Just who in the world is Four?! This question boggled Gu Fei even as he came running out of the Vigilante Corps chamber, ready to head down the stairs to look for that man.
All was quiet in the entire Government City Hall. Even though the two rows of NPC guards flanking the premise existed, none of them seemed to show any signs of life in them as they stood by their stations motionlessly. Gu Fei ignored these machines and dashed down the stairs, passing the main hall and entering that short and dimly lit corridor, which led to the back door.
Gu Fei had concluded that Four was still around here. Considering how he had killed Two, it was no longer a PK that was driven by profit since he had even paid out 100 gold coins to Scissorhands for it. As such, this could only be a hobby—something that he derived interest and enjoyment from. If killing Two was enjoyable for him, killing Gu Fei would naturally be equally so. That was why Four was most certainly waiting for Gu Fei to return in an effort to ambush him.
Gu Fei had spent over an hour huddled up there, so he was naturally familiar with the range of vision afforded from that door seam. Gu Fei used Blink to instantly appear past the area where it would cover, as he continued to cautiously creep forward. Just slaying this man outright would be letting him off too easily, he pondered to himself, so is there any other way to mete out a more damning punishment? He inspected this intersecting corridor and saw the door handle and the two wall candelabras on both sides of the wall. This sight gave Gu Fei an idea.
Tiptoeing toward the front of the door, Gu Fei pulled out a coil of rope and looped it tightly around the door handle. He turned his gaze over to that candelabra beside him...
Pulling the rope over and tightening the rope, the gap between the door and the wall would lessen even further. Even more marvelous was how either end of the corridor ceiling here protruded downward, making it impossible for anyone behind the door to get out once everything aligned perfectly. It was a rather suitable punishment if he could trap Four in the tiny and dark space that formed.
That was Gu Fei’s plan. Thus, the next step he had to do was secure the other end to the candelabra. There was no way he would not be seen by Four in the process, so he had to act fast.
Clutching that rope tightly, he quietly waited for the cooldown for his Blink to end. This was the quickest way to move. By the time Four could see, react, and attempt to deal with the situation he was now in, he would have already accomplished the deed.
The cooldown ended!
Gu Fei took a deep breath and checked the exact position of the wall candelabra. Reaching his hand out, he muttered the incantation under his breath.
The wall candelabra was before his eyes instantly, his Blink placing him at the perfect height. He swiftly looped the rope around the candelabra and then clutched it with both hands as gravity pulled him down, tightening the rope in the process. He had done so to test how secure the candelabra was mounted onto the wall. If it broke off with that tug, then it would be impossible to trap Four behind the door, which meant Gu Fei would have to cut the man down, instead.
The test went well, and the wall candelabra was so sturdy that even he was able to hang there. Gu Fei deftly tied a knot and happily landed on the ground. That was when he heard the muffled sound of thuds, followed by someone shouting, “What’s going on?”
It was Four.
Gu Fei could feel even more joy surge in him as he chuckled. “It’s me!”
“Who? Nine?” Four asked from behind the door.
“You’re back? Quickly come help take a look; I think this door is jammed,” Four said.
Gu Fei laughed. It seems that this man is far duller I thought! Did he really not see me busy about before him? Or perhaps he’s hoping to trick me into getting closer as he has some tricks up his sleeves as well? Gu Fei thought of this as he stood where he was, saying, “Let’s make a bet. Let’s bet that Two isn’t behind that door any longer. I believe he’s there.”
“Doesn’t that mean I’ll have to bet he’s not here?” Four asked.
“Yup, and you are the winner! The reward is to keep huddled up there behind the door,” Gu Fei said.
Not a sound came from behind the door.
“You probably never considered the possibility of Two and I adding each other as friends, huh?” Gu Fei said. Gu Fei made sure to confirm this with Two, and the latter said that he not revealed this fact to Four. This was also why he believed that Four was still camping out in the same spot. Not knowing that Two had sent out a message to Gu Fei upon his death, he expected Gu Fei to return here oblivious to what had happened.
“Wait there! Perhaps, I’ll come back and let you out once I’m free and still remember where I’ve left you. Otherwise, if it’s really urgent, you can always try to forcefully log out.” Gu Fei was already on his way out after saying his piece, feeling as if there was nothing left to be said between them.
“Hey! HEY!” Four called out from behind that door. Gu Fei did not bother to even turn back as he left.
The corridor was now quiet once more; the flame of the candelabra danced and cast a flickering shadow of Gu Fei’s rope on the other side of the wall.
The door was pushed open, except this was not the side that Gu Fei had secured but the other half of the double doors, instead.
Four quietly stood beside that door with the rope that was tightly tied to it. He took in the sight as well as the blurry shadow upon the wall.
Shadow. Gu Fei had forgotten about shadows.
From the time he walked into the corridor, even though he never appeared in the line of sight from the door seam, Four could already tell that someone was present from the shadow that was projected on to the wall.
