Viewing as Guest
Chapter 4: Genuine Companions
Date Published: January 10th, 2015
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〘〙= Status, Combat Arts & Magical Spells
〚〛= Internal Thoughts
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- - -
Part 1: Ability to Think Clearly
Part 2: Coward
Part 3: Lady of Nora Lake
Part 4: Hunt
- - -Part 1: Ability to Think Clearly
As the Executives of Starlight Spark walked through the Beautiful streets of Atlantis they fell into silence; they were still reeling from the sight they’d seen on the web-cast and knew that at some point they’d have to face a similar scenario. Underpinning the sense of uneasiness was fear; a powerful fear that eroded whatever confidence they had amassed through training and hunting.
Part of the fear is that the Item lock only applies to Users, and that means natives and Demons are unaffected by the Item lock. Because of this the Crimson Hand was looking at a total loss in equipment including everything in their inventory bags. This is the reason the Adventurers Guild advices everyone to store their valuables & Gold at the Adventurers Bank located in the Adventurers Guild Building.
It wasn’t just the Executives of Starlight Spark who were afraid, all Users were afraid now; they had witnessed the brutal deaths of the members of the Crimson Hand and knew that should they encounter the Demons they would suffer the same fate or worse. Everyone had a glimpse at the horror that awaited them and they were understandably shaken.
Even Elrick was shaken, but Elrick could not permit himself the luxury of sinking into despair; not when he had invested so much of his savings into Starlight Spark. Elrick had tied his financial fate to that of Starlight Spark, and it is for this reason that he could not despair, he could not give-up, he could not waver even for a protracted moment and where others fear to tread he was compelled to step forward.
This was not bravery on the part of Elrick, it was a survival instinct; a will to survive, to rise again and see better days. And so while the other Executives of Starlight Spark wavered Elrick had to be the Beacon of Hope; the unflinching driving force behind Starlight Spark. Even as they walked in silence Elrick was well on his way to recovering from the shock of what happened to the members of the Crimson Hand.
Elrick had understood that in order to achieve the goals they had set for Starlight Spark they had to hunt the Medium and Large Herbivores during Open Beta. Large Herbivores in particular yielded valuable meat, bones and skins that can be processed to produce other products. The Executives of Starlight Spark had agreed that in order to raise the amount of Gold necessary to establish a base in Realm Eternal they needed to hunt the Medium and Large Herbivores.
For Elrick the hunting of Medium and Large Herbivores during Open Beta was unavoidable, and so the solution had to be in mitigating the risks to hunting in the open fields of the plains; he needed countermeasures. As the Executives of Starlight Spark moved towards where members of the Crimson Hand had gathered Elrick began thinking about countermeasures.
Elrick allowed his thoughts to flow freely
〚Elrick: I need to construct Combat Simulations〛
Starting with an encounter with 5 Demons Elrick began running mental Combat Simulations in order to develop Tactics that could be used as a Countermeasure for the Battle Power Deficit. One of the major components Erick had to take into account was the difference in SP. Low level Demons like Orcs, the Goblins, the Trolls, the Lizardmen, the Serpent races and the Devils have an SP raging from 10 to 50.
Low level Demons mostly used their Mana for Corporeal Magic to enhance their Attributes; this is something done unconsciously. By Elrick’s reckoning every unit of SP above 1 added 1.5% to the Mana recovery rate, and that gave the Low level Demons up to 75% higher Mana recovery rate than his Starlight Spark’s First Ranger Cavalry; a factor that could not be overcome in Mêlée combat.
〚Elrick: I need to increase complexity of the Combat Simulations〛
Elrick contemplated the effects of ranged combat against Low level Demons. Elrick’s Combat Simulation revealed that the current combination of Bows & Arrows equipped by Starlight Spark’s First Ranger Cavalry could not break the skins of Low level Demons at long range, and anything less than long range heavy calibre weapons Combat would result in a catastrophic failure.
