Chapter 62 - The Missing Murphy
Gu Fei and Xiaoyu left the church and visited Chief Edwin once more.
“Chief Edwin, how was Murphy, the one killed by the Werewolf, as a person?” Gu Fei got straight to the point.
“Murphy was a kind-hearted, virtuous lad. He was loved by the villagers, so many were saddened by his death,” Chief Edwin commiserated.
Gu Fei specifically asked him about Murphy’s fighting skills, yet the latter only repeated his previous words.
“Where is Murphy buried?” Gu Fei asked.
“He is buried in a graveyard behind the hill south of the village. It is where all the dead villagers are interred,” Chief Edwin answered.
After inquiring about all this, Gu Fei and Xiaoyu strode out of Chief Edwin’s house. They quickly headed to a general store in the village, bought a metal shovel there, and made their way to the graveyard’s location.
“What are we doing next?” asked Xiaoyu as she eyed the shovel. Although Xiaoyu was a natural airhead, she was still able to guess what Gu Fei planned to do.
“Dig a grave,” Gu Fei replied honestly.
“Why are we doing that?” Xiaoyu asked.
“Murphy’s character seems a little fishy to me,” Gu Fei answered.
“What’s fishy about his character?” Xiaoyu curiously asked.
“He seemed to be great at fighting, yet the village chief doesn’t know about it,” Gu Fei answered.
“Then, how do you know about it?” Xiaoyu continued inquiring.
“Uhhh… It’s just a hunch,” Gu Fei said to her simply, as he did not know how to explain his intuition.
“Oh…” Xiaoyu actually accepted such a vague answer.
Xiaoyu was apparently not afraid to do anything for the sake of questing, as the idea of exhuming a corpse did not even illicit a shred of fear in her. The two arrived at the graveyard by the southern hill. After finding Murphy’s engraved name on one of the tombstones, they began digging close to it alternately.
A brown coffin was soon unearthed before their eyes. Gu Fei stuck his shovel into the gap between the lid and the coffin and called Xiaoyu for help.
The Strength-based Xiaoyu reached out for the lid and pulled it up. The cap was easily separated from the casket. Thinking that it had something gruesome inside, Gu Fei immediately covered Xiaoyu’s eyes with his hands as he scanned the contents of the coffin.
“I’m not afraid of seeing a corpse!” Xiaoyu peeled off Gu Fei’s hands from her eyes and peered into the coffin as well, “Eh? Why’s it empty?”
Gu Fei fell deep in his thoughts.
“Did they get lazy making the game?” Xiaoyu asked.
“I don’t think so. If they hadn’t bothered with the details, they wouldn’t have buried this coffin here in the first place. Since they even designed the coffin, it wouldn’t be difficult for them to place a skeleton or corpse inside, right? There must be a reason why it’s like this,” Gu Fei analyzed.
“Maybe, Murphy isn’t truly dead?” Xiaoyu suggested.
“That...” Gu Fei agreed, “...Or someone stole the corpse.”
“Why steal it?” Xiaoyu asked.
“I don’t know. Maybe, there’s a secret inside the corpse,” Gu Fei answered tentatively.
“So what do we do now?” Xiaoyu asked.
“Now we wait,” Gu Fei answered.
“Wait for what?” Xiaoyu questioned.
“If unearthing this coffin is not part of the quest, it will revert back to its original buried state. But if it’s actually part of the quest plot, it will return under the ground only after we complete the quest,” Gu Fei explained.
Xiaoyu was dumbfounded after hearing this. Gu Fei laughed, “When all is said and done, Parallel World’s quests were made by the game design team. It’s like we’re interacting with these quest designers when we’re doing a quest or intermingling with any NPCs as part of a quest. So when doing difficult quests like this, it’s beneficial for us to try and understand their thought process.”
Xiaoyu displayed a look of distress for some time until she finally blurted out, “I don’t even know what they’re thinking about!”
Gu Fei chuckled, “I don’t as well. It’s just a hunch.”
The two waited by Murphy’s grave for a few minutes, and it did not revert back to its original state. Gu Fei confirmed his guess. Murphy’s identity was truly shrouded in mystery.
Meanwhile, Ye Xiaowu was feeling bored, so he decided to activate the monitoring room’s tracker for Gu Fei to watch the latter’s progress in the chain quest. As for the monitoring team members’ accusation about the activity being “against the rule”, Ye Xiaowu had given them the excuse of Gu Fei being “the first player to obtain a chain quest, so I need to observe him for a while. I need to check if there’s any problem with the chain quest”. Actually, Gu Fei was not the only player to have fortuitously obtained a chain quest. Ye Xiaowu chose to watch Gu Fei purely because he was interested in his gameplay.
However, Gu Fei’s quest progress had left him astounded.
Completing a chain quest was not just about reaching its end in a straightforward manner; many different routes existed in-between the start and the finish. These numerous routes were of course created by the game designers to provide players a myriad of ways to attain quest completion, as well as to account for the players’ different levels, job classes, and skills. Ye Xiaowu already had a deep understanding of Gu Fei’s in-game character. So when he simulated the quest using Gu Fei’s in-game character, Ye Xiaowu discovered that he would get stuck at certain portions of it whichever route he took. The jam was due to the in-game character’s level or skill limitation, and neither could be solved by relying on wits alone.
With all these in mind, Ye Xiaowu waited to see Gu Fei’s expression as he got stumped on the quest. He almost burst out laughing when Gu Fei and Xiaoyu got on all fours and searched for clues on the ground by the church. However, this feeling of schadenfreude only lasted for a short while before it was replaced by surprise. The pair seemed to have actually found something, as they got up from the ground and rushed over to Chief Edwin’s hut in the next moment. They even proceeded to dig up Murphy’s grave afterward.
