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Chapter 36 Act 5: Blue

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Author: Starving Wind Original Source: Joara Word Count: 4452 characters
Translator: Anonymouss English Source: Re:Library Word Count: 2898 words
Editor(s): Silva

A vast land colored in red clay spread out in front of my eyes. It looks to be the military training grounds of Exter city. Even now in this moment mercenaries were being teleported in, and soon they filled my vision.

But even among this large number of people, I couldn’t see a single guild member of the Chaos guild, it seemed like their military training ground differed from ours.

I try to deduce, thinking that they may be put in the area within the castle walls, but that wasn’t the important thing right now.

-Where are you?

Katalina sent me a whisper, as if she was searching for me as well.

-In the Exeter city military training ground.
-Me too, but there’s so many people that it’s too hard for me to look for you.

I agreed with Katalina. In this place that’s filled with several hundred people, trying to find someone was very difficult.

As I looked around for any clue in her whereabouts, my eyes caught a tall tower that was ‌far away from where I was. The round shape of the tower made it look more unique than the other usual towers.

-Then you see the tower ‌in the center within the castle walls, right? The tallest and roundest one.
-Where? Ah, I see it now. The one with three flags on it?

Looking at it more, there definitely were three flags mounted on the very top of the tower, fluttering in the wind.

-Yeah, that’s right.
-All right. Then shall we meet up in front of the tower?

But seeing as how there were also many people around the tower, I got the feeling that the problem will ‌persist.

-No, let’s meet at the top of the tower instead.
-Roger.

And so, I cut the whisper chat and went towards the tower while going through the crowd. Although I feel sorry for the other people, I had strength points reaching 1000, which is the equivalent of an ogre in terms of sheer strength, meaning I could easily push my way through the crowd. Every time I pushed one side away, many people were pushed away like a tidal wave.

“Argh! Who’s pushing!?”
“That person’s no joke. My strength reaches 800, yet I couldn’t do anything against them pushing me away.1
“Who is that!”

It seemed like they didn’t even think of the possibility that the person pushing could be a woman, as I could completely push past the crowd without being marked as suspicious from anyone as I made my way out of the crowd.

Since Katalina had every single one of her mage skills locked down currently, it seemed to me like she would have a lot of problems trying to move across the crowd. She likely lacks heavily in her strength stat, since she would have put it in intelligence instead.

But ‌I cannot help her even if I wanted to, so I entered the tower and headed towards the top.

The interior of the tower which had a spiral-shaped staircase inside was very dark, as I presumed. The lit torches were only enough to illuminate the outlines of the stairs, and there were too few windows that allowed light in.

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As the height of the tower is massive, it was understandable that there would be that many stairs that I would need to climb up, but as a knight with high strength and endurance to fit the bill, I didn’t have much trouble in reaching the top in a short amount of time.

Whoosh…

Once I opened the door at the top of the tower, a refreshing breeze came in. Whenever I feel this realistic rendition of how life would be in a world like this, it sometimes makes me confused whether or not this was reality.

Well, it’s because of how realistic it is that so many people around the world are completely addicted to playing this game.

-Are you still not here yet?
-…You already arrived at the top?
-Yeah.

She didn’t reply to my answer, but hearing how out of breath she sounded, I realized she must be still using every ‌bit of her strength to get up this tall tower. I decided that if I kept goading her to come faster in her whispers, we would end up having a fight, so I thought I should just use this as an opportunity to see the current situation that’s unfolding around me as I stepped close to the edge of the castle wall.

Far off in the distance, beyond the castle wall, I saw that there was a location filled with enormous amounts of users gathered around tents. It seems to me that it’s where they’re gathering the military. It felt like I was ‌witnessing an authentic life medieval castle siege taking place.

I also saw many Mangonel siege weapons around them and some gigantic trebuchets. There were also several battering rams and siege towers.

“Wow. Sure befits the size of the battle. They invested a lot of money‌.”

I could assess just how much the attacking guild was willing to invest into making sure that they are over-preparing for this siege attack since they wouldn’t be able to find someone to invest in this so they used money from their own pockets.

The usual siege battles that take place in any other guild war would only have half the numbers of the siege weapons and army size than this one.

But the Chaos guild which is the defending side in this battle didn’t skimp on preparing defenses either. The castle walls are tall and tough, and dozens of ballistae and catapults are installed in every strategic corner of the castle grounds, showing off equivalent power to hold back the attack.

