Chapter 649: Chapter 649 – A Long Exposition
Translator: Exodus Tales Editor: Exodus Tales
“How did they know that you would be here, and even made the effort to come over and ambush you here?” Gu Fei asked.
“That…” Dusky Cloud was quite embarrassed, but he felt that he should just come clean. “There are over 4,000 members in our Ten Guild Alliance, but there would be some that belonged to other guilds who had managed to infiltrate our ranks; it’s something we realized after getting caught up in a few guild battles. Unfortunately, we don’t have any way to identify these undercover agents, so we can only let them remain and do whatever they please. It seems that Wraithspeak must have left an insider in our guild before they departed. Everybody in our guild is aware that we intend to bring you guys here to impart us the efficient monster grinding style, and that guy must’ve come running over to ambush us the moment he caught wind of this. That m*th*rf*ck*r has done this quite a couple of times now.”
“If he knew this so clearly, he would have considered that you’re not going to be alone, yet he had only brought a total of eight men with him; that sort of arrangement doesn’t seem to be ambushing a team. It seems to me as if he thought that you’d be alone here,” Gu Fei said.
Dusky Cloud was stunned, realizing that something was off after careful consideration. The man brought seven other Thieves with him, looking as if they were prepared to leave after killing him in a sudden ambush, but Wraithspeak was once a member of his guild, and both parties knew each other inside out. There was no way that he would utilize such a strategy if he knew that Dusky Cloud would not be alone. After all, someone in the party that Dusky Cloud often traveled with had the ability to detect Stealth. Forming such a party of eight Thieves would be as good as courting death.
Dusky Cloud wrinkled his brows even as he began mulling over the matter in detail. “If a spy leaked this information to him, there’s no way he’d go with such a party formation even if he planned to covertly assassinate me, but if this information wasn’t provided to him by a spy, he shouldn’t know where I was… Could that guy really have just been passing by and was actually here to grind?”
“By the look of that man, I don’t think it’s something as coincidental as bumping into you while passing by,” Gu Fei offered.
“You’re right. Who’d head out grinding with eight Thieves like that… Just what the heck is that m*th*rf*ck*r up to?”
“I’m afraid he may not be the one up to dirty tricks,” Gu Fei said.
“What do you mean, Miles bro?” Dusky Cloud hastily asked.
“You’ve already said it yourself! If he’s informed accordingly, there’s no reason he’d use the formation he just used; if he’s uninformed, then he shouldn’t even be here at all, yet the situation was that he did come looking for you, and the formation he went with was precisely so odd. There could only be one such explanation; someone had intentionally leaked falsified information to him,” Gu Fei deduced.
“Are you two doing tongue twisters?” Eternal Dominion was absolutely lost. The two men ignored him.
“Falsified information?” Dusky Cloud muttered. “Could there be someone looking to set that m*th*rf*ck*r up?”
“I’m not too clear about that; perhaps it’s a frame up, or he’s simply being exploited,” Gu Fei hypothesized.
“Exploited? Hmm… It’s really quite that fool’s style to end up being used by others,” Dusky Cloud agreed.
“In any case, you should take care. We’re taking our leave now!” Gu Fei patted Dusky Cloud on his back. He reckoned that this was just the internal struggle between the guilds here in Yueye City.
“Take it easy.” Dusky Cloud did not bother sending them off anymore. The more he thought of what Gu Fei had said, the more logical it sounded. The fear was that there was indeed someone behind the curtains, pulling the strings. As for why this person would trick Wraithspeak into using this method of throwing eggs at stone, Dusky Cloud simply could not make sense of it. In addition, he had even less of a clue on just who this manipulator could be. Half of the guilds in Yueye City, especially those fairly large ones, were all mired in an imbroglio with the Ten Guild Alliance.
After Gu Fei and Eternal Dominion left Dusky Cloud at the valley entrance, the two martial arts practitioners returned to the city. Dusky Cloud, meanwhile, went back deep into the valley. The others still in the valley had opted to skip their dinner today so that they could have more time practicing the routines fervently. Dusky Cloud pulled some of them off and filled them in on what had just happened to him.
“Strategist, what are your thoughts?” Dusky Cloud asked one of the Mage from his posse.
The IGN for this ‘Strategist’ Dusky Cloud singled out was Dynastic Strategist, and it was apparent what this person’s interest was. This person was capable of coming up with all sorts of plans, both good or bad, which explained why he had gone with such an ostentatious name. Even though the chances of his plans being utilized were low, Dusky Cloud and the others would habitually let the man be the first to speak whenever they were discussing matters. The man had already given himself such a name! They had to give him a bit of face at least.