〚Elrick: We need better Equipment; increasing complexity of the Combat Simulations, and adding more Factors〛
Elrick needed heavy calibre weapons to counter the Attributes of the Demons and so he began to browse through the lists of Heavy Calibre Long Range Weapons available on the Phoenix Website.
As the Executives of Starlight Spark moved through the streets the City unfolded itself and people parted to allow them passage for they had never seen 17 Elves moving in unison before; people were yet to grow accustomed to the sight of the various races of the Realm Eternal.
However even this sight could not rouse Erick whose attention was fully captivated by the machinations of his mind. Elrick was enthralled by the weapons lists.
『Ranged Weapons 』
Bow & Arrow
Military Grade Longbow:
Though arrow types can be used on different bows for maximum efficiency it is recommended that arrows be paired with appropriate bows.
Runic Magic Arrows can cost over a hundred times that of normal arrows.
『Ranged Weapons 』
Machine Gun Rifle:
Military Grade Heavy Machine Gun:
Military Grade Theatre Defence Artillery:
Military Grade Medium Artillery:
Military Grade Heavy Artillery:
Runic Magic Bullets & Artillery Rounds cost Fifty times that of normal Bullets & Artillery Rounds.
『Ranged Weapons 』 |
Military Grade Theatre Defence Rail-Guns:
Military Grade Medium Rail-Guns:
Military Grade Heavy Rail-Guns:
Runic Magic Rail-Gun Rounds cost a hundred times that of normal Rounds.
Elrick recognized that things like Rail-Guns and Heavy Artillery were completely out of his reach, but a Military Grade Heavy Machine Gun was exactly what he needed to overpower a Demon Raid Group. However 70 Gold Coins was too steep a price for Starlight Spark to pay at the moment, and the noise generated by the Heavy Machine Gun would make Starlight Spark’s First Ranger Cavalry an immediate target for any other Demon group. The Military Grade Heavy Machine Gun would give Away their Position.
Elrick understood what he needed; A cannon with the power of Military Grade Heavy Machine Gun, the Range of Artillery and the Quietness of a Rail-Gun. Explosive Runic Magic Arrows of sufficient Quality and number could give Starlight Spark’s First Ranger Cavalry exactly what they needed but the Arrows are expensive single use consumables.
Before Elrick could further develop his Ideas they had arrived where remnants of the Crimson Hand had Gathered.
- - -
Part 2: Coward
Elrick looked upon the sight before his eyes with dismay for before him stood broken men. The brave men of the Crimson Hand were broken; their spirits had been broken by the Goblins.
As Elrick stepped forward his eyes met those of his old friend Mithriliar and what he saw in Mithriliar’s eyes shook him to the core.All around them Blameful Eyes stole glances at Mithriliar.
Elrick : " Mithriliar!"
Mithriliar : " Elrick? Is that you?”
Elrick : " We have come!"
Bowden : " You are not Alone!"
Axil : " We are here Mithriliar!"As they spoke the system Identified those in Mithriliar’s Friend List by placing a Name above their heads.
Hammerin : " We’ve come to render Aid!”
Grinder : " We stand with you Mithriliar!"At Grinder’s statement a murmur of discontent runs through the gathered members of the Crimson Hand.
Elrick : " Ah; so that’s how it is!"
Swordin : " Looks like we arrived just in time!"
Elrick : " Indeed!"
Bowden : " Let’s get to it then!"
Mithriliar : " Thank you for coming my friends! But I fear it is too late; the deed is done!”
Elrick : " How so"
Mithriliar : " They want to disband!”
Bowden : " Disband?"Elrick moves past Mithriliar and faces over a thousand members of the Crimson Hand, looking them in the eyes to ascertain their resolve.
Elrick : " Is this it?"Almost surprised; members of the Crimson Hand look at Elrick as he raises his voice so that they can all hear him.
