Master's image vanished. The night sky returned to its usual darkness. There was a complete silence following the announcement.

The announcement didn't just happen above Thereath. It happened in every settlement of the world. Even the villages and the places where the minor race were living. Every inhabitant of this world heard the announcement.

Jack later learned from Peniel that this announcement was possible if one used a legendary consumable item called the World Broadcast Stone. This was a one-time-use item that allowed the user to broadcast his image and voice to the world. Similar to what Serenity and Fear had done when they broadcasted their support for Jack and Master as country sovereigns. But the stone only allowed the user to broadcast for a short period. That's why Master kept his message concise without revealing too many details.

"What kind of bollocks was that?" Thelgrun was the first to break the silence.

"It's just something the enemy uses to try to unrattle us," John declared. "They had failed to maintain the rhythm of their expansion and they must have received winds about us gathering here. This is our enemy getting anxious and using whatever means necessary to distract us from what we are about to do, which is to bring the fight to them. There is no need to pay too much attention to it."

"So… Are you confirming what the Liguritudum ruler announced just now is false?" Horatio asked.

John gave Jack and Jeanny one glance before he answered Horatio decisively, "His words were a pile of horseshits."

Horatio simply nodded at the answer.

"Whatever it is, it is undeniable that Master is our enemy and he wishes to put us all under his thumb," Jack uttered. "We will put a stop to him as we've planned!"

"I agree!" Thelgrun announced.

"I'm sure everyone is tired by now," Jeanny said. "We will talk about the heavy stuff tomorrow. Your quarters have been prepared. You can rest if you wish."

Thelgrun, Kabaka, and Aldryth said that they wished to retreat to the resting chambers. Grace took over and arranged for people to bring these guests there. Horatio remained a while longer enjoying the night.

Jack, John, and Jeanny went to a secluded corner and talked among them.

"Damn that Master! How could he drop the ball on every native like that?" Jack cursed.

"He is trying to lower our native allies' morale," Jeanny said.

"I think the truth-revealing to the natives is supplementary. His target is players," John uttered.

Jack and Jeanny turned to him with questioning looks.

"He is becoming desperate," John said. "He must never have thought that he would lose in Palgrost. He also lost his zombie army. He is short on manpower, this is why he made that announcement, he wishes to refill his force with different assets."

"The players?" Jack asked.

John nodded. "The players nowadays can already go toe to toe with a native army. Many still have low levels, but a decent number of our experts can already contend against the high-level natives. The ones who joined the past wars were just a fraction of the player community. Many didn't join because they were not willing to take the risks. Imagine if all these players come together and form an army."

Jack and Jeanny contemplated John's words with serious expressions. If Master could get a sufficient number of players on his side, it would indeed spell trouble for them.

"He might say he revealed the truth to the natives," John continued. "But he was trying to put the news into context. He is letting every player know he is the one responsible for bringing them into this world. He is trying to entice everyone who wishes to return to the real world to his side."

"But… he can't do that. Our old world is no more," Jack said. "If he wishes to bring people back to the old world, he will have to erase this one. That is the opposite of his objective."

"True, but people don't know that," John said. "He will lie to them and use them. Once he conquers all the countries, he already has the native armies under his command. He won't worry about the players then."

"What should we do?" Jeanny asked.

"We will attend this conference, of course," John said. "Whatever he is playing at, we will deal with his lies there."

"Do you think it is safe to go there?" Jeanny asked.

"He announced that he guarantees every player's safety," Jack said.

"And you believe him?" John asked.

"Well… No."

"We will go, but we will go with our force as well. I don't believe we and our allied guilds lost to his."

"Do you think he will keep his word about not bringing native soldiers?" Jeanny asked.

"If he does, he will be breaking his own promise. It is impossible to hide a native army with so many players there. If he is found out, everyone will then see him as a liar," John answered. "I don't think he is that stupid. He will just lose his chance to gain support from players."

"Sigh… Problems just keep on coming," Jack lamented.

"Such is life. It never gives you the peace of settling your tasks one by one," Jeanny said. "It doesn't matter even if you already have too much on your plate, it will just keep throwing challenges your way. All we can do is deal with them as best we can."

Jack nodded. He understood what Jeanny was saying. He guessed he might not have the chance to deal with the quest that involved the league faction leaders.

"In any case, we will attend this convention and ruin Master's plan!" Jack declared.

"I will start sending messages to our allied guilds," Jeanny said. "I also have many contacts among the independent players. We will go there as a group."

"I don't think he invited us there to fight," John said. "I believe the battle there will be in arguments. But go ahead, more numbers on our side should let us intimidate the others into agreeing with us. I believe the enemy will do the same."

Jeanny left to make the arrangements. She would come again tomorrow morning when the meeting started.

John also left. He said he needed to rethink his approach due to this recent development. He might need to readjust his strategy which he would present in tomorrow's meeting.

Jack went back and accompanied Horatio for a little while before he excused himself. Tomorrow would be another long day with the country leaders, he didn't want to stay up too late.

Inside his chamber, he took out the Chalice of Blood.