Dynastic Strategist immediately cleared his throat as he began. “Without a doubt, there’s sure to be someone manipulating things in the shadows. I believe if it isn’t Unkempt Hair, then it should be Arrogant Spawn.”
Unkempt Hair and Arrogant Spawn were guild leaders of two different level 5 guilds also based in Yueye City. To be capable of establishing and maintaining large guilds despite competing against the all-encompassing Ten Guild Alliance was no easy feat, and their accomplishments here spoke volumes of the hardships the two men had to endure to get to where they were. Now that they were working hand in hand, they evidently became the leaders of the peasants against the Ten Guild Alliance.
Also, Unkempt Hair and Arrogant Spawn, much like Dusky Pig, were derogatory twists for their IGNs. The two players were actually called Overgrown Foliage and Proud Sovereign, but Dusky Cloud and his men ended up changing them to nothing more than hair and spawn respectively.
“What’s the point of telling me that?” Dusky Cloud rolled his eyes. How would he not first think that their two biggest adversaries might be behind all this, especially after realizing that there could be someone moving the strings behind the scenes? This was often Dynastic Strategist’s style. The first advice he would utter was always so shallow that everyone would have already thought of it ahead of him.
“Uhm… As for what those two are up to, I’ll have to contemplate on this further,” Dynastic Strategist said.
“Fine. Go and do that over at one side.” Dusky Cloud waved his hand dismissively as he turned to the rest of his posse. These were the people who would really come up with ideas.
“I believe that they must be going for this right here, yeah?” One of them nudged his head to indicate Young Master’s Elite and Southern Lone Blade’s team. Of course, the man was not referring to the players themselves but the efficient monster grinding routine that they represented, instead.
Outside Youye Valley, Gu Fei and Eternal Dominion were currently making their way back to the city as quickly as they could, when they were intercepted by players along the way. Gu Fei thought that they were the reinforcement the man called Wraithspeak had sent to avenge him, and just as he was happily getting ready to engage in self-defense, the leader of this pack of players actually stepped forward with a bright smile. “Gentlemen, sorry for the intrusion; let me first introduce myself. I am the guild leader of Yueye City’s Proud Skies Guild, Proud Sovereign. This person next to me is the guild leader of Diversity, Overgrown Foliage. We have something we’d like to discuss with you two. Would this be a convenient time for both?”
Gu Fei was rather disappointed when he heard that this would not be a fight. However, he was not so heartless to reject someone who had made an effort to meet him just because he was in a rush to have dinner, so he casually asked back, “What’s the matter?”
“Heh. Well, it’s something like this; you two gentlemen have recently been engaged in tutoring classes for your efficient monster grinding routines, right? We are here for this reason, and we have something we wish to discuss with you two,” Proud Sovereign explained.
Gu Fei chuckled when he heard this. “And which grinding map are you looking at?”
Proud Sovereign smiled back. “All of them.”
Gu Fei was startled when he heard that. “All of them?”
“Proud Sovereign nodded. “By all of them, I mean every grinding map in the game.”
Gu Fei and Eternal Dominion exchanged looks, a little confused on what the guy meant.
“He he. Actually, we’ve only told you our IGNs in this game. I have another identity I go by that I have yet to tell you two. Gentlemen, here’s my name card.” Proud Sovereign handed them two emblem-like items.
Gu Fei and Eternal Dominion took the items with skepticism and realized that they were calling cards made using unknown materials. The words on the cards read: ‘Remarkable Flair Workshop’s Yueye City branch manager, Proud Sovereign.’ There was an email address printed on each calling card but nothing else.
An IGN was everything required to contact players in this game, and the email address was obviously a method for players to contact him if they needed to speak offline.
“Remarkable Flair Workshop…” Gu Fei furrowed his brows as he muttered the name. “I seem to have heard this somewhere before. Do you know anything about it?” Gu Fei turned to ask Eternal Dominion.
“Nope.” Eternal Dominion immediately shook his head. The man was even more of a noob when it came to things pertaining to games.
Proud Sovereign laughed. “Brother Miles here has visited our branch office in Linyin City before.”
Gu Fei instantly recalled what he meant once Proud Sovereign mentioned it. When he was caught up with that situation involving Deep Waters in Linyin City before, their camouflage outfits came from this same organization. At that time, Sword Demon and he had visited their garment workshop with Coco.
“That explains why I found it so familiar!” Gu Fei laughed even as he pocketed that calling card. Proud Sovereign stared at him, seemingly wanting to say something but held his tongue in the end. Carving such an exquisite calling card in-game was no easy task, so Proud Sovereign’s calling card was merely for show, and once the other party exclaimed, “Wow! Remarkable Flair Workshop!” the emblem would be swiftly taken off their hands without a moment’s hesitation. It was not meant to be gifted to players like this.
