Chapter 646 – A Super Favor
Translator: Exodus Tales Editor: Exodus Tales
Young Master Han and the others present wanted to get a feel of how Gu Fei viewed this situation, yet they still failed to make heads or tails of Gu Fei’s thought about it. At any rate, they were at least assured that the man would not bear a heavy psychological burden as they had previously believed he would, so nobody really cared to explore this issue any further. With that, they turned to Dusky Cloud, “What did you just say?”
Dusky Cloud was stunned for a good moment before he blankly asked, “I asked what you guys were talking about.”
“Before that, what were you saying previously?”
“Oh. That plenty of people are complaining about the efficient monster grinding routine,” Dusky Cloud repeated.
“He he! Just tell those people complaining not to learn it, then!” Young Master Han said dismissively.
Dusky Cloud chuckled bitterly. Everybody of course knew about such an argument, but how many people out there could honestly just give it up like that? Just look at the deadlock everybody was caught up in over by the grinding map now! It was apparent to all that nobody could get any grinding done if they continued to stay around, yet everybody was afraid that others would proceed to take advantage of the situation and benefit greatly from it when such concessions were allowed, so everyone continued to waste one another’s time there, resulting in heavy losses for all involved. It might be fine if it was a huge organization, like a guild, as everyone would be willing to sit down and cooperate on this matter, but because the tens of thousands of players were all unaffiliated, with individual ideas and habits, how could there ever be any consensus on how things should be done? Thus, time was the only thing that these players were squandering as they persisted in hanging around.
When Dusky Cloud saw that there was no way for his guild to carry on grinding like that, he very wisely rallied his men and left the map, and the turf that they held was quickly subsumed by those around. Dusky Cloud was rather despondent as well. He had brought several hundred men with him for this foray into the White Mill map, so why did he see no difference in the size of the crowd after he left? Just how many people were there standing at the side, waiting to fill in the gaps?
Ultimately, Dusky Cloud was no different from these people. He was unwilling to give up on this efficient monster grinding routine even though he had just left, so he took the initiative to contact Sword Demon in hopes of opening a backdoor…
“Heh… Boss Cloud, do tell us straight if you’ve got ideas!” Brother Assist smiled.
“This… Well, then, I’ll get down to it…” Dusky Cloud wrung his hands. He was the big boss of the distinguished Ten Guild Alliance – someone who would bravely voice his opinions no matter the circumstances – yet he could not help but feel somewhat embarrassed at the moment.
“Please do share!” Everyone had their eyes on him.
“Well, given the current state of affairs, we may have learned the efficient monster grinding routine, yet we have nowhere to properly utilize it because there are simply too many people vying for a spot. Thus, I’m beseeching you gentlemen to privately develop a grinding map routine just for us, if possible?” Dusky Cloud implored.
The experts were all smiling and chuckling. In truth, they had already guessed Dusky Cloud’s intentions for approaching them, and they already had mulled over the matter. Looking at the fierce expression on Dusky Cloud’s face, Brother Assist replied, “Well, then… How much are we talking?”
This was the crucial point that Dusky Cloud was very fearful of. These experts was capable of gathering 400,000 players for a single grinding map, charging each of them 99 gold coins, which came to a total of 3,980,000 gold coins in profits. The Ten Guild Alliance merely had, give or take, 4,000 plus members, and if they were to split the cost, that meant that each player would have to fork out almost 1,000 gold coins, and that was no small sum at all. Not everyone could match this, and there was no reason the other party would be willing to sacrifice such a huge payday, was there? Leverage on their relationship? Dusky Cloud was well aware how they stood with one another at this point, and he had no doubt that the relationship shared between both parties was nothing particularly deep.
As such, the reason he had revealed the mayhem that the efficient monster grinding routine had caused was in hopes of these people feeling a little worried about it. But in the end, they had all been completely unfazed by Dusky Cloud’s account, looking as if they were still intent on continuing conducting their business as they had done before. Simply put, they had no interest in making any sort of adjustments to their execution.
Since the other party took the initiative to ask about the price, Dusky Cloud gritted his teeth. Even though he found this to be very embarrassing, he had no choice but to answer. “Honestly, there’s no way we can bear the four-million price tag that 400,000 players combined are able to pay. Maybe a million gold coins is possible, but that’s already the very limit we can bear.”
