Chapter 616: Chapter 616 – Making Money isn’t Easy
The five men online from Young Master’s Elite, were currently busy setting “Ask Brother Assist” as their automated response to messages sent their way. None of them had any idea what sort of reaction players would have when they faced the automated message, since all they cared about right now was that their ears finally had some peace and quiet.
Messaging might have been turned off, but the people around him were still around. Vast Lushness was helping Blue Ease and his men to register, which was not a big deal, and Gu Fei was originally about to casually agree when he stopped himself involuntarily the moment he thought about that mass of messages he had just received. When Dusky Cloud and his comrades arrive, what sort of scene would unfold if they ran into Blue Ease and his men?
Gu Fei had no intention of messing around with such personal grievances, so he decided to relay the matter to Vast Lushness. She froze up for a good moment in response, “They are coming to learn too? Then it seems like we won’t have a need to learn anything either!”
“Oh?” Gu Fei was surprised and found that to be incongruent with Vast Lushness’s personality. She was not a woman who would back down just because the Ten Guild Alliance was tyrannically strong!
“If the Ten Guild Alliance end up coming for lessons, then I’m afraid they would occupy the entire grinding map. No one else would have any chance to fight the monsters even if they picked up the routine as well,” Vast Lushness explained.
“However…” A new thought came to Vast Lushness the moment she finished speaking, “I don’t think the Ten Guild Alliance is the only guild out there that have such plans, right?”
Gu Fei nodded in agreement when he thought of how Oathless Sword, Brave Surge, and even Deep Waters had reached out to him, and these were just players who he was able to speak with directly.
“In that case, everybody would be fighting for the grinding map when that time comes. Who knows what sort of scene we will witness…” Vast Lushness mused.
“If you’re a guild leader, what would your decision be?” Gu Fei asked.
“That would depend on the way of thinking your workshop adopts; are you going to develop the grinding maps piece by piece? Currently, you’ve only opened up two maps; it’s far too much in short supply. Directly competing with everyone would not be wise at all, so if I was in their shoes, I would privately contact the workshop and pay out a high price to hire you guys to privately tutor us for a grinding map of our choosing… However, that doesn’t seem right either. There’s no way to seal off a grinding map, so other players would naturally secretly watch when they begin their grind, so even if you guys aren’t teaching it, players would still be able to directly learn it while the guild members in question grinded… Ahh, this is such a troublesome matter!” Vast Lushness was knitting her eyebrows just thinking about the matter. “With the current situation, learning is one thing, but it’s another matter entirely whether people have the opportunity to use it.”
“Yes, what you said makes sense,” Gu Fei nodded. He could tell such a scenario was very likely as well, but he had not worried about it. To put it bluntly, it was an issue of Kill-stealing, and it was an issue of contention that had existed in MMOs since time immemorial. As for how it was handled, Gu Fei believed the players themselves were far more experienced than he was; there was sure to be a path once the car reaches the mountains! 1
“It’s better if I try and convince Blue Ease and his people not to learn it first,” Vast Lushness finally said.
“Yeah!” Gu Fei had no opinion either way.
Once Vast Lushness and the others departed, and his students were all offline, Gu Fei ultimately decided to log off and rest since there were no lessons he had to prep for the moment.
Meanwhile, the impact that the efficient monster grinding routine had brought was still a hot topic for all. Players came streaming in from various cities near and far from Baishi City. Nearby regions like Linyin City and Yueye City only needed 2 to 3 hours of travel, while cities further away were essentially double that time. As such, 2 to 3 hours became the periodical cycle as players kept gathering at Baishi City from elsewhere, and the Wilderness Camp no longer looked anything like a grinding map, utterly filled with players that not a single monster could be found with a glance. How would anyone be able to continue their leveling grind like this? Everybody was no longer contending over monsters, inquiring about the matter with the efficient monster grinding routine and there were even players who took advantage of the crowd present and set up their stalls to conduct business and the like.
