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Chapter 644: 644

V56C6P3 – Weed’s Scheme

[NOTE ] Thanks to the proofreading team: Armada Younhacomet & Dumbass Rocks

“We are very thankful that you are enjoying the food . ”

“I have never tasted such delicacies . ”

Arkhim, the guild member in charge of intelligence, joined the conversation .

“I know that you are also a chef…”

“Advanced level 2 . ”

“Huh… Your cooking skill level is very high . ”

“I have only cooked with cheap ingredients from markets and dungeon hunts, so it was very limited I’d say . But, I will master it one day . ”

“They say ingredients matter as much as the cooking . It seems your interest in cooking was consistent?”

“Yes . I am thinking of putting aside some time to sell my dishes at a townsquare . ”

Lafaye analyzed every bit of Weed’s vocabulary and his nuances, but there were no hidden messages .

He truly meant his compliments about the food and went on about mundane stories .

‘Why? What does he want to get at?’

As more time passed, he felt it was pointless in trying to uncover something .

Although they were inside the impregnable military fortress of Lahonya, Weed coming all by himself into the heart of enemy territory was disturbing .

“Can I pack the leftovers?”

“Pardon?”

“I don’t want them to go to waste…”

“Please do as you wish . ”

Weed packed a pile of food into his bag . Finally, the meal table was taken away and the atmosphere for a serious discussion settled in the room .

‘At last we will hear his true motive . ’

Lafaye and the guild members were waiting in anticipation of the story to come .

Weed followed with a blunt announcement .

“Assist me in the fight against Kaybern . ”

“What?”

“I am not asking you all to take responsibility for your past actions . We did what we did for our own survival . So, I am making an offer . If you fight alongside us, I will make sure the Hermes Guild prospers . ”

***

Weed left and the heads of the Hermes Guild gathered in Lahonya .

Hostile characters like Calcus were outraged by the missed opportunity to kill Weed .

“So… He asked us to fight Kaybern: to form an alliance for the defeat of the Black Dragon?”

“That is the proposal . ”

“Rubbish . You should have turned it down on the spot . Why would we fight for him? Weed the conqueror of the Central Continent should deal with it . ”

Calcus’ opinion was perfectly reasonable . The guild members that were present when Weed made his offer thought in a similar way .

‘For whose benefit will it be for us to fight?’

‘Our losses will be huge . ’

The meeting was to be broadcasted, so it was just a matter of turning it down in a way that would not upset the viewers .

Arkhim frowned and explained .

“He said we, the Hermes Guild, will be recognized as members of the continent if we are to fight alongside him . ”

“Recognition?”

“The independent governance of the Haven territory will be recognized and no acts of conquest will occur . The conduction of trade and other external affairs with the Central and Northern Continents will not be restricted . However, under the agreement, Haven accepts that it is under the control of the Arpen Empire and associated under the empire’s territory . Furthermore, there are many lands without lords across the continent . 1,000 guild members will be given the privilege to govern the said regions . ”

Calcus’ head began to process what he just heard .

“He will accept our independence, cease any attacks against us and 1,000 of our members will be appointed as lords? Then… he means to end the war . Aren’t those conditions very favorable for us?”

It was a groundbreaking offer that rendered the hostile guild members speechless .

The Hermes Guild was dwindling away with members deserting the guild and players’ negativity toward the guild was only continuing to grow .

They would not dare dream of reigning over the Central Continent again .

The Arpen Empire in comparison was growing even more powerful, offering them acceptance of Haven grounds .

‘From now on, a fight against the Arpen Empire must be avoided . ’

Things were different from the human wave tactic shown back in Garnav Plains .

The progress of the assault squad was broadcasted every day .

The Hermes Guild called themselves the most powerful faction in Royal Road, but the assault squad was quickly closing in while they prepared against Kaybern .

Furthermore, they heard about the discovery of the Brazier of Sacrifice .

The guild had fallen from its prime and, if users of the brazier were to confront them, another horrific scene like the Garnav Plains would befall them once more .

If they were to lose the war, Haven could be taken away from them .

That was how the other guilds fell after all .

However, if the Hermes Guild loses power, they must face all of the players in the continent as enemies .

Due to the evil deeds they had committed up to the present, every member of the Hermes Guild would be hunted for revenge by the players .

Although no one spoke of it out loud, they knew it all too well .

The moment the guild falls, they will be on the run from all players .

“Although it’s a formality, the Versailles Continent will be completely united under the Arpen Empire if we accept the offer . ”

“Correct . In our current situation, accepting the offer means we are forfeiting the ‘Emperor of Unification” achievement . The south and the east will remain unconquered for the time being . ”



“There is no longer a chance of our guild conquering the continent, so we are not losing out . No?”

“I would say so . We would be safely ruling over the Haven territory and earn 1,000 lord seats . The territory under our control would double from now . ”

The general consensus of the players that heard Weed’s offer felt it was an acceptable deal .

Arkhim let out a long sigh .

“There is a trap in this offer . ”

“What trap?”

“We, the Hermes Guild, must use the Brazier of Sacrifice to fight Kaybern . At least 10,000 of us . ”

“That’s…!”

Calcus and the players were astounded .

Through what they confirmed on broadcast, the use of the brazier was the worst thing a high level player could imagine .

“That’s too absurd, isn’t it?”

“It is not an easy offer . ”

“We must decline it!”

“It’s not an outrageous demand either . Weed, too, will use the brazier . So will the dwarves, his closest acquaintances and many players in the assault squad .

“Ah…!”

“If they themselves will fight under the effects of the brazier and we are in our normal state, we would be little help against Kaybern . ”

“That’s indeed a problem . ”

They did not wish to use the brazier, but the gap in combat level would be too great .

