Chapter 335 - Heavy Losses
Sakurazaka Moony was a deplorable man, but he was no coward. He felt anger well up inside when the man shoved him to the ground without rhyme or reason, and he quickly climbed up to his feet to fight the other man. The man was not planning to let Sakurazaka Moony off, either. Extending his hand to grab him by the collar, the man asked, “Do you know how many of my comrades died thanks to your doing?”
I messed up! Sakurazaka Moony thought to himself. In my anger, I actually forgot about my job class and closed in the gap between me and this man when I should be distancing myself from him! That was really foolish of me! He was occupied with analyzing how to continue the fight, so he failed to register the man’s words. Fortunately, his comrades reacted to this and quickly pulled the two of them apart.
“What happened?” Vast Lushness asked, perplexed. It was apparent that the man’s anger toward Sakurazaka Moony had basis, as almost every Yunduan City’s player was glaring daggers at him.
“Are you in cahoots with that Deep Waters guy?!” someone demanded.
Sakurazaka Moony felt even more incensed at the person’s accusation, so he barked at the man who had shoved him, “Only people without morals would be in cahoots with Deep Waters!”
His voice was a little loud, so those nearby heard him. Deep Waters and a few of his comrades were not far from Sakurazaka Moony and company’s location; all of them were disgruntled when they heard his outburst, indubitably feeling insulted by Sakurazaka Moony’s words.
“What happened?” Vast Lushness asked with knitted brows.
A beautiful lady was truly a fantastical existence that could influence different settings. At times they could act as a catalyst, and at other times they would be akin to an inhibitor. Right now, when Vast Lushness asked this question, the others stopped yelling and explained everything in a calm voice, “We were ambushed on our way over.” With that, these players hatefully glared at Sakurazaka Moony once more.
“What ambush?” Vast Lushness hurriedly asked.
“The enemies were hiding on the treetops on the path here and were waiting for us to pass by. When we arrived on the path, they unleashed AOE spells on the unsuspecting us and those that did not manage to evade in time died,” the player narrated.
“How did this happen…” Sakurazaka Moony trailed off in his shock. He could imagine their side’s staggering losses after suffering such an ambush.
“Shouldn’t we be asking you that?” That person glared at Sakurazaka Moony hatefully, evidently still deeply suspicious of his involvement.
“This has got nothing to do with him,” Vast Lushness defended Sakurazaka Moony, saying, “This was entirely my idea. It looks like the enemies arranged for us to meet that newbie, so that we would fall for their ambush.”
The men looked at Sakurazaka Moony before they turned their gazes on to Vast Lushness. They were momentarily at a loss for words.
“Just what in the world is going on!” someone roared. Another player, who just came out of the jungle, glared at Sakurazaka Moony with rage as he dragged someone along with him, who happened to be the Prisoner Todd. This person was of course Traversing Four Seas Guild Leader Oathless Sword.
“This… This was all the enemies’ ruse…” Sakurazaka Moony did not know what to say. While this was due to a momentary lapse of judgment, a mistake was still a mistake, and it was even such a major mistake....
“This has got nothing to do with them. It’s my fault. I was the one who got hoodwinked.” Vast Lushness was far composed in comparison.
“And who are you?” Oathless Sword stared at her. Youthful Reflection was in charge of supervising the mercenary groups, so Oathless Sword did not bother to get to know all the different mercenary leaders.
“Is it that important to know who I am? Now is not the time to talk about that. Deep Waters’ men may likely be near us, so it’s best to think of our next move. It’s still not too late for you to find out those accountable for this debacle once all is over,” Vast Lushness calmly answered.
“That’s right!” another person voiced out her agreement. Gu Xiaoshang just happened to walk out of the jungle and hear Vast Lushness’ words. She immediately strode over and gazed at Vast Lushness favorably. “Sister, which mercenary group are you from? I don’t recall seeing you before.”
“Me? I’m not from any mercenary group. I’m just tagging along to play with my friends,” was Vast Lushness’s reply.
“My name’s Gu Xiaoshang. How should I address you?” Gu Xiaoshang extended her hand toward her.
“Vast Lushness.” Both ladies commanded the attention of everyone around them as they shook each other’s hand, causing all the men around them to temporarily be in a daze. At Vast Lushness’s answer, Gu Xiaoshang asked, “Vast Lushness? The one from Yueye City?”
“That’s me.” Vast Lushness nodded her head.
Gu Xiaoshang, Oathless Sword, and the other Yunduan City’s players exchanged glances. Due to Silver Moon’s disappearance, Vast Lushness’s version of his despicable history had been mentioned plenty of times, yet Sakurazaka Moony had never once mentioned that she was actually part of his group.
The Vast Lushness in the story had been besmirched and abandoned, so everyone had assumed that she would be a dejected and spiteful woman, yet the person they saw right now was not like that at all. Just her calmness and ability to stay composed in the face of this chaos showed her strength of character.
