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235 Attack on Zombie Dragon

 On a single glance, it would seem that the Players' strategy against the Sakasugi the Dead Red Dragon was working steadily.

Being a dragon, the creature itself embodied Rule Resistance.

Even so, that resistance faded as time passed, and Sakasugi couldn't retain the last fraction of resistance when it was revived as a zombie. Though its base stats were as high as it had been before and it could instakill any non-tank Players below Level 40 with a slap, it was not permanently Immune-the one status that bothered Players the most.

Moreover, having no Rule Resistance meant that the Players could deal -1 HP damage to Sakasugi even if they couldn't pierce its defenses, since they would be backed by Rule of Skill whenever they cast their skills.

That was the primary reason why the Players could last until now-though each Player was inflicting pathetically low damage on the dragon, having numbers and time meant that the damage would still be significant... otherwise they would all have run off to take down the softer Undead Orks instead of fighting the invulnerable dragon.

And when they saw that approximately a fifth of the Dead Red Dragon's HP was chipped away, the Players' spirits were roused: they would win if they keep beating it up for another four days!

In comparison, Sakasugi was growing in irritation the more it fought-the damned humans were just so bizarre! It could kill up to three Players with a slap and a dozen with a lashing of its tail, but they were also becoming more accustomed to its attacks while the battle dragged on. Slowly, they started to evade the dragon's lethal strikes, and even use that brief window when the creature paused after attacking to launch a fierce barrage of attacks.

And now, as long as the humans didn't make any mistake in their combination, Sakasugi would actually fail to kill even a single one of them!

Even if it would maim those fully-armored Warriors who stood at the front to stop its advance, they would be immediately healed by the Clerics to the rear. And if it attempted to attack the Clerics or the Mages to the rear, the Warriors would attack the dragon where the sun don't shine.

It certainly didn't deal much damage and basically felt like an itch, but even a Husky would throw a fit if you poke it long enough-let alone Sakasugi, a prideful Red Dragon in life!

How could it nothing when someone poked it in the butt!? Of course it's going to kill them with its Dragon Breath!

One must say that even though Sakasugi had retained a portion of its own will after its zombification, its intelligence had clearly fallen hard after most of its brain had rotted off... because it didn't recognize that the human who was persistently poking it in the ass was Marni Wilf, who had died twice and enlivened the battleground.

It was true that the Players had the advantage from the looks of things.

Only Angora Faust, liege of the Unnamed Town who was constantly updated thanks to Vela because he had a different System and was therefore not involved realized what things were not going well.

It was true that the Players had become familiar with their foe's attacks after a day, strategized accordingly, and even sacrificed EXP to inflict tons of damage upon the Dead Red Dragon.

But because they were completely focused in the fight and didn't have the time to stop and think, all of them never realized that the battleground never stopped moving.

Given the battleground revolved around the Dead Red Dragon, be it by chance circumstances the Players were causing or by will that the Dead Red Dragon was advancing, the battle was simply moving without stopping.

They had already passed through the slope of mud and stone caused by the reason landslide, traversed the hills of the Kristoff Mountains and still moving along slowly.

Soon, they would pass through the Wailing Trail and reach the plains of the North, where Tunaya, the capital of the Silver Eagle Duchy sat!

"As expected of the God of Games... he has foreseen it already, which was why the quest he assigned from the very start is city defense and not slaying the dragon."

Edward naturally realized the fact thanks to Angora's tip.

"Should we contact the other Players and have them try to divert the dragon's path?" Vela asked.

Angora was himself curious and wanted to see for himself what a dragon-slaying battle looked like, but Vela thought that it was too dangerous. That was why he stayed at the Silver Eagle Castle while she would relay his orders.

"I had Joe and the others try after our lord warned us about it, but it didn't work." Edward shook his head. "The zombie dragon is intentionally advancing towards Tunaya, and it might not even realize that itself..."

"Are undead still self-aware?" Vela couldn't help asking, and perhaps finding her own question vague, she tried to add, "Um. What I meant was whether they could retain the consciousness they had when they were still alive, and whether they could think..."

Being a native of a village near the Valley of the Tragic Dead, Vela had seen all forms of undead since she was a child which had no lack of bizarre beings.

Some appeared to be conscious as if they were alive, but as time moved on, it was recognizable that it was not actually consciousness-corpses couldn't think, and the reason behind their behavior had more to do with their instincts as undead.

"They might. The dragon did something that closely resembled thinking, but I'm also sure that even though it believes it had freedom of will, it is actually being controlled by someone else." Edward said solemnly. "Otherwise, it wouldn't be attacking futilely or instinctively advancing towards Tunaya while fighting after we had seen through its movements... And when it was alive, Tunaya might not even have been built yet."

"So what should we do? It's another four days until we could take it down, but it would reach the plains in two..." Vela couldn't help being anxious. "And wouldn't it leave the Players behind and attack the city once it sees it?"

"Yes, that is possible..." Edward nodded without hesitation.

Vela quietly resolved herself in that moment. If the Dead Red Dragon really reached Tunaya, she would take Angora-drag, if it was necessary-to the Lifestone and teleport to the safety of the Unnamed Town.

"...But it's still too early to worry about that. Just now, Joe noticed something about the big guy... well, it's not a weakness, but it is a movement pattern."

Edward was suddenly smiling-it was a mischievous look matching his youthfulness (that would drive parents crazy), as if he was a child about to pull a prank. "Since there's no harm in trying, I'll switch to a new tactic... if it works, we might really shorten the time we need to take down the big guy!"