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914 Territory Meeting

 Taking in Angelina was just a surprise for Rhode and what happened next was the main show.

As the refugees entered the Void Territory, the various facilities and structures were beginning to be perfected. At the same time, the surrounding territories and countries attempted to approach the Void Territory, with hopes to gain some benefits. Opening up the land of Chaos wasn't as simple as just adding a new territory. Due to millennia of Chaos wreaking havoc, the entire land of Chaos was filled with strong magical powers. It was due to the influence of the magical powers that almost every newly opened land of Chaos was filled with countless high-purity minerals and crystals. Not only that, but there were also all sorts of rare magical plants. As Order slowly recovered, the ruins shattered by Chaos showed themselves and revealed mysterious, ancient treasures, which attracted strong adventurers. In the game, many players would try their luck whenever a new land of Chaos was opened up. Although mercenaries didn't roam about like the fearless players, it was still absolutely possible that some would visit the Void Territory for adventures.

The most favorable evidence was that after the refugees settled down, the Land of Atonement received applications from the Church, Alchemist Association, Mercenary Association, and Mage Association. They were seeking permission from Rhode to branch out their organizations in the Void Territory. The Church valued followers while the Alchemist Association valued the various rare magic herbs. On the other hand, the Mercenary Association's main goal was naturally the ancient ruins. The Mage Association was highly interested in the crystal mines. All in all, in this new territory, there were just too many factors that attracted them here.

These applications were from non-official organizations. Although the various countries and territories had also dispatched their men, they hadn't immediately started formal diplomatic dealings. The reason was simple; they weren't sure of Rhode's position within the Munn Kingdom.

Rhode's identity had become the dragon soul heir now. Under such circumstances, formal diplomatic relations with him had to be extremely cautious. Non-official organizations like the Mercenary Association and Mage Association didn't need to be mindful because no matter what identity he had, he was the only ruler in this place. Therefore, as long as he didn't object to them establishing a presence here, they weren't concerned. But the rulers were different. They had to respond differently to his identity, be it economic, military, or diplomatic. An overlord definitely couldn't be compared to the ruler of a country and vice-versa.

Based on Gillian's intelligence network, Rhode heard rumors that the internal Country of Light was beginning to ridicule Lydia. They mocked her for being weaker than her subject as an Archangel. It was apparent that the Country of Light was sowing discord between Rhode and Lydia. But now... Rhode felt like he didn't need to care much about external relationships anymore.

Because an 'internal battle' was erupting before his eyes right now.

And it was only due to one reason-money.

As refugees swarmed into his territory, the various systems were integrated and this was where the problem stood out.

Firstly, Marlene needed a large sum of money to ensure safety in the refugees' resettlement, integration, and plans to develop the economy. Secondly, Orchid Heart expressed that she needed to select garrisons among the refugees to maintain peace and order and would require brand new sets of equipment. If not, they would be using clubs to chase intruders away. Next, while Rhode was troubling over these two issues, Lapis timidly knocked on his door and said that the standard of the magic weapons had been established. All she needed next was the finances to begin mass production. Lastly, Gillian told him that the intelligence network also required a huge sum of money to support...

Rhode couldn't possibly own so much money at the moment. Besides, although the mines had begun to take shape in his territory, he couldn't possibly turn them in for cash immediately while the facilities were extremely outdated. Currently, the reason for success was thanks to the experienced miners among the refugees. Although it was dangerous to mine in the underground, Rhode was fortunate that there were also open-air mines which could guarantee success in the operations.

A few days ago, he received news that the merchant alliance expressed that they were willing to help him develop the Void Territory in exchange for them to establish a presence here. It was this news that caused an uproar among his subordinates.

Many people felt that this was a great idea. The merchant alliance consisted of experienced, knowledgeable merchant associations with plenty of resources. If they were willing to help Rhode develop the Void Territory, the entire territory would grow at a much quicker pace. Besides, the merchant alliance also raised attractive conditions and low prices. They guaranteed that they could resolve all the problems including commercial circulation within the shortest time possible. They would take the risks on their shoulders while Rhode could count money in the comfort of his home. All they asked was that Rhode could provide them with some official support for their operation conveniences. By doing so, Rhode could save a huge amount of money from building the territory, at the same time strengthen external relations and commercial circulation. As for the military aspect, the merchant alliance was willing to provide reasonably-priced armor and weapons, so for the time being, Lapis could catch a break and start her new research.

