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Translator: Exodus Tales Editor: Exodus Tales
By now, many players had heard that Baishi City’s Auction House was not safe during these past two days. There was that heated bidding war yesterday, followed by two robbers scoping out the joint after, and then there were rumors of two beautiful ladies appearing later that night who wanted to commit robbery. Plenty of these players, who were regretting having missed out on such a good show the other day, were surprised to find something else interesting appearing early the next morning. A performance artist had suddenly shown up in the Auction House.
There was no world chat channel in Parallel World for players to conduct business, so trading was a little inconvenient. However, this was precisely the reason why the offline trade forums became especially lively as result, and items that players from all the cities were either selling or searching for appeared there. The various trading forum boards were separated by the cities, but all the forum boards for each city were equally bustling. The appearance of a piece of top-grade equipment like Vast Lushness’ Utopian Magic Staff in the Auction House had been rather shocking, and it was often such item that would be promoted across Parallel World on the trading forum.
Ultimately, just as the Utopian Magic Staff was sold through the Auction House, almost immediately, another player appeared in the same place with a raised placard to indicate his wish to purchase it. This extremely contrarian and novel idea instantly drew the attention of the masses.
“Bro, aren’t you tired of doing all this?!” Someone had even come to interview the man.
“It’s fine.” Paddy Scent Pastures did not wish to divert his attention, keeping his eyes on the distribution NPC even as he casually replied.
It was obvious to the crowd where he was looking, and no one suspected him of scoping out a potential mark for robber this time. The people laughed. “Bro, you’re really conscientious. Are you thinking of buying the Utopian Magic Staff right off the hands of the winning bidder?”
Paddy Scent Pastures nodded.
“Speaking of which, I heard that the guy who managed to make the winning bid had yet to retrieve the magic staff even after the auction ended yesterday!” another person quipped.
As the players continued their discussion, many proceeded to flash a thumbs-up to Paddy Scent Pastures, who could only return the favor with a wry smile. When all was said and done, Southern Lone Blade’s plan was extremely successful. While it drew everybody’s attention to Paddy Scent Pastures, it let him establish a strong first impression to the crowd, never suspecting that this Priest had other motives beyond what he had said.
In comparison, the others were all having a much easier time. There were no abnormalities over by the Bounty Assignment Hall or the various spawn points. Southern Lone Blade thought for a long time if such a situation explained anything. Unexpectedly, sweeping a glance over at his friends list, he finally realized something when he saw the swathes of dimmed names; most players had not gotten up yet.
He then tried adding Svelte Dancer as a friend, and sure enough, the lady was not online yet. Southern Lone Blade replied to her mail. Acknowledging her request in all seriousness, he informed her of their service fee, which was double that of their first client, of how long they would need to accomplish this assignment, and of the deposit issue. Southern Lone Blade felt that it was important to put on a good show in its totality. Since they were pretending to fall for the bait, it was only natural that they had to show their true colors. It would be too illogical if they did not make their demand for coins known.
After adding Svelte Dancer and discovering that she was not online, Southern Lone Blade gave adding Thousand Miles Drunk, Eternal Dominion, and other known names a shot, but not one of them was online. This was around the time when players would usually be online, but precisely because of that, there was a possibility that the yet-to-be-revealed buyer of the Utopian Magic Staff would use this chance to make an appearance. Southern Lone Blade had also been pondering on just why this buyer had not shown himself yet. Trying to think in the other person’s shoes as to the reason, he wondered if the person was worried about being targeted for larceny and thus was being so careful. If that was truly the case, it would make sense for the person to choose such a time when there were few players around.
With that thought in mind, Southern Lone Blade reminded Paddy Scent Pastures to pay attention.
On his end, Paddy Scent Pastures had quite a headache from being observed with such scrutiny. He felt that a majority of players, who had gone here at the Auction House this early in the morning, did not seem to be making purchases; instead, they seemed to be here just to see him. He decided to maintain the status quo, keeping the placard raised high to whomever was spectating and not budging an inch from his spot whatever was happening around him.
When noon came, Southern Lone Blade received a system prompt for a new mail. The man quickly made his way to the mailbox and first checked to see who the sender was. Sure enough, it was Svelte Dancer. He could not wait to see what the contents of this letter was, and all he got in the face of the meticulous letter he wrote was just one word: ‘Okay.’ Furthermore, the 1500-gold-coin deposit Southern Lone Blade had requested was enclosed in it.
“What a wonderful client!” He could not help but sigh ruefully once more. Not haggling or intentionally making things difficult, she did not even nitpick on any detail. A single word of ‘okay’ along with the deposit – it was simply straightforward. For a moment, Southern Lone Blade wished that this was not a trap; how he wished that they were indeed helping Svelte Dancer with a job request!
Southern Lone Blade mimicked her demeanor and responded with one word of ‘okay’. He somewhat despondently waited for her to reply again; even though he knew that it was impossible, he still fantasized a wondrous scenario of the lady burying the hatchet between them and becoming their top client.
Sighing, Southern Lone Blade suddenly received a message from Glue. “Big South, Silver Moon came asking about the magic staff.”
“Tell him to get f*ck*d.” Southern Lone Blade was not in the mood for him. Why were his fantasies always so splendid, yet his reality was completely rubbish?
Glue could tell that Southern Lone Blade was probably in a momentary spell of bad mood, so he waited for a moment before asking again, “Do I really say that?”
“Tell him we’ll naturally get in contact with him when we manage to loot it. It’s not past the agreed upon date yet; what’s the point of badgering about it every day?” Southern Lone Blade remarked, annoyed.