“Huff… Huff. I thought I’d die there.”

Katalina was heaving heavily as she came up to my side.

“You’re finally here!”
“Yeah. Must be easy as a knight, Ellie.”

Katalina bluntly retorted to my greeting, seeing as how she was nearly dying from exhaustion while I looked completely fine with no sweat on my face.

“Come over here and have a look at that.”

I needed to change the subject, so I pulled Katalina’s hand and showed her the scenery that I was looking at.

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“What a spectacle.”

Not being able to fight back, Katalina just let her tired body be dragged by me over to the castle wall edge and gave a short evaluation of the scenery in front of her.

“The problem is that our decision wasn’t all that wise. This battle is set so that the side that’s attacking is at an advantage.”
“Hm?”

Hearing me, Katalina stared as if asking what I mean by that.

“Have a look at the sky.”

Katalina followed my order faithfully and looked up at the sky.

The usual clear and blue sky now had clear and defined numbers that indicated the scores of each side. It does make the user lose some immersion in the game, but it was a very effective way to easily tell everyone wanting to know just how the battle situation is going.

[Defence side: 5,000 VS Attack side: 15,000] 

It was a perfect 1 to 3 disadvantage in numbers that had basically 0% error margin to it.

“Ugh, we’re d000med~!”

Katalina started shouting some weird English words in anguish that I’ve never heard before, which sounded like they’re from internet forums. It seems like no matter what country you’re from, people who live their lives on the internet too long have a commonality between them.

Well, that doesn’t mean that I’m old or anything. Don’t misunderstand.

Katalina’s reaction made it obvious what’s happening. The minimum requirement to be successful in a siege attack, although it differs from each person’s judgment for how the attack is carried out, most people agree ‌you would require 3 times the amount of the usual army defending the castle.

In the game world of Blue Sky where magic and super powerful characters exist, that isn’t strictly always true, but if you considered if they used the same strategy they would use for any real siege battle, it’s clear that the attacking side is at an advantage right now.

Since they had 3 times the amount of attacking soldiers than our side, ‌they would have a clear advantage. We had put ourselves in this terrible situation because we assumed that defending a castle would be easier and relaxed than actively attacking a castle.

“Should we just give up right now?”

Katalina asked me with a serious tone. Even though the penalty ‌would be not being able to log into the game for a day and having 30 stat points reduced all across the board for a week, she probably still judged that it’s better than having the character die.

“But if you consider the profit we can gain from all this, this amount of risk was actually expected. You lose as much as you can gain, right?”
“Heh, you’re right. If it really gets bad, let’s decide at that point. The battle hasn’t even started yet, so just running away right now just because the situation looks ‌bleak makes us look like fools‌.”

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But considering that if you put together the numbers of both sides for this ‌battle, it would reach 20 thousand in numbers, and since there are 20 battles taking place, ‌it means that there are at least 400 thousand users taking place on both sides of this war. I ‌have memories of joining siege battles between guilds in the past, but it’s the first time I’ve seen a battle of this epic scale in all my 5 years of playing the game.

I remembered that the biggest guilds in Korea, Phoenix and Reaper had a war between them in the past, and now I wondered how many users were involved in the battle compared to this one.

Even though I tried my best to stop worrying about the state of Korea and my little sister living there, it kept popping up in the back of my mind, which may be attributed to the fact that I was a proud Korean who had lived as one since birth for 30 years until just recently.

[There are 5 minutes left before the commencement of the siege.] 

The moment of the clash had arrived. The mercenaries all crowded up against the castle wall like ants covering the entire land with black dots. I could see several elite Chaos guild soldiers starting to show up behind the mercenary line‌.

[Quest generated: Move towards the outer wall. If declined, your quest will be counted as failed.] 

Just as I expected, there was a reason ‌they put all the mercenaries behind the outer wall area. It seemed like the guild’s top management had reported to the guild master. The mercenaries all complained saying that this was a terrible treatment for them, but since they were hired to battle for them and the contract is binding them, they ‌put the mercenaries up as the front line of the defense as the guild has the least amount of faith on them to uphold their honor.

“We should get going then.”

I soon noticed that all my skills had been unlocked. I activated my ‘Wind Walk’ and swiftly dashed down the towers and walls that were built near the edge of the cliff.

I felt rushes of adrenaline and thrill as it felt like I was going down a fast roller coaster. After arriving at the ground level in a short amount of time, I eased the Wind Walk skill to a level where I just walked a bit faster than normal.

