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934 This isnt War

 Although autumn had been peaceful, it was suddenly disrupted by news that caused an uproar throughout the continent.

The Country of Light and Void Territory have gotten into an official dispute!

In fact, all the foreign organizations were mentally prepared for this because anyone who had investigated Rhode's history knew what kind of attitude he had toward the Country of Light. Moreover, due to the ownership issue of Highland City, the Country of Light and Void Territory were already in conflict. The Country of Light insisted on retaining ownership of Highland City by the rules of the 'Joint Agreement of Light'. On the other hand, the Void Territory disdained them and declared ownership of Highland City by the creation rule. The Void Territory urged the Light Parliament to shut their mouths and return to where they came from.

The large organizations watching the fires burning across the river knew that the Light Parliament had no chance of winning because the 'Joint Agreement of Light' was a formulated agreement by all territories under the Light Dragon soul protection for the sake of negotiating their territories. The 'Joint Agreement of Light' stood no chance against the creation rule which was approved by the five creator dragons. As long as the Void Territory reported this matter to the Country of Law for the twin dragons to give their judgment, the Void Territory would immediately gain ownership of Highland City. Therefore, it just didn't make sense for the Country of Light to hold onto Highland City now. Probably their actions were just to show the Void Territory that they were no pushovers. However, they were also aware that the series of violence happening during the election period had plummeted the Light Parliament's reputation. If the Country of Light were to hand over Highland City that easily, it would hurt the credibility of the Light Parliament. But come to think of it, did the Light Parliament have any credibility left?

It was due to this that the various organizations were curious to see how miserably the Light Parliament would end up. As the Light Parliament had always despised non-humans, there basically weren't many countries that were in a great relationship with them. It was naturally an enjoyable show to see how the Light Parliament would suffer.

All of this was within reason.

But unexpectedly, they didn't think that the Void Territory dared to take it so far to eliminate the 5000-soldiers border army!

An attack on the military meant the start of a war!

The various organizations were restless, especially the countries surrounding the Country of Light. They finally caught a break from the hectic war against the Country of Darkness and in less than a year, the Country of Light was about to start a war with the Void Territory? Are you kidding me right now?!

The Country of Light and Void Territory had provided sufficient reasons of their own for this conflict.

The Light Parliament expressed that Highland City was a city within the control of Country of Light, so their army had the authority to be stationed in the city. Yet, the Void Territory occupied Highland City and had even launched merciless attacks on the Country of Light's border army!

On the other hand, the Void Territory asserted that the Country of Light's border army trespassed their territory, which was under the Void Dragon soul protection, without permission and this action was the same as declaring a war. The reason for their attacks on the border army was simply an act of self-defense. Of course, if the Light Parliament were willing to admit their fault, apologize, and make up for their mistakes, the Void Territory would be willing to sit down for peaceful negotiations...

Rhode had always spared no efforts in his hatred toward the Country of Light.

The infuriated Light Parliament gave a series of commands such as severing all business deals with the Void Territory, prohibiting trade associations in the Country of Light from entering the Void Territory for business, and forbid the Void Territory from engaging in commercial trades in the Country of Light. Not only that, but they also requested the Void Territory to surrender the culprit who attacked the border army and dispatched two to three armies to the border for live exercises to apply pressure on the Void Territory.

Void Territory didn't feel pressured at all since they had no intention of maintaining a diplomatic relationship with the Light Parliament. Have as much fun as you want as long as you don't mess with my territory. If not, I'll kill whatever number of troops you send over. Since you're capable, why don't you gather all the people in your country and send them to my Void Territory? I don't mind slaughtering them all...

Although this wasn't what was written in the official letter, the meaning was about the same. The dense murderous intent startled the surrounding organizations. They had never seen a territory that was so smug to challenge the Country of Light. Although the Void Territory wasn't under the Light Dragon soul protection, they were still a new territory without a huge population after all. On the contrary, the Country of Light had existed for thousands of years and had a massive population. As the saying went, 'a centipede dies but never falls down'. Even though the Country of Light was in a terrible state after the war with the Country of Darkness, they were still a great nation that shouldn't be belittled. If not, the surrounding nations would have already teamed up and shredded them into bits. On the contrary, the Void Territory confidently expressed that they would slaughter all enemies who arrived in their land. Did they really have this capability? Or were they just deliberately mystifying their strength?

Shortly after, the Void Territory answered their doubts. The instant the Light Parliament dispatched an army of almost 15,000 soldiers into the Void Territory in the name of live exercise, roaring thunder and holy radiance instantly burned them to ashes. It took less than five minutes before the 15,000 soldiers vanished from the surface of the world.

Three people stood in the center of attention after this battle.

Gillian, Canary, and Mini Bubble Gum.

