Chapter 122 - Bad Ending? (3)
When the V&V guild and the 8 other guilds announced their intention of sitting out the great battle, it didn't really cause much change to the overall flow of the great battle.
Of course, nothing was felt. The normal Users didn't feel much difference, because the announcement that the 9 guilds wouldn't participate was meaningless. This was like a politician earnestly spouting nonsense towards another politician.
The ones affected the most was the 30 great guilds.
‘What nonsense are these crazy bastards suddenly spouting?’
‘If they can't have it, then we can't have it either? Is that it?’
The rest of the 30 great guilds had planned on entering into the great battle at the right moment. Aside from the 9 guilds, the rest of the 30 guilds had to temporarily pause all the plans they had made.
Of course, this didn't mean the 9 guilds, who announced their non-participation, had a lot of influence or authority over the other guilds.
‘The one to step forward first will be hit the hardest.’
‘There is no need to be the first one to get bludgeoned.’
‘This might be better for us. The great battle is more difficult than expected. We should use this time to put our forces in order.’
In the end, everyone's choice came down to calculating the cost.
‘If we look at what's happening right now, the Corrupted army is dominating the battlefield. Eventually, they'll need us.’
‘We can still work at the individual level. We just have to keep our guild's name out of the spotlight.’
The ones, who were most affected aside from the 30 great guilds, was the Underfoot guilds.
While the 30 great guilds were punching figures into their calculators, the Underfoot guilds were aggressively participating in the great battle.
However, their participation couldn't change the tide of the battle. Still, there had only been consecutive losses before, but now there were increasing number of victories.
This was especially true for the Fighters guild. Whistling Pitbull's stellar performance was dazzling.
- Did the Fighters guild win again?
- He did it! He did it! Pitbull did it!
- Pitbull made a breach as he put his life on the line. The Users were sheeps without a shepherd, but now they have someone to flock towards. Someone really has to take the lead.
In truth, the Fighters guild more than likely would have lost their first foray into the great battle. They were using methods that had failed before. Their line of Tankers hadn't performed up to par, and the command structure had not been solidified. The mages rained down magic indiscriminately as they damaged allies and enemies equally.
In the end, everyone thought this was a wasted effort... The Users were getting ready to bail out quickly.
This was when Whistling Pitbull marshaled his comrades, and they charged forward.
“Break through! Burrow in as deep as you can! The side that can break through the other's battle line wins!”
Whistling Pitbull was going to be surrounded by monsters, but he didn't show a single ounce of fear. Whistling Pitbull unhesitatingly charged forward, and this sight changed the heart of some Users.
“All right. Let's try at least once. It isn't as if we can runaway forever.”
“If I wanted to run away all the time in a paid game, I would be playing Pacman.”
“Follow Whistling Pitbull in! We'll live if we stick together!”
The Users that had been about to run away changed their minds. They ran back into the battlefield, and they fought with Whistling Pitbull as they formed a wedge. Everything was resolved rapidly afterwards. The Corrupted army was broken in half, and the Corrupted army broke up further to form smaller groups. The Users defeated them one by one. Most of the Users weren't talented at fighting a large group like the Corrupted army, but they had a lot of experience in taking down small number of monsters.
The Fighters guild had broken the streak of losses, and they were somewhat able to direct the Users.
However, this method couldn't be replicated by others, and it wasn't an answer that would change the tide of the battle.
They needed a strategy instead of directions. They needed a tactic where anyone could copy it, and the result had to be certain. They needed a method where the effect could be seen immediately!
A User appeared to propose such a method.
“One of the special characteristics of the Corrupted army is the Siege mode where their vision narrows. If put in simpler terms, they won't stop marching even if the comrade next to them is killed. This is why it is very easy to hunt the monsters on the periphery while they are moving. This is what knowledgeable people call Gnawing.”
In the footage, there was a man wearing a red Hahoe Mask standing in front of a castle. He was pointing at the Corrupted Army, while he earnestly gave an explanation.
On another video, the Corrupted army had broken through the Castle gate. As if this wasn't enough, the Corrupted army broke down the castle wall, and they marched past the rubble.
“The fact that the castle gate and castle wall had fallen doesn't have to signal the end of a battle.”
In this video, the man wearing a red Hahoe Mask was giving an explanation again.