Elrick : " Is this it? Is this the limit of your Courage?"A voice rang out from amongst the members of the Crimson Hand
“What do you know? You weren’t there!”Others echoed that sentiment, and another voice spoke out.
“They ate us!”Other voices rang out.
“The Crimson Hand is Finished!”
“It’s bad Leadership!”
“They lead us to a horrible Death”More and more shouts of complaints rang out from amidst the crowd.
Elrick : " Is that it? You’re going to throw out your toys because the Game isn’t going your way? How childish!"
Mithriliar : " Elrick; wait!”
Elrick : " No Mithriliar; they need to hear it!"
Bowden : " The Realm Eternal is not a Game!"The crowd goes silent and all Eyes focus on Elrick.
Elrick : " Is this the day when your Courage Fails and you abandon all bonds of fellowship and friendship? Is this the day when the Legendary Name of the Crimson Hand comes crushing down? An hour of wolves when all you’ve built is lost forever?"The crowd is silent; shocked by Elrick’s rebuke.
Elrick : " If I wasn’t a coward I would have made the same mistake as Mithriliar and the other leaders of the Crimson Hand. The price of Bravery is the Risk of a horrible Death. A Horrible Death such as that which all of you have suffered. I have no Strength in real life, and my talent is in Information Analysis and Pattern Recognition"Elrick pauses for a moment as the members of the Crimson Hand settle down and listen more intently to Him.
Elrick : " Unlike all of you I lack the Courage to stand on the front lines and face down Monstrous Demons! I’m a Coward! Not just in VR but in real life! I have no strength of my own, so I have to rely on others to lend me their strength. Because I’m a Coward I’ve developed a way to operate that minimizes the risk to myself and my Allies. Fortunately the Realm Eternal is not a Game but an Alternate Reality Simulations, and that means that Natural Laws Apply. By that I mean causality is in effect; the environment reacts to you just as you react to the environment. I approach Combat the way one would approach Combat in real life; maximize opportunities while minimizing risks!"
Mithriliar : " Oh!”Suddenly something clicks in the minds of the members of the Crimson Hand and they begin to realize where they may have all gone wrong.
Elrick : " In realm Eternal I fight the way a coward would fight; sneakily, mercilessly and above all ambushing unsuspecting targets. For me Preparation is everything! The outcomes of the battles we’ve fought were decided beforehand, and that is because we run simulations until we can conduct ourselves properly even at a significant disadvantage. Having never had Strength I don’t believe in the power of an individual, I chose to focus instead on collective power, and so most if not all of my Tactics are designed to maximize the output of a group."
Mithriliar : " Raid Tactics!”
Elrick : " Yes! But not Raid tactics in the traditional Gaming sense and more like Guerrilla Warfare. I like to take out the enemy’s ability to respond to my attacks first; Disrupt their formations, Take Out their Command & Control and as they are in disarray deliver the finishing blow. We’ve had some success with the use of Ranged Warfare Tactics against wolves and other large predators, and thanks to the Crimson Hand we now know what to expect when we eventualy encounter Demons. Information about the enemy is crucial because a slight miscalculation will result in disaster as you all now know. By my reckoning all of you made a fundamental error that all Brave & Courageous people make!"
Mithriliar : " What error?”
Elrick : " Like other Brave & Courageous people you were all Itching for a real fight!"There are some murmurs as they agree with what Elrick is saying.
Mithriliar : " Yeah!”
Elrick : " I have seen it! Any well trained and prepared army tends to Itch for a fight. Our own Starlight Spark’s First Ranger Cavalry is often in a hurry to do battle with enemies we can’t quantify. And when that happens my Cowardly nature kinks in and I rein them in with caution. All those who wish to disband the Crimson Hand should rather leave the Crimson Hand. There is no place for detractors amongst brothers in Arms! Those who wish to only benefit from a Clan or Guild can only despair in the face of defeat! Those true to the cause of brotherhood reinforce their bonds of fellowship in the face of an overwhelming beating. The pain forges the bonds of fellowship in fire; unwavering, unrelenting and unrepentant!"Elrick looks in the eyes of the men before him and he sees that some have been provoked into a new resolve by his words.
