Chapter 57 - Escape
Youthful Reflection knew that he had been fooled, yet he did not know when it had started. Had this trap been set up by the Masked Slayer upon entering Oolong Cave and realizing that some players were still after him? Or had he planned to direct pursuers over here from the start?
“Can we push it open?” Youthful Reflection asked.
A Thief, who had already given up on pushing the plate upward, shook his head sadly.
“Who’s left outside?” Youthful Reflection looked at the other four with him.
“Royal God Call. He didn’t jump down,” someone replied.
“He must have been killed off by that guy,” Youthful Reflection assumed as he sighed deeply.
“He’s still killing players despite having 15 PK points?!” someone asked in astonishment.
“It’s PRECISELY because he has 15 PK points that he’s not reluctant to add one more point!” Youthful Reflection replied.
“Something’s off. The guild tab shows that Royal is still at level 30; this means that he hasn’t died,” someone voiced out his discovery.
“Quickly message him!” a few of them shouted.
“I’m not dead. He slashed me once, locked the iron plate, and ran off,” Royal God Call messaged back.
“Yup. The entrance has a padlock, which he locked. How am I going to open it?” Royal God Call asked.
“Since the Masked Slayer can open this passageway’s entrance, it means that he has the key. Quickly get someone to chase after him!” Youthful Reflection yelled. He then frantically spread the word on the guild channel about the Masked Slayer’s location in Oolong Cave.
At this moment, Gu Fei and Royal God Call just exited Oolong Cave.
“That ‘Ahh!’ you cried out earlier isn’t good,” Gu Fei commented.
“Yeah? I thought so, too. I almost burst out laughing back then, and it nearly turned into ‘Ha!’ You think this is easy for me?” Royal God Call asked cheekily.
The two followed the mountain path leading down and a few figures appeared into view near the forked road.
“How was it?” Brother Assist immediately asked as soon as the two were within earshot.
“Of course everything’s OK!” Royal God Call felt pleased with himself.
“Hmph. Youthful Reflection is still far off from being able to match wits with me,” Young Master Han laughed coldly. His face darkened when he faced Gu Fei, “Why didn’t you follow the exact coordinates I’ve set for you?”
“Are you kidding me? The coordinates you set were either a huge sinkhole or on a stalagmite; how am I going to stand on that? Are you trying to get me killed on purpose?” Gu Fei retorted.
“Alright, there’s no time. Let’s get to the next step of our plan!” Sword Demon interjected.
Once Sword Demon mentioned this next step, Gu Fei became a little teary-eyed, “Can I not go?”
“No. You have to go!” Young Master Han sounded resolute.
“Hey, are you thinking of pranking me once more?” Gu Fei expressed his suspicion.
Young Master Han replied icily, “This is definitely the best method to escape from those who are hot on your heels. Everyone will definitely stop chasing you if you run along this path through the Oolong Mountain Range.”
“How much longer until the coordinates refresh?” Brother Assist asked.
“Nine seconds,” Gu Fei answered.
“Time to go!” Brother Assist patted him on the back encouragingly.
“Good luck!” Sword Demon came forward and patted him as well.
“You can do it!” Royal God Call also joined in and patted him on the back.
“Mhmm!” War Without Wounds did not say a word beyond a purposeful nod.
“Scram!” Young Master Han felt irritated just by looking at Gu Fei’s face.
“I’m off!” Gu Fei saw the coordinates refresh and immediately ran down the mountain path.
“He won’t meet anyone else along that road, yeah?” Royal God Call muttered.
“Definitely not,” Young Master Han said confidently, “The coordinates he left in Oolong Cave fooled everyone into looking for him on the other side of Oolong Mountain Range. They’ll need at least ten minutes to get to our current position.”
“That’s not right,” Royal God Call cried out, “Why will it take them ten minutes? Miles has his coordinates updated every five minutes!”
“Mmhmm. They’ll be searching around the first coordinates for five minutes, before discovering that the coordinates have been updated. And then, they’ll proceed with haste toward the second coordinates. They’ll actually need twelve minutes,” Young Master Han corrected his previous deduction.
Royal God Call felt confused, “And what about the third coordinates?”
Young Master Han had a pained expression, “If they move toward the third coordinates before even reaching the second coordinates, they’ll simply come to the mountain’s dead end after four minutes….”
“And then what’s next?”
“Next? They can only turn back….”
“But by then, Miles will be on his fourth coordinates.”
“Exactly,” Young Master Han nodded, “But they still have to go back to the second coordinates before they can carry on chasing after him. Not even I can calculate how much time it will take them to run back and forth like this. They’ll have my utmost admiration if they still persist on pursuing him at that point.”
“That’s terrible!” Royal God Call sighed.
“Others have it way worse,” Young Master Han lifted his thumb and pointed back to the cave’s entrance some distance away, “Those guys will be looking for Gu Fei using the coordinates in Oolong Cave… You can’t really blame me for being excessive, right?”
They turned and watched the Traversing Four Seas’ reinforcement march under Oathless Sword’s command up the mountain path toward them.
“Oh, yeah! I still have to lead those guys to where the trapped Youthful Reflection and company are and save them,” Royal God Call suddenly remembered.
“Do you have the key?” Brother Assist asked.
“Nope,” Royal God Call answered.
“Then, where’s the key?” everyone asked.
“It’s in the secret passageway,” Royal God Call replied.
