Nine o’clock at night, Zhongsuyuan City was peaceful as usual, but its atmosphere wasn’t the same as when Sila entered the city .
On the first night when Sila roamed around the city, the Warrior Souls patrolled while citizens behaved . Even at war, people still lived peacefully, not causing any trouble . In fact, the same applied to all main cities under the Heavenly Dragon Guild’s management .
However, for the past few days, Sila’s people had ambushed several factions and framed others for their actions . Time had passed, but the Heavenly Dragon Guild had yet to discover the mastermind . The citizens’ belief in the city’s way of delivering justice was starting to shake . Players started to show their weapons to protect themselves . Their gazes were filled with paranoia, looking at others like they were foes . Bad intentions and malice spread like plagues, filling the hearts of the residents with hatred .
As Sila’s military strength was far inferior to Revin’s, if a direct clash were to break out, the fate awaiting his troops would surely be total annihilation . Thus, he had to work behind the scenes, stirring conflicts in the city and creating an opportunity to strike .
His ‘Red Pieces’ strategy shared the same concept . Sila noticed that Montra was a perfectionist . The man was a long-term planner, unlike Sila, who was flexible and tactful against problems at hand . As such, when new variables showed up, especially ones which would disrupt the status quo heavily, Montra wouldn’t dare to make hasty decisions .
The real objective of Red Pieces was to add chaos to the board . While Whites and Blacks were busy competing with each other, with Whites being vastly superior, Sila tossed a handful of Red Pieces onto the board .
Seizing the chance when everyone else was focusing their attention on the Red Pieces, his Blacks would make several more moves . By the time his opponents realize that the Red Pieces were merely a diversion, it would already be too late . His Blacks would have already surrounded the Whites .
Undeniably, if this was actual Go, what Sila did would clearly be regarded as cheating . However, there was no fairness in the game known as war . On the board filled with Whites—due to Montra having a head start—there would be no way for Sila to catch up if he played by the rules .
Sila closed his system window, ending his conversation with Cross and Beluga . The updates about the Shadow Army and Zazae’s death were extremely helpful to him . The night was still young, but the Heavenly Dragon Guild was already in a stressful state .
Sure, someone like Montra would be able to calm the situation . However, before he did, the raid in Zhongsuyuan City would have already concluded .
The Heavenly Dragon Guild had Montra, Kawin, and Revin ruling the Qi Kingdom, the Android Kingdom, and the Magic Kingdom respectively . They were like giant pillars supporting the guild, convincing their guildmates to have absolute faith in the guild’s supremacy .
If Sila managed to break one of the pillars today, the guild would undoubtedly be shaken . Their assurance would be crushed, bringing him a step closer to the final victory .
Sila, along with his teammates, blended into the crowd throughout the city . They were waiting for the signal . Closest to Sila were Burapha and Clute . The three of them were hiding near the discovered mysterious gate, ready to jump into Inverse Zhongsuyuan City .
Himeko, Asava, and Vlad were at the center of the city . Sila had asked them to provide assistance to the other raid members . That was because the outcome of the raid didn’t only rely on the battle between him and Revin . Their plan was to simply bring down Zhongsuyuan City’s government, not conquer it .
In fact, Sila didn’t have the desire to conquer the city . The Wicked Union was already shorthanded . Even if they really managed to seize Zhongsuyuan City, they wouldn’t have enough resources to manage it .
The goal of the raid was to deal a decisive blow to the Heavenly Dragon Guild, killing as many of their members as possible, especially Revin .
“Everyone, get ready . Don’t forget to wear the amulet,” Sila ordered through his system window .
Burapha took out a necklace and placed it around his neck . The necklace was simple, just a pebble with a hole in it for the cord to pass through and a rune engraved on the flat side of the rock . Everyone else followed suit by putting their own necklaces on .
“Will it work, Big Brother?”
