Chapter 333 - Entrapment
“This continuous harassment isn’t particularly damaging. The goal of the enemy is to delay our progress to Linyin City. Seeing how they are looking to stall for time means there is sure to be another setup ahead,” Youthful Reflection said with a blackened face.
“Do you have any idea what’s awaiting us?” Young Master Han chuckled.
“It must be a sort of ambush.” Youthful Reflection’s gaze was distant.
“So you’ve managed to guess it? Then, can you tell if anyone else will carry onward upon knowing that there’s an ambush waiting ahead?” Young Master Han sarcastically asked.
“No matter which way we go, the enemies are sure to have a good grasp of our movement,” Youthful Reflection angrily commented. He recalled that he had hired Young Master's Elite moments ago precisely to eliminate all the enemies around them. In the end, he ended up wasting all that money for nothing, as these mercenaries made profit, yet their situation remained the same.
“If they could lay an ambush just by knowing our heading direction, why would they need to stall for time?” Young Master Han laughed.
Youthful Reflection was stunned for a moment and could not think of a reply for this.
“So it can be seen that no matter what plan they have in mind, they need time to set it up. I’m pretty sure they’ll be caught off guard if we are to suddenly change our heading direction,” Young Master Han opined.
“That’s easy for you to say. How will we find our way to Linyin City if we are to change our direction like what you are suggesting?” Oathless Sword asked.
“Why would that be a problem? Look—”
“Someone actually found the city!” Young Master Han’s words were interrupted by Youthful Reflection. “Moony – that rascal Sakurazaka Moony actually found Linyin City!”
“Found the city? Where? How did they find it?” Oathless Sword was injected with life when he heard this. This was quite possibly the only news worth being happy about this whole night.
“He said that there are plenty of entrances to Linyin City and to just walk at random…” Youthful Reflection replied.
“What does that mean?” Everyone was perplexed.
The meaning behind that statement was only understood by Sakurazaka Moony and his gang once they arrived in Linyin City. Squirreled deep within the nestling woods, Linyin City was very different from the other in-game cities like Yunduan City, Yueye City, and Baishi City. While the three cities were surrounded by tall walls, with four major gates in the respective cardinal directions of the city, Linyin City was essentially part of the jungle. The city was surrounded by trees that reached for the sky, and its streets were right next to the jungle. The coordinates that Vast Lushness had gotten from that newbie player seemed to be the coordinates for the entrance to every street in the city.
Players could easily enter such a city as long as they got near it. It was really unlike Yunduan and the other cities where entry was only possible through their four main gates.
Sakurazaka Moony informed Youthful Reflection of the good news only after they had ascertained the situation.
“That’s great. We’re not too far from there.” Sakurazaka Moony gave them the closest route after they found Youthful Reflection’s coordinates. The gloominess that once hung over Youthful Reflection’s face had been swept clean, happily announcing to the players beside him.
“We’re heading this way!” Youthful Reflection pointed to a new direction for them to go. As Youthful Reflection relayed this directive on the party channel for mercenary leaders, Oathless Sword also quickly did the same on the guild channel.
Everyone instantly rallied upon hearing this. The moment that they had been waiting for the entire night was finally here. People spat on the ground, as though they were consecrating it, in their glee of finally being able to leave this accursed forest.
The battalion quickly adjusted the direction that they were going. Comparing the new route to the old route, although the original path the Yunduan City’s players were taking would eventually lead them to Linyin City as well, the new route could get them there faster. Everyone felt excited because of this; they had embarked on this road full of confidence and hope, after all.
“If those guys dare to trouble us when we arrive to the city, we’ll show them what’s what!” someone avowed.
On the party channel for the mercenary leaders, Sakurazaka Moony was not being idle either. He bragged about how his ‘accidental’ capture of a player from Linyin City had been a plan that they intentionally enacted.
The more Young Master Han heard about this, the more he felt that something was amiss. His expression slowly began to morph.
“Is something the matter?” Sword Demon was his long-time gaming partner, so he could easily tell if something did not sit well with the Priest.
“They harassed us to stall for time, indicating that what they’ve set up required time to prepare. And yet, all we have to do is change our heading direction and their ambush will surely fail. I’ve been wondering why their plan has that major flaw, and I can’t help but feel suspicious now that we’ve stumbled on an easy path toward the city.”
“That makes a lot of sense.” Sword Demon nodded his head in agreement.
“Quickly inform Youthful Reflection about this,” Brother Assist proposed.
“I think it’s a little too late.” Gu Fei suddenly raised his head.
Near a row of houses by the very boundary of Linyin City, Deep Waters was holding a short bow as he leaned against a wall. A man was standing right beside him, and it happened to be that level 12 newbie that Sakurazaka Moony had ‘accidentally’ ensnared.
“Boss Deep Waters, what do you think of this setup?” The newbie was laughing when he asked Deep Waters this.
“Mmm… Not bad!” Deep Waters nodded.
“He he!” The newbie was still chuckling.
Deep Waters looked at him meaningfully before tossing over a money pouch. The newbie caught it in midair and instantly became delighted. “Does Boss Deep Waters have anything else you need taken care of?”
“Ha ha! It’s best if we wait till you get to level 30!” Deep Waters chuckled.
