84 Eye in the Sky
Rambunctious Buttlover walked behind Sublime Notion and Cold Summer. His eyes roamed about with boredom, as he wished he could do something befitting of his precious time.
Cold Summer was a secretive fellow who wore a long blue robe with a hood, but his wasn't as impossibly dark as Riveting Night's. He wore a small mask that only covered the lower part of his face.
His eyes were hidden behind two shades, meaning that he had also spent a bit of money on cosmetics.
(Author's Note: He looks like Shino Aburame from Naruto.)
The rest of the team followed them silently, everyone alert and tense. They weren't like a guild of noob players who would chatter and fool around while on the job.
Their eyes were peeled and their senses were spread out. They walked inside a gorge which stretched on for miles on end. There were holes in the rocky walls on each side of them, which was the source of their worry.
Anything could pop out from those holes and assault them, sending them back to respawn. If they didn't want that, the only way was to stay alive and gather UPs through kills.
A feature that came with the Rank 7 Guild Hall, aside from having UPs recognized as a valid currency, was that UP acquisition was tracked by the system.
In other words, the system itself would decided how many Umbra Points a guild member would earn in every skirmish based on the rules the guild leaders set, or the default allocation which was by objective contribution.
Riveting Night hadn't set anything, leaving it to the default allocation by the system. After all, she, a human, could never match the efficiency of an AI. If she set the parameters, there would be factors that she would miss, even if she had been a guild leader at the pinnacle, especially towards the late game.
True to their worry, there was a resounding cry in the gorge as the earth shook. The guild members took out their weapons and huddled reasonably close, watching each other's back as the sounds became louder and more feverish.
There came a multitude of giant rats from the holes in the walls, their skin filthy, their beady eyes red and their teeth sharp and long. They screeched in a cacophony of malice, forming a resonant roar that deafened the ear.
｢Name: Malicious Rodent – Private Rank monster
｢Name: Nefarious Rodent – Specialist Rank monster
｢Name: Diabolical Rodent – Sergeant Rank monster
Despite the strong visual effect, most of the players here didn't panic. However, they were still human. They felt fear and apprehension at being surrounded by such a large multitude of monsters.
They clutched their weapons tightly and their breathing became a bit erratic. Their eyes darted around, trying but failing to keep all the monsters within view.
They were instantly surrounded on all sides, the monsters closing in slowly as they snarled with menace and glee.
Today, they would dine like Kings!
Thinking along those lines, one of the lesser rodent monsters couldn't hold its greed back and leapt at one of the players. Its charge was quick and almost impossible to follow, catching that player by surprise.
However, these were still elites. The player who was being assaulted was a Spellblade, and his first action was to cast a fireball spell and follow up with a windshift spell.
The former was a direct attack and the latter was a buffing spell. The Private Rank Rodent collided with the fireball terribly, as it was blown back while screeching in pain.
Before it could even land, that player who cast the fireball suddenly appeared above the rodent and struck downwards with his sword. The result of such a crazy action was that the Private Rank Rodent was cut in half!
None of the players were surprised by this, but the monsters were stunned.
Motherfucker, just who was the one who was supposed to be doing the dying here? Fellows in the crowd, why so fierce? All we want to do is take a little nibble, that's all…
When the monsters recovered from their shock, their screeches became fervent and filled with passion. It was clear they were enraged by the murder of one of their kin, setting them off totally!
At this moment, Sublime finally spoke.
"Everyone, gather! Take a spherical formation. Healers and support classes in the center. Mages and ranged classes in the middle ring. Melee fighters in the outer ring. Tanks and shield bearing classes shall take the vanguard ring!"
Her cutesy voice was calm and composed, as if she had done this countless times. She actually had though, in previous FIVR games. Just because those games had failed to achieve 100% realism didn't mean they were cheap, it was just that Boundless was too potent.
Sublime Notion had lead many Guild Wars in her position as vice leader of Darkrow, so this was nothing new. In fact, she had led her teams against even worse odds and come out on top!
This was why Riveting Night placed Rambunctious Buttlover with her, as well as Cold Summer. Apart from Warm Spring, these two were talents from their previous life that had joined Darkrow and climbed to the top, along with Draco, from nothing.
Cold Summer was a reclusive fellow who never spoke, a shroud of mystery surrounding him at all times. During the War Of The Divine Guilds, he had supported Riveting Night fully.
(Author's note: From now on, the war between Hellscape and Darkrow will be referred to as the War Of The Divine Guilds.)
The team followed her orders and got into formation, their weapons ready and their movements smooth. Rambunctious laughed and shouted out with glee.
"It is time for me to show my skills! Truly, that damn core member test was like being thrust into a sauna with burly men! I must vent my anger through some heavenly tunes!"