-You’re crazy!

I heard Katalina shout at me from far away behind me, but I didn’t pay any mind to it.

-I’ll see you at the outer wall.

I then dashed towards the outer wall without bothering to wait to hear her reply. It was finally battle time. A battle against not monsters, but other users.

When fighting against monsters controlled by AI, you can abuse their weak point in AI to take them down easily, but it’s hard to use the same ‌tactic in taking down actual human users. Your split-second decision and judgment all decide the outcome, and there are so many variables that just a bit of negligence can get you killed even as a high-ranking player.

Besides my first few years, I had ‌avoided joining as a mercenary for any guild wars purely because I was worried about getting my character killed.

But it was different this time.

To just sit and watch idly like a spectator when I have such powerful equipment and character status was completely unthinkable. The fact that I was this excited to join the fight made it obvious that I wanted to test my strength.

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-Wait up for me!

Even as I heard Katalina’s voice filled with complaints, I was still excited and happy.

Although I wasn’t running at the full speed I could muster, I still reached the outer wall faster than any other mercenary, and to claim the most advantageous position, I climbed the relatively tallest tower I could see. The tower ‌had a ballista installed on the top and was also a perfect choke point if enemies try to come up the tower since the spiral staircase makes it hard to all climb up at the same time. In the worst-case scenario, Katalina and I would end up being isolated at the top, but since we both have an easy way of escaping in that situation, it was actually helpful for us.

Instead of using the stairs inside the tower, I used the stepping stones on the castle walls to climb up the tower quickly. Soon after, I heard Katalina grumble at me as she landed on the top of the tower next to me with ease using her flight magic.

“Don’t do that next time. If you do, I’ll cast a curse on you while you’re in battle.”
“O-Okay.”

I ended up obeying her order as her complaint, which was closer to a threat, honestly frightened me. I was right to be scared since she was peerless in her power as a mage in all of Blue Sky’s servers. Even among the most powerful mages, she had the advantage of having many rare magic scrolls and knowing numerous spells thanks to her massive wealth, and her curse spells among them were the scariest.

Although curses require multiple finicky conditions that need to be satisfied before they can be activated, they are the easiest debuff to give to someone. Curses that ‌reduce the victim’s stats are child’s play. Starting from reducing a character’s movement speed, there are poison curses, reduction of resistance, et cetera. These kinds of curse magic are actually more frightening than powerful attack magic.

For curse magic, healers can cancel out the curse effect on you by using holy magic. Whether the curse magic can be canceled out by the healer depends on their level compared to how powerful the mage that cast the curse is. The number of priests that can undo a curse that Katalina casts could be counted on one hand, honestly.

“If you understand, then that’s fine. Why is this castle wall so shabby?”

Katalina kicked the crumbled and fallen pieces of the castle wall with her feet as she complained. To me, it seemed like she was taking out her anger on those rocks instead. Even so, it seems like she was being serious about her observation.

The outer castle walls were much more glaringly shabby and fallen apart than the inner castle walls.

I should be thankful that it’s not just a wooden barricade and a proper wall, but the materials were so weak that it was closer to calling them dirt rather than rocks.

“Looking at it, they probably left the outer walls 2~3 levels lower than the inner castle walls.”
“Even castle walls have levels?”

“Yep. You naturally learn this stuff when you become the owner of a land, but I guess you wouldn’t know since you never had any experience in becoming one. Simply put, castle walls start from level 1 and reach all the way up to level 10. The lower the level number is, the weaker its upgrades are. They were cheaping out on the costs for the wall. And that becomes very clear on the outer appearance and actual durability of the wall.”

“The inner castle walls ‌we were just at are around level 7~8 in my estimate, a pretty sturdy wall all in all. Of course, it’s not like the outer wall also needs to be at that level, but this is much worse than I thought, since I assumed it would be at least at level 5 or so. To me, it looks like they used their taxes to make profit rather than developing a solid foundation and structure.”

“So, this is a ‌rushed and cheap job.2
“Hm, I guess you could say that.”

Even just considering the objective truth that they were outnumbering us by 3 times was enough to drive me insane, but I had no time to blame anyone in particular. Enough time had passed for the system to warn us about the beginning of the battle.

[The battle has begun.]3 



References

  1. Robinxen: All shall crumble before the power of STATS!
  2. Robinxen: Isn’t everything?
  3. Robinxen: KLAXON!

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