The situation was just the same over by White Mill. Even though the lessons had yet to begin, there was already a huge amount of players hanging around, eager to watch the spectacle. The two grinding maps were thus unceremoniously crowded like there was a gathering, the commotion unparalleled.
It was evident that these past two days had been exceptionally exhausting for Brother Assist. He had taken an extra long rest today, and the sun was nearly setting by the time he got up. Quickly, the man got up and crawled toward his computer. He was not in a hurry to get into the game but was first going to take a look at the post he made.
The thread he started had long since reached the maximum post capacity, and the various major online forums reposts he made were equally enthusiastically received. Brother Assist was over the moon seeing this, and he hardly cared to peruse the private messages his forums friends sent inquiring after the matter. He could hardly wait as he logged onto the game, wanting to share the good news with his fellow mercenaries. In the end, the moment he came online, he was buried under the landslide of notifications the system had sent before he could even get his bearings straight after spawning in.
Even though Brother Assist had made mental preparations for something like this to happen, he was nevertheless a little overwhelmed to the point he was at a loss at what to do. It had been 5 whole minutes since he logged on, but the message notification from the system continued to ring repeatedly. These people had been held back by the five others’ automated response to “Ask Brother Assist” for the whole day, so the moment they saw Brother Assist appear online, every one of them had pounced upon the man like he was prey, their jaws clamping down upon him tightly, sending messages after messages with less than ten seconds in between the moment they saw there was no reply to their previous message.
Brother Assist scrambled to answer each and every one of them even as he reported to the people on the mercenary channel, “Man, it’s looking great out here. The people are really passionate about this.”
“Yes, very passionate,” The other four men agreed.
“How about you guys? How many have registered on your end?” Brother Assist asked.
“Isn’t registration Miles’ responsibility?” Young Master Han lightly commented.
“Oh, that’s right! Why isn’t he online!” Brother Assist could hardly contain himself and was eager to tabulate everything up.
Speaking of the devil, Gu Fei had just finished his dinner and gotten online at this time. Brother Assist instantly sent a message his way, “You’re here. How many people registered?”
“Ask Brother Assist.”
“What are you asking me for? How would I know?” Brother Assist wondered.
“Ask Brother Assist.”
Brother Assist very quickly understood what was going on, and he was demoralized when he quickly realized why messages were bombarding him endlessly. But what could he say to this? All he could do was sigh at the role of an odd-jobber he had been assigned with, sending a message over the mercenary channel in exasperation, “Miles, turn off your automated reply!”
Gu Fei was still in a state of shock! Ever since this morning, when Brother Assist had made his posts about the workshop, mail had been constantly sent at him this whole while, barely taking notice of what was happening in the beginning. Ever since he had become a person of renown in the game, he would receive plenty of mail every day. While he had conscientiously replied to them at the start, there was still a limit to the patience Gu Fei had, especially since the content of most of these letters were about the same. It got to the point were Gu Fei finally began to ignore them, only taking the time to clear out his mail whenever he passed by the city gates without taking a glance at them altogether. But this time when he got online, the system notified him that he had already gotten 21,231 letters in his mailbox!
Thus, when Gu Fei saw Brother Assist calling for him to turn off his automated message over the mercenary channel, he did not care to be embarrassed as he immediately announced, “This is insane. I have 21,231 letters in my mailbox! Wait no, it’s now 21,233.” In the time he typed the message out, two more letters had found their way into his mailbox.
“That’s awesome!!!!” Royal God Call was the first to congratulate.
“Wounds, come on over and help me retrieve them all. Bring plenty of burlap sacks,” Gu Fei called out to War Without Wounds as this would clearly be a physically demanding task; This was a fully immersive VRMMO after all! Everything had weight to it.
“Which mailbox?” It was rare for War Without Wounds to be so earnest.
