Chapter 261 - Splitting Up
Just like in reality, the weather in Parallel World would change from time to time, and the map for this PvP tournament was no different. At the highest point of the map, Gu Fei, who was in a good mood, suddenly felt a gust of wind blow past him. Beside a land depression by the foot of the mountain, Young Master Han was also feeling good enough to tease Gu Fei, “You look really silly standing up there in this breeze we’re having.”
In contrast, the members of The Black Hand mercenary group were feeling rather frustrated, and no amount of wind could blow their exasperation away.
Black Index Finger would really be a lost cause if he still did not realize at this stage of the match that he had been had by Young Master's Elite. It was fine that he had fallen for their trick, but Black Index Finger still had a hard time swallowing this outcome, as he had been very confident just moments ago. Even Black Index Finger’s comrades felt embarrassed for him and were unsure of what to say to comfort him.
Thankfully, the camaraderie between the members of The Black Hand was high; although they mocked their leader inside, they knew very well who had really caused their embarrassment. Each of them showed strong desire to tear Young Master's Elite to pieces, causing the entire The Black Hand to experience a surge in morale.
“Boss Black, tell us what we should do now!”
There were more ‘bosses’ in Parallel World than there were top-grade equipment. If anyone shouted “Boss!” on the street, seven or eight players would turn in response. Some of the more muddle-headed ‘bosses’ would even mistakenly treat the player who had yelled as a sort of underling. Thus, to avoid such mistakes, many would give their boss a different nickname. Not only would it sound more personal, it would also be easier to distinguish their boss from others.
Black Index Finger directed his gaze on the distant mountain peak and said, “This mercenary group sure isn’t run-of-the-mill. It’s really no coincidence for them to kill their way through finals.” Black Index Finger of course did not give this praise for no reason. Since he suffered a substantial loss by falling for the enemies’ ruse, he knew that commending his opponents would make him seem open-minded while offering an excuse for his folly. The opponent was strong, so it was normal to suffer a loss! As a boss, it was necessary for him to look at the bigger picture.
“Now that the six enemies have gotten ahead of us terms of kill points, they would probably begin employing the Grand Kiting strategy!” someone said fretfully. The fear for this strategy had already been widespread among them.
“It’s actually advantageous for us if they do resort to using the Grand Kiting strategy; that way, our pursuit and interception lessons won’t go to waste,” Black Index Finger said, adding, “What we should be more afraid of is if they choose to hide. This d*mnable map may look simple, but it’s actually full of hiding spots that we’re still not aware of. To think we have only noticed this fact now.”
Black Index Finger’s words unintentionally touched on the fact that Young Master Han’s strategies were born off detailed information and the latter having spent significant time and effort to gain a good understanding of every map’s peculiarities ever since the start of the entire mercenary PvP tournament.
Including his time participating in the guild versus guild tournament, Young Master Han had practically perused over a dozen maps to date. Since Black Index Finger only noticed these things now, researching about the map himself would only breed greater anxiety. This essentially meant that thinking about this any further was useless.
Hence, Black Index Finger did not bother deploying his men all over the map to research its terrain. Instead, he continued to gaze on the faraway mountain peak as he analyzed the situation from where he stood, “We have six opponents, only six! There’s no way they could fight us head on; that must be why they’re fighting us in such a roundabout way! Based on our intel, the three members of Young Master’s Elite—a Warrior, a Knight, and a Priest—should have slow movement speed.”
“Just like moments ago, the Thief and Archer lured us into this small forest, while the Mage killed our lookout team on the mountain peak. As for the three others, where were they during all that?”
Everyone gawked as their boss lost himself in his thoughts. They had already agreed three days ago that the key to clinching victory in this match was to locate their enemies, so what was the point of him repeating it right now?
“The other three men also hiked that mountain. Since they were able to descend from it without trouble despite their slow movement speed, they should not be far from the mountain. We have always had people up the mountain since then, yet we never saw one of them. But somehow… The Thief and Archer were able to make it into the forest…” Black Index Finger was mumbling this to himself when he had an epiphany. Calling the attention of everyone around him, he said, “Search the forest for anything that could provide cover! Why are we afraid to split into smaller teams? That’s entirely due to that Insta-kill Mage’s ranged capabilities and our cluelessness on their fighting prowess as a team. Now that they have split up like this, what’s there for us to be afraid of? Let’s form ten-man teams now,” Black Index Finger ordered. He sounded as if he had uncovered something huge.
“Boss Black!” Monologue under the Moon interjected, “That Mage doesn’t simply just cast spells. With his prowess, I doubt a ten-man team is enough to subdue him!”
“Alright!” Black Index Finger felt he should consider Monologue under the Moon’s suggest as the latter had personally exchanged blows with Gu Fei before, “Let’s make a 20-man team just for him. There shouldn’t be any more issues going up against him, yeah?”
“That… It should be fine!” Monologue under the Moon did not dare to affirm this so easily. He had gathered the same amount of players that day to intercept Gu Fei, yet he had still been unsuccessful in the end.
“Take the lead for these twenty men, and try to take care of him up on that mountain,” Black Index Finger said.
