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 The young lady in Rhode's embrace leaned in closely. Both of them were extremely familiar with this sensation after their long-term intimate interactions. Rhode had expected to have a sweet ending for the night, but...

A finger pushed against his lips and stopped his advances.

"Marlene?"

Rhode gazed dubiously at her. He realized that Marlene appeared a little off at the moment. Her smile was filled with a sense of confidence and something else he couldn't explain clearly. Although her soft, slender body had leaned into him, she behaved peculiarly.

"Don't think you can get away with it, Rhode."

"I don't intend to."

Rhode shrugged in surprise. In fact, what he said was the truth. He was confident that he wouldn't fail, but it served no purpose for him to explain further. However, what astonished him was that Marlene shook her head unexpectedly.

"I wasn't referring to that, Rhode... It's regarding Lize. Don't you have something to say to me?"

"..."

Rhode stood in amazement.

Back then, he had expected the day would arrive when he first pushed Lize down on the bed. However, he also had mixed emotions regarding this matter because, strictly speaking, Marlene was his woman. But he didn't treat her as his girlfriend, or perhaps, if Rhode were to assess her as the one who he had to love with all his heart, pamper, and marry in the future, then their relationship wasn't this way at all. The start of their intimate relationship was an accident and things developed naturally thereafter. Marlene had never requested for Rhode to call her loving names while he had never intended to say that he would only love her forever. The development of their relationship had always been mutual. Rhode viewed the situation regarding Lize with an open mind. But he also knew that Marlene wouldn't simply nod and agree to his words.

Therefore, Rhode had left this matter aside just like his relationship with Canary. Even though Lize and Marlene knew about their relationship, they had never mentioned it. But now, Marlene raised this question to him and he didn't know how to give an answer.

Fortunately, Rhode was experienced in these situations. His expression stiffened for a short moment. Then, he looked into the young lady's eyes quietly and revealed a smile.

"It seems that you know about it?"

"Of course. Lize is my best friend, so how can I not know?"

Marlene displayed a smile abruptly and took a step away from his embrace. Before Rhode came to his senses...

Smack!

A sharp, intense pain struck his cheek and forced a painful shriek out of him. Marlene swung her right wrist and showed a satisfied expression. "I've finally taken my revenge, Rhode. Ah, but I've to put it up front. I didn't slap you because you did things with Lize behind my back. Instead, this is for my defenseless best friend who was discontent that you pushed and held her down on bed, that's all."

"If you put it that way... I don't really have any reasons to retort."

Rhode touched his stinging cheek and let out a bitter laugh. He had to admit that Marlene had indeed found a decent entry point which he could only accept hopelessly. Marlene nodded in satisfaction and took a few steps back. She smiled, lifted the hem of her skit and bowed respectfully.

"Alright then, Rhode, I hope you'll have a good dream."

Marlene turned around and left, leaving Rhode alone in the middle of the room. The room door shut tightly. Rhode laid down his hand and shrugged helplessly. It seemed that this young lady wasn't as mindful as he thought she would be... Nevertheless, is this considered my punishment? Rhode turned around and let out a sigh at the sight of the empty room.

I should just go to bed...

"Is that really fine? Marlene?"

Lize waited anxiously by the corridor. She turned to her close friend worriedly as soon as the flames in Rhode's room were extinguished.

"Will Mr. Rhode be fine... Should I... check on him..."

"Don't think about slipping away, alright, Lize? Didn't we agree to it? If you give up so easily, wouldn't it spoil everything that we've done?" Marlene unrolled a witty smile and stuck out her lips.

"Besides, weren't you the one who suggested this?"

"But... If we treat Mr. Rhode this way..."

Lize lowered her head with a hesitant expression. "... Besides... Should we do it? Marlene... I... feel embarrassed thinking about it..."

"Don't worry too much. We'll have to do it sooner or later."

Marlene stroked Lize's hair gently.

"It's late now, so let's call it a day... Eh?"

Marlene turned around abruptly and looked at the other end of the corridor. There was nothing apart from the flickering candle flames. Lize lifted her head curiously and followed Marlene' gaze.

"What's wrong? Marlene? What happened?"

"... That's weird. I thought I saw someone walking by there, but there isn't anyone..."

Marlene frowned and scanned the corridor. Then, she shook her head.

"I'm probably too tired... Let's go, Lize."

Although Rhode considered it a loss to miss an opportunity to spend a great night with Marlene, he didn't dwell on it. He entered dreamland as soon as he laid on the bed. The dense darkness of the sky shrouded the whole Fortress, where even the magic crystal candles along the corridor dimmed drastically. At this moment, the magical candle flames flickered as a gust of wind emanating green radiance blew through the corridor. It penetrated through the thick doors and fluttered the curtains. Then, it whirled on the spot and transformed into a slender, beautiful figure.

"..."

Anne emerged in the middle. Her emerald green eyes wandered about and emanated an indistinct brilliance. The bright moonlight penetrated the thick clouds and illuminated her flawless, fair naked body. Instead of standing upright, she was on all fours and let out a soft growl in her throat. Then, she got closer to Rhode while the green whirlwind twined around her silently.

