It was an extraordinary day in the Winter Castle.
No matter the high and mighty figures or the patrolling guards, this day was incredibly tense for them. The air in the Winter Castle was exceptionally heavy, but this didn't mean that the Undead Army had broken through the third defensive line and was arriving. Instead, there was news-the overlord of Paphield-Grenbell, Rhode, had led his troops and converged with the alliance in the Winter Castle.
Upon hearing this news, the entire Winter Castle got into first class war readiness, which was rare to see and could be considered to have not happened before. The arrival of an ally actually led a state of affairs that was comparable to the war.
However, as long as one understood the problem, one would understand why Rhode's arrival had turned the situation even more tense than them facing the Undead Army. This time, the alliance that the Light Parliament formed mainly consisted of the neighboring countries and territories. However, the closer their territories were to the Winter Castle, the more anti-parliament forces there were. In fact, this was the truth. This time, almost half of them were anti-parliament and they were here for the sake of preventing the Winter Castle from crumbling. This was because if the Winter Castle collapsed, they would be the ones facing the Undead Army. When that happened, they wouldn't only be sacrificing soldiers. Their people and territories would even face death threats. It was due to this concern that the anti-parliament forces agreed to join the alliance.
However, this didn't mean that they were obliged to listen to the Light Parliament's commands. They were equally concerned that the Light Parliament would send their soldiers to death in order to weaken the anti-parliament forces. But now, in name, it was still the Country of Light's military taking charge of the command and they couldn't find a reason to retort. However, they weren't overly concerned because the 'savior' would be arriving soon.
And that was the overlord of Paphield-Grenbell, Rhode.
This overlord was the pioneer of the anti-parliament forces and was even more eager than everyone else. Previously, it was apparent that he definitely wasn't one who could tolerate humiliations for the sake of his goal. Most importantly, he held outstanding achievements against the Undead Army and was superior than the useless trash called the Country of Light. The anti-parliament forces wouldn't mind even if they were to lose their soldiers under Rhode's command because, at the very least, they could resist the Undead Army. However, if the Country of Light were to command the troops, perhaps their troops would die for nothing!
It was due to this that the alliance was divided into two factions. One supported the Country of Light and its forces while the other was the anti-parliament forces and this worried the Light Parliament. They could see that once Rhode arrived, the Country of Light's army might not even secure their authority in being the commander even on paper. Those guys would surely support Rhode and wouldn't be afraid of him rejecting them. After all, these territories held a close relationship with the Munn Kingdom and Rhode was considered the representative of the Munn Kingdom.
But when that happened, the alliance would surely be divided into two!
This was what the Light Parliament hated to see. Back then, they had put in so much effort in forming this alliance because they weren't confident in defending against the Undead Army. The other reason was for the sake of showing the might of the strongest nation, the Country of Light, to the entire Light Mainland. If this plan worked, the Light Parliament could offset the negative impacts that they had suffered from the Dragon Soul Ceremony, at least a little bit. This was because they understood that if the Winter Castle collapsed, they weren't the only ones in hot soup, so everyone should obey their orders if they wished to survive.
From the start, the Light Parliament's plans went on smoothly. Even though the anti-parliament forces cursed the Light Parliament, they still had to obey their commands obediently. No matter what, the 'Everyone dies together and no one can escape' fact by the Light Parliament was the truth. Therefore, despite their unwillingness, they held it down and acted according to the Light Parliament's instructions...
Damn it. What a shameless bunch of bastards! They made it out as though we're begging them for help!
However, the Light Parliament's biggest mistake was making things difficult for Rhode.
They didn't expect him to be this shameless. Not only did he disregarded their dignified excuses, but he also came up with his own conditions. As a result, the anti-parliament forces held the courage to raise their heads proudly and no longer respected the Country of Light. They waited for Rhode to arrive at the Winter Castle and discuss strategies with him as the most important person of the entire anti-parliament forces. They weren't worried about not being able to resist the enemies. If they were led by the idiots of the Country of Light, perhaps they would be extremely tense now. However, they were much more confident in Rhode.
