Even though the awkwardness only lasted a moment, it felt like a minute had passed before anyone reacted . Amidst the darkness, Asava seemed untroubled as if he had encountered this kind of situation more than a thousand times . It was the calmness of a professional . No matter what kind of situation he was in, he could always stay level-headed .
Without further ado, Asava suddenly made a move .
The hidden room’s entrance opened slightly . Asava squashed a certain pellet using the tips of his fingers before controlling the crushed powder through psychic power . The powder flew to the noses of every guard, making their consciousness blur for a brief moment .
Sila quickly sent a sound transmission to Burapha, urging him to invite Lomyok into the carriage, which Burapha immediately complied with .
“Big Brother Lomyok, please get inside first . ”
“Mn~ Sounds good to me . I just arrived . Going on foot is quite tiring . ”
Regaining their consciousness, the guards shook their heads to stay awake . They felt like they had dozed off for a second just now . By the time they shook off the sleepiness, Lomyok had already entered the carriage .
The guards swept their gazes around before asking .
“Little Brother, did you see a man in green wuxia clothing?”
Burapha shook his head . “Eh? No . Who are you talking about?”
“Hmm . That’s strange . Well, let me check your carriages again . ”
Burapha didn’t reject it directly . Although it was a nerve-wracking moment, he responded in a bored manner .
“Alas, Big Bro . You just checked . Why bother checking it again and again? I’m already late . My boss will scold me to death at this rate . ”
One of the guards nodded . “Well, I guess it’s fine . Come to think of it, the Heavenly Dragon Guild has been doing business with Children of the Sea for a long time . There shouldn’t be any problems . You may enter . ”
“Thank you, Big Bro . ”
The convoy was on the move again after Burapha finished expressing his words of gratitude . He returned to the interior of the carriage and found Lomyok talking to Sila, who had just exited the hidden room .
“Wow . You’re here too, Sila . Only my number one fanboy is missing, otherwise, it would be a reunion of our dream team,” Lomyok said smilingly .
The “dream team”, which consisted of people who did nothing but attract trouble, was the last thing Sila wanted right now . He greeted Lomyok and asked, “What are you going to do in Zhongsuyuan City, Mister Lomyok?”
“I heard that the new city ruler gives people the freedom to participate in the recently unlocked game content for free, so I came . I heard that just having attained the essence of qi is enough to acquire Art of Qi . ”
It was one of the three hidden abilities, which Montra was allowing any qualified players to obtain easily . In fact, Sila had acquired Art of Magic when he visited the Magic Kingdom .
“I’ll be frank, Mister Lomyok . The stakes are high for us right now since the war event is currently active . Can I ask you to keep the fact that you met us today a secret?”
Sila said it in a pleading tone . However, if the listener wasn’t too dumb, they would realize that all people inside the carriage were ready to take action against Lomyok, subduing him right here and now and preventing the secret from being spread .
“The war event? Oh? Has the war event already started?” Lomyok exclaimed .
The war event was a major aspect of Monster Soul, occurring only once per year . There had been many advertisements and announcements . It was incomprehensible that any player would be oblivious of it . Nevertheless, based on Lomyok’s expression, he didn’t seem to be playing dumb .
“Yes, it has . The city ruler of this city is Revin, who is our enemy . It will cause problems for us if he knows we’re here . ”
Lomyok lightly tapped Sila’s shoulders . “It’s fine, it’s fine . No problem . I don’t like war, so I won’t involve myself in your business . I will just go and grab Art of Qi, purchase some accessories, and visit the Monster Realm again . I heard that there are tons of beautiful places there . ”
Those who had inspected Lomyok frowned . They doubted that Lomyok, a Squire Rank player, could easily come and go the Monster Realm as if it was his playground .
In any case, Sila was glad that Lomyok didn’t want to get involved . Reducing the number of potential risks was better than increasing how many there were .
“When do you plan to go, then?” Personally, Sila didn’t want to rush Lomyok or anything . However, Lomyok’s strength was more formidable than it appeared to be . The man was also a great troublemaker . He would prefer to start the raid after Lomyok had left town .
“Four or five days, I guess . Shouldn’t be longer than that . I gotta spare some time to travel to Bistem Desert . A junction to the Monster Realm can be found there . ”
As Lomyok mentioned the Desert of Death, Sila couldn’t help but miss his parents . However, the passage of time in that place was fluctuating . He didn’t know how long it would take for him to return if he went to visit them . Problems regarding the war event were now piling up above his head . It wouldn’t be until after the war ended that he would get a chance to reunite with them .
“I see . Thank you for telling me . ”
“Oh! Let me hop down here real quick . I want to stop by the market . Good luck, guys~”
Lomyok bid them goodbye as he stepped down from the carriage . As he did so when it had yet to stop properly, he lost his balance and fell . Fortunately, he managed to support himself using qi, preventing his face from hitting the ground .
