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527 Self-directed Oscars 1/4

 Even though General Michael's request was reasonable, the Reformist Party refused to send reinforcements. However, this didn't mean that their IQ was incredibly low. Instead, there was also a big problem before them-they lacked manpower.

Most of the troops under the Reformist Party were soldiers of the Southern Legion, while the rest were private soldiers supported by the nobles and wealthy merchants and city guards from various cities. Although the Reformist Party had swiftly imprisoned military generals who might cause them great trouble at the time of the initial rebellion, these generals were still a minority. In the Southern Legion, other than those who supported the Reformist Party, there were still a large number of neutral generals who had strong soldiers under their command. However, these generals chose to not get involved with the battle between the Reformist Party and the King's Party due to various reasons. This was why the Reformist Party had been careful in not offending these generals as they didn't wish to have internal problems while the external issues hadn't been resolved yet. This was also why General Michael expressed his rage daringly in his letter to this bunch of people. After all, they didn't obtain legitimate authority over him and if General Michael disobeyed their commands and left Grosso, the Reformist Party could only look on helplessly.

It was because of this that the troops who were willing to listen to the Reformist Party's command weren't as many as they hoped to have. Moreover, the Reformist Party didn't establish a stable base quick enough after declaring independence and they took the opportunity to attack Paphield, which diminished their already lacking military strength. They had mobilized all their available manpower and couldn't support Grosso at all.

If the Necromancer had messed with other regions instead of Grosso, perhaps the Reformist Party would have waited until they had stabilized their front lines before resolving the trouble. But now, they couldn't neglect the awful situation because the Grosso region was the only foodstuff reserve base that the South could rely on. If something happened there, it would mean that the rations for the next six months of the South would be completely destroyed! Although the Reformist Party could still rely on the Country of Light's Parliament for support, the Country of Light's Parliament's change in attitude kept them on their heels. Even though the Reformist Party had always relied on the Country of Light's Parliament, they had always been wary of them overstepping into their territory. If Grosso was destroyed, they would have to rely entirely on food imports from the Country of Light, and the Country of Light would definitely jump on the opportunity to raise their prices...

"According to the intelligence, that damn Necromancer has been heading towards the east. We have to stop him!"

"But we don't have enough manpower. Apart from the city guards, there are only private soldiers within the parliament... As for the Southern Legion... We have mobilized all the available troops and we can't send reinforcements to Grosso!"

"Then what should we do? Give up? That damn Necromancer has destroyed three villages and God knows how many Undead Creatures he has in his hands right now. If we continue to sit here, maybe that bastard will knock on our door with thousands of corpses!"

"Perhaps we should move some troops from the frontlines back and shift our focus back on the frontline after we wipe out the Necromancer..."

"What?! Aren't you aware that Lydia is gathering her military strength now? We're basically asking for death if we weaken our strength in the frontlines!"

"But we need to resolve this danger before us. If we can't destroy that Necromancer, we can't stabilize our frontlines too!"

"What about the Starmoon Mage Association? Perhaps we can seek assistance from their Mages?"

"Those damn Mages have blocked off their Mage Pagoda ever since we declared independence. They definitely want nothing to do with us and they won't respond even if we look for them!"

"Maybe... We can search for an imprisoned general who is willing to support us and we can get him to persuade the other neutral generals..."

"Are you crazy? None of those bastards are easy to deal with and they might even pose a larger problem than that Necromancer!"

"Why can't we once again recruit military troops from the border? Or maybe we can mobilize the navy?"

"How much time does that take? How much time do we have to waste? By the time they return to the shore, we would've turned into food for the Undead Creatures!"

"Send the private soldiers! The Undead Creatures aren't humans who have gone through proper military training like them! As long as a trustworthy General leads a team of private soldiers, surely they can exterminate the Undead Creatures."

"Private soldiers? The private soldiers we have on hand are only enough to ensure our safety. How is it possible that we send them to Grosso..."

"You're finding excuses because you're afraid..."

"What are you talking about? I'm only stating opinions that I think are reasonable. Aren't you afraid too?"

The noisy disputes were endless in the hall like a bustling morning market. The secretary responsible for taking down the minutes laid down the feather pen and rubbed his throbbing forehead. He gazed at the messy sight and sighed helplessly.

It seems like this meeting will take awhile.

As the Reformist Party disputed over the solution to deal with the Necromancer, another person was having a headache of her own in Grosso.

"I've told you, Big Sister. Leader should have a heroic appearance and those dumb civilians will surely be deeply grateful to him. Doesn't this solve everything?"

"This isn't a plot to a romantic fiction, Bubble. I think we should work according to plan and it will turn out more dramatic and effective."

"But this ending is terrible, Big Sister! Your suggestion is no different from a Hollywood movie!"

"It's also these movies that receive Oscars every year and are the huge box office hits. This goes to show that most people love them, Bubble."

"Aiya aiya, what's there to quarrel about? Why not listen to my suggestion instead? AT the critical juncture, a meteorite fell from the sky and-boom! Perfect ending!"

"..."

"..."

"Miss Gillian, your suggestion is kinda... unexpected."

"Ha..." Rhode rubbed his forehead and let out a long sigh as he sat down in the bar of an empty village, thinking of his upcoming plans. This was the fourth village, but it was desolate and uninhabited compared to the first three. It was apparent that the villagers fled the area after hearing the gruesome happenings.

His plan was rather simple.

Although he had gathered more than 800 'Sub Cards' of the Undead Army in the past two days and this quantity was enough to form a small-scale legion, Rhode had no intentions of relying on them to invade the core of the Reformist Party. After all, the Undead Creatures in his possession weren't powerful and they couldn't bring a devastating blow even if he summoned them all. His goal of bringing about panic in the South had been achieved and now he was thinking of a way to stop it.

