Chapter 260 - Lure the Tiger Away from the Mountain
The Black Hand’s members tasked to search for Young Master’s Elite went down the mountain, while the rest of the players stayed on the mountain and animatedly discussed the matter at hand. Those who were not exactly the brightest crayons in the box sighed, “This is great! We should have done this from the start. No point in sending everyone to search for the enemies when we can just wait here for news!”
Group leader Black Index Finger eyed these foolish players rather contemptuously, “It’s pointless to do that since the enemies will just either kill or avoid our lone scout.”
“Then, why are we doing it now?” the members asked, nonplussed.
Black Index Finger laughed at the profundity of his decision, gazed at a certain figure climbing up the mountain, and replied, “I’ll fill everyone in soon.”
The person presently climbing up the mountain was the remaining player of the four-man team that that had guarded this vantage point earlier, Right Hand of Cool. He immediately headed to Black Index Finger once he got back to the mountain peak.
“Come; tell us in detail what happened earlier.” Black Index Finger gathered everyone to listen to Right Hand of Cool’s account of what had happened moments ago and analyze it together.
“There are two points we can gather from this.” Black Index Finger raised two fingers after hearing Right Hand of Cool’s account, “First, our opponents can observe our movement, allowing them to attack us at the right moment.” As everyone nodded in agreement, he continued, “Second, there’s a path that allows them to get here without anyone seeing them.”
All looked down the mountain slope, as if searching for some secret path that that had eluded them all this while.
“Did they dash in from somewhere around here?” Black Index Finger pointed to a particular side of the mountain as he asked this question to Right Hand of Cool.
Right Hand of Cool nodded his head, as that was truly where he had first discovered Gu Fei and Sword Demon.
“Where did they appear from?” Black Index Finger asked.
Right Hand of Cool pointed to a large boulder, “Two of them suddenly appeared from behind that boulder.”
Everyone was suddenly seized by anxiety, “Could they still be hiding there right now?”
“Right under our very noses?”
“That’s why people say that the most dangerous place is actually the safest!” everyone whispered this to one another.
Black Index Finger did not actually think that their enemies were bold enough to hide behind such a conspicuous location, but after hearing his men’s words, he felt that there was a slim possibility of their enemies being outrageous enough to do just that. Could they have chosen to hide in that spot precisely because of its improbability?
Thinking that it was better to be safe than sorry, Black Index Finger ordered some Archers to ready their arrows for any fleeing targets and a few Mages to cast AOE spells on that boulder. The Mages’ flame wheels struck the rock until it was entirely lit aflame, finally relieving them of the worry that their enemies were hiding behind it.
He then had some of his men investigate the surrounding flora and fauna and behind the huge boulder for any hiding players.
“This is where you saw the opponents appear from, and they immediately began attacking you guys after.” Black Index Finger touched the boulder as he continued, “None of you discovered any sign of movement before this point?”
“Yes.” Right Hand of Cool affirmed, “I barely blinked my eyes back then when they appeared from behind that boulder out of nowhere.” Actually, Right Hand of Cool had been chatting to the person beside him when Gu Fei and Sword Demon appeared! He had definitely not been conscientious enough to keep himself from blinking back then, either. Right Hand of Cool had in fact not seen Sword Demon or Gu Fei appear from behind the boulder the way he claimed, but his account was more or less correct judging from the evidence gathered about the earlier situation.
Black Index Finger looked down the mountain with his back against the boulder, “Can this huge boulder block the line of sight of someone up here all the way down the mountain? I seriously doubt it!”
“They couldn’t possibly use that method even if it’s possible. I wasn’t exactly standing still opposite to this boulder all the time; I was often walking around,” Right Hand of Cool said.
“So for you to not have seen them at all…” Black Index Finger and several other men looked around them and saw trees and rocks that could possibly obscure the players’ line of sight from up here. “Looks like they’ve used some cover to make their way up here.”
“Getting back to the point, there was only a Mage with Blink and a Thief with Stealth the first time around – they are the only ones in Young Master’s Elite capable of using the sparse cover to climb up here without any of you noticing. When they got to this large boulder, there’s no more cover left for them ahead, so they could only dash to you guys at the fastest speed,” Black Index Finger analyzed thoroughly.
