Viewing as Guest
Chapter 05: Honour
Date Published: January 18th, 2015
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〘〙= Status, Combat Arts & Magical Spells
〚〛= Internal Thoughts
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Part 1: But is it Honourable?
Part 2: Kill-Box
Part 3: Is it Safe?
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Part 1: But is it Honourable?
The Executives of Starlight Spark and the Raid Group Captains hurriedly formed a War Conference. Maps bought at the behest of the scouts were laid out and planning for a confrontation got underway. From the intelligence gathered by the scouts the Serpent-men had taken the hill overlooking the path to Vhon, and from that they could survey the entire 7km to Vhon at their leisure.
A sense of uneasiness and fear was palpable at the War Conference; everyone there knew that there was no way to Vhon without going through the Serpent-Men. The Serpent-men were using textbook military tactics to seal off Vhon or at the very least observe all movements in and out of Vhon. Elrick understood that time was of the essence, and if human war history was anything to go buy a large Serpent-Men Army was on its way.
Fortunately by taking that particular hill the Serpent-Men left themselves blind to anything hiding behind the larger nearby hills. It was understandable that the Serpent-Men didn’t feel the need to watch out for anything coming from outside Vhon, and that is because over forty years of fighting had taught them that reinforcements would come from teleport platforms within the human settlement.
Therefore the Serpent-Men had no reason to worry about an attack from the rear, and since their scent detection range was over 1.8km they would smell any animal coming before they attacked. That being said the Serpent-Men were not complacent and they posted sentries 500m from their camp at all times to watch the radius of their encampment for any potential threats. Fortunately Starlight Spark had purchased ample amounts of scent concealing potions.
The basic battle-plan being developed was to attack from the hill that provided the longest range possible forcing the Serpent-Men down their encamped hill into the valley which would be the kill-box. Once the Serpent-Men were in the Kill-Box the Scouts and 2 Starlight Spark Parties could escape to Vhon while the Serpent-Men are distracted by the Larger Force.
However getting the Serpent-Men into the Kill-Box would be the difficult part of the plan. Serpent-Men are not mindless animals that could easily be lured into a trap. If the Serpent-Men dispersed into smaller parties and scattered it would become infinitely more difficult to break through before Serpent-Men reinforcements arrive to assist their brethren.
To overcome the problem of Serpent-Men intelligence Elrick suggested a Decapitation Strike. Elrick reasoned that by taking out the Serpent-Men commanders it would be possible to reduce the remnants of the 57 strong Serpent-Men scouting force into a rage fuelled instinct driven marauding horde that could be lured into a trap like the Kill-Box being designed.
When the Fortunate Five developed strategies against Demons they did extensive reading of materials on the Demons of the Realm Eternal. It was learnt that demons had an extremely Violent Culture, and that culture of violence was both a strength and a weakness. Due to the extreme nature of their violence Demons could develop combat capabilities relatively easily and quickly, but that came at the expense of magical development which required academic research.
As a result Demons had a relatively underdeveloped level of magic, and in the wars with Humans magic often proved to be a decisive factor. That is not to say that demons didn’t have access to magic, because those Demons who were skilled in magic often proved more than a match for their Human Counterparts; this doesn’t apply to Continental Midgard Humans.
Once the Executives of Starlight Spark agreed on implementing the Decapitation Strike they began to implement the Battle-Plan.
- - -
The Starlight Spark group was on a mountain 3.4km from the Serpent-Men encamped hill; they had moved into position during the night and as dawn broke they prepared themselves for the fight. Elrick had rejected any idea of fighting at night because the Serpent-Men were primarily nocturnal and fighting at night would give them an unnecessary advantage.
And so at first light the Starlight Spark group formed their raid formations, deployed the Grenade launchers and armed their arrows. 3.4km was just inside the range of customized Hunters Bows used by the scouts, and given their higher Skills and Attributes the Scouts would get the first shot. Using binoculars the Starlight Spark group kept careful a count of the Serpent-Men; never letting even one escape their sight.
Before dawn they’d used grenade launchers to stealthily deploy Carbon Dioxide Gas and Poison Gas across the section of valley designated as the kill-box, and the gas now looked like a mist covering the valley while extending to partially cover both sides of the valley slopes in a light white mist.
