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 [Tear of Asha (Legendary Artifact)]

[Buildable - Holy Maiden Statue]

[Requirement: Guild Fortress / Territorial level above the middle level]

[Consumption: 300k Gold Coins. 100 kg of Magic Crystals]

Rhode twitched his brows. The requirement of 300k gold coins was tough for him. Although he had received a lot of money from the Midsummer Festival, Paphield Battle, and the 5 Star Missions, the money had come and gone too quickly. Constructing the Fortress almost wiped out all his savings. Even though he had received some money in exchange for building the Fortress, the money was invested in the training of the Cavalrymen, establishing his private soldiers, and paying the mercenaries' salaries. The operations of the guild had been especially rough for him as other guilds received income from their backings. However, in order to remain independent, Rhode had chosen to maintain the livelihood of the guild himself. Currently, his income was made up from the contributions of the merchants working in the Fortress, profit-sharing from the mine extraction, and sale of Lapis's alchemy potions. It could also be said that Lapis was one of the crucial supporters of Starlight. Due to enhancements from an Alchemist Master, her potions had exceptional effects and were relatively popular in Paphield and nearby regions. During auctions, the various potions put on sale by Starlight often sold for high prices and this had become a major financial backing for the guild. In other words, without Lapis, perhaps Starlight would have a tough time operating smoothly.

Even though Lydia had conferred Rhode a territory, bluntly speaking, since there wasn't anyone residing in Grenbell, this trip to the monastery would probably result in more profit than if he had raked Grenbell for 10 years.

And now, Rhode's guild probably wouldn't receive too much financial support even in the foreseeable future. This was also the reason why he had been thrifty. According to Marlene's report, he had no more than 500k gold coins and this amount included all the wealth rummaged from the monastery. Although there was an agreement with the Silver Libra Trade Association to receive free Magic Crystals for support, Rhode was still helpless in terms of finances.

Rhode puckered his brows.

He wasn't actually left without a choice, as the Senia Family was wealthy by the millions. If he sought assistance from her, he could receive five million gold coins in a snap of fingers. However, he wouldn't do that and it wasn't due to embarrassment. In the game, Rhode was righteous in using Mini Bubble Gum's money and he wasn't upset that players had accused him of living off a woman. However, it was different back then. Mini Bubble Gum's money came from her and if there were any disputes or opinions over the fundings, it was a problem between Rhode and her. But unlike the large families, even if Marlene and her father were willing to support him, the funding ultimately belonged to the family. Even if Marlene didn't mind, the Senia Family members might pressure her over the issue and make it difficult for her. The power disputes and conflicts of interests in large families were complicated and Rhode didn't wish to get involved before settling his other issues.

Moreover, Rhode had a doubtful attitude toward the Senia Family.

Rhode knew that the Senia Family definitely admired him and the situation wasn't simple. It could be seen from the fact that Marlene continued to stay by his side after the internal battle. If Marlene was considered to be learning through experience in the past, it should have ended by now no matter what. However, she returned to him and stayed as his adjutant instead. Although he had become an overlord, his identity wasn't as grand as Marlene's.

So then, what is the Senia Family plotting?

Rhode decided to keep a distance from the Senia Family before fully understanding their intentions. His relationship with Marlene was private. However, the Senia Family was a massive noble presence and there were no interpersonal sentiments involved. If he came into contact with the Senia Family like how he did with Marlene, he would surely get into huge trouble. And he wasn't keen on masochism.

Knock knock knock.

Agatha's apathetic voice sounded from behind the door.

"Master, Chairman Matt is here."

"Let him in."

Rhode switched off the system prompts running before his eyes. Then, he folded his arms, leaned back into the chair and answered to the calling. Shortly after, the door opened and a fat merchant greeted with a warm, passionate smile. He bowed respectfully to Rhode.

"Long time no see, Mr. Rhode... Aiya. Wrong. Should I call you Sir Overlord instead?"

