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Translator: Exodus Tales Editor: Exodus Tales
“Who was it?” Brave Surge continued the conversation as he shouted aloud over the guild channel. This was quite a rare sight as Brave Surge would normally show a lot more forbearance, and he had actually lost his composure in this instance.
“We didn’t see anyone inside the tent when we arrived,” someone mentioned in the channel.
“If you didn’t see anyone, are you implying it was a ghost?” Brave Surge was raging even as he dashed toward the spawn point. He had been a little happy when he went over to receive Oathless Sword the last time, but this time he was completely furious, so much so that all the flora that Brave Surge came across along the way got trampled with impunity.
“WHO WAS IT!?” Brave Surge immediately accosted that player who had just been killed as he asked this.
“I—I don’t know!” This player’s name was Half Moon and was originally just another insignificant member in Carouse. After he had inadvertently stumbled upon this quest, something which the guild valued greatly, the guild leader had even come over in person to glean greater detail on the matter before he ultimately assigned a party of elites as his bodyguard. The man was thrilled to receive such treatment, but who would have guessed that there would be such an unforeseen complication in the final minute of the quest. When Half Moon discovered that there was someone hiding inside the tent in the corner of his eye, he had been sent back to the spawn point before he could even turn round his head to warn the rest of his guildmates. He truly had no idea who that interloper was.
“How could you have no idea who attacked you if the person managed to kill you?” Brave Surge was still enraged.
“Was he Stealthed?” someone beside Brave Surge quipped.
“Yes, he was Stealthed! And he possessed an immense attack power capable of insta-killing me in a single blow.” What Half Moon had done in this instance was to borrow the most convenient excuse to absolve himself from fault. Even though he had no idea who the attacker was, Half Moon was originally aware that this person was not Stealthed to begin with. Yet seeing how incensed Brave Surge looked, the man had hurriedly used the reasoning that the other party was Stealthed so as to reduce the responsibility that he had toward the situation. It was very common for people to be unaware of their assailants if it was an Assassin or Thief performing the sneak attack.
“No wonder this interloper had managed to sneak into the tent without anyone knowing,” someone next to Brave Surge said.
“Didn’t we send men who were able to detect Stealth? Were they doing nothing while this happened?” Brave Surge poked holes about this reasoning in the mercenary channel again.
“Detecting Stealth is subjected to chance as well, so if someone had managed to Stealth through, it naturally means none of them procced detection,” Young Master Han gave a fair explanation to this.
“Was it Sword Demon?” Brave Surge suddenly considered this possibility.
“I can’t contact him at the moment. I’ll help you ask him about it afterward,” Young Master Han insouciantly offered.
Suspicions arose from within the guild. Everyone obviously knew about Young Master Han’s relationship with Sword Demon, Gu Fei and the others from his mercenary group, and adding to the fact that they were not particularly acquainted with Young Master Han, a good number of players had suspected that the man must have gone easy on their enemy. Plus, hearing that unconcerned tone Young Master Han used only served to aggravate such misgivings even further, which was why someone had posed a question backhandedly, “Could you have intentionally let them get in?”
Young Master Han scoffed coldly, “Even if it was my intention to, there are over a hundred other players out here as well. Are they all without eyes and brains of their own as well?”
These hundred players all with their brains and eyes intact were still engaged in the bloody battle on their end, and a good number of them were not about to let that misleading suspicion slide.
“What sort of convoluted m*th*rf*ck*ng fart are you trying to pass off as truth, Inexplicit!?”
“Who did you say intentionally let our enemies pass? What nonsense are you spouting?”
“Are you looking to be beaten up?”
That man going by the IGN of Inexplicit had posed such a question without thinking it through, which resulted in him instantly offending over a hundred players in one go. Some instantly lashed out and cursed at the man, while others went tit for tat and threw out enigmatic threats of their own. There were even those who linked their top tier equipment right into chat to express their desire to teach the man a lesson. Inexplicit evidently no longer dared to make another comment, randomly finding the nearest tree to hug and cry to.