“Of course . Clute’s amulets are very potent . I believe they can withstand the magic for at least a couple minutes . ”
However, Burapha didn’t mean the amulet . He was knowledgeable when it came to accessories . An accessory attached with Rune Magic had excellent performance, this much he knew . Well, calling it a piece of equipment seemed incorrect as it didn’t have options on its own . It required magic power from the Rune Magic’s user and could function for only a short period of time . One could say that it was a disposable item .
“Actually, I meant ‘the magic’ you talked about, Big Bro . ”
To avoid mentioning the dark art—Goddess’ Resonance—to others, Sila informed his teammates that Vata possessed a kind of Unique Magic that could make people go berserk . The number of Unique Magics was no less than the number of stars in the sky . No one would doubt his statement .
“Whether it works or not, we will have to try to find that out,” replied Sila . “Everyone must be ready by now . Miss Vata, please start . ”
On the roof of a certain building located in the middle of the city, Himeko awaited Sila’s command . She stood where her voice could cover the entire city . Under the roof was Vlad, who would guard her as she did her job, while Asava was doing the same on the roof, invisible .
Neither of them wore Clute’s amulets . They were aware of Himeko’s capability . Goddess’ Resonance was a delicate dark art . In any case, given her mastery, Himeko could perfectly control the scale of her power .
Himeko closed her eyes and took a deep breath . Reopening her eyes, they gleamed with a miraculous aura devoid of feelings . It was the profound state that the practitioner of the art had to achieve, cutting themselves from emotions of thirst, desire, longing, and greed . It was the mental state necessary for mastering Goddess’ Resonance . It was this aspect that made it a dark art, bringing mental suffering to the user .
Himeko’s mouth widened as if she was sending some sound . The environment, however, fell completely silent . Even the natural chirping sound of crickets was lost—as if they were attentively listening to the heavenly sound .
The starlight, up in the night sky, was blinking temporarily due to the effect of unseen profound energy . It might have only been for just a fraction of an instant, but the entire world seemed to fall silent, listening to her voice .
Goddess’ Resonance — A Goddess Mesmerizing the Bloody Moon .
The players residing in the city seemed to fall into a daze for a second . Their eyes gradually became bloodshot . No matter where they looked, they would be displeased by everything . The feelings of anger and hatred uncontrollably surged inside them, burning their hearts with flames of vengeance .
Thirst, desire, longing, and greed are emotions commonly found within everyone . No matter who they are, they will have someone they hate so much they have a thirst to use violence, something they covet to the point they want to steal it, someone they love to the point they want to confess their feelings, something they were attached to and don’t want to let go of .
However, humans also have consciences and mental control, restraining them from taking actions that they would later regret . They may want to use violence, but they can stop themselves from actually doing it . They may want something belonging to others for themselves, but they can let it go . They may want to confess their love, but they can suppress the urge . They may feel an attachment to something, but they can release it and move on .
Goddess’ Resonance didn’t do anything much aside from sending a whisper using the voice of a celestial goddess, telling people to “go ahead and do it . ” It quietly removed the target’s restraint on their emotions . What would be the result? They would run wild .
It was a killing art which left the hands of the mastermind—the ‘Goddess’—unsullied . Not a single drop of blood would fall upon them .
A wandering male player unsheathed his sword . He unleashed his qi, letting it explode out of him . People around him were blown away .
The man strengthened his sword with maximum qi reinforcement, before striking another man, who seemed to be his comrade, walking next to him .
“Die!! You bastard!!”
The sword was remarkably powerful as its user didn’t reserve any power for protecting himself . The target was cleaved in half, dying without putting up any resistance .
The man pointed the sword to the sky, declaring with a deafening shout .
“That guy borrowed a hundred Baht from me and hasn’t returned it! He deserves to die a thousand times!!”
The previous strike was, by any standards, too severe to be used against a close friend for such a petty crime . However, the man, as well as the surrounding bystanders, failed to notice it .
It was then . Another male player clad his mace with qi reinforcement and delivered a hit to the aforementioned swordsman . Fortunately, the swordsman blocked it in time . The fight between them broke out .
Both people constantly strengthened their weapons with qi without sparing any for protecting their bodies, so each exchange of blows was almighty, damaging nearby stalls and buildings .
