Chapter 357 - First-time Arrivals
More and more players gathered by the coastline and each of them stared at the dhow sailing nearer and nearer. If they knew that the player steering the ship had not found any means to stop it, they would surely regret their decision to welcome its arrival.
Reality was indeed cruel. Gu Fei never found any gear that worked like brakes in the cabin. Naturally, he got no answer when he asked the two ladies. Helpless, Gu Fei could only turn the dhow as much as he could toward one direction in order to avoid grounding the ship right on to the coast where many players were standing. Xi Xiaotian and Vast Lushness also tried to help; standing on the crow’s nest, the two kept signaling the spectators by waving their arms about as they called out, “Make way! Make way!”
The crowd that had gathered by the coast was boisterous. Adding in the sound of the crashing waves and the strong breeze, no one could make out what the two ladies were shouting about. Still, their act of waving drew quite the attention from the crowd, with the Sharpshooters among them using Eagle Eye to look at the two ladies before excitedly announcing, “Babes!”
“Two babes!” someone added.
“What’s going on!” everyone asked pressingly.
The crowd’s curiosity only made them more excited, and no one moved to leave. In fact, many of them stepped closer to the shore as some fearlessly stepped into the water. These players became anxiously when they saw the dhow turning away from their location!
“The ship’s trying to escape!” They pointed at the ship as they raced toward where Gu Fei was steering it to avoid running aground.
This was precisely what was meant from the old saying: ‘A punishment from the heavens can be avoided, but there is no salvation for those who provoke the disaster onto themselves.’
Gu Fei was already turning the ship’s wheel as much as he could, and any more would send them back into the waters they just left. Seeing how passionate these players were, he felt that they would be far more disappointed if he turned back out at this point, so he let nature took its course, shouting to the two ladies as he exited the cabin, “Hey, come down and get ready to run. We are sure to be surrounded once we land!”
Gu Fei had plenty of experience being surrounded and scrutinized; that was why he had such a great understanding of this matter. Seeing this scene before him, there was no doubt in his mind that the ship would quickly be swarmed and surrounded by the crowd present.
“Coming!” Xi Xiaotian was the first to climb down.
“Hey!” He hurried Vast Lushness when he did not see her follow along. It seemed she was busy with something on the crow’s nest.
“I’ll be right there!” Vast Lushness answered. He saw her suddenly jerk her arm forcefully before she leaped off the crow’s nest.
He heard the peng sound and saw Vast Lushness land jaw-first before she cast Heal on herself. Seeing that she was now holding something in her left hand, he was speechless. This lady had apparently broken off the spyglass that was originally fixed on the crow’s nest.
“Quickly flee!” Xi Xiaotian had climbed down to the deck by now. The two ladies began to run toward the ship’s stern. After running for several steps, they realized that Gu Fei was still standing where he was.
“Quickly jump and we’ll swim ashore! Do you really wish to be surrounded!” The two beckoned him.
“No, no, no!” It was rare for Gu Fei to be anxious. “I don’t know how to swim.”
“But I have Blink,” he calmly added, “so you two should make your move first!”
The two ladies did not dawdle and quickly dashed toward the stern. By now, they could already feel that they were reaching shallow waters as the ship was no longer as buoyant as before. It even started to grind against the seashore’s sand. Leaping any later might cause them to eat a mouthful of turgid sand, instead.
Although Gu Fei did not intend to jump into the water, he also made his way toward the stern of the dhow just as the ladies dived into the water to the left and right respectively.
Water splashed as they plunged into it. Moments later, their heads surfaced and they waved their hands to him.
By now, the dhow was already shaking violently. The dhow became a lot less stable once it got closer to land. He had his one hand on the handrail as his other waved back toward the ladies. He then watched the two swim toward the shore.
Gu Fei was on the deck holding on to the hand railing for dear life as the ship violently rocked. The players below did not see him – partly because they were busy discussing just what could have prompted the two beautiful ladies to jump down from the crow’s nest. What kind of situation would cause one to climb down and the other to leap off like that?
Among the players awaiting the ship’s arrival, some realized that something was not right. How would such a large ship like this stop? While Gu Fei and the ladies were unable to think of how, plenty of players in the crowd knew.
How could one stop the ship? With an anchor, of course.
The astute Sharpshooters among the crowd already realized that the anchor of the ship was still hanging by its side, completely without any signs of being dropped despite the closeness of the dhow to the coast. Those experienced sailors could tell that the ship was already considered as beached and that only inertia was causing it to move forward still.
No one knew who it was that screamed, but the crowd began to flee from the area upon hearing it. Nevertheless, a few slow-witted players continued to look at the crow’s nest, trying to make sense of the two ladies’ actions. What were the two ladies trying to say when one of them jumped off while another climbed down?
It was these players that were hit the worst when the ship came crashing in.
