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488 An Abnormal Silence

 Rhode's eyes were filled with glimmers of satisfaction as he leaned against the window frame while gazing at the pitch-black, tranquil forest. He placed the piece of paper down and rubbed his forehead softly. At this moment, the door opened gradually and a petite figure walked in with a plate of food. "... Rhode... Dinner..."

"Thank you, Christie," Rhode smiled at the little girl as she placed the dish on his table and stroke her long hair gently. Got to say, the little girl's smooth hair felt superb to the touch and it also gave Rhode a peace of mind.

"... Rhode, when did you wake up?" Christie asked out of concern.

"About four hours ago. Don't worry, I'm fine," Rhode gazed at her worried expression and displayed a bitter smile.

It had been two days since returning to the Fortress and Rhode's health had been recovering slowly. He didn't reveal the exact details to Lize and Marlene. After obtaining the loot, Corina and the Elderly Mage of the Order Alliance expressed their gratitude and sounded as though they wished for Rhode to explain the bizarre ongoings. To be honest, even Rhode wasn't clear of the entire events. Moreover, this was also considered as the internal affairs of the Munn Kingdom and he couldn't answer irresponsibly. Rhode replied idly and didn't answer their doubts directly while Corina and the Elderly Mage didn't probe any further and left soon after. Rhode wasn't concerned about the situation in the Elf Kingdom and he knew that the Order Alliance would definitely carry out an investigation about it. But this wasn't something that Rhode would be concerned about.

After returning to the Fortress, Rhode began to rest and recuperate. But even so, he didn't leave all the work to the others. Instead, after resting for half a day, Rhode requested for Old Walker to report all the information that he had gathered in the Country of Light border. Even though Rhode couldn't move about freely, his brains were still operating fine. At this moment, any kind of rest would be a waste of time.

Rhode had no time.

Although Marlene and Canary insisted that Rhode focus on resting fully, they were helpless as Rhode refused their request sternly. But it would be a huge mistake if Rhode thought that Marlene had no other ideas. She immediately thought of someone that could restrain him.

Christie.

No one wasn't aware of Rhode's feelings towards Christie. This was why Rhode would definitely listen to Christie's words and in fact, it was as Marlene had expected. Rhode could show his sunken face to Marlene and Lize, but he could never do that in front of Christie. What made matters worse for him was that, in the beginning, he had persuaded Christie to rest more due to her weak health and now, these words had turned to force him into submission... Rhode definitely didn't wish to set a bad example for Christie.

Unlike Marlene, Christie didn't like to speak about principle. However, Rhode couldn't help but surrender every time he gazed into the worried eyes of the little girl... Of course, even so, it wasn't enough to stop him from doing his work. After all, Christie's health wasn't perfect and normally, she would be responsible for delivering Rhode's three meals before returning to rest in her room. Therefore, there wouldn't be any suspicions as long as Rhode behaved appropriately to the situation.

Although this would let down Christie's troubles, Rhode really didn't have time to rest right now.

Old Walker's report was extremely complicated and this was also Rhode's request. Old Walker acted according to Rhode's instructions and planted several of his mercenaries in various bars to seek information from the gossip of bar-goers. The intelligence was at sixes and sevens and it wasn't simple to search for the details that he wanted the most. However, Rhode realized the various problems quickly. The region by the border of the Country of Light and Country of Dark had once engaged in movements of personnel and deployment of army troops. At the same time, the price of foodstuff increased slightly while the management of the city had been stricter than usual and often. Mercenaries weren't allowed to exit the city for adventures and hunting.

These were only some of the slight changes.

Most of the intelligence gathered were regarding the event in Soraka Mountain after it happened. After all, the event brought huge influence and almost everyone on this continent was aware of the problem. But fortunately, none of the intelligence mentioned the Duke Fiend. This went to show that the outside world was unaware of the truth. However, Rhode knew that this was only temporary as the Munn Kingdom, Country of Darkness, and Country of Light would definitely, definitely not disregard this matter. The Munn Kingdom was responsible for the management while the Dragon Souls of the Country of Light and Country of Dark were wounded by the Duke Fiend. If they didn't take actions to investigate the matter, one could only say that they were idiots.

Rhode didn't need to concern himself with the Country of Darkness because Di would definitely report the entirety of the situation to his higher-ups. As for the Country of Light, Rhode wasn't confident of what their next actions would be. After all, he didn't have the time to be concerned about too many people during the battle of Soraka Mountain. Although there wasn't any representative present from the Country of Light during the battle in the Rock Shrine, Corina's Elf Kingdom and the Elderly Mage's Order Alliance might leak some rumors due to their decent relationship with the Country of Light. Rhode had been completely wrapped up in the intelligence regarding the Country of Light because he was clearer than anyone on this continent about how great they were in having a bad reputation with others. Moreover, strictly speaking, this was also a problem of the Munn Kingdom and if the Country of Light's Parliament used it as a pretext to make a fuss, no one knew what would happen next.

Furthermore, Rhode was still puzzled by Royal Highness Lydia's attitude on this whole matter.

Rhode had gotten Marlene to deliver a report to Golden City and Golden City had replied and also invited Rhode over to explain the situation in person. However, Rhode used his weak condition and inability to move as an excuse to decline the invitation. Actually, this was the truth to a certain extent and on the other hand, Rhode wished to delay to investigate the current situation of the Munn Kingdom.

Indeed, Rhode finally discovered some problems.

The nobles of the South were beginning to cause a stir.

