Chapter 303 - The Dauntless Guards
The NPC guards were currently using a never-before-seen party-wide skill. Hearing their captain’s command, these NPC guards instantly positioned themselves to charge forward.
The Traversing Four Seas’ members were truly rather pitiful. On top of not knowing why these unidentified NPCs were moving to attack them, just as they were asking one another questions, such as “What burglars?” and “Who are they calling burglars?”, the NPCs proceeded to charge right at them, overwhelming them all.
“F*CK!” the players cried out in dismay. They were truly at a loss on how to deal with this bunch of emotionless AIs that was currently charging at them.
The NPC guards enveloped in white light charged toward the players in a wedge (人) formation at first before changing into a horizontal formation next. These city guards effectively disrupted the Traversing Four Seas’ ranks as they rampaged about with impunity, leaving the players rather helpless. Plenty of players were even sent flying upward upon contact, creating an exaggeratedly chaotic scene.
“He he he!” Young Master's Elite was overwhelmed with mirth at this point.
Brother Assist recorded everything as quickly as possible on his little booklet while muttering incessantly, “This is truly vicious… absolutely malicious….”
“Oh, the humanity!” Royal God Call feigned horror at the scene unfolding before him by shutting his two eyes jokingly.
“Did we perhaps go a bit overboard?” Sword Demon could not really stand the slaughter happening before him.
“Our hands are tied. How can we even stop this now?” Young Master Han actually sighed when he said this.
“Nothing we can do now,” Gu Fei chipped in. Even he felt utterly useless in the face of these indomitable NPC guards. Be it their charging formation or attacking style, all the moves were executed seamlessly and in perfect sync. This was one area where no person could compete against the AI. Who knew how long and arduous would humans have to train to achieve such level of prowess as this bunch of AIs?
There was a phrase kung fu practitioners would often use to describe such opponent: an enemy with no weak point.
While there were ways to forcefully create an opening in an opponent, a certain level of strength and skill would still be required to accomplish this. Who knew how high these guards’ level was? It was entirely probable for each of them to possess the strength of a Boss. Since they were currently moving as a team, not even the level 40 Gu Fei would stand a chance against them. He might be a formidable fighter in real life, but he was currently in a MMORPG. Ultimately, everything in it was dictated by the level and type of equipment one had, and skills alone could not make up for those.
The Traversing Four Seas’ players would of course not just allow themselves to be ripped apart by these NPC guards without putting up a fight. They did their best to evade the guards assaulting them and backed themselves into formation in accordance to the order of Youthful Reflection, their de facto leader at times like this. Youthful Reflection was currently shouting himself hoarse as he flooded the guild channel with messages: “Archer formation! Archer formation!” This particular formation was something that he had researched and drilled into the guild members himself, so it was something that he was very proud of.
“That’s Traversing Four Seas for you; they’ve always got a few tricks up their sleeves,” the six men commended.
With the Warriors and similar job classes’ tanking the NPC guards’ attacks, the Traversing Four Seas’ archer formation was completely set up. Following this, the Mages prepared to begin their spell bombardment.
“Fire away!” Youthful Reflection could no longer afford to wait for a perfect opportunity. Seeing that they had enough Archers in place, he immediately commanded them to attack.
The sky was blotted with arrows as they flew toward the NPCs. The first wave of arrows momentarily halted the NPCs’ frontal assault. As the Traversing Four Seas’ players were finally seeing a sliver of hope with their first assault, they heard the captain of the opposing side yell out, “Protect our Charge!"
The NPCs each pulled out a shield when they heard this command and firmly placed them in front. Following this, the Traversing Four Seas’ second wave of arrows sailed through the air.
The guards hid behind their shields and placed their swords beside the shields as they surged toward the players.
“Shameless!” The Traversing Four Seas’ members were in tears as the formation that they had painstakingly set up was easily demolished by the NPCs.
Based on the character designs for the various job classes in Parallel World, only the Guardians – the job class known for its high HP and low offense – were capable of using shields to defend themselves. And yet, these NPC guards were able to demonstrate nigh indomitable offense with their swords alone; since they could also use shields to defend themselves, what else could the system be but shameless for allowing these NPCs to possess high offense and defense? This was technically no different from combining magic and martial arts together.
Even Young Master's Elite felt shocked at this kind of development. As Brother Assist continued to record everything down, he could not help but wonder, “What exactly is the job class of these NPC guards? Are they Warriors or Knights?” As the others shook their heads in confusion, he said, “I’m going to head over and use my Appraisal skill to find out.”
“There's no need for that,” Royal God Call stopped him, saying, “The guild channel is in an uproar right now; plenty of players have tried appraising them, yet all they got is a bunch of question marks.”
“They must be pretty high level, then!” Brother Assist exclaimed.
The six men returned their focus on the fighting field. The battered members of Traversing Four Seas were beginning to understand the situation, and many of them cried out in shock, “They are Yueye City’s guards!”
Seals, emblems, and such were used in Parallel World to categorize or separate the various organizations from one another. Naturally, each in-game city had its respective seal, which was displayed all over the streets and hung on various government structures. The image that was emblazoned across the NPC guards’ shields was the very same seal of Yueye City.
However, although these players had finally managed to identify their opponents, they were still clueless as to why these NPCs were attacking them. Everyone could simply not fathom how they had offended Yueye City’s NPC guards, which resulted into their current disastrous predicament.
