Virtual World: Close Combat Mage

Chapter 394 - Probe! Tempo

Gu Fei did not ask Eternal Dominion the reason he had made a trip over to visit the Gu Family. He knew the answer without even having to ask.

Now that they were in an era where kung fu was on the decline, the various martial families or factions had to let go of the antiquated traditions of sectarianism, allowing greater movement between everyone in the community. The generation of Gu Fei’s father, for example, would often meet up with other fellow practitioners and conduct forums or even organize tea parties for everyone.

Aside from these activities that involved more people, there were also often other more private exchanges and movements. Eternal Dominion’s mention of his father and Gu Fei’s sparring was one such instance, a meeting which allowed everybody to interact and casually exchange pointers with one another.

There was nothing official about such exchanges, and the people involved would often not place much importance towards them, but everyone would make a mental note of things in actuality. The year, date, and time, who they visited and who they defeated; a certain date where they visited which family and who lost to whom; the number of rounds they went, the tally of the results… Everyone had a good idea in their hearts how each and every encounter had gone. It was just that nobody would say it out loud, even if they fussed over it in their hearts.

Throughout this process, there were even people who had whimsical thoughts and believed kung fu should learn from how sports had developed and organize some sort of kung fu competition, utilizing the “Home and Away” points system to keep track, or have some sort of East v.s. West divisional playoffs to select strong competitors, and then host a global kung fu meet once every four years.

While the plan sounded great on paper, it was never realized or implemented in the end. After all, kung fu was nothing like most sports out there, due to the fact the skill was used for killing! There were already unavoidable injuries just from the casual sparring they had with one another, so who knew what might result if they actually went ahead with such a large scale, ‘put your name on the line’, head-on competition setting.

So kung fu could only stagnant until this very day, propagated and passed on in a small circle of practitioners.

Eternal Dominion coming to look for the Gu Family like this was nothing but a private visit that happened frequently, so Gu Fei did not bother to press for more details.

“I was originally looking for you, but it’s a pity you weren’t around,” Eternal Dominion said.

“Oh, what happened after that?”” Gu Fei had indeed rarely visited home after he moved out and became a teacher.

“After that… Well, I got a few pointers from Uncle,” Eternal Dominion said.

“He beat you up.” Gu Fei suddenly revealed much sympathy across his face.

“No. He gave me pointers,” Eternal Dominion insisted.

“I’m sure they were pointers, but I know how he goes about giving those,” Gu Fei said.

Eternal Dominion was quiet for a moment, before suddenly saying, “I originally visited in hope of getting some pointers from you.”

“Mmm!” Gu Fei nodded and did not say anything further. He had already suspected something like that the moment Eternal Dominion had mentioned the bout against his father ten years ago. It was nothing as serious as avenging his father’s name, though it was in line with such thoughts. A more appropriate sentiment would most likely be him standing up for his father.

Seeing that there was such a coincidental connection between Eternal Dominion and himself, it was apparent that the two of them would have a match here today. Gu Fei was of course more than happy to oblige when it came to fighting, so all that mattered now was how Eternal Dominion would broach the subject.

But who would have guess Eternal Dominion would actually gaze at him with knitted brows. “Why did you choose to be a Mage!?”

That was like rubbing salt on his wounds, as Gu Fei revealed a look of sadness, shaking his head. “Let’s not talk about that; it’s a long story.”

“In that case, I guess I’ll have to find some time to visit your family again some day,” Eternal Dominion said.

“There’s no need for that!” Gu Fei was flustered. “This place will do! We’re already here! Let us fight here and now, to the death; There’s no need to hold back!”

Eternal Dominion was hesitant. Considering that the Fighter job class he was using had quite an advantage over the Mage, he felt the victory he would get would not represent his skill.

Gu Fei did not seem to mind, however, and had even guessed what Eternal Dominion was thinking, chuckling, “We’re just playing around.. There’s no need to mind too much.”

“In that case… I’ll just not use any of the in-game skills, then,” Eternal Dominion replied. The skills that a Fighter job class possessed were in the punches and kicks he dealt, experts like him would have no problems executing a perfect combination of their kung fu and skills, exactly like he had just displayed his Advent of the Cloud Dragon on Svelte Dancer. He could have easily activated his Fighter skill, Seismic Toss, afterwards, but Eternal Dominion had not done so, showing mercy to the lady.

Seeing that Gu Fei was a Mage and already had a disadvantage when it came to their job class, he made the decision to not use any of the in-game skills he had in his arsenal.

“Oh, then I won’t use my spells either,” Gu Fei nodded in agreement.

Every skill that a Fighter had could easily be incorporated into his kung fu techniques and moves, but how could a Mage’s spells, work in that case? Eternal Dominion wanted to make a comment when he heard what Gu Fei had said, but he decided against it at the last second.

“Unarmed then?” Gu Fei asked, as he stowed his sword back in his dimensional pocket.

“What do you mean unarmed? A fighter’s weapon is his gloves!” Svelte Dancer hollered out.

“That’s right, but I am indeed unarmed.” Eternal Dominion showed his hands to everyone. Indeed, there was nothing like the gloves that a Fighter would normally have equipped in this game.

“You can use your weapon,” Eternal Dominion had already felt that his job class held too much of an advantage in this fight, so he decided to give Gu Fei a bit of an edge, otherwise this fight would be pointless.

