, we still have freedom and pride. Even if we die in the river due to starvation, that's also our freedom of choice. Look at yourself! Not only you're poor, but you also don't have freedom or pride at all!
Of course. Such words weren't nice to the people of Desolated Grounds. If it weren't for the King's Party, perhaps they couldn't even afford black bread and could be dead by now. And those Southern bastards obviously were the ones trying to break their way to make a living, so what did it have to do with the King's Party?
Due to the conflicts, the neighbouring civilians disregarded one another. Of course, they were civilians of the Munn Kingdom, after all, so they wouldn't possibly form a military clique for riot and the guilds were there to become their strongest support. They couldn't battle on their own, but they could rely on the guilds to fight in this Midsummer Festival to dissolve the conflicts. At least this was better than a real war, right?
But now, the Paphield region was in an awkward situation. Although they belonged to the King's Party, they became rather low profile as they didn't have a representative who always represented themselves. They also couldn't meddle with the conflicts between the King's Party and Reformist Party. However, it was also due to this that they couldn't possibly come to the Midsummer Festival and support the guild of their region wholeheartedly. This was bad news to Rhode. Besides, Paphield had plentiful natural resources and didn't have many deep conflicts with other regions.
No enemy meant no cohesion. No goals meant no supporters. That was why Rhode's Starlight could be said to be fighting this solo. In this arena filled with 100k people, apart from his mercenary group which had less than a hundred members, there were no other Starlight supporters and it felt like hell to them.
In fact, no one trusted that Starlight would win.
"Sky Sword! Sky Sword! Sky Sword!"
The cheers for the Sky Sword Guild boomed and left Lize and the others as white as paper. They even felt that standing there was an utter mistake with no one supporting them. They couldn't even see any allies. Of course, the Starlight members were sitting at the high stage not far behind them, but just as Lize and the rest subconsciously turned around and sought for support, all they could see was a sea of people.
They couldn't even see who was in it.
This left them depressed.
At the same time, a discouraging thought emerged in their heads.
"Can we still win this?"
But, this wasn't a question of yes or no to Rhode.
Apart from winning, he would never accept any other outcome.
Rhode remained calm and stared at the opposing five members. Then, he gestured to Joey.
"Joey. Go. Remember my words... Lose properly."