“Hey, we are all of the same guild here. Don’t spout nonsense so wildly, Inexplicit.” Even Brave Surge had stood out to criticize what the man had suggested. What Inexplicit had insinuated could having a varying degree of impact; logically speaking, this was just a game. If someone could not trust someone else, that person could very well end up leaving the guild. Who would be willing to cheapen himself or herself and subject themselves to being maligned? There were over a thousand players here in the guild, and only but a handful of players would feel deeply attached to the guild.
Brave Surge himself had not suspected anything like that, and it was mainly because of the reasoning that Young Master Han had mentioned; Even if that man was going easy on his fellow mercenaries, there was no reason the over one hundred players Young Master Han was commanding were foolish enough to do the same. How could he have gotten their full support to let their enemies pass like that? Brave Surge had dared to hand command over to Young Master Han not because he personally trusted the man, but precisely because he understood this very point. Besides, there were people he completely trusted among the hundred men onsite, so they were able to keep an eye on things. If Young Master Han had deliberately done something in secret, those people would surely inform him accordingly.
However, all these people whom he trusted had nothing but praise for how Young Master Han had commanded and set everything up. They were especially impressed by how he had chosen not to make a move the moment he was aware that there were people in that cluster of trees, opting to position their men appropriately before springing the trap once their enemy had walked right into it themselves. From this, it could be seen that the man had considered every detail possible, and all they could blame was bad luck when that accident occurred right at the end. It was already something that no amount of manpower could prevent.
“Perhaps the interloper that suddenly appeared isn’t really any player. What if it was a particular plot point for this quest?” Someone made a guess.
“That’s possible. D*mn, we got careless!” Brave Surge was disappointed. “Are the rest of you able to pick up the quest again?”
“Impossible, we already tried,” There were players who were still in the cavity who reported accordingly.
“How’s the skirmish?”
“An easy victory. Those who survived have fled.”
“Everyone should begin making their way back! Remember, pretend like nothing had happened, and don’t go confronting the men from Pikes N’ Roses. We’ll settle this score after the City War event is over.” Brave Surge gave the order, and it was clear that he had returned to his calm and collected self. The initial compulsion he had felt was logical. After all, he had been looking forward to concluding this quest for over two hours, yet it got ruined in the final minute. This sort of feeling was something the Bayern Munich soccer team in 1999 knew best. Those who are interested can search about it on Baidu.
Gu Fei and Sword Demon returned back to Yunduan City, each heading in separate directions to submit their respective quests. Sword Demon was much closer, and he ended up not seeing any sort of reward upon quest completion. Skeptical, he asked Gu Fei, only to find out that he had yet to hand in his quest. He next thought to contact the bar owner Ray to find out more from him. Everyone had added each other as friends, so Sword Demon sent a message over to ask him about it, and his answer was the same: he had not received any reward as well.
“Perhaps it would only be given after the city war event has ended,” Ray suggested.
“Do you have a follow-up quest?” Sword Demon asked.
“Yeah,” Ray said.
Sword Demon was depressed. Everyone had a follow-up, but he did not. “What is it?” Sword Demon asked Ray.
“The quest-giver said it wasn’t enough, so I need to make another trip over,” Ray said.
“You’ve worked hard…” Sword Demon was speechless. He would rather not have any follow-up if he had been given such a quest. With that thought in mind, he went into the League of Assassin’s secret base, found inside the Thieves’ Union, to talk to every NPC there. He wanted to see if there were any other quests he could pick up. As Sword Demon busied himself with his own thing, Gu Fei had very quickly reached the City Hall in the meantime. After he handed over the letter to the captain of the Vigilante Corps, he actually got praised by it for his efforts. Players did not really care if an NPC was happy or angry with them, so Gu Fei patiently waited for the plot to finish. The moment the captain’s face reverted to that solemn look once more, it began elaborating on another quest.
“Head out now and investigate this lead that Guillermo had given us,” the captain said.
“What lead?” Gu Fei asked.
“Head out to Yunjiao Lake. It seems like there’s something that would determine the outcome of the siege there. It’s all up to you now,” the captain even stepped forward and placed its hand on Gu Fei’s shoulder as it said this.
