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149 Bastion Crab King

 When Edward and the other had reached the gathering point noted in the forum post, they realized that the other Explorers of the Seven Seas (Player parties who had obtained the Sea Sapphires) had arrived too.

As a matter of fact, many other familiar faces were gathered here-even the owner of the Iron Cauldron Tavern who never often showed up was there, gently rubbing and weighting his massive war axe, as if anticipating a violent battle.

"Is it that bad?" Edward asked Princess Leah when he found the Players debating hotly away. "How could no one have noticed the Bastion Crab King before?"

Although Edward could have asked the others, only the former princess of Tierra could hold things together, aside from Edward himself, Marni who was the richest person amongst the Players (not including Angora and the duke's estate he had yet to inherit) and Angora the liege of the unnamed town.

With Marni still awaiting his revival, Angora absent since he did not have much fighting ability and his helper Vela not too reputable, only Edward and Princess Leah could have a say over things.

As such, since Edward himself had just arrived, Princess Leah would undoubtedly be the one who would have the most complete information on the scene.

And she clearly did, and explained things for Edward without a pause. "It was slumbering, hidden away beneath the beach. Other Players must have awakened it after killing droves of Killer Fiddler Crabs, and that's when it suddenly surfaced on the beach, catching Mister Marni completely off-guard and killed him in seconds..."

Being one of the serious Players, Edward naturally wouldn't joke around with 'Marni's dead' or whatnot, and instead began to study the situation seriously. "The enemy must pack serious damage if it could insta-kill Marni..."

Even if Marni did die recently to splash damage from item strengthening, Marni had still successfully raised his item grade to +6, which was peak performance amongst Players.

Despite Xi Wei having set different game coin cost for strengthening items at different item grades, the game coins spent only accumulates with more people going for item strengthening, with increasing an item from +5 to +6 costing above ten thousand game coins.

Since the Players never really saved their game coins, only Marni could afford spending so much game coins on so many items.

And yet, he was still instakilled by the Bastion Crab King, and it was obvious that it had ability deserving of fishfolk island's Final Boss.

"Why is everyone gathered here? Going for the human-wave advantage?"

Edward asked at that thought.

Although the Players would gather at a certain place when they are fighting a Boss, the atmosphere would usually be relaxed-the fierce debating just now was quite a rare sight.

"Everyone has very different opinions on strategy," Princess Leah said seriously.

"Strategy?"

Edward was taken aback. In his opinion, the number of Players around here could flatten up to eight Rotten Bones Archbishops. Could the Bastion Crab King be so powerful that strategy was needed to win, even if all these Players around?

Whatever the case may be, he decided to hear out what the other Players were planning. Although he was confident with his own ability to command, there were many occasions when meticulous tactics might be less useful than someone else's moment of inspiration, and it was better to check out any available plans for now.

"Anyone has any ideas?"

"Yeah. To put it simply, everyone is divided into three factions." Princess Leah said slowly.

"Three factions..." Edward was rather surprised that there were three strategies could be conceived in such a short time-it seemed that there were really Players present.

"That's right. The 'steam cook' faction holds the majority at the moment, with 'salt-baking' and 'grilling' having fewer supporters."

Edward: ???

"I'm sorry, weren't we talking about strategy? Could you run that by me again?" Edward asked, stiffening himself.

"The 'steam cook' faction holds the majority at the moment, with 'salt-baking' and 'deep-fry' having fewer supporters." Princess Leah repeated.

"Uh, didn't you mention grilling before?"

"You heard me."

"..."

'Hold on, isn't everyone having the wrong idea about strategies?

'You demons! You are talking about how to eat your enemy even before you fight it!'

"I get what you're thinking, but are you really fearing that two hundred Players couldn't beat one Bastion Crab King, its devastating damage notwithstanding?" Princess Leah shrugged with a crafty smile, seemingly pleased with her prank.

Edward decided that it was the truth upon consideration.

Ultimately, the Bastion Crab King was nothing more than a bigger crab, and it might actually be less powerful than the Barren Giant. Therefore, how could the Players lose?

Still, crabs are so cute. If they had to eat it...

"Can I have sweet and spicy?" Edward asked then. "With added habanero wheat! (A spice that basically is the combination of garlic and cumin)"

"Buttered crab meat served with soup!" Eleena suddenly shouted, having kept quiet for a while.

"Grilled is best when it comes to crab." Joe said, joining the grill faction. "The meat, sizzling and oozing with juices-imagine taking a big bite. It doesn't get better than that!"

"No, no, no. It has to be seasoned with dark rye flour with a touch of habanero wheat. That's the best!" Gou Dan voiced his own thoughts and his addition to the steam gang.

"Uh... can't we have a bit of everything if the Bastion Crab King is that huge?" Jessica said meekly.

She flinched the moment those words left her mouth as every other Players had turned to her.

"Um... did I say anything wrong?" She asked softly.

In the very next moment, all the Players who had been crazily arguing just a second ago yelled at the same time.

"That's it!"

"Eh? Eeeeeeeh-?"

***

[Ding!]

[Winter Swimming Event: Fishfolk Island Attacks has concluded]

[Thanks to everyone's hard work, the threat of Fishmen Island is over, but the evil Ocean Goddess is still at large despite the brave and powerful God of Games having sealed the Ocean Eye. With her craftiness, the Ocean Goddess would be able to send a number of fishmen on the island, and as such, please frequently visit Fishmen Island and purge these vile creatures to keep the peace of the seas!]

[Exchangeable items remain with new fishmen kill count. Please take note that the list of exchangeable items changes according to the season.]

[All Players who participated in the event earns the title of 'Fishman Slayer']

[Note 1: 'Hunting fishmen is the most boring thing there is, because their heads are pungently fishy and can't be used to decorate walls.'-Mistolin Anti-Fishfolk Strategist A]

[Note 2: 'Haven't you heard of gyotaku[1], bro?'-Mistolin Anti-Fishfolk Strategist B]

[1] Translator's Note:

Gyotaku is a Japanese method of printmaking that traditionally utilizes fish, sea creatures, or similar subjects as 'printing plates' in its process.