Chapter 591: Chapter 591 – How Profound Are They?
Translator: Exodus Tales Editor: Exodus Tales
“What does it mean when they’re not too old and their equipment is terrible?” Southern Lone Blade could not fathom why Dusky Cloud would send such an advance force for. Was he trying to disgust his enemies?
“I don’t know… All I saw was a bunch of kids; I didn’t even need to use Appraisal to know that their equipment is trash,” Blackwater replied. As a veteran larcenist, he of course had quite the extensive research and knowledge regarding equipment.
“What are Dusky Cloud and his men thinking?” Southern Lone Blade asked.
“I managed to run away as they don’t seem intent on hunting me down,” Blackwater stated.
Dusky Cloud and the others did indeed have no plans to get to the bottom of things. The Ten Guild Alliance had numerous enemies here in Yueye City, and a Stealthed Thief sneaking up on them was a common occurrence. They would seek to kill them off if they could seize them, but they would simply ignore it if they could not. There was no way they could accomplish anything with their lives if they had to contend with everyone that came near them like this.
Thus, upon seeing how fast Blackwater fled, Dusky Cloud merely withdrew his men. The sudden appearance of a little Thief sneaking up on them did not even register as a blip in their time here online. In fact, Dusky Cloud was more preoccupied with those rascals from before calling him ‘uncle’, especially that one who had a longer moustache than him.
“Should I continue sticking to Dusky Cloud, or should I keep an eye on those rugrats?” Blackwater asked Southern Lone Blade for further instructions.
“Are those kids truly that terrible? Could they be intentionally wearing a bunch of trash equipment to obfuscate the truth?” Southern Lone Blade speculated.
“They are really bad! You won’t even believe how bad it is even if I tell you. There’re even some players among the twenty-six that haven’t reached level 10,” Blackwater informed.
“Not even level 10?” Southern Lone Blade felt that this matter was sounding more and more nonsensical as he learned more about it. The greatest advantage a player below level 10 had was that they were completely protected from being PKed, so they obviously could not be PKing anyone themselves. Could it be that someone found an exploitable loophole to this rule?
“Which one is it? I’m almost about to lose sight of them.” Blackwater was anxious. Dusky Cloud and his men were going in the opposite direction that those students were going, and both parties were about to disappear from his line of sight.
“Continue to keep an eye on Dusky Cloud’s group, I guess. We should have no problems dealing with those kids on our end,” Southern Lone Blade said.
“Roger that,” Blackwater answered before he went after Dusky Cloud’s group. Knowing that they possessed certain means to counter Stealth, Blackwater no longer dared to get too close. After changing out into another set of equipment, he was prepared to pretend to be a normal player grinding while doing his best to keep them within his field of vision.
“How are things over there with Thousand Miles Drunk?” Southern Lone Blade asked Glue and the others.
“Haven’t seen him show up since he left the spawn point,” Glue replied.
“Big South, what do we do now?” Glue, Flame Singed Clothes, and Verdant Timber had been thinking about the matter this whole time, and they had not felt even the slightest bit of ease in the last three hours.
“Blackwater spotted Dusky Cloud sending off some troops over to Baishi City from Yueye City, but the levels and equipment these players have are really odd. Their equipment is trash, and there are some that have yet to reach level 10,” Southern Lone Blade revealed.
“What’s that all about?”
“Still uncertain. Anyone has any ideas?”
Everyone was quiet. None of them dared to make any assertions lightly.
“Then, let’s first probe the depths of this bunch before we make a decision!” Southern Lone Blade decided.
“Big South!” Everyone was astonished. What if the enemies were really profound? Would this not mean that they were taking a one-way trip to death once more?
“I’ll go all out and buy another Teleportation Scroll!” Southern Lone Blade gritted his teeth.
“But would it be convenient for you to show your face at the Auction House once more?” Glue asked.
“Hmm. Who can do it, then? There are still Teleportation Scrolls. I remember seeing them when I last bought one,” Southern Lone Blade said.
“I’ll go!” Unrivaled Lucky Star volunteered. He was the only one left that could do this; Glue and the two others did not dare to leave the spawn point now that they were being camped out by Gu Fei. Paddy Scent Pastures was still waiting for Silver Moon over at the Thieves’ Union, so he was the only one free right now.
“Get moving, then! I’ll be waiting for you by the south gate,” Southern Lone Blade said, that gate being the one players would use to enter Yueye City.
“Do we have to go take a look?” Glue asked Flame Singed Clothes and Verdant Timber for their opinion.
“Is Thousand Miles Drunk still outside?” Flame Singed Clothes poked his head out of the entrance, but it was deep in the night now. With few people walking down the street, he still did not see Gu Fei anywhere around. Flame Singed Clothes suddenly felt that it would be great if that abhorrent smiling face of his would appear right before him. At least, that would be better than having no idea where that man was at the moment.
