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797 Destiny at the Intersection III

 Lilian gazed at Sonia with knitted brows. Even though she knew that she would be stopped by the Light Parliament and expected that they would send out men to bring her back, she had decided to look for Rhode if they did so!

If they did, this would be seen on the diplomatic level that a head of state sought to avoid political persecution from the country and it would be imaginable how the future between the Munn Kingdom and Country of Light would become if this situation escalated.

Lilian felt mixed emotions like a child who turned rebellious and threw tantrums to her parents for the first time in order to go on a holiday and yet her strict parents agreed instantly. However, they had sent someone to watch over her.

Lilian didn't expect that the Light Parliament would agree to her request, just like most children in their rebellious stage where they resisted their parents, but didn't dare to behave overly spontaneous. Instead, they found unacceptable reasons that would leave their parents feeling helpless such as doing things that they disliked. If their parents stopped them, they could forcefully do what they wanted and this was the same for Lilian. She hoped to leave Casabianca and spend time with Lydia and Rhode. However, she knew that it was impossible, which was why she made such a request. She knew that the Light Parliament would definitely disagree and probably force her back to Casabianca...

But in the end... They agreed.

Lilian curled her lips and obviously looked discontented. However, as a kind hearted child, even though she wasn't delighted to see Sonia, she held no intention of venting frustrations on her. It appeared that the Light Parliament understood Lilian well. If it were some rigid parliament member who dealt with Lilian, perhaps she would stir up more trouble. On the other hand, Sonia was only a few years older than Lilian and appeared like an elder sister. Moreover, she was a gentle and beautiful young lady, so even if Lilian was furious, she wouldn't abuse her. After all, she wasn't a spoiled brat who would throw tantrums whenever things didn't go her way.

As Lilian sized up Sonia, the latter also observed the former secretly. Even though Sonia had seen Lilian during the Dragon Soul Ceremony, that was only a hurried glance and Lilian had put up a stern look and kept a low profile. However, it was different now. After formally meeting Lilian, Sonia realized that the former was surprisingly easy to get along with as though the little girl who sat on the throne wasn't the Dragon Soul Heir and was more like the neighbor's adorable younger daughter. Moreover, Sonia realized that Lilian didn't seem to like hiding her true emotions, just like how she appeared perplexed on her cute face now. It was apparent that Lilian didn't enjoy having Sonia beside her, but the former didn't vent her anger on her...

Sonia felt amused at this thought. Even though she had received Rhode's order to accompany Lilian, she didn't know what sort of a person Lilian was. Even if Lilian was a bully who abused women whenever she pleased, Sonia would have to obey without any grumbles because it was Rhode's orders. But now, Sonia felt rather motivated. After all, even though it was still a mission for her, it was better to complete it happily rather than getting hurt all over, wasn't it?

Lilian didn't conceal her dissatisfaction toward Sonia and this comforted the latter. Although Sonia was still a young lady, she had mixed around in the political grounds, became the third executive officer of the Lockos Financial Group, and had met many hypocrites who put up a solemn attitude and poker faces to conceal their true thoughts... Of course, Rhode was an exception. He didn't put up an expressionless face to hide his emotions. It was merely a bad habit...

A pure, innocent superior like Lilian was a rare find. Moreover, this little girl held qualities which made others wish to show tender affection for her. This explained why Sonia wasn't concerned when she saw Lilian's resentful expression. To the contrary, this further strengthened her determination.

"Greetings, Your Majesty. I'm a secondary parliament member, Sonia Lockos. I represent the Light Parliament in accompanying your journey into the Munn Kingdom. During this period of time, I will arrange and take charge of your schedule. If you have any needs, please speak to me. As long as I can achieve it, I will do my best."

"Hmph...!"

Lilian let out an instinctive grunt. However, she realized that this wasn't nice of her, so she quickly gestured and nodded with might as though apologizing for her rudeness.

"Okay. I got it..."

"Yes, Your Majesty."

Sonia stooped over hurriedly with a smile across her face. Even though they had just met, Sonia already knew how she should complete the mission that Rhode handed her.

While Lilian and Sonia met, Rhode had already left the Winter Castle and returned to the Land of Atonement. He was aware that Lilian was heading into the Munn Kingdom. Besides, he also heard from Sonia about the latest plans from the Light Parliament. However, he was only curious and couldn't take any actions. After all, the discussions between Lilian and Lydia was the communication between the superiors of two nations and he didn't hold any right to intervene. Even though everyone knew that Rhode had a bright future ahead of him and was well-liked by Lydia, his identity was only that of an Earl and overlord.

Rhode was also aware that many people in Golden City were watching him from the sidelines cautiously. If he behaved overly passionately, it wouldn't be surprising that they treated him as a threat-Rhode wasn't the only person living in the Munn Kingdom. What would happen to others' rice bowls if he got involved with military affairs, internal affairs, and diplomacy? Marlene had advised him a lot of times to focus his attention on the Land of Atonement and Grenbell and try not to get into trouble with matters beyond his identity. As the saying 'a tall tree attracts the wind' went, Marlene naturally held her own intelligence network as the heir of the Senia Family. She was aware that Rhode was in a risky position after being in the limelight for too long. Even though what he did was beneficial for the Munn Kingdom, there wouldn't be conflicts between the King's Party and Reformist Party if humans could stay united. Lydia was the Archangel, so she wouldn't bother with small details. However, the other nobles wouldn't accept Rhode so easily-especially when he might possibly steal their portion of the cake.