The rumors of mortals couldn't be trusted fully. However, Rhode eventually detected the answer that he had anticipated from the rumors. Currently, the South wasn't having a peaceful time, especially with the newly established Liberty Mercenary Alliance. Initially, they began to gather mercenaries from all around the continent and currently, it was said that several well-trained and experienced soldiers had joined their forces. It was apparent that this so-called mercenary alliance wasn't as pure as they sounded. Rhode sensed an extremely troublesome situation forming based on the information.

Ever since the Midsummer Festival had ended, Lydia used the explanation of 'Liberty Wings Guild have secret ties with the Demons' to deal a heavy blow to the Southern Reformist Party and Rhode was concerned that those nobles would have a life and death struggle. They weren't idiots and they definitely knew that Lydia was using this opportunity to weaken their strength and influence and grind them to death. However, these nobles might not be resigned to their fate just yet.

There were two wine glasses dripped with poison before them. One of them would kill them instantly while the other would allow them to speak their last words first before death. Which would they choose?

Especially after the incident of Soraka Mountain, the Country of Light had begun to once again tend toward easing the tension. At the same time, the Reformist Party from the South had become more aggressive. Could it be that there were no instructions from the Country of Light?

And could it be this reason that Lydia didn't leave Golden City and head into Soraka Mountain?

Rhode didn't make this wild guess. In fact, the Supervisor position in the internal Munn Kingdom was a secret to all but a few. If he didn't discover the Angel contaminated by Chaos in the Rock Shrine, he wouldn't link the situation of the Duke Fiend breaking away from the seal and the Munn Kingdom together. In other words, other than Rhode and a few others, no one knew that the problem in Soraka Mountain was triggered by the Supervisor and no one knew this was related to the Munn Kingdom.

Could it be that Royal Highness Lydia realized something that I don't know and that was why she didn't leave Golden City and head into Soraka Mountain? Could it be that the situation in the South has become so dangerous that Royal Highness Lydia couldn't leave Golden City even for a moment? Also, if Royal Highness Lydia knew about this, what was the purpose of her choosing me? Could it be that she was confident in my abilities in dealing with the Duke Fiend? Is it all a coincidence? Or, is it all premeditated?

Rhode lifted his head and gazed at the letter in his hand. It was a response from Royal Highness Lydia after Rhode had sent his report earlier and it contained an answer that Rhode didn't anticipate. She agreed to Rhode's excuse and hope that he recovered fully before heading into Golden City.

Rhode wasn't worried that Lydia would use this excuse to his disadvantage because his current abilities weren't too weak and after annihilating the Duke Fiend, he realized surprisingly that the EXP was awarded to him. His level rose by 7 instantly and he received 14 Skill Points. However, Rhode didn't use them immediately because, after all, he was still feeling weak and even if he wished to reinforce his condition, it might turn out to be an imperfect result. Therefore, he had decided to use the Skill Points after he had fully recovered. Rhode had currently reached Level 40 and entered the Master Stage. Moreover, it wouldn't be that simple for Lydia to silence him with the artifact that he had received from the Duke Fiend's corpse. Although Rhode knew that the Archangel was someone who would spare nothing for the sake of keeping secrets, he, after all, was a human and not an Angel. Even though he wished to stand on Lydia's side, he must also consider the possibilities of dangers.

However, even though investigating the intelligence was an uninteresting job, Rhode had something else to amuse himself.

"Master! It's about time you turn my belonging!" His ears once again rang with Celestina's ear-piercing screams.

However, the corner of his mouth twitched as he heard her grumbles. "I have said it clearly enough, Celestina. As long as you are willing to break the seal and let me see what's inside, I will return it to you immediately."

"Master, you...!" Celestina gritted her teeth furiously and she regretted owning up so soon.

Rhode was certain that was since this magical artifact was retrieved from the Duke Fiend's corpse, it would be at least a few thousand years old. Furthermore, if this artifact belonged to Celestina, it would mean that her identity could be traced back to the Ancient War Period. Rhode always wished to understand the history of these two Holy Swords, but Celia had abstained from letting him know while Celestina had always refused to answer him directly. Now that Rhode had something that could be used against her, he wouldn't let this opportunity slip.

This was actually also a small punishment for Celestina. After all, even though Rhode wasn't mindful about joking with his men, he didn't feel great having Celestina always bossing him around. It would be fun to tease this proud young lady and make her understand the master-slave relationship better. "My condition is simple, what do you think? Celestina, you should really consider it."

"Go to hell, Master! That belongs to me in the first place. What rights does a human like you have! Hmph, if worst comes to worst, I will just forget about it!" Celestina's voice resounded in Rhode's head and vanished swiftly. Rhode shrugged his shoulders before shifting his attention to the scrumptious dinner before him.

At this moment, his door opened again and a monotonous voice sounded. "Sorry to disturb, Master."

Rhode lifted his head and spotted the Ocean Elf standing by his door silently. This time, she was hugging a white, fluffy pillow by her side instead of her cleaning tools. "Agatha? What are you doing?"

"This is Miss Christie's request," Agatha replied apathetically and approached the bed to arrange the pillow and bedding neatly. Rhode turned over and gazed at Christie who was reading a book. "Christie?"

"... Yes..." Christie showed an adorable smile and nodded her head gently. "This is... my... decision... because Sister Marlene said... Rhode is always... not resting. So... I have decided to... sleep with... Rhode..."

The little girl gazed at Rhode with some hesitation. "Rhode... Can I?"