Ark: Volume 3 Chapter 5

//Ark: Volume 3 Chapter 5

Ark: Volume 3 Chapter 5

This chapter was brought to you by AnmesicCat, Boyce, Charles, Lastear, and Lei. Special thanks to Sircus.


Operation Bomb the Scorch Cannons

After arriving at the Lord’s Castle, Ark encountered an unwelcome face again. When Ark’s group followed Cross inside, Alan, who was already there, made a slightly surprised expression.

Only the leaders of each raid had received the young Lord’s summons. It wasn’t a place for a regular grunt who wasn’t even the leader of the Militia composed of low-level players. But Alan soon turned his head as if uninterested. His attitude was like a noble ignoring a commoner.

‘That bastard, he’s getting more and more irritating.’ Ark was even more displeased with Alan’s attitude.

Then, the young Lord looked around and spoke, “All of you worked hard to protect Jackson Castle. I’ve sent out summons, even in this busy time, because a pressing situation has arisen. Raymond, explain.”

“Yes, this morning, at dawn, the scouting unit discovered enemies moving towards the plains to the west of Jackson Castle. There are around 600 of them. They are currently divided into two battalions; each is transporting a scorch cannon.”

“Scorch cannon?”

The commanders stared at each other with quizzical looks.

The young Lord explained with a heavy voice, “They are the mobile cannons that intercepted the airship, steel-armored merchant vessel, and tank sent by the three guilds.”

“Those black fireballs back then!”

“You must know their power well, as you have already experienced it. It has been just half a day since a scorch cannon attacked Jackson Castle. The result of that is the current Jackson Castle you see now. We mustered all the magic power from Jackson’s Magic Tower to erect a shield at the castle walls, but it couldn’t resist. If their other mobile cannons had not moved to intercept the three guild’s volunteer troops, the castle may have already been turned to ruins.”

“What a big problem.”

“If the two scorch cannons are left to situate themselves within range, Jackson Castle won’t be able to hold for even half a day. Our only option is the carry out an ambush operation now, while the scorch cannons are on the move, and blow them up. The reason we called you all here is to discuss that operation.”

The young Lord scanned his surroundings before speaking to Alan. “With the situation like this, we must wage an all-out war and stop the scorch cannons without fail. Therefore, when the Sylphid Knights return, they will blockade the front gate and stall for time. During that time, I’m thinking of dividing all our forces in Jackson’s line of defense into two units to attack one scorch cannon each. First, I will entrust the first unit to Sir Alan. I leave the details of the formation and strategies to you.”

With his level, Fame, and his occupation of 1st place in contribution among the volunteer troops , it was an obvious result that the young Lord would entrust the command of the first unit to Alan.

Alan nodded smugly. “I understand.”

“Then, the second unit will be…”

When the young Lord turned his gaze, the warrior in charge of Platoon 2 lifted his head stiffly. He thought he was the obvious choice after Alan. But the person the young Lord chose was a nameless, ordinary player.

“Ark, it’ll be good to leave it to you.”

“Huh?”

Alan and the leaders of Platoons 2 and 3 made bewildered expressions.

This was something Ark had never expected, so he wore a shocked expression. Ark’s contribution points were still struggling in the mid-upper levels. How could he be suddenly entrusted with such a task?

If someone was registered as a commander of a special task, of course they would get additional EXP and contribution. Alan was able to take 1st place in the rankings because of this. Because of this, anyone would want to become the commander of a large operation.

But passing over the leaders of Platoons 2 and 3, who were in the top 10, and giving the position to Ark was something they couldn’t accept. As expected, Alan immediately raised an objection.

“Please wait a moment! That person still hasn’t accumulated enough contribution for this. To entrust such a large undertaking to him, it’s not a sensible judgement. Also, it isn’t fair.”

‘Dammit Alan, you bastard. Saying useless things…’

Ark wondered inwardly. New World was a game, but NPCs thought the same way real people do. They couldn’t act without sufficient reasoning, and this was more pronounced in management NPCs like Lords. They would help someone they had high intimacy with if it was something trifling, but they couldn’t designate command of an operation with Jackson’s fate depending on it without any justification and intimacy alone.

Alan was pointing that out as he demanded a revision. But the young Lord’s decision was a result of factoring in a value that Alan, and even Ark, hadn’t known.

“That’s not it. This task is being entrusted based on operation performance evaluation criteria; according to Raymond’s report, you, the commander of Platoon 1, have the highest operation performance evaluation, and then Ark. Though, it’s just a hair’s breadth from Platoon 2’s commander.”

‘Operation performance evaluation!’

That was the value he had raised while doing Raymond’s quests. He hadn’t even imagined such a thing would come into play like this.

He completed about 30 small sub-quests, thanks to that, his operation evaluation had risen considerably; on the other hand, since Alan and the commanders of Platoons 2 and 3 got contribution and EXP just from being there, they had ignored Raymond’s meagerly rewarding quests. As a result, the only operation evaluation they had was what they had received from being registered as commanders.

Alan clenched his teeth as he looked at Ark. In such a case, there was no way the decision would be reversed.

“Then, let’s continue with the briefing, Sir Alan, Ark. Discuss the formation between yourselves.”

Th-th-thump, a quest window popped before Ark’s eyes.

Hero Assembly!

* Sub-quest: Operation Bomb the Scorch Cannons

The two scorch cannons possessed by the Army of Darkness are advancing on Jackson Castle. If the scorch cannons get into range, they will place Jackson Castle in great jeopardy. Therefore, Jackson’s Lord has suggested an operation to stop the scorch cannons.

– Quest success conditions: This quest is split into A and B groups. All players in the defense of Jackson must choose between the A and B group. Upon completion of the quest, all players in the group will be awarded bonus experience and contribution.

– Quest failure conditions: Quest automatically fails if all players are killed during the operation or if they are unable to complete mission within the time limit. Also, if both A and B group fail and the 2 cannons get within range, and start attacking Jackson Castle, then the main quest will fail even if there are still surviving players.

*Time limit: 3 hours

* Ark is currently the leader of Group B. A player registered as a Commander obtains a 20% bonus in experience and contribution points. However, there is a -30% penalty upon failure.

Difficulty: D++

A sub-quest that could possibly cause the main quest to fail!

“Well, then let’s divide up the troops now,” said the young Lord while looking at the Commanders.

Having finished reading the quest info, Alan suddenly smiled coldly as he spoke. “Are the volunteer troops free to choose which unit to join?”

“Yes, it’ll only work if the group works well together, so I will honor the decisions of the field commanders.”

“Then Platoon 1 will of course be in Group A, but what will you do, Platoons 2, 3 and the Militia? It doesn’t matter to me either way.”

“Platoon 2 will also join Group A.”
“We will as well…”

After seeing the look in Alan’s eyes, the commanders from Platoons 2 and 3 quickly answered.

