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V57C7P1 – The Sculptural Creatures’ Resolve
Kaybern’s final moment!
The giant structure that was the Black Dragon fell across the ground.
The dragon is dead!
We defeated the dragon together.
Shout with me! We finally won! We stopped the destruction of Versailles!
The players in Morata shouted enthusiastically.
“Is it over? At last?”
“I think it’s really the end.”
The Hermes Guild members who fought with all their might collapsed to the ground while the players of the a.s.sault squad frantically confirmed the lives of their comrades.
The dragon’s magic slaughtered hundreds of squad members at once, leaving a huge number of casualties. That being said, the losses suffered by the Hermes Guild was indescribable. Especially the final three minutes, the concentrated firepower led to a peak in the number of victims.
Mage Lamifter searched for survivors.
“Where is Bard Ray-nim?”
“He is not responding. It seems he died along with the dragon.”
“What about Arkhim-nim?”
“He also seems to have met the same fate.”
Over 80% of the Hermes Guild members who fought on the back of Kaybern until the final second died. The surviving commanders gathered and chatted.
“Did Bard Ray-nim really die at such a moment?”
“That would be because too many attacks were focused on both the dragon and our allies.”
“I suppose so.”
“It’s incredible that he held until the end. If it wasn’t for Bard Ray-nim…”
“I didn’t think he could fight so well while leading us with orders.”
The Hermes Guild knew all too well that they couldn’t blame anyone for their losses. Ally fire was undoubtedly a factor in the loss of Bard Ray and his personal guards.
The firepower of the mage unit was the most powerful and was carried out with the least mercy.
Just who could have stopped their magic spells in that moment?
However, two players rose to their feet among the debris near the Black Dragon’s fallen body.
“Hey. run, hurry.”
“Yeah. Let’s bail right now.”
Margaux and Glen.
The two had survived out of the four backstabbers.
“K-huhuhuhu. We pulled off a grand slam.”
“Shh. We need to take this to our graves.”
When Kaybern was on the brink of death, the backstabbing four pounced as they shouted to hunt the dragon. But, that was a trick.
Two days prior, they were contemplating.
“Yo. Don’t you think we are too obedient?”
“Yeah. We followed Weed’s orders without question.”
“It’s time we rebel for once. How about setting Morata on fire and stirring something up?”
The backstabbing four dreamt of a coup d’etat, but the chances of success were almost non-existent.
“The best players will be packed inside Morata, and I’m sure we will die before we can do something.”
“Do you realize how vengeful Weed is? His revenge is probably never ending. That is a lifelong fear.”
Margo pulled out a dagger from his inner chest pocket.
“Me. I have a poison dagger. How about I use this in the battle?”
“A dagger? I don’t think a dagger will do you much good against a dragon.”
“There’s more to slice other than the dragon. Especially Weed or Bard Ray…”
The four turned anxious.
The G.o.d of War, Weed.
G.o.dly Warrior, Bard Ray.
The two players’ names were nailed in their ears throughout their playtime in Royal Road.
Margo’s demonic whisper tempted his comrades.
“Near the end of the dragon hunt, it will be chaos over who will land the final blow.”
“The level requirement of this dagger is 700. So, I enter the battle after the bold use of the Brazier of Sacrifice. Then I aim for either Weed or Bard Ray.”
“Gasp! I think that’s a bit too dangerous.”
“Unimaginably dangerous. Still, everyone will be focused on the dragon, and the Hermes Guild members would be wearing magic resistance based equipment. All we gotta do is sneak up from behind and… How about it?”
The four were exhilarated.
Just like their nickname, the perfect chance for a backstab could sp.a.w.n.
Margo’s deep voice hit home.
“No one knows who will be the one to strike the last blow on the dragon. Would we have a chance over the overly privileged players? I’d say the chances are unlikely. But, what about the Hermes Guild members. They would be weakened in battle and a.s.sa.s.sinating five or six in the midst of magic spells and barrage of skills… Weed or Bard Ray would be the best targets.”
The four made some calculations and concluded that it was well worth a shot.
Their objective was not the dragon, but Bard Ray!
Margo and Glen accomplished the achievement of killing Bard Ray and silently left Morata.
– Swift Coldwind: 3 minutes until Landony’s arrival.
They had succeeded in taking down Kaybern, but Morata was still in danger.
– Everyone rally up for battle!
Weed roaring call commanded the a.s.sault squad and the Hermes Guild.
It was after the death of Bard Ray and Arkhim so the Hermes Guild too followed under his command.
Lamifter and Gaushu conversed.
“Whoo… Would I survive another day?”
“It’s a tough call against Landony. We have no time to realign our forces.”
The Hermes Guild had no time to recoup their losses; there was no time to see how many survived, just everyone tending to themselves with water and food before the upcoming battle.
