Chapter 334 - The Tree-shaking Stratagem
The spell bombardment of the enemy Mages had stopped, yet this pause was not due to them running out of mana – even Gu Fei would not be so weak as to run out of mana after casting just two spells – but instead due to them only having two AOE spells in their current arsenal. For them to cast the spells again, they would have to wait for their cooldown to finish. Actually, there was another reason behind the pause in their assault.
The first lethal wave of attacks was actually only done by them to probe the players from Yunduan City. The quest that Deep Waters and his guildmates picked up had the same goal as Yeguang Village’s Werewolves: kill the Prisoner Todd. The quest did not care for the number of Yunduan City’s players they killed. Both parties had been clashing with each other for so long merely because Deep Waters and his men had not yet found their target’s whereabouts within the battalion. At this moment, they finally got a clear view of their target.
Hidden behind the raised shields of the three Guardians and personally being watched over by Traversing Four Seas Guild Leader Oathless Sword, every pair of eyes hidden up the trees could tell that that was their guild quest target.
Following this, Mages turned their staves and Archers aimed their arrows to the NPC.
The target of this second wave of attacks was the real purpose of their ambush!
The setting up of an ideal kill zone by these Linyin City’s players was not done to deal the heaviest blow possible toward Yunduan City’s players but to ensure that their AOE attacks would encompass the entirety of the enemy battalion. In this way, they could concentrate their firepower at any area within the kill zone once they located their target.
Todd was currently not in the most ideal spot for them, as a good portion of their Mages could not target his location. Nonetheless, they only needed to make sure that the AOE of their spells could reach him. For now, they could only take aim as they waited for their spells’ cooldown to finish through gritted teeth.
At the moment, Oathless Sword was slashing a Thief from beneath the canopy of a tree. Just as he was about finish the man, the Thief suddenly disengaged from their fight and turned tail to flee. It was not just this Thief; instead of attacking them, all the handful of Thieves that had appeared around them started retreating.
“Not good!” Oathless Sword quickly realized what was going on.
Without another word, he turned his body sideways and sprinted outward with Double Charge. This was Oathless Sword’s unique skill, which let him use Charge twice before it went into cooldown.
The moment Oathless Sword evaded, flames could be seen up in the sky, burning ever brighter than before. Oathless Sword did not have the time to worry about how many Mages had unleashed their spells on them; all he could do was let out a pain-filled bellow. He was certain that quest would fail now. After all, no matter how powerful the three Guardians were, there was just no way for them to survive the concentrated spell bombardment of so many Mages.
It was just as Oathless Sword had thought.
The Bulwark of Imprisonment of the three Guardians was indeed OP, but that was only reflected in the traits of the equipment. Without using these shields to receive the incoming attacks, the Guardians had no way of demonstrating their impregnable defense. Even if there were only a handful of Mages that had cast their spells together on them, their deaths would still be inevitable. After all, they could only use their shields to defend from a certain direction at a time. Raising their shields might protect them from the Descending Wheels of Flames rolling down the sky, but they would be exposed to the Blazing Tree of a Thousand Inferno sprouting from the ground.
Indeed, back then, they had managed to toss their shields to the ground and hop on them to defend themselves from Blazing Tree of a Thousand Inferno. However, their opponent at that time was Gu Fei. His slow casting speed gave them ample time to accomplish the complex steps necessary to avoid the flames. Unfortunately for them, it was almost impossible to find another Mage that had slow casting speed as him.
Even the sturdy Guardians melted under the intense flames, their abundant HP merely prevented them from being insta-killed, though their death was still inevitable. The agony that could be seen on their faces lasted for a whole two seconds before white lights whisked them away, much to Oathless Sword’s dismay.
If even the tough Guardians could be killed like that, how would Prisoner Todd, who was standing in their midst, survive?
Oathless Sword closed his eyes when this was all happening and waited in horror for the system prompt about the quest’s failure. However, he was in for another surprise.
The Guardians were no longer there, but the ground continued to burn with intensity. Those from Yunduan City that failed to escape the spells’ AOE in time had all been killed off, but Todd, with his unkempt hair and permanently blank eyes, was just standing there.
He’s still alive! Oathless Sword was so shocked that his mouth hung agape.
However, he quickly returned to his senses. Hurriedly darting over to Todd’s side, he dragged the NPC out of the flames.
It would be troublesome for Oathless Sword if Todd resisted; fortunately, the NPC was very obedient. It was almost as though the NPC was aware of the predicament he was in, as the prisoner immediately followed when Oathless Sword dragged him away. Oathless Sword waved his arm and yelled to the others, “Cover! Give us cover!”
Half of Traversing Four Seas was still intact, and the Archers and Mages from the mercenary groups were still alive as well. These players were currently seizing this lull in the attacks to randomly toss their own attacks on the treetops. Meanwhile, the Warriors did what they could as well by hugging the nearby trees each and shaking them wildly.
Unexpectedly, that was actually the most effective method of attack.
