Shaa... A bright light descended upon the back of Zaran's mansion . Hitting the ground, the light revealed none other than Zaran. After he used Intent, his body had slumped to the ground and the king had not wasted a second and had delivered a killing blow.
He sighed and deeply regretted how rash his previous actions were. He had not been able to see the king's level or any relevant information, and had rashly started an unnecessary fight. If he had given it some thought he would've figured out that the mosquito king was most likely going to be a boss level monster and realized that it would have been impossible to fight it on his own.
Before using the teleportation circle in his backyard to teleport to the gatestone that he had left behind, Zaran went to the outer courtyard to check up on the guild members who had not chosen to join the new mission, but had instead returned to the mansion to test and recruit new members to the guild.
One of the guild members who had chosen to test new recruits, noticed Zaran and cried out in surprise. "Huh, boss? What are you doing here? I thought you set off with the guild to Vilewood forest for that new quest we got?"
"Died... got too overconfident about my strength." Zaran quietly said, before looking around the training field. Unlike he expected there weren't a lot of new recruits wandering around. "How come there are so few new recruits here?"
"Hold it, don't try changing the subject. YOU of all people got overconfident? Like REALLY?"
"... shut up free exp and answer his question." Another one of the recruiters said.
"My name is NOT free exp! It's Raul damnit!"
"To me it will always be free exp. You can blame yourself for that one." The other recruiter beckoned the next applicant to come over and paid no further heed to Raul.
Raul glared at the other recruiter before answering Zaran's question. "Well, we thought we'd easily run out of space if we kept everyone within this courtyard, so we first did a few matches among ourselves and the weakest of us are testing new recruits outside the mansion, while the five best further test recruits within. If any are able to get even a single blow on us within a minute, we automatically invite them to the guild.
Once a recruit is able to enter the mansion we allow them to fight every single one of us multiple times, this way we are able to see if there are any raw gems within the bunch. If there are we also automatically invite them. As we need a lot of space for all the fights, we always ask the new recruits to immediately go do some easy guild quests for the time being. That way, the mansion won't get overcrowded. Plus, this way we know if people actually really want to be in the guild. If they don't even want to do a single quest to help out the guild before meeting you and the others, we felt that they do not really belong in the guild. So basically it's another test."
Zaran was very pleased with Raul's answer. Especially sending the new recruits on small guild quests, it was a great idea. It actually served three purposes at the same time. It showed if the new recruits were willing to work for the guild, increased the guild's reputation and as the guild took 10% of the quest reward, it grew the guild's treasury. "Hmm, very good! It's a better system than the one I had previously come up with. Which of you came up with it?"
"That would be me." Raul proudly said. "While before you only tested our skill you did not really test anyone's talent very well nor anyone's willingness to work for the guild. While I still think we can improve on the tests, I also feel that currently we're able to draw more people into the guild in a fair way, as the previous test ruled out too many people."
With every answer that Raul gave, Zaran's impression of him only grew better. Even though he had previously acted hot-headed, Zaran could now see that in normal situations he actually gave matters a lot of thought. "Hmm, now that you say it like that you are actually correct. We only cared about already skilled people and didn't consider finding raw gems nor did we consider their character. Very good, keep going like this Raul. How many new members do we have currently?"
"As of right now, we gained about 150'ish new members."
"That's pretty good for how long you've been recruiting... Keep at it Raul, I am very impressed with your initiative." Praising Raul once more, Zaran turned around and quickly ran to the teleportation circle.
A few seconds later, Zaran arrived on the spot where he had placed his gatestone. Dust flew from the gatestone as it slowly disintegrated. At 500 gold it was quite expensive for a single user item but it was still somewhat worth it for the effect it gave you.
He slowly made his way back to the clearing and after a few minutes of searching around at the clearing, he found the mosquito queen, who was not all too surprised to see Zaran once again.
Even though she had clearly seen her master die in front of her, she had still been able to faintly sense his presence after his corpse disintegrated, and thus she knew he should still be alive. She wondered how he did survive, or how he revived, but as she couldn't speak his language, she couldn't ask even a single question she wanted to ask.
Instead of fighting the king alone once more, Zaran backed off and simply waited for the guild to arrive along with the skull ants. If the skull ants fought along with the guild, he bet that the king would be a pushover but he wasn't sure if the skull ants would be willing to do so. Even though it would be an easy victory, Zaran knew that there would be no small amount of casualties even among the guild.
An hour or so later, the guild finally arrived with the skull ants in tow. Zaran walked over with the mosquito queen and closely watched the skull ants' movements. His own skull ants had already been told to relay to the others that the mosquito queen was under his control and that she no longer posed a threat to them as long as they did not go overboard with killing the mosquitoes in the future. They could reclaim their territory but nothing more. He made absolutely sure to make his skull ant queen stress the last part.
Zaran's skull ant queen quickly relayed the message even though rage was still clearly visible in her eyes. Still, she did not dare to disobey Zaran's orders... Not any more. In the past she had disobeyed his orders a few times and she had quickly found out that disobeying his orders was not in her best interest. While her master greatly cared about every single one of his beasts, those who did not obey his orders would always receive a severe punishment.
"Ehm... Zaran." Florance pulled Zaran's arm while he was communicating with the skull ant queen.
"Yes Florance? What is it?"
"We uh... lost a few of your beasts. Sorry" With a sad look in her eyes, Florance bit her lip as she was unsure what else to say.
"Mmhmm." Zaran only nodded and patted her head. He already knew that a few of his beasts had perished as his mental connection to them had been lost. He was not going to blame anyone for their deaths as he had somewhat expected this outcome. Moreover from everyone's expressions he could already tell that they had not arrived here unscathed. "You've done well."
"Right, listen up everyone. I have already fought the king and died. Here's what happened..." Recounting his experiences to the guild, everyone's expression grew serious as they realized this would be an incredibly hard fight. One hit through their armor would mean the same as death.
When he finished recounting his experiences, Zaran scanned everyone's expressions. "So for this fight we will need a really good plan. I will have the queen try to have the mosquitoes not bother us while we deal with the king. As for the fight against the king, I suggest we use as much of our crowd control spells as possible to restrain his movement. Those with a shield will need to try to taunt him. I say try, since his level is higher than mine by quite a bit and we do not know how great the effect of our crowd control spells will be. Are there any questions?"
A few seconds passed and not a single person had raised his hand. "Very well, you get five minutes to rest and then we will head out to the clearing and fight the king."