The Heroes had accepted the request to subjugate the Dark Lady Whitehare from the coalition of large countries, but out of the three, the Warrior had disappeared following the destruction of his home country. For a time, the Blademaster had been pursuing the Dark Lady with his own method, but one day, he suddenly found he could no longer find her tracks. So now the man was busy traveling the world, taking into his care the noble ladies who’d lost their countries and the women who’d lost their husbands.
While the Sage had developed the spell to detect magical signals, ultimately, it could only detect the Dark Lady once she entered combat with someone else. As a result, the Sage was always forced to be reactive, unable to capture the Dark Lady. In the end, three more small countries lost their World Tree Saplings, forcing each and every human countries to strengthen their own defense even further.
The teleportation circle the Sage had invented required a magician capable of casting sixth-rank darkness spells, and so it had been purchased not by the human countries but the Temples. Adventurers were frequently sent out, but no progress was made into apprehending the Dark Lady.
The Dark Lady Whitehare was a unique enemy.
The past Dark Lords recorded in the history books and the current Dark General monsters normally led an army of subordinates, instead of acting alone.
No matter how powerful their personal strength were, alone, they would be defeated by several Heroes or Champions working together. If that wasn’t enough, then they just needed to be dragged into a war of attrition and surrounded by a coalition army, and humanity would have more than a decent chance to win.
Yet Dark Lords were still feared, and the Dark Generals still hadn’t been stamped out. While partly it was due to the lack of unity between the human countries, the main reason was that they were leaders of a large army of minions.
Whether it be the Trolls, the Ogres, or the Orcs, each army had tens of thousands of soldiers.
In pure numbers, the human race had more people with their total population of over a hundred million. But the Dark Generals’ armies had over ninety percent of their members as combatants, and even the weakest footsoldier could put up more than a good fight against a Rank 3 adventurer. The humans had no idea how much casualty they would suffer if their armies clashed face-to-face. They had no choice but to be cautious.
Yet the Dark Lady Whitehare was fundamentally different. She always worked alone.
The strength of the current Dark Generals lay in their armies, but at the same time their advance was forced by the need to defend against low-ranked monsters. On the other hand, nobody knew where Whitehare was. She was a phantom. The city guards couldn’t even slow her down if she appeared, and the Sapling would be long gone by the time the knights arrived.
Assigning high-rank adventurers and elite knights to the Sapling’s defense would buy some time, but they’d lose the ability to defend against the powerful monsters in the countryside in exchange. Humanity was caught in a catch-22.
And to pour salt on the wound, the demihumans all over the world were now rising up in a resistance movement.
They were attacking the remnants of countries that had lost their Sapling — groups of humans who had remained in an effort to rebuild their homeland — and take back the demihuman labour slaves. To combat the problem, the adventurer guilds had been issuing requests to eradicate the resistance, but most of the new adventurers who had been showing up in force in the last six months had refused. The nobility of certain countries had attempted to punish these adventurers, which had only resulted in the high-rank adventurers of the country leaving the border and ultimately reducing the national power.
A group of human countries had offered a peace deal with the resistance, saying “Let’s stand together against the Dark Lady and defend world peace!”, but the reply from the demihumans were just three words: “Go fuck yourselves.”
Yet humanity — or more accurately, the Temples — had still not yet lost.
On the surface, the Temples were cooperating with humans, giving assistance to the Heroes, and sending adventurers all over the world to defend against the Dark Lady. While the adventurers were killing monsters throughout the lands and receiving thanks from the local, their true purpose was to serve as the Temples’ eyes.
The watcher drones patrolling worldwide numbered around one hundred thousand, but not all of them had human supervision. They patrolled in an AI-determined pattern, and they only reported to the corporation once they detected a significant event.
But that wasn’t enough to watch for all the signs of an appearance by the Dark Lady Whitehare, who was not only an elusive phantom but also a cautious one. The 4th research center had made their first move as the newly-assigned anti-Dark Lady department: their plan was to make use of the eyes of nearly three million players, then filtering everything through an AI to search for certain terms such as ‘Dark Lady’, ‘the bunny’, or ‘Whitehare’, in order to look for the Dark Lady.