Chapter 56 - A Quick-Strike Team
Gu Fei had been wandering outside Yunduan City for about an hour. He did a mental calculation based on the stuff he had done to No Smile and guessed that his PK value must be at 15 points right now. Brother Assist had said that he would have to spend thirty hours online to clear off all the PK points.
During these thirty hours, Gu Fei would have to evade capture from the other players who had taken the ‘Bounty Mission’. Otherwise, he would be required to squat inside a jail for another fifteen hours; that would mean a full fifteen hours of idle time due to Parallel World’s full-immersion system. Fugitive players like him could not clear out their PK points simply by logging off and doing something entertaining in reality. Hence, Gu Fei firmly made up his mind to wander about outside the city to clear off his PK points.
Gu Fei walked at a fast pace while killing the monsters along the way. He did not find himself in a dangerous situation yet since he had been on the move. There was this one time when he heard players’ voices from afar, yet those players started fighting one another for some unknown reason. Gu Fei supposed that the two groups were rivals and had bumped into one another by accident, so they chose to clash among themselves and add themselves onto the Wanted Players list instead of chasing after Gu Fei.
Gu Fei felt pressured as time went by, however. There were not a lot of players chasing after him at first, since a large portion of them had stayed near the Bounty Assignment Hall, thinking that he would surrender himself in. Those players hoped to have an easy time catching him by waiting at the hall. But after an hour of waiting at the hall and seeing that the serial number 27149 had remained on top of the Wanted Players list, many of them finally decided to head out.
Many guilds and mercenary groups began investing manpower into capturing Gu Fei. Everyone headed toward the Masked Slayer’s latest coordinates. Among this mass of players was the number one guild in Yunduan City, Traversing Four Seas.
The three core members, Oathless Sword, Gale Force, and Youthful Reflection, led a large portion of their guild members outside the city and arrived at Gu Fei’s latest reported location. Unfortunately, Gu Fei had already left the place a few minutes ago. The whole area immediately became flooded with players. After a while, the players, groups, and guilds each rushed to different directions based on their intuitions of where Gu Fei had headed next.
“It’s really troublesome with so many people around. Even if the target left any tracks behind, they would all be disturbed,” Youthful Reflection swept an irritated gaze over the horde of players busying around the area.
“How do we begin our search?” Oathless Sword asked.
“Suppose that he’s a level 30 Mage with full-Agility stats; his Agility should be at 30 points, plus another 30 multiplied by 5, totaling to 180 points. The forums have revealed all his equipment. He’s got an accessory called Eddie’s Emblem, which adds another 6 points to Agility, bringing everything up to a total of 186 points. As the growth rate of a Mage’s Agility is neither reduced nor strengthened, his fastest movement speed should be at 6.2 meters a second. Adding his Light Boots into the equation would further improve his movement speed by 5%, making his average speed to be at 6.51 meters a second. Assuming he’s running in a straight line, his next updated coordinates should be at about 1953 meters away. A human’s sight can identify another person within the range of 2000 meters. So provided that our line of sight isn’t blocked, we should be able to spot him,” Youthful Reflection thoroughly deduced.
“So what do we do now?”
”Now? There’re three minutes and forty-seven seconds left before his coordinates refresh; at most, his distance from our current location would be 1477.77 meters away. Everyone should look toward a direction that isn’t blocked for a figure that is running away,” Youthful Reflection smiled.
Everyone began looking around.
“Nothing, huh? That means the path he has chosen is either Yunwu Forest or Oolong Mountain Range,” Youthful Reflection pointed toward the two different areas in front of his eyes.
“So what do we do?” Oathless Sword consulted Youthful Reflection once more.
“You guys can just call this off,” Youthful Reflection answered.
“Frankly speaking, he doesn’t need to run. His speed alone is enough to leave a majority of the players chasing after him in the dust. Anyone with Agility-based physique, follow me!” Youthful Reflection ordered.
A few guild members stepped forward; they were either Thieves or Archers.
“Oh, yeah. I almost forgot. You need to be at level 30,” Youthful Reflection added.
Two players retreated immediately.
“Archers who have above 150 Agility stats can join in as well!” Youthful Reflection shouted toward them.
One person raised his hand and joined the smaller group.
Youthful Reflection eyed the three Archers and two Thieves and nodded his head, “We’re the only team that stands a chance in capturing the Masked Slayer. Let’s go!”
“Sh*t. That’s it for us?” Gale Force stared dejectedly at the team of six that departed toward Oolong Mountain.
“Youthful Reflection is right; we wouldn’t stand a chance if the Mage concentrated on running,” Oathless Sword touched his heavy armor.
“I can’t just accept this. I’ll try to search around the area. Maybe, I’ll be fortunate enough to bump into him!” Gale Force clenched his fists as he ran off alone.
“Let’s not part yet,” Oathless Sword turned around and addressed the remaining guild members, “Since we’ve accepted this mission, we’ll form teams of five and choose a random place to grind! If one of you catches sight of 27149, don’t reveal yourself. Act nonchalant and call for reinforcement on the guild channel; silently encircle him when the backup arrives, got it?”
All nodded their heads, divided themselves into five teams, and headed to separate directions.
Youthful Reflection brought the five men up the mountain in haste. The coordinates for the Masked Slayer refreshed when they were halfway up, showing that the Mage’s location was indeed somewhere up Oolong Mountain.
“We’re faster than him, so we’ll easily catch up to him provided that we’ve got the right direction,” Youthful Reflection confidently said to everyone.