Elrick : " To those of you who hold true to values of the Crimson Hand I say unto you Stand Tall and be Proud you Noble Knights, you Band of Brothers, you Warriors of Old, you Men of Honour!"There is an applause from the members of the Crimson Hand and Elrick knows that he has at the very least managed to halt the bleeding of the Crimson Hand. With the spirits uplifted the Execs of Starlight Spark deliver another lifeline.
Swordin : " To help the Crimson Hand re-equip Starlight Spark offers a loan of 25 Gold Coins"
Mithriliar : " That’s $50000 in USD!”
Hammerin : " We will supply you with a secret method to produce gas grenades that can kill all the small animals in a field!”There is a gasp from the crowd.
Mithriliar : " That’s a Powerful Secret!”
Elrick : " With this you should be able to raise a Hundred Gold by the end of Open Beta"
Bowden : " You should be able to recover the near total loss in equipment to the Goblins"Relief can be seen in the eyes of the members of the Crimson Hand. Starlight Spark had just handed the Crimson Hand a life line and despair was now being replaced by cheer. The leaders of the Crimson Hand approach the executives of Starlight Spark amidst the cheers.
Mithriliar : " Until this moment I never understood the Phrase; A Friend in Need! ”
Elrick : " I’m sorry we can’t do more!"
Mithriliar : " It is more than we hoped for! Enough to save the Crimson Hand! Thank You!”
Elrick : " Good Luck Mithriliar!"
Mithriliar : " Same to you my Friends!”
Elrick : " Then we’re off"As the executives of Starlight Spark leave they understand that not all will buy into the rebuilding of the Crimson Hand, but they hope that enough members of the Crimson Hand Remain for it to be a useful Ally.
- - -
Part 3: Lady of Nora Lake
As soon as the executives of Starlight Spark arrived back they were met a group of seven people; A blue Elf woman with Sliver Hair, Golden Eyes and wearing a Shining Silver Dress flanked on each side by three people. The other people were all also Elves; three women and three men.As the blue Elf woman gazed upon the Executives of Starlight Spark Elrick instinctively knelt on one knee and bowed is head. Seeing Elrick humble himself the other Executives of Starlight Spark were taken aback but eventualy followed Elrick’s example and knelt.
Estelle : " Nabi; I have come!"
Elrick : " It is an Honour to once again be in the presence of the Lady of Nora Lake!"
Axil : " Nora Lake?"
Bowden : " This is the Lady of the Lake?"
Grinder : " The only female player in Ancient Magic to ever gain ownership of a major City!"
Swordin : " The Lady Lorelei! This is indeed a rare Honour and Privilege!"
Estelle : " I am Lorelei Estelle van Onsling! It’s a pleasure to meet you all"The Executives of Starlight Spark didn’t hesitate as they began to introduce themselves to Estelle, and then Elrick introduced them to Carol, Jason, Edwin and their Spouses. Once the introductions were done they all went into the offices of Starlight Spark.
Edwin : " So this is your place?"
Jason : " Prime location, sizable space and a decent look; nicely done Nabi!"
Elrick : " Thank You!"
Carol : " We heard about what happened to your friend Mithriliar!"
Edwin : " And we thought you might need our Council"
Estelle : " And so Beloved Nabi; here we are!"
Bowden : " Apologies Ladyship; but we’ve already been to see Mithriliar, and a solution is in hand."
Elrick : " That’s not why they’re here Bowden!"
Bowden : " It’s not?"
Elrick : " They would have immediately recognized my Predicament!"
Bowden : " Predicament?"
