Chapter 617: Chapter 617 – Tormenting People to Death
Translator: Exodus Tales Editor: Exodus Tales
“In that case, has anyone taken a look at the situation over by the White Mill today?” Young Master Han asked.
“I did,” The person speaking was still Southern Lone Blade. “Due to the announcement made on various sites online, the White Mill had already turned into a very popular grinding spot, especially the many players who are from other distant cities who had no wish to come here for nothing, and they are all loitering about that place, hoping to watch us teach the efficient monster grinding routine. Honestly speaking, these people would cause quite a lot of inconvenience for our organisation of lessons. It’ll be quite a problem for us if we wish to protect the interests of those who had paid for our lesson.”
Sword Demon and the others could not help but feel immense guilt right now. The professionalism and dedication Southern Lone Blade was demonstrating had truly left them speechless, and he had not even uttered a word of complaint while he sorted through all the letters for the eight hours with everyone. Even as professional gamers who treated this as part of their job, that nevertheless made them an absolutely good employee. Thinking about their own casual and lackadaisical mentality toward this business, the three men exchanged looks with each other, none of them finding the right words to say either.
Sword Demon had always been a straightforward person, so he had no wish to dawdle and keep being entangled like this, so he spoke up, “I wish to say a few words.”
“What?” Everyone turned to regard the Thief.
“Seeing as how much more time we would expectedly be spending to deal with this, I personally do not wish to waste too much of my time and effort in the game solely on making money, so I was thinking… Once this batch is done, I’ll resign,” Sword Demon said.
Everyone was stunned. The huge amount of profits this business venture would rake it was already been practically proven, yet Sword Demon was willing to let all that slip away. War Without Wounds and Royal God Call looked at each other for a moment and suddenly nodded in unison, “We were thinking just the same as well.” These two’s prurience and love for money usually made them act rather immorally, but when it came to the general understanding of tradeoffs, these men were clear as to what they valued more. At the moment, neither of them hesitated much when following Sword Demon in making this choice.
It was now Southern Lone Blade’s turn to feel a little guilty. He had thought these men were thick-skinned enough to bank on their relationship with Gu Fei to mooch off the business, but it turned out that these veteran experts actually had their pride and were independent enough, so none of them would do something like being completely reliant on others like what he had presumed.
“But the workshop’s established with all your names on it. Without you guys…” Brother Assist was a little worried. There were players out there who were like groupies. What would they do if there were fans of Sword Demon that came or someone who was a fan of Royal God Call requested an autograph from their idol?
“We just don’t wish to waste too much time dealing with the business, but we are still a member of the workshop! If there’s anything you need help with, holler and we’ll be right there,” Sword Demon said.
“Yes, absolutely,” Royal God Call agreed.
“Uhmm, but using our names, would that not mean we should get a little from usage rights?” War Without Wounds wondered out loud.
“That makes sense,” Royal God Call agreed once more.
Everyone had treated War Without Wounds’ suggestion as a joke and moved on from it. As for the decision these three made, aside from Brother Assist’s skepticism, Flame Singed Clothes had also bluntly expressed his dissatisfaction, “Didn’t we all agree to cooperate on this? It’s barely been a few days, and you guys already want to back out, All of you—” Flame Singed Clothes wanted to say that the three of them lacked trustworthiness and were being fickle, but Southern Lone Blade had reached out to wrench him back down, so Flame Singed Clothes quickly shut his mouth.
Sword Demon had already expected such a response, which was why he looked rather embarrassed when he first mentioned he would be resigning, Flame Singed Clothes pointing it out so plainly for everyone right now only made it all the more awkward for him.
War Without Wounds and Royal God Call were not as thin-faced as Sword Demon, so they immediately retorted, “Haven’t we previously mentioned we don’t wish to spend too much time on this? We’re backing out now so that we don’t become an encumbrance for everyone.”
