Chapter 636: Chapter 636 – Staging a Comeback
Translator: Exodus Tales Editor: Exodus Tales
Sniper God, who was worrying for Old Lightning and Thunder, did not seem to care that the movement speed in the game was limited by the amount of Agility they had, anxiously urging them to speed up. The two were a bundle of nerves, too. While they were willing to sacrifice their lives if they must, they would certainly not want to do so pointlessly.
In the end, when Sniper God turned his head around as he yelled at them to hurry, he saw that none of their enemies had made any move toward them. Sniper God found this to be a little unbelievable, so he consciously slowed down his pace, just short of inviting them to give chase, yet no one seemed to bother acknowledging him.
Sniper God was pretty astonished, but he was not based enough to go back and send himself off to his death. Thus, all he could do was keep moving with Old Lightning and Thunder in tow as he wondered to himself in puzzlement. Just as they were about to get off the street, a figure came walking in their direction; every portion of this man’s body, from his waist up, was hunched over. This person lethargically plodded down the road, looking as if he were about to collapse to the ground at any moment.
Sniper God and the other ex-soldiers were particular when it came to a soldier’s discipline and posture, so the three were all revolted when they saw someone so lacking in spirit, and they could not help but gaze at this man quite a few times. In the end, as that person got closer and closer, leaving the three men in a state of confusion as they wondered, Why is this guy only just arriving here, at this time?
This man that had caused Sniper God and the two Mages to mutter to themselves was none other than that Fighter whom they had spent quite an irritable time putting up with outside White Foam Tavern, Gu Xian. Even though Gu Xian did not go for an all-Agility build, his movement speed was definitely not slow in the slightest, and this was after he invested in more Agility than Eternal Dominion at level 40 or so. After Sniper God and the others departed for the Priest Academy, while Gu Xian lacked the movement speed to circle around and intercept everyone like what Gu Fei did, it should have been rather easy for him to chase them.
Alas, Gu Xian was the living embodiment of the word ‘lazy’. This laziness had gotten to the level where it was no longer the fear of tiring himself out. With how long stamina lasted in Parallel World, how could it be so easy for players to tire out? His laziness was to the extent where he simply had no wish to move or stir. Were it not for him being at a loss on what to do staying around the tavern, it was unknown if he would even bother to drag himself all the way out here. Although he had finally made it over, he dawdled his whole way through, so much so that the fight had already ended by the time he arrived.
He saw the three when he looked up, and since he had a decent memory, he recognized them easily. Nodding his head to acknowledge them, he asked, “Are you three the only ones left?”
Sniper God and the other two were mortified! This was a question they did not wish to answer.
Meanwhile, Gu Xian did not seem to be very concerned with this question as he quickly changed the topic. “Where’s that Priest? The one called Freaking Smile.”
“It’s Fleeting Smile.” Thunder could not help but correct.
“Oh? Fleeting Smile. What a long name; isn’t that just tiring?” Gu Xian muttered even as he continued to ask. “Where is he now?”
The three had no idea how to answer him, involuntarily glancing over to the Priest Academy. That was the original goal of their rescue mission, but seeing as the mission was a failure…
“Why isn’t he out from the spawn point yet?” He could tell what the look in the three men’s eyes meant and wondered aloud about this as he trudged over. The three men were left on the street by themselves.
“We—” Old Lightning looked at Thunder and Sniper God.
“—Are leaving!” Sniper God gritted his teeth. What else could they do but leave? Everyone seemed to be ignoring them now.
“I’m coming!” Gu Xian walked over to the crowd present, greeting Gu Fei.
“The fight’s over,” Gu Fei said.
“Isn’t that Priest still here?” Gu Xian asked as he headed over to the Priest Academy entrance. With the PK-ing coming to an end, the spectators all proceeded to leave the Priest Academy and go about their businesses. Sword Demon and Blackwater, who were Stealthed at the entrance, could not keep themselves hidden now that people were squeezing their way out of the place and got forcibly revealed themselves. Ye Xiaowu, Old Wu, and Xiaochen originally wanted to use this time to blend into this chaos and sneak out, but when they saw the two men sternly keeping their unwavering gazes on them after breaking Stealth, even the onlookers could tell what the Thieves’ intentions were and quickly came to a halt, hoping to see if the Priests would step out and get slaughtered. When the three Priests saw this, they decided against stepping out and hurried their way back in the safety of the spawn point.
