Gu Fei told the members of Young Master's Elite about that time he had accrued up to 30 PK points while he was out in the sea and how the system had sent some of the city guards out on their dhow to pursue him. Young Master Han nodded when he heard this, asking, “And are you at 30 PK points yet?”
“No!” he answered, his face black with anger. He knew that Young Master Han had not asked that question out of concern and was most likely hoping for him to accumulate 30 PK points once more, drawing out another fleet as a result, so that the latter could use the chance to get himself a spyglass of his own.
“Keep at it, then!” Young Master Han said this before he once more lifted the spyglass to continue his surveillance of the two boats Southern Lone Blade and his squad were commandeering.
The existence of this spyglass was why Young Master's Elite had been able to get a good grasp of what was happening around them despite not being physically present. While the Forever in Flowers’ players toiled endlessly as they went up and down the shoreline searching through bush and brush, all Young Master's Elite did upon learning what had happened by the west gate was to leave by the same gate and use that spyglass they had ‘acquired’ to look out over by the vast beach, easily finding out where Southern Lone Blade’s squad was headed.
Young Master Han had no idea how Blue Umbra was able to keep their eye on Southern Lone Blade’s squad, but he knew that they would surely succeed in intercepting them. As such, using Brother Assist to contact Southern Lone Blade, Young Master Han informed them that Young Master's Elite was open for a transaction if they needed help to escape.
Southern Lone Blade was of course unaware that his group had already fallen for Blue Umbra’s entrapment at that point and had merely thought that Young Master's Elite was trying to pull a fast one on them, attempting to buy time, hoping to cloud their judgement, or fishing out their location. Essentially, Southern Lone Blade did not really bother to pay further attention to the matter.
It was only when Blue Umbra Guild and Gu Fei sandwiched them – with the former going all out and the latter standing behind doing nothing – and was left with no other option that Southern Lone Blade was forced to make that deal. He did not trust Young Master's Elite in the least, but he was truly backed into a corner back then. All he could do was pray for a hail mary, which he had hardly expected to actually pay off.
Southern Lone Blade still had his doubts over the matter even as the boat sailed onward, so he called on Glue to keep watch of their surroundings for anything unusual.
Glue looked around with his Eagle Eye but discovered nothing. Southern Lone Blade was no longer that worried about Blue Umbra at this point; was it that easy to form up a flotilla for them to give chase so quickly? Instead, it was Young Master's Elite that Southern Lone Blade was most worried of, suspecting that they had already made preparations to secretly ambush them.
Southern Lone Blade only slightly eased up when Glue uncovered nothing. He was personally steering the boat, cutting it obliquely across the water to make it difficult for anybody else to discover their route.
How was he supposed to know that Young Master Han watching his every move from afar with a spyglass, though? It was just impossible for Southern Lone Blade to depend on an Archer’s Eagle Eye to spot this tail of theirs.
The two parties were each on their respective boats as Young Master's Elite continued their pursuit of Southern Lone Blade’s squad from a distance.
“Ask them when we will receive the other half of the payment,” Young Master Han had his spyglass trained on the other two boats even as he told Brother Assist to ask that question. The others really wished they could stand on Southern Lone Blade’s side when they heard this, for this man was truly being far too vicious. Young Master Han had already told them of his current plan while they were in pursuit.
His plan was to force Southern Lone Blade’s group into leaving Linshui City and to continue the hunt after the group completely settled down in another city. This was the only way they could grasp the group’s constant respawn, and it would not be like what had happened in Linshui City where the said opportunity to corner the squad had landed in the hands of Blue Umbra.
Everybody finally understood that Young Master Han was adamant on getting his hands on the Staff of Resurrection from Southern Lone Blade’s squad upon hearing this scheme. However, his claim that he would not use it personally and would, instead, sell it for profits to be split among them, kept everybody enthused.
Gu Fei was busy as well. On top of informing Eternal Dominion that Southern Lone Blade and his men had already successfully made their escape and hurrying him to make his way to the harbor in order to meet up, he also told Sakurazaka Moony and Vast Lushness that they no longer had to busy themselves with the matter as it was already under control. The person he disappointed the most was Fireball, who was sitting pitifully by that beachside bar, waiting for him to come help him clear his PK points, only to find out that he had already departed from Linshui City. Gu Fei had no choice but to tell Fireball to avoid any pursuers as best as he could and to get on a vessel leaving the city as well.
Soon, everybody had been floating on that body of water for over half an hour. Besides Young Master Han, who remained standing by the bow of his boat, relaying the direction to the two boatmen, the other five were left with nothing to do.
Royal God Call had taken out his bow and was shooting at the fishes for fun; War Without Wounds was in a discussion with the boatman about the different rowing techniques; Brother Assist had taken out his little booklet, and it was unknown just what he was researching about; Sword Demon was meditating in the middle of the boat, and the dagger he had been holding was now being held between his fingers like a cigarette without him noticing it.
Gu Fei stared at Sword Demon, wondering just when he would put the dagger between his lips, but he did not see this even after waiting for a long time; Sword Demon simply maintained his posture while in deep thought. In the end, without anything to do and out of boredom, Gu Fei went to talk to the only other person on the boat besides Young Master Han and Sword Demon.
“Where are we going?” he asked, feeling that a boatman would be more familiar with the waterways of Linshui City.
“I’m still not sure, going by the direction we are heading.” The man shook his head.
Just as he said this, Young Master Han issued another instruction, “Turn to the left a little.”
