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A Black Market LitRPG – Chapter 155: A New Normal Bahasa Indonesia

In a dimly lit alleyway, a small hand pried open a flat tin-like case, the surface rugged from pellet dents. The hand’s grimy fingernails filled with soot found its purchase in the grooves, popping it open to reveal a rare find – crushed and fragmented Euria Seeds.

The owner of the hand smiled as he rested the tin on his lap, using his now free hand to gingerly pluck the fragments up and dropping them into his pipe’s opening, packing them carefully to the brim.

Just as he was about to use the residual fire of a burning pile of trash next to him, another boy snatched the pipe away from him. “Hey! It’s mine!” The original owner shouted but didn’t stand up to make a move.

“You’re not even 14 years old, Ollie. Not allowed to smoke.” Bola grinned as he let the arcia flames lap over the pipe slightly, the edges charred before he inhaled, letting the smoke fill his lungs.

“If you put it that way, you can’t smoke either!” Ollie scoffed, standing up again to try and wrestle back for the pipe, but before either of them could even begin, a stern man interrupted, placing his burly hands on both of their shoulders.

“Time’s up. Stop playing around. Didn’t I teach you not to get addicted to your own supply?” The man grabbed the pipe away from Bola, his glare fierce and intimidating.

“Y-yes sir!” Ollie and Bola immediately saluted, not wanting to antagonise the cobra in charge of them. The two of them were former workers in the hyper mall of the Seven Snakes, working at the public bathhouse to escape being a homeless squatter. Still, due to the encompassing war that took over the entirety of Raktor, they naturally became associates of the Seven Snakes despite their young age. Nearly everyone related to the Seven Snakes was now.

As the two teenagers hastily grabbed their equipment and donned their armour, the cobra in charge of them walked up to an alert hobgoblin that was clutching an arctech rifle tightly in its grasp, its eyes alert and scanning the roads. It barely glanced at the cobra even as he approached. “Alex. Work?”

“Yep. Escort duty.” Alex huffed on the pipe, taking a deep breath. “Get the others.”

“Ya bos.”

The four of them marched out onto the gravel-filled streets, the former splendour and opulence of Raktor already long lost to constant back-and-forth warfare, urban combat and general explosions. Destroyed buildings dominated the scene, yet life continued, the city’s citizens still living and working.

The initial assault by the Ardent Cretins had already caused many residents to flee the city in any way possible, but a large chunk remained, not having the money to finance their smuggling out. Instead, they lingered on stubbornly, clinging to life and adapting to the new conflict-ridden environment.

Kids played in the rubble and tossed wasted pellets at each other in their new form of a playground while famished people queued up in front of soup kitchens run by the Seven Snakes, getting their daily rations. A few victims of gas attacks lay miserably on the side as they whimpered and uncontrollably shuddered; no one could afford the resources to help them.

As Alex led his associates down the street, the hobgoblin let out a loud whistle that resounded through the urban blocks. Two more squads just like his popped out from hiding, moving along with Alex, though on opposite sides of the streets. The squads did not bunch up together – that much they had learnt in the last month of brutal urban combat.

Instead, they instinctively hugged the walls of the buildings next to them, their eyes naturally observing the window sills that had a line of sight on them, wondering where the next sniper would shoot from. Ollie’s sweaty hand gripped his rifle’s handle tightly while Bola’s arm was already twitching, ready to deploy their defensive barrier the moment he spotted even the slightest glimmer of metal sticking out from the buildings around.

This constant tension of potential warfare dominated the Seven Snake’s associates’ minds, even as they walked through a district which they ‘controlled’. Alex’s boots crunched against a fallen sign of a pub that was cracked in half, the clear markings of the Red Lions’ gang insignia plastered over the former Ilysian Punk logo.

Alex’s heart slightly clenched at the sight of the Ilysian Punk logo, recalling the harrowing death of his wife during the war with the Ilysian Punks. He shook his head slightly, clearing his thoughts as he focused again on where he was, keeping a sharp eye on his surroundings.

They marched past scores of homeless tents and squatter settlements that sprung up even more as a result of the bombardment and displacement. However, many of the temporary lodgings were empty, devoid of humans.

Instead, they were mostly queuing up in front of five white tents set up in the middle of the bombed-out streets that Alex could see clearly. They numbered in the hundreds, forming a veritable swarm as they waited quietly in line. Many of them were male, some as young as nine years old. A few desperate widows also queued up, wanting to get extra rations to feed their children.