The crowd dispersed with a tinge of regret, and this was when Gu Xian finally made it to the Priest Academy entrance. Lifting an arm up to support himself on Sword Demon’s shoulder, he yelled at Ye Xiaowu, “Why aren’t you coming out?!”
Sword Demon turned to look at this person with his arm around his shoulders, a little astonished. The two barely met that one time; were they so close to this degree? However, the ever considerate and honest Sword Demon did not say a word, only feeling… D*mn. Why is the weight on my shoulder getting heavier and heavier? Is this guy treating me like a wall to lean on?
Ye Xiaowu looked at this Gu Fei lookalike and did not say a word. This was when Gu Fei, Young Master Han, Southern Lone Blade, and the others also turned up at the entrance, one after the other. They made a racket by asking Ye Xiaowu to come out and rectify them, nearly causing the ex-game employee to vomit blood.
“Everyone here?” Young Master Han looked around and did a headcount.
“Royal isn’t back yet,” Brother Assist pointed out.
They were all quiet before he looked around. “Who’s gonna fetch him?”
“I’ll do it!” Glue offered. Players with the same job class would often prefer to look after one another.
“Okay.” Young Master Han nodded before he fired off a message to Royal God Call. “Where are you?”
“On my way.” Royal God Call was still persevering.
“Give me your coordinates, then stop moving.” Young Master Han did not have the patience to wait for the man to find his way over on his own.
Royal God Call told him his coordinates before asking, “It’s really near, huh?”
“F*ck you!” Young Master Han cursed. He then relayed the coordinates to Glue. Glue was also stunned. “How did he get himself there?” With that, he ran off to fetch the lost lamb. The coordinates Royal God Call had given were in an entirely different direction from where the Priest Academy was. People not in the know would never have guessed that he had lost his way trying to get to the Priest Academy.
“So what are we doing next?” Everyone felt that it was meaningless to continue glaring at Ye XIaowu with contempt, so they asked Young Master Han what their next step of the plan was. Southern Lone Blade and the others were convinced after this battle that they were fortunate not to be on the other side of the fence, going up against this person. With these two indomitable figures in Young Master’s Elite, it was no wonder they managed to emerge as champions in the mercenary PvP group tournament in Yunduan City, beating a hundred players with just six men. What they depended on was not luck, but their true strength. Even though Southern Lone Blade’s team of seven was rather confident with themselves, they would not exactly be as self-assured if they went up against a hundred players at once.
“Next…” Young Master Han turned to ask Ye Xiaowu and the two men. “You guys are logging off, right?”
The three were morose, not giving them the answer to the question.
“If you guys don’t log off, your comrades can mount a rescue for you all and then we can set up another ambush again. Ask them if they dare to brave this once more!” Young Master Han said.
“Goading us won’t work.” The cook Old Wu was still rather composed.
“I’m not trying to goad you into action.” Young Master Han scornfully regarded them. “I’m merely asking if they’re coming or not; we’ve still got people here who are in a hurry to log out!”
“It’s still early; I’m not in any rush,” Gu Fei hurriedly interjected.
Everyone looked at him. Right now, only Gu Fei would dare stir some chaos when Young Master Han spoke. In the end, it was Eternal Dominion who came over. “I’ve got something on today, so I’ll be logging off early!”
“That’s a good comrade!” Young Master Han commended with great satisfaction before turning to gaze at the three men still at the spawn point. “Tell us if they are coming or not. Look; someone here’s waiting for your answer!”
Who would be contented when dealing with such an attitude? Of course, those standing with the Young Master’s Elite were all feeling great, but the three men trapped inside all felt crushed. How would any of them feel that it was appropriate to relay this demand to Broken Water Arrow and the others?
In truth, Young Master Han was just being his usual sarcastic and provocative self when he said all that. On the party channel, everyone properly planned what their next step would be. Were Broken Water Arrow and the rest coming? They already knew the answer to this without even asking. Was that bunch the sort to abandon their comrades in the lurch? Everyone firmly believed, however, that such a possibility existed if Young Master Han were the one in charge, considering how cold and calculating he was!
“I believe that they’re aware of just how handicapped they are without a Priest’s aid. I’m afraid that they won’t take us head-on from here onward. Instead, they’ll probably utilize their Archers, leveraging on their ranged advantage to harass and keep us busy,” Young Master Han said.
