"Uhaaa!" The Spear King, Hernandez, flashily swung his favorite weapon, the Parsus Spear of Ruin.
A demon's head shot out of his spear, gouging out the hearts of the approaching Empire Guild members.
Then, a sparking arrow came flying over. It was the Lightning Hunter, Han Seol.
"Damn it! Contact the guild! Tell them we need reinforcements!"
"I already did."
"We have to hold them off!"
The Empire Guild members raised their weapons and screamed.
They were in charge of the dungeon, 'Obelsk's Pillar'. Of course, they definitely weren't the Empire Guild's elite forces. Their elite forces were currently fighting in the Arabas Kingdom's civil war.
They were being attacked by the Spear King, Hernandez, the Lightning Hunter, Han Seol, and their guild's elites.
They requested reinforcements, but the battle had ended before reinforcements could come.
"That was easy." Hernandez grinned.
"Gale Squad, please look after this area," Han Seol said to Gale Squad's leader, I Like Cola.
"Yes, ma'am," I Like Cola replied immediately.
"Get an admission fee from anyone who wants to enter, and please look after the dungeon. That goes double for the boss. Ensure that no one else kills the boss," Han Seol ordered meticulously.
"Guildmaster, let's go to the next spot." Han Seol, who'd finished relaying orders, dragged Hernandez away.
"Ok!" Hernandez rested his spear on his shoulder.
"But why aren't we going for their soul dungeons? They're the most valuable."
They had information on the Empire Guild's soul dungeons too. However, Han Seol picked all of the places that weren't soul dungeons.
"You have to win a Sacred Duel in order to steal a soul dungeon. Dukeram will come out on the other end. Are you confident that you can beat him?"
"Yeah, I'll win."
"Say that after you're rank 1. You're not even rank 2 or 3; you're rank 8." Han Seol hit him where it hurts.
"That was over the line," Hernandez replied, looking sullen.
"That's just how it is."
"We don't have time. Let's hurry and get to the next dungeon."
"Alright, I got it already!"
* * *
The Empire Guild wasn't just sitting there and taking it.
"Those bastards! Gather all the troops you can spare. We're forming a squad to intercept the Storm Guild. And call all of our high rankers on standby," Jegal yelled.
12 of the Empire Guild's representatives, excluding Dukeram and their squad captains, had gathered in one place.
Black and White Sword, Ilion, Winka's Monk, Batul, Wildfire's Fireworks, Red Fighter, Cauron, etc.
They were all distinguished individuals. Anyone who played Arth would've already heard of them.
"Mr. Ilion will be in charge of intercepting the Storm Guild."
"Understood." Illion, a man who dual-wielded black and white swords, nodded his head.
"The Storm Guild is one of the 5 great guilds. You cannot afford to fight them head-on," Jegal insisted.
"Wait for them at our dungeons, ambush them, and then retreat."
"But we won't be able to protect our dungeons that way," Ilion said.
"There's no need. We can just reclaim them later. Our main priority is to buy as much time as we can, and weaken their forces. The worst case scenario is them taking our headquarters."
A guild's headquarters was their pride. And they couldn't afford to lose everything in their treasure house, which was stored deep within the guild, no matter what!
"The Brown Bear and Glacier Squads will soon complete their mission and return. Please buy as much time as possible until they arrive."
Then, the door opened and in came a guild member.
"We've lost the Historic Site, Patten!"
Patten was another one of their dungeons.
"Then they'll probably go after Amula Temple next. No, they won't go for our soul dungeons. It wouldn't matter if they did. Mr. Dukeram would crush Hernandez in a Sacred Duel. Mr. Illion, please go to Red Sand Castle. They'll go there next."
"I'll let you know if I get any new information."
Ilion nodded his head.
Jegal tapped Ilion's shoulder, and looked at the rest of the high rankers. Their steadfast expressions gave him some comfort.
"The interception squad is ready," Jegal's subordinate said via communication earring.
