"So you sold us out just like that?" Canary said with a calm tone as though she disregarded the matter that Rhode had just mentioned to her.
"I don't have any other choice. I can't just sit idly while the Parliament comes searching for trouble. Of course, I will think of another way if both of you are unwilling to meet them. Although I wouldn't feel great swallowing back my words, I can still find some flaws in the Parliament's argument if I try to."
"It's not necessary, Rhode," Canary answered with a soothing smile. "We know what kind of man you are. Besides..."
Before Canary finished her sentence, another sweet, prideful voice took over. "... Don't forget how we all gathered together in the beginning. Leader, heh, I think those sluts from the Country of Light must be sick of living for them to come to our doorstep..."
"This is the first time they're coming for us, Bubble," informed Canary.
"Isn't it the same?" Mini Bubble Gum was unconcerned with Canary's correction. Meanwhile, Canary and Rhode were smiling at what Bubble had said. As core members to destroying the Country of Light in the game, Bubble and Canary's hatred towards them wasn't any less than Rhode's. "So then, Leader, who will those swine in the Parliament send to 'test' our abilities?"
"As for this..." Rhode looked out of the window and observed the man admiring the scenery by the fountain in the public square. He was a skinny, middle-aged man with a chin full of beard stubble and messy gray short hair combed towards the back of his head. He was clad in a white light armor while a plain longsword hung diagonally on his back. Unlike ordinary weapons, its blade was more than four feet long and it looked more like a fishing rod in its sheath. However, Rhode knew very well that this strange longsword wasn't for fishing.
"The Mist Sword Saint, Daviet."
"..." Canary and Mini Bubble Gum were stricken into silence and when Rhode was about to speak again, Bubble's almost frantic scream sounded once again. "Ahhh! We have to wear close-combat armor again! Why would those idiots send a close-combater? Big Sister and I want to wear those beautiful robes instead! Leader, why couldn't you get them to send someone else, like the 'Water Saint' or 'Light Mage'? Or perhaps, they can send all of their 'Holy Radiance Mage group'? We don't like to wear such plain, ugly equipment, Leader!"
"... I'm not the GM so it's not as though they would listen to me even if I asked. Besides, didn't Lapis create some new equipment? Even though it's average looking, you can still put up with it, right?" Rhode retorted.
"Leader, let me ask you this question. If you reach the maximum level, would you wear extremely tasteless equipment that adds only a little of your attributes or would you wear equipment that will make you look suave even though it is attributeless?"
"..." Rhode shook his head as this dumb question didn't require an answer. He didn't forget that in the game, the two of them would always be clad in insanely luxurious, yet attributeless equipment unless they were on a mission in the dungeon. Rhode was bringing about his own destruction trying to debate this problem with the two young ladies. But Bubble's grumbles weren't entirely wrong. If one was capable of threatening them at this level, the contributions to their attributes from the equipment couldn't help them too much. As for enemies or monsters that couldn't threaten them, even wearing plain gear would be easy for them to deal with. As for the Mist Sword Saint... It was a pity that this man was only a presence that worth no EXP or honor even if the two young ladies killed him.
"Alright, Bubble, don't bully Rhode anymore... We should get ready now. By the way, Rhode, is there anything you need me to notify Miss Marlene?"
"Get her to dispatch some men to constrain the mercenaries. Also... The Parliament is definitely up to no good, sending the Mist Sword Saint and I don't wish to spend any more gold repairing the Fortress once more. I'm outside the hall right now and should be summoned by Royal Highness Lydia soon. Afterward, I will be heading back to the Fortress."
"Understood. But Rhode..." Canary responded softly. However, she pondered for a moment before asking. "Don't you think something is off?"
"Where exactly?" questioned Rhode.