Elrick : " We have no choice but to hunt Herbivores on the plains and that increases the risks of encountering Demons. They would have known that I would struggle to develop sufficient countermeasures. They are here to help me think of Tactics to overcome the Power Deficit!"
Bowden : " Oh! In that that case the rest of us will return to the Realm Eternal and continue our training"
Elrick : " Okay"
Bowden : " I’ll leave it to you then"
Elrick : " Take care!"Bowden and the other Executives face Estelle’s group and begin to say their goodbyes.
Bowden : " My Lady; it’s been an Absolute pleasure!"
Axil : " Meeting you my Lady has washed away all my Worries!"
Grinder : " It’s been an Honour your Ladyship!"
Swordin : " Your alluring presence is magnificent your Ladyship!"
Hammerin : " You are a ray of sunshine your Ladyship!”
Estelle : " Thank you All! And please continue to look after Our Beloved Nabi!"The Executives of Starlight Spark nodded and bowed as they disappeared by logging into the Realm Eternal.
Elrick : " What is it with you and men?"
Estelle : " Whatever do you mean?"She feigns Ignorance.
Elrick : " By any measure Carol is prettier, but you’ve always had all the Male Attention! Sure; you are tall and have legs like a Supermodel, but ….!"
Estelle : " You Flatter me!"
Elrick : " And where is your Millionaire Architect?"
Estelle : " Agh; It’s Over! He thought of me as some kind of trophy!"Estelle shows Elrick a displeased look and he knows not to enquire any further.
Carol : " Your still as oblivious as ever aren’t you Nabi?"
Elrick : " Oblivious?"
Carol : " It’s Sex Appeal! The long legs, the hourglass figure, the luscious body and lovely hair; Estelle has always had far more Sex Appeal!"As Carol speaks all eyes turn to Estelle and she strikes up a sexy pose.
Elrick : " Enough of that"
Carol : " Oblivious!"
Edwin : " I don’t think he can deal with any of that stuff in his current state."
Jason : " Broken"
Elrick : " What do you mean Broken? I’m a man!"
Estelle : " It is true; the light in your eyes had dimmed!"Estelle looks Elrick in the Eyes as she speaks and approaches until they are face to face.
Elrick : " I …"
Estelle : " She deceived us both! And I was convinced that I could entrust you to her, but I was wrong; you deserve far better than that woman!"A single tear runs down Elrick’s left Cheek.
Estelle : " I would see you smile with your heart once again Nabi! I would see the light return to your Eyes Again! I would see you live your better days my Beloved!"Estelle wipes away tears that began to flow in earnest down Elrick’s face and then proceeds to embrace him; comforting him in a tight Hug.
Once everything settled they began to work on Tactics for Starlight Spark’s First Ranger Cavalry.
- - -
Part 4: Hunt
Upon returning to Realm Eternal Elrick and the other executives of Starlight Spark began implementing the Combat Tactics developed by Elrick and his friends. Over 2 days (RET) the Fortunate Five and their spouses developed scenarios and simulations in which they maximized the Combat Power of Starlight Spark’s First Ranger Cavalry against a number of simulated Demon groups.
The strategy focused on the Basic Longbow armed with 5 sets of Basic Longbow Arrows and Runic Magic Arrows for Basic Longbow. After hunting in the nearby forest using the Carbon Dioxide grenades and Arrows Starlight Spark had gained a little over 262 Gold Coins, and after loaning the Crimson Hand 25 Gold Coins Starlight Spark had 237 Gold Coins.
237 Gold Coins was hardly enough to establish Starlight Spark as a major Clan in the vast Continent of Grandeur; that would require amounts nearing a Thousand Gold Coins. Starlight Spark would never again receive access to such fertile hunting grounds; for in Grandeur Towns the size of Vhon have populations in excess of twenty Thousand. Starlight Spark needed to make the most of the opportunity.
In order to capitalize on the opportunities offered by Open Beta Starlight Spark decided to implement the strategy developed by the Fortunate Five. That meant opening the purse strings and making a number of purchases.
