Chapter 366 - Linshui City is an Easy Segment
The players from Yunduan City had suffered a huge setback in Linyin City. Players from Traversing Four Seas who had died were unable to rejoin the expedition, and although the mercenaries were expected to return, a huge portion of them had decided to back out from the mission upon realizing that there were few benefits that could be gained from participating. Nonetheless, those who had came to such a conclusion were not exactly from any sizeable groups. Mercenary groups like The Black Hand, with their hundred players were still present. Therefore, although they were no longer the glorious thousand-man army of before, they still at least had numbers that were the size of a level 5 guild.
Every business owner was ecstatic when they saw such a large group of players suddenly looking to rest and relax in a bar. The only problem of these bar owners was that there were not enough seats to accommodate everyone. Hearing all these people shout, “Owner, do you have any available seats?”, everyone who had their bars set up presently could only shed tears. It was truly a painful feeling to have such a succulent piece of meat placed before them when they had no means of eating it.
Fortunately, those from Yunduan City were preparing to carry on with their expedition, so they simply had no intention of leaving the harbor just to find somewhere to sit for this short while. Not bothering to nitpick, they squeezed in at the available tables. Gu Fei and Young Master Han’s table for two was now filled with eight players. The drinks on the table were all cluttered together, as if they were having a party, and those that picked up the wrong drinks would receive a scolding from the owners of said beverages.
Furthermore, their situation was still considered acceptable, since they at least had benches or stools to sit on, and a table to put their glasses on. As for the majority of the expedition, they had no choice but to sit on the sand and hold their glasses of liquor with their hands. The owners and barkeeps were naturally elated that these players did not mind the lack of seats to sit on and happily served them drinks while they apologized profusely, even going as far as to give these players a discount in their jubilation.
Besides the members of Young Master's Elite, Gu Fei’s table also had Gale Force and Oathless Sword. He was truly baffled by this and wondered when Oathless Sword began favoring and sticking to their group.
When he posed this question on the mercenary channel, it was Young Master Han who replied with a smirk, “Didn’t I already teach you the strategy of how to discourage enemies from engaging?”
M*th*rf*ck*r!, he cursed to himself, and swiftly closed the conversation window. The two leaders, Young Master Han and Oathless Sword, started to converse at this point.
“So how did it go? Did you learn anything after meeting Southern Lone Blade yesterday?” Young Master Han asked.
“Southern Lone Blade? One of the Five Unyielding Experts is actually here in Linshui City?” Gu Fei was surprised.
Everyone turned to eye him strangely.
“Do you all know him?” Gu Fei continued to ask.
“Ahem, he’s my friend,” Brother Assist offered.
“How is his skill?” Gu Fei asked Brother Assist.
“Uhm… He is no match for you, that’s for sure,” Brother Assist hedged.
“How do you know when we have yet to cross paths?” His eyes shone with anticipation.
“Oh, you’ve crossed paths before,” Brother Assist informed him. “Weren’t you doing ‘Bounty Mission’ last night? That person you ganged up on with the NPC guard was Southern Lone Blade.”
Gu Fei was stunned when he heard this. Of course, he had not forgotten about that person; he was simply astonished at how much of a coincidence their encounter had been
Young Master Han ignored him and merely asked Oathless Sword the same question again.
Oathless Sword looked extremely excited as he happily replied, “Brother Han, this is all thanks to your suggestion to meet such a pre-eminent person like Southern Lone Blade. Last night, he contacted me the moment he got out of prison and brought me to the Bounty Assignment Hall to inquire after the matter. Just as we had expected, that dog of a system indeed set a competitive quest in this city, just like in Linyin City. We got lucky this time; only a level 3 guild picked it up. After Southern Lone Blade brought me to visit the guild, all it took was a bit of cajoling and a light threat or two before the other guild willingly dropped the quest. Ha ha ha ha! We sure are lucky!”
“Does that mean that the competitive quest won’t be released again?” Brother Assist asked.
“Yes. I immediately returned to the quest hub to take a look after those guys dropped the quest and I didn’t see any competitive quest related to ours come up. I even assigned a few of my men to watch the board in shifts, and they said that nothing come up!” Oathless Sword replied in satisfaction.
“Doesn’t that mean we’re getting through this stage without much difficulty?” Everyone found this a little hard to believe.
“Of course!” Oathless Sword said as he raised his leg to step on someone’s foot. “Nothing happened to us after we brought this person to grind with us the whole day, right? Ha ha ha ha!” Oathless Sword’s detestable arrogance would show whenever he was pleased with himself.
The other six men did not bother to respond to him and just eyed the person he had stomped on, realizing that it was actually the NPC Todd.
“Weren’t you being a little too bold, bordering on carelessness, to bring Todd along while you guys grinded?” Brother Assist asked.
“I was originally planning to test the waters, but the more I tested, the safer it felt! At least, we are now certain that no one in Linshui City appears to be targeting us.” Oathless Sword became more and more spirited as he continued, “Actually, those guys that picked up the competitive quest were just an average level 3 guild; I doubt they have enough manpower to pose any threat to us, like Deep Waters’ guild did in Linyin City.”
