Gu Fei was not only listening diligently but also writing down everything in his booklet, really putting in all his effort into this! He originally thought that he would have to spend hours up on the wall to get a clear picture of the entire compound, but who would have guessed that these eight players in the ruins would save him the trouble? Who knew how long these players had been secretly staking out the courtyard, such that they were able to get such a detailed account of its ground layout? Furthermore, not only did they fully grasp the NPC guards’ movement, they even made sure to take note of the habits and activities of the members from Flowergazing in the Fog across several days, since that guild was what they were viewing as the important enemy here.
Gu Fei listened and nodded, his quill scribbling furiously. Four looked to be very pleased with his attitude, so he got more encouraged as he continued. Not only did he give an overview of the situation, he went a step further to explain what he could. He even told Gu Fei of the plans that they came up with but failed to implement.
“Right now, the most troublesome thing is our inability to grasp just how many Stealthed Thieves are skulking in the courtyard, so we can’t get any headway in our quests.” Four finally expressed his anxiety over the matter.
“One more thing.” Standing beside him, Three took the twig from Four and circled the Government City Hall and the area behind it. “There’s a backyard here, but because the building is covering it, we have no idea what’s the situation in that place. My and Seven’s quest need us to be there, so…”
“There’s nothing in the backyard; no guards or members from Flowergazing in the Fog,” Gu Fei informed.
“You’ve been there?” Three and Seven were excited to hear this.
“Yup!” Gu Fei nodded.
“How did you do it?” The eight of them all turned to regard him.
“Have you guys never considered… climbing the wall?” Gu Fei stared right back at the eight.
“Wall?” the eight muttered. In their minds, that was not a wall. Stretching over ten meters high, that was already at the same height as a building. Who would even think of climbing a five-story high building if it were in the way?
“You can climb up that wall?” the eight cautiously asked.
“It’s possible with the right tools,” Gu Fei affirmed.
“You probably climbed in from the backyard, which is how you managed to get yourself to the entrance without anyone noticing it.” These people rejoiced at uncovering this fact.
“That’s more or less accurate!” Gu Fei said, “But, there’s still another problem.”
“What will that be?” The eight fixed their gazes on him.
“Gu Fei pointed toward the rough sketch of the city hall in the circle on the ground. “You guys should already know about the building being inaccessible to players. Besides Three, Seven, and Eight, the rest of you have quests within the building itself. Have any of you managed to confirm if they will grant access to the Government City Hall because you picked up the quest?”
Several of them expressed their chagrin, “We’ll be able to find out if we just give this a test, but those guys from Flowergazing in the Fog won’t even let us get near it…”
“So you guys have no idea…” Gu Fei said.
These men were all rueful.
“Well, now that we have a method to get over the wall and enter the backyard, what else is there to worry about? Won’t all our troubles be resolved if we head over and give it a shot?” these men asked.
Gu Fei, however, shook his head. “I doubt we can climb the wall and get over any longer.”
“Why is that?”
“My sudden appearance right outside the Government City Hall’s entrance have me surrounded. Isn’t it weird that they didn’t bother to ask me how I managed to appear like that, and they even let me off in the end?” Gu Fei wondered aloud.
“That’s true…” The others were astonished.
“Without needing to ask, there’s only one possibility: they already determined that that is how I got in. At the very least, they would be sure to have someone watch over the backyard from here onward. I doubt that they’ll simply cling on to guarding just the entrance alone anymore.” Gu Fei sighed. “Looks like my action today has created even more trouble for our quests!”
“That’s entirely logical. Three Sighs of Flowing Maple is not your average gamer. He’s sure to have thought of this point,” Three blurted out.
“Oh, do you two know each other?” someone beside him instantly asked.
Three did not say another word.
“There’s another thing as well. At night in-game, the entire building will be on lockdown; even players with permission to enter won’t be let off,” Gu Fei said.
“How do you know of this?” Four asked.
“Because I happen to be a player that has access,” Gu Fei replied.
“Are you Cool Apple?” Four croaked. The others looked flustered as well, and they abruptly distanced themselves from Gu Fei.
Gu Fei shook his head. “Didn’t you guys deduce that I’m not from around here? How could I be Cool Apple, then?”
After the rest of them had calmed down, Gu Fei continued, “Speaking of which, since you guys know that Cool Apple is a player that has access, have none of you ever considered locating him to find out more about the situation? After all, five out of the eight of you need to enter the building to complete your quest.”
Four laughed bitterly. “It isn’t that we haven’t thought of this possibility, but that Cool Apple isn’t an easy man to locate. He would’ve long been shredded to pieces by others and would’ve never survived for so long as he did if that hadn’t been the case.”
Gu Fei nodded his head.
“Even though we are unable to enter the Government City Hall at night, we can still try your method of climbing that wall to take a look at the situation in the backyard. After all, it is purely your speculation that this method may no longer work,” Four said.
“Sure.” Gu Fei nodded.
“Is there anything else,” Four asked.
“Yes.” Gu Fei tugged at the poncho he had on. “Who made this?”
