Chapter 61 - Traces in front of the Church
Gu Fei pondered about the effect of his Chinese broadsword’s new trait. Werewolves were common folklore creatures, so their character design in-game should not stray too far from the original. He had never heard of werewolves having the ability to revive themselves, so ‘nullify regeneration’ might not necessarily mean the power to prevent Werewolves from reviving themselves. Eliminating that possibility, Gu Fei was sure that the term referred to the Werewolves’ fast wound recovery. In gaming terms, that would be ‘regeneration’.
Bosses that had regenerative abilities were a common sight in online games. “The damage I deal with one strike is less than the rate that the monster regenerates” was a description players usually used for this sort of bosses. Gu Fei figured that his Chinese broadsword’s new trait should have that sort of effect.
Gu Fei headed toward Xiaoyu’s location after bidding the village chief farewell. The door to the mansion was wide open, but Gu Fei saw no one inside. He sent Xiaoyu a message to ask for her whereabouts. Xiaoyu soon replied that she was retrieving gold ore from a cellar in the backyard, so he made his way there.
Could this mansion have a mine? Gu Fei arrived at the backyard and approached Xiaoyu who was standing beside the cellar’s entrance.
“You managed to buy a weapon this fast?” Xiaoyu asked.
“I met a player selling equipment by chance,” Gu Fei lied smoothly as he handed over the Sacred Flames of Baptism, “This weapon isn’t half bad; it even adds magic damage! It’s just right for me since I have low Strength.” This was a cop-out Gu Fei had prepared from the beginning, as he would have to reveal the Chinese broadsword to Xiaoyu sooner or later, especially if he had to join forces with her during a fight in the future. It was better to tell her upfront now, so she would assume that he had just purchased a sword and would not suspect anything. Gu Fei believed his lie to be foolproof, considering how simple-minded Xiaoyu was. Nevertheless, he still felt the slightest pang of guilt for lying to a straightforward girl like her.
Xiaoyu received the Chinese broadsword and look at it carefully. She indeed did not suspect a thing, “Truly not bad. How much did it cost you?”
“50 gold coins,” Gu Fei replied.
“That’s expensive!” Xiaoyu exclaimed.
“I didn’t have a choice since I want to carry on with the quest quickly! I’d rather buy that than waste time going all the way back to Yueye City. I would be upset if this quest had a time limit,” Gu Fei explained.
Xiaoyu nodded her head in agreement as she fully understood Gu Fei’s sentiment. Quest was the number one priority in-game no matter what! She returned Sacred Flames of Baptism to Gu Fei and said, “We’ll pay Chief Edwin another visit in a moment.”
“I’ve already visited him. This weapon’s name used to be Flames of Baptism; after Chief Edwin plated it with silver, its name changed to Sacred Flames of Baptism. It also has a new trait called ‘nullify regeneration’,” Gu Fei narrated.
“What does that mean?” Xiaoyu asked.
“Maybe, it prevents monsters from recovering HP!” Gu Fei said, unsure.
“Oh, I better write that down,” Xiaoyu took out her booklet and started to jot it down. Gu Fei did not know how to react to this, “It’s only my guess.”
Hearing his words, Xiaoyu wrote down: ‘nullify regeneration - prevents monsters from recovering HP’. She added ‘a guess’ beside this line of words.
“Why are you just standing here?” Gu Fei asked.
“I’m waiting for that guy to retrieve the gold ore,” Xiaoyu pointed down the cellar.
Gu Fei peered into the cellar but only pitch darkness greeted his eyes. He could not make out a thing in the darkness. Could there really be a mine here? Gu Fei mumbled to himself. A cough traveled from the cellar as a person holding a small bag climbed up the wooden stairs.
The person coming out of the cellar was no doubt a NPC. His hideous face displayed a broad smile similar to that of a pesky in-game merchant’s. This was obviously Mr. Adrian, the wealthiest man in Yeguang Village.
Mr. Adrian emerged from the cellar and threw a small bag to Xiaoyu. Gu Fei looked inside the bag and saw that it was filled with unrefined gold ore of various sizes.
“Is your quest completed now?” Gu Fei asked.
“It’ll be completed once I take this back to Yunduan City,” Xiaoyu answered.
“What’s the reward?” Gu Fei questioned.
“Don’t know yet,” Xiaoyu replied.
Xiaoyu’s quest was not the slightest difficult, only requiring her to travel far. But the amount of time spent to do it was enough to frustrate anybody, so it would be disappointing if the reward was just a paltry sum.
“I’m done with my quest, so I’ll help you with yours,” Xiaoyu said as she put the small bag into her dimensional pocket and patted it.
Gu Fei nodded his head as he looked all around. “Don’t know who that werewolf could be,” he said, feeling rather helpless.
“Let’s ask around! Questing is all about talking to NPCs until you’ve exhausted all their conversation options and finding the clue within their words,” Xiaoyu lectured Gu Fei.
