Aiken stood before the door and gazed through its small window-Sonia sat on the chair and lowered her head in dejection. He shook his head helplessly. Even though he didn't have a favorable impression of this young lady, he felt unbearable to watch her in this miserable state. But he was clear that it was pointless to plead with Rhode. All he could do was to sigh.
"Sorry to trouble you, Sir Overlord."
"You're welcome, Priest Aiken."
"No, Sir Overlord, even though this isn't my problem, the Light Parliament will... Sigh..."
Aiken shook his head helplessly. Yesterday, the Country of Light requested for a report and after acquiring Rhode's agreement, Aiken reported that the emissaries had been imprisoned. Of course, considering the tension between the Munn Kingdom and the Country of Light, Aiken didn't disclose that Sonia was also imprisoned despite Rhode mentioning he wasn't afraid of the Country of Light at all. As a member of the church, Aiken didn't side with the Country of Light. For the sake of peace in the Light Mainland, he also didn't wish for any problems to arise between the Munn Kingdom and the Country of Light-after all, the Undead Army's infiltration was a huge headache for the humans.
Of course, Aiken described the happenings in the report in a neutral position and without the intention of siding with the Country of Light. However, what left him dissatisfied was that the Light Parliament didn't view it the same way. The Country of Light was extremely discontent with Aiken 'taking sides'. They asked him to 're-evaluate' the situation from another 'neutral' angle and not to be 'blinded by the lies of some despicable scum'.
You, Light Parliament, aren't the church's superior. Haven't I told you everything out of kindness already? In the end, you bastards turned the situation around and pointed fingers at me? You said you wanted me to be neutral in my views. Wasn't I neutral enough? If you're that capable, why don't you ask for forgiveness with me for the trouble that you created? If you've got the guts, why not request for the church to be involved too? Do you think that I'm an idiot who loves to get caught up between both parties?!
Aiken cursed and tore the letter into bits. He felt like his kindness wasn't appreciated at all.
The group of idiots in the Light Parliament is obviously asking me to side them while making things difficult for the overlord. But I'm not a member of the Light Parliament, so why must I be the scapegoat? Do you really think that the overlord won't lay hands on me just because I'm from the church?
Aiken knew that the church higher-ups were working closely with Rhode. He had also witnessed a group of Clerics arriving here and almost everyone held the potential to become an impressive bishop or priest in future. They were instructed by a little girl and he heard that the church higher-ups had a transaction with the overlord where the little girl imparted them new battle tactics while the church provided a certain form of support. With such a relationship in place, how would Aiken dare to intercept?
"Priest Aiken, if you don't mind, I would like to ask a question," Rhode said.
"Please tell me what it is, Sir Overlord."
Aiken turned around.
"I should've asked this question after you guys are here. But due to various reasons, I didn't have the time. Now... I want to ask if this is the Light Parliament's idea to send the emissaries?"
"Yes, Sir Overlord. According to what I've heard, it is a resolution passed by the entire Light Parliament with the mission of observing and learning from the battle experiences between you and the Undead Army."
In other words, both of them knew that this was an excuse. If not, why didn't they head to the Eastern Plains who had more experience in dealing with the Undead Army? After all, Rhode was also identified to have been born in the Eastern Plains so wouldn't it be better to send the emissaries there?
Every insider knew how dangerous it was to dispatch the emissaries to the Land of Atonement of all places because it was almost like sending them to their deathbeds. After the end of the Dragon Soul Ceremony, almost everyone in the Light Mainland knew that this young overlord was against the Light Parliament, as he even slaughtered the Magician Knights during the ceremony. No matter if he supported the Light Parliament or not, Rhode wasn't a presence who one should ignore. Although his forces weren't huge and his individual abilities weren't considered the best, his presence was too imposing. Ever since the establishment of the Light Parliament, almost no one dared to retort against them like him. However, Rhode did it and in a violent, bloody way which slashed their skin to reveal their flesh and bones.
In fact, after the Dragon Soul Ceremony ended, the Light Parliament didn't only lose substantial wealth, but their reputation was hugely impacted. One of the main reasons was due to Rhode. He forced the previous investigations team away, crippled the Mist Sword Saint, blinded one of Soderfast's eyes, and annihilated the entire Magician Knights.
But what did the Light Parliament do in return?
It was due to this that many of their supporters were resentful and couldn't understand why they chose to do this now.
Not even them, but Rhode also couldn't understand.
Normally, in order to avoid unexpected disputes, the investigation team would require a powerful person like the Cyan Goshawk and Mist Sword Saint from the two previous investigations teams. They were proud, mighty, wouldn't lower themselves to the level of those beneath them, and could manage their soldiers from stirring trouble. But this time, Rhode didn't find such a person among them albeit Sonia holding a tall status. Apart from her duties as the executive officer of the Lockos Financial Group, her position in the Light Parliament was equally important because according to the promotion system of the Light Parliament, she was basically one of their reserved elites and would become an official member whenever there was a chance. Based on this situation, Sonia indeed held a promising future, but why did the Light Parliament send her to the Land of Atonement without additional securities?