“Whoa! That was close!” Lomyok let out a short exclamation . He stood up and brushed his clothing . It was an act out of habit, of course, as it was totally unnecessary . The Queen’s Spirit Raiment on his body was an object that couldn’t be stained by literally anything .
In addition to the elegant clothing, his facial features were magnificent . Thus, Lomyok became a center of attention immediately after he made an appearance . As a result, Sila’s convoy could move forward relatively unnoticed .
The branch of Children of the Sea was a building located next to Zhongsuyuan City’s third most popular restaurant, which went by the name Pine Leaf Restaurant . Apparently, most restaurants in Zhongsuyuan City seemed to include the word ‘pine’ in their names, in accordance with the name of the city . The one that Sila had been to last time was called Pine View Restaurant . In addition, there was Pine Branch Restaurant, Pine Tree Restaurant, and even Pine Root Restaurant, which focused on customers with a tight budget .
The branch building used to be an empty warehouse, keeping rarely-used materials and relatively worthless items . However, the Mountain Thieves League repurposed it into a temporary building for the union members who would be acting as salesmen for Children of the Sea .
Group members were unloading the carriages while Sila and the raid core members moved inside . A small table was quickly prepared as a meeting spot .
Sila waited until every seat was taken . The number of chairs seemed to not be enough, so some had to stand .
“First things first, let me announce that we will postpone the time of the operation . Instead of in three days, we will begin one week from now . ”
Honestly speaking, from most members’ point of view, starting a raid in three days was simply too soon . War wasn’t something so simple like jumping into battles and obtaining victory . Now that Sila decided to postpone the time, it became a relief for them . However, they still thought that it was inappropriate to suddenly make changes to a plan that had been worked on for a while .
Burapha seemed to understand Sila the most . “It’s because of Big Brother Lomyok, right?”
Sila nodded . He also explained this fact to other members . “Yes, Lomyok is an uncontrollable variable . We should start making a move only when we’re certain that he has left the city . In short, we’ll wait until Lomyok is gone before taking real action . ”
“Is he that strong?” One of the members asked . In fact, this question was in everyone’s mind . Both Lomyok’s rank and demeanor didn’t imply that he was strong no matter how they looked .
Sila’s reply showed no hint of hesitation . “Lomyok’s strength is erratic and unpredictable . However, even when we look past his strange behaviors, he is someone I prefer not to fight against . In fact, he is the first and only player as of now to have visited the Monster Realm . ”
Sila decided that it was the time to reveal this fact to the other members, so that they would be aware of Lomyok’s achievements and not provoke the man .
From the system announcement, everyone knew that there was at least one player who had obtained the right to visit the Monster Realm . However, they all thought that such a person was undoubtedly Montra . Never in their wildest dreams had they ever considered that player to be Lomyok .
“Now, let’s talk about the plan . Please listen carefully . I’ll tell you only once . From today until D-Day, every one of us will surely be busy . ”
Everyone fell silent, their attention completely given to Sila . Noticing that the time was appropriate, Sila started explaining his plan .
“From now on, we will split into three groups, working in conjunction . The first group will act openly while the other two will work behind the scenes . Let me talk about the first group first . Members of the first group will be responsible for selling this air conditioner . Do anything you have to do in order to distribute them, the more the better . ”
Sila placed the prototype of said air conditioner on the table for everyone to see . Even Burapha found this confusing . Regaining his senses, he asked the question that everyone else most likely thought in their minds .
“Don’t tell me . . . Big Bro . . . You want us to be salesmen?”
Sila nodded . “I do . The number of sales also has to reach a certain amount . ”
Many of the raid members began to look at each other, confused . “I’m sorry to butt in, but I’d say this is not the right time to make a profit, sir . ”
Once they finished replying, Sila realized his explanation was lacking .
“Oh, sorry . Money is not important . You may even sell on credit . I just want to distribute the air-cons throughout the city . From the outside, they may look like ordinary air conditioners . However, in reality, they’re our trump cards . They’re jamming devices for obstructing teleportation . I had them made for preventing the Heavenly Dragon Guild’s reinforcements from coming to their aid . ”
For the record, Sila got the idea from Ratri’s Dimension-Rending Bomb . While she relied on a massive bomb, Sila realized there would be no way he could transport such a large item to set it up in the city . Based on Julia’s explanation, the size of the device had to be relative to the size of the location . For him to prevent teleportation to Zhongsuyuan City, he would need an extremely large device that couldn’t possibly be hidden from watchful eyes .
Hence, Sila decided to use a totally different approach . Instead of using a large-sized device, he opted to use many small-sized ones . He asked Mamon to disguise them as air conditioners that were easy to set up, suitable for a tropical city like Zhongsuyuan City . His action would be no different from hiding leaves in a forest . Once the time came, he would activate the jamming function and block off any teleportation, preventing Heavenly Dragon Guild members in other locations from arriving via spatial gates .
