Monster Soul Online Chapter 204: Riding On The Rumor
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The city was bright even at midnight due to the firesignited during battles. Even though it wasn't to the point where the flames engulfed the entire city, it was enough for people to panic and the situation to become chaotic.
Because the size of the wooden tower was small, only three of them had climbed up and got to see the widest view of the city.
Sila had a clear look at what was happening. The Royal Armament Guild's members used guerrilla tactics; they only engaged in battles briefly before retreating, leading the enemies to traps or to where they could make use of the terrain.
Grea City had a lot of alleys and side streets, so those who knew the lay of the land had an overwhelming advantage over those who didn't.
Sila now understood why Cross could manage to survive after his guild collapsed.
“Should we go help them?” asked Sila.
Cross calmly watched the situation. “No, we will wait. The opponent's main force has yet to be dispatched. This group just wants to cause a ruckus. My men can still handle them.”
Sila looked at the battles again. Even though it was true that Cross' men could fend off the opponents, the number of enemies was too high. Among all the occurring battles, many were losing.
“I can help over there. They can't hold off anymore.” Sila pointed his finger at one of the battles below and was about to jump off. However, Sebastian disagreed.
“You shouldn't go, sir. Luring us to engage in the current battles is supposed to be one of the enemy's goals.”
“But... they really can't hold off. They are dying.”
Even if they relied on traps, there wasn't an unlimited number of them. As they continued using them, it was natural that the traps were running out. Furthermore, the opponents were getting used to how Cross' men fought and could avoid some of their tricks.
Some of the enemy' groups chased down a small number of the Royal Armament Guild's members and forced them into a corner.
Soon, a loud explosion went off and the flame blasted everyone in the alley, annihilating both friends and foes in an instant. It was a nightmarish sight.
Sila looked at the situation with bewilderment. “W-What was that?”
“Suicide bombing. I ordered my subordinates to gather enemies in one place and incinerate them,” Cross explained flatly.
“People on your side were there! I can't believe you would do that to your own people!”
Cross coldly stared at Sila. “Are you trying to say that I was cruel? Imagine yourself in a one-on-one deathmatch. Would you sacrifice one of your arms in order to obtain a complete victory?”
“I think I would, but it's not the same. That's a part of my body, so it's my choice. Those, however, were the lives of others.”
“My army is a part of my body! The war is a stage where armies kill each other! It's the same everywhere whether you claim to be generous or cruel! To win a war, we must take a look at the overall situation and do whatever it takes to win in the end, even if it means making sacrifices. It is impossible to win a war completely unharmed!!”
“What about the innocent players? Some of them died.”
“Our opponents are trying to make us fall into that line of thinking. That's why they are causing a ruckus where most people gather. They want us to be concerned about the ordinary players and divide our forces in order to help them.”
Cross took a glance at his system window. He read the incoming message without a frown. When he finished reading, he said:
“There is news about the Sword Emperor going crazy and slaughtering players in the south.”
“Eh? How is that possible? Mister Cross is here,” asked Sila.
“Clearly, that's an imposter. This is normal. If it were me, I would do the same. This means they want me to go help people while invalidating the rumor. It's highly likely that they have set a trap for me, or have prepared to raid us from the other side.”
“In that case, how can we go and help them without falling into their trap?”
“We won't go. I'm no longer the conqueror of this city. My guild is just a small guild located in the city. These players didn't pay me tax or anything. Why should I bother to help them? It's their own life, they should protect it themselves.”
“Huh?! Is that alright? By the way, is it okay to let the imposter do as they please?”
“It's fine. A bad reputation is useful in its own way. These players already hate me from the start, I don't care if their hatred for me intensifies. I will just ride on the rumor they make for me.”
Sila could finally see the reason why Montra was more wary of Cross than Lone Wolf. Regarding individual strength, Cross might be the weakest among the Four Emperors. However, if it was about the ability to make decisions under pressure, Cross was as sharp as Montra and completely superior to Lone Wolf.
He wasn't afraid of being misunderstood and becoming a villain. He didn't fight for virtue. He fought to win.
“Is it really fine?” Still, Sila couldn't help but feel worried.
Cross turned his head to Sila. “Do you think that it's better for me to go help them? Listen. Even if I go, nothing will change. In the sea of rumors and confusing news, people will only remember 'Cross was crazy and slaughtering players.' Trying to explain will just make me look like I'm making excuses. At a time like this, it is better to ride on the rumor and add some spice to make it more confusing.”
Cross opened many screens of his system window and gave a command through the guild channel.
“Everyone at the south, retreat immediately. Don't engage in combat with the fake Sword Emperor and don't help anyone. Meanwhile, add more rumors in the forum that the Heavenly Dragon Guild has come. Even the Magic Emperor Montra has come personally. However, they do nothing and leave the Sword Emperor and his men to slaughter people without helping.”
