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959 Order Integration

 Lilian felt great.

She followed Rhode and gazed at his familiar back in high spirits. She still remembered how baffled she was when she became one of the Creator Dragon Souls. She was at her wits' end. Even though Nalea was by her side, she was just a stranger. Lilian was completely stiff when walking on this dark passage and on the verge of bursting into tears. She couldn't remember how she passed the ceremony because her head was completely blank. She just did what others told her to. That ceremony left a relatively huge psychological trauma in her. In fact, even though she gained a lot of knowledge and learned about etiquette as a dragon soul heir, she was still a child with the title of the 'Light Dragon', which meant nothing to her. She wouldn't attend any other ceremony and owned no power in the Country of Light's affairs. She had also never seen anyone worshiping or respecting her. She didn't think that being the Light Dragon had any benefits at all.

It was due to these reasons that the previous ceremony was the first ever, official ceremony that she had attended. Back then she was so scared that her legs were shivering. She was alone, clueless, and the people around her weren't friendly at all, especially the Dark Dragon with his strong, mighty presence. She didn't know exactly how she hung on and when she finally regained her consciousness, she was in Lydia's arms, weeping.

Thereafter, Lilian opposed showing up for public ceremonies unless it was the Dragon Soul Ceremony.

If it were in the past, she would rather not attend this Order Ceremony. Even though she was an innocent child, she wasn't a foolish one. She knew that she couldn't compete with Ion, Siena, or Nalea in any aspect. Although she was also one of the dragon soul heirs, she didn't possess a level of authority or reputation like theirs and was only an ordinary child. This brought immense pressure to her shoulders. There was no common language between them. Ion, Siena, and Nalea were all high and mighty figures, but she couldn't even make a decision without the Light Parliament's approval.

But after learning that Rhode became the dragon soul heir, she was incomparably excited for the Order Ceremony. She wasn't dubious about his identity nor curious as to how he became a dragon soul heir. On the contrary, she accepted this fact quicker than anyone else. Or perhaps, she hoped that this was the truth because she had been lonely for too long.

She had no supporters in the entire Country of Light. Although Lydia treated her well, they were still in a master-subordinate relationship, after all. On the contrary, she didn't feel the same kind of care from Rhode. Instead, it was as though they were in an interrelated relationship which she never had with Lydia. This particular feeling became stronger after he became a dragon soul heir.

This was why she came here and her wish had finally come true. The person she missed was right before her eyes and just looking at him gave her a feeling of satisfaction, where not even the Dark Dragon was intimidating anymore. She was also rather envious that if it were possible, she would rather not have the identity of the Light Dragon and become one of those younger sisters who was always by his side. But... she knew that this was just a beautiful dream.

The door opened.

Radiance from behind the door escaped through the opening, merging with the dim passage into one. Rhode witnessed a study-room-sized circular space behind the door with small circles of mysterious floral patterns engraved on the floor, as well as five black circles on the enormous magic ritual.

"Please don't worry, Your Majesty Rhode."

Siena turned to him upon sensing his dubious gaze, but her solemn expression didn't seem convincing at all. If he weren't aware that she was just an unsmiling person, he wouldn't have taken her words seriously.

"This is an essential ceremony for dragon soul heirs. All you need to do is to stand there and the Order ring will respond to your dragon soul powers. You just have to release your power and accept the connection to Order. Even though Order is secure in your territory, it still isn't unified with the other territories. If this continues, the Order in your territory will derail from the entire continent, allowing Chaos to infiltrate through the gaps. The most important purpose of the Order Ceremony is to ensure every dragon soul heir has control over their dragon soul protection and to support the merge of Order for the continent. This prevents Order within the dragon soul protection from being destroyed upon the death of the dragon soul heir."

I see.

Rhode finally understood the true meaning behind this ceremony now. Just as Siena said, Order in the Dragon Soul Continent had to be unified. Although every territory performed differently under unique dragon soul protections, it was vital that Order was unified nonetheless. This was why the dragon soul heirs were gathered for this common awareness.

In other words, my territory used to be a regional network and is now connected to the global network?

Rhode nodded in agreement and followed Siena into the room.

"Hmph."

Ion scoffed before unwillingly standing in one of the five circles. On the other hand, Lilian tugged Rhode's sleeve and smiled at him before capering to one of the circles. Siena and Nalea also took their position and the latter showed a warm smile, gesturing to him with her extended hand. Rhode shrugged and went up to stand on the last empty circle.

"----"

All of a sudden, the faint ritual on the floor emanated a glistening, magical brilliance. Awhite light beam burst out of the circle from underneath Lilian's feet, followed by a black light beam from underneath Ion's. Then, the magical brilliance merged into two emerald-green light beams that erupted from underneath the twin dragons' feet. Shortly after, the four vibrant spiritual radiances followed their paths and linked up with the empty circle underneath Rhode's feet. Then, a golden light beam shone and shot up to the ceiling, enveloping him completely.

"Argh..."

At this moment, Rhode sensed four unique spiritual powers spiraling around him. Ion's power was the most overbearing, like a violent, bone-chilling wave that crashed into his body. The twin dragons' powers were massive too. Despite Nalea's muddle-headed personality, her spiritual power was as though a huge, spectacular mountain range while Siena's spiritual power felt extremely sharp as though he was in a hell of blades. On the other hand, Lilian's spiritual power was the weakest among them, with almost no sense of presence like gentle rays of the sun in the harsh, ice-cold winter. Although he sensed it, there was basically no warmth at all.

