Chapter 678 – The Five Minutes Rule
“Good evening!” Gu Fei and Sword Demon waved to greet Brother Assist.
Brother Assist mouth hung agape to the point his jaw almost touched the ground, closing it with his hand after a good long moment before he quickly asked, “Why are you guys here?”
“Just randomly taking a stroll. However, the City War is such a huge matter, why aren’t you in a rush to research on it? How could you be in the mood to grind?” The two men asked.
“I actually wanted to do so, but there have to be certain conditions to conduct the research. With how the soldiers and players are all in such a mess and falling rocks everywhere, just the rez run was tiring enough as is!” The players had begun calling the running to the battlefield after respawning ‘rez run’, even though the concept could not be literally understood from the term itself.
Gu Fei and Sword Demon laughed, “You died?”
“But of course!” Brother Assist moaned.
This was not something difficult to grasp. Even though the players started to organize themselves and spontaneously coordinated with each other after the chaotic battle began, it was only an emergency response in the face of a critical moment. Take for example when a Priest from a small party happened to have died, and there was another Priest who they did not know nearby. It was not too hard to just call on them to come help Heal for a bit. Such an arrangement was a lot more passive, and it was nothing like active cooperation. After all, real cooperation would require the team to be formed beforehand.
In that sense, Brother Assist was like an army of one, without any guild to rely on when everyone else was already divided up into their teams. While everyone would be assaulting the city in these properly organized teams, he would be all alone diving into the battlefield. Furthermore, it was apparent that the system had no intention of becoming good friends with the third party either, as the city guards attacked him with equal impunity. Given the bit of skill that Brother Assist possessed, how many moves could he take before succumbing to them?
“How many times did you die?” Gu Fei asked. He was at least a little confident about Brother Assist’s perseverance, so he doubted just dying once would have extinguished Brother Assist’s enthusiasm toward information gathering.
“Five times…” Brother Assist glumly admitted.
“It’s been hard on you,” Gu Fei consoled.
“Well, I did discover a particular constraint that not many people have yet to notice,” Brother Assist said.
“Most people probably think that they would just revive upon death and would then be able to quickly make their way back to the battlefield, using such a method to repeatedly whittle down the enemy. Heh, they’ll know when they die over five times,” Brother Assist shook his head, keeping everyone in suspense.
“What would happen on the fifth death?” Gu Fei asked.
“After dying five times, the encampment would restrict players from leaving the spawn point. The supposed explanation the system gave for this configuration would be due to the ‘heavy injuries the players sustained, requiring them to properly recuperate’. The players would then be required to wait in the encampment for five minutes before they could leave,” Brother Assist said.
“Well… Understandably, such a limitation would be in place. But you’re not a player belonging to a guild, even if you bumbled your way into the City War, and happened to have died five times after, why would you have to observe this particular constraint as well?”
“Of course it wasn’t me who experienced it,” Brother Assist quickly corrected Gu Fei. “On my fifth death, there was also another player who had died five times, and was complaining about it in the encampment, so I asked him about it. I reckon the five minutes on the fifth death is only the beginning. By the time a player dies more than ten times, I’m sure the time would increase to ten minutes or something. So, I waited over at the encampment for quite some time until I really managed to catch a player who had died ten times. Sure enough, that person had to spend a whole ten minutes ‘recuperating’ inside the encampment!”
Gu Fei and Sword Demon exchanged glances with each other, both men thinking about the same thing at the same time. This particular configuration was surely something that the main forces of those guilds assaulting the north gate had no idea about. Because the major guilds were collaborating together and were properly organized, none of them were about to muck around. After their careful coordination, they were now conducting their second formal assault, and it was evident that none of them had already died five times or more. But just like the explanation that Sword Demon had given to Gu Fei before about their strategy to whittle the city guards down, the crux of the plan depended on having an unlimited respawn! However, if their respawn process would eventually be restricted, the battle plan that the guilds had employed would essentially have been ruined. Thus, the information Brother Assist had learned about the arrangement placed after ten deaths must surely have not been from the north gate.
When Gu Fei asked, indeed, Brother Assist had learned it from the south gate, and that assault happened to be in the exact opposite direction from where Traversing Four Seas and the other guilds were collaborating. Even though the siege over by the west, south and east gates were all raging passionately and the players were all having great fun participating, the fact that they lacked the combat strength and with how casually they fought, none of these gates had managed to make any breakthroughs thus far. Their utilization of the repeated respawn that they had been granted for this City Wars event had automatically shifted them toward the rotational respawn method as well. But they had very quickly been broken upon reaching the five times five minutes, ten times ten minutes rule. In the meantime, the magnificent guild army up in the north gate was still kept in the dark about this restriction!