Cross closed two of his screens, still leaving some of them open to check the overall situation.
Sila wasn't sure whether Cross' plan would work. However, he received the answer in less than three minutes. The battles began to calm down and the enemies stopped slaughtering the ordinary players. Instead, their objective changed as they headed to the Royal Armament Guild's new base.
From far away, Sila saw thousands of players wearing white clothing with a symbol of the Heavenly Dragon Guild entering the city.
“Just as I expected. Since they used an imposter and the army pretended to be mine, that meant they had prepared another army to put a stop to the first army, claiming righteousness. Kukuku. Playing the side of justice is hard, isn't it, Montra?”
Sila got to see Cross from a different angle he hadn't seen before. In the future, some players might see Cross as a villain, hating him to their bones, but little did they know that it was, in fact, Cross' decision that saved most of the players here.
Trying to help would intensify the level of the battles. Instead, taking the blame that wasn't true turned out to be the best choice.
Even though Cross' real goal was to win, his decision brought a good result that prevented people from dying meaninglessly.
In the past, Sila was biased against Cross. However, he now realized that every person had both good and bad sides. He witnessed Cross' good side today.
'What about Montra?' Sila couldn't help asking himself. Had he been biased against Montra and overlooked Montra's other sides?
Cross gave another command and closed his system window. He called one of his subordinates to come up on the tower, replacing him, while he dropped down. Seeing that, Sila and Sebastian jumped down as well.
The three of them were still inside the temporary camp. There were many people running around performing their duties. Some healed the injured people. Some commanded their subordinates. Some handed out weapons to others. Even though it was quite chaotic, everyone seemed to know what they were doing.
Sila looked around and saw that all of the people he knew were still in this place. The notable sight was Shueria and Fargo locking a certain player's arms who was currently unconscious.
Based on what Sila saw, this particular player was quite normal and didn't seem to be strong. He wondered why both Fargo and Shueria had to keep their eyes on this man.
“Our enemy forces consist of the ones pretending to be us and the ones showing up later as the Heavenly Dragon Guild's army. They had to pretend to fight each other for a while. In addition, the latter team had to help people to show off their righteousness. They had to be wary of our traps and explosions on top of that. They must be pretty busy. During this time, we have to figure out which symbol these two groups are using to distinguish friends from foes. If we know that, we will have a way to exploit it,” said Cross.
Sila frowned. “Both of them are Montra's forces. Maybe they just recognize each other's face?”
“It would be possible if we are talking about a small force. However, with their numbers and how chaotic the battlefield is, there is no way they can recognize each other. They are sure to have some kind of symbol, mark, or signal.”
With Cross' rational explanation, Sila agreed with him. No matter how good they were at memorizing people, there was simply no way for all of them, an army of more than a thousand players, to recognize each other in the middle of the battlefield.
“Wake him up.” Cross gave an order, and one of his men poured cold water in a bucket on the man's face.
“Cough, cough, cough.” The man choked on the water that entered his nose. He lifted his head up tiresomely and confusingly.
“What is the symbol?” asked Cross.
The man was still in a confused state. He looked around and found that he was in the middle of the enemy's camp. The first action he took was to unleash his power, trying to commit suicide.
Shueria and Fargo were waiting for that. Both of them injected their powers into the man. One for healing and one for breaking. The pain was so strong that the man screamed.
“Arghhhh! Kill me! Kill me now!”
“That would be too comfortable for you. Answer me. What is the symbol you guys use to determine your allies?” Cross asked again.
“Puh!” The man spat his saliva and blood out at Cross's face. Instantly, the sword in Cross' hand pierced through his abdomen.
“I will add more swords, one by one. The energy clad on them will torture you from the inside. Even if you feel less pain compared to what you would feel in reality, that doesn't mean it'll only tickle.”
One more sword was added into the man's body. The female players in the camp began to s.h.i.+ft their eyes from the h.e.l.lish scene.
“The symbol. Tell me, and I will let you die neatly.”
“No matter what you do, I won't ever betray Sir Montra...”
“Won't ever betray? How nice. Bring me another one!” shouted Cross.
Soon, another man was carried and thrown onto the ground. He had several cuts and bruises all over his body, apparently caused by being hit and tortured.
Cross turned his head and spoke to the newcomer, “You are useless now. This young man admitted defeat and confessed to us what the symbol is. Now, die.”
The man who just arrived stared intently and angrily at the traitor, engraving the man's face deep into his memory. “You! Why did you do that!! We—!”
That's all he could say before Cross cleaved him into two with a sword. The soulless body fell down on the ground and remained there as a gruesome corpse.
