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414 3 Mens job 3/3

 Rhode gazed coldly at Anne who was rubbing her hands uneasily. At this moment, the young lady was in a mess. Her hair and cheeks were covered in filthy dust and bruises were visible on her body. Although this incident didn't take a drastic turn like the popular 'mysterious chariot continuous killings' incident, this current situation wasn't anything worth celebrating in Rhode's eyes.

\"You have had a hard time, Anne. How did it feel?\"

Rhode asked sarcastically as he gazed at the young lady before him. In response, Anne showed an awkward smile.

\"I-It's still alright, Leader... Better than expected...\"

\"Alright, I'm not about to chit-chat with you now.\"

Rhode frowned and knocked on the table as his tone turned colder and sterner.

\"I recall clearly that I ordered you to stay in the fortress. So why did you disobey my orders?\"

\"That... Because...\"

Anne struggled for an answer. But, she finally confessed everything after giving in to Rhode's strict interrogation. Although Rhode had forbidden her from leaving the fortress, Anne was unwilling to take on the troublesome and trivial tasks. In the end, she sneaked into the trunk of the chariot and traveled with them.

This decision by Anne required a lot of courage. Although this chariot was specially customized, its trunk was designed with a small space. Furthermore, it was filled with traveling clothes, boxes, repair tools, and various junks, and its greasy smell and the filthy dust were unbearable for anyone. It was torturous for Anne with a tall stature, as she had to curl up to squeeze into the trunk.

Got to say, this journey was definitely painful for Anne. Furthermore, Rhode didn't stop the chariot for a rest as he was rushing for time. The comfortable cushion couldn't absorb all the impacts from the bumpy road, not to mention Anne, who was in the hard, stiff trunk. The twists and turns had left the young lady in bruises. If it wasn't for her Wind Elemental Awakening, she might have been half-dead by now.

\"What about those mercenaries?\"

\"Anne left them with Uncle Marfa. Since Uncle Marfa is so reliable, there shouldn't be any problem.\"

\"Have you spoken to him personally?\"

Rhode was a little surprised after listening to Anne's confident answer. Although Rhode did not interact much with Marfa, this middle-aged mercenary was always persistent and wouldn't have agreed to such an odd request by Anne. If Marfa did agree, then Rhode suspected that he might have made an error in his judgment. Or, perhaps, Anne got away using her honeytrap?

\"Yup.\"

Anne nodded as though nothing was wrong.

\"Anne told Uncle that Anne couldn't do a good job looking after the mercenaries and left them to him. Anne was about to look for Leader but Uncle gave Anne a harsh lecture...\"

\"Then?\"

\"Then Anne left a note for Uncle before sneaking out!\"

Anne straightened her body and puffed out her chest proudly as though she was expecting an award for her successful escape plan. Meanwhile, Rhode couldn't find the strength to sigh. Is she hoping for me to sing praises for her dereliction of duty...?

\"You have once again violated my orders. Anne, are you not afraid that I will expel you from the guild?\"

Rhode questioned sternly as he gazed at the arrogant young lady before him. After hearing his words, the proud young lady Anne lowered her head in dejection.

\"Yes, Anne is afraid that Leader will chase me away.\"

\"So, why did you do that?\"

\"But Anne feels more comfortable being with Leader. It's too boring to stay in the fortress and train the mercenaries!\"

Although Rhode's first intention was to send Anne back to the fortress right here, right now, he quickly realized that this thought was not doable at all. From this action of hers, he knew that she would do anything in her favor. He could guarantee that if he didn't send Anne all the way back to the fortress, she would once again sneak her way back, which was totally possible. On the other hand, Rhode didn't wish to waste any more time on these needless matters as time wasn't on his side now. Furthermore, he didn't want to suffer two or three more trips on this bumpy road any longer.

He looked at Anne before him but didn't know what to say.

He understood that it was pointless to lecture her at this point. This young lady's thought process was largely different from a normal human being. She didn't respect traditions and rules. Even though she held formidable strength, she mostly relied on her intuition to make judgments. Before Rhode came into this world, he had seen human beings with similar life experiences on the television. Those people were abandoned since young and were brought up by wild animals. After they returned to the human society, most of them were unable to adapt accordingly.

Anne's behavior belonged to this category. Her views on responsibilities, loyalty, and feelings were different from normal humans. Compared to the thought process and logic, Anne preferred to handle matters using her intuition. For instance, Anne admitted that she was afraid of being expelled from the guild. However, her rational thinking wasn't able to stop her instinctive actions. Anne felt more comfortable being with Rhode and she followed with no second thoughts. She wasn't mindful if Rhode would hate her for it or expel her out of the guild. Come to think of it, this was also in line with Anne's way of living. Rhode had planned to cultivate Anne's consciousness and responsibility towards the community by leaving her in the fortress. However, it seemed that this experiment had failed miserably.

\"Haa...\"

Rhode was at a loss of words to reprimand Anne and he could only sigh hopelessly. Since his experiment had failed, he had no choice but to bring Anne along. However, he counted himself fortunate that Anne's strength would be beneficial. According to their level difference, Anne was at most three levels away from him. Moreover, the training style in the fortress couldn't keep up with the requirement she needed. This upcoming battle in the Castel Ruins would truly improve her strength. Rhode had considered bringing her along, but he gave up after considering the overall situation.

Even though Rhode had given thoughts to the overall situation, it was Anne that had utterly given up on it. Or, she had probably simply ignored the overall situation.

\"L... Leader?\"

Anne lifted her head and gazed at Rhode with an uncertain and insecure expression.

\"If I ask you to go back to the fortress, I'm sure you wouldn't listen, right?\"

\"That's for sure, Leader. Anne will definitely choose to stay with you!\"

Anne raised her chin proudly. However, in a split second, she realized that her reaction was too inappropriate. The conflicted young lady once again lowered her head.

\"Sorry, Leader. But, Anne...\"

\"Alright, forget it.\"

Anne's behavior was laughable at this point. Even though she knew she was in the wrong, she still acted righteously... This young lady is really... Rhode gestured with his hand helplessly at this thought.

\"You can stay this time, Anne. But once you've joined us, I need you to act according to my commands from today onwards. If you disobey any of my commands, I will expel you from the guild immediately and I don't want to see you ever again. Do you understand me?\"

\"Understood, Leader! Anne promises that Anne will surely, surely listen to Leader's words! There won't be a problem!\"

Anne let out a cheerful smile as she threw herself onto Rhode. She gave him a tight hug before making the promise. Rhode suspected that Anne might have only heard the first part of his words...

Rhode calmly pushed the young lady away and gestured.

\"Alright, go take a bath and clean yourself up. You must be tired after staying in the trunk for so long. Have an early rest.\"

\"Okay, Leader. Anne is going now!\"

Anne excitedly raised her right arm and answered as she left a trail of dust when she ran out of the room.

Rhode held onto his forehead as he looked at the shaking door. Meanwhile, Gillian finally stood up and approached Rhode.

\"Hu hu hu. I didn't expect that there would be someone who could give Master such a huge headache.\"

\"I'm just feeling a little hopeless. It can't be considered as a headache.\"

Rhode retorted at Gillian's mockery. However, the young lady wasn't mindful as she chuckled and looked out the door in deep thought.

\"So then, Master. If Miss Anne disobeyed your command, will you really chase her out of the guild?\"

Rhode pondered and stood before the window.

\"I think you should know my answer, right?\" Rhode replied.