“Yunjiao Lake’s really far! Is that still considered part of the City War?” Gu Fei had his doubts. He knew the place rather well, and it was quite a distance away from Yunduan City.
In response, the captain said something that was quite dramatic, “The entire world is engaged in the City Wars…”
“Alright, I’ll head over.” Gu Fei answered before he gazed over at the soldiers gathered in the room. The three soldiers from before had returned to take their positions with the rest. Just how many NPCs would he be given this time?”
“Okay, you may go!” The Captain politely ordered him out.
Unfortunately, Gu Fei was not given any soldiers to play around with this time. Gu Fei had gotten a little addicted after playing around with them the last time! Having been unable to utilize those soldiers in the fighting before, it was such a pity that the system no longer gave him the chance to have them under his command again. Gu Fei bitterly departed from the Vigilante Corps Chamber, only to bump into Ray when he turned a corner on the ground floor.
“Hey, you’re here.” Gu Fei greeted.
“Yeah. I just got myself another list, about to head on over to the Warehouse to pick up the goods,” Ray sighed.
“Your Faction quest really has a certain style to it….” Gu Fei said.
“It’s not too bad!”
The two men continued chatting as they departed from the City Hall, Ray rolled his shoulders casually and began pushing the wooden cart of his. He waved at Gu Fei, “I’m leaving. See you later.”
“See you later.”
Gu Fei sent Ray off, before he messaged Sword Demon, “I got a new quest. How are things over on your side?”
“It’s another assassination,” Sword Demon said. “Little Bottlecap. I don’t know which guild’s guild leader he is. I haven’t even heard of the name…”
“D*mn, we don’t have anyone to inquire about this. What are you going to do now?” Gu Fei asked.
“What do you mean we don’t have anyone? I’m heading off to the Hall of Guild Creation right now. I’ll find out which guild this person belongs to before we talk about this further,” Sword Demon said.
“I’m off to Yunjiao Lake,” Gu Fei said.
“Oh? What quest is it this time?” Sword Demon asked.
“It’s not clear. All it said was that it might hold the key to determine the outcome of this war. I’ll go take a look,” Gu Fei said.
“Is that the original words the system used?” Sword Demon pressed.
“More or less.”
“The word ‘might’ is a little too subtle,” Sword Demon was a veteran gamer, and was very well acquainted with just how shameless the system could get.
When Gu Fei saw that Sword Demon was actually picking on the choice of words used, he carefully recalled what was said to him moments ago and relayed accordingly, “Actually, I don’t think it said ‘might’?”
“It used the word ‘seems’,” Gu Fei said.
Sword Demon had no idea how best to reply to that, so he kept quiet.
Both men proceeded to go about their separate ways, and because Sword Demon was headed to the Hall of Guild Creation located in the city, he was the first to arrive at his destination once more. In the end, the clerk stationed inside the Hall of Guild Creation had very indignantly condemned him for the act of joining a guild. Sword Demon wiped his sweat, for this was all really too involved. At the moment, the city considered all the guilds as rebels, and were all outside besieging the place! If he were to request to join the guild outright, would that not mean that Sword Demon was going to turn into a criminal right before the officials? It would be a huge oversight if they did not end up killing him right there on the spot.
He had gone over to request to join the guild merely so he could look through the list of all the guilds registered with the city. The moment Sword Demon saw that this was not possible, he had no choice but to head over to manually check the guild rankings, uncertain if this particular feature was disabled for the City War. Even if it was available, Sword Demon did not pin too much hope on being able to find out much. There were only a hundred guilds listed, and there were over a thousand guilds in this city alone. It was no more than just a wish for Small Bottlecap’s guild to be among these one hundred.
In the end, Sword Demon was left disappointed once more. While the rankings were still up, none of the guild leader’s IGNs were that of Small Bottlecap. However, just as Sword Demon was gazing through the names listed before him, an NPC suddenly came right up to Sword Demon’s side, “I know where you’re from. These are all heinous people that need to be punished.”
It was as if Sword Demon’s head had been splashed with a bucket of water, as he regarded the NPC, “How am I supposed to punish them?”
“Out of these hundred wicked and vicious leaders, just which are you going to punish?” That NPC asked.
