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143 A Game of Palm Dancing

 After Zhang Jie and the members of Cross Haven joined the battle, the HP of the Brooding Behemoth Basbus started to decline at a rapid pace. The members of Cross Haven really were quantity over quality, but when you put their quantity and quality together, it made for a destructive force.

The most impressive out of the new group of arrivals was Zhang Jie. It was not just his strength that made him stand out, but also his ability to lead and maintain a high level of organization when it came to the command structure set in place.

It was easy to tell that the players from Cross Haven had played together for quite some time as they were able to cover for one another's weaknesses.

'They are not half bad.'

Izroth was reminded of his early cultivation days as he observed how efficiently Zhang Jie commanded his guild members. At that time he was only given control of 10,000 troops, but whenever enemies saw his banner they would tremble with fear. It took more than simple strength to command and Zhang Jie seemed to understand this point very well.

Uwooooooooo!

All of a sudden, the Brooding Behemoth Basbus released a loud war cry. A few seconds later, it began to bang its fist against the ground causing tremors in the surrounding fifty meters. At the same time, three of the boulders that floated in midair had already started to make their way down towards the battlefield.

-200

...

Every one second for ten seconds total, the Brooding Behemoth Basbus fist from its gorilla-like arms would slam into the ground and deal a fixed amount of 200 damage to all players within range, regardless of their defenses.

Those who were mage-type classes like Valentine activated their Mana Shield to protect themselves from a good portion of the damage and relieve some of the stress on their healer.

The plate wearing classes could easily survive due to their HP being well above the 2,000 range. However, to some of those who were within range that was already fighting against the other monsters from the sixth wave, it put them into a dangerous situation.

The majority of the devastated classes were all rogue-type or ranger-type since their defensive capabilities were extremely limited or practically nonexistent in most cases.

Three boulders crashing down at the same time throughout the battlefield had eliminated yet another batch of casual players.

However, there were some players with more experience or high game IQ, such as Izroth's party's, Blue Oasis, and Cross Haven, who quickly found a way to minimize the damage from the Brooding Behemoth Basbus' attack.

Just before the fist of the boss monster struck the ground, if one jumped, they would be able to avoid taking the 200 fixed damage. As for the boulders, although a good portion of players had found the proper way to deal with them, most of them were still completely clueless.

There were holes under the boulder which most players would ignore and just think of as a simple design feature, but if players safely positioned themselves on the inside of one of those holes, they would only receive a slap on the wrist damage wise compared to the others caught directly by the impact.

After the ten seconds passed, the Brooding Behemoth Basbus stopped banging its fist on the ground and went back to its slow physical attacks.

Although Izroth and his party were struck a few times before figuring out how to counter the recent skill used by the Brooding Behemoth Basbus, there was no major damage done as it was well within Luna's manageable healing range.

Not too long after the Brooding Behemoth Basbus went back to its slow physical attacks, a group of players could be seen rushing over towards the rare event boss. These players came from the opposite direction from that of the members of Cross Haven.

"Could it be that a third top guild wants to contest this boss as well?" Luna said as she saw the players moving fast towards the direction of the rare event boss.

As Izroth swept his gaze across the incoming players, he immediately recognized the player at the front leading the charge.

'He is the one I met back in Opal Town.'

That player was none other than one of the Seven Captains of Blue Oasis, Niflheim. This was the first time Izroth had come across Niflheim since their short encounter in Opal Town.

"Sir, the reinforcements from Blue Oasis has arrived. The one leading them is Captain Niflheim." One of Zhang Jie's scouts reported to him.

Zhang Jie had a small grin on his face when he received that report. "Good, he's right on time. Inform everyone that we'll be operating using the fourth method from now on."

The scout was shocked and speechless at first, but he quickly regained his wits. "Understood!" It was obvious that the scout was worried about something. He trusted and respected Zhang Jie, but the fourth method was a tactic used specifically to deal with an enemy group of players during large scale PVP battles.

To deploy the fourth method in the sector belonging to the Blue Oasis guild could spark a full-blown guild war with them. This was even more so considering the fact that they were not on the best of terms after the incident with Wang Qiang.

...

Sometime just before the start of the sixth wave...

"My proposal is simple- Though, if guild leader Asgard would not mind, I would like to discuss it with you and Captain Niflheim alone." Ewan said.

"Is there a specific reason for such a request, guild leader Ewan?" Asgard questioned with a frown as he tried to see through Ewan's intentions.

Dragus was also startled by the sudden request. He was already uncomfortable with Ewan being within the Blue Oasis sector itself, but now he wanted to be alone with two of their strongest members?

However, he remembered Ewan's words from earlier on their way here and kept silent.

"Then, I'll be blunt. I am unsure of who can be trusted outside of guild leader Asgard and Captain Niflheim." Ewan said without mincing up his words.

"I do not believe that it's wise. It may be a trap or an attempt at revenge." Minus, who stood next to Asgard, whispered so that only Asgard would be able to hear his words.