However, Marlene strongly objected to this plan. Although it seemed convenient in all aspects, this meant that the entire operations of the territory would be in the hands of outsiders. After all, the people living in the Void Territory weren't only concerned about world peace or future military threat. They hoped for the basic needs of clothing, food, housing, and transport. If all these factors were controlled by outsiders, where would Rhode's dominance and presence be at? Wouldn't it be too late after the merchant alliance controlled the entire Void Territory and made decisions on behalf of the people?

As for the military issue, Marlene objected to purchasing armor and weapons from outsiders. The Senia Family was the leader of magical technologies in the Munn Kingdom and she knew how important it was for a country to own their arsenal of armor and weapons. The Void Territory wasn't just some vassal to the Country of Light. Once this reliance became a habit, it would be too late. Although Rhode's dragon soul protection was present, it was only effective on the people and wouldn't work well on outsiders.

The debates went on for a while and even though Marlene sounded reasonable, it was too risky because they didn't have enough finances to support all developments of the territory.

Although she admitted that doing things one step at a time would cause some issues, as long as they could maintain a good relationship with Munn Kingdom and receive support to strengthen their foundations, no obstacles couldn't be overcome. Even though this journey would be tougher, it would be a much better choice considering the blood rivers in the future. She didn't wish to witness yet another North-South civil war. Moreover, although the merchant alliance was a neutral organization, she was aware that they were linked to the Country of Light in countless ways. No matter what, she objected to letting the merchant alliance interfere with the Void Territory's construction.

It was mainly Marlene, Gillian, and Ann debating over the issues while others listened blankly. After all, mercenaries like Sol, Sovann, Randolf, and Joey weren't educated in politics. Listening to the three young ladies bickering left them dizzy. Everyone made sense but there also seemed to be flaws everywhere... The process was excruciating for them.

Canary and Mini Bubble Gum calmly watched the debate because such similar debates were common on the Internet. All in all, Rhode's attitude and decision was the most important to them.

"Stop."

Rhode knocked the table. The three young ladies quickly shut their mouths and turned around.

After he gained the ruling rights of the Void Territory, he didn't separate himself from everyone. After all, he wasn't a native of this world and didn't value his position as highly as they did. He wasn't used to sitting on the throne in the center of a dragon palace and giving his speech. He initially decided to form a round table meeting but after considering the plight of an unfortunate fellow, he gave up on this thought. After all, he didn't wish for his future son to betray him, divide the country, and stab him to death... This was just too ominous.

Therefore, he arranged for a rectangular table. He sat at the end of the table while others filled both sides of it, so it looked more like a family gathering than a solemn, political setting. Of course, he knew clearly that it was tough to create such an atmosphere with his subordinates with Anne already asleep on the table.

"Marlene is right. Although the merchant alliance can provide manpower and resources, I'm not used to handing over my controlling rights to others. We have to grasp our minerals and food. We can sell to them, but can never let them make the decisions on our behalf. I will let you handle it, Marlene. We can buy required tools and magic furnaces from the Munn Kingdom. I guess the Senia Family can also provide us with some."

"No problem, Rhode."

Marlene said.

Rhode learned from her that the Senia Family had prepared themselves to migrate to the Void Territory anytime now. This didn't surprise him at all. According to her, the Senia Family had been following the Void Dragon for a long, long time and now that the Void Dragon returned, it would be strange if they didn't move into his territory. It would be like a tiger that had grown wings if he could receive the Senia Family's assistance. But the Senia Family had been residing in the Munn Kingdom for years and he couldn't possibly bring them over as he wanted. Therefore, he would need to discuss with Lydia over this settlement issue in the future.

However, this didn't mean that the development of his territory would stop for now. In fact, he had picked out a great candidate.