Chapter 48 The Peerless Garlic 2
Being a professional gamer sounded like an enviable career. After all, one could get both money and fame from just playing games. Who would not want that?
In the year 2055, it had indeed become an occupation approved of by society, and the top players in the field had the same amount of influence as famous athletes. The age group for professional players was normally between fourteen to thirty-five. Of course, there were younger genius players, but they would not be able to join the ranks due to the age limitation on certain games.
Normally, professional gamers could be separated to two types, one was the celebrity gamers while the other would be the normal blue-collar player.
Celebrity players would generally choose to retire at around thirty years old. They either became semi-casual players or coaches, generally preparing to enter the administrative or management phase should they be attached to a studio. Some changed their job scope but remained within the field like becoming a game-caster, announcer, reviewer, and so on. Those who got rich through their career might even end up as a company boss.
Everyone that entered the field hoped to become a celebrity player, but of the many who joined the gauntlet since graduation from secondary school, only a handful would achieve fame, and most would have their dreams broken and find a normal job instead. These people practically used their youth as a bet, and whether it was a win or loss, only they themselves could tell. These non-celebrity players were the blue collars in the field. They were the central pillar of this industry. Without their support, a studio could not operate normally, and the celebrity players also needed the support of these people.
The most unavoidable thing in this business was the cruel competition. For any famous game, there had to be an element of 'competition'. If the game did not provide a way for two or more groups of players to decide who was better, the game would not have been able to attract the attention of any studios, and the number of players overall would be limited.
For MMORPGs, it was fine even if it was not direct PVP content. Even for pure PVE games, there were many other ways to settle a score, like collecting the best equipment or killing the hardest boss. Thus, such was the simplest way for a professional gamer to prove their value; it could be summed up in a simple word—Win.
Unfortunately, there was no permanent victor in the world; no one could keep on winning. Growing older, the advent of new players, uncontrollable factors in the game itself… these caused many gamers who were once viewed as gods within the community to slowly fade out of sight. Those who managed to retire while at the height of their popularity could be counted on one hand.
The better the gaming studio, the crueler the competition. They were always in need of fresh blood… newbies who were intensely competitive and could not wait to improve… the type of people who could pull down the god-type players at any moment.
To put it simply, geniuses with ambition like… Phantom Dawn.
This time, Regulation Studio assigned four groups into Thriller Paradise. Each group had ten members, and each group had one to two celebrity players while the rest were mainly experienced blue-collar players. Phantom Dawn was the only newbie who was less than twenty years old in those four groups.
Regulation placed great hope on the young man, and that was why he was one of the first players to be assigned to join Thriller Paradise. The team leader did not give him any missions; he only needed to play the game. Who would have thought the man would come across the three-man group led by Fearless Champion during his first Killing Game mode? Without giving his senior face, the teen had slaughtered all of them. In other words, being given a 'holiday' due to his action was completely understandable.
Of course, Fearless Champion was nowhere near the best the studio could offer. Among the group of celebrity players, whether it was in terms of past achievement or popularity, he was nowhere near the top ten list. Even though his team had managed to get the title of the first group to have a player reach the maximum level of twenty, that was not all Regulation had to offer.
Those four groups could be considered the scouts. The strongest batch of players at Regulation only registered their accounts and locked in their IGNs before logging off. In other words, the real professionals at Regulations had not been assigned to Thriller Paradise. The higher ups had their plan and decided to wait for the time being. Not until Dream Inc. decided to open the paid service and currency exchange would they consider sending in their top players.
Why so much exposition? What about Feng Bujue? What about the scenario at Nooccar City?
The digression to the issue of studios was because, inside this scenario, there were members from a gaming studio as well.
But they did not belong to big studios like Regulation. Instead, they were third-tier gaming studios, the type where the owner was also the accountant and the player…
He was Atobe-sama.
His studio's name was Hyotei. Atobe-sama was twenty years old in real life and had just graduated from university last year. His father owned a factory, so he came from quite a well-off family, one that allowed him to be lazy. After all, the capital needed to start a gaming studio was not high. One only needed to rent a place and buy a few gaming hubs. There was little to no investment in terms of workers because the employees were his university buddies.
Currently, Atobe-sama only had three employees. One was in the same scenario, 'So hard to find a name', known as Ming Zi henceforth. The other two were respectively 'A name is so hard to find'—known as Qu Ming henceforth—and 'A hard find, one's name'—known as Hen Nan henceforth. Even though Atobe-sama had once seriously requested them to use IGNs like Kabaji and Osh*tari, he was heartlessly rejected. When he threatened to withhold their salary, he was beaten up.
Even their studio knew that there was a need to maintain shifts, so they were split into two groups. Currently, two of them were in-game, and the other two were out for supper.
Atobe-sama had the appearance of a clean, handsome, and thin young man in game. Overall, it was not that much different from his appearance in real life… except for some 'adjustments' to his face.
Ming Zi had a medium-sized body and was slightly shorter than Atobe-sama. From his name and in-game appearance, he radiated an air of slovenliness and untidiness. He not only did not make himself look more handsome, he went the other way and changed his character into a bald guy, saying that he wanted to experience how it was to be bald at least in-game.
Atobe-sama's title seemed to be a vicious joke—One Common Warrior. His weapon was a normal blade, like the ones used by extras in wuxia flicks. The quality was normal without special effects and elements, but at least it was an actual weapon.
