Chapter 59 - How Things Are in Yueye City
Fleeting Smile unintentionally said something about Gu Fei finding a clue to the chain quest, ‘Eddie’s Mission’, when the latter had asked for directions to Yeguang Village. Because of this slip of the tongue, Gu Fei somewhat deduced that a link to the chain quest existed in that village. Gu Fei always thought that finding out the mission Eddie had taken would unravel as well as help continue the chain quest. By the looks of things, the clue was of Eddie either passing through that village once or being an inhabitant of that place.
It was easy to find out which of these two the clue was. Gu Fei only had to ask the NPCs in that village about Eddie.
Gu Fei considered all this as he and Xiaoyu steadily walked toward the city. The outline of Yueye City could be seen from their current location, and it looked rather unremarkable just like Yunduan City. Xiaoyu had a dumbfounded look on her face as she pointed at the city, “That’s a really big village.”
Gu Fei did not know whether to laugh or cry at her comment, “That’s not Yeguang Village but Yueye City. It’s just like Yunduan City. We’ll ask the locals for direction to Yeguang Village since it’s probably nearby.” Gu Fei looked around and spotted a few players engaging the monsters scattered about. The area was apparently not a popular grinding map, seeing that there were not many players around. Gu Fei chose a random player and walked toward him with Xiaoyu.
This player wore the signature clothes for Thieves and ran with brisk footsteps. He avoided half of the monsters he encountered instead of confronting them. The player would also bend over from time to time as if he was searching for something on the ground.
Gu Fei and Xiaoyu chased the person as they yelled to get his attention.
“Hey, buddy. What’s your name?” Gu Fei asked as soon as they caught up to the player who had stopped running.
“Master Kang,” the player replied as he examined the two.
“Ha ha ha ha ha! Your IGN is the same as that instant noodle brand!” Xiaoyu chortled. This sort of joke was right up her alley. Instead, a Mage having the name Fireball was a more complex joke to her.
The person’s face turned unpleasant as he said, “It’s not a name I chose for myself.”
Hearing that this player was a member of the forced-to-bear-an-undesirable-IGN club like him, Gu Fei immediately felt a slight sense of closeness to him. He stopped Xiaoyu’s laughter as he continued to ask, “We’re trying to get to Yeguang Village; do you know the way?”
Master Kang looked at the two with shock, “Appraisal doesn’t work on either of you! You guys must have a higher level than me! Level 30, perhaps?”
The two nodded their heads.
“You guys are at level 30, yet you don’t know how to get there?” Master Kang began to regard them with suspicion.
“You’re mistaken. We’re not from Yueye City but from Yunduan City, which is somewhere over there,” Gu Fei pointed toward the direction of Yunduan City as he explained.
Master Kang’s eyes suddenly shone brightly, “Really, you’re from another city? You actually traveled on foot from there to here? Which road did you take? How long did you walk?”
“We trekked through the Oolong Mountain Range for three hours at a leisure pace,” Gu Fei gave an overall answer.
“Come here! Let me ask you something,” Master Kang pulled Gu Fei toward himself, “In Yunduan City, have you seen a plant with green leaves and pink – or rosy red – flowers? The leaves are about this big,” Master Kang gave an estimated measurement with his hands.
“Nope,” Gu Fei swiftly shook his head.
“Think this through first,” Master Kang maintained a hopeful look at Gu Fei.
“Green leaves with pink or rosy red flower petals... I’ve seen some plants similar to your description but never one with leaves THAT big! So my answer is still no,” Gu Fei said firmly as he made the same hand gesture. The leaf size that Master Kang had gestured was ridiculously huge. Gu Fei estimated that a plant with such large leaves would most likely be about a man’s height; ergo, it should no longer be called a plant but a small tree instead! Gu Fei had definitely not seen something like that in all his travels.
“What sort of plant is that?” Xiaoyu asked curiously.
“Oh, I’m an Herbalist looking for that medicinal herb among others. Is either of you an Herbalist? If you guys aren’t, then there won’t be any point in me sharing information about that plant.”
Gu Fei and Xiaoyu were no longer at a loss. Gu Fei, in particular, did not have much knowledge about the crafting profession except for the fact that there were currently five main types of it: Chef, Blacksmith, Tailor, Herbalist, and Alchemist. Chef made food, Blacksmith produced weapons, Tailor sewed clothing, Herbalist researched medicine, and Alchemist crafted magic staves or similar equipment, as well as accessories.
“If possible, try to look for it yourself in Yunduan City! Don’t just take our words for it. After all, we’re not experts when it comes to plants,” Gu Fei advised.
Master Kang nodded, yet his face showed worry, “Yunduan City may not be very far, but I heard that it’s a very dangerous place.”
“How so?” Gu Fei felt puzzled.
“Heard that the top killer in the entire gaming server is in that city. He got 15 PK points in a day from hunting a single player all over the city. He even caused that player to drop eight levels, and yet no one dared to stop him. It’s far too frightening,” Master Kang said in a frightened voice.
Gu Fei could only grimace in response, while Xiaoyu became upset, “What did you say? Do you even know who that killer hunted? It’s a rotten-to-the-core swindler.”
Master Kang nodded his head, “Heard about that as well. Hot da*n! For that guy to take such extreme measures… He must have been cheated horribly by that swindler in the past.”
Gu Fei felt so mad that he almost fainted. How had the entire story become this twisted just by spreading beyond the Oolong Mountain Range? This in-game information had been spread through the online forums; how could it deviate so far from the truth when there was a centralized platform to clarify the validity of any in-game information or story?
