As the last soldier burned to ashes in the inferno, the scorching flames disappeared abruptly. In an instant, traces of the blaze were entirely gone and the green grass patches dazzled under the beaming moonlight.
Rhode swept a glance at the pair who stood there flabbergasted. He puckered his brows and stood up, gesturing to Gillian and Anne.
"Alright, start packing up. These two little troublemakers brought along a huge trouble which I have no interest in. Let's move up further for now and we will continue our journey the next morning."
Both of them nodded in acknowledgment. However, as Rhode turned around to leave, the two 'troublemakers' scuttled towards him with trepidation. The young man seemed to be 18 years old and was dressed in a proper warrior outfit, which made him unlikely to be a mercenary. After all, mercenaries were a pragmatic bunch who placed their equipment wherever convenient. Due to this, they placed numerous knives and daggers by their waist pouches in case of emergencies. On the other hand, this young man wore an elegant leather armor and had an aristocratic family crest engraved on his sword. This went to show that he might either be from a noble family or he was serving the nobles as an attendant. The young lady behind him exhibited a delicate and adorable appearance. Although she was lacking slightly in terms of looks when compared to Gillian and Anne, her thick aura of an indulged rich young woman was somewhat mesmerizing.
Before Rhode turned around, both of them were dilly-dallying as though they were timid mice that were afraid of approaching a large cat. After Rhode turned around and gazed at them, they froze with terror instantly. However, the brave young man plucked up his courage and approached Rhode, followed by a strict, respectful bow.
"Thank you so much for all your help, we are..."
"I have no interest in knowing who you are."
Rhode interrupted his introduction.
"I have said clearly that I don't fancy any trouble. Do whatever you want, but don't drag us in. Sorry, I'm too busy to entertain you right now."
The young man's face turned beet red. He gaped but no sounds were made. At this moment, Gillian had woken up the elderly chariot driver who had passed out due to fright and got him to send Rhode and the others away. As Rhode opened the chariot door and was about to enter, the young lady who had been standing behind the other young man scuttled forward suddenly.
"P-Please wait, Mr. Rhode!"
Rhode frowned and turned towards the young lady. The uncertain young lady confirmed her guesses and placed her palms on her chest before gazing at him with an expression seeking for a favor.
"Y-You are the leader of Starlight, Mr. Rhode, right? Would you help us if we are willing to remunerate you?"
"How do you know my name?"
Rhode scanned the young lady carefully under the bright moonlight and he was sure that he had never met this person before. But how did she recognize him? This wasn't logical at all because there was no internet accesses or secretly-filmed videos in this world. Furthermore, how did this rich-looking young lady know his identity?
The young lady felt reassured as Rhode didn't refuse her request. She let out a long sigh before continuing.
"Nice to meet you, I am Natasha Deland. I am... the daughter of the Eagle City's owner, Daniel Deland. I attended the Midsummer Festival with my father, so..."
I see. She's really a daughter of a rich family. If that's the case, there's nothing wrong with her recognizing myself. It was extremely normal for various city owners from different regions to partake in the Midsummer Festival. If this young lady was really the daughter of the Eagle City's owner, there would be nothing wrong if she had attended the festival.
Since she had recognized his identity, it wouldn't be nice of him to leave just like that. However, he still wasn't interested in looking for unnecessary trouble. At this moment, time was the most important factor for him. How could he possibly assist with the internal affairs of the Eagle City when his own matters weren't even accomplished?
"Although I'm indeed the leader of a guild, I won't accept just any requests. Besides, the Eagle City is located in the territory of the Purple Lily Guild. As a leader of a Paphield Guild, it is not wise of me to intervene. If I interfere with the matters of other regions, it wouldn't reflect well on us. Do you understand what I mean?"
The young lady hung her head in disappointment. The young man who had been observing stepped forward and bowed solemnly again. He lifted his head and gazed straight into Rhode's eyes.
"I understand what you mean, respectful Sir. However, I have a suggestion regardless. We are being chased right now and although we know we need to seek help from the Purple Lily Guild, we weren't capable of returning to Eagle City to reach out to them. Therefore, I hope you can escort us back to Eagle City and protect us until we have connected with the Purple Lily Guild. Are you willing to accept our request?"
Rhode curiously gazed at the young man before him. This young man was quick on his toes and was neither servile nor overbearing. Got to say, this request didn't violate what Rhode had said. After all, rules were dead, but humans were alive. Without a doubt, they couldn't expect a group of mercenaries to follow them everywhere for protection, and since the request was only to protect them all the way to the encampment of the Purple Lily Guild, it wouldn't be too daunting for Rhode.
Rhode pondered for a while. To be frank, he didn't wish to get involved with too many 'side-quests'. After all, his goal heading into Eagle City was to complete the guild mission and not to waste his time on these minor events. Also, he knew that if he were to escort and protect them, he might be deemed an enemy.
However, if Rhode were to abandon both of them and if she was really the daughter of the Eagle City's owner, it would also mean trouble for him. After all, this young lady represented the government of Eagle City and he had no intentions of provoking them.
On the other hand, Rhode would be in the good books of the Eagle City officials if he assisted them and this would be beneficial for his future explorations. If he were to abandon them now, it didn't mean that he could be free of trouble, so this choice was not worth the loss.
Without a doubt, Rhode could also murder them and act as though nothing had happened. However, this didn't seem to be an ideal choice either.
Rhode opened the chariot door and nodded to both of them.
"Alright, I accept your request. Hop on."
Both youngsters were head over heels with excitement and they hurriedly boarded the chariot.
Since Rhode had accepted their request, he asked for the chariot driver to rush on for the remaining journey, all the way towards Eagle City. After all, he had originally planned to turn back and feign innocent to avoid trouble. Since he had accepted this troublesome request, there was no more purpose in pretending to be naive and he might as well head to Eagle City in the shortest possible time.
Since they were on the same boat now, Rhode hesitated no more and he began to probe about their happenings. He managed to understand the whole sequence of events from the young man named Grendy. This young man was the son of the Safety Officer in Eagle City and he was accompanying the envoys of Eagle City in inspecting the situation in the border area. This was considered an ordinary journey for most nobles. After all, as a child of the nobility, it was important for them to familiarize with their future territory.
However, things didn't go as smoothly as they expected. In the process of inspection, Natasha luckily or unluckily discovered some extremely dangerous secrets hidden by the other party. What's worse was that the other party discovered it and became hostile. Not only did the kill the envoys of Eagle City, they murdered the bodyguards of Natasha. In the end, only Grendy was left to protect Natasha and escaped with her. They were on the run for two nights and they finally arrived by White River Valley. If they didn't meet Rhode, perhaps both of them would've been dead by now.
Although this young lady seemed clumsy and extremely delicate, she had a strong political mind. Even though she confessed that she had discovered a huge secret, she didn't reveal any details of it. However, Rhode let the matter rest because he knew that this was a serious matter that had forced the other party to try to kill the envoys, guards, and even the daughter of the city owner. So, it was best to leave such a top secret to the muscle-man Barter.
Right now, the only thing that bugged Rhode the most was that their destination, Eagle City, seemed to be in a mess...