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 Although the Light Parliament suffered heavily, it didn't mean that they didn't gain at all. When Sonia reported to Rhode about the happenings, the Light Parliament had begun bragging about their victory to console the panicky civilians. Even though Rhode made them suffer in terms of finance and manpower, the Light Parliament's biggest political goal was achieved no matter what and that was enough for them.

The Light Parliament's public-opinion-machine had gone all out, where every corner of the streets and alleys were filled with crowds around the platform, listening to the stories about their glory in the Winter Castle. Of course, the Light Parliament wasn't that naive to let Rhode take all the credit. As experts in manipulation, they knew how to fabricate a logical and touching story. Therefore, their description was about the alliance working together to reach their goal in the Winter Castle. However, the Undead Army came in strong and forced them to a crisis. In an instant, the defensive line almost crumbled and the alliance felt that all hopes were lost. But! At this moment, the hero of the Country of Light stepped forward bravely, yelling his slogan, and pulled the muddleheaded alliance together. In the end, everyone abandoned their fears and united as one. The hero led the alliance and defeated the Undead Army while the latter was totally caught unprepared by the massive human forces and was annihilated completely.

A movie with an expenditure of a million gold coins! Famous movie stars gathered and directed by the Light Parliament! The most impactful Oscar for the Best Actor! Best Screenplay! Best Director! Huge Production! The movie of the century: War of Freedom!

To make a successful movie, villains were essential and Rhode had undoubtedly become the best candidate second to the Undead Army. The Light Parliament depicted him as the villain who broke up the alliance for his own benefits (in actuality, this was true) and even hindered the alliance when the Undead Army attacked, forcing them into dangerous territories. As the director, the Light Parliament subtly hinted that Rhode colluded with the Undead Army and attempted to destroy the alliance's plans. Of course, his plan eventually failed because the alliance saw through his lies and conspiracies and repelled the Undead Creatures. In the end, Rhode went for wool and came back shorn, losing his entire army (judging from the results, this was actually true) and sneaked away as the alliance was on the verge of victory.

Rhode was already aware of this false story thanks to Gillian's intelligence network-she had received the script and read everything to him and Anne even before the Light Parliament premiered their movie. Anne was infuriated. She regretted that she couldn't charge into the Country of Light and brandish her shield at the nonsensical rascals. On the other hand, Rhode was extremely calm as he responded with a smile. His reputation had been tarnished entirely by the Light Parliament. Whenever his name was mentioned in the Country of Light, people treated him like a brutal, sinister overlord. Rumor had it that he devoured babies in order to gain strength and even laid hands on the women in his territory. No matter if they were married or not, they were kidnapped into his castle and tortured to death. This ruthless overlord didn't even let their corpses off and fed them to the wild dogs in his backyard. The people under his rule couldn't earn a living or escape and their whole family would be slaughtered once caught defying the laws.

Of course, the Light Parliament didn't forget to conveniently tarnish Lydia's reputation. They made it out that she, as an Angel, was aware of Rhode's terrifying and barbaric actions and yet did nothing to stop him. This went to show that they were jackals of the same tribe and the Light Parliament reminded the people that Angels weren't reliable because they weren't the same race as humans. Just take a look. The Angels didn't even care when the humans suffered under the brutal rule. What does this tell you? This proves that humans' lives had to be in the hands of humans and the other races shouldn't be trusted!

Justifiable and favorable.

Rhode was unmindful. On the contrary, he got Gillian to sprinkle additional details such as he loved to bathe in the blood of virgins, only ate cakes while his people chewed on grass, and thousands of people starved to death in his territory every year and spread the story to other regions of the Country of Light. All he needed was the horrifying effects that it had on their people. The Light Parliament had been wantonly exaggerating how terrifying the Undead Army was during the previous few days in order to appeal and solidify objections from their people and tell them that if they didn't oppose, they would lead horrible lives under the rule of the Undead Army. This method was effective from the start, but the terrified soldiers broke down entirely as soon as the Undead Army look overbearing. This was what happened in the game and such signs were also showing now, just like the three defensive lines earlier on in the Winter Castle. It actually wasn't such a big deal for the defensive lines to collapse because they could still regroup and retreat safely. However, the instant their defensive lines collapsed, the thought of the ruthless Necromancers dissecting and soaking them in skin-rotting poison emerged in their heads. As a result, fear took the place of rationals and eventually the entire battlefront collapsed.

And now, Rhode had intentions to use a similar method because, despite having a tough start when he attacked the Country of Light in the future, it would be much easier after they broke down to their fears.

Sometimes, an evil reputation was easier to make others listen.