Before this discussion could continue, more and more players made it out of the jungle. As the gathered people increased, Oathless Sword began organizing them. Finally, a large group of Warriors walked toward them as they shook the trees along their way.
“What are you guys doing?” Oathless Sword was puzzled.
“If we stop shaking the trees, the enemies’ attacks will resume,” one of the Warriors answered.
“Alright, that’s enough. If there’s anyone here, we won’t be able to stand here safely,” Oathless Sword said matter-of-factly.
Upon hearing this, Warriors finally stopped what they were doing. Everyone was feeling a little overwhelmed right now.
“Is everyone out yet?” Oathless Sword asked. Logically speaking, the Warriors should be the last to leave. He had even thought that these men would not survive. After all, once they stopped shaking the trees, there was a high probability of the enemies from up there to bombard them. He really did not expect this lot of players to actually make it out of the enemies’ kill zone by staggering their formation and stopping to keep shaking bit by bit.
“Those men from Young Master's Elite are behind us. They said they’re gonna be the rearguards,” a Warrior answered.
“Rear guards? Are there enemies around us?” Oathless Sword grew nervous and he moved to organize the remaining troops to resist the enemies.
“It’s fine; we’ve already taken care of them. It’s just a few enemy Thieves in Stealth.” The six men of Young Master's Elite appeared in this grand fashion.
“This account won’t be tagged on to your bill!” Young Master Han generously said to Oathless Sword.
Oathless Sword did not have the heart to be so calculative over this matter, so he turned to the remaining troops and shouted, “May each mercenary group do a quick head count of your men. Those from Traversing Four Seas, stand by that wall over there!”
The various mercenary leaders immediately went to work and called for their members to follow them. The members of Traversing Four Seas went to the indicated wall, each of them clearly looking extremely defeated. Besides them, a good number of players appeared very lost. When Oathless Sword went over to ask what the matter was, it turned out that they were the mercenaries whose leaders had lost their lives. Thus, Oathless Sword called Gale Force over to temporarily take charge of this leaderless bunch.
A rough tally of the remaining players began. The number of players that had originally set out from Yunduan City was close to one thousand three hundred. They lost over a hundred players in their battle with the Mountain Bandits of the Oolong Mountain Range; this number included those players who had backed out from crossing the crevasses. The other losses were negligible in the process up until they made it into this jungle. The constant sneak attacks, harassment, and that huge ambush they had just experienced caused them to lose almost six hundred players. This battalion that was originally close to one thousand three hundred in number was now reduced to roughly about six hundred men.
Everyone was despondent. This was because nearly everyone, except for Young Master’s Elite, had lost comrades in the process. This six-man team had not suffered any losses in this expedition so far, and their purses had steadily been getting fatter all this while. All the remaining players had a mournful expression on their faces, so the six men thought it wise not to look too happy themselves.
However, when the six men looked around them, they saw that even the Amethyst Rebirth ladies looked crestfallen. Royal God Call could not hold himself back and asked, “Hey. You girls didn’t suffer any losses either, right?” The Amethyst Rebirth ladies had also been hanging around the rear end of the procession when the ambush occurred earlier, so they were fortunately able to avoid that disaster just like Young Master's Elite.
“What are you saying? We’ve lost plenty of our comrades when we were crossing the Oolong Mountain Range!” One of the ladies rolled her eyes to Royal God Call.
Royal God Call was speechless… The challenge of courage over at the Oolong Mountain Range had indeed caused plenty of Amethyst Rebirth members to back out, which included his beloved Grape. He had originally wanted to make use of this expedition to get closer to her! Fate sure loves to make a fool of us, humans, Royal God Call became morose when he thought of this.
Gu Fei was possibly the most affected among the six men. This heavy atmosphere that had settled finally caused him to blurt out, “Can we log off yet?”
“Will you die if you log off a little later?” Young Master Han rolled his eyes.
“I still have classes to supervise tomorrow morning!” Gu Fei reasoned.
“What utter baloney. I’ve never heard of this early-morning-exercise thingy before,” Young Master Han scoffed. During their first meeting, Gu Fei had told Royal God Call that he was a teacher. After everyone became more familiar with one another and upon further probing, they learned that Gu Fei was a P.E. teacher.
“There are always morning exercises. Have you never attended school before?” Gu Fei asked.
“I’ve been to school, but I’ve never done the exercises,” Young Master Han casually replied.
The people around them continued to hold this somber silence, not one of them saying a word. They were waiting for Oathless Sword to say a word, yet he was still busy taking charge of matters with his guild. Honestly, he did not really care much about the number of players left from the mercenary groups; what he was more concerned about was the safety of Todd and the number of Traversing Four Seas’ men that they had lost. It was apparent that he was not good at this sort of thing, as he had yet to finish counting all the members of his guild that were standing by the wall even now.
However, a new problem rose before the last one even subsided. Oathless Sword had not even finished counting his guild members when many mercenaries came to him. “Guild Leader Oathless, we’ve decided to withdraw from this mission!”