The young Lord spoke with a shocked expression, “What? Wouldn’t that be a problem? If the whole force goes to Group A, then what is Group B supposed to do?”

“Isn’t there still the Militia and the Jackson Guard remaining?”

“But the Militia only amount to 20. The Guard is only 30, and even combined they only amount to 50.”

On the other hand, Platoons 1, 2, and 3 combined amounted to around 120. Though there had been casualties over two days of battle, their numbers were still twice that of Group B. Moreover, there were up to 300 monsters escorting each scorch cannon. Against that many monsters, all hell would break loose if there was a battle. In such a melee, no matter how sturdy their organization was, the Militia of level 35 players on average would be no help.

Alan answered with a smirk, “That is no concern of mine. They just choose the leader with the higher chance of survival. They don’t trust someone who hid in a corner and racked up points with the management with petty tasks.”

“But…”

“And rather than catching two rabbits, it should be less burdensome for Jackson as well to organize the forces to ensure that we can succeed with one. After taking care of one, the other shouldn’t be hard to get rid of, after all. Of course, Group B is needed, since it would be hard if the enemy concentrated their forces. So, don’t be foolish and just buy time until Group A takes care of one scorch cannon and comes to help. You should be able to do that much with 50 people, yes? How does that sound?”

The quest had a high degree of freedom, and Alan had struck its weakness precisely.

The quest said there had to be two groups, but it didn’t specify that each group had to take down a scorch cannon. So it didn’t matter if one group took down both, and even if they ran out of time and couldn’t take down one of them, the quest wouldn’t be unsuccessful.

Alan had nothing to lose from concentrating the power to Group A. Rather, it was a method that would ensure him EXP and contribution. Moreover, since the Guard led by Cross were NPCs, they couldn’t be controlled by a player’s whim, and the low leveled Militia would only be in their way. Therefore, he took the useful Platoons 2 and 3 and left those two for Ark.

‘Alan, you bastard…!’

Curses were surging to his tongue. But JusticeMan spat out with a heavy voice before Ark could.

“This young little nipple-sucker talks dirty, how rude.”

“What?”

“I get the gist of it from hearing you talk. There is always one like you, living for the taste of superiority. It’s hopeless bastards like you that I hate the most.”

“Hmph, thank goodness. I was worried the Militia would come crying to ask me to let them into Group A.”

“What bullshit. I wouldn’t join you even if you asked.”

As JusticeMan snorted, Roco also gave him a tongue-lashing. But with no acquaintances among the players, there was no way Ark could sway the leaders of Platoons 2 and 3 anyway. Rather, they seemed to think Ark took the commander position of Group B unfairly, as their looks towards Ark were less than friendly. Thanks to that, Ark had no options.

He had no choice but to face 300 monsters with just 50 troops, half of which were the level 30 Militia.

There was nothing he could do about it, so he didn’t want to seem like the troops were dumped onto him by Alan’s coercion.

In the end, Ark nodded his agreement. “I understand, I will move out with the Militia and the Jackson Guard.”

The young Lord nodded with a troubled expression. “Alright. If you accept it, then I have nothing more to say either. Let’s proceed with what Sir Alan said for now. Operation starts in 1 hour. After you’re done preparing, go to the Quartermaster. I will have him prepare the goods necessary for this operation.”

* * *

“Will this really be alright?” Cross asked with a worried expression. “There’s definitely a point to Sir Alan’s words. While we hold one monster battalion down, there may be a greater chance of success if Group A takes down one cannon for sure and combines with us to take down the other, but Group B might be unable to avoid annihilation. Even so, if we’re sloppy about pressuring the enemy, Group A will certainly take heavy damage…”

Honestly, that was the problem. If Group A succeeded, then the main quest wouldn’t fail. There was really no reason for Ark to move according to the plan. But since the Guard was part of Group B, he couldn’t use the method of pretending to attack while stalling for time. If he did such a thing, his intimacy, contribution, and reputation would plummet.

‘Either way, I have no choice but to move according to plan.’

Ark laughed with an indifferent expression. “Don’t worry. There will be a way. No, I will find a way.”

“Yeah, alright. I’ll trust and follow you for now. I’ll be preparing the Guard, so come find me when your preparations are done.”

“Understood.”

After leaving Cross, Ark went to the Militia and explained the quest. Having heard the circumstances, the Militiamen showed slightly disappointed looks. That they had to join Group B, which had no hope of success, seemed to weigh heavily on their minds.

“That’s enough, going out in a blaze is better than sponging off a bastard like that. Yah!”

“Understood. We will only follow you, JusticeMan!”

As Justiceman shouted, the Militia just accepted it without objections. Once Ark shared the quest, the Militia automatically became a part of Group B.

‘But really, what should I do now?’

He had gotten the quest for now, but he was at a loss.

The monsters they would meet on the way to the cannon weren’t a problem. However, there were at least 300 level 80~90 monsters guarding the cannon.

‘It would be possible if we lured out twenty to thirty of them at a time…’

For the most part, the monsters in a battalion were a collective whole. If one attacked, they would all attack.

Of course, it might be possible to lure out a few at a time using Dedric. But there was a limit to that as well, and this quest even had a time limit. Getting to the scorch cannon with just 50 troops, with alternating battles and rest, would take over 2 hours. If they met more enemies than expected, there might be less than half an hour, or only a few minutes left when they reached the scorch cannon. It meant that they had take care of 300 enemies and blow up the scorch cannon in just minutes; with just the Militia and the Guards, it was a hopeless quest from the beginning.

‘Even if I somehow make it back alive, the difference between Alan and me, for this quest, would be like heaven and earth; if we both fail then we fail the main quest so I can’t interfere with Alan. But still, there’s no way to get rid of a few hundred monsters in an instant…’

Just then, an idea suddenly flashed into Ark’s mind.

‘Wait? A few hundred? That’s right, that method might work…’

It felt like he was shocked back to his senses. Truthfully, the possibility was low. But if he could use this method, Ark definitely had a chance to succeed.

‘Okay, here goes nothing. Let’s go find out for now. There’s no time.’

Ark immediately set off for the refugee camp that had been scraped together at one end of Jackson Castle. There he met up the airship’s Bosun, Jabel, and consulted with him about the method he had thought up. Jabel listened for a moment, thought for a long while, and responded skeptically.

“Maybe. It’s honestly hard to give you an answer right now. We attempted a crash landing and there wasn’t a second explosion, so it’s not entirely without hope, but before seeing it personally… and even if it’s fine, the time to disassemble and reassemble would differ based on the situation.”

“Anyway, so it is possible.”
“Well, yes.”

“The Magic Institute’s help is absolutely necessary to save Jackson Castle. Will you help?”