Sword Demon had become thoughtful when he mulled over this fact when Brother Assist had suddenly become excited, pulling out a booklet and flipped through many pages as a quill appeared in his hand. He asked, “How did the two of you end up inside the city? Quick, spill it to me.”
Gu Fei was just about to open his mouth and answer when Sword Demon abruptly turned his head round and interrupted, “In other words, this wave of attack would surely be beaten back. There’s no guarantee that even someone like Oathless Sword could avoid dying in such a scenario, so we could head over to the encampment and camp him out.”
“What are the two of you doing here?” Brother Assist was astonished. He refused to believe that the two men had ended up here while taking a random stroll. Hearing what Sword Demon had just said, he was convinced that they must be plotting something against Oathless Sword.
Gu Fei merely sighed when he heard the question, “Sword Demon, you’re really too honest and honorable. What I meant was why don’t we find out where Oathless Sword is located directly from Brother Assist? We’ll just wait here for him to return with the information.”
“How can you think of such a sinister solution!?” Sword Demon sweated.
“This was the inspiration I got when you previously said that there must be some reason to having a third party,” Gu Fei said.
“Wait a minute. What did the two of you talk about? Tell me all about it,” Brother Assist interrupted the conversation.
“It’s like this, Brother Assist. To put it simply, because the two of us belong to a Faction, we have now been assigned to be a part of the official forces belonging on the system’s side. These guilds are thus seen as ruffians or rioting mobs, turning the top one hundred guild rankings in the city into a top one hundred villains bounty list. The two of us have chosen the top villain in this list of a hundred, Oathless Sword, and are now here to kill the man for the greater good,” Gu Fei gave a quick summary of the situation.
Brother Assist was stunned for quite a while when he heard this, finally saying, “That’s the announcement you heard on your end? I listened to the speech that an NPC gave outside the city, and it identified the system as a cruel tyrant, and the guilds were the revolutionaries that were seeking to overthrow the system!”
“We each work for our masters…” Gu Fei recited.
“What a mess…” Sword Demon was having a mental breakdown.
“Sword Demon, why don’t you try and give me your account…” Brother Assist felt that Gu Fei might have embellished a little.
“Well… It was more or less as he had said…” Sword Demon felt Gu Fei had exaggerated a little after hearing his description of the event, but it was only after thinking about it further, did he realize that Gu Fei had actually used the original text that the system had provided. However, the terms like ruffians, rioting mob, villains and all the various derogatory terms used by the system made it feel a little off when used together all at once like this.
“Looks like this City Wars is an overarching plot, despite having no background story to speak of,” Brother Assist sighed.
“Anything else new you learned?” Brother Assist asked.
“Oh yeah, Ray is in a Faction as well, the Mercantile Trade Association. It was also a reward for a quest that he had randomly picked up from the Trade Union, and that guy isn’t even level 40 yet!” Sword Demon said.
“Is that so? We had even previously judged that only players that reached level 40 could be recruited to Factions,” Brother Assist was writing all of this down even as he spoke.
“Could it be that the Faction he joined is a little unique in this respect? Just take a look at this City War itself. The quests we have picked up so far were all combat-related, but all he has been given were quests that had him transporting goods from place to place, as if he was involved in the logistics,” Sword Demon said.
“You guys have a quest as well?” Brother Assist was taken aback.
“Of course. The attempt for Oathless Sword’s life this time was something I had chanced upon, which we ended up partying up together after, but we actually have our own Faction quest as well! Oh right, do you happen to know someone by the name of Small Bottlecap? He should be a guild leader,” Sword Demon asked.
“Small Bottlecap? Let me take a look…” Brother Assist pulled out a different book from his dimensional pocket upon hearing the IGN and began flipping through it. Both Gu Fei and Sword Demon regarded Brother Assist with a look of admiration as he did. The man was really too formidable, recording down everything and actually carrying all of them around with him wherever he went. It was truly something that went beyond just a mere hobby, but had become a state of consciousness in itself. Even if Brother Assist were to have an overall record of the guilds in Yunduan City, the fact remained that the information he had gathered on this hardly had any practical use for him at all. Most people who inquire after such information would not necessarily come running to him for it. This was nothing but a hobby in the truest sense of the word. Because the process by which he collected all this information was enjoyable, the result of completing his collection had thus become his achievement!
Flipping through page after page, Gu Fei and Sword Demon patiently waited on their end, it was only until Brother Assist had flipped to the final few pages when he finally got an answer. “F*ck, I thought I had heard the name when you said it, so it turns out it was because I have recently recorded it down. This information here is what I had recently collected from around the time when we returned to Yunduan City, and it is a newly established guild. Let me see… Yes, a level 1 guild by the name of Soy Sauce Pourer. They currently have 37 members, and the guild leader, Small Bottlecap, is a level 35 Knight.”