“In that case, we shan’t be afraid, either. Their attack damage isn’t very high.” Because all those present were experts and had topnotch equipment, the attacks from Sniper God’s group was deemed as ‘not very high’; in fact, while their Attack Power was not particularly topnotch, it was not to the point that people could call it ‘not very high’. After all, it was only a matter of comparison against these apex experts that resulted in that verdict.
“Then, do we just wait for them to slowly shave our HP till death?” Verdant Timber could not help but blurt out. He was normally not a talkative person, but he also realized that these experts would be unafraid due to them having the support of Priests. If they acted fearless from the start, that would give the three Priests a hard time.
“That’s right. That’s too passive,” Paddy Scent Pastures said.
“I agree!” Young Master Han nodded.
The members of Young Master’s Elite all had a fright. When had Young Master Han ever readily agreed to someone else’s suggestion? What happened to his derision?
The derision soon came as Young Master Han gazed at their surprised faces disdainfully. “Yours truly is a Priest as well.” It was apparent that he did not want others to relax at the expense of the Priests working extra hard to keep everyone alive.
“But the movement speed of those Archers is really fast… If we fight that…” Brother Assist pointed out a realistic problem that they were facing. Once the enemy Archers began to move, Gu Fei would struggle to keep up. After all, their job class had an edge over the Agility stat. Royal God Call, who shared the same job class, might be faster than those men, but there was the cruel truth that neither he nor the others wanted to accept: They were just no match for the ex-soldiers.
“He he he…” Young Master Han chuckled for a good moment before he eyed this cluster of men showing a helpless expression, clueless on how they should deal with the situation. The men of Young Master’s Elite were all quiet, for it was clear that Young Master Han had already come up with a solution…
In a small courtyard spanning dozens of coordinates away from the Priest Academy, Broken Water Arrow and the rest of the ex-soldiers gathered. With just three remaining survivors, this battle was a complete wipeout for their squad … The three men were aware that they were still alive only because their opponents did not make any move toward them afterward. Had that Fighter they met stopped them, and the people from behind rushed up to support, Old Lightning and Thunder would surely have been killed, and it was a coin flip if Sniper God could escape with his movement speed alone.
“Comrades! We need to face our opponents squarely. This game isn’t as simple as you think!” Broken Water Arrow began his speech.
Everyone was quiet, feeling rather ashamed now. Actually, ever since these ex-soldiers started playing the game together, Broken Water Arrow had been reminding them time and again that there were game rules and that they should not underestimate the gamers just because they had a grasp of their set of combat techniques, as well as accumulated experience in real combat. The gamers themselves mastered their style of combat techniques and possessed gaming experience corresponding with it.
These ex-soldiers were not being arrogant, and they were in fact being very modest to the things that they had yet to come across in this VRMMO. It was just this game’s fully simulated and immersive environment that made them feel rather at ease when they first started. Parallel World might be the very first game that commercially utilized the full-immersion technology, but this technology was used much earlier than this. Additionally, the first usage of this technology was precisely for military purposes. Broken Water Arrow and the others were still in the service then, so they had used the VR environment for combat simulations, and that was an experience the average civilian would absolutely not come in contact with.
This advantage of using this technology early helped these ex-soldiers very quickly integrate themselves in the game, but they nevertheless made sure to heed Broken Water Arrow’s reminder, observing how others played the game and engaged in combat. However, as they looked on, they simply could not see how these people would have any advantage over themselves in any way, shape, or form. They believed that the combat techniques these gamers demonstrated were so crude, that it was no match for their experience of hundreds of battles.
Slowly, these ex-soldiers began disregarding these gamers altogether, feeling that their skills were more than enough to conquer this game; this went on until this day when they finally suffered such a complete loss. They could claim inexperience for the debacle this morning, and after the emergency guidance they had gotten from Cool Apple, everyone made several discoveries in many areas, yet their performance tonight was worse than this morning’s fight. They went in believing that they had made sufficient improvements, but who would have known that the enemies would take more advantage of their weaknesses. Meanwhile, the little tricks they had learned from Cool Apple turned out to be a few beats too slow when they finally used them in an actual fight. These ex-soldiers finally realized that their in-game experience only amounted to that, even after incorporating their actual combat experience. This was not something that could be taught but should be experienced, instead.
“Comrades, instead of forcefully finding something in this game that suits our expertise, we should uncover our potential in Parallel World and acquire more effective weapons. Soldiers need to adapt to the battlefield, so how can we flip the script and expect it to accommodate to us this time around?” Broken Water Arrow continued. Having played this game the longest, he naturally had plenty of experience regarding it.