“If it’s something we can do, then of course. We are alive thanks you, Ark. In addition, we are people who came to save Jackson Castle. As the crewmen of the honorable Silver Arrow, it is our duty.”

Jabel answered courageously, as befitting of the brave Captain’s subordinate.

‘All right then. It’s not guaranteed yet, but at least there’s some hope now.’

As expected, if you think about it, an answer will come. It was the advantage of a game with a high degree of freedom.

Having found a clue for the solution, he was able to relax a little and think about the situation more deeply.

‘But even if I finish the quest, nothing will change in the end.’

Since Alan had swept up all the volunteer troops, that he would finish the quest was already no different from a proven fact. It meant the situation wouldn’t change even if Ark succeeded; there would be no change in the rankings.

The best thing that could happen to Ark was if he succeeded and Group A failed. But this was Group A with 120 users at an average level of 80. Even for them, it wouldn’t be easy, but there was little chance they would fail.

‘I have to strengthen my resolve!’

Ark clenched his teeth. Truthfully, he had made a plan to make Group A fail. To be precise, it was a method he had thought of after meeting Shambala. But then again, if Group A ended up failing and Group B also failed, then the main quest would end in failure.

It would cause Alan despair but everything Ark had done for the past few days would turn to dust.

‘However, I can’t beat Alan without taking some risks.’

The quest wasn’t the problem now. It had turned into a grudge fight with Alan, and that wasn’t all. There was even Andel, none the worse for it even after being chewed and swallowed, sticking to Alan. It wasn’t a time to hold back for fear of the losses.

‘Alan, and Andel. You guys chose the wrong person to mess with.’

Ark made up his mind.

To be willing to use any and all methods, no matter how cheap…

Ark immediately took out his pot in an empty alley. Then he shook out the ingredients left in his bag and started cooking.

Howling Seasoned Chilies

A food made from the extremely stimulating fruit of a chilli tree; if eaten, an unstoppable heat will radiate from one’s body. Warning, something might go slightly awry because of the severe heat.

Strength +10 for 5 minutes, ‘Confusion’ for 3 minutes after effects wear off

Intermediate Survival Cooking Effect: Adding spices will lengthen ‘Confusion’ by 5 minutes.

After making 120 portions in nearly 30 minutes, Ark stuffed it into a sack and went off to find Shambala.

Since Shambala didn’t belong to Platoons 1,2, or 3, he shared the quest with him and made him join Group B. As he explained his cheap plan to Shambala, he soon narrowed his eyes.

“You said you had skills, but it’s just something like this?”

“Say it simply, can you do it or not?”

“… I can do it.”

“Good, there isn’t much time left until we depart now, hurry up.”

“Got it. I really don’t know what the purpose of this is, but I’ll do it since I promised.”

Shambala took the sack with the Howling Seasoned Chillies and disappeared into the darkness.

Shambala was using ‘Stealth’ to go to the warehouse within the castle. The target was the supplies prepared by the young Lord for this operation — the food to be given to Group A would also be there. Ark asked Shambala to mix in the Howling Seasoned Chillies into the food in the supplies.

‘Survival Cooking shows its effect even when mixed with other foods!’

It was something he had already proven. Moreover, if it was mixed in a different food, it became unidentified again and the additional effects couldn’t be known without trying it.

‘The food produced in the castle is small in quantity, but it has additional effects other foods lack. With a decisive battle in front of him, Alan will definitely eat the supplied food. If the effects show then…’

Since it was mixed in with other foods, every player in Group A might not be affected, and the effect would likely be greatly reduced. But even if only half were affected, it would no doubt to be a highly unfavorable situation.

It was a mean and cheap method!

The reason he hadn’t used this method before wasn’t because of his conscience. If there was a certain profit for him, Ark was willing to do any despicable deed without blinking an eye, at least in New World. He had only resisted because getting caught doing such a deed by NPCs or players would influence his alignment. But now he didn’t even have to worry about that. There was Shambala’s trump card skill ‘Death’s Agent,’ after all.

‘Hahaha, Alan you bastard. Have a taste of this.’

After finishing all his preparations, Ark went off whistling to find the Quartermaster.

* * *

“We have provided supplies for the Guards separately. Here are the supplies for the Militia.”

Having found him an hour later, the Quartermaster provided the supplies. As expected there were 20 units of food and 20 General Tool Boxes. Then, an NPC from the Magic Institute gave an orb the size of a soccer ball to the two groups’ Commanders, Ark and Alan. The supplies mentioned by the young Lord had left out this.

“This is a magic bomb.”
“A magic bomb?”

“Yes, the scorch cannon is encased in a layer stronger than steel. It would take a few hours to break it with your weapons. But if this magic bomb is installed in the machinery, it can turn a scorch cannon into scrap metal in one go. But, there is one thing you have to be careful about. Because we produced it in a rush, we weren’t able to put proper safety devices on it. It should last a while, but… if you discover some kind of weird symptom from the magic bomb, throw it away and flee to a safe place.”

“Understood.”

Magic Bomb

A magic bomb made by the Magic Institute with great explosive power. However, it is unstable because it is still a prototype and may not be able to control Mana properly.

The bomb timer can be set from 10 seconds to a maximum of 1 minute. But because the safety devices are unstable, the switch will automatically activate and initiate explosion in 2 hours and 50 minutes.

Since the quest time limit was 3 hours, it meant the bomb had to be installed within 2 hours and 50 minutes and the remaining 10 minutes could be spent appreciating the scorch cannon explode in leisure as the quest was finished.

“It would be great if you don’t get wiped out quickly and have the monsters rush us.”

Taking and storing his supplies first, Alan spoke as he looked at Ark.

“The same to you.”

“You have a strong will, fine. Then shall we bet on who destroys a scorch cannon first?”

“Do as you please.”

As Ark answered bluntly, Alan snorted and turned his mount around. Then the 120 people in Group A went out the front gate like an ebbing tide.

Watching them leave, Cross abruptly scanned his surroundings and asked, “But, why haven’t Teach and the Militia come yet?”

The person Cross was calling Teach was JusticeMan.

“The Militia have already left for somewhere else. After we defeat the monsters and get to the scorch cannon, they will come, following our path.”

“What do you mean by that? Did you divide our already small forces?” Cross asked in a worried tone.

The Militia hadn’t been a decisive help, but there was still a difference between having and not having them.

“They are preparing something we need for this mission.”

“Just what is the plan?”

“It is difficult to explain it in detail right now. Won’t you just trust and leave your life to me?” Ark spoke forcefully as he stared at Cross with serious eyes.

Cross met his gaze for a while before nodding. “Alright. Both you and I are undertaking this operation with our lives on the line anyway. Also, the Lord placed you in command. If you ask, we will follow.”

“Thank you.”

Like that, Ark went out the castle gate with just the Guards.

