Chapter 628: Chapter 628 – Hide and Seek
Translator: Exodus Tales Editor: Exodus Tales
“Fine. Since you insist…” Ye Xiaowu was despondent. The doors to the tavern were flung open as men came charging in. Gu Fei casually glanced over and identified these newcomers as those ex-soldiers that had ambushed him and his friends this morning.
Gu Fei chuckled. Taking a deep breath as he calmed himself from his agitation, he slowly pulled out his Moonlit Nightfalls from his dimensional pocket.
The tavern patrons had turned over in surprise when Gu Fei flipped that table with a kick earlier. Now, seeing so many players aggressively charging in all of a sudden, they could all understand just what was going on. In an enclosed space like a tavern, it was not exactly good entertainment to gawk. A Mage’s spell, an Archer’s arrows, and even a Warrior’s Cyclone or Charge – there was such a high chance for all these skills to accidentally hurt someone in the process of a fight. As such, most players would bolt when they subsequently realize just how bad things could turn out if they stayed. The few who would be willing to risk death just so they could watch a spectacle opted to shrink themselves into the corner of a room, giving the combatants as much space they needed, as best as they could.
“Negotiations have failed; prepare to assault!” These ex-soldiers established a mercenary group as well, and Broken Water Arrow messaged them over the mercenary channel, which they used to communicate wirelessly. The others outside immediately burst through the door of the tavern when they saw the message, their bows, swords, and magic staves at the ready. Spreading out in a shape of a fan, they surrounded Gu Fei the moment they stepped inside. Everyone aimed their weapons at him.
Fanning out like this meant that those players huddled in the corners of the tavern were included in their scope of protection. At the same time, they made a path for players to get out of the tavern safely. Three of them assisted in marshalling these players out of the establishment. The way these men ushered people out was as if a terrorist attack were about to happen in the area.
Gu Fei did not know whether to laugh or cry at this. “Would taking a hostage even be useful?”
None of them answered him. Gu Fei suddenly initiated his attack, his sword thrusting out to the person closest to him, Ye Xiaowu. He was of course not skilled enough to evade the attack from Gu Fei, but Broken Water Arrow, who was standing next to the Priest, had been vigilant all this while. Seeing Gu Fei raise his hand and lash out at Ye Xiaowu, the two men went tumbling down to the ground. If this were any other day, such a crude evasion move would just be begging for Gu Fei to pursue and stomp them to death! Right now, however, the situation was different. The ex-soldiers’ encirclement was tight, and the moment they saw Gu Fei act, someone instantly shouted, “Fire!” Following which, the whole lot of them, no matter their respective job classes were, pulled out their bows or crossbows and began firing at him.
Gu Fei was already on the lookout for this, so the moment he saw all these men raise their hands, he swiftly rolled over to another table and used it as a shield. Arrows thumped against the wood persistently, turning the table into a porcupine. Gu Fei peeked out from behind it and saw that the tavern’s two entrances were skillfully barricaded by his enemies. As for the back door… This was a system-operated shop in the game, so items were generated no matter what item was being sold. Naturally, it did not have any sort of delivery passage, so there was no need for a backdoor. The two entrances doubled as the exits to this premise, and there was no third option beyond these two.
These ex-soldiers continued to suppress Gu Fei with their arrows even as they sent forth a few of their comrades who were adept at close-quarter-combat to Gu Fei’s hiding position. The two Warriors signaled once they got near, calling for a cessation of the bombardment of arrows, and unsheathed their swords and held it at waist level. With a quick exchange of glance and a nod between the two men, both men Charged in unison and slammed right into the wooden table.
The table obviously could not withstand the combined force of the two Charge from the two Warriors, and it got blown into splinters with that assault. The two were stunned in the next moment, however, as they clearly saw Gu Fei hide behind this table, yet they simply saw no traces of Gu Fei at all. Before they could even collect themselves, they felt a wave of heat come right beside them. Hearing their comrades exclaim in shock ‘to your left’, these two men turned in the said direction fast. Alas, at this point, Gu Fei had already whirled his Twin Incineration at them; a 720-degree infernal heat was visited upon them in that very instance. Even though these ex-soldiers were far more skilled than the average gamers out there, the fact that they could be ruthlessly bullied by Southern Lone Blade and War Without Wounds was evidence of just how plain and common their equipment was. Most Warriors might have invested a good portion of their stat points to Endurance, yet because they were more inclined to the Agility stat, the HP of these two men were incomparable to the average level 40 Warrior, so when faced against this swell of power from Gu Fei’s ultimate move, a clean death was the only outcome.