“I understand all your kind intentions,” Southern Lone Blade nodded. “None of my men and I have any opinions as to the decisions you make, so whatever you decide goes.” Southern Lone Blade was making it obvious he had no wish to get involved in this issue. When Flame Singed Clothes heard what he said, the man naturally had nothing to add as well, quietly backing off to a corner to show this.
Neither War Without Wounds nor Royal God Call sought to pursue the matter upon given the advantage. Everyone exchanged glances with one another at that moment, with no one saying a word. Finally, everybody’s eyes swiveled to Gu Fei, letting the man make the decision for this matter.
Gu Fei did not disappoint everyone as he spoke, “The way I see it, the few of you will be considered as temps.”
“Temps?” They were all astonished.
“Yup, like take this batch for example; everyone had worked together to get things done! For the next batch, you don’t have to participate if none of you wish to. Whenever you’ve got the need, come in and help out when the time comes.”
“Hey, that’s a great idea!!” War Without Wounds and Royal God Call immediately began applauding to show their support. However, Sword Demon had the slightest bit of hesitation. How would he not understand what Gu Fei was implying; to put it bluntly, the business would be sustained by the efforts of Gu Fei, Southern Lone Blade and the others, while Sword Demon, Royal God Call and War Without Wounds would be esteemed bigwigs who would come help out and earn a little allowance whenever they had the time, ignoring their entire existence when they were busy… Sword Demon was momentarily conflicted as he felt he did not have the qualifications to act like such a big shot, considering what help he could provide in this business.
“Alright, so it’s decided!” Gu Fei ended this discussion and looked at Southern Lone Blade and the others again.
Having already realized his role as the exploited worker, Southern Lone Blade had already expressed he had no opinion no matter the final decision. Besides, this was not a particularly bad decision as well. The profits would at least be split with accordance to merit, at the very least, so he expressed his support for this decision as well when prompted.
“Great, no one has any issues to this,” Gu Fei gladly nodded, before adding. “In the future, I’ll become a temp as well.”
“F*CK!!” Everyone disparaged. And to think they had all thought he was being so brotherly when he made such an arrangement for Sword Demon and the others. Now, it seemed like he was merely paving a path out of this business for himself!
“Since that’s the case, we should hurry up and continue our work here,” Now that everything was decided, everyone no longer dawdled. Sword Demon and the others requested for all the other letters to be collected, and so they were all mobilized, making their way to the mailbox.
“Is there no capacity limit to the mailbox?” Gu Fei asked Brother Assist along the way, remembering that there was a time when his mailbox was stuff filled with 1,000 letters, yet it had no problem taking in 20,000’s after 20,000’s of letters now.
“Now that there are more and more players in Parallel World, and with increased traveling between the cities, the cap had been removed to make it more convenient for everyone to keep in contact. However, the mailbox would automatically delete the letters routinely, so it’s best to avoid leaving them there for too long, otherwise any rare items that happened to be enclosed in the letters would be deleted along with it,” Brother Assist reminded.
It was at this time when Southern Lone Blade suggested, “There are so many players all gathered by the White Mill now, and this situation might keep happening for our future batches as well. I suggest we don’t get so many players enrolled first. Let’s first handle 20,000, and see what happens from there, so we can mentally forge a baseline on what to expect in the future.”
The members of Young Master’s Elite turned to Young Master Han. As was the man’s habit, he was sure to be disparaging Southern Lone Blade’s idea, before offering a far more optimized plan to leave the disparaged dumbfounded of his brilliance. Sure enough, Young Master Han glanced over to Southern Lone Blade and said, “I already have a good idea what sort of situation would unfold from this. The enrollment plan will continue unchanged. The goal is 40,000 players.”
“At the current rate we’re going, we would need approximately eight hours to get through roughly 20,000 letters. Only half of these letters would have the fees enclosed, which means we enroll around 10,000 players every hour. Considering the number of letters already in the mailbox now, we still have another 16 hours…” Gu Fei said.
“After we finish organizing that last mound of letters 16 hours later, we’ll still need another 8 hours. Comrades, we’ve still got 24 hours of work before we can rest up,” Brother Assist added on.
