Chapter 314 - Him again?
Oathless Sword and his men did not dare to be careless when facing a possible threat to Traversing Four Seas’ guild quest. As the battalion of men continued their journey toward the next destination, Youthful Reflection requested two Thieves to remain behind while in Stealth to find out if there were any players following them.
These two Thieves were from the mercenary groups. This basically highlighted Traversing Four Seas’ thought process and preferred course of action for this quest: They would first mobilize the mercenary groups they had hired for anything that was deemed risky.
These two Thieves stayed behind the advancing troops, maintaining their Stealth while Oathless Sword and Youthful Reflection anxiously waited for news. Silver Moon was equally concerned and was treating this matter very seriously. This act of his moved Oathless Sword and Youthful Reflection quite a bit; how rare was it for them to find a mercenary who would be so responsible in this individualistic and materialistic world? They were quickly reminded of Young Master's Elite’s money gouging ways – a clear juxtaposition to the professional they saw before them.
The troops continued on their way for about fifteen minutes, yet not one message arrived in the end. The core leaders were in deep thought at this. Just as Silver Moon was about to suggest something, Oathless Sword said to Youthful Reflection, “Perhaps, they are Thieves in Stealth as well.”
“I reckon that that’s the case, too.” Youthful Reflection nodded his head.
“If that’s the case, waiting here for the enemies to reveal themselves won’t work,” Oathless Sword said.
“However, it’s hard to say who’d be the first to discover whom if we let them continue following us like this,” Youthful Reflection said.
Everyone nodded in agreement.
In the early days of the game, Thieves were indeed the most ideal candidate to tail such large group of people, but as the players leveled, especially with the improvement in the standard of the equipment that they had, Thieves no longer had the capacity to do this.
The reason behind this was the disparity in movement speed.
When Thieves activated Stealth, their movement speed would drastically decrease to about 25% of their original movement speed.
Even the Priest, who had the slowest movement speed in Parallel World, would see a 0.7 increase to their movement speed every level up even without allocating points to Agility. The movement speed they possessed at level 40 would be 70＋40×0.7＝98. The current trend among the level 40 Priests was for them to equip a pair of Nimble Shoes that increased movement speed by 80, reaching a total of 178 movement speed. Nimble Shoes were commonly available and cheap, so plenty of players used them; in fact, almost any average Priest would have a pair on hand. Since the players present were first-rate gamers or at least quasi top-class, it was entirely possible for their current footwear to be even better than that pair of Nimble Shoes.
With 178-point movement speed as the baseline, a Thief in Stealth would require a movement speed of 712 points just to match it.
This movement speed of 712 was no joke, as this would be a stat only a superhuman would possess. Even someone like Gu Fei who had extremely fast movement speed did not have over 500 of it. Perhaps, even the speedster Svelte Dancer had yet to reach that extraordinary level.
Therefore, unless the players were intentionally slowing down, the days when Thieves could solely depend on Stealth to easily stalk people were pretty much over. With how the entire horde of players from Yunduan City was currently heading to the next city in full speed, there was no way any Thieves looking to tail them could remain in Stealth the whole time; they would have to occasionally reveal themselves as they hurried to catch up.
Thus, when it came to preventing Thieves from stalking them, players only needed to grasp the timing of when the Thieves would have to reveal themselves. Oathless Sword would merely be relying on chance when they used the method they had employed before by tasking a few Thieves in Stealth to stay behind and watch their backs. There was no telling if the Thieves tailing them happened to only reveal themselves after they coincidentally stepped out of their line of sight, after all.
“Young Master's Elite’s Thousand Miles Drunk seems to be capable of countering Stealth,” Gale Force mentioned.
“F*ck. Can we really not accomplish our quest without his help?” Youthful Reflection grumbled. Oathless Sword was disgruntled as well; looking for their help yet again meant Young Master Han could ‘earn’ another tidy sum off of him. It was also strange how the quest they were doing seemed to be designed for Gu Fei, requiring him to step in time and time again. “Let’s find our own solution!” Youthful Reflection decisively told Oathless Sword.
Oathless Sword nodded his head as he turned his gaze on the person whom he considered as the epitome of what a mercenary should be. “Does Silver Moon bro have any ideas to suggest?”
“Uhm… Hunting Trap is currently the only way I know that can counter Stealth,” Silver Moon replied.
“Hunting Trap…” Youthful Reflection muttered, “That’s not a very reliable solution. It’s not gonna work since we don’t know the route our stalkers are taking….”
“Let’s take this as our last resort, then! Don’t we happen to have one such mercenary group that would be perfect for this?” Oathless Sword asked.
Youthful Reflection nodded his head as he sent a message on the party channel for mercenary leaders, calling for the group leader of The Great Hunting, Sakurazaka Moony, to come forward. The Hunter quickly made his way to the front and greeted everyone present.
Silver Moon instantly recognized Sakurazaka Moony as the person currently hanging around Vast Lushness. Fearing that this Hunter might not look on him too kindly, Silver Moon did not make things difficult for himself and voluntarily stepped to the side to avoid him. As Silver Moon had expected, when Sakurazaka Moony caught sight of him, the glare he gave oozed with contempt. He and his mercenary group had more or less learned the whole story after being hunted for an entire day and night the day before. No matter how anyone looked at it, there was no way for anyone to mistake Silver Moon as anything but a scum.
“What’s the matter?” Sakurazaka Moony asked Oathless Sword and the rest of the men.
