Chapter 228: Chapter 227: Defense Part I
Karaviki Mercenary Corps headquarters…
“They’ve begun to move.” While I was having tea with the Corps officers and further discussing our plans, we received the report that La Griffe had begun to mobilize.
“They’re not using the Teleporter in Ankara?”
“No, sir. They’re moving straight from Istanbul. This is the video of them that just arrived.” Soon, a video was put on, showing about four thousand soldiers marching in formation towards somewhere, which was probably Ankara.
“Well, would you look at that?”
“Those rat bastards look pretty excited, don’t they?”
“Well, it’s not like they’re all going to fight us or anything. They’ve got all their cards on Defense.”
“Look, there he is. It’s the Slayer,” one officer said, pointing to the screen. Sure enough, there was a red-headed man marching at the front of the army. It was Zulova, also known as the Slayer. I had only heard about him during my past life, and none of it was good. Like his title suggested, he killed without mercy.
“It seems that they’ve pulled out all the stops. Not only did they recruit the Slayer, I also see the Polar Bear and the assholes from the Wetlands,” Taniya added.
I didn’t know who the Polar Bear was, but I had heard a little about the Wetlands Mercenaries. Well, calling them mercenaries was an insult to the profession. Their real profession was burning and pillaging. Like Taniya said, they were assholes… but very competent assholes.
“Every day, I get a reason to hate La Griffe more and more. They obviously prepared all this before daring us to sign the contract.”
“How ironic. These are the same assholes that have no qualms about breaking their contracts when things don’t look good for them, and yet they had to put all those restrictions on us.”
“It doesn’t matter. It’s enough that we made these amateurs overextend themselves this much. We just need to win, and I know we will,” Madun declared firmly.
“Yes, sir!” replied the officers in unison.
Madun then turned to me, who was sitting beside him. “I’ll be relying on you, Mr. Lee. A good chunk of my confidence actually comes from the fact that I get to fight alongside you.”
“Haha! I’ll do my best!” That was no lie. I had to do my best. There was no way I was going to let those fakes rise up in this world. I also didn’t want to have to return the Reversal Prodigy!
Ankara’s old town…
It didn’t take us long to get to Ankara’s Store 39 since the Corps base was in Ankara itself. Behind Store 39 was a large, wide lot where the Defense quest took place. There were already a lot of people waiting around there, even though La Griffe hadn’t arrived yet.
“Wait, are you serious? So, whichever side with the lowest rank in the Defense quest will have to stop all mercenary activities for good?”
“Yeah. That’s what I read. The Troll Market contract was already revealed.”
“Are the La Griffe guys crazy? Do they really think they can stand up against the Mercenary Lord?
“Have you been living under a rock? Did you not hear the rumors?”
“La Griffe hired the Slayer.”
“It’s not just the Slayer. I heard they hired the monsters of the Wetlands Mercenaries and the Polar Bear. They’re all marching here from Istanbul as we speak.”
“What about the Mercenary Corps?”
“I don’t know. But from what I know, the contract stated that they can’t hire anyone else after signing it. It’s obvious La Griffe did that after recruiting whoever they could.”
“But the Mercenary Lord still signed the contract?”
“It’s because La Griffe has increased the frequency of their guerilla attacks. Or it could just be because he wanted to end this once and for all.”
“Tsk. We finally had proper mercs thanks to the Mercenary Lord, but now, we might have to deal with those fakes again.”
“If the Mercenary Lord loses… you might be right.”
The huge crowd was talking over one another, but I could still make out that most of them were talking about how this competition came to be. Most of them seemed to favor the Mercenary Lords, but there were also some who seemed to favor La Griffe.
One hour later…
“They’re here!” The crowd turned as La Griffe’s finally showed themselves. I also watched as I kept myself hidden and half-disguised.
Each side had about four thousand soldiers, and faced each other with about ten meters between them. Soon, a single man from each side stepped forward; Madun Yatekin of the Mercenary Corps, and Belngac of La Griffe.
“Who would have thought I would get to meet the famous Mercenary Lord this often?”
“I was thinking the same thing. It was so hard to get you to show yourselves, but to think this was all it took; maybe I should have tried a little harder.”
“Hahaha! We are constantly busy, after all. I’m sure someone as stuck up as you doesn’t know it, but there are many dirty jobs that require people like us. That’s the one thing you’re hopelessly naïve about.”
“Is that right? For some reason, I don’t want to know.”
Sparks were flying between the two men.
“Well, you don’t need to know since you’ll be leaving the mercenary world soon enough, and for good.”
“Hmm… For some reason, I can’t help but think differently.”
“Hahaha! Well, we’ll find out soon enough, with all these people to stand witness,” Belngac exclaimed with his arms outstretched, gesturing to the huge crowd around them.
“Then shall we begin?”
