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960 Off-court Confrontation

 The light beams vanished and the atmosphere in the sacred palace was incredibly subtle. Siena and Nalea exchanged glances while Lilian sat on the ground, gasping for air. That mysterious ritual absorbed a lot of dragon soul powers where not even a powerful figure like Ion could handle it, not to mention Lilian.

"What happened?"

Ion shot a meaningful look at Rhode before turning to Siena and Nalea. Nalea's expression remained unchanged and on the contrary, Siena seemed rather awkward. She closed her eyes to have a sense of what happened before opening her eyes.

"My sincere apologies, Your Majesty Ion. Big Sister and I don't know why this happened. But after our analysis, we understand that the Order barrier connecting to the dragon soul protections have become stronger and more stable. I think..." Siena looked at Rhode. "... Perhaps this was because all five of us are present and this might have activated a certain spell within the magic ritual. After all, the heir of the Void Dragon hasn't shown up for a long time in this continent."

"..."

Ion didn't respond. He let out a cold snort and remained silent as though pondering over something. Rhode shrugged and went up to Lilian, extending his hand.

"Are you okay, Lilian?"

"... Yes..."

Lilian lifted her head and revealed a joyous grin, holding onto his hand.

"Thank you, Big Brother Rhode."

"You're welcome."

Rhode was astonished. He remembered clearly that this wasn't the way Lilian addressed him in the past. Why did she suddenly call him 'big brother'? Despite that, Rhode pulled her up gently and patted her head. Lilian narrowed her eyes like a comfortable kitten, which made him chuckled inwardly. At this moment, he heard Siena's voice.

"Your Majesty Rhode, you've had a hard day at this ceremony."

"It's fine."

Rhode waved his hand airily.

"But frankly speaking, I'm rather surprised that the ceremony ends so quickly... I thought it would take much longer."

What he said was sincerely from the bottom of his heart. In fact, he thought that this so-called Order Ceremony would be as grand and prosperous as the Midsummer Festival and Dragon Soul Ceremony, where there would be speeches from representatives and leaders, formal meetings, casual conversations, and whatnots... He didn't expect the ceremony to be so simple. But...

It shouldn't be as simple as it seems.

Confirming one another's strength through dragon soul powers and coming up with the corresponding response-from a certain aspect, this ceremony wasn't as simple as just maintaining the balance of Order. But Rhode wasn't too sure of what effect his system had taken during the ceremony. When Siena and Nalea began their checks, he activated the system interface and surprisingly realized that there weren't any changes. It was apparent that the system had indeed connected to some sort of a network and yet, there weren't any related 'network' options. So where exactly did that connected network go to?

"Alright then..."

Boom!

Suddenly, Rhode heard a deep, rumbling explosion. Although they were in a secret room and the explosion wasn't too loud, it didn't seem like a good sign at all. Almost at the same time, Nalea shrieked and covered her mouth with both hands.

"Oh no, it seems like they've gotten into a fight..."

"..."

For some unknown reason, Rhode suddenly had a bad feeling.

A dazzling, holy white radiance cut through the sky and engulfed the entire mountain. Then, a petite figure exploded forward in the blustering gale, crashing onto the blood-red barrier.

Boom! Boom! Boom!

In an instant, along with ear-deafening explosions, the incomparably weak blood-red barrier cracked and shattered into bits. Mini Bubble Gum dashed out with her right fist aiming for Ashvril. The Blood Countess looked on sternly, raising the black handheld fan and swinging it before her, where a dense aura of death burst at its target. But Mini Bubble Gum displayed a proud smile. She stretched out her left hand and suddenly, a golden spiritual ritual shrouded her and kept the death aura at bay. She tightened and hurled her right fist forward, landing on the black handheld fan in a powerful punch.

"---!"

The instant Mini Bubble Gum's fist crashed into Ashvril's handheld fan, she heard bone-chilling screams from the handheld fan and countless blue, eerie spirits flew and vanished in the holy, golden radiance. Ashvril turned ashen immediately.