‘Murphy’ was indeed a possible route, and picking up a trail by the church was another. However, ‘Murphy’ could definitely not be triggered by searching the ground like what Gu Fei and Xiaoyu had just done. The method that Ye Xiaowu knew to trigger it was absolutely not doable for those two. And yet, it seemed as if they had managed to stumble upon the very same route.
Ye Xiaowu really wanted to listen to the two’s discussion, but the monitoring system had the audio turned off. After all, conversations between players might have private content. They would only be able to listen in on the players’ talks by turning the audio on. However, neither Ye Xiaowu nor the monitoring team had permission to do so without the higher-ups’ clearance.
Ye Xiaowu and the pair by the graveyard were filled with doubts as they mulled over different things. Ye Xiaowu suddenly realized that a level 30 player should not even be able to trigger the chain quest’s requirement of meeting Eddie in the first place. And yet, Gu Fei had done exactly that. Was there a way to progress in this chain quest that they had overlooked while designing it?
In Parallel World, Gu Fei and Xiaoyu had left the graveyard and were now talking to Chief Edwin once more.
The village chief showed surprise when they informed him of the missing corpse, yet he did not introduce a new conversation topic to them.
It was getting dark when they left Chief Edwin’s hut. With the four-hour daytime over, nighttime was upon them in the blink of an eye. Gu Fei looked up at the moon in the night sky; would there be a full moon tonight?
If there was a full moon tonight, where would the Werewolf appear?
Gu Fei thought of the church and hurriedly ran toward it with Xiaoyu in tow.
Moonlight finally descended. Sadly, there was not a full moon tonight. If the moon in Parallel World had phases, then tonight was definitely not a night of a full moon.
“Xiaoyu, can you see what shape the moon has?” Gu Fei asked Xiaoyu. He suspected that the night sky he was seeing while on his quest would be different from what the other players were seeing.
“Do you have myopia?” Xiaoyu raised her head as she asked, before replying, “It’s a crescent moon.”
It’s the same, Gu Fei muttered to himself. Today was not a day when the Werewolf would transform.
The dilapidated church appeared very desolate under the night sky. It would serve as a great crime scene for a murder! Gu Fei sighed. At this moment, a shadowy figure suddenly scampered from outside the decrepit wall.
“Who’s there?!” Gu Fei shouted instinctively as he pulled out the Sacred Flames of Baptism, ready to strike.
The shadowy figure had already rushed toward him, however.
“Werewolf!” Xiaoyu exclaimed. Her voice did not quake when facing such a terrifying creature; instead, she showed exhilaration, “The Werewolf appeared!”
The game design team would definitely cry if they saw this. They constructed such a terrifying scene, yet it got completely ignored by this lady. She’s so ditzy she even forgot what fear is, Gu Fei thought to himself. He raised his Chinese broadsword and dashed toward the shadow, delivering a cut.
It was indeed a Werewolf.
The Werewolf’s body structure was huge and bulky. Its pair of eyes glowed green as its front paws clawed toward Gu Fei. Spittle from the Werewolf’s jaws flew everywhere as the moonlight ominously reflected off its razor sharp teeth.
The Werewolf dodged in mid-air Gu Fei’s first slash, as its front paws continued to swipe at him with unbridled ferocity. Gu Fei was close enough to smell the monster’s rancid breath.
Gu Fei quickly held the Chinese broadsword firmly to his side, parrying the incoming swipe from the Werewolf.
With a whoosh, Gu Fei flew backward from the impact.
It’s too fast! Gu Fei exclaimed in his head. The Werewolf’s speed was definitely as fast as how he had imagined it would be. It was almost on par with the speed a Warrior’s Cyclone could attain. This made Gu Fei use the same method he had employed when dealing with Xiaoyu’s Cyclone back then. Luckily, his weapon did not break this time. The blade of his Chinese broadsword was facing outward, and the Werewolf’s attack was not made using a weapon but its paws; as a result, the Werewolf was injured by the force behind its swipe.
Isaac Newton’s third law of motion: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction!
Gu Fei was thrown onto the ground, and his HP dropped a bit from the resulting impact. Had the swipe fully connected, Gu Fei would have surely been insta-killed there and then.
Xiaoyu stared intently at the Werewolf, as she dashed forward with her axe raised to hack at it.
“Don’t!” Gu Fei hurriedly shouted. He and Xiaoyu were originally standing together. The Werewolf would have been capable of pouncing on the two of them had that been its original intention. It was only because Gu Fei was the quest-holder that it had focused on attacking him. So although the Werewolf ignored Xiaoyu, that did not mean that it would continue to do so if she struck it.
Unfortunately, Xiaoyu could no longer stop her forward sprint at this point in time due to inertia. But before she could close in the distance, the Werewolf had already emitted a low growl and leaped over a wall to escape.
“Did I scare it away?” Xiaoyu was dumbfounded.
Gu Fei quickly chased after the Werewolf over the wall, yet no traces of it could be seen.
“It’s injured,” Gu Fei returned to Xiaoyu’s side and squatted as he touched the few drops of blood on the ground.
“Did you see what’s on its neck?” Gu Fei asked Xiaoyu.
Xiaoyu shook her head.
“Do werewolves even wear collars like dogs?” Gu Fei mumbled to himself. As the Werewolf was running away, he had noticed an item hanging around its neck.