After advancing roughly 10 minutes from the gate, they came to a fork. These were the paths the two scorch cannons were coming from. Alan’s troops went left, so, naturally, Ark took the right.

After choosing which path to take in the fork, the monsters started their full scale offensive.

“Kekeke, Humans. To crawl all the way out here!”

“Die!”

It was a unit of forty to fifty Shadows and Avengers.

“Knights forward, put your shields up and charge; strike the enemies in the lead. Archers, move to the flanks and block the movements of the rear enemies! If a melee breaks out, form up in 3 to 1 triangle formation!”

The Guard’s movements were different from before. While Cross quickly sized up the situation and gave orders, the troops moved like clockwork.

Fifteen Knights ran out smacking Shadows with their shields. They rushed towards the knocked back Shadows as the Archers in the back let loose arrows that stopped the Avengers’ movements with a Slow hex.

It was different from before, when they would all charge and deal a round of attacks, every man for himself. Like the cogs of a wheel intersecting, once they assisted each other their combined fighting force had a great increase.

This was the result of JusticeMan’s so-called Spartan training.

“Attack the flanks as you charge the front again!”

After receiving JusticeMan’s tactical training, Cross’ ability to read the situation had improved enormously. On top of that, Ark made up for the deficit by adding generous amounts of food with additional effects. Thanks to that, with all sorts of abilities enhanced, the Guards were displaying greater skills than their levels would suggest.

‘As expected of mister JusticeMan. To change NPCs like this in just two days…’

He was only filled with more admiration.

‘In any case, it shouldn’t be too hard to move to the scorch cannon with the Guards alone.’

It had been his greatest worry before leaving the castle, whether they would be able to defeat the enemies as they moved towards the scorch cannon with a small force, and also, if they could get to the scorch cannon in time. Those two alone were worries that were out of Ark’s control.

But this battle made him sure it was definitely possible.

“We will eliminate the monsters as fast as possible and advance! Dedric, Skull, Plan A!”

“Okay!”

Clack, clack, clack.

With one Familiar rolling on the floor and the other flying in the air, Ark also leapt into battle. His successive critical hits erupted from his sharp sword attacks. He returned all of the enemy’s attacks with critical hits, and he let fly kicks when he could to bombard the Shadows with status abnormalities.

Used to battling Shadows now, Ark could face five of them on his own. In addition, Shambala also had skills equalling Ark’s. He didn’t attack as aggressively since he had been dragged out against his will, but he easily fought three or four on his own.

With Ark and Shambala taking care of about 20% of the enemy forces, the Guards’ burden were lightened considerably. Thanks to that, it didn’t take long to easily wipe out the monsters. Having learned tactics, the Guards didn’t lose much Health, either. It decreased the rest time and sped up the advance. But, there were more monster units than expected blocking the road. Even though they were advancing while finishing one round of battle in 10 minutes, it took over 2 hours and 20 minutes to reach the scorch cannon. After finishing off the last monster unit and topping the hill, they saw a huge cannon made of steel within the darkness.

“Is that the scorch cannon?”

The scorch cannon reached a height of a whopping 20 meters. With a siding that looked like it was made of densely packed, small plates of iron, there was a huge arm-like thing extending from the upper level. A black flame was flickering from the five bizarrely clenched fingers. The thing that looked like an arm was probably the barrel that shot out the Mana surge.

Ruummmbble…

The cutter on the ground whirred softly as it rotated. It was slow, but it was definitely narrowing the distance between it and Jackson Castle. Alright, now the problem was the swarm of 300 monsters surrounding the scorch cannon!

‘The only thing left is to wait and trust in mister JusticeMan and the Militia!’

There were only about 40 minutes left before the time ran out. Even so, Ark waited patiently. The 30 Guardsmen couldn’t defeat monsters 10 times their number alone. Ark, Shambala and even the Militia wouldn’t make a difference. So, he had no choice but to take a gamble.

After 10 minutes had passed, Cross asked in a worried voice. “Just what are you waiting for? We don’t have much time left!”

“I know. But right now, it’s time to wait.”

“Just who are you waiting for? Are you talking about Sir Alan?”

“No. It’s mister JusticeMan and the Militia.”

“But don’t you know that even if they joined, the situation won’t change much?”

“I suppose it’s time to tell you. Actually…”

Just when Ark was about to say something, Shambala, who had been resting in the rear with an indifferent face, jumped up.

“Ark, it’s a scout!”

As Ark turned his head in surprise, about ten Shadows went up the hill, discovered Ark’s party, and turned around in astonishment.

“Holy shit! Shambala!”

Ark and Shambala shot off like arrows and fell upon the Shadows. They both ran in and poured on attacks while dealing continuous critical hits. Once the Archers from the Guards joined in, the Shadows fell over weakly. But even Ark and Shambala couldn’t defeat them all in just a few seconds.

In addition, they were scouts; from the beginning, they had no intention of counter-attacking. While the rest of the bastards were blocking Ark and co’s attacks, one of them fled down the hill and let loose a piercing scream.

“Squaaaawk! Enemies! Enemies!”

And BAM! 300 monsters simultaneously turned to look up at the hilltop.

“There are Humans! Humans!”

The three hundred monsters ululated cries filled with exultation as they charged up the hill. Hiptons swung huge hammers, and Avengers riding lizards brandished their swords like crazy as well. Shadows followed after them like a swarm. That alone made them all waver.

“Th-this is the end!”

“If that many monsters come at us…!”

The Guards’ faces drained of color.

There was despair even in Cross’ eyes. “Da-damn it! If it’s like this then I’ll at least take one more with me! Everyone charge!”

“YOU CAN’T!” Ark screamed desperately as he blocked Cross’ path.

“What? I can’t? What do you mean?”

“There is no chance of victory if we fight like this.”

“Then…?”

“All we have to do right now is focus on defending. If we defend, we can last to some extent even if there are three hundred monsters.”

“Are you saying there’s a purpose for enduring?”

“This is a request. Please do as I said. Enduring for a long time is currently the only way we can survive.”

“Hnng… alright. Shields forward, block the enemy’s charge! Hold on until the end!”

At Cross’ order, the Guardsmen made a wall with their shields Then, while roaring fiercely, the monsters and the Guards clashed. The attack of the Shadows and Avengers mostly bounced off the shields. A shield’s defense was usually greater than the defense of all the equipment combined. Of course, defensive power is useless if you don’t block, but if a Soldier gives up on attack and assumes defensive posture, their defense increases dramatically.

As expected, the Guards’ Health didn’t decrease by much despite taking the charge of monsters ten times their number. But the enormous, muscular monster resembling a troll, the Hipton, was not deterred by the defensive posture. There was an additional effect, ‘Disrupt Defense,’ with the blunt-edged weapon variety that the huge monster was swinging!

