Chapter 353 - Danger on the Water
As the three became used to working the sculls and their rowing skills steadily improved, allowing the boat to gradually pick up speed. They had to thank the game designers’ choice to limit physical fatigue in game. The three took turns with the two oars purely for fairness’s sake as not one of them really felt tired.
Right now, the little wooden boat was no longer struggling with the waves but was actually riding the winds and breaking the waves. Gu Fei watched the waves broke through the water surface and splashed fitfully against the boat and nodded his head approvingly, “Perhaps, we can really catch up to the ferry.”
The three saw neither traces of the ship nor any land in the vast stretch of water that lay before them, which likely meant that the rest of Yunduan City’s players were still sailing along.
“We may even reach Linshui City before them.” He started to go overboard with his expectation.
Still, everyone was happy to have this expectation. It was rather boring to drift about like this, after all. This was even more so of their need to row the boat – only a child would find this particular task exciting.
Vast Lushness, who was currently lounging by the boat’s bow after swapping out to rest, spotted something moving up ahead. She quickly turned her head over and excitedly announced to the two, “There’s something up ahead!”
“What is it?” The two, who had their heads lowered and backs bent as they were rowing the sculls, abruptly lifted their heads to take a look.
Everyone saw a shadow ahead.
“It’s too small to be dry land.” Xi Xiaotian was the first to feel disappointed. With the current speed their boat was going, they no longer merely looked forward to catching up to the ferry; it was now more important for them to get on dry land.
The shadow became clearer the closer it got to the three. Eventually, the trio could tell that the shadow was moving – moving toward their small boat. Soon, another two similar-looking shadows began to appear in the horizon, and all of them were moving toward them.
“It’s a boat.” The first shadow’s current distance toward them finally allowed the three to identify what it was. The boat that they were seeing was similar to the one that they were currently occupying.
Since the first shadow was a boat, it was only natural to assume that the other shadows were boats as well. Standing by the bow, Vast Lushness counted up to five boats so far, excluding the possibility of more still hiding in the fog
“What’s going on?” The three curiously examined the boats as a sense of foreboding crept on them. The boats’ heading direction seemed to really be them.
The boats continued to draw closer to them. The three could now say with certainty that the boats were exactly the same as theirs. Four players were occupying each boat. Naturally, the approaching players were not each rowing like how Gu Fei and the ladies were; each of the approaching boats had one player assigned to paddle at the back. As for the three others on board each boat, they were standing by the deck and holding their weapons at the ready as they glared maliciously at Gu Fei, Vast Lushness, and Xi Xiaotian.
The first boat was rapidly heading toward their three-man boat without showing any signs of slowing down or turning away in the slightest.
The three had every wish to evade this incoming boat. However, while they could now easily row the boat in a straight line, they were still inexperienced when it came to their boat handling, unable to expertly turn it in other directions with ease. As a result, not only did they fail to evade, the three unintentionally exposed the side of their boat to the incoming vessel.
Besides the man who was rowing the boat, the other three players onboard were already hunkered down with their hands tightly gripping the gunwale.
Gu Fei and the two ladies were certain of these players’ intention from the action they took; these four men were planning to crash the trio’s boat by intentionally colliding with them. Since these players were expecting a violent collision, it only made sense for them to grip the boat’s edge tightly. Given the speed at which the opposing boat was gliding towards them, Gu Fei and gang would be in serious trouble if these players manage to capsize or even destroy the boat upon impact.
Moreover, even if Gu Fei finished these approaching men off instantly, the collision of the two vessels was basically unavoidable by now, as he had no way of stopping the inertia of the boat swiftly gliding in the water toward them.
Without a delay, Gu Fei reached for a coil of rope in his dimensional pocket.
Gu Fei had plenty of rope in his dimensional pocket, but this one he had just taken out was different from the others as it had a hook fastened on its end. Just like that sai he had, this metal hook was an item he had specially acquired from a quest to fashion himself a simple sky hook¹. This was also considered as a type of ancient weaponry with a long history. While most people would associate this item to thieves, who would use it to scale walls, it was actually an important tool used during war to defend a city.
Currently, this item no longer had any particular use unlike in wartime, but it could still be utilized as a soft weapon through kung fu.
At this moment, Gu Fei swiftly tossed this coil of rope outward and it easily found purchase on the gunwale of the other boat further away.
“Quick!” he cried out to the two ladies. The two ladies were jolted into action and reached out to grab a hold of the rope. Following this, the three firmly planted their feet by their boat’s hull and tugged at the rope with all their might. The enemy boat that was hooked by the rope was forced into a different direction when they pulled at the rope. At the same time, the trio’s boat was able to borrow the force behind their pull to avoid crashing with the enemy boat that was already bearing down on them. This enemy boat, which was supposed to collide with Gu Fei and company’s boat, could no longer alter its new heading direction. Barely grazing past the stern of Gu Fei’s boat, both vessels grinded against each other for the longest time and rocked violently as a result.
“Hold on!” Gu Fei called out to the two ladies.
Both did not need further prompting and just gripped the gunwale until their knuckles turned white. Gu Fei, for his part, swayed with the boat but never lost his balance.