Could it be that they were afraid of Rhode crippling another high-level being? This perhaps might be explainable, but there still wasn't a need to send Sonia here. Wouldn't it be the same if they sent someone who held a lower status? Moreover, the Lockos Financial Group was one of the five biggest financial groups in the Country of Light. Sonia was one of their important personnel, so why did the financial group agree to send her here?
Rhode raised a question.
"Why did they send Miss Sonia here? Did she volunteer?"
Judging from her hateful behavior toward Rhode, it wasn't surprising that she did. Aiken pondered for a while and said, "Even though her volunteering is also one of the reasons, according to the rumors, I heard that she was appointed, Sir Overlord."
"Yes, that's what I heard from the nobles in the Country of Light. Someone in the Light Parliament appointed her to be the in charge of this investigations team and Miss Sonia was also willing to accept it."
"I see. Why aren't there any powerful beings accompanying her for this trip?"
Aiken revealed an odd expression and gazed at Rhode.
"The Light Parliament said that they're tight on manpower. Most of the members are needed to fend off the Country of Darkness. Besides, the investigations team doesn't need to be involved so their protection was left to the church."
I see. This is reasonable.
Rhode nodded. However, he was still doubtful especially after he learned that someone appointed Sonia as the person-in-charge. Such a sabotaging action was too obvious. Sonia was a noblewoman and naturally wasn't under too much restraint. On the other hand, the knights from the Country of Light appeared to be unbridled...
"Do you know who suggested it?"
"I'm sorry, Sir Overlord, I'm not too sure about it. I guess Miss Sonia is aware."
Rhode realized that he might have found the source of the problem.
After sending off Priest Aiken, Rhode returned to Sonia's cell. The steel door creaked as it opened gradually and the young lady who sat on the bed turned around. She trembled at the sight of Rhode, stood up quickly, and stripped her clothes. Rhode nodded in satisfaction. Then, he let out a chuckle.
"Alright, don't be so anxious to take off your clothes. Miss Sonia, I have a question for you."
She stopped her actions and his ridicule left her ashamed and furious. The relaxation inside her mind gradually faded away and was replaced with a sense of disappointment and emptiness...
What is going on with me? She questioned in astonishment.
Then, Rhode spoke.
"I heard that you've been appointed to lead the investigation team here?"
Sonia looked up blankly. After being locked up for days, she had forgotten about her mission completely. Now that Rhode mentioned it, she pondered for a moment before nodding helplessly.
"Who suggested it?"
"It was the parliament member, Sir Nakvard Hughes."
Rhode knew who he was. This man was popular within the Light Parliament for his extreme humanism. In his opinion, only humans enjoyed the right to survive in this continent and other races were beneath the humans, serving as slaves and servants. His views influenced some humans and other races greatly where many treaties and bills that discriminated and expelled Elves, Dwarves, and even Angels were also proposed by him. This man loved to make suggestions behind the scenes almost never revealed himself. Besides, he held a high reputation in the Country of Light because he treated humans well and did many great things for them. This was why many people in the Country of Light supported him while the border areas with mixed-race hated him to the core. Due to his 'hard work', many areas in the Country of Light were legally approved for slave trafficking of the Dwarves and Elves.
In the game, Rhode didn't get to meet Nakvard personally because he was already dead when Rhode led his team to eliminate the Light Parliament. Not only that, but the graves of the parliament members were also wiped out cleanly by the players of the Country of Light. Back then, Rhode realized something-some of the non-human players who suffered from Nakvard's 'policies' tried to dig up his corpse to burn him into ashes. However, they failed to locate him. Rumor had it that the game creators removed his corpse for the sake of harmony while some said that he might possibly have a few graves. Some also believed that the possibility of him falling ill and dying on his bed were close to none and he was still alive. But... no one heard about him thereafter and the players merely treated him as dead.
And now, he was the one who appointed Sonia to lead the investigations team?
Rhode returned to his senses and revealed a smile as he teased the young lady.
"Good, thanks for your cooperation, Miss Sonia. Alright then, you should know what to do next."
She lowered her head and replied softly. Then, she stripped her robe to reveal her snowy body. This time, she no longer tried to conceal herself. Instead, she wrapped her arms around and turned her head to the side. Rhode nodded slightly, swung his right hand, and a pitch-black whip emerged in his hand.
"I shall start my lesson of the day."
Sonia turned around instinctively and shivered at the sight of the whip in his hand. But this time, there was unprecedented desire and anticipation in her eyes.