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319 Hidden Snake in the Dark

 Currently, Mobis was having a headache.

After he lost the individual battle against Starlight, many people expressed dissatisfaction towards him. Although there were many outsiders who defended the Sky Sword and despised Starlight, those voices were not helpful enough to stabilize his current position. Unlike the Liberty Wings that represented the poor people in the south, the Sky Sword represented the upper class. Because of this, Mobis's pressure after losing was very large. There were many wealthy merchants and nobles from the south who had expressed their dissatisfaction towards him. Those were the sponsors of the Sky Sword Guild. In their opinion, regardless of how Sky Sword had lost, they still lost. They had spent so many days supporting the Sky Sword Guild, and couldn't allow themselves to be insulted and depraved in front of those northerners. Not to mention that Starlight was only a mercenary group that was established for half a year. Since Sky Sword even lost to them, what else could they do?

Mobis also vaguely heard news that if they didn't perform well in the group battle, these sponsors might even withdraw their funding, or find a new leader that could make Sky Sword win and not get eliminated by a damned mercenary group in the first round.

This was a sad truth of a mercenary guild. Although they had huge power and authority, they needed to maintain it with money. A mercenary guild that lost its autonomy meant that to a certain extent, it had become a private army of a certain group of interest. In order to prevent this, various countries deliberately limited the number of mercenary guilds. However, this had also become the weakness of a mercenary guild. The number of people limited by the rules was far less than the number of people a mercenary guild needed in order to maintain their sphere of influence. This forced mercenary guilds to support themselves by relying on external forces and capital to achieve it. As a result, they lacked sufficient autonomy and independence. A strong mercenary guild leader such as Mobis was no exception. Although his individual strength was strong, he was still worthless in the face of money. Mercenary guilds like the top four guilds, which had survived for so many years, had long been entangled with those forces, and just like climbing vines on a trunk, they couldn't be separated.

This was the reason why Rhode tried to avoid getting into the similar situation. He didn't want to live a life by relying on someone else.

It was already depressing enough for an obedient person to obey, let alone a strong one.

However, what Mobis was worried about wasn't that. Although the current situation wasn't good for him, he believed it's still not difficult for him to get through this crisis by relying on his leadership and influence in the guild. As long as they could win this next battle, then there would be no problem... In addition, he was also very confident with his team. What gave him a headache was that Carody was gone.

Even though this young man was usually arrogant, he was still quite trustworthy. Mobis didn't know what was Carody's intention was in coming here. Just as Rhode had guessed, Mobis was only ordered by the southern nobles and wealthy merchants to accept him to his own mercenary group in order to do a 'secret mission'. As for what the mission was, Mobis was not qualified to ask.

Although according to their strength, Mobis was even stronger than Carody.

It was really uncomfortable to lower himself in front of someone who was weaker than him. But since both sides had reached a 'mutual consensus', Mobis decided not to interfere in Carody's affairs. Besides Carody's appearance during the game, he didn't really care about what he wanted to do for the rest of the time.

But now, it was already time for the group battle to begin. Where was Carody?

Nothing happened to him, right?

Thinking until here, Mobis felt a little bit uneasy. He was born as a noble of the southern class. Naturally, he was aware of the relationship between the rich merchants of the south and the parliament of the Country of Light. Moreover, this Carody was sent by the parliament, and if anything happened to him, then... Mobis couldn't help but felt a chill down to his spine as he thought of it. He didn't know Carody's reason for coming here, but it was certainly an important mission. At first, he didn't want to get involved with this trouble, but since his mercenary group was controlled by others, even if their leader was a legendary figure, he still could only submit himself before the money...

That's why Mobis had always been worried about what happened to Carody. Now, the group fight was about to begin. They should have gone to the arena, but they hadn't seen Carody appear. This made Mobis felt very anxious and worried. Since he was a spy of Country of Light, and the Midsummer Festival was held in Golden City...

Damn it, those b*stards who don't know anything besides eat and sleep literally just left after causing me troubles. If Carody falls into Lydia's hand, can I even leave Golden City alive?