In the end, not only did they fail to impress the two men with their fame and make a strong impression, Gu Fei instead managed to confiscate that calling card of theirs, and Eternal Dominion did the same with the one he was given. Proud Sovereign was heartbroken upon losing the two emblems at one go.
“So what is your workshop looking for us about?” Gu Fei asked.
“Mmm… I wonder what are your thoughts regarding the future of this efficient monster grinding routine?” Proud Sovereign asked.
“It’s not bad.” Gu Fei’s answer was as good as not answering.
“He he! Of course, the future isn’t bad.” Proud Sovereign continued to laugh. “It is just that, with how you guys operate, whether you can tap its maximum potential or not is a little hard to say!”
“Oh? What do you mean?” Gu Fei asked.
Proud Sovereign saw that he had piqued Gu Fei’s interest and instantly became animated. “Then, I shall be frank. There’s nothing wrong with the business model you gentlemen are currently employing; it’s just that there’s a rather crippling defect to it, and that’s your lack of manpower. This one factor meant that, even though you’re holding boundless potential in your hands, there’s no way you can make headways with the overall virtual market all at once. So far, you’ve only managed to develop two grinding maps – the Wilderness Camp and White Mill in Baishi City, and such a slow speed of development might contain plenty of unforeseen dangers.”
Proud Sovereign gave a slight pause to glance at Gu Fei, but he did not seem to show any signs of concern when he heard the phrase ‘unforeseen dangers’ being used. Slightly disappointed, he could only continue. “Examples are those who master the efficient monster grinding routines before others and those who have yet to learn the routines. These two groups are actually like the gap between the rich and the poor, and the contradiction between these two can’t be reconciled. In the end, the resentment that would be born of this contradiction can only be vented upon the source who creates the contradiction in the first place… Of course, I’m not saying that your efficient monster grinding routine is at fault, as this sort of situation is avoidable. Alas… you don’t have enough manpower on your end, which is what’s causing this contradiction that is unconducive to further development. Furthermore, from my observations, there’s already another contradiction arising, and that’s how maps will be oversaturated once the players learn the efficient monster grinding routines, which means that they won’t be able to grind in peace. This is another factor that is quite detrimental to your development, and once again, you don’t have enough manpower; this sort of situation can be avoided, though.”
“Yes, that makes sense.” Gu Fei nodded.
Proud Sovereign was encouraged when he heard this, happily continuing. “Besides, there’s another point, which I’m afraid is the pressure coming from the game company itself. Even though the efficient monster grinding routines are something you players had created entirely by your own capabilities, to put it plainly, it is like a guide to a monster’s attack patterns, but from what I’ve observed, they’re actually more technical aspects of the monster grinding styles beyond merely its attack pattern. The routines born out of this will generate quite the zeal when players see how quickly their EXP increased, but once a player gets used to it, and the fatigue that comes from the repeated execution takes it toll over time, players will become bored of it and may want to get away from all the grinding, and this means that it won’t be long before they stay away from the game altogether, which I’m certain isn’t something the game company will want to see. More importantly, the efficient monster grinding routines will increase the rate at which their EXP grows, causing the players’ leveling speed to see an increase. This means that the game will progress much faster, and that further means the lifespan of the game will shorten accordingly. Just think of it like this; what if they originally intended for the players reach level 50 after two years, but because of the efficient monster grinding routines’ existence, players can reach level 50 within a year… What will the game company do to keep attracting people to this game with a one-year difference between reality and the original plan? If they don’t have any game content that can effectively keep the players hooked, that will likely result in a number of players leaving, which means that game company will experience increased work pressure and burden on their part. As such, they surely won’t sit idly by and do nothing about this sort of thing that can disrupt the operating pace of the game. I reckon that they’re probably evaluating the efficient monster grinding routines behind closed doors as we speak, and the moment that they deem it as detrimental, they’ll surely find a way to eliminate it by hook or by crook. This is a venture that has no means of lasting for a long time, so what it needs is not a nudge but a shocking assault on every front – a single push that spreads the efficient monster grinding style throughout the game, allowing you to gain bigger benefits in just a single thrust. As such, even when the game company proceeds to make whatever sort of adjustment on their end, the losses you’ll suffer is reduced to its minimum. Say, if you continue operating the business in the current fashion, you may be fine now, but after developing a couple more grinding maps, the game company is sure to make their move, and you can only watch as the huge profits that you envision your business will rake in disappear right before your eyes.”
Proud Sovereign no longer paused, finishing everything he wanted to say in one go. This was the longest exposition Gu Fei had heard at one time after entering the game, and he glanced over at Eternal Dominion standing right beside him, seemingly about to fall asleep upon hearing that glut of words.
