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902 Undead Garden

 Harmless fairies were the easiest to handle. After both parties signed the contract, Rhode brought them to Grandia where they settled in the forest connected to the lake located behind the palace. According to the layout, that area should be within range of the royal garden. But Rhode apparently wasn't mindful at all because the fairies were responsible assistants in passing messages, letters, and cleaning. Besides, although they seemed small and delicate, they possessed the strength of spell casters in the Middle Circle. Moreover, as a pure magic race, they didn't need to chant before releasing magic spells like Mages needed to. If anyone were to belittle the fairies... Yes, the fairies wouldn't slaughter due to their kind nature, but they would certainly give them a hard time.

That's right. It was fine for the fairies as long as they didn't kill anyone.

After settling the fairies, next up was the... Undead Garden.

Frankly speaking, Rhode felt complicated regarding the [Undead Garden]. Although the [Undead Garden] was full of Undead Creatures, they were spiritual and there wouldn't be any Necromancers or Liches. Besides, these Undead Creatures were rather average in strength. But there was a problem...

What did Rhode need them for?

If his territory were the Country of Darkness, there would be plenty of matters that the Undead Creatures could do. But with his current relations with the Munn Kingdom, it was better to avoid having the Undead Creatures roaming around his territory. Therefore, even though he could relocate fairies to the palace, he couldn't allow the Undead Creatures to show themselves in public. No matter what, his territory was mainly serving living beings. Besides, the existence of the Undead Creatures themselves was enough to negatively influence living beings as they were constructed with negative energy. Despite the Undead Creatures not harboring any ill intention, humans would fall sick, have their longevity shortened, or might even die if they got into contact with too much negative energy. It was due to this that Rhode was in a headache trying to resolve this problem.

On the other hand, the Lustful Demons were also in a similar situation. They used their charm to seduce and devour the souls of humans, and their chaotic nature made them inclined to mess everything up. This was why Rhode sent Celestina in his place because he knew that the Lustful Demons wouldn't rest unless they wreaked havoc with all of Rhode's women.

[Undead Garden]

It was a dim, dark forest with dense branches and leaves sheltering the radiance of the sun. Not only that, but there was also something that shouldn't belong to this place emanating a mesmerizing, yet scary brilliance.

Crystals.

The prismatic crystals erected on the ground like plants. It was clearly summer but the forest was incredibly chilly. The bone-piercing cold could give anyone the chills. There was neither the singing from birds nor the presence of vibrant flowers. The leaves on the ground were deep green and what should have been an exuberant forest was filled with the unprecedented scent of death.

The silence of death.

Rhode strolled casually and scanned the surroundings. He had to admit that this place wasn't suitable for mortals at all. Those crystals weren't only ordinary magic crystals. Instead, they were prisms containing death aura and served as a concealment for the spirits from the sun. The spirits would only appear from the crystals when night fell.

But now, perhaps they were watching his every movement.

Rhode came to a halt.

"I'm the owner of this territory and the dragon soul heir, Rhode Alander. Spirits roaming between the gap of life and death, in the name of the dragon soul heir, I am here to negotiate with you. Please show yourself."

At this moment, he saw a purple spiritual radiance flashed before him. Then, an enormous figure emerged.

It was a two-meters-tall knight clad in heavy white armor and the gap in its helmet was entirely pitch-black. Not only that, but it also had a large sword hanging on its back, exuding tremendous pressure. It instantly half-knelt on the ground and expressed its respect for Rhode.

"Welcome... mighty... dragon soul..."

Rhode wasn't sure if it was due to the heavy armor, but its hoarse voice seemed to be modified.

"I am... the guardian... Farson."

"I'm Rhode Alander, the owner of this territory."

Rhode nodded and said.

"I guess you're aware of why I'm here. As the overlord, I guarantee your right to stay in my territory. As a result, you will need to adhere to my rules and serve me. Do you have any objections?"

"..."

This time, the other party didn't reply immediately. After a few moments, it raised its head and gazed silently at the young man.

"What do... you want us... to do... Master..."

"Some things that aren't suitable for mortals."

Rhode replied decisively as he had no intention of hiding the truth from his future subordinates. Sometimes it was also important to give a heads-up.

"Based on the situation, I may possibly ask you to kill someone even if that person is unarmed."

From a certain aspect, the Undead Creatures were most suitable for this job. They could disappear without a trace and held no worries for their own survival. Besides, if anything were to go south, Rhode could simply push the blame on the Country of Darkness.

Anyway, he had no intention of allowing these Undead Creatures to show themselves to mortals so it was perfect for them to carry out some work in secret for him, wasn't it?

Undead Creatures and Lustful Demons disregarded mortals completely. Since that was the case, there wouldn't be any psychological barrier that stopped them from killing. Although Joey and his team could 'occasionally' serve as assassins, their targets were mainly opposing enemies. If Rhode were to order them to wipe out an entire village, they surely wouldn't accept those orders. Even if they did, perhaps they wouldn't complete their jobs perfectly. Although the Lustful Demons were a great choice for that, Rhode wasn't that naive to put his full trust in demons.

