Previously with the Lize's help, Anne was clothed in a somewhat comfy top for sleeping. Her thin garments were already drenched with sweat from all the lifting she had done a while back, causing the thin layer of cloth to stick to her porcelain-like skin. When Anne threw herself into Rhode's arms, he immediately felt two soft speaks pushing against him. Her fragrance quickly assaulted Rhode's nostrils, and it was so intense that even he couldn't resist. Fortunately, Rhode managed to keep his cool - he briefly caressed Anne's head and promptly parted with her body with a gentle shove.
"Alright, I'll get something for you to eat since you've slept for the whole day. Go, lie down and conserve your energy. I'll take care of the side effects for you - but don't forget your promise to me."
"Yes, of course, Anne will never ever disobey Leader's instructions again!"
The dainty girl slipped under the covers and snuck a look at Rhode with her big, beady round eyes like an obedient child waiting for her reward. Rhode shook his head helplessly before stepping out of the room. This was his method to deal with someone with a personality like Anne.
Similar to this time, she had acted on her own accord before even though Rhode had warned everyone to obey his instructions. He had even emphasized to Lapis of the seriousness of the Awakening Potion. However, a person with Anne's character would definitely disregard threats that hadn't occurred. For her to learn the consequences of her actions, Rhode would need her to taste the bitter fruit of fragility. If not, Anne would probably continue to commit mistakes.
Now, it seemed that Rhode's plan was highly effective, but...
"Peeping and eavesdropping aren't things a proper lady would do, Gillian."
After leaving the room and closing the door behind him, Rhode turned towards a woman standing next to a window. Gillian was gazing out at the brightly lit moon with an elegant posture. Upon hearing Rhode's voice, the fox-eared woman shifted her attention towards him as her huge, fluffy tail swayed from left to right.
"Master, what are you saying? I'm only here to admire the moon. You see - look how beautiful the moon is right there. Isn't it a pity not to appreciate its beauty?"
"So you chose to admire the moon at this time?"
Rhode replied sarcastically and made his way towards the dining hall. Gillian let out a chuckle after seeing Rhode's reaction and withdrew her pretentious dramatic posture before quickly catching up to Rhode.
"Heh heh heh. It's truly Master indeed. That said, I thought Master would coerce Miss Anne to strip off everything and have a good time with her. Didn't Miss Anne already mention that she would obey whatever you say? Also, this is a good time to test her commitment, oh? It's such a pity for Master to give up on this opportunity. You had it in your grasp ah..."
"Unlike you, I'm not always in estrus."
For a moment, Rhode shot a look of disdain at Gillian, but he quickly recovered his usual stern expression.
"Alright alright, enough of the tiresome jokes. Do you have any solutions for Anne's current situation?"
The Weakened debuff wasn't that hard to cure; rather, it was the lingering effects that gave Rhode the most headaches. A drop of five to ten levels would mean that Anne would drop to Apprentice. This was a huge problem and even though Rhode knew many ways to level up fast, NPCs were fundamentally different from players. NPCs didn't 'gain experience,' so Rhode couldn't drag Anne around clearing dungeons.
"Solution?" Gillian's ears twitched as she skipped around Rhode as though she was dancing.
"Hmm... The aftereffects of the Awakening Potion is indeed troublesome, but I do have a method worth trying. If it's successful, I can guarantee there will be a high success rate in counteracting the lingering effects."
"Oh?" Rhode stood still and turned towards Gillian. "What method?"
"It's very simple," Gillian conceitedly lifted her index finger. "That is to make Miss Anne continue consuming the Awakening Potion."
"... Hello? Are you still half-asleep? Or are there problems with my ears?"
After hearing Gillian's answer, Rhode stared foolishly at her for a few moments. Indeed, Rhode had thought of many solutions before this but the idea of consuming the Awakening Potion again had never entered his mind. However, Gillian actually came up with this seemingly outrageous idea.
"Of course I'm awake, and there are no issues with Master's ears," Gillian smiled in response to Rhode's ridicule. "But, I do have my own reasons for that."
"I guess that Master has also noticed," Gillian extended her arm with her palm facing upwards.
Flames pulsated on top of her palm and projected the scene of today's match. "After the Awakening Potion triggered growth in Miss Anne's strength, there was an undeniable change. Not only on her appearance but also here... Did you notice? Miss Anne possessed wind elemental powers. Furthermore, according to my observations, this should also be a Dominator-Level of strength. I have to say; any ordinary half-beast wouldn't possess such prowess. Also, perhaps in human's point of view, effort is the source of power for transformations. However, to high-grade non-human beings like us, the strength of bloodlines is very important."
"Oh?" Rhode fretted. "What you mean is..."
"It's similar to me. I suspect that there may be a dominant ruler class in either of Miss Anne's parents - also, there's a possibility that it may be one of the five main lords. Only with the influence of such a strong existence would the next generation be able to grasp elemental powers once they awakened. If not, even if one drinks thirty tons of Awakening Potions, it wouldn't work at all."
"Wind elemental lord?"
Rhode pondered for a while, attempting to recall who was the wind elemental lord. In the game, there was Seftek who lived within Mount Gagar. However, he might not be Anne's biological father as there wasn't just one elemental lord living. Due to the elemental properties and also other various reasons, sometimes there might be one or two elemental lords within each element respectively. Just like in the game, Rhode had never heard of Gillian as a fire elemental lord, but she certainly was one. Furthermore, she had never denied the fact that another fire elemental lord existed.
"Ah, I see. That was what you meant."
Rhode mused for a moment as he began to understand what Gillian meant.
"For example, imagine Miss Anne as an abundant treasury, but due to various restrictions, the door to the treasury is tightly shut and the stored wealth can't be retrieved. So the Awakening Potion that Miss Anne drank works like a battering ram that had smashed a big hole in that door. Now the door is damaged, and a portion of the wealth managed to flow out," Gillian spread her arms out. "So what we have to do now is to destroy the door and reveal all the wealth. This way, we can awaken the strength hibernating within her bloodline and Anne will receive unimaginable strength."
"But regarding the Weakened debuff that the Awakening Potion..."
"You don't have to worry about this, Master. It's merely a Weakened debuff and would only work on ordinary humans. If Miss Anne is successful in awakening her bloodline, she can easily overcome the effects. Don't underestimate the bloodline of dominant ruler class. Besides, I suspect her other bloodline is also equally impressive because it's no easy task for her to suppress and maintain her human form with the bloodline of a dominant ruler class. Of course, I don't know where did Miss Anne come from and whose bloodline is flowing within her body right now."
"What you said does make sense," Rhode nodded but quickly frowned. "But, what if it fails..."
"Then Miss Anne would be done for."
Gillian didn't evade this problem.
"If she can't grasp the strength of her bloodline, the continuous consumption of the Awakening Potion would cause her to end up as a disabled person. Someone who could think, but can only lie on the bed. She would be unable to move her limbs, unable to care for herself and leave herself in the care of others forever. To be frank, if that happens, death may be a more benevolent option," Gillian clapped her palms before ending her speech. "That's why this is a gamble, Master. And the choice is in your hands."
"No, you're wrong, Gillian."
Rhode shook his head and denied Gillian's words.
"The choice doesn't lie in my hands. There's someone who has the rights to decide Anne's fate and is the person herself," Rhode let out a sigh. "But from my understanding of her, she will not reject it."