Everyone stopped their conversations and turned toward the front with solemn expressions. The white, heavy doors embedded with golden floral patterns widened gradually. Then, Lydia emerged before their eyes.
She wore a white, flowy long dress with glinting golden threads. The split of her translucent muslin skirt revealed her perfectly slender legs and her bare shoulders and arms dazzled under the faint radiance. The close-fitting ceremonial dress shaped her ample bosom and her mesmerizing eyes and elegant blond hair stood out gracefully.
Rhode shook his head at her grand appearance. He recalled a rumor that had once spread in the forums. There was once a player with too much free time on his hands who visited Lydia everyday and he uncovered that the clothes she wore were unique every day, noon, and night. Although the colors and styles might resemble each other occasionally, he had never seen her appearing in the same outfit continuously. This player tracked and observed her for more than a year and he discovered that she would wear an entirely new attire every day. He uploaded the captured images to the forum for everyone's admiration. Of course, most of the players didn't know how to appreciate the style of clothes and they belonged to the group where 'beauties look great in whatever they wear'. Therefore, they weren't that idle to research what attire she wore everyday and it was due to this that the specific player had become a laughingstock after they realized the small details he had unveiled. After all, this was only a game and the producers could be praised for their hard work in details. However, it would be a true waste of time and a sinful crime if it happened in reality...
And now, Rhode was truly surprised seeing Lydia in attire that he hadn't seen before. Come to think of it, the clothes she wore when they met were all different...
Lydia seemed to have noticed his gaze. She turned around slightly and took a good look at him, perking up her mouth. Then, she swept a glance at Lize and widened her eyes a little as though she realized something was on. Thereafter, her eyes revealed an interesting glint as she shifted her gaze back to Rhode.
This happened only in an instant and nobody noticed the changes in her expression at all. Lydia continued to lift her prideful, confident chin and strode through the red carpet with the escort of the nobles and attendants. She arrived at the throne and all the nobles focused their attention on her with gazes that were filled with respect and admiration.
Lydia was a wise ruler and the nobles had experienced it for themselves. She possessed outstanding political experience and strong, aggressive political means. She had a warm, gentle side and a tyrannical character. Frankly speaking, many nobles weren't confident in this young lady who took over the throne in a hurry. Back then, they had often crowded around her in order to protect their positions and benefits because they were part of the King's Party and their authority was naturally linked to the royal family. They would be heading down a road to ruin if they didn't support Lydia. But thereafter, Lydia exceeded their expectations by taking down the Reformist Party's conspired armed rebellion, which delighted the nobles. However, some of them were still dubious of her. Even though it was considered a 'political need' for the Reformist Party to smear the King's Party's name, as the saying went 'there's no smoke without fire'. Lydia's actions against the Reformist Party weren't overboard. Honestly speaking, not only was the Reformist Party unaware, but many of the nobles also expressed unprecedented bewilderment at Lydia's vicious slaughters. The Munn Kingdom had been founded for so long and there wasn't a ruler like Lydia who brazenly sought fame and pleasures of life and was a cruel Archangel. Therefore, they were concerned if their choice in supporting this ruler was the right one.
But now, they felt that they had made a brilliant choice.
Because Lydia had wiped out the entire Reformist Party!
This was an achievement none of the rulers of the Munn Kingdom had ever attained!
There were many reasons as to why the Reformist Party had grown so strongly. One of them was because even though the previous few Archangels were dissatisfied with them, they merely gave them verbal warnings about not sinking the nation into chaos. However, this boosted the Reformist Party's confidence because they thought that the Archangels were afraid of laying hands on them. The Munn Kingdom was a nation ruled by Angels and it was impossible for Angels to slaughter the innocent because wouldn't they be called Demons if they murdered the civilians?
Therefore, the Reformist Party grew increasingly unbridled and of course, they didn't expect to overthrow the Archangel to rule the Munn Kingdom. As long as the South could declare independence and become a nation of their own, it would be more than enough for them.
