Orchid Heart's offense and defense values weren't remarkable as this was due to the price that she paid for being projected into the Core Card as a Phantom Guardian. However, the passive skills that came with her were sufficient to scare enemies away. Moreover, as the assigned Core Card of the 10 Strongest Spirit Decks, Orchid Heart didn't require Rhode's spiritual energy to sustain her presence and she could benefit from the special reward of utilizing one-tenth of her spiritual powers when summoning cards belonging to the same deck as her. Furthermore, even if she wasn't overpowered in terms of strength in her 'Spellcaster Scholar' class, it still wouldn't pose any problems for her to sweep enemies away.
The Ultimate Army Deck led by Orchid Heart was a rare set of cards that summoned groups of creatures. Normally, a Spirit Swordsman's summoning card mostly summoned individuals rather than groups no matter the equipment, magic, or spirits. Currently, only the [Sacrificial Shift] spell card in his arsenal could summon a huge group of Undead Creatures. But these Undead Creatures weren't true summoned spirits and were more of derivatives from the [Sacrificial Shift] spell card. Only with powerful Soul Cores would it be possible to summon strong groups of creatures.
Fortunately, it seemed that the ten top-rated Soul Cores that Rhode had extorted from the Light Parliament came in great. Every one of them turned out to be of best qualities in the Ultimate Army Deck. Even though their offense values weren't comparable to the Holy Sword Card Deck, they were considered impressive as ordinary cards.
Apart from Orchid Heart, there was a Venue Card, two Spell Cards, two Equipment Cards, and four Summoning Spirits in the Ultimate Army Deck. This was the first completed deck Rhode had gained ever since he came to this world. However, it wasn't only simply the completion of numbers. Every deck belonged to a unique world and was the materialization of their stories. When they came together as a whole, the potential that they unleashed would be completely different from individual cards. Every deck possessed distinct special effects that would only be unveiled when all the cards came together and the same went for this Ultimate Army Deck. Rhode shook his head and laughed in spite of himself after scanning through the entire deck. This deck appeared seemingly to be created with Orchid Heart as the core, where her tactical footprints could be seen in every aspect.
Summoning Spirits-In the second and third positions of the Ultimate Army Deck were the [Dark Rangers] and [Spear Defenders] respectively, while the [Ultimate Judge] and [Dead Enchantress] were in the fifth and eighth positions respectively.
[Dark Rangers (Number 2 Position in the Ultimate Army Deck. Human) Offense 9 Defense 7. Ranger Class. Unfuseable. Set Equipment Attribute. Long-range attacks. Techniques Possessed-Deadly Snipe (The figure flitting by the prairie of Casali in the night wind is the start of a nightmare.)
Enhancement in night abilities (Dark Attribute)
Elemental range shooting (Magical Technology)
Child of the Night Wind (30% chance to deviate long-range attacks)
Set Equipment Attribute (Double all allies' movement speed when two or more similar sets of cards are present)]
[Spear Defenders (Number 3 Position in the Ultimate Army Deck. Human) Offense 8 Defense 9. Spear & Shield Class. Unfuseable. Close & Mid-range attacks. Set Equipment Attribute. Techniques Possessed: Cybust Formation (The barriers built by flesh and blood are insurmountable.)