“Also, he said the 1,000 lords will be appointed based on their contribution in the battle against Kaybern . ”

“Contribution in battle?”

“Yes . That is the reward system that will supposedly encourage active participation…”

“I guess that does make sense . Under those conditions it will be much easier to convince our guild members . ”

Since the guild members were to be appointed as lords, they deemed this part of the offer to be acceptable . Even for them, the player who contributed most should get the most reward .

“To fight Kaybern or not…”

“At first I felt awful, but it doesn’t seem like a total loss if they acknowledge the Haven territory in exchange for our assistance . ”

“We would lose levels, but they can be regained . Our territory will remain as is…”

“If we end up succeeding in the dragon hunt, we will attain an incredible combat achievement . Just from that alone, wouldn’t we be able to gain back at least 10, 20 levels?”

“That’s all under the assumption that we succeed . ”

“If we gather our strength . Weed will be there as well . Since when are success rates favorable? If we decline his offer, we are going to lose out on much more than a few levels . ”

The heads of the guild realized the more they discussed that they really didn’t have a choice to decline . If the Arpen Empire were to march on them, they themselves, being major lords, would suffer the most .



Money, power, land .

They were more important than levels .

The leaders of the Hermes guild voted to accept Weed’s offer and they asked for Bard Ray’s advice .

If the leader of the guild, Bard Ray, were to reject, the matter could not pass .

Bard Ray stayed silent for a moment but soon accepted the absorbance under the Arpen Empire and the battle against Kaybern .

***

Lafaye cleaned out the items in the office of Lahonya . The antiques, treasures and equipment that he stashed away as the second in command were mostly lost when Castle Aren disappeared .

He only packed one bag with the remaining items .

“Whoo… It’s less than I expected . ”

Lafaye scavenged his items and gazed at the scenery of Lahonya outside the window .

Back when the faction maintained its power over the Central Continent, they had constructed this military fortress to defend against the most powerful threats they could anticipate .

It was an unassailable stronghold that could withstand the most massive armies, but now it was rendered meaningless .

“The wise said that building a castle will lead to failure and forging roads led to success… It’s not the most appropriate figure of speech, but it seems that the situation turned out that way . ”

Lafaye’s voice felt relieved from the world’s pressure . Arkhim was waiting as he stepped out the hallway with a bag over his shoulder .

“Are you leaving for good?”

Arkhim sensed a strange feeling in the meeting .

Lafaye rarely spoke, a dramatic change from his usually assertive self and even in the last moment of the decision, all he did was nod .

“It seems there is nothing left for me to do around here . ”

“I don’t understand . Your title and role will be untouched . I think that you should stick around for the rebirth of the guild . ”

Since Lafaye had planned the larger schemes, he was quite free from the liabilities of the defeat against Arpen . Weed fought more skillfully than they had assessed him for and the power of the players were greater than they imagined .

The members of the Hermes Guild knew Lafaye had the highest contribution to the guild .

“It is as I said . I am leaving because there is no more use for me . ”

“But…”

“It’s the era of Weed now and the Hermes Guild doesn’t have the power to win against his command . ”

“Pardon?”

Arkhim could not understand what he meant and walked alongside Lafaye to question him .

“What do you mean by that?”

“It’s…”

Lafaye was about to explain himself but sighed instead .

“It will be best if you don’t know . Do you want to know anyway?”



“It doesn’t seem like you are implying that the guild must unquestionably follow his conditions because of the power of the Arpen Empire .

“His offer is a poisonous apple . ”

“A poisonous apple?”

“I couldn’t imagine that Weed had such an incredible ability in politics . He is truly… skilled in framing the situation to his advantage . He is a man who could break down our guild with just a few words . ”

Lafaye felt the need to tell Arkhim a few things before leaving the guild .

He himself fell for Weed’s scheme helplessly, but he felt some kind of responsibility for the oblivious comrade .

“The offer seems to be a simple trade-off on the surface . We use the brazier and battle against Kaybern . Then the anger and grudge of the players on the Hermes Guild will be appeased, and we will be able to maintain our control over Haven . ”

“Then it is good for us, no?”

“Weed’s offer in itself is a fair and logical one without question . Things will proceed as it seems on the outside . We will fight until the very end in order to keep what is ours . What awaits us at the end of the fight will be our downfall . ”

“Downfall?”

“The fate of the guild surrendering after being driven into a corner . ”

Lafaye said the result of the battle against the dragon had little significance .

“Victory or defeat . Whatever the result may be, the relationship with Arpen will not change . What’s important is the next step… Firstly, our guild members will fight one another to become one of the 1,000 lords . ”

“That would be a logical assumption . ”

“1,000 core players with excellent combat skill will desert the guild . ”

“They could retain their association with the guild . Weed said they are free to do so . ”

“They will most likely leave on their own . ”

The Hermes Guild members to be newly appointed lords of Arpen .

Harshly speaking, they would find no merit in maintaining a relationship with the guild .

Instead, it will be an obstacle in ruling over the Central or Northern Continent players so their eventual desertion would be inevitable .

“The Hermes Guild is a fence that will only weaken with time . The players will live out their new lives as lords and if there comes a divide against Arpen, they will not stand by the guild . ”

“We aren’t so small that the desertion of 1,000 players will lead to our ruin . ”

“We aren’t a small faction . But, even the most dense castle wall can crumble in an instant if a hole breaks through . What had tied the members into one will disappear . ”

The Hermes Guild sought for supreme power and distributed immense profits to its members . But with the new world, they would all see that it will be much more advantageous to live as lords of the Arpen Empire than stay as a part of the guild .

Adventurers, warriors, lords…

They, who seek a different style of life, will follow in their own path of freedom .

(To be continued…)

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