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 Rhode had no idea how long he had been sleeping for. When he opened his eyes, the glaring morning sun pierced his eyes and forced a groan out of him. He pulled himself up and his head was spinning. The immense headache from the hangover left him incredibly pained. This was the first time he experienced a hangover. In the past, no matter if he was in the original world or here, he had never become completely drunk before. Last night was like a dream for him. He remembered that his brain was in a complete mess, but incredibly, his conscious was fully awake the whole time as though his conscious had totally disengaged from his body, floating in the air and observing his every action like he was playing a computer game that controlled himself. But...

Rhode held his throbbing forehead and sucked in a deep breath of air. When he finally stood on his feet, he realized that he was only wearing a white shirt while his black coat had been neatly folded by the bedhead. Not only that, but there was also a cup of plain water on the table. Rhode drank it and the chilly sensation permeated in his warm body, driving away the intoxication. He let out a shiver and slowly recovered from the headache.

At this moment, a question cropped up in his mind: who poured this cup of water?

Rhode puckered his brows. His memories were fuzzy after making his way out of the banquet hall and he recalled that he had gotten someone to help him. He couldn't remember who it was, but he was sure that it was someone who he trusted... But... who was it?

He stood before the table with the cup in hand, pondering for a long while. When he decided to summon his spirits to interrogate them, someone knocked on his door and spoke.

"Sir Rhode, Chairman Lauren is here."

"Got it."

Rhode threw the question to the back of his head. He felt relieved that he didn't vomit all around the place and saved himself the time from cleaning up. But even so, he swiftly cleaned himself and changed into a new set of clothing before heading out of the room.

Although the jurisdiction and duties of the three guilds had been decided the day before, it was only briefly mentioned during the banquet, after all. Chairman Lauren was looking to explain the details. Even though Rhode had given up a huge portion of the cake, it was still necessary to account for him. If not, it would be disrespectful toward Starlight if he had decided on Purple Lily Guild and Cole Falcon Guild's jurisdiction behind Rhode's back.

The members attending the meeting weren't only the three guild representatives and there other mercenary group leaders were involved too. But this time, when Rhode emerged before them, the gazes were less frivolous and had become much more respectful. The mercenaries always respected strong beings and not only did Rhode presented his impressive side in the arena, but he was also strong in drinking. Thus, the mercenaries dropped their biased opinions about him and accepted him as a Mercenary Overlord. In the past, the mercenaries disliked Rhode due to their prejudice against the nobles. In the eyes of the mercenaries, although the nobles had grandeur identities, they lacked the spirit to endure hardships and were hypocritical and deceitful. However, Rhode didn't seem like them. As a man who led his mercenary group to guild status single handedly, accomplished two 5 Star Missions, and also 'double-killed' Barter in the arena and drinking table, he naturally deserved all respect.

However, Rhode realized that Barter was nowhere to be seen. Instead, his aide-de-camp, the 'Snow Woman' who wore a steel mask, sat in his place and nodded to Rhode as a greeting while Viktor waved his hand.

"Sir Rhode, Barter is still lying in bed and he won't be up without at least two days, I guess."

I see.

Perhaps due to the large portion of cake that would be distributed, there wasn't as much hostility between everyone as he had expected. The Purple Lily Guild and Cole Falcon Guild were experienced guilds and they knew that they couldn't wave a magic wand and get what they wanted in this world. Therefore, it was rare to see that there weren't any conflicts between both sides regarding the guild management agreements. Instead, there was even some modest and mutual declinations. In the end, under the confirmation of Chairman Lauren and the mercenary group leaders, Cole Falcon Guild and Purple Lily Guild had basically taken over the territories that belonged to the Sky Sword Guild and Liberty Wings Guild. Of course, there were also some adjustments to the details over the territorial range due to the locations of both guilds. No matter how much they had adjusted, they subconsciously kept a distance away from the central regions that had Paphield and Grenbell placed right in the middle. It was apparent that the Mercenary Association was also clear of Rhode's intentions. Even though the mercenary groups in the territories were still managed by themselves in name, everyone knew that Rhode's Starlight would definitely become their dominator in future. Many of the mercenary group leaders had considered currying favors with Rhode and Starlight in order for a better future.

But Rhode wasn't interested in exchanging pleasantries with the mercenaries. After the Winter Ceremony ended, he quickly returned to the Land of Atonement as he knew that the winter days were the most crucial period. In the game, the Country of Darkness caused a commotion by the borders of the Country of Light and the Munn Kingdom at the start of winter and there were no lack of new missions relating to Undead Creatures. As time passed, the Country of Darkness launched an ambush on the Country of Light and the Munn Kingdom. They sent out Undead Creatures in a large-scale attack under the camouflage of snow and harsh conditions. The Country of Light and the Munn Kingdom couldn't respond in time and they landed in a great catastrophe. History had been tweaked by Rhode's interventions. The rebels of the Country of Light had been taken out, and the Munn Kingdom had restored its peace. Moreover, Soraka Mountain, which was the fuse for both sides, had been razed to the ground. If history worked out according to the memories of Rhode, there would be zero possibility for both sides to start a war. But for unknown reasons, Rhode felt that the situation wasn't that simple.

But after Rhode returned to the Fortress, he was faced with another difficult problem he had to solve before he could focus his attention on the possible trend of the Country of Darkness.

And that was Anne's unusual behavior.

"Anne is acting strange?"

"Yes..."

Lize nodded worriedly.

"I've only found out recently... She appears to be a little... peculiar."

Anne used to be a cheerful person. Her daily life could be described with four words: eat, drink, play, and sleep. As Rhode's private attendant, Anne was free from work whenever Rhode had nothing on his hands. She would either wander around Christie's side or take a nap in the park. However, she had been behaving peculiarly. Not only did her appetite increase, but she also seemed irascible. Normally, she would ask others to accompany her whenever she was bored, but she had become extremely willful. Even if everyone told her that they were busy, she would repeatedly insist in having them play with her and also kick up a huge fuss. Marlene and Lize were stunned to see her behaving this way. They had known her for a long time, but had never seen her behaving this way. Therefore, they were concerned about her extreme changes in attitude.

"Irascible?"

Rhode knitted his brows, but he couldn't find an explanation.

"What did the rest think about her? Have you asked Lapis? Did Anne behave this way in the past?"

"The others guessed that perhaps Anne isn't used to the cold weather... I've also asked Lapis and Randolf, but they said that Anne never behaved this way before. Even in the coldest of winter days, she had never acted..." Lize pondered for a while, "... so... peculiarly..."

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