『New Starlight Spark Purchases』
Cost = 7 Gold Coins
2 X Gas Powered Grenade Launcher; cost = 14 Gold Coins = 1400 Silver Coins.
Total Expenditure on New Equipment = 23696 Silver Coins.
After spending 23696 Silver Coins on new equipment Starlight Spark didn’t have enough money to launch an Expedition to the Plains, and so in order to raise the funds necessary to mount a Hunting Expedition to the Plains Starlight Spark tested the new equipment in the nearby forest. Hunting in the nearby forest allowed Starlight Spark’s First Ranger Cavalry the opportunity to fine tune the combat Tactics Developed by the Fortunate Five.
One of the unexpectedly useful equipment was the Magic Chest with 1000 Storage capacity. There are 3 types of Magic Storage Items; the Basic Magic Inventory Bag, Magic Bag of Holding and Magic Chest.
- Basic Inventory Magic Bag; Capacity is 100 Small to Medium Items. •
- Magic Bag of Holding; Capacity Ranges from 3 to 10 Large Items. •
- Magic Chest; Capacity Ranges from 1000 to 10000.
Magic Storage Items create Inter-Dimensional Pockets and as a result the same type of Magic Storage Items don’t stack; meaning that a Basic Inventory Magic Bag cannot be put inside another Basic Inventory Magic Bag. A Magic Bag of Holding can’t be placed inside a Basic Inventory Magic Bag and vice-versa because both types of Bags have a similar Magical Construct. If the Basic Inventory Magic Bag is placed inside a Magic Chest the particular Magic Chest can’t be placed inside a Magic Bag of Holding.
A Magic Chest can’t be placed inside a Basic Inventory Magic Bag because of Size restrictions. Fortunately Starlight Spark already had a number of Magic Bags of Holding and after Hunting in the nearby forest enough money was raised to purchase 11 more Magic Chests. Using new Techniques and Tactics Starlight Spark had earned over 40 Gold Coins Hunting in the nearby forest.
Starlight Spark hired 4 native hunting parties as Scouts at 4 Gold Coins per party; this was another one of the Strategies developed by the Fortunate Five. The locals are far more skilled than any user and their EXP level is 20 to 30 times higher, and that made them formidable. Therefore hiring 4 native hunting parties as Scouts at 4 Gold Coins per party was relatively cheap because they weren’t going that far from Vhon.
The strategy called for scouting parties to watch both the front and the rear of a moving force.
- - -
When Starlight Spark’s First Ranger Cavalry arrived on the plains they were greeted by abundance; the entire area was teaming with life. Once the Scouting Parties completed their sweep of the area Starlight Spark’s First Ranger Cavalry didn’t waist time and began their rather unique hunting methods.
Once a particular Herd was targeted the Gas Powered Grenade Launchers were deployed from the Magic Bag of Holding, and then a combination of Carbon Dioxide Grenades and Paralytic Poison Grenades were fired in such a way that the Herd is Encircled. Most of the animals died without ever noticing the attack. The Medium and Large Herbivores needed a finishing blow and that came in the form of a volley of Basic Longbow Arrows.
The native Scouts were completely dumbfounded by the hunting methods of Starlight Spark’s First Ranger Cavalry, and upon closer examination they realized that Starlight Spark’s First Ranger Cavalry wasn’t a hunting force but an Army. The more experienced amongst the native hunters had seen these kinds of Tactics employed by a Punitive Force.
Every now and then Predators would show up but a carefully aimed volley of Basic Longbow Arrows Quickly made short work of any predators trying to move in on the kills of Starlight Spark’s First Ranger Cavalry. No mercy was shown to the likes of crocodilians coming out of rivers and ponds in search of an easy meal; the poisons weaken them making them easier to kill.
