Colossia City was one of the important medium-sized cities on the Main Continent . Not only was it the city where the system always held tournaments regularly, but it also served as a strategic spot in a sense that it was located in the center of the continent . Hence, after the Royal Armament Guild lost control over the city, it had been conquered and managed by the Heavenly Dragon Guild ever since .
The city was the sole location connected to each of the main cities through relatively safe routes . Unless players traveled on these routes prepared by the system, they would have a more uncomfortable time reaching other cities .
From the city, players could take a shortcut through the Misty Valley, passing through a herd of poisonous spiders along a narrow path, to arrive at Siaferia City . Similarly, they could take a detour around Skull Mountain Pass, passing through Cloudy City, to arrive at Lafesta City . The route was especially troublesome as they had to climb many mountains in the journey . Lastly, to reach Zhongsuyuan City, they could take an irregular route leading to the Labyrinthine Forest Cathedral, the place with a constantly changing layout .
Unfortunately, the significance of Colossia City had been noticeably decreasing . The reason behind the change solely came from Montra’s actions .
Firstly, the system events were no longer desired by players . The rewards that the events gave out couldn’t be compared to the items that the Heavenly Dragon Guild sold at cheap prices . For them to risk their lives in the tournament, the incentive had to be more valuable . Some players had already sent a request to the game company . However, the reply was blunt: the system didn’t need to introduce new rewards simply because high-quality products were circulating in the market . Thus, the tournaments became desolate . Only a few beggars would participate .
The most decisive factor was due to the mass teleportation services implemented in the three main cities . Traveling became more comfortable and convenient . Just by spending a few gold, you’d reach your destination in an instant . Both troublesome shortcuts and normal routes couldn’t hope to compete . Naturally, as a city connecting all of the others via paths, Colossia City soon lost its value .
Colossia City was technically surrounded by all three main cities: Zhongsuyuan City, Siaferia City, and Lafesta City . It could receive reinforcements from any of the three, so no one in their right mind would dare to invade it . As such, even the Heavenly Dragon Guild members guarding the city barely put their mind into taking care of it .
“Yawn~ So bored~”
Savage Killer was yawning . He thought he was getting a promotion when he had received the order to manage Colossia City . However, there was almost nothing to do . Calling this assignment a demotion might be more accurate .
The city had changed so much from the era when Cross was managing it . As the tournaments weren’t popular, there were no participants, resulting in fewer merchants coming to make profits . One business affected one another . In the end, the city was left with the Colosseum and system-generated buildings, but nothing else . In fact, the number of players in the city might even reach zero in the near future .
For the guards stationed there, protecting an empty city was a boring job .
Well, it wasn’t that he was totally dissatisfied . At the very least, he received a raise with the new assignment . Calling it a promotion wouldn’t be too off the mark .
Savage Killer fell into a daze, looking out the window . The sky was turning orange, indicating that evening was coming to an end . Another day of guarding a boring and worthless city was about to end . However, he knew that the cycle of boredom would return tomorrow and the day after that . It would be the same even after the war event .
Getting a salary from doing literally nothing was good and all . However, Savage Killer first and foremost intended to enjoy the game . Assigning him to do nothing was toxic to his mind . He considered quitting the game . In any case, he planned to decide whether he would quit later when the war event ended, as getting a bit more money for free didn’t hurt .
“Sigh . Won’t anyone try to raid this damn city?”
Don’t talk about ghosts during the night . Don’t talk about tigers in the forest . Those are the common sayings . However, it seemed one more line should be added: Don’t talk about enemies during a war . Savage Killer didn’t anticipate that his joke request would be answered .
The sound of footsteps was approaching the room Savage Killer was in . The door was pushed open without asking for his permission . Through psychic power perception, he was aware that the arriving person was none other than his right hand man, Sinthop .
“Why are you barging in, Sinthop? Don’t you see that I’m taking in the scenery . The color of the sky is exceptionally beautiful . ”
Sinthop anxiously roared, “It’s an emergency!! We need your assistance, sir!! And that isn’t the color of the sky, but flames! We are under attack!!”
Savage Killer was shocked . Focusing his vision, he found that it was indeed as Sinthop said . The orange color came from flames .
“Send our men to take care of them!” He quickly gave out an order .
“I already ordered them a long time ago! I wouldn’t wait! All of our soldiers are engaging in battles . We need your power, sir!”
“Why didn’t you tell me sooner, huh?”
Savage Killer took out a small lance and clicked a button . A laser extended from its tip .
Laser-based weapons imported from Siaferia City were reliable assets that boosted the team’s attack power . They could easily penetrate a monster’s flesh and a player’s equipment .
