Chapter 3: Raid Guild
Flashback to the night before that visit.
Jun gathered about ten of the most important members of the Vermillion Bird raid in the bar.
Discussions with them bore fruit. After a debrief on Kasumi’s situation and how the Illusionary Brigade was camping out at the Phoenix, they agreed to help.
“If we do end up going to battle with the Illusionary Brigade or embarking on a Phoenix raid, it seems we’ll be able to gather about 80 people,” reported Eri, turning to look at Isao, who had been sitting next to her. A simple alchemist himself, he managed all of the craftsmen in Payang.
“That’s not including any potential support,” Isao said.
“Right, I didn’t include the people who would work behind the scenes in the count. Hey, Jun, you’re being awfully insistent on keeping the backstage workers separate from the rest of the group.”
“Because we need to work separately at the same time. Eighty people should be enough for our actual work,” Jun responded.
“The Illusionary Brigade has a hundred. And those hundred members are clad in raid gear. With just 80 untrained players, we would have literally zero chance of victory,” chimed in Yukaria.
With her countless connections, she had been responsible for getting so many people to agree to help out. She knew all too well that they would be no match for a well-trained group of raid guild members.
“Of course, some of them will be skilled, but… if push comes to shove, and we have to fight, it’d be much better if we had two groups,” Yukaria continued. Unfortunately, her former teammates were away on their honeymoon. They were touring around Sky World in an airship, and they wouldn’t return for another month.
“One group is plenty enough. What I’m saying is that we can’t afford to cross swords without a plan.”
“Jun-san, what are you going to do?” Kasumi asked. “You said that you were going to negotiate with the Illusionary Brigade tomorrow, but…”
“The ‘negotiations’ are just an alibi for what I really have in store… though I’m sure they won’t be receptive to what I have to say. Nonetheless, if we don’t start preparing to fight now, we won’t have an excuse for not being able to go through with the Phoenix raid later.”
“That’s right. It would really be laughable if we could make it all the way to the fight with the Phoenix, but not be able to finish it,” said Isao, composed. Jun had not yet told him anything, but he seemed to have vaguely realized that Jun had something in store. Isao knew him well from working with him in other games.
“So, what are you going to do?” Eri asked, not satisfied with that explanation. “Are you saying that we are gathering people for a battle we know we’ll lose? Hurry up and tell us your plan.”
“I’ll start with how it’ll end. We’re going to use starvation as a war tactic.” Jun looked over at everybody. Having understood, Isao nodded, while the others blinked in surprise.
“Starvation as a war tactic?” Ryuka tilted her head. “So we won’t let them get any food. However, the Illusionary Brigade should definitely have magicians who can summon bread and water, right?”
“Yeah, most adventurers can summon as much food as they want. Therefore, starvation may not have been the best word to use. Let me rephrase it. We’ll cut off their provisions.”
“Jun, being the wise man exuding intelligence you are, you would understand. But you know, I’m just an inexperienced little elementary schooler so please explain it in simpler terms. What’s a provision?”
An inexperienced little elementary schooler would not talk like that!
Jun read into her retort.
“Supplies. Provisions refer to medical supplies, weapons, ammunition, and other items that fighters use. We’ll be restricting their access to those supplies.”
“But in Sky World, there’s no durability system,” Yukaria pointed out. In games, weapons and armor were assigned durability values, and as one fought, durability would decrease. Sky World had no inconvenient system like that.
“However, weapons and armor can still be damaged. Furthermore, all kinds of potions are needed for raids. Jun made eye contact with Isao. “Isao-san, please tell me what consumable items are needed for the Phoenix raid. Just what well-equipped raid guilds regularly use would be perfect.”
“Sure! Hi-potions aside… without anti-corrosion agents, weapons and armor would degrade a lot. And then, since Phoenixes can inflict the burn status effect, high grade burn salve is needed as well. Raid guilds should have resistance buffs against common negative status effects.”
“Excuse me for a second. Burn and disabled weapon effects don’t count as bad status effects?” asked Kasumi, with her hand raised, nervously, “… though I remember that we used anti-corrosion agents during the Vermillion Bird raid.”
“Eri, as a white magician, could you explain it to her?”
“Got it! Let me see, negative status effects… are status abnormalities that stick to your character. Stuff like paralysis, bind, sleep… you know, Yukaria’s specialty. These effects can usually be cured by a healer’s recovery magic, which can get rid of many, save a few, bad status effects at once. However, disabled weapons and armor are a separate thing completely. They’re not things that can be recovered with magic. That, Kasumi, is the work of alchemists and blacksmiths. Do you get it now?”
“So you’re saying that armor and weapon disability is recovered with alchemy and blacksmithing, right?”
“It requires special equipment. Or a potion. More specifically, anti-corrosion agents can prevent weapon and armor deterioration. Once broken, weapons and armor have to be taken to a special workspace to be repaired with blacksmithing. As is it is now, that process has fallen out of style. It’s annoying… well, aside from raid monsters with special abilities, enemies usually can’t cause weapons to deteriorate. It might be a different story on higher island rings, but at least that’s the way it is here, on the seventh ring. NPCs don’t sell the potion, so players have to make them themselves.”
Kasumi nodded, finally understanding. Picking up things quickly was her forte.
“Well then, is the burn effect any different?”
“That’s a special status effect. Though it wipes out all other status effects, it cannot be cured with the use of magic. You could wait for it to elapse on its own, but it would take a few days. Luckily, the burn effect can be healed with a high grade burn salve, a special item that alchemists can craft. Since that effect is really rare on the seventh island ring, NPCs here don’t sell it.”
“So basically, Jun’s plan is to prevent the Illusionary Brigade from getting any more of these key consumable items, right?”
“Right. We’re aiming at the anti-corrosion agents and high grade burn salves, so by extension, we’re pinning for the alchemist and blacksmith areas in the crafting district of town. In order to stop their supply, we need to buy up all of them in the city, and then reserve all of the crafting spaces so that the Illusionary Brigade cannot use them. Though in the beginning, they’ll still have a stockpile, the Phoenix respawns every six hours, so they can fight it up to four times a day. In that case, since they have 100 members, their stockpiles will surely be depleted soon. And then after that, all we have to do is sit tight and watch.”
Jun laughed loudly.
Eri responded, “Wow, what an unpleasant laugh!” as if it were something evil. Some of the others moved away in surprise, while Yukaria and Isao smiled and muttered, “How Jun-like!”
There would be a war.
This conflict between this temporary alliance of volunteers against the Illusionary Brigade may as well have been Sky World’s first full-scale war.