Chapter 626 – Terminator
Translator: Exodus Tales Editor: Exodus Tales
The biggest advantage of having Agility lay in a player’s ability to run off if they were losing against their opponent. Even someone like Ye Xiaowu, who should be a normal player, also possessed higher Agility than most Priests. Perhaps he had allocated points to it when he leveled up or perhaps it was from his equipment, but the fact remained that he would not become the shortest stave in the barrel.
After seeing the mobility their enemies possessed, Southern Lone Blade was the first to give up any thought of chasing and promptly laid down on the ground. War Without Wounds was the next to follow, dropping heavily down to the ground.
Tired. True lethargy. This feeling of relief they felt was evidently due to the great release they had experienced after that high-strung fight. As for the physical exhaustion they were experiencing, it was really nothing compared to the huge sorting of letters and subsequent replying to those letters that they had all gone through before.
Still, when speaking of mental fatigue, no one would surpass what Young Master Han had experienced. As the chaotic battle unfolded, especially after those ex-soldiers began their indiscriminate barrage of arrows, Young Master Han did not let up in the least as he Healed everyone there. Both the Priests Paddy Scent Pastures and Verdant Timber could feel themselves getting faint just watching him at work.
This sort of exhaustion Young Master Han experienced as a result of high degree of concentration he expended could even affect his physical body. After he sighed in relief, Young Master Han had immediately pulled out a bottle of liquor and began quaffing it as if his life depended on it.
“It’s too frightening…” Paddy Scent Pastures and Verdant Timber stared at the preposterous Priest. In their minds, they had already come to a different conclusion. If the seven of us were to go up against Young Master’s Elite, even without that ridiculously powerful Thousand Miles Drunk on their side, we might still have a hard time eking out a win, and that’s because there’s another ridiculous individual among them! Excluding Gu Fei, the two parties might be on par with one another in all the other aspects, but when it came down to their Priest, Paddy Scent Pastures and Verdant Timber were convinced that they would lose against Young Master Han.
Having just experienced an intense fight, nobody said a word as they rested. Even Gu Fei, the battle fanatic that he was, did not give chase. While he might have enough Agility for him to pursue and cause trouble to the lot of them, he was well aware that he could not achieve much against Ye Xiaowu and that team of ex-soldiers just by himself. It would not be enough even if he included Eternal Dominion as well, since their enemies this time were no ordinary players.
Everyone stood there blankly, watching that bunch of players slip away. Finally, Brother Assist snapped out of this stupor and looked around. “Where’s Sword Demon?” The Thief had previously been hiding behind a rock when the enemies sent a Thief and a Fighter after him. They had not heard anything from him since then.
Everyone quickly turned around and ran to that rock, yet they saw no signs of anyone about.
“Sword Demon, where are you?” Brother Assist hailed across the mercenary channel.
“I’m back.” Sword Demon returned the message.
“You died?” Brother Assist was astonished.
“Nope!” Sword Demon answered.
“Then, where are you?”
“I can already have you guys in my sight…” Sword Demon said.
Everyone looked all about and saw Sword Demon’s figure slowly appear as he dropped off his Stealth.
“Where are those two that were sent after you?” Everyone felt a shiver run up their spines, wondering to themselves if they had been eliminated by Sword Demon. War Without Wounds and Southern Lone Blade had spent so much effort killing off those two Warriors, so they had a deep understanding of just how skilled those ex-soldiers were. Had it not been for the fact that they had a Priest that kept their HP topped up with Heals, they might have already been on the brink of death themselves by the time they got rid of their respective opponents. Could Sword Demon have fought against those two by himself and actually won without the aid of a Priest?
“I lost them.” Sword Demon answered even as he made his way to face the others.
“Lost them?” They directly asked him this now that messaging was no longer necessary.
Sword Demon nodded.
Everyone was speechless, knowing full well what had happened. What else could have happened? Sword Demon must have fled since he had no way of beating the two men! He probably had more Agility than those two chasing him in any case.
“Where are those two, anyway?” Everyone looked all around, thinking to themselves that Sword Demon could not possibly have lost them so thoroughly that they were nowhere to be found. Royal God Call gripped his arrow tightly, more than happy to vent by shooting at the two stragglers. He had thrown quite a few punches and kicks in that chaotic battle moments before, but he had not gotten the chance to properly get a kill like War Without Wounds and the others, so he was feeling rather discontented.
“Those two… seemed to have gotten lost,” Sword Demon replied.
“Lost?” Everyone found this to be strange. Brother Assist and the other members of Young Master’s Elite turned to look at Royal God Call. “Just like Royal here?”