A clerk stood at the front, clearing his throat as he spoke clearly into an arctech radio, his voice amplified to reach the end of the queue.

“I got bad news. Fifteen workers, two enforcers and one Seven Snakes associate were killed yesterday during a skirmish at the frontlines. Ardent Cretin anti-personnel mines.”

A wave of murmuring spread through the workers.

“Shit, wasn’t Carlo there?”

“Maybe he survived. Who knows.”

“Yea he better, cunt owes me money for his Euria addiction.”

Despite the harrowing news, the news basically washed over the workers, who were already used to this sort of information. It was worse at the start.

“Good news? Fifteen high-hazard pay positions just opened up at the frontline. Step out to the side if you’re up for it.”

Immediately, more than half of the workers stepped out, with them being recruited on a first-come, first-serve basis. Even the nine-year-old kid stepped out to the side, though he was quickly rejected for being far too weak.

“The rest will be low-hazard pay. Backline defence and factory work.” The clerk called out as they began to sort the workers, arranging them into different groups.

Alex and his team moved past the workers, heading straight for the back of the white tent where Monica was overseeing the entire organisational effort, a clear map demarcating the various fortifications and logistic lines to support the ongoing conflict.

The Seven Snakes had been branching out, pushing back against the Ardent Cretins district by district. With the help of the enforcers and Baron Cain’s private forces, the battle for the South Sector had been a slow grinding mill of flesh and blood save for the initial blitz assault, with casualties on both sides mounting every day. Raktor had been effectively split into self-controlled areas, the enforcers having limited to no authority in gang-controlled territories.

The Seven Snakes were not the only ones who supported the enforcers. Many other smaller gangs also took up arms against the major gangs, seeing this as an opportunity to gain new favour with the enforcers – assuming they won.

“Reporting for duty.” Alex gave a brief salute.


“Nothing so far. Didn’t spot any Cretins sneaking. No signs of residents revolting either.”

“Good. Team 27 will replace you.” There was always the risk of infiltration and espionage, which was why Alex’s team had been split up into the alleyways of the district in the first place.

“What’s the escort job?”

“New shipment from the mall. The first batch of guns and ammo from Culdao.”

“Shit, they actually managed to set up a weapons factory there?”

“I take offence.” The hobgoblin interjected.

“Right, sorry.” Alex apologised. The weapons factory in Raktor had long been destroyed, annihilated in a surprise attack by the Ardent Cretins. The battle between the two had even spread into the Culdao Peaks, with the town and surrounding forest also embroiled in consistent firefights and attempts by the Ardent Cretins to breach the goblin kingdom.

Having a new weapons factory set up again in the Culdao Peaks meant that they could start recruiting and training again, though that would take time. As far as their alliance went, King Sahusa was still reluctant to dedicate that many hobgoblins to the war effort in Raktor.

“Frontline needs that ammo as soon as possible.”

“Please tell me I at least have a wagon.”

Monica shook her head. “All the wagons are occupied now. We need them for construction, and there’s no way in hell we will expose them to enemy fire, not when they are in precious demand. You’re going to have to do this on foot. You’re not the only team I have moving them, so don’t worry too much.”

“Fine.” Alex left the tent, signalling with his hand for his team to follow. The conversation between them was clearly overheard by his associates, who all grumbled among themselves.

“Seriously? On foot? That’s going to take one whole continuous day, and that’s assuming we walk non-stop!”

“It’s going to be more like three days; we’ll probably only move at night.”

However, the associates did not try to argue against the order. They knew the mission’s importance – if the frontline collapsed, this entire district would also be threatened.

“The faster we move, the faster we’re done with the job. In and out. Let’s move.” Alex picked up the pace, walking briskly back towards the hyper mall with his associates in tow.

Ollie struggled to keep up with the brutal pace, his legs already tired after thirty minutes as his feet became sore with each step, his toes grating against the interior sole of his boots while his thighs burned with muscle fatigue. It was made even harder as they had to step over piles of rubble.

After a gruelling hour of non-stop walking, they finally returned to the hyper mall, where guards quickly scanned and checked them at a checkpoint on the street. The street still bore the marks of war, with copious amounts of sandbags, cannons and machine gun emplacements serving as a strong defence and deterrence.

The hypermall was the headquarters of the Seven Snakes operation, and the Ardent Cretins tried to bombard it nearly once every few days, keeping the guards on their toes.

“Quick rest. One hour, and we move out. Bola, with me.” Alex motioned towards the supply depot where wagons were loading up food and materials transported through the secret tunnels.