“Your math is wrong,” Young Master Han lightly commented.
“There would still be 40,000 letters we need to go through after those 24 hours,” Young Master Han said.
Everyone was vomiting blood, as Royal God Call clutched onto Gu Fei’s hand, his face in tears, “Is it still possible to call it quits right now?”
Gu Fei was equally pale as well, gazing at the drained expressions they were all sharing, “Actually, we’re not really in any sort of rush, are we?”
“Let’s deal with these 20,000 letters first before we discuss this further!” Everybody sighed, listlessly opening up the mailbox and helped Gu Fei retrieve the letters within. Their action drew quite a lot of attention from passersby, who were all giving them sideways glances as Gu Fei and the others stuffed all the letters into separate sacks.
All of them were deeply aware of just how precious their time was, so they hurried back to the office and began to work mechanically. However, it was unknown if the previous 8 hours had trained them, as everyone became all the more efficient with the tasks. This time, it only took them about 6 hours to sort through the 20,000 letters, reaching a total of 11,428 prospective students from this stack of letters, collecting 1,113,057 gold coins as a result. There was discrepancy once more, but no one was bothered by it.
“It’s 10 am now,” Brother Assist announced, his exhaustion apparent from how he dragged out his words. Even night owls like Sword Demon and the others were barely holding on themselves. While they would often game for long hours, they would rarely spend all their time doing just one thing, especially something as dull as this.
“There’s another 11,102 letters in my mailbox now. Seems to be less than what we had expected from our previous example,” Gu Fei mused.
“That’s not strange. It’s the later part of the night, so there’s a lot less players online,” Brother Assist said.
“Let’s all log off and have a rest. We’ll continue our work when we get online later. Brother Assist, before you come online after you’re done with your rest, announce we’re done accepting applications for the efficient monster grinding routine on the forums,” Young Master Han said.
“After my rest? There wouldn’t be enough for 40,000 players by then!” Brother Assist said.
“There’s no way it would be so exact; I reckon we’ll still have more or less the numbers we want, so let’s just do it like this!” Young Master Han said.
Brother Assist nodded, no objections on his end.
“Let’s all synchronize our time for this. We’ll meet in ten hours, everyone good with that?” Young Master Han asked.
The other thirteen players nodded, leaving the office together, hurrying over to the designated log off points like they were all getting off work.
Ten hours later, everybody was back online at the stipulated time, and Brother Assist had already corrected all the posts he had made to announce the end of enrollment for this round. They had all gathered by the mailbox when they logged on, and the first thing they did was get Gu Fei to seal his mailbox, temporarily refusing to receive any new letters from other players.
“37,654 letters,” Gu Fei announced in the end,
“What did I tell you?” Young Master Han said to Brother Assist. Going by the expectation of how 50% of these letters would be duds, that would still be about 18,000 potential students and adding that to the over 20,000 players that they had already confirmed from the letters before, they would have more than 40,000 players they aimed to achieve.
The nearly 40,000 letters were only cleared after two trips even with everyone helping out. A bunch of them began sorting through all the letters once that was done, while the others were sent out to purchase the necessary materials for the replies. Every single one of them could not help but shudder when they thought about how there were over 40,000 letters to reply to and confirm the details for the lessons.
Everyone’s task efficiency broke new heights once more, completing all 37,654 letters in about 10 hours. Finally, the tutelage of the White Mill’s efficient monster grinding routines came up to a total tally of 41,526 players, and what should have been 4,111,074 gold coins ended up being 4,108,954 gold coins in actuality. The discrepancy of 2,120 gold coins would definitely have been a sum that made people grind their teeth, but when this amount was juxtaposed with their total earnings, none of them were about to fuss over the difference, and none of them really cared to look into the reason as to how this discrepancy happened either.
“Let’s begin to compose our reply,” Brother Assist’s expression was somber.
Everyone’s eyes were upon the completed burlap sacks that were neatly stacked high in the room. Brother Assist stood up and began handing out quills to everyone.