"About Royal Highness Lydia... Rhode, she has been in Golden City and even the Duke Fiend breaking free from the seal wasn't enough to lure her out of the city. Moreover, she didn't choose to give up the critical situation in the South and go on to defeat the Duke Fiend herself in order to maintain the stability of the land. Now that the Duke Fiend had been defeated, she chooses to visit the Land of Atonement personally to observe the damage of the disaster instead of sending her trusted aide? What about the South? I've heard from Miss Marlene that the Parliament had sent one of the diplomatic groups to the Southern Port. If Royal Highness Lydia leaves Golden City..."
"I understand what you mean, Canary and in fact, I had the same doubt as you. But I truly understood her actions after I had a brief conversation with her," Rhode gave a succinct explanation to Canary and Bubble about the conversation he had with Lydia. Canary pondered for a while before displaying her adorable smile. "I see. In other words, Royal Highness Lydia won't launch an attack herself. But she wouldn't hesitate to retaliate if anyone attacked first and the rate of retaliation would be determined by her. This way, Royal Highness Lydia takes advantage of the situation for her own benefit in order to lure the South to attack?"
Rhode nodded at Canary's description. Indeed, it was rather rare for Lydia to leave Golden City. Furthermore, the Parliament's intentions were clearly shown when they decided to send the Mist Sword Saint. Hmph... Those Southern bastards. They knew that this was a trap and yet they chose to jump into it. They knew that they wouldn't have another chance to succeed after Lydia had settled the matter and returned to Golden City from the Land of Atonement. "That's right, that's why we have to get rid of the Mist Sword Saint and the bunch of idiots... Sorry for the trouble, Canary, Bubble."
"Huhuhu, what's with the formality, Rhode? In either sense, doesn't my entirety belong to you already? I will do whatever you ask me to and that is to be expected of me," said Canary cheekily with a slight blush of red.
On the other side, a dissatisfied and enraged voice sounded. "... Hmph... Hmph...!"
"What's wrong, Bubble? Do you have opinions?"
"... No, Big Sister. I just feel somewhat sick from your mushy words, that's all," Bubble grumbled with a pout.
"Oohlala..." Canary let out a chuckle as though she had discovered something interesting from Bubble's reply. "Don't be that jealous, Bubble. Right here, right now, both of us can be considered as Rhode's, okay? If you wish to, you can say it loud and clear~"
"... Argh... I-I'm not as brazen as you, Big Sister!" For unknown reasons, Bubble's voice swayed subtly. "Really! Adults are always thinking of dirty things. I'm gonna find Christie and look for me only if you have anything else. I'm afraid that my brain will turn weird if I spend even a few more seconds with you two!"
"How interesting..." Canary's voice sounded as melodious as ever. "Rhode, do you wanna try? I guess Bubble will be very delighted~"
"Thanks for your kind intentions, but..."
"What's there to consider? Haven't you two chatted nakedly before? So, what's there to be mindful of?"
... You still remember that...
Rhode rolled his eyes hopelessly at Canary's teases. "Stop teasing her already, Canary. Bubble is still young and even though she is adorable, I've not reached the stage where I'm willing to go to jail for her."
"Hehe... There's nobody here that will throw you into jail for such things. Besides, strictly speaking, Bubble and I aren't considered humans now... so it's not a bad idea to try something fresh, right? Or are you more interested in humans with real flesh as compared to illusory images like us?"
"... Even though you are an illusory image, your personality is still so terrible, Canary," Rhode answered.
"Oh, have you forgotten, Rhode? Aren't we formed based on your impression of us in your memories?"
"... I have something else to do. I'll talk to you later," Rhode cut off the spiritual communications without the slightest hesitation. He turned around and saw an old man dressed in a Court Mage robe smiling at him.
"Grand Mage Amund," Rhode bowed swiftly. "Is there anything that I can help you with?"
"Royal Highness sent me to inform you that the teleportation ritual is ready and we have to leave now. Please follow me, young man," explained Amund.
"Understood, Grand Mage Amund," Rhode tidied his attire before leaving with Amund. Just as Amund turned around, something cropped up in his mind and he asked curiously. "By the way, what were you thinking about just now?"