“How did you do that?” The two ladies were astonished.
“Lower body kung fu.” He smiled. He would sound ridiculous if he said that this was all due to this practice with ‘Thousand Catty Press’ or anything of the sort. When he said ‘lower body’, he was actually referring to the stability and balance he had through limb support. The strength in the lower limb was important in counteracting the pressure being applied on it – just like how a player needed lower limb strength to defend the inside line position in the basketball court. Gu Fei was able to maintain stability amid the boat’s rocking motion as the strength he needed to counteract it was not much.
Thanks to inertia, after avoiding that collision, Gu Fei’s boat continued to drift in the direction of the hooked boat. The three no longer needed to worry about colliding with the hooked boat as the generated force upon impact would not be large anymore. At this moment, Gu Fei flourished his sword and cast Descending Wheel of Flames on the enemy boat.
The four players on the boat quickly huddled up as one of them raised a shield above their heads. With how slow the descent of Gu Fei’s flame wheel, the enemies were able to get into position and wait for a while. While the Guardian holding the shield aloft was shocked by the damage caused by his one spell, the four ultimately survived his attack. The Priest among them quickly started bestowing Heal on his comrades.
Realizing that his spell would not work, he quickly followed it up with Blazing Tree of a Thousand Inferno. He was guessing that the enemy players would likely find it hard to stand atop the shield while onboard a boat, yet he did not expect for them to abandon the boat altogether and threw themselves into the water without a moment’s hesitation.
Although the raging inferno continued to burn, its effect was significantly weakened on the water surface. This spell that should have lasted for five seconds only lasted for two or three seconds. The boat burned rather intensely, yet it returned to its original state after the five seconds ended. The four players’ heads emerged from the water surface. Grabbing a hold of their boat, they deftly clambered onboard and huddled together once more under the Warrior’s raised shield as the Priest kept his Heal up. All of them looked calm.
Besides the two aforementioned job classes, the other two players were a Mage and Archer respectively. Each had a job class that could damage and kill from afar. However, they were forced into a defensive position by Gu Fei’s initiation of an assault. So far, all these players had done was posing, leaping into the water, and clambering aboard after. Stabilizing themselves on a rocking boat was not easy; even experts might find it difficult to execute attacks while on board.
The enemy Archer was holding the gunwale; with only one free hand, it was impossible for him to fire off an arrow. The Mage managed to unleash Arctic Whirlwind with his staff, but the rocking motion of boat caused his body to follow suit. Although he did not wish to move the arm holding his staff, he was helpless in that aspect, and the rhythmic swaying of the boat caused his cast Arctic Whirlwind to forge a serpentine path outward. When the Mage saw that it would miss his targets entirely, he resolutely ended his cast, and the Arctic Whirlwind dissipated into the air.
Gu Fei took in the scene before him as the boat in front continued to bob on the water. The enemy boat that had closely brushed past Gu Fei and company’s boat continued along the same trajectory as before. The players onboard it did their best to steady themselves as they steered the boat around; otherwise, they would head in the direction of the pier that Gu Fei and the others had departed from earlier.
Three other enemy boats – just behind these two enemy boats – were currently rushing headlong toward Gu Fei and company’s boat, seemingly picking up speed as they did so. Given their precarious situation, Gu Fei unhesitatingly raised his sword and cast a spell. Lightning pealed from the sky, formed itself into a wall right on the water surface, and ran right before the bow of the three boats.
While fire spells would be weakened upon contact with the water surface, lightning spells would instead be amplified upon contact with any body of water. The splash of water on the web of electricity caused it to crackle and spark violently, the ensuing visual and sound effects adding to its grandeur. The players onboard the three boats did not know what it was, but the atmosphere it was lending made them hesitate to approach further. However, while the Electric Wall remained immobile, the boats continued to drift toward it, bringing everyone onboard them closer to the spell’s waiting embrace with every passing second.
These little wooden boats were not equipped with gear to halt their forward movement instantaneously. The players in charge of paddling these boats were already doing their best to reverse paddle, yet they were finally paying the price for being far too vigorous in their acceleration. Although their reverse paddling helped slow down the boats, the boats still continued to glide ahead. The players onboard the first boat kept backing away until they were gathered on its stern, causing the boat to become imbalance and capsize, dunking all four of them right into the water.
When the other players on the remaining two boats saw this, they did not dare to back out too far. Since the boats could not be stopped and that Electric Wall remained lying ahead, there was only one option left for them if they did not wish to get into direct contact with it: jump!
The sound of eight players splashing into the water was heard as their boats continued straight onward. Several of them began to swim toward the boats while circumventing the troublesome Electric Wall.
The result achieved by this one cast of Electric Wall was well worth celebrating. Gu Fei had used up all his mana by now, but Vast Lushness happened to be present. With a wave of her staff, she activated her Mana Sacrifice and Gu Fei’s mana began to replenish. He lifted his finger and cast Blink, appearing on the boat that was still steadily rocking its passengers.
“Twin Incineration! Incinerate!” Gu Fei’s sword slashed out. At such a crucial moment, he no longer cared about his PK value going up to 30 points.