Chapter 531: Similarly Unconfident
Translator: Exodus Tales Editor: Exodus Tales
Sure enough, Ye Xiaowu and Broken Water Arrow were already long gone by the time these five men from Young Master’s Elite made their way back to the tavern. They swept their gazes around them. Although they completely could not recall what the appearance of those players from before were, several of the players present betrayed themselves to the five by the look in their eyes. After all, there were two members out of the five that were definitely rather outstanding in terms of looks.
Without missing a beat, Young Master Han randomly picked a table and came forward to find out more. The other party seemed to have only gone about helping because they received something in return for their effort and were not really in a beneficial relationship with those two. No one sought to bind them into any sort of contract, either, so these people immediately spilled the beans upon being asked. Sure enough, it was as how Young Master Han had suspected. They were all players the Priest had casually picked right off the streets.
It was just that these people seemed to be hiding something, especially when they were asked just what sort of benefit they got in return from their help. All of these players evaded the topic and refused to talk about it, so Young Master Han and the others were unable to learn anything further even after going around a few more tables.
“Looking at that Priest’s self-confidence, it doesn’t seem that he’s faking it.” The others sat back at a table and began to mull over this matter.
“So, there’s actually someone out there who has an even better understanding of this game than me.” Brother Assist’s ego was a little bruised by this. He had long admitted that he was no top-class expert in terms of combat, but he had always been very confident about his knowledge and information network. This self-confidence he had was not self-inflated, either. Any random player off the street, as long as they had a little bit of experience in gaming, would have no doubt regarding this field of expertise of Brother Assist. At most, people might mock his hobby, but that was it.
However, today, he happened to meet someone who was actually confident to say that what Brother Assist knew was nothing but the tip of an iceberg. This incident wounded Brother Assist no less than Sword Demon when he lost a level; it cut deeply.
“Seeing these people’s evasiveness and unwillingness to tell us anything else, I believe that the benefit they got isn’t the sort that can easily be obtained,” Sword Demon said. “At least, it doesn’t seem to be anything like treating them to a round of drinks or money.”
“He also offered us the same benefits as long as we don’t stand on Miles’ side in this matter,” War Without Wounds pointed out.
They were all men who had seen the world. Exchanging looks with one another for a moment, they all uttered the same thing at the same time. “Is he a game employee?”
“If he’s a game employee, it would completely satisfy all the criteria we’ve considered.” Sword Demon nodded.
Brother Assist sighed in relief as well. If that Priest was an internal game employee, it was not too excessive for him to claim that what Brother Assist knew was just the tip off an iceberg. Parallel World was really cheap in this respect. The information that the officials provided was paltry at best, making it such that every new equipment, quest, or skill they unearthed now would be announced to the world like when the New World was first discovered. While the game maintained that sense of freshness, the lack of actual information as to what was to come meant that there was nothing for players to safely look forward to. Whether this was a good or a bad thing was up for debate as well.
“Still, if he is a game employee, why would he appear in such a fashion?” Brother Assist found this to be strange.
“Yeah. They shouldn’t be able to get an account of their own, right? Even if they did manage to get around this and made it into the game, they should be furtive with their actions. How could they be acting so brazenly like this guy? Does he think we can’t tell that he’s an insider?” Royal God Call asked.
“Also, if he truly has such a thorough understanding of everything in this game, I’m afraid that the man doesn’t merely have a rudimentary comprehension. I strongly believe that this man have an understanding at the developmental level of the game,” Brother Assist posited.
“That’s not necessarily the case, right? As long as someone has the intention, an internal employee just has to pay more attention to data collection, and they may be able to do what he just did as well.” Brother Assist quickly debunked his assessment, most likely upon recalling his own interest in information collection.
“If such a person is truly our opponent…” Sword Demon voice trailed off, as everyone exchanged looks with one another yet again.
“We won’t be able to defeat him with conventional means. Levels mean nothing to him as the strongest weapon in his arsenal is the information he possesses,” Young Master Han concluded.
“Hey. Let’s get back to the question I’ve asked before! Why would such a person appear in the game?” Royal God Call reiterated his question.
“If he’s here in the game secretly, it won’t be worthwhile to tangle himself with the problem of Miles being a game-breaking existence, much less expose himself in front of other players by adopting such a position. Since he wanted to get rid of Miles, he could just directly freeze his account and end this matter; why did he bother to run into the game and to gather other players to contend with him directly?” Brother Assist carefully dissected the implausibility of such a person appearing in the game thusly.
The others shook their heads, feeling that this man’s presence to be somewhat bizarre.
“No matter the case is, we need to report this issue to a GM first!” Brother Assist began to compose the ticket. GM had a separate channel as well, so although it would essentially have an automated reply, it was the only method players could use to report in-game issues to the system. It was a proven fact that there were employees taking note of this, as players would occasionally be contacted by these people. Of course, it would be a waste for these players not to buy a lottery ticket on the day when this happened.
“That’s all that we can do for now! Let’s wait for Miles to come online later tonight. Perhaps, he may have a better understanding of this person,” Young Master Han suggested.
With that, everyone involuntarily condemned Gu Fei for being so irresponsible as to only play the game a few hours every day before they habitually went about their separate ways.
Sword Demon was the last to leave the tavern, and he endeavored to make a beeline for the grinding maps the moment he left the premise. He was initially concentrating on this issue, but with everything at a temporary standstill, the sadness of him losing level quickly occupied his mind.