Besides, Marlene was indeed reasonable. In the Land of Atonement, there were a lot of other problems waiting for Rhode to resolve. The problems weren't military affairs, but internal affairs and the source of problems was... his construction system.

After Rhode became the overlord, the Land of Atonement hadn't been developed. Apart from the fortress, the other areas were uninhabited mostly due to their positions by the border and inconvenient traffic. The other reason was that Rhode's construction system was too convenient.

Of course, ordinary overlords couldn't possibly repair and build their fortresses without paying a huge sum for smiths and other specialized workers. However, this was also a cycle-to the contrary, Rhode's construction system was as though a cheat code that could save him from weeks to months to complete projects. The workers were mostly burdened with families and needed to head to the construction site for work. This way, it would naturally form an industrial zone. As various needs and demands increased, this industrial zone would expand. Examples of needs would be broken tools needing repair and building requiring logging. There were also needs for the workers' entertainment after their work apart from resting, which required facilities like stores, logging areas, and blacksmith shops. An industrial zone would slowly grow from nothing and a complete distribution system would be completed at the end.

Rhode wasn't aware about this earlier on, but finally understood what it meant to have 'more haste, less speed'.

Even though the construction system could build a majestic fortress in the blink of an eye, it couldn't build the various distribution systems. The level of prosperity of a territory mainly depended on the residents, where the commercial trade would prosper if the residents were rich and would encourage production to attract more people. However, there were none of those in Rhode's territory. The entirety Grenbell was not as mighty as it looked.

Rhode had already tasted this poor result. When the Undead Army attacked his fortress in the past, he tried to use delicious food as a booster to the soldiers' morale. However, he couldn't find a qualified chef in this vast piece of land and even had to find them from the Deep Stone City and Paphield!

That went to show how underdeveloped the Land of Atonement was. However, Rhode had no other choices back then. If he focused his resources on building facilities in the territory, his fortress would have crumbled to the Undead Army.

On the bright side, at least they were safe from external threats. As for the other areas... He could slowly develop them.

Rhode returned to the Land of Atonement, harboring such a thought.

"Rhode..."

The Floating Boat docked and he stepped onto the platform. Shortly after, he spotted a familiar, petite figure scuttling toward him. He smiled, extended his arm, and embraced her.

"... You're finally... back..."

Beads of sweat had filled her forehead from this short sprint which showed how weak she was. Rhode retrieved a handkerchief to gently wipe them off and caressed her silky long hair. He looked up and saw Marlene, Lize, and Canary. They were basically the ones who always welcomed his return. Lapis was too occupied with her workshop. On the other hand, Mini Bubble Gum's appearance depended on her mood and she would turn up if she was free. However, Rhode wasn't mindful at all since they held a close friendship.

"How are you feeling, Christie?"

"Good..."

Christie smiled and nodded with might, which Rhode heaved a sigh of relief. Even though the accessory which Lydia had given her ensured that she wouldn't be plagued by illness, it couldn't protect her from being injured, especially when Christie was so fragile and prone to injury. However, it seemed like everything was great...

"You're back, Rhode."

"Mr. Rhode, Anne, Miss Gillian... Long time no see."

"You're finally back, how's the battlefront?"

The three young ladies greeted.

"Everything is going according to plan."

Rhode had spoken to Marlene using the magical communications before his return and they knew everything that had happened in the Winter Castle. But...

"By the way, Marlene, I heard from you that some problems occurred?"

Rhode continued to stroke Christie's hair and asked curiously.

"Yes, Rhode."

Marlene showed some signs of helplessness.

"It has something to do with that Dark Elf lady..."

"Nell?"

Rhode gazed blankly. Of all things, he didn't expect her to be the cause of the trouble. He had clearly restricted her movements by the oath, so what else could she do?

"What happened to her?"

"This was what happened..."

Marlene spread her arms apart.

"A few days ago, Miss Corina represented the church and spoke to us regarding the Undead Army's attack. Then..." Marlene let out a sigh and revealed a complicated expression as though she didn't know how to continue.

"She was attacked by Nell."

"Huh?"

Rhode was surprised. He didn't expect this to happen... Corina had been staying in the church all this while and as the representative sent by the Country of Law, she wouldn't turn up unless it was regarding matters of the church. After all, Corina's identity was the diplomatic emissary and if she had gotten involved in the battle between the Country of Darkness and Light Mainland, she might drag the Country of Law into it and it would turn into the prelude of the second Creation War.

Rhode was more than satisfied to have Corina here as the means of communication with the Country of Law. But he didn't expect that...

"What happened in the end?"

Rhode gazed at everyone and no one seemed too nervous, which meant that the consequences weren't too serious.

"Thank goodness Miss Canary was around so nothing happened. But... Miss Corina hoped that you can provide an explanation for having a Dark Elf as your subordinate."

"She's aware? How did she find out?"

Rhode was astonished because Nell's appearance didn't resemble the Dark Elves at all. In fact, he wouldn't have believed that she was a Dark Elf if she didn't explain to him.

Hold up...

Then, Marlene proved his guesses.

"It was Miss Nell who told her," Marlene said.