Proud Sovereign saw the blank looks on their faces and thought that they got scared after hearing his wonderfully long explanation. Licking his dry lips, he continued. “Also…”
“Also?” Gu Fei was shocked.
When Proud Sovereign saw his reaction, he felt that the man must have heard enough, so he quickly corrected himself. “There are other minutiae that we need not talk in detail, but the point I’m trying to make is that danger lurks at every corner for your business venture, and all that is more than enough to render the efficient monster grinding routines useless! I’m sure neither of you gentlemen can bear to see your talents going nowhere due to your carelessness just as your star is about to rise. Everything can actually be avoided; all you need is sufficient manpower!” Proud Sovereign said, his spittle flying about, as a look of sadness on his face. It was as if the efficient monster grinding routines would be wiped off the face of the planet if Gu Fei and his friends continued to casually go about their business like they were.
“Thank you for your concern.” Gu Fei smiled.
“Oh, it’s nothing. I, too, can’t bear to see two fine gentlemen like yourselves inadvertently ruining such a bounteous opportunity to make money!” Proud Sovereign said.
“Money, are we talking about money?” Eternal Dominion was surprised. As someone who barely understood anything about gaming, hearing that whole talk Proud Sovereign had given before regarding the situation was simply too difficult for him to follow. If even Gu Fei was a little lost from all that explanation, what more of someone like Eternal Dominion, whose personality was a bit of a stick in the mud.
When Proud Sovereign heard him, he became extremely fearful, afraid that even after everything he had said to the two men, neither would say a single word. He quickly said, “Brother Eternal, don’t you understand? Do you need me to repeat myself one more time?”
“Oh, no!” Gu Fei hastily cried out. He saw that Eternal Dominion was almost about to nod, but it was a good thing that his lips were faster.
“So, what do you guys think?” Gu Fei, who seemed like the smarter one between the two, likely understood his intentions here, so there was no need for him to be too obvious with his words anymore.
“Yup. We’re leaving. Bye,” Gu Fei said.
“Ahhh…” Proud Sovereign was rooted to the spot. Just what’s the meaning of this? Could I have not made myself any clearer? Proud Sovereign glanced at Overgrown Foliage beside him in confusion. They were official members of Remarkable Flair Workshop, who held positions in the organization itself, and Overgrown Foliage was Proud Sovereign’s assistant manager. The higher-ups had placed a great importance toward this matter with the efficient monster grinding routines, and the various branches in all the cities were all actively trying their best to compete for this account. Proud Sovereign, who brought his assistant along and personally attended this matter, originally thought that his victory was all but assured. Otherwise, he would not reveal his workshop identity so easily were it not for how huge a business this could potentially become.
Who would have thought that, after expending all that time and effort trying to persuade the two men, it would be as if what they had said was like oil and water to Thousand Miles Drunk and Eternal Dominion. Neither Proud Sovereign nor Overgrown Foliage was sure if the two men had even understood what had been said. Proud Sovereign was feeling quite disgruntled at this moment. Taking a look at his assistant beside him, he immediately felt angry that the man had not come forward to lend a hand while he put in all that hard work before trying to convince the two, completely forgetting that he had previously instructed Overgrown Foliage not to butt in too much even before they came into contact with the pair.
The relationship between the two men was nothing like that between a guild leader and a member, but an actual superior and subordinate dynamic, instead. When Overgrown Foliage saw that ugly look on his leader’s face, looking as if he were about to vent his frustration on him, even though Overgrown Foliage was cursing his superior deep down, he quickly figured that he must do something about the situation, so he hurriedly caught up to Gu Fei and Eternal Dominion. “Gentlemen. Please hold on.”
“Is there anything else?” Gu Fei asked.
“It appears that you two don’t understand what we mean.” Overgrown Foliage threw a look of disdain to Proud Sovereign after saying this. They were obviously here to poach these two talents, yet he pretended that they were having some abstract and highly conceptual discussion, trying to lead the other party into wishing to cooperate by their volition. In the end, neither man understood what he was trying to say, and now Overgrown Foliage had to step up and pick up the pieces. He was feeling rather miserable, but he still broached the subject. “Actually, what we mean to say is that, with your skills and our manpower, it’s essentially a heaven-made pairing. How amazing would it be if we could work together and bring the benefits of the efficient monster grinding routines to even greater heights?”
Gu Fei scratched his head. “I understood you guys just fine, but it seems that it’s you two who don’t seem to understand what I mean!”
“What do you mean?” Overgrown Foliage was confused.
“When I said that we’re leaving and goodbye, I mean that we have no interest in working with you people,” Gu Fei answered.
“Wh-Why?!”. Overgrown Foliage stammered.
Gu Fei chuckled. “I’m a fighter and not a professional gamer.”