“I need some healing, please.”
“Is there a priest anywhere?”
It was a commotion of players trying to recover from wounds before Landony’s arrival.
Some of them hid behind the debris in an attempt for a surprise attack.
– Chase: It is difficult to predict Landony’s battle tactics. It did not use Dragon Breath nor AOE magic spells against the orcs, but that was because it was searching for something.
– Spenson: As Weed-nim may already know, the Red Dragon is the strongest of all dragons in combat. The Black Dragon was rather tricky because of its dark magic, but in sheer strength, I expect Landony to excel far beyond Kaybern.
It was a stack of bad news. Since Kaybern was hunted down, the wrath of Landony would soon crash upon them. The Hermes Guild smirked.
“You never know until it’s over.”
“Yeah. If I die here, oh well…”
“Fight until the last breath, huh? I dig that.”
The Hermes Guild put up an amazing fight until now and their morale was high after slaying Kaybern. Weed lay on top of a bed of debris.
‘The continent is out of the pit for now.’
Without Kaybern, the threat of the Demon King Cletta was almost negligible.
They prepared for the battle against the Red Dragon in the half-ruined city of Morata.
– Mapan: It seems we have about 15 minutes until Ratuas’ arrival. There may be a slight error span because our scout reported from the ground.
Sounds of instruments vibrated in the air from somewhere, then musicians joined one by one, soon turning into a magnificent orchestra.
The surviving bards had begun a song for the warriors.
Bard Marey gave an inspiring performance on his violin.
“I heard Hwaryeong-nim is dancing.”
“They say she’s so beautiful. Her dress is just…”
“I want to take a peek. Let’s go.”
“I need some sight seeing before I die.”
The dance of the beautiful lady raised the half-dead Hermes Guild members to their feet.
Weed thought that the gathering of players could become a target of the Red Dragon, but he let them be. He was thankful that these ragged warriors did not flee. They needed some time to rest before the last battle.
– Myul: We have lost about 20% of our aerial unit.
– Pale: Over 30% for the a.s.sault squad. Our forces will improve once the decapitated players recover.
As time pa.s.sed, reports came in from the leaders of each battalion.
Weed also raised his own body heavily weighted by his inventory.
“Yes. We gotta bring this to the end.”
– Margaux: Weed-nim, we succeeded.
The Backstabbing Four whispered to Weed.
Weed would have ignored it under normal circ.u.mstances, but he replied this time around with curiosity.
– Glen: We took care of Bard Ray with our own hands.
“Took care of him…?”
Weed lowered his voice so the other guild members would not overhear him.
“You took down Bard Ray?”
– Glen: Hahaha. Halma and Wraith died in the process, but that’s honorable death. We got him good from behind!
Weed came to the truth about Bard Ray’s death, but it was a hopeless situation.
If he was around, the power of the Hermes Guild could have been harnessed further against the Red Dragon.
‘These pests know nothing except how to backstab at every chance they get.’
– Glen: We could not scavenge his sword. But, we did get his pants and boots. Isn’t that awesome?
Weed told himself that what just happened was now in the past.
“Offer me one of the items.”
– Glen: Excuse me?
“You gotta hand over one of them, if you wish to stay in Versailles.”
– Glen: Even if it’s you, Weed-nim; that’s honestly a bit unfair.
“Let me ask you a simple question. What do you think will happen if both the Arpen Empire and the Hermes Guild want you dead?”
– Glen: ….
“You have already cut any chance of compromise with the Hermes Guild. There is no guarantee that they won’t take revenge even after you give up Bard Ray’s equipment. Furthermore, where will you run when I also chase you down?”
– Glen: I will give it up.
While Weed planned to exploit the villains and profit from Bard Ray’s death, the players who used the brazier were deeply occupied with preparations. The remaining forces reinforced their will to fight until the end.
– Swift Coldwind: 1 minute until Landony’s arrival. It will soon be visible in the southern sky.
The Red Dragon Landony. It was almost a third larger than Kaybern and much more powerful. A red dot appeared in the south and grew gradually.
‘It’s a rare chance to fight against a dragon, but for us to fight one after another.’
Weed pa.s.sed a message to all players in Morata.
“Listen carefully. We all understand that this is probably the longest day for anyone.”
He spoke softly, but his voice could still be heard by everyone on the battlefield.
Without a shouting call, his authority as emperor was enough to deliver his story.
With Bingryong Square as the pivot, the nearby sectors were destroyed while the Black Giant Star, the Great Library and the Art Centre were miraculously still standing.
The shantytown completely turned into ashes, the commercial facilities were destroyed and the earth was carved out and lit aflame from the magic spells.
Still, over half of the city was intact.
