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368 Back in Triumph

 The midsummer festival finally came to an end.

Rhode returned to the Mercenary Guild right after the closing ceremony. Just like what he said before, it was time for them to start concentrating on their guild mission. Purple Lily and Cole Falcon didn't receive any heavy casualties.

Barter had lost two matches, but he didn't really suffer that much. As for Viktor, he won the group matches, so he had received a lot of rewards which were very helpful for them to replenish their strength.

Sky Sword and Liberty Wings were the most tragic. Liberty Wings was totally done for as their pillar of hope, Rosen, was dead. Also, their top veteran Waltz had been killed. According to hearsay, Liberty Wings would be disbanded because of Waltz. Meaning that from now on, Liberty Wings would cease to exist.

This blow hit the Southerners hard, but they couldn't do anything about it. They might've still felt dissatisfied about Rhode's case, but when it comes to the demon, they had nothing more to say. Anyway, Munn Kingdom was a country ruled by an Archangel, the penalty for being associated with demons was very severe, so no matter how depressed the southerners were, they could only bite the bullet and let this matter go.

While the Association said that they would immediately elect someone to fill in the gap after the disbandment of Liberty Wings. However, many Southerners didn't agree. Many felt that the decision was inappropriate.

The fate of Sky Sword was slightly better than Liberty Wings. Rumors that Mobis, the leader of Sky Sword, was forced to leave step down and leave the guild because many nobles were dissatisfied with his cowardly performance during the festival. They were eager to find a scapegoat, and fortunately, Mobis was the perfect scapegoat.

However, all of this had nothing to do with Rhode and returned to Deep Stone City with his group.

As the winners of the festival, they were greeted with tremendous support when they arrived at the city gates. It was quite unprecedented as almost all mercenaries in the Paphield Region came to greet the winners. Even Sir Klautz was there to show his respect.

It wasn't surprising, really. After all, no one would've thought in a million years that Rhode would win - including the Old President and Sereck.

They just hoped that Rhode wouldn't do something to embarrass the Paphield Region during the festival, or perhaps at most garner the attention of the Mercenary Association HQ.

Never would've they expected him to not only complete his mission, but also to exceed their expectations by leaps and bounds. The good news was too good to be true and many people had troubles believing. They thought that the mail carriers were pulling their leg and making fun of Paphield.

But when the midsummer festival ended, the Paphield Region citizens who attended the event confirmed that the news of Starlight's victory was indeed true.

Now, no one dared to claim that Rhode's mercenary group wasn't fit to be a guild. Perhaps if Starlight had only done moderately well in the midsummer festival and was eventually promoted to a guild, some groups would still have something nasty to say about it. But since Starlight exceeded all expectations and defeated three strong guilds, claiming victory in the singles matches, no one could complain about their ability. If they weren't eligible for promotion even after that, perhaps all the guilds in the Paphield Region should just step down.

Everybody could see how powerful Rhode's enemies were. Especially Liberty Wings and Rosen, the most powerful monster of the South. Not only did Rhode kill him, he also eliminated the entire Liberty Wings. Rhode achieved things that an ordinary mercenary would be able to achieve in years in just a few days. Not to mention that Rhode's Starlight was just a mercenary group.

Old Walker was quite worried that Rhode's plan using rumors would backfire. But in the end, it worked out better than he expected. No one in the crowd expressed their discontent about how Rhode fought. On the contrary, they were even laughing at the arrogant Southerners who were unable to accept their loss.

Now the giant had fallen and the guild itself was finished, they could ridicule and spit on them however they wanted without caring about the consequences. If Liberty Wings knew about this, they would definitely vomit blood.

After returning to his stronghold, Rhode immediately declared a two-day holiday as a celebration.

The mercenaries, just like a group of hungry wolves, howled in delight as they left the stronghold. Many of them had followed Rhode to the Golden City, and it was time for them to find a pub to brag about their experience.