Dusky Cloud was of course unable to pull out 1,000,000 gold coins all by himself; that would require everyone in the guild to evenly split the cost, which came up to about an average of 200 gold coins per player. This was the conclusion Dusky Cloud had ended up with after an in-depth negotiation with his guild, and everybody felt that this was a still acceptable sum.
“He he…” Brother Assist gave a vague chuckle as the whole lot of them began a flurry of discussion over their mercenary channel.
“F*ck, this guy’s really considerate. That’s almost 200 gold coins a person!” Royal God Call moaned.
“Old Cloud’s honorable, alright,” Sword Demon’s friendship with Dusky Cloud was forged by fighting side by side with each other, and seeing that the latter was someone who valued sentimentality to boot, the former had a fairly positive opinion of the man.
“G*dd*mm*t. I lost again,” War Without Wounds angrily lamented.
“What did you lose?” Gu Fei was a little lost.
“We had a bet on how much Dusky Cloud would offer. Sword Demon was the closest, so he won,” Brother Assist explained.
“Who’s the one who had guessed the lowest?” Gu Fei asked.
“Royal. He guessed that they would come and engage in wholesale and would offer a price that would not even average to 99 gold coins per person.” Everybody threw a look of disdain at Royal God Call.
“He he! Royal, it’s your win,” Gu Fei said.
“What?” Everybody on the channel was surprised, suddenly realizing that something was afoot. On the table, Gu Fei was already speaking to Dusky Cloud. “How can we talk about money like this? I have yet to return the favor of you guys protecting my students before!”
Dusky Cloud was stunned for a good moment, before mad glee took him; it was obvious that what Gu Fei had said meant that he was about to express his thanks in return for Dusky Cloud’s aid. He stood up in his excitement, his hands still fidgeting uneasily. “Isn’t… Isn’t that a little too generous? That had been no more than… A simple lift of my finger.” All he did was escort a bunch of kids across Yueye City; Dusky Cloud had never expected that doing something so trivial would result in such a huge windfall.
“It’s nothing; this is no more than a simple lift of my finger as well.” Gu Fei smiled.
“That… That’s really too much…” Dusky Cloud said.
“Yes, I know you’ll be a little embarrassed. Not giving a dime just isn’t your style. It’s a 4,000,000-gold-coin transaction, after all! A million is too much, so half of it will do,” Gu Fei continued.
“Ah?” Dusky Cloud did not expect Gu Fei to still expect a payment even after talking about returning a favor, but his previous worry was them accepting that 1,000,000-gold-coin offer, so Gu Fei was already being sufficiently courteous by accepting that. The additional 500,000 discount that he got was already more than enough to keep him happy. Free? Just like what Gu Fei had said; Dusky Cloud would really feel bad accepting such a huge favor. Thus, Dusky Cloud quickly agreed after that ‘ah’ utterance. Were it not for the table separating them, he would have immediately given Gu Fei a hug right there and then.
However, Gu Fei had a bitter expression. “Actually, it’s fine if I don’t take any money from you, but just look at the greedy faces those guys are making over there. We’ve got no choice but to throw 500,000 gold coins to shut them up.”
Everybody already knew that nothing good would come out once Gu Fei opened his mouth, and as Dusky Cloud struggled to accept Gu Fei’s offer, the mercenary channel was in such a din Gu Fei was about to drown in their yells.
Hence, Gu Fei decided to help them get 500,000 gold coins and threw a look of contempt their way at the same time. Dusky Cloud saw that, aside from Gu Fei, the fiery glares from the other experts were so intense that their irises were almost in flames. Dusky Cloud was really grateful that Gu Fei would be willing to give him a discount, but he did not wish to cause his other friends to end up with a loss because of it, so he decisively said, “It’s best if we keep it at 1,000,000 gold coins! I’m already feeling very embarrassed that you’ve agreed to such a price.”
“No need; 500,000 gold coins will do!” Gu Fei waved his hand, seemingly delighted as he gazed at the expression the others were showing. “Aren’t I the boss? I’m making the final decision right now!”
