Chapter 623: Chapter 623 – Cask Effect
Mountain Breaker Axe was surprised. Even though he was no expert when it came to MMOs, he at least had a good idea of the most basic spell attributes, the calculation of damage, and other such matters. Gu Fei was not wrong that, for a Fighter to withstand two of his Twin Incineration, he of course needed fire resistant gear, but Gu Fei had changed to using Lightning spells, so fire resistance would be completely useless.
With a flip of his right hand, Moonlit Nightfalls was back in his hand once more. Even though Palm of Thunder required Gu Fei to have an empty hand to be unleashed, he still needed to have an equipment to raise the damage of his spell. Gu Fei made a feint with his sword, and Mountain Breaker Axe, who had indeed not studied anything related to blades like what he had claimed, was completely unable to see through the feint, and very conscientiously focused on dodging the attack.
With a smile, Gu Fei’s sword was already retracted back. Taking a step backward as he straightened his body, he pushed out that Palm of Thunder, which had been collecting power in his left hand this whole time.
Mountain Breaker Axe, whose attention was on this one move, immediately sucked in his abdomen and bent over. Both his arms shot out toward the Mage, one grasping Gu Fei’s wrist as the other went straight for his shoulder.
“Be careful!” Ye Xiaowu hurriedly yelled out this warning, but it was already too late. Gu Fei flashed a smile at Mountain Breaker Axe. “I’m a Mage!” Saying this, his Palm of Thunder shot out from his palm, right into his abdomen. A powerful electrical current arc through Mountain Breaker Axe’s entire body, and the electric sparks created lit him up like a lantern. Mountain Breaker Axe watched as his HP dropped fast, and only one thought came to his mind. F*ck, I got assassinated again.
If this was a normal fight, Mountain Breaker Axe would cleanly dodge that palm strike from Gu Fei, but unfortunately for him, this was a game. Gu Fei’s Palm of Thunder did not necessarily need to make direct contact with his target for the attack to go through, and the condensation of lightning was nothing more than part of the spell formation process. A normal Mage would 100% use it as a ranged spell. Who would be like Gu Fei and actually engage in close combat with the spell ready to be unleashed?
In the end, that moment when Mountain Breaker Axe dodged that palm was when Gu Fei released the spell, and it was as if the latter’s arm had suddenly extended, so how could the former dodge the attack? All he could do was eat the entirety of the damage.
Ye Xiaowu had already discerned what Gu Fei wanted to do, but it was a pity that he was too late to warn Mountain Breaker Axe. While he knew what skills Gu Fei possessed, how was he supposed to know how Gu Fei would use them? Take for example how Gu Fei had just used his Blink to materialize in mid-air and cut Mountain Breaker Axe before; he would have informed Mountain Breaker Axe of this beforehand if he had guessed that Gu Fei would make that sort of play.
“Sorry, I actually don’t have the time,” Gu Fei extended a word of apology, mercilessly creating swift sword trails and finally killing off Mountain Breaker Axe. Gu Fei did not forget that this was not a martial arts duel between the two practitioners, but two parties engaged in a PK battle, instead. He could continue to trade blows with Mountain Breaker Axe and have his fun, but Young Master’s Elite and Southern Lone Blade’s team were still in a precarious situation.
The damage from the raining projectiles were uneven, and most were hardly a threat to those experts, but these ambushers soon realized this problem and quickly changed from targeting Young Master’s Elite and Southern Lone Blade’s team as a whole to concentrating their firepower on one target.
The moment more than a dozen of these men began target firing, the resultant damage could no longer be overlooked.
“F*ck, f*ck, f*ck! They’re targeting me again!” Royal God Call observed the enemies’ position and anxiously ducked into the safety of the pack. Southern Lone Blade heard his cry and quickly strode over to help defend in his direction. Using his sword and shield, Southern Lone Blade managed to bear the concentrated firepower that came at him. In the end, he heard Glue bellow. “No, no, no! They’re all targeting me over here!”
Southern Lone Blade promptly turned around and headed over to the man.
“It’s me! ME!” Royal God Call yelled.
“Go over to Glue!” Young Master Han shouted. “The Priests will focus on Royal.”
“Ahhhh! I’m gonna die…” Royal God Call watched innumerable arrows fly right at him. No matter what job class these attackers possessed, their marksmanship with the bow was amazingly precise, so even though they did not have the projectile speed of an Archer, it still was not easy to duck or avoid the incoming fire. Royal God Call knew that he would still be fine if he simply had to deal with one or two arrows, but with so many arrows hurtling right at him, he was completely at a loss on where to hide or how he should dodge them.
That was when a series of thuds resounded!