“Whichever you’re the closest too!” Gu Fei considered War Without Wounds’s baby legs and made such a decision.
“Alright, I’ll see you by the north gate,” War Without Wounds said.
“Got it!” Gu Fei answered as he turned off his automated reply. At the same time, he saw the chat logs during this period when he had it up, and the most memorable interaction was from Eternal Dominion.
“How’s everything going?”
“Ask Brother Assist.”
“But Brother Assist isn’t online!”
“Ask Brother Assist.”
“How am I supposed to ask him if he isn’t online?”
“Ask Brother Assist.”
“Is he appearing offline?”
“Ask Brother Assist.”
“I did ask him, but he hasn’t replied. He’s offline, right?”
“Ask Brother Assist.”
“How am I supposed to ask him if he isn’t online?”
“Ask Brother Assist.”
“F*ck, is this an automated message?”
“Ask Brother Assist.”
“Brother Assist isn’t even online, what’s the point of designating this automated message!”
“Ask Brother Assist.”
Even though Eternal Dominion was interacting with an automated reply, the man continued to interact with Gu Fei eight separate times, which only showed that the patience of martial practitioners is on an entirely different level. Looking at the time when these messages were sent, it was just a little before Gu Fei had logged off, which was likely when Eternal Dominion had just gotten online, and he was no longer online at the moment. Conversely, Oathless Sword and the others no longer sent any messages after they got rebuffed with the “Ask Brother Assist” thrice, each leaving their own sarcastic repudiations to the automated message Gu Fei set.
Gu Fei made his way over to the mailbox found by the north gate, even as the number of letters increased with every step he took. Royal God Call was excitedly calculating how much 21,233 multiply by 99 was in the mercenary channel, and everyone could feel a sense of asphyxia when they realized the sum broke into the seven digits.
Southern Lone Blade and his men were all already online by this point, and being the responsible workers that they were, had spent the whole of last night familiarizing themselves with the respective efficient monster grinding routines Gu Fei had taught them. All that was left was for them to wait until they could show off what they had mastered. They were all privy to what had happened throughout the day as well, and Southern Lone Blade had to field quite a few questions of his own. Though he was not so inconsiderate as to get them to “Ask Brother Assist”, he was nevertheless uncertain what was the unanimous answer to give to everyone, so all he did was tell them everything would be fine as long as they did as the post had stated.
When he saw Gu Fei come online, Southern Lone Blade had also came to ask him about the latest updates and Gu Fei swiftly got him to help him with the menial labor. Over 20,000 letters! No matter how much Strength War Without Wounds had, there was no burlap sack that huge to contain them all.
Southern Lone Blade was not going to dawdle when it came time to work, so he led all six of his brothers over to meet up with Gu Fei and War Without Wounds, and all nine of them hauled off all 20,000 plus letters all in one go. The moment they left, the mailbox began accumulating the letters once more.
“It’s too quick. I originally thought it would take three to four days, but by the looks of it, we would reach the numbers we need in a single day,” Sword Demon and the others were currently gathered in an empty room in Baishi City, for it was too inconvenient for all of them to do anything in a place like a tavern, where plenty of eyes are around. Using the profits from the Wilderness Camp they had earned yesterday, Young Master Han had purchased a property in Baishi City and was using it as an office place for their workshop. Most workshops would hang up their own signboards openly, afraid that others would not recognize them, but Gu Fei’s workshop did not dare to do the same. With the current level of commotion their workshop was causing, they would most likely end up congesting the entire street if they were to really hang out their signboard for all to see.
Gu Fei’s group of nine transported the sacks of letters all the way to their office, scattering the entire heap of letters directly on the ground as he wiped his sweat, “In the time it took for me to carry all these over here, another 1,000 or so letters were sent to my mailbox.”
These experts who were quick to adapt to such momentous occurrences were already no longer reacting to something like “1,000 or so”. With a casual nod, Young Master Han had already begun to assign tasks to the people present, “Miles, take some men with you to collect the money from the letters. Brother Assist, bring another bunch to sort out the timing and collate the information.”