“How’s that possible?” Young Master Han laughed gaily. “Those men were once soldiers, right? Given that these men seem to have had actual combat experience, how could they be geographically challenged like Royal over here? I reckon that they joined the game not too long ago and are temporarily unable to adapt to this environment.”
Everyone nodded in agreement. “They do indeed look like newbies. Plus, they are all getting on in years, so they’ll surely be slower acclimatizing to things.”
“But those newbies aren’t low-level!” Brother Assist interrupted.
Everyone nodded in agreement. They had all used their Appraisal on their opponents when they got the chance, and in terms of their levels, not one of them was below level 40.
“How could they still be so… Inexperienced… Even after reaching level 40?” Someone suddenly felt that this was somewhat unusual. While level 40 was not first-rate in this game, they were not noobs, either. Most would have spent several months just to reach level 40, so how could they still be unfamiliar with the game?
“They must have just reached level 40,” Young Master Han interjected.
“What makes you say that?”
“It’s not the first time that guy came to trouble us. Before, we barely saw him working with anyone aside from Broken Water Arrow. Do you all remember what I said when Sword Demon was first followed? Aside from him, Broken Water Arrow, and Cool Apple, they must have surely been working with someone else,” Young Master Han said.
“They have Silver Moon and No Smile on their side, too!” Southern Lone Blade reminded.
“Back then, Silver Moon hasn’t joined him yet! No Smile must’ve been recruited at around the same time as well,” Young Master Han posited.
“Hmm… Do you mean to say that those people were already around at this time, except that they were too low-level, so they were unable to help out?” Brother Assist asked.
“That’s exactly right.” Young Master Han nodded.
“It’s been some time since then…” Brother Assist recalled. “But if they started the game then, wouldn’t it be a little too outrageous for them to reach level 40 now?”
“They might not have been level 0 back then, and perhaps they were in their thirties. Anyway, the point I’m making is that ever since that guy made the decision to rectify Miles, it’s been his plan to field this squad to help him achieve his goal. Everyone here could tell after looking, yeah? I’m certain none of those men has any gaming experience, so they might’ve begun playing the game solely for this matter with Miles. As for who might be their middleman, I reckon it should be Broken Water Arrow. Among all those men, he’s the only one who was coincidentally friends with that Fleeting Smile. As such, Fleeting Smile must be hoping that he could get all those old comrades of his to jump into the game and help deal with Miles. These men focused on leveling the moment they got in the game, and given their military background, there’s no need for me to mention just how powerful they are, right? Furthermore, they possess martial arts prowess much better than the average gamers and have someone like Fleeting Smile helping them. If I remember correctly, didn’t Brother Assist mention before that Fleeting Smile was ranked number one on the experience efficiency leaderboard? Even Miles is ranked under him,” Young Master Han analyzed.
“Miles only plays three hours a day,” Royal God Call countered.
“Do you even know what efficiency means?” Young Master Han scorned sarcastically, continuing, “Plus, if those guys grinded as a party, I doubt that there’s any normal player out there that can beat them in terms of teamwork. In any case, they’re not your average gamers, so we can’t use common sense with them.”
“That whole bunch of uncles, spending so much time playing games; don’t they have work to do?” Royal God Call whined.
“What are you worrying on their behalf for?” His comment was met with derision again. “All you need to know is that the enemies we are currently up against are really prickly.”
“The result of today’s fight isn’t too bad!” Brother Assist expressed his gratification. “None of us died, but five of their men died by our hands!”
“You’re being too optimistic. It’s evident that those men are handicapped. Having regarded the game so simply, their focus was only on gaining levels the moment they started playing Parallel World. Their goal just might’ve been to reach level 40. After all, the difference between the advanced job classes upon reaching that level and 39 was heaven and earth, which was why these men were in a hurry to strike once they reached level 40. But after this confrontation, they would more or less gather that this game isn’t as simple as they first thought, that there is a set of rules they need to follow, and they need to change their way of thinking thusly,” Young Master Han said.
“Accumulate EXP, change their mentality – all that should take a bit of time!” Brother Assist said.
“If they had to accumulate that by themselves, then naturally it would take time, but it seems that Fleeting Smile already have it all prepared,” Young Master Han said.
“Cool Apple! Just his PK value is up in the thousands. Who else could have more experience when it comes to PK than him?” Young Master Han asked.
“So you mean to say that Cool Apple was recruited to be their instructor?” Everyone was astonished.
Young Master Han nodded.
“But if that’s the arrangement he had in mind, what’s the point of him harassing us before?”