After finishing off these two men, Gu Fei did not even give the others a chance to mount another attack on him, and he simply dove into the safety of a pile of tables at the side. It was hard to tell that someone was hiding in the forest of upright table legs if they did not carefully search the area, but since Gu Fei had dived there under the watchful gazes of those present, everybody more or less had an idea where he was. Before they could open fire, though, Gu Fei flipped over a good number of tables with his hands and legs. Now, hiding behind all these tables, where none of them could see where he was positioned.
“He Blinked…” Ye Xiaowu realized what had happened there and then. After Gu Fei had flipped the table over, everyone thought he was still hiding behind the table, and none was aware that he had used a Blink while under its cover to re-materialize behind a nearby table. Everyone’s attention was on that table they had seen him disappear behind, so nobody noticed this. By the time the two Warriors got near and slammed themselves into the table, Gu Fei was already hiding behind the table next to it and insta-killed them on the spot.
“Ah… experience…” Ye Xiaowu sighed. This was yet another mistake they had made as a result of not having enough experience. Using common sense, Gu Fei would of course be behind that table, but the nearly surreal existence of Blink in the game caused these ex-soldiers to once more be entrapped by the game’s design, wrongfully sacrificing the lives of two of their comrades in the process. Even Ye Xiaowu did not think of this when he saw Gu Fei duck behind the safety of the table. Experience was something that had to be gone through and accumulated. Without it, there would always be unexpected circumstances that could crop up if people merely relied on their intelligence and judgement. Man’s imagination was unlimited. Just like how Gu Fei used Blink to slash someone in mid-air earlier today, and that was something Ye Xiaowu had not predicted either.
Cool Apple indeed acceded to Ye Xiaowu’s request and talked to these ex-soldiers about plenty of his PK experience in-game, but what he talked about were the clashes and fights he had against normal players, and this was easily miles apart from what clashing with Gu Fei was like! Going up against Gu Fei, these ex-soldiers might as well just rely on their combat experience. As for incidents like being fooled by this sort of movement with Blink, all they could do was learn from their past mistakes and slowly incorporate it into their combat experience in Parallel World.
“Grenade!” Broken Water Arrow turned to yell this at Old Lightning and Thunder. Certain ideas for these ex-soldiers were too ingrained, which made it difficult for them to completely abandon what they understood from their experience as soldiers and adapt to the game world; It would be better to just directly link certain things in the game to what they were already familiar with. It was just like how releasing arrows would be called ‘fire’ and Mage’s AoE bombardment would be shouted as ‘grenade’.
Old Lightning and Thunder stepped forward and slung their spells. Following which, two flame wheels came crashing down on where Gu Fei was hiding.
“Use a landmine,” Broken Water Arrow suggested. They referred to the Blazing Tree of a Thousand Inferno spell as ‘landmine’. Ye Xiaowu himself felt that the Hunting Trap of a Hunter was similar to a landmine, but these ex-soldiers all agreed that the Hunting Trap was more like a bear trap, and it was different from a landmine. Considering the power and AoE a Blazing Tree of a Thousand Inferno had, it was hard not to call it a landmine.
The two men immediately cast Blazing Tree of a Thousand Infernos when they heard that, and that messy pile of tables and stools were set aflame in a sea of fire. Broken Water Arrow very unhappily asked, “Can’t you two coordinate your toss of a grenade and a landmine?”
They nodded. “In a while. We’re out of grenades.” This meant that their skill was on cooldown.
“Did we get him?” the others asked. After these ex-soldiers, who have had plenty of combat experience, suffered from setbacks upon setbacks while fighting in Parallel World, they discovered that actual combat techniques could not be fully applied to fights in this game. Slowly, they began to waver. They witnessed their enemy hide from them, but despite their numerical superiority, none of them could decide if they should get near or not. Everyone saw Gu Fei’s attack moments ago, and he was able to complete two revolutions with a single cast of his Twin Incineration. They all held their positions in the encirclement, none wishing to let the man kill them off with just one move.
Ye Xiaowu was astonished as well when he recalled that attack Gu Fei had just unleashed. At first, he thought that the man had used two Twin Incinerations, but in retrospect, he quickly realized that no traces of gaps existed between the two revolutions. A Twin Incineration that didn’t dissipate after completing two revolutions? How is that possible? Ye Xiaowu was clueless about the many techniques incorporated in Gu Fei’s execution of Twin Incineration to make that double pirouette feasible, so it was only natural for him to not understand how it was done no matter how much thought he put into it.
“Enlarge the encirclement; envelope both flanks!” These ex-soldiers deliberated a new plan to engage Gu Fei, and it was by enlarging their encirclement instead of shrinking it. After increasing their radius, they approached Gu Fei’s hiding spot from both flanks. In the end, when their eyes came upon the position, disappointment cascaded. “He’s gone again!”
