Sonia replied without any hesitation. She stared coldly at the parliament representative without concealing the look of disgust and annoyance.
"I've had enough of that barbaric country and its foolish people! You guys are also aware that I've suffered in the Land of Atonement! I will never return to that ridiculous place! You're better off finding someone else to accompany Her Majesty Lilian!"
"I hope you can reconsider, Miss Sonia."
The parliament representative displayed a helpless, bitter smile. Of course, he knew why she was this furious. She had indeed suffered a lot in the Land of Atonement earlier on and began giving attitude to the Light Parliament after she returned to Casabianca. The gentle young lady slowly became unyielding, but what could they do to her? She was the third executive officer of the Lockos Financial Group and was a pearl in the palm of the old man, Lockos. There was no doubt about the influence that the five largest financial groups held in Casabianca. Therefore, the Light Parliament could only tolerate it whenever Sonia gave them a harsh attitude.
"The parliament agrees that you have the experience of heading into the Munn Kingdom and as a female, you will most likely be welcomed by her. Besides... among the parliament members in the Winter Castle, you're most qualified to handle this mission. I hope you can consider the overall situation, Miss Sonia."
Sonia puckered her brows.
"Alright then, will my accidental death in the Munn Kingdom be considered as a sacrifice for the overall situation?"
"That... if required, we can send someone to ensure your safety... Miss Sonia, the parliament hopes that you can accept this mission." The parliament representative's expression turned heavy. "... This is also Mr. Lockos' intentions."
Sonia's expression changed slightly. She understood what virtues her father had. As long as the situation was beneficial, there were no reasons to not accept it. In fact, she was only an interchangeable chip in her father's hand a long time ago when she wasn't impressive at all. However, after she worked hard and attained the position of the third executive officer and secondary member of parliament, Lockos realized the rich political and business talent in her. But Sonia was aware that the reason why her father agreed with the parliament this time was because he sought after the benefits behind it, which was why he accepted without hesitation. On the other hand, Sonia couldn't do anything about it...
As a result, she nodded reluctantly.
"Alright, I accept this mission. But I request that the Light Parliament dispatch a team of guards... And not the type of soldiers who will land me into jail!"
After their discussions, the door closed behind the parliament representative and Sonia was left alone in her room. Then, she revealed a delightful smile.
I didn't expect things to go well this soon.
After learning that Lilian was alone and helpless in Casabianca, Rhode came up with an idea. He couldn't manipulate the two Archangels, but he could lay hands on his own chess piece-Sonia. Thereafter, he had given her a mission to get as close as possible to Lilian and become her best friend and most loyal subordinate, so Lilian wouldn't be too lonely in Casabianca. Moreover, Rhode had also told Sonia to use this chance to connect the forces in the Light Parliament with Lilian. This was only a concept on paper initially. After all, Sonia didn't have many chances to meet Lilian as the secondary member of the Light Parliament. If Sonia took the initiative and approached Lilian, perhaps the Light Parliament might be suspicious. But now, she held the best excuse and reason... and this was a wonderful piece of news for her.
She knew what she needed to do next.
The coldest period of winter seemed to have passed and the unfrequented Land of Atonement gradually became lively. Christie sat quietly on the long bench in the park, gazing at the snowy scene and painting away on the canvas before her. The gentle rays of the winter sun brought warmth to her.
Christie felt like her life was extremely fortunate at this moment.
Everything that happened in the High Cliff Village was long over, but she had never forgotten about it. She had never forgotten about who rescued her from that painful fate and brought her into this fortunately life. This used to be her biggest dream and it was almost coming true. But...
Christie lowered her head and let out a sigh. She gazed ahead in silence. If there was one thing that she wasn't satisfied with, that would be... She couldn't do anything for others.
Even though Christie appeared gentle and fragile, she was staunch. Back then in the High Cliff Village, she never blamed her fate of suffering from the villagers who feared her 'curse' and placed a mask over her face. In order to survive, she dragged her weak body and herded the flock of sheep and traveled over land and water to graze livestock.
But now... even though she no longer lived in that painful life, she didn't wish to continue living this way.
She craved to help Rhode, Marlene, Lize, Anne, and those who rescued her from hell. But she couldn't do anything with her fragile self. Even though the gift that Lydia had given her protected her from illnesses, it couldn't change her weak constitution. Christie would feel exhausted and gasp for air despite carrying a few books up the stairs.
She wasn't resigned to it and yet, she couldn't change anything. Although she helped Lapis draw designs for the alchemy equipment, it was far from enough for her. She wished that she held magical talent or possessed a healthy body, so she could use magic and sword skills in battle with Rhode... If only that were possible...
But that was only a dream.
Christie sighed. She felt that she shouldn't only be helping Lapis. Besides, apart from assisting Lapis with the equipment designs, she couldn't do anything else-Lapis didn't allow her to touch the dangerous alchemy materials. Frankly speaking, Christie could continue living this way, but she just felt not resigned to do so...
Even though she felt vexed, she had never mentioned her troubles to anyone because she knew that everyone was busy especially during this period. She couldn't distract them with her personal problems. However, at this moment she felt rather lonely. Rhode had left the Land of Atonement for a while now and she didn't know when he would return...
Christie painted the final stroke on her canvas and put away her painting brush. Then, she heard a gentle voice from behind.
"What a masterpiece."
Christie turned around in surprise. It was a young lady with silky long hair that was as black as the deep, night sky. A glint in her dark eyes reflected spiritual radiance while her long lashes trembled. A gentle, elegant smile emerged across her soft, dewy face and the snowy cape wrapped her slender figure, accentuating her alluring charm.
"Ah, my apologies."
The young lady revealed a complex look. Then, she smiled.
"I'm a traveler. Sorry for disturbing you, adorable little lady. I just didn't expect to see such a masterpiece here... I was surprised and unknowingly exclaimed in awe. I sincerely apologize if I've alarmed you."
"Ah... No... It's nothing..."
Christie shook her head hurriedly. She stood up and bowed to the young lady politely.
"I'm fine... Just a little surprised..."
"But... What a masterpiece indeed."
The young lady stepped forward and caressed the white canvas with her slender fingers.
"Such elegant strokes, painted with the glaring flames of life, beauty of vibrant colors, and dainty implicit charm... I've never seen anyone paint such a beautiful work like this, with the dazzling brilliance and talent of art masters... This is clearly a still scenery, and yet its beauty flows... It is even better than the art masters of the dark ages."
Christie tilted her head curiously. But it sounded as though the young lady admired her work, which she was delighted to know.
"Do you like it... Big Sister? If you do, I can give it to you..."
The young lady revealed an astonished look. She turned around and gazed at Christie with widened eyes.
"Are you serious about giving it to me? It's a masterpiece... I'm sure you've spent a lot of time and effort on it. If you sold this in the market, it would definitely be worth hundreds... No, maybe even thousands. It looks just a scroll of the deities."
"It's nothing much..."
Christie shook her head.
"I... only drew this... to pass time... If you like it, I can give it to you..."
"... Since that's the case, I shall accept it with all of my heart."
The young lady pondered for a few moments. She carefully lifted the canvas and kept it in her carrying bag. Then, she turned to Christie with a satisfied expression and bowed respectfully.
"I didn't expect to meet such a talented artist here. I'm incredibly blessed... Adorable little lady."
The young lady reached out her hand.
"I'm Erin. May I know your name?"