Enhancement in night abilities (Dark Attribute)
Increase damage dealt to Cavalrymen (Spear & Shield Attribute)
Fortification (Formation will not be destroyed)
Set Equipment Attribute (Lower all allies' chance of receiving critical attacks by 70% when two or more similar set of cards are present)]
[Ultimate Judge (Number 5 Position in the Ultimate Army Deck. Human) Offense 7 Defense 7. Close-Combat Class. Unfuseable. Close-range attacks. Set Equipment Attribute. Techniques Possessed: Final Judgment (Everything comes to an end)
Enhancement in night abilities (Dark Attribute)
Armor Crusher (Increase in damage)
Desires of the Grim Reaper (5% chance to inflict instant death on enemies)
Set Equipment Attribute (All allies offense +3 defense -1 when two or more similar sets of cards are present)]
[Departed Succubi (Number 8 Position in the Ultimate Army Deck. Succubi) Offense 6 Defense 5. Spellcaster Class. Unfuseable. Long-range attacks. Set Equipment Attribute. Techniques Possessed: Temptation of the Succubi (Even a hero will eventually become a slave to beauty)
Enhancement in night abilities (Dark Attribute)
Live and die for me (Doubles morale of allies once this card is summoned to the battlefield)
Imaginary Succubi (Doppelgänger)
Set Equipment Attribute (All allies' attack range increase by 3 x 3 when three or more similar set of cards are present)]
From the descriptions of the four cards, they were obviously the best tools for group battles. Their strength wasn't exceptional, but Rhode valued that their set equipment effects could enhance all allies. Even though he wasn't sure if the effects would be able to differentiate allies from enemies in reality, he threw this thought to the back of his head temporarily. Just like the Fantasy Daybreak that he had created, even though he wasn't sure of the reasoning behind the afterimage attacks, it didn't affect his unleashing of it, wasn't it?
[Dark Rangers] could increase their speed. [Spear Defenders] could increase their defenses and also guarantee that their formation wouldn't be destroyed. [Ultimate Judge] and [Departed Succubi] could increase allies' battle strength and range. Once these four cards were summoned, even a General with mediocre skills would crumble instantly. It was imaginable how formidable Orchid Heart would be when she used all these cards in war.
Apart from the four summoning spirits, the remaining Spell Cards and Equipment Cards shouldn't be belittled either.
[Disillusioned Spear (Number 4 Position in the Ultimate Army Deck. Magic Equipment) Targets a group's equipment. Unfuseable. Magical Technology Attribute. Holder can appoint a card to be equipped with the Disillusioned Spear and engage in attack. (They are like a forest of steel, piercing into the sky, undisputedly proclaiming their existence.)
Courageous Assault (Armor Crusher Attribute. Certain chance to ignore enemies' armor defense)
Fragile illusion shall return to nothingness (Spell Breaker Attribute. Destroys defensive spells below the Middle Circle)
[Dusk of Annihilation (Number 7 Position in the Ultimate Army Deck. Magic Equipment) Targets a group's attack. Unfuseable. Magical Technology Attribute. Engages in an 8 x 8 AOE attack when holder summons this card to the battlefield. Devastation of damage depends on the number of casualties. (Flesh and steel are the only remaining existences on the battlefield)
AOE Damage (The earth shall tremble before heavy artillery)
Chain Reaction (Certain chance to detonate an explosion attack in a 3 x 3 range)
Uniqueness (Can only be summoned once per day)]
[Mighty Flag (Number 6 Position in the Ultimate Army Deck. Spell Card) AOE Spell. Fusible. Dedicated spell card for the Core Card of the Ultimate Army Deck. Not to be used in addition with other cards. Summoner can trigger it by using experience. (The flying flag points to the direction of the heart)
Effects: Specify an area and conduct a round of will evaluation. Destroys enemies' formation if the will evaluation fails and also weakens attribute values by one-third. Resistible. Unavoidable. Once merged with other spells, attribute shall inflict additional damage]
[Recovery Breath (Number 9 Position in the Ultimate Army Deck. Spell Card) AOE Spell. Unfuseable. Dedicated spell card for the Core Card of the Ultimate Army Deck. Can be used in addition with other cards. Summoner can trigger it by using experience. (The breeze of recovery brings the breath of life and praises)
Effects: Cast on a specified area. Allies within the range will slowly recover from injuries. Eliminates poison. Unable to dispel curses. Can be dispersed]
[Casali under the Night Sky (Number 10 Position in the Ultimate Army Deck. Venue Card) Enchanted Field Spell. Unfuseable. Dedicated spell card for the Core Card of the Ultimate Army Deck. Can be used in addition with other cards. Can be used by summoner. (The war on the grassland under the dark moon has become the dust of memory.)
Effects: Envelope the battlefield entirely. Duration depends on enemies' strength.
Whispers under the night sky (Engage in uninterrupted will evaluation of the enemies. Enemies who failed the evaluation will face stagnation in movements, be blinded, and become desperate and fearful.)]