Right there and then, Royal God Call got hit with six arrows, and with how fast the enemies’ follow-up attacks were, the second volley of arrows was already flying right after. Royal God Call had absolutely no confidence in his weak and frail Archer body as he ate six more arrows. A total of twelve arrows perforated Royal God Call’s body. He was now shutting his eyes tightly, firmly believing that he was already dead, when warm sensation enveloped him as a Priest’s Heal landed on him. Royal God Call opened his eyes and discovered that he was still alive, opening his mouth to praise himself. “Surviving twelve arrows, I’m just too indomitable.”
Everyone rolled their eyes at him as Young Master Han reprimanded, “Take a look at the enemies’ job classes.”
The opposing force jointly attacked fast and dispersed just as quickly; they had split themselves into two groups this time around, with the first bunch attacking Glue while the other focusing on Royal God Call. The ones concentrating their fire on Glue were all Archers, while the players attacking Royal God Call were a patchwork collection of job classes. Royal God Call would of course have no problem surviving with the aid of Priest supporting him. Instead, it was Glue who might have very well died had it not been for Southern Lone Blade’s timely protection.
Brother Assist had finished collating all the enemies’ data at this time and was currently giving everyone an overview. “Three Archers, two Knights, two Warriors, two Mages, three Thieves, and two Fighters. There are fourteen players, and they have a very balanced spread of job classes. Oh, Miles and Eternal Dominion are still taking on two Archers, a Fighter and a Priest on their end. Ah! That Fighter just got killed by Miles!”
Brother Assist happened to be looking over at Gu Fei the very moment his Palm of Thunder landed on his target and witnessed the series of sword cuts he had executed to finish off Mountain Breaker Axe. When that was done, he saw Gu Fei turn to run toward them, and Brother Assist got excited. “Miles is coming to assist us.”
Young Master Han’s expression did not change in the slightest. Wrinkling his brows, he scoffed, “What’s the point of him coming here!”
“Let’s carve a path out for ourselves to withdraw first!” Both sides had nearly the same number of players, yet these experts were the ones who were being suppressed. No one was willing to admit it, but the fact remained: They were currently severely handicapped in this skirmish, and it was not because they did not wish to mount a counterattack, but that there was no suitable opportunity for them to do so.
“We can’t escape,” Young Master Han solemnly informed. “Have none of you guys realized it yet? No matter what job classes these people have, all of them had added points to Agility.”
“Their squad coordination is far too well synchronized.” Well-versed in teamwork, even Southern Lone Blade had to sigh in admiration.
“They are professionals,” Young Master Han concluded.
“So what do we do?” The members of Young Master’s Elite realized the severity of the situation, for even Young Master Han’s speech had a rare pessimistic tone to it.
“These people possess superb combat capabilities, but they seem to be noobs when it comes to gaming, and that’s the only advantage we have over them,” Young Master Han said.
“How do you know?” everyone asked.
“They don’t know how to use their job class specialties, and they’re all playing with bows and arrows. Isn’t that obvious?” The ever-present scorn and sarcasm were still there even when Young master Han was being pessimistic.
“So what do we do?” These men all might seem to be idly chatting, but they had in fact fended off two more waves of attacks in the time they took to have this conversation. Everybody had been on the move, yet they simply were unable to make a breakthrough from their enemies’ encirclement. It was just like what Young Master Han had said; the enemy had all allocated points to Agility, so the squad’s mobility was well-beyond what their group could muster. Young Master Han’s group had the baby-legged Priests and Warriors among their numbers, so their movement as a whole was capped to match these slower job classes. This was precisely the definition of the cask effect 1. It did not matter how tall a water cask was, since the height at which it could retain water ultimately depended on the shortest stave used in its construction.
“If we can no longer withstand this, our only choice is to sacrifice the knights to save the king.” Young Master Han first informed them of a probable solution for the worst-case scenario.
“F*ck, f*ck, f*ck! Who’s going to be the knight in this?” War Without Wounds was depressed.
Young Master Han stared fixedly at him. “I’ll be a knight, too.”
The others, who were all sad that they were being treated as the short staves, all froze. Sure enough, although Young Master Han always acted pompous as if he were the boss, he indeed was a short stave here in this scenario as well. He was a golden-ratio Priest who added his stats solely to Spirit and Intelligence and left none to Agility. He was a baby leg, too.
“What if everyone swaps out for some Agility equipment?” Brother Assist suggested. The experts Royal God Call, Glue, Blackwater, and the ilk, were sure to have equipment that added to their Agility; what Brother Assist meant was for them to first exchange a few of their Agility-boosting equipment to the baby legs so that their movement speed would increase.
“It won’t be effective, and it’s hardly worth the effort.” Young Master Han shook his head and regarded the crowd. “Actually, most of us are baby legs.”