Surprisingly, Rhode didn't sense her presence at all. Anne twitched her tiny nose. She swiftly pulled herself back and extended her right hand with a confused expression as though she didn't know what she should do. She wanted to grab his arm, but withdrew as though she was afraid. Then, she stretched her hand out again and shrunk back again.

"... Grrr..."

Anne let out deep mournful sounds in her throat after her continuous failed attempts. Then, she stooped over and shut her eyes.

Shortly after, the room once again returned to its tranquility.

It was already morning when Rhode opened his eyes. The morning sunlight could be seen beaming down from the azure sky after the darkness of the night had given way and melted away like snow. Rhode took in a deep breath of air and sat up. But something captured his attention as soon as he tried to get down the bed. He was speechless after he looked down closely.

A fully naked Anne was curled up beside his bed and snoring away. Her face was full of contentment and blissfulness. If one didn't consider the location where she was lying on at the moment, then this would just be another scene in Anne's lazy day.

But now... What's this situation now?

Rhode would have believed that there was some 'accident' if he found a naked Anne beside him on the bed. But now, she was sleeping on the floor instead. What's going on?

What made Rhode puzzled the most was... How did Anne sneak into his room?

Rhode was currently level 50 and even though he hadn't transcended into the Legendary Stage, his senses weren't all that bad too. Apart from presences in the Legendary Stage or beings like Gracier and Madaras who possessed unique techniques, it had always been tough for others to sneak up on him even when he was in deep sleep. And now, he didn't realize that Anne actually came into his room?

However, now wasn't the time to think about this problem. Rhode puckered his brows and held her shoulder to push her gently.

"Anne, wake up. Anne."

"Mm...?"

She opened her eyes dazedly. She slowly lifted her head in bewilderment and showed a sweet, cheerful smile when she spotted him.

"Ah... Leader... Good morning... Did you come... and wake... Anne up?"

"That's my question for you, Anne. What were you doing in my room?"

"Hmm?"

Anne's emerald green eyes glinted with doubts. She looked around curiously before jumping to her feet and opening her eyes wide.

"Ehhh?! Why is Anne here?"

"You don't remember?"

Rhode knitted his brows. The young lady didn't seem to be lying and she didn't have the habit of telling lies either. But that would be too strange and it sounded even more ridiculous than a horror story for Anne to not have any impressions of her coming into his room. Could it be that Anne sleepwalks? That's impossible. No one has seen her sleepwalking.

"Anne doesn't remember at all."

Anne firmly shook her head.

"Anne remembers clearly that Anne was sleeping in Anne's room... and never came to Leader's room."

"How strange."

Rhode shook his head. Anne's disruptive behaviors had decreased a lot after his return. She usually wouldn't run around all over the place and would either observe Rhode doing his work or be soundly asleep on the table. However, her peculiar behaviors could still be seen such as when she approached the male mercenaries, where she would be as frightened as a kitten and keep a distance away from them. Not only that, but she would also ridiculously emanate an unprecedented aura. All in all, Rhode felt that Anne's situation was turning for the better.

But now, it seems that her conditions have deteriorated?

"Anyway, put this on."

Although there were many unsolved problems at the moment, the issue with her dressing was the main priority now. Rhode knew that Anne loved to sleep naked since the guild was still a mercenary group. It wasn't only once or twice that he had seen her feeling the breeze in her half-naked self. Fortunately, she had restrained herself a lot under Lize's guidance and she wouldn't run about naked before everyone.

But now...

Rhode was glad that he didn't do 'it' with Marlene last night. If not, the situation would turn really awkward if Anne were to sneak into his room in the middle of the night. But even so, the current situation was equally dangerous. Fortunately, Rhode had the habit of waking up early to work out in the cooling morning after coming to this world. If not, he wouldn't be able to clear himself of the accusation if Lize and Marlene were to see Anne sleeping naked in his room.

Most of them were still sleeping at this hour. After covering Anne up with the blanket, Rhode dragged her out of his room and got her to return to her room. She didn't grumble to Rhode's decision. In fact, she was still in a daze and didn't figure out what exactly had happened.

"Mmm..."

Anne closed her room door and plopped into her comfortable bed, squinting and letting out a comfortable groan. She opened her eyes wide and gazed at the ceiling in silence.

What's going on...

Her head was full of doubts as her eyes wandered around her room. Like Rhode, she couldn't figure out why she had gone into his room. She should have been in her room all night, but why... She shook her head and pulled the blanket over her, twitching her nose.

It's Rhode's smell.

After smelling the familiar scent, she felt her heart pumping uncontrollably and numbness spread throughout her body like a jolt of lightning. She felt as though she was floating in the air; comfortable and light. There was an instant where Anne hoped to be immersed in this state forever, abandoning everything and not thinking about anything else.

So comfortable...

Anne stared blankly... She remembered that she felt this way before... Yes, that was a long time ago. Rhode had once grabbed her bosom and she felt equally comfortable as though something was burning inside her and longing to be released. Could it be due to Leader's presence that my body has become so strange?

"Leader..."

Anne shut her eyes and mumbled to herself.

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