The cooldown for Gu Fei’s Blink had ended in the time it took for them to reach his hiding place; thus, he had once more evaded capture.
“The distance for Blink should be no more than five meters!” Ye Xiaowu hurriedly informed the rest. Everyone’s expression turned severe as they extended their encirclement radius by five meters. Their eyes then began combing the area, yet they still failed to find any traces of Gu Fei.
“He must’ve repositioned himself after using Blink.” Broken Water Arrow sighed. “In any case, he still has to be somewhere in this tavern.”
Unfortunately, this tavern was spacious, and the tables around could all be potential hiding places. The steely gazes of these ex-soldiers scoured their surroundings, but all they saw were the wooden legs of the tables, stools, and benches, and soon, they were all giddy from the uniformness. They were all past their prime, so certain aspects of their body struggled to compete with the young ones.
“The tables and stools are too crammed here. It completely goes against fire safety requirements,” one of these soldiers complained.
“Eh? So it’s true that you became a firefighter after you retired from the army, huh?” someone beside him asked.
“How’s that working out for you? Have you been awarded the meritorious service medal?”
“Once. Third class.” That man chuckled sheepishly.
“That’s great! You didn’t let your brothers down.” Another man came and clapped him on his shoulder.
They continued to chat, but Gu Fei was still nowhere to be found.
“Remove all obstacles!” Broken Water Arrow said, proceeding to ask Ye Xiaowu. “Is that okay?” They were in a system-operated tavern, and the furniture was all arranged by the system. Broken Water Arrow had no idea if the system would mind if they casually removed them, but seeing as Gu Fei had already flipped over so many tables, it did not seem that the system cared about it too much.
“Whatever you damage, the system will ask for recompense,” Ye Xiaowu answered.
“Do you have enough on you?” Broken Water Arrow asked.
Ye Xiaowu hesitated for a while. This tavern was huge, and he was aware of the lion’s appetite the system had with such things. Did he really have enough coins on him to pay off everything if they destroyed all this furniture here?
“Screw it. Just go ahead with it first!” Ye Xiaowu declared. What would happen if he did not have enough money on him? Most players had no idea about this, but Ye Xiaowu knew the rules very clearly, and it was not much of a big deal. In fact, if the system intended to take any player’s money, was there anything they could do about it? The system would simply take it directly from a player’s pocket, so if the sum happened to be insufficient, it would simply take what was owed when the player had any coin until the payment was paid back in full. What could anyone do against it?
Broken Water Arrow nodded to the others to give the go-ahead, and everyone proceeded to move all the tables to one side as they searched for where Gu Fei could be. As such, the empty space increased, making it much more difficult for Gu Fei to play a game of cat and mouse with them.
“Where are these guys from?” Players crowding a corner of the tavern whispered this to one another, discussing about the scene before them.
“I’ve never seen any of them before.” There was a self-proclaimed local celebrity among these onlookers, yet this person could not recognize even one of these players.
“I think I heard them yell out ‘grenade’ when that Mage cast his spell,” another added.
“Ha ha! How very interesting.”
“Who’s that person they are chasing?”
“He killed two Warriors with one Twin Incineration. Who do you think?”
“Thousand Miles Drunk?”
“Who else could it be?”
“Ah, that guy’s my idol!”
“Do any of you see where he’s now hiding?”
“Nope. After that Blink, I don’t know where he’s now.”
These players continued their chatter even as they tried to find any traces of Gu Fei hiding among the furniture as well.
The ex-soldiers continued their careful search, moving the furniture to the side as they went, and they managed to clear out a sizeable space in the tavern as a result. Some players, who had just entered the tavern, were thunderstruck at the sight, uncertain of what was happening. Not having any space for them to drink was no big deal; at least it was nothing compared to being unable to find any spot to grind, so their mood was not particularly affected by this. Instead, they stayed around just so the could see what these people were doing. Gradually, those loitering about in the corners of this tavern increased. Finally, the search these ex-soldiers were undertaking was nearing its end. All that was left was just the enclosed area, and there was no need to move any more furniture. Anybody could tell at a glance that there was absolutely no one there.
Gu Fei was nowhere in sight, and the search for his whereabouts also ended, yet he was still nowhere to be found. “Just where did he go?”
“Could he have been killed off by the two of us before?” Old Lightning and Thunder wondered.
“Did anyone see a flash of white light?” Broken Water Arrow asked the people around them, for he had not seen it.
“Nope.” Everyone shook their heads.
