Indigo’s restaurant was temporarily closed so Sila could use it as his headquarters . He stared at his system window with a stern expression . Although his quest had ended successfully, the overall situation was still dire for him .
Sebastian approached Sila . “We guessed incorrectly, thinking Montra would invade Belacia City . Thus, strengthening the city’s defense turned out to be pointless . On the other hand, he used some unknown means to conquer the remaining two main cities simultaneously . The current overall situation is extremely grave for the Wicked Union . ”
Sila read the intel that Julia had summarized . It was a report that covered the massive changes that had happened to the game on this exact day . Just this day alone overturned more aspects of Monster Soul than all of the previous days combined .
The first piece of bad news was that Sila had lost ownership of Lost Grea City . Even worse, all of the investments he made in their laser-based weapons production were seized along with the large stock of prepared weapons . The weapons that he intended to use against the Heavenly Dragon Guild sadly turned into their assets . It was the worst business deal .
The second piece was about his own reputation . The name Sila had become a hot topic, but not in a good way . All of his sinful behaviors in the past, some of which were real while others were fake, were dug up and revealed through many sources and media . At least half of the players playing Monster Soul hated him with everything they had . Each revelation was properly supported by well-prepared evidence .
The scary part was that each claim had a shade of truth .
There was an article about Sila being the cause behind the Werewolves sieging the Town of Beginnings, killing many players . He then pretended to be a good man trying to help players survive . On the other hand, it was none other than the Magic Emperor Montra and the Two Monarchs who were the real heroes, though the three were above showing off . Still, the truth will always be the truth as no amount of lies can cover it . It was finally revealed to everyone .
The Slime Rock was strong evidence . In fact, it also connected to the destruction of the Pillars of Wind throughout the Main Continent . As the truth came to light and many guilds finally found the perpetrator, they declared that they wouldn’t allow Sila to breathe the same air as them .
There was also a video of the battle in Grea City, during which Sila’s appearance was no different from a monster’s . He looked evil and insane, killing players without batting an eye . There was also the scene of him killing innocent merchants in a market, who Sila honestly didn’t remember killing . The battlefield at that time was so chaotic . It wouldn’t be weird if some innocent players couldn’t leave the city in time and were killed by Dark Self along with the Heavenly Dragon Guild members .
There was also a recording of when Sila was so vicious, burning the player named Thief555 in the middle of a harbor while everyone watched, not caring about their trembling gazes .
In addition, there was the scene of him standing next to Rex in Belacia City . The two of them were obviously on friendly terms . People speculated that Sila, the Monster Emperor, was the one responsible for making the Single-Horned Dragons become fiercer lately . It was rumored that some dragons even exited the forest and killed nearby travelers .
There were many more revelations, though some were greatly exaggerated .
Players throughout Monster Soul now held deep hatred toward Sila . They even formed an alliance in order to drive him from the game .
Smaller teams had their own advantages . The Wicked Union had fewer members so their mobility was better . Their maneuverability was quicker and harder to predict .
Still, bigger teams had their own strengths . The Heavenly Dragon Guild had a larger number of members . They were better for massive assaults, performing different tasks, employing battlefield tactics, and spreading rumors . Even a lie could turn into a truth when thousands of people spoke with one voice .
With the number of people under his command, Montra could easily manipulate the flow of rumors . He only had to say a word and let the three hundred thousand guild members repeat after it . Even if the rest of the players in the game didn’t believe the rumors, they would at least have some doubts .
He who controls information, controls the world .
Montra didn’t try to profit from the unsealed cities he conquered . The Heavenly Dragon Guild even provided assistance and gave discounts to players visiting the cities . The products sold in the cities were incredibly cheap, especially the laser-based weapons . More importantly, the energy generators they sold were higher in quality compared to when the city was under Sila’s management . This topic made those who had purchased Sila’s products become furious, calling him a greedy profiteer . Not only had he sold low-quality products, but he had also profited wildly .
Noticing what Sila was reading, Sebastian commented, “We held a monopoly on laser-based weapons, so we were free to set a high price . Unfortunately, now that Montra has confiscated the products in what used to be our warehouses, he bears almost no cost of production and can sell them cheaply . Not only does his action improve his reputation, but people will also blame us . ”
“What if we want to reconquer the city?” asked Sila .
Julia, who stood behind her master, reported, “The quest condition that Player Montra achieved was killing the Android King, along with all Android Soldiers within the entire city, by himself and with a single attack . To conquer the city, Master will have to perform a greater achievement or kill the city’s ruler within the city . However . . . ”
Sila frowned . “However what? Is there still more?”