Because the combination of Carbon Dioxide Grenades and Paralytic Poison Grenades kills more than just the targeted Herd the 12 Magic Chests were quickly filled with all manner of animals; Scorpions, Spiders, ants, insects, lizards, snakes, wild dogs, Hyenas, Wolves, small wild cats, Leopards, Lions, Bears and Herbivores. The hunting was so good 2 parties had to be sent back to Vhon to sell the Loot.
About 11.75% of the kills were Small Herbivores, 5.85% Medium Herbivores and 2.186% Large Herbivores. The Loot was sold for 2078384 Copper Coins( = 20783.84 Silver Coins = 207.8384 Gold Coins = 2.078384 Platinum Coins), and from the new funds 115 Magic Chests were bought in anticipation of an even more fruitful bounty as the Ranger Cavalry moved deeper into the plains.
With supplies replenished the hunting resumed and as they moved deeper into the plains the proportion of Herbivores in kills by Starlight Spark’s Hunting Strategy reduced by 60% due to smaller herds far from large bodies of water. Starlight Spark had a goal to hunt Large Herbivores and that meant moving to the savannah & wetlands. Starlight Spark’s First Ranger Cavalry was now 38km from Vhon, and they all understood that they were in the danger zone.
Fortune smiled upon Starlight Spark’s First Ranger Cavalry and they were rewarded with great Herds of Giant Buffalo, Giant Wildebeest and Giant Zebra. Their bravery had been rewarded and they would reap the rewards of their tenacity. Finding the Herds of Large Herbivores was largely thanks to the skill and Experience of the Scouts who are genuine Hunters.
Like before they Encircled a particular Herd and the Gas Powered Grenade Launchers were deployed from the Magic Bag of Holding, and then a combination of Carbon Dioxide Grenades and Paralytic Poison Grenades were fired in such a way that the Herd is boxed in. Like before the Medium and Large Herbivores needed a finishing blow that came in the form of a volley of poison tipped Basic Longbow Arrows.
Competing large Predators met with a volley of poison tipped Basic Longbow Arrows. Again Because the combination of Carbon Dioxide Grenades and Paralytic Poison Grenades kills more than just the targeted Herd Scorpions, Spiders, ants, insects, lizards, snakes, wild dogs, Hyenas, Wolves, small wild cats, Leopards, Lions, bears and Birds were also killed on a large scale.
The Magic Chests were also being filled with rare Cooking herbs and medicinal plants that the Scouts pointed out as part of the contract signed with Starlight Spark and before long all 127 Magic Chests were filled along with all other Storage Items forcing Starlight Spark’s First Ranger Cavalry to start their return to Vhon. The Executives of Starlight Spark were pleased with the enormous loot gathered.
About 1.025% of the kills were Small Herbivores, 1.173% Medium Herbivores and 1.132% Large Herbivores. Starlight Spark could expect the Loot to be sold for 6734658 Copper Coins (= 67346.58 Silver Coins = 673.4658 Gold Coins = 6.734658 Platinum Coins).
- - -
On the way back to Vhon the Scouts did their job; scanning the path ahead for potential enemies. The hired Scouts had been organized into a Full Raid Group in order to better integrate with Starlight Spark’s First Ranger Cavalry, and the Scouts Full Raid Group leader Ebbing and his deputy Brian remained with the Ranger Cavalry to better coordinate with the scouts.As they walked Elrick and Bowden talked leisurely.
Bowden : " So why does she call you Beloved"
Elrick : " Who? Estelle?"
Bowden : " Who else?"Elrick looks slightly uneasy; almost embarrassed.
Elrick : " That? That’s the misadventure from when I turned 17yrs. I once confessed an undying love to her!"
Bowden : " And?"
Elrick : " When I told her that I harboured a Fierce love for her; that my love for her burned with the fire of a thousand Suns her response left me bewildered!"
Bowden : " Bewildered?"
Elrick : " She said she loved me too, but that she could not fully Ascertain the nature of her love for me; whether is was as just a friend, brotherly or Lover. She said trying to confirm which type it was would ruin our relationship, and so that was the End of that!"