Thinking until here, Mobis shuddered. He suddenly felt that he was not far from his demise...

"Yes, president!!"

As Mobis was feeling restless, Golan rushed into the room. Golan was surprised by his sudden appearance and quickly stood up while holding his sword hilt. Then, he vigilantly looked at the window.

Damn it! Is my premonition right? Has that sissy really sent someone here?

But soon Mobis noticed that although Golan was surprised, he was not feeling frightened or uneasy. Instead, he puzzledly looked at Mobis. This made him felt quite confused, he couldn't help but bitterly smile and sit down once again.

"What's going on? What happened? Didn't I tell you to prepare for the group battle??"

"I came to report some matters, leader."

Golan rubbed the sweat on his face and looked at Mobis with a surprised expression.

"It's like this, I, I just got news from the arena that we don't have to fight because Starlight has... forfeited!"

"Forfeited?"

Hearing these words, Mobis's eyes widened in surprise as he looked at Golan. After a moment, he frowned.

"Is this for real? Why? There must be a reason for them to quit the battle."

"This... I did ask for the reason, and they said that one of their members was injured in yesterday's individual battle, and today, their number is not enough to participate in the battle... so they forfeited."

"Is that so..."

After hearing Golan's explanation, Mobis lowered his head. What Golan said did make sense. Yesterday, everyone had seen that Anne was injured, but weren't they supposed to have a backup member? Although the shield warrior was injured, Rhode, Gillian, and Marlene didn't seem to be injured. What were they trying to do?

For a while, even the usually sly Mobis couldn't figure out what Starlight was planning to do. Forfeiting in a Midsummer Festival was very embarrassing to do. Weren't they afraid that their action might cause trouble? After all, between mercenaries, winning and losing was a matter of differences in strength. However, whether one had the courage to fight was another thing. People might be able to tolerate the former, but they would definitely ridicule the latter. For Starlight to make this kind of decision... Was it really as simple as because their member was injured? Or...

Wait.

Thinking until here, Mobis was stunned.

Carody didn't come back, Starlight forfeited... Is Carody's aim actually Starlight?

But... Starlight was just a small mercenary group. Why did that Country of Light send Carody from far just to deal with them?

Mobis could not figure out the reason, but at this moment, he was not as nervous as before. Even so, Mobis still looked up at Golan and then issued an order.

"Go and investigate the reason why Starlight forfeited the group battle. The more detailed the better!"

"Yes, Sir."

Although he did not know why Mobis issued this order, Golan still nodded and turned away. As Mobis looked at Golan's back, he sighed and leaned back in his chair. He was currently feeling very tired and helpless.

What was going on with this Starlight?

Mobis wasn't the only one who was puzzled.

"Mr. Rhode, what exactly are you trying to do?"

At this moment inside the room, Marlene frowned and asked the same question towards Rhode with a puzzled expression.

"Even if we lack the strength, I think we can at least give it a try..."

"No, Marlene, this is not about of strength."

Rhode waved his hand and interrupted Marlene's words. This made Marlene slightly surprised. She blankly stared at him, not quite understanding what he meant.

"First of all, our strength is indeed not sufficient. Before, we only prepared for individual battle training, and not group battle. In this case, if we are too impatient, we will just embarrass ourselves. Second... I don't want you to spend your energy in this irrelevant group battle. You know, our ultimate opponent is very powerful, and I don't want any accidents to happen before that. For us, there is nothing more important than winning the individual battles, which is why I chose to abandon the group battle."

As he said here, Rhode pointed out a finger. She didn't know whether she was hallucinating or not, but Marlene saw a trace of a smile on Rhode's face.

"Not to mention, we still have another companion, Ms. Marlene. If we finished everything alone, it would not be good for stability and unity."

"But..."

Marlene was not a fool. When Rhode gently reminded her, she immediately understood his reasoning, but...

"Mr. Rhode, do you really believe in them? It's not that I worry, but if they fail to meet your expectations..."

"You're wrong again, Marlene."

But at this time, Marlene's words were interrupted by Rhode. He waved his hand and shrugged his shoulders.

"It's not that I believe in them; it's just that I believe in myself."