“I’ve already done the calculations; with 41,526 letters, and just 14 of us, that would average out to be 2,966 letters per person. I suggest we make this a competition. The first to finish their stock of letters will be rewarded 100,000 gold coins. What do all of you think?” Brother Assist was acting ostentatiously as well, so casually mentioning a sum like 100,000 gold coins. But how could he not? There were over 400 bags of red 10,000 gold coins bags piled up in the other corner of the room.
“Agreed,” Southern Lone Blade and the other professional gamers all raised their fists in solidarity.
Gu Fei raised his hand, “Can I immediately forfeit?”
“NO!” Everyone shouted back, angrily.
“Right now, every sack contain the same amount of letters, 1,000. I’ll take out 34 from this one, and then adding 2 full sacks will bring that total up to 2966 letters. Royal, these are for you,” Brother Assist began distributing the sacks in this fashion, with all 14 players in the room each getting three burlap sacks each, making it somewhat crowded for the moment.
“Everyone should prepare an empty sack and place the completed replies inside. Each of you can deal with the old letters however you want. Everyone, please be extra extra extra careful. If the number of replies does not tally, I’m sure all of you can imagine just how extremely daunting it would be to go over everything again,” Brother Assist said.
The crowd closed their eyes and mentally visualized it, instantly breaking into a cold sweat, with each of them acknowledging the importance of being detailed with this task.
“Very good. Now that we all have the 2,966 letters in our hands, totalling up to 41,524 letters, here are the two letters remaining,” Brother Assist waved his hand holding the two letters before casually fitting it into his dimensional pocket.
“There’s something else I need to tell you guys, so listen carefully,” Brother Assist gazed at everyone present. “In order to prevent too many of these people from gathering and making it inconvenient for us to supervise, we’ll be teaching them in separate sets. Each set will have 10,000 players, and we will begin on the 3rd of March, from 4 in the morning, and then 5, 6, and 7 am respectively. Every hour will be a slot, and we’ll finish this in four sets. So everyone’s reply is gonna be slightly different from each other’s.”
“Sword Demon, Royal, and Wounds will all write the following: On the 3rd of March, gather by Baishi City’s east gate, 400 meters away to the south, at 4 in the morning. We will not be waiting for latecomers.” Brother Assist said.
“Young Master, Miles, and Dominion, you three will write: On the 3rd of March, gather by Baishi City’s east gate, 400 meters away to the south, at 5 in the morning. We will not be waiting for latecomers.”
“Using that format, Blackwater, Glue, and Flame Singed Clothes will be taking the slot for 6 in the morning, and Paddy Scented Pastures, Unrivaled Lucky Star, and Verdant Timber will take 7 in the morning.”
“Finally, Big South will be with me, and we’ll have a total of 6 sacks of letters. This will be split into four time slots, giving us one and a half sacks for each time slot. I’ll do 4 and 5 am, you will write 6 and 7 am respectively. We don’t have to be too exact with our numbers, as long as it’s more or less half a sack will do.”
Southern Lone Blade nodded in acknowledgement.
“Everyone understand? Do I need to repeat myself?” Brother Assist asked.
“Enough nagging,” Everyone derided.
“In that case, let’s begin!!!” At Brother Assist’s command, the big letter replying competition started, as Brother Assist hurriedly began to start furiously writing out the reply from the spot he was standing. Nobody spoke in the entire office, and only the sound of the scratching quills and the flipping of paper could be heard. Everyone had chosen the method of tossing all the letters that they had finished replying on the ground, and Brother Assist had the fright of his life when he saw how casually that person next to him had thrown these letters. He could not help but yelp out loudly, “Everyone, please take note of where you’re tossing these letters. Please take care not to toss it into the sacks of someone’s completed or even the uncompleted sacks.”
“Ugh, you’re such a nag. Do you think we don’t know that already?” All he got was a strong round of derision once more.
