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296 The Four Guilds

 The night scenery of Golden City was mesmerizing and full of enticement. From far away, this city full of gold was dazzling and enchanting at the same time. This was how the name, Golden City, was derived.

Almost everyone who arrived at Golden City admired the night scenery, and members of Starlight were no exception. After dinner, Anne dragged Christie outdoors. But at this moment, Rhode stood by the door and stopped them.

"You're not going anywhere tonight. I have something important to announce," Rhode said with a calm voice.

The excited Anne lowered her head hopelessly like a rooster who had lost its fight. She gave up the thought of heading out and obediently followed Rhode into the living room.

As they entered the living room, others were already present.

Rhode gestured to Anne to take a seat while he walked to the middle and clapped for everyone's attention. Soon enough, everyone turned to him.

"Everyone, I guess you know our purpose in coming to Golden City. I won't be giving motivational speeches here and I think all of you are clear on our situation. We are just an ordinary mercenary group and can't be compared to the guilds."

Lize remained silent while Marlene maintained her usual calmness. As for Lapis, Joey, and Randolf, they felt rather nervous. At this moment, Anne curiously raised her hand and asked, "Leader, Leader! You said that the guilds were powerful, but exactly how powerful are they? Anne feels that they don't have any difference from us apart from having more people?"

"The difference is huge."

Rhode shook his head and answered.

"Put it this way. Taking the previous battles in Paphield into consideration, their standards are similar to a guild's ordinary members or small group leaders. As for a Swordmaster like Sereck, although his status within the 4 guilds isn't considered low, he would still lose to the guild leaders in terms of abilities."

"That strong?"

Many of them were dumbfounded. But they couldn't be blamed since they wouldn't understand if Rhode explained to them in terms of their levels. However, as soon as they knew that even Sereck couldn't be compared to a guild leader, they immediately understood how tough their battles would be.

"So then, we..."

At this moment, Joey finally withdrew his cheeky expression and said worryingly.

"Don't worry about your abilities. Since I brought you guys here, it means that you still have hopes of winning."

As Rhode spoke, he took out a piece of paper and unfolded it before everyone. The paper was written with indecipherable handwriting and drawn with odd shapes that resembled line charts.

"According to the Midsummer Festival rules, there are three unique competitions. The first is individual battles, followed by the group battles. Guild members will participate in these two competitions. The side event competition would be participated by other mercenary groups and those solo mercenaries would take part in individual battles, and the last man standing would gain the rights to battle against the winner of the guild battles. Of course, ordinary participants normally wouldn't stand a chance against members of the guilds, but sometimes there may be upsets... But this has nothing to do with us, as we only need to focus on the individual battles and group battles for guilds."

Rhode extended his hand and pointed at the piece of paper.

"The rules of the individual battles have been categorized into two. The first, all of you have experienced it before, while in the second, both sides will follow a sequence and send out five participants. Three wins in five games. These are the current rules for individual battles, which we will follow. Before heading to the arena, I will arrange the sequence and all of you just need to focus facing your opponent. Next is about how we defeat those who seemed too powerful..."

Rhode softened his voice, but for unknown reasons, the living room, which was warm and homely, suddenly turned ice-cold and sent a shiver down everyone's spines as though an cold wind had blown on them.

At the same time, on the other side of Golden City, there were people who were equally busy.

"It seems like our opponents are rather ambitious."

Laying down the information report on his hand, Barter sneered and turned to a woman who was cladded in a leather armor and looked about 30 years old. She had a curvy figure and a dagger hanging on her waist showed off her martial appearance. To the contrary, her face was strangely ugly-filled with uneven, ghastly scars-and the corner of her eyes were stretched. At a glance, she simply looked like a scary witch from a fairytale who had come to capture and devour little kids.

"Because of Her Highness' announcement, those clowns have the chance to make a din. Now, it seems like they are determined to win this Midsummer Festival and give us a hard time!"

Barter displayed an unpleasant look. As a barbarian warrior, he had a tall stature, where even his frowns were enough to make people shiver. However, his feats weren't only accomplished through his appearance. As the leader of the Purple Lily Guild, he was also a powerful mercenary who had reached the standard of Swordmaster and held fearful, violent tactics.

At the same time, Barter was also a supporter of the King's party. His Purple Lily Guild was established in the Southwest. That area had drought all year long and was once a land of death. However, ever since the Munn Kingdom took over, generations of rulers spent massive amounts of money to improve environmental conditions. They fixed the reservoirs, dug groundwater sources, and after years of hard work, they fixed the land into fertile granaries. Barter always remembered in his heart what the Munn Kingdom had done. He was one of the most devoted supporters of the King's party. As for the Reformist Party's flowery speeches, he had always held them in disdain and contempt. He felt that these people had no rights to find trouble with the King's party. To him, the Reformist Party was just a bunch of idiots who spoke glibly and commented on this and grumbled on that with no intentions to change anything.