“Why don’t I go out and check? My movement speed isn’t any worse than his, so I should be able to escape even if I do bump into him,” Glue proposed.
“He knows Blink,” Flame Singed Clothes reminded.
“There’s a limit to the distance for Blink; d’you see him anywhere within ten meters of the entrance?” Glue asked.
“Which is why I’ll start running once I leave. So what if he sees me?” Glue asked.
Flame Singed Clothes and Verdant Timber nodded, but neither joined him given their movement speed. The two men gave Glue a somber send-off right up to the entrance of the spawn point, and Glue nodded equally grimly, sliding right out and breaking off into a sprint.
Far away, atop a certain roof stood Gu Fei, whose eyes barely fluttered when he saw this happen. He no longer cared about it once he saw that Silver Moon was not who had appeared. Instead, he turned his head over in another direction and asked, “Done yet?”
“Almost there!” A player was barbecuing meat skewers right under the eaves. Linshui City was not the only place that had a barbeque business going; it was just that, being on a beach, watching and listening to the crashing waves, was far more appealing to the masses, whereas players setting up stalls by the roadside was far closer to real life. When Gu Fei left the spawn point the second time around, he chanced upon a player who had picked up the cooking profession near this corner, and he was even making them on demand, so of course he immediately made the decision to patronize his stall.
“It’s not a bad way to live like this.” Gu Fei had a book in one hand and a fresh meat skewer in the other. At the same time, he was sending a message over to Ah Fa and his other students. “So, where are you all?”
“It’s so far…” The students were all complaining. Using their time playing through the night to travel was originally rather refreshing, but the second half of the journey began to take a toll on them. Most were regretting relocating themselves as the process was so dull. Right now, a good portion of their attention was dedicated in finding out just who was the culprit that had made this suggestion to the class.
“Come on! You’re almost there.” Gu Fei, who completely had no idea where the students were at the moment, casually consoled them.
“Come on; teacher said that we’re almost there.” Ah Fa acted to cheer them on, randomly relaying those words of consolation to his classmates with a poker face.
The road from Yueye City to Baishi City was a straight path through and a little shorter than the distance between Yunduan City and Yueye City, taking only about two hours of travel time. After quite some time, the students finally caught sight of Baishi City’s magnificent walls in the horizon, and they were moved to tears by it.
It was almost 7 AM by now, which was almost the time for those nocturnal players to log off. As players began making their way out of the various grinding maps and into the city, the road bustled with activity for a short time. Over by a patch of tall grass outside the south gate, Southern Lone Blade, Glue, and Unrivaled Lucky Star were hiding behind the tall grass as they kept watch of all the players passing by.
“Is that the group?”
“What about that one?”
“26 players. Can’t you count it before calling it out?” Southern Lone Blade was annoyed.
“These people are all coming in droves; who’s supposed to know who’s together and who’s not?!” Glue was miserable.
“They’ll be coming from the main road!” Southern Lone Blade said.
“What about that one over there?” Glue casually pointed over to a group of players disorderly trudging along the main road. The Mage taking the lead was carrying a banner.
“One, two, three, four…” Southern Lone Blade carefully counted the group’s number.
“26! That’s them!” Southern Lone Blade immediately hunkered down after he finished counting. At the same time, he checked if the three of them were hidden well enough. Meanwhile, Glue and Unrivaled Lucky Star were already carefully observing these players, studying to see what was so exalted about this group for Thousand Miles Drunk to invite them and for Dusky Cloud to escort them over personally.
“Mother of god. The equipment they have on them… Can I call them primitives?” Glue was the first to express his shock.
“I don’t think that there’s a need to appraise any of that…” Unrivaled Lucky Star said. Just like Blackwater, he could easily tell what this equipment was at a glance.
“What’s written on that banner the Mage is carrying? ‘3’? What does that mean?” Glue was looking at Ah Fa’s banner.
Southern Lone Blade and Unrivaled Lucky Star scratched their heads in confusion.
“Also, getting a Mage to do this sort of work, don’t you two find it strange? Even if they do not get a Warrior to do it, there’s no way a Mage will ever be asked to do it, right?” Glue added.
“Yeah. This is really very strange.” The three men were all looking very intently, for this troop of 26 players had a mix of all the job classes in the game.
“Could it be that the Mage is just like Thousand Miles Drunk, someone who had added his stats differently?” Glue boldly threw out his assumption.
“Thousand Miles Drunk went for Agility, so that guy went for Strength?” Unrivaled Lucky Star continued.
“Otherwise, how will you explain a Mage doing this sort of menial labor?” Glue said.
