Chapter 255 - The Map’s Underlying Intent
Royal God Call understood the reason behind Gu Fei’s action once he heard their explanations. Since he no longer thought badly of Gu Fei’s action, he cared not whether he got paid by him or not for the Electric Wall Scroll. Brother Assist’s analysis was spot on; Gu Fei indeed had good grasp of their personality and treated them in different ways depending on it.
As Gu Fei sprinted away from the bar, he read the description for his newly acquired skill:
Skill effect: Construct a barrier that blocks everything using the destructive properties of lightning.
Skill duration: 20 seconds]
Blocks everything… The system’s description for a skill was often exaggerated. Take the Fireball spell as an example; it was stated that the spell could burn everything! Gu Fei paid little attention to this and merely chanted, “Electric Wall! Fall!”
Lightning spells were indeed true to their nature; Descending Wheel of Flames’ speed of descent could not even hold a candle to Electric Wall’s. Just as the incantation went past his lips, the air in the direction he had pointed to swiftly crackled and distorted, causing the passers-by to gawk at the unexplainable phenomenon. Thunder pealed, and thin, electric current could be seen weaving a web before everyone’s eyes, looking absolutely terrifying and destructive. When it came to appearance, the Lightning Affinity spells looked far more impressive than Fire Affinity’s or Water Affinity’s. At the moment, Electric Wall was indeed quite a dazzling sight to behold.
Although this wall of electricity spanned for three meters, it was not long enough to block off the entire street before Gu Fei. Nonetheless, many pedestrians stopped by to inspect this never-before-seen spell.
A bold individual even stepped close to the wall of electricity and lightly touched its crackling surface. A zapping sound was heard as electricity sparked from where his finger and the wall of electricity touched. The player yelped and instinctively drew his finger back. Looking at his status, he exclaimed, “G*d*mn! Paralyzed!”
The crowd clamored in surprise for twenty seconds. When the spell disappeared, they all realized that none of them had seen the spell-caster and began to look around for the Mage. Unfortunately for them, Gu Fei had long since vacated the area.
“This spell consumes so much mana!” Gu Fei exclaimed. Electric Wall halved his mana with just that one cast. Casting this spell gave him the same feeling when casting Blink; meaning, Electric Wall was also a spell that a Mage could adjust the mana consumption of to tweak its effect. Just like Blink, this spell’s effect was dependent on how much mana he invested on it.
It appeared that Lightning Affinity did not have spells, such as Fireball and Descending Wheel of Flames, where the mana consumption could not be adjusted. This was an aspect of the skill tree that set it apart from others.
Gu Fei pondered on this uniqueness and wondered if he could incorporate it to his kung fu as he headed toward the teleportation array by the Hall of Mercenaries.
At exactly 7 P.M., all the mercenaries participating in the finals of the PvP tournament were gathered by the teleportation array. Young Master’s Elite and The Black Hand were not the only groups fighting today, as Water Flower, under Brave Surge’s leadership, was also vying for third place against Rainbow betwixt the Clouds.
In truth, the fight for third place was far more intense than the fight between Young Master’s Elite and The Black Hand. This was because the system had a special reward for the top 3 mercenary groups. Young Master’s Elite and The Black Hand would receive this reward no matter which group won the finals; at most, their final reward would be separated by a grade. As for the loser between Water Flower and Rainbow betwixt the Clouds, it would receive nothing. Therefore, both groups were hell-bent on securing victory.
Young Master Han and company happened to meet Brave Surge and his men when they got near the teleportation array. All of them amiably exchanged words of encouragement with one another before teleporting into their respective PvP arenas.
The six men would usually discuss the members of the opposing mercenary group before a match, but The Black Hand’s secretiveness made it harder for Brother Assist to do so today. Without much intel, what he shared about The Black Hand was unusually succinct.
“Mmm. The Black Hand has one hundred members, and their levels are quite high. It is foolish to consider them as weaker than Four Seas mercenary group of Traversing Four Seas Guild. After ranking first for the amount of system-assigned missions The Black Hand has completed, the group recently began engaging in some player-requested missions. From what I’ve gathered, the group is very professional when doing missions, quotes a reasonable price for every client, and is known for being trustworthy.”
What Brother Assist said thus far could be considered as information, yet it lacked the essential information that could contribute to their upcoming fight, which was the detailed breakdown of the enemy group’s job class composition, status of high-ranking members, and preferred PvP maneuver. It would have been great if they could get a good read of the personality of certain key figures as well.
While Young Master Han’s strategy seemed to always be made on the spot, it was actually set in accordance to the gathered information about the enemies. Take that match with Water Flower mercenary group as an example; seizing victory against the group of over eighty players without much suspense was entirely due to Young Master Han’s familiarity with its members.
Brother Assist was undoubtedly the King of Information with his ability to postulate certain things from the scant amount of gathered information.
“From their style of executing tasks, this mercenary group’s cohesion is high. It is possible for them to show explosive bouts of power, so let’s be careful when dealing with them. This is the final match, so let’s seriously fight this time!” Brother Assist concluded.
“How can you say this, Assist?!” Royal God Call was dissatisfied, “We’ve always been trying our best all this while; do you think this is a shounen manga where we shout, ‘Let me show you what’s true power!’ after being beaten black and blue? We’ve already been doing all we could every match!”