Ollie sighed as he walked through the hyper mall, which was still intact, but the décor and furnishings had already been covered in soot and damages, scars from the initial assault that managed to nearly breakthrough. The hypermall was a far cry from the glitz and glamorous outlook it once had on opening day, becoming a battle-ridden, tough and durable building, having survived multiple direct bombardments that made it past the point defence systems. If it weren’t for the hobgoblins’ intervention, Ollie was confident that he would have died that day.

There were hundreds of other associates like him, all taking a break as they sat in dimly lit restaurants, eating rations and makeshift food, some sleeping on chairs and tables stacked together haphazardly. Haui’s potion store had been fully converted into a medical clinic, where Haui and his employees continuously worked round the clock to treat wounds and poisons. An arctech radio mumbled radio reports of the frontline inaudibly, Ollie barely able to pick it up.

The weapons utilised by both sides were equally brutal – no rules of engagement limited what they could use. Every trick in the book that one could think of was executed with efficiency: chemical attacks, mines, mortars, and sonar disruptors. Ollie knew more than a few here had already lost their hearing, relying completely on sight and hand signs to fight.

Of course, potion recipes that could cure such afflictions were present, but they hardly had the materials to create them, especially those that could not be grown in the Culdao Peaks. Ollie and the rest of the associates were already satisfied that they had a continuous supply of fresh food, even if most of it was vegetables that were quick-grown.

Such was the new reality of Ollie’s life, with the dull thuds of mortars explosions thumping in the distance from other sectors. He found an empty bench and sat down to rest, using his rifle as a support as he dozed off nearly immediately, a skill he learnt over the days of continuous combat, where every minute of sleep and rest was precious.

At the top of the hypermall, Keith rubbed his tired eyes, the month-long war starting to take a toll on his mind. He had spent nearly every waking hour planning, coordinating and protecting the newly captured districts. The workers he hired with food and supplies were used to build fortifications to create a buffer zone slowly. Every time they cleared a street, Keith had them immediately set up sandbags and blockades, preventing the Ardent Cretins from countering even through intense bombardment.

[Keith, escort teams on their way to resupply the frontline.]

“Finally. Thanks, Monica. Adrian, any new updates?”

[I’m not sure about the validity of this rumour, but it seems that the Ardent Cretins have been receiving supplies from another Sector.]

Keith’s heart sank the moment he heard that. “Which sector?”

[It seems to be from the Violet Demons.]

“Aren’t they still fighting the enforcers?” Keith recalled Kitana was still there, fighting strongly against the Veiled Angels and Violet Demons. However, she was only one enforcer and was not invincible either, unable to stop the major gangs’ advances from every direction.

[They are, but their control of the sector is growing stronger and stronger. They also have the neighbouring towns under their control.]

Keith furrowed his brows, his hand massaging his head. If the Ardent Cretins get resupplied, they might try again for a push. I can’t have my men killed like that again.

The initial assault was not easy. More than a third of the Seven Snakes had died in the confrontation, with Keith himself nearly being assassinated. Keith knew that if any one of the Sectors ever fell completely to a major gang, it would result in a domino effect for the rest of the Sectors. And the Seven Snakes would be eradicated from Raktor.

He double-checked the positioning of the frontline, knowing that Niko, Damian and Sasha were manning each of the three war fronts. The Ardent Cretins were not the only adversaries they faced – the remnants of the Red Lions as well as the Wretches who sided with the Ardent Cretins, were still at large, fighting tooth and nail for their lost districts.

Keith had the bulk of his force target the Red Lions and Wretches first, planning to eradicate the smaller targets first, but it was proving difficult as the Cretins continuously threatened their defences, forcing him to be limited in operational movement. No matter. With the weapons factory online in Culdao Peaks now, as long as Sasha, Damian and Niko hold the line, we can-

Suddenly, Sasha entered the room, stunning Keith into confusion. “Sasha, what the fuck are you doing here? The frontline is about to come under attack anytime soon!” Keith was a bit peeved; his prior thought of Sasha holding the frontline was already violated.

However, before Keith could continue to berate Sasha, Sasha quickly slid over an envelope that was sealed with a Versian seal. Keith still didn’t know sign language, but he could hardly control his excitement as he tore open the envelope, reading its contents. The relieved smile on his face as he read only grew more prominent, and by the end of the letter, he was beaming from ear to ear.

“Rally the men. It’s time to take back what we’re owed.”


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