“The fight against Landony. It will not be easy. Maybe our power won’t be enough and we will all be annihilated.”
He also spoke about the difficult reality.
The heat of battle was sustained, but conversely he thought that it was more of a reason not to ask them to exceed their limits; so, he did not give the order to charge at Landony.
If there was a commander who asked for such a reckless action, Weed would have never followed. He had to improve the chances of victory in any given situation and reduce casualties.
“At first, do not overstep and observe the dragon. To put it simply, do not attempt a full a.s.sault until I give the signal. Landony may use magic or a breath attack. We must buckle down until Ratuas arrives.”
Hence, it was project ‘survival’.
They had no data on how Landony would attack and therefore he chose to bide as much as possible and maintain his forces.
“That sounds right.”
“Yes. I suppose we have to play defense.”
The commanders of the Hermes Guild nodded and agreed it was the reasonable strategy.
“That’s the Red Dragon.”
“It’s so… overwhelming.”
The enormous red creature burst through the clouds. It was beautiful and also the representation of true power. The entrance of the Red Dragon more powerful than Kaybern drove the players into a suffocating silence.
Weed too gulped down his anxiety.
‘If I didn’t know Ratuas was on its way, I would have told all of them to run.’
The Hermes Guild and the a.s.sault squad poured everything they had into the Kaybern hunt.
Force remained, but it was far less formidable than when they started.
‘We have to survive against all odds. Once Ratuas arrives, the tides will change.’
All the players were in unison with Weed’s thoughts. No one wished to die here.
They survived against Kaybern, so they must do the same until Ratuas got to them in order to end things once and for all.
“Huh? It’s Bingryong!”
Someone screamed, but all eyes were fixated on the Red Dragon.
Weed too was pinned on the dragon, and the shout was heard once again.
“Bingryong! Phoenix! Wyverns! They are all flying this way!”
With small hope, he turned his head this time.
It was the blue eastern sky. Bingryong and Phoenix that Weed was tired of being used to, were all flying towards him with their wings wide.
Bingryong, Phoenix, King Hydra, White Tiger, Nile, Death Worm, Silver Bird, Wyvern and the others; the sculptural creatures were prohibited from entering Morata. Weed had sent them to a safe location before the battle against Kaybern.
Phoenix spoke as it sensed something.
– Dragon. The Red Dragon is coming.
Phoenix, a being composed of pure fire, could sense the essence of the Red Dragon. The Red Dragon, as intense as it could ever be, intimidated even the Phoenix.
– I am afraid. Growl-growl.
Geumini hid behind the rocks.
The sculptural creatures that possessed intelligence knew of the war occurring in Morata. Given the scale of the battle, the earth trembled and the shockwave travelled to far lands.
– Master told us to leave Morata because it would have turned dangerous.
Crocodile Nile immersed half of its body into the river and swam. The sculptural creatures were cowardly but also took great care of their own lives.
– To save us he…
Clear teardrops flowed from Nurungi’s giant eyes. In Weed’s defense, he had them flee because they were costly, but creatures took it in a different way.
– Master scolded us and said we were worthless, but that wasn’t his true feelings.
– Yeah. He thinks of us more than anybody. He’s just not open.
– He was rough with us in order to raise us to be tough. I can understand.
Bingryong thought of Weed’s words and actions in the past; just how upset he was when Bingryong couldn’t walk properly due to its lack of strength in comparison to its huge figure.
– When the master created me, he put all his heart into it. He withstood the snowstorm and blizzards to sculpt me.
Phoenix, Geumini and Nurungi also had stories to share.
– Master was mournful when my brothers died. I cannot forget his expression.
– He remembered and resurrected me. Groll-Growl. He even used expensive gems for me.
– Master took me around the most. He looked at me and complimented on how awesome I am.
A compet.i.tion broke out among the sculptural creatures.
Barbarian Gernika, High elf Eltin, Knight Seville also contributed.
– My tough physique is the most beautiful.
– There is no other race as pretty as the high elves. Master put in the most care out of all his creations.
– I represent the master and his will to carry out justice. It is the heart that counts.
Death Worm, White Tiger, Nile and most of the other sculptural creatures had something to boast about; a symbol of power, expensive hides or some kind of unique quality!
– I always carried my master everywhere.
– We have been with the master longer than any of you.
Even the Wyverns that Weed created rather carelessly stepped in.
Phoenix, plausibly the most powerful of all sculptural creatures spread its wings first and flew up.
– The master is in danger. I will go to Morata and fight.
– Let’s go together.
The Fire Giant leapt swiftly and rode on top of Phoenix. Bingryeong, the sluggish odd one thought differently today.
– We must save the master. I will go too.
Bingryong flew up and King Hydra also began its move.
– Groll, groll, groll.
The sculptural creatures advanced.
(To be continued…)