"How many did you gather?"
"A little bit more than 1,200."
"Please depart immediately," Jegal looked at Ilion and said.
"I'll do my best." Ilion, the high rankers, and the interception squad left headquarters.
Once the Storm Guild entered the giant sand castle, which looked like it was covered in blood, the Empire Guild's interception squad ambushed them.
"Attack!" Ilion yelled.
"Don't panic! Remain in formation! Start with long-range attacks!" Han Seol's cool voice calmed their forces down.
There was no chaos, no disorganization. The Storm Guild fought off the ambush as if nothing had happened.
"Spear King is too lofty of a title for you!"
Winka's Monk, Batul, Red Fighter, Cauron, and Wildfire's Fireworks engaged the Spear King, Hernandez.
"Haha. Finally, a challenge. Haahp!"
Though it was one against three, Hernandez wasn't being pushed back. The title, Spear King, wasn't just for show!
"Retreat," Ilion quickly yelled. The ambush had been completely ineffective, and his troops were slowly losing ground.
Since their retreat had been planned, the interception squad quickly escaped the dungeon.
"Why are they backing off so easily?" Hernandez tilted his head.
Han Seol crossed her arms and thought about it. Then, her eyes gleamed. "Let's attack their headquarters, not the dungeons."
"Their ambush and their strategic retreat is designed to buy time."
"Buy time, huh... So they're giving up their dungeons."
"Yes. They have something more important than their dungeons. Plus, if they buy enough time, they'll have enough forces to repel us."
"So that interception squad is the best they can throw at us at the moment."
"You really are smart. Stay with me forever."
"No thank you."
"Is that even a question? You like making a mess of things, but I'm always the one who has to clean up after you."
"I've been controlling myself lately."
"Yeah, I don't think so. Anyway, we don't have a lot of time. Let's head for the Empire Guild's headquarters."
* * *
The Red Thorn Forest was surrounded by people.
The Hercules Guild and its followers were to the south.
The Steel Heart Guild and its followers had set up a fortress to the east. As a guild of production workers, it seemed only natural.
The Breaker Guild and its allied forces were to the north. Their three squads, the Leopard Squad, the Lava Squad, and the Steel Sword Squad were all present. They assumed formation, and stood commandingly at the front. In terms of sheer size, the Breaker Guild's forces were the largest.
The Cerberus Alliance stayed within the dungeon and didn't come outside.
The four organizations watched and waited for their opportunity. Thus, nothing happened on the first day. Nothing happened on the second day either.
The tension was so thick you could cut it with a knife.
Considering how tense it was getting, it was clear that something would happen soon.
Gaming channels like TGN or GBS had already sent people to the Red Thorn Forest.
Three of the 5 great guilds had gathered here. And the Cerberus Alliance, an up-and-coming power, had assumed control of the dungeon.
There was a high chance that these four organizations would come to blows. This was an event that they couldn't afford to miss.
It was clear that this battle would determine the future power balance in Arth. Perhaps one of the guilds would fall to ruin.
On the third day...
When the sun was going down, the Cerberus Alliance unexpectedly made the first move. They left Ecle Palace and began fighting the Hercules Guild and its followers.
Why exactly was the Cerberus Alliance doing something so foolish? Why?
That reason was soon revealed to them.
Choosing to fight the Hercules Guild left Ecle Palace empty. Thus, the only ones with the forces to attack were the Breaker and Steel Heart Guilds.
The Steel Heart Guild obviously went in. Then, the Breaker Guild attacked them.
"Send the footage as soon as you get it. I'll kill you if another network gets it!"
"There's no time for subtitles. Just send me all of the important stuff!"
Seeing this, the gaming channels immediately recorded the guild war, and sent the footage to their team.
"Breaking news! A huge battle has broken out in the Red Thorn Forest. The Cerberus Alliance and the Hercules Guild are fighting against each other, while the Breaker Guild and the Steel Heart Guild are clashing head-on."