After being active nearly all night the Serpent-Men were settling in for an early morning sleep and they would sleep until 2 hours after midday. If an attack had to happen it was most prudent to launch it about 3hours after the Serpent-Men sleep. Elrick had prepared himself for a little wait before what he full expected would be his first death in a Virtual Reality Construct.
It’s at this point that something unexpected crawled out of the forest. A User party numbering 44 had broken through the forest that surrounds Vhon and would pass through the valley that had been designated as the kill box on their unconventional way to the plains.
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When spotters noticed the group approaching the valley from the right flank they immediately notified the leaders of the Starlight Spark group.
Staffen : " What the Fuck do they think they’re doing? Leisurely walking into a hot zone without a care in the world!"
Grinder : " They even have girls with them!"
Arrow : " Girls? We should warn them!"
Elrick : " No! This is perfect!"
Swordin : " At this rate the Demons will see them!"
Elrick : " And that works out perfect for us!"
Hammerin : " You want to use them as Bait?”
Elrick : " Bowden; Start the Clock!"
Bowden : " Understood! Cavalry; take up positions!"
Staffen : " Wait! …. Wait!"
Arrow : " You’re really going to use women as bait?"
Elrick : " They’re users they’ll revive! So it’s no big deal!"
Staffen : " What?"
Arrow : " This is immoral"
Elrick : " Don’t preach to me about morality!"
Staffen : " It’s wrong!"
Elrick : " Wrong? Where do you think you are? We do what it takes!"
Arrow : " I know you’ve had some personal problems but that’s no reason to take it out on all women! … "
Bowden : " Enough! There’s no time for petty squabbles!"
Elrick looked around him and noticed that it wasn’t just Staffen and Arrow who disagreed with using the incoming group as bait.
Axil : " Petty?"
Bowden : " It’s not real!"
Arrow : " The pain is real isn’t it?"
Elrick : " Oh come on!"
Staffen : " You really don’t care do you?"
Elrick : " Alright! We have about 15 minutes until it starts so let’s have a quick talk about the facts."
Elrick looks at Bowden and a nod from Bowden allows him to proceed.
Arrow : " Facts?"
Elrick : " I’m not now nor was I ever Billy Buttercup"
Axil : " What?"
Grinder : " But it’s like attacking women!"
Elrick : " Those people are going to die anyway! I’m just making sure that their deaths are useful!"
Grinder : " Useful?”
Arrow : " Besides it’s not a given that they’re going to die!"
Elrick : " What do you want to do? Save them?"
Arrow : " At least warn them!"
Elrick : " So your plan is to have the rest of us loose a million dollars just so you can look good in front of some girls?"
The others gasp at Elrick’s statement.
Arrow : " All I’m saying is warn them! Death in this place is too real!"
Elrick : " Do we save them all or Are you just interested in saving just the women?"
Arrow : " What are you implying?"
Elrick : " You’re not some Overpowered Harem Character in a Manga or an Anime!"
Arrow : " Are you saying that just because I’m Japanese?"
Staffen : " Is that what you think of us? That we’re trying to play hero?"
Elrick : " The righteous indignation you’re displaying is symptomatic of the Hypocrisy of people in the developed world!"
Arrow : " So now were Hypocrites?"
Elrick : "Starlight Spark is a business! Questions of morality don’t apply only legality is consequential! People in developed countries preach about equal rights between the sexes and then proceed to treat women like children; needing to be protected and provided for. I call bullshit on all that! The fact that there are women entering the valley doesn’t matter in the least to me because I only see them as users. In developing countries women work as hard as men; a woman’s place is decidedly not in the kitchen!"
Arrow : " Are you calling us chauvinists?"
Elrick : " I’m saying that have some perspective! This is my job and I take it seriously. I’m not gonna go hungry so some of you can live some warped masculine Ideal. Realm Eternal is about money for me, and that’s the bottom line!"
Bowden : " 8 minutes!"
Elrick : " The world is hardly a fair place! Half the population of Earth lives on 2 dollars a day or less. Some of those poor people are employees of Starlight Spark, and $200 a month is a lifeline for them. None of the Executives of Starlight Spark are poor, we all have a minimum of 2 university degrees and that puts us in the top 7% of the population of the world. I set it up that way so there’d be no confusion when I tell you that there is an Enormous Opportunity in Realm Eternal. Atlantis & Realm Eternal together are like Google before it became a multy-billion dollar corporation. There is a possibility for us to make a lot of money very quickly, and at the end of beta there’ll be a chance to take lots of cash out of the Realm Eternal to the real world as companies invest in Atlantis infrastructure. Like with Facebook, Microsoft, Google and others the spoils go to the first, so we have to be first or at-least be amongst the first to reap the spoils. Never loose Perspective!"