Sword Demon was confused, his eyes went back over to the leaderboard and he instantly broke into a bout of sweat. He had not noticed it before, but the leaderboard that had originally been seen as the glorious list of the top one hundred guilds had actually changed into a top one hundred villain ranking. Oathless Sword, Brave Surge, and Foe-herder; the IGNs of these famous guild leaders were all deemed to be villains by the system, and were listed here waiting for players to punish them!
This NPC had asked him which one he wanted to punish, which was its way of offering a mission!
However, this style of mission was rather troublesome for Sword Demon. He was someone who valued friendship and was someone who had difficulties separating the task from the player themselves. This time, the system was not forcefully assigning him a target to kill, but he was put in a position where he had to choose a player on his own. There were quite a few names that he recognized from this list, and he automatically filtered them out. At the same time, he did not forget to pass this news to Gu Fei, “I’ve discovered something huge! The Hall of Guild Creation’s guild rankings leaderboard has changed into a Bounty list.”
“Bounty list? That’s precisely what I’m good at!!” Gu Fei was just about to leave the city at this time. He then quickly turned back and ran toward the Guild Hall. Investigate? Forget about that! It was more fun to slay players.
In the time it took for Gu Fei to sprint over to the Hall of Guild Creation, Sword Demon was still mulling over the list of one hundred names! This was a truly vexing task to him, as all of them were guilds leaders who had managed to develop their guilds to be the in the top one hundred guilds in the city. They were all men with great ambition, so how would they not be very conscientious when it came to recruiting talent? And speaking of recruitment, how would these people neglect the fame and appeal that came with the name of an expert like Sword Demon? Sword Demon had actually interacted with a good number of the one hundred players listed, with some even having come knocking on his door just two to three days ago, hoping to make a last-ditch effort in recruiting him to their side for the City War.
When Gu Fei saw Sword Demon sighing the very moment he entered the hall, he immediately asked, “Have you finished choosing your target?” He then took a look at the list for himself.
The same NPC came to Gu Fei’s side, but the words it spoke were different from what it said to Sword Demon, “Apprehending any of these villains on this list here is an extremely dangerous task. Do your best, hero!”
Seeing that the NPC would actually interact differently based on a players’ Faction, Sword Demon recalled that Ray was also around and sent a message his way, “Ray, there’s a huge Bounty board here in the Hall of Guild Creation. It looks like just anyone can pick them up, are you interested?”
“Oh? A Bounty for what?”
“For the guild leaders that were originally from the top one hundred guilds here in Yunduan City.”
“Boss Sword Demon, do you know what’s my job class, and what level I’m on?” Ray asked.
“I’m only level 30, do you think I stand a chance taking on the guild leaders from these great guilds?” Ray asked.
“You’re only level 30?? That’s not right. Shouldn’t Factions be something that requires players to be over level 40?” Sword Demon was confused.
“Is there such a rule? I don’t know about it either!” Ray said.
Sword Demon was completely nonplussed. He had not really confirmed the existence of such a rule either.
“Alright, go ahead and busy yourself with what you were doing then!” Sword Demon replied to Ray, before turning round to discover Gu Fei staring at him. “Are you done with making your selection?”
“Not yet. You’re done?”
“Of course,” Gu Fei answered.
“Who did you pick?”
“Same old rule, I’m going from top to bottom!”
“Oathless Sword!” Sword Demon was on the verge of breaking down when he heard this name. Out of all the guild leaders listed, Oathless Sword was considered to be the one whom their mercenary guild had the most interactions with. During the time when the mercenary group was out having fun all around Parallel World, delaying their return to Yunduan City, Oathless Sword would often ask them about all sorts of things whenever he had time on his hands. Miles truly did not care about the relationship they fostered!
“I wonder if we can both pick up the same mission. Give it a shot,” Gu Fei suggested.
“I….” Sword Demon was ill at ease.
“It’s only a mission, what are you so afraid of?” Gu Fei mused.