Those who had been knocked over were considered rather lucky; the ones who had it worse were those that got pinned down under the dhow. This was only possible thanks to the soft sand found on the beach. At first, some did not realize this as they crowded around the grounded ship and sighed in awe. Only when some players among the crowd rushed out and cried out for help to break the hull, did the others realize that some people must have gotten stuck underneath the dhow. These pinned-down players crazily fired off messages asking for aid to their friends.
“Whoa! They aren't dead yet?” Everyone exclaimed in shock.
“Yes, how miraculous!” a black-clothed Mage among them confirmed.
The players looked at this Mage incredulously. None of them had any impression of there being anyone standing where he was just now.
“Don’t just stand there and look; quickly come up with a solution!” the black-clothed Mage said. He then squeezed his way out of the crowd as though he were ‘searching for a solution’.
The surrounding players cared not for the poor fools that had got pinned under the ship; frankly speaking, they were more concerned about the whereabouts of the two babes that they had spotted on the crow’s nest moments ago. This concern was not solely because of the two’s enviable beauty but because the two were the only ones seen on the ship as it came in. The two ladies might be able to provide the important clues they needed if this was anything like a quest.
While a portion of the players attempted to find a way to save the pinned-down players, many more focused their efforts on finding out how to get on the deck meters above them.
Meanwhile, that black-clothed Mage, who had already made his way out of the crowd, quickly headed to a secluded corner to observe everything from afar. After quite a while, he finally spotted the two ladies sneakily making their way out.
That black-clothed Mage was of course Gu Fei. No one noticed that he was also onboard the dhow, so he managed to blend into the crowd of onlookers with his Blink. Many might have felt something off about his sudden appearance among them, but he knew that none of them would connect him to the ship.
After taking a huge detour, the two ladies, who looked exceptionally bedraggled, finally rendezvoused with Gu Fei. Xi Xiaotian once more had her cloak on, making her look no more than a shadowy figure as she beckoned the two to hurry.
Besides Linshui City being surrounded by water, the city did not have any distinguishing features like Linyin City. While it was a fortress built on an island, its architecture looked similar to the other in-game cities.
“I’m off to erase my PK value!” he bid the two ladies goodbye.
“I’ll go and polish this spyglass a bit.” The spyglass’s connector was broken off when Vast Lushness forcefully pried it off the crow’s nest, making it uneven and uncomfortable to hold.
“See you two later.” Xi Xiaotian did not mention what she was about to do. The three went their separate ways under the city gate. Gu Fei asked for directions toward the Bounty Assignment Hall from the passersby; Vast Lushness inquired where the players maintained sundry stalls; Xi Xiaotian… She took off somewhere unknown.
The three were already going about their business, yet the incident that they had instigated was far from over.
The players by the coast were busy. Some were digging a pit in the sand, while others formed up steps in the hole. After a short while, the dhow that was stuck in the sand lost its stability and collapsed on its side magnificently. This was very sudden. Thus, while they managed to rescue the ones trapped beneath the ship, even more unlucky individuals standing on that side got pinned down. Many of them even lost their lives this time. At the same time, every player present realized that not a soul was onboard the ship.
Was this a supernatural event? Everyone was inexplicably horrified.
All of them continued to ponder on, study, and investigate….
The first few people who discovered something were the Sharpshooters with Eagle Eye. They pointed toward the water and asked, “Look. What’s that?”
Quickly after, all the Sharpshooters began to sound off in awe as the other players anxiously waiting for them to explain their reaction.
By the time every player present finally saw what it was all about, a new round of discussion had already begun.
Countless Linshui City guards were swimming toward the shore – it was a phenomenon worth uncovering.
“What sort of quest is this? Such extravagance!” They were all visibly excited.
Everyone stared as the first guard made it to the shore. Everyone controlled their urge to clap as they watched that guard’s every move.
The guard did not actually do anything special, merely continuing to run as it transitioned seamlessly from swimming.
The onlookers were ignored by the guard who continued to run ahead unperturbed. Players who wished to hold him back and ask questions were trampled by that guard without losing a beat.
The second… third… fourth… The guards kept making their way to the shore. The players did not know that these guards were related to the incident of the ship running aground, as each of these NPCs did not even look toward the ship’s direction and merely did the same sequence of actions: get on the shore and run off. Anyone who tried to physically block their advancement was simply trampled on.
There were still guards swimming toward their location even when the first guard made it into the city.
What was going on exactly? Many players were mystified by this, yet they still could not make sense of anything.
Between trailing after these guards or continue to see what other things would come ashore, these players found it hard to choose, either.
Gu Fei, who was clueless on how this event had troubled the onlookers, already completed two ‘Bounty Mission’ and just picked up a target worth 2 PK points. Completing this task would mean that his PK value would once more be below 30 points.