After the tenth exchange, the mace user cursed at his opponent .
“I remember you! You bumped into me yesterday but didn’t apologize! You deserve to die a million times!!”
Suddenly, a qi-strengthened arrow flew and stabbed into the swordsman’s forehead . Apparently, a woman standing at a distance had interfered with their fight . She took out another arrow and nocked it on her bow .
“It’s annoying seeing you guys’ play around . Just die, both of you!”
A knife penetrated the back of the female archer . She coughed out blood and turned her body, using the bow in her hand to strike back at the one ambushing her .
The ambusher, a man holding a knife, was blown away by the strike . Both of them were greatly injured as they also didn’t try to defend themselves with energy reinforcement . The man showed a pleased and wicked smile .
“That stab was for the cup of noodle that you cut into line for and bought ahead of me this morning!”
“Come to think of it . . . the noodles of that shop tasted normal, not delicious like the rumors say . Joining the queue was such a waste of time . That noodle chef deserves punishment!”
The female archer changed her target, firing the arrow at the chef of the aforementioned noodle stall .
The chef’s eyes gleamed with anger . He transmitted Qi of Little Bird into a cleaver in his hand and threw it, smashing the arrow before the cleaver flew back to him .
“Grrr! Saying my noodles are not delicious? Your tongue has a problem, I see! Let me sever it!!”
A rolling pin, in the hand of a young man, smacked into the chef’s head . The amount of qi clad in the rolling pin was low since the young man wasn’t a skilled player . However, it still dealt considerable damage .
“You stingy head chef!! When the hell will you impart to me your cooking techniques already?!”
The chef took out another cleaver and bisected the young man, who seemed to be his disciple, from shoulder to hip . Three seconds later, the young man’s body turned into light and disappeared .
“Learning my superb cooking techniques requires patience!! Remember that as you go to hell!!”
Concurrently, a similar eccentric situation also occurred in a different corner of the city . A muscular man with a bulky physique leaped forward, his cheeks soaked in tears of resentment . In his hands was a metal hammer . His target was a fine-looking young man who stood next to a beautiful young woman .
“I can’t stand your gut anymore! Your girlfriend is pretty, so what?! The worth of a man’s life is measured by the amount of muscle, you nerd!!”
The young man unsheathed his saber and dashed to meet the muscular man . Another fight broke out . Sparks kept coming from their traded blows . Their bodies were soon covered in blood, making it hard to distinguish whether it belonged to themselves or their opponent .
Anger and resentment fiercely burned and spread like flames on dry leaves . Small conflicts became unsolvable messes . A battle between two people became four, and even more as time passed .
Zhongsuyuan City echoed with the sounds of clashing weapons and energy usage, dyeing the once peaceful city blood red . Even Sila was taken aback, thinking that the result was beyond his expectations .
“This is bad . Our people will get caught up in the battles at this rate . Tell everyone that no further actions are required anymore . Retreat!”
True enough, Sila’s men were speechless . They never thought that Vata’s ‘magic’ would be this effective . People’s reasons for starting fights seemed absurdly trivial . However, as their minds were blinded by wrath and fury, reasons were buried by hatred . Nothing was more important than releasing it .
Some of the members had already gotten caught in the cycle of strife and bloodshed . Once they received Sila’s order, they tried their best to escape the scene .
All remaining players fought in full offense mode . They completely disregarded defense . Thus, even mediocre players could exert attack power rivaling great martial heroes, splitting the sky and overturning the land .
As per their assigned duties, the Warrior Souls scattered to intercept the fights . However, battles were occurring all over the city . Their numbers couldn’t keep up with players’, so the riots still raged on .
Burapha’s eyes widened as he looked at the unfolding situation from a roof . He didn’t expect the riot to escalate to this degree .
“Burapha, the riot already turned into a war . Don’t be distracted . It’s our turn . ” It wasn’t until Sila reminded him of their mission that Burapha could calm down . Still, he was bewildered by the ferocity of the first war he had ever witnessed .