“Actually, this is the time to attack. When a castle gate is breached or a castle wall falls, there is something that will always happen! This congestion of traffic always happens! A small number of Tankers can buy time. At the same time, AOE magic can be used on the monsters stuck in the bottleneck. The effect would be beyond description. If you can maintain this line, the defense of the castle is possible.”
The footage switched to the sight of numerous buildings within the castle being destroyed.
“The buildings are incredible obstacles for the monsters. There is no reason why you shouldn't use the obstacles to your advantage. The street fights are the last battle before the castle is lost, but it is also the battle where the advantage is overwhelmingly in the User’s favor. Don't panic, because it is a street fight. Enjoy it. This will be the chance to participate in the most easiest hunts, so don't run away.”
It was a video regarding tactics.
The Hahoe Mask unhesitatingly put out videos where he showed tactics on how to defeat the Corrupted army.
The Users were brooding from the fact that they kept losing in the great battle. The video was like sweet water to the Users, who had suffered.
- I acknowledge this is a very good tip!
- It is as the Hahoe Mask said. You have to approach the Corrupted army laterally instead of a head-to-head contest. The battle becomes very easy. The Gnawing method is really sweet!
- He uploaded a jar of honey instead of videos. Thank you for the treat.
Of course, not everyone looked favourably on the Hahoe Mask's actions.
- Why did you reveal this? Take down the vids.
- Ah. Every time I'm trying to harvest some honey, bastards like you who are crazy about views mess everything up. Take down the vids!
- Hahoe Mask. Unless you want to cry from being PKed, pull the videos.
There were Users, who had been making a killing using the know-how dropped by Hyrkan. From their perspective, it was as if Hyrkan had broken the jar of honey they had been consuming. Of course, they didn't look favourably at Hyrkan's release of information.
However, it was the same for Hyrkan.
‘Shit. Do you think I'm doing this, because I like it?’
Hyrkan had been the one drinking the most from the honey pot he had revealed. Hyrkan had planned on using the methods he had revealed to earn the Great Battle's Hero title and other rewards. In truth, he had been taking full advantage of it until now.
However, the situation had changed.
The Users had to win the great battle. The result of the great battle was incredibly important to him. From Hyrkan's perspective, he had no choice.
‘I have to spread a lot of bait like this to reignite the interest of the regular Users.’
The string of defeats had caused a lot of disappointments, and a lot of Users had turned away from participating in the great battle. He needed to provide candies to turn them around.
Moreover, this wasn't the end. There was a limit on how many he can lure back with sweets. While the gaze of the Users were back on the stage of the great battle, he had to make their bodies burn with fighting spirit. He had to make their body itch from the need to participate in the great battle.
This meant his most difficult task was yet to be accomplished.
‘I'm working like a dog, yet what if the Ruined Kingdom Quest Route is different from what I know from before... If so, I'll find a way to blow up Tobosoft's server.’
It was an adequate distance away from Misandra's castle. Like the Misandra's Castle, the Shezga castle was where level 80 to level 100 Users stayed.
However, the Shezga castle's Subjugation Association was surrounded by a lot of users, who had already went through their 1st Advancement.
There were almost 1000 Users of varying classes present.
Normally, two to three thousand Users participated in great battles at castles, so this was a relatively low turn out. Of course, the expectation for victory at the Shezga castle was inevitably low.
This was when Hyrkan appeared in front of them. Unlike yesterday, he was wearing his red Hahoe Mask, and his appearance created a sensation.
“Uh? It's the Hahoe mask!”
“Thank you for the videos!”
“I'll take advantage of the tips you us.”
Accompanying Hyrkan's appearance, a great number of Users sent their goodwill towards him. Hyrkan left behind the crowd, and he entered the Subjugation Association. Unlike outside of the Subjugation Association building, there weren't that many people inside the building.
There were 12 Users.
These Users had been nominated, and they were given command of the forces that would be fighting in the great battle. They were given the title of Centurions.
When the Users kept losing, they realized they needed a command structure at the very least. They decided to gather in a group of 100 Users, and each group decided to nominate a group leader. Of course, this wasn't a prestigious seat. They were given command, but they were something akin to a leader of a college group project.
They weren't happy with the appearance of Hyrkan.
‘Why is the Hahoe Mask here?’
