\"Is everyone ready?\" Warlord looked to his third-in-command.
\"All team leaders have reported their readiness, we're only waiting for Valentine,\" Satan Slayer answered.
\"Good, he just reported he needs five more minutes to wrap things up. Send out the orders for the teams to teleport to the Central Plains,\" Warlord added.
\"On it!\" Satan Slayer touched the side of his helmet and gave a set of commands to his underlings to pass the message on so that they could start their plan.
\"So that's it? We're finally starting. I hope this won't be a repeat of last time.\" Demetri gulped. The situation so far seemed great, all signs pointed to them being able to finish, what Skelly had started. So why couldn't he shake that weird feeling off, that something was bound to go wrong…
\"Yes, we'll start now, take your teleportation scroll and wait for us at Forgone Keep!\"
\"Good,\" the European Guildmaster tore his own teleportation scroll and disappeared from the Devastator HQ.
A few minutes later, the pink armored Guardian showed up in the Devastator HQ.
\"Good to have you back,\" Warlord greeted his long-time friend with a wide smile.
\"Yeah, it was a piece of cake. The only trouble was hunting down the last mob for the Quest. Anyway, what's the situation?\"
\"We're all set. I just sent orders for the army to move to the Central Plains.\"
\"Great, that'll make the other guilds sweat,\"
\"It's your plan. They are behaving just as you have predicted. Shall we proceed according to the script or do you have any last-minute suggestions?\"
\"No need to change anything. We march to the north from there.\"
\"Against the Ragers?\"
\"No, not against anyone, Warlord, don't forget we're just bluffing. Still, it's better if we appear to move against Zhang Shi. I don't want the White Ghost to feel threatened.\" Valentine explained.
\"You give him too much credit,\" Warlord shrugged.
\"To me it looks like you give him too little. He's the brain behind Heaven's Dawn, we need to respect a man of such intellect. Zhang Shi, on the other hand, is more of a direct person. Once he sees our advance he will try to come up with countermeasures to fight against both sides.\"
\"And the White Ghost won't?\" Warlord asked.
\"No, he is too devious for that. I'm afraid that he might think of something to cause more trouble than we need just to disrupt us. I've yet to locate all of his sleeper cells in our guild and if he activates some sort of emergency plan, we might end up with more than we can handle. Skelly is only bound for a set amount of time. Unlike the super guilds we can't keep track of him all the time, and we know he can single handedly summon an army from out of nowhere. Getting him involved into our fight against Qin will only end up messy for us.\" Valentine replied.
\"You're right. Let's follow the rest of the players.\"
Valentine nodded to Warlord and tore his own teleportation scroll and disappeared from the HQ. Warlord followed soon after, and they both appeared at the Teleportation Gate of the Forgone Keep.
It was a fortified city that stood at the rim of the Devastator Kingdom. The closest they could get to the central region of the world of Conquest from the Western side.
Forgone Keep had several half-standing towers that kept watch to detect any monster hordes approaching. It had a large swath of land that could easily host the entirety of the Devastator main and all their sub guild members with lots of land to spare.
Currently, Warlord was leading more than 120,000 players, of all levels toward an unknown destiny or location. All the players had received information that they were to be deployed and would get their mission details once they were on the battlefield. Aside from the heads of the guild, nobody knew what the Devastators were actually planning.
\"Demetri,\" Warlord called the other party over.
The European Guild Leader, who apparently favored his blue kimono over any other armor or gear moved closer to Warlord.
\"My guys are all here, so where are the mercs?\"
\"I told them to meet at a close-by location. Should I call them over now?\"
\"Yes, that would be for the best. We're all set and ready.\"
\"Good, give me a moment,\" Demetri began making his own calls and soon after. Hundreds upon hundreds of new players began teleporting into the Forgone Keep.
In the span of ten minutes, the already enormous number of the players hosted within the Forgone Keep perimeter doubled and their number kept increasing.
\"That… should certainly help us achieve our goal,\" Warlord spoke in awe. \"How many did you recruit?\"
\"As many as I could,\" Demetri answered in a wide grin.
\"You really want the East.\"
\"Naturally. You own the West, so you should know that no matter how much money I'll have to spend, with good management all can be reimbursed.\"
\"Great, let's begin by sending the first wave, otherwise this place will be too packed with players. We don't want anyone starting a fight here.\" Warlord gave his order.
It was true, packing an area full of players from different areas, as well as mercenaries who only cared for their pockets was bound to create conflicts. So it was best to keep their heads cool and have them march.
\"Jeffery, come here,\" Warlord spoke through his party com.
\"Can you teleport all of these?\"
\"Sure, it's a big number but nothing that I can't take care of,\" Jeffery answered with a proud grin.
\"Wipe that grin off your face, it makes me remember unsightly things.\" Warlord grimaced.
Jeffery frowned and was about to retort.
\"I'll take care of mobilizing the army,\" Valentine pitched in defusing Warlord.
Valentine turned to the players and spoke up, \"Everyone, head north, we're moving toward the Ragers.\"
A few players gave voice to some of their thoughts and complained, but Valentine didn't care.
The Devastator army began marching, but the mercenaries remained idle.
\"What's the matter with you, MOVE!\" Valentine shouted.
\"You're not the one paying us. You got no right telling us where to go,\" one of the mercenary Knights spoke up.
\"Demetri, please take care of this,\" Valentine shook his head.
\"Everyone, please follow the Devastators.\"
\"But we don't know where we're going, at least tell us something.\" A female Wizard spoke up.
\"What do you care? I pay you to fight for me not to ask questions. You'll see when we get there. Now move it!\" Demetri shouted back. It was a strange sight seeing the kimono dressing man exude the aura of a true leader for a moment there.