“Wooaaah!”

CLAANG!

When the Hipton swung down his hammer, three or four soldiers went flying with a Stun hex. Though just two of those Hiptons had appeared, the Guard’s formation collapsed in an instant.

“Shambala, I leave the Hipton on that side to you!”

“Sheesh, you’re really milking me for all I’m worth.”

“Don’t complain. You have to complete the quest, too, anyway.”

“I’m not interested in a quest like this, how many times do I have to say it for you to understand?!” Shambala complained as he ran towards the Hipton.

With the darkness attribute bonus, only Ark and Shambala were able to fight one on one with the Hipton.

“Dedric, attract its attention! Skull, attack! Plan C!”

Pow, pow, poooww!

Ark circled around the Hipton as he dealt successive critical hits. The slower they moved, the higher the chance of critical hits. On top of that, there was the additional damage of the Familiar Co-op Attack bonus, and the Counter Attacks he dealt while slipping past the occasional attacks.

With the flurry of damage, the Hipton, with Health numbering in the thousands fell to the ground in the end. Ark went to the front and let loose Counter Attacks while parrying the attacks of the charging Shadows.

Unlike dodging, blocking with a sword shaved away Health, but he had no choice. The ground was rotten and slippery from the Dark Fog, so he couldn’t unleash agile evasive maneuvers like normal. What was worse, more than ten attacks flew in at once. Dodging them all was impossible!

But the situation took another turn for the worse. He couldn’t ignore the Health that was dropping little by little from blocking all the attacks with his sword. In addition, there was a durability loss whenever he blocked an attack.

‘Dammit, I won’t be able to last long like this!’

Then, while Ark was groaning, he parried yet another Shadow arm that flew in and a message window popped up with the sound of a trumpet.

You have learned a new skill.

Parry (Beginner, Passive): You have become familiar with the defense of blocking enemy attacks by placing all your will into the sword alone. You will now be able to block enemy attacks with even greater skill.

Should Parry succeed, defense increases by 3 times your sword’s damage. No loss in sword durability.

Then, there was a spark-like effect as a new window formed.

A new Chain Skill has been registered.

Chain Skill: When at least two skills that can be can be used consecutively are joined, they will automatically be registered as a new chain skill. If the skill is successfully executed, the chain skill will activate and give you a chaining bonus effect. However, if even one of the chained skills fails, you will incur a penalty.

* Current usable chain skills

Riposte (Parry + Counter Attack)

An advanced counter that sharply parries an enemy’s attack and counters back.

Chain skill succeeds: 50% chance of knocking back the opponent 5-10 meters.

Chain skill fails: 50% chance of being paralyzed for 3 seconds.

‘A chain skill?’ Ark stared at the message window with a dazed expression.

Then, a Shadow extended its arm. Ark parried the arm with his sword out of reflex, then loosed a Counter Attack as he rotated. In that instant a spark flashed at the tip of his sword as the chain skill activated. The Shadow was flung back several meters, crashed into a pile with another monster, and sprawled on the floor.

‘So this is a chain skill!’

Ark felt like cheering. There was a special effect of knocking back his enemy 10 meters! In his current situation, it was more useful than a skill that just did more damage.

Ark quickly went into battle and abused the chain skill. His ability to judge the success chance of the skill was still low, so not all were knocked back. But Ark’s physical ability was excellent! He was soon grasped the timing of it and was able to raise the success rate.

“Riposte!”

Boom, boom, boom, boom!

The monsters attacking Ark were flung back in all directions. As if he were bowling, when one went flying, another collapsed in a heap. Thanks to that, he lightened the load on the Guards and the shaky line of defense regained its footing. And after ten minutes passed, they suddenly heard a resounding shout from behind the hill.

“I have arrived!”

Ark, Shambala, Cross, and the Guard turned their heads so hard they almost broke their necks.

It was JusticeMan and the Militia. They approached with the twelve crewmen of the Silver Arrow dragging a large object emitting blue light. A gun barrel in the form of a sharp trident, it was the Spear of Thor that had been attached to the airship.

That’s right, this was the emergency card Ark had brewed up. It was impossible for Group B to kill three hundred monsters within the time limit. While he was thinking, he remembered the scene he saw from the airship. The Spear of Thor, which had dealt crushing blows to three hundred monsters!

The conclusion of what he learned from Jabel and the Mechanic was the Spear of Thor hadn’t taken too much damage from the crash landing. Also, he learned if they charged it with the magical power left in the engine, they would be able to fire it at least once. The problem was the time needed to disassemble it from the airframe, reassemble it with the engine, and then drag it all the way to the scorch cannon. It was why Ark sent the Militia as guards for the crew out first. It was also was why Ark spent precious time to defeat all the monsters on the path, it was to clear out the path for the Militia that would follow.

“You finally arrived, you’re not late!”

“Everyone, split to the sides and retreat at full speed!” Having figured out the situation at last, Cross swiftly barked out an order.

The Guard threw down their shields and fled to the rear. Vibrating like it would explode at any second, it was then that the Spear of Thor expelled lightning.

Flash, BOOOOOOOM!

A blue light pierced the darkness and painted the ground blue. Since it had been makeshift charged from the engine’s magical power, it was weaker than when it had been used on the airship. But even that much was more than enough to flip the situation.

Monsters bathed in sparks instantaneously lost their Health and fell into critical condition. Even Hiptons with their thousands of HP were down to just 30%. And there was even a Paralyze hex from the lightning as a bonus!

“Now’s the time, ATTACK!

“WOAAAAAH!”

At Cross’ order, the Guards rushed in with recharged morale.

Even if the enemies were 10 times their number, it was a different story if the opponent was in critical condition. Moreover, if they were also paralyzed, then it was no different from striking a scarecrow. Since the Militia joined in as well, the monsters were quickly reduced in number. Ark was running around excitedly killing monsters when Shambala yelled from beside him.

“Now’s not the time to do this, stupid!”

“What?”

“Quest time limit!”

Ark immediately came back to his senses. He urgently checked the quest window and found that there was only 20 minutes left.

‘Riposte!’

Ark used the chain skill to knock back the swarming Shadows and ran towards the cannon. When he went inside, he saw a power source spewing black smoke within a complex maze of pipes. He instinctively knew that was the place to put the magic bomb.

‘There!’

“Master, watch out!”

The instant Ark stepped forward, Dedric suddenly screamed. He reflexively jumped back as an enormous axe grazed past and struck the ground.

“How dare the likes of a HUMAN try to sully the scorch cannon guarded by ME!”

‘There was still a monster left?’

Startled, Ark twisted his head around. That instant, a huge monster leapt from the darkness and rammed into his chest with its shoulder.

Flung into the air, Ark rolled out of the scorch cannon. When he initiated a forward roll and sprang up, a monster holding a blood red axe walked out from the entrance.