“A Strength-based Mage?” Unrivaled Lucky Star wondered. With Gu Fei starting such a weird path, they did not dare to comment casually that a Mage who did not distribute their stats to Intelligence and Spirit would be trash…
“Oh, my god. There’re really players that have yet to reach level 10. That guy’s only at level 7.” Glue was unable to resist saying this when these players stepped in the range of their Appraisal spell and took a peek at one of them. In the end, he had hit the jackpot and uncovered a level 7 Thief that did not even have all his equipment slots filled. He had clothes yet no belt, a headgear but no footwear.
“That’s strange too, yeah? Even if one is new to the game, since they have so many companions, they shouldn’t be this destitute that they can’t even scrounge up a full set of equipment, right? This is even more so since there’s no such thing as level restriction with the equipment in Parallel World. Even a level 0 player might not have a lack of equipment,” Unrivaled Lucky Star said. This was something he had said from experience, too, for they had once seen a level 9 player swagger down the street carrying a top-tier weapon, with a trail of robbers hot on his heels as if they had their eyes on innocent prey. Alas, that guy simply did not leave to grind, nearly leaving those robbers choking from their saliva as they watched their prey hold onto that halo of PK protection. Finally, before that player even completed leveling up for him to be fair game, a majority of these robbers were already dead from infighting. This incident was what had made Southern Lone Blade refrain from hunting wild meat and why he had begun on the path of employment where he only accepted assignments from clients.
“Do you mean to say that they are merely pretending to be weak to bait the strong?” Glue asked.
“I’m not sure, but just look at how silly they all look. Don’t you just have that impulse to go up there and bully them all?” Unrivaled Lucky Star asked.
“Could they be fellow colleagues?” Glue wondered. There were all sorts of methods when it came to the larceny business, and some robbers out there would use top-tier equipment as bait to lure out others in taking the jump on them before retaliating. This sort of situation would often happen after a team had successfully completed their robbery and was returning victoriously. With the item in hand and the PK points earned in the process, they would become very lucrative targets. Thus, if a team stumbled on a dullard holding a top-tier weapon as they grinded alone, any responsible and prudent larcenist would surely think to do the deed along the way. Unfortunately, more often than not, tragedy would strike once they acted on the said thought.
This sort of larceny method was the hit and run sort, where they would not keep an eye on a single target endlessly; success or failure hinged on that one encounter. That was why the person committing this act would change their location after every attempt, committing crimes as he or she went. Working hard to exploit and rob other larcenists, this was the sort of larceny method that even larcenists themselves reviled.
As for this group of youngsters before them, while none was showing off any top-tier equipment, that look of hopeless stupidity they shared was exceptionally tempting; it might very well be some sort of new approach toward larceny. Larceny also demanded survival and sought for new developments, after all! How could new approaches and school of thoughts not exist?
“Big South, what do you think?” Glue and Unrivaled Lucky Star were discussing this separately, while Southern Lone Blade remained noncommittal, merely watching the twenty-six players stride right past the three.
Southern Lone Blade was still mute. Twisting his mouth toward a certain direction, he indicated for the two to take note of something over there.
The two turned their gazes to look and saw another bunch of players, about a dozen or so, moving and acting dubiously as they gestured and pointed at the twenty-six players passing by. However, none of them were hiding in the tall grass like Southern Lone Blade and the others but was, instead, standing out in the open as they ridiculed the twenty-six players.
The three men exchanged glances. There was never a lack of people who would bully others for their enjoyment, and there was an exceptionally large number of them online. For this bunch of hoodlums to appear out of nowhere, it was truly a gift from the divine. Southern Lone Blade and his men could now see just how profound these twenty-six players present were.
The three men stirred as they unblinkingly watched what these youngsters would do. How would they react? Would they change their equipment? What magical use did those under level 10 players have for this PK? This was a question that Southern Lone Blade was particularly concerned about.
“Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey…” These ‘heys’ were not Glue calling someone but his exclamation, instead. Not only did these twenty-six players fail to react to any of those people blocking their way and goading them with insults, they even took a detour by circumventing them.
“No way! To actually show such self-restraint, youngsters nowadays sure are something.” Glue sighed in awe. They were clearly just minors. Was it not said that children nowadays were all too familiar with the Law of the People’s Republic of China on the Protection of Minors, so they were very legally conscious and acted very rampantly? It appeared that the media and the Internet were full of nonsense.
Nevertheless, this situation remained unresolved, for those shady players worked together not to let them pass. Seeing the twenty-six players attempt to go around them, they actually chased right after them to pester these children. One of the Archers in that troublemaking group even fired off his Homing Projectile with the intention of teasing the young girls among the twenty-six.
“This is too outrageous. How can they continue to stand this?” Glue was dumbfounded.
It was obvious that they could not, as all the twenty-six players glared furiously at their harassers and loudly chastised those men. Unrivaled Lucky Star, who was also made agitated by this, almost leaped out from the tall grass as he said, “The Strength Mage is about to attack! Hmm… though it is a surprise attack.”