Rhode twitched his brows slightly after analyzing the last Venue Card with a picture of a breathtaking prairie under the night sky. This was the first ever Venue Card he had received in this world. The Venue Card was somewhat similar to the Order Dimension of beings in the Legendary Stage. When the Venue Card was activated, all creatures on the entire battlefield would be dragged into the depicted venue of the card and engage in battle. However, unlike the Order Dimension, the holder wouldn't have a god-like position within the Venue Card. But the holder would be advantageous in the favorable terrain while the enemies would be in calamitous grounds. Even so, there were still limits to the Venue Card. It would still work against ordinary armies, but was useless against beings in the Legendary Stage. No matter what, the Venue Card was a 'knockoff', after all. The Venue Card would be destroyed as soon as legendary beings activated their 'Order Dimension' or 'Mystic Realm'. It was also totally impossible to drag beings like the Archangels and Creator Dragon Souls into it.
But Rhode felt accomplished with this set of cards. After completing two mercenary missions, he had been focusing all his time on his territorial constructions and wrangling with the Light Parliament and basically lacked the energy to search for Soul Cores to summon these cards. Now that he had gained a decent deck of cards after extorting ten Soul Cores from the Light Parliament, he felt much more relaxed. With the help of this deck, it wouldn't that simple for the Dark Dragon if it tried to attack him anymore.
Rhode kept the cards and shook the bell on his table. Shortly after, the doors opened to the presence of Agatha who entered silently. Rhode nodded to her slightly and said. "Get Marlene and the others here."
Rhode gathered his subordinates and introduced Orchid Heart to them. Even though the group was surprised by the sudden emergence of this young lady, they didn't appear flabbergasted or nervous. After all, similar instances such as this had happened in the past and they were used to it already. But...
"Leader, Anne feels that the people around you have really weird names."
Anne suggested her thoughts and lazily kicked her legs under the chair. Even though the others didn't speak, the look on their faces showed their agreement. Indeed. Canary, Mini Bubble Gum, and Orchid Heart. They didn't sound like any decent names and were more like nicknames instead. But even though they were dubious, they didn't specifically mention it. It was apparent that the three of them had out of the ordinary relationship with Rhode. Moreover, Mini Bubble Gum and Canary's intimidating strength were out in the open. In this world dominated by the strong, it was solely their right to do whatever they wanted and no one had the right to intervene.
"You'll get used to it."
Rhode shrugged and looked at the group with a stern expression.
"Orchid Heart can be considered my senior as we've learned together in the past. I've also decided to make her responsible for commanding and leading my army. Do you guys understand?"
The group exchanged confused looks with one another and swiftly shifted their gaze to Orchid Heart. The looks that they had given her were filled with curiosity before, but they were mostly full of doubts now. Everyone knew what Rhode meant by this. This young lady would become the General of the entire Grenbell armed services, which was a role of utmost importance for the territory. Even though Rhode's territory didn't require too much protection at the moment and his subordinates were also capable, everyone knew that they would grow even stronger in the future and this role would become incomparably important.
Marlene puckered her brows. Not only her, but many present also sensed that this sleepy-looking young lady wasn't that formidable. In the Dragon Soul Continent, even an army commander was a powerful being. However, they couldn't sense the matchless strength in this young lady that they felt from Canary and Mini Bubble Gum. On the contrary, she left them a weak impression and defeating her wasn't difficult, at least in the eyes of Marlene. But why would Rhode assign such a critical role to her? Who is she exactly? Where did she come from?
Even though Marlene and the rest had heard from Rhode about the details, they still lacked understanding of this young lady. Such a crucial role... If given to the wrong person...
Marfa stepped forth and bowed respectfully.
"I would like to know if we..."
Rhode knew what Marfa was about to ask and shook his finger to interrupt him.
"You, Randolf, Joey, Sol, and others leading my elite squads will still listen to my commands. She will be responsible for the mobilization and promotion of the Infantries, Garrisons of the fortress, and Cavalrymen including John in future. Understand?"