Young Master Han did not directly assign manpower to them, but Southern Lone Blade was quick to catch on, pointing out three of his men to help Gu Fei count the coins they collected, while Royal God Call and War Without Wounds had enthusiastically jumped to their feet as well. They were also willing to have intimate contact with the gold coins.
With over 20,000 letters, not every one of them had gold coins enclosed. Removing the several hundreds of private letters that Gu Fei had not recently found time to clear out, half of what remained was actually just letters of enquiries.
Nevertheless, since Gu Fei and everyone currently have an absolute monopoly of the market, and adding to the fact that Young Master Han was the one running the show, there would be no need for any good service on their part, and they directly tossed out those letters which were beating around the bush, asking all sorts of questions. However, there was a portion of the letters that were from guild leaders, with the intention of doing a bulk purchase of their tutelage, which was the reason why they had sent a letter to privately negotiate the price. There were even some who immediately thought of directly booking a private session like what Vast Lushness had envisioned before, so all these letters were temporarily set aside for now.
In addition, the mound of coin pouches continued to amass in the corner of the room. Players did not have to prepare coin pouches in Parallel World, and it would automatically materialize when coins were being exchanged. Depending on the number of coins within, the coin pouches would change in color accordingly. At the moment, the red pouches contained the highest amount possible, capping out at ten thousand. The main job for Gu Fei, Royal God Call, and the others were to fit the coins in each of the pouches into one.
Meanwhile, all the letters that contain these gold coins were handed to Brother Assist and the others, and enclosed in each of the letters were of course the information that Brother Assist had requested on the forums, including things like their job class, weapon, and stats. Furthermore, this time Gu Fei had developed a far more comprehensive distinction; the classification was no longer as simple as just long and short weapon, fast or slow, but was instead split into different routines for each of the different job classes.
Thanks to the tireless work of the people inside the room, the more than 20,000 letters were finally all opened and read; out of everything, 10,231 letters had gold coins enclosed in them, but the total amount came out to be 1,012,457 gold coins, and it was several hundreds coins less compared to how much they theoretically should have. As there was no need to account for their income to anyone, nor did they have to be taxed or record their earnings, the whole lot of them decided to directly waive that several hundred gold discrepancy.
After they were done with all this, over eight hours had already passed, and Eternal Dominion had also came along halfway through to help out. Young Master Han finally could no longer be shameless, and stood by the side and participated by pointing things out. Meanwhile, Gu Fei had reported that in the eight hours or so that passed, his mailbox had received another 21,457 letters, and everybody shared the same sensation of wanting to die when they heard that.
Sword Demon and the others had already expressed they had no desire to spend too much time on this from the start, and would rather hire external aid and would not mind giving them a portion of their profits so as to avoid all this. But by the looks of things, even if they had Southern Lone Blade and his team with them, they still had a huge manpower problem. Dealing with another 20,000 letters would mean they would all be busy till noon of the next day. By the time everyone slept and woke up again, there just might be another 20,000 letters out there waiting for them…
Sword Demon and the others might not have to step in when it came to the tutoring of the routines, but according to the pace of Young Master Han’s arrangement, that would already be the time for them to announce the next area they would be focusing and that meant another round of collecting letters, counting coins, and collating information.
Even though Southern Lone Blade and his team had foreseen such a future as well, and realized how tiring it would be, they at least did not share the resistance that Sword Demon and the others felt. After all, both parties approached this from a different perspective. To the seven men, earning money was their goal, while Sword Demon and the other mercenaries saw their profits to be nothing more than a means to their final goal. They could definitely not stand expending all their time and effort on this.
“Are we going to retrieve the letters?” Southern Lone Blade wiped his sweat even as he asked Gu Fei.
