Gu Fei and his father ended their conversation after a period of silence.
“We’ve all gotta make a living…” While this sounded like a comical statement, it was actually a huge issue to anyone practicing Martial Arts.
Martials Arts was actually a very extravagant sort of sport.
The daily nutrient intake for martial practitioners was high. Kung fu taxed the whole body, so the energy expended daily went far beyond the requirements of an average human. How would anyone be able to deal with a hungry stomach if they had to exert so much on a daily basis? However, any regular household would be able to provide the basic requirements in this day and age.
However, a higher grade of this would be utilizing food and nutrition science, as well as the applicable scientific theory when it came to strengthening the body, training equipment, and so on. These would naturally be far out of reach of what the average household could provide.
It was no joke when the nation would often decry how much it cost to groom an athlete. The purpose of training these athletes was be for them to achieve results. This was nothing like raising a dog or pig, only caring that they were fed and well taken care of. This entire process required plenty of specialized personnel and equipment, all requiring a tidy sum of money to maintain.
It was just the same with kung fu. Naturally, if it was only done for fun and as a hobby of sorts, it would be fine to just casually deal with things. But for martial families like both Gu Families, their pursuit towards martial excellence was a lifelong career, so how could they treat things unprofessionally?
Taking Gu Fei as an example, ever since he began exercising and bulking up to train kung fu, he never had access to anything like nutritionists, physical therapists, masseuses, or any other technical professionals. Without any money, how could he or his family afford such services? Furthermore, how was he able to use any of the strange and specialized equipment used for bodybuilding, since he had no money for them? To have a venue to fit all this equipment also required a proper dojo! Each and every aspect would require plenty of space just to contain them. Was that even something someone earning an average wage living in a eighteen-story commercial housing could afford?
Gu Fei might look like an very poor PE teacher, but it would be a huge mistake if anyone believed that Gu Fei had became a PE teacher for his livelihood. It was just some random job he had found while searching for a way to utilize the kung fu he had learned. If he was truly dependent on his earnings from the classes he taught as a PE teacher, there was no way Gu Fei would even have the funds necessary to buy the equipment he needed to play Parallel World.
The Gu Family’s standing in the world of martial arts today was entirely unrelated to their ability to do business and make a living. They had already entered a virtuous circle, where the money they earned was able to maintain the expenses of the family, while their practice of martial arts maintained the family’s reputation within this circle. It was just that more and more of the family’s disciples preferred to earn money than practice kung fu. Gu Fei was essentially the only sapling they had left in the nursery by this generation.
Every family had their woes.
Most martial families were in an dilemma due to their current predicament, yet the Gu Family on the other hand did not have money shortages. Instead, they were suffering from a serious shortage of talent. The elders in the family were currently considering if there was a need to change the rule of “letting people do as they please”. Given the dazzle of the material world they now lived in, where the information traffic itself was so huge, it was impossible for their children to solely focus on just one thing. Even hobbies needed to be cultivated, after all!
Gu Fei had already heard before he left that his uncle was prepared to take in the two kids from his elder cousin and train them. Gu Fei had even seen the room they had prepared for the two; there was a large “Wu” character above the doorway. Anyone opening said door would be greeted with the sight of a curtain that hung above the door, made up of eighteen nine-section whips. There was originally a wardrobe on the left, but it had been removed and fitted with a weapon rack instead. The large antique vase in the right corner of the room still remained, but a Tyrant Long Spear was placed within it, the red tassle under the spearhead poking out of the vase.
The wall across had an exquisitely written work of calligraphy with two distinct characters on it: kung fu
On either side of “kung fu” were the two beds for the two children, both the upper decks of a double-decker bed. There was nothing below it: No bed nor stairs. Only a single rope.
The walls on the left and right side had hanging drawings. The left was the ultimate moves from the 36 Paths of the Gu Family Fist Style, while on the right hung the choice images from the 72 Paths of the Gu Family Sword style. There was also a huge bookcase that Gu Fei had casually flipped through, and every single one featured martial pugilists. There were of course kids who would not enjoy reading, but preferred comics or games instead. His uncle had already made sure that those comics and games were all of the sort that promoted close combat engagement.
“I just refuse to believe that we cannot cultivate an interest towards kung fu if they were to grow up in such an environment!” his uncle declared in his delight. His uncle had two children of his own who ended up entirely uninterested in kung fu, losing him face as a result. The push this time around was essentially his attempt at saving face. Gu Fei seemed to recall that even as his uncle planned and prepared, those two nephews of his were no more than a year old, not even two yet...
There was no guarantee that this sort of upbringing would be effective, either, since that meant the two nephew were now fighting every day, bruising their faces and bodies. They had not even begun their formal kung fu training. Gu Fei believed that there was a high possibility of them internally injuring one another once they earnestly began learning kung fu. He had heard that the family was already prepared for such an eventuality, and had already stocked up on all sorts of drugs and medication that would help prevent blood stasis, even going as far as to discuss hiring a doctor, ideally someone that specialized in both internal medicine and surgical processes, even hiring two if the need arose. This was a level of dedication and care that Gu Fei had not experienced back then.
Despite how hilarious the situation had now become, Gu Fei was unable to find it in him to laugh. If even his Gu Family had their own difficulties to contend with, what more could be said about the other families out there that had problems even making ends meet?
It was with such thoughts that Gu Fei conducted his night session uneasily after logging off early.