Usually, players would turn into light and disappear in three seconds after dying. However, with Jundtrathep's pa.s.sive ability, those who died within a kilometer radius around her would leave behind their corpse, opening up an opportunity to be resurrected.
“I didn't confess…?” The remaining man muttered, feeling confused.
“Sure... But others won't know that. Kukuku, since you are so loyal to Montra, I can't wait to see your expression after that guy revives and tells the others about your betrayal,” Cross said apathetically.
“Humph! You don't even know the symbol. How can you claim that I have betrayed him?”
“Is that so? What do you think, Fargo?” Cross turned his head to Fargo.
Fargo replied nonchalantly, “The pet storage bracelet on the right wrist.”
Hearing that, the man's face became pale. Cross turned his head back to him. “You really are useless now.”
“Why should I tell you, you b.a.s.t.a.r.d? Hey... Take him to the prison. Imprison him for two or three days before releasing him unscratched.”
Under Cross' command, Shueria exerted more power to knock the man unconscious. Then, one of the guild members dragged him away.
“How did you know?” Sila couldn't help but express his doubt.
Noticing that Cross became silent, Fargo explained, “Actually, we had been looking for possible symbols on their bodies. Since they needed to distinguish friends from foes on a battlefield, we believed that the symbol should be something easily noticeable; one that was quite common but not too eye-catching. We narrowed it down by looking only at equipment, and noticed that they're all wearing six to seven suspicious items.
“When the second person arrived, everyone s.h.i.+fted attention to him while I closely observed the previous man, checking to see where his gaze landed. It was natural for him to look for the symbol to see whether the person was his comrade or not.”
Fargo, Cross, and Shueria were friends for ages. The three of them had come up with several secret signals that were only known among them. Just now, Cross had sent one such signal, informing Fargo to secretly keep an eye on the man.
Cross opened his system window and checked the item's description. “Hm. It's a normal bracelet but they aren't sold in Grea City. Montra must have planned it so that we can't find them in a short time even if we know about it... d.a.m.n. It seems we just wasted our time.”
Julia stepped forward. “If you are talking about the previous C-grade pet storage bracelet, I would like to inform you that Master Sila has thirty-five of them in his possession, though twenty-five of them were damaged by Mister Mamon's explosion. Only ten of them function properly.”
“Do I have them?” exclaimed Sila, feeling confused. Lately, he had too many items. Since he didn't use most of them, it was natural that he couldn't remember everything he had.
“Yes, Master. Would you like Julia to summon them?”
“Mn, sure. Will they be enough though? It's just ten,” Sila asked Cross.
Cross abruptly said, “Bring all thirty-five of them here. We just want to wear them. Their functionality is unnecessary.”
Julia waved her hand once, and thirty-five bracelets appeared in front of her.
Cross ordered his men to take them and entrusted them with a certain task.
“Take out all twenty of the Heavenly Dragon Guild's uniforms in the guild storage. Give them to two of our small units specialized in mobility. Go and instigate infighting while finding a chance to a.s.sa.s.sinate those who are alone.”
“Roger, Leader.” The guild members proceeded to do what they were told.
Sila turned his head to Cross, asking, “Mister Cross, do you have the Heavenly Dragon Guild's uniforms?”
“Kukuku. Not only those. I also have ones for the Victorious Wolves Sect, the Mountain Thieves League, and the Merchants a.s.sociation. I even have Zero's Unjust Wuxia Clothing and the Beginner's Clothing prepared. Montra isn't the only one to think of using imposters.”
'He even has the Beginner's Clothing? Did he intend to impose as me?' Sila let out a dry cough.
“What is our next course of action, then?” asked Sila. Since the beginning of the battle, Cross only employed his men and held those who were highly skilled on standby.
“We will wait and change our strategy depending on the enemy's actions. We are the defensive side. The longer we prolong the battle, the better. We will only dispatch the skilled ones when we absolutely need to.”
Sila started to understand what war really meant. 'We killed some of them, and they killed some of us. Sometimes we lose, but sometimes we win. Only the last, final battle decides the absolute victor. Before that, there are several less important battles. There is no such thing as a n.o.ble war. Both sides willingly slander, slaughter, demoralize an enemy, strategize, or strengthen the team's morale. Even if we are in a disadvantageous position, we shouldn't show any weakness.'
The flow of the battle seemed to be with Sila and his team for now. However, who knew how long it would last? At the end of the raid, which side would emerge victorious?
Monster Soul Online Chapter 204: Riding On The Rumor
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Monster Soul Online Chapter 204: Riding On The Rumor summary
You're reading Monster Soul Online Chapter 204: Riding On The Rumor. This novel has been translated by Updating. Author: Persona already has 403 views.
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