The boatman seemed to have realized something as he told Gu Fei, “If we keep going left, we will reach Xiawu City.”
“What city?” Gu Fei thought his answer would either be Luori City or Linyin City. Never did he expect that there would be a third city near Linshui City.
“Xiawu City,” the man repeated.
“What city?” This time, the person asking was Young Master Han, who was evidently surprised by this answer. But before the boatman could repeat it for the third time, Young Master Han had already turned to address Brother Assist, who was on the other boat, “Do you know that there’s another city out here, Brother Assist?”
“Is that so?” Brother Assist was shocked. “This waterway only connects to Linyin and Luori City; I’ve already checked this.”
The boatman chuckled at that. “It’s true that the waterway here connects to the two cities, but that’s only according to the routes the system has set. While the ferry will only connect to these two cities, we are now on a private boat, so it is not impossible for us to row our way out to Xiawu City.”
After hearing all this, Young Master Han sighed. “That means we are going to this other city and not Linyin City, right?”
“Is that going to be a problem?” Gu Fei asked.
“Nope, but this is definitely not good news for someone else,” Young Master Han said.
“Have you contacted Deep Waters?” Sword Demon asked.
“Eh, I think so. I can’t recall.” Young Master Han once more resumed his stance by the bow.
On the edge of the woods in Linyin City, Deep Waters had brought along several guild members and was lying in wait all along the shoreline.
“Guild leader, what are we doing here?” someone asked.
“Someone’s coming up ashore here, but they are using a private boat, so since we can’t be sure where they’ll end up, we’ll have to ambush them this way,” Deep Waters answered.
“Got it!” Nobody else in the guild bothered to ask further. They had faith in their guild leader and believed that they were on some important mission. The work was not particularly tiring, anyway, as all they had to do was to lie in the tall grass and keep watch of the shore.
Deep Waters took the lead as the guild leader, sprawling within the brush like Qiu Shaoyun1, staying still. It’s almost time! he thought to himself after glancing at the time.
Another half an hour passed, and from Young Master Han’s spyglass, he could see that the boats Southern Lone Blade and his squad were on were already nearing the coast. There was no pier nearby, confirming the fact that they were indeed landing at Xiawu City, which the system ferries were not connected to. The seven of them were in no rush to leave upon disembarking, as they searched around to properly hide their boats. All this while, Southern Lone Blade was reminding Glue to keep his eyes on the water.
Of course, Young Master Han had witnessed all this, so he quickly reminded the two boatmen to slow down to prevent their boats from being sighted by Glue’s Eagle Eye.
Shortly after, the seven began to pack up and made to leave as Young Master Han quickly indicated for both their boats to dock ashore.
“Are we gonna be able to chase after them at this rate?” Royal God Call asked.
“With this thing here, why would we have trouble locating them? This isn’t Linyin City,” Young Master Han tapped the spyglass as he gave this reply. Given Linyin City’s thick foliage, the usefulness of the spyglass would be extremely limited, which was why Young Master Han had asked Deep Waters to keep watch, but since they did not end up going to Linyin City, it made sense for his spyglass to become useful once more. After all, it was always better to depend on your efforts than on others.
Unexpectedly, the boatman laughed once more when he heard this. “That thing you have won’t be of any use in Xiawu City, either.”
“Why?” Young Master Han was stunned before he read out the city’s name2 once more. “Unless...”
“Heh, yes. This city is extremely foggy.” The answer was just as Young Master Han had surmised.
Everybody looked at one another. They had expended quite the effort chasing Southern Lone Blade’s squad all the way here; would they just allow their targets to escape under this natural fog?
This was when Young Master Han received a new message from Deep Waters: “It’s been over an hour, where’re those guys?”
“Uhm, I have good news and bad news; which would you like to hear first?” Young Master Han answered with a question.
“Don’t be a cliché; just give it to me straight!” A sense of foreboding crept up on Deep Waters.
“Uh, the truth of the matter is that they didn’t end up going to Linyin City, so you guys can pack up and rest. Have an early night’s sleep; ha ha!”
“You f*ck*ng a*sh*l*, are you trying to pull a fast one on me?!”
“You won’t believe me even if I tell you, anyway. This time, I made a mistake in my deduction—”
“Who are you trying to fool?!”
“See? I told you you’re not going to believe me, but I don’t understand it, either; how would someone as clever as me make a mistake?” Young Master Han sighed. “Let’s not talk about this for now; there are still things we need to do. I’ll contact you again at a later time!” After saying his piece, he swiftly placed Deep Waters on his block list to no longer be bothered by his message bombardment. He turned to his fellow mercenaries on the two boats and said, “Comrades, this could very well be the biggest challenge we have faced thus far. In this unknown city and foreign land, do we have the confidence to kill off Southern Lone Blade’s group?”
“Just tell me where he’s at, and it’ll be a piece of cake,” Gu Fei answered lazily.
This one comment had really struck Young Master Han to his core. This was the first time an unexpected element had essentially scuttled the entire plan he had in mind. Brother Assist was also very remorseful on his end. “This is my fault; I got careless.”
“No, it isn’t your fault!” Young Master Han waved his hand dismissively. Everybody thought that he was about to own up to his mistake and was eagerly waiting to relish this utterance when he, instead, coolly turned around and facepalmed. “Xiawu City? Whose g*dd*mn bright idea was it to design something like this?”
The very scrupulous gaming employee Ye Xiaowu suddenly sneezed loudly somewhere out in the real world.