Chapter 354 - The water’s cold, too.
The poor Guardian in the four-man party still had his shield held aloft, as though he were praying to the heavens, when Gu Fei appeared before him after casting Blink. The Guardian wanted to lower his shield to protect himself, yet Gu Fei’s nearness to him made it so that if he brought his shield down, he would end up embracing Gu Fei instead of blocking him.
Death was what awaited any player who showed the slightest hesitation in front of Gu Fei. The Guardian, and the Archer and Mage on his either side, were all slain the moment Gu Fei’s Twin Incineration glided past. The Priest hiding behind the three players managed to escape death temporarily. However, Gu Fei took special care of him once the others were dead, delivering a flurry of cuts and slashes that was as relentless as a torrential rain....
Xi Xiaotian was having a lot of fun right now. A total of twelve players were floating in the water, with four trying their best to right their capsized boat and eight chasing after their boats as they drifted away. She continuously pulled back her bowstring to bully these players drifting in the water with her arrows.
The eight players were clearly comfortable in the water, although they were nowhere near the level of that Zhang Shun character in the novel Water Margin. Nonetheless, they could not escape Xi Xiaotian’s shots and were hit on their heads, making their experience exceptionally unbearable.
The first enemy boat that had sped past Gu Fei and company’s boat finally corrected its course and was now making its way over. However, the players onboard this vessel were stunned by the sight that greeted their return. Out of the remaining four boats, the players on three boats were all in the water, while the players on one boat were nowhere to be found. Only a black-clothed Mage stood on that boat. At this moment, the Mage turned to point to them as he chanted a spell.
“Quickly dodge!” the Mage on the boat cried out.
From Gu Fei’s hand movement, the players could tell that he was currently casting Blazing Tree of a Thousand Inferno. Mages were now used to subvocalize their incantations, yet experienced players could still determine the spells Mages were casting from their gestures.
The magic staff would be pointing upward if it was Descending Wheel of Flames; the staff would be pointing down if it was Blazing Tree of a Thousand Inferno. Seeing that Gu Fei was pointing toward their feet, they were certain that the spell he had just cast was Blazing Tree of a Thousand Inferno.
If the spell were from any other Mages, they would just grit their teeth and bear its damage. However, the Guardian who had blocked Gu Fei’s Descending Wheel of Flames with his shield before was well aware of how terrifying Gu Fei’s Spell Damage was. Naturally, he had informed the others of how unwise it was to attempt withstanding Gu Fei’s spell. This was actually why they had leaped into the water when Gu Fei had cast his Blazing Tree of a Thousand Inferno back then. As such, right now, they also decided to jump into the water the moment they saw Blazing Tree of a Thousand Inferno being unleashed again.
Unfortunately for them, Gu Fei was faking it and did not actually cast a spell.
This move would not be impactful in a conventional setting, and it would, at most, make the enemies run a few extra steps. As they were currently fighting amid a body of water, this one trick had severe consequences. Once these players were in the water, returning to their boat would be difficult. This was due to how rocky the boat was, as demonstrated by the capsizing that had happened moments ago.
Hence, these four players did not bother trying to get onboard again and instead began to tread in the water while hurtling attacks at Gu Fei.
The Mage sent spells while the Archer fired off arrows.
With the boat’s limited space, Gu Fei could dodge the arrows but not the AOE spells. However, the damage from the AOE spells of the average Mage was nothing much. Gu Fei waved his sword to trade spells with the Mage, but the Guardian instantly raised his shield to protect his companion. As such, Gu Fei’s Thunderbolt came crashing onto the man’s shield.
Gu Fei quickly followed it up with a real Blazing Tree of a Thousand Inferno, yet its damage was weakened when unleashed on water. Still, every bit of damage counted. However, these players seemed to have seen through his gimmick and swiftly ducked their heads underwater....
These players had no means to dodge Blazing Tree of a Thousand Inferno while onboard the boat, but they unexpectedly gained the ability to do so when in the water. Gu Fei felt helpless as he watched these players wait for the flames to extinguish before resurfacing and continuing their attacks on him.
Just as these four players thought that Gu Fei was out of moves, his sky hook came flying out of nowhere once more and he followed through with a quick jerk.
“Arghh—” The scream of the Mage in the four-man team was cut short when he drank a big gulp of water. Gu Fei had tossed the hook at him and it latched onto his robe. The boat rocked as Gu Fei tugged at the rope, pulling the Mage toward him.
The accessories Gu Fei had equipped gave him quite a bit of Strength, so most Mages were unable to compete with him on this front. The Guardian quickly attempted to hold the Mage back, but unfortunately for them, Gu Fei only needed that moment. Pointing his sword in hand, Thunderbolt pealed from the sky and struck the Mage, whose upper torso was above the water due to Gu Fei pulling him with the sky hook. The Guardian ended up grasping nothing but white light.
Gu Fei jerked his right hand, returning the sky hook into his hand. These players were livid! It was now their turn to be out of moves; besides the Mage’s AOE spells, every other attack they had left could easily be dodged by Gu Fei.
Meanwhile, the ‘swimming athletes’ that were being tormented by Xi Xiaotian’s periodical shots lined themselves up into a team, with the Guardians holding shields high and the others hiding behind them. Together, they swam toward the boat where Xi Xiaotian and Vast Lushness were.