“The white light might’ve been enveloped by the flames lighting up as a result of the spell,” someone said.
“It was just four AoE spells. Even if all of them struck that man, he couldn’t possibly die from just that, right?” Broken Water Arrow asked Ye Xiaowu. He was far more of an expert when it came to such calculations.
“He shouldn’t be dead,” Ye Xiaowu affirmed. He knew how much spell damage Old Lightning and Thunder could do, and having kept an eye on Gu Fei for such a long time, he was very familiar with his stats and equipment. There was simply no way for Old Lightning and Thunder to finish off Gu Fei with just the four spells.
“Actually… Do either of you have any PK value on you?” Ye Xiaowu asked an even simpler question.
The two instantly realized this and shook their heads. “No.”
“If he’s not dead, did he perhaps use his Windchaser’s Emblem?” Broken Water Arrow asked.
“Cool Apple’s camped out there, and he hasn’t seen him appear.” Ye Xiaowu had long taken precautions for that!
“Strange…” Broken Water Arrow was stumped. That was when Sniper God came forward and whispered something to the two. The look of surprise on either man was telling. In the meantime, the other ex-soldiers had finished their search of the entire tavern and turned up empty-handed. Just as they were lost on what to do next, Broken Water Arrow suddenly messaged on the mercenary channel. “Everyone, take note. Our target might very well be mixed in the crowd!”
They were all stunned by this revelation. They had not bothered any of the onlooking players all this while, allowing them free movement inside the tavern. It was just that everyone was too preoccupied with what they were doing, so no one had cluelessly demanded to take up the space to drink. These players had either left the premises or were standing by the corners of this tavern, watching the spectacle unfold. At the moment, players were filling up all the walls of the tavern, and that was indeed somewhere they had not paid attention to this whole time. It was still entirely possible for Gu Fei to use his Blink while he was hiding in his second position to mix himself in the crowd.
Everyone already had their hearts set on this assumption, yet none of them reflected that on the surface. Instead, they acted as if they had concluded that Gu Fei escaped, and those men originally guarding the entrance stepped forth, looking as if they were about to leave.
“They’re faking it…” The man beside Gu Fei quietly whispered this to him. “They’re pretending to leave and just waiting for you to show yourself to catch you off-guard.”
“You can tell that, too. Not bad!” Gu Fei was indeed hiding out in the crowd. There was no way he could avoid being discovered by the people around him when he reappeared, but all these onlookers fortunately did not mind escalating the spectacle; besides, seeing Gu Fei contending all alone with this troop of players without knowing about the issue between these two parties, they would of course favor the underdog Gu Fei, the seemingly weaker party. As a result, when he mixed in the crowd to hide among them, the players in the know secretly smirked, not one saying a word. This was especially true for this man speaking to Gu Fei right now. They started conversing right from the start, happily chatting away all this while.
Hearing Gu Fei praise him, the man pouted his mouth in disdain. “With only two entrances, and you’re neither dead nor gone, anyone with half a brain could guess that you’re still hanging around.”
“You’re showing your ignorance here. There’s no guarantee that I’ll still be here even if no one sees me leave or die,” Gu Fei said.
“Then, what else can you do?” the man asked.
“Take a look at this.” Gu Fei showed him his Windchaser’s Emblem. “I’ve completed a ‘Bounty Mission’ here, so all I have to do is activate this, and I can teleport right out of here.”
“How did you get that?” This man’s eyes widened.
“How long did it take for you to complete 100 ‘Bounty Mission’?” That man’s eyes were even wider after hearing Gu Fei’s explanation. To most people, the ‘Bounty Mission’ was entirely a thankless task, so no one would willingly do it if not for the need to clear their PK points! This man Gu Fei was speaking had not had the honor of getting any PK points on himself despite playing this game for so long.
“Alright. Enough chattering. They’re about to leave.” Gu Fei began to squeeze his way out of the crowd.
“What are you doing?” The man was shocked.
“Accumulate PK points,” Gu Fei said as he dashed out, when a cluster of white light suddenly appearing inside the tavern, leaving everyone extremely astonished. The most common reason for this flash of white light to appear was when players disappear, and for it to emerge somewhere without anyone around, that was only something players would see in designated log-off zones when someone got online. After all, a Teleportation Scroll was not that common, and it was not a sight people could witness everywhere.
Meanwhile, Ye Xiaowu and the others were feigning retreat, and those Thieves lying in wait had of course been planning to spring a surprise attack after they cancelled their Stealth. The others leaving the tavern also took note of what was happening inside the tavern at the moment, and plenty of them stopped in their tracks when they saw the cluster of white light appear, gawking at the sight.