Although his men were able to go to the tavern to drink and chat, Rhode was unable to relax. Before he could rest, two figures dashed in.

"Hahaha, well done, kid!"

The Old President's voice reverberated in Rhode's ears even before entering the room. Soon, the door pushed open, revealing the Sereck and an old man with a wide grin on his face.

The Old President strode into the study and slapped Rhode's shoulder.

"Frankly, I didn't expect that you'll actually win! How in the Holy Soul's name did you guys do that?"

"I think those rumors are already detailed enough to explain the whole process."

Rhodes knitted his brows and replied emotionlessly.

"I know, I know, I'm just too damn happy, hahaha..."

The old man, who looked like a cranky dwarf, held both of his hands in front of Rhode, feeling incredibly excited. Then he bowed his head and whispered.

"By the way, I heard that Rosen b*stard had died? And he even died by Anne's hand?"

"That's right."

"Hahaha!"

When he heard Rhode's confirmation, the Old President clapped his hands and jumped up like a child.

"Rosen you fool, you idiot! I did not think that an old bastard like you would also have such a day, hahaha! You actually died in the hands of a little girl. Great... great! Ten years from now, whenever I see that group of sly Southerners, I will have such a delightful topic to discuss! Hahaha, that old b*stard...!!!"

Rhode looked at the mad-like Old President, puzzled. Then, he shifted his gaze towards Sereck who was smiling wryly beside him.

That situation lasted for about ten minutes before the Old President finally returned to back to normal. However, it could be seen that he was still really excited. He even had to support his body by propping himself by the table.

"Haa... haa... that's really good! Unfortunately, I was unable to see it before my own eyes. Geez..."

Sereck, who had been watching from the side finally walked towards him and patted his shoulder.

"Enough, old bud, you're scaring this kid. Calm down, don't forget that we're here for business."

"Oh, that's right."

The Old President smacked his head and calmed down. Then he looked at Rhode with a serious expression.

"Well, hmph, kid, listen well... just pretend that you saw nothing just now. Let's get down to business. Now that you're a guild leader, I should be telling you about the rules of a mercenary guild right now, but I think you already know most of it. Of course, you can also ask if there's anything you are unsure of. Just don't make any trouble, and we, the Association will definitely support you!"

"Thank you."

Rhode nodded and thanked him. Although his words sounded unreliable, Rhode knew that once the Mercenary Association backed him, he would be able to do anything without much difficulty. In the beginning, he was a little worried that the Association would use this opportunity to restrict his guild, but it seemed like he didn't have to worry about it anymore.

However, Rhode knew that the both of them wouldn't be here just for that...

"Well, enough with that. Next is the reward... As you've probably predicted, the reward is not from us. And I'm sure that you also won't be interested in our reward."

The Old President smiled, but his expression was filled with hate, envy, and jealousy. Well, after all, Rhode had received a twenty million gold prize money after winning the midsummer festival. The Mercenary Association wouldn't be able to rival this amount as they didn't have that much money to give out. Perhaps one to two million was their limit. Since Her Highness, Lydia was the one who organized the midsummer festival, she definitely had the capital to do so.

Rhode didn't have the means to move twenty million gold coins to Deep Stone City, so he had to convert them into silver coins and equivalent gems according to the average exchange rate. Lydia also gave him a spatial bag that had half the size of an underground vault for free to help him relocate the money. Otherwise, he would probably need half a year to move everything back to Deep Stone City.

Of course, the Old President had no say in that, so he could only express his envy by showing it on his face.

Then, he took out a scroll and placed it on the table with a solemn expression, saying, "Your request has been approved kid. This magic contract has been validated by the Mercenary Association HQ, our Paphield branch, and Sir Klautz. From now on, you are allowed to build your fortress in the Land of Atonement..."

The Old President hesitated for a while and asked.

"But kid, why did you choose the Land of Atonement in the first place?"