“In the secret passageway?” They were all puzzled.
“Yeah... Miles said he had thrown it in there,” Royal God Call said.
“So how are you going to get them out?” Only the honest Sword Demon was thinking about this problem.
“I don’t know… I am only going in there once more because I am kind of obliged to do so. Come to think of it, I think I might have forgotten the way to the secret passageway already,” Royal God Call said as he waved to the four men, “I’m going there now.”
He then rushed down the mountain path after saying goodbye to them. As he ran down the path, he shouted, “Guild Leader! Bad news! Reflection and the rest are trapped in an underground tunnel!”
“Let’s leave, too,” The four began to make their way down as well.
“I wonder where that road leads?” Brother Assist asked inquisitively, referring to the path Gu Fei had just taken.
“You can ask that to Miles when he returns,” Young Master Han said lightly.
“Can Miles bear to stay online for thirty hours? He usually plays Parallel World for three or four hours at most,” Brother Assist asked.
“That’s his problem,” Young Master Han replied.
“Hope there won’t be any issue…” Brother Assist said.
“There won’t be!” Sword Demon was confident.
“Mhmm!” War Without Wounds nodded.
“Our group won’t be accepting any requests until Miles returns. Take a vacation, everyone. You’re on your own for the time being!” Young Master Han said.
Gu Fei was running quickly along the Oolong Mountain Range at the moment. The mountain road was rough and wide, with the mountain sheer on the left and a cliff on the right. A cloud-like mist hung in the air on the road in front and behind him. No monsters for Gu Fei to kill could be seen on this road, making the entire trip rather boring. Gu Fei decided to increase his pace in the hope of immediately reaching a new map where he could grind in.
News spread in Yunduan City an hour later, stating that the various players, groups, and guilds had returned to the city one after another. They all declared their intention to abandon the ‘Bounty Mission’. A lot of these players suffered from short-term trauma as a result of their recent experience. Whenever they heard positions being called out with numbers, they would immediately go catatonic. Some even suffered a more severe case of trauma, where they would snap easily whenever people in the taverns called certain table numbers aloud.
Traversing Four Seas had it the worst. They did not even catch a glimpse of the Masked Slayer after searching all over Oolong Cave and were rather helpless regarding that rusted padlock. Youthful Reflection and the four players with Agility-based physiques, who had been trapped in that cramped tunnel for quite a while, decided to make their way to the other end of the passageway in the hope of finding an alternate exit. What they discovered there was the Mountain Bandit Leader Sooto’s lair, and what happened afterward was more or less expected.
This nightmarish experience was made even more unbearable by the series of events that followed. Just as Youthful Reflection and the four were sent back to the spawn point, Oathless Sword announced on the guild channel: The Henchman guarding the passageway had respawned and was successfully beaten. They now had the key and could free Youthful Reflection and the rest who were trapped inside... Meanwhile, the other guild members searching for the Masked Slayer deep within Oolong Cave were all wiped out by the bandits that Sooto had summoned over upon getting into a fight with Youthful Reflection and company. By the time the players of Traversing Four Seas left Oolong Cave, they were all physically and mentally worn down.
Gu Fei carefully read the news that the other mercenary group members had sent him, while making his lonely way through the mountain range. Suddenly, Gu Fei spotted the blurry outline of a humanoid figure in the fog just ahead.
“Finally! A monster has appeared after walking for so long!” Gu Fei felt excited. He limbered up his body and pulled out Flames of Baptism from his dimensional pocket as he charged forward.
Gu Fei began to see the silhouette more clearly as he drew nearer. He had yet to recognize the figure, but the sack that the person was carrying looked surprisingly familiar.
Gu Fei deduced the person’s identity after getting close enough, and he took the piece of black cloth off his face.
“Xiaoyu?” Gu Fei probed by calling out her name.
The Warrior with the sack turned around. Who else could it be but Xiaoyu?
“Miles!” Xiaoyu was equally shocked,” What are you doing here? Are you on a quest?”
“Uhh... Yes, quest! I’m definitely on a quest!” Gu Fei nodded with relief. He was thinking of how he should answer Xiaoyu’s question, yet she had actually given him the answer to it.
“Oh, are you headed to Yeguang Village?” Xiaoyu asked.
“Yup!” Gu Fei casually replied, all the while wondering inside where in the world that place was.
That’s wonderful! So am I!” Xiaoyu said.
“Is that so? That’s great…” Gu Fei said.
“Shall we go there, together?” Xiaoyu asked.
“Let’s,” Gu Fei answered.
“What quest are you doing?” Xiaoyu asked.
“Oh, ‘Eddie’s Mission’,” Gu Fei replied offhandedly.
“What sort of quest is that?” Xiaoyu felt curious.
“Um, it’s a chain quest,” Gu Fei replied.
“CHAIN QUEST?!” Xiaoyu exclaimed, “You got a chain quest?!”
“Uhhh… I got it by chance,” Gu Fei did not know how to explain properly how he had acquired the quest.
“I’ll help you!” Xiaoyu declared.
“Eh, well… I’m still not sure how to proceed with it, so I’m just trying things out by going to Yeguang Village,” Gu Fei said.
“Of course chain quest won’t be easy to accomplish! But now that I’m here to help you, there’s nothing to worry about! I am a quest expert, after all!” Xiaoyu thumped her chest as she said this.