It was somewhat tedious. Although Yeguang Village was not large, many NPCs still lived in it. From east to west of the village, Gu Fei had asked about twenty different NPCs, excluding the ones who completely ignored him. In the end, the only answer he got was, “The village chief knows more about this….”
Gu Fei and Xiaoyu listlessly made their way once more to Chief Edwin’s hut. Chief Edwin just repeated his previous monologue, which covered the general introduction to Werewolves and their connection to the full moon.
The game indeed had a day-and-night cycle. Six hours would constitute a full day in Parallel World, with four hours being daytime and two hours being nighttime. At nighttime, the darkness was not bad to the point where players could not even make out their five fingers. It was stated that the moon provided players light, allowing them to see the roads or identify the monsters. And yet, Gu Fei had never concerned himself with the phases of the moon in-game.
Xiaoyu was unaware of it as well. Gu Fei looked at the time. The two had crossed the Oolong Mountain Range at around daybreak, so it was more or less three hours since then. Meaning, it would be nighttime in an hour. There was a possibility that the system would initiate the full moon phase to suit Gu Fei’s quest.
“Let’s go to the church again and take another look around the rocks, tall grass, and such. We might find something that will reveal the Werewolf’s identity,” Xiaoyu suggested.
Gu Fei thought that her suggestion sounded reasonable. Logically speaking, any such items should have long been found by the other villagers. But for the sake of the quests that players needed to solve, those items would be left untouched for them to find.
They returned to the blood-stained stone slab near the church’s doorstep. Xiaoyu immediately sprawled on the ground and carefully checked the area. Gu Fei felt a little conflicted. If this was part of the quest design, then clues pertaining to it could only be found by the quest-holder. Could Xiaoyu find anything by sprawling on the ground like this?
Seeing how enthusiastic she was to help him, Gu Fei could not bear to be a wet blanket and got on all fours as well. He started searching the ground just like Xiaoyu.
Gu Fei stood up in front of the church’s battered door after searching the ground for a full round and coming up with nothing. In contrast, Xiaoyu was relentless and even increased her search radius to include a far corner.
Gu Fei stared at the area he had just searched. The two had practically combed every blade of grass and overturned each slab of stone, yet the system restored everything back to how it was after a bit.
This was how the game usually worked. Anything the players moved or touched would be restored to its original state barring special conditions; but if a NPC did the moving, the system would view it as an internal reshuffling and would never revert back the changes made.
At this moment, Gu Fei watched as the scenery reverted back to its original state from where he was standing and felt stunned.
He was unsure if it was part of the design or a clue specially left behind, but he could see some remnants on the ground of a past battle.
The broken stone slabs, the trodden grass blades, the broken shrubbery… were definitely not naturally formed. This place must have borne the brunt of a battle.
Gu Fei stepped down from the elevated platform and went over to inspect these traces in detail. Scenes from a battle would occasionally flash through his mind.
Gu Fei concluded that these battle traces were the real deal. He did not believe that this scene could be produced through programming or drawing. This place must have been created without these battle remnants. Afterward, an intense battle had been fought here, leaving the traces behind. In the end, they became what he was seeing right now.
However, it seemed rather ludicrous to utilize this as a quest clue. Gu Fei doubted if the average player could discern this. Even the game designer might not be able to recognize that a battle had once taken place here from the marks alone.
Gu Fei himself was not able to do so that well. He could only extrapolate that the battle had been fought fiercely with swift and frequent attacks. Gu Fei soon had many questions circulating his mind. The indications suggested that the two parties had fought for quite a while before one of them succumbed. By the looks of things, it seemed as if Murphy was quite the brawler. Gu Fei, however, recalled that Chief Edwin had described Murphy as a kind, righteous young lad. There was no mention of him being a fighter of sorts.
Gu Fei instantly remembered the official website’s statement regarding chain quests. It stated that every generated chain quest in Parallel World represented the game creation team’s blood, sweat, and tears, with complete storylines and plots happening in real-time all around the players….
Based on this statement, unbeknown to the players, the system had simulated Murphy’s death by the Werewolf using all the necessary events in real time. It then sequenced the plot accordingly, including Eddie’s capture by the Mountain Bandits. All of this happened in the game in real time and was not merely a backstory.
Murphy’s identity had suddenly become dubious. Ironically enough, Gu Fei’s doubts were centered on whether Murphy truly existed or not. Had the programmers thrown two random NPCs to fight by the church entrance and faked everything for the sake of the plot? If that was the case, Gu Fei, who had managed to determine the traces of the battle, was thoroughly fooled.
Whatever the case might be, Gu Fei had decided to treat this discovery as a clue and continue upon the trail. He promptly called back Xiaoyu who was still digging in a corner.
“Did you find anything?” Xiaoyu was audibly excited.
“There’s something. We’re going to visit Chief Edwin again,” Gu Fei answered.
“To ask him exactly who Murphy was,” Gu Fei replied.