“I did!” Two raised his hand. “The inspiration for the design of this poncho came from the Akatsuki of Naruto. The number sewn on it imitates the style of the leader’s attire from Bleach,” Two gushed in delight.
Gu Fei nodded and said, “If you intend to hide your identity, you shouldn’t reveal your hobby like this, or you’ll end up getting exposed.”
Not only Two, even the others were shocked when they heard this, and they began to examine themselves.
“Let’s go, then!” Gu Fei got up.
“We’re leaving!” Four called out to the rest.
Gu Fei, currently bearing the number ‘9’, walked at the tail end of these men, as he resumed his silent observation of the eight players.
Teamwork would have to be based on mutual trust. Gu Fei had absolutely no faith in this group of players that had banded together solely for the benefits of working together, yet refused to reveal their identities to one another. The only common ground they shared was that the quests all nine of them had picked up were in direct conflict with Flowergazing in the Fog. In addition, the content of the quests differed from one another, so in the process of this operation, and someone completed the first step of their quest, would that person continue to provide aid for the rest in completing their quests? Gu Fei felt that was a big question.
Gu Fei followed someone with a fast movement speed when he was making his way over to the meeting point, but now that they were heading back to the Government City Hall, it was apparent that someone from within the group had quite a slow movement speed, which cost them quite a bit of time. He raised his head to the sky and thought to himself, At the speed we are going, it will soon be daylight before we arrive there. There should really be a more appropriate form of transportation in this game, or it would be unfair to these job classes that had slow movement speed, since they had to waste quite some time traveling from place to place when grinding.
Leaving the ruins, the group made their way back on the main road. The eight maintained a certain distance from one another, with nobody chatting with anyone. As they neared the city proper, someone began to remove the poncho they were wearing, since wearing such an odd piece of clothing would be a surefire way to call attention to themselves. Honestly speaking, people who intended to secretly partake in wrongdoings should not dress up so outstandingly like this. Getting each of them to wear the same article of clothing was extremely foolish and should only be applied to something like doing a public demonstration.
Gu Fei did not really mind so he continued to have it on, and Two appeared to be very taken by his or her creation. While the others chose to take it off, he was still wearing the poncho as they trudged on. Gu Fei slowly neared him and softly asked, “Was it your idea to make these?”
“Yup! What about it?” Two asked.
“Nothing really… These numbers we are given…” Gu Fei asked as he pointed to the number ‘9’ sewn to the corner of the clothing. “Is this based off the sequence when we joined this gang?”
“That’s right!” Two confirmed.
“So how many of these did you make in the first place?” Gu Fei asked.
“13,” Two answered.
“What? Why is it 13.” Gu Fei was shocked. He recalled how Andrew Su’s Diary once mentioned the very same number, with the Shadowmist Assassin claiming he was 13 assignments away from hitting the 200 mark, even going as far as to say that it was ominous.
“Uh, have you never watched Bleach?”
“Alright, I get it…” Gu Fei said. It seemed that this was only a coincidence.
The nine of them finally made it right outside the Government City Hall’s courtyard. After confirming that there were no other players around, he led the eight others over to the wall that surrounding the backyard.
“Can you really get up this?” The eight began to inspect the wall before them.
“I’ve already told you guys it’s doable with the right tools!” Gu Fei fished out a grappling hook and deftly tossed it out and snagged the top of the wall.
“This… Where did you get this sort of thing?” This was the first time these eight players had seen such an equipment, and they asked the same question everybody else asked when they first saw him use it.
“I made it myself!” Gu Fei was a little exasperated that he had to explain this so many times. Why is it that these gamers are so set in their ways and thinking; is the system the only one that can provide items and tools? Don’t they know how to make things themselves? One of them has clearly even sewn together a poncho of his for everyone, so why can’t they even conceive of such a possibility?
“Do we just climb up like this?” Four came over and tugged at the rope, attempting to confirm if it was sturdy enough.
“It might be a little difficult at the start, so everyone should slowly practice and get used to it!” Gu Fei said as threw two hooks at one go. He had really made plenty of these at one go.
Gu Fei promptly began to give everyone a lesson on how to climb walls with a grappling hook right under that wall. However, it was clear that none of these eight had the talent like Yan Xiaozhu. While they were able to maybe get a few steps in, they were unable to last all the way through to the top. They would always make a mistake half way through or lose their balance. Some even ended up swaying about, which caused the hook to loosen as the players fell to the ground.
“Seven, don’t use so much strength when climbing the wall! All your legs have to do is stabilize the body. It’s mainly about your arms. Both of them...”
“Four, why are you always leaning to your left? Don’t depend on just one leg to hold you up. You need both legs. Both...”
“Three, don’t be so anxious, slow down. What? You don’t have enough Strength? Then, hurry up a little. Go, go, go...”
“Six, what are you doing? Get down! This can only hold the weight of a single person!”
Gu Fei was squatting alone at the base of the wall, lifting his head up from time to time to correct and advise the eight of them. He sighed when it was finally over. “It’s almost daytime. If everything goes smoothly, we’ll be able to enter the Government City Hall once we make our way past this wall.”
“Alright.” The eight was perspiring profusely as they pressed on to keep practicing.