Originally, Rhode planned to find a spot to rest around Moonlight Lake. But that thought was forced to change after the Silver Wolf was killed. Although such a feature was not in the game, intuition told him the stench of blood would attract more unnecessary trouble. As the sun begun to set, Rhode decided on a relatively flat area in the upper reaches of Moonlight Lake.
After Leiya cooked some dinner, Rhode returned to his role as sentinel. It may be harsh on the body, but taking into consideration that he was the only one familiar with the Forest of Night, there was no way around this. Not to mention that he was the only one with any fighting capabilities. Even though the fat merchant, Metz, also volunteered to help, but looking at his chubby body, both Rhode and Leiya were completely unconvinced. And so, the fat merchant could only sit idly on the packs brought from the wrecked ship.
Comparatively, Leiya was constantly busy. Currently, she knelt beside Rhode and carefully inspected his left shoulder.
“Aliymia” (Draconic language: Repair)
Accompanied by the girl’s melodic words, a touch of white light emerged from her palm and wrapped around the shoulder. In Dragon Soul Continent, the Draconic language is generally used to cast spells. As almost 70% of magic was brought by the Dragons ever since the foundation of the world. As for the rest, they were created by the angels, elves, demons, and spirits. These races were originally created and guarded by the Creation Dragons. Hence, they also inherited the magical talent and longer lifespans of the dragons. This is a commonality shared between the Republic of Light, the Kingdom of Night, and the Kingdom of Law. No matter the differences in the political system of each kingdom, the highest position will always be held by the Holders of the Dragon Soul. From there, the line of nobility is followed by the angels, demons, elves, spirits, and then the humans.
Of course, due to the different political systems, the class composition of each country differs dramatically. The Kingdom of Night, with a monarchical system, is relatively strict with no humans in the upper echelons of power. The Republic of Light is a parliamentary democracy with half of its top members being human. The Kingdom of Law has a very balanced composition for its upper class. The angels, elves, and humans each constitute a third. Due to the religious sovereignty of the Kingdom of Law, this balance is a perfect choice.
Rhode knew all sorts of lore regarding this continent. However, he can’t help but remain worried as he also knows what will happen in the future. Players can turn away from the game at any time. After all, a game is a game. But not him. Rhode’s now a part of this lore. Then, in the face of the coming disaster, what should he do?
“Mr. Rhode… Um, Mr. Rhode?”
“Yes, what is it?”
Leiya’s call awakened Rhode from his thoughts. Leiya finally regained her usual appearance. Although there was the occasional anxiety that showed between her brows but considering the look of suicide before, it was much better.
“There is something.”
Leiya shook her head as she said seriously.
“I felt something as we were fighting with the wind-snakes.”
As he heard it, Rhode furrowed his brow.
“Why do you think that?”
“I felt some darkness from that leader of the wind-snakes.”
She sighed dejectedly.
“However, it was very faint almost undetectable… Mr. Rhode, wind-snakes shouldn’t be darkness creatures.”
Of course not, wind-snakes belongs to the wind-type and the darkness attribute shouldn’t be present. But…
“Are you sure?”
“Yes, I’m sure.”
The girl’s confident answer plunged Rhode into deep contemplation. He recalled back to this time in the lore. The successive attacks by the wind-snakes on the cargo ships caused considerable losses. After starting an investigation, the Republic of Light claimed that these attacks were manipulated by the nomadic tribes that inhabited the disputed areas within the Kingdom of Night. The Republic of Light then send troops to seize the area and eradicate the inhabitants. Because of this act, the Kingdom of Night quickly responded. This time, it was not limited to simply reclaiming the area. Rather, it ignited a full-scale invasion of the Republic of Light.