Swordin : " Sorry!"
Axil : " We got a bit carried away"
Grinder : " Yep!"
Elrick : " Alright then!"
Bowden : " 2 minutes!"
They weren’t completely satisfied but they remembered why they followed Elrick into Realm Eternal and they trusted in his background as a Corporate Financial Quantitative Analyst. And Elrick didn’t have to remind them that he was the majority shareholder; a trump card he had avoided playing because once it was played there’d be no going back.
Elrick knew that he had effectively bought their acquiescence; buy indicating that there would be a huge pay-off at the End of Open Beta. Elrick had failed to win them over with words so he resorted to bribery; yet another talent he picked-up during his 5 years in the Corporate Financial Sector.
- - -
Part 2: Kill-Box
When the group that had carelessly wondered into Starlight Spark’s Combat Theatre of Operations reached the designated point it was time to act.
Bowden : " Pop Smoke!"
The grenade launchers fired round after round of smoke grenades at the opposite mountain side. The smoke was meant to obstruct the Serpent-Men’s ability to see the bottom of the Valley. This would in fact shield the unknown user group from a potential ranged attack by Serpent-Men. However the Serpent-Men had already spotted the unknown user group.
Bowden : " Scouts Raid Group; take out Enemy commanders first! Then take out Sentries"
Ebbing : " Got it!"
Brian : " Serpent-Men in Range!"
Ebbing : " Fire!"
Vroom! Vroom! Vroom! Vroom! Vroom! Vroom! Vroom! Vroom!Hunter’s Bow Arrows strew through the sky as they cross the valley to find their marks.
Bowden : " Prep Incendiaries!"
Vava : " Preparing Incendiaries!"
Frop! Frop! ….. Frop! Frop! ….. Frop! Frop! ….. Frop! Frop! ….. Frop! Frop! ….. Frop! Frop! ….. Frop! Frop! ….. Frop! Frop! ….. Frop! Frop! ….. Frop! Frop! ….. Frop! Frop!
The grenade launchers begin launching special grenades that upon landing begin releasing a mixture of flammable gasses.
Bowden : " Archers at the ready!"The entire force readies their bows as the hunters continue to fire across the valley.
- - -
The scene unfolded like a horror movie. Once the Serpent-Men commanders were hit the rest of the Serpent-Men descended down the hill with unbridled rage. As Elrick had predicted their target was the unknown user group. With the unknown user group obscured by the smoke screen the Serpent-Men couldn’t tell if the attack actually came from the unknown user group, but in their rage they made the rather obvious assumption that it did come from below.
Had the Serpent-Men commanders survived they would have undoubtedly noticed that the angle of impact suggested that their attackers were at a higher elevation. As the Serpent-Men went down they came under continuous attack from hunter’s bow arrows so they raised their shields as they ran down the hill. At this point the Serpent-Men knew that there were attackers on the opposite mountain, but they simply assumed that it was part of the unknown user group.
There are no perfectly executed plans, and even though events were unfolding within Elrick’s forecasts one outliner began to show itself; armour. The Serpent-Men were wearing better Armour than predicted. The initial attack on Serpent-Men commanders and sentries was successful because they were stationary allowing them to be easily sniped; neck & head shots.
Killing a mobile Serpent-Man was an entirely different matter. The Serpent-Men don’t have a uniform appearance; some look humanoid with heads of a snake while the more extreme kind look like giant snakes with small hands. Their irregular movements combined with their Serpent-Men armour made them incredibly difficult to kill.
The Serpent-Men armour is an interesting combination of chain-mail, plate and leather that would be difficult to penetrate.
- - -
The Serpent-Men were entering the Kill-Box.
Spotter-1 : " Serpent-Men entering the Kill-Box!"
Bowden : " Ignite Incendiaries!"
Frop! Frop! ….. Frop! Frop! ….. Frop! Frop! ….. Frop! Frop! ….. Frop! Frop! ….. Frop! Frop!
