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252 Put on the Agenda

 Everything was good.

Thanks to the self-sacrificing Druid, Rhode settled everything in satisfaction. Almost half of the precious slabs that the Ophenians took great pains to collect had become meaningless trash. As for those remaining slabs, Rhode no longer took it to heart as he knew from Lapis that the production of a Composition Adornment consisted of a complex process. Not only on the production skills, but even the materials were also rare and hard to obtain. This way, Rhode felt more relaxed as he didn't need to think of a way to kill all the Ophenians anymore.

Since Rhode decided to let this group of people live to see another day, naturally he hoped to gain other benefits. He wanted both the production techniques for the Composition Adornment and the mission remuneration for accompanying the Ophenian researchers.

Of course, that was what he thought in his head. On the surface, Rhode apologized sincerely to the Elder on his mistakes in commanding that costs their losses. As a mercenary group leader, such words of taking full responsibility meant nothing and were not pressurizing at all. Rhode was already an expert in this and everything came out from his mouth smoother than ever.

On the other hand, the Elder felt awkward with Rhode's words. If it wasn't from Rhode but from the others, maybe it would just be it. However, the Ophenians was ultimately a group of researchers, and although, on the outside, these people were not much different from those who dug graves, their prides wouldn't allow themselves to take advantage of it. Not to mention, Rhode's commanding methods weren't wrong apart from being too slow. Originally, if Rhode pushed the blame to the Ophenians due to his own incapability, the Ophenians would definitely not accept it. However, this young man was so sincere and decisive in taking all the responsibilities for their losses, and this left the Ophenians speechless. Since the other party had given such apologetic attitude, if they pursued the matter relentlessly, it would be an embarrassment to their pride. Therefore, the Elder also took up the responsibility and consoled Rhode that it was the other researchers who were too slow to react and unable to dodge in time. And since the mercenaries were able to protect himself and the rest, then the mission wasn't considered failed... Anyway, these researchers' activities were funded by the country and weren't supplied from their own pockets, so they definitely didn't mind protecting their own pride.

Of course. On the surface, the Elder seemed generous. However, deep in his heart he was crying badly. Initially, based on their research discoveries, this historical remains hid an ancient race's secret message and even records of powerful weapons and artifacts. In fact, it was as they had imagined because according to the past translated ancient records, this place indeed hid some production methods of ancient artifacts. Initially, the Elder had decided to bring all these treasures back to sort them out, but the previous battle had destroyed almost half of them. What remained was still useful, but based his experiences, the remaining slabs would end up in the Ophenians' Kingdom Museum on display...

After this event, everyone's plans went on smoothly. The Druids didn't return to mess things up, probably thanks to Rhode, who had frightened them off. This bunch of naked people who roamed the forest finally stopped finding trouble for them, which allowed them to return safely to Deep Stone City.

However, as for the identity of this bunch of Druids, Rhode understood from the previous conversation he had with the idiot from before. In the secret signs of the Druids, the Yellow Warbler referred to an important yet special prey. And thinking back of the Druids' history, only the Behermes acknowledged their presences.

Although it sounded weird in this way, the Behermes Family as alchemy spirits weren't as hated as the Dark Elves in the continent. Even the initial spirit families-they were at most less spoken off and not hated like the Dark Elves. This was because the Behermes were considered harmless. Even during their darkest periods, their research on humans abided by the 'rule of volunteer', and they did not forcefully grab anyone to be their guinea pigs. Furthermore, the Behermes generally preferred to stay home, which made it difficult to even have any conflicts with the other races. That was why in the continent, the Behermes Family's popularity wasn't considered too bad.

On the other hand, a radical group within the Druids had always been unsatisfied with the Behermes Family. They felt that the alchemy elves were lifeforms that polluted and distorted nature, so they must be banished from the face of the earth. Even though this radical group wasn't too huge, they definitely weren't too small too. But it seemed that this whole matter was considered to be too ridiculous.