This period of history took place during the beta period when Rhode and other players were busy getting acquainted with the new environment. The new systems and style took enough of their attention and they paid little attention to the deeper context of this event. By the end of the beta, the game officially opened and there was a large influx of players. But by then, the conflict between the Republic of Light and Kingdom of Night had already escalated to the point of war. As for what exactly happened, it’s a point of contention between the players. Some think it’s a failed attempt by the Republic of Light to regain some of its territory. Other conspiracy theorists think it was a deliberate scheme by the Kingdom of Night to justify starting a war and achieve its goal of expansion. The most common theory is that the Republic of Light had been eyeing the Kingdom of Night for a long time. However, they had underestimated the ferocity of the counter-attack. Of course, the players held no position within this conflict. These theories were all motivated by personal preferences.
For these statements, Rhode thinks there are some truths. The disputed area is rich with crystal deposits, an important resource for any country. There was no reason for the Republic of Light to skip on taking it over. Also, the Kingdom of Night’s young ruler, Ian, was incredibly powerful and decisive. Until the middle of the war, even the most cunning players could be nothing compared to him. It was once rumored that Ian wasn’t an NPC, but was directly controlled by the game company.
But now that Rhode thought about it. The second theory was the closest to the current situation.
Leiya’s feeling shouldn’t be wrong. As a light-attribute creature, angels were very sensitive to the dark attribute. So, it was plausible to say that this wind-snake group was a deliberate attack by the Kingdom of Night as a precursor to a full-scale attack republic of Light.
However, things don’t seem so simple.
“Leiya, don’t tell anyone about this.”
“Alright, Mr. Rhode.”
Leiya nodded and focus returned to examining the injury.
“Your injuries are much better. If there are no mishaps, you’ll recover in five or six days.”
Rhodes nodded and expressed his gratitude. Afterwards, he focused on the lines of data that resurfaced in his vision.
His body was already mostly recovered. Before too long, he’ll be able to move freely once again. By then, Rhode will have a whole lot of things to take care of.
But with so many problems, which one should be resolved first?
Rhode wrinkled his brow and fell back into contemplation…
At that time, at the place where the flying ship crashed, two people slowly walked out of the forest.
“This is the boat that you said?”
The man coldly said, his body was covered with a white and graceful armor with an engraved motif lined with a shimmering gold thread. Had Rhode been present he would have recognized it as an Officer of the Republic of Light’s Border Guard Division.
Standing behind the man was another person in a black cloak. His whole appearance was hidden.
“They killed my messenger.”
The husky voice echoed through the Forest of Night and gave a chilling danger.
“To be so dirty in killing a group of second-rate mercenaries, it seems your pet is really incompetent.
“This is not my fault!”
The voice in the black cloak growled angrily.
“If you could find me a higher level… a Dominating level… no, even a Controlling-level lord. I would not have to use such low creatures!”
“What a joke. Domination-level?”
The man scoffed.
“Who do you think we are? We’re only responsible for providing resources. Your matters must be done by yourself. If we could do everything then why do you think you’re here?”
The man said with some displeasure before his tone slowed.
“How long do you need to get started again?”
“It’ll take at least half a month. Do you think it’s easy to find a snake that can be manipulated?”
“Do it within ten days and we’ll double your pay.”
The man in shiny armor threw out a purse filled with coins.
“Ten days, I want to see you resume by then.”
The purse fell to the ground with a clatter. A wrinkled hand extended out of the black cloak and grabbed the bag.
“Very well, ten days. I’ll follow the agreement.”
“I hope you understand that there cannot be anyone else that knows of this.”
“Of course I understand… By the way, it seems that there were two or three rats who ran away from this ship. Should I go and get rid of them?”
The armored man waved his hand.
“I have my own plans.”
The black cloaked man gave a cold laugh.
“Fine then, I’ll see what you have in plan then.”
A mass of shadows wrapped around the black cloak. After a few moments, the black mist dissipated and nothing remained. The armored man’s face showed a hint of disgust as he looked at the spot where the cloaked man disappeared from.
“Greedy wretch, soon his bones will be nothing more than ashes!”
He grimaced before he looked at the forest with a thoughtful expression. With one hand on his hilt and a hand over his mouth, he whistled into the skies.
Soon, a griffin hovered down from the sky and landed in the opening. At the same time, three figures quietly emerged from the depths of the woods.
“Go deal with the three that escaped.”
He ordered indifferently.