"You..."

"Heh heh. How's that, bitch? You scared now?"

Mini Bubble Gum landed on her feet nimbly with a wide smile plastered across her face. Marlene stood behind her and rubbed her forehead helplessly. On the other hand, Alice didn't say a word as she continued to hug the book in her arms. Gillian sat on the stone chair leisurely, enjoying the bustling show. As for Canary, she sat beside the fox-eared young lady and didn't seem to have any intention of stopping the fight.

"Why? Weren't you in estrus and having a good time? Come get some, you swine. Instead of using those outdated abilities, you might as well strip naked and run laps around here. Don't act all innocent if you wanna be gang-raped. Look into the mirror and see how black you are. How dare you have the audacity to pretend as an innocent woman? Are you really that shameless, old woman?"

"You..."

Ashvril sulked. As the Blood Countess, such an extent of insult wasn't enough for her to take offense. But with the damage that Mini Bubble Gum dealt, the situation was completely different. Her handheld fan had broken to the attack, but it wasn't all. It was her favorite weapon, the 'Wraith Prison'. All enemy spirits she had killed were captured in the handheld fan, and not only could she imprison their spirits, but she could also use their strength and unique abilities. Whenever she was bored, she would also listen to their mournful groans. This handheld fan was considered her proudest weapon.

But now, not only did Mini Bubble Gum shatter the seal and release the imprisoned spirits, but she also purified them all! The amount of power in the handheld fan had decreased by two-thirds. She had spent centuries accumulating them!

But it only took an instant to wipe it clean!

Of course, Ashvril was the root of this problem. Even though she tried to probe everyone's strength earlier on, a leopard couldn't change its spots, after all. After the dragon soul heirs entered the deep palace, she began to sound out everyone. But to her surprise, Mini Bubble Gum, who seemed incredibly bored jumped, all of a sudden yelled, "You're asking for death, slut!" Then, she darted forward with her clenched fists. The four legendary generals didn't have the habit of enjoying blessings and enduring misfortune together. The instant Mini Bubble Gum launched her attack, the other three legendary generals retreated to the sides.

"You..."

"Why? Come if you dare! Do you think I'm afraid of killing you?"

Mini Bubble Gum swept a look of disdain, pointing with her right index finger while Ashvril gnashed her teeth fumingly. Among the four legendary generals, she wasn't one who was an expert in battle. Moreover, they were in the Country of Law and she would be unable to bear the consequences of failure after the Dark Dragon returned. Besides, she also wouldn't attain victory even if she put her entire mind into the battle because her strength wasn't enhanced like when she was in the Country of Darkness. Also, Mini Bubble Gum was a Cleric and her sacred spiritual spells were the nemesis of the undead. Even though the members supporting Mini Bubble Gum didn't seem to have the intention of joining the battle, Ashvril realized that the young lady named Canary had been staring at her like a predator sizing up its prey. Ashvril had no doubt that once she revealed any weakness, the young lady would definitely join hands with this little rascal and kill her!

She had no doubt that even if she were killed, none of the legendary generals would seek revenge for her. As for the Dark Dragon starting a war with the Void Territory for her sake... It had a higher chance of happening in her dreams. Perhaps even her subjects would be too busy fighting to take her place instead of seeking revenge. Revenge? What a joke. If the Void Territory were to slaughter her, her subjects would surely be popping champagnes and expressing their gratitude to the Void Territory!

Ashvril's head was spinning. She swore that if she knew such a crazy little rascal existed in the Void Territory, she wouldn't have tried to sound out their strength. It wasn't about Mini Bubble Gum's personality, but more like her extraordinary spiritual senses.

"Uh-oh, it seems like Ashvril is in trouble."

Erin chuckled softly while Lydia nodded in agreement. Back then, Lydia had personally witnessed how Mini Bubble Gum crippled the sword saint. She was obviously a Cleric, but was surprisingly fond of violence without considering the consequences. The Mist Sword Saint was a famous figure, but she crippled him without showing respect to the Country of Light. However, at this moment, Lydia wasn't focusing her attention on Mini Bubble Gum. Instead, she was silently looking at Canary.

