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245 The Hyena-men’s Confidence

 Xi Wei and most of the Players were intending to ignore the problems on the Western Continent, and instead worked on individual developments, hence strengthening the foundation of the Church of Games.

Though they had said before that they all wanted to explore the new continent, their interest waned considerably after some of the other Players went out only to get killed.

After all, there were actually many ways they could develop-the Valley of the Tragic Dead and the Gray Fjord were far from being fully explored, whereas dungeons such as the Fishmen Island and the living dead cellar were refreshed daily.

In addition, reputation systems had been implemented on Lancaster and Tunaya, so not only could the Players carry out daily quests, they could also pit wits and brawn against the citizens there. Likewise, the Trinia Forests and its many arcana had yet to be explored.

Should the Players head out to Cromwell from the Unnamed Town, they could head towards the center of the Valla Empire by crossing the border at Sotimi. If they depart from Lancaster instead, they could head towards the Grand Duchy of Rominos by way of Codo Bosra...

Either way, the Players were not short of places to explore.

On the other hand, the relatively deceptive title 'new continent' notwithstanding, Players visiting the Western Continent even in short trips would find that the Hyena-men were simply everywhere. Not only were they unrewarding to kill, they love sneak attacks and fought most disgustingly-there was just nothing fun about it.

But even if you wouldn't believe in the existence of the devil, the devil does believe in your existence.

There was no way that the appearance of so many humans at the Long Ears' settlement could keep a secret from the Hyena-men in the first place. The only thing stopping them from making a move was that they didn't know about the background of the Players.

Nonetheless, they assumed that the humans were nothing to brag about after they had managed to kill those Players who ventured out of the village. And with most of the other Players having left the Western Continent, the Hyena-men got the wrong idea that they could wipe out the humans, take their balls as evidence to appeal for recognition amongst the Grayclaw tribe.

Hence, they really sent out a squad that head out for the Long Ears' village.

Still, one would have to give them credit as the most cunning of beasts... though that only applies to 'beast'.

Like how adults would flatter a child, saying 'Wow, so clever~', the cleverness there didn't mean that the child was actually clever, but that the child was still at the level of... a child.

And that was the same thing with the Hyena-men.

They might indeed appear intelligent and cunning compared to most nonhumans who were lacking in the brain department, they seemed to have reached the limits of their brainpower and could go no further as well.

For example, they simply didn't consider other questions, such as 'Why are so many humans appearing?', 'Why are they vanishing into thin air?' or 'If they can vanish into thin air, does that mean more humans could appear?'.

They didn't even notice that the Long Ears suddenly had gained sufficient resources (mainly food) and hadn't gone to sea for days.

And that was all there was to know about Hyena-men intelligence.

***

The Dark Tidal Coast had never been a safe place, which was why the sentries of the Long Ears' village had never let down their guard.

That was why they immediately noticed the signs of the approaching pack of Hyena-men, and they quickly fired warning signals at the direction of the village.

There were also adventurous Players-led by Zonyan-who had stayed in the village, intent on exploring the new continent. They did not panic with what was happening, and started to scout out the enemy.

"There are almost five hundred of them..." A Spirit Swordsman said in confusion after recalling his Spirit Familiar which he had sent out for reconnaissance. "Most of them between level ten to twenty. There are some stronger than that, but those are mostly elites."

As mentioned before, most Players could basically fight five Hyena-men at once thanks to their advantage in level and item.

There just around twenty Players who had hanged around the Long Ears' village, and using that formula would mean they could fight around a hundred Hyena-men.

But is that all there is to it?

The answer to that is actually uncertain.

While there would be friendly fire to a certain extent, the Players would also be able to stop their teammates from getting hurt, which would in turn greatly increase the party's combat strength.

In other words, the Players had the high ground whether they were fighting a single boss or were fighting a massive battle royale.

Moreover, most classes had AoE skills. It was true that such skills would be easily evaded or interrupted by an opponent in single battle because it takes a long time to cast it, and if unlucky the user might be staggered when their casting was cut short, suffering the ultimate horror of allowing their opponent rip them a new one.

On the other hand, they would have their party member's protection in group battle. Their opponents wouldn't interrupt them and their numbers meant that they won't evade the AoE skill easily-allowing the user to take out a whole bunch with a single casting!

That being said, when the Players all excitedly headed out the village gates and directly fight the Hyena-men army, they realized that they were even weaker than they imagined.

Their weapons were fashioned out of bone or rock as if they were still in the stone age. They were also wearing crude skin pelts while drool dangled over their moves, looking as if they were never had a full stomach since they were born.

Compared to the Hyena-men, the Long Ears were much more normal in various aspects. Setting aside their weaker fighting ability, it was as if they were modern people whose culture went through extensive development...

***

Gate the Hyena-man was licking its lips.

Being one of the greediest nonhuman races, they were no different from real hyenas that could sustain themselves with prey less than half their weight. Still, with winter only ending recently and the grasslands yet to bloom which in turn meant less prey, Gate hadn't had a full meal for a long time.

But now it looks like it was time for a scrumptious feast-the chieftain had mentioned that no rabbits were to be eaten, although they could as much human meat as they would like!

That certainly pleased Gate very much. The last feast had been before winter when he had caught a giant capybara which meat lasted him over the long winter...

And finally, it's time to feast again. Gate could feel his drool flowing freely at the thought of the humans' meat, and there was nothing more wonderful than crunching his prey's bones in two!

But even as his army approached the Long Ears' village, Gate suddenly felt that something wasn't right.

Why weren't the humans scattering everywhere as most prey usually did?

Why were they laughing even though they were about to die, and be torn into a million pieces?

Why were they looking at him like he is the prey instead?

Suddenly, Gate's excellent hearing caught the words of the human before him.

"Grateful Dead! Sword skill-Sliding Slash!"

In the next split second, Gate felt a curious lightness as if he was flying.

It was only when it saw the headless corpse slowly drop to the ground that it promptly understood what had happened.

He was already dead.