Meanwhile in Empyreon.
As its name implied, the skies above the city was always shrouded by clouds and mist, giving it a mystical feeling. The city’s fascinating style attracted many players. Precisely because it was a game, people wanted to be cool, to be attractive, to flirt with girls… Anyways, even without the siege event, Empyreon had always been the most popular and populated city out of the four major cities.
Looking down upon the city through the mist…
Dark shadows filled the space right outside two of its city gates. Upon having a closer look, the dark shadows turned into a sea of players and monsters that were entangled in a massive brawl.
The city walls were densely packed with ranged players who were following orders and firing away in a synchronised manner. Countless fireballs and arrows curtained the skies; the scale was over 10 times that of Yoda’s bombardment. But similarly, the army of monsters approaching almost seemed endless as well.
Yoda had to defend against an army of 10,000? Then Empyreon was facing an army at least a dozen times its scale!
It seemed like every last wolf, beastman, and monoeye was pouring out from their nests, yet the players knew they were merely creatures which could be spawned limitlessly. There was no such thing as their nests. No matter how many monsters they killed, as long as the system willed it, it could still spawn more of them.
However, players in Empyreon, which totalled over 100,000, were exceptionally good. Over a fifth of them were Level 15 or above!
Even though the company which published Real World, ‘World’, claimed that the player count was over a billion, most players played just to enjoy the different lifestyle the game offered. People such as elderly could move freely like youngsters once again in the game thanks to the brainwave technology. They would find places near the starter village, spend a bit of real-life currency for a house, then pass the days planting flowers and living casually in the game.
Some companies even held meetings in the game. The world which could be entered through brain waves saved the white collars, who had to fly around to different cities, a lot of flight tickets.
Players who treated Real World as an actual game were mostly youngsters. It was already quite an achievement to have over ten million players.
As for the players who lived in the game like it was an alternate reality, the system never forced them to fight. They were the ones who spent the most money after all.
Excluding those casual ‘residents’ and the newbies who were still at the starter village, having over 100,000 players was already a lot. But the monsters had even greater numbers.
On top of the Empyreon city walls stood a small group of several dozen players. They simply stood there, yet not a single player dared to go near them. Every single one of them radiated an atmosphere which made people give a second thought before approaching them. This world, this game, was so real that it was no game at all. People could clearly feel their atmospheres even if it was just a game.
The reason was that everyone standing there were either guild masters or their second-in-command. They were all leaders who held authority over many, serving below all but one man. It was an atmosphere which leaders instinctively gave off, and with tens of such people gathered together, the sensation was particularly striking.
The group was looking at the battlefield from above. Their complexion was just as usual: calm and composed. It was like the battlefield below was no more than a kid’s playground to them. Looking at the leaders who remained collected even when faced with such an unbelievable sight, the ranged players stationed on the city walls all admired their unwavering mental fortitude.
What they did not know, however, was how heated the discussion was in the ‘Guild Master Chat’ channel.
‘A war of this scale, it’s outrageous!’
‘That’s why I say you’re a coward.’
‘Hmph! Sky Chun, don’t think I’m scared of you. There’s no choice but to cooperate because of the siege event! But, I’ll wage a war against you right after the event for what you’ve just said!’
‘Go ahead, I dare you.’
Messages of that sort were popping up one after another in the chat channel. During the barrage of messages, a player narrowed his eyes and said, ‘The commander’s here.’
His ID was Chau Yu.
When he spoke, everyone immediately turned silent. It was clear that this person held a certain degree of esteem even among the bunch of guild masters.
‘Who’s going?’ Chau Yu looked around smilingly while fiddling with the staff in his hands.
Sky Chun, the guild master of the guild Sky Dominion, sounded a bit indignant as he said, ‘Aren’t you a crafty one. We’re the ones who’ve been doing all the hard work.’
Chau Yu chuckled and made a sly smile. ‘I’m a cleric, you know. You people won’t tell a cleric to fight those commanders, right? Besides, I’m in charge of our strategies and troop deployment. If we’re talking about contribution, I probably deserve the most credit.’
Everyone found it embarrassing to say anything else. Afterall, Chau Yu’s troop deployment and tactics were worthy of the ancient general who bore the same name1. Over half of the guild masters present couldn’t see through his intricate and ingenious strategies. They would only realise how great his formation was until it worked and showed its effects. As such, Chau Yu was gradually gaining the reputation needed to lead Empyreon, albeit subtly.
Chau Yu steered his gaze towards the battlefield; 10 commanders had shown up. ‘You should hurry, or else they’ll break through our line of defence and shatter my hastily-put-together formation.’
Even though he was urging the others, his smile never wavered as though the battle going on below had nothing to do with him, which made the others somewhat upset.
‘Hurry up and go! We’re all screwed if Empyreon falls!’ Sky Chun yelled and ran down the city walls. He was a Level 18 warrior who was high up the ranking among the best players in the entire game. Several other guild masters nodded in response and joined him.
In just 15 minutes after the powerhouses joined the fray, the army of monsters started retreating. At the same time, a system announcement sounded in the heads of all Empyreon players.
‘Successfully defended against the seventh wave. The eighth wave will begin in 15 minutes.’
Chau Yu lightly tapped the walls with his staff while he was deep in thought. The eighth wave, huh… There’s 12 waves, but my formations are already starting to reach their limits… They’re just a motley mob put together hastily after all. My formations aren’t even showing a tenth of their true strength…
Fifteen minutes flew by in the blink of an eye.
When the overwhelming monsters of the eighth wave entered the field, even a person as collected as Chau Yu had a shocked look on his face.
After a round of discussion, they ultimately decided to let Zephyrwolf and Sasaki stay and guard the east gate along with the majority of players. On the other hand, Drako Yau and Hades would take care of the west gate together with members of Underworld and a group of elite players from Evergrand. Their strategy was to defend with quality, not quantity.
In truth, the defensive force of the east and west gates were comparable. The west gate’s defenders had superior combat prowess on average and were all elites. The east gate had the advantage in numbers, their player count being several times that of their counterparts at the opposite side of the city.
There was not much of a choice. As the saying went, one couldn’t make bricks without straw, and Drako Yau was having that exact feeling right now.
Although Drako Yau was supposed to defend the west gate, he actually stationed himself on a part of the city walls somewhere in between the two gates in order to observe both sides. Being hidebound and inflexible was always a poor tactic.