Grenade launchers launch Explosive Grenades.
BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! ….. BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!
The Serpent-Men were running so fast that by the time the Explosive Grenades hit the ground some of the Serpent-Men are about to Exit the Kill-Box. Once the Grenades hit the entire mountain side goes up like a powder cake throwing Serpent-Men into the Air. The flammable gases had ignited and exploded to a spectacular effect; creating a firestorm.The entire Kill-Box was littered with Serpent-Men who had the wind knocked out of them.
Bowden : " Enemy Count?"
Spotter-2 : " 38 Serpent-Men!"
Bowden : " Archers; Fire! Canons; Launch Poison & Carbon Dioxide!"
VROOM! VROOM! VROOM! VROOM! VROOM! VROOM! VROOM! .............. VROOM! VROOM! VROOM! VROOM! VROOM! VROOM! VROOM! .............. VROOM! VROOM! VROOM! VROOM! VROOM! VROOM! VROOM! .............. VROOM! VROOM! VROOM! VROOM! VROOM! VROOM! VROOM! .............. VROOM! VROOM! VROOM! VROOM! VROOM! VROOM! VROOM! ..............
The Starlight Spark Force fired arrows at the disorientated Serpent-Men making sure that every Starlight Spark Raid Group targeted a single Serpent-Man.
The Arrows of the Basic Longbow could barely break the tough skin of the Serpent-Men let alone their heavy armour, but that wasn’t the goal of the arrow attack, and Elrick had always known that they couldn’t kill the Serpent-Men with their arrows; poison was the answer to that particular problem.
However Serpent-Men have high resistance to toxins and it would take time for the effects of the toxins to take its toll on the Serpent-Men. The tactics developed by the Fortunate Five involved Damaging Armour, Damaging Skin and knocking Demons to the ground where they would better inhale the combination of Poison & Carbon Dioxide.
The compounded effect of the combination of Poison & Carbon Dioxide had the effect of robbing the enemy of their strength, agility, observation as well as intelligence related Attributes. The explosions damaged armour and skin thus allowing the barrage of arrows to deliver even more poison to stack onto the one already in the body.
The Serpent-Men rallied and broke through reaching the smoke filled valley.
Bowden : " Enemy Count?"
Spotter-2 : " 24 Serpent-Men!"
Elrick : " Hunters should go!"Speaking to Bowden
Bowden : " Scouting Groups; time to Go!"Bowden speaks loud enough for all to hear.
Brian : " But we can still ….!"
Bowden : " Now!"Bowden shouts as he interrupts Brian.
Ebbing : " Understood!"
And so the native Hunters Scouting group and 2 Starlight Spark Parties went down the opposite side of the mountain and left the area; moving as quickly as they could.
Bowden : " Prep secondary Kill-Zone!"
Frop! Frop! ….. Frop! Frop! ….. Frop! Frop! ….. Frop! Frop! ….. Frop! Frop! ….. Frop! Frop!The grenade launchers launch grenades that release a mixture of flammable gasses onto the side of the mountain the Starlight Spark force was on. The Starlight Spark Force change their formations in order to assume a more defensive posture.
- - -
At the bottom of the valley the 24 surviving Serpent-Men encounter the unknown user group trying to organize themselves and escape the valley amidst the darkness created by the smoke grenades. Some had already scattered running in panic once they saw glimpses of the Serpent-Men running towards them. The leaders of the group did their best to hold things together as they retreated towards the valley exit, but they were cut off.
Once they were cut-off the unknown user group fell into disarray and the Serpent-Men ploughed into them like hounds from hell. Serpent-Men don’t fight in a way that is easy to counter; their movements are lightning fast and their Razor sharp teeth carry neurotoxin. As expected the Serpent-Men claw and bite at will as well as use swords, spears, axes and bows.
Some of the Serpent-Men that have a humanoid torso and the body of a giant snake below the waist used their tail like a whip and because the tip of the tail was armed with sharp four sided blades they did incredible damage. By far the most frightening Serpent-Men were those with the ability to spit poison, and that is because they could blind or paralyze you in an instant.
And so blood curdling screams came from the bottom of the Valley as the Serpent-Men seemingly ripped apart the unknown user group. The most disturbing was the screams of the women, and every time a woman was heard screaming some of the executives of Starlight Spark could be seen looking at Elrick with contempt; Eyes that blamed him for the screams were met with cold eyes from Elrick.