‘He always soloed everything up until now. There is no reason why he should show up here.’
They all were in agreement that the appearance of Hyrkan would help their beleaguered force, but Hyrkan had never operated with a group before. He was strictly an outsider.
This meant he had a purpose in coming here.
When Hyrkan entered the room, he immediately walked towards the Centurions.
There was a distance of about 15 meters between them and the door. About a dozen steps were taken by Hyrkan, and the sound of his steps pressed down hard on the slightly disordered atmosphere within the Subjugation Association. When he came to a stop, there was silence, and everyone stared at Hyrkan's mouth.
He opened his mouth.
“I want to command this great battle. Do you mind handing the operational authority to me?”
“We greatly admire the Hahoe Mask's exploits. If you ask for the operational authority, of course, we will give it to you.”
They gave their answer.
“Did you expect to hear some bullshit answer along that line? I hope not”
It was an unequivocal rejection.
At the same time, there was a vehement response to Hyrkan's request.
“You suddenly appeared here, and you are asking for the operational authority? Why should we give that to you?”
“If an outsiders saw this, they'll think we are your underlings by the way you treat us. However, we are utter strangers.”
This was to be expected.
The Hahoe Mask's fame was incredible. Of course, one's eyes would be blinded when staring at his fame, which was brilliant. Even though they were drunk on his fame, this didn't mean Hyrkan had a right to treat them as his servants.
The Centurions gathered here were all pretty high level, and they had a plethora of battle experience under them. They couldn't play the game as well as Hyrkan, but their passion and interest for this game weren't any less than Hyrkan.
“You can't give it to me?”
“If you immediately go outside and you are able to get 66% of the participating Users to sign a written consent, then we'll give you the operational authority to you.”
Hyrkan snorted at his words. They were asking for a written consent. It was possible in real life, but it was something impossible to do in Warlord.
“Let's make this simple. How about we decide this through PVP?”
Hyrkan gave a counter proposal. It was more of a provocation than a proposal.
“Why would we agree to such a crazy proposal? There are plenty of reasons on Youtube that says we shouldn't fight the Hahoe Mask.”
However, no one fell for his provocation. It wasn't about falling for it or not. This was normal in Warlord. Most of the Users in Warlord solved disagreements through words. It was rare to see a disagreement be solved through PVP or PK.
“If you insist on fighting your way, this will turn out like the battle at Misandra's castle. I have a decent plan in mind.”
“You don't know what we want. We are going to kill a decent amount of monsters then we'll escape. We didn't come here to win.”
Someone stood up from his seat, and he slowly walked to stand in front of Hyrkan. At his appearance, everyone shut their mouths. It seemed this person had a strong voice within the group of Centurions.
Hyrkan also recognized him when he checked his face. He unconsciously pursed his lips as if he was about to whistle.
‘Big K? The Submariner is here?’
Currently, he was level 175, and he was a magician that had gone through his 1st Advancement to become a Magus Magnus.
His nickname was the Submariner. He used to be a baseball player, and he used his underhand pitching form to throw his magic.
His method of delivery was unexpectedly quite effective. A great number of monsters had a high amount of defense against attacks coming from the front or the top. However, they were relatively vulnerable to an attack that exploded from the bottom.
Since he was a former baseball player, the accuracy of his magic couldn't even be compared to the normal Users.
Moreover, he was affiliated with the Red Bulls.
He had a pretty good gaming career, and there were no Underfoot guild present here. Of course, he was qualified to become a leader of such an undisciplined group of Users.
“We don't have to speak in length about this. I'll just lay out the main points.”
Big K confidently stood in front of Hyrkan, and he spoke in a sharp manner towards Hyrkan.
“We don't care about winning this fight. We don't have the ability to bring this about. We want to catch a decent amount of monsters before we slip away. We don't care if the Shezga castle falls or not. That is none of our business.”
Big K's words spelled out the group's intentions in no uncertain terms.
Those who wanted to win the great battle and successfully defend the castles were with Underfoot guilds already, since they had proven they could win. Moreover, the locations with the Underfoot guilds had Users ranging in number from 3 to 5 thousand. They were overflowing with fighting power, and their chances of defending the castles were quite high.
At the same time, the monster hunts were very competitive in those locations. There was a sense of achievement in winning, but one couldn't get a sufficient amount of EXP from those battles.