These ex-soldiers were all quiet. Sure enough, now that they were in the game, their battle awareness and habits needed to adjust according to the rules. If they failed to do so, that would only become a weakness that their enemies could exploit, exactly like what had happened today.
Sniper God looked all red-faced now as he felt that Broken Water Arrow’s words were singling him out specifically. After all, he was the one with the most complaints and resentment about how crossbows worked in Parallel World, expressing how different things would be if he had access to firearms. What Broken Water Arrow had said was true; now that he was in this battlefield, he should search for ways to maximize the crossbow’s power, and not hope to find something like a hunting rifle that better suited him.
Experience would have to be accumulated over time, and there was no shortcut to this. Broken Water Arrow was hoping that his words would help correct his comrades’ attitude toward gaming and find a suitable method to play a part in this conflict. There were some things that would change greatly if they just adjusted their mindset. Ultimately, he believed in his former squadmates’ battle prowess.
“Alright, that’s enough of your nonsense, Old Broken. Why don’t we quickly put our heads together and come up with a plan to rescue Old Wu and Xiaochen from their predicament?” This was a game. Given how it had been a few years since they were in the army, there was no strict hierarchical system in place for all of them. They were all equals here in Parallel World, so absolute obedience was no longer expected between superiors and subordinates.
“Ahem. There’s still something else we need to discuss. I feel that having a uniform command in this conflict is required, but we’re in a bit of a mess now, and we end up listening to any suggestion or idea being offered. I’m not just saying this; even the average player won’t do this. Has everyone seen our enemy team? That female-looking Priest of theirs is their ‘command center’. Aside from him, do you see anyone else passing out orders?” Broken Water Arrow asked.
Of these ex-soldiers, Broken Water Arrow and Sniper God often issued the orders in battle, but if anyone else called out anything, everyone would subconsciously follow along the call. In truth, this squad’s former commander was not physically present in the game, or else such an issue would not even crop up as everyone habitually listened to their old commander. With all of them being of the same rank, it was hard to say who should step up and become the squad leader.
Broken Water Arrow’s words here were once more warmly received by everyone. The issue of a unified command was important, and even though modern warfare emphasized on a soldier’s ability to fight independently, everyone could also tell, while playing this game, that fights in this MMO were not particularly modern, and players would often band together, which highlighted the need for a uniform command.
“That’s not an issue. Old Broken, you’ll be the squad leader!” these ex-soldiers expressed. Everyone’s combat level was about even, but Broken Water Arrow was slightly more familiar with the game than the others, so there was no better choice than him.
Broken Water Arrow was not courteous and nodded in agreement. “That is my intention as well.”
“You’re not even subtle about it!” they all barked, their earlier defeat no longer leaving too much of a shadow in them like before. It was just as what they had thought earlier; the fact that their dead comrades could come back to life and return in their midst alone led them to feel an inexplicable sense of happiness.
“That’s right, Old Broken. There’s also that Apple bro. Call him along. Whenever any of us gets a little confused about anything, he can help give us pointers,” someone suggested.
“That guy, huh! I can’t command that kid. He prefers working alone,” Broken Water Arrow said.
“Oh, that makes him similar to you, then!” Someone began to tease Sniper God. He was notorious for always setting off on his own and going against his superior’s commands in his younger days. He might have superb marksmanship and an outstanding record to support it, but the man did not have even one Meritorious Service Medal to his name, and that was all because his demerits balanced out all his merits. Had that not been the case, his name would not have appeared on the list of discharged soldiers.
Broken Water Arrow proceeded to hold their military conference, not in a hurry to formulate their next battle plan and such; rather, he wanted them to carefully go through every detail of the two instances of defeat that they had experienced. If even a confrontational soul like Sniper God found Broken Water Arrow’s advice to be very reasonable, what more could be said about the other more sensible comrades here? Everybody attentively reflected on this, thinking up of ways that they could work on their mistakes and flaws.
“Be diligent, everyone! Afterward, we’ll come together and think of a plan to get Old Wu and the others out from the Priest Academy!” Broken Water Arrow said as he stuck his hand into his dimensional pocket, pulling out a diagram and placing it on the ground.
“Oh, this is for real this time. You’ve already prepared the map for the area of operation?” Someone poked fun of the fact, yet not a laughter rang out this time. The man glanced around him and saw his circle of squadmates all conscientiously observing the map placed before them. This person quickly collected himself as well and fixed his attention to the task at hand.