"..."

This time, the knight didn't respond immediately. Instead, it stood to its feet and with a gust of wind, the enormous sword on its back flew up and landed in its hand.

"... Please allow... me to... affirm your determination... Master."

"Oh?"

Rhode narrowed his eyes and extended his right arm.

A large red blade with steel chains appeared in his hand.

"Alright then, let's do it."

The leaves rustled to the chilly winds. Crystal prisms flickered in red as though responding to their callings. In an instant, the silent forest was filled with unprecedented clamor and countless pairs of scarlet eyes watching from the darkness.

The knight attacked.

Swish--!

It brandished the sword cleanly and mercilessly. Rhode instantly felt tremendous pressure from this attack that was mastered from countless battles. If he were an ordinary human... No, even if he were a swordsman in the Peak Elite Stage, perhaps this attack would have taken his life immediately.

But it was a pity that he wasn't one.

Clang!

Rhode swung his red blade and deflected the menacing strike. The knight flinched, but swiftly slashed its sword forward.

Good.

Rhode nodded in satisfaction. It was apparent that this was a pure knight without the garish and pride of the nobles and dignity of the swordsmen. Its sword was the sword of the battlefield-only two choices: either kill or be killed. It was due to this that it was so imposing in presence as though it bound its enemy to the chair and forced the enemy to make a decision-choose one out of the two choices. Judging from this aggression, perhaps this knight was around level 75.

There wasn't a third choice.

But... Its opponent was Rhode, the dragon soul heir. Such an attack wasn't threatening at all.

"Too slow!"

The steel chains wrapped around his arm shot forward at the slashing blade. Clang! Clang! They struck off the incoming blade and at this moment, Rhode burst forward with his sword. The knight hurriedly placed its sword before it.

The swords clashed.

Boom-!

The knight flew back upon impact and crashed a deep ravine on the ground. Rhode took out the knight in a single strike.

Well, the knight couldn't be blamed for being weak in combat against Rhode, who had awakened his dragon soul powers. At this moment, his constitution attributes were much higher than a max-level player with fully-equipped gears. Although Rhode hadn't reached level 75 yet, he was sure that no one was worthy of being his opponent, lest they were of Lydia's caliber. Moreover, he used Shira and if he didn't show any mercy, he would have split the knight into half entirely.

"Now..."

He gazed at the collapsed knight.

"... You should have made your decision now."

The knight didn't speak. Instead, it struggled and half-knelt in a respectful posture, lowering its head humbly.

After dealing with the [Undead Garden], the matters regarding the magic monster nests came to a temporary end. It wasn't because he was trying to avoid the Sky Whale but instead, there were a thousand things to do in this territory. Along his way as he searched for magic monster nests, he also visited the refuges and spoke to the refugees. Then, he discovered that they were a group of mad believers who would die for his orders. Apart from that, they were also rather odd in nature perhaps due to long periods of isolation from the outside world. Of course, Rhode wouldn't mind as long as they weren't lacking common sense. As for their residences, he used his dragon soul powers to restore and build some towns around the refuges.

He also discovered that there were more than 50,000 Order Refugees in the nine refuges. In addition to the 20,000 Order Refugees in Grandia, there were a total of 70,000. This number wasn't considered too big or small for a territory. If Rhode was only starting out, perhaps everyone would be starved to death. Fortunately, the refugees had their ways of surviving in the Land of Chaos for years, so there weren't many problems with food. On the contrary, traffic was a bigger problem, which would be left for Marlene to settle.

Apart from the Order Refugees, the refugees from other territories were equally important. Thanks to a certain idiotic overlord who fled without putting up a fight, the abandonment of his territory caused it to crumble and between 70 and 80 percent of refugees were either killed or had escaped. A huge number of refugees wandered and the Munn Kingdom found it difficult to manage them. Rhode spoke to Gillian through spiritual communications to gather as many refugees as possible and they would migrate to his territory after the absolute wall of Order vanished.

At this point in time, Gillian had gathered almost 40,000 refugees and settled them down in Grenbell temporarily. Of course, Grenbell had a hard time accommodating this sudden influx of population, but fortunately, the earnings from the sales of Holy Maiden Statues provided quite a sum of money, which he used to purchase large amounts of food for this crisis. But Gillian also mentioned that this was only a temporary solution because refugees were ultimately refugees. If Rhode didn't find any suitable residences for them soon enough, the refugees might possibly start riots. Currently, with Canary and Mini Bubble Gum watching them, they didn't dare to stir any trouble. Rhode had also gotten Gillian to pass down news that he had opened up the Void Territory and the thought of them having fertile land set the Order Refugees at ease.

But there would be occasional negligence despite extremely careful consideration. Rhode never expected that this problem would occur to him.