"It's nothing much, Grand Mage Amund... I just realized how extensive my territory was," said Rhode.
The dizziness of the teleportation subsided gradually.
When Rhode's vision cleared up, he spotted a familiar scenery with forests, mountains, and lightning bolts above. Even though Canary and Bubble had recovered most of the Orderly Forcefield after defeating the Duke Fiend, there were still flaws. The land was as though a shattered mirror and even gluing the pieces back together wouldn't return it to its original perfection.
"What a tragedy," Lydia puckered her brows slightly as she scanned the dried soil that was eroded by the Chaos Forcefield and the obvious cracks in the sky. The dazzling lightning bolts surrounding the shattered cracks buzzed in their ears and left a strange sensation, especially when they were standing below the warm, dazzling sun.
"Those are indeed the powers of the Devil," the Mist Sword Saint ambled along the Intersection Boundary as he observed the turmoil before him. When one reached the Legendary Stage, one would be able to easily figure out the strength of the Devil by sensing if the Orderly Forcefield had been distorted or damaged even if one had never met the Devil before.
"The Order barrier had once been destroyed and some humans had repaired it. But this strength..."
The Mist Sword Saint gazed at MP Danny beside him and knitted his brows slightly. As a character with a high position within the Parliament, the Mist Sword Saint wasn't one who could be easily dispatched. In the beginning, he wasn't too interested in this matter when he listened to MP Danny's report. However, he eventually came after considering this to be the best opportunity to take action against the Munn Kingdom. And now, the gains that he received before him were much more than he had expected. As a presence in the middle-level Legendary Stage and a legendary Sword Saint that possessed the Order Dimension, he could sharply detect what had happened here. Due to this reason, the Mist Sword Saint felt that things weren't this simple.
The Duke Fiend was one of the most formidable presences in the Bottomless Abyss. It possessed the ability to manipulate the source of the Chaos Forcefield and due to this reason, it could utilize the Chaos Realm to destroy the protective barrier of the Dragon Soul. An equal amount of strength was required in order to expel the powerful Chaos Forcefield and repair the Order barrier.
Lydia was definitely capable of doing it. However, the Mist Sword Saint knew that she hadn't been here after the Duke Fiend was defeated. If not, she wouldn't need to come all the way here just to observe the damage. Besides, he couldn't sense any of the Archangel's sacred aura from this repaired Order barrier. Instead, there was an extremely pure power of light revolving around the barrier-that definitely wasn't Lydia's doing.
Could it be that the report was true? But why haven't I heard of these powerful presences if they do exist?
It was a cold hard fact that the Order barrier was repaired and this meant that there were indeed others who defeated the Duke Fiend and repaired the barrier. Moreover, their abilities surpassed his by a huge margin.
If that's the case, then...
"Is this the evidence that you've mentioned, Mr. Rhode?" the Mist Sword Saint remained deep in his thoughts and MP Danny became somewhat dubious. "What does this prove? Indeed, it seems that the Duke Fiend has damaged this place. But, even so, this isn't enough to prove that you were indeed here to annihilate the Duke Fiend."
"I don't need to explain anything to you," Rhode swept him a glance intentionally. "What I've said was the truth and that was the truth. Or perhaps your Parliament can prove that you were the ones who defeated the Duke Fiend? If that's the case, please let me witness it personally."
"You...!" The Mist Sword Saint extended his arm and stopped MP Danny from speaking any further. He lifted his head and stared at the young man before him. Rhode Alander. This wasn't the first time that he had seen this name on Parliament's reports. The Chelis Family and the Alanic Family had suffered grave losses in the hands of this young man and because of him, the initial plans of the Parliament to create chaos in Paphield, pervade the Senia Family, and assassinate the Chairman in Soraka Mountain had all failed. Furthermore, the situations in the South were also linked to Rhode in countless ways. Actually, the Parliament didn't want the horrible situations in the South to erupt so quickly. Even though they had been instigating the Southern Reformist Party to fight for power, they could only do it within a range where they could control the situation. But after the Midsummer Festival, Duchess Lydia sought the chance to greatly weaken the Reformist Party's forces. The Reformist Party was then driven into desperate actions and this ending wasn't what the Parliament wished for.