Gu Fei slapped the table heavily twice, and half of the people around that table flashed their middle fingers at him. Southern Lone Blade did not join Young Master’s Elite, so he had no idea what was being discussed on the mercenary channel. Thus, sat in silence as he witnessed all this, not making a sound as he did. All he could do was shake his head, uncertain if he should laugh or cry. Southern Lone Blade could not help but think that Gu Fei was truly not fit to conduct business deals just from the impromptu decision he had just made on a whim. In addition to this, his view regarding the members of Young Master’s Elite lacking unity was further confirmed…
Dusky Cloud stared blankly at this circle of men, uncertain just what he should say in the end. Gu Fei imposingly extended his hand out to Dusky Cloud. “Do you have the money with you?”
Dusky Cloud waved. His men moved forward and pulled out the fifty pouches of 10,000 gold coins they had divided among their dimensional pockets, piling them all on the table. This display instantly grabbed the attention of everyone in the tavern! The average player almost never had a use for a 10,000-gold-coin sack, and right now, there was a table piled high with it.
Gu Fei adopted the demeanor of a boss as he motioned with his arms. “Take it!”
Nobody had discussed how this payout would be split among them, so the whole lot of them were still stunned and did not make a move for the coins. Meanwhile, War Without Wounds and Royal God Call, both lacking in integrity, ignored everything and directly lunged for these sacks like a pair of ravenous tigers pouncing on meat. They nearly took all the sacks for themselves.
Gu Fei had ignored them, getting up to ask Dusky Cloud, “So which grinding map do you want it to be? We can make our way over there now!”
Dusky Cloud loved someone as frank and straightforward like Gu Fei. The Ten Guild Alliance leader carefully answered, “Uhm… We are hoping for it to be a map in Yueye City… Is that possible?”
“Of course; let’s go!” Gu Fei was already making his way to the door.
Dusky Cloud hurriedly called out, “How can we debase ourselves and let you waste your time walking over?” With that, he turned to say to one of his men behind him. “Where’s the Teleportation Scroll?”
This person quickly fished out a Teleportation Scroll from his dimensional pocket, and Dusky Cloud handed it over to Gu Fei, akin to how the ancient people would send for an eight-lifted gilded palanquin to invite someone.
The others were still busy arguing over how to split the money on their side! Sword Demon was a man of his word. Now that he was just a temp, he remained seated and did not make a move to get the money since he had not done any work. Southern Lone Blade was here entirely for the money, so he demonstrated more of a professional conduct. Having not done any work yet as well, he did not feel at ease to touch the money and just sat there blankly. In the end, when he heard that Gu Fei was about to leave, Southern Lone Blade hurriedly got up. “Shall I go with you?”
“Hmm… How many people can one Teleportation Scroll transport?” Gu Fei asked, truly treating the item like a palanquin.
“Four,” Dusky Cloud answered. They were living large now and were no longer bumpkins who had never used Teleportation Scrolls like before.
“Who else wants to go?” Gu Fei turned to ask.
“Everyone interested can tag along; we’ve still got plenty of Teleportation Scrolls!” Since Dusky Cloud had taken advantage of everyone here after purchasing the efficient monster grinding routine at a discounted price, he felt he had no reason to be stingy over such small expenses, quickly pulling out Teleportation Scrolls to offer them to everyone.
Brother Assist made a suggestion on the mercenary channel. “Why don’t we all head over? We can conveniently make our way back to Yunduan City along the way after.” Brother Assist made it sound as if they would be heading their way back to their home city, but he was essentially hoping that they could avoid those ex-soldiers. Brother Assist was not inclined toward combat, after all, so the less trouble they got into, the better.
Young Master Han could obviously see through what he was thinking, and the man turned to stare at him. “There’s no way for us to escape no matter how much we run; as long as we keep profiting from this business, they’ll find us every time you make announcements on the forums.”
Dusky Cloud perked up when he heard this. It seems that they’re in some sort of trouble! He happened to be feeling guilty about having taken advantage of them! If he could not pay them back in coins, why not pay back in strength? Thus, he immediately asked, “What’s the matter? Is there someone out there who dares to trouble you guys? We can join in the fun, too, if you guys don’t mind!”
Brother Assist was unable to process when he heard they were suddenly getting themselves over 4,000 extra pairs of hands. Recalling that Gu Fei would often act shrewdly, he abruptly had a thought. For Miles to treat Dusky Cloud with such importance, was he thinking of borrowing their strength to take care of Fleeting Smile and the others? Such thinking was a little one-sided, though, as there was never a time when Gu Fei had asked for someone else’s help on matters involving fights. Actually, it was as Gu Fei stated; it was as easy as lifting his finger to do this, so it was nothing worth getting hung up over, yet Brother Assist happened to prescribe greater meaning to his action.
No one explicitly stated their opinion over Dusky Cloud’s suggestion, but it was Young Master Han who finally said, “Then, let’s all head to Yueye City! It’s not good for us to take this money without doing anything. Let’s all put in the effort.” It was truly such a deliberately grand reason to mask their real intentions!
“Then, you guys should teleport over first; we’ll follow soon after!” Southern Lone Blade still had to call on his fellow brothers-in-arms. He knew that Gu Fei would need some time to develop his efficient monster grinding routines. The man was sure to spend several hours on this, especially if there were now differentiating the routines between the various job classes. Doing all that would take more than enough time for them to make their way over to Yueye City on foot.
“There’s no need for that!” Dusky Cloud rejected that proposition outright. “What other comrades do you have? Get them all over here. We’ll all teleport there now; we’ve got plenty of Teleportation Scrolls.”
“Call them all over!” Gu Fei said as well.
Southern Lone Blade saw no point in being courteous, so he hailed the rest of his men to hurry over to the tavern. All of them hurriedly inquired after the outcome of the negotiations and learned about how Gu Fei had not only accepted the 1,000,000-gold-coin offer without further negotiations, he had even given a 500,000-gold coin discount as returning the favor. These people were really ambivalent to such an outcome, uncertain if they should be happy or worried. They were happy because the man showed great civility and sense of obligation, and being able to befriend someone with such a temperament was a good thing, but they were also worried about how carried away this person got with his show of gratitude. They had lost out on an opportunity to earn more money for no reason in the end!
Actually, based on the observation Southern Lone Blade had gathered with how Dusky Cloud conducted himself, the former would have made arrangements for an installment plan with the latter for this business. The cost would still be unchanged at 4,000,000 gold coins, but if they were unable to pay the price at one go, they could first opt to pay 1,000,000 gold coins upfront and pay the rest in installments, waiving the interest. Considering how the price of items in the game would always be on the rise, and the value of the gold coins would continue to depreciate without fail, Dusky Cloud would still be benefiting from adopting such a payment method, so there was no reason he would reject such an offer. Even if Gu Fei really did owe Dusky Cloud a favor, just a discount of 1,000,000 gold coins and bringing the total down to 3,000,000 gold coins would still be quite a favor. With Gu Fei dropping it to just 500,000 gold coins in one go, the favor he granted was huge, and Southern Lone Blade saw how even Dusky Cloud himself was trembling in fright from the figurative weight of this favor, ready to be their thug as he handed over Teleportation Scrolls to transport them all. What’s the point of all this? Southern Lone Blade sighed, shaking his head and hating the fact that he did not have the ability himself.
Flame Singed Clothes, Glue, and the others made a beeline for the tavern; Eternal Dominion was also called over. The man did not even ask why there was a need to head to Yueye City, and all he knew was that he was going to use a Teleportation Scroll with everyone. He looked a lot more excited than the others. Eternal Dominion had of course not experienced using such a luxurious item before, so he became particularly enthused over this once he confirmed that he would not have to pay for it.
The coordinates for the Teleportation Scroll had already been appropriately set by Dusky Cloud and his men, so the whole lot of them grouped themselves into fours as they activated the teleportation with a quick unfurling of the scrolls. White lights blinked respectively, and a large empty space was made in the middle of the tavern, as the players that remained continued to gossip about what they had just witnessed.
The Teleportation Scrolls sent them to one of the city gates in Yueye City. Thinking back to when they had participated in the huge war in Yueye City and how Silver Moon had already retired from the game, Gu Fei could not help but feel a little emotional. He turned to ask Dusky Cloud, “Did you know that Silver Moon has quit the game?”
“What? That b*st*rd, I haven’t personally extinguished him yet!” Dusky Cloud deeply regretted this. Not once had he managed to kill Silver Moon with his bare hands, but had instead died several times by Silver Moon’s hands back in the day. Especially that time when he had chased Silver Moon out of Yueye City, and later fell into that scoundrel’s trap in Yunduan City. Just thinking about it made him feel aggrieved.
“It’s all in the past.” Gu Fei consoled the man.
“F*cking hell.” It was evident that Dusky Cloud missed Silver Moon greatly as well.
“Which grinding map are we heading?” Gu Fei changed the subject.
“Follow me!” Dusky Cloud had already planned everything out, taking the lead to the location he had already chosen. The others felt somewhat hesitant to follow; the Ten Guild Alliance was an organization in itself, so only Gu Fei was required to head over and conduct the development of this transaction, while the subsequent scheduling of the lessons would all be handled by the members within the alliance. As such, it was unnecessary for the others to tag along with them since they had nothing to contribute. Seeing that Gu Fei was about leave with Dusky Cloud and his posse, Young Master Han and others had no idea if they should follow or otherwise. It would just be humiliating for them if they got there and had nothing to do.
“You guys don’t have to tag along; just me and Dominion will do,” Gu Fei empathetically called out. The members of Young Master’s Elite were glad to be freed from this compunction, though Southern Lone Blade’s team was still determined to accompany them. They felt uneasy taking this money if they did not at least contribute to the work, and even though that 500,000 gold coins had mostly been snatched away by Royal God Call and War Without Wounds, there was no doubt that the sum would ultimately be evenly split among them at the end of the day.
“It’s best if we all go! Just treat it as part of grinding.” Seeing the professionalism Southern Lone Blade’s men were demonstrating, the pride of these experts made it a little difficult for them to just stomach this. Leaving now would imply they were no better than these former larcenists, making it seem as if they were all just following Gu Fei to mooch off him, and that was a far more unbearable thought for these experts.
Dusky Cloud led Gu Fei as he introduced their chosen grinding map: Youye Valley.
That place, huh! Gu Fei was stirred. He had provoked plenty of trouble upon himself when he first arrived at Yueye City by sending Silver Moon to jail. Back then, having not learned all his spells yet, Gu Fei was chased all over the city, before he finally settled into hiding out in Youye Valley with Coward’s Savior. This was a level 50 grinding map, and Gu Fei had to caution Dusky Cloud accordingly. “You’re looking to challenge monsters ten level above your own! There’ll be quite a bit of difficulty you’d have to overcome in order to achieve this. Players with slow reaction, or those without Agility, might be unable to handle them.”
The places that Gu Fei had developed, the Wilderness Camp and White Mill maps, had monsters that ranged from level 40 to 45, and their levels were consistent to the general players’ level. However, there was an issue with such grinding maps, and that was how expert players like Sword Demon and his ilk would not see a significant increase to their leveling efficiency when using those routines Gu Fei taught, which meant that they were ultimately better off relying on their own fighting styles and maximizing their superior equipment to underscore their efficiency.
With how large the guild Dusky Cloud and his men belonged, there were naturally quite a good number of experts in their midst as well; even Dusky Cloud himself was now within the ranks of the Five Unyielding Experts. In the process of grinding out in the White Mill, many of them had discovered this issue, and these veterans could see all the more clearly that the efficient monster grinding routines were methods that could help even the most average players attain the skills necessary to take on monsters above their levels.
Most players with outstanding equipment could kill monsters five levels above theirs, but as long as they could grasp the efficient monster grinding routine, even players without equipment would be able to kill monsters five levels above theirs through the application of their skills or spells alone. This was why Dusky Cloud had greedily set his sights on killing monsters ten levels above his, as only then would he feel that thrill of efficiency.
Dusky Cloud was surprised when he heard Gu Fei’s caution, quickly asking, “What do you mean?”
“Look at me! I’ve allocated all my stat points toward Agility; only then am I guaranteed to kill monsters above my level. I don’t exactly recall the monsters in Youye Valley too clearly, so I’ll have to give it a try first. We’ll talk about everything after I get a grasp of these monsters!” Gu Fei said.