“Yes . It is a known fact that Player Montra had the Lordship of Protection, granting his comrades a 30% increase in overall stats so long as they are within his territories . However, as he has reached Level 1,000 Emperor Rank, his Lordship evolved into an Emperorship . His current ruler ability is the Emperorship of Guardian Spirit, granting a 50% increase in overall stats instead of the previous 30% . Additionally, so long as at least one ally remains in a territory belonging to him, it cannot be conquered, not even if you kill the assigned ruler . ”
“This will be very troublesome . How can we tell ordinary players apart from the Heavenly Dragon Guild members?”
“Would you like to try Kimon’s method?” Asava’s voice entered the room, followed by three people . Himeko was still disguised as Vata . Asava’s appearance looked a little dirty . The last one was a boy who Sila had never met before .
Sila was about to ask the boy’s identity, but Himeko introduced him before he opened his mouth . “This person is Vlad . The one you saw before was his marionette . ”
Sila’s gaze remained on Vlad quite a while before shifting to Asava . “What method?”
Asava explained, “Assassination jobs are sometimes like this; the client can’t tell us the target’s appearance or even identity . Thus, We have no means to identify the target . In your particular situation, Sila, all you need to do is declare your intention to raid the city soon, though you don’t need to specify the date . You then ask the unrelated parties to evacuate the city, telling everyone that you will kill anybody in sight once the raid commences . With this done, the city will have no one left but your enemies . ”
“That won’t guarantee that everyone will leave . Some players who aren’t associated with the Heavenly Dragon Guild might stay behind just because they hate me . ”
“In that case, we Kimon will also consider them our enemies . We delivered a warning, yet they didn’t listen . Therefore, it’s no longer our responsibility . As they are hostile to us anyway, it’s better for us to get rid of them altogether . ”
“If we do that, the public will hate us more though,” commented Julia .
“I will impart you some wisdom from Gambled Disaster that I have inherited from previous generations . ” Asava showed a mild smile . “Chance and timing are similar to the cards in your hand . Having more cards means you have more chances while playing the cards right means you utilize the timing well . My dark art centers around the belief that there is always more than one way to kill a target . Everything has its own edge . You just need to play the right card at the right time . Being a benevolent person means you have an easier time gaining trust from your target . On the other hand, being a villain means you can terrorize a target and weaken their morale . Such are the cards in your hands that have already been dealt . If you fold now and hope for a better hand, you will waste both the chances and the timing currently available to you . Wouldn’t it be better to take advantage of your current situation? In gambling, even a bad hand can win the round if the player is smart enough . ”
“What do we have?” Sila asked, “And what is it that we lack?”
“We have fewer people on our side, but each of them is skilled, being able to fight against a hundred foes . The problem is we don’t have a suitable hideout . Belacia City is a good city, but the enemies know it too well . It’s better to assume that they even know about the secret route . Moreover, even though the environment is harsh, the area is quite clear and vacant, suitable for them to set up camp around the city and cut off our escape . ”
A flash of wisdom lingered in Sila’s eyes . He said, “What about the Island of Beginnings? That place is where the Slime Kingdom located . There is an ocean surrounding it, so they won’t be able to surround us . ”
Asava clapped his hands . “Splendid! This is unexpected, even for me . The Town of Beginnings has never participated in the war event, so our enemies will least predict this move . Belacia City is in the very north while the Town of Beginnings is in the very south, so they will have a hard time mobilizing their troops . Since we don’t have a main city, they will expect us to attack them out of desperation . Unlike their expectations, we will instead focus on defense . ”
“What about Grea City?”
“It is worth trying to reconquer it before the war event starts . Think of it as a mock invasion . The soldiers who have been through the war are different from those who haven’t . ”
Sila nodded while Sebastian added that they could strengthen Belacia City’s defense by having the Dwarf King implement traps and alerts . Those who stepped foot into the northern region would be besieged by armies of monsters .
“How about Revin?” Sila asked Asava .
“Unfortunately, we failed . Montra personally came and used some strange art that was as bizarre as a dark art . He managed to rescue Revin . We get a souvenir though . ”
Asava tossed Sila a pendant made from the Moon Amethyst . Although he had thrown it away at first, Vlad’s last attack sent it toward the sky, and Asava snatched it after the duel . He didn’t intend to use it on himself though . It was just that Vlad was severely injured from Montra’s attack, so Asava needed it to heal him .