Sword Demon was not a noob, so he obviously understood the logic behind this, but how many people out there could truly be so open-minded about such things? When players clashed, which of them were not originally pitted against each other by the hand of the system, and ended up developing actual animosity between some of the players and guilds? Furthermore, many of these major guild leaders were sure to attach great importance to this City War event. By setting it up as such an oppositional mission, Sword Demon reckoned there was sure to be some sort of penalty involved. Otherwise, what difference would there be for these targets from being killed by the NPC guards out on the battlefield if they were just going to respawn after being killed? Sending players out onto the field in such a manner would surely mean it was a lot more lucrative in one sense or another.
Sword Demon would be unperturbed if it was a mission that the system had forced upon him, But he instantly felt his heart twist now that he was given the opportunity to pick out a target and specifically trouble them.
“We know these people. I’m really uncomfortable making the call like this,” Sword Demon said.
“You know Black and White too, but you had no issues slaying him,” Gu Fei reasoned.
“That’s different…” Sword Demon had no idea how to explain the feeling.
“You know Young Master even better, but I could tell you were more than happy to have stabbed him back then,” Gu Fei continued.
“That’s different too.”
“Actually, they are all the same. Randomly pick out a name, and when the time comes, cover your face and stab the target. They will all come back to life after we leave anyway, so why are you making a mountain out of a molehill?” Brave Surge and Black and White would both be livid if they had heard the way that Gu Fei was explaining it. Their side had nearly gone crazy just from Gu Fei randomly slaying people and leaving.
“Fine, we’ll do it like this. I’ve picked up the mission.” Sword Demon felt he would hardly demonstrate machismo if he were to keep being so indecisive. He would just give it his all. If it was a kill that the system wanted, then a kill was what it would get!
“Can the two of us go for the same target? Could it end up like how players fight for monsters?” Sword Demon wondered about this aloud, as he turned round to ask the NPC about it.
It was as if the NPC’s eyes flashed with the slightest hint of mockery when it replied to Sword Demon, “You may form a party…”
Sword Demon was so ashamed to the point that he wished he could just hide his head down a hole in the ground. New things would always end up making people feel at a loss for what to do!
After the two men formed a party together, Sword Demon took a look and saw Gu Fei’s mission for Oathless Sword appear on his quest log as well. Staring at that familiar name, he could not help but feel a wave of remorse overcome him. Conversely, Gu Fei was already heading out the door with his sword in hand.
“I wonder if Youthful Reflection can appear and lead us to our target again, hahahahaha!” Gu Fei was still in the mood to jest around!
The two men made their way out via the north gate and were delighted by the scene that greeted them.
“What a godsend!” Gu Fei was visibly excited.
The quiet outside the north gate had finally exploded into a flurry of activity once more. Now that Brave Surge no longer had that vital quest for Carouse, all he could do was earnestly take part in the war. Oathless Sword had no idea that Brave Surge’s quest had been unwittingly ruined, so he could not make sense of why Brave Surge had done a 180 and suddenly became so enthusiastic toward the battlefront, eager to organize the guilds and take the fight to the system. According to the information that he had gathered, there was no doubt Carouse had discovered something crucial in that cavity! Could what they discover had been something useful that he could utilize in the midst of the chaotic battle?
Oathless Sword’s mind was still clouded in suspicion, when Black Index Finger announced that he had completed the personnel selection for their concerted push here at the north gate, with all the weaker players that did not make the cutoff having been forcefully ejected from the operation. Naturally, they could not openly tell these players that they were useless and tell them to stand by the side and watch. Instead, he had organized these people separately and got them to concentrate their harassment on another part of the city. Most of the guild leaders felt that, despite these people lacking the necessary combat strength individually, their numbers were still substantial. Even if these weaker players were unable to take down the NPCs when they take part in the rotating stratagem that the guilds intended to execute, they would at least be able to draw a portion of the city’s military strength away in their suicide charge, which would therefore alleviate quite a bit of the NPC guards that the main fighting force would be expected to take on.
“Comrades, let us take down Yunduan City with a bang!!!” Brave Surge raised his voice loud, firing off a Repeating Fireball right into the air. When everybody saw this prearranged signal go off, the legions of players present courageously mounted another wave of assault right toward Yunduan City!
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