122 The Power Of Tactics
Sunny Day roared out to his guildmates as they entered formation on the Plains of Deriam. These were very rough and heavily contoured grasslands with many rises here and there, forming low hills. It was advantageous to the Dragon if it kept air-borne, which added to the difficulty of the event.
"In position, Guildmaster!"
Sunny Day was satisfied with the seriousness his guild members displayed, as well as their discipline. They had been preparing for this event for a long while, hoping to at least rank in the top 100 guilds.
The Dragon Slaying event - and in fact, most events - did not reward the final hitter solely, but everyone who partook to some extent. It would separate into guild rankings and individual rankings, where the amount of damage dealt would form the score.
The best rewards went to first place on either ranking, so it was no wonder most guilds chose to take part in the event despite knowing that they would more likely be roasted into a crisp steak.
Sunny Days' guild was only Uncommon-tier at best, with him being the only pro player, his Vice-Guildmasters being semi-pros and the rest being barely above-average.
As such, they didn't lust over the higher rankings. Just getting into the top 100 across Sturgehaven Kingdom would be a severe challenge. What was worse was that this was one of the few events taking place across the world of boundless, but it was the most interesting.
Many guilds from other locales had come to join the party, and the weakest of them were Rare-tier guilds, which had Elites as their Guildmasters, pros as their Vice-Guildmasters and semi-pros as their core members.
How were guilds like his supposed to compete?
Draco nodded to Riveting Night, who stood beside him. "Today will be interesting. How do you want to do things?"
"Should we attack first and suppress everyone? Or should we follow the typical script and wait till everyone has their turn before finishing everything off?" Draco asked with a languid smile.
Riveting Night looked thoughtful. "Let's try something new. The plan I devised would work either way, with some minor tweaks. We'll be the first to attack, as well as rally the other guilds of Sturgehaven into our banner."
Riveting Night folded her arms behind her back and spoke slowly but heavily. "Intentionally waiting for the last second in order to contrast prowess is foolish. It is better to fight from the start and create a sense of reverence in onlookers."
"If we attack at the end, yes, we would deter onlookers, but deep down, they would think that their earlier efforts meant something. Not only that, they would think we are strong for nothing, as we wait for everything to look good before entering."
Riveting Night raised her head and sighed. "That is not to say that waiting till the end is purely disadvantageous. It has its advantages, which are more plentiful than attacking from the onset."
"However, when it comes to Umbra, attacking from the onset has more advantages due to our power, preparations, and reputation. As such, it is the best choice."
Draco smiled. "Good! We will follow your lead, Eva."
Draco turned to the Five Generals and the 10 Core members of Umbra. "I'm sure you all heard what she said. What do you think?"
"A sound plan," Kiran spoke first with a slight nod.
"There is sense to it," Cobra added.
"Not much to say." Boyd, Uno, Sanji, and Akainu said at the same time.
"I think it's okay." Warm Spring, Loving Aunt, Rina, and Jada answered.
"…" Silent Walker, Dreary Traveler, and Jade remained silent.
"It is the kind of reasoning that shows a great understanding of the world within Boundless. Some parts I disagree with, but only concerning real warfare. The little I know of battles in this game, compared to our general prowess, shows that the Lady Boss has a good grasp of guild deployment."
Slim Fatty had something to say as a daughter of a notable general, which was pretty fair.
Even Riveting Night had to agree, her logic may not hold up in real-world conflicts, but for Boundless, it was sound.
Draco nodded and turned to Roma.
"I do not presume to know much about field leadership, as I was only taught in the management of people. It was Vano who…"
Roma had to stop there, and Draco patted her on the shoulder.
He turned to Qiong Qi, who, for once in his damn life, wasn't bored by not being in the limelight. After all, he knew they were about to fight a Dragon, which was not something he could take lightly.
"As long as we maintain this level of power, any plan we make will be successful, and any logic can be twisted to our favor."
The Lion had a unique and slightly tyrannical take, which resonated with Draco. He was also a believer in such a philosophy, but he didn't say anything out loud.
Draco turned to Rambunctious Buttlover and queried him for his input with an amused expression.
For that matter, his Dao Brother just shook his head and spoke simply. "The Dragon better not be female, or my tunes will charm it to death."
His input naturally had nothing to do with what was asked, but expecting RamButt to rub his last two brain cells together to be sensible for once was asking for too much!
Draco turned to the various members of Umbra, who were in formation behind them. In there was Holly, Shani, and Bella, who were made into basic members as their skills either did not or barely reached the elite level. They mostly got in through nepotism than anything, but Draco was okay with that.
He spoke to them clearly, his voice able to reach them as the area around Umbra was conspicuously silent.
"Today, we battle a Supreme-Ranked Dragon with almost 1000 guilds of varying strength. It is as much a co-operation as it is a competition, so try to focus on the target instead of others."
