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713 Toughest Problem

 Rhode's choice of possessing that many magic cannons wasn't purely due to his dedication to being a part of the Multi-Cannon Turret Party. There were also other basis and reasons. The Diamat Campaign had been in the focus of debate between the Multi-Cannon Turret Party and RPG Party in the game. As the largest magic warship in the Munn Kingdom, the Saint Lady Vessel that carried 3500 magic cannons was the materialization of 'Billion of turrets. Billions of glory'. Standing before this Heavenly Class Magic Warship, the Undead Army's 'human wave attack' was completely stomped, where millions of Undead Creatures were annihilated by the pouring light beams from above.

However, no matter how powerful the Saint Lady Vessel was, it was still a man-made object, after all. It didn't stand a chance against the Four Legendary Generals. Therefore, the re-emergence of the RPG Party meant that the Multi-Cannon Turret Party was ultimately the historical dust and the RPG Party remained unified throughout the ages. Of course. The Multi-Cannon Turret Party refused to believe in such fallacious reasoning. They didn't think that their cannon turrets were too weak. Instead, they expressed that they just didn't have enough cannon turrets. Some people even hooted to create a thousand Saint Lady Vessels to blast the entire Country of Darkness. Many others also expressed that Four Legendary Generals were required to deal with a single magic warship, so how about facing thousands of warships?! The Four Legendary Generals would surely be annihilated by the Multi-Cannon Turret Party!

There were indeed many players who believed that the Diamat Campaign had explained that quantity was a good solution to deal with the Undead Creatures. Of course, the individuals must have high attacking strength to overcome the Undead Creatures. In fact, in the later stages of the game, many player tactics in dealing with Undead Creatures was created based on this. This was because the players' strength was stronger than the NPCs and following appropriate commands, a large group of players could easily oppress the Undead Creatures. In the later stages after the Country of Darkness attacked, the Light Mainland, player territories, and regions with spellcasters could defend against the Undead Creatures successfully. For example, the Mage Association's Sky Castle or the Church's Glory City. Both organizations had far-range attacking units and powerful AOE spells.

It was due to this that Rhode had chosen to build a hundred mid-range magic cannons. Quality was definitely necessary against the Undead Army's 'human wave attack' attack. However, it wouldn't be too effective if he emphasized too much on quality. Taking the Holy Maiden Statue, for instance-Rhode could produce five to six of them with his money and rely on their holy spears to envelope almost half the Land of Atonement with their aura. However, the holy spears needed to charge up beforehand with targeted enemies and it was meaningless because the enemies' tactics were ever changing. If the enemies chose to descend from above, the Holy Maiden Statues wouldn't be able to react swiftly as their holy spears couldn't attack the sky and ground simultaneously.

Rhode wouldn't be afraid if the Holy Maiden Statues' attack range was large enough to cover Paphield entirely.

But it was only a fantasy.

The next morning.

Everyone was taken aback after they woke up, prepared, and stepped out of their rooms. Although Rhode had merely modified the defense buildings, many of them were flabbergasted as they couldn't comprehend how the changes happened overnight. But, they had gotten used to such transformations after living in the fortress for a long time. Previously, they were astounded by the emergence of the Holy Maiden Statue and now, the city walls had rose and extended further while an additional white Spell Tower was built. They felt more amazed than doubtful. After all, many of them had guessed that this young overlord was up to something after he ordered a curfew.

On the other hand, Beni looked for Rhode with her doubts. She was unwilling to accept his orders because it didn't make sense to issue a curfew with the current defenses in place. However, Rhode expressed that he had something important to attend to, which was why Beni eventually accepted. But now, she couldn't hold her curiosity in any longer.

Of course, Rhode couldn't tell her the truth. He merely told her that he did it by himself in order to strengthen the Fortress' defenses and kept the construction process a secret.

Even though Beni was still dubious, she respected Rhode's decision in not revealing it since she didn't feel any evil aura within the Fortress. As long as it had nothing to do with evil, she didn't mind what methods Rhode used to build them.

If she were a human, perhaps she would have used all ways to seek the secret in constructing building overnight due to its overwhelming benefits. But Angels were kind, fair, uphold justice, and took no notice to the technological advancements of humans... Since Rhode didn't use any evil means to harm any innocents souls and violate the meaning of Order, it didn't matter to her at all.

Now that the new buildings were constructed, they needed to be filled with residents. The owner of the Spell Tower would undoubtedly be Canary and as a max level 85 legendary player, she was familiar with its operations. Besides, Rhode had also adjusted correspondingly to shift Lapis's alchemy workshop into the tower. The existence of the Magic spring was beneficial for the creation success rate of the alchemy equipment.