"The Cerberus Alliance attacked first. It must've been planned, as the Breaker Guild attacked the Steel Heart guild right after. There must have been some sort of secret deal between the two which allied them together."
"We'll show you the battle momentarily. Please stay tuned, and enjoy this enormous battle!"
The screen went to a forest filled with sharp, red barked trees. In-between the trees, countless people were screaming, swinging their weapons or casting spells.
"Reinforce the right flank!"
"I'm your opponent!"
Famous players could easily be seen throughout the battlefield too.
The Black Lion, Raon, God Hand, Arthand, and Sage Shion drew the most excitement. People were charmed by their natural charisma and skill.
The Black Lion, Raon, was a wall of despair. His body, which was far larger than the average player's, killed several people.
Arthand's combat prowess was incredible, so much so that it was hard to believe that he was a blacksmith. Whenever he swung his hammer, he would break swords and armor to pierces.
'Ah. They called him a Battle Blacksmith before he became popular as a craftsman.'
People began to recollect Arthand's old name and nodded their heads.
An existence that was capable of drawing out the full power of his equipment. An overgeared individual was probably the most powerful individual.
Shion could show his true abilities in a large-scale battle like this.
He summoned giant trees, roots, and carnivorous plants to ruin his enemies' formation, and cast AoE healing spells with a huge radius. Moreover, his spell, 'Transmigration of Souls', was a technique that only he could perform.
There were some individuals that gave just as strong of an impression as the three guilds' leaders.
Steel Heart's Nile!
He was the only player who hadn't died to the Black Lion, Raon.
However, Nile wasn't a high ranker. He was so skilled, however, that people believed he may one day enter the Numbers. Was he the 2nd Bart?
The Breaker Guild's Snow Flower played a huge role too. Her weapon, the Reaper of Souls, was truly an overpowered weapon. Of course, her skills allowed her to wield that weapon to its full potential.
The Cerberus Alliance's leaders, Jairus, Lee Tan, and Lion Heart, were reevaluated. They were showing skills far beyond people's expectations.
Several other strong players showed what they were made of too. At the same time, countless players were dying too.
They were lucky it was a game. If this was a war in real life, then it would've been gruesome.
Hacked or burned corpses lay across the battle. Some of the corpses were dried up husks like mummies. There were obviously some corpses that had been hit by so many arrows that they looked like hedgehogs.
In no time at all, the sky started to get dark.
"Everyone back off."
"We're returning to Ecle Palace!"
As if they'd made prior arrangements, the four organizations ceased hostilities and returned to their encampments.
No one could be considered the winner at this point in time. There were no overwhelming winners or losers, after all.
However, one of the organizations was on a high. It was the Cerberus Alliance.
"Haha, you all fought well."
"Let's do our best tomorrow too."
The fact that they were able to fight the Hercules Guild to standstill was a huge confidence booster.
The next day...
The four organizations fought, and they fought the next day too. However, there were still no clear winners or losers.
There were signs that it'd be a prolonged war.
Then, the intermediate and small guilds that hadn't involved themselves entered the war, and the battle only became larger as time passed.
* * *
Kang Oh ate lunch with Asu.
"Did you see Raon and Nile's fight?"
"Of course. It was amazing."
"Who do you think the final victor will be?"
"I'm not sure. The Breaker Guild looked the strongest to me."
The players at the table beside them kept talking about the battle in the Red Thorn Forest.
"They must be fighting every day," Asu said.
"There are several greedy dogs out there, but only one delicious bone. This war was inevitable."
"Yeah. I'm glad your guildmaster gave up on Ecle Palace. If she hadn't, then you all would've been at the center of it."
"You said she could get it back."
"Yeah, we'll definitely get it back. After I punish the Hercules Guild for hurting my girl."
Kang Oh was waiting for the right moment.
"I'm going to steal the bones they're hiding in their closet."
"What are you talking about?"
"You'll see." Kang Oh grinned.Previous Chapter Next Chapter