Different from the pedestrian title of Atobe-sama, Ming Zi's title was quite eye-catching—'Paper Tiger'. He had a cowardly heart even though he looked like a bald gangster. This member did not even have a valid weapon. His backpack contained two baseball bats and a rusted iron pipe. Who knew where he picked them up?
They were quite lucky because they landed just one block away from each other, so they met up soon.
As untrustworthy as the pair looked, they had some advantages. If they knew nothing about gaming, then why would they open a gaming studio? Therefore, Atobe-sama made a very correct decision, which was to ignore the quest until they could properly arm themselves.
Looking at the city, they knew that the game was set in America, the country of freedom and guns. Therefore, there had to be a gun store somewhere. Even if the gun store did not have any powerful weapons, standard pistol, rifles, and even magazines of ammo would be invaluable.
The two moved down the street, occasionally running into BW Zombies that roamed the street, but they posed very little threat. One whack to the head or just walking around them would solve the problem. Even though their speed would increase when they were within target range, as long as one was careful not to get surrounded at once by three or more monsters, the creatures were easy to deal with.
After passing two blocks, Atobe-sama entered a phone booth. He picked up the phone, but there was no line. In reality, even if it was connected, he would not have known who to call. Was he going to call 911? The main reason he entered the structure was to look through the phone book. He looked for three minutes before locating the address of the nearest gun store. He and Ming Zi hurried toward their destination.
After about ten minutes of walking, their neared their destination but came across a strange scene.
Around thirty or so BW Zombie's bodies littered the street. Each body's head was smashed in, and the bodies formed a trail that led to the gun store entrance.
In the middle of the street right before the shop, in broad daylight, sat a large ice barrel with the logo of the Gatorade company. It was filled with red liquid, and there were many empty plastic packets around the barrel. That thick and pure stench of blood could reach people's nostrils from a long distance away.
Two loudspeakers were placed next to the blood barrels, and it was playing the 'Spain Matador March'. Based on the marks on the ground, the speakers appeared to have been dragged out from the opposite audio and visual shop. One of the generators by the roadside had been pried open, and it was unclear what was happening inside, but in any case, the electric cable was connected to it.
"What in the world is happening here?" Ming Zi asked.
Atobe-sama did not have the slightest clue, but before he could say anything, he saw a BW Zombie flying out from behind the right-hand corner of the blood barrel. Then a man soaked in blood walked out from it. He had a sharp knife in one hand and a wrench in another. A long string of garlic was strung on each of his shoulders, forming a giant X on his back. They were all dyed red by blood.
His steps were in time with the matador music, dancing a dance that was similar to the one shown in the movie 'Kung Fu'. On top of that, he was chewing something that looked a white chewing gum in his mouth. With light and almost graceful steps, he moved toward the BW Zombie and then rained heavy blows on the poor zombie who had not gotten up from the ground. Blood oozed, and brain matter flew.
After dealing with this monster, the man seemed to realize something as he straightened up and turned around. Atobe-sama and Ming Zi fell into his gaze.
After holding Feng Bujue's gaze for two seconds, both of them yelled in unison and turned to escape.
"Run for your life!"
Feng Bujue did not waste time and chased after them. He wanted to yell, "Why are you running? I'm also a player!" However, since his mouth was filled with garlic, it made that impossible.
On the other side, seeing the stranger chasing after them, Ming Zi's Terror Points instantly soared. As he ran, he complained to Atobe-sama. "This is over… We're dead if we're caught by this mad man. This is all your fault! Why did you suggest we come to the gun store. You should have known the system would place a mini boss there!"
Atobe-sama turned his head back occasionally to follow Feng Bujue's movement. The latter was approaching.
"What does that have to do with me‽ How could I have known about that beforehand‽" He turned back again. "What the hell? How can he run faster than us‽"
"I realized that earlier! He's ridiculously fast!" Ming Zi groaned despairingly.
Feng Bujue, who was twenty meters behind them, heard their conversation and mocked internally, That's only natural because I'm wearing Jazz Shoes. Do you two really expect to outrun me?
At that moment, the pair suddenly said in unison, "Let's split up!"
At the next junction, they separated, one going left and other going right. Feng Bujue exclaimed internally, What the‽ Even they know how to use tactics‽
Without giving it much thought, he turned left, and the unlucky winner was Atobe-sama.
"Damn… That didn't give him any hesitation!" Atobe-sama cried to himself. "He abandoned that damn baldie and charge at me directly. It must be because of how handsome I am."
Seeing Feng Bujue's approach, Atobe-sama's Terror Points continued to rise. He knew that he was going to get caught soon. Instead of being killed by a backstab, he decided to make a last stand.
With that in mind, he suddenly stopped, grabbed his blade, and slashed at the approaching Feng Bujue.
"Eh?" When Feng Bujue reached him, Atobe-sama suddenly realized that he was unable to wave the blade; his action was restricted by the system.
Feng Bujue reached the man and stopped to catch his breath. He glared at the youth and uttered between breaths, "I… Huh… Ah… Am… one… of… the players! You… [beep!]"
"Idiot" was censored by the system. Technically speaking, Feng Bujue could not have said the sentence in the first place, but since only one word was censored, it meant that he did not mean to insult but was merely jokingly mocking the man.
"Hah?" Atobe-sama's legs weakened, and he fell to the ground. With a blanched face and quivering lips, the man apologized. "Huh… huh… I'm… I'm sorry."