Gu Fei was also more than a little reluctant. Even though he was seeing this from a different perspective, he shared a similar sentiment with Sword Demon and the others and felt that this matter had essentially taken too much of his time. Thus, the people inside this room exchanged glances with each other, and no one actually answered Southern Lone Blade’s question.
“What’s the matter?” Southern Lone Blade asked. At the moment, he simply could not tell what these people were feeling about this situation.
“If we do it like this, we won’t have any time to level,” Sword Demon expressed his thoughts openly on behalf of the others.
Southern Lone Blade paused. He obviously understood what these people were thinking, and to put it bluntly, everybody’s philosophy to the game was fundamentally different. They were all reluctantly on the same page for this business, and a division was already starting to show. Southern Lone Blade and the others were obviously hoping to earn as much as they could from this venture, while Sword Demon and his gang would most likely back out after they earned enough from this.
“It’s already past three. It’ll probably time for us to sleep if we were to do another 20,000 letters, then we would have accomplished nothing today,” War Without Wounds was frowning as well. He was happy counting money, but being made count coins endlessly was not the reason he was playing this game.
Southern Lone Blade was a little discontented. Early on when he first joined in, he had never thought this was the thinking these people had. From the looks of things, it seemed like these men merely wished to be in charge of everything, and was hardly interested in the work. All they cared for was to get a share of the profits. If Gu Fei and Eternal Dominion were the same as well, Southern Lone Blade would have nothing to say; after all, they were the ones who came up with the efficient monster grinding routines and had already provided the most important contribution to this whole venture. However, just what right did these people have to bum around? Just from the fact that they were friends with Thousand Miles Drunk?
Southern Lone Blade laughed bitterly. He would truly have no options if that were the case. He had already realized the relationship between the people involved here, and even though Young Master Han was the one giving the commands in this mercenary group, it was apparent that the real boss could only be Thousand Miles Drunk and Eternal Dominion. Why was that? Because the two of them were the source of production for the efficient monster grinding routines! Everything was in the hands of those two martial practitioners, so as long as the two had no opinions about how to run things, Southern Lone Blade could only stare as those men would loaf around doing nothing and still get a cut of the profits.
After deeply realizing how he and his friends were being exploited for his manpower here, Southern Lone Blade had nothing to say about it either. All he could do was bemoan his fate, that he did not become friends with Thousand Miles Drunk sooner.
“How many people are we looking to take in for White Mill?” Gu Fei asked.
“If they are using the efficient monster grinding routine, that place should at most contain 3,000 players grinding their levels at the same time,” Brother Assist said.
“Oh? 15,000 people? Then we’ve more or less gotten the numbers now!” Gu Fei recalled that Young Master Han had mentioned that taking 5 times the total would do.
However, Brother Assist was shaking his head, “3,000 players is referring to the time when it is fully saturated, number of players wise, and that’s a calculation based off the space we have in the map. But we need to account for the time it takes to reach this level of complete saturation. Considering it as a daily cycle, I feel White Mill should be able to fulfill the leveling requirements for 10,000 players, but after considering the enthusiasm after getting a grasp of the efficient monster grinding routine, we will have to adjust this number. I think 6 to 8 thousand would do!”
“So that’s 30 to 50 thousand people?” Gu Fei turned to regard Young Master Han.
Young Master Han had instead asked a question in return, “What’s the situation with regard to the teaching grounds over by White Mill?”
“The place has better conditions than the Wilderness Camp. Because of the existence of the Mill structures in the map, we can use its roof as the place to conduct our lessons, and for the players to have a clear enough view of it, I reckon we would be able to take 1,000 players in one go, no problem. If we have ten people each occupying the mill and teaching, that would be at least 10,000 players, so we could theoretically finish everything in three to five rounds.” The dedicated Southern Lone Blade had already done his due consideration towards this problem beforehand.
Ch 616 Footnote 1
A chinese idiom that means “there’s sure to be a solution in the face of difficulties”