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 What's the situation?

Everyone including Rhode was surprised. Frankly speaking, even though everyone sympathized with the pitiful young lady, they didn't feel anything more than that. It was just like when one watched an actor on television who suffered hardship; everyone would at most lament with a statement such as "Ah, how pitiful. It isn't easy living such a horrible life...", since they were only strangers coming together by chance. As a guild and territorial leader, Rhode had plenty on his hands to handle and he wouldn't care about a pathetic NPC.

He thought that this matter had come to an end. But it seemed that the young lady's family had other ideas. Do they think that I'm running an online store and provide free merchandise return?

"What happened?"

Rhode returned to his senses. He felt that this situation sounded too fishy. It could still be considered premeditated if she were to get lost or be assassinated along the way home. However, according to Shauna, they had sent her to the family's doorsteps, and they actually sent her back? What in the world?

"This was what happened..."

Shauna explained the detailed happenings. This whole incident was basically like a 8pm fantasy drama. Shauna and her group had indeed sent the young lady back to her home in Cole Plateau. Back then, her family was extremely grateful for their kind actions and not only did they host a feast for them, but they also requested Shauna pass on their gratitude to Rhode. Everyone had a joyous and harmonious night. Shauna's group had intended to stay in Cole Plateau for two days to visit and draw closer ties with the Cole Falcon Guild before returning to the fortress.

This was how simple the situation would have been. However, when Shauna's group was about to leave, the weeping young lady scuttled to Shauna.

There were actual reasons as to why Ann had been chased out of her home. Various rumors about her had spread after she returned home, as she was captured by the Cultists. The Cultists were evil presences in the hearts of ordinary people. Not to mention, this young lady had been held captive for so long, so it wasn't hard for them to imagine how she was tainted by the Cultists...

Besides, Ann was born into a wealthy family in Cole Plateau and the sharing of benefits had constantly been eyed by other family members. As the eldest daughter, she was fated to receive a huge portion of the wealth. However, after she had been captured by the Cultists, others eyed her portion of the wealth and believed that she wouldn't return anymore. But who knew that she came back safe and sound... That left a horrible taste in their mouths.

Therefore, the family members hurriedly found a Cleric to do a series of examinations on her and the results were unfavorable: pitch-black energy had been found hidden within her soul.

The family members used this information to chase her out of the family. They verbally attacked her one after another and even suspected that the Cultists had used sorcery to swap her soul and it was actually a Demon inside her instead of her true soul. This Demon was trying to use Ann's body to destroy their family! This statement frightened the family members and even relatives who were close with Ann shunned her. Not only that, but some were also concerned that their family might crumble completely if the Church Knights knew about this!

The Clark family instantly gathered and tried to burn Ann to death. Facing such a death threat, the young lady had no choice but to seek assistance from Shauna's group. In the beginning, Shauna was rather hesitant because they had also more or less heard about the rumors. No matter if it was regarding darkness, evil, Demons, or Cultists, it wasn't anything favorable for ordinary people, which was why Shauna had no intentions of getting involved with this problem. However, her family had gone overboard. They demanded for Shauna to hand Ann over and even tried snatching her over. Shauna had no choice but to make a decision. No matter what, this young lady was rescued by Rhode and they, as his subordinates, couldn't watch the person get slaughtered before their eyes. In the end, Shauna stepped forth and stopped their barbaric acts. However, dragging this situation on wouldn't resolve it, which was why Shauna had decided to bring Ann back to the fortress to seek Rhode's opinion. Anyway, Ann would surely be dead if she were left there. Even though she might also be killed after returning to the fortress, there was still some hope left, right?

Therefore, Shauna's group brought Ann back.

"How ignorant and barbaric."

Marlene puckered her brows and let out a snort. Rhode let out an inward smile as he felt this sounded rather amusing.

