"Menevra, is everything ready on Sage Falls' end?" Vault asked in an impatient tone of voice. The first web had already been spun and the insects had become ensnared. Now, it was time for the spider to make its move.
"I have just been informed by one of Fade's subordinates a few moments ago that everything should be prepared on their end by the end of the sixth wave." Menerva said with a soft voice.
"I sent Fade to watch over Slayer because he's one of the few individuals I can completely trust. Plus, he's not the type to be intimidated by someone in Slayer's position. Tell me, does he suspect anything?" Vault said as he stared coldly in Menerva's direction.
"According to Fade, Slayer had his doubts up until the conflict between Blue Oasis and Cross Haven was initiated. By this point, his doubt should have been cast aside. Everything is proceeding within the expected parameters." Menerva responded.
"Hmph, it had better be. If this plan fails, you can forget about my promise. Then, you'll only have yourself to blame for what lies ahead." Vault said without a hint of pity in his voice.
Menerva stayed silent. She understood what was at stake and that was why she would do whatever it takes to make this plan a success. However, there was still a part of her that made her question if this was truly the right thing to do in the end.
To the majority of players, RML was simply a fun game to casually play with friends. However, to those top guilds, this game was their livelihood. In many ways, what happened in this game would directly follow them back and affect them in the real world.
Potentially, she could very well be ruining or making much more difficult, the lives of many people. But, Menerva quickly tossed all of these thoughts into the back of her mind. She was determined to succeed now that she had already come this far, no matter the consequences of her actions.
"I hope that you do not blame me for being so cold..." Menerva said quietly to herself.
"It will succeed." Menerva gave a slight bow before leaving to make some final preparations. Though, somewhere buried underneath all of that determination was a quiet voice that was silently hoping that someone would stop her. But, was such a thing even possible at this point?
Dragus, who was currently walking back towards the Cross Haven sector with Ewan, Wess and the other members of his guild, had a large frown on his face.
"Is there something bothering you, Dragus?" Ewan asked without looking in his direction. He already knew that Dragus would not be happy with how he decided to handle this matter. However, he would not openly voice his objection with the other members present.
But to Dragus' surprise, Ewan actually asked him such a question in front of the other members. Dragus was reluctant to say anything that would cause any doubt to rise.
When Ewan realized that Dragus was unwilling to say anything, he pressed on.
"Speak freely, Dragus. I wish for everyone else present to hear what's on your mind as well." Ewan said in a reassuring manner.
Dragus furrowed his brows as he finally spoke up and said, "I just can't understand why you would offer such a generous proposal to Blue Oasis after what happened to General Wang Qiang. Shouldn't we have been more demanding of an explanation?"
Although the other members were quiet the entire time, they all secretly agreed with Dragus. Didn't their guild leader let them off too easily?
A small grin found its way onto Ewan's face. "I offered such a proposal because it's what was given to me by the same person who was attacked, General Wang Qiang." Ewan said in a nonchalant way.
However, everyone was shocked when they heard their guild leader's words. Such a proposal was actually the idea of General Wang Qiang? But, how could that be?
"What did you just say? It was General Wang Qiang's proposal?" Dragus had a look of disbelief written on his face. Why would someone who had suffered an assassination attempt that was almost successful be so generous?
"We are not fools, Dragus. Whoever is behind this entire thing knows this very well. It's also the reason why they used such a method to leave us with little to no room to maneuver." Ewan explained.
He then continued, "No matter what happened, in the end, neither Blue Oasis nor my Cross Haven would be willing to put aside our face. To put it in simple terms, our options should be limited to confronting Blue Oasis directly or letting them go without taking any action. Either way, this would be a loss for us."
Dragus nodded in response. If they did either of those things, there was nothing in it for them besides potential losses. However, Dragus understood that a top guild could not allow something like this to go unanswered. Therefore, there must have been something he missed.
"You should not try to think about it too hard. There are few with General Wang Qiang's talent. Just know that there is another option to clean up this entire mess." Ewan said.
"Why didn't General Wang Qiang inform us of any such plan? What was the point in keeping it hidden?" Dragus asked with a frown on his face.
Ewan halted his steps as he looked towards Dragus and said in a calm yet powerful manner, "In order to truly fool your enemies, you must first fool your own allies."
Izroth, Luna, Halls, Zi Yi, Guan Yu, and Valentine started to make their way towards the frontlines. Some of the parties who had positioned on the frontlines since the beginning of the event looked at Izroth and his party with a bit of surprise, as well as, caution.