They watched as the Mage holding the banner kept it and moved himself to the side before suddenly pulling out a magic staff while no one was looking and raising it in the air. The heaven-earth combination of Descending Wheel of Flames and Blazing Tree of a Thousand Inferno was cast thusly, and the spells landed upon his enemies indiscriminately.
Unfortunately, it looked as if those people being subjected to the spells were barely affected by them; a Warrior stomped through the sea of flames and thrust the claymore forward…
“Where’s that Mage?” Unrivaled Lucky Star asked.
“Looks like he got smacked away…” Glue missed his Eagle Eye. If he still had that passive skill, he would surely be able to see where the Mage had ended up flying.
“What’s the situation?” Unrivaled Lucky Star was in a daze.
“What else could it be? Just a bunch of noobs!” Southern Lone Blade snapped.
“Hmm… That surprise attack was quite a success, yet none of those guys even felt it happen…” Unrivaled Lucky Star muttered.
Meanwhile, that surprise attack seemed to have acted like a catalyst, as both parties were soon caught in a battle after exchanging a few rounds of words. That troop of twenty-six players almost instantly became twenty-three. Southern Lone Blade did not see any magical use of ‘PK protection’, but those players under level 10 were tossed aside as if they were outsiders, and all they could do was wave their heads in the air frantically as they cursed and yelled at the transgressors.
The remaining youngsters caught in the battle were clearly no match for these scoundrels, and they were all beaten soundly the moment they came forward. However, no one retreated in the face of these impossible odds, and everyone very consciously protected those girls in their midst.
“F*ck. I can’t stand watching this any longer!” Glue said.
“Yeah!” Southern Lone Blade had already unsheathed his sword by then. Meanwhile, Unrivaled Lucky Star was beginning to confer his Blessings to them all.
Glue leaped out of the tall grass. Drawing his bowstring, he cleared his throat to speak.
“F*ck! Get down!” Southern Lone Blade suddenly leaped out and pushed Glue back into the tall grass.
“What the heck? What’s that all about?” Southern Lone Blade had exerted quite a bit of strength in that move, causing Glue’s head to be shoved right into the muddy ground they were crouching on and struggled to get his head out from under it. He saw a circle of fire appear in the sky above a short distance away from them and nearly half of those players that had yet to enter the battle from the opposing side vanished. Next, a black figure materialized in their midst, and as two streaks of violent flames appeared, the other half dissipated in the ensuing white lights.
The people caught in the battle were all stunned, yet this figure did not stay for long as he dashed right into the chaotic battle and slowly picked them off one by one with great finesse. In less than a minute, the dozens of men who had been flashing their weapons smugly were reduced to just three men. Frightened to the point that their souls fled, the harassers ended up sprinting away in every direction as they hugged their heads in terror.
In the end, none of the three were spared; one was struck down by a Lightning Bolt, another had a Fireball chasing after him, and the last one had the honor of being pursued by the figure personally. However, it seemed that this person had already used up all his mana, so he had to get physical with that poor soul, and the sound of his fists landing on that scoundrel’s body was truly unforgettable; that man got beaten up all over the place. Southern Lone Blade and the other two men hunkered even lower, with Glue looking as if he would drive his head back into the muddy ground himself.
“That’s Thousand Miles Drunk, all right…” Unrivaled Lucky Star’s face was pale.
“SHHHH!” Glue shushed while he hid in the mud.
Finally, that unlucky sole survivor had been beaten to death. That group of noobs gathered around him as if they had just seen their relative, with some laughing and others crying; there were even those that cursed and swore at the non-existent corpses of their enemies.
“Teacher lied to us. The uncle we met in Yueye City is very kind, but these men are all evil!” a student bawled.
“The uncle from Yueye City?” Gu Fei was confused, thinking to himself, Do they mean Dusky Cloud? Kind? Fu— Gu Fei almost swore in front of his students.
“Let’s go; let’s go. Make our way into the city first,” Gu Fei said, instead.
“Dashuai, Xiaowu, and our class rep got killed and were sent back to the city,” a student mentioned.
“It’s fine. I’ll get a Teleportation Scroll and send it over to them so that they can get here,” Gu Fei said.
“Then, why didn’t you use that method to teleport us over here?” another student asked.
“I’m not that rich!” Gu Fei was piqued. These students, all they want is to take advantage of me!
He brought all the students into the city, and after a few moments, Southern Lone Blade, Unrivaled Lucky Star, and Glue revealed themselves from the tall grass.
“Ahh. D*mm*t. Where’s everyone? Why didn’t they wait for me?” Suddenly, the three men all heard a voice that gave them a fright, causing them to shrink back into the vegetation. Sneaking a peek, they saw the very same Mage who had attempted to stage a surprise attack on those scoundrels from before appear from the shrubs at the side while clutching his waist. All three men rolled their eyes in unison.