A Mad Lion Beast slowly collapsed as Warscar pulled his axe violently from its throat. "The way is clear. All we need to do now is to go forward, and we’ll be crossing into Frost Stained Canyon. Should we march right in and head straight to Dragonsnake Devil’s Den, or should we send a couple of scouts to check out the area first, guild leader?"
I made the Ancient Divine Dragon rise slowly into the air while answering, "I’ll scout. You guys wait here until I give you all a signal. More specifically, I’ll be maintaining contact with Hickey while I’m inside the map, so just do whatever Hickey tells you to do. Frost Stained Canyon is a new map, and we don’t know what kind of mob resides in this map. Entering carelessly may result in huge casualties."
Warscar nodded. He would never question my order.
Hickey cautioned. "Be careful, boss!"
The Ancient Divine Dragon let out a guttural growl, and we vanished into the sky as a beam of dark silver light.
The wind howled beside my ears as I crouched behind my dragon’s back. I could barely keep my eyes open as I gripped my sword with one hand and held the vine with the other. I also activated Dark Pupils while moving the Ancient Divine Dragon to about 500 yards above the ground where the clouds were. Those on the ground had a slim chance of spotting me, but I could definitely see them with the aid of Dark Pupils.
The ground was covered in a lush ancient forest. It was as if the whole map had been unearthed from the underground. Many high-level monsters were lurking beneath the large trees and swaying leaves, and while I couldn’t see them clearly from above Dark Pupils gave me a clear insight to their stats—
Cyanblade Tiger, a Level 248 fiend-rank mob with super high Attack and low HP. Its body was covered in armor that looked like cyan-colored blades.
Southern Barbarian Elephant, a Level 250 fiend-rank mob with super high HP and pretty good Attack. It was a hard-hitting tank, and it wouldn’t be easy to defeat.
Dark Hunter, a Level 250 fiend-rank mob with a humanoid appearance. It was a wandering assassin with concealment abilities, and it killed its opponent by ambushing them with a dagger.
Basically, the mobs here were much stronger than both the mobs in Bonecrush Forest and Zephyr Valley. The average player would find it difficult to traverse this map, but thankfully the Godkiller guild had surpassed the average line a while ago, not to mention that we had 21k Zephyr Cavalrymen and a good number of priests. At the very least, they wouldn’t be one-shot by a Level 250 fiend-rank mob.
I flew almost five kilometers before drawing a route on the world map. Then, I shared it with Hickey and said, "Follow this route to the point I marked, Hickey. Relatively speaking, it’s the route with the least amount of mobs. Also, tell everyone to avoid killing the mobs as much as possible. We are for the Ascension Proof in Dragonsnake Devil’s Den, not grinding the new map."
Hickey replied, "Got it. Stay in touch!"
Suddenly, a bunch of red dots appeared from the southwest corner of the map. They were obviously players.
I immediately turned a corner and flew toward their location. When the clouds parted in front of me, I was greeted by the sight of a ton of unaffiliated players. They numbered around twenty thousand, and they were led by none other than Beast Trainer himself. The Beast Soul players were slowly pushing their way through an area that was overflowing with Southern Barbarian Elephants, a Level 250 fiend-rank mob. This wouldn’t be easy for them.
A Southern Barbarian Elephant let out an earthshaking roar as it thrust its sharp tusk upward and skewered an unfortunate player. It then raised its forefeet, used a skill called Stamp and killed an entire group of magic knights. The Level 250 fiend-rank mob possessed an incredible Attack, not to mention that the average level of Beast Soul’s players was only 180 or so, and a large majority of them weren’t even seventh-promotion. There was no chance they could’ve survived a Level 250 fiend-rank mob’s rampage.
"Stop the seven elephants over on that side! Archers, work harder! Slow them with Freezing Arrows and CC them with Shock Arrows! Mages, focus them down with Touch of the Dragonkiss! Don’t let our frontliners die for nothing! Also, do not steal the dead’s equipment, you fucking idiots! Who do you think is tanking the elephants for you? Those who died, run back to your corpse as soon as possible and continue tanking the mobs! The guild promises to compensate you 100 gold for each time you die!"
Even from where I was, I could see green veins popping on Beast Trainer’s face. He continued ordering, "Make sure you attack in echelons! No matter what happens, we must enter Dragonsnake Devil’s Den ahead of Godkiller and become the first guild to have a Divine General in Iron Skull Wilderness!"
Next to him, his vice leader, an archer, asked, "What do we do if the Indians come to Dragonsnake Devil’s Den too, boss? We may not be a match for them, and they gave us 1000 Beast King mounts when we signed a contract of alliance with them. Are we sure we want to go against our own ally?"
Beast Trainer sneered. "Ally? A contract of alliance is just a method to deceive your opponent. From the beginning, Breeze and Rain was just using us to put a dent on Broken Halberd Sinks Into Sand’s growth in Iron Skull Wilderness. Let me put it this way: if Breeze and Rain tries to take Dragonsnake Devil’s Den from us, then they are the ones who break the contract first, not us!"
The archer smiled. "I understand. The guild leader is wise!"
I stifled a chuckle as I eavesdropped on their conversation. The country bumpkins of Beast Soul had no idea about the kind of trouble they were walking into. This was just the edge of Frost Stained Canyon, and they were already dying in droves. So what if they ultimately managed to enter Dragonsnake Devil’s Den ahead of us? All that would achieve was the boss camping their dead bodies. Beast Trainer was right to say that a contract of alliance was just another method to deceive one another though. Good power and judgment were the two elements that truly determined the winds of war, not an ally’s promise.
I sent a message to Hickey: "Beast Soul has entered Frost Stained Canyon. They’re close to coordinates (11237, 00387), which isn’t too far away from our forces. Be careful, and try to avoid crossing paths with them as much as possible. There is no need to waste any energy on them when the mobs will take them out for us."