With that being the case, why would they even listen to the Reformist Party's crap?

"I have no idea what Her Highness is thinking."

The woman spoke and knocked on the table lightly.

"I received news that the Liberty Wings Guild will be sending out Rosen, who hasn't appeared for a long time. It seems like they're determined to win!"

"Rosen?!"

Barter sulked.

"That old freak will be participating too? It seems like we're in a bad situation this time."

Barter stood up and approached the window. He stared sullenly at the scenery. Although the night scenery in Golden City was mesmerizing, he didn't have the mood to appreciate it. After a few moments, he spoke.

"Oh yes, I heard there's another princess? What's going on? Is it another mischief by the Reformist Party?"

"It doesn't seem so, Leader. From what I gathered, those who paid respects to that lady were from the Battle Angel Army and they were the direct army of Her Highness Lydia. There's no doubt in loyalty, so I guess that the princess may really be true. She also seems to have been accepted by Her Highness Lydia."

"I really can't figure out what Her Highness is thinking. Wouldn't it be easier to just kill the princess?"

Barter grumbled and suddenly a proud, confident voice sounded.

"And that's why you're not Her Highness and she is."

A tall, sturdy man in armor stepped into the room. He had a longsword and a shield that emanated a magical radiance on his back. A soaring falcon was drawn on his pitch-black cape.

"Barter, if you don't change your frank and outspoken habits, they'll bring you trouble."

"If you can change your habits of eavesdropping, your Cole Falcon Guild wouldn't be criticised as only being useful in their ears, Viktor."

Barter retorted with a snort. However, this man, Viktor, wasn't mindful at all as he gestured with his hand that he wasn't here for a quarrel. This man was the Cole Falcon's guild leader, and was Barter's ally and another King's party supporter.

It was obvious that both had a great relationship. As Viktor entered the room, the servants standing by the side let out chuckles and disregarded the ugly face that would spoil one's appetite. Then, he casually pulled out a chair and sat down.

"But ears are useful, don't you know? Barter, that Starlight mercenary group isn't that simple."

"Eh? How so?"

Barter turned to his friend and ally. Viktor pretended to be mysterious and chuckled, before uncovering the riddle.

"Don't you know? The Senia Family's young lady is part of them too."

"Oh? There's such a thing?"

Barter was startled and Viktor helplessly spread his hands apart.

"And that's why I said that you spent too much time here. Barter, now all of Golden City's nobles are aware that Miss Marlene is part of the mercenary group and is one of the main members. Besides, she will be representing Starlight in the competition. Before arriving here, I specially met one of the Senia Family's members... But... I received no information. It seems like my ears aren't doing much. What a pity."

"What exactly happened?"

Barter was left in disarray as he sat back down on the chair and tightened his brows.

"Didn't that mercenary group just gather enough people at the very last minute? How is it possible to have such strong assistance?"

"I heard Miss Marlene wanted to gain more battle experiences, which was why she requested Sereck to bring her to Paphield. Then, for unknown reasons, she joined this Starlight-oh, yes, I also heard that this mercenary group was only established for less than half a year and there were only two members in the beginning."

"You gotta be kidding me."

Barter puckered his brows and gazed at Viktor dubiously. The latter shook his head with a bitter smile.

"I do hope that I'm kidding, but according to my intelligence, this should be the truth. And this Starlight's leader is only a 20 year old man. I heard he came from the Northern Plains and he also knew some rare and strange battle techniques... Yes, to be honest, I think he shouldn't be a threat to us."

"Reason?"

"I heard from the Sky Sword's guild leader. That cunning fox Mobis secretly gave an order to take his life! If I've not mistaken, even the parliament has also sent people to participate in this operation."

"That's really..."

Barter took in a deep breath.

"What did that kid do? Knocked up Mobis' daughter's stomach? If it's true, shouldn't we prepare some congratulatory gifts for her?"

"I'm not too sure."

Viktor spread his arms apart with a bitter smile.

"But, I think there must be some tension over there because Miss Marlene is with the 'princess'. I think those guys must be anxious... Haha, I do want to see their sour expressions. This is a great move by Her Highness Lydia."

"We still don't know who will have the last laugh."

Barter stared.

"Since those bastards got that monstrous Rosen for assistance, let's focus on how we should win!"

The burst of laughters came to an abrupt halt.

After a few moments, Viktor spoke.

"Barter, can't you let me forget about that matter for a while?"