Asgard thought it over a bit as he soon came to the conclusion that whatever it was, as long as it had the chance of preventing a negative outcome for both parties, he was willing to give it a shot.

Against Minus' suggestion, Asgard decided to agree to speak with Ewan alone, along with Niflheim present.

Besides, even if Ewan was strong and had set a trap, Asgard was confident in his own strength, as well as the strength of a captain he personally chose.

Ewan, Niflheim, and Asgard went off by themselves to an area where they would not be disturbed or overheard by any of the surrounding players.

"So guild leader Ewan, what is it that you wish to speak about?" Asgard asked.

"What I'm about to say is something that can obviously never leave this place. I hope that you two can honor this agreement." Ewan said.

Asgard nodded, "You have my word."

Niflheim also gave his word that he would not talk freely about whatever matters they were about to discuss here.

"As you know one of the Five Great Generals of my Cross Haven Wang Qiang, has suffered an assassination attempt against him by one of your Lieutenants. As a fellow guild leader, I am sure that you are aware of the implications behind this matter." Ewan said.

"As I've said before, I have no-" Asgard was interrupted by Ewan.

"Fortunately, our General Wang Qiang is not so short-sighted." Ewan stated.

Niflheim was startled by Ewan's words. He then started to think back to the recent set of events and everything that led up to Red Days attacking Wang Qiang with a select group of other Blue Oasis members. It then suddenly dawned on him. "You can't possibly mean..."

Ewan smiled slightly as he said, "He said that you would pick up on things fast. However, even I have to admit that I've underestimated your ability to do so. It is a shame that you are not a member of my Cross Haven."

Asgard was still lost as to what was going on. "Guild leader Ewan, your reason for going through all this can't simply be just to steal a member of my Blue Oasis guild. May I receive a proper explanation?"

"He knew... The moment he decided to send that message to all the top guilds he knew exactly what the next move would be! But, how is it that possible?" Niflheim muttered to himself, but it was loud and clear enough for Asgard to make out what he said.

Asgard may not have had a talent when it came to the type of world those like Wang Qiang and Niflheim dwelled in, but he was no fool. He was able to piece together a few things and came to a shocking conclusion.

Asgard understood that Wang Qiang was a rare talent and he already had the highest level of respect for his skills in strategizing, but this was a little ridiculous if it was indeed true.

"From your reactions, I'm sure that you have already grasped a basic outline of things. General Wang Qiang knew that after he sent out that message, whoever is truly behind this nonsense would take action against him." Ewan explained.

He then continued, "Knowing this much, the tricky part was figuring out how the attack was going to be performed. There's a very important saying, in order to fool one's enemies, one must first fool their own allies. There were only a handful of possibilities for who would be responsible for the attack."

"The first is obviously Sage Falls. But, that would be a little too obvious. Also, even if they did make a move, it would be through too many different networks. Some other options were also considered, such as Hollow Tempo or someone from Fatal Touch, but that would not give satisfying enough results."

The more that Asgard and Niflheim listened, the more they began to realize how far Wang Qiang had thought ahead. Fooling his own allies, outside of Ewan, just to fool his own enemies was quite the risky move, especially when the danger is unknown.

"He then came up with an answer of who would attack that surprised even me, Blue Oasis. After seeing the movements and mind games of whoever is responsible for certain events in other guild sectors, Wang Qiang found that everything was ultimately a plan destined to fail. That strategy had one simple goal, to get our two guilds to make direct contact." Ewan said.

He then continued, "I'm sure you've noticed it as well, the excess of players with a higher than usual skill level that was in your sector at the beginning, but then magically seemed to disappear. Whoever this was wanted this exact situation to occur."

Asgard frowned, "You're saying that someone manipulated a lieutenant of my Blue Oasis and tried to frame us? Then, knowing that Cross Haven would have no choice but to respond, they planned..." Asgard frown soon turned into an expression of disbelief.

Impossible! It was absolutely impossible for someone to manipulate an entire set of events down to this level of detail.

"This is what Wang Qiang proposes..." Ewan then went on to explain the details of Wang Qiang's plans.

Asgard and Niflheim listened closely and at the end, they agreed that it was their best chance at getting to the bottom of things.

Niflheim furrowed his brows and had a worried expression on his face. If someone truly was capable of such a thing, then was it possible that they had predicted this as well? If so, in the end, who would be dancing in who's palm?

...

"He's participating in this event as well." Niflheim said to himself as he arrived close enough to see Izroth fighting against the rare event boss. Normally, it would not be easy to spot a specific player in the mix of so many, but he had already been updated on the current situation by one of the scouts on his arrival.

Niflheim then turned his attention towards Minus and then Zhang Jie who was also engaged in a battle against the Brooding Behemoth Basbus.

"Let's hope that we're right about this." Niflheim said to himself as he unsheathed the sword at his side.