Brother Assist raised his head to look at Sword Demon once he was done with his words, and it was evident that such a small and insignificant guild, when thrown in such a huge and chaotic battlefield, really lived up to their guild’s namesake of being insignificant. He had no idea why Sword Demon had wanted to specifically ask about this person.
On the other hand, Sword Demon was feeling rather dispirited after hearing that Small Bottlecap was such a small and important player, which meant his target would be a lot harder to locate this time. Sword Demon used his experience as a guild leader to analyze this small guild, and he quickly figured that the men from Traversing Four Seas or Carouse would surely not know the existence of this soy sauce guild. And even if they were aware of it, there was no way they would even consider carrying such a burden along for their coalition of guilds. In the best-case scenario, Small Bottlecap would bring his guild out to one of the three other gates in the east, south, or west and keep suiciding themselves against the city’s defenses.
“Just give up!” Gu Fei patted Sword Demon on his back. “That quest is far too difficult. It’s much more difficult than killing Oathless Sword.”
Sword Demon was tearing up.
“Was that for a quest?”
“Yeah. That’s for our individual quests. Sword Demon was tasked to kill that player, while I was sent out to Yunjiao Lake to do some investigating. We’ve already completed one quest each before this,” Gu Fei informed.
“Oh, what’s that?” Brother Assist pressed on.
Gu Fei gave him a quick summary of what had happened once more, adding, “Help us say hi to Young Master.”
“Hahaha, what for?!” Brother Assist had said this thusly, but his action spoke otherwise as he sent a message to Young Master Han, unafraid of causing a little mayhem, “Young Master, Miles, and Sword Demon had asked me to give you their regards!”
“Heh, the two of them are with me right now,” Brother Assist said.
“What the heck?” Young Master Han asked.
“They said they happened to be strolling by…” Brother Assist used the same excuse the two had given to him before.
Thus, Young Master Han did not bother to reply after. Gu Fei then began to urge Brother Assist to help them execute their sinister plan, “Quick, Brother Assist. Go find out where Oathless Sword is at!”
“How am I gonna find that out…” Brother Assist muttered.
“Ask Royal!” Gu Fei quipped.
“That… That’s not too good an idea. It’s too obviously cheating. It’s best if we do not make things difficult for Royal…” Sword Demon said.
If they really went with the plan that Gu Fei had thought up, it was not difficult to get the answer they were looking for. All Royal had to do was casually ask for his guild leader’s position across the guild channel. Why would anyone treat this as a secret not to be shared if they were in the know? However, given Royal God Call, Gu Fei and Sword Demon’s relationship with each other, by the time Sword Demon and Gu Fei succeeded, anyone with half a brain would also recall what Royal God Call had done, they would probably end up being cast aside.
“Yes, you’re right,” Gu Fei had been a little too impatient that he had failed to consider this fact. Now that he was reminded of this potentiality by the considerate Sword Demon, he even realized just how problematic his suggestion was, and how much it would inconvenience others.
“How about we just go along with my idea and camp out for Oathless Sword?” Sword Demon said.
“There are three spawn points over that gate, and the three of us can each take one,” Gu Fei continued.
Brother Assist was speechless. Were they not disregarding his existence a bit too much? They had included him in the mix without even asking if he had an opinion about it. These two had their quests, which meant getting a reward for its completion. But he was essentially being volunteered to provide free labor right now!
“Alright, I’ll take the west, you can take the east. Brother Assist has slow movement, so just take the post right in the middle!” Even when they were allocating their positions, neither man had actually sought to ask Brother Assist for his opinion.
“Hey hey hey!” Finally, Brother Assist could not stand it any longer.
“What?” The two men turned their heads around, their eyes shining bright as they came eye to eye with Brother Assist.
The words that Brother Assist had wanted to say were on the tip of his tongue, but when he opened his mouth, he had no idea how it turned into something else, “How do I contact the two of you?”
“Speaking of which, I find this odd! You’re a third party in this event, which makes you irrelevant to the two main forces clashing! Why are you able to send messages to the people from the guilds, yet view us as hostiles?” Sword Demon was nonplussed.
“Who knows?” Brother Assist shrugged.
“In that sense, isn’t the third party that you represent also on the side of the guilds? There’s a good number of people out there who have not joined any guilds, after all!” Sword Demon said this, even as he consciously sent a message over to Brother Assist. But unexpectedly, the system prompt about prohibiting communication did not appear. Just as he was stunned at this sudden change, Brother Assist had also gasped in shock, “Eh? What’s going on? Did you send this?”
To his surprise, Brother Assist also casually typed out a reply, which Sword Demon had successfully received as well. Both men were equally stumped. They could still remember quite clearly that they had respectively tried to contact each other after the city war began, but the system had told them the other player belonged to hostile forces.