The Reformist Party launched their attack when Lydia was about to take over the throne. Back then, she was only a young girl and they disregarded her presence completely. Over the hundred years, generations of Archangels didn't dare to take action against us, the Reformist Party, so what can a young girl like her do to us?
In the end, Lydia used physical actions to make them understand how terrifying she was.
The Reformist Party shuddered in fear after the bloodbath. Perhaps due to the gentle pressure applied to them from the previous Archangels, Lydia's flickering butcher's knife was extraordinarily frightening to them and they had chosen to form an armed rebellion.
Then, they personally experienced how sharp her butcher's knife was.
The Reformist Party was wiped out thoroughly in a river of blood. Although the Reformist Party supporters wouldn't all be eliminated, it was completely impossible for them to revive with Lydia around, which excited the King's Party, who had been in conflict with the Reformist Party for centuries. Previously, although they hoped to eliminate the Reformist Party completely, they were unfortunate that they were following an Archangel. Angels disliked massacres and meaningless deaths, which was why the King's Party felt powerless. There were plenty of opportunities for the King's Party to strike down the Reformist Party, but the kind hearted Archangel was unwilling to and they couldn't do anything about it. It could also be said that the nobles grew less confident in the King's Party over time. They could only watch the Reformist Party grow stronger day by day and eventually look down on them. Goddamn it! The group of newly-rich Southerners don't have any inside information, army, history, and they dare to look down upon us?! What in the world?!
Lydia's actions took revenge on their behalf. The threat was exterminated and they had a larger portion of the cake now. They didn't even imagine that such a perfect ending could happen!
It was due to this that Lydia received the support of everyone in the Munn Kingdom. Of course, apart from the guys waiting for their death penalty in the jail.
The smile on Lydia's face remain unchanged as she sat idly on the throne. Although she was a petite young lady, everyone who sensed her gaze felt a misconception that she was sitting among the clouds and overlooking every small detail before her.
At this moment, Court Grand Mage Amund stepped forth and let out a cough to capture everyone's attention.
"Everyone! Today, we will be celebrating an unprecedented victory. We have eliminated a malignant tumor from the side of the nation and freed our nation from dangers and crisis. Those traitors who tried to split up our nation will receive their deserved punishment! Their greedy and foolish behaviors have led to countless deaths and they will pay a price for their actions! Those who have stopped them and defeated their ambitious warriors will also be awarded for their bravery!"
The nobles looked at Lydia and Amund with joy and exhilaration overflowing in their eyes. After all, the well-established noble families could stabilize their position even more firmly if they could receive the generous rewards, be it additional wealth, commercial channels, or territories. If the new and rising noble families could receive them, their strength of their forces would be increased multi-folds and could even be shoulder-to-shoulder with the three largest families, Oor even overtake them!
The awards presented were as expected. The three largest noble families received sovereignty of the main Southern territories and the Southern Port, as the main location for the riot, wasn't handed over to anyone. Instead, the King's Party administered it directly and the other new and rising noble families took over the slices of cake left behind by the Reformist Party.
But there was something that exceeded everyone's expectations.
And that was Marlene's rewards.
Many of the nobles believed that Marlene would at least receive the title of an overlord, the feudal rank of an Earl, or an identity as a Court Grand Mage. However, never did they expect that Lydia would merely praise her for her outstanding performances and confer her a title of a Scholar and an Honorable Court Mage. And... that was all.
Is that all?
The crowd widened their eyes in astonishment. The title of the 'Honorable Court Mage' and 'Court Scholar' were indeed respectable. However, they were merely literal statuses and positions with practically no obligations. She wasn't rewarded with private soldiers, territories, and authority. Such an award was usually conferred to those unimportant figures. However, Marlene performed remarkably and was regarded highly by everyone. This was also why rumor had it that she would surely receive generous rewards in this ceremony.
But... What's this situation now?