“Wait. If some people actually picked up a quest against ours, why did nothing happen to us the moment we arrived in this city yesterday?” Brother Assist found this strange.
“I should be because of this city’s unique terrain,” Young Master Han explained. “We boarded the system-operated ferry to get here, so even if the opponents were informed of our arrival, what could they do to stop the big ship we were riding on? Once we reached the harbor, they would be committing suicide if they tried to wage a large-scale PvP here, given that this location is where all the strongest entities in Linshui City are gathered. There is only a short distance between the harbor and the city, and the prison is nearby as well. When would they find the opportunity to strike?”
“What an accurate analysis from Brother Han!” Oathless Sword jovially praised. After a moment, he checked the time and furrowed his brows. “Looks like it’s about time for us to board the ship.”
“Brothers, it’s about time for us to leave!” Standing up, Oathless Sword gave a hale shout to everybody. The players from Yunduan City that were sitting on the sand echoed his shout and got up. Under the watchful gazes of many Linshui City’s players, Oathless Sword felt really cool when he did this and wished to say a few more words, but since they would simply be boarding a ship and there was no need to mobilize anything, he ended up yelling this line, “Cheers and get ready to board the ship!”
Everybody raised their glasses, finished their drinks at one go, and started to walk toward the berth by the harbor. All had been informed which berth to go to.
“We are leaving already? But it’s not seven yet!” Gu Fei said.
“We don’t have a choice. This city's ferry service waits for no man,” Brother Assist patted him.
This particular ship ferried players from Linshui City and had already docked at the berth, but it did not have any passengers on board. This was not a strange phenomenon, though. Given that there was hardly any traffic between the cities in Parallel World, business for this particular route could not compare with that of those that were heading to the various grinding maps.
Players queued up and paid the fee to the NPC attendant before boarding the ship. Gu Fei checked out the crow’s nest and the cabin and saw that NPCs were stationed in both. Yunduan City’s players seemed to have traveled on ships like this many times already, showing familiarity with the ship’s layout and immediately gathered themselves accordingly to their guilds and mercenary groups across the deck as they busied themselves with drinking, relaxing, and playing cards. Some even brought grilled fish on board from the beach.
This was the first time Gu Fei had boarded a ferry. Recalling that Xi Xiaotian and Vast Lushness should also be riding a ferry for the first time just like him, since they had arrived at the city together, he made it a point to search for them among the crowd. However, there were really too many people around, so it was difficult to look for them. What he could confirm was that the two were online, so they should be on this ship as well. Seeing that they were nowhere near him, Gu Fei did not continue his search; he was too lazy to fire off a message to ask for their location on the ship, so he just casually found a seat and sat down.
Everyone managed to board the ship without a hitch, and after ten minutes or so, the ship began to leave the shore. Gu Fei heard Oathless Sword starting to brag at this moment. “Ha ha! So how is it? Perfectly planned, right? We won’t be holding up anyone’s time!”
Oathless Sword was actually saying these boastful words to his sweetheart, mercenary leader Gu Xiaoshang.
“Can you shut your mouth?!” Gu Xiaoshang said as she turned her head away from him in annoyance. Gu Fei reflexively laughed when Oathless Sword immediately shut up, turning from the swaggering leader of a large guild into someone indistinguishable from the masses.
Over on the sandy beach of Linshui City, a man stood upright with a shield slung over his back, a longsword fastened at his waist, and his arms folded before his broad chest. He quietly watched the ferry slowly sail out of the harbor. The azure blue water lapped at his feet, yet he did not seem to feel this. Nearby patrons of the bustling open-air bars over by the beach would point at him from time to time.
“Big South!” Several players came running toward this lone figure at this moment.
Southern Lone Blade turned around slowly. The six players behind him were considered the best among his comrades.
“Have you confirmed his identity?” someone asked.
“It’s the Video Mage,” Southern Lone Blade replied.
“What equipment is he wearing?” another asked.
“It was just as the information we gathered, no one we sent was able to Appraise him,” he replied.
“High-grade equipment, then?”
“That explains why there is such a huge reward for him.”
“However…” someone hesitated, “he’s a friend of your friend.”
“Friendship is friendship; business is business,” Southern Lone Blade drawled.
“Why didn’t we strike when they were still here?” a man asked.
“Are you insane? Didn’t you see how many men were with him?” Southern Lone Blade countered.
“What do we do now?”
“Hitch a ride off the next ferry and follow them to the next stop,” he replied, adding, “That should be their final stop, so no matter if they fail or succeed in their quest, that’s when these players will disband.”
“Final stop? How do you know that? Do you have an informant in their group?” someone asked.
Southern Lone Blade nodded confirmation.
“When did this happen?”
“Last night. I got an overview of their situation,” he replied.
“What you’re saying is that this Video Mage is essentially ours for the taking?”
“Still, won’t we be too late if we wait for the next ferry to arrive? It is the final leg of their journey, after all. They’ll surely head off to complete the quest once they disembark and won’t wait for the next day to accomplish the quest.”
Southern Lone Blade laughed when he heard this. “Don’t worry. There’s no way they can complete the last stage of the quest easily!”