A Shadow 5 meters tall wearing thick plate mail!

A warning message popped up in front of him.

– Mini boss monster ‘Gun Captain Narak’ has appeared!

‘Oh shit, a mini boss…!’

“Go to hell, Human!” Narak shrieked as he ran forward.

Ark parried Narak’s axe as he loosed a counter. Chain skill! But Narak only flinched back one step and immediately rushed in to swing his axe like crazy.

Claash, CLAAASH!

He raised his sword to block, but he lost a whole 150 Health.

Narak’s level was a whopping 130. Since it was a mini boss, it probably didn’t have as much additional Health as a regular boss, but as far as levels went it was higher than the Adelaine he met inside Gallic’s stomach. In addition, since it was draped in plate mail that looked more than several centimeters thick, its defense couldn’t be compared to Adelaine’s.

“Dammit, Dark Blade!”

Ark kicked off the ground and swung his sword. As the blade that became one with the darkness plunged into Narak’s throat, he screamed. A critical attack ignoring defense! But as if he didn’t take a hit at all, Narak grabbed and lifted Ark by the neck. He choked as his strength seeped away.

“The likes of a Human dares—!”

“Dark Dash!”

Dedric fiercely charged into the arch of Narak’s nose. As Narak flinched and took a step back, Skull quickly rolled in under his feet. Stepping on Skull and losing balance, Narak staggered. Just then, a shadow rapidly narrowed the distance and leapt up like a panther as two daggers slashed at Narak’s wrist.

At last, the hand clutching his throat loosened. Ark kicked upward and broke free from Narak’s grasp. Nimbly landing like a cat, Ark gasped deep breaths as he turned his head. The person who had attacked Narak’s wrist with a pair of daggers was none other than Shambala. Ark laughed while breathing roughly.

“I didn’t know you’d come even when I didn’t call.”

“It’s a problem for me if you die,” Shambala muttered as he watched Narak in a crouched position. “The others are too busy finishing off the minions. It’s just you and me.”

“Alright…” Ark nodded. The Guards and the Militia were crazily fighting the three hundred monsters. In fact, it would be more troublesome if they came to help. If Narak and three hundred monsters got mushed together in a melee, the situation would become even more difficult.

“I’m going in first. Join in when you can, newb!”

As Shambala used his skill, and he vanished with a poof right where he was sitting. Then, he suddenly appeared several meters ahead and swung his daggers at Narak. With a roar, he landed a critical hit. Narak swung his axe with a cry of rage, but Shambala slipped past the entire attack with peculiar footwork and flowing arm motions. It looked like he wasn’t affected at all by the slippery ground. Then, he connected swings of his dagger with his evasive movements and dealt critical hits at a high rate. They were similar to Ark’s Counter Attack, but they were far more skilled and smooth movements!

‘That movement, I’ve seen it before somewhere…’

Raking through his memories, Ark soon remembered.

‘That’s right, that’s Chinese Martial Arts!’

Back in middle school, it was when a friendly match between the Taekwondo Dojo and Kung Fu Dojo training instructors started. Then, when the two gym’s masters came forward for a spar, he had seen the Kung Fu Master displaying such movements. Seeing the Kung Fu Master dodging the Taekwondo Master’s rain of kicks and countering with movements like Shambala’s had enraptured the disciples.

He thought the Kung Fu master had called that technique ‘Qigong’.

The feeling of the movements the Kung Fu Master had shown then and Shambala’s were similar. He gently flicked his fingertips to change the trajectory of Narak’s axe, which struck the floor.

Of course, skills are skills, and a game is a game. No matter how skillfully he used qigong, the damage registered in the system couldn’t be entirely ignored. But when Ark checked Shambala’s Health, it seemed that qigong reduced the damage taken by 80% when successful.

‘As expected, Shambala doesn’t just have a special skill.’

Ark used Taekwondo to access the game’s hidden skill set. Shambala likely used Chinese martial arts to attain similar results. Shambala’s peculiar sense of confidence Ark had felt from the very beginning — this was exactly why.

‘Well yeah, the Jujitsu that mister JusticeMan said he learned was also registered as a skill from martial arts he had learned in reality. If he’s someone who learned martial arts like mister and I, then it’s likely that the level of his base attack skill is high.’

“What the hell are you staring blankly at?” As Ark watched vacantly, Shambala shouted in a frustrated voice. “If you’ve figured out my style, then you know what to do, right?”

Of course he knew. Ark regained his bearings again thanks to Shambala and narrowed his distance from Narak with footwork. The basics of all martial arts comes from the footwork. Especially in Taekwondo, which used kicks, the footwork was the most important fundamental in determining the level of attack and defense. Finding his normal rhythm again like that, Ark took in short breaths as he began releasing a fury of kicks.

Roundhouse kick, front kick, back kick!

At his kicks that stormed in like a gust of wind, even Narak flinched and backed away. As Ark unleashed his full-scale offensive, Shambala’s attacks gained speed as well. When there was a gap between Ark’s kicks, Shambala’s dagger pair pierced a vital point, as if he’d been waiting for it. Taekwondo and Kung Fu, two forms at the zenith of martial arts, were unleashing a combined attack in a virtual reality game. Since Dedric and Skull, who had experienced countless battles with Ark, added their assistance on top of that, the additional effect was incredible.

“Aaack, the likes of Humans—!”

Narak couldn’t even swing his axe properly and stepped back several times in succession.

‘This feels weird.’

This was the first time he was fighting with Shambala, but their rhythm matched well, as if he was a team-mate Ark had fought together with for a long time. Maybe it was because both of them were people who had polished their martial arts for a while, or because they were on the same wavelength in the system since both of them were of the darkness attribute. Shambala’s Kung Fu and Ark’s kicks both complemented each other as they bore down on Narak.

Actually, there was greater meaning to this than the simple cooperation of these two professions, the Dark Walker and Saint Assassin, in New World. In the game’s history, the two professions were linked together by a connection from the Dark Ages. However, that fact was not yet known by either Ark nor Shambala.

However, Narak was also much stronger than expected. Even after taking Ark and Shambala’s attacks for nearly 10 minutes, its Health had only decreased by 40%. On the other hand, getting hit full on by one of Narak’s attacks by a momentary mistake would cost them 20% of their Health. Fortunately, the Guards and Militia were finishing off the minions and were on their way to help, so Ark and Shambala were able to receive the effect of Roco’s song. Roco sang the ‘Song of Recovery’ that healed 200 Health over 3 minutes without resting. Therefore, as long as they weren’t hit in succession, they could steadily recover Health.

‘There’s about 10 minutes before the quest’s time limit, I can win this if it’s with Shambala!’

Then, just when Ark was sure of victory, his bag suddenly vibrated as it automatically opened.