Youthful Reflection quickly got him up to speed. “Your mercenary group is mostly made up of Hunters, right?”
Sakurazaka Moony sighed regretfully, “Originally, yes. We’ve lost about twenty-two of them a few days back in Yueye City, so that statement is no longer true.”
“So the rumors are true!” Youthful Reflection was astonished. When the mercenaries were comparing the losses that they had suffered in Yueye City, he overheard Sakurazaka Moony bragging about going up against the Ten Guild Alliance, sacrificing twenty-two men in the process. Everyone had thought that he was merely boasting back then. Now Youthful Reflection knew otherwise.
Sakurazaka Moony’s expression was colder than the iciest blizzard. “Did you think otherwise?”
“So be it, then! I’m sure there are still Hunters in the other mercenary groups with us. Let’s just gather them and let Moony here take charge of the setup,” Oathless Sword said as he turned his head to the side, asking, “Any thoughts, Silver Moon bro?”
Big mistake! Silver Moon shouted inside him. He felt like crying right now, yet no tears would come out. This was an understandable blunder on Oathless Sword’s end, though. After all, this was a plan Silver Moon had suggested, and asking him for his input before going ahead with it was Oathless Sword’s way of displaying his respect toward Silver Moon. The problem was that such an act did not sit well with the present company.
As expected, Sakurazaka Moony’s displeasure was made apparent once he heard that the plan was something Silver Moon had cooked up. He even looked as though Silver Moon had been the one to send him off to work. Sakurazaka Moony’s dignity would not allow it, so he promptly thought up of an excuse to exempt himself from this plan. “Ugh… My stomach hurts. Oh, no! I think I have to take my leave; you’ll need to command that team yourselves!”
“Ah!” That single exclamation was the only thing he got out before Sakurazaka Moony disappearing with his 500+ movement speed.
“What just happened?” Youthful Reflection was looking at Oathless Sword in confusion.
“I don’t know!” Oathless Sword was stunned as well. They were no fools, though, and could tell Sakurazaka Moony was faking his stomach ache to be excused from this.
Your tongue slipping is what happened… Silver Moon said to himself in frustration.
“There’s no way we can gather enough Hunters without their help!” Youthful Reflection was depressed. Advancing as a Hunter was already an unpopular choice for many Archers. Traversing Four Seas’ trump card was its archer formation, so they encouraged their men to advance as a Sharpshooter, thinking of resolving their lack of trappers through future recruitments once their guild leveled up some more! They really lacked such talents in their guild right now, so Sakurazaka Moony backing out at the last minute instantly rendered their Hunting-Trap plan useless.
“No choice. We’ll have to look for Thousand Miles Drunk’s help!” Gale Force said.
Oathless Sword and Youthful Reflection gritted their teeth when they heard this, while Silver Moon casually commented, “Thousand Miles Drunk… That guy isn’t too reliable, right?”
While he might look as if he did not care about this, Silver Moon was actually extremely anxious right now. The reason he was expending so much effort right now was not for the sake of Traversing Four Seas’ quest but for his survival. His goal was to find out if Dusky Cloud or Blue Ease had sent scouts after him and to borrow Traversing Four Seas’ strength to eliminate these threats accordingly. If Gu Fei were to go, he might just quickly decide to aid these men with their dark deed once they made contact and would just inform Oathless Sword that there were no issues behind them instead.
“That guy is indeed shameless and crafty,” Youthful Reflection remarked to Silver Moon’s delight.
“But his skill is the real deal!” Gale Force countered to Silver Moon’s displeasure. He had no way to refute this, though.
“I’m sure he won’t have any problems if we give him this task,” Oathless Sword said. As Silver Moon’s face turned ashen, Oathless Sword continued, “But he’s too expensive.” Silver Moon’s expression brightened slightly.
“Just what the heck is up with Sakurazaka Moony, anyway?” Youthful Reflection muttered, calling him over the party channel yet he received no response. Silver Moon did not even dare to say a word as he stood by the side.
“I’ll go look for him!” Youthful Reflection moved to talk face to face with Sakurazaka Moony to Silver Moon’s elation.
“Forget it,” Oathless Sword stopped him. “With how he looked, then, I’m certain he’s using this opportunity to make a killing off of us. Since we’ll pay for it no matter which option we take, we might as well rely on the far more effective Thousand Miles Drunk!” Silver Moon really had the mind to eviscerate Oathless Sword right there and then.
Youthful Reflection was sad as well, but he had to agree with the logic behind Oathless Sword’s statement. If Sakurazaka Moony were trying to gouge them out as well, then it would be better to get Gu Fei’s help.
“Call him!” Oathless Sword instantly thought of Young Master Han. He sighed to himself as he subconsciously felt for his coin pouch.
Silver Moon took the initiative to stand somewhere prominent this time, hoping that Gu Fei would refuse to help just like Sakurazaka Moony when he saw him.
When Gu Fei arrived, Silver Moon did not wait for Oathless Sword to speak. Stepping forward, he used a commanding tone to speak with Gu Fei. Unfortunately, he had underestimated Gu Fei’s professionalism. All he did was quietly listen to his every word before nodding his head. “Alright, I got it. You guys can carry on, then.”
“We’re in your care, then,” Oathless Sword patted Gu Fei’s shoulder.
Gu Fei nodded his head and pointed to Silver Moon before leaving. “You should take care.”
Silver Moon was mortified. Everyone around him could see the emotion reflected in his eyes; that vacant stare that hung on his face looked to be that of a dead man’s.