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Tidal Pull

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The guild leaders in the tenth server had gotten used to Blue River’s lack of interest in maneuvering and making deals, so despite the fact that Blue Brook Guild actually came out of the whole “God Ye Qiu rises from the ashes” process without too many losses, they weren’t that worried about them as a competitor. They were one of the three great guilds, sure, but Blue River had the most retiring personality of all of them there. They weren’t stupid, and half their interactions at Boss battles carried the distinct flavor of being incredibly tired of it. No one was too surprised that he gave up his position to return to the Heavenly Domain.

They were prepared for some changes in the wake of the power shift, but in the end Blue Brook Guild actually set up a woman as their new leader, a Witch that went by Lunar Grace. None of them were unfamiliar with the name, given that she was one of Blue Brook Guild’s experts and part of their dungeon-clearing team, but they hadn’t seen her do much in the way of leading before. Certainly, she hadn’t been Blue Brook Guild’s second in command.

But Bound Boat, it turned out, greatly preferred his position of helping the guild leader to actually leading the guild. Just watching Blue River deal with it was unpleasant enough, he wasn’t throwing himself into that gaping maw of destruction. Lunar Grace had the steadiest personality after him in the tenth server, and Blue Rain’s club didn’t want to blatantly switch the leader to some unknown person, as it’d completely waste the effort they’d already put into building a relationship with the new players in the tenth server. Naturally, passing things over to Lunar Grace was the better option.

As for the other guilds, everyone had seen what Misty Castle was like, and they weren’t even led by a woman in the tenth server. Blue Brook Guild’s previous style combined with a new, fairly quiet female leader? They didn’t think too much about it. When she came asking for an alliance in this or that Boss fight, they didn’t think much of it. When the fights between guilds began and she kept Blue Brook out of it, they didn’t think much of it. Even when Blue Brook narrowly managed the victory against the Boss, they didn’t think much of it.

The first time. After a few more times, if they still didn’t think much of it, the club would help them think a little more about it themselves—they couldn’t afford to lose so many Bosses! But no one could actually figure out what exactly Lunar Grace was doing that ended in the other guilds fighting so often. When she made deals, she always pulled through on them…right?

It was probably worse that they couldn’t tell.

So they grew warier. Every offer of alliance with Blue Brook was scrutinized carefully, every turn in the fight combed through to find where Blue Brook had turned on them and made it all go wrong.

But they couldn’t find it? Everything Lunar Grace said was steady and reasonable, all of her actions faithful and well-executed. It seemed as if Lunar Grace only stumbled upon victory, time after time, but where in the world would there be something so good?

For a while, they all tried completely rejecting alliances with Blue Brook Guild—actually all rejecting alliances, after the first rounds of “I say we won’t, but actually you won’t and I will” that they all inevitably played—but if anything that just made Blue Brook even fiercer. They tried all turning on Blue Brook from the start, but while that did end in the guild’s defeat, so many backstabbings had occurred in their own army that they nearly couldn’t fight the Boss themselves, and who knows what would happen next time?

“Having some trouble, gentlemen?” Lunar Grace said, sweeping in on their impromptu meeting. Someone’s character spasmed as they accidentally slammed a few keys.

“Witch,” someone muttered, and the rest silently agreed.

It was entirely a term of respect.

 

(“How are you actually doing it, though?” Bound Boat couldn’t help but ask.

“It’s nothing more than being aware of everyone’s ability,” Lunar Grace said calmly. “If you know yourself and know your enemy, you’ll always be victorious, right?”

Bound Boat sent “…” above his character’s head to express what he thought of that. Please don’t insult Blue River’s intelligence, okay, he was very good at understanding the abilities of others.

“And none of them really knows how to take into account how their opponent thinks. Not just against me, but against each other, too. Really, how many times are they going to think ‘no one will notice if I alone choose this moment to sabotage’ before they notice they’re all exactly the same…?” Although her face wasn’t visible, the bafflement was completely apparent in her voice. “In any case, if I can predict at what point they’ll break their word, as always, don’t I have a huge advantage? It’d be more embarrassing if I weren’t winning, with all the openings they keep sending my way.”

Bound Boat thought over the way the guilds inevitably fell apart before they could properly attack, time after time.

…Alright, fair.)