Like that, he took out his flute and placed it against his lips. He began to blow into it, moving his fingers deftly across the holes on the instrument.
A fiery tune erupted that matched his earlier words, this music got everyone on his side fired up! On the flipside, the rodents seemed suppressed and cowed by the powerful tunes.
｢Umbra Local Party Announcement
Player Rambunctious Buttlover has boosted the party's morale through music! The enemy is cowed by his lyrical might!
The prowess of the Battle Bard class showed itself. Truthfully, a normal bard could do the same just as well. However, the difference between a Battle Bard and a normal Bard was that the former could engage in melee combat with bladed weapons!
A normal Bard could only support and not attack. In this case, they were like the Holymancer class. A Bard class wasn't as necessary to a guild's growth like a Holymancer was, but they were still vital and rare.
The party members immediately attacked viciously, the ranged players sending out salvos of agonizing attacks into the mass of rodents, who screamed as they died.
A situation where they were surrounded and outnumbered by almost three times their number was directly turned around as they oppressed their enemies.
The tanks took the brunt of the attacks, deflecting those they could and taking those they couldn't head on. The melee fighters mixed into the fray, using the gaps in between the tanks to strike out at the rodents with precision before retreating rapidly.
The healers at the back kept everyone's health way about 80%, preventing any real stress from pressuring the party.
However, this only concerned the weaker Private Rank Rodents and a few Specialist Rank Rodents that had rushed to their deaths. The remaining Specialist and Sergeant Rank Rodents circled around warily, the weakening effect from Rambunctious' music staying their claws.
It was unknown whether they had kicked a steel plate this time, but they couldn't back down yet. After all, they were Sergeants, Party-tier boss monsters that required a minimum 4-man party of pros at the same level or higher to deal with it.
This 18-man team was comprised of pros, elites and even experts. They were definitely strong enough to contend with these monsters, and it was shown in the rodents' hesitation.
Sublime Notions eyes flashed with cruelty and malice. "Hear my order! Attack these rats with all you have!"
The poor monsters that were on the fence in regards to this whole matter, were suddenly cooked, frozen, slashed or bashed by a plethora of professional players.
After all, the only reason the players had to adopt such a defensive formation was due to the fact that they were outnumbered. Now however, most of the numerous Private Rank Rodents had been killed, leaving the elite few.
With the numerical disparity now removed, the team was able to directly bombard the monsters with impunity, their faces locked into expressions of enjoyment as they crushed them.
Oh, a Sergeant Rank monster was powerful, but that was when we compared them to the 7 billion players of the world.
Relativity was a very eccentric concept. What held true for one party or group, did not for another, due to a certain notable difference.
The difference here was skill!
These were the top 1% players! Even if they hadn't joined Umbra, these fellows could have become overlords of smaller kingdoms and cities elsewhere. Now, their talent had been sucked in by this dastardly guild, making them seem like common floor members. When compared to the 99% of the playerbase, they were dragons.
After this was done, the drops from the kills were collected and tallied by some basic members. Each player was awarded UPs and experience according to their contribution, filling large chunks of their experience bars.
Of course, in any game, it was incomparably easy to level up in the early bits. This could be seen in how Draco and Roma were rising like tsunamis. However, at a point, one would be reduced to a snail's progress no matter how skilled they were, until they hit a cap.
The amount of experience required to level up rose exponentially, while the monsters that gave notable experience were fewer and fewer. Combined, this stranded even the talented Draco and Eva at Rank 6.
"Our harvest was good. Let's move on." Sublime laughed victoriously as she spurred them on.
Rambunctious Buttlover put away his flute and strutted along imperiously, his eyes roving about, searching for the nearest assessable bum.
This kind of battle and conclusion occurred with the other five squads led by the Five Generals. They also met various enemies, but managed to emerge victorious with almost no casualty.
However, the leadership of the Five Generals could not compare to Sublime, and mistakes were made.
Still, they quickly learned from these mistakes and became much more fearsome. Their abilities to react the flows of combat, as well as guide their subordinates, were becoming more fluent.
This was only for their first skirmishes though. As they progressed forward, many more battles took place within the Bizarre Domain, these parties vanquishing multitudes of enemies of different species and skill.
By the time they had all merged into one, they had become changed people. Their auras were more steady and their chemistry was much more fluid. They each shared their hardships and lessons as they intermingled, their laughs and chatter ringing out in the area.
However, all of that ceased when Riveting Night walked out of the shadows with Warm Spring behind her. The poor girl looked like she had been rolled through a blender, her body scarred, her clothes askew and her breathing weak.
She could only walk by leaning on her staff, looking like she had fought her life's ultimate enemy and had barely won. One could not help but feel like Riveting Night was too fearsome.
Even a cute girl like Warm Spring was reduced to this state… then what about us fellows?