Marfa nodded emotionlessly and stepped back. At this moment, everyone shifted their attention to another man: John. His face appeared a little stiff and bitter, and everyone knew the reasons why.
Ever since the clash with the Cyan Goshawk, many members had shown their disapproval at John's performance as he didn't react in time and was detained by the enemies like a dummy. Even though Rhode seemed to have suppressed the Cyan Goshawk entirely, he might really need to slaughter as many as he could if the Cyan Goshawk were to command his team and retaliate with all their might. Then, Rhode would need to bring everyone back to their territory and summon Canary and Mini Bubble Gum to destroy the corpses and any traces. On the other hand, Rhode had also heard an opinion spreading among his subordinates: John must have gotten used to being the lackey of the Light Parliament as a Southerner and wouldn't dare to move an inch before the Light Parliament. If it were them in his shoes, they wouldn't get their hands tied and have waited to be captured no matter what. If it wasn't for Rhode meeting the lucky Cavalryman who escaped the ordeal, who knew what would happen to John and his Cavalrymen.
Rhode had only occasionally heard such discussions among his subordinates, but he admitted that this was rather truthful. Most of his subordinates were Northerners and loathed the Light Parliament. Moreover, they were disgusted by the Reformist Party licking the toes of the Light Parliament. John's position as the commander of the Southern Legion was already awkward in Starlight and in addition to that incident, neutral people also grew to have such thoughts about him.
In the past, many of them believed that Rhode groomed John for the sake of having a competent military personnel. If not, he wouldn't have spent so much efforts in recruiting a loser from the Southern Legion. Although John did perform well, it was a pity that... a wrong step led to more wrongs. Rhode's pronounce that Orchid Heart would be responsible for military affairs in his territories and this meant that he had cut off all chances of John being promoted to a higher position and he might perhaps stay a Cavalrymen Leader forever.
Rhode turned to the ashen-faced Cavalrymen leader. How was it possible that Rhode wasn't aware of what was going through his mind? In the game, such similar instances had happened in Starlight too. It was a common occurrence among players about who should command the team, loot the corpses, or receive spoils of war for contributing more.
"Do you have any objections?"
"... Sir, no objections on my part."
Even though John appeared rigid, he lowered his head and answered. However, Rhode wasn't satisfied with this answer.
"Tell me the truth. Are you trying to make a fool out of me as an overlord? Or do you treat me as an idiot?"
John stuttered while Joey couldn't watch any longer. He jumped out and gesticulated.
"Aiya, just speak when the boss asks you to! Everyone clearly knows what you're thinking so what're you hesitating for? Stop acting like an unhesitant woman! Uh... Sorry, Madam Canary, Madam Bubble, Madam Marlene, Madam Lize, and Miss Anne. I'm not referring to you. My stupid mouth... always shooting itself off..." Joey instantly sensed sharp daggers pointing at him. Canary, Mini Bubble Gum, and Marlene gazed at him while harboring evil designs. Even the most innocent Lapis stared at him fumingly and left him shrinking, blending back into the group with embarrassed smiles and nods.
The atmosphere eased a whole lot after this silly commotion, while John had plucked up his courage, lifted his head, pushed out his chest, and stepped forward to face Rhode.
"Sir Overlord, I admit that I made a mistake in the past and I should receive my well-deserved punishment. But, I find it hard to accept this order of yours. We aren't aware of Miss Orchid Heart's capabilities and yet, you've made her the General of our three armed services. I guess, she should at least show us her skills!"
Not only John, but Marlene and the others were also filled with curiosity. Indeed, commanding an army wasn't as simple as individual battles. Orchid Heart wasn't powerful and could be considered weak. This way, it was impossible for her to convince the others just like how Canary and Mini Bubble Gum relied on their legendary strength.
Rhode nodded and turned to Orchid Heart who was leaning against the bookcase.
"Senior Heart, what do you think?"
Orchid Heart gave an ambiguous response before swaying from left to right as she stood upright. Then, she lifted her head. But even so, her eyes remained half-shut as though she could fall asleep anytime.
"... No problem, Rhode."