Sheepishly scratching his head, that man bid him goodbye and ran off. At the same time, several players suddenly came running from a side street, made a beeline for Deep Waters, and asked, “How is it?” These men were responsible for monitoring Traversing Four Seas and the other players from Yunduan City. They all rushed over once they respawned in the city.
“It’s all going according to plan,” Deep Waters told them.
“Will they fall for it?”
“Of course. Even if anyone figures it out in time, it’s still too late for them.” Deep Waters revealed a victorious smile when he said this.
“How do you want us to deal with those players waiting for their comrades’ arrival over by the edge of the jungle?” These people were referring to Sakurazaka Moony and his gang.
“He he... Forget about them. They’ve contributed enough.” Deep Waters continued to chuckle.
“It’s time!” Someone beside Deep Waters perked up.
“Yes!” Deep Waters affirmed as he looked toward the jungle. He and his men might be unable to see any sort of movement in the jungle from their current position, but Deep Waters was very clear where the clash would occur. As for the result....
In the jungle, the moment Gu Fei spoke while looking up, Young Master Han understood what they had walked into. Brother Assist promptly yelled at the top of his lungs to alert those around him, “There are assailants up in the trees! Be careful!”
This shout alerted not only Yunduan City’s players, but also Linyin City’s players that were hiding up the trees. They were holding back from attacking because their targets had yet to enter the ideal kill zone that they had designated; unexpectedly, the Yunduan City’s players discovered them a bit earlier. Since Brother Assist’s shout already alerted the others of their presence, they decided to take it as a signal for them to attack.
This was a land-versus-air battle. Although everyone had cheerfully embarked on this route, Youthful Reflection had not let his guard down even once. He had been taking command of Traversing Four Seas’ archer formation all this time as they advanced forward. When these Archers heard Brother Assist’s yell, they nocked their arrows and aimed them toward the treetops before Youthful Reflection could order them to do so.
Unfortunately, the overgrown foliage that hung above them made it difficult to spot any humans despite being warned of their presence.
They did not have the time to carefully search for their enemies on the treetops as Youthful Reflection immediately ordered them to fire. Almost at the same time, spells and arrows flew toward them from the treetops.
The barrage of arrows from Traversing Four Seas’ archer formation was like a blind cat’s attempt to catch a mouse. While their arrows were unable to clip and even shoot many of their ambushers, their enemies were able to take down many of Yunduan City’s players.
This was a location that Linyin City’s players had chosen to launch their attacks. Taking the high ground and mounting a three-dimensional offensive, numerous Mages’ spells stacked together and heavily bombarded the target areas. Those unlucky enough to find themselves in the said areas would meet their certain demise without suspense.
Countless Blazing Tree of a Thousand Inferno burned and blazed together, blanketing the target areas with fire that left none alive.
The six men of Young Master's Elite watched in horror the split-second change unfold before them. Their habit of hanging at the army’s rear had saved their lives, as their group was well outside the enemies’ designated kill zone. Three meters in front of them, the raging firestorm swallowed many Yunduan City’s players and burned them to ashes. Dread crept up to these six experts as they bore witness to this massacre. With such a wide AOE, not even Gu Fei’s Blink would allow him to escape the area of flames before them.
“DISPERSE! EVERYONE, QUICKLY DISPERSE!” Oathless Sword had a vicious look on his face as he roared this order. He had been leading the troops from the very front, so he had fortunately been standing on the fringe of the kill zone. Just like Young Master’s Elite, he successfully escaped the bombardment with his life intact. Unfortunately, a good half of the elite archer formation that Traversing Four Seas was proud of had been caught in the blast radius. This tragedy’s only saving grace was Prisoner Todd not losing his life due to him being outside the kill zone. As such, Traversing Four Seas did not fail their guild quest just yet.
“Youthful Reflection, are you dead? Gale Force?” Oathless Sword continued to command the scattered crowd as he searched for his left- and right-hand men.
Gale Force quickly answered his call, but Youthful Reflection’s reply was actually in the form of a message.
“F*CK!” This was only one curse word, yet anyone could feel the bitterness and tears contained in it. Youthful Reflection was quite possibly the one that had worked the hardest throughout this expedition. It was a pity that he no longer had the chance to taste the sweet fruit of victory. What a huge misfortune this was!
Even sadder was that Oathless Sword did not have the time to comfort Youthful Reflection. He hurriedly closed the message when he heard Gale Force let out a ferocious roar as the latter tossed a Thief high in the sky.
“Be careful! Enemy Thieves are among us!” Gale Force yelled.
Oathless Sword’s state of mind congealed as he charged toward Todd’s side, making eye contact with the three Guardians that Silver Moon had left behind. These three men had been charged with the protection of Todd the entire journey thus far, so they were already aware just what they were supposed to do in such situations. Without a moment of hesitation, the three men formed a triangular defense around Todd. Oathless Sword had a sword in his right hand and a saber in his other. Whirling the two blades about, he was hoping to strike the Thieves in Stealth.
“Everyone, beware of Thieves!” Oathless Sword prompted the crowd once more.
On the jungle’s outskirt by a certain wall, Deep Waters was contentedly reading a message that gave a brief report about the operation: “The ambush was successful. The target is already in sight.”