Bowden : " Hehehehe! So she shot you down!"Bowden can’t help but laugh at Elrick.
Elrick : " Ever since that day she calls me Beloved!"
Bowden : " Even when you were engaged?"
Elrick : " You’ve seen her right? Does she seem like the sort that would stop? It used to frustrate Elis …."For some reason unknown Elrick couldn’t complete his sentence, and it felt like his mind was trying to shut out any further reference to his Ex-Fiancé.
Bowden : " Well in any case the Lady Lorelei is an enchanting Creature!"
Elrick : " Don’t get sucked into that!"
Bowden : " What? You still have feelings for her?"
Elrick : " That’s not the point! She’s very Experienced with men! She enjoys a lot of Attention from Handsome, Rich and Powerful Men!"
Bowden : " We’re hauling over a million dollars in Cargo so soon we’ll be rich!"
Elrick : " I’m talking about men worth a hundred times that!"Just then Ebbing and Brian hurriedly approached Elrick and Bowden and the mood suddenly got serious.
Bowden : " What’s wrong?"
Ebbing : " We’ve picked up Demons on our path to Vhon!"
Brian : " Serpent-men!"
Ebbing : " They’re 57 in number!"
Elrick : " Can we go around?"
Ebbing takes out a map.
Bowden : " Cavalry Halt! Form Ranks!"The entire group comes to a stop and they begin to organize themselves into their Raid Groups while Commander Bowden calls over the Raid Group Captains and the other Executives.
Ebbing : " There seems to be 4 other Serpent-men groups of equal size positioned 7 to 11km from Vhon; they’re surrounding Vhon!"
Brian : " They’re up to something! Could they be looking for Starlight Spark’s First Ranger Cavalry?"Elrick’s stomach is in knots and he can barely fight off the wave of fear trying to overwhelm him.
Elrick : " A Prelude!"
Bowden : " Prelude?"
Ebbing : " Prelude to what?"
Elrick : " If they were just Scouting Vhon one group would be enough!"
Brian : " War?"
Ebbing : " But there hasn’t been any major Demon Campaign for over 25 years?"
Elrick : " And then we showed up!"
Bowden : " Disturbing the status-quo!"
Ebbing : " Vhon must be warned!"
Elrick : " Can you Break Through on you own? Could the scouts make it to Vhon if you left us behind?"
Ebbing : " A few might survive!"
Brian : " The Serpent-men are very adept at hunting; more so than Goblins, Orcs and Lizardmen"
Ebbing : " Serpent-men have high Agility, Strength, Awareness, Observation and Stealth! Getting past them without detection is impossible"
Brian : " Given what I’ve seen Starlight Spark’s First Ranger Cavalry do in the plains we would have a better chance of survival if we broke through together!"
Elrick : " I see!"
Ebbing : " I know you Atlantians can leave Ado at any moment to return and Atlantis! You call it Logging out, but we don’t have such an option. You have no reason to fight, and even if you die you can be reborn, but this is the only life we get!"
Bowden : " We understand your situation and we will …"Elrick interrupts Bowden. Elrick tries to muster his courage.
Elrick : " Know this Ebbing son of Volnehil; you are in our employ! We do leave our own behind! We will see you and your Scouts Home! Even if we have to sacrifice ourselves!"
Axil : " Hahahaha! Looks like it’s gonna be a fight!"
Grinder : " It’s about time!"
Elrick : " Breakout the Heavy Gear!"
Bowden : " First Raid Group; Arm Heavy Ordinances! Form Artillery"
Group Captain Vava of the first Raid group responded.
Vava : " Yes Sir!"Though Elrick had a genuine desire to see the Scouts return to Vhon safely in the back of his mind he was thinking that getting a few of his people carrying all the Magic Chests into Vhon along with the Scouts was the best course of action.
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