Chapter 643: Chapter 643 – Sorry, I sold you out.
Translator: Exodus Tales Editor: Exodus Tales
Brother Assist was calm, not reacting to Young Master Han’s insult in the least. Southern Lone Blade was wrinkling his brows at the moment, as if mulling over something.
“After that, he didn’t enter into further discussions about cooperating with you guys, right?” Young Master Han asked.
Southern Lone Blade nodded. Ye Xiaowu said that he did not have enough coins and needed time to raise the funds, but was never heard from since then.
“The fact remains that what you guys were doing back then was enough to have snared Miles,” Young Master Han said.
Everyone thought back to the sequence of events back then and felt that what he had said was true. They were all made hectic by the business involving Vast Lushness’ Utopian Staff, and while everyone could not be bothered to deal with it any longer, Gu Fei continued to chase after Southern Lone Blade’s bunch endlessly. Southern Lone Blade and his team felt nauseous just thinking about those dark days. It only made them realize how these blissful days they led at present were not easy to come by, and they needed to cherish them all the more.
“Now, let us see what Fleeting Smile’s role in the Utopian Staff incident was!” Young Master Han rapped the table with his knuckles before turning to ask No Smile, “How much do you know about that matter?”
It had been quite some time since No Smile entered the tavern and began speaking with everyone, yet he was still standing at the side like a servant in waiting, while the twelve continued to show no intention of making space for him. He was patient, however; he kept standing there as he continued to hold this conversation with them.
“Hmm… From what I know, this was something Silver Moon instigated. The skill that the Utopian Staff possessed that allows its user to replenish mana was very useful for King’s Blade; he convinced Ye Xiaowu to buy that magic staff, and after getting his approval, Silver Moon proceeded to approach Southern Lone Blade’s men and paid the acquisition cost,” No Smile said.
“Acquisition cost?” Royal God Call wondered.
“That’s the term we use in our profession for the sale of a targeted equipment drop,” Southern Lone Blade explained, at the same time casting a glance at No Smile. This was a codeword used in Southern Lone Blade’s line of work, which showed that No Smile had dirtied his hands before since he had knowledge of it; at least, it was to the point where he was familiar with people engaged in larceny. Royal God Call was also an expert, but he was too honest and clean to have knowledge of such jargon.
“It was around this time when Southern Lone Blade’s team was pulled into the matter,” No Smile said.
Southern Lone Blade nodded, confirming this fact. “After that, Vast Lushness placed her magic staff for auction. Hmm… so can you guys tell me what exactly was the trap with that magic staff auctioning?” Because both parties were still in the initial stage of cooperation, to harmoniously coexist with each other and to avoid a moment of impulse which may result in a fallout between them, everyone consciously sidestepped their past issues. As Southern Lone Blade’s team were always on the losing side against Young Master’s Elite, their group always had questions boggling their heads, and now that such an opportunity was present, he decided he could also ask and clarify such questions along the way.
“Nothing much; just wanted to trick you guys into showing up,” Young Master Han mentioned casually.
“See. I told you!” Southern Lone Blade told his comrades.
“What was Fleeting Smile’s reaction to the auction of Vast Lushness’ Utopian Staff?” Young Master Han asked.
This time, No Smile and the whole of Southern Lone Blade’s team answered in unison. “He participated in the auction, too!”
“Furthermore…” Glue spoke about the time he had met Fleeting Smile in the Auction House and how the latter said with 99.99% certainty that the seller had bought it back, considering how doubtful it was for anyone to beat him with his precision bidding technique.
“Precision bidding technique?” Everyone wondered aloud.
“I asked him the same thing, too, and he said that he had gotten a grasp of the price movement timing to the point that he could successfully snatch first all the opening bids,” Glue said.
“If we really go by his words, that means that there’s only a 0.01% chance of a coincidence?” everyone muttered.
“There’s also another possibility,” Young Master Han said.
“What?” they all asked.
“He’s lying! Couldn’t you guys think of that possibility?” Young Master Han rolled his eyes.
“Lie? You mean he actually bought the magic staff but refused to tell anyone about it?” Brother Assist asked.
“This way, no one will be aware of who the final buyer was, but since everyone wants to acquire the magic staff, who cares if you’re the mantis, oriole, or the cicada? As long as the buyer do not retrieve said item, everyone would just end up wasting their time camping out the Auction House that whole week,” Young Master Han said.
“By doing so, he would keep Miles contained for a whole week, achieving his goal of preventing him from having the energy to break the game!” Brother Assist exclaimed.
“A whole week! The ex-soldiers reached level 40 at this time and were thus able to openly confront Thousand Miles Drunk after.” Southern Lone Blade realized.
“So even though that’s not his plan to begin with, without anyone realizing it, Silver Moon and you guys all became cannon fodders through his machinations…” Young Master Han said.
“M*th*rf*ck*r!” Southern Lone Blade slammed his fist harshly on the table. He and his team knew that it was a common occurrence in their line of work to be used by their employers as cannon fodders, yet it was precisely this which made them conversely hate being fooled into becoming sacrificial lambs.
