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 Lize's expression paled as soon as she heard the news. The thing that she feared the most had eventually happened. She looked at Rhode and Garcia worriedly and attempted to seek their assistance. However, the next scene left her stunned.

Rhode and Garcia appeared unfazed. Garcia smiled at Rhode and gestured to the soldier. "Alright, I got it. You can back down now."

"Yes, Sir." The orderly left swiftly.

Garcia strolled to his table and lifted a bottle of red wine. He shook it slightly at Rhode. "Mr. Rhode, shall we?"

"Sorry, I'm not interested in being alone with a man. Besides, Mr. Garcia, since we've driven off the enemies, how about we have a celebration feast tonight? Everyone has put in hard work and it will be a great time for them to unwind, right?"

"Yes, that's a great idea. I will get my men to prepare immediately. Please join us tonight, especially Miss Lize." Garcia turned to Lize with a gracious smile. "You've led the mercenaries and secured our defensive line. At the same time, you've also held hundreds of enemies captive. This is a great achievement. Please join our celebration feast with your mercenaries. I will get my chefs to prepare their best dishes to treat everyone's palettes."

"Ah. It's nothing. General Garcia, this is my duty... No!" Lize nodded instinctively before coming to her senses abruptly. She looked helplessly at Garcia and Rhode. "General Garcia, Mr. Rhode, the Thistle Wreath Fortress has fallen into the enemies' hands and they have penetrated Paphield. Aren't we supposed to do something?"

"..." Garcia and Rhode exchanged glances with each other.

Garcia spread his hands out and gazed at Rhode with a dissatisfied look while Rhode shrugged as though the matter had nothing to do with him. "What has this got to do with us? Lize, our mission has been accomplished. Alright, don't worry so much and get some rest. I'm sure you must be tired. Just relax and join the feast tonight."

"But..."

Lize couldn't understand why Rhode had such an attitude toward the matter. The Reformist Party army had invaded Paphield and who knew what they would be up to. But now, Rhode and Garcia didn't seem as nervous as she had expected. Instead, they were casually discussing some celebratory feast? Was this what they should do now? However, before Lize finished her sentence, Rhode had stood up and nodded at Garcia. "Alright then, General Garcia. I will take my leave now and let my men know of the feast tonight."

"Please be assured, Mr. Rhode, I will prepare it well..." Garcia paused and swept at glance at Lize. "... I hope all of you will enjoy yourselves fully."

"I'm looking forward to it." Rhode patted Lize's shoulder and left.

Lize looked at Garcia, who put his leg on the table, leisurely drinking red wine. She eventually turned around and followed Rhode hurriedly.

"Mr. Rhode!" Lize scurried her way to Rhode's side and she asked. "Do you really intend to not do anything? Paphield will..."

Rhode came to a halt and turned to her. "Lize, you're a qualified adjutant. I know you have this capability and I heard from Gillian about everything that you've done. I have to say that you did a good job. As an adjutant, you're qualified. But as a commander, you've failed terribly."

"Mr. Rhode?"

Lize gazed blankly at him. Rhode noticed her doubts and he patted her shoulder before gesturing for her to follow him. Lize followed puzzledly as they headed toward the exit of the Fortress. Rhode continued. "Lize, you have to understand that we are only a Guild. Of course, I'm a Baron now, but that's about all. I'm not a commander of a region, neither am I a noble of the Golden City. To put it bluntly, I'm a civilian and not the King of the Munn Kingdom. We don't have the rights and responsibilities to question. Besides... you seem to distrust Royal Highness Lydia a little too much."

"I don't really understand... Mr. Rhode."

Lize knitted her brows, but Rhode gave her an explanation swiftly.

"I've said before that Royal Highness Lydia has no intentions of ending this battle anytime soon because if the Southerners don't personally experience the tragedies that these battles would bring them, they wouldn't stop them. If they don't lose their families in the battles, end up living on the streets where they can't even afford food and to live in the rubbish dump to snatch food from wild dogs, they will surely put in more passion for this senseless rebellion. If the Southerners can't feed themselves and are always on the brink of death, to begin with, this method will surely be ineffective because they have lost everything and there is nothing else for them to lose. But you and I are aware that this isn't the truth. The South in the Munn Kingdom is the wealthiest place where the laborers dress up even better than the nobles and manor owners in the North. This time, their rebellion and so-called independence isn't built on the foundation of their survivability. Instead, it is to seek additional benefits. Therefore, they won't watch their benefits be devoured by the flames of battles."

Both of them stepped out of the Fortress and were welcomed by the heat waves and noises. The air was filled with soldiers' screams and berates. There were also sounds of sufferings and moanings from the wounded soldiers in the medical camps in the distance.

"Lize, you are aware of Royal Highness Lydia's strength. Indeed, the Battle Angel Army basically won't intervene with human battles and this is one of the Archangel's considerations. After all, the ruler isn't a human. If she uses non-human subordinates to interfere with human affairs, it will surely raise an uproar among the civilians. But even so, Royal Highness Lydia has the loyal forces of the King's Party, namely the Northern Army, Eastern Plain, Court Mage Association, and the Senia Family, taking the lead. But, have you seen any of them at this point? Is it possible that Royal Highness Lydia is so worthless that she couldn't mobilize any troops? Could it be that the Munn Kingdom has fallen so low that we have to rely on mercenaries to fight?"

"I..." Lize was speechless.

"Frankly speaking, if Royal Highness Lydia only wishes to repress the rebellion, the entire Reformist Party would be hanged and whirling in the wind in the forest behind Golden City by now. But this is meaningless because the other civilians will continue to be intoxicated in worshipping their so-called thoughts of freedom and independence. If things reach that stage, perhaps Golden City would hang a group of people in their back forest every year."