Canary and Mini Bubble Gum had been reputable since a long time ago. After all, one was a Mage and the other was a Cleric. The latter had even influenced the churches greatly with her skills and broken the invisible rule of 'Clerics aren't supposed to be on the front lines'. Mini Bubble Gum had taken a lot of credit for the evolution of the churches' combat system, which was why most people knew about her. However, this was all that the public learned about her, as well as Canary. Although they were powerful, the only time they truly revealed their strength was during their fight with the Duke Fiend, a certain annoying Sword Saint from the Country of Light, and against the Moon Princess Erin. Even though they performed amazingly against formidable foes, ordinary humans couldn't sense their mighty powers after all, unlike Erin or Lydia who had broken through the limits of the Legendary Stage. Ordinary humans only knew that they were powerful but didn't know to what extent... Until now.

An army of 15,000 soldiers was completely wiped out with the swing of an arm. In other words, they were burned to ashes before they had the chance to retaliate.

If it were only Canary who attacked, the people could still accept the truth. After all, Mages were natural experts in AOE attacks. Any Mage who entered above the Middle Circle could more or less cast an impressive AOE spell. It wasn't tough for the spell to be seen as a world-ending attack as long as the effects were there. But Mini Bubble Gum surprised them. Although there were several attacking spells among the wide range of spiritual spells, humans held high resistance against spiritual spells and there was a limit to the harm that spiritual spells could bring. However, not only did Mini Bubble Gum trounce the border army with 5000 soldiers using her bare hands, but she also annihilated a huge part of the 15,000 soldiers. This went to show that she shouldn't be judged by the general concepts as a Cleric.

As for Gillian, even though she had been around Rhode from almost the beginning, most people actually weren't aware of her true identity. Apart from knowing that she was a half-beast, they knew nothing more about this fox-eared young lady. But now, they finally learned that she was the fire elemental lord.

As one of the four elemental lords, Gillian, with the mastery of fire, could be considered to have supreme strength-enough to take on the four legendary generals and three archangels. Although everyone already knew that the Void Territory was powerful, they were still stunned to know that such a formidable person existed.

However, Gillian, Canary, and Mini Bubble Gum were only forces on the surface for Rhode.

One of the biggest reasons why Rhode was so arrogant was because he wanted to display his strength as a form of 'nuclear deterrence'. Why were the Country of Light, Country of Darkness, and Country of Law able to maintain a balance with one another? The answer was that 'nuclear deterrence' played a huge role in it. Other than Canary, Mini Bubble Gum, and Gillian, Rhode still had Marlene and Christie. As for Alice, even though he hoped that she could lend him a hand, this young lady who was a spirit of the library often vanished without a trace. Rhode tried asking the other Christie about this, but her answer was baffling. All in all, according to the other Christie, Alice would show up when he needed her assistance.

Although it didn't sound reliable, that was all that he could do for now.

As for whether the Country of Light dared to get the three archangels involved, Rhode didn't even need to consider. Lydia surely wouldn't listen to the Light Parliament's commands. If it were in the past, he would be rather worried if the other two came knocking on his door. But now with two Deity Wardens, he didn't need to regard them as highly. If the Country of Light were so foolish to attack him using the human wave attack, he wouldn't mind showing them why flowers were so red.

This wasn't a war.

That's right. In his mind, this wasn't considered a war at all.

Instead, it was more like a bloody slaughter.

The Void Dragon soul protection would plummet the level of any enemies who entered the Void Territory by 10 instantly. In other words, even if there were 10,000 level 40 human warriors, they would be forcefully downgraded to level 30. At level 30, they were no different from fish in the pond in Canary's and Mini Bubble Gum's eyes. Moreover, Void Territory had a buff to speed up the recovery rate of spiritual powers which was disgustingly beneficial for them as spell casters.

Not only that, but Rhode also hoped that the Country of Light would send more enemies because right now, Canary, Mini Bubble Gum, and him were in the 'party mode'. According to party rules, the max-leveled characters wouldn't receive EXP so all the EXP would be taken by Rhode, who wasn't at the max level. In other words, while Mini Bubble Gum and Canary eradicated the enemies, Rhode could shake his leg, sip his tea, listen to music, and take in all the EXP...

He got to show off his strength while gaining EXP at the same time-welcome to the new age.

Although this amount of EXP was nothing much for him as the EXP from defeating 10 level 40 soldiers was half the EXP gained from killing one monster of his current level, no matter how small the mosquito was, it was still meat to him, after all. It beat working for EXP himself, wasn't it?