“Does this mean that the Utopian Magic Staff is actually in Fleeting Smile’s hands the entire time?” Brother Assist asked.
“That’s impossible,” Southern Lone Blade immediately countered. “We’ve never once let up on our surveillance of the Auction House the entire time, and there are even other players not affiliated with us that kept watch as well. No one came to pick up the Utopian Magic Staff in the end.”
“Do you know if that’s possible?” Young Master Han turned to ask No Smile.
No Smile shook his head. “I don’t know. Everyone returned to Linyin City after the auction ended, and we only recently made our way back.”
“Or perhaps he didn’t even have the intention of retrieving the magic staff to begin with. He might have done the same thing with it as what he had done with the King’s Blade, letting the system remove it from the game entirely,” Young Master Han said.
“That’s rather generous of him…” everyone muttered.
Young Master Han, however, suddenly came with a start as he turned toward No Smile. “You’re saying all of you returned to Linyin City after?”
No Smile nodded.
“If an item is auctioned off in Baishi City, is it possible for the bidder to retrieve the item from Linyin City’s Auction House?” Young Master Han abruptly asked.
“That… I don’t think so,” Brother Assist casually answered, before understanding the problem posed by the question. “Well, actually… The system has never explicitly stated that this is possible or otherwise.”
“It’s unlikely any player will have experience trying this out before,” Young Master Han continued.
Everyone nodded in agreement. Most players would limit themselves to within their city regions for such activities, so there were low chances of such a thing happening.
“Could it be that the bidding of auctions isn’t limited to separate cities, and players can actually retrieve their items in different cities?” Brother Assist deduced.
“That’s worth a try,” Young Master Han said. “Someone go win an auction later, and see if you can head to a neighboring city to retrieve the item.”
“That will take quite a bit of time…” Blackwater, Glue, and Royal God Call all gave a dry laugh. It was apparent that such a task, which required plenty of traveling, would be delegated to players with plenty of Agility like them, so Young Master Han’s suggestion was not particularly welcomed by any of them.
“It’s fine if you guys are too lazy to make the trip. Recently, there’re plenty of people traveling between cities. I’ll see if I have any friends doing the same, and we’ll get an idea if it is possible once we get them to help us test things out in passing,” Brother Assist said.
They nodded. There were indeed plenty of people traveling about these days. All of it was because of the commotion regarding the efficient monster grinding routines, leading to an endless stream of players coming to watch. None of them had been back to observe the situation over at the White Mill ever since they finished their lessons.
“Except… There’s a little problem,” No Smile suddenly said. The man was standing there all this time, like a convict that was being put on trial, and he gave off the look of someone who had gathered a lot of courage to speak up.
“Speak,” Young Master Han said.
“The matter with the magic staff; after the auction ended, I eavesdropped on Fleeting Smile telling Broken Water Arrow that he did not manage to win the auction, either… He might be trying to pull the wool over our eyes, but I really don’t think he’d do the same to Broken Water Arrow. Those two trust each other completely, so I’m certain Broken Water Arrow is privy to the overall plan he has in store,” No Smile said, remembering how when Silver Moon and he were sent to the trap before, Fleeting Smile and Broken Water Arrow were also working together to keep the charade going. It was evident that Broken Water Arrow was in on the plan, and that probably meant that he was someone whom Fleeting Smile absolutely trusted.
“He he…” Young Master Han chuckled. “Just from the fact that you used the word ‘eavesdropped’ is more than enough proof to explain this problem.”
“What do you mean?” No Smile was confused.
“It’s all for show! That exchange was obviously meant for you to overhear,” Young Master Han said.
“That…” Sure enough, No Smile was hiding himself in the crowd back then and was trying his best to get close to the pair to secretly find out more information about Ye Xiaowu.
“You said he had no idea Silver Moon was putting in an acquisition order for the staff, right?” Young Master Han asked.
No Smile nodded.
“But later, when he got in contact with Southern Lone Blade and the others, would he still not figure it out?” Young Master Han asked.
“About that… We did not mention a word about our arrangement with Silver Moon. We would always keep our client’s identity a secret, even if the client that time was Silver Moon,” interjected Southern Lone Blade.
“Then, how did Silver Moon explain to Fleeting Smile about how the Utopian Magic Staff appeared in the Auction House? Fleeting Smile would surely ask about that, right? The seller was Vast Lushness, after all, and she was definitely acquainted to Silver Moon,” Young Master Han said.
“I’m not too sure about that, but regarding the magic staff incident, most of the conversation they had was done privately, and I did not participate in that.” This was also the reason No Smile kept kept trying to get himself in the loop, afraid that Silver Moon might be seeking to swallow all the benefits for himself.