Everyone looked at one another and realized that he was right! There were actually only two job classes that focused on Agility in this game, and they were either Archers or Thieves. Thus, it was actually more common to be baby-legged. Players who concentrated their stat points to Agility was not even a third of the total possible job class choices, yet it was precisely because of this that everyone had more or less the same mobility during group PvP. No one had ever seen or experienced a situation where someone would be utterly suppressed in their mobility like this.
“Everyone, calm down and consider the pros and cons of both sides,” Young Master Han said. “Their allocation of points to Agility does mean that they have the advantage in mobility over us, but in terms of firepower, there’s a limit to the damage or support output they can produce. Brother Assist, can you calculate their current damage output?”
Because the enemies were using bows to engage in a ranged assault, the Appraisal skill was unusable, so Brother Assist could only ask about the damage everyone sustained after getting struck by an arrow to form an estimation of the enemies’ firepower. While the others were fighting, Brother Assist was busy sorting through all the calculations in his notebook.
“I’m almost done,” Brother Assist said.
“Miles can perhaps help us make a breakthrough,” Young Master Han said. “Everyone saw what had happened to Blackwater; I’m afraid that these guys are far more formidable in melee, so there’s something I don’t understand… Why are they so patiently moving along with us like this? If they’re to make a push, there’s a good chance of us already getting subdued.”
“That might not necessarily be true.” War Without Wounds brandished that large claymore before him. Getting shot at but being unable to return the favor, the man was already choking on a bellyful of anger pent-up inside him.
“Eternal Dominion has just been defeated by the Fighter on their side.” Young Master Han lightly made this comment, and no one else had any words to rebut this. How terrifying was it to face off against Eternal Dominion? Southern Lone Blade and the others were well-aware of this fact as his team had nearly been wiped out by his efforts alone.
While they were discussing their battle strategy, Gu Fei was already rushing in to provide assistance. However, it was apparent that the enemies had no wish for him to join with the others as they directed part of their firepower over to intercept him.
Ordinary players could not imagine the level of crossfire coordination these ambushers could demonstrate. It could be said that just this handful of men had already achieved the performance of Traversing Four Seas’ hundred-men archer formation. They were completely capable of sealing any chance of their target dodging the attack.
Anybody could dodge an arrow to the chest by evading to either side or crouching low, but by preemptively firing arrows at the spots the targets could shunt to, dodging in any of the directions meant stepping into a projectile’s trajectory by their volition.
This would have been a huge problem for a normal person, but since the person in question was Gu Fei and these ordinary arrows were not from Archers, their stats and skills were essentially worthless, so no matter how great their marksmanship was, the speed of their arrows was just that. In fact, the accuracy of their shots actually made it more convenient for him to strike the arrows down. He was more afraid of them witlessly succeeding in scoring a hit by no means of skill through a messy glut of arrow fire.
Gu Fei whirled Moonlit Nightfalls into a purple blur. Because these men were very accurate with their shots, Gu Fei could discern the trajectory of every arrow coming his way, allowing him to easily swat them away, falling off like wilted flower petals. Gu Fei would evade the shots he could and bat away those he could not, taking those shots squarely on himself when he could do neither. As long as he could see who was firing the shots, Gu Fei could simply ignore all those arrows fired by Mages and other classes as they would not give him much damage.
“D*mn!” That was the only word that came to the minds of Young Master Han and the others as they witnessed such a monster advanced so boldly and untrammeled.
“Since the shots from the other job classes won’t be a threat to Thousand Miles Drunk, leave him to the Archers!” Broken Water Arrow gave this order to the men even as he leaped off the large boulder.
Eternal Dominion had been studying the boulder all this while, but he simply could not find any way up there as he faced the concerted ranged attacks from Broken Water Arrow and Sniper God. However, that was just Gu Fei’s attempt at diverting the two men’s attention before; having succeeded in his goal of eliminating Mountain Breaker Axe, Gu Fei gestured for the man to leave as well.
Eternal Dominion obviously did not have as high a movement speed as Gu Fei, so he trailed after him by several steps. Thus, when he heard people falling to the ground behind him, which was Broken Water Arrow and the others landing once they had leaped off the large boulder, he immediately turned to engage them without a word.
The man had overheard Gu Fei and Mountain Breaker Axe’s chat, and he received a bit of an epiphany.
What Gu Fei had said was true; just from the kung fu Eternal Dominion had trained in, there was no doubt that he would be better than Mountain Breaker Axe in combat. He had lost to that uncle purely because he did not have enough combat experience under his belt. Honestly speaking, this MMO was a great opportunity for someone like him to accumulate this combat experience. Take that crotch swipe Gu Fei did with his sword before; were this in the real world, it was doubtful anyone would ever have the chance their entire life to use that attack, but here in the game, that move was not in the least bit taboo as it was not going to deal real damage at the end of the day.
