1073 Unexpected Negotiations
Meanwhile, Erin felt depressed.
Even though Ion handed the entire matter to her, she felt anxious for both sides. Since she was the moon princess of the Country of Darkness, she couldn't possibly commit treason. But on the other hand, she couldn't work half-heartedly for Rhode since he appointed her as a plenipotentiary representative. This wasn't because Erin had some emotional entanglement with Rhode. But instead, her innate character was similar to Lydia's; perfectionists who either perfected things or not accomplish it at all. In this case, slacking definitely didn't fit Erin. At this point in time, she wished that both sides would each take a step back. But she didn't know just how far the situation would go because Rhode currently had the upper hand. Despite that, she also had her own channels. Although she didn't hear what Rhode said back then, she knew that he was a tough person through their interactions and he would prefer to have no one winning than to concede to his enemy.
Besides, Erin knew that the Country of Darkness wasn't actually flawless. Relative to the strongest forces, the Country of Darkness was too weak. Currently, based on Erin's senses about the situation in the Void Territory, she knew that there were at least five to six people with about the same level of strength as the four legendary generals or were definitely stronger. Furthermore, the earlier clash also proved that her views were still conservative, with one dead and one injured among the four legendary generals, where even Balende almost failed to make it back alive!
Erin was confident that if the Void Territory and Country of Darkness were to break out in a war, the former might end up with heavy losses, while the latter would face much more trouble. As long as Rhode's subordinates took out all the formidable beings in the Country of Darkness, the Country of Darkness would crumble instantly. The formidable beings of the Country of Darkness grew over time and an unlimited amount of time let them prepare sufficiently. 50, 100, 300, 500, and 1000 years; many formidable beings in the Country of Darkness were, in fact, the model examples of how 'acquired diligence could make up for innate deficiencies and defects'. They might have lacked talents, but a sufficient amount of patience and wisdom ensured that as long as they had enough time, they could distinguish themselves. This was why the Country of Darkness had such a high level of battle strength, which was also a powerful guarantee of strength.
But if Rhode were to lead his men and eradicate them all, the Country of Darkness would be doomed because in terms of the improvement of strength, low-level undead creatures couldn't compete with humans at all. Perhaps after another 50 to 100 years, another batch of undead creatures would rise above others. But with that much time, many more formidable humans would have already distinguished themselves!
Once the Country of Darkness lost the advantage that time gave them, their advantage over other territories would be limited. It was apparent that Rhode could make them lose the advantage. Erin knew that Rhode was the sort of guy who would rather everyone die together than to have someone excel over him. In this case, Rhode was definitely capable of doing things to harm others without benefiting himself.
It was due to Erin's understanding of the dangers Rhode could bring to the Country of Darkness that she was so serious about her duties. But on the other hand, she was worried that Rhode would commit daylight robbery. If it were only an extortion of 'mental compensation', Erin wouldn't have much objection. But Rhode's ambitions were terrifying. For instance, he might request the Country of Darkness to withdraw from the territory that they occupied in the Country of Light… If that happened, there would be no room for negotiation at all. What was worse was that based on Erin's understanding of Rhode, she felt like the possibilities of him doing so were really high because he wasn't afraid of starting a war with the Country of Darkness.
On the contrary, Erin didn't want to start a war with the Void Territory, as it was like a clash between an ancient noble family and a newly-established noble family. The ancient noble family had time, deep, stable foundations, and countless family members. On the other hand, even though the newly-established noble family only had small areas of land, they were full of vigor. Although they didn't have many family members, they weren't weak either. After both sides erupted in a clash, the newly-established noble family might be crippled by the ancient noble family. However, they were young and energetic and would perhaps curl their lips and curse at the ancient family, at the very least. Even if they returned in defeat, they could continue to build new houses in their homeland. Perhaps this might be a good thing for them as tearing down the dilapidated wreckage would allow them to construct postmodern buildings with new, artistic styles. But what about the ancient noble family? Their centuries-old foundation would perish to nothingness. The once bustling family became cheerless and desolate. Buildings with historical heritage would be burned to ashes with only pieces of broken bricks remaining. Maybe some would be unwilling and dissatisfied, but would they be able to restore the glorious times of their ancient family?