Could it be that Royal Highness Lydia felt that the Senia Family has become a threat to the King's Party and she has decided to weaken their strength?
Marlene lifted her head proudly, unlike what the nobles had expected-a face of disappointment. Even her father, the Patriarch of the Senia Family, smiled throughout the entire process. No one knew if it was because he was mentally prepared for it.
But Lydia called out the next name before the nobles reached a conclusion.
Rhode puckered his brows. He was equally astonished as to why Marlene received such a nominal honor. However, he didn't have anymore time to consider this question. He tidied his attire and stepped forward to the throne, stooping forward and giving a respectful bow. Lydia displayed a gentle smile in response.
"Baron Rhode. You've done your part well. You and General Garcia shattered the conspiracies which the Reformist Party had plotted to invade Paphield and successfully completed your mission..." Lydia stood to her feet and gestured. Shortly after, a Battle Angel stepped forward with a crimson velvet pad in hand and a medal-a silver-whitish medal!
A silver-whitish medal!!
The crowd widened their eyes in surprise. They tiptoed and extended their necks to take a closer look. When they saw the badge, they were instantly reminded of another matter!
However, Lydia wasn't affected by their curiosity. She picked up the silver-whitish medal and displayed it to everyone. It was a cruciform medal carved with sacred runes on both sides and a design of an Angel with her wings expanded grandly could be seen from the middle.
"Baron Rhode. For your impressive achievements, I hereby represent the royal family in conferring you the Holy Cross Medal and the rank of Earl. From now on, you shall become the overlord of Grenbell. I hope you will continue to work hard and not disappoint this honor and responsibility."
Lydia's words caused an uproar among the nobles.
Holy Cross Medal! Not anyone could simply receive this honor, and not that easily! In the Munn Kingdom, the Holy Cross Medal was second to the Creation Sacred Medal and those who received the Holy Cross Medal performed brilliantly in military services. In fact, the nobles didn't expect anyone to receive this badge because this internal battle wasn't considered too tough nor large-scale. Therefore, they had never thought about this possibility at all. But now, this young man actually received such an unexpected reward!
Not only did the Holy Cross Medal represent honor, but it was also a symbol of identity and status. In the Munn Kingdom, one who received this medal would receive equal treatment and authority as that of a General. Moreover, one could even mobilize any troops other than the local army. Furthermore, almost every person who had received the Holy Cross Medal in the history of the Munn Kingdom grew and led one of the strongest forces!
It was apparent to all that Rhode didn't perform outstandingly well in this internal battle and yet, he was conferred the Holy Cross Medal. Some of the nobles came to their senses and realized that this young man was related to the conflagration in Grosso. Indeed, from a certain point of view, Rhode had contributed greatly. Although Lydia didn't speak forthrightly, any normal person wouldn't openly speak about it.
As an experienced player of the Munn Kingdom, he knew the meaning behind the Holy Cross Medal. However, he didn't expect that Lydia would confer it to him... He bowed solemnly and extended his hand to accept the medal. However, as their hands came into contact, Lydia held his hand and he looked up in astonishment to find her cheeky smile. She winked playfully as though she had gotten away with a prank. Rhode couldn't figure out what she was up to, but he was smart to not question. He took over the medal solemnly before turning around.
The award ceremony came to an end and the brisk music announced the start of the banquet. The nobles relaxed themselves and indulged in the joys of the melodious music and delicious feast. Some of them tried to curry favors with Rhode because, after all, even a dummy was aware of who the real winner was.
But at this moment, they saw a young man with an ashen expression charging out of the crowd and stood before Rhode.
"Hold it right there, Sir Alander."
He gazed with deep blue eyes like a falcon eyeing its prey.
"Who are you?"
Rhode twitched his brows and said.
"My name is Antonio Williams. I'm a member of the Williams Family. But this isn't important for you and I, Sir Alander."Antonio straightened his posture and removed the glove on his right hand. "I'm here to request for a duel with you!"