\"Bugger,\" the female Wizard groaned and moved first. The rest of the mercenaries follow right after.
An hour of march later, Warlord received intel regarding movement on the side of the Blood Ragers.
\"What's happening?\" Demetri asked.
\"Zhang Shi sent out a regiment of players to intercept us.\"
\"A single regiment? What is he hoping to do? There's almost 300,000 of us.\"
\"Beats me,\" Warlord shrugged. \"Feel free to ask him, one of these days. We won't be finding out anytime soon.\"
\"When are we teleporting?\" Demetri asked.
\"It's best if we do it right here, right now,\"
\"Now? Are you sure?\"
\"Yeah, think about it. Not only can we start, but Zhang Shi will wonder what happened to a 300,000 strong army marching towards his borders which disappeared. That'll throw him off good.\"
\"Jeffery, please begin,\" Valentine agreed.
\"Everyone! Listen up, we're moving to phase two of the plan,\" Valentine addressed the large group.
'What's going on?' was the question that was murmured amongst all present, who had no idea what was happening. One moment they marched towards the enemy territory and the next they stopped.
Jeffery walked into a relatively player free area and brought out a metallic cube. He twisted it around like a Rubik Cube and threw it down onto the ground.
The cube began twisting, shaping itself into a cylinder then grew from plate size to a universal satellite dish receiver.
A glowing liquid spread inside the circular form and created something that looked pretty similar to an oversized Teleportation Gate.
\"It's ready, Boss. Just remember the Gate exit will be very close to the Qin walls. This has to be done as fast as possible for us to secure a footing.\" Jeffery reminded Warlord.
\"I know. Demetri, ask your mercenaries to go in and secure the location, we'll jump in right after,\" Warlord delegated that task for their helpful fodder.
Demetri nodded and rallied Warlord's orders.
In moments the mercenaries funneled through the enormous Gate. It looked like the maw of a never satiable beast as it took in players one after the other.
Soon after the sound of battle echoed in the players' voice-communication.
\"Where are you sending us?\" one of the mercenaries asked.
\"Goddamnit since when are you guys so chatty. You were paid to go and fight. So stop complaining and do your frigging job!\"
The player grunted but couldn't help but curse his luck for having signed the contract. He jumped after the rest of the players into the gate.
\"Good, Devastators! You're next. MOVE, MOVE, MOVE!\" Warlord ordered.
300,000 players were a staggering amount of personnel to lead. And it took a lot of time for them to dive into the already big teleportation gate.
After thirty minutes, almost all the players had gone through, and Valentine was giving ceaseless orders for the players who were already on the other side of the gate and were fighting.
The Qin Army had been caught off-guard, unbelieving that they would be raided right after having fought hard against the undead army.
This gave the Devastators a great opportunity to take advantage of. The Qin Kingdom was packed full of NPCs who were hungry, exhausted and had nowhere else to stay. The capital's army had a difficult and hard time moving through the city as it was layered with homeless people.
Kicking the citizens outside was nothing short of seeking a revolt. But because of the indecisiveness of the imperial ruler, the consequences had become dire.
\"It seems that we're all set, now,\" Warlord grinned.
\"The Ragers and the Heaven's Dawn guilds will not like this one bit,\" Satan Slayer noted.
\"Who cares if they like it or not. The main point is that they will be unable to do anything about it until it's too late.\" Warlord replied.
\"Then why are we waiting here, let's go,\" Jeffery hurried them. He would need to be on the other side to deactivate his Skill, otherwise the portal would stay open, and could be used by the other guild.
Right now only five of them were left. Jeffery himself, Warlord, Valentine, Satan Slayer and Demetri.
\"Because we're waiting for someone,\" Valentine answered.
\"Who could that be?\" Jeffery asked.
\"Her,\" Demetri said pointing right next to Jeffery.
The player turned to see a player in full white standing right next to him. Giving him a big jumpscare.
\"So, it turns out Skelly was right to not trust you.\"
\"Emm…\" Jeffery was at a loss of words. The world's most famous Assassin was standing right next to him, and he had crossed her friend.
\"Don't wet your pants yet.\" Warlord said. \"She is under contract with Demetri. She will help us kill the Qin Emperor. But before that, she can't do anything to sabotage this mission, preventing her from telling Skelly or anyone else about what's going on.\"
\"Do you seriously think he isn't aware what you guys have been planning? You're all fools if you think he will just take this lying down without messing up your plans,\" Mercy shook her head. After all, Dave had given Mercy an incredible sense of dread.
And that's not even related to the fact that she knew more about him than anyone else present thanks to them raiding together. No, it was because she had been on the receiving end of his famous Draugr smile. He had been the only one she had 'failed' to kill when he had come to the surface and later when she had faced him in a battle where she had all the advantages, he still managed to predict her every move. It was as if he was able to see the future. Little did she know that it was mostly luck that she fell down the Eldritch River of the Limbo. It was also a secret Dave didn't plan to share with her anytime soon...
These mere insights on Kis'Shtiengbrah's persona gave Mercy a concrete belief that he was bound to attend this event, and once it unfolds, the one to have the final laugh would also be him. She could even picture the Draugr rubbing his beard right now as he thought of how to ruin these players in the best and most glorious way possible.
Back in the Drow Kingdom. A certain Draugr sneezed.
\"Huh? How come you sneezed? Undead don't breathe.\" Dortha looked at him with curiosity.
\"Beat's me,\" Dave shrugged. \"Maybe someone's thinking of me? Oh, Kraky's back. Nice, he brought company,\" Dave laughed.
The gigantic Kraken was moving against the river waters and to his sides were several Sea Hydras.
\"It would be a shame to attend the upcoming event without the appropriate attire!\"
\"Time to harvest the final element for the Undead King's Armor, Hydra scales!\"
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