Given how dense the jungle was, the branches and leaves up the trees were intertwined with one another, so shaking any of them would affect quite a large area. With so many Warriors shaking the trees at the same time, the vigorous rustling of the vegetation and branches filled the entire jungle. Some Linyin City’s players were unprepared for this and fell down from the trees as a result. Some of these falling players reacted quickly and managed to grab a hold of hanging branches on their way down. However, their bodies were now left exposed to Yunduan City’s players. In a matter of seconds, a line of trees had players hanging from their branches like ripe fruits – a truly bizarre sight to behold.
“F*ck! What a mess!” Young Master Han facepalmed. Everyone heard a branch snap and, in the next instant, a Mage fell down in a heap near where Young Master Han stood.
A fiery glow was seen as Gu Fei displayed his ‘pocket unsheathing’ technique and insta-killed the man.
That was not the only thing the shaking of trees was good for. What was great about this method was that those players atop the trees could not initiate their attacks now!
The players hiding within the trees were Archers and Mages, so while most of them managed to not fall down by hugging the tree trunks, they could also not do anything else. The Archers needed both their hands to fire off arrows, but since they were using them to keep their balance on the treetops, how would they be able to shoot anything?
As for Mages, although they could cast spells with one hand, unless it was a sort of instant-cast spells, they were still required to remain stationary while chanting the spells’ incantations. Since the trees were being shaken wildly, they were being shaken along with them and could not stand stably on their feet. Even the slightest shifting of their feet could not escape the system’s strict judgment, so not one of them succeeded in chanting spells.
The Yunduan City’s players had yet to realize the ingenuity of their actions, but they could tell that the shaking of the trees was helping them in their current plight. Those enemy players that fell from the trees were killed off before they could climb to their feet and those that were hanging on the branches became living targets. The tide of this battle had turned in an unexpected way.
Oathless Sword was also demonstrating the proper qualities that a leader of a large guild should have now. Keeping an eye on Todd standing next to him, he calmly commanded all the remaining players to do whatever they could do – shaking the trees, hitting the targets, or killing off the players that fell down.
Deep Waters, who had been hanging by Linyin City’s border, waited for the good news of their victory; instead, he was flummoxed by what was happening. “How many Mages cast their spells together in that assault?”
“At least fifty of them!”
“Fifty Mages and each of them casting two AOE spells, so how is that NPC still alive?!”
“That NPC doesn’t even look fazed by our assault.”
“This quest might be harder than I thought…” Deep Waters sighed. He had never once assumed that the NPC would be weak enough to die from the slightest touch; otherwise, protecting such a frail NPC for the quest would just be asking Traversing Four Seas to perform a miracle. In fact, Deep Waters had set up this thorough trap to give his men the chance to quickly concentrate their firepower and eliminate the target once they spotted him. Who would have thought that the concentrated bombardment of fifty Mages would not be enough to blast the NPC to kingdom come, though? It seemed that a conservative estimate of this NPC’s HP might even put him on par with a Boss.
“What’s the current situation? Can we send forth another wave of attacks?” Deep Waters hurriedly asked.
“No!” his men on the other end replied, explaining, “They’ve already begun to shake the trees!”
“They’ve discovered this solution so quickly? Yunduan City sure does live up to its name of being a city where experts congregate like the clouds in the sky1!” Deep Waters exclaimed in awe. They were players who had spent most of their days venturing in the jungle, so they already naturally knew of how to counter ambushes coming from the treetops: shake the trees to completely seal off their assailants’ ability to attack. They had employed this tactic precisely to take advantage of the unfamiliarity of Yunduan City’s players to fighting in this type of terrain and to increase the probability of killing all the enemies in one fell swoop. After all, if they had succeeded in bombarding Todd to death, the enemies would have failed their quest. If they were sensible, the enemies would see that the best thing for both parties at that point was to make peace with each other. Would it not be better for everyone to just shake hands, have a meal together, and curse the game designers for creating competitive quests in the first place?
Deep Waters was shocked to learn that not only did their assault fail to finish all the Yunduan City’s players, those people also managed to quickly grasp the tree-shaking stratagem. Actually, the thinking of Yunduan City’s players was pretty simple. Since there were players atop the trees, they needed to shake them down. They did not think that their shaking of the trees would perfectly counter and seal off the two job classes’ ability to ambush them.
“Tell the players atop the trees to hold on. The enemies won’t dare stay in the jungle for long, so let them leave,” Deep Waters commanded.
The players stuck on the trees had actually decided to do this as well, and each of them hugged the trees’ trunks and branches as tightly as they could. Besides Yunduan City’s Warriors that continued to shake the trees, the rest were dispersing in an orderly fashion according to Oathless Sword’s command.
On the edge of the jungle, Sakurazaka Moony and his men, who had been waiting for their comrades’ arrival, finally spotted the figures of players making their way toward them.
“What took you so long?!” Sakurazaka Moony happily received them, believing that he had made a great contribution toward their survival.
“G*dd*mn you!” The first player to make it out of the jungle was enraged at the sight of Sakurazaka Moony and he bodily shoved the Hunter, causing the latter to stumble.