It seems like there's indeed a huge problem with Lilian's dragon soul power.

Rhode puckered his brows while recalling Sonia's report. In the past he couldn't confirm this point, but now, he was certain that her dragon soul power had been meddled with. If not, how could it be this weak?

Shortly after, he threw this thought aside because lines of system prompt appeared before his eyes.

[Detected Order Structure Network. Begin access... 3, 2, 1... Access complete. Verifying priority... Priority verification confirmed. Detected Dragon Soul Power. Begin scanning... 3, 2, 1... Confirmation complete. Connection to Judgment Dragon, Ruling Dragon, Light Dragon, and Dark Dragon complete. Order Structure Network connection interface open...]

"..."

Rhode swallowed his saliva anxiously. This scene reminded him of when the system went berserk twice after he transcended to the Legendary Stage and opened up the land of Chaos. Even though it seemed as though the system had only changed slightly, he felt that something was amiss because before the system rebooted, he saw something about [Connection]. He deduced that this system should be exclusive to him and the other dragon soul heirs didn't own one. How would he answer them if there were issues with the [Connecting Network]?

[... Connecting Network Structure. Activating Order Network Scan. Reactivating Third Interface...]

Rhode didn't realize that while he was focused on the system prompts, the expressions of the other four dragon soul heirs changed slightly. As dragon soul heirs who underwent this ceremony, they were all familiar with the process. In this process, all the dragon soul heirs would sense one another's powers. From a certain aspect, this was also considered a way to figure out each other's strength because the dragon soul powers represented the strength of the dragon soul heir and his or her territory. Not only that, but strong dragon soul power also provided benefits to the corresponding territory, such as increasing the number of talents who would appear, strengthening the devoted worshipers of the dragon soul heir, or improving the abilities to domesticate unique and precious magic monster nests. A huge reason why the Country of Darkness was so powerful was that the strength of undead creatures under the Dark Dragon's dragon soul protection was enhanced, which in turn, sped up their growth. On the other hand, the reason why the Country of Light remained so weak was mainly because the Light Dragon had trouble taking care of herself, not to mention providing strength to others. Besides, in the Country of Light, the only ones who truly had faith for the Light Dragon were... Yes, everyone knew that they didn't exist.

It could also be said that sensing one another's dragon soul powers was as though probing their overall strength, which not only included the dragon soul heirs, but also their people and subjects. This was also one of the main reasons why the Dark Dragon attacked the Country of Light.

The moment Rhode detected their spiritual powers, the other four dragon soul heirs also sensed his.

And they were flabbergasted.

"This is..."

Siena widened her eyes in shock as she turned to her elder sister. Rhode's dragon soul power was neither as overbearing as the Dark Dragon's nor as dazzling as the Light Dragon's. On the contrary, his dragon soul power was extremely serene like the land and sky. It existed and appeared exceedingly normal. But if one were to look closely, one would discover that this still force was endless like the world itself!

Ion twitched his brow. His dark eyes glinted with complicated emotions but only for a split second. On the other hand, Lilian didn't seem mindful about it. Even though she was surprised that Rhode's dragon soul power was so strong, she wasn't aware of the benefits in having dragon soul power, so she didn't know what to expect of it. But even so, she instinctively leaned toward Rhode as though hoping that the massive, peaceful power from him could counteract the Dark Dragon's.

[... First, Second, Third, Fourth Interfaces Activated. Order Network Connected. Transmission Stable... Power Synchronization Rate 85%. Activating Network Original Terminal...]

Rhode's heart skipped a beat.

Just as he expected, there was indeed a problem!

"---!"

Suddenly, the light circles underneath the feet of the four dragon soul heirs flickered. Not only that, but the instant the light circles flickered, they also sensed that their dragon soul powers were being absorbed!

"This is...?!"

Before Siena finished her sentence, the four light beams burst into the sky and enveloped all five of the dragon soul heirs completely.

[Begin Network Terminal Activation---Connecting---Signaling---Zeroth Node---Order Network Structure Reset. Original Signal Activated. Commence Connection---]

The invisible dragon soul powers exploded, blasting strong, destructive airflows to the surroundings. If they were in any other place, the area would have been demolished by now. But now, the dragon soul powers were slowly being absorbed. The complicated magic ritual underneath their feet gradually shone brighter and after a few moments, the five light beams vanished into nothingness, revealing the five dragon soul heirs once again.

But unlike before, everyone was drenched in sweat. Lilian instantly sat on the ground while Ion turned pale with beads of sweat collecting on his forehead. Rhode was no exception, but fortunately for him, he was mentally prepared for this third time after having two encounters with the system going berserk. He gazed at the final line of system prompt.

[---Plane of Existence Signal Activated---Order Network Terminal Reboot Complete. Link with Main System Successful]

[Code Conversion Completed---Deepest Labyrinth Signal Port Connection Complete. Outside World Synchronous Information Transfer Function Available]

Rhode knitted his brows.

It seems like I'll need to make a trip to the Deepest Labyrinth.