“No, there’s no need, we can spar with weapons later!” was Gu Fei’s response.

Eternal Dominion had nothing else to say at this point. His comrades behind him had already tacitly retreated a distance and opened up a space for their duel. Gu Fei only had Svelte Dancer, Vast Lushness, and Oathless Sword on his side, and the three were looking particularly worried. They were just gamers, so from a gaming perspective, they felt that the strongest thing Gu Fei had going for him was the spell damage that could insta-kill his enemies. Now that he had given up that indomitable attack power of his, clashing against a Fighter in unarmed combat… They could not be blamed for having no faith in Gu Fei since it was truly a cause for concern to outsiders who did not understand.

On the other hand, the players from Eternal War mercenary group revealed their utmost confidence in this fight. They already admired Eternal Dominion’s kung fu, so even though the person he was now facing looked to be a practitioner as well, the fact he was a Mage job class convinced them that Eternal Dominion would no doubt be the victor here.

There was also a third party present. Coco did not seem to care about the clash that was about to happen, but instead glanced at Deep Waters, “Why do I feel like you’re the most excited now that they are about to fight?”

“I’m only wholeheartedly hoping that that guy will be thoroughly beaten by Eternal Dominion,” Deep Waters agreed.

No one gave the call to start, as the two man suddenly took several steps forward and came to blows in an instant.

Gu Fei was the first to make a move, lifting his leg for a thrust kick right at Eternal Dominion. The Fighter did not seek to dodge this attack, extending out his hand in the shape of a claw as he grasped Gu Fei’s ankle. But the kick that Gu Fei had just thrustd out with his right leg had already retracted as his left leg sprang out. Eternal Dominion swiftly changed his hands, but ended up grasping nothing but air. Gu Fei’s leg had already retracted before Eternal Dominion’s hand could even connect, and was converted into a sweep out. Eternal Dominion stretched his hand out to grasp it once more.

Gu Fei threw seven consecutive kicks in this short moment, causing Eternal Dominion to change up seven times as well, but every time, before he could even touch Gu Fei’s leg, the Mage would retract it and shoot forth the other leg anew, striking out seven times to seven different points of his body. Everybody that saw it were dazed at the display.

To non-practitioners, all they caught sight of was the shadow of Gu Fei’s leg in that brief moment. They were not even sure if either of his feet landed on the ground at any rate, for all they saw were seven legs kicking out consecutively.

“How is that possible, how does he have enough agility to do that so quickly?” Svelte Dancer was astonished.

Naturally, Oathless Sword and Vast Lushness were equally as clueless, and even those members from Eternal War and anyone else that had a bit of inkling and standard could only make out a small portion of his attack.

It was not the speed of this attack that was quick, but the rhythm at which he dished them out. The average person would not be able to tell the particular aspect hidden within; just looking at it naturally made them believe it was a result of his speed.

Even though Eternal Dominion had matched each of Gu Fei’s consecutive kicks blow for blow, each of the blocks he made became harder and harder to sustain. His hands could barely keep up with the seven kicks that were sent his way, there was no way he would have matched up if an eighth kick came in. Eternal Dominion reacted quickly, instantly abandoning the direct confrontation as he quickly took a step back in retreat.

In the end, the eighth kick never came.

It was all just a false alarm. Eternal Dominion breathed a deep sigh of relief.

Both parties had only been testing each other in this round of exchange, probing the depth of strength the other possessed. More importantly, it was an assessment of the opponent’s true strength in real life.

Sparring in game was just what it was. With the limitation of in-game stats, it was impossible for them to perfectly demonstrate the true level of strength they each possessed. On top of how different their respective job classes were, the allocation of points would further impact the differences between the two. Thus, sparring in game would be exactly as Gu Fei said: they were just playing around. However, it could be said that the skill they demonstrated within the game could still be seen as a rough gauge of their true strength.

Eternal Dominion had played the game until he became one of the Five Unyielding Experts, showing that he had spent quite some effort on it, and his understanding towards Parallel World was quite deep. He could tell that Gu Fei had invested all his Stat points towards Agility from the speed of his execution. As such, Gu Fei’s attack speed was faster than his own. Eternal Dominion had also focused on adding his points towards Agility, but had also allocated a portion towards Strength.

Even though the increase in attack speed that came from allocating points towards Agility was not particularly obvious, for people like them, who were looking to chain a series of attacks consecutively, that tiny bit of difference would ultimately become very pronounced when put into practice.

Eternal Dominion believed that the reason he was unable to block the eighth attack in time after consecutively matching the seven kicks from before was a manifestation of this disparity.

I’m sure I would not be having such a hard time if this was in real life, Eternal Dominion thought to himself. But I should be able to deal with it since he could only chain up to seven kicks, not eight.

Thinking this, Eternal Dominion laughed out loud, “Brother Gu sure is a prodigious talent; to think your Nine Chain Transformation could throw out seven consecutive kicks without moving from your original position. How marvelous!”

Gu Fei, however, showed a look of remorse, “I’m really sorry about that. My tempo got messed up, so I was unable to continue my kicks.”

“What did you say?” Eternal Dominion blinked.

“Gu FEi smiled as he patted his dimensional pocket, “I forgot that I’ve stowed my sword, losing 20 points in Agility. Using this technique requires me to calculate it perfectly, otherwise it will just throw me off my rhythm.”

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