An orb the size of a soccer ball was emitting red light from within the bag.

The magic bomb’s Mana is going off!

Time left until the magic bomb’s explosion: 59 seconds.

“OH SHIT, 1 MINUTE…!”

Ark’s face paled. Now that he thought of it, he hadn’t entered the fact that the magic bomb’s time limit was 10 minutes faster than the quest’s into his calculations. If they couldn’t finish the battle within 1 minute, the bomb would explode! Ark and Shambala, and of course, Group B, would all take irreversible damage.

‘FRICKIN’ IMPOSSIBLE! We can’t take down Narak within a minute!’

If the bomb went off like this, they would be annihilated for sure. Then there was only one method left — they would have to give up on the quest and throw the bomb far away.

Seeming to have understood the situation as well, Shambala shouted in an urgent voice, “Give up on the quest! You can’t self-destruct for the sake of some contribution points!”

“I know!”

‘Dammit, to have to give up on the quest after coming this far…’

But there was no choice.

‘It can’t be helped.’

It happened when Ark clenched his teeth tightly as he pulled out the magic bomb. With exquisite timing, one of Shambala’s strikes brought down Narak’s Health to exactly 50%. In that instant, Narak suddenly set his axe upright as he struck the ground, releasing a roar at the sky.

“YOU BASTARDS… I WILL KILL YOU, AAAOOO!”

That was when Ark’s body stiffened.

‘Oh, hell no!’

Narak’s special skill ‘Howling’ has taken effect.

All players and NPCs in range have been paralyzed by violent Fear that seizes the mind and body for 1 minute!

“KEEUK, you shitty fly bastards!”

Narak’s eyes glowed as he approached.

‘Is this the end?’

Ark was in despair. If he took a hit from Narak like this, he would die. Even if he wasn’t hit, he would die when the magic bomb went off. As soon as he got the Paralyze hex, the end had already been decided.

Just then, the rigidly stiffened Ark saw Skull. Unlike Dedric, Skull had immunity to Fear to some extent because it was an Undead; Skull crawled towards Narak while trembling uncontrollably. It was squeezing out all of its will to come to Ark’s aid. Seeing that, something leapt and surged up within him.

“It’s no use, Skull! There’s nothing that can be done even if you block!”

CRUNCH!

In the end, Skull was trampled underneath Narak’s feet and was forcefully recalled. But Skull’s sacrifice made a miracle. Ark took over 200 damage with Skull’s disappearance, and he instantly fell into critical condition and was dyed red.

You are in critical condition, so Indomitable Will and Indomitable Body have activated.

* The set effect ‘Adrenaline’ has activated. Immunity to Fear has increased by 50% and you have broken free of the effect ‘Howling.’ Reaction speed has increased by 20%.

‘Adrenaline!’

The Dark Walker originally had a 50% immunity to Fear. With Adrenaline’s additional 50% on top of that, it became 100% and he was released from paralyzation.

Following the activation of Adrenaline, he felt a sensation like an electrifying current. His reaction speed increased explosively at the same time. Ark rapidly rolled as he evaded the axe. He checked the magic bomb’s information, there was only 20 seconds left.

There was no way he could know how big the bomb’s explosion range was, but he thought he could narrowly escape death if he ran about 100 meters and threw it. And in the instant when he was about to turn his body, countless thoughts abruptly erupted within his head.

‘No, there’s still a chance! Alright, I’ll be frickin’ amazed if I don’t die!’

Ark turned around again and ran towards Narak.

Shambala and the other people were staring at Ark’s indecisive actions with shocked eyes. But they were paralyzed, so they couldn’t even move their mouths. They could only follow Ark’s movements with their eyes.

Narak laughed as he swung his axe. Ark slid on the rotten ground as he struck the bastard’s solar plexus with a back kick.

“KEUUUK!” Narak groaned uncomfortably as he staggered.

Then Ark kicked up with one foot as he struck the bastard’s chin with a mid-air roundhouse kick, and then he shoved the magic bomb into Narak’s gaping mouth.

“Y-you bastard! What are you… ack! Ack!”

The disconcerted Narak retched as he tried to spit out the magic bomb. Flinging himself up like a ball, that’s when Ark’s vertical front kick raged into Narak’s jaw!

Narak’s jaw flung up, and his mouth closed with a clack. Simultaneously, Ark landed on the ground and released the chain skill ‘Riposte’ with all his strength and knocked Narak back.

All these movements happened in just one moment.

BOOOOM!

Immediately afterwards, the sound of the explosion burst from within Narak’s belly. His stomach inflated like a balloon before being sucked inwards. White smoke drifted up from his listless, gaping mouth. But even though the magic bomb had exploded within his belly, Narak was still alive. His whole body turning crimson, Narak stared at Ark with bloodshot eyes as he ground his teeth.

Double critical chance!

“Fuck off, DARK BLADE!”

– You have dealt a critical hit X2 with Double Critical Chance.

The final blow Ark unleashed made Narak’s Health reach 0 at last.

“Y-you… don’t even think of… returning alive… just because you… defeated me… AACK!”

He was truly as resistant as a cockroach. Narak spat out all the words he had to say even though his Health was at 0 before screaming and exploding. He was blown to bits in all directions, and while his flesh and skin went flying, Shambala, the Guards, and the Militia’s paralyzation was released as a cross symbol surfaced above their heads. A cross symbol appeared above Ark’s head as well.

– Your level has risen.

Everyone was granted enormous EXP. Ark and Shambala also rose 2 levels, and the rest of the party members also went up by 2 or 3 levels. Roco, who was at just level 25, rose 5 levels in an instant. Thanks to that, their Health and Mana, which had been grazing the floor, were fully restored. Ark and Shambala blew out a deep breath as they both sank to the ground. Shambala stared blankly at Narak’s corpse before snickering, then broke into laughter.

“Hahaha, you’re over average. That last part was really awesome.”

“Aren’t I the one to say that!”

Laughter escaped from Ark’s mouth as well. This was the first time he felt that fighting with someone was fun. However, the situation wasn’t that appealing. They had somehow defeated Narak, but there were still other minion monsters left. Moreover, the remaining time was now just 10 minutes. Since they didn’t have the magic bomb either, their method to destroy the scorch cannon within 10 minutes had also disappeared.

‘Quest failure can’t be helped. If we finish off the minions first and take some time to destroy the scorch cannon before returning, we should be able to secure some EXP, at least. Let’s get the items for now.’

There was a key dirtied with fingerprints, a parchment, and a ring where Narak had exploded.

“Information window.”

Bloodied Old Key

 

Written Instructions Stamped with Lord of Darkness Valderas’ Approval

The written instructions sent to Narak by the Commander of the Army of Darkness, Valderas. You can see the contents in detail if you search its information.

