Chapter 10 - Particular Tastes
Gu Fei noticed on his way back that the number of players gradually increased the closer he got to Yunduan City. A majority of players had yet to focus on leveling; instead they were reveling in the wonders of full-immersion gaming. Even just holding hands with someone or patting a person’s shoulder was a novel experience to them.
Gu Fei entered the city gate and headed toward the central square after asking Fireball where the tavern was located.
Three important structures, the tavern, auction house, and bank, were spread out around the square.
Gu Fei made his way over to the tavern and pushed open its door.
The place was not as dimly lit as Gu Fei had imagined; rather, the lighting had a natural glow that created a warm and cozy atmosphere. There were many players inside; most of them were boisterous and joyful. As for those who were supposedly drowning their sorrows in alcohol, they had not appeared just yet. The wooden racks behind the counter were filled with various alcohol bottles; the NPC bartender had a friendly attitude, serving and greeting every customer with a smile.
Gu Fei looked around, yet it was Fireball who found him first from the crowd. He called out from the table he was occupying, “Drunk bro, over here!”
“Hey, Fireball!” Gu Fei greeted back. With a whoosh, a fireball ignited right in front of him. The players around him were momentarily shocked, but they laughed in unison upon realizing what had happened.
“Hey, isn’t that…” Gu Fei suddenly noticed someone familiar in the tavern.
Fireball turned to look before smiling, “Yeah that’s Sword Demon. He arrived not too long ago.”
“He took a detour, yet he had arrived before me!” Gu Fei said in surprise.
“What?” Fireball asked blankly.
“He was grinding at the same map as me before. I saw him,” Gu Fei explained.
“Oh… His level must be pretty high,” Fireball said as he poured Gu Fei some liquor. “Come on, Drunk bro. Try this alcohol. You must surely love alcohol with your name, right?”
Gu Fei grimaced, “Did you forget? My username was also given by someone else, just like yours.”
“Oh, right… I forgot!” Fireball smacked his forehead. “I wouldn’t have invited you for a drink if I had remembered. I’ve spent a whole silver coin for this!” Fireball lamented. A silver coin was equivalent to 100 copper coins. He could have bought one beginner weapon from the blacksmith in the early stages of the game with the money. Fireball must have spent quite some time killing monsters to accumulate that amount.
“No worries. My treat!” Gu Fei laughed. Since he fought monsters of a much higher level than Fireball, his income was naturally significantly higher as well.
Sword Demon had also noticed Gu Fei’s presence by now. Their eyes met and he nodded at Gu Fei, which could be considered as a form of greeting.
A huge racket pervaded the whole tavern.
Suddenly, the tavern door squeaked open. The whole place descended into silence. The remaining, scattered sounds all came from the people who had their backs to the door, including Gu Fei.
Gu Fei followed everyone’s lustful gazes and saw a lady.
The robe she wore was familiar, but Gu Fei was unsure if she was the same woman he had seen back at the hillside. He saw plenty of similar outfits along the way back, which meant the robe was job-class-specific clothes.
Clothes in the game would automatically fit the form of a player. Thus, everyone’s body shape could clearly be seen. The body of the lady was slender and svelte, curvy in the right areas with no apparent flaws; her whole body did not have a shadow of excess fat. With such a perfect figure, it was no wonder everyone in the tavern was dumbfounded.
Her looks were not as stunning in comparison. Still, she had a fairly comely face. Her eyes beheld a watery gaze that captivated people’s hearts, and the delicate corners of her mouth formed a smile that made everyone feel a sense of warmth and closeness. With that dainty smile, the lady nodded slightly at everyone in the tavern.
The tavern patrons returned back to normal, breaking into a hubbub once more. The ogling looks from them at the lady were now replaced with an air of false sanctimony and disregard. They could only sneak in a few glances if they wanted to continue ogling.
The tavern was packed, so there were currently no tables available. Some tables had empty seats and the male players at these tables all revealed looks of excitement. However, no one was foolish enough to take the initiative and personally invite the lady over; whoever made the first move would suffer the wrath of the people. Even just being in temporary close proximity to the lady might have guaranteed being tied up and thrown into a river after leaving the establishment. To maintain peace, everyone waited patiently for the beautiful lady to make her choice.
Fireball was visibly excited as the lady walked over gently. He and Gu Fei sat at a table with four seats; this was an excellent arrangement since there were only the two of them there. He had never thought that the lady would only gaze past the two empty seats before making her way past them.