They had not seen this party on the frontlines in this area. Could they have come from another top guild's sector? The others present had heard the rumor about what was going on behind the scenes of this event and the last thing they wanted was to get caught in any crossfire. After all, most of the players here were either a part of a small guild or just some above average casual players.
Halls frowned when he noticed all the strange looks they received as he said, "Why is it that everyone is giving us such an unwelcoming look?"
Everyone else noticed this too. Although Halls and Guan Yu gathered information about what was going on, no one dared to freely speak about the current problems going on in the top guilds to anyone that was not a personal friend or in their party. Therefore, this bit of information eluded Izroth and his party.
"It's possible that they feel as if we will have to share their rewards with yet another party. If that is the case, then it's somewhat understandable that we would be unwelcome. However, I do not believe that any of them holds ill intentions towards us." Zi Yi speculated.
"Ah, that would make sense. Who wants to share an already limited amount of loot with others?" Guan Yu said.
Izroth, on the other hand, felt that there was something more going on here. Besides the shock and caution the other parties expressed, there was one other thing hiding behind it.
For some reason, there was a hint of fear present in the other players on the frontline. However, what reason would they have to fear Izroth and his party?
'The atmosphere has become tenser since our arrival here. Something isn't quite right.'
When Izroth observed how the other players reacted to their arrival, he had a feeling that even if he asked them about the situation, they would be unwilling to say a word.
"Everyone seems a bit nervous." Luna said quietly.
"Sooner or later, we will have the answers we seek. Until then, we should focus on the main reason we were sent to participate in this event." Izroth said.
"I wonder if we can still receive exp and item drops with these avatar forms." Valentine said with a hint of uncertainty in his voice.
"I assume that since we are able to still access our inventory, we should at the very least be able to obtain item drops. As for the exp, there's a good chance that we may not be able to receive any due to our main bodies not being present. But, it's still a possibility that we will gain exp even with these avatars." Zi Yi said.
〈System Alert: Wave six of the event «Protectors of Amaharpe» will commence in 59 seconds!〉
"I wonder how many bosses spawn per wave..." Guan Yu muttered to himself.
"We simply do not have enough information and could only make baseless assumptions for that matter. All we can do is hope that we are on the right track for this first trial." Zi Yi said.
"From what we've gathered, the monsters from the last wave were of the levels twenty-two and twenty-three. If we assume that from this point the levels will continue to increase by one, doesn't that mean that by the time it reaches wave ten, the average monster level will be twenty-seven and twenty-eight?" Luna said.
"Will that truly be the case? If there are really as many monsters as players or even more for that matter, then won't the later waves be impossible to deal with?" Valentine gave his opinion.
"In the end, it's all speculation. There's nothing we can do about it but deal with the issues as they come." Zi Yi said.
'Even the highest level players within RML at the moment should not exceed level thirty. As for the more casual players, there's no possible way that they will be able to deal with such high-level monsters in massive numbers.'
Izroth was gazing towards the Towering Oak Forest in the distance. There was a strange energy that covered the entire forest. He began to wonder if the opening of the vortex into the Chaotic Dogma Realm had something to do with the invasion of monsters. After all, it was too much of a coincidence that this event started not too long after they entered into the Chaotic Dogma Realm.
Just as Izroth was thinking to himself and the others were having a conversation about what to expect, a system alert sounded off.
〈System Alert: Wave six of the event «Protectors of Amaharpe» has begun! Prepare for battle!〉
When that alert went off, players everywhere began to shout and give orders to prepare for what was coming their way. Most of the casual parties and small guilds worked together. They formed a temporary alliance so that they could survive the later waves and receiver more benefits.
The tanks were all at the very front in order to pull aggro first. While the other melee was just behind them so that they could attack once the tank held aggro. As for the ranged classes, they stayed away at a safe distance.
"They're coming!" One of the players on the frontline shouted.
The entire ground was shaking violently as a large stampede of monsters could be seen rushing madly towards Amaharpe from out of the Towering Oak Forest. Their movements made it sound as if there was a huge explosion taking place.
"Remember, our main goal is to locate the Returning Shard. However, we should also not pass up this chance to gain a few extra benefits if possible." Izroth said as he unsheathed his Blade of Lightning.
Of course, the others did not object to Izroth's suggestion. A large scale event like this did not occur every day.
"Heh, I wonder if this is how it felt to be on the battlefields in ancient times." Guan Yu said as he brandished his guandao and took an offensive stance. He could feel his blood boiling with excitement.
The monsters grew closer and closer to the players.
'Come, you shall be the perfect sharpening stone for my sword forms.'