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715 Meeting

 Rhode stood on the tall platform and gazed at everyone approaching him. He tidied his collar and descended the flight of stairs. At this moment, everyone finally saw the young overlord following Agatha's lead.

\"Greetings, Earl Rhode.\"

Bayer flipped down from his warhorse. He took large strides toward Rhode, placed his right hand across his chest, and bowed respectfully.

\"Shafir's 13th local army, abiding by Royal Highness Lydia's orders to provide reinforcements. I'm the army commander, Kolov Bayer.\"

\"Don't stand on ceremony, Sir Bayer.\"

Rhode's expression remained the same as he nodded.

\"I represent our Land of Atonement Fortress in thanking your assistance. It is definitely better to have more manpower to deal with the Undead Creatures and it is our fortune to have brave companions like you guys to battle alongside us.\"

Bayer felt much more assured now. The nobles in the Munn Kingdom had been judging Rhode as an arrogant and conceited person. Besides, he didn't appear to be someone who was respectful toward the elderly. Before Bayer's arrival, he was worried that Rhode would be dissatisfied with his men. But it seemed that even though this young man was expressionless, his words sounded rather nice.

Even though Bayer felt relieved, he continued to put up a solemn expression and nodded slightly.

\"It is our duty to defend against the Undead Creatures's invasion. On the other hand, Earl Rhode, you're so young and you led your men to defeat the opposition's aggressive attack twice. It seems like an old man like me can't keep up with the times.\"

\"You flattered me, Sir Bayer.\" Rhode shook his head humbly. \"There's a saying in my hometown that old men have invaluable experiences of their own. Even though we have struck the enemies back, my men are only new soldiers, after all. They will surely be relieved to battle alongside experienced warriors.\"

Rhode and Bayer exchanged looks and they realized the smiles in each others' eyes. Even though this conversation was superfluous, this was a necessary motion for nobles to go through. Bayer flattered Rhode and the latter was well aware, which was why he returned the favor. Of course. In terms of official, polite set phrases...

This meeting between them was carried out in a friendly atmosphere.

They knew that this meaningless conversation was essential. The troops would be stationed in Land of Atonement Fortress for a long time and they might possibly become Rhode's most reliable reinforcements. As the Battle Angel Army was powerful, they might possibly be mobilized to other stricken regions. When that happened, only the army from Shafir would be the ones fighting alongside Rhode in this fortress. If it was possible, Rhode didn't wish for both sides to have a hostile relationship. Moreover, Bayer had expressed his goodwill and Rhode couldn't possibly walk around with his nose in the air, unless he didn't wish for future days of peace in his fortress.

At this moment, Rhode saw the young man with chestnut-colored hair striding toward him. Then, he bowed deeply.

\"Greetings, Earl Rhode. I'm Frederick. I've heard your big name for a long time. I... Aiya!\"

The young lady wrapped in white fur robe scuttled forward worriedly and obstructed him. She lifted her head and gazed at Rhode.

\"My apologies, Sir Rhode. Please pardon his rudeness. He didn't mean to...\"

\"You are...\"

Rhode gazed at the young lady and puckered his brows.

\"Miss Serena?\"

\"Yes, Sir Rhode. I didn't think that you would remember me.\"

The young lady revealed an astonished expression. Back then, they didn't interact too much since she was in the diplomatic group, so she didn't carry too much hope that Rhode would remember her. But it seemed that he still did, which left her surprised. She extended her hand hurriedly and bowed with the Mage's etiquette.

\"I'm truly sorry, Sir Rhode. Frederick didn't do it on purpose. He's just... erm...\"

\"It's fine.\"

Rhode waved his hand casually, at the same time gazed at the young knight. At this moment, Frederick was showing his cheeky smile. He looked at Rhode and stooped over slightly, but didn't show any sense of remorse or fear. How interesting.

\"I know Mr. Frederick has no ill intentions. I have also heard of him in the past.\"

This time, Rhode wasn't exchanging pleasantries. In fact, a large part of the reason why he remembered Serena was due to Frederick. In the game, they were a popular couple, especially Frederick. In the Munn Kingdom, Frederick was considered a capable battlefield commander who was an expert in ambush and guerrilla warfare, which was rather similar to Rhode in style. Such commanders were common, but Frederick stood out against the Undead Army. This was especially so since Frederick was an NPC and not a player. However, there were extreme views on this commander with decent capabilities. In the game, Frederick was always seen battling with his fiancée, Serena. He led his men and recruited players to accomplish his mission, which was not much different from other NPCs. However, there was something strange with Frederick and it was his personality.

No matter in which situations, this talented commander was always carefree while his fiancée was the serious type. The most hilarious point for the players was that the couple's bickering resembled a crosstalk. Players played the game for fun and it was naturally a great thing for them to have additional entertainment during battles. Therefore, Frederick often had no lack of players under him. Many people had joined their forces for the sake of hearing their crosstalk. Besides, this young man had unique line of thoughts and often astonish others with his speeches.

Their fate in the game wasn't all that tragic. After Lydia was defeated and the Munn Kingdom perished, Frederick didn't form an army to go against the Undead Army like the others. Instead, he instantly led Serena and his men to the Mage Association. Then, he officially married Serena and became a member of the Mage Association with the identity of a Mage Guard.