Savage Killer had been in a chill mode just now . However, his expression changed once the weapon was in his hand . His senses sharpened . Instead of jumping through the window to help the team, he spun his body and stabbed the wall . The attack blew a hole in the wall, but the force of the thrust didn’t stop there . It flew into the room behind the first wall, only stopping after putting holes in two more .
“W-What did you do?!”
Sinthop was shocked to see Savage Killer suddenly deliver a killing move, Smashing Lance, which was done by using Psychic Impact through a weapon . It looked like a simple stab, but the impact actually flew further in a straight line . As the move was used on a laser-based weapon, the attack power became several times more powerful than before .
“You were followed, you fool!” Savage Killer roared .
The two men stared at the hole on the wall . Amidst the faint smoke, the silhouette of a young man could be seen .
“I-I’m sorry . ” The young man passed through the hole . He was wearing Beginner’s Clothing and a white mask . In his hand was a low-tier old sword .
“Why did you have to say sorry, you dimwit?”
Next to the young man was a young woman wearing a mid-tier magician cloak . In her hand was a short wand, which was quite an uncommon weapon of choice among magic users . Spellcasters who focused on speed usually relied on rings while those focusing on big spells would use mage staves . For a short wand to be her weapon, it was likely that she had yet to settle on one of the two other fighting styles .
Well, the most eye-catching part about her wasn’t the wand, but a costume with paw patterns and a cat mask covering her face .
“Who are you?! Which guild do you belong to?!” Sinthop roared .
“Oh, my name is— Ouch!” The young man was about to introduce himself, but he was kicked in the shin by the young woman .
“Don’t reveal your name! Can’t you remember the rules?”
“Oh, right! I’m sorry . Forgive me, The Sixteenth— Ouch!!” As her name was about to be revealed, he received another kick .
“If you’re just here to play around, I’ll take my leave . ” Savage Killer shifted his gaze to Sinthop and issued an order . “Sinthop, you take care of them . Kill one and capture the other for interrogation . ”
Savage Killer was confident in his order . He had probed the two’s strength using psychic power and found that they were only at Level 1,000 Knight Rank . Their qi and magic power capacity were well below Sinthop, who was a Marquis Rank player . Even if it was two against one, Sinthop would easily win . There was no need for him to stay .
The young woman turned to the young man, explaining through secret gestures that she had already contacted other people . However, it would take around five minutes for reinforcements to arrive . They had to rely on themselves for now .
“Earth Cage . ”
A cage made of stone quickly formed around Savage Killer . It was a single-target spell that the young woman had delayed beforehand . Savage Killer’s entire body was locked inside the cage, preventing him from moving .
“How long?” The young man’s question was short .
The young woman looked at the Earth Cage and shook her head . “Not long . ”
Earth Cage was only a mid-tier spell designed for temporarily restraining the opponent’s movement . For the record, the earth element was the least popular element among spellcasters . Not only were most earth element spells slow, but their attacks were very tangible, allowing the opponent to handle them using ordinary means . In any case, those shortcomings were compensated by a wide variety of useful spells, including the one for disguises .
Savage Killer used a lance as his weapon . As his movement was limited inside the narrow cage, he couldn’t swing it . He had to waste his time gradually chipping the stone using Psychic Impact . Fortunately, the cage blocked external attacks, so he didn’t have to be wary of possible attacks .
Sinthop unsheathed his laser-based sword and rushed at the young woman . His intention was clear . If the spellcaster was killed, Earth Cage would dissolve .
Naturally, the young man stepped up and quickly blocked the strike .
The two swords collided . The laser sword was parried, missing its target . Meanwhile, cracks appeared on the old sword . It then broke in half and fell to the floor .
Just the fact that the young man could rely on a low-grade sword to handle a laser-based weapon and come out unharmed already implied that his swordsmanship and his mastery over qi reinforcement were both quite decent .
“Ah . . . My first sword . . . ” The young man looked at the remains of his sword . “Well, I better use this one . ”
The young man took out another sword, which prompted Sinthop to widen his eyes . The sword was letting off a thin layer of light green aura . Although its appearance looked quite ordinary, just a glance was enough to realize that it must be extraordinary .
Surely Sinthop could recognize the sword . It used to be his .
“That’s my Emerald Sword!”
Sinthop frowned as he shifted his gaze between the young man and the sword . The memory of a particular event struck him .
“You’re the bastard who killed me that day!!”
“Y-Yes, that would be me . I’m sorry . ”
Sinthop was enraged, and his psychic power started rising up . The laser sword in his hand responded by emitting brighter light . On the contrary, the Emerald Sword in the young man’s hand gleamed a mysterious faint green glow . It was a phenomenon that had never happened when it was in its former owner’s hand .
