Chapter 257: Chapter 256: Counterattack Part IV
Section 47 of the Judge’s Continent…
“You know whose side we have to stand on now, don’t you?”
The Gnosis Guild that had established its base on Section 47 had been using Jay’s Clairvoyance to obtain more information than everyone else, especially about the enemy. They also learned just how strong Lee Jiwon had made the Empire.
“They first defeated an army twice their size, and then used just over a hundred thousand soldiers to kill an army ten times bigger and destroyed a Section. Look at the other alliances. They felt rushed and tried to invade too, but were pretty much beaten down.”
“Hmm…” Alpha hummed in thought.
Frustrated, Jay slammed the table in front of her. “What more do you need to think about? All of you know that the Judge’s Continent is a layover, not our final destination. If we don’t progress properly while we still have the chance, we’ll be nothing compared to everyone else during the next stage!”
“I have to agree with Jay. We have to acknowledge the fact that the Empire is Earth’s only hope in winning this war. No other alliance or faction can do the same, even if they all band together. There’s no choice to make here, Alpha. We have to join the Empire,” X said after being silent the whole time.
Alpha finally broke his silence. “Fine. We’ll join the Empire, no matter what it takes.”
“Tsk! You should have listened to me in the first place,” Jay complained, but Alpha ignored her.
“Did they depart yesterday?”
“Yeah, with a million veteran and elite soldiers.”
“The Empire doesn’t know yet?”
“Of course they don’t. I doubt anyone but us knows. I give them about a week to enter Earth’s territory.”
“Good. We’ll use that to contact Lee Jiwon. We need to join the Empire through Lee Jiwon if we want them to take us seriously. Make sure we’re properly prepared as soon as possible so that the value of the intel doesn’t drop. Oh, and prepare some gifts as well.”
“Got it.” Four of them answered Alpha as one, while Jay was still busy complaining.
“Tsk! I told you we should have sucked up to Lee Jiwon while we were still on Earth. If we had, we wouldn’t be struggling like this.”
Just like the Gnosis Guild, many of Earth’s guilds, organizations, and alliances became nervous after how well the Empire was doing. In a matter of days, the Empire’s soldiers had gained an average of 50 levels, on top of a fortune of golden rings. Rumors that the Empire’s soldiers who had taken part in the successful invasion of an enemy Section had gained 20 million golden rings each spread like wildfire. Discontent with how little the monsters on the Continent yielded, the rest of Earth’s factions were no doubt envious of the Empire.
And so, new alliances were formed between many of Earth’s factions and an army of millions of soldiers was sent to invade the enemy’s territory. However, where the Empire succeeded, the new alliance failed miserably. The new alliance’s army was absolutely decimated. Survivors managed to get away after killing enough of the enemy to gain levels and golden rings, but they made up less 10% of the original army.
What resulted was a huge loss of morale in the new alliance, and no other guild or organization ever attempted to invade the enemy again. Death was too close and progress was too far. They would have to be content with leaving the war to the Empire, as capable as it was.
Section 35’s Center D Store…
When my Comm Link rang, I had just checked that my Fated Crossroads still had forty-five days left on its cooldown and was leaving the general store. I had to suppress my urges to go to the weapon store and attempt to upgrade my Harrier to Rank 10. As much as I wanted to trust my Luck Boost and go all in on a 1% chance, I forced myself to wait. I wanted to use Fated Crossroads at least three times, and if it looked like I was going to succeed all three times, then I would do it. It would mean that my Luck Boost affected Fated Crossroads as well.
I quickly came back to reality as I left the general store and picked up my Comm Link.
“Hello, Mr. Lee. My name is Alpha of the Gnosis Guild. We met a few times back on Earth for business.”
“Ah, yes. I remember.”
“I was hoping if we could meet. There is something I, no, we of the Gnosis Guild would like to tell you.”
“Hmm…” It was a sudden request, but I didn’t think about it too long. This was the Gnosis Guild. Whatever they had to tell me had to be important and valuable. “Very well.”
“Thank you. Would it be alright if we come soon?”
“That’s fine. I’ll see you later.” Okay, it definitely was important and urgent.
Three people came to visit me at my home: Alpha, Jay, and Lim Gina. I remembered them from when I had paid the Gnosis Guild an official visit.
“Thank you for agreeing to meet us.”
“Don’t worry about it. Please, have a seat.”
As soon as they sat down, Lim Gina was the first to speak. “As fellow members of Earth, I thank you for everything the Empire has done. You’ve truly dealt the enemy a heavy blow.”
“Please, you don’t have to thank us. We only did it to make ourselves stronger.”
“Well, speaking of which…” Alpha carefully spoke.