Hickey chuckled. "Got it!"
With that done, I turned the Ancient Divine Dragon around and flew toward the center of Frost Stained Canyon. Even from afar, I could see that a sheen of silver that looked like some sort of frost stain had covered the ground. It was obviously how Frost Stained Canyon came by its name. The ground was crawling with all sorts of animals and worms, and there was a necropolis to the right where countless undead creatures roamed the land. There was a tall mountain range at the heart of the map, and at the bottom of it was a pitch black cave with seemingly no end. It was obviously the Dragonsnake Devil’s Den.
I was about to order the Ancient Divine Dragon to get a closer look when an unnatural gust of wind suddenly blasted my face. A dozen or so flying mobs had detected our presence and were attacking us! They were bats with sharp teeth and a wingspan of about two meters. They made screeching noises, and the text above their heads stated—
Dark Bats (Fiend)
Skills: Bite, Dark Gouge, Dark Net
The dozen of Dark Bats let out a horrible screech before chomping their teeth around the Ancient Divine Dragon’s forelegs at once, eliciting an immediate cry of pain. Although I didn’t lose too much HP, the one attack had cost me a total of 15% mount tenacity. This cannot continue!
I moved my dragon to the back and used Thousand Ice Slash!
The skill froze more than half of the Dark Bats, and I hurriedly beat a hasty escape. The airspace of Dragonsnake Devil’s Den was clearly not a place to linger around.
I kept withdrawing while slashing at the pursuing Dark Bats, leeching as much HP as I could. In the end, I was barely able to escape with 40% left in my HP bar. I let out a sigh of relief as some of the mobs turned into many tiny pieces. The Ancient Divine Dragon was strong, but in the sky, not even a god could battle against a whole group of mobs and leave unscathed.
"What is your progress, Hickey?" I turned on the communicator and asked.
Hickey replied while panting heavily, "We’re currently killing some Southern Barbarian Elephants. We’ve been following the route you marked, and we are about an hour away from Dragonsnake’s Devil Den. Taking the time we spent to clear the mobs into consideration, we should arrive at our destination in two hours or so. What about you, boss? I saw your HP bouncing up and down on the party screen just now. Were you attacked by enemy players or something?"
I shook my head. "No, I almost got killed by some aerial mobs!"
While I was retreating, another group of red dots appeared at the edge of the world map. It was again another group of enemy players.
I ascended above the clouds and scanned the ground with Dark Pupils. I saw a man riding through the forest with a cautious expression and speaking to his subordinates, "We are about 10 minutes away from Dragonsnake Devil’s Den. There are Level 250+ fiend-rank mobs everywhere in this map, so let’s take this slow and prioritize our own safety. Also, send out the assassins to scout out the map. I want to know every corner of Frost Stained Valley. This Ascension Proof is Cyan Earth City’s!"
"Yes, vice leader!"
Obviously, the young man was none other than the vice leader of Cyan Beast and the second strongest player of Cyan Earth City, Breeze and Rain himself.
Breeze and Rain had shown up far earlier than expected, and after some thinking I arrived at the only answer. The Agility Warrior was already marching into Iron Skull Wilderness a couple of hours ago, but halfway toward his destination, the system suddenly announced the generation of Dragonsnake’s Devil Den. He was already on his way to conquer Iron Skull Wilderness anyway, so he thought that he might as well take care of Dragonsnake Devil’s Den first.
It was bad. Beast Soul might not possess the strength to threaten Godkiller, but Cyan Beast was a completely different story.
"Boss? Why did you fall silent all of a sudden?" Hickey asked me.
I replied solemnly, "Cyan Beast has entered the center of Frost Stained Canyon. They’ll reach Dragonsnake Devil’s Den in half an hour at most…"
"What?" Hickey exclaimed in shock, "How did they arrive so quickly?"
"How else? They must’ve already been marching to attack us a couple of hours ago. Anyway, I don’t know their exact numbers yet, but I can tell you that there are a lot of them. Be careful and send out the assassins to scout the area. Don’t let Cyan Beast ambush us."
"Got it. When are you coming back, boss? We need you here."
"I’m coming back right now."
"Got it. We’ll be waiting!"
I made my way back to Godkiller. Despite my aerial advantage, assassins were ultimately more suited for scouting. Assuming that the sky was clear, all the enemy needed to do was to look up to spot me. And even if that wasn’t the case, Entering the wrong airspace meant that I would have to endure the Dark Bats’ harassment. It simply wasn’t worth the effort.
A while later, I glided back down to the Godkiller players and slashed a Southern Barbarian Elephant in the process. Hickey let out a sigh of relief at the sight of me and said, "It takes too long to kill the elephants. Their Defense is just insane!"
Warscar also commented, "Hickey’s S2 set is more geared toward defensive than offensive. She just doesn’t have your firepower, guild leader!"
Hickey pouted. "You realize that your comparison is skewed, right? How many people do you think have our boss's firepower?"
After that, she looked to the distance and said, "Oh right, how are we going to deal with Breeze and Rain and Cyan Beast, boss? Do we focus on contesting the Dragonsnake Devil’s Den, or?"
Warscar gave his axe a swing. "It’s simple. All we need to do is to cut off Breeze and Rain’s head!"
I rolled my eyes at his simple-minded suggestion. "If only it was that simple…"
I looked at Hickey and ordered, "Send out some high-level assassins to scout out their location and figure out their exact numbers."
"Okay. What do we do after that?"
"After that…" I thought for a moment before clenching my fists in determination. "We kill them all in three hours, no matter how many troops Breeze and Rain brought with him!"Previous Chapter Next Chapter