Back then, many were surprised by Frederick's actions. Some thought that this was a wise choice. After all, the Munn Kingdom had perished and he had done all he could. Since the nation which he vowed to protect was no longer around, it wasn't wrong for him to take his personal love life into consideration seriously. Some judged him as laid back, sloppy, and had no loyalty and patriotism. Compared to the heroes who continued to fight after the Munn Kingdom perished, Frederick, on the contrary, had the mood and courage to sneak to the Mage Association and live off a woman.

But Rhode didn't have much thought about this since everyone had their own ambitions. Besides, he more or less understood Frederick's thoughts.

\"You see, Serena.\"

Frederick instantly revealed smiles of exultation.

\"I've told you. I did well in the North and nothing can go wrong with me around. You see. Even Sir Rhode has heard of my name. Doesn't this prove how capable I am?\"

\"You... shut up! Now isn't the time for this!\"

Serena gazed worriedly at Rhode. Then, she glared fiercely at her fiancé.

\"Can't you see the occasion? Really...\"

\"It's due to this occasion that I must perform well, isn't it?\"

\"You dummy. I'm not referring to that... You...\"

This is interesting.

Rhode was unable to restrain a smile. He wished that he could sit down and admire the show. But, he remembered that this was a formal occasion and passed it off with a 'haha'. Since this couple would be around for a long time, he wasn't afraid of missing another chance...

This time, apart from Bayer and the couple, there was also the representatives for Glorious Flag and Honorable Blade. They individually brought 50 well-trained elite infantries as reinforcements. Even though the numbers weren't a lot, their qualities were much better than Rhode's soldiers. The two representatives were conservative and reserved. They greeted Rhode sternly and rigidly, but they loosened up a lot more after Rhode's 'sincerely' invited them to training his new soldiers.

Lastly, there were the noble representatives from Shafir. They used the chance to suck up to Rhode and their sickening words made him cringe. If it wasn't for the fact that they were considered his men, he would have drew his sword and slashed their mouths.

Only Marlene, Lize, and Gillian accompanied Rhode in welcoming the guests. Anne was never interested in such formalities and chose to sleep in her room. Meanwhile, Lapis was captivated by her newly built alchemy workshop and she might never even step out of it even after the Undead Army had arrived. On the other hand, Mini Bubble Gum was drilling the group of Clerics from the Church. Even though the Country of Law wasn't involved in the battle, the Church was. It was an opportune time to strengthen the Church's Clerics.

Canary was even busier. Her duties in recruiting Mage apprentices went smoothly. Many were eager to receive guidance from this young, beautiful, and outstanding legendary Mage. However, Canary was only responsible for teaching practical skills. As for the basic magical theories, the natives would still need to understand to a certain extent. But it was fine too. Even though the apprentices Marlene brought from the Mage School weren't powerful yet, their theoretical knowledge were great. Rhode picked two members in joining Canary's Spell Tower and they were responsible for teaching magical theory. Although everything was simplified due to the close approaching battle, there must also be a process too. Therefore, Canary didn't have the time to be responsible for other small, troublesome matters.

Orchid Heart and Christie didn't turn up either. The former was overlooking the military training while the latter wasn't fit to be on such occasions. This wasn't a family gathering, after all.

\"Ah...\"

Rhode let out a long sigh after Agatha led the others to their rooms.

\"How's the situation?\"

\"I suppose... everything's fine.\"

Marlene shook her head.

\"They appear fine, at least for now. The army doesn't seem to have any opinions about you, Rhode. But I'm not too sure about the nobles.\"

\"I think that the chap named Frederick is rather interesting. Don't you think so, Master?\"

Gillian let out a cheeky laughter and swayed her fluffy tail. Marlene and Lize was caught between laughter and tears. It was apparent that they had watched the crosstalk between Frederick and Serena. At this moment, someone spoke.

\"Reporting, Boss.\"

\"How's the situation?\"

Rhode turned around and saw Joey. The latter lowered his head and bowed respectfully.

\"Everything's settled, Boss. There's nothing suspicious with most of them. But a small group of them appeared sneaky. Some of them have entered the city and mixed with the crowd, but our men are following them.\"

\"Oh?\"

Rhode's brows twitched. Ever since the reinforcements arrived at the fortress, Rhode dispatched Randolf and Joey to investigate them. Marlene had reminded Rhode that many people were curious, mindful, and sure to probe about him. Rhode was mentally prepared for this. He allowed Lydia to investigate him because she was the Archangel, so there wouldn't be much trouble. However, these guys were different. Rhode didn't want them digging holes like rats. But he didn't expect them to be this anxious to take action so soon.

\"What about their identities? Have you done your checks?\"

\"They're Taiman's private soldiers.\"

\"Taiman?\"

Rhode pondered and quickly recalled who he was. This man had also appeared in the representative team. But he wasn't eye-catching. If Rhode recalled correctly, Taiman was only an ordinary noble and his behaviors conformed with the norm of society. But in addition to Joey's information, the situation became thought-provoking. If Taiman was here to scout out information, he was rather too anxious. Could it be that he treated Rhode's men as a group of idiots who didn't realize?\"

\"You have men watching over the main forces, right? Be careful not to get caught.\"

\"Don't worry, Boss.\"

Joey patted on his chest and said confidently.

\"We sent out some men to trail them while the others are observing the main forces. We will receive reports as soon as they're any signs of trouble.

\"Good.\"

Rhode paused and at this moment, Gillian's ears twitched. Then, she swept a glance at Rhode and he also seemed to have noticed it. He turned to the fox-eared young lady and received his answer from the spiritual communications.

The Undead Creatures had emerged.