He logged on at the same time he always did the following day. He was quite a bit more relaxed now that he remembered he no longer had to race against time to get to some other location any longer. This was also the period of time when Luori City was at its peak usership, as well!
All along the street, Gu Fei could hear the discussion about the huge battle yesterday. But what was surprising was that focus of most of these discussion was not about the Yunduan City players v.s. Luori City’s Coalition of mercenary groups, instead about the fight between Gu Fei and Eternal Dominion.
“Did you hear? Someone from Yunduan City had a PK match with Eternal Dominion.”
“Yeah, I heard about that too. It seemed like the match went undecided?”
“I heard that Eternal Dominion claimed to have something going on and left first.”
“Hey, did he take the coward’s way out because he couldn’t beat the other guy?”
“Hmm, I think that might be the case…”
Plenty of players believed that Eternal Dominion had came up with an excuse to leave because he could not beat Gu Fei. Gu Fei could only laugh bitterly when he heard this, wondering just how Eternal Dominion lived in Luori City when he was so ill-favored in his own city. However, Gu Fei did not think of how he was seen by the players in his own city as a demonic murderer, somehow believing he had enjoyed great popularity with his people.
“Eh! Guild Leader Oathless, you guys are still here!” Gu Fei had crossed two streets and suddenly discovered guild mates Oathless Sword and Gale Force leisurely walking down the street like tourists, and thus called out to them.
The two men turned their heads back, spotted Gu Fei and quickly greeted him back, “Brother Miles!”
“Not leaving yet?”
“It’s not often we find ourselves so far out, so we’re using this opportunity to take a look around!” the two laughed. Actually, Gale Force had seen how exceptional the Fighter job class experts were in Luori City and wondered if it was possible there was some rare Fighter equipment available in local market, and had stayed around to indulge and put off making the return. Most players from Yunduan City had already began their journey back in teams of threes and twos this morning, after a whole night of celebration and revelry
“Are you heading back already, Brother Miles?” Oathless Sword asked.
“Oh. I’m taking a look around,” Gu Fei chuckled, even as he ruminated over the incomplete fight he’d had with Eternal Dominion. Even though it was rather unsatisfying and troublesome for him to demonstrate his moves in-game, taking on someone who knew how to fight was nevertheless a lot better than bullying the average gamer. When he got online today, he had seen that Eternal Dominion was not online. Gu Fei reckoned that Eternal Dominion’s job as a kung fu trainer might not be as carefree as his own as a PE teacher.
“Then we’ll leave you to your stroll, we’re both gonna head over there and take a look!” Oathless Sword and Gale Force bade farewell before wandering in another direction.
Gu Fei felt as if Oathless Sword was not in as high of spirits today as he had been yesterday. Logically speaking, he should still be as excited today, having just finished a huge quest. That calm look of his was entirely uncharacteristic of him, making Gu Fei wonder just what had happened.
Gu Fei did not bother asking them directly despite finding it strange. It was at this moment when someone over his mercenary channel hollered to ask him for his status, so Gu Fei casually asked this question, to the laughter of those men.
It turned out that Oathless Sword had indeed been euphoric after completing the guild quest for Traversing Four Seas, and after enjoying a boisterous celebration in the Tavern with everyone, he was actually the first to log off.
No one knew the reason for doing so at that moment, until Brother Assist came bearing news of the matter. Apparently, the reckless Oathless Sword had not actually been sated celebrating his victory over a couple of drinks online, and had even logged off to post on the game forums, going as far as to declare his guild to be the number one large guild across all of Parallel World, even ecstatically announcing how his guild had actually completed this huge quest.
In the end, the bragging instantly invited ridicule from posters all across the forum.
Oathless Sword had let his excitement go to his head, believing that the quest they had received was something only they had access to. He had completely forgotten the fact that the guild quest chain was originally a reward from the PvP tournament from before. Any other guild out there that came in first in the guild vs. guild competition would also be awarded it.
Even though the content of each quest assigned would be different, the culmination of each quest chain awarded the same things, granting all members experience and coins, before raising the guild level by one.
Traversing Four Seas had actually taken days to complete their quest since they actually had to traveled across so many cities, but some of the top guilds in the other cities were able to accomplish their guild quests in one go. While some had failed to accomplish the quests they were given, that claim from Oathless Sword about being the first Level 6 guild was seen as a joke. In the days that he had been struggling with his own quest, three other guilds out there had already completed their guild quest and reached Level 6 before him!
Out of the three, two actually belonged to some of the cities he had passed through! One was Dusky Cloud’s Building in the Clouds from Yueye City, and the other was a guild from Linshui City called Water’s Horizon.
Oathless Sword had been so focused on his quest that he had failed to keep up with the going-ons in the game, making a fool out of himself. Level 6 guilds were no longer what the people were discussing. Instead, the hot topic every player was now discussing animatedly was the changes to the Five Unyielding Experts.
After the PvP tournament had ended, even though many players had managed to also reach level 41 just like the Five Unyielding Experts, the experience leaderboards were arranged by the actual amount of experience the players had, allowing them to distinguish themselves thusly. The original Five Unyielding Experts still remained in the top five spots as the first five names on that list.
Recently, two out of the five that had dropped off the leaderboards to somewhere unknown: Deep Waters and Southern Lone Blade.
The two new names that now entered the ranks were currently being fervently discussed by everyone.
These two players were actually both Mages. The first was called Slyris¹. The other was a familiar name that belonged to Yunduan City: Brave Surge!