Paddy Scent Pastures’ message came in soon after his conversation with Glue ended. “Big South, this ain’t gonna work! Doesn’t this mean I hafta keep holding this placard here for seven days straight if the buyer only shows up on the final day‽”
Southern Lone Blade would, of course, not treat his comrades so cruelly, so he quickly explained, “Of course, you don’t need to do that for all seven days. What you’re doing now is just to pave way for the rest in group not to be suspected of larceny. This way, even if they come and go there, it’ll just be seen as them helping out a friend purchase the magic staff. Their suspicions will all but evaporate, yes?”
“If we hafta spend up to seven days here, won’t we really be incurring a loss for this assignment?” Paddy Scent Pastures asked.
“We don’t really have a choice. No one has an idea on just what will happen before our work begins. We can only blame it on bad luck that this situation has gotten so messed up. Now that we’ve finally gotten the chance to turn the tables on our enemies, the real loss here will be if we end up paying that scumbag Silver Moon twice his deposit!” Southern Lone Blade replied.
“I don’t think that there’s any need for that. I’ll stay here with the placard, and you guys should drop what you’re all doing. Instead, spend the time to grind your levels; do whatever all of you guys must do; nobody should be squandering their time here. Isn’t Thousand Miles Drunk and his bunch looking to mess around? I’ll just take on this task myself of finding out where the magic staff ends up, and then we’ll gather and proceed with this assignment. What do you think?” Paddy Scent Pastures asked.
Southern Lone Blade thought of what he had said and felt that it made sense, so he nodded his head and relayed this information to the others. Besides Paddy Scent Pastures, everyone else would head out to grind. They would suffer too much of a loss if all of them were to camp out everywhere and not do any grinding.
When Svelte Dancer got online, she received Southern Lone Blade’s reply. Noting the price stated, the time required, and the deposit he expected at a single glance. Actually, there was no way Svelte Dancer could say that she had not come into contact with such people before. She might be rich, but her money was not an indication of her luck. Not a single item, equipment, or skill scroll she had on her was as a result of her luck, and everything had been bought.
Meanwhile, Svelte Dancer naturally could not be bothered with which of these sellers were honest folks, despicable swindlers, or larcenists like Southern Lone Blade’s team. Even now, some items she had on her might perhaps had been ‘plundered’ from others. Having come across a similar business deal before, she of course did not find Southern Lone Blade’s request to be strange and just swiftly paid the required deposit before she happily brought the letter to Vast Lushness.
“See; I told you it’ll be easy!” Svelte Dancer handed the letter over for Vast Lushness to take a look.
Vast Lushness scanned through the letter thrice, taking in this clear depiction of Southern Lone Blade’s true colors. Naturally, nothing was amiss, but with how Southern Lone Blade had so readily agreed to their request, she could not help but begin to have doubts.
“You’ve already paid the deposit?” Vast Lushness’ eyes were fixed on the 1500 gold coins deposit written on the letter as she asked this. Southern Lone Blade mentioned that if they were interested in doubling the price, this assignment would cost them 8000 gold coins, which was why it needed a 1500-gold-coin deposit
“Aren’t you afraid of this guy merely trying to cheat you out of your money?” Vast Lushness felt that Svelte Dancer’s wariness of others was just too low.
“No way. Guess what I saw when I went over at the Auction House after I received this letter? One of their Priests is there with a ‘Looking to Purchase the Utopian Magic Staff’ sign raised, waiting for the magic staff to appear! I only sent him the money after I saw what they are doing,” Svelte Dancer explained.
“Could it really be that simple?” Vast Lushness felt that this matter had progressed far too simply and smoothly.
“Oh, yeah. We gotta go inform those guys not to mess things up, since that group of robbers are now helping us obtain the magic staff!” Svelte Dancer did not put much thought into this matter and really did give Southern Lone Blade’s team an out, just as the man had expected, by running to look for Young Master Han.
Young Master Han swept through the letter Southern Lone Blade had sent and tossed it aside, letting Brother Assist, who was sitting beside him, quickly pore over the document in detail.
“Hmm… So if the double cost for this assignment is 8000 gold coins, that makes the original price to be about 4000 gold coins. The market price for the Utopian Magic Staff should be about 2000 gold coins, which means that the cost of their manpower is 2000 gold coins. For seven players, each barely gets about 300 gold coins, yet the mandated duration for this assignment is stipulated for 10 to 15 days. Hmm… It looks like their fees are unrelated to the duration of the assignment in question. With this example…”
Everybody gave him the side-eye as Brother Assist’s voice slowly trailed off. Finally, he grabbed his little booklet and quietly found a corner to record it.
“What’s the meaning of this?” Young Master Han went straight to business.
“Yours truly has paid twice the price to get those guys to loot the magic staff for us, so you guys had better not mess things up!” Svelte Dancer warned.
Normally, the pompousness that came with wealth would be a very detestable thing, so it was unknown how Svelte Dancer did it, but she made everyone feel that this was all reasonable and natural. It seemed that reputation was truly a frightening thing; everyone had already subconsciously accepted Svelte Dancer’s temperament to be a natural thing. Instead, everyone would find it entirely uneasy if she behaved in a different way.
“We look forward to not caring about this troublesome matter,” Young Master Han said. “Besides, you’re the one who hired the hitman, Eternal Dominion, so he’ll of course listen to what you ask him. However, it will be very interesting if Miles ends up killing Southern Lone Blade; I wonder if he’ll listen to your arrangements.”
“He dares!” Svelte Dancer shouted.
“Of course, he dares.” Young Master Han laughed.
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