 

Resurrecting Spirit (Magic)

Item Type

Ring

Usage Restriction

Level 70

The ring Narak dredged the last of his magic power to lay a curse on. If any player touches the ring, then the curse skill ‘Ultimatum’ that Narak invoked will activate. When the curse is released, it can be used as a normal magic ring.

Option: Strength +5, Mana Recovery Speed +5%

‘What? The curse skill Ultimatum?’

Then, while Ark was tilting his head as he looked at the message—

Narak’s ‘Ultimatum’ skill has activated.

By the power of the curse laid by Narak, all dead monsters within a 500 meter radius will revive as Undead for 30 minutes. Revived Undead will harbor great animosity towards living beings.

Along with the message, he heard Roco’s scream from behind.

“KYAA, monsters are crawling up from the ground!”

“H-how can this be!”

A choked scream flowed from Ark’s mouth too. The two hundred or so monsters they had finally managed to kill with the Spear of Thor were raising their bodies as Undead. The Hiptons, Shadows, Avengers. Even… wasn’t that a tattered Narak crawling out from the earth too?!

“Dammit, to think he set a trap like this!”

“There’s no place to run!”

“God dammit, we even lasted until now..”

The faces of people in the Militia were sunken in despair.

But Ark shook his head.

‘NO! There’s no way! There’s gotta be a method!’

Ark had succeeded in several quests with difficulties that were unthinkable with his level until now. If there was something he had learned while doing them, even in a quest that seemed impossible, there was always a clue prepared to breaking free of a crisis if you looked carefully enough.

What would determine life or death was how quickly the clue was found!

Ark stared at an item on the ground.

‘This time, this is the clue. If what I’m thinking is right…’

Ark grabbed the item and ran towards the scorch cannon.

“Shambala, mister JusticeMan. Come into the scorch cannon and blockade the entrance!”

“What? What are you saying? In this situation where we can’t even run away?”

“Just believe in me and follow!”

“… Alright. Everyone, let’s go to the scorch cannon!”

Once JusticeMan made the order, the Guards and Militiamen followed Ark in. Ark raced up the revolving stairs inside the cannon. At the top was a huge room completely open on all sides. After rapidly glancing around his surroundings, Ark soon discovered a machine filling up an entire side of the room. It had several levers, and he saw a keyhole inside.

“Discerning Eye!”

Once he used the skill, the unidentified key’s information appeared.

Narak’s Key (Special)

The key Gun Captain Narak used when controlling the scorch cannon.

‘As expected, this was the answer; this key is the master key that moves the scorch cannon!’

Ark ran forward one step and put in the key. The scorch cannon vibrated as four legs protruded from its lower frame, fixing it on the ground. When the stationing ended, a pitch black flame flickered in the window. When Ark grabbed the lever and tried moving it, there was the sound of machinery as the cannon rotated.

‘Shall we try testing its power?’

Ark adjusted the cannon to set the aim on the swaying, swarming Undead. Then he firmly pressed a button attached to the side and the cannon vibrated violently.

Ruummble!

The scorch cannon that had reduced Jackson Castle to ruins and had crashed the airship with a single blow!

The same terrifying force was unfolding before his eyes. Once the scorch cannon heated up, a black energy raged out like a storm. The Undead swarming around the scorch cannon were literally torn to rags and went flying. Undead Narak was no exception either. As soon as it crawled up from the ground, it was swept up into the scorch cannon’s storm and lost at least 50% of its Health in an instant.

– 3 minutes before the scorch cannon’s energy recharges.

‘Huhuhu, this is exciting!’

The Undead that survived swarmed around the scorch cannon. But the steel-encased scorch cannon did not even budge an inch. Then, the recharging was done. The storm of black flames rose once again! Undead Narak couldn’t endure any more either and disappeared. Three hundred undead monsters had been swept away with just two shots.

“A-Ark!”

Having leapt up helter skelter to the top floor, JusticeMan and Roco shouted with deeply moved voices. But Ark didn’t even turn his head and rotated the cannon. There was still something he had left to do. He scanned his surroundings with Eyes of the Cat and spotted the other scorch cannon far away.

‘That bastard Alan failed!’

The scorch cannon’s time limit had already passed. The other scorch cannon was fine and well which meant Alan had failed the quest! Shambala seemed to have checked the scorch cannon as well as he approached from the side, then butted Ark’s shoulder and whispered, “Seems like your wicked trick worked out.”

He was talking about the Howling Seasoned Chillies that had been mixed into Group A’s supplies before departure.

Wordlessly, Ark smiled evilly.

‘He must’ve gotten lots of strength from an unknown source for a while.’

Ark clearly envisioned what Alan had experienced. With the scorch cannon in front of him, Alan likely ate the food to brace himself for battle. And he must’ve been quite satisfied when his Strength strangely increased. At least, until five minutes passed and most people fell into Confusion.

Once he was Confused, he wouldn’t be able to control his character. But before that, he would go around as he pleased blindly firing skills. Then, while he and his teammates were fighting hard in such manner, something would go slightly awry, and the conclusion was obvious.

Confusion generally had the shortest effect duration among the status abnormalities, but if one was to be hexed with it once, then it was treacherous, since there was no knowing how the situation would unfold.

‘Alan, you scoundrel, it would be good if you died…’

It was simply wishful thinking. It seemed like the possibility of Alan’s prospects turning dark were slim considering Alan’s ability, but…

“Holy Knight Sir Alan, I shall accept the quest you have failed.”

Ark aimed the scorch cannon and pressed the button.

A huge black flame gathered before his eyes before shooting off into the darkness. And, a little while afterwards, he saw the scorch cannon slowly collapsing with a roar from afar.

Thu-thu-thump, that was when a resonant drum sounded as the quest was updated.

* You have found a hidden conclusion to the sub-quest ‘Operation Bomb the Scorch Cannons.’

You have succeeded in defeating Gun Captain Narak and taking possession of the scorch cannon.

You blew up countless monsters and even the other remaining scorch cannon. Now there should be no way for Jackson Castle to take a scorch cannon attack. Rather, the scorch cannon will become used as a weapon to protect Jackson Castle from the Darkness Army.

This is a success no one expected or even hoped for, and you will be able to receive sufficient contribution for it.

Special reward: Monsters killed with the scorch cannon within 30 minutes X5, additional EXP and contribution, Fame +50

* Commander’s additional reward: EXP, contribution points +3,000. Fame +50

The cross symbol appeared above Ark and Group B’s heads again. And then a level up, with contribution points and Fame, were added like crazy.

“Keuhaaa, is this what they call leveling up twice in quick succession? An awesome quest like this, it’s a first!” JusticeMan also laughed broadly as he spoke.

“That bastard Alan, I wanna see what his expression will be.”

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2016-11-03T16:07:29+00:00July 27th, 2014|[X / KR] Ark|172 Comments