"But Big Sister has also done something similar in the past..."

"The past and now are different," Rhode shook his head. "Back then, Royal Highness Lydia had just succeeded the throne and she didn't have the reputation to convince the people. On the contrary, the Reformist Party had been conspiring for a long time and they took actions while the iron was hot. On one hand, it was to establish their prestige within the King's Party in the shortest time possible and on the other hand, it was to delay and suppress the Southern group of idiots. But it is different now. Royal Highness Lydia has stabled her strong position and grasped the Munn Kingdom firmly in her hands, so she can set her mind at ease and carefully act in accordance to the enemies, rather than slash out her swords. The Thistle Wreath Forest's fall is actually within General Garcia and my expectations."

It was apparent from Lydia's dillydallying of not dispatching military troops that she had intended to lure the enemies into penetrating deeply into the Flourishing Blossom, Thistle Wreath, Cloud Summit, where one of the three Fortresses had to be sacrificed. Since Gaya had been sent by Lydia to the Cloud Summit Fortress, it meant that this place wouldn't be abandoned. Rhode had read from the letter that Marlene had headed into the Flourishing Blossom so the chances of there being abandoned were basically zero. Lastly, the Thistle Wreath Fortress-its terrain wasn't suitable for defense and furthermore, there was only a city, Calentes, behind it. That place was in the wilderness with minimal population, specialties, and wealth. It could be said that it was the most likely to be abandoned.

It seemed that the situation had been developing according to Royal Highness Lydia's plans. Rhode knew that his identity was nothing more than a lowly Baron and mercenary, and the Munn Kingdom hadn't reached the desperate stage where everyone would be dragged into a role in battles. Therefore, he was only responsible for some early stage projects. However, this proved as a great opportunity for Rhode. He wasn't furious that he had been left out from the huge battle at all. Instead, he was delighted and pleased. His less than 200 mercenaries would be useless in a battle of the thousands and the situations in battle were so everchanging that all his men might even be sacrificed for nothing. He would prefer to lead his team of Elites to complete missions like what a player did best. After all, this was the way players cleared the game.

"I guess you're aware that the King's Party's strength is much stronger than the Reformist Party's. The Reformist Party launched their attacks to conquer as much land as possible in Paphield because they would then seek help from the Country of Light Parliament when the King's Party retaliated. By then, they would pick up this cheap deal of territory in Paphield, with the prerequisite that the King's Party would respect the decision of the Light Parliament."

But, in fact, the King's Party wouldn't.

The Light Parliament had understood this point ever since Lydia witnessed how Mini Bubble Gum had defeated the Mist Sword Saint. However, the Light Parliament didn't inform the Reformist Party because, from their standpoint, the Reformist Party's actions would only weaken the Munn Kingdom's strength no matter whether they succeeded or not. If they didn't manage Lydia well enough, it might bring a hidden danger that wouldn't be eradicated for a long time. The Light Parliament only needed to put in some harsh words and they could simply watch in safety.

Therefore, the Light Parliament's best deal was to continue pretending. However, they could never be as invested as before when it came to applying pressure on the King's Party because they had understood the consequences of getting involved.

"Have you seen people catch monkeys before, Lize?"

"Catch monkeys?" Lize shook her head in surprise.

Rhode nodded and continued. "I've seen some people catching a monkey. They used a heavy clay pot with an opening the size of a monkey's hand and place delicious fruits in it. The monkey naturally inserts its hand for it and it couldn't pull out of it... Then, the hunter goes up to it and grabs it."

"Why can't it take its hand out of the opening? Mr Rhode? If it could put its hand in, it should be able to take it out, isn't it?"

"The reason is simple. It put its empty hand in and grabbed a fruit when it tried to retrieve it. Even in the face of danger, the monkey still wasn't willing to let go of the fruit. In the end, it couldn't escape the trap and was caught by the hunter..." Rhode narrowed his eyes. "And now, the monkey has put its hand in the opening and all we need to do is to be devoted audiences to see how the hunter captures the monkey. Soon, the hunter will be attacking the monkey, but the monkey will not let go of its hand even after it sees the rope on the hunter's hand. Instead, the monkey will be foolishly hoping for someone to step up and get it out of danger before the hunter captures it."

"..."

Lize lowered her head in silence. Rhode had given a clear explanation and she naturally understood what he meant. After a brief moment, the young lady let out a sigh and said. "Mr. Rhode, what should we do next?"

"Our mission is almost done. We shall see the situation over at Royal Highness Lydia's side. I think that Cloud Summit Fortress won't be in any danger and we should focus on our own mission soon... I guess the reinforcements will arrive at the Cloud Summit Fortress in a few days and we will be free from anything by then. Lize, have a good rest during this period of time and afterward, we will head to the Frozen Lake in Cranmore to complete our next 5 Stars mission."

Frankly speaking, although Rhode had gained political and reputational respect after coming to the Paphield defensive line, this actually was a miserable result for a player. The enemies here were low-leveled and Rhode gained merely a pathetic 20000 EXP. Even before he got to accumulate more EXP, the 'Sulfur River' in Grosso had wiped it all out. Then, in Fiat, he received a special 'Fiery Rose' mission and failed to complete it due to the circumstances. Although Lydia's mission had been completed, his system missions had failed and he felt dispirited. Since there was nothing much going on with him in the upcoming battle, he intended to use this opportunity to strengthen his Guild's strength.

Both of them spoke as they walked and they arrived at the mercenary campsite. As they were about to step into the campsite, an unfamiliar voice berated. "Let me go, you despicable Northerners! I will fight to the death with all of you!"

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