All nodded their heads in agreement.
“If they truly wish to launch a surprise attack again, they’ll definitely repeat what they have done earlier. I believe they’re not far from us right now.”
When the surrounding players heard Black Index Finger’s analysis, they looked all the way down the mountain side and gazed at all the things obstructing their view, imagining seeing through their six shameless and devious enemies.
“Continue searching the forests. Leave some men on this mountain peak and pay special attention to this direction. The rest of you, follow me down the mountain to begin searching for our enemies once more,” Black Index Finger commanded.
“Aren’t we just giving them the chance to launch a surprise attack on us again?” someone asked.
“We won’t be going far this time. We’ll just search around the base of the mountain. If they dare assault the men left behind on this mountain, I’d love to see how they plan to escape us this time around.” Black Index Finger chuckled. After leaving several players on the mountain, Black Index Finger led the remaining seventy or so players down the path that they suspected the men of Young Master's Elite had taken.
The Black Hand’s players carefully searched through all the possible hiding spots along the way. Each spot only seemed to lead them closer to the hiding place of Young Master's Elite.
Just as The Black Hand’s members were no more than several meters away from Young Master Han and everyone else’s hiding spot, the system suddenly announced that Young Master's Elite had obtained another kill point; The Black Hand had lost yet another man.
“Who’s killed?!” Black Index Finger hurriedly checked the list of names. “It’s Xiaoying; over there!” Black Index Finger quickly gathered his men to rush toward the small forest. He specifically assigned each scout to a certain area for the purpose of reacting at the fastest speed in the case that their enemies made a move against one of his men.
“Xiaoying, how did you die?” the others asked him for further details on the mercenary channel as they ran toward his assigned location.
“I was searching the forest when I heard the sound of an arrow flying toward me. Just as I spotted the Archer, the Thief snuck up behind me and executed Backstab on me. And then, I was dead!”
“Everyone, hurry! Don’t let them get away!” Black Index Finger urged his men faster as he led them into the small forest. “Players on the mountain peak, take note of the forest we are heading toward and immediately inform us of any movement.”
“Roger,” the players on the mountain peak focused their attention on the indicated location for any unusual movement.
Soon, Black Index Finger and his men arrived just outside the forest. Just as they were about to enter the forest, the players on the mountain peak reported: “Two men of the opposing mercenary group just exited the forest.”
“Two? Just two men?” Black Index Finger asked them to confirm this information.
“That’s right. They are both running very fast. We can’t tell what their job classes are,” they affirmed. Even with the Archer’s Eagle Eye, it was still very difficult to determine the two men’s job classes in the distance.
“Are we chasing them?” someone inquired.
Black Index Finger confidently laughed, “They are trying to lure the tiger away from the mountain¹. Besides the Thief and Archer in Young Master's Elite, their Mage also has fast movement speed. It’s impossible for the other three members to escape now that we have them surrounded, which is precisely why the two players are trying to lure us away from their group’s hiding spot. He he... Unfortunately for them, I won’t fall for their trick! Let’s enter the forest; I’m certain there are still people hiding inside.”
“Wait. If they know the difficulty of escaping this forest after exposing themselves, why did they risk it just to kill Xiaoying?” someone asked, puzzled.
“This forest is too small to hide all six of them. My guess is that they’ve got no choice,” Black Index Finger replied as he brought dozens of his men into the forest.
This forest was truly a very small cluster of trees. They effortlessly searched the place with over seventy men of theirs, yet they soon discovered that there was no one else in the forest aside from themselves. Black Index Finger’s expression became extremely unsightly at the moment.
“‘Luring the tiger away from the mountain’ stratagem, huh?” someone mocked their group leader. This was only a game, so none here would earnestly represent the relationship dynamics between a superior and a subordinate.
“Where did those two guys run off to?” Black Index Finger had no choice but to ask this question on the mercenary channel; at least, they would know the fleeing direction of the two.
“We’ve kept an eye on them all this while!” someone on the mountain peak reported.
