Hiller let out a long sigh. The red-eyed monoeye was the core of the anti-magic barrier; if it died, the barrier would fall apart as well. Still, it had less than a fifth of its health left. It was fortunate that the last arrow had struck its arm instead of a weak point and had not resulted in a critical hit. If not, three arrows would have been all that it took to kill the monoeye.
At the rear of the army of monsters, almost all Underworld members had fallen. Hiller felt itself calming down slightly—those pesky humans almost gave it a heart attack.
Back at the resurrection altar in Yoda, the Underworld members lined up and waited outside in search for someone.
‘Where’s the guild master?’
‘Don’t see him.’
At that moment, a message sent by Hades popped up in the guild channel.
‘Soulsmith, well done.’
Soulsmith lifted the corners of his mouth and said, ‘The guild master’s still out there.’
Back at the scenes of battle, Hades was concealing himself beneath several dead wolves and monoeyes that had yet to despawn.
He suddenly shot out from the pile of corpses—Shadowstrike!
The red-eyed monoeye commander shuddered and stiffened. Light was fading from its eye like a retreating tide.
Hiller couldn’t hold back and roared, ‘Kill him!!!’
Countless beastmen, wolves, and monoeyes swarmed at Hades as they howled. Hades only laughed and even sheathed his dagger. Lifting his arms high into the air, he looked up into the boundless sky. The red barrier that had been shielding the army of monsters was nowhere to be seen. The next moment, Hades morphed into a lump of white light and disappeared from the battlefield.
‘Gargh!’ Hiller slammed its fist into the ground. The ground in a hundred-metre radius crackled and turned into a cobweb.
The purplish young man snickered. ‘Such a laughable display. There’s a saying among humans that suits you right now—shamed into anger.’
Hiller yelled, ‘Phantasma Violet! Death awaits me anyways, I’ll bring you down with me!’
The hill-sized silhouette slammed heavily at where the young man sat. The ground caved in by metres and crumbled like it had been bombarded by a bomb. Just as the shockwave and cracks were spreading their arms outwards, a formless barrier of light enclosed the region, blocking the view from the outside world.
Hiller looked at the light barrier and howled into the sky, its voice almost piercing the heavens, ‘Fuck you, Dominator! Fuck you—’
Before it could spew out the final word, its voice abruptly came to a stop, almost like a duck having its neck clamped while trying to squeal.
‘I told you not to disappoint me. The price for disappointing me, it’s a heavy one.’
The young man was standing on top of Hiller’s shoulder before it knew. Compared to its enormous body, the young Phantasma Violet was like a bird perched on a man’s shoulder.
Hiller twisted its head to look at Phantasma Violet, but the moment it did, it felt like his vision was turning distant.
What is this? Hiller was shocked to see his own body from afar…
Phantasma Violet wiped the blood from his hand. Beside him was a vacant space where Hiller’s head used to reside in. With just a simple knife-hand strike, he had sliced its head off cleanly as though his hand was the sharpest weapon in the world.
Hiller’s head rolled and landed right at Heller’s feet, its dead eyes staring at Heller. Having witnessed its brother’s death, Heller felt not a bit of rage, only fear.
Hiller’s enormous corpse flopped heavily onto the ground. The young man furrowed his brows and said, ‘It broke my chair…’ And just like that, he sat on top of the makeshift seat which was Hiller’s torso. It was a truly disgusting sight.
Phantasma Violet looked at Heller. ‘The next wave will be under your command. This is your last chance. About the west gate… Leave it to me. If you fail, you’ll end up like your brother.’
Heller trembled and prostrated to the ground while replying, ‘Sir, I will carry out your orders.’
Meanwhile at the battleground, the ranged players were delighted to find out that Hades had slain the red-eyed monoeye commander, albeit at the cost of his life. They immediately bombarded the plains with magic and arrows. Receiving ranged support at long last, the frontline players felt that the burden was finally off their shoulders.
The monoeyes had the peculiar ability of instigating slowness. Similar to mages, their ranged effects were outstanding, but at the cost of being flimsy and physically weak. Under the carpet-bombing of the players, their casualties shot through the roof.
Not long after the mages and hunters started firing away, the enemy commanders appeared: an elite wolf tribe warrior, a giant beastman, and a blue-eyed monoeye that was clearly a commander.
Zephyrwolf smirked at the scene and said, ‘It’s my turn!’
Drako Yau, however, pulled him back. ‘Where are you going?’
Confused, Zephyrwolf asked, ‘To duel the commanders! What else?’
Shaking his head, Drako Yau answered, ‘It’s different from the first two waves. Our players fell too easily back then, which was why we had to send you out there to reinforce the line of defence. But now…’ He turned to look at the battle unfolding below. ‘Why do we have to duel them? We have the advantage. With ranged support, we can easily bombard them to death. Are we gonna just let them retreat like this? No, might as well let the players earn their share of Merit.’
Hades slowly walked out of the resurrection altar in Yoda as he stretched his body.
It really hurts!
It was only at 50 per cent. He couldn’t imagine how terrible it would feel if pain perception was set even higher.
Still, he didn’t lower the settings. Pain was a useful tool to have in battle. For example, the feeling of being struck would incite reflex actions like dodging or counterattacking. It was something that players who set their pain perception to zero or a low percentage lacked and couldn’t replicate. Truth be told, he was still thinking about tuning the percentage a bit higher…
Outside the altar, every Underworld member was awaiting their guild master, their king. Looking at them, Hades’ usual cool look broke into a slight smile. ‘My brothers, well done.’
When Hades returned to the city walls, his sights were naturally stuck to the battlefield.
Dozens of players were surrounding the three monster commanders, while the regular monsters were being outnumbered by over ten times. In terms of actual numbers, the players were the inferior side, but their advantage lay in unlimited respawning without penalties. Dead this moment, and they would be back the next, alive and kicking. As long as they held out against the initial charge, they could display their advantage in a drawn-out battle.
That said, if it hadn’t been for Hades and his group which delved deep behind the enemy lines to perform a decapitation strike and disable the barrier, the monsters would have taken over Yoda by now.
Mages were the core weapons of mass destruction in the war, while the red barrier was the nemesis of all ranged players. It could be said that the red-eyed monoeyes had rendered their greatest weapon useless!