The villain was easy to find, while the protagonist was harder to be decided. The Light Parliament found no difficulties in tarnishing Rhode's reputation because his supporters were forces outside of the Country of Light. Therefore, the Light Parliament wasn't worried even if they shaped him into the villain because no one would oppose their decision. But on the contrary, they couldn't fabricate a story about the hero that rescued the alliance because this figure would be rewarded greatly and promoted to a high official position. If they handled the situation badly, they might possibly draw dissatisfaction from their supporters.

In the end, the Light Parliament decided on the hero they needed, and that was Andre.

In the earlier battle, Andre led his men until the very end and this spoke for itself. Moreover, his background fitted the role that the Light Parliament announced. He suffered a crushing defeat by Rhode in the Dragon Soul Ceremony, but this time he wasn't defeated by fear. He braved through the enemies and fought alongside the man who had merciless slaughtered his subordinates, all for the sake of the Country of Light's people. He abandoned his personal grudges and gathered the alliance for the final victory.

The return of humanity, sacrifice, tolerance, redemption, and trust. These were all popular at the Oscars.

Of course, apart from the fabricated stories, his performance was outstanding in the northern battlefront. The Light Parliament couldn't deny that he held on until the final moments. This way, as the hero of the Winter Castle, it was only right that the Light Parliament commended him...

I did it!

Andre stepped out of the entrance and gazed at the envelope imprinted with the seal of the Light Parliament in his hands. He gritted his teeth and his face beamed with joy. Just a few moments ago, he received news from the military representative that the Light Parliament wished to award him with the medal of honor after Lilian arrived at the Winter Castle. Not only that, but he would also regain his status as the leader of the Magician Knights and his position would rise within the military!

He knew the reason why the Light Parliament commended him. Frankly speaking, his popularity in the military was decent, albeit not as well-known in the Light Parliament. If it weren't for the Light Parliament that wanted to smear Rhode's reputation, Andre knew that he wouldn't be awarded. However, he didn't think that he was unfit to receive the award anyway. He had indeed led his subordinates and stayed strong until the end. Even though part of the credits were due to the Holy Maiden Statues and Magma Guards, he had done his part and no matter if the award was a 'political need' or not, it was the truth that he earned it.

Previously, he convinced parliament member Carlson to let him come to the Winter Castle so he could start afresh. He wasn't willing to give up. He craved to prove himself. His dreams weren't shattered just yet.

At this moment, he noticed a familiar figure.

"Sonia?"

"Andre?"

Sonia turned toward him. He realized that she was dressed differently. She wore an attractive dress as though she were joining a banquet.

"You're..."

"Ah... I..."

Sonia's expression stiffened, but quickly restored her smile.

"I'm here to meet you, Andre. Congratulations on receiving the Light Parliament's commendation."

"This... is nothing much, actually."

Andre rubbed his nose shyly before turning around. He didn't notice the flash of complicated emotions in her eyes and replied rather awkwardly.

"It's all thanks to you, Sonia. If it weren't for your support, perhaps I may not have the courage to come here... Thank you, Sonia."

"You're still talking about this even now, Andre?" Sonia chuckled. "This is the result of your hard work. You deserved it. If you can't pull yourself together, it will be useless no matter what I say, isn't it?"

"Although that's true... I still want to thank you." Andre punched his palm as though reminded of something. "By the way, why don't we go for a drink?"

"Huh?"

Sonia knitted her brows and was about to reject his offer. However, an unnoticeable look of astonishment emerged across her face for a split second before she presented her smile and nodded.

"Sure, let's go to your room."

The night darkened.

Andre wasn't sure of how much he had drank. He rested on the table while holding onto the wine glass in his hand. He finally got what he wished for and it would be a new start for him next. This time, he swore that he wouldn't be as rash and reckless.

"... I know... I still have many areas... that I do poorly... Sonia..."

He lifted his head and gazed at Sonia who was just so beautiful under the shimmering moonlight.

"... My previous failures... were because I was... too naive... But this time, I... will not make the same mistake... I guarantee... Sonia. No matter if it... is you... or Cheryl... I will protect both of you... I..."

He raised and dropped his arm slowly. Sonia gazed at him in silence.

"I... am no longer the same guy... as before... Sonia... I..."

Andre paused.

"... Sorry... Sonia... I'm... not ready yet... When I think that I'm qualified one day... I will tell you... When that day comes... I will tell you... my..."

Andre rested his head on the table. After a few seconds, snores sounded and he fell into deep sleep under the effects of the alcohol.

"Andre...?"