Fireball’s eagerness vanished right then, before sniffing in the end, “Wow. How fragrant.”
“It’s a game… How could there be perfume?” Gu Fei threw a withering look at him.
“It’s body fragrance! The game simulated body fragrance!” Fireball insisted.
Gu Fei laughed. He could no longer be bothered insisting with him. By now, the lady had already made her way past a vast portion of the tavern, yet she had still not chosen a seat. She seemed like she was about to leave through the other door. Suddenly, she stopped right beside Sword Demon.
Sword Demon sat at a table with two seats, so there just happened to be a free seat since he was alone.
All held their breath, while many were stumped. The lady sure had very particular tastes! To think she would pick the person who was possibly the ugliest one out of all of them.
Although Sword Demon was an online gaming professional, he was still just an ordinary man. His heart surged a little when he saw the beautiful lady stop beside him. However, the lady did not take a seat and instead patted him on the back with her right hand.
The whole place fell silent again. Did they know each other? Everyone wanted to know the answer to this question. It was Beauty and the Beast! That was probably what a large number of them were thinking, while some had even thought it out as a case of 'a flower betwixt cow dung'.
Sword Demon was flattered, but he obviously knew he was not acquainted with the lady at all. Just as he was about to talk to her, the lady laughed and pointed at his feet, “You dropped your coin!”
Everyone, including Sword Demon, bent over and looked.
A shiny gold coin lay beside Sword Demon’s foot.
“Oh, thanks!” Sword Demon bent over instinctively to pick it up, still pondering inside if this was a good excuse to share a drink with her.
“You’re welcome,” the lady replied, leaving toward the exit just as he picked up the gold coin. She smiled as she looked back at him before she left the establishment.
Sword Demon was in a daze. He held onto the gold coin with so much strength that he seemed to have mastered a kung fu technique.
“She has a good figure, beautiful looks, and even her voice is so pleasant! Ahhh! I think I’m in love with her,” Fireball sighed, “Drunk bro, you—eh?” Fireball had waited until the lady left the tavern before turning to Gu Fei, yet he saw Gu Fei suddenly stand up and run out.
“You really are my idol!” Fireball stared at Gu Fei’s back with a look of astonishment.
Gu Fei rushed out of the tavern and looked around. He caught a glimpse of the lady taking a right turn into an alley and immediately gave her the chase.
Sword Demon, you idiot! Gu Fei swore in his heart silently, Did you really fail to notice that the Frost Memories you left on the table had already been stolen as you played with the gold coin?
No one would have suspected a lady like that would do such a thing. Gu Fei would not have believed it either had he not seen it with his eyes.
It was far too despicable. Gu Fei gritted his teeth as this incident had made him recall a dark memory from his childhood.
When he practiced martial arts, every day was very demanding. Gu Fei had to follow a strict diet with minimal food. Whenever he was eating, his second uncle’s jinx of a child who would always come, “Hey, Xiao Fei, you dropped food on the ground again. You better pick it up, or else third uncle is going to beat you.”
“Oh!” the young Gu Fei hurriedly bent down to pick it up, but by the time he got back up again, his bowl of food had already been devoured by that child.
That was not the only time his cousin fooled him. All sorts of tricks, such as telling him that there were flying saucers, his father was looking for him, or even “Black Cat Detective” was on television, were used on him until Gu Fei finally developed a resistance toward schemes of misdirection. By the time he had learned to deal with the deceptions and violently beat up the cousin, the other had already become tired of eating Gu Fei’s meals and stopped playing tricks.
After so many years, Gu Fei would still feel a burning desire to serve justice whenever he thought of those incidents. Today, he was finally given a chance.
It was a pity the target was a lady. No matter what he did, he needed to have some discretion.
Gu Fei pondered as he turned into the alley. He ended up coming face to face with someone else.
The first thing he thought was, Oh. What a smell! He reacted afterward and hurriedly took a step back. The lady observed him with squinted eyes, “Why are you following me?”
“Return it to me!” Although his face flushed from that close contact just now, Gu Fei suppressed his sudden impulse to do it again and gave her a nasty look instead.
“Return what?” the lady asked innocently.
“Are you trying to play the fool? You just took that dagger from the tavern. Return the Frost Memories!” Gu Fei said.
The lady was stunned. She was not actually playing the fool; she just had not expected Gu Fei to be here, attempting to reclaim the stolen weapon that was not his. She was rather confident in her beauty, so she thought he was some lustful person with nothing better to do than to flirt with her.