“In conclusion, you’re free to sell them or give them away . Just make sure that they are scattered throughout the city . Do keep in mind that giving too many away for free will seem suspicious . As for the air-cons, you can pick them up here . I will ask Mamon to keep sending them to me . ”
Burapha raised his hand . “I can take care of this part of the operation, Big Brother . Within a week, every household in the city will be using our air-cons . By the way, I think that this group should also be responsible for selling our seafood products, otherwise it will look strange since we opened a new branch yet we’re not selling any fish . ”
Sila nodded in agreement . “Let’s do it that way . On the other hand, the remaining two groups will have similar roles, focusing on making moves behind the scenes . I noticed that the city under Revin’s management has a certain weakness . Both groups will aim to strike it . ”
“What weakness is that?”
“It’s the law enforcement aspect . Revin’s law enforcement is short and concise, governing the people through fear . It’s simple yet effective . However, for it to work, the enforcement mechanism must be properly maintained . We shall strike there . ”
Sila stopped briefly, observing their reactions to see if they could understand what he said or not . It seemed some got it while some were still confused . In any case, Sila knew they would understand if he explained more, so he continued .
“Revin is using people as meat shields, taking advantage of citizens’ fear to keep each other in check and to oppose us, the outside threat . However, I believe that, as these players are from different factions, there will surely be conflicts between them . The reason why such conflicts are being suppressed is that they fear Revin’s rules and harsh punishments .
“We’ll destroy the root of their fear, making people realize that Revin’s laws are ineffective and can neither protect nor control them . The second group will have to memorize the structure of relationships between players and exploit it . We will make the animosity between them become more severe . You may disguise as one side and perform a sneak attack on the other side, then flee, setting off conflicts between them . ”
“But, if that kind of situation happens frequently, people will think that there is a third party pulling the strings . ”
Sila smirked . “Even so, that will be fine . The fact that there is a troublemaker roaming the city but Revin can’t do anything about them will show that he and his subordinates are incompetent . When that time comes, it will be the third group’s turn to act . The members of the third group will be responsible for planting seeds of doubt toward Revin in citizens . You will do so while acting naturally such as expressing your dissatisfaction to a bartender in a bar, complaining with your customers, or the like . We will keep spilling oil around in the form of these seeds . Once the time is ripe, we will toss a lit matchstick onto the oil and watch Zhongsuyuan City be engulfed in flames without us having to do anything . ”
Sila’s plan was both simple and complex by itself, though it was undeniable that it had a chance of working . The plan focused on striking at Revin’s weakness regarding the laws he enforced . More importantly, if the plan was successful, their side would keep their losses at a minimum .
“Now that everyone has understood the plan, let’s split up and get to work! The clock is ticking!” Sila declared .
As everyone came to know what they ought to do, it was time for them to group up and divide their tasks, putting the plan into motion .
“Mister Asava, Mister Vlad, and Miss Vata, can you please stay behind? I have something to discuss . ”
Sila sent everyone else away with a gaze . It was after they had left that he spoke up .
“Do you know why I asked to mobilize all four of us Kimon members?”
As if he had long anticipated Sila’s question, Asava swiftly replied, “Your plan just now might work in theory . However, there is a certain flaw . ”
Sila couldn’t help but admire Asava’s prudence . As expected of the current chief of Kimon .
“Mn . Since even I can think of this plan, there is no way that Montra or Revin cannot . This means Revin must have prepared a defensive measure . Our duty is to eliminate whatever countermeasures he has prepared . ”
Sila unfolded the map of Zhongsuyuan City, the one which everybody present had long since memorized .
“This is a map of Zhongsuyuan City . There are two main roads intersecting in the middle and there are many alleys throughout the city . The city looks somewhat like a simple rectangle . However, something is missing . ”
“The governor’s residence,” Asava replied immediately since it was the first thing he looked for, but he couldn’t find it .
“Yes, Revin must be somewhere in the city . However, we don’t know where he is . On that note, when I was talking to Mister Beluga, I found out that Zhongsuyuan City hasn’t changed at all despite being unsealed . It is extremely strange considering the other two cities greatly changed; Lost Grea City combined with Grea City and rose up from beneath the ground while Alkedia City floated up above the clouds and its territory expanded into five islands . ”
Finally, after staying quiet for a long time, Vlad spoke up, “So, it’s our duty to find out the change, right?”
“No . . . I think I have already found it . Based on Mister Beluga’s findings, there is another city similar to Zhongsuyuan City hiding somewhere . I bet that Revin is there . Also, that city must be where the army of souls hide themselves during the day . ”
“Where is that city located, then, Sila?” asked Himeko .
Sila pointed his finger at the ground . “I believe that we’re already inside it . The city is another kind of special dimension: an inverse city . ”