“You will have to consider this from his perspective. His foolish pursuit for balance… uhm, Brother Assist, fill in.”
Brother Assist was glum. It was illogical, but he involuntarily began filling in. He could not help it! His gossipy nature was just that vicious once it was lit, and there was no way that he could sleep if he did not make sense of what happened.
Everyone looked at Brother Assist as he seemingly tried to think like Fleeting Smile. No one dared to make a sound and disturb him. After a good while, Brother Assist came back to his senses, and seeing that everyone was looking expectantly at him, he got very dispirited, but he had to say something. “That man said himself that he’s looking to rectify the BUG, which is Miles, so if you step into his shoes and think about things, Miles’ existence in the game is viewed as a danger to the game itself. As such, the actions he took against us might be his way of keeping Miles in check. Plainly put, he’s trying to keep Miles busy to prevent him from having nothing to do and doing something game-breaking like what he had in mind.”
“Then, from his perspective, isn’t what he’s been doing game-breaking as well? Gathering all those men who could quickly rise to level 40,” War Without Wounds said.
“He’s fighting fire with fire,” Royal God Call quipped.
Gu Fei raised his hand and gave the back of his head a loud slap, leaving Royal God Call despondent.
“He has all those game-breaking players in his command, anyway. Once he’s done with rectifying Miles, they’ll all quit the game, wouldn’t the game-breaking aspect that he has mentioned be gone, then?” Brother Assist countered.
“Why is it that this plot sounds so familiar?” War Without Wounds scratched his head.
“Terminator 2! The Terminator killed himself after terminating the other Terminator!” Flame Singed Clothes said.
“D*mn, Terminator?!” Everyone sneered.
“Flame Singed Clothes’ example here is rather appropriate!” Brother Assist commended. With that he turned to the others. “I think that’s more or less the situation here.”
“I wonder what state he intends to reduce Miles to before he considers him as rectified.” They were all curious.
“I’ll ask him.” Gu Fei was similarly curious about this.
“You’re not about to compromise, are you?” they asked. Others might be unaware, but these friends of his were well aware that, as long as the problem was not a matter of principles, Gu Fei would actually be very easily convinced.
“If what he says make sense, then I’ll be the Terminator!” Gu Fei said.
“What do you mean?” Everyone was confused.
“It means he’ll be killing them all before ‘terminating’ himself,” Brother Assist explained.
“NO, DON’T!” A whole bunch of them surrounded Gu Fei. “We’re still depending on you for our future wages!” Southern Lone Blade’s gang was the loudest of these. After finally finding themselves such a good boss, only for it to end so soon, they had no idea if they were being played right now.
“We’ll talk about it after I ask him.” Gu Fei sighed. “But I’m almost 80% certain he’s not going to reply.”
Gu Fei said that even as he sent a message to Ye Xiaowu. He originally wanted to ask what that man actually want to achieve, but upon thinking that he would habitually not reply to his messages, he changed his line of thought and sent him a message to meet at a certain tavern in Baishi City, instead. No matter if that man would reply or otherwise, Gu Fei decided that he would head over there and wait for his arrival.
“I’ve set up an appointment for us to meet.” Gu Fei told the rest.
“Are you insane?” They were all surprised.
“Wouldn’t he use this chance to surround you?” Brother Assist asked.
“So be it!” Gu Fei was unperturbed. “I might have a little trouble killing all of them, but I doubt it would be difficult for me to escape.”
“We’ll go with you.” The others decided.
“There’s no need. Having all of you there will make it seem as if I were afraid of him,” Gu Fei rejected.
“This isn’t the time to act like a hero!” The rest persuaded.
“What do you mean act,” Gu Fei asked back. “Aren’t I the hero?”
Silence descended upon them all before Brother Assist answered with much difficulty a good moment later. “Fine… In this game, you can consider yourself as that.” Gu Fei nodded in satisfaction.
“Do you want me to accompany you,” Eternal Dominion asked.
“No need.” Gu Fei patted him lightly. “You poor folks are better off running along and research what our next step to our tutoring business!”
“F*ck!” Eternal Dominion was despondent, and so were Southern Lone Blade and his team.
“Let’s all disband for now and head off to tend to our business!” Gu Fei announced.
“We’re all still heading back to the city!” Everyone made their derision known.
“Will they have some sort of ambush waiting for us on the way back?” Brother Assist began to worry.
“No. If they had another ambush prepared, they wouldn’t have dispersed like that,” Young Master Han concluded.