"Our goal is simple and threefold; first is that we get the last hit, second is that we get first place in the Guild rankings, and the final goal is that one of us gets first place in the individual rankings."
The members of Umbra nodded and made a low war cry. They resonated with their Guildmaster's confidence because they knew his strength, they knew their comrades' power, and they knew their own strength!
Being good at something as an individual feels good, but being good at something with a group who were just as good you as felt indescribable. You knew there were no weak links, and everyone was extremely competent.
It formed a veil of confidence and security that - ironically - boosted their effectiveness even further instead of creating complacency or apathy.
Draco himself was not worried about the individual rankings. If he and Riveting Night went all out, it would be impossible for anyone to take that spot. The real competition for that one was between each other.
What he was worried about wasn't really the Guild rankings either, as he had faith in Umbra. The kind of firepower they could put forth was intense compared to other guilds.
No, what Draco worried about was getting that last hit. It was too uncertain, especially if the Dragon had a massive health bar and high defense. Who could get the final blow was extremely up in the air, but one would have to wait and see.
The other guilds around Umbra had retreated and made space for them, which was a sign of the fear and respect Umbra held. Even those other guilds that came from elsewhere paid their respects and didn't act arrogantly.
A foreign Dragon could not beat local snakes.
Even then, comparing themselves to Umbra was more like saying a foreign lizard cannot beat the local Ouroboros. They simply were not in the same league.
"Ho there, Guildmaster of the number one guild! How goes the going of go?"
That cryptic and slightly nonsensical line was delivered by Joker, who was walking over with Noble Soul, Gentle Flower, and Happy Scholar.
Draco smiled and walked forward to receive them along with Riveting Night.
"Pleased to meet you, Joker, Noble Soul, Gentle Flower, and Happy Scholar." Draco greeted with an amicable tone.
"The pleasure is mine, Mister Draco, Madame Night." Gentle Flower greeted with a noble curtsy. Her voice and dressing really made one feel pleasant and refreshed. She was not a monster like Draco, who incited lust like a dog, but more like Eva, who inspired reverence and worship, but to a much weaker scale.
"Good to meet you too. I hope we can work together, going forward." Happy Scholar greeted with a smile.
"Umbra is not bad, and you certainly radiate majesty, but let's use this event to test our might!" Noble Soul challenged with a heroic voice.
Draco smiled. No matter what, these fellows were precisely the same, which made him feel a bit nostalgic. Even Riveting Night was a bit moved because Gentle Flower had been a close friend in the previous timeline.
"We shall see, Noble Soul. What is the general consensus for the battle against the Dragon?" Draco asked.
"Well, we thought it might be better if everyone didn't try to stab each other in the back. We also thought it might be good for Sturgehaven Kingdom's prestige if you sort of led the local forces to battle." Joker answered with a shrug.
"Let me explain it further. For the first point, it would be counter-intuitive for one guild to attack another during the fight or even afterward, as we will all need to place all our focus into the battle and will be extremely weak afterward."
Gentle Flower smiled as she spoke. "We do not believe Umbra will do such a thing as you are more than likely to claim first, but that will not stop others. If we four put it down that anyone who violates this would be attacked by us, it would deter many guilds. However, if your guild were to add your names to the police force…"
She didn't have to say anymore; Draco and Riveting Night understood. With Umbra's resounding reputation and strength, many guilds would be extremely hesitant to flout the rules.
Of course, there would be those arrogant or foolish guilds who thought they could survive afterward, so the various guilds would have to say on guard.
Gentle Flower continued, seeing that her first point was comprehended. "If Umbra were to lead the charge, it would help to create cohesiveness in battle. If we all go at it however we want, the friendly fire would be much more rampant than actually damaging the Dragon."
"I cannot speak for the external gilds that came here, but I'm sure the local guilds will comply if you take the helm."
Draco saw the logic of this, but…
"I can only give them a general direction, and besides, I have no obligation to all those guilds. To calculate the field's situation for such a large number of guilds would be… hm?"
Draco's mind suddenly trembled as he remembered something. All this time, he had been thinking that his ability to lead was the same as it was before, where managing his own guild was the best he could do.
But he suddenly remembered his trump card for Guild Wars… the Tactics Tradeskill!
Not to mention the sheer knowledge and expertise it would give him during large-scale battles, just the experience gain he could amass for using it to lead so many guilds would be…!!
Draco couldn't help but gulp.
Instantly, the fellow smiled amiably and laughed with geniality. "Hahaha, but it shall not be a problem. The face of Sturgehaven Kingdom is more important than my reservations, and I definitely would not mind helping everyone out!
Everyone within earshot became dumbfounded as they heard this. Wasn't this fellow just saying that it wasn't his problem? Why did he suddenly change his mouth, and so shamelessly too?
Qiong Qi couldn't help but clap. Fuck, his Brother Draco, was just too reliable and skillful! Show them what thick skin looks like, yo!