Of course, there was a deeper reason that forced them to choose a side. They knew that the Light Parliament wouldn't forget about the grudge so easily after Rhode made them pay bitterly. Even though the Light Parliament didn't dare to lay hands on Rhode, it was still possible that they would vent their frustrations on others. Therefore, in order to not be the scapegoats, they had to find and hang on to a sturdy tree that wouldn't sway to the gales and fall in the lightning storm.
Rhode was that tree for them.
The Country of Light intended to scatter thm, but the anti-parliament forces were determined to stay and their reason was that 'the members of the alliance haven't fully arrived yet, so it still isn't time to scatter the forces'. However, everyone knew that they were waiting for their backing. As soon as Rhode arrived, they would directly go to his side in the blink of an eye. As for the Country of Light... They could continue dreaming!
And now, Rhode was about to arrive and finally, the surging tide erupted.
The entire atmosphere in the Winter Castle was incomparably solemn. The various representatives had gathered around the platform while waiting for Rhode's arrival. Dozen flags of different shapes, sizes, and designs fluttered in the wind. However, when one took a closer look, it was apparent that there were two factions that greeted Rhode with an invisible 'red line' that existed between them. The people spoke with one another, but never looked at the other side as though there were no one.
The grudges between anti-parliament forces and the Light Parliament had been around for decades.
Shortly after, the bugle horns sounded and everyone looked forward with different expressions.
A gigantic Floating Boat emerged before them.
Everyone witnessed the massive boat slowly descended in the whistling gales and the two huge, 10-meter long flags by the sides. Those were Rhode's flags.
A dazzling white cross inlaid in the middle of the pitch-black triangular flag. Simple, yet full of unprecedented sense of presence.
Andre trembled at this sight instinctively. He clenched his fists and the scenery around him had as though twisted into the plains of flames, death, an abandoned city...
Sonia's voice pulled him back into reality.
"I'm fine, Sonia."
Andre lowered his head and clenched his fists. It was due to this that he didn't notice Sonia's eyes glinted in an odd, vibrant radiance.
The Floating Boat gradually docked to the platform. Then, Rhode emerged before them. He stared forward in his black coat with two hands behind his back. Gillian, Anne, and Orchid Heart stood behind him. The appearance of these three young ladies with unique personalities instantly gathered everyone's attention, where some even cursed inwardly because they had heard about this young overlord having the company of several beauties and it seemed that the rumors were true. They rarely saw such beautiful women, and yet Rhode had three of them by his side!
Gillian was the most eye-catching among them in terms of appearance. Moreover, her fluffy fox ears and tail naturally garnered their attention. Besides, she was an alluring young lady to begin with and her smiling eyes were enough to make them go wild.
Unlike Gillian, Anne was more like a lively idol to them. Her attractive blonde hair, round emerald eyes, youthful face, and slender body and legs made them drool continuously.
Even though Orchid Heart wasn't as dazzling as the other two in terms of appearance, her sleepy look and rare Spellcaster Scholar's costume made her stand out.
As for Rhode... No one dared to comment. They looked at his ice-cold expression and knew that the rumors were true. Even if they were sick of living already, they would rather die under the blades of the Undead Creatures than to offend this young man.
Rhode stepped onto the platform. At this moment, one member from the Country of Light's army who was responsible for managing this alliance approached him with a stiff smile.
"I represent the alliance in welcoming you and your army, Sir Overlord. I'm not sure if you're ready..." he directed his gaze to the back. Then, he froze to the spot. Not only him, but the other representatives who welcomed Rhode were also baffled. They widened their eyes in astonishment.
Agatha led the Ocean Elves off the boat and lined up neatly behind Rhode on the platform. Their snowy, writhing tentacles let them speechless.
Who are they? They look like Elves, but I've never seen such Elves. Also... Those wriggly tentacles... What exactly are those things?
Before everyone came to their senses, the smell of sulfur and scorching winds struck them in their faces.
Pitch-black figures emerged on deck, one by one.