Meanwhile, there weren’t any obvious changes in Clute’s expressions . The boy seemed to dislike the result, but this kind of thing had happened over and over in the Monster Realm on a daily basis . He believed he wasn’t in a position to give any comments .
In fact, this raid was also Sila’s first legitimate war . However, the Flaming Cloud Qi’s Cloud Part helped him keep his cool . Dark Self, who lived inside him, seemed to give him a silent push, informing him that this was the only way they could have a shot at winning . The more chaotic the situation became, the more likely they would be able to complete their mission .
“Let’s go!” Sila shouted .
Burapha, Sila, and Clute stopped in front of the spatial gate . Sila tried pushing his hand through the gate and found that his hand sunk inside, feeling like he had dipped it into cold water .
“Just the three of us? Are you sure?” Burapha asked again .
“Our only target is Revin . If he is alone, we will besiege him to end the fight as soon as possible . Then, we will immediately withdraw from the city . ”
“What if there are more, Big Brother? I hope you haven’t forgotten that there might be a boss monster protecting Zhongsuyuan City . ”
The boss monster of the city . It was a factor that couldn’t be ignored . Except for Orpheus of Siaferia City, players had never seen boss monsters protecting other cities, including the other two main cities . Zhongsuyuan City only had Marquis-Rank Warrior Souls while Lafesta City was even weirder, with not a single monster to be spotted .
Nevertheless, if a boss monster truly existed in Zhongsuyuan City, its rank was likely to be Level 1,000 Emperor Rank . Coupled with Revin, they would be a force to be reckoned with .
“That is why more people will only lead to casualties . In that case, I will take care of Revin . As for you, Burapha and Clute, please work together and hold the boss monster off for ten to fifteen minutes . ”
Burapha wanted to fight against Revin to settle the score . However, the union’s business came first .
“Okay, Big Brother Sila . ”
The three of them leaped into unknown territory . Once they passed the gate, they stumbled into a ghost town with no signs of life . They observed their surroundings and found that this city was an exact copy of Zhongsuyuan City, with the differences being the eerie atmosphere and broken weapons scattered along streets, as well as all of the pine trees being replaced by bamboo of the same height .
Hundreds of small clusters of flames suddenly lit up . The color of the flames was strangely blue . The system then notified Burapha that they were Souls of Defeated Warriors, Level 1 Squire Rank .
“These monsters aren’t aggressive . They are still very young . ” A voice, which was familiar to Sila’s ears, rang out next to the three . They quickly turned back, preparing for battle .
Monster Anubis, the Guide of Souls, Level 1,000 Emperor Rank, has appeared .
Sila had set his system window to only inform him about monsters with higher levels than him . That was why the notification startled him . Listening to its contents, as well as seeing the arriving monster, the three’s souls almost left them .
The monster came in the form of the male adult . Even with a black jackal mask covering the upper half of his face, one could still tell that the man must be handsome . The presence that the man gave off was as if he were the God of War .
“Worry not, you three . Follow me . The city ruler is waiting for you . ”
Sila had a desire to speak to his father . However, he knew there would be no point . While Independent NPCs had a high degree of freedom, they had to abide by the roles that the system assigned to them .
Pumin was the boss monster of Zhongsuyuan City, attending to the city ruler . This meant if Revin ordered him to kill, Anubis would have no choice but to attack Sila .
“Let’s just follow him,” Sila said, prompting Burapha to lower his lance . The three gradually followed Anubis to the innermost room of the governor’s residence .
Noticing a secret message sent by Sila, Burapha silently read it with a stiff expression . He said nothing in response, only tightening his grip on the lance . Both of his hands were drenched in sweat .
‘If a battle breaks out, you fight Revin . I will handle Anubis . ’
Sila didn’t have many choices . He was aware that even when Burapha and Clute joined forces, Pumin might be able to defeat the two in less than a minute .
It had to be him to be able to have shot at dragging the battle on . At the very least, he knew every move of Pumin’s Heaven’s Decree Sword Art .
While Anubis didn’t know the contents of the message Sila sent to Burapha, he could take a guess . A mysterious smirk emerged on his lips .