“Arranging for a face-to-face meeting might actually be a good plan to turn the trap on them,” Brother Assist said before quickly explaining himself when he saw Gu Fei’s baleful side-eye. “Heh… just saying…”
Young Master Han, however, shook his head. “This isn’t a matter that can be resolved with killing.”
“The goals are different. Those guys don’t even mean to play this game and have all gathered just to go up against Miles. What effect do you think beating them down will do?” Young Master Han asked.
“Looks like Miles understands this as well, which is why he opted to have a dialogue,” Young Master Han said.
Brother Assist looked at Gu Fei, yet he saw him burying his head low, focused on the road without a word. He had no idea if he heard a word they had said.
Over in Baishi City, Ye Xiaowu and those men had already made it back, and after they met up with the others who had died and was there before them, the whole lot of them were now observing a good moment of dead silence.
“This has been a lesson!” Sniper God was the first to break this silence. “A lesson that cost us our blood, comrades! What does the saying ‘the conceited soldiers are doomed for defeat’ mean? The enemies didn’t even suffer a single casualty but had managed to kill off five of ours, instead. What are your thoughts, gentlemen?”
“This is now a new environment we are operating in. Everyone needs to quickly acclimatize to it, or we’ll simply recreate the joke of a battle we just had together!” Sniper God continued.
“Sir, yes sir!” Everybody’s expression went stern. It had been years since they retired, but the habits they picked up as soldiers remained. This one cry demonstrated their obedience and determination, which was sonorous and forceful.
“Introduce that friend of yours that has plenty of experience doing battle in games and refer our names so we can get in touch with him!” Sniper God turned and said this to Ye Xiaowu.
“Alright, I’ll get on it,” Ye Xiaowu said.
“Old Breaker, Xiaochen, Dayong, Old Bull, Big Cannon! You five shall focus on quickly getting back to level 40,” Sniper God commanded.
“Sir, yes sir!” These five named – two Warriors, Fighter, Thief, and Priest – were the same individuals who had lost their lives in the last battle. These men all nodded, turning around immediately and leaving to level.
“Laowu and Rocket have gotten lost. Who’s going to go and lead them back?” Sniper asked.
“I’ll go!” Only Broken Water Arrow out of this lot had any knowledge when it came to this game.
Broken Water Arrow was about to get up when Ye Xiaowu received Gu Fei’s message to have a meeting. Stunned, he said, “Thousand Miles Drunk has just invited me to have a face-to-face dialogue with him.”
“Is that the Mage?” Sniper God asked.
“How bold,” Sniper God complimented.
“When is it?” Broken Water Arrow asked.
“He said 8 PM later tonight,” Ye Xiaowu answered.
“Then, we shall go meet him. It would be best if he takes the initiative to step down,” Broken Water Arrow said.
Ye Xiaowu nodded, only for Sniper God to exclaim, “Then, wouldn’t we have spent all this time leveling for nothing?”
“Yeah, then all of you can be honorably discharged yet again,” Broken Water Arrow said.
“F*ck, you b*st*rd! Why haven’t you guys talked things out when you could’ve done so earlier?” Sniper God cursed.
“Even Japan had to take two atomic bombs before they announced their surrender,” Broken Water Arrow remarked.
“Are you saying that our mad rush to level 40, without heeding day or night, had all just been for you to use as deterrence?” Sniper God blurted out.
“Sun Tzu’s Art of War: ‘An army that boasts hundred victories from hundred battles is great, but the greatest victory is one which requires no battle,’” Broken Water Arrow recited.
“Are you looking for a beating?” Sniper God was incensed.
“What Old Broken said isn’t wrong.” It was at this time when someone more experienced and prudent from within the squad expressed his support for Broken Water Arrow. “Old Sniper, you’ve still got a lot to improve, intelligence-wise!”
“That’s right. We’re all getting on in years, and you still went with a name like Sniper God; aren’t you just a tad bit immodest? HA HA HA HA!” Everyone joked as they chastised their fellow squadmate. Sniper God was not their officer back in the days, so he was not subjected to the respect that came from a subordinate relationship. Everyone replying ‘sir, yes sir’ to his words before was simply because what he had said made sense and everybody habitually resounded accordingly. Now that they were feeling that Sniper God was the one being unreasonable, all of them instantly turned to mock him.
“Have you forgotten what staff officer Xu said about you back in the day?” Another old soldier reenacted from memory a scene he recalled, pacing around as he imitated, “Ah, that Xiaoyang comrade is a crackshot, but why doesn’t he like to read books? Without reading any books, he just isn’t too clever, so how is he going to improve his knowledge? No modern soldier can avoid that anymore!”