With this in mind, Draco became much more excited about the upcoming battle. This would be the first time he would be putting an Epic Tradeskill to use, so he was curious to see how it worked compared to the basic and advanced Tradeskills.
"I'm glad we have come to an agreement, Mister Draco. If you don't mind, I would like to gather all the top guilds from Sturgehaven here to follow your directives much more efficiently."
Gentle Flower curtsied once more and left to go carry out the plan. As for Happy Scholar and Joker, they began to chat with the Five Generals and the core members of Umbra.
Noble Soul stared at Draco with burning eyes, as if he was trying to drill a hole through his head.
No, Noble Soul didn't hate, dislike, or even disdain Draco. He actually respected the fellow, his talent and his achievements deep down.
It's just that this fellow is too competitive and intense! Even his simple act of breathing is like he wants to duel to very oxygen in the air. How could he remain calm when the undisputed number 1 player was right in front of him?
If it weren't for the Dragon that was soon to arrive, he would throw down with Draco with all his effort!
When Gentle Flower returned, she came with almost 200 other guild leaders. Since the minimum requirement to be in this exclusive circle was to be a Rare-tier guild of Sturgehaven Kingdom, this number was small.
Yet when one thought of the task Draco had to perform, it didn't seem so small anymore.
After receiving greetings from the other guild leaders, Draco decided to form a battle plan for the other guilds ahead of time instead of doing it on the fly.
As such, he… well, he 'activated' the Tactics Tradeskill.
Unlike normal Tradeskills, which worked passively when the circumstances called for its use, it seemed like Epic Tradeskills required manual activation.
What shocked Draco was that his mind blanked for a second as it was pulled inward.
In there, he was directed to a barren white space. In front of him, spawned a spherical orb that was black, with a red dot forming its eye.
"Welcome, Commander. This is your Personal Command Center, where the situation to the battlefield is recorded in real-time through your senses. Please try to make sure that you have a clear view of the battle, and you are fed information constantly."
The orb bobbed up and down slowly, which Draco took to be a bow. "I am the Special Orb For Intelligent Assistance. You can call me Sofia. How can I help you?"
Draco, who had been stunned all this while, finally roused himself. "Greetings, Sofia. Might I ask where this is? Also, can I change the aesthetics of the area? And can any external sensory techniques assist in information gathering?"
"This is your Personal Command Center, a place only you can access. It exists in your mind,where the computing power of your human brain allows for instant analysis and computing. You will be one step ahead of everything as long as it involves a large-scale conflict."
"Yes, this is your mind. You can design the area however you want with no cost."
"Yes, any external sensory techniques or skills will apply to the Personal Command Center. Your passive skill, 'Pinnacle Intelligence,' which increases your intelligence by 1.5 times, directly affects your Personal Command Center too. Your other passive skill 'Foresight' which warns of impending danger 0.5 seconds ahead of time applies here also."
Draco's face changed to shock and fear.
By the Gods!
This was too…
How could anyone live with this?
With those passive skills already buffing an overpowered skill, wouldn't Draco become the idol of Zhuge Liang? The fellow might just come back to life and force Draco to take him as an apprentice.
With a deep breath, he calmed himself and focused. He imagined his Personal Command Center to resemble the Situation Room of the White House, which looked like a conference room with a long table and many screens which displayed important information and analysis.
Draco sat down at the head seat and watched the plethora of screens around him that was overshadowed by a massive screen in the center, which displayed the map, enemy distribution, ally distribution, and neutral distribution.
It also displayed terrain, elemental, political, and social advantages and disadvantages of the area and the forces within sensory range.
Draco was quite frankly astounded by the amount of information he was receiving. He hared to say that even the highest tech and authoritarian government weren't as well informed as he was when he used this Tradeskill.
And one should not forget, his current level was 1, with 0% experience. He was in the Amateur Rank, yet this skill was already so overpowered… then what about when he reached the Elite Rank? Or the Expert Rank?
Draco could only fantasize, but his mind was brought back to earth when he saw Sofia bob before him while asking the most prudent question.
"Commander, what would you like to do?"
"Give me the best battle plan for the early stage combat against a Supreme-Ranked Dragon with the 200 guild allies I have," Draco commanded.
Sofia paused and floated to bob in front of Draco. "Commander, please do not make a mistake and think that the Personal Command Center will develop magical solutions for you."
"The first and most important requirement is your Tradeskill level, your knowledge, and your battlefield awareness."
"With a high Tradeskill level, you can easily do almost impossible feats of Commanding, but not at this level. You also require a more thorough knowledge of your enemies and allies through learning or sensory input. The Personal Command Center exists in your mind, so it is your mind this is pulled from."
"Your battlefield awareness has already been covered, but the higher you can make it, the more effective."
Sofia's red-eye turned green as she slowly returned to a respectable distance away from Draco while the fellow himself felt cold sweat on his back.
That was quite intense…