"The overlords of Glorious Edge, Eastern Plains, Sygram, and Dragon Canyon have officially given their quotes, Master."
Gillian's fluffy ears twitched as she fiddled with the letters. It could be seen from her glinting eyes that she was extremely excited.
The Land of Atonement had repelled the Undead Army and revealed their trump card before everyone. Previously, the four territories had sent their representative nobles to observe how Rhode defeated the Undead Army and thereafter returned to their territories and reported the matter to their superiors. It was impossible that no one was attracted by the legendary Holy Maiden Statues. In an instant, envelopes flooded Rhode's room and envelopes from the four overlords were the most urgent. After all, they had the urgency to defend against the Undead Army as the border territories. They didn't mind spending huge sums of money to resist the Undead Army! The overlords were much richer than Rhode and it wasn't any problem for them to fork out the money!
However, the overlords had different attitudes on this matter. Some expressed that they could provide financial support and materials in exchange for a cheaper price. On the other hand, some generous ones expressed that money wasn't a problem for them!
Rhode had no intentions of raising the price ridiculously because it would be inevitable for gossips to spread if he seized the opportunity to cheat too much of their money. Therefore, he merely increased the production fees from 3 million to 5 million gold coins. He would also decrease the price to 4 million gold coins if the other party provided their own materials. This way, even though he earned less, his reputation in the Munn Kingdom would still be favorable. Besides, his main goal was to protect the Munn Kingdom. Moreover, the Holy Maiden Statues were only effective against the Undead Army and weren't harmful to humans like exploding cannons. If the system didn't need 3 million gold coins to produce, he would have lowered the price, sold thousands of them, and lined them all along the borders of the Munn Kingdom. When that happened, even trillions of Undead Creatures would be annihilated...
It was just what the overlords wished for to spend 4 to 5 million gold coins to get their hands on one legendary artifact. Based on the letters, some requested for two while the most was four. Even if Rhode raised the price by 1 to 2 million gold coins, he would still be earning. Not only was he able to earn profit, but he was also able to improve his relationship with others, which was killing two birds with one stone. On the other hand, he had laid eyes on the Country of Light to make a killing. Compared to the Munn Kingdom, the Country of Light was in a more urgent position and Rhode instantly raised their minimum price to 15 million gold coins! They could forget about it without paying 20 to 30 million gold coins! Rhode couldn't care less even if they couldn't fork out the money since the Undead Army would focus their attention away from the Munn Kingdom and onto them.
"Who gave the highest quotes?"
Rhode sat back and pondered with knitted brows. Marlene took over a few envelopes and scanned the letters.
"Currently, Glorious Edge and Dragon Canyon have given the highest quotes. Glorious Edge is responsible for the front line so they're highly interested. As for the Dragon Canyon..."
Marlene paused and said awkwardly.
"They're under the control of the Senia Family, so I understand their situation quite well. Currently, they defended against the Undead Army with the help of the Battle Angel Army. But they could have lost everything if the war dragged any longer."
Rhode gazed at Marlene and realized why she felt rather awkward. Dragon Canyon was indeed the border territory of the Senia Family. Besides, the Senia Family had been generous, so they wouldn't be afraid to fork out huge sums of money. As for the Glorious Edge...
"How about this, Marlene."
Rhode came up with an idea and crossed his arms.
"I can sell the four Holy Maiden Statues to Dragon Canyon for 3 million gold coins each. But I hope the Senia Family can prioritize and provide us with three Floating Boats."
Marlene knitted her brows.
"Did you mean the magic warships, Rhode? I can't make the decision... The magic warships are the national secrets of the Munn Kingdom and developed by the Munn Royal Family. We don't have the rights to produce and sell the magic warships. Besides..."
"No no no. I'm not referring to the magic warships."
Rhode waved his hand.
"I'm speaking about the Floating Boats, which shouldn't be a problem for you, right? I guess you're also aware that the Holy Maiden Statues need to be transported after production. But we lack transportation tools now. This is why it is essential for us to have large Floating Boats."