She was clearly aware that this young lady was the person who controlled this battle.

Although Canary seemed really gentle, Lydia had already realized that deep down she was much wilder than Mini Bubble Gum. She often hid in the back, allowing Mini Bubble Gum to handle situations, and even overindulged her. Lydia knew that both of them were together all the time. If Canary was really as gentle, quiet, and mature as she seemed, she should surely have a certain degree of influence over Mini Bubble Gum. But on the contrary, Mini Bubble Gum didn't seem to have grown more mature and reliable and this revealed the problem.

But now...

Perhaps she was waiting for the opportunity to deal the fatal, killer blow.

Lydia narrowed her eyes. In fact, she had the same judgment as Ashvril. In this place, Ashvril had no intention of going all-out and besides, the arena also restricted her abilities. But on the other hand, it was apparent that Mini Bubble Gum and Canary wanted to take her out. Even though this seemed irresponsible and entailed serious consequences, Ashvril realized that her being killed was the least risky option. She was the vampire queen, but in the Country of Darkness she in fact didn't possess formidable strength. Besides, vampires were basically on the niche, elite route and weren't strong enough to create controversies. Ashvril was proudest of her subjects' abilities to gather intelligence, but the truth was that intelligence could be gathered by anyone and this didn't give her an edge...

Lydia sighed as she was truly envious of Rhode now. It wasn't due to the territory that he had, but more because of his stellar subjects who supported him greatly. Perhaps Mini Bubble Gum was purely eager to kill this woman who she disliked, but Canary must have seen through the strong relationships and ties within. It didn't matter if they killed or didn't kill Ashvril here because they succeeded in displaying their strength to everyone to create an effective deterrence, which was vital for a new territory. As long as the territory had enough deterrence, enemies lurking in the dark wouldn't be too tempted to make a move. This was a risky decision for people in the limelight, as they would face the most danger. But the fact that they chose to watch and support from the sidelines was enough to prove the problem.

If Her Majesty Lilian had so many talents around her, maybe I won't need to worry so much about her.

Lydia turned around and gazed at the two archangels for a few seconds before turning away. She had said her piece and it was up to them now to comprehend what she meant. Perhaps Serene was only sticking to the rules, but Boulder was the worrying one for Lydia because he was like an angry lion who didn't aim his sharp, deadly claws at the right enemies...

"What are you doing?"

Suddenly, a deep, stern voice sounded. Ashvril swiftly retreated and bowed deeply to the pitch-black shadow emerging from the passage.

"Your Majesty."

"Tsk."

Mini Bubble Gum clicked her tongue before ceasing her next attack and returning to the rest of the group. Canary stood up and patted Mini Bubble Gum's head and at this moment, the other four dragon soul heirs also appeared from the shadowy passage. Rhode knitted his brows at the sight of the messy, chaotic hall. But he simply shook his head and remained silent. On the other hand, Nalea rested her face on her hand and spoke with a smile.

"Oh no-no, this is getting a little too heated..."

"Sigh..."

Siena sighed to her elder sister's silly response.

At this moment, Ion suddenly turned around and went up to Rhode. Rhode narrowed his eyes and sized him up. Both of them were about equal height, but Rhode was much slimmer while Ion was more muscular. Lilian felt displeased as Ion approached Rhode in big strides, but even so, she didn't dare to retaliate. She merely glared at him before hiding behind Rhode.

"Is anything the matter?" Rhode asked. In fact, he and Ion didn't address each other up until this point, which represented the tense relationship between them.

"I heard you've met Erin, right?"

Ion didn't beat about the bush and got straight into the important topic. Even though Rhode didn't know why Ion asked this question, he still nodded.

"That's right."

"Good."

Ion nodded.

"Alright, she's yours then."

Ion spoke, turned away, and left, leaving Rhode gazing at his back dubiously...

Wait... What did he say again?