To everyone Elrick seemed unmoved but deep inside even Elrick was in turmoil. However something about his High-Elf body allowed him to maintain a calm demeanour.To help his people focus Elrick decided it was time to throw in a little incentive. So he Raised his voice for all to hear.
Elrick : " To Honour your Courage; the loot gathered from this battle will be placed on the auction site and the proceeds divided amongst the 217 of us!"
As Elrick’s words sunk in the entire force erupted in cheer. They now understood that cash in their pockets was at hand, and all they needed to do was Win; Victory in this Battle!
- - -
Suddenly there was silence at the bottom of the valley.
Spotter-1 : " Enemy entering Kill-Zone"
Bowden : " Archers!"
VROOM! VROOM! VROOM! VROOM! VROOM! VROOM! VROOM! .............. VROOM! VROOM! VROOM! VROOM! VROOM! VROOM! VROOM!The 24 surviving Serpent-Men were now making their way up the mountain. Even though the Basic Longbow Arrows weren’t doing much damage the goal wasn’t to kill at this point but to force the Serpent-Men to cluster together in the Kill-Box.
Spotter-1 : " Enemy count; 22 in the Kill-Box!"
Bowden : " Light them up!"
Frop! Frop! ….. Frop! Frop! ….. Frop! Frop! ….. Frop! Frop! ….. Frop! Frop! ….. Frop! Frop!
Grenade launchers launch Explosive Grenades.
Using the arrows had deceived the Serpent-Men into thinking that there wasn’t going to be an explosion on this side of the valley, but they were deceived.
BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! ….. BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!The Grenades hit and the entire mountain side Explodes once again throwing Serpent-Men into the Air. The flammable gases ignite and exploded into an inferno.
Bowden : " Archers; Shorten the Kill Chain!"
VROOM! VROOM! VROOM! VROOM! VROOM! VROOM! VROOM! .............. VROOM! VROOM! VROOM! VROOM! VROOM! VROOM! VROOM!
Elrick : " Cannons; Acid Grenades!"
Frop! Frop! ….. Frop! Frop! ….. Frop! Frop! ….. Frop! Frop! ….. Frop! Frop! ….. Frop! Frop!Grenade launchers launch Grenades that explode to release acid.
Smoke, Incendiaries, Acid and other grenade types had been bought while hunting in the forest near Vhon as a way to deal with Boss Monsters, but they were never used since Boss Monsters actively avoided the Starlight Spark Cavalry. The Fortunate Five had found a new use for them.
Bowden : " Artillery Bowmen; Runic Penetraters!"
Vava : " On the way!"
VROOM! VROOM! VROOM! VROOM!
This was the first use of the Expensive Heavy Ordinance Runic Penetraters. The Runic Penetraters are amongst the few weapons that can cause serious damage to the Serpent-Men. However Runic Arrows could do little damage to a heavily armoured Serpent-Man, and so their use had to wait until the armours of the Serpent-Men had taken significant damage.
Spotter-1 : " Enemy Count; 17!"Now that the Serpent-Men were taking heavy damage they were far more dangerous to the Starlight force and were trying to close the distance by running up the mountain at full speed
Bowden : " Cannons; Explosive Grenades! Artillery Bowmen; Runic Exploders!"
The Explosive Grenades and Runic Exploders were meant to impede the Serpent-Men’s attempt to rush up the mountain by constantly knocking them down.
However the Serpent-Men were more resilient and were steadily making their way up the mountain.
Bowden : " Archers; Fire!"
Spotter-4 : " Enemy at 800 meters and closing!"
Elrick : " Raid group 3; Equip Shields & Spears!"Elrick then proceeded to stand behind the entire force at the highest point, and everyone knew what was about to happen.
Spotter-4 : " Enemy at 500 meters!"
Elrick knows that 500 meters is within the throwing range of the Serpent-Men and takes action.
Elrick’s role had been to design a Battle-Plan, and in this Battle his role is to Read the Flow of Battle and where necessary make adjustments and inputs that can affect the Flow of Battle Positively.
Elrick : " 20 Chain 〘Aura Burst〙! ”
Elrick uses the race specific magical spell 〘Aura Burst〙, but he chains 20 〘Aura Burst〙 spells together to create a spectacular cumulative effect that temporarily blinds the Serpent-Men.