There were six lanes on the huge lot made specifically for the Defense quest. All six lanes were empty, so the Corps and La Griffe could compete at the same time. But then, Belgnac spoke up. “What do you say we take turns instead of doing it at the same time?”
“Well, this is the Store 39’s special quest. There is the quest reward we can try to receive. It’ll be hard to try for the reward if either of us ends up losing at least one lane. Wouldn’t it be better to just take turns?” Belgnac’s explanation seemed simple, but Madun knew that there was more to it than he was letting on. This competition wasn’t started just for a quest reward.
“You sound pretty confident.”
“Hahaha. Do you mean to say that you’re not?” Belgnac just wanted to set as many records as he could. He didn’t want to win by a hair; he wants to leave the Corps in the dust.
“Fine. A quest is important, too.” Madun Yatekin was confident too.
“Smart man,” Belgnac said as he took out a single golden ring. “Heads or tails?”
“Then I’m heads. Whoever calls right will go first.” Belgnac flipped the coin into the air and let it drop in his hand. It was heads. “We’ll be going first.”
“Let’s see how well you do.”
“Thank you. We’ll do our very best.”
Madun and Belngac returned to their armies and soon, fifty-five La Griffe soldiers emerged. They headed to the first lane and took their positions.
I and the Corps officers watched as the La Griffe team took their positions.
“It’s just as we expected. They’re focusing on Sites 6-10.”
“It is the most effective method.”
The Slayer entered Site 10 while the Wetlands Mercenaries filled up Sites 7 and 9. Once they were all in position, someone yelled out from Site 10. “Difficulty set to Insane!”
A black door soon appeared at the start of the first lane and when it opened, a single orc monster exited through the door. It was the weakest of all Orc-type monsters, an Orc Slave.
“Gah!” The deva on Site 1 easily cut it down with a couple of slashes of his sword. When the Orc Slave died, another monster exited the door.
“The first wave starts off with very weak monsters, even on Insane difficulty. Soon, monsters will appear that are too difficult to fight alone,” Taniya said beside me.
“I see.” As I turned to face her, I noticed that she was trembling. She looked extremely focused, though, as if she was nervous and excited at the same time.
“It’s weird, isn’t it,” Taniya asked with a chuckle.
“Yeah, it is.”
“When I saw the deva on the first Site, I envisioned what you would be like on it… Well, I’m sure you’ll show everyone here what you’ll do, and why you’re called the First Emperor.”
“It’s why I couldn’t help, but shiver.”
For a second there, I didn’t know how to respond, but I quickly gathered myself. “Right. I’ll do exactly that.”
I turned back to the deva on the first Site. Just as Taniya said, about three minutes later, I could see exactly why the insane difficulty was just too hard for one person. Before one monster could be killed, more and more monsters emerged from the door one by one. After a total of seven minutes, the first deva fell.
“Wow. Seven minutes. That deva’s pretty good.”
“Yeah. Seven minutes on Insane difficulty is much better than I expected.”
The monsters then moved to the second Site where there were two devas, and those devas lasted about thirteen minutes. Sites three, four, and five each lasted about between ten to twenty minutes, making La Griffe’s run currently at around sixty minutes.
Finally, the wave of monsters reached the sixth Site. The huge horde of monsters was met with a shower of powerful spells. It was obvious that the six devas had properly prepared for today.
“They must have put in a lot of effort preparing for the quest.”
“We’ve put in just as much effort as well, if not more. There’s no need to be nervous.”
The officers and I continued to watch as the six-man team fought fiercely against the growing horde of monsters. They were doing great, but this was still on Insane difficulty.
“Shit! The monsters immune to magic are already here! What the hell are we supposed to do now?” A total of an hour and ten minutes had passed. There weren’t a lot of magic-immune monsters, but there were enough to overrun the sixth Site. The monsters finally reached the seventh Site.
Before they got too close, the Wetlands Mercenaries quickly turned the ground in front of them into muddy and swampy terrain. The magic-immune monsters were not immune to the change in terrain and fell into the bog.
“None escapes the bog’s grasps! I sacrifice thee to the Bog Witch!”
At the mercenary’s command, the monsters in the swamp began to get sucked into the boggy water. Even a giant golem had trouble moving. It wasn’t a perfect spell, however, because of the ranged-type and flying-type monsters. The Wetlands Mercenaries could not hold against those monsters for much longer, but still managed to hold the wave for fifteen minutes. The eighth and ninth Sites fought just as hard as the mercenaries before them, but even they could not last more than fifteen minutes. No one despised them for it, however. They all knew buying fifteen minutes each was no easy feat.
Two hours and one minute had passed by the time the ninth Site fell. All that was left was the tenth Site, and I concentrated on that Site to see how well the Slayer and the strongest of La Grille would do. I did learn one thing from the past two hours, though. I had to prevent the monsters from piling up and I knew that I could, no matter how high the monsters’ DEF and MDEF were!