“I was careless back then . I will kill you to take my revenge and get my sword back!”
Sinthop tapped a bracelet on his left wrist, prompting it to generate a layer of psychic armor on his body . The idea behind the automatic psychic protection came from Mamon, which was stolen and adapted by the Android King . Apparently, after the city was unsealed, many restrictions were lifted and many new creations kept coming out .
Sinthop performed a horizontal slash . The laser blade was incredibly sharp . Since it had the power to cut through almost everything, he hoped to see the scene of the young man’s body cleaved into two .
Unlike Sinthop’s expectation, however, the young man circulated qi and his body was enveloped by a light blue aura . His hand, holding the Emerald Sword, seemingly vanished .
The blade split from one to three . The light green glow coming from the sword fused with the light blue aura . Even before Sinthop could finish swinging a sword once, nine consecutive strikes had already landed on him . He managed to block them, but the impact almost made the sword slip out of his hand .
“Q-Qi of Little Fish!!” Sinthop exclaimed while tightening his grip on the laser sword .
The Emerald Sword returned to its normal state . However, Sinthop was sure that the number of blades had temporarily increased to three just now . Unbeknownst to him, some swords possessed hidden abilities that could only be unlocked when the wielder’s Sword Mastery skill level reached 100 . In the Emerald Sword’s case, its hidden ability allowed the user to divide the power in one swing into three . Together with Qi of Little Fish, the young man could deliver nine hits in a single swing . Although the power behind each of the strikes wasn’t exceptional, they were difficult to cope with .
The reason why the mysterious young man managed to get his hands on Qi of Little Fish was partly thanks to Sila’s actions . As Sila and Lone Wolf made use of the dojo’s high recovery rate to transmit Qi of Little Divine Beings to the Wicked Union’s members, the yearly quests to traditionally obtain them were abandoned . When the young man and his comrades went to the Transworld Lake at the event-specific time, they found no other teams trying to hunt the Millennium Fish aside from theirs . There was no competition at all, unlike other previous years .
The young man leaped to Sinthop, his body splitting into three afterimages . He brandished the Emerald Sword, pouring attacks from all directions .
Each strike was quite weak, but they showered on Sinthop without giving him any room to breathe . The psychic armor broke within the first few hits and the attacks started to reach him . While he was busy hurriedly parrying them, he noticed that attacks at this level wouldn’t kill him as long as he properly protected his vital spots .
Unfortunately, his opponent didn’t come alone .
“O Devotees of Earth—the Sovereign of Stone and the Lord of Mountains—who are in deep slumber under the sacred ground . Please lend me your strengths to cleave my foe into half, just like what you have done to the Land of Absolute Beginnings . Globe-Splitting Axe!”
The stone axe, materialized out of magic power, was summoned and hung in the sky . It descended and split the roof of the building into two, diving with a powerful force that wouldn’t leave the target alive .
The power of the spell might be acute, but the speed of the swing was lacking . Sinthop quickly took evasive action .
A certain voice interrupted him, however .
“I’m sorry . . . ”
Dance of the Emerald Strikes .
The young man unleashed the full power of Qi of Little Fish . As if the Emerald Sword hated its former wielder to its core, the speed of the strikes increased by threefold, bombarding Sinthop . The strikes were continuous, covering the entire spot like a fishnet . Flashes of light green and light blue were alternating non-stop, turning Sinthop into a small fish with no room to escape .
Then . . . the axe came crashing on him in the next moment .
Sinthop’s body was cleaved into two . It happened at the same time when Savage Killer managed to escape from his prison .
Savage Killer sensed everything that had been happening outside . These two little invaders might be excellent at working together . Still, they weren’t his match .
As he had observed their fighting styles, Savage Killer was confident that he could take down both of them in the span of a minute .
Suddenly, Savage Killer was kicked at the chest, sending him flying to a corner of the room . He was upset and intended to rush at the one ambushing him . However, once he had a clear look at the new uninvited guest, his body turned cold and he had a hard time swallowing his saliva . He didn’t dare to move a muscle, realizing that, in the time he would take to move a single step forward, the Shadow Emperor would’ve killed him at least three times over .
“Sir Zero . . . ” Savage Killer exclaimed with a voice containing respect .
Bluebird, disguised as Zero, changed his voice as he opened his mouth . “Go tell Montra that all of my previous agreements with him are hereby canceled . Colossia City will now be under the flag of my Shadow Army . If he wants to take it back, come try me!”
Having his life spared, Savage Killer didn’t waste another second . He took out a Crystal of Connecting and teleported away .
“Are we done?” The young woman with the cat mask approached Bluebird and asked .
Bluebird heaved a heavy sigh . “This is just the beginning . ”