Marlene nodded in agreement. The Senia Family was the only family that could produce Floating Boats and magic warships in the Munn Kingdom. Not only that, but the Senia Family's financial resources came from the business transactions of the Floating Boats. The main purpose of the Floating Boats was to transport goods and as a result, there were huge differences in their defenses, firepower, and functionality compared to the magic warships. However, as a transportation tool, the magic warships weren't as quick and safe-of course, it was a totally different matter for Rhode when he first came to this world and met the horrifying group of flying serpents.
The reason why Rhode needed the Floating Boats wasn't to transport the Holy Maiden Statues. Instead, he could also use them to transport other goods. Why did the Munn Kingdom become the wealthiest country in the Light Mainland? It was because they developed the trade routes and Floating Boats. A normal delivery time of one week was shortened to three days and nothing was more important than time and efficiency.
"No problem, Rhode. I will handle it," Marlene said firmly.
The Senia Family held their own territory, so Marlene was clear about the needs for territory turnovers. If nothing was done to turn this territory into an effective system, it would be troublesome in the future.
Marlene looked up after recording this matter into her journal. She revealed a rather concerned look.
"Erm... Rhode, when do you intend to release Miss Sonia and the others? The Country of Light will..."
Rhode sulked slightly and waved his hand. He imprisoned the emissaries so quickly that the Country of Light wasn't aware of their plights yet. On the other hand, Priest Aiken didn't reveal any information after he received some hints from Rhode. Priest Aiken had been laying low in the church all day. However, this wasn't important for Rhode. He didn't capture Sonia just because he hated the Country of Light.
"I will release that young lady after she becomes obedient."
Marlene sighed helplessly. She knew what Rhode had been up to in the underground prison. Even though she wasn't sure of the details, she guessed what he had done based on her understanding of him. However, she had no intentions of interfering with his decision because she trusted that he would make sane decisions and there must be a reason behind this. Besides, as the heir of a noble family, Marlene didn't believe that this world was pure. She was clear of the cunning, sinister, bloody conflicts between nobles. However, she couldn't help but deeply empathize Sonia as a female-she knew that Rhode didn't have protective feelings for the fairer sex and all she could do was hope that Sonia wouldn't be too sorrowful.
However, her prayers weren't effective.
When Rhode arrived at Sonia's cell once again, the latter was already waiting. She wore a thin robe and had lost all her arrogance and pride. On the contrary, she revealed uncertainties and lowered her head in silence.
Rhode let out a chuckle.
"What's wrong, Miss Sonia? Where did your awe-inspiring authority go?"
Sonia instinctively lifted her head, but as soon as she saw the pitch-black eyes, she instantly recalled that scene where her pride shattered into bits. He also used the same gaze on her back then...
An inexplicable chill emerged inside her and stifled her words. Then, she lowered her head again and objected in silence. Rhode swept a glance and said.
"Good, Miss. Sonia. It seems like you've understood the situation. Alright then. I hope to see some practical actions. Take off your clothes."
Sonia looked up in terror. She thought that she had misheard, but Rhode's ice-cold gaze told her that he was being serious.
"Take off your clothes. Or... do you want me to do it for you?"
Sonia pondered for a few moments. Then, she slowly took off her top and revealed her smooth, dewy body. She wrapped her arms around her chest and lowered her head with tears circulating her eyes. She felt humiliated and pained to strip herself naked before a man. But even so, the pride deep inside her held back her tears and supported her final honor.
Rhode nodded. But, he didn't do anything like what she expected. Instead, he retrieved a small bottle and extended his arm.
"W-What is that?"
Rhode stared in silence and Sonia didn't dare to ask again. She reached out for the bottle with her shivering hand. Then, she mustered her courage and drank the finished the entire bottle as though it was poison.
She sensed a strange warmth surging and enveloping her. Then, she felt powerless at her limbs and collapsed to the ground.
"W-What did you do to me?"
She glared at Rhode, but the latter continued to stare in silence. He retrieved a leather red collar and clipped it onto her neck.
She struggled instinctively, but couldn't budge at all. As soon as Rhode clipped the collar on her beck, she instantly felt the strange warmth dispersing and regained her strength. However, she realized that she couldn't get up no matter how she tried to stand on her feet.
What did he do to me?
Rhode clutched the rope that was attached to her collar and presented a smile.
"Alright then, Miss. Sonia. Let's go for a walk."