On the other hand, the Users that had gathered in number at the Shezga castle was at a location where the downfall of the castle was almost a certainty. However, there was no way there will be a shortage of monsters here.
Hyrkan knew this truth better than anyone. This was the reason why Hyrkan always went to stages where the odds were stacked.
If seen that way, Hyrkan was like an icon for defeat. Hyrkan had never moved the needle towards victory in the battles he participated in.
“So you guys are paying a lot of money to play like hyenas, who clamor over rotten meat?"
At that moment, Hyrkan tried another provocation.
Big K furrowed his eyebrows. In truth, Big K and the Centurions had been considerate to Hyrkan. In the first place, Hyrkan didn't have the authority to come in here and be so overbearing. If it was any other User, they would have chased him out. They were giving an explanation, because he was the Hahoe Mask.
However, there was a limit to anything.
“Hahoe Mask. Aren't you in the same boat as...”
“The plan is simple. You guys just fight like you had planned before. While you guys are engaged, I'll attack the Corrupted army from the rear.”
“From the rear?”
“What the hell is he talking about?”
Some of the Centurions reflexively protested to Hyrkan's plan. However, Hyrkan didn't give a reply to their questions.
“I planned on enlisting your help.... However, I don't need it anymore. By the look of you guys, you guys won't be of much help to me.”
Hyrkan just continued with what he had to say.
“Just don't interfere with my work. Since you saw the strategy videoes, I hope you can last long enough.”
He turned his back to them.
A desolate feeling descended, and a person standing at the very edge of this desolate atmosphere yelled out his words.
“Are you sure the Hahoe Mask isn't an 8th grader?”
“The Hahoe Mask said that?”
- The Centurions came to an agreement. We decided to take on a wait and see approach. Anyways, it isn't as if we can do anything about it. Instead, I had to chase him down to give him the address to the voice talk channel being used by the Centurions.
Chev had an incredulous expression on his face when he heard Big K's report. Of course, this was a sound-only communication, so it was impossible for Chev to express what he was feeling through his facial expression.
“Honestly, I'm dumbfounded.”
Chev used his words to describe what he was feeling.
“Isn't this the first time the Hahoe Mask has stepped forward for a fight? Doesn't that mean there is a chance for victory there?”
He was dumbfounded, but at the same time, he had questions. If one considered what the Hahoe Mask achieved up until now, this was worth paying attention to.
- He called it Eating the Tail.
“Eating the Tail?”
- He said he'll carry out the Gnawing strategy from the rear of the Corrupted army.
The instant he heard those words Chev could picture what Hyrkan was talking about. He drew out the strategy, Eating the Tail, inside his mind.
When he did, Chev's face once again hardened.
‘So that kind of maneuver can be used here.’
When the Corrupted army went into Siege mode, their vision narrowed. The knowledgeable Users were already aware of this fact, and most of the Users in the great battle found out about it when Hyrkan revealed it on his youtube video.
One could use this fact to laterally attack the Corrupted army. The Gnawing strategy was popular right now.
Once the Corrupted army moved past the Siege mode, the limited vision would move from the sides to the rear.
This new strategy would be effective.
Moreover, the Corrupted army never retreated. The risk of attacking from the rear might actually be less than the risk of attacking from the sides.
Of course, this strategy hadn't been verified yet. The result of Hahoe Mask's battle would bear out if his strategy worked or not.
Chev once again went over the Hahoe Mask's recent activities.
The Hahoe Mask worked hard by himself to reap all the benefits by himself. However, Hahoe Mask's recent pattern of activity had gone through a significant change. He was revealing all the know hows he had been using in the great battle. Moreover, he had come up with a new strategy, and he was about to test it out by himself.
‘Is he planning on becoming a hero?’
Chev immediately imagined what would happen if he willed the Shezga castle battle to a victory.
If one won a battle that was expected to be won, one couldn't become a hero.
A hero was someone, who snatched victory from the jaws of defeat.
If the Hahoe Mask could become a hero, the rights he would command would become very high.
“Good job, Big K.”
- It was nothing.
“Then let's end the call. I have to make an urgent call right now."
After the call ended, Chev immediately attempted to call someone. After a brief ringtone, a voice was heard from the other side.
“We'll have to bribe the Hahoe Mask.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter