Chapter 671: Chapter 671 – Self-Bombardment
Translator: Exodus Tales Editor: Exodus Tales
Shadowmist Assault was not originally an AoE skill, but the moment the targets’ positions were perfectly coordinated, it was possible for it to become an AoE skill.
The row of Mages was very coordinated at the moment, lined up in a neat line, all waving their magic staves to call their fiery assault on Gu Fei and the three soldiers. They were relishing the sight of the four interlopers dying in front of them as they went through the motions of unleashing their spells. In the end, that gave Sword Demon the chance of using his Shadowmist Assault like an AoE skill.
Anybody watching would have seen Sword Demon’s figure disappear, even as the first Mage in the row of Mages instantly disappeared in the same moment when he reappeared. Shadowmist Assault was a skill that delivered a stupendous force of impact upon its target, and it was considered to be an overleveled skill that dealt an insurmountably overpowered force to players at the current level. Besides, Sword Demon was an apex Assassin who had decked himself in top-tier equipment; the frail Mage physique was nothing more than flimsy paper in the face of this skill.
The dark figure that Sword Demon had morphed into was like a bamboo skewer, and the Mages were no more than a string of pitiful Tanghulu. That single skewer was all he needed to pierce through them all. White lights flashed one after another. However, the attack power of this Shadowmist Assault was reduced with every Mage that got insta-killed, until it finally no longer had the power to insta-kill the targets. However, the Mages were all frightened and thrown off by what happened, each of them opting to flee for their lives instead of standing their ground and continue casting their spells.
Now that Gu Fei had gained this momentary breather, he was energized. But when he saw that there were still plenty of players from Carouse around, and were now augmented with a strong commander like Young Master Han giving them orders, he knew that there was no way for him to create a scene like he always did, so he decisively bellowed to the three remaining soldiers, “Retreat!”
These NPCs had no problem understanding this command, and they quickly ran off. With the speed that these soldiers possessed, most players would have a hard time giving chase.
“Steady now! Don’t screw up the formation!” Young Master Han warned. These were not men that he would usually lead in person, so he found it unwieldy commanding them around; there was sure to be unexpected problems cropping up as a result. Sword Demon’s Shadowmist Assault was indeed a ferocious strike, but there were still at least around twenty to thirty men from Carouse around him, just how many could he insta-kill with that one plunge of his daggers? However, these people were all traumatized by the skewering he gave, and that had caused them to fall into disarray.
“Archers, keep up the harassment!” Young Master Han hurriedly called to divert the interlopers. The biggest advantage that the Archers had was their range, unlike the Warriors and Thieves who needed to stay in melee range to fight. The Archers immediately drew their bows and released the arrows in their hands. Young Master Han was angry to the point he was vomiting blood, “F*ck, why are you shooting at those three for? Aim for the two men!!!” All the Archers could see the three soldiers running right in front, and had aimed their arrows at them. However, NPCs were the sort that complied with the orders that they were given to the death, and no amount of arrows would hinder them from running away as ordered. While it was possible to kill them in this fashion, none of them were gonna be fazed by the harassment.
“Arctic Whirlwind, Arctic Whirlwind!!!” Young Master Han bellowed once more. Carouse’s cadre of Mages was still their strongest trump card. And now that those soldiers were running off, even if the Arctic Whirlwind was no longer able to catch up to the NPCs, they could still turn the attack on Gu Fei and Sword Demon, who were both still caught up amidst the fighting.
“I’ll fight with you guys to the end!!!” Gu Fei suddenly shouted as he came racing right over yet again. Young Master Han was extremely taken aback by this development. While he had always despised Gu Fei as a kung fu practitioner, he knew deep down that this person was not some hotblooded airhead that would let his passion get the better of his objectivity. Yet, what he was doing right now did not seem to be particularly sensible. It was just an NPC soldier who was killed, what was there to make such a big deal about? Could he have spent an exorbitant amount of gold coins hiring it?
Young Master Han simply could not make sense of this move, yet he did not dare to fall behind, quickly instructing the players who were engaging with the two players to surround and enclose on them. In this chaotic battle, Gu Fei had yet to fully demonstrate his strength and power. Instead, it was Sword Demon who had shown his prowess through the Shadowmist Assault from before. Skewering the Mages from Carouse like Tanghulu had instilled quite a bit of fear into the players from Carouse, which caused them to avoid the Assassin and flock to bully Gu Fei instead.
Sword Demon was thrilled! Had such a scenario ever occurred during all those times when he had been fighting side by side with Gu Fei? Most of their enemies would seek to avoid Thousand Miles Drunk as best as they could, and would treat these originally all-powerful experts that made up their six-man mercenary group like trash in comparison. But today, it was finally the reverse, and Sword Demon had regained his spot once more.
The players of Carouse had managed to twist themselves into a mass by this time, and the mob of almost a hundred players began to show the power of an organized guild. Even though Gu Fei and Sword Demon were two apex experts, there was no way that they were able to take on so many men with just the two of them. They spent some time trying to break through the encirclement, but it only tightened on them further.
“Are you out of mana?” Sword Demon asked Gu Fei when they passed by each other. Gu Fei was only wielding his sword at the moment, not once using his indomitable Twin Incineration despite chancing upon many great opportunities to do so.
“No, I’ve still got some. Just waiting for the right opportunity!” Gu Fei grinned.
“What opportunity?” Sword Demon asked.
“Are you able to fight your way out of this?” Gu Fei answered his question with one of his own.
Sword Demon chuckled darkly, “I’m just waiting for the cool down!”
“Can you hold out till then?”
“The me before would probably die trying, but the me now… I think I should be fine,” Sword Demon said. The past few days of hellish training with Gu Fei had not been wasted, and adding to the fact that there was no need for resting while playing the game, that allowed Sword Demon to play Parallel World with all the more fervor. He averaged out almost 16 hours in the game, while only leaving 8 hours for eating, drinking and sleeping.
“Alright, I’ll see you back in the city!” Gu Fei said.
Sword Demon naturally did not doubt Gu Fei’s capabilities, not really thinking that he would face many problems killing his way out of such a heavy encirclement. Were it not for Young Master Han’s orders, they would have long since made it out. But it was with that man’s instructions that the two of them ended up being completely surrounded like this, with a good mix of all the job classes around them no matter which direction they choose. They were all working in perfect tandem with each other, with hardly a single point of weakness that could be exploited.
Sword Demon swept his gaze and took in his surroundings, and he could tell that Young Master Han’s arrangement was about to be completed by this point. The man was seeking to kill them in one go this time and refused to give either man a chance to escape. Sword Demon reckoned that the cooldown timer for his Shadowmist Assault must well be within the calculation of that person, and he would most definitely seize the chance before Sword Demon’s skill becomes available and make their final attack.
However, Sword Demon had prepared a little something this time. It was at this moment when he pulled out a scroll. It was a skill scroll: Limit Break.
This scroll was something that had unexpectedly dropped for Sword Demon during those days when he had been undergoing his grueling training. The effect of this scroll was very powerful, as it could remove the limit of a skill completely, which included its requirements, cooldown, time, and so on. That meant when the scroll was used on any specific skill at one time, there was no need to wait for its cooldown to end, nor was there a need for any incantation or cast time. It did not consume any mana, energy or rage either.
This scroll was a valuable item, and the only regret was that it was just a single-use consumable scroll. Plenty of people would have loved to use this sort of item only at the most crucial moment, but the more that somebody had such a thought, the more likely it would be that this item would not be used. This was all because of the misgivings that come with crucial moments: Was this time when it could be deemed to be sufficiently crucial? Furthermore, there were a lot of people who would end up suffering for not using it in, only to end up consoling themselves: Hey, so what if I died? At least I didn’t end up using this treasure. I’ll be sure to use it at the next critical moment I face….
Sword Demon was an expert who had accumulated many experiences and lived through great upheavals within the MMO community, and he knew that there should not be a moment’s hesitation to use a single-use consumable item like this when the opportunity to do so presented itself. And it was in this situation that he decided he would use the Limit Break skill scroll. Actually, his Shadowmist Assault would essentially have no cooldown with the use of this scroll, and he could have used it earlier and break through this encirclement, but he still had the mentality of wanting to use it only at a crucial moment. This was why he continued to hold on as he did, and merely avoided all the additional thoughts that most people would have about saving it.
Seeing that the players Young Master Han were commanding were almost ready to execute their final attack, Sword Demon sent Gu Fei his parting words, “I’ll be going!”
“Yes, take it easy!”
The two had sent each other off as if they had just finished eating their dinner and were returning home separately. Sword Demon unfurled his skill scroll and activated Limit Break, setting it on Shadowmist Assault. Sword Demon did not even spare a moment of hesitation once the skill cooldown cleared. With a lift of his daggers, a shadow streaked out of nowhere. He could not even be bothered to initiate the invisibility he would have been granted during the execution of this skill as he zoomed right out of the encirclement in an instant.
There were just under a hundred players from Carouse here, so there were not that many layers of men surrounding them, and Sword Demon had already identified a path to navigate past them all. Thus, he was extremely confidently in fending them off this whole time. Now that he used his skill, it created yet another trail of white lights behind him. Sword Demon’s over-leveled skill, top tier equipment, and perfect stats distribution allowed for an explosive attack power that outstripped even Gu Fei’s magic damage. Even players that Gu Fei could not insta-kill had no escape when facing Sword Demon.
“AHHHHHH!” The screams which rang out in that path were interrupted halfway as they were all sent off to their spawn point. Sword Demon pierced through the mob with a single cut of daggers, his head not even turning around as he continued onward. Several players turned their sorrowful gaze toward Young Master Han, which seemed to be complaining, Didn’t you say his skill was still on cooldown?
Young Master Han was very confused as well! Obviously, he had taken Sword Demon’s skill cooldown into account, but never would he have imagined that Sword Demon would recently gain something like Limit Break! Sword Demon was unlike Royal God Call or War Without Wounds in this respect, and would not openly brag about everything he had recently gotten, so nobody knew he had such a skill scroll on him.
Sword Demon dashed forward for a good distance before he turned around to look, confirming that there was no one giving chase. He had activated his Fleetfoot the instant his Shadowmist Assault ended, so there was no player out there that could attempt to catch up to him even if they wanted to. There was even less of a reason for Young Master Han to send men chasing after him and ruin the encirclement formation that he had set up before. Instead, the first thing he had done was immediately getting the remaining players to cover up the gap that Sword Demon had created. As a safeguard from Gu Fei doing any funny business to follow up, he swiftly gave the order for everyone to attack.
Young Master Han had a very good grasp of Gu Fei’s mana as well: After extricating himself from the Trap, that guy had used two Twin Incinerations, a Blink, and a single Thunderbolt. He should still have enough mana left for a single big move, but the man has not done this even after all this time. It seems like he intends to do something and break out of this encirclement as well, but therein lies the crux of the question: This person had come charging back into the fray by his own volition. This did not appear to be a breakout, so what was his motive for fighting on like this?
“There’s not a single flaw in this formation I’ve set up here…” Young Master Han was praising his arrangement, but after witnessing the unexpected move that came from Sword Demon just now, he did not dare to affirm that Gu Fei would be able to do something similarly unexpected despite the situation.
With Gu Fei at the heart of the encirclement, everybody pulled themselves away and the Mages bombarded the area with their spells. Of course, that would have been the perfect sight to behold, but why would Gu Fei give these people the chance to accomplish it? The man kept sticking to the players from Carouse in melee combat, always diving deep into the most concentrated patches to fight. A Mage from Carouse got a little impatient, and shouted in the mercenary channel, “Keep that guy busy, Mages will just bombard him directly. Since we won’t lose any levels dying during this event, our brothers will just have to bear with it a little!”
There were already some guild members who were desperate to execute a similar sacrificial method before Young Master Han had even said anything about it. The melee players were also very conscious of the situation as well, having decided to sacrifice themselves just so they could show Thousand Miles Drunk a thing or two. Seeing the Mages wave their magic staves in the air, about to unleash their spells, Young Master Han was suddenly startled, as he hurried to stop them, “Halt, don’t cast your spells!!”
Some players managed to stop themselves in time, but quite a few had already finished the corresponding incantations and couldn’t take them back any longer. Furthermore, Gu Fei had suddenly swung his sword and distanced himself from several players that he had been engaged in a melee fight with. These men had originally thought that Gu Fei had been pinned down under their combined attack, but Gu Fei had managed to disengage cleanly in that moment and dove into another clump of players. However, because the AoE spells the Mages released were unable to track Gu Fei, all of them were cast on his original position, only to end up landing on the brave souls that were ready to sacrifice themselves. Thankfully, most of the players had managed to interrupt their casting at Young Master Han’s warning, so the brave souls did not end up taking too much damage to the point that they lost their lives. Young Master Han saw what happened and was thankful that he could save himself the trouble of explaining everything, simply tossing out in the mercenary channel, “See that! That’s his scheme all along.”
In the end, contrary to his expectations, there was still a handful of players who could not make sense of what happened, asking, “What scheme?”
“He had guessed that we would use such a method to deal with him, so he pretended to be tangled up in the fight, enticing us to unleash our spells, only to escape at that moment, causing the spells to bombard our men in the end,” Young Master Han explained.
The players from Carouse recalled the scene from before and instantly made the connections, all of them sighing, “That’s too shameless.”
That was what Young Master Han told his guildmates, but he was thinking something different deep down. Gu Fei must have guessed that was the method that Young Master Han would end up using. Given how much Gu Fei had despised the utilization of such a method, he must surely have been planning to use such an opportunity to cause Young Master Han to self-inflict such a disaster upon himself. That guy is just too despicable!!! At the end of the day, Young Master Han shared the same thought as his fellow guildmates.
Since Young Master Han had managed to see through the scheme, there was obviously no way he would let Gu Fei succeed. Young Master Han had no intention of sacrificing his men when he was setting up the positioning for this encirclement in the first place, and he would only opt for such a method during emergencies when no other viable solution was applicable. Now that he had complete control of the situation, there was no need to go to such an extent, and there was no reason for him to do it either.
“Inner circle, collapse inward and attack!” Young Master Han gave the order. This was a tactic that he had come up with to target Gu Fei specifically. His encirclement had two very clearly defined circles, and this was to prevent Gu Fei from using his Blink. Getting the inner circle of players to shrink in and attack, if Gu Fei planned to use his Blink to escape, he would only escape half of the full encirclement, as there was another circle of players waiting for him right beyond. Thus, all the players in the inside ring had to do was circle out to form the outer ring once again and he would remain encircled. Since Gu Fei had run out of mana, his damage output would be limited, and that made his death inevitable.
Thus, if Gu Fei were to use Blink in hopes of escaping, that would instead save them all time. But if he were to attempt to use his Twin Incineration and attempt to make a last stance, he would be able to take down quite several Carouse’s men at the expense of his own life, but there was no way that he could escape at that rate.
Young Master Han had seen through what Gu Fei intended to do and only gave the order to attack once he was assured that there was no funny business that he could resort to any longer.
Gu Fei attempted to reposition himself again, only to find the mob of players surrounding him together after, no longer giving him any chance to slip away. He gave a slight smile as his Moonlit Nightfalls was angled down to the ground.
Nobody paid any attention to his movement. Everybody could feel their anger simmering as they competed with each other to dash right toward him. Were it not for how valuable the weapons in their hands were, many would have opted to directly throw them right at Gu Fei’s face.
Gu Fei swept his gaze at the people that came charging at him, before giving out a fiendish laugh and addressed the crowd directly, “You’re on fire!”
All of them were stunned even as their weapons came slashing toward Gu Fei. Suddenly, they felt the ground beneath their feet heat up, as a fire began igniting in earnest. This time, it was not one after another, but an entire inner circle of players that blossomed like a white flower in bloom, and Gu Fei was right at the center of this. He opened his mouth and wanted to laugh, but was unable to make it in time as he too disappeared together along with the whole ring of players.
An eerie dead silence pervaded the battlefield as everyone stared in horror, their eyes wide open. Having witnessed the energetic mob in front of them disappear so instantaneously, all that remained were several Warriors that boasted high defense and HP, holding their shields loosely in hands. These men were all blankly rooted to the spot, looking at the flames underneath their feet slowly extinguished.
Everyone exchanged glances with each other and then stared straight at their commander in unison: Young Master Han.
Young Master Han had a really ugly expression on his face. At that moment when everybody died, he immediately realized what Gu Fei had achieved. He had been deceived, and it was a huge blunder on his part.
He wanted to set up the perfect formation and whittle away at Gu Fei’s HP, yet he did not realize that in the process of surrounding the man, it would be Gu Fei who had been the one whittling them down instead. Originally, none of these players were afraid of being whittled down since they had the support of their Priests, but the Priests ended up becoming very limited as the battle became progressively more chaotic. Parallel World was unlike any normal MMO, where the HP total of players would be displayed atop players’ heads, allowing Priests to cast their Heal when they saw that it dipped. Parallel World had quite a strict requirement of their Priests, expecting the players to personally determine by their observation when a player needed to be Healed. Fortunately, the system gave a bit of aid to this, just like how it aided Archers with their marksmanship, Priests would receive plenty of feedback from the system when someone needed a Heal within their casting radius.
Despite this, the players themselves would still have to make their judgment as to who needed the Heal, and in the process of Healing, they had to maintain a line of sight with said player. Thus, the Priests were severely handicapped in the scenario before, especially when Gu Fei was stringing them along as he repositioned himself. Even if the Priests had the perfect positioning to start with, all it would take was for some of these players to run off and others to opt not to do so, then it would naturally cause quite a mix up for everyone involved.
Gu Fei used this very fact and ran around, dealing damage to player after player whenever he could, reducing their HP slightly. As their HP did not drop to critical levels, none of the players were too concerned, thus when Gu Fei finally stood in the middle, a single Blazing Tree of a Thousand Inferno was all that was needed for him to bring everyone down with him.
Were this not the case, there was no way that Gu Fei could have taken everyone down so cleanly as he did. Right now, aside from the heavily armored and high HP Warriors that remained, no one else was still alive. This one spell killed off at least 30 players at once.
Seeing everyone’s eyes directed toward him, Young Master Han chuckled with disdain as he flared his nostrils, “That’s a quick death!”
Back in the city, Gu Fei respawned at the Mage Academy, feeling extremely gratified. It would have been such a great thing if he could send a message to Young Master Han at this time. Unfortunately, there was no way that he could achieve such perfection!
Gu Fei contemplated about this even as he sent a message to Sword Demon, “Are you back yet? I’m already here.”
“You’re so shameless…” Sword Demon had managed to escape with his life and had been watching from afar wondering how Gu Fei was going to extricate himself from the quandary. In the end, all he saw was Gu Fei bombard himself with his spell.
“Haha, since that guy always enjoys dragging others to die with me, I’ll just have to satisfy him,” Gu Fei said with glee.
“Then what about your quest? The way I see it, given what little strength we have, emerging victorious for this quest will be tough,” Sword Demon observed.
“Yeah, you’re right…. It looks like Carouse values this quest. There were over a hundred players there, right?”
“That sounds about right.”
“Then let’s think of another solution. Where are the soldiers?” Gu Fei was finally showing concern to the soldiers under his command.
“They’ve left for the city. What was the order you gave them?” Sword Demon had seen Gu Fei say a few words to the NPC before ordering them to depart.
“I told them to wait for me by the city gate.”
“Oh, then I’ll see you there then!” Sword Demon answered.