Abandoning the Reformist Party meant that Lydia had an overall victory in the nation. Therefore, in order to weaken the strength of Munn Kingdom even further, the Parliament had to support the Reformist Party in carrying out this risky plan.
It could be said that everything was caused because of this young man. If he didn't exist, things wouldn't have developed to this state.
The Parliament had treated this young man as a dangerous opponent. Regardless of whether the young man's actions were intentional or not, they were sure that he was interested in destroying their plans and he had the abilities to do so.
But now, the Mist Sword Saint suddenly realized that this wasn't enough.
Where did this young man come from?
The Mist Sword Saint had initially decided to act in accordance with the Parliament's suggestion to kill this young man when the chance presented itself. But it seemed that it wouldn't be a simple task. Besides, he had sharply detected that this young man might have unimaginable, enormous supporters.
"We have understood the situation clearly and we shall start the next procedure," said Lydia.
It was quite a distance away between the Fortress and the borders of Order. However, it was almost like a walk in the park for these powerful presences and within a short while, they witnessed Rhode's towering Fortress amongst the lofty mountain range.
"So magnificent," Lydia praised softly before smiling and turning towards Rhode with a slightly complicated expression. "Baron Rhode is indeed outstanding. You've only been to this Land of Atonement for less than half a year and I didn't expect that you'd be able to build a Fortress of this scale. I'm truly surprised."
"Thank you for your praise, Your Highness Lydia," responded Rhode. At this moment, everyone displayed different expressions. Amund knitted his brows with a complex look while the Mist Sword Saint remained silent and MP Danny, along with his men, were exhibiting faces of disdain. It appeared to them that it was impossible to complete this construction within a few months. Lydia, as a Duchess of a country, actually shot off her mouth in order to protect her honor. Hmph, what a joke.
MP Danny couldn't tolerate it anymore and he let out a sarcastic remark. "Your Highness Lydia, you must be exaggerating. You said that he built this Fortress in merely a few months? He would need more time to do it even in his dreams..." As MP Danny noticed the change in the expressions of Amund and the Battle Angel, he changed his words hurriedly. "Of course, I wasn't doubting you. It's just that... Some people are good at bragging and exaggerating their achievements. This isn't something worthy of praise."
Suddenly, a crisp voice sounded out of nowhere. "Shut your damn mouth, you swine. Who do you think you are to mock Leader? You must be asking for death!"
In an instant, a glaring radiance flashed before their eyes and a petite human figure emerged before them. The human figure blasted a flawlessly white radiance towards her target using her palm.
"Ahh!" MP Danny had never expected someone to emerge out of nowhere. He let out a terrifying shriek and retreated innately. At this moment, the Mist Sword Saint let out a snort and appeared before MP Danny in a blink of an eye while clasping the sword hilt with his right hand.
A green radiance flashed as he drew the longsword out of its sheath to resist the torrent of light like a solid barrier splitting it into half.
"-!" The deep, resounding collision spread apart in all directions and the dispersed light rays vanished into nothingness. Everyone finally witnessed the figure standing before him.
It was a little girl.
Such powerful strength!
The Mist Sword Saint was astounded. Even though it happened all too quickly and he didn't exert all his strength, the little girl's pure, formidable strength left his hand trembling after the collision. He had never met such a forceful impact ever since he transcended into the Legendary Stage.
Who exactly is she?
The little girl glared at him fiercely before he had the chance to ask. "I was wondering who's the one meddling. So, it seems that you were that slut."
The atmosphere froze in this instant.