It was also necessary to recruit apprentices who would cultivate into being Mages. Rhode had passed down his order to select some members with spellcasting talents to enter the Spell Tower and receive guidance from Canary. With the Magic spring's enhancement, the Sphere of Mystery's training ground, and Canary's guidance, the members would definitely become a powerful force in the future.

In fact, in order to be fair, Rhode had intended to build a hero sanctuary for Mini Bubble Gum too. As long as he appointed Mini Bubble Gum as the owner, she could train the Clerics even better. But he gave up on this idea after considering that the Church was located near his territory. Currently, he didn't have any Mage Associations in his Fortress and it was still fine for him to build a Spell Tower. However, it would mean trouble if the Church knew that he had built a hero sanctuary as he couldn't explain how he had built such a majestic building overnight.

But this wasn't the biggest problem at the moment.

\"Sigh...\"

Rhode leaned back on the chair, tossed the document to the side, and rubbed his forehead. Money would forever be insufficient. Lydia had given him ten million gold coins and he was left with almost none after one night from constructing and upgrading the Holy Maiden Statues, strengthening and extending the city walls, building the Spell Tower, Magic spring, and Silver Tower. Not only that, but he had also spent on a hundred mid-range magic cannons. Almost nine million gold coins just escaped from between his fingers in an instant. The chest full of coins was immediately left with a pitiful amount... That was an indescribable sadness...

This problem didn't seem too huge on the surface. The remainder of around one million coins could last for a long time. However, Rhode wasn't having a headache over this. Instead... He currently didn't possess any means to make money.

Although his territory was huge and appeared influential on the map, they were located in uninhabited regions without villages, towns, commercial routes, and agriculture. On the contrary, the other overlords had cities and received benefits from the towns and villages, just like Paphield region. Although Papield's overlord lived in Deep Stone City, there were still a number of towns and villages within Paphield. Moreover, Paphield had a mature commercial system, where there weren't any issues with foodstuff reservation and cash flow.

But what else did Rhode have apart from the Land of Atonement Fortress?

Nothing.

There used to be a small village, but Rhode brought the villagers into the Fortress in order to maintain its operations. Currently, that village had lost its function and appeared more like a sentry camp. Rhode's source of income mostly came from the Silver Libra Trade Association, Keller Trade Association, and selling Lapis' concocted potions.

As for taxes?

Most of the residents in Land of Atonement were workers, civilians, and mercenaries. How much taxes could he expect with this population structure? Moreover, most of the mines had stopped operating for safety reasons after the war began. In such a situation, it was debatable that Rhode didn't fork out money to provide them a living, so how could he even levy taxes from them? He wouldn't be able to gain a few copper coins even after peeling their skin.

Perhaps Lydia was aware of Rhode's situation, which explained why she had given him ten million and provided supplies at no cost. If not, how could she make a territory with insufficient funds to mobilize soldiers and recruit soldiers against the Undead Army? It wasn't an issue for Rhode to spend his own money to purchase foodstuff to feed the residents of the fortress. However, it was still far from possible for him to recruit enough soldiers.

He couldn't only rely on Lapis in concocting the alchemy potions, after all, but he didn't have any other means. Wars burned money and he was deeply aware of this. He regretted not asking for fifty million back then.

\"Huhuhu. He who takes charge knows the price of fuel and rice, Master.\"

Rhode turned to the crisp, lively voice and saw Gillian sitting by the side. Even though it was winter, she wore a black off-shoulder robe, skirt with red linings, stockings, and buckskin boots as though she wasn't afraid of the cold at all.

She rested her elbows on the chair back, placed her chin on her hands, and swayed her head boringly. Her red, fluffy tailed shook left and right.

\"We used to rely on Bubble, but it's all on you now, Master. This is the sad truth for players who spent money on the game. As soon as the currency can't be used, they will turn into pieces of crap...\"

\"If you have the time to crack wise, why not help me think of ways to earn money?\"

Rhode rolled his eyes. He was no longer concerned about Gillian's true identity as to why she, as an Elemental Lord of this world, would understand him and the people around him so well. Rhode tried asking Canary and Mini Bubble Gum, but both of them had no impression of the name 'Gillian' at all...

Gillian let out a chuckle. Then, she lifted her head and shook her finger.