"Sticking to the same will do, Mr. Matt."

Rhode nodded and beckoned to Matt for a seat. Agatha drifted forward and poured a cup of tea for the guest before leaving quietly. Matt shifted his gaze from the strange-looking Ocean Elf and revealed an awkward smile after she left the room.

"I've brought what you wanted, Mr. Rhode. Two chariots of Magic Crystals. I think it will be sufficient for your usage, but... this is really unexpected."

Matt gazed at the young man and sighed as he shook his head.

It was the start of spring when that incident happened. Matt discovered and rescued this unconscious young man in the mountainous forest. However, he didn't expect that this young man would save his life in return, escorting him out of the dangerous forest. Not only that, but this young man also turned a lowly mercenary group that was about to be disbanded into a dominating guild. Even now, he had received the title of a noble and become an overlord.

Everything happened in half a year's time...

Matt was deeply moved as he gazed at Rhode. It was all thanks to this young man that his Silver Libra Trade Association had reached this impressive scale. After the previous incident, the Silver Libra Trade Association had met with grave dangers and recovered thereafter. However, his trade association had been struggling and he had even considered selling it and returning to his hometown to live in a manor for the rest of his life. But he eventually gritted his teeth and chose to work with Rhode.

And now, Matt had tasted the fruits of labor from working with Rhode. The abundance of minerals in the Land of Atonement and the alchemy potion business handed over to him to manage allowed his trade association to make a huge fortune! Matt had never expected that Rhode was capable of producing that many alchemy potions. Besides, Alchemist Apprentices weren't capable of making such potions. Every veterans would lift their thumbs after looking at the contents and quality of the potions and purchase them with high prices. It was due to this that the influence of Matt's trade association was spreading in the surrounding regions. There were many nobles that Matt couldn't even meet before, but now, they greeted him amiably and hoped that he could assist them in selling their alchemy potions...

This was a feeling that Matt had never felt before and he decided to keep a close relationship with Rhode. He eagerly provided the supplies as soon as Rhode asked for two chariots of Magic Crystals. However, he was still rather curious.

"But, Mr. Rhode, what do you need that many Magic Crystals for?"

"This..."

Rhode twitched his brows. Then, a glint flashed in his eyes.

"... Now isn't the time to talk about this, Mr. Matt. I'm sure you will see it with your own eyes soon."

The night darkened.

The pitch-black, dense night curtain had enveloped the entire sky. Rhode stood by the balcony and gazed at his majestic Fortress. Apart from the faint flames flickering, the entire Fortress was in complete stillness. It was midnight and everything had fallen asleep. This was the best opportunity for Rhode.

"Are you ready, Leader?"

Mini Bubble Gum and Canary stood behind him and looked with anticipation. Rhode nodded slightly and extended his arm forward. A massive beautiful crystal emerged and hovered in midair, emanating a gentle radiance. Then, a system prompt emerged before him.

[Detected the Tear of Asha... Activated... Buildable. Holy Maiden Statue. Confirm to build?]

Confirm.

Rhode answered inwardly. The Tear of Asha dazzled and glass-like thin threads dispersed and spiraled to the center of the Fortress. Then, the threads abruptly came to an abrupt halt as though they had frozen into ice. A hazy 20 meters tall white figure emerged under a shimmering light shining from above like the cloth over an artistic artifact had been dragged out, displaying its true self before everyone. As the white figure emerged, the Tear of Asha shone increasingly brighter.

"-!"

A crisp, deep boom spread across the continent and the cooling breeze hit Rhode comfortably in his face. In an instant, the fatigue on him had as though been washed away. A warm, white barrier of light emerged over them and extended over the Fortress before vanishing entirely.

Rhode gazed forward. A towering, spotlessly white statue of a young lady had been erected in the middle of the Fortress. Her eyes were shut and arms were folded before her chest. She lifted her chin as though praying to the heaven.

Rhode heaved a sigh of relief.

It worked.

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