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48 Work smart, not hard.

 Dave logged back into the game and started another grind session. He accepted the mission and was sent to the southern regions appearing near a dungeon. Unfortunately, this time there were a number of players already nearby.

The southern regions were controlled by the Blood Rage super-guild, and their guildmaster was the Chinese professional gamer Wan Yi.

The region was hot and dry, composed of vast desert sands dotted with oases. It had several high-level dungeons located in it, and monsters spawned all over the regions, thus it was a good farming area.

The graveyard they appeared in was part of a small chapel in the middle of the desert. Dilapidated as it was, it still gave off a sense of ancient majesty and sacredness, like some great sage of old had once resided within it.

The chapel was a good distance from where the other players were attempting the dungeon. But he didn't want to risk getting any closer, noticing that one of the players was actually level 120!

Player Name: Sublime Spirit

Level 120

Berserker

Admittedly, the level 120 player was the group leader and the other members were not as high level but still far beyond Dave and his minions. For now.

The dungeon's tooltip told Dave it was a high-tier dungeon, around the same level as the Ice Palace. Dave's mind reeled as he saw even more players advancing toward the dungeon.

Looking around, he noticed the other players had guild tags indicating which faction they belonged to. They were all members of Heaven's Dawn various sub-guilds according to their tags.

The game, Conquest, started with a cap on the number of members a guild could have. Eventually, some guilds grew so powerful they had to expand membership beyond what the cap allowed or they would stagnate and become less competitive. The best way they found to circumvent the hard limit cap was to create new guilds loyal to the original. These 'sub-guilds' were created by contract and organized so they were completely dependent on the influential 'parent' guild, informally called 'super guilds'.

Each guild has a unique symbol or abbreviation, like companies on stock markets, and sub-guild members added the super-guild's symbol to their own guild tags to identify them

Dave looked closer and saw that the players who were attempting the dungeon, had the abbreviation BR, on their guild tag. But the group that was approaching, had HD on their guild tags, the symbol for Heaven's Dawn.

Dave's group of undead was inconspicuous among the hundreds of mummies that were sprawled around the graveyard, and Dave ordered his cohort to disperse among the other undead so they would be even more unnoticeable.

Dave's objectives were to grind up to level 60 and gather enough contribution points to buy equipment to match his level.

However, looking at things now, it would be foolish to attempt anything. The players that gathered here ranged from level 80 to level 120, and would easily trash him. So he chose to play the waiting game. He stayed in the arrival area trying not to look suspicious and kept his eyes open for any opportunity that might come up.

Hopefully, the groups of players would only be interested in the dungeon, and would not bother with the small fries in the graveyard and chapel.

What intrigued Dave was that the two opposing factions were meeting here. Heaven's Dawn was currently at war with Blood Rage,

When bitter enemies meet, blood will be spilled.

The two groups soon noticed each other and immediately engaged in vicious combat. There was no need to talk, no need for threats, their guilds were already at each other's throats, so idle chatter and taunts were unnecessary.

The two groups were closely matched in strength, but the Blood Rage group had the home-field advantage and determination. It would bring great shame on the sub-guild if they let invaders take over their own dungeon. Skirmishes like these were common between guilds at war, no opposing guild would pay a dungeon tax to their enemy. They will try to enter and defeat the bosses of dungeons in enemy territories, to get the loot and resources that would otherwise go to the opposing guild.

The fight was short thanks to Sublime Spirit with his overpowering 120 level. The Blood Rage group was enough to bring the invaders down.

However, two of the six adventurers in the Blood Rage party had died and were sent for respawn in the skirmish.

All five of the Heaven's Dawn group had been obliterated. Some even dropped items, as they were the first to attack and were considered aggressors by the game system.

The four remaining members of Blood Rage's sub-guild sat next to each other [Resting] to recover their stamina and using consumables to hasten the process.

"What should we do?" asked a player who was probably the party's tank, since he was carrying a tower-shield.

"I don't think we should stay here, let's just leave," whined a hunter who was a still only a breath away from dying.

"Cowards will not be tolerated!" roared Sublime Spirit. "This is our region, our home, we will not retreat!"

"But they might send reinforcements, and it will take Stinger and Shark too long to get back here."

"We can handle the mini-boss with just four of us. We still have our priest, and I will be enough as the damage dealer for the first part of the dungeon. By the time we reach the boss Shark and Stinger should be back with us. They will have plenty of time to reach us before the dungeon mobs respawn."

"Yea, I guess you're right." the hunter said, "I'll send them a message telling them we will wait at the boss monster's entrance." as he placed a hand to his temple to initiate the private message.

A moment later the hunter's face turned pale as he looked around and said in a panicked tone: "Bad news."

"What?" everyone asked at once as they turned to him.

"The Heaven's Dawn group we just killed, they are coming back, and with more people..." said the hunter

"Damn it! We need to pull back." said the priest. Going into the dungeon with a team of only four players would be highly risky, with another enemy group inbound it would be suicide.

But if they retreated, it would shame them before their parent-guild and the other sub-guilds.

"We're not backing off!" Sublime Spirit almost yelled "The high-level members of our guilds are occupied with the war, but I have some friends who won't let me down." as he copied the earlier motions the hunter used. 'Hey Dragunov, I need your...' Sublime Spirit messaged to his High-Level friend.

Moments later, Sublime Spirit turned around and said "My friend is going to help us, he will hold them off at the entrance of the Ancient Desert Border. He is a level 380 tank, and is more than enough to occupy those Heaven's Dawn guys." he paused as the rest of the group cheered wildly.

"But he can only give us an hour's time. We need to defeat the boss by then or at least reach the gate of the boss's room. That way, even if my friend leaves, we will still have the advantage... high-level players are desperately needed everywhere, and their time is precious right now. So we will not pass on his generosity, we will make do with it as best as we can!" Sublime Spirit finished, fully pumped up.

"Alright! That is good news! Knowing a level 380 player is watching over us, is comforting." Said the priest.

Dave listened to the little drama unfolding with a little smile on his draugr skull. If these guys entered this dungeon, they would only be able to defeat the boss if they had all their members. Taking into consideration that two of them would be joining later to help them fight a boss, Dave had an idea. Then his smile became a full draugr smirk and he unconsciously began stroking his beard.

Dave's mind was once again spinning its schemes. This dungeon was at a much higher level than he could handle, but, what if he let others do his work for him...?

Once the idea germinated, Dave couldn't let it go. He thought through it logically, step-by-step, planning for every contingency. He would stalk,, wait for the right moment and finally deliver a 'Death Stroke'.

After all, there is no need to work hard if you can get others do your job for you...