Gu Fei had actually forgotten to consider an important factor. Players might have spawned in different cities and regions, yet their connections in reality remained the same. It was very unlikely for two friends in reality to spawn in the same city in-game. So even if there were ten Oolong Mountain Ranges between these people, they would not be able to prevent the two from exchanging information with each other. In fact, a majority of the players considered the account of their friends in Yunduan City to be far more credible than the information that they could read online. Since many of them preferred passing information via the word-of-mouth route, they would naturally receive colorful versions of events, including that of Gu Fei’s exciting activity yesterday.
But now was not the time for Gu Fei to fuss over this matter with Master Kang, as the latter had yet to mention the way to Yeguang Village after talking with him for so long.
“Alright! Since I’m looking for herbs, it doesn’t matter where I go. I’ll bring you guys over to Yeguang Village myself!” Master Kang graciously offered.
“Many thanks,” Gu Fei said.
The three began to make their way to Yeguang Village. Master Kang, who took the lead, would bend over from time to time to pluck some grass or herbs. As they slowly got closer to the more popular grinding maps, the players the three encountered gradually increased as well. The proportion of monsters to players also started to look similar to that infamous Yunliao Farm’s. However, the rule that the players had set up here was somewhat different. Yunliao Farm had the unspoken rule of no kill-stealing between players, yet it was the opposite in Yueye City. Players here openly fought with one another for the first kills over the monsters.
Along the way, Gu Fei saw many players carrying crudely made bamboo pole flags with different scribbles on the cloth. These players would often holler, “This land here belongs to us. Death awaits those who trespass!”
Players, who could do such declarations, were backed by many others on the side. However, such declarations had no guarantee of working. This was because another group with more power could easily take down the flag to challenge the claim if the spot was to their fancy. Since leveling was not easy, Gu Fei noticed that everyone was actually not willing to fight to the death. Most groups tended to send out representatives to participate in a one-on-one bout, which would stop once a certain HP threshold was crossed. This way, the instances when players would drop level after dying happened a lot less than in Yunliao Farm.
Naturally, the method was only effective if the two parties involved had the strength to clash at a team level. If a player attempted the challenge alone, he could only wait for his death.
Gu Fei noticed their guide, Master Kang, had lost the spring in his steps as they were making their way through this map. Master Kang cautiously walked along the road with his head lowered, barely sparing a glance at the monsters around them. He was obviously very used to how things were here. Master Kang was truly a native of Yueye City.
Only after passing through the map did Master Kang finally sigh in relief. As someone who had grown accustomed to how things were locally, he carefully explained to Gu Fei and Xiaoyu, “I was worried that you two would accidentally cause a scene back there, since I forgot to mention how you guys should behave when in that area. It’s a good thing that nothing happened.”
Gu Fei thought of something and asked, “If we die here, will we respawn back in Yunduan City? Or will we revive at the spawn point in Yueye City?”
“I don’t know as well,” Master Kang answered as he pointed to somewhere in front of him, “Yeguang Village is just ahead.”
“Thanks,” Gu Fei hurriedly said. He could make out a tavern near the village’s entrance, “Shall we head over? I’ll treat you to a drink.”
“No need for that. I don’t drink,” Master Kang rejected the invitation with a wave of his hand, “I’m leaving. If you two need me for anything else, just message me. Call me when you’re about to head back to Yunduan City, and I’ll join you guys if I can.”
“No problem,” After adding one another as friends, Master Kang entered the forest nearby and continued looking for herbs.
Gu Fei and Xiaoyu entered Yeguang Village, which was inside a forest. The dense leaves of the towering trees in the surroundings caused the sunlight to filter through with difficulty, casting scattered shadows all over the village. A great ambience permeated the air, as if a chain quest of great importance could originate from here.
“What’s your quest, Xiaoyu?” Gu Fei wanted to finish off the easy quest first.
“Find Mr. Adrian, and retrieve a batch of gold ore from him,” Xiaoyu read her mission aloud.
“Let’s do yours first!” Gu Fei suggested.
The two headed to the tavern as they conversed. Quests in online games were not very different from single-player RPGs; hence, places like a tavern were always the best to gather information.
“Boss, do you know anyone called Mr. Adrian?” Xiaoyu asked in a practiced tone.
“Yes. Mr. Adrian is the wealthiest individual in the village. He lives in a big mansion beside the church over by the east side,” the tavern owner answered.
“Thank you, boss,” Xiaoyu maintained a polite tone despite the fact that she was talking to an AI. This was because her heart’s passion to activate a hidden quest was strong.
Once Xiaoyu was done talking, Gu Fei also asked the tavern owner in a similar manner, “Boss, do you know anyone called Eddie?”
“Mister, the road is long and hard. Why don’t you have a drink to relieve your tiredness?”
Gu Fei had no idea what went wrong.
Xiaoyu was much more experienced, so she immediately dragged Gu Fei off, “He doesn’t know.”
As they walked to the east side of the village, Gu Fei kept on asking the locals the same question. However, none of them could give him the answer he wanted.
Just what was going on? Gu Fei thought hard and realized the root of the issue. Eddie’s Emblem! Gu Fei kept the deceased Eddie’s belonging into his pocket instead of wearing it. One of the conditions to trigger the quest was possibly equipping it. Without wearing it, NPCs would only see Gu Fei as a nonsensical person and would treat him just like any normal player.
As he thought of this, Gu Fei silently pinned on the emblem and immediately felt countless eyes staring at him. Gu Fei steeled his nerves and headed toward the fifth NPC.