“That’s the spirit; keep up the good work!”
“Since the information is insufficient…” Young Master Han finally deigned to speak, “Let’s collect information as we fight the match, then. Miles, Royal, Sword Demon, you three have the clear speed advantage; close in on the opponents once the match begins and find out if there’s anything we can take advantage of!” As the three men nodded their heads, Young Master Han continued, “The rest of us will stay behind to conceive a strategy!”
“Don’t expect anything from me; I’m just the bodyguard,” War Without Wounds spat sarcastically.
“Go reset your stat points and become a full-Agility Warrior!” Royal God Call said to him sympathetically.
Under the ensuing laughter and admonishment, the countdown began. It was then that Brother Assist noticed something, “Hmm. Not everyone turned up; there are only eighty-seven of them! They’re short of thirteen men!”
“Oh. That’s quite normal. People have a life to live outside this game, after all,” everyone reasoned. If there was an urgent matter to attend to in reality, it only made sense for a player to push the game aside for it.
The final round of the mercenary PvP tournament began. The game officials had previously announced that the map for the finals would be special. How differently did they design this map in the end? While the background and scenery looked uniquely fantastic, none of the participants in today’s match was here for the view. Young Master Han swept his gaze around and took in the many prominent features of the map… The mountain before him had a breathtaking and imposing peak – a towering existence that was definitely ideal to get a view of the entire map; over by the other side was a dried up riverbed – walking along its sides would perfectly let players advance forward undetected; there were also two identical swathes of woodlands that were separated from each other by a certain distance. Just what was the point of making the map like this?
Young Master Han analyzed the terrain before pointing toward the mountain peak, “We’re headed over there!”
“Vantage point again!” everyone was bored stiff. It was the same thing every time.
“No. I meant there!” Young Master Han was already advancing as he pointed ahead. They could not tell where he was pointing at specifically, but they were sure that it was in the direction of that mountain peak!
The six men proceeded forward as quickly as they could, not discovering any traces of the enemies along the way. Eventually, they reached the place Young Master Han had been pointing. At a distance of ten meters, the mountain that lay before the six men dwarfed them with its towering height. Young Master Han looked around and pointed to a small forest near the base of the majestic mountain, “Over there!” He then proceeded toward it.
The five others followed him into the forest, still unsure of what scheme he had cooked up this time around.
“Didn’t you want the three of us to find more information?” Gu Fei asked impatiently. He had been hoping to perhaps kill off a few opponents as they gathered information, making things far more enjoyable.
“There’s no hurry. The information we need will deliver itself right on our doorstep. Just keep an eye out for it!” Young Master Han replied.
“Eye for what?”
“What anyone can draw from this map’s terrain is the importance of taking the high ground. The vantage point that this majestic mountain, which is almost as perfect as I am, provides may decide this match’s outcome. Two mercenary groups of equal combat strength will definitely go against each other’s throats for this,” Young Master Han explained.
“Do we count as a mercenary group of ‘equal combat strength’?” Brother Assist asked, nonplussed.
Young Master Han smiled, “We naturally don’t count, but we have the Grand Kiting strategy on our side! Grabbing the high ground is a must to defeat that strategy of ours, and they’ll definitely come here for that purpose.”
“To think your Grand Kiting strategy will be able to foreshadow this much…” Brother Assist sighed in awe, “Guess we’ll have to wait and see how this goes!”
“Let’s observe from this spot while keeping ourselves hidden!” Everyone had nothing to do while they waited, so Royal God Call pluck some leaves and wove himself a straw hat. Admiring his handiwork for a while and thinking that he particularly looked dashing when he put it on, Royal God Call asked the rest, “Do you guys want one as well?”
Not one of them answered him, as they were busy with their thoughts.
Sword Demon had three daggers on him – Lasting Sentence, Dying Breath, and Frost Memories – and was thinking of how to fight using them. Young Master Han occasionally peeked from the forest while taking a sip from a liquor bottle he had fished out of his dimensional pocket. Brother Assist was the most focused of them all and stared unblinkingly beyond the forest, holding a booklet on his left hand and a quill on his right hand. No one doubted that Brother Assist’s hand could write as if it had been injected with 1000 Agility points once new information presented itself. War Without Wounds’ large frame made it difficult for him to hide within the forest, so he tried his best to squat behind a huge tree. He would occasionally look from behind the tree, appearing as if he was taking a dump... Finally, there was Gu Fei. His black, mage robe made it harder to spot him from within the dimly lit forest, his weapons were at the ready, and his eyes betrayed a glint of malice even while maintaining an expressionless face. Two words perfectly described how he looked right now: killing intent.
“Everyone’s so serious…” Royal God Call was affected by their mood. Shifting the straw hat on his head and looking with Eagle Eye, he kept his eyes firmly fixed ahead.
“They’re here!” The one who discovered their opponents was not Royal God Call with his Eagle Eye but Young Master Han. He raised his hand and pointed the enemies’ direction to them. Everyone had been looking in the wrong direction.
Outside the forest, The Black Hand’s players arrived at the base of the mountain from between the two hills.
“Are they all here?” Young Master Han asked Royal God Call.
“Let me count!” Royal God Call rubbed his eyes. Despite having the Eagle Eye skill, the task was not exactly easy for him to accomplish.