This was the reason that Rhode had gathered his men using his spiritual communications. He needed a perfect script to add a full stop to his operations. However, it wasn't that simple because first of all, this could not conflict with Rhode's own mission in attacking Grosso and secondly, even if his Undead Creatures were to be eliminated, they must not be defeated by the Reformist Party. Rhode launched the attack with the Undead Creatures for the purpose of wavering the Southern civilians' trust in the Reformist Party. He didn't wish to overreach himself and become the stepping stone for the Reformist Party to strengthen their reputation instead.

How to make the Undead Army disappear 'logically' was the question that Rhode had to resolve now. A sudden disappearance wouldn't cut it and if Rhode simply left after dealing with Grosso, this might turn into a pretext for the Reformist Party to attack the King's Party, which Rhode refused to let happen.

As the saying goes, two heads are better than one. Canary, Mini Bubble Gum, and Gillian had given their suggestions.

Mini Bubble Gun's script was the cliché of heroic battles. Rhode should allow the Undead Army to trample the Reformist Party's soldiers and when they were in utter desperation, Rhode would emerge valiantly and murder the Necromancer and Undead Army. Then, he would wave goodbye and leave as a hero in the people's eyes. He wasn't there anymore, but his legend would stay forever.

Rhode disapproved her suggestion because, after all, Rhode had to wipe out the mine in Fiat too. If the Reformist Party knew that he was around, they would surely be on alert and it wouldn't be favorable for Rhode. Besides, Rhode didn't want to be known as being related to the Undead Army during this sensitive period because he didn't know what Lydia would think about it if the news had gotten into her ears.

Gillian's idea was more of a silly talk. She was better off suggesting that they start a war in the fields of the Grosso Plain and a meteorite would fall from the sky in the heat of the battle. Boom! The world would return to its tranquility. See, wasn't this a much faster and convenient way?

Needless to say, Rhode rejected her 'idea'. If Rhode could summon a meteorite to bombard Grosso, would he even need to go through the trouble of coming to this ridiculous place? She thinks that I'm here on a travel using public funds?

And now, Canary's script was the most reliable.

Got to say, Canary had given him a satisfactory, Hollywood-style proposal. Rhode would dispatch the Undead Army to overwhelm the Reformist Party's soldiers and during the critical juncture, Rhode would summon Celia to exterminate the thousands of Undead Army by herself. In the end, she would 'murder' the Necromancer, undaunted by dangers. This would definitely pose a difficult problem for the Reformist Party. If they chose to attack Celia, that would undoubtedly lower the trust the civilians had in them. And if they chose to simply watch Celia leave, it would also prove the incapabilities of the Reformist Party and the importance of the Battle Angels' presences.

This felt as though a great Hollywood movie where the protagonist would receive unexpected help in the critical moments of life and death and result in a gorgeous, humanistic ending. If it turned out well, the movie could even attain the highest weekly box office in North America. This was much better than the stupid story of those idiots who clearly had flying means and yet chose to walk into the volcanic crater and throw a ring away.

"I accept Canary's idea," Rhode made his decision and the other two young ladies were obviously dissatisfied.

"Ah... Master, don't you want to reconsider? I think the giant meteorite falling from the sky is awesome..."

"Another market victory! Tch, this damn world. Leader, you cannot compromise to commercializing! What's bad with the hipster path?!"

Rhode disregarded Gillian and Bubble's grumbles. He knocked on the table with his fingers and knitted his brows. "I've decided and that's that. Now, report to me the situation back there. Canary?"

"Everything is operating fine in the Fortress. Old Walker has been following your orders and contacting his men to spread rumors among the Southern civilians. As for the results, you should be clearer than me, Rhode."

"Good. Gillian? How's Lize doing?" Rhode shifted his attention. Although he had told Gillian that she could look for him if there were any emergencies, she hadn't approached him at all. Perhaps the situation had been rather stable in the Cloud Summit Fortress.

Gillian chuckled. "She's doing fine, Master. She has been getting used to her new identity and I can see that she's putting in a lot of hard work."

Seems like she isn't doing too well...

Rhode twitched his brows. Gillian used the term 'hard work' to describe her and that meant that only Lize's 'attitude' was worth the praise.

But... All he could do now was to let her take one step at a time. "I'll leave her to you, Gillian. Don't forget our promise if you want the reward."

"Of course, Master. Don't worry, I will do my utmost to guide her." Gillian's crisp giggles faded away gradually. The corner of Rhode's mouth twitched and he gazed at his palm where a black and white card emerged: Holy Sword Star Mark and Demon Sword Succubus.

Succubus's offense and defense had been upgraded by 3 points. On the originally pitch-black card back, there was a damaged corner as though the picture had been chipped off. However, Rhode knew that this wasn't a sign of damage for spirit cards. He flipped the card around and a system prompt emerged before him.

[Historical Unseal: Ancient Alliance - You have learned about the distant memories of a legend that cannot be touched. The answer hidden in the historical fog will reveal the tip of the iceberg (Additional effects: Offense +3 Defense +3)]

After listening to Celestina's past, this system prompt affirmed his guesses that the Holy Sword Card Deck was a set of sealed godly weapon. Rhode would need to understand their history and secrets if he wished to unleash their full potential. One of the corners in the Succubus card revealed it.

As for Star Mark, there wasn't anything different.

Rhode twitched his brows slightly. The venue, script, and performers were all present and now he lacked the lead actress. But, would the lead actress be willing to perform?

The shiny white Holy Sword card hovered above his palm.

Swish! A glaring ray of light streaked across like a lightning bolt and the edge of the Battle Angel's sword was only inches away from slashing Rhode's neck. Fuming flames burned within her eyes.

"I need an explanation, Master," Celia said.