Using so much Mana at once leaves Elrick on the verge of collapse.
Bowden : " Cannons; Explosive Grenades! Artillery Bowmen; Runic Exploders! Archers; Fire!"
Nonetheless the Serpent-Men throw their spears, knives and Axes causing casualties and injuries to the Third Raid Group which is tasked with the Defence.
The intensity & pace of the Battle leaves no time to notice even as members of Starlight Spark’s First Ranger Cavalry are impaled by a spear and limb is ripped off by a thrown axe. The Battle rages on even as the person next to suddenly collapses due to a thrown knife piercing the eye. Everything happens so fast that they hardly have time to notice and despair.
Across Starlight Spark’s First Ranger Cavalry Mountain perch yells can be heard ringing out.
Spotter-X : " Contact 2 O’clock!"
Raid Group Captains can be heard yelling “FIRE!”
Spotter-X : " Contact 7 O’clock!"
Boom! Boom! Boom!
“Target Left Flank; FIRE!”
Bowden : " Cannons; Explosive Grenades! Artillery Bowmen; Runic Exploders on my mark! FIRE!"
Elrick finally understands what war is like; controlled Chaos!
Throughout the Battle Bowden’s calm and steady voice becomes a calming influence on the men letting them know that every thing is under control.
- - -
Fortunately that is the decisive moment of the Battle, and the charge of the Serpent-Men up the mountain is halted and only 4 Serpent-Men make it all the way to the Starlight Spark position and by that time they are in such a weakened state that they are no match for the Arrows and Spears.
Starlight Spark’s First Ranger Cavalry quickly loots the valley; putting all the corpses in the one remaining magic chest, that was filled with insects. Of-course some insect loot had to be discarded to make room for the bodies of the Serpent-Men.
Though Elrick was tempted to loot the bodies of the unknown user group he couldn’t do it without his friends thinking less of him so he abandoned that Idea.
Once the looting was done the Starlight Spark First Ranger Cavalry ran as fast as they could towards Vhon. They avoided taking the main road choosing instead to cut through the forest as it was the shortest path. The animals naturally moved out of the way of a running large human force. All this was done to avoid any further contact with Serpent-Men.
All in all Elrick’s group had killed 52 of the 57 Serpent-Men force, and so Elrick believed that the survivors would have undoubtedly sought assistance from other nearby Serpent-Men groups. Even if they didn’t seek assistance from the other Serpent-Men groups they would have heard the sound of explosions and would come to investigate.
To keep up with the running force Elrick was wearing 8 agility rings, 6 taken from 6 of the 23 members of Starlight Spark’s First Ranger Cavalry that had died during the final phase of the battle.
By right as Clan Leader Elrick named the battle they’d fought; The Battle of Twin Peaks.
- - -
Part 3: Is it Safe?
Members of Starlight Spark’s First Ranger Cavalry finally found relief when they moved through the Psionic Barrier protecting Vhon. Some collapsed on the ground laughing hysterically in relief.
The mood in Vhon was sombre and sirens could be heard ringing. Elrick had instructed the Scouts and the parties that left with them to inform the Adventurers guild and town authorities of the encounter with the Serpent-Men as well as the movements of the Serpent-Men groups. Because of that soldiers were on the Wall and all adventuring outside the wall had seized.
Elrick didn’t hesitate and Transferred 28 Silver Coins to the Realm Eternal spending account of each of all 217 members of Starlight Spark as their share on the bodies of the Serpent-Men. The Serpent-Men items would be repaired and placed for Auction.
Elrick : " To you Noble Warriors; my sincere gratitude! Take the rest of the day off and have fun at the pubs & taverns to your hearts content!"
They erupt in cheer and begin to form small groups and move off to find their pleasure.
Elrick knows that they’ll drink, eat and finally find their way to the nearest Brothel. 7 Silver Coins can buy you a night with a cheap Courtesan.
- - -
The Executives of Starlight Spark still had plenty to do but Elrick was content to leave it to the other Executives he was on his way to see Arvin the Alchemist to supply him with blood and restock on grenades. 2 of the Starlight Spark Executives sent ahead with the hunters were still at the adventures guild selling the loot from the plains and the other would join them to include the last magic chest.
