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536 Celestinas Be

 Celia and Celestina stopped probing for an answer from Rhode. After all, they had followed him for a long time and moreover, the souls of the summoned spirits and summoner were interlinked. From a certain perspective, Celia and Celestina understood Rhode more than Marlene and Lize did. The sisters sensed that something was off when they discussed this topic, but they couldn't figure out what the problem was. Perhaps Rhode wasn't aware of it himself.

\"This is interesting. It seems that there may be some extra reward?\" Celestina narrowed her eyes at the tightly shut door and revealed a peculiar smile. \"I didn't expect that this aloof, unapproachable man had this side of him. Huhuhu... This is a really great chance...\"

\"B-Big Sister?\" Celia waved her hand and interrupted. \"What do you intend to do? I think we are better off not provoking Master because he seems to have ulterior motives... After all, we're only spirits and it won't turn out well if we offend our Master.\"

\"What are you talking about? My adorable Sister...\" Celestina lifted her chin and puffed out her chest confidently. \"We aren't just ordinary summoned spirits. As Holy Spirits, we have our pride and self-esteem, and we must understand our Master. If he can't spiritually communicate with us, how are we gonna unleash our full potential? Could it be that you haven't felt the restriction of this contract and you're satisfied with your current state? Hmph. I will never be satisfied... Back then in Hell, those idiots only followed my lead, but what about now? Perhaps in their eyes, I'm inferior to an imprisoned Demon after losing my strength! It gets me fuming whenever I think about this!\"

Celestina gritted her teeth, grabbing onto a thorny whip that had sneaked out of her sleeve. She tugged violently and Celia couldn't help but shrink.

\"Don't lie to me that you don't care at all. Do you still remember that loathful Duke Devil? Ridiculous! Back then, even a thousand bastards like them were simply powerless under our attacks and now, we have become unimportant, worthless onlookers...\"

Celia gaped but she said nothing. It was true that they had possessed powerful strength and were once the heart of the world, but now, even though they existed, they were deeply sealed as though a burly muscleman was bound in heavy fetters and chains and carrying a large boulder on his back. It would be unbearable for any ordinary human, not to mention presences like Celia and Celestina.

Celia knew the way to regain her strength, and that was through the summoning spirit's oath, which was also the restriction. Although she was not reconciled to, she hadn't been as mindful as Celestina. Instead, she felt that if Rhode were willing, he would possess the strength to unlock her seal sooner or later.

\"I can't wait that long anymore. You can do whatever you want, my adorable Sister. I don't know what our Big Sisters are thinking, but... I have no intentions of keeping silent. I will never give up even with the presence of the oath!\"

Celestina glared at the tightly-shut door and returned to her room. The Edward Trade Association had arranged for individual guest rooms and she didn't need to withstand the 'humiliation' of sleeping with that human.

\"Ha...\" Celia let out a sigh. Her elder sister had always behaved this way. But this was also a strong point about her. Her arrogance, confidence, and attitude to work for her own goals. Celia admired her.

... Even though her methods were indeed problematic...

Celia turned toward the thick wooden door.

Big Sister. Master isn't an easy person to deal with... I hope you wouldn't suffer over it.

Dinner was over.

Emily scurried to Rhode's room and this presented a great chance for him to gain an even more favorable impression with the Chairman's daughter.

\"Sorry to keep you waiting, Miss Seren,\" Emily entered with her usual enthusiastic smile plastered across her face and gleaming gazes of anticipation. She bowed respectfully, clapped her palms to summon a couple of servants to arrange the tea sets and desserts. It seemed like she would be in for a while. \"This is our specialty blueberry cake. It tastes delicious and I know Miss Seren will like it too...\"

Of course, this was merely an excuse. Shortly after, she jumped right into the topic and consulted Rhode about his experiences as a Travel Merchant. Her questions weren't simply about bargaining in the stages of trade or the price fluctuation in various cities as she had known about them. She was thirsty to know how a Travel Merchant would deal with dangers and calamities during a journey.

Although she had asked all sorts of questions, Rhode cleared her doubts perfectly. Almost every triumphant player was a successful merchant and even ordinary players had completed thousands of mission related to protecting merchant groups. The most traditional way of brushing up one's reputation in a country began with such missions and one could steadily climb up. Once the 'Respect' reputation had been reached, there would be Travel Merchants distributing protection missions. And when one's reputation was promoted, one could get close with the nobles and help them manage commercial transportation and trades.

Even though Rhode hadn't experienced them personally, he had seen them happen himself. But he wasn't sure how Emily eventually became a Travel Merchant after completing this mission and left Fiat. However, this wasn't a question that he needed to worry about. He just needed to teach everything that he knew to this young lady according to the mission.

\"There's indeed some inconvenience for Travel Merchants, but... there's an important point that you must remember. You are your most important companion. There will be full of troubles in the outside world and sometimes, you can't rely on others, but only yourself. This is very important, Miss Emily.\"

\"Rely on myself... Is it?\" Emily laid down her teacup and looked at Rhode with widened eyes, as though she were engraving his every single word into her brain.