With the collapse of the Traversing Four Seas’ archer formation, any other forms of resistance that they tried to employ were easily suppressed by the NPC guards.
Whether they used their Mages to bombard the ground, sent their Thieves in Stealth mode to sneak attack, or made their Warriors clash head on with the NPC guards, there was only one outcome whenever they made contact: every player was sent flying outward.
Player after player of Traversing Four Seas was sent flying outward; in the end, all of them no longer bothered to follow their bosses’ orders and instead strove to escape the place using any possible routes. Oathless Sword and the other two men lost their will to resist as well, and each of them took the remaining players with them to flee.
The NPC guards did not give chase to the fleeing Traversing Four Seas’ players and just stayed where they were. In a short while, the only remaining players in the area were the heavily injured.
“Did you guys realize something?!” Brother Assist asked in wonder, “Not one player died even after taking their devastating frontal assault.”
“I’ve already noticed that long ago,” Young Master Han said dryly.
No matter when or how, players would always depart in white lights when their HP dropped to 0. Thus far, the only white light that they had seen was the very same one enveloping the NPC guards; not one player of Traversing Four Seas had contributed to this. After such a slightly drawn-out fight, the players had merely fallen to the ground, injured, and were only subdued.
In the next moment, the NPC guard captain in charge of the operation commanded, “Bring them to the prison.”
“Yes, sir!” the NPC guards obediently said. These NPCs proceeded to gather all the subdued players and line them up. Using an unknown method of suppression, they prevented any players from resisting their arrest. The captain formally bowed to Mr. Adrian before departing with the NPC guards along with the apprehended players.
Everyone in Young Master's Elite was left flabbergasted. Even Young Master Han had not expected such an outcome when he had set the two parties to collide.
“What do those NPCs mean? Where are they bringing the players to?” Everyone urged Royal God Call to find out from the Traversing Four Seas’ guild channel.
“There’s no news there. None of the captured players sent out a message at all,” Royal God Call informed the others after he had checked through the guild channel.
“This… Is this similar to players being jailed, with their contact to others restricted?” Brother Assist postulated.
“So all those men are gonna be sent to prison?”
“How long will they be gone for?”
As the six men were discussing this, all of them inadvertently left their hiding place by the church courtyard and watched the leaving figures of the NPC guards with the captured men.
This odd procession of NPCs and players attracted quite a number of onlookers along the way. None of the other Traversing Four Seas’ members dared to go near the procession for fear of getting captured as well. Other players who were curious and wanted to ask the captured men a few questions were stopped by the NPC guards. Anyone who refused to heed their warning was sent flying outward.
“It’s a huge mistake to go up against the NPCs!” was the conclusion Brother Assist had arrived to after all this. Brother Assist sighed heavily as he closed the booklet in his hand.
“You better be careful when you PvP next time. You’ve just witnessed the might of the NPC guards!” War Without Wounds warned Gu Fei.
“There are usually few guards around the city,” Gu Fei reasoned.
“It’s only a matter of time before a pack of guards pursue a PK maniac like you,” Royal God Call taunted.
“As someone who has accrued so much felony to his name, they’ll probably just kill him on sight,” War Without Wounds added.
The six men’s conversation had digressed to something completely irrelevant. Young Master Han took this chance to get everyone back on track. “Enough of this nonsense; time for us to get back to business.”
“Business?” Witnessing such a high-level fight had made these men forget what they were in the location for.
“…Let me contact Youthful Reflection,” Young Master Han said while rolling his eyes.
In the end, he did not receive even one reply. Youthful Reflection was clearly online, yet not one word of response came from him.
“Did that guy get himself apprehended as well?” everyone wondered.
“The note happened to be in his possession, right?” These mercenaries exchanged looks.
“What’s the rush?” Young Master Han asked, saying, “Seeing what has just happened to Traversing Four Seas, it’s obvious that the quest can’t continue today. Let’s just head back first!”
“Yeah. It’s about time for me to log out, anyway.” Gu Fei glanced at the time. He did not manage to get anything done tonight beyond running back and forth for the quest.
The six men of Young Master’s Elite prepared to head back to Yueye City, while June’s Rain happily rushed inside Mr. Adrian’s mansion to resume her research of the underground cellar. She had apparently not given up her objective all this while.
The NPC guards that had apprehended a few Traversing Four Seas members loomed ahead as they marched toward Yueye City. The six men of Young Master’s Elite coincidentally met the other members of Traversing Four Seas on their way back to the city.
Oathless Sword and Gale Force were bringing some members back to the city as well; their sullen gazes were affixed on the others that had been apprehended by the NPC guards in front of them. They remained listless even when they saw the six men of Young Master's Elite, and not one of them could even manage the feeblest smile.
“Guild Leader Oathless,” Young Master Han greeted the other first.
“Mercenary Leader Han,” Oathless Sword weakly returned the greeting.
“What happened?” Young Master Han pointed to the troops in front. “Why are some of your men together with those NPCs? I’ve sent Youthful Reflection messages, yet I haven’t gotten even one reply from him.”
Young Master Han callously asked this question despite knowing what had just happened to Traversing Four Seas. For his fellow mercenaries who knew the truth of the matter, Young Master Han seemed to be strongly asking for a beating.