Having taken care of the Mage in the once four-man team, he temporarily ignored the other three and turned his attention to the two ladies. He then flourished his sword out once more.
“D*mn! Watch out!” The now three-man team watched Gu Fei conjure another Electric Wall on the water with that wave of his sword. The group of eight players hiding behind the shields was unaware of this as they swam toward the two ladies. They vaguely heard their comrades’ warning and were processing it when the two Guardians in front hit the Electric Wall with their shields.
Convulsion. Severe convulsions.
These players would look comical if they were on land, but since they were in the water right now, the two’s full-body convulsion was starting to drown them.
Noticing that his Descending Wheel of Flames’ cooldown had ended, he quickly tossed out one at the players.
The Guardians were unable to raise their shields to defend themselves from this spell. Meanwhile, the remaining Archers, Priests and Mages hurriedly scattered in every direction to evade this spell.
Gu Fei’s casting time was slow, but since his targets were in the water and could not run as fast as when on land, his Descending Wheel of Flames managed to hit four players. Two Archers and one Mage instantly disintegrated. One Priest managed to escape by the skin of his teeth.
These pirates finally realized that the issue on their hands was not if they should carry on with robbing these three players, but if they could survive this clash. The four players that were still attempting to right their capsized boat came to the realization that only their four-man team, out of five teams, had no casualty. They finally stopped their fruitless endeavor upon seeing that most of their comrades were no longer around and instead took cover behind their capsized boat as they carefully assessed the situation.
Three players, who were holding shields, looked as though they were out of tears shed.
The two Guardians, which had their shields stuck to the Electric Wall, seemed to be about to drown.
The remaining Mage and two Priests, who had just managed to survive from certain death, were now in a daze.
Gu Fei was also in pain when he saw his PK value climb up to 36 points. He no longer had the heart to continue slaying. He teleported himself back to the boat he and the others were using with Blink as Xi Xiaotian and Vast Lushness began rowing. Gu Fei stood dashingly by vessel’s bow as he surveyed the area around them. Those players in the water averted their gazes when he glanced by. The Archer hiding behind the boat with the rest of his unscathed team gathered his courage and sneaked an arrow at him, causing Gu Fei to bat it away with a swipe of his sword as he casually responded with Blazing Tree of a Thousand Inferno.
The four players quickly ducked underwater in fear, not daring to reveal their heads even after the flames abated. Only when their HP started depleting did they dare to surface to breathe air. The three had already covered quite a distance with their rowing. Behind them were empty a few boats bobbing on the water surface, looking utterly desolate.
The lucky survivors swam and clambered on to the respective boats. Looking at their drenched selves, they felt for the first time that the water was really cold.
“Is anyone chasing us?” Vast Lushness, who was doing the rowing, asked Gu Fei this. The latter ran to the boat’s stern to take a look and eventually shook his head. “Nope.”
“Who were those people? What did they want from us?” she pressed on. Even with the end of this bout of PvP, they were still clueless on why matters had quickly descended into such. Not one word was exchanged between the two parties involved throughout the clash.
“They were probably trying to rob us,” Xi Xiaotian hypothesized, explaining, “The method they’ve used is similar to that guy from before. From each team’s job-class composition, it’s clear that their forte is on ranged attacks. For them to begin their attack on us by ramming our boat, I believe that they were looking to shock and awe us. They were probably attempting to show us their superiority in this type of environment so as to make it easier to convince us into giving them what they want. As for whether they would leave us dead or alive after…” She threw Gu Fei a glance at this part. “Since you have high PK value, you’re the favorite target of this bunch of bandits. I doubt they’d let us off easily.”
“Bandits...” Gu Fei muttered. He suddenly recalled Nightmare of Death and his lot. They were a part of an organization that had a foothold in every in-game city. Do these robbers from Linshui City have any connection to that organization?
“Are you thinking of Nightmare of Death?” Xi Xiaotian actually read his mind. “I am also wondering about the same thing. There’s a high possibility of them being part of the same organization.”
“Aren’t you mixing in with them? Have you heard anything about this?” he asked.
“No… I don’t even know much about their operation in Yunduan City. They are really professional when it comes to their work, like they are part of one company,” she answered.
“Uhm… Just what exactly are you two talking about?” Vast Lushness, who had been listening all this time, was absolutely confused.
Hence, Gu Fei quickly introduced her to the evil organization.
“Tsk. Here I was wondering what’s going on! Aren’t such things the norm in MMOs?” As someone from Yueye City, Vast Lushness did not consider this to be a big deal at all. Over in Yueye City, even the noob branch of The Black Hand mercenary group engaged in such blatant robbery. Players over there were either killing or being killed and robbing or being robbed – they spent their time interchanging roles as they played on.
“That boat guy from before should be working with those guys. There’s no other way for them to find out that a boat with people is out here if that’s not the case.” Gu Fei continued to analyze the situation.
“Hmm... That guy is most likely out here doing a side hustle,” Xi Xiaotian said.
“Side hustle?” This term sounded too technical, and neither Vast Lushness nor Gu Fei had heard of it.
“If he is hunting his marks outside the organization’s knowledge, then what he did is called a side hustle. It’s one of those things which is never spoken in front of the higher-ups but is unofficially acknowledged and condoned as a possible pursuit,” Xi Xiaotian explained.