Now that they were discussing the design and function, Brother Assist was more well-versed with such matters and asked after much consideration, “Can the two of you send a message to Young Master Han and the others?”
Both men gave it a shot and shook their heads, “Nope.”
Brother Assist analyzed, “This could perhaps be the special privilege that the third party force possesses. The system and the guilds are two forces that are clearly defined in their role for this event, vying for control with each other. But to the third party that I belong to, our messaging might be restricted to the region we were in. If we were inside the city, perhaps we could exchange messages with the players within the city, while when we are outside its walls, our communication is limited to the players outside. I really can’t think of any other explanation for this aside from this.”
“That’s understandable… But what’s the point of giving you guys such a function?” Sword Demon cannot make sense of it.
Brother Assist was all the more twisted by this setup. Just what was the use of being given such a function? Parallel World always enjoyed throwing riddles at its players and it was quite the agonizing torture for players that were like him.
“Let me try and see if I can use the channel,” Gu Fei suddenly thought to use his mercenary channel, so he sent a message, but was unable to send the message out in the end.
“This is a little unfair! The channel is commonly used by all, yet we can’t use it. So why can the people from the guilds be able to use it?” Gu Fei said.
“Who knows…” Brother Assist bitterly mulled over this.
“Let’s not think about such things for now, and hurry over to the three spawn points to camp Oathless Sword! So much time has passed, I reckon there should be someone who has died five times there by now, right?” Gu Fei would always find the slaying of people to be the most pressing matter.
“Let’s go then. I’ll go east and you go west, Brother Assist will hold the midpoint,” Sword Demon said.
The three thus proceeded to make their way in their designated direction, maintaining contact through messages from time to time. The magnificent battle happening over at the north gate at this moment had indeed run into a bit of a snag because of this previously unknown configuration. The first to flare up were the men used for cannon fodder. This portion of players was much weaker than the main force and was being crushed by the system’s defenses unilaterally, and these people quickly racked up their fifth death count. They experienced the five minutes recuperation restriction that the system had in place, and this situation was very quickly reported to their respective guild leaders. These guild leaders then proceeded to inform stronger guild leaders up the chain and soon, the major guild leaders that were at the top of this chain of command were made aware of this problem, and they were truly quite taken by surprise by this sudden development.
This was the real hand of God.
The person who created the rules would forever be above those who needed to comply with the rules. And in this world, the system was the creator. Thankfully, the system would still be in place to serve the people, so the rules it created would still seek to create greater entertainment for those who conform to its rules. If that was not the case, the odds of the players emerging victorious would essentially be zero if the rules were in place just to mess with the players.
In this case, everybody could feel the impending headache when they saw this once unknown configuration surface, for this dealt the deadliest of blows to their unlimited respawn strategy!
All the guild leaders urgently sent their command down the pecking order, calling for everybody to stop the wasteful expenditure of their lives, calling for everybody to be more careful. People were instructed to try their best to survive, to do the best they could to buy the time necessary and cover that extra five minutes that had now appeared on everyone’s ledger. This particular point might not be too difficult for the men that came from the stronger guilds, but this five minutes time frame was no doubt more than a little fatal for those players from the cannon fodder army. Furthermore, the bulk of the players made up this particular force and had no idea about this restriction in the beginning, so none of them really bother to form up the most effective teams. They were just heading off to their deaths anyway, with everyone being more than happy to swarm up and die very casually. Their numbers helped ensure that not everyone would die in that one charge, but the moment that this five minutes restriction came to pass, there was no way that they could simply control their deaths in such a manner. The large guilds had all realized that the cannon fodder army was the key to the outcome of this assault, thus they no longer dared to let the cannon fodders casually indulge in their arbitrary assault and whims no longer. Instead, they swiftly began to reorganize the players as soon as they could, sending them to their deaths wave after wave in a periodic fashion.
There were still quite a lot of players from each guild that were adept at taking command, and all of them were working together currently, as the cannon fodder army swiftly got themselves properly organized. They were all very proud of themselves, feeling as if they were about to turn the tide. But who would have guessed that this was the very moment when bad news arrived: Someone who had first died ten times was now facing a ten minutes recuperation time.
Everybody was utterly astonished. Dragging out each rotation to cover these ten minutes was already a challenge for the main forces, so obviously there was no need to elaborate on how much worse the cannon fodder army would fare. The foreheads of all the guild leaders had all begun to sweat. They could perhaps hold on for ten minutes, but it was made very apparent from how this configuration was designed. The first five deaths were just the first rung of the ladder, and every five more deaths would subsequently increase the recuperation time needed by another five minutes. Letting it continue on when they make it past the ten minutes marker, could they still make it past 15 minutes after? And if they could hold on for 15 minutes, what about the 20 minutes timer after that? There was definitely no way that they could do this battle by whittling down the enemy like this.