\"There are indeed some ways, Master. Besides, it's right under your nose. Don't tell me that you're not aware of when wars are the most prone to happen in which places and eras? This is a low-input, and high-yield trade.\"

\"War money?\" Rhode puckered his brows. \"I know wars are great opportunities, but we have nothing. Gillian, don't tell me that you're thinking of relying on Lapis's alchemy potions to make earn a living?\"

\"Hehehe...\" Gillian stood up and shook her head. She gazed at Rhode and extended a finger. \"Of course not, Master. You've guessed it wrong, but it's close enough. Little Lapis doesn't even have enough potions for us, so what's the point of her selling them for money? We can grasp the trump card to make money and if everything goes well, that will be a profitable sale.\"

\"Trump card to make money?\" Rhode knitted his brows and scanned the fox-eared young lady before him. He thought about it for a moment and eventually shook his head. He knew that he had something on hand, but didn't think that they were qualified to make a huge fortune. But, other than them, he couldn't think of anything else... Suddenly, his eyes glinted. Could it be...

\"Currently, tjr Munn Kingdom... No. The entire Light Mainland is in crisis.\"

Gillian strolled to the window and gazed at the scenery. The mountains covered by snow and the Holy Maiden Statues with their raised spears.

\"The group of idiots in Country of Light can't handle it and it seems unlikely for other regions of the Munn Kingdom. Master, the aura from the Holy Maiden Statues turns misfortune into blessing, but the others aren't that fortunate. They can't hold back the Undead Creatures and can only cower in the face of death.\"

The young lady turned around.

\"But now, they don't have to worry about the threats anymore. Just look at our Holy Maiden Statues, Master. Such beauty and elegance. More importantly, they can detect the Undead Creatures, provide wide protection, and weaken their attacking strength. Not only can they beautify your territory, but also save you from troubles. Pick up your phone now and order to receive a 20 percent discount. Only spend 998 and you can prevent the Undead Creatures from infiltrating, receive a defense enchanted field, holy spears, and beautifying effects for your backyard. It has been through ISO9001 verifications and received authorized license. The first one hundred customers will stand a chance to win a set of magical potions! How about that? Just 998. It's so cheap. Pick up your phone and order now!\" The fox-eared young lady snapped her fingers. \"How's this advertisement? Master?\"

Rhode gazed at her in silence. After a few moments, he finally spoke. \"What you mean was... They can be used for other purposes?\"

\"Yes, Master.\" Gillian narrowed her eyes. She winked with her long eyelashes and revealed a mysterious smile. \"Even though you've made them using your system, they do exist in reality. Apart from the gold coins, you also needed magic crystals to build them, right? If they don't exist, you can simply see them in your head, so what's the point of spending so much money then?\"

\"But...\" Rhode was speechless.

In fact, he had indeed neglected the Holy Maiden Statues. The reason was simple. They were within his territory and created by the system, which was why he subconsciously categorized them as to be used within his territory and perhaps predicted that they would be utterly destroyed as soon as they were out of the range. But now...

\"Gillian.\" Rhode gazed into her eyes; the pair of clear, mysterious eyes. \"Is this world... real?\"

\"I remember you've asked me this question in the past, Master. I understand your worries, but I can clearly tell you that this is a real world, so don't worry about you having tubes stuck into the back of your head or actually being in an endless dream. Of course, I think those who realized that they have tubes stuck into the back of their heads and found it necessary to abandon their blessed virtual lives for the sake of living without enjoyment are extremely strange, that is.\"

\"But, this construction system and I...\"

\"I understand what's going on in your head.\"

This was the first time that Gillian's voice was this gentle and calm. She laid down her hands and gazed silently at Rhode.

\"I guarantee that you're alive, Master. The blood flowing inside you isn't data. Your body isn't made up of 00 and 01 components. This world is the same, just like earth; a living world. Little Lize, Little Anne, Little Lapis are all the same. In here, they are neither data nor illusion. They exist.\"

\"...\" Rhode pondered in silence. After a few moments, he let out a long sigh. \"Whereas for the reason why I'm here and everything that has happened to me, you still won't tell me about it, right?\"

\"That isn't something that I can say, Master.\" Gillian displayed her usual, cheerful and witty smile. \"I'm not qualified and in no position to tell you all about it. But I believe that you will find out the truth one day.\"

\"...\" Rhode lowered his head. He was having mixed feelings in his head. Some excitement and ridiculous disappointment. But, shortly after, he shook his head and took in a deep breath to calm himself down. Then, he looked at the fox-eared young lady. \"Alright. Let's discuss the next issue.\"