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143 Luring Monsters is An Essential Skill!

 Edward and the others explored the Fishmen Island after having their fill of crab.

It turns out that every other spot on the island was full of fishmen apart from the territory of the Killer Fiddler Crabs.

What shocked them, however, was that there were rare elite fishmen aside from those normal fishmen that they used to kill in droves.

Although they had yet to specifically explore where the seven Sea Sapphires were, the entire island was basically divided into seven parts.

The first was the long coastal area that was full of reefs and sandy beaches.

It was also a no-go zone for the fishmen since it was full of Killer Fiddler Crabs. Still, though they were delicious, who would end up being eaten was hard to say if anyone were to be encircled by two or more of those creatures with the same level.

Meanwhile, when the island divided according to the landscape, there was a hill area which was filled with mountain rocks, cliffs and precipices which appeared yellow-brown on a single glance. There was also a lush jungle area covered with trees that showed the properties of seaweed; an especially hot desert zone despite neighboring the sea; another lush area, but it was a mangrove that had no land but was instead full of swamp, moss and mud; the most spacious spot was a grassland that was filled with waist-high herbaceous plants, but the persisting rustling from the surrounding bushes made it clear that it wasn't a peaceful place.

And at the center of the island was a lofty mountain that seemed to be cut from its middle, forming a massive plateau. That was where the Ocean Eye portal was, and where hordes of fishmen were living.

If other places were filled with lurking threats, that was the only place where the threats were out in the open, the one spot which was definitely the most dangerous.

And since it was already so clear, there was no question that the seven Sea Sapphires were distributed throughout the seven ones.

Nonetheless, Edward only had to think briefly to decide on their target: the central zone!

***

Their group stayed behind a large rock just a bit away from the pateau to avoid detection, with Joe speaking first. "I've used my familiar spirit to scout it out: that Fishman High Priest which is standing right next to the Ocean Eye has a sapphire this large hanging over its neck."

Joe put his hands together to form a circle the size of a bowl. "It's definitely a Sea Sapphire!"

"And? Where's your familiar spirit?" Edward asked after waiting for a while, but realizing then that Joe's familiar spirit did not return.

"Destroyed by the fishman's magic," Joe said with a pained look. "There's going to be a ten-minute cooldown before I can resummon it."

Edward clapped his hand on Joe's shoulder in a gesture of consolation before turning to the others. "Anyone has any ideas?"

"Me! Me! Me!" It was Joe once again.

Edward, slightly surprised, made a 'get on with your show' gesture.

"First, Edward and Gou Dan will ambush the enemy from the right!" Joe said seriously.

"Call me Doug Ag!" Gou Dan interrupted unhappily but Joe ignored him.

Meanwhile, Edward nodded. A faint to confuse the enemy? Good idea!

"Then, Eleena and Jessica would ambush them from the right!" Joe continued.

Edward nodded again. With Eleena, their strongest party member attacking on the second wave to give the enemy an impression that they were being attacked from two sides and add to the confusion? Good idea!

"Then, I will attack them from the front!" Joe then added solemnly.

'What?' Edward thought.

"Then, we'll work together on all three fronts and get the Sapphire!" Joe then concluded.

'What???' Edward thought.

'Is that it? What about a backup plan? And there is the strategy in that?

'Isn't that just direct, frontal charge right?! Would I have asked for strategy if we could do that?!'

Edward's face darkened, feeling stupid to have put his hopes on Joe.

Logically, with so many fishmen at the central zone, having every single Player gathering there to fight those creatures directly only had a fifty-fifty chance of success, much less just the five of them.

"You don't think that's a good strategy? Then how about this: you four attack from the front, I'll slip to the rear and ambush them-I promise you I'll take down one fishman with one slash!" Joe quickly changed his position when he saw the look on Edward's face, even making a proud face that basically said 'What did I just say? Did I really just think of such a wonderful strategy? I'm so awesome!'

Edward, eye twitching continuously, ignored him.

"Forget it. Doug, draw a group of fishmen out. Joe, Taunt them when they reach you and don't get carried away-fight but do your best to draw them far away, while Jessica keeps their HP in check." Edward gave up on asking about strategies and started distributing tasks as per usual. "Both Eleena and I are long-range fighters, and when there are less fishmen around, we'll see if we could take down the Fishman High Priest in a single stroke."

Aside from Joe's upset grumblings about how his strategy had more 'feeling' to it, the others accepted Edward's plan.

And yet, the problems began with very first part of the strategy when they carried it out.

Gou Dan was unable to lure any fishmen out: his arrows simply could not draw the creatures despite having substantial effect in dungeons. Moreover, fishmen priests would immediately arrive on the scene after he killed one or two, and Gou Dan was barraged by the spells that the fishmen priests squawked out.

Afterwards, Edward, Eleena and Jessica attempted taking turns to use their own long-range skills to draw the fishmen out, but they failed just the same-aside from Eleena, who directly alerted the Fishman High Priest because of the sheer power of her skill.

The girl was therefore chased over half the Fishmen Island as every fishman poured out of their dens (killing Marni in passing just as he came ashore). As a matter of fact, Eleena would have fallen right then if she hadn't made it to the coast and reached the Killer Fiddler Crabs that were immune to water magic that in turn scared off the fishmen.

After multiple failures, Edward and the others all quickly decided to give up on that plan and were ready to come up with some other method or simply swap their target. Even so, their desperate attempt of sending out Joe somehow managed to lure out a pocket of fishmen-there weren't many of them, but it finally worked.

Then, they also realized that the fishmen would only chase after Joe without regard of the others.

Why was that so? Could the Spirit Swordsman have something special that would get the fishmen chase him by instinct?

Edward could not help feeling curious, but his eyes slowly fell upon Joe's massive chest muscles and he became thoughtful...