“Looks like we won’t know the exact conversation Silver Moon had with Fleeting Smile,” Young Master Han said with regret. “However, I’m certain Fleeting Smile discovered that there were more to the magic staff than meets the eye, which was why he kept up such a charade at the Auction House. He knew that there were surely plenty of people listening in there at the Auction House then, be it you guys or people from our side… Confident that he’d get a hold of the magic staff, he thus created a situation where the buyer did not show himself until the end, heartlessly resulting in everyone wasting their time there.”
“That…” Everyone was deep in thought; it sounded a little fantastical, but it was not exactly an impossibility.
“If he was just a regular bidder, the 0.01% chance to win the bid was already pretty slim odds, but to actually have someone who would abandon the item even after acquiring it, just how low of a possibility do you think that has?” Young Master Han supplemented.
“Looks like that magic staff was indeed in his hands.”
“Brother Assist, quickly get one of your friends to test this out. See if there’s anyone who’s about to go on a trip,” Young Master Han said.
“Right away!” Brother Assist said, as he immediately sent a mass message across his friends’ list.
“That guy’s a real m*th*rf*ck*r…” Everyone had no other words aside from that very curse for Fleeting Smile. This was because everyone already realized a very crucial issue, and that was the lack of any vested interest in Fleeting Smile despite going through all the effort, sparing no expense to go after Thousand Miles Drunk. Would there even be any other player out there that that would let such a top-tier weapon like the King’s Blade to be lost to the system without a moment’s hesitation? That guy, just what’s the reason he’s so persistent on this? It only shows just how huge a grudge he has against Miles! everyone thought.
Each of them was pondering on the matter themselves as they drank their liquor for quite some time, and No Smile was still just standing there throughout.
“Is there anything else?” Young Master Han asked.
“Well, since we’re all actually in the same boat, I’m hoping to join up you people as well, so we can all take on Fleeting Smile together.” No Smile finally revealed his intention for coming out here. This man had maintained that pitiful expression ever since he arrived, not even showing the slightest hint of displeasure as he stood by the table this whole time, all in hopes of garnering some sympathy from these experts. He had already thought this through; rather than holding onto that grudge of avenging his loss of ten levels back in the day, would it not be better to just drop his attitude and beseech these experts with his tail between his legs? Suffer a little at their hands before he could gain succor from them! He had also heard about the Thousand Miles Drunk’s Workshop, and he even personally witnessed the grandeur of their classes this morning. If each of them paid 99 gold coins, just how much would that be in total? No Smile was instantly faint the moment he tried to calculate the final sum, and finally abandoned all his pride.
How foolish I was! Look at Southern Lone Blade; see just how woke this man is; why have I not made such an epiphany before? What’s the point of going against this bunch? I should’ve long since thrown my lot in with them. Even the men from the Ten Guild Alliance won’t dare to look down on me afterward. No Smile was all the more confident of this after he saw how well Southern Lone Blade’s team of seven harmoniously mingled with Gu Fei and company. In his mind, that little conflict he had with Thousand Miles Drunk was nothing more than a petty and stale drama that had happened in the past. Besides, the whole matter was started by July, and nobody bore any personal hatred toward him here. Now that he was lowering himself pleading like this, there was no reason that they would not let him off. Better yet, he chose a time when Gu Fei himself was not around, so with the person whom he had a direct animosity with not being around, what would Thousand Miles Drunk have to say if his friends had already accepted him into their fold?
No Smile could not help but praise himself as he indulged in his wishful thinking! He felt as if the table before him was about to make space for a thirteenth person; it might be a little overcrowded, but it would still be comfortable! No Smile did his best not to burst out laughing as he maintained that piteous look of terror on him.
“Hmm… I don’t think there’s a need for that, right? Look; there are people here looking for you,” Young Master Han said.
“Ah?” No Smile froze before he turned in the direction Young Master Han was pointing. A group of ladies…
Any other player would probably feel fortunate being sought after by a bevy of ladies. If he was someone from Forever in Flowers, this would be a wondrous turn of events that would have elicited laughter in their sleep. But for No Smile, aside from having Thousand Miles Drunk charging right at him brandishing his sword, there was nothing more frightening than seeing this band of ladies appear before him.
“Why did you take such a long time chatting? It’s getting pretty late; this madam here still needs her beauty sleep!” The first person to step out from this group of ladies was none other than the female Thief Svelte Dancer. She was glaring at the table of men with slight dissatisfaction. Beside her was Luo Luo, July, Lie Lie, June’s Rain… All the ladies of Amethyst Rebirth were each rubbing their fists and wiping their palms eagerly.
“You…” No Smile abruptly turned to look at Young Master Han, uncertain just what expression he should show this man. Should he be furious? Continue to grovel and plead for mercy?
“Sorry, I sold you out.” Young Master Han smiled. Looking at the others, it seemed that none of the experts had noticed what happened, as a good half of them were still mulling over how they had been helpless to extricate themselves from Fleeting Smile’s machinations.
“Why did so many of you come here? Didn’t you ladies leave anyone by the Thieves’ Union?” Young Master Han asked.
“Why would we even care to leave anyone there? We’ll just casually get this kill over and done with just like this.” Svelte Dancer charged right up to their target.