Sword Demon truly believed that he was terribly unlucky. So what if he lost a level?! The real issue here was that, in the two times he had lost a level, it was at a point when he was about to reach the next level, which was as good as losing two levels at one go. The last time was when he was at level 30 and was about to reach level 31, which dropped him down to level 29. This time, he was about to reach level 42 from level 41. Now, he found himself back down to level 40 1 . The system’s simple and direct calculation of the loss of a level upon death did not consider how much experience points was earned. Thus, in some ways, losing a level depended on a person’s luck. Sword Demon naturally felt that he must truly have the most wretched fortune to have pretty much lost two levels at one go.
Sword Demon heaved a deep sigh and looked up at the sky. Falling leaves was commonplace in Linyin City, so it would really be quite uncanny if any breeze would not be carrying along a handful of loose leaves each time. At the moment, leaves were dancing about in the wind as he watched them in a daze. Suddenly, he felt that these falling leaves complemented what he was feeling too damn well right at this moment.
Sword Demon sighed once more and was about to continue his way onward when, in the instant that he lowered his head, he spotted a leaf that was gliding with the light breeze suddenly whirl upward…
Sword Demon did not have the level of skill that Gu Fei possessed, but it would be preposterous to call him a novice when it came to practical combat experience. Having been gaming for such a long time, and as someone who conscientiously improved upon his skills and knowledge, why would he not take note to accumulate experience in this avenue? Seeing the fallen leaves abruptly whirl upward just like that despite the lack of change in the wind, he could only surmise that someone was responsible for this wind flow! It must be an attack!
While it was rather impressive of him to arrive at such a deduction just from that, Sword Demon’s reaction was just a few milliseconds too slower. He could immediately feel a sharp pain blossoming from his shoulder. Without even turning around, Sword Demon took a quick step forward before he moved 45 degrees to the side and dashed toward the nearest wall. As soon as his back was against the wall, he pivoted with his dagger already in hand and swiped out with his own cold gleam.
The person behind him retreated quickly, evading Sword Demon’s attack. The man stuck his tongue out and leered at Sword Demon sinisterly. “Your reaction’s pretty quick!”
“Who are you?” Sword Demon more or less had an idea who had sent this person after him. To ambush him in such a foreign place, this man was most likely a companion of that Priest.
“He he. Haven’t we already met each other before?” That smile was still plastered upon the person’s face.
Sword Demon’s heart seized, for he had already guessed who this person was! Back in the forest, he saw a hazy image of a Thief appearing right behind him. Given the speed the latter had demonstrated, he was guaranteed to be using a skill. Sword Demon would have no idea what skill this was if this happened a few days ago, but after joining the League of Assassins and having the opportunity to choose the skill upon initiation, he was very certain that he could recall a certain skill description that went: ‘Leaving behind afterimages, abruptly appear behind the target and deal a fatal blow.’ Shadowstep.
At the same time, Sword Demon also remembered Gu Fei mentioning how he had met someone with this very same skill.
“Cool Apple?” Sword Demon asked.
The man nodded, his expression turning somber, as if he were a predator that had his eye on Sword Demon.
There was no doubt that someone who had PKed over 1600 players would have plenty of experience when it came to the act itself. There was no room for errors when facing off against such an opponent. Sword Demon focused his mind and sharpened his senses as well. Although he knew that, having just left the tavern, his companions might still be nearby, he simply had no intention of calling for help at all.
While his opponent did take the initiative to sneak-attack him, the man had yet to call for any helpers on his side, either. Ultimately, this was a duel, and Sword Demon’s pride did not allow him to cry out for aid over such a minor setback. He was used to being in the role of the rescuer and not the other way around.
Should I use Shadowmist Assault? The skill was waiting patiently for Sword Demon to use, but just as he got this thought, he realized that Cool Apple’s posture had changed. The man lowered his center of gravity, pretty much like what Broken Water Arrow had done, to the point of looking if he were about to crawl on the ground.
He’s already aware of the skill’s weakness… Sword Demon could tell that the Priest, familiar with the game data, had already revealed this to his companions. This sort of information would probably take players several encounters of the skill before they could figure it out, yet the other party had already learned this effortlessly right now. Why else would they say that wars in the 21st century would be informational warfare…
Still, by comparison, Broken Water Arrow was clearly much better than Cool Apple at this, for at least the man still had the confidence to make the dodge at the same time as Sword Demon unleashed the skill. Cool Apple, on the other hand, in order to be on guard against the skill, hunkered down to the ground in advance, disregarding how unseemly he looked by doing so.
But how am I any better? Sword Demon could not help chuckling bitterly to himself. He had no idea when, but his back was firmly glued to the wall behind him. The reason was not lost to him, for he similarly had no confidence in being able to dodge Cool Apple’s Shadowstep.
“I really envy guys like Miles for their superior reflexes…” Sword Demon could not help sighing at this.
“Hey. How can you let yourself be distracted when facing an opponent like me?” Cool Apple’s voice called out, and it was from a relatively near position. Very near, in fact, as it was right next to his ears! Sword Demon was shocked as Cool Apple sent him flying with a kick.
This one kick did not do much damage, but Sword Demon understood that, since his opponent could deliver this kick, it naturally meant that he could have executed a stab outright, too. The man was clearly underestimating him by doing this.
“Don’t you even know about the technique of skill canceling?” Cool Apple eyed Sword Demon with disdain.
By the eaves of a house a good distance away, a sharp arrow glistened in the sun.