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 The situation was utterly terrible for the Light Parliament.

Just as Rhode predicted, the Light Parliament was strapped for cash without the Munn Kingdom's financial support in the upcoming year. Moreover, it wasn't only the shortage of budget that left them badly battered. They were also affected by the wave of refugees from the battlefront while their military budget increased and the homeless people also needed comfort. Furthermore, large amounts of pensions for the fallen soldiers were also required. The amount of funds needed to provide relief and support to several other economically underdeveloped areas had reached an unprecedented stage. The Light Parliament initially hoped to coax or receive some financial support from Lilian. But ever since she flew into a rage, she never showed them any kindness. Even though the Light Parliament had braced themselves when meeting her, they were all rejected.

Under such helpless circumstances, they could only turn their attention to a final lifeline-the five largest financial groups. However, just as Rhode predicted too, the five largest financial groups responded evasively to their pleads by mentioning that they were tight on cash flow or hiding from them.

The Light Parliament knew what the five largest financial groups were plotting, but they were at their wits' end. The Light Parliament knew that they would take advantage and make several requests, but what could the Light Parliament do? Although the Light Parliament disliked them intervening with parliamentary matters, they didn't have any other choices now. The financial deficit was too huge. Without the support from the Munn Kingdom and five largest financial groups, it would be impossible.

On the other hand, the military was left with a rather huge budget, which the Light Parliament intended to extract. Or perhaps they could provide pensions for the fallen soldiers while saving on another aspect.

However, they didn't expect that the military would be this determined in refusing. They were resisting the Undead Army's attack, so they couldn't lack a single cent of their financial budget for next year! If the Light Parliament were to detain their portion of the budget, the Light Parliament would be better off fighting the skeletons on the battlefront!

The Light Parliament could only suck it up towards the military's stand. The military might need more budget to resist the Undead Army, not to mention decreasing it. They were fortunate that the border territory that connected to the Country of Darkness wasn't huge and the Country of Law and the Munn Kingdom were sandwiched by the sides. The Country of Darkness didn't dare to attack the Country of Law while the Munn Kingdom managed to defend against the Undead Army. It was due to this that the Country of Light's losses were still within the acceptable range. If it weren't for the Munn Kingdom that served as a shield to the Country of Light, perhaps two-thirds of the latter's territory would have sunk and surrendered.

"The Light Parliament is facing an extremely serious problem."

Andre sat on the chair and gazed sternly at the bald senior who seemed to be in his sixties. However, the gully-like, deep wrinkles on his forehead and lifeless eyes made him look as though he were in his eighties. He was Andre's strongest supporter in the Light Parliament, parliament member Carlson.

"We're aware of the financial deficit. In fact, this problem isn't hard to resolve because the five largest financial groups will still stand up for them eventually. It is no longer avoidable that the Light Parliament loses their dominance. But..." the senior paused and revealed a look of despair. "This isn't the biggest problem on hand. The Light Parliament isn't willing to face their enemy face-to-face. I know there are many parliament members who believe that the five largest financial groups intervening with this matter would be an advantageous one and they can urge them to deal with Her Highness, the Light Dragon Soul!"

The senior let out a snort.

"This is ridiculous. The Undead Army is eying the situation covetously, but all they think about is consolidating and recovering their authority. It is due to them the people turned their attention to whether the Munn Kingdom has private transactions with the Country of Darkness. But what's the purpose of this? No matter if the Munn Kingdom has any agreement with the Country of Darkness, the fact that we've fallen to the attack of the Country of Darkness won't change!"

The senior raged.

"Hilarious. The people of Casabianca aren't afraid of the Undead Army that is attacking their city walls right now, but are more concerned if they are the victims of the dealings between the Munn Kingdom and the Country of Darkness. How hilarious! The Light Parliament is heading down a path to destruction! So what if they proved that the Munn Kingdom has relations with the Country of Darkness? If it weren't for the Munn Kingdom that stood against the Undead Army, our defensive line would have been long gone. Do they think that they can send out their troops to attack the Munn Kingdom as long as they capture evidence?!"

"Why does the Light Parliament lack foresight?"

Andre knitted his brows to Carlson's grumbles and asked curiously. Andre had met some of the parliament members. While some of them were indeed less intelligent, some were extremely cunning, so it was impossible that they couldn't foresee what crisis would fall upon them. So why did they make such a judgment?

"I don't understand it either."

Carlson spread his arms apart.

"Many people in the parliament think that everything will be fine as long as they give verbal attention to the Munn Kingdom. After all, the problem belongs to the Country of Light and as the parliament, we should make our own decision. However, parliament member Nakvard has a different view on this. I guess you're aware about this too, Andre. As a determined human supremacist, he never believes in other races. He made it clear in parliament that the Country of Darkness attacked the Country of Light solely due to their dealings with the Munn Kingdom and the goal was to sway the rule of parliament... Got to say, many people agreed with his reasons because in the previous Dragon Soul Ceremony, I'm sure you've witnessed... Her Royal Highness Lydia and that man named Rhode... Nakvard believes that everything is carefully planned by the Munn Kingdom while the man was Lydia's chess piece..."