“Recovery?” Sila inspected it, but Burapha rushed into the room before he could understand it further . Asava instantly vanished while Vlad jumped and hid on the ceiling . Only Himeko remained, as she was disguised .
Kimon didn’t normally reveal their true faces in front of people, though Sebastian and Julia were exceptions as they were only a monster and an AI .
“Big Brother Sila, bad news!” Burapha seemed restless . “Ah? Miss Vata? You are here?”
“What is happening, Burapha?” asked Sila .
“It’s citizens from Belacia City . They are losing their temper . They said they killed a dozen dragons, yet they didn’t get any items in return . Someone investigated and found that you were doing your racial quest . They are wondering whether it is related to why dragons didn’t drop items . People are upset, claiming that they were used as tools . ”
Sila frowned . His racial quest shouldn’t have had anything to do with the drop rates . His past experience with Jundtrathep, Burapha, and Bluebird told him that much as everyone normally got their hands on dropped items . He pondered about what had happened for a while before a smile appeared on his face .
“Ah, I think I can guess the reason . It’s no big deal, so leave it to me . Burapha, if you have nothing to do in the city anymore, please go to Bluebird . Tell him I will follow shortly . I need one more day to prepare . ”
“Sure . ” Burapha nodded .
Lafesta City was open for visiting . Anyone would be able to infiltrate with a simple disguise .
Once Burapha left the room, Sila turned to Sebastian . “Please help me find Lookhin, Mamon and Clute . Bring them to this room . ”
Sebastian left to search for them . Meanwhile, Asava and Vlad reappeared and continued the conversation .
Sila ordered, “Himeko, you go to Grea City and memorize everything that will be helpful for the raid . We will invade it in this last week before the war event begins . With my Lordship, those who die by my hands won’t be able to participate in the war event . ”
Himeko started to notice leadership qualities in Sila . In just a few days, he had changed so much that he was like a completely different person—be it his strength, mentality, or even character . She said her goodbyes, then left for her assignment .
Asava shook his head . “Lafesta City is Montra’s den . If you go there yourself, it will be like placing your head in the tiger’s mouth . You shouldn’t go . ”
“That what others would normally expect, right? At the very least, now that he has reached Emperor Rank, I will have to gauge my strength against him once . If I can’t return . . . then that’s it . That will prove that this is the furthest I can go and that I don’t have what it takes to become the Wulin Lord . ”
The image of the Wulin Lord in Sila’s mind was the strongest person who always emerged victorious no matter how dire the situation was . He got this image from Lucifer .
“What do you want us two to do?” Asava asked while Vlad said nothing .
“Our plan regarding the Island of Beginnings is important . We will go there to study its terrain and consider the possibility of setting up our headquarters there . I also have to visit the Slime Kingdom in order to receive the quest reward for unsealing it, which will apparently help me fight dragon opponents . ”
“There might be someone who still has a Crystal of Connecting linked to someone there . I will search for one immediately . ”
“There is no need . I have an Invitation Card to the Slime Kingdom . We will go there together, then I will join Burapha and Bluebird in Lafesta City . You two should stay on the island . I don’t plan to have you join the raid to reconquer Grea City . ”
“That’s good . We are more suited to being assassins than mercenaries . ”
Sebastian led Mamon, Lookhin, and Clute into the room . On the other hand, Asava and Vlad needed time to make preparations, so they left and would wait for Sila outside .
Sila activated Evil God’s Essence, using the power of Monster Heir at a transcendent level .
“Whoever committed a crime, immediately confess! The punishment will become more severe if I discover it later!”
The three of them flinched and their bodies trembled as if they were kids being caught red-handed . Admittedly, Sila was surprised . He had thought the perpetrator must be Mamon . However, based on their reactions, it seemed each of them must have done something wrong or were at least hiding secrets from him .
Clute stepped forward . “I apologize . I didn’t think it would anger you so much . . . ”
Lookhin transformed into her small sparrow form . She tilted her head, playing innocent . Apparently, she must have been influenced by Bluebird’s bad habits .
Meanwhile, Mamon whistled and feigned ignorance, refusing to make eye contact with Sila . “What do you mean? I know absolutely nothing . Do you have any evidence?”
Sila laughed inwardly, though his serious expression was undisturbed . He had been confident that the reason for the strange drop rates must be related to one of the three . Unexpectedly, all three of them seemed to be guilty .