Eternal Dominion was not as mentally flexible as Gu Fei. In fact, he, as a combat instructor, had only gotten into this game to aid his students in beating the tough adversaries they had chanced upon. Coupled with a gaming account being expensive for a thrifty person like him, Eternal Dominion had only decided to continue playing this game with his students as he was unwilling to waste the money he spent getting it in the first place.
His original intent of playing greatly differed from Gu Fei, so he did not really consider the issues that the latter had become aware of and pondered over. Hearing Gu Fei say all that, a sudden epiphany came to him. That’s right! I can go wild with kung fu here in this game! There’s no need for me to restrain myself, unlike in reality!
When the now enlightened Eternal Dominion heard the sound behind him, he acted just like Gu Fei when he first entered the game; he was looking forward to a fight with great enthusiasm.
Leaping off a boulder several meters high was nothing in this game, but they would still have a bit of balance in order to land firmly on the ground. Broken Water Arrow and Sniper God of course had no problem with this and dexterously rolled when their feet hit the ground to absorb the momentum of the fall, but how would a civilian like Ye Xiaowu be able to do this? The man planted both his feet upon landing, thinking that he would be able to stabilize himself better doing so, but he simply ended up losing his footing when the force of his fall shook him so much that he toppled forward.
This was nothing much by itself; most players would also look foolish when asked to jump from a height of several meters, but the problem was that Eternal Dominion was currently making a beeline for them, and falling down like that resulted in him homing on the Priest.
Eternal Dominion was anxious to get himself a human sandbag, so why would he be courteous now? Seeing Ye Xiaowu reach out his right hand when he lost his balance, unknown just what he was trying to get hold of, Eternal Dominion quickly came forward with his left hand thrusting out and struck down, targeting the right arm past the elbow.
“ARGHH!” Ye Xiaowu’s piercing scream sounded like the dying squeal of a slaughtered pig. The entire Baishi Forest was stunned as it reverberated, and the players who were engaged with fighting monsters or PK-ing involuntarily stopped what they were doing. Eternal Dominion was all the more frightened by this, hurriedly darting back away from Ye Xiaowu as he warily kept his eyes trained on him.
The sensation of pain in-game was not simply weakened, there was even an upper limit designed in place so no further pain could be felt once this threshold for simulated pain was crossed in Parallel World. At this moment, Ye Xiaowu had indeed reached this pain threshold, and it was excruciatingly unbearable. This was his first time being repulsed by the realistic simulation he was so smug about creating. This pain is just too real. Is my right arm broken? He looked down at his arm once this thought crossed his mind.
All he saw was a forearm, which humans could normally not bend, appearing to be in two parts. The part of the forearm attached to his elbow was still there, but the other half of it was already bent inwardly like a chicken wing. His arm was really broken!
“ARGHHHH!” Ye Xiaowu screamed again – this time, due to the fear he was feeling. That forearm of his was currently drenched in fresh blood. Even the chicken wings people would see in the supermarket, be they frozen or fresh, would have their blood washed clean.
“F*ck! His arm is now a three-section staff…” War Without Wounds and the others could see this as well.
“That’s too d*mn vicious,” Royal God Call muttered.
Gu Fei could see it clearly where he was standing as well and similarly sucked in a sharp cool breath. Eternal Dominion’s Gu family was the most adept with the Dragon Fist style, and there was a particular branch of the Fire Dragon Fist that the Gu family would not impart. Let alone learning it, he had not even seen it executed before. This was because that particular fist style was extremely destructive. Focusing on offense as defense, every move in the style required its user to exert their full force, so every attack would either seal a person’s acupuncture point or shatter bones. To put it into more popular terms, anyone struck by those moves would either find themselves internally injured, if they were not already externally injured, without any exception. This sort of fist style definitely could not be used during friendly spars, unless the intention was to kill the opponent. But because the Gu family followed the trend in the kung fu community, this branch of fist style was only imparted within the family and would never be used during sparring sessions. If every move would result in heavy injuries, there was simply no point to use it; the usage of fist style would lose its underlying intent if the practitioner was actively avoiding actually injuring the opponent.
To think that this rascal has actually used the Fire Dragon Fist! Gu Fei was exuberant! This was something he would never have the chance to see in the real world; after weighing the pros and cons in his heart for a bit, Gu Fei promptly stopped his advance and turned to watch Eternal Dominion’s fight, instead.
“I’ll be sure to avenge you guys if any of you die.” Gu Fei did not forget to mention this to the comrades he had abandoned.
“F*CK!” All of them raised their middle fingers at him.
Ch 623 Footnote 1
A more English saying with the same meaning is ‘A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.’