No one knew.
'He who is down need not fear nor fall'. Perhaps Erin wasn't aware of this phrase, but the meaning was common. Be it victory or defeat when the Country of Darkness clashed with the Void Territory, the Country of Darkness would be the one suffering the loss. Besides, in consideration to the strength of Rhode and his subordinates, the chances of them winning were also hard to determine.
As of now, Erin didn't have any great solutions. If things didn't work out, she considered that she might need to sacrifice herself to make them work. When Ion sent her over to the Void Territory, he must have had a certain motive. If she was able to resolve the issue effortlessly, it would naturally be good news for her. She didn't feel wronged for sacrificing herself since she didn't meet any normal men after living in the Country of Darkness for so many years. On the other hand, Rhode was an interesting man to her. She genuinely wouldn't have any issues being with him. Besides, if she could settle the conflict between both sides due to being with him, she could kill two birds with one stone.
However, it would require the technical skills to get herself involved. Erin had the reserved personality of a princess, unlike some noble young ladies who were at the end of their ropes and could do nothing apart from docilely wrapping themselves up in bed. If this was the extent to Erin's abilities, negotiation would no longer be necessary. This was why before Erin arrived at the living room and saw Rhode, she repeatedly prepared to ensure that nothing would go wrong.
"Please wait here for a moment, Your Highness Erin."
Erin nodded with a smile at Marlene's hospitality. Shortly after, she realized Marlene gazing at her and seemed hesitant to speak. But before Erin asked, Marlene broke the silence.
"Erm… Your Highness Erin, there is something I need to inform you beforehand. Due to some reasons, you're not going to negotiate the terms with His Majesty Rhode."
"Huh? In other words, will you be the one to do it?"
Erin was taken aback. She couldn't help but knit her brows and gaze dubiously at Marlene. Before her arrival to the Void Territory, she had clearly mentioned to Marlene about her purpose in coming. It was due to this that she needed to discuss in detail with Rhode. If not, she could simply discuss with Marlene. But now, Marlene actually told her that she wouldn't be discussing with Rhode?
What does it mean? Could it be that His Majesty Rhode is trying to make me understand my lack of position in politics?
However, Marlene shook her head and denied.
"It won't be me, Your Highness Erin. But don't worry. The result of the negotiation shall represent His Majesty Rhode's intention…"
Marlene said and gave a bow to the moon princess. Then, she turned around and left, leaving Erin staring at her departure, totally unaware of what she meant. During this period of time in Grandia, Erin was clear of the political framework in the Void Territory. Rhode held the most authority in the entire territory, followed by Marlene, where she could fully represent him in some matters. But apart from her, Erin couldn't think of anyone else who had this authority. She thought that Marlene would be representing Rhode to negotiate with her, but… what is going on?
If it isn't Marlene, who is it?
But before Erin had the time to ponder, she received an answer.
Some light footsteps were heard from the corridor outside. She turned around and for some unknown reason, perhaps due to a woman's instincts, she felt like something was strange and unexpected. But she just couldn't figure out what it was, which was why she changed her posture and ensured that she kept her cool to face the situation. At this moment, the footsteps had gotten closer and finally stopped outside the living room door.
The door opened gradually and a slim and slender woman appeared before her.
Upon witnessing the person, Erin widened her eyes in astonishment and became absent-minded for a split second, standing up from her seat. She watched dazedly as the woman sauntered toward her. Who is she?
Erin sized up the young lady, startled. At first glance, Erin thought that she was Rhode's younger sister, Miss Christie, because they looked identical. But she quickly overthrew this thought because this younger sister was obviously older than Christie by a lot. Besides, she exuded an incomparable, mighty aura that was completely different and even more powerful than Rhode's imposing aura. Standing in front of her, Erin felt ill at ease, which was unimaginable and rare for Erin, who had a gentle and easy-going temperament. Shortly after, Erin sucked in a deep breath subtly to restore her calmness. She blinked and scanned the young lady curiously.
Then, she witnessed the young lady smiling at her gently and say, "You must be the moon princess of the Country of Darkness, Your Highness Erin? Nice to meet you…"