Carlson shook his head helplessly. Andre knew what he meant. Indeed, this latest Dragon Soul Ceremony was too different from those in the past. This wasn't the first time that he participated in one, but... this was the first time that such a situation happened-the Light Parliament crumbled to one person and might possibly lose their position...

Andre shivered instinctively as the black figure emerged in his head.

The sense of fear still existed, albeit gradually faded away. However, Andre knew that he hadn't overcome his fears yet.

"Not only that."

Carlson lowered his voice, scanned the surroundings, and said, "But I'm also aware of their plan... And it is related to that man..."

***

"Do they really intend to do so?"

Rhode's smile of disdain emerged on the other side of the crystal, which exhilarated Sonia. She licked around her lips, nodded, and said softly, "Yes, Master. I think they should be taking action soon."

Before Sonia left the Land of Atonement, her only 'parting gift' was this crystal ball, which she could use to contact and report to Rhode about situations she deemed as important. But this time, Rhode didn't request to contact her. It was her who took the initiative because she couldn't live a day without hearing her master's voice and command.

"They're just a group of idiots. I don't mind if they wish to humiliate themselves."

Rhode curled his lips and didn't take what she said to heart. On the contrary, Sonia didn't feel furious or insulted by his actions. Instead, she felt a sense of comfort and delight.

Indeed. This is my master and he isn't afraid of the idiots in the Light Parliament!

"Forget about such a boring matter. Did you follow my instructions?"

"Of course, Master."

Sonia blushed and placed her hand between her legs. Her azure eyes glinted in her over excitement.

"I followed your order and did so during... the meeting..."

The numbing sensation between her legs re-emerged as she recalled the scene-she sat in the back row of the meeting while the others were debating over the future of the Country of Light. She wasn't involved in their debate at all. She stretched out her right hand and secretly touched between her legs under her robe. The sense of thrill was heightened especially when she was present in the most solemn place in the Country of Light and doing shamelessly shady business behind everyone. It was so comfortable that she almost fainted and the pleasure had as though been imprinted inside her. At this moment, she would accept without hesitation if Rhode were to order her to run around the plaza naked.

"Alright then, let me have a look."

"Yes! Master!"

Sonia's voice was filled with trembling excitement. Then, she shamelessly leaned back on her chair, lifted her skirt, and spread her legs wide apart-she didn't wear anything underneath?!

"How did you do it during the meeting? Demonstrate to me."

"Yes... Master..."

Sonia's breathing hastened. She exposed her most private area and skillfully caressed between her legs under Rhode's gaze. Even though they were divided by a crystal ball, she felt as though she was struck by lightning upon sensing his look of disdain and ridicule. The numbing sensation once again returned to her. She couldn't find such a feeling from Andre at all...

"Mas... Master...!"

Shortly after, her right hand movement quickened while her left hand rubbed her chest. She instinctively craved the desire for sensuality.

Fingers... My fingers can't stop... No... No...!

Knock knock knock.

Someone knocked on the door and startled her, and she subconsciously stopped her actions. Then, she realized that Rhode had disappeared from the other side of the crystal ball. Disappointment and anger surged inside her as the thrill that was about to reach its peak was interrupted. She tidied her clothes simply, turned around, and asked in an annoyed tone:

"Who is it?"

"It's me, Sonia."

"Andre?"

Sonia stared at the door blankly and finally recalled this rather unfamiliar name. She knitted her brows, but quickly restored her usual expression. Then, she opened the door and saw Andre's uncertain expression.

"What's wrong, Sonia? You don't seem too well."

"No... I was just... resting."

Sonia forced a smile and stroked her hair languidly. Andre fixed his eyes on her, but she was no longer joyful of the attention that she was receiving. On the contrary, she felt annoyed and asked with puckered brows. "Is anything the matter?"

"Ah, yes."

Andre shifted his gaze away shyly and rubbed his nose in an awkward manner.

"Sonia, if... it is possible, can I have dinner with you tonight? I don't think a thank you from me is enough. I..."

"I..."

Sonia's face stiffened. If it were in the past, she would be jumping for joy if Andre were to invite her for dinner. But now, her first reaction was to seek permission from Rhode. It was due to this that she instinctively tried to reject him. But at this moment, Rhode's sweet, devilish voice rang in her head.

"This is a chance, Miss. Sonia. You can break free from everything and return to the past... I always believe that true love accepts everything. If this man truly loves you, wouldn't the perverted and licentious side of you be part of who he loves too? Miss Sonia. This is your final test and choice..."

Can I really return to the past?

Sonia was baffled. She stood blankly on the spot while thoughts spun in her head.

Can I really break free from everything?

Abandon everything to return to the past?

Just as I've anticipated-to receive Andre's love and be with him forever?

Is this what I wished for?

Most importantly, do I want to break away from this?

"If you're tired, we can have dinner another day."

Andre was slightly disappointed upon noticing her expression. However, he pulled himself together and showed a gracious smile before turning away. Then, Sonia made her decision.

"Please wait, Andre."

"Sonia?"

Andre turned around in surprise and witnessed her smile.

"I'm willing to go to dinner with you, Andre."

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