Time slipped by, and everyone continued to write their replies as they took note of the number at the same time. Slowly, the look of horror came over each and every one of them. This was not a complicated math problem, but the first one to reach this realization was Southern Lone Blade. Every letter he wrote took about 20 seconds, and 3,000 letters meant 60,000 seconds, provided he neglect the fact he might slow down or dawdle. Dividing that by 3,600 would result in 16.666 recurring hours…
The second person who did a similar calculation was Royal God Call. The man spent 30 seconds on each of his replies, and using the same rough estimation, the answer he got was 25 hours. His face went ghastly pale.
The third and the fourth… When everybody each finished their mathematical calculation and discovered the minimum amount of time they would take to reply to the letters they had been assigned to, everyone was enraged. They had once more found themselves underestimating the amount of work they would be doing for this venture. Taking into account everything they had to do to earn all the gold coins, everyone had made the mistake of sorely misjudging the momentousness of the task ever since they decided to start up this business.
“F*CK ME! I’m gonna take 33 hours to finish writing all these replies? This will be the death of me!” The first person to bellow out their frustration was War Without Wounds. Everyone was startled by this outburst since that meant War Without Wounds would take about 40 seconds per reply going by the estimation they had done before. It was really slow, and everybody mocked the man accordingly, which thus began the conversation between one another, asking, “How many seconds does it take for you to write out a reply?”
There was no need to discuss if adding points toward Agility would affect this particular task, as it was apparent the real determining factor was the habit of writing in the individual. The Warrior Southern Lone Blade was 10 seconds faster than Royal God Call, while Gu Fei, someone who had both the advantages in-game Agility and the dexterity of kungfu, was entirely unable to demonstrate any sort of superiority in this. Furthermore, his speed of writing was extremely unstable, wavering around 25 seconds per letter. The speed of Eternal Dominion’s writing was stable, but his attitude toward the matter was very proper. In fear of the recipient having no idea what was going on, the man did not care for speed but sought to ensure his words were neatly written. Each of his replies took 45 seconds to craft, making him a whole 5 seconds slower than the already slow War Without Wounds. On top of that, Young Master Han was the exact opposite of ED. Forget about his chicken scratch scribbles; the man was so shameless that he ignored the template he had been given. After all his evolution and condensation of the statement, the final form became: 3/3. 5 am. East gate face South 400m! Promptly!
The whole lot of them howled in admonishment at his shamelessness, but quickly adopted Young Master Han’s short-hand format. Brother Assist’s persuasion fell on deaf ears, so he could only follow the majority and went along with the new standard. Thus, the speed of their replies increased tremendously; Southern Lone Blade, who originally needed 20 seconds to complete a reply, shaved the time down to 10 seconds, essentially halving the time he needed to work on everything. The man was thrilled now that the hope of completing his work in 8 hours was in sight, and was feeling really confident about winning that 100,000 gold coin reward.
After several hours of intense competition, Southern Lone Blade was now at the bottom of his third sack and victory was right before him. Suddenly, a flurry of activity caught his eye, as he saw Brother Assist getting up with a bright smile. The three sacks of letters completed by his feet, raising his right hand with a victory sign.
“You’re done?” Southern Lone Blade was astonished.
“8 hours, 6 minutes, and 47 seconds!” Brother Assist declared.
“That’s Brother Assist, alright!” Everybody sighed in awe. It could be seen just how practice makes perfect here, and that all the note recording Brother Assist did was not for naught.
“Just a little bit,” Southern Lone Blade was dejected. Had he discovered Young Master Han’s shameless short-hand format earlier, he might not have lost this competition.
“Don’t worry, you’ll still have your chances in the future,” Brother Assist winked with a smile, causing everyone to feel a cold breeze course over them. The man was right! This task will come up again, repeatedly!
“Ah f*ck, just kill me already!” War Without Wounds bawled. After using the short-hand version, War Without Wounds’ slow writing speed had only shaved off a dozen of seconds at most, and he still had to work at this for a bit over 20 hours.