Executives of Starlight Spark would need to visit the general dealer to restock on Arrows foods and other essential. There was still 2 days RWT of Open Beta and that meant 9 days in RET; plenty of time to earn more gold. But with the Serpent-Men roaming the outskirts of Vhon hunting would be limited to within the barrier or just outside it.
Bowden had elected to go walk with Elrick for a moment before he logged out.
Bowden : " You had me worried for a while there!"
Elrick : " When?"
Bowden : " The time you were indifferent to the Screams!"
Elrick : " I was surprisingly calm throughout the battle; I find it easy to control my emotions"
Bowden : " Do you think it has something to do with the body you're in right now?"
Elrick : " Perhaps!"
Bowden : " Be careful! The Light elf has low sensitivity and you’re spending way too much time in the Realm Eternal as it is, it may start to affect who you are!"
Elrick : " Oh!"
Bowden : " The Sensitivity Attribute supposedly deals with compassion, sympathy & kindliness to others affecting how they see you and your Reputation. Would the system somehow restrict your ability to experience those emotions?"
Elrick : " I hadn’t thought of that! I must make a conscious effort to feel things while I’m in Realm Eternal or I could end up cold and detached! Thanks!"
Bowden : " Why do you suppose it’s necessary for Light Elves to be so cold and calculating?"
Elrick : " Hell if I know!"
Bowden : " Answering those questions may unlock the strengths of the Race!"
Elrick : " What? Like higher levels of focus?"
Bowden : " I watched you out there; you performed like a machine! Like you had military experience; calm in the face of chaos!"
Elrick : " I’ll look into it!"
After that Bowden logged out. Bowden had become legendary in Vhon thanks to the hunters Starlight Spark hired as scouts; they attributed their safe return to Vhon to Bowden’s leadership on the battlefield. This raised Bowden’s reputation with everyone who heard the story; culminating in Bowden’s reputation Attribute rising.
- - -
Alone with his thoughts Elrick began to mentally review the encounter with the Serpent-Men. In Elrick’s mind he recognized that without the presence of the unknown user group to draw the attention of the Serpent-Men they would have been wiped out. The Serpent-Men were faster and more resilient than predicted and to make things worse they were wearing far better equipment than the Realm Eternal website suggested.
〚Elrick : " We got lucky!"〛
Elrick knew that he couldn’t depend on luck. Had the unknown user group not been there the Serpent-Men would have made the Starlight Spark Force their first target and that meant that the Serpent-Men would have arrived at the mountain top with more than twenty warriors. Perhaps the Serpent-Men would have dispersed into smaller groups and used the terrain.
〚Elrick : " The Native hunters had the effect of doubling our battle power when integrated into the force!"〛
Elrick also noted another problem
〚Elrick : " Most of the Executives of Starlight Spark don’t belong on the battlefield"〛
The near rebellion over the possibility of women being killed taught Elrick something important about the Executives of Starlight Spark
〚Elrick : " They can’t be trusted to make the hard choices!"〛
For the first time Elrick regretted bringing some of his friends into Starlight Spark as Executives. Having to rebuke his friends was something Elrick didn’t look forward to and the experience of the encounter with the Serpent-Men Demons clearly showed that he need to put them back in the workshop where they belonged.
〚Elrick : " Bowden is the backbone of Starlight Spark"〛
Elrick acknowledged to himself that without Bowden he wouldn’t have been able to venture beyond the nearby forest. Vava and the other Raid Group Captains would be able to take over from Bowden, but Elrick understood that at this moment Bowden was indispensable.
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Arvin was delighted to learn that his grenades were useful against even the feared Serpent-Men and he was glad that Elrick and his people returned safely. Unsurprisingly Arvin was clued up on military matters and he assured Elrick that this particular Psionic barrier would hold.
Apparently there are many types of Town/City barriers and the one installed on Vhon by the Continentals was the Highest Class; not even Dragon-Fire could bring it down. The previous barrier that protected Vhon relied heavily on Mana Crystals and that meant that over time a prolonged siege could bring down the Barrier. However the current Barrier had multiple sources of Mana including ambient Mana; making it difficult to defeat.As they chatted holographic displays (the equivalent of TV & internet combined) all over the town and in homes started showing images of town 9521km from Vhon. Of particular interest is the Flock of Wyverns over the skies of the town.
Arvin : " Wyverns! They may not be true Dragons but they have Dragon-Fire! "
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