“Got it!” Monologue under the Moon would really lose face if he still showed fear at the prospect of facing a lone enemy together with these twenty men. Gu Fei was currently occupying the mountain’s vantage point, and the team coming for him did not know of any route to take him by surprise. It was highly like for their target to flee at the sight of twenty men charging up the mountain. This task of taking the enemy down was not easy, after all.
“You three!” Monologue under the Moon selected three men from his team, “Circle to the back of the mountain and draw his attention. We’ll aid you as soon as we can.” This was the only plan he could come up with.
The three men exited the forest and ran straight to the back of the mountain. From his analysis, Gu Fei should be able to spot the three men from atop the mountain and would chase after them. Naturally, he would have no way of noticing the activity on this other side. After all, the mountain peak was not shaped like a pyramid, which would provide anyone an unrestricted three-hundred-sixty-degree view of the surroundings. Why else would The Black Hand assign three or four men up there?
At this point, the men who were tasked to search the forest discovered quite a few things. The trench and the wall Young Master's Elite had used were uncovered after Black Index Finger filtered out all the possible options.
“They must have used this cover to make their way into the forest. Send a team to travel through this trench. Let’s see if we’ll discover something. Who knows? Maybe we can even locate the three men’s hiding place. Conceal yourselves well. He he. The opponents surely don’t expect us to locate this path that they’ve used to escape our lookout on the mountain peak. They have pretty much gifted us a yellow brick road to their location!” Black Index Finger was quite pleased with himself.
Splitting the eighty men into squads of eight, two squads followed Monologue under the Moon to confront Gu Fei, three squads traveled through the yellow brick road, and the remaining three squads were formed into two teams by Black Index Finger. “You guys, head down this direction. That’s where the Thief and Archer have run off to. Try your best to extend your search radius. Once Monologue under the Moon take back the mountain peak, his team is sure to provide you better direction.”
The two teams proceeded to do his bidding. Only a few players were left with Black Index Finger now. Actually, there were not exactly eighty men just then. Several members of The Black Hand were previously sent to search the nearby forests, and even with Xiaoying’s death, the others had yet to return. Black Index Finger swept his gaze around him before deciding to leave one man in the forest, “Looks like they favor this little forest. Hide yourself somewhere inside it and inform us if you see any traces of them. But do not, under any circumstances, reveal yourself to them, okay?”
After assigning this task, he suddenly thought that waiting for their targets to show themselves was not a bad idea and promptly sent out an instruction to the others who were searching the forests in the map: “Wait in the forest you’re in. Hide yourself well and report back if something happens.”
With all possible arrangements made, the remaining three men and Black Index Finger found that they were free of any task and decided to join Monologue under the Moon’s team that was heading for the mountain.
The three men Monologue under the Moon had sent ahead completed their journey to the back of the mountain, yet they were unsure if the enemy Mage was chasing after them. In any case, Monologue under the Moon and his team were already on their way to the mountain peak. Killing off the OP Mage should not be an issue with these twenty men.
That gentle draft was still blowing inside the PvP arena. The Black Hand’s players were each attending to their tasks as they furtively moved about.
Out of the two teams that were sent to crawl through the trench, one reached the end of the path and realized that it was a dead end and the other ended up in an even larger ditch. Stuck at a T-intersection, the second team did not know whether to head left or right. The team hesitated for a while, tossed a few coins, and finally decided to head right. They kept walking and walking until they saw the mountain appear further and further away from their position until it became entirely obscured. From what their group leader Black Index Finger told them, the enemies should be near the foot of the mountain, so this clearly meant that they were currently going on the wrong route. Their team leader thought to himself, Shoot! What a lousy coin toss! “Alright everyone, turn back and head left!” he then told his teammates aloud.
The third team experienced what Young Master's Elite had gone through; arching their backs and wading through behind the dilapidated wall, they occasionally tumbled and crawled until they reached the end and found the land depression. This bunch was a lot smarter than the two teams and did not flip a coin to decide the heading direction; instead, they headed in the direction that would bring them closest to the mountain peak.
However, the fastest team was still the one under Monologue under the Moon’s command. The three men he had sent to circle the mountain slowed their pace and pretended to climb. As for the other seventeen men, they began charging toward the mountain using their fastest speed.
The higher the mountain was, the greater the wind blowing was; even Parallel World was no exception. When Monologue under the Moon reached the mountain peak, he promptly spotted a lone figure standing there. Gu Fei, who was standing stoically on the mountain peak, gave off this heroic vibe with his long, mage robe fluttering with the wind. On his hand was Moonlit Nightfalls. He was drawing circles on the ground out of boredom, so when he heard the arrival of people, Gu Fei excitedly looked up. Seeing Monologue under the Moon, he smiled, “It’s you. What took you guys so long?!”
Gu Fei was about to descend the mountain after being teased by Young Master Han for standing up the mountain purposelessly. Young Master Han had not mentioned to Gu Fei his need for a pair of eyes up on the mountain but had instead solemnly asked him: “Miles, how many men do you think you can handle all at once?”
“Ten should not be a problem,” Gu Fei confidently replied.
“Is that your limit?” Young Master Han pressed on.
“‘Limit’ is such a vague concept; who knows…” Gu Fei found his question difficult to answer.
“I guess it’s better for you to stay up there, then.”
“To test your limits,” Young Master Han replied.