In his actual world, superstitions about evil monsters had been deemed as a sign of ignorance, backwardness, and barbarism due to the advancement of science. But, such superstitions were also scorned by those who were knowledgeable in this Dragon Soul Continent. However, unlike Rhode's world, the people here didn't consider the issue from a scientific perspective, but from magic perspective instead. No matter if it was science or magic, they were all subjective. Superstitions were imaginary empty talk without any persuasiveness at all.

Taking the Demons for example: there were always rumors that mentioned that the goals of the Demons was to dominate this continent. They would crawl up from Hell and turn the entire surface into a sea of flames. However, anyone with some knowledge of planes of existences would know that a Demon's main battlefield was in the underground and they were busy snatching territories from the Devils. Although Demons would occasionally be up to no good on the surface, it was considered more as leisure time for them, just like a man who was exhausted from work and went for a game of golf. One couldn't expect the man to play like a professional golfer. In fact, in the later stages of the game, the Dragon Soul barrier crashed and those who appeared on the surface were mainly Devils and not Demons.

As for the dark energy, it wasn't all evil. In fact, even in the Mage School, dark magic was well respected. However, most of the people didn't understand this point. They relied on their fears and generalized the Necromancers and Dark Mages into one-no matter who they were, there were no doubts that they were terrifying and dangerous presences!

From this, it could be seen that barbarism and ignorances aren't problems of civilization itself. Instead, it was the people...

"Where is she now?"

Rhode wasn't interested in being a philosopher. He got straight back to the topic.

"In the meeting room, Sir."

"Got it."

Rhode nodded and stood to his feet.

"Let's head there now."

Shortly after, Rhode spotted Ann who was seated on the chair.

Rhode didn't have a deep impression of her. He vaguely remembered her as a quiet, introverted young lady with young vitality. But now, she had an ashen expression with swollen, red eyes. Her cheeks had thinned and she curled up on the chair at the corner of the room, shivering like a squirrel waiting for an enormous monster to devour it in a single bite. She stood up hurriedly as soon as Rhode entered the room and bowed deeply.

"I-I'm really sorry to trouble you, Sir Overlord. I..."

"Don't speak a word."

Rhode waved his hand and interrupted. Anne shrunk violently as though she was about to be murdered. She gazed pitifully and even Lize and Marlene couldn't help but feel sad for her. But Rhode continued to put up his emotionless face while sizing her up. Then, he beckoned to Lize.

"Lize, take a look."

"Yes, Mr. Rhode."

Lize knew what Rhode wished for her to do. She stepped forth and extended her arms before Ann.

"..."

Shortly after, a white radiance emanated from Ann's body. It was the radiance of her soul. Ann trembled even more violently. She shut her eyes and lowered her head as though tolerating the pain.

"Hmm?"

Rhode and Marlene widened their eyes in astonishment.

The radiance of Ann's soul slowly transformed-a pitch-black sphere emerged in the center of the flawless soul radiance as though a sphere of burning dark flames hovering in the center of her body. Rhode twitched his brows.. It seemed that it was the source of the so-called dark energy hidden deep in her soul.

"How is it, Lize?"

"This... is hard to determine."

Lize displayed a difficult expression. She gazed at Ann and carefully thought through her words, afraid to upset this young lady who was exhausted and mentally drained.

There seems to be some dark energy within her soul... But... I don't sense any evil aura. Besides... I think this energy isn't similar to those of the Demons..."

Isn't similar... is it?

Rhode gazed meaningfully at the young lady and the latter curled up instinctively. Rhode lifted his arm. A magical radiance flashed and Celia emerged beside him. Ann trembled slightly at the Battle Angel's sudden emergence as she didn't know how this Battle Angel appeared out of nowhere. Is she here to kill me?

"Celia, give it a try."

"... Yes, Sir."

Celia hesitated before taking a step forward. Then, she placed her right hand on Ann's forehead. Ann shut her eyes tight, waiting fearfully for the coming death and destruction.

But Celia had no intentions of taking her life. She closed her eyes and shortly after, her palm emanated a gentle, white radiance that shrouded Anne entirely. After a few moments, Celia knitted her brows slightly and retracted her hand. She turned to Rhode with a stern expression.

