Fifteen minutes after receiving the message from Alba.
Wataru had gathered his most battle-hardened members in the central square of Aristolas – the place where he had once made his desperate appeal to the people.
While watching the assembled members show signs of anxiety, Wataru stepped up on the platform and started talking.
“An invasion has been confirmed.”
With that one sentence, people groaned.
“The scale of the invasion is ……?”
“The mob are goblins in its growing phase. The number is around 150.”
Some of them were relieved because those with little knowledge from the beta tester era knew that goblins are small fry mobs with low intelligence without much fighting ability, so although their numbers are huge, they are not a formidable enemy.
Yet, Wataru has not finished.
“According to what Alba confirmed, there are several sub-species of goblins. Specifically, Goblin Mage, Goblin Soldier, Goblin Thief… and Goblin King.”
Hearing the words [Goblin King] raises a scream among the audience.
This is because the Goblin King led one of two city destruction invasions during beta.
As a matter of course, the Goblin King’s fighting ability is high. What makes matters worse is his unique skills.
A buff to strengthen one’s own species.
A simple skill to strengthen his allies.
The Goblin King serves as a powerful support magic buff just by existing. He will grant strength to weak goblins, band them together, and give meaning to their every action. Which makes it a huge threat when it’s leading an invasion.
In the past, even if they were outnumbered, they would still choose to fight because it was a game.
But now… it is a death game where you bet your only life.
If you lose, only death awaits you.
“I’ve been spending so much time with the beginners that I’ve been neglecting the outside security.”
“You have to be level 30 to be able to fight with Goblin King, right? You’d have to be a ranker by now to fight a king….”
“The Iriana Tunnel is the shortest route to Emaro City, which is jeopardizing our plans to relocate there.”
Although the other members of the group were beginning to show signs of desperation, Wataru maintained his composure even in the midst of the growing sense of unease.
“It will be our most dangerous battle ever – but if we don’t stop this invasion, many lives will be at stake. What I am about to tell you next are the details of the Assault on the Goblin Settlements. Only those willing to fight will remain here to face the invasion with us.”
In response to Wataru’s call, people glanced at one another, and then a significant number of them left with a look of distress on their faces.
There were 200 people gathered here, but now only 60 remain.
It was natural. Not all Monshou Guild members are a patriot.
Even if this was a direct call from Wataru as the guild master, there is no compulsion for them to do as they are told.
Wataru was thankful to the courageous warriors in front of him for staying behind; however, he was also concerned because there were fewer of them left than he had anticipated.
“At long last, we get to wield our blades against some worthy foes, don’t we?”
“I’ve had enough of exterminating rats, leader.”
Those who have chosen to stay are high-spirited men who are now raising their voices together, most likely to help alleviate Wataru’s worries.
Was it resentment that accumulated as a result of their constant hunting of small fry mobs every day?
Or maybe a frustration caused by their daily night guard duty.
Or perhaps it was a sense of duty to protect the city or the hope of becoming heroes.
Whatever it was, even in the face of the largest invasion in [Eternity’s] history, the members’ morale remained high. The only thing left to rely on was the team’s ability to defend the city.
(The only remaining task is to request assistance from the front-line players I personally know. Only a few individuals can be relied upon, but even so…)
A shout reverberates through the crowd as if to blackmail their trembling bodies into forgetting their fears.
Wataru closed the menu screen and turned to face his comrades, thankful for their presence despite their diﬀerent backgrounds. Then Wataru smiles and looks up at the setting sun from the podium.
* * *
The center of the Adventurers’ Guild, where NPCs come and go.
Misaki exits the guild without uttering a single word and begins walking in the direction of the inn. As she was doing so, she heard a cry coming from a distance.
She turned her gaze to the castle gate, wondering if Alba had returned safely while watching NPC soldiers with torches gathering to reinforce the gate.
The commotion was felt throughout the city, not just at the Adventurers’ Guild.
The information that a large-scale invasion had occurred had spread quickly – you could tell how tense the situation was by the way people were panicking.
(There is nothing more I can do.)
The current Misaki is nothing more than a liability, and that’s being generous.
She possessed unique abilities that the Monshou Guild highly valued, so it was inevitable that she would one day be able to go out and hunt. And furthermore, in the not too distant future, she, too, will be able to fight alongside them.
(Yes, in the future.)
Not right now, but at some point in the future.
When Misaki arrived at the inn, it was full of people – and the ones that stood out the most were the ones in dull armor.
(Eh? Why are these people here…?)
Combatants in the Monshou Guild are given dull armor as a “uniform” that identifies them as players with the ability to fight, as opposed to non-combatants like Misaki and the others.
(Why are they in this place? Wataru should be explaining the plan right now…)
After thinking about it, she was taken aback because she realized they must have avoided the call.
Because of their embarrassment, many of the guild members who had left the mission returned to their lodgings early and decided not to go out until the next day.
It could be interpreted as an escape from reality.
The dining room area of the inn is unusually busy, but was not at all lively, and it was shrouded in a peculiar ambiance.
In terms of our strength, the odds of winning are as good as 60% to 70%.
Misaki’s brain replayed Flame’s words.
(What would the true odds be if it was an estimate that included these people? Sixty percent? Fifty percent? What if my abilities were incorrect and the scale was larger than I expected?)
The more Misaki considers the situation, the more hopelessness takes over her mind. She fights the urge to ask them to assist Monshou in the battle if they have the strength to do so, but instead she quickly walks past them and enters her room.
She collapses onto the bed.
The cool temperature of the bed reminded her of her own heart, which had drowned her even further in her depression.
(I have no right to blame those people just because of my feelings. Because I’m just a coward who cowered in fear and prayed to God for victory.)
Misaki bit her lip as she wrapped herself in the sheets.
That day, the players spent a sleepless night before the largest battle in [Eternity] history, each experiencing different emotions.