\"That's right. Profit is the most important for merchants. But timely choices to give up are also crucial. I've seen several merchants clutching onto their wealth on the verge of death and eventually losing their lives. I think that is really unfortunate.\"

\"But... shouldn't merchants uphold such mental spirits?\" Emily blinked curiously. \"I think it isn't wrong for merchants to harbor such thoughts, Miss Seren. Perhaps it would be right for normal humans, but money is our blood and wealth is our lives. How can one be qualified as a merchant if one doesn't have the thirst and dedication to pursue wealth?\"

\"What you described is reasonable to a certain extent, Miss Emily.\" Rhode picked up the knife and fork to lightly slice a piece of cake, sending it into his mouth gracefully. His natural movements were like that of a well-bred young lady of the blue blood.

\"But I don't look at it that way. Wealth may be important for merchants, but they only get to live once. You can earn money that you've lost but never your life. There's a saying in my hometown: \"Wealth is a mere worldly possession, and one can't bring it to their graves\". Besides, a successful, outstanding merchant should have such confidence. I think that the merchants who can't let go of their wealth and end up losing their lives made a foolish choice. They chose to escape, and not face it.\"

\"Eh? Why's that?\" Emily said curiously.

She could understand the so-called 'foolish choice' because sacrificing one's life for money was indeed dumb to many people. But she actually disagreed. As merchants, it was their mission in life to earn profit and gather the riches. If they lacked the dedication for wealth that surpassed ordinary humans, how could they earn their current position and rich financial status?

\"It's simple.\" Rhode stuck out a finger. \"They were afraid. They feared that they would become penniless after losing everything and could even go bankrupt. They didn't believe that they possessed the ability to start all over again. They weren't confident in themselves, which was why they chose to avoid and death might be a better choice for them rather than the horrifying reality. I do understand their worries and fears. After all, this is a tough test for every merchant. But... If they are only engrossed in earning profits and can't extricate themselves, I think they will not be successful.\"

Emily pondered in silence. She lifted her head and her eyes glinted in clarity. \"Thank you so much for your advice, Miss Seren.\"

Emily had benefited from this tea break tremendously. Not only did she gain insights into Travel Merchants, but she also received plenty of practical suggestions. Rhode felt that Emily would require basic self-protection swordsmanship for rough situations. Also, he thought that it would be great if she could hire some trustworthy companions from promising, large-scale mercenary groups and guilds to protect herself instead of hiring some mercenary teams. After all, those mercenary teams were basically a crime syndicate. They would bait one on the hook by acting out as really passionate and snatch all one's belongings afterward. Rhode had met several such instances in the game.

Emily engraved Rhode's words in her memory. They conversed for a few hours and she left reluctantly after the clock struck midnight, considering that Rhode had come from afar and would be exhausted from her 'interrogation'. Of course, Rhode feigned casual and spoke about the reasons that he came here. He wished to establish a silver ore trade with the Edward Trade Association and he hoped to examine the silver ore mine personally. Emily promised and nodded without the slightest care in the world.

This was more than enough for Rhode.

\"Hu...\" Rhode heaved a sigh of relief and nodded in satisfaction. It seemed that his plan worked smoothly. The young lady had a favorable impression on him and he had gained her promise. Although Emily was as sharp and witty as most merchants, she lacked some crafty qualities. Perhaps it was because 'Miss Seren' had the same gender and was about the same age as her.

\"I really can't understand, Master. What's the point of you sucking up to that girl?\" After Emily left, Celestina sprawled languidly on the sofa and gazed at Rhode in disdain. \"With your capabilities, you could've settled everything much quicker. Must you make it so troublesome?\"

\"I'm sick of hearing your complaints, Celestina.\" The smile on Rhode's face vanished.

Celestina revealed a pleased little smile and raised her hand. \"That's right. I'm kinda sick of it too... Master, shall we play a game?\"

\"Game?\" Rhode twitched his brows in astonishment.

Celestina stuck out her proud chest and gazed at Rhode arrogantly. She turned her wrist and a luxuriously-patterned bowl emerged on her hand. Three die laid within. \"A game to pass time. Got to say, I'm discontent that you simply curried favor with a lowly human. No matter what, you're our Master and yet, you lowered your head before another human. I can't accept this at all. So... Shall we have a bet?\"

\"What bet?\" Rhode pulled over a chair and sat opposite her, gazing into her scarlet pupils.

Celestina cupped over her mouth and chuckled. \"It's simple, Master. It will be a best of three and if I win, you will act according to my orders tomorrow. But if you win, I will be the obedient one. How about that?\"

Rhode hesitated as he stared deep into her eyes. \"That sounds unfair. Even if I win, isn't it the same as now?\"

\"Oh? That's not the case, Master... If you win, you can do whatever you want to me,\" Celestina narrowed her eyes and displayed an inducing smile. She crossed her slender legs wrapped in black stockings, kicked her foot cheekily, and leaned back with a victorious smile. \"I shall not complain about anything. What do you think about the bet? Master?\"

Rhode adjusted his gaze to the equipment in her hand. He pondered for a few moments before taking over the black bowl.

\"I'll go first. Surely you wouldn't mind that?\" Rhode said.

\"Of course, Master,\" Celestina smiled even wider. \"I think... this will be an interesting night...\"