The others nodded their heads. The Archer with 150 Agility stats was presently lagging behind the other five by quite a few meters.
“Do we have to bring him along?” the four men in front asked one another.
Youthful Reflection smiled, “An extra pair of hands is always welcome. Although he’s slightly slower than us, he’s definitely up to par with that Mage’s speed.” With that, Youthful Reflection turned to the Archer, “Stay close to us!” The Archer nodded his head.
They quickly made their way to the Mage’s latest coordinates, which happened to be a forked road. The left path led to Oolong Cave, whereas the straight path would go through the Oolong Mountain Range. None of them knew where that straight path would lead.
“Which way now?”
“It would be great if that Mage headed forward. It’s a straight road so we would catch up to him sooner or later… But I doubt he would choose such a rigid path. Let’s just head into Oolong Cave. If the next coordinates indicate that we’re in the wrong direction, we’ll just head back here and take the straight path. There’re only two choices to pick from, anyway.” Youthful Reflection reasoned.
“But what if he turns back by then?” someone asked.
“If he turns back, he’ll bump into the other players heading to his current position. He can’t possibly be that dumb, right? With a five-minute refresh rate, he won’t dare turn back,” Youthful Reflection laughed, “Alright, let’s go! Every second counts.”
The team turned left and hurried along the path to Oolong Cave. They dashed all the way to the cave’s entrance, yet they had not seen any signs of the Masked Slayer. Youthful Reflection looked at the time and said, “If we’ve made the right choice, the only place left for him to hide would be inside the cave.”
“Oolong Cave’s route is complex. It’s a good hiding choice with many players hot on his heels; he can even grind his level along the way. But he has underestimated the number of players after his head. The players tracking him can easily wipe out the monsters inside the cave with sheer numbers alone. It’s a dead end for him now that he has chosen to hide in here,” Youthful Reflection waxed loquaciously, yet he showed slight hesitation, “At this rate, our strike team won’t be of much use.”
“So what do we do now? Wait for reinforcement?” someone asked.
“Of course, not. We’ve already expended this much effort to gain lead. We’re going in,” Youthful Reflection waved his arm and everyone entered the cave. After a short while, the new coordinates for the target refreshed. Youthful Reflection glanced at the location indicated and laughed, “Impressive! I’ve finally understood his intention.”
“And that is?” the people around him asked.
“If we’ve not entered Oolong Cave and only chased after his coordinates, I’m afraid we’d never be able to find him,” Youthful Reflection said.
“The game has two different maps for inside and outside the cave. Each map has separate coordinates, yet the coordinates displaying his whereabouts do not specify whether he is inside or outside the cave. This is probably something that needs to be patched. The people outside the cave right now will probably look for him all over Oolong Mountain according to this new set of coordinates, but I guarantee that they’ll never find him,” Youthful Reflection explained.
“The Masked Slayer must have already let his guard down by now. Let’s not let this opportunity slip away,” Youthful Reflection said firmly.
The six began to head deeper into the cave toward the updated coordinates. Along the way, they realized that all the monsters had more or less been taken care of by the Masked Slayer. Youthful Reflection felt ecstatic, “He’s definitely convinced that he’s in the clear so he began grinding his level. We’ll catch up to him in no time. Everyone, prepare to engage the Masked Slayer at any time. Ha ha ha! He barely left any monsters along the way; isn’t this the same as directing us straight to him?”
They made their way to the indicated location, which was along the path of the killed off monsters. The coordinates refreshed once more, and Youthful Reflection felt stunned by what he saw.
“What’s the matter? Let’s carry on!”
“The coordinates are wrong!” Youthful Reflection blurted out.
“The new coordinates are far from the previous coordinates. The path ahead still has signs of his battle with monsters; how did he cover such a distance while fighting the monsters?”
“What do you mean?”
“Oolong Cave has another floor!” Youthful Reflection realized after a bit.
“Oh? Where’s that?” everyone asked. None of them had ever been here before.
“I don’t know. I’ve never heard of this!” Youthful Reflection furrowed his brows.
“Let’s just carry along this path. The signs of battle here could not be faked, right?” someone suggested. The fallen corpses on the ground pointed out the direction Gu Fei had taken.
“I guess that’s the only choice we have,” Youthful Reflection led everyone onward until the signs came to a sudden halt.
“The way to that floor must be somewhere around here... Everyone, spread out and search,” Youthful Reflection ordered.
Everyone spread out and searched around. Someone quickly found something and excitedly hollered, “There’s a secret entrance here!”
“Where?” Youthful Reflection, who happened to be on the other side of the pathway, quickly made his way over.
As they lifted the iron plate, a tunnel about a man’s height was revealed.
“Thief, activate your Stealth and go down to take a look,” Youthful Reflection commanded.
The Thief dropped down the passageway and sent a message after a while, “This must be it! This must be the coordinates from before! That guy indeed walked this way.”
“Let’s go!” Youthful Reflection quickly jumped down, and the rest followed suit one by one.
“Ahh!” A sudden scream echoed just as the last person was about to jump down.
“What’s the matter?” everyone in the passageway asked in shock. Their answer was the sound of a heavy plate falling into place.
“Oh, no!” The color drained from their faces and they rushed back to the tunnel’s entrance. Unmistakably, a heavy iron plate was now blocking their way out. The five combined their strength to push the iron plate upward, but it would not even budge. They knew that it had been locked from the outside.
“We’ve been tricked!” Youthful Reflection felt dumbfounded.