“Yes? What is it?”
“It seems the enemy has been angered quite a bit,” he said while producing a Memory Gem that was sold in the general stores. The Memory Gem soon activated, revealing a massive army. “An army of about a million soldiers had just left Section 115 and is heading for Earth. It’ll take them about five to six days to cross the border. We aren’t sure where exactly they are headed, but it would have to be Section 3, 6, or 7 that the Empire controls.”
“Hmm…” I did expect that the enemy would counterattack soon, but I didn’t expect that huge an army. From what I saw, the soldiers were all veterans and elites.
“To be honest, there are no other places the enemy would head to. Of the nine border Sections, three are controlled by the Empire while the rest are pretty much abandoned.” He wasn’t wrong. “The Gnosis Guild wishes for Earth’s victory. We believe that the Empire is Earth’s best chance, which is why we came to you with this as soon as we learned.”
It was clear that Alpha wanted to come off as selfless, but I could see what his true intentions were. I didn’t say anything, as I did need the Gnosis Guild’s help. “Thank you. I’ll make sure the Gnosis Guild is well compensated for this valuable information.”
“We did prepare another gift especially for you, Mr. Lee,” Alpha said as he placed something on the table before him. Golden rings, and a lot of them. “Golden rings are a valuable commodity these days, which is why we’ve brought three billion.”
That was a lot of golden rings, especially for the Judge’s Continent. Many had spent most of their fortune back on Earth, but it was clear that the Gnosis Guild had decided to save instead, like me.
“We of the Gnosis Guild, wish to see you become stronger, Mr. Lee. We would also like to become a reliable factor in the quest to the end.”
“Thank you.” I gladly took the golden rings. I knew very well that it was a bribe and what they wanted. They wanted to help me become stronger to the end. And why not? I could use skilled intel gatherers like them. Knowledge is power, after all. “Welcome to the Empire.”
I called an emergency meeting the next day to discuss how to best meet the incoming enemy army.
“The soldiers will most likely be the most elite they have. It’s what we did when we invaded.”
“That’s true. I doubt they would want to fail a counterattack, of all things.”
“We will respond, won’t we?”
“Of course we will. This isn’t something we can solve by retreating.”
“Keep the Teleporter Zones of Section 3, 6, and 7 and the one here running around the clock, that way we can move our soldiers at a moment’s notice.”
“Yes sir. I’ll make sure all of our Teleporter Zones are properly manned,” Victor replied.
I turned to the Gnosis Guild that joined us today. “Please report the enemy’s movements once a day.”
“What do you think about recruiting from other guilds and organizations?” Taniya asked.
“What do you mean?”
“I’ve been getting many requests from other guilds and organizations, asking if we could recruit them as mercenaries to take on the next battle. I doubt I’m the only one who was asked.”
“That’s right. I was asked, too.”
To be honest, I was asked a lot as well by all of my clan members, except for my mother and grandfather.
“The enemy is coming with a huge number of soldiers, and I doubt we want to stop at trying to stop them. We need to defeat them again, don’t we?” There was merit in Taniya’s suggestion. We needed to crush them so that we didn’t take as many casualties. It was not a bad idea to bring in other strong soldiers from other factions to help us.
“I think that’s a fine idea.”
“If we had the ability to stop the enemy on our own, we wouldn’t need help, but the enemy is coming in with an army of a million strong. Let’s not take needless risks this time.”
“I have to agree,” Song Daechul agreed.
With that, all of the guild officers were in agreement. I nodded. “Very well. Let everyone know that we will be recruiting from other guilds and begin our preparations right away. We have five days until the enemy steps over the border and twenty days after that until they come close enough to see.”
And with that, the emergency meeting came to an end and we set out to prepare to meet the incoming army of a million soldiers in battle. I had much to do as well…
Section 3’s Center A Store…
“What a coincidence…” I muttered to myself. I had come to the general store of this Section’s Center A to spend the golden rings that the Gnosis Guild had given me. Coincidentally, they had given me the exact amount I needed to buy 6000 Stat points. I bought the points right away and invested them all into my STR, bringing the base up to 52,000, after the bonus. Now, I was ready for battle.
Twenty one days later…
We were finally able to lay eyes on the enemy army. It was endless, almost like a tidal wave of soldiers. This time, I planned to combine Ripped Advance with Critical Weakness. I shivered at the thought. Critical Weakness raised all of my Stats by 30,000 and Ripped Advance then doubled all that. I almost felt bad for the enemy soldiers who had the misfortune to face me. The only other time I had Stats that high was when I had Consumed Shaman Ko, but I didn’t remember anything after that. This would be my first time wielding this much power.