Sonia stood to her feet, went up to him, and gently shook his body. However, he had no reactions at all. He continued to shut his eyes and snore away. Up until this moment, an ice-cold voice emerged.

"He's sleeping so well."

The shadow behind Sonia twisted and Rhode stepped out of it nonchalantly. He extended his arms and hugged Sonia from behind. His hands roamed around her body like vipers. He softly pinched her chest and she gasped for air uncontrollably.

"M-Master... Don't..."

"Don't?"

Rhode squinted.

"Don't you want your reward? Sonia?"

"N-Not here..."

She bit her trembling lips and answered almost inaudibly. But it was apparent that Rhode wouldn't care.

"You seem to have forgotten your identity, Sonia. You're just my pet. What pet defies their master? Good. If you don't want it, forget it."

Rhode removed his hands from her and at the same time, Sonia turned around hurriedly and gazed at him.

"N-No, Master! I don't have the intentions of defying you. No matter what you want me to do, I will not grumble anymore."

"Good."

Rhode nodded in satisfaction. Then, he squinted at the young lady.

"So you should know what to do next."

"... Yes."

Sonia pondered in silence. Then, she lifted the hem of her skirt-there was nothing underneath.

"I wonder what Mr. Andre will think of the woman he loves if he finds out that she's not wearing anything underneath."

Rhode stroked his finger between her inner thighs. Sonia trembled to his warm touch and let out a soft moan. Rhode lifted his finger and gazed at the viscous, translucent liquid around it.

"It seems like you're truly licentious, Sonia."

"It's all because of Master..."

She lowered her head in embarrassment. A few moments ago when she accompanied Andre with his drinks, Rhode's Nether Tentacles had been teasing her between her legs, leaving her thrilled and terrified. There were many times when she almost couldn't tolerate the stimulation anymore. But she persevered and gritted her teeth until the very end.

Rhode nodded in satisfaction. Then, he swept a glance to Andre who was snoring away on the table. His eyes glinted with traces of smiles.

"Good, you should know what to do next, right?"

"Yes... Master..."

Sonia's eyes burned with passion as soon as she felt a solid object pushing against her from behind. Then, she slowly lifted her skirt and Rhode held his hands around her waist. The warm, solid 'holy sword' pushed against her and she instinctively stopped moving. She knew what this meant-she was about to lose her most precious virginity. She hoped to dedicate it to a man whom she loved, but now... everything had changed.

"Please... have my everything..."

At the next moment, an immense, ripping pain struck her.

"Argh...!"

She yelled out instinctively, but Rhode swiftly covered her mouth and turned her screams into stifled groans.

Smack smack smack...

Andre continued to sleep on the table while Sonia gritted her teeth and tolerated the thrusts from Rhode right before him. She covered her mouth with both hands while Rhode slid his hand to her ample chest. The violent pounding spread a thrilling sensation to every corner of her body. The ripping pain was unbearable, and yet she immersed herself in it entirely. Rhode leaned forward and whispered in her ear.

"How does it feel to be violated before the man you love, Sonia?"

"Mas... Master...!"

Sonia bit her lips and tried to answer, but the thrill and excitement of being intensely violated before Andre turned her on even more. She fantasized seeing Andre waking up and witnessing everything.

What will he think of me? Will he think that I'm a shameless woman? Will he cast me aside like trash? Will he refuse to see me in the future anymore like I'm a disgusting object?

Sonia shivered at the thoughts. She grew increasingly excited and final traces of rational almost perished her passionate desires.

"S-Sonia only belongs to you and has nothing to do with that man. Sonia belongs to you, Master... Please destroy me completely. I don't care anymore. I only hope that Master will continue to leave me by your side as your most loyal pet... Master... Master...!"

"Good. Let me reward you as my obedient pet."

Sonia instantly felt the mighty presence penetrating deep inside her. The pain and thrill were as though a lightning bolt piercing her senses and soul.

"---!"

She widened her eyes and gazed blankly at the ceiling. Her slender body shuddered and her wide open mouth couldn't utter a sound. Her mesmerizing eyes had lost their focus. A white viscous liquid mixed with red blood flowed down her thighs to the floor. After a few moments, her legs weakened while she leaned back into his embrace. At this moment, Andre continued to snore away on the table and it seemed like he wasn't waking up anytime soon. He didn't seem to have heard anything from the exciting battle.

"It seems like you've been waiting for a long time."

"M-Master..."

Sonia looked at Rhode with pleading gazes. The latter curled his lips into a smile.

"This is only the start... Let's show your true self in front of this man."

Sonia's eyes lit up with passionate flames once again. She knew what he meant and this gave her unprecedented agreement.

"Yes, Master."

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