He had no idea who the person was and even originally thought that this person would continue to walk toward him and eventually come into his line of sight. Who would have guessed that the shadow on the wall would disappear and reappear, closing in several meters toward him all of a sudden?
Gu Fei used Blink to get past the area of vision available from that door seam, but Four was able to garner two pieces of information from this quick movement of his shadow.
First was that the person had a special skill that gave him high movement speed; second was that the same person was aware of his presence behind the door and was likely meaning to harm him. He arrived to this conclusion when the person took great measures to hide himself from his line of sight from start to finish.
There were only two players that would know he was behind the door: Two and Nine.
Given that he had already sent Two back to the spawn point, Nine should not have any ill intention toward him. That was when he thought of the only possibility: Nine was aware that he had killed off Two.
How would he know? Of course, it was possible if those two had added each other as friends, and Two informed him accordingly.
Four made this split-second deduction just from the shadow moving several meters, and not one of his conjecture was a mistake.
That was why, while Gu Fei was planning on how to jam the door, Four had already made preparations from behind the door.
Thus, the moment Gu Fei had Blinked over to secure the rope on to the wall candelabra, Four had promptly dove out from behind the door.
Gu Fei took quite some time to tie the rope, tighten it, and do the knot. He thought he could make it in time because he totally presumed that Four would be unaware or be unprepared for the situation he was about to be in. Several seconds would have gone by before Four realized that something was amiss and made the necessary judgement to extricate himself from the mess. Gu Fei did expect Four to have already concocted a plan, darting out the moment he Blinked away and using those precious few seconds to head to the other door as quickly as he could.
Gu Fei was already several meters away by the time they exchanged words. The sound that traveled across the corridor echoed well thanks to the distance between them. Had Gu Fei been a little closer, he might have been able to discern the difference, but he had unfortunately not gone close, while Four had not intentionally raised his suspicion toward this possibility.
Thus, Four only stepped out from behind the door after he was sure that Gu Fei had truly departed. Looking at what Gu Fei had devised for him, he marveled, “That was close. I almost got myself trapped inside there. That scoundrel’s too much.” Four tugged at the rope and found both ends to be well secured. Four would have really been left with no recourse had he been trapped inside.
“I must kill that man!” Four looked visibly excited at this prospect. “That man seems to have quite a good relationship with Two, so he’ll surely try to help Two accomplish his quest. And I happen to know that guy’s quest quite well… I already know where you will be going, Nine.”
Four thought as he left the corridor.
Gu Fei climbed up the spiral staircase. He was not finished with Four, but the critical task at hand right now was to take care of Three, locate Six, and find the item Two needed.
Just what am I trying to accomplish this time around? Am I a NPC providing a service to players? Gu Fei was in tears as he ruminated over the fact.
The first and foremost task he needed to deal with was Two’s quest. He had originally thought that this quest required him to steal an item, so he did not attempt to get any clue off the NPC guards. However, bearing the thought of testing things out, his casual query of the item’s location to the guards yielded the desired result. There was a clue about the item on the top floor.
Gu Fei had really not expected this. As he reported this good news to Two, the man thought this through. “If I were in your shoes, the guards would be certainly hounding for my life, let alone allow me to ask them a question… I believe it is precisely because you are the one asking it that it is considered as just a regular item. Why wouldn’t the NPC answer you accordingly if you’re just inquiring after general information?”
Gu Fei thought that his words made sense and could not help but be impressed over how Parallel World was reinventing the way people should think about MMOs. The quest user was unable to get any sort of clue, yet an outsider would be able to get more information. This was simply too counterintuitive as far as logic in MMOs go, so veteran gamers like Brother Assist and the lot would surely have never considered such a possibility.
Soon, Gu Fei reached the attic. This attic was cramped, with a low ceiling, and everything looked to be in disuse. Cobwebs were everywhere as Gu Fei coughed from the motes of dust suspended in the air. What made Gu Fei even more morose was the fact that there was not even a single NPC present on this floor, so would that not mean he would have to search through the place all by himself without any aid whatsoever?
Furthermore, the item that Two needed to find was some sort of secret pattern recipe. Two’s quest did not specify if it was a piece of paper or a book or any other form, so Gu Fei could only grimace and bear as he sifted through the trash pile. He was soon covered in dust from his search.
‘Half used candle’, ‘rusted nail’, ‘starved rat’, ‘burned stick’... The attic was filled with items of all sorts of names. Gu Fei suspected that the system had specifically designed this to be a nest where all the quest items were hidden in and would then direct the players to come search through.
After saving a ‘trapped butterfly’ from a ‘broken spider’s web’, Gu Fei followed a ‘weak ray of sunlight’ through the ‘hole in the roof’ and found ‘a piece of paper’ in the ‘half drawn drawer’ from a ‘broken wooden table’.