Chapter 0042—Battle of Wits

‘I don’t get it’, Zephyrwolf said. Hades remained silent, but his expression suggested that he felt the same as Zephyrwolf.

Despite Drako Yau’s calm appearance, he was somewhat bothered deep down. ‘If it’s just part of the game’s codes, then there must be some sort of patterns we can identify and take advantage of. Zephyrwolf, just like the giant wolves we fought before, as long as we figure out their moves, it’s not difficult to defeat them. That’s because they’re programmed that way. It’s like a game of rock-paper-scissors, you can always win if you know what the enemy’s next move is.

‘What if… a person is controlling the enemy from behind and instructing them to execute military strategies? It’ll be a lot harder to win.’

Zephyrwolf sounded like he was starting to understand what Drako Yau was hinting at. ‘Who’s the guy?’

Drako Yau shook his head. ‘No idea, but it’s most likely… a staff member? Or maybe a game master? That is to say, we’re not only physically fighting against monsters, but also fighting a battle of wits with a person. Intelligence, strategies, all of these are also important aspects.’

Hades and Zephyrwolf both gasped—Drako Yau’s speculation was beyond their imagination. They were actually up against the game masters?

In Drako Yau’s eyes, players and monsters were like chess pieces on a chessboard. Fighting a battle of wits against him across the chessboard was a large, formless hand.

***

‘Raaaa!’ A tremendous roar sounded from the centre of the battlefield.

Zephyrwolf glanced down from the walls and saw a huge beastman roaring at the sky. He snickered and said, ‘Again? This one’s mine!’

Drako Yau nodded. ‘Be careful.’ After Zephyrwolf leapt down the walls and charged at his enemy, he turned to Hades and said, ‘Hades, please tell Soulsmith to standby somewhere close if possible. We have to finish it off in case something happens to Zephyrwolf.’

Hades nodded and replied, ‘I’ve already done so.’

‘Great.’ Drako Yau then turned his eyes back towards the ensuing battle.

Come! Before our game of chess ends, fight me with all you’ve got!

***

Zephyrwolf used Dash to quickly approach the gigantic beastman. Behind him, the army of players was cheering him on. After the first wave, his bravery has been acknowledged and instilled into the hearts of all players. He reached for the summoning token in his item bag and tapped its surface with his finger as he murmured, ‘Time to fight, buddy!’

The summoning token flailed through the air and turned into a lump of dazzling purple light. The demon wolf king could only be summoned after half an hour every time it died. The cooldown was long over already though. It looked terrifying, but knowing that it was a reliable companion which was on their side, the players’ morale shot through the roof.

The two of them, one man and one wolf, threw themselves at the enemy while roaring.

Meanwhile, the purplish young man said to the beastmen who stood behind him, ‘This is your so-called arrangement? It’s a bit too disappointing.’

Hiller replied in a low voice, ‘Sir, please watch on a little longer.’

At that moment, a wild howl emerged from the beastmen army. A grey giant wolf suddenly appeared and lunged at the demon wolf king with its jaws wide open.

A little surprised, the purple young man said, ‘An elite warrior from the wolf tribe, not a bad move. But wouldn’t this affect the duel… The players will have to send another warrior, or else it’ll count as a two on one.’

Indeed, because the demon wolf king was summoned by Zephyrwolf, the system counted them as one entity. The duel system only allowed a one-versus-one situation. If the two on one persisted any longer, the duel would be forcefully cancelled, which would allow the two boss-level monsters to wreak havoc freely on the battlefield. The players would definitely suffer immense damage if that happened.

Hades clicked his tongue. ‘Looks like it’s my turn.’

It was only the second wave, yet they had already shown their first trump card, the army of ranged players, and they now had to show their second one which was Hades. Even Drako Yau couldn’t hide his frown.

‘Right, kill it as quickly as possible. Don’t show “him” your true strength.’

Just when Hades was about to head out, something happened down at the battleground.

‘Sigh, looks like I have to head out…’ A Level 9 player casually strolled through the sea of players. His traditional Japanese clothing looked completely out of place among the armoured players, and the katana hanging on his waist was excessively long, its tip almost touching the ground.

Everyone was dumbfounded. Immediately, several kind-hearted players shouted, ‘Hey! Come back! Don’t try to play the hero, the enemy’s a Level 15 boss!’ Others weren’t so kind with their words. ‘Brat, get your ass back here! They’ll get a buff if you die!’

The Level 9 teenager ignored their shouts. Although looking somewhat dissatisfied, his steps showed his unyielding determination. The inheritance he received had a major impact on him as a person, so much that… it didn’t feel like a virtual game.

His gentle yet intrepid master, the swordsmanship that was so elegant yet powerful, were they all fake?

No. It couldn’t be.

Whenever he asked his master about it back then, his master would only smile and reply, ‘Become stronger. Once you get strong enough, you’ll learn about everything.’

The teen recalled his master’s words. Looking at the elite wolf tribe warrior, he murmured to himself, ‘Become stronger, is it… Then I’ll become stronger!’

Boom!

While his actual combat prowess didn’t increase, the elite wolf tribe warrior who was standing off against the demon wolf king immediately stiffened and turned its vicious eyes at the seemingly flimsy human. He gave off an inconspicuous aura, one that threatened the elite wolf tribe warrior.

Sasaki lowered his stance slightly, his right palm still placed lightly on his sword sheath. ‘Wolf guy.’

After Sasaki attracted the elite wolf tribe warrior over, the demon wolf king quickly returned to Zephyrwolf’s side to support him, sharing a great deal of the pressure he had been under.

‘Hmm?’

Sasaki’s eyes were glued onto his enemy as he replied, ‘I can’t hold it off for too long, please end your fight quickly.’

Grinning, Zephyrwolf answered, ‘Sure!’

The elite wolf tribe warrior howled. Setting its gaze at the puny human, it felt shameful of itself for feeling fear. Letting out another howl, it lunged forwards.

Sasaki shifted his body slightly. The lunge flew right past him, but the elite wolf tribe warrior remained unfazed. The failed attack brought out its feral instincts. The moment it landed, it twisted its body and slashed its right paw. Sharp claws shot out from its paw and cut at Sasaki like blades.

‘Hmm?’

Sasaki was amazed by its movements. Indeed, he shouldn’t underestimate the boss-tier monster. Just when the sharp claws were about to strike him, Sasaki moved like the wind and vanished from the spot.


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