"That... Master, can I speak to you in private?"

"Sure."

After Rhode had gotten Lize and Marlene to comfort the pitiful young lady, he and Celia arrived at the room next door. Then, Celia blushed slightly and her eyes wandered about.

As expected.

Rhode knew what was going on in her mind. The battle in the Saint Monastery was between Celia and the Fallen Angel. And now, there were some problems with this young lady who was used to maintain the existence of the Fallen Angel. As a Battle Angel, Celia would probably know something he didn't. It was due to this that Rhode had summoned her to get to the bottom of this matter. However, he gazed at her quietly and as expected, Celia finally gave up resisting. She lowered her head and let out a sigh.

"Master, how much do you know about how Angels... reproduce?"

"I do have some rough understanding."

Although he wasn't sure why Celia would ask him this question, he answered swiftly because this wasn't a secret among the players.

Angels were magical existences with both asexual reproduction and sexual reproduction, and this was why Angels possessed stronger vitality than Humans. Therefore, normally speaking, Angels could reproduce without the need of mating no matter if they were in love or single. Every Angels would coalesce a life essence in their body as they grew to a certain phase and as long as this life essence was coalesced out of their body, they could create an egg-like matter, which was how new Angels would be given birth to.

This could be considered the 'inheritance' of the Angels.

However, Angels could also mate with other races, get pregnant, and give birth to their offspring. But this way, their offspring would be Half-Angels and not pure Angels. In fact, this was the case for the most popular sisters in Munn Kingdom. Lydia was a pure Angel born from the life essence of the former ruler while Lize was a Half-Angel and the product of love between the former ruler and her Human lover.

The reason why Rhode was familiar with this wasn't because the Dragon Soul Continent had taught the players about Angels' biology. Instead, this information was researched and exchanged by the 'gentlemanly' players with their countless blood and sweat. Of course, as for the reason why they were motivated to study the reproduction methods of the Angels had nothing to do with the game... And everyone knew why.

"As Angels, we have our own life essence in us. When the time is ripe, we will use our vitality to coalesce the life essence and a new life will be born from it... This is how we Angels reproduce and same goes for... Fallen Angels."

"What you meant was..."

Rhode twitched his brows.

"That young lady is pregnant with the child of that Fallen Angel who has possessed her? If I recall correctly, that Fallen Angel was also a female..."

"Ah. N-No!"

Celia waved her hands in a fluster and a blush smeared across her fair cheeks.

"That... life essence is the source of life and the source of life comes from 'light'. Fallen Angels give up on looking to light and fall into darkness completely, so they can't possibly possess life essence. But... It would still be possible if they were to coalesce their own powers. The young lady was once an offering for the Fallen Angel to enter her body and it goes to show that the young lady's spiritual undulation is suitable for the Fallen Angel. Perhaps, due to this reason, the Fallen Angel chose this method to implant her final spiritual essence in her before leaving this world..."

Whenever Celia mentioned the 'Fallen Angel', her tone was filled with complications. She lifted her head and gazed at the boundless night sky through the window with grief in her eyes.

"What will happen to the young lady?"

Although Rhode was curious about the relationship between Celia and the Fallen Angel, Celia wasn't willing to talk about it and he quickly jumped back to the main topic.

"Since she has the spiritual essence of the Fallen Angel in her, will she become a Fallen Angel in future?"

"That's impossible, Master."

Celia shook her head firmly.

"Her soul has been purified by the flames of light and the remaining spiritual essence is just an empty shell without any will on its own. Of course, the young lady's soul will merge with the dark energy if this continues and this won't affect her thoughts. But..."

Celia made a rare pause.

"... It isn't uncommon for Humans to degrade themselves and bow down to one who is under the influence of the dark energy. But all in all, the dark energy inside her body is nothing more than pure spiritual powers only."

"I understand now."

Rhode nodded. He had made up his mind.

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