Under Clive's management, Highland City was slowly getting back on track. Most of the rioters died to the undead army and some were killed by the Bow Knights. The remaining people were captured, tried, and executed. Thereafter, Rhode also began cleaning up the city and everything was peaceful. As for why the Void Territory appeared at such a coincidental time, Clive had gotten his subordinates to explain to the people of Highland City.

Rhode gazed at the horizon in the distance. The Country of Light couldn't really be considered an ensemble of idiots because they did have some powerful beings among them. Even though they couldn't be compared to Canary and Mini Bubble Gum, they more or less possessed some strength. Besides, they had been in the Country of Light for a long time and the country itself possessed considerable deterrence. If not, the Country of Light would have crumbled a long time ago. Although Canary and Mini Bubble Gum were indeed strong, their popularity was still lacking. It was truly a pity. If it weren't for the fact that they couldn't leave the Void Territory...

"Phew... It felt awesome!"

Mini Bubble Gum laid down on the soft grassland and admired the mesmerizing stars in the night sky. She let out a satisfied yawn and reached for the cup of warm tea and delicious biscuits. On the other side, Canary was reading a hardcover book like a girl from a wealthy family. They seemed like a couple of sisters on an outing... If one were to neglect the nearby charred ground that had as though been bombarded by massive explosions.

The view from above was much more baffling, as there was a clear line dividing the grassland that they were on from the blackened ground. The line was as though a transparent barrier separating both worlds; one side was a leisure tea party while the other was a battlefield enveloped in the aura of death and blazing with billows of black smoke (though it didn't sound right to mention the 'aura of death' since all spirits were instantly purified by Mini Bubble Gum).

"Heh heh, how was it, Big Sister? I was right this time, eh? I knew that Leader would surely agree to our conditions with our 'unlucky looting aura'."

Mini Bubble Gum grinned proudly while picking up a biscuit.

"Hahaha. Leader may be smart but my 135 IQ isn't there for show either! Heh heh, although we're only projections in this world, we're considered humans too. I'd go bonkers if I was restricted by the system all day. Big Sister, you can tolerate it, but I can't. Heh heh. We're in for more fun now; not sure what's the next bunch of worthless trash the Country of Light will send. The more the merrier though, 'cause what we faced today was nothing!"

"We just have to wait patiently, since Rhode said that they won't give up so easily. Besides, the Country of Light is known for courting disasters in the game, so don't worry, you'll have your fun."

Canary smiled and shook her head at Mini Bubble Gum who was rolling about boringly. In fact, the situation was fairly simple. Mini Bubble Gum knew that Rhode had intention of attacking Highland City, but she was somewhat resentful that he took the benefits of all the good stuff. Therefore, after her discussion with Canary, she confirmed her plan. She knew that Rhode was always ruthless in his missions and not even her acting cute would help at all.

This was why she came up with this 'unlucky looting aura' scheme.

Canary and her used their 'unlucky looting aura' to force Rhode into stopping their actions and negotiating conditions. As a result, everything worked out as planned. Mini Bubble Gum couldn't feel better after slaughtering so many Country of Light NPCs, especially after she witnessed the soldiers crying for help and the look of despair when they discovered the holy barrier stopping their retreat.

But...

"Sigh... How I wish that I can break free from this fate..."

Canary sighed while gazing at her hands. After all, not everyone was willing to resign themselves to fate, especially in such a situation. Canary smiled, thinking of how envious her other self in the real world would be. Although in the past, she did wish to be in a game forever, she didn't expect her wish to be fulfilled in this manner. From a certain extent, although she was a projection, she was much more fortunate than her real self.

Canary shifted her gaze to Mini Bubble Gum.

"Bubble, what do you think?"

"Huh, think about what? Big Sister?"

"What do you think of this world? If you can, do you want to return to where we came from?"

"Ah... Not really."

Mini Bubble Gum showed a bitter look and waved her tiny hand as though she had eaten something bad.

"Although I can't visit the forum and make posts like I did in the game, it's much more fun here. Besides, my house is always empty. My mom died early while my dad brings home different step-moms every time. Heh... I think that perhaps my real self would be the murdered victim of a love triangle. I would have been pushed down the stairs by my step-mom for trying to obtain my father's assets. Ah... It's still best to be here. I have my powers and can do whatever I want. With Leader and you around, this is an awesome paradise! Wait till we conquer the Dragon Soul Continent-the Stars Ocean will be next! Then, this world will all be ours! Wahahaha!"

Well... Considering her age... I suppose this is all I can expect.

"It's good to have ideas, but now..."

Canary drank the remaining tea, stood up, and gazed at the sky.

"We should do what we need to."

As she spoke, a glimmering magical radiance flashed in the pitch-black sky like a meteor streaking across the sky. Then suddenly, it crashed on the ground in front of them and a dozen people wielding staffs and clad in magical robes appeared before them.