"Good, I see you have all meshed well. I am pleased by your progress. You all live up to the name of Umbra's first members."
Riveting Night's smooth voice echoed out in the area, creating a bizarre conflict between its dulcet tones and her scary visage.
The guild members couldn't help but perk up when they heard her praise. They were like Warm Spring, easily able to discern that praise from this…'insane'… Vice Guildmaster was a rare commodity that should be treasured.
Especially so for the Five Generals, who had been directly told they were trash and shown why. They felt the most satisfied, because their efforts as team leaders were naturally the most noticeable.
Riveting Night nodded to the large open area beyond a narrow and rocky arch that lead to the boss room. "We will be moving out to kill the boss soon, and I want you all to show me exactly what you have learned all this while."
The members of Umbra became serious, their eyes firing up with battle intent. They weren't like common players who were daunted by things like boss fights in dungeons.
As gamers, these things were their lifeblood! They relished the battle and the reward, instead of dreading the fight and the consequences!
Riveting Night was secretly happy with these seeds, they were just too good. Even with her crazy recruitment scheme, she wasn't sure if it would really work. After all, there was a lot more that quantified an elite than what the tests could cover.
However, it seemed like she had been worried for nothing. These fellows knew what to do.
"Lead the way, Mrs. Draco~"
Sublime Notion teased Riveting Night with a naughty smile.
For that matter, Riveting Night turned around and harrumphed weakly. A normal person would feel her wrath from teasing her, but Sublime was different. She was her Life Sister!
She could only make such a weak resistance and generally keep quiet, not daring to fight back lest her eccentric image crumble.
Already, the various members of Umbra had sharp gleams of light burst out of their eyes. It seemed like the mysterious Guildmaster and the Vice Guildmaster shared a scandalous relationship.
Also, the second Vice Guildmaster was aware of this and was close to both parties.
Could it be..?
A love triangle?!
When the players thought this, their breathing stopped as they gasped. They looked between the big titty, cutesy lolita that was Sublime Notion and the well-built, sleek Riveting Night whose face was hidden in endless shadows.
At that moment, they all felt sympathy for Riveting Night.
It was clear who the Guildmaster would choose!
It was no wonder the Vice Guildmaster was so crazy and vicious. After having the love of her life stolen by this sharp tongued lolita, one would be sent into madness too.
"Sigh, the ebb and flow of passion is too cruel. It's either you dine with kings or subsist on gruel."
Rambunctious popped off an instant poem, which resonated with the other guild members. They felt that Riveting Night was far too pitiful.
Stay strong, Vice Guildmaster! We support you, even if the whole world is against you!
Honestly, these fellows should be thankful that Riveting Night did not possess the Divine Eyes of Caelo, otherwise, her response might not be very conducive to friendly relations…
The party entered the boss room steadily, Riveting Night in the lead and the rest arranged into groups based on their combat focus. They all had expressions of excitement as they planned to show off their best skills for the Vice Guildmaster.
However, when they entered the rocky square, the earth began to tremble as the sky began to crack. The members of Umbra were startled as they all looked to each other in confusion.
However, Riveting Night froze as her breathing stilled.
The others might not know what this kind of phenomenon meant, but she did!
This was a phenomenon that signaled the entrance of a unique boss. Such an entity was a one time occurrence that could only be triggered by luck. It only appeared once in the game and never again.
In other words, should the Umbra Guild fail to kill this boss, literally no other player would ever have this chance again, including themselves.
Unique bosses were prohibitively strong to the point where a unique boss that was at the same level and Rank as Draco might fight him on equal terms, not including his bloodline abilities or Control of course.
That was only in respect to his natural in-game character.
That was why an Old Monster like Riveting Night could feel the slightest pang of fear.
However, it was soon smothered by excitement. After all, it had already been explained that this AI was a stickler for rules.
If an enemy that was so hard to defeat appeared, there would always be a way to defeat it. Not only that, but its rewards would be proportionate to the risks.
A unique boss had never been killed before in the previous timeline. The reason for that was complex.
Firstly, the randomness of the spawns meant that the parties challenging dungeons were never prepared. Take Riveting Night right now. If it weren't for her needing to train her new members, she might've soloed the dungeon on her own.
Secondly, unique bosses were scaled to the level of the highest team member. So whether you were Rank 5 and soloing a Rank 1 dungeon hoping to get lucky, you would be faced with an absolute KILLER of a boss.
Thirdly, unique bosses were just too damn overpowered. They were those bosses in games with a very low clear rate, that got players angry and dissatisfied, hurling insults at developers on the web.
As this went through the Mind of Riveting Night, the trembling of the earth and splitting of the sky climaxed, displaying a sight that no one would ever forget.
In the endless expanse of black space above the Bizarre Domain, a giant Eye of Heaven opened slowly!