The alchemic elves had nothing to speak to the Druids about. Although both parties were races that lived in the forest, both sides had extreme philosophies. The elves naturally loved the nature, but there would be a certain degree of exploitation too. For example, they would still bring along their hunting dogs to hunt. For the elves, as long as both had harmonious relationships, there wouldn't be any problems. However, on the other hand, the Druids weren't able to accept such relationships between the hunter and hunter dogs regardless of their harmonious relationships. To the Druids, dogs were man's best friend and yet they treated them as companions and even forced them to risk their lives just for the hunter's own survival! They should have lived harmoniously together! Yet, what did it mean to live harmoniously together? From the Druids' perspective, the hunter had to work alongside the hunter dogs in everything. To sleep with it at night, and even when your own family member died of hunger, your hunter dog still needed to be fed well. This was the real meaning of 'harmony'. Yes, this was what they wished to see.

As the saying went 'people who walked different paths cannot make plans together'. The elves' philosophy was to stick to themselves and not to force others. However, the Druids wished for all humans to live together with animals and return to nature. And what if they didn't do it? Then they would be nature's crime and deserved death. Therefore, this bunch of Druids didn't have any sense of burden when they attack others because, to them, this was an act of punishment and spreading of kindness.

And because of the tangled and complicated relationship of both races, this problem had become very thorny. The elves, with an introverted culture, preferred not to have conflicts, yet the Druids felt these 'children of the forest' betrayed the nature's path. Therefore, they wanted to get rid of all of them and bring these spirits to the 'right' path through the teachings of blood.

As for the Behermes Family, it was that 'chicken'.

Originally, Rhode had decided to get rid of this group of Druids. However, on their way back to Deep Stone City, there were no Druids in sight which made Rhode give up on this idea. He wasn't too worried about Lapis' safety because the Druids hated the city-they wouldn't even step into it while on their deathbeds. So as long as Lapis stayed near home, those Druids wouldn't be able harm her.

And as for Rhode, since these Druids weren't dumb enough to bring themselves to their own doom, he could start focusing on another matter: upgrading his own equipment.

As known previously, the equipment that Rhode had collected through previous dungeon battles was passed on to his mercenaries and nothing was left for himself. There was indeed some support equipment available, but he had thrown them aside as their attributes were unsuitable. Rhode, with his double talent trees, would be able to summon spirits and his attributes would be stronger than that of any magical equipment. This was why he only carried the Crimson Blade along with him and nothing else.

If possible, Rhode could even throw his Crimson Blade aside since he had a holy sword card.

But the Zero Refining Equipment would be a problem for him.

The Zero Refining Equipment was able to activate three types of attributes and aura attributes which were important to him. Moreover, the Midsummer Festival was about to start and if he could make good use of the Zero Refining Equipment, his abilities would rise greatly. Not only that, but it would also require half the effort when he led his men for future missions.

But the problem now was that it wasn't easy finding equipment...

Lower grade equipment was useless, but with Rhode's current level, suitable equipment wasn't not easy to obtain. The area located in the the middle of Deep Stone City mostly had dungeon equipment ranging between level 10 to level 20. To Rhode, who was currently level 23, that was completely useless. However, it would be impossible to make it to the higher-level dungeons in the deep mountains or forests and back within a month. Now that the Midsummer Festival was approaching, how would he find the time to go on an adventure?

Of course, he knew of a few hidden, higher-level dungeons within Deep Stone City, but those were for level 40 and above. If he wasn't careful, he would be invited to have a drink and chat with the lord in hell. Based on Rhode's current abilities.... He would only be seeking death.

However, he wasn't too worried about this problem. He led his men to the Mercenary Association, reported his mission completion, and returned to the stronghold after receiving the remunerations. He had spent 10 days on this trip to the Unicorn Peak and he was curious about his team's training progress.

Upon entering the stronghold, Rhode spotted some unusual items.