“Give us the enemies’ direction, begin pursuit, and intercept them!” this command was given to the team on the mountain peak. The Black Hand’s players had specially trained themselves in the pursuit and interception maneuver for the purpose of countering Young Master's Elite’s Grand Kiting strategy.
“Roger that!” the players on the mountain peak answered. Just as they were about to send them the direction and order, someone else on the team blurted out, “Oh, f*ck! Someone is coming!”
Just as the person uttered these words, the entire mercenary channel underwent an upheaval. Stunned, Black Index Finger quickly asked, “Who’s up there?”
“It’s the Mage.” These were the final words of the team on the mountain peak to Black Index Finger.
Just what sort of expert was Gu Fei? The players on the mountain peak were nowhere near Drifting’s skill. Gu Fei rushed up the mountain and instantly sent these men out of the PvP arena with Twin Incineration and Thunderbolt.
Young Master's Elite earned yet another 3 kill points.
The Black Hand’s players were rooted to the spot when they received this system notification. This happened just as they stepped out of the small forest to pursue and intercept the two men of Young Master’s Elite.
Without that team on the mountain acting as lookout, Young Master Han was no longer worried about exposing his position. Inhaling the cool breeze, he stood just outside the land depression. “Those guys have to at least know the tiger’s direction when it leaves the mountain lair!”
Gu Fei had began his journey up the mountain from the land depression once The Black Hand had rushed toward the small forest.
“Make haste,” was Young Master Han’s instruction.
“Translocation! Blink!” Gu Fei let his action speak for him, immediately teleporting himself closer to the mountaintop. Young Master Han kept Gu Fei updated with coordinates on the mercenary channel, directing him all the way to the mountain peak.
It would simply be a waste of time to depend on Stealth, Blink, and the natural cover around to reach the mountain peak. This was due to Blink’s cooldown being a whopping one minute and Stealth’s cooldown being extended to three minutes for the PvP tournaments. The entire match would probably end before they could make their way on the mountain by just relying on those.
Blink and Stealth were skills used only as a last resort; what they truly depended on was Young Master Han’s coordinates and directions. Young Master Han did not consider each cover along the path individually but as a whole. This meant that Gu Fei might occasionally be exposed as he pressed onward, but from those atop the mountain, he was practically invisible.
Furthermore, Young Master Han’s previous ascent to the mountain peak let him take note of the surrounding terrain, which helped make which route to take up the mountain clearer.
Everything was unfolding according to his brilliant plan.
It was only a matter of time before The Black Hand’s players spotted the hiding place of Young Master’s Elite with their thorough search; hence, Young Master Han promptly sent Royal God Call and Sword Demon to the small forest using the same path that they had previously taken once he saw The Black Hand make its move.
The poor fellow Xiaoying was faithfully searching for the six men, not knowing that he had been designated as their prey. Sword Demon and Royal God Call crept into the forest and immediately spotted the enemy scout, Xiaoying. The two then made short work of the enemy with their flawless coordination.
When Black Index Finger received the system notification about Xiaoying’s death, he promptly led his men over to the small forest; this action alone signified that he had fallen for Young Master Han’s trap and was successfully lured away from the actual mountain. By the time The Black Hand made it to the forest outskirt, Gu Fei had already reached the mountain peak.
Sword Demon and Royal God Call of course fled from the forest after assassinating Xiaoying; they did not plan to wait for the opponents to surround and kill them. Although they would instantly expose their location to the people on the mountaintop once they exited the forest, they knew that Gu Fei would soon be on the mountain peak’s team and would slay them all. Without the lookouts on the mountain peak, The Black Hand would have no way to pursue and intercept them. In terms of speed alone, Young Master Han was not worried that Sword Demon or Royal God Call would lose.
Who would have thought that Black Index Finger would figure out quite a bit of their ‘lure the tiger away from the mountain’ plan and would choose not to pursue the two? However, he wasted precious time by searching through the forest. When he realized that no enemy was in the forest, Gu Fei was already upon the players on the mountain peak, killing them off before they could report to Black Index Finger Sword Demon and Royal God Call’s fleeing direction.
About a third of the match’s time had passed, and Young Master's Elite was in the lead with a score of 7 against 0.