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924 The Banque

 Rhode wasn't surprised that Shane organized this banquet. After all, the merchants in Highland City had to be reassured after witnessing the series of ghastly murders that occurred the past few days. Although Shane didn't need to rely on these merchants to increase his fortune, he could use this opportunity to showcase his authority and control of the city. On the other hand, the merchants would be comforted and wouldn't spread words that would impact Shane's position.

But it was the message that Shane had gotten the soldier to pass on to Rhode that was amusing.

In fact, the Seren Trade Association existed. After Rhode had gotten Gillian to set up the intelligence network, he dispatched men to the Country of Light and established a small-scale and low-profile trade association that transacted on daily necessities like food. All members were basically locals and apart from Gillian spreading words that there was an incredibly beautiful young lady merchant leading the trade association, generally no one had ever seen Rhode's face. Of course, this was also for the sake of convenience. In private, Seren Trade Association was actually responsible for gathering intelligence spreading within the Country of Light and they would communicate them to Gillian. Gillian would filter the content and inform Rhode of their findings. Therefore, Rhode wasn't concerned if anyone would look up the Seren Trade Association because it existed. Now that several merchants from the Country of Light had arrived at Highland City, it wouldn't be astonishing if any of them who had transacted with the Seren Trade Association were to greet him.

But the problem was... 'Miranda' didn't have many friends.

So what did Shane mean by that message?

Could it be that Shane found out Rhode's true identity and was about to take actions during the banquet? He must be out of his mind if he did.

No matter what, Rhode wouldn't break his promise.

Because any conspiracies were meaningless.

Night fell shortly after.

Bright, dazzling torches erected around the Alanic manor illuminated every corner. Armored soldiers guarded the entrance and scanned every carriage for security measures. Merchants headed out of their carriages and conversed casually while savoring the delicious food and indulging in the melodious tunes of musical instruments. The entire hall was like a long-awaited, dreamy paradise.

This was a rare opportunity for the merchants to relax themselves. After all, they were deeply affected by the murder incidents. They couldn't be blamed since they weren't soldiers or mercenaries. Besides, things would be troublesome if something were to happen to them in foreign land. Therefore, they had been exceedingly nervous, but since the murderer was captured, they could finally let their hair down to drink alcohol, talk about business trends, and also butter up the Alanic Family. All in all, the atmosphere was incredibly lively.

While everyone had a great time, a pitch-black carriage arrived at the entrance of the manor. They turned around curiously and were instantly hooked.

The door opened.

Angelina clad in a black and white maid dress jumped out of the carriage lightly. She was as mesmerizing and elegant as an elf in the night sky. Her smooth, golden long hair bounced in her gentle movements and glowed faintly in the radiance of the bright torches. The white stockings that wrapped her slim legs and black leather boots were extraordinarily eye-catching. In fact, the male merchants were stunned as soon as they witnessed this gorgeous elf. Although Angelina seemed like a 13-years-old girl and her body was only beginning to develop, her face displayed the unique charm and allure of a mature woman. This attractiveness blended perfectly with her youthful appearance and set off an unforgettable and contrasting beauty. No matter the male or female merchants, all of them had the urge to drag her into their arms for a tight embrace to fulfill their desires for affections.

A bunch of lowly, filthy animals.

Angelina immediately sensed the gazes projected onto her. She swept a glance at everyone and let out an inward chuckle. She turned around humbly and extended her hand.

At this moment, another fair, delicate hand extended from the carriage and held onto Angelina's hand. Then, a slender figure stepped out of the carriage.

"..."

Many merchants instinctively sucked in a deep breath of cold air. If Angelina had mesmerized them before, this young lady could be said to have instantly shone an unprecedented brilliance into their world-she... was the world itself.

Even Angelina lifted her head and gazed at her master proudly.

Rhode wasn't dressed luxuriously and his outfit could even be considered plain for this occasion-a pitch-black, long-sleeved skirt complemented with a suede shawl. But not only did this outfit not lower the attention that he received, but it also accentuated a clean and unconventional elegance. If Angelina was said to be an alluring elf, 'Miranda' would be the princess of the night sky-high-class, refined, and a presence who people looked up to. In an instant, the lively music resounding in the manor became softer as though nothing in the world was comparable to her.

"You're here, Miss Miranda."

At this moment, Shane strode forward in large strides and a warm smile. He extended his hand and held onto Rhode's right hand passionately.

"Welcome. I'm delighted to see you. This dress fits perfectly on you, Miss Miranda. You're truly the most beautiful star of this evening."

"I'm flattered, Mr. Shane."

Rhode revealed a bright, graceful smile that dazzled Shane. Then, he quickly used this chance to retract his right hand.

"By the way, I didn't expect that you'd be able to capture the criminal so quickly and this definitely assures many foreign merchants like myself. I'm impressed that you have so much influence in Highland City, Mr. Shane."

"Hahaha. I should be the one feeling flattered, Miss Miranda."

Shane burst into a hearty laughter.

"We're all merchants and I, as a member of the Alanic Family, have the duty to ensure the safety of my peers. Highland City is in a bit of a mess right now, but it is only due to the cause of a bunch of clowns. Hmph! Don't worry, Miss Miranda. Those fools won't cause us trouble anymore. With the strength of our Alanic Family, not even the overlord of Void Territory will threaten us!"

"Oh?"

A mysterious glint flashed in Rhode's eyes. He gave a gentle chuckle.

"I'll leave those concerns in your care then, Mr. Shane."

"Leave them to me, Miss Miranda. I promise that no one will hurt you."

Shane stooped over for a bow and politely led Rhode into the manor. Angelina followed closely beside Rhode while curiously gazing at her master.

Is he really a man?

Angelina had had this doubt for a long time. Although Rhode wore a male noble attire when they first met, she didn't sense any manliness in him. But since everyone said so, she knew that she shouldn't probe this question. On the other hand, ever since coming to this city with him, the doubt in her mind grew increasingly deeper. At this moment, Rhode was as though a true noblewoman. His etiquette and even presence and grace were that of well-known figures within the dark nobles. Moreover, he had purposely compressed his voice to sound more feminine which made her have serious doubts about his true gender.

It went without saying that Angelina didn't display her dubious expression. But come to think of it, Rhode most likely would let her have a taste of his strong manliness if she ever raised her doubt. Of course, this would fulfill her secret mission too.

"By the way, Mr. Shane, I heard that my friend is here?"

Rhode asked curiously. He suspected that this was a trap, but it seemed like Shane didn't set up an ambush and there were no signs of Dark Elves anywhere. Could it be that my friends are really here for me? But when did 'Miranda' make any friends?

"Ah, yes, Miss Miranda. That young lady only arrived at Highland City this afternoon. She visited me and inadvertently spoke about you which is why she knows you're here. She seems really excited and has been looking forward to meeting you."

Shane gestured to the servant beside him.

"Please invite the young lady over."

The servant turned around and left immediately.

Shortly after, Rhode heard hurried footsteps. He turned around and witnessed a long, red-haired young lady in a blue dress scuttling toward him in excitement.

"Long time no see, Miss Miranda!"