Chapter 653: Chapter 653 – Great justice is only achievable without secular desires
Translator: Exodus Tales Editor: Exodus Tales
“Crap! We got discovered!” Those two men keeping an eye on Gu Fei noticed their mark sweeping his gaze onto them, before striding right over imperiously. The man even pulled out his Moonlit Nightfalls right as he walked over to them.
The two quickly turned away in the hopes of leaving, but they were no match for Gu Fei’s speed. A single Blink, and he appeared directly in front of them, blocking their path as he glared at the two. “Who are you guys?”
Neither gave him an answer. Acting as if they had never seen him before, they lowered their heads as they tried to go around him. Having been playing this game for so long, Gu Fei had experienced being spied on, ambushed, cursed at, slashed at, and dodged, but never had he been so blatantly ignored. He could tell at a glance that these two rascals were just playing him for a fool! Feeling that he must punish them a little, he directly brandished his sword out. This was was a cut that was not imbued with a spell, for Gu Fei was afraid that going all out would end up killing the man.
In the end, just as his sword was about to connect with the man, he heard the ping of a system notification, as the two players turned around to smile at Gu Fei before wantonly leaving the place.
“What’s the matter?” Eternal Dominion was surprised. He never would have thought that Gu Fei’s sword would miss the two common players, and just as he was about to give chase, Gu Fei gave a bitter laugh. “There’s no need to give chase. They aren’t level 10 yet.”
Players that had not reached level 10 were protected by the system, and there was no way anybody could attack them in any sense. What Gu Fei received was not just a system notification but also a warning. It was a stern warning from the system, informing him how shameful it was to strike a newbie below level 10 so further infraction would immediately be awarded with PK points even without killing the said target.
“Yet to be at level 10…” Eternal Dominion, who had experienced fighting in Parallel World, was of course aware of such a basic PK rule. Since neither of those two was at level 10, that essentially reached the legendary state of ‘strong as he is, he is no more than a light breeze in the hills; as unruly as he is, the moon will still shine on a still lake.’
Gu Fei and Eternal Dominion helplessly watched the two happily walk away, and that was when Deep Waters’ message came. “I sent a Teleportation Scroll over. Mark the coordinates and send it back to me.”
Gu Fei hurried over to the mailbox in the city and retrieved the said scroll. Writing the corresponding set of coordinates on it, he then sent the scroll back. It was clear that Deep Waters had been patiently waiting by the mailbox this whole time, as it took no more than three seconds for a white light to appear right before Gu Fei, and Deep Waters stepped out of it with Coco by his side. Coco was not particularly happy to see Gu Fei, opting to greet him by flaring her nose in a huff. This lady still remembered how Gu Fei had cynically inferred everything happening in her guild, and even though they had indeed proven that Broken Water Arrow was problematic, the root of the problem was him once more, so no matter how anybody looked at it, it was all this man’s fault.
Deep Waters, on the other hand, was full of vigor, asking Gu Fei the moment he stepped out from the light, “Where’s Five Nights?”
“He said he’s going to draw the contract up,” Gu Fei said even as he introduced Eternal Dominion. “You should know Eternal Dominion, right?”
“Yes, we’ve met,” Deep Waters said.
“This is Eternal Dominion,” Gu Fei proceeded to introduce Eternal Dominion.
“A fellow Five Unyielding Expert!” Eternal Dominion praised Deep Waters.
“It’s unbearable to look back into the past!” Deep Waters sighed.
“What? You’re no longer in it?” Eternal Dominion had just learned that there was a new version of the Five Unyielding Experts today.
That was when Gu Fei interjected. “I slew him.”
Even though everyone had buried the hatchet, this was evidently not a particularly happy topic for all. Deep Waters looked around before he asked, “Where’s Sword Demon and that other d*mb*ss?” When Deep Waters spoke of that certain idiot, that grinding of his teeth was not simply for show.
“They’re busy leveling!” Gu Fei said.
“Why did you guys all come over to Yueye City?” Deep Waters inquired.
It was not as if Gu Fei was doing something despicable, so he told everything without any omission straight to Deep Waters.
“Ohh… The efficient monster grinding routines! He he! Then, when will you travel to Linyin City and help teach us a little something? How much will it cost us?” Deep Waters asked.
“500,000 gold coins!” The moment Eternal Dominion heard that there could be business, he happily snatched the chance to give an answer. He knew that the price for the Ten Guild Alliance was 500,000, but he was unaware that that was a discounted price given as a favor, and that it was not the going market rate. Despite this, such a price gave Deep Waters quite the fright. The Ten Guild Alliance had over 4000 players, while Deep Waters had only just risen to be a level 6 guild not too long ago, so his guild only had 1050 members as of date. The difference in the number of players meant that the burden of cost differed as well; 500,000 gold coins would mean each player must pay upward to 500 gold coins each. 500 gold coins might be nothing to wealthy players like Gu Fei and the others, but to the average player, any sum that went above the hundred would be a hefty sum, and anyone with assets that were valued above a thousand would be deemed as a magnate.
“We’re all friends here; give us a discount!” Deep Waters said.
“He he! You can discuss this with Sword Demon and the others later.” Gu Fei clearly had no objections doing him a favor.
Deep Waters was not courteous, either, nodding vigorously. “Good talk.”
“However, you’ve got plenty of Archers in your guild, and the monster grinding routines for that particular job class is effectively the worst,” Gu Fei cautioned.
“What do you mean?” Deep Waters furrowed his brows.
“My efficient monster grinding routines are all focused on close combat, and Archers are greatly limited in this avenue,” Gu Fei informed him truthfully.
“We can talk about all that later; the important thing is the discount!” Deep Waters said.
Gu Fei laughed feebly.
“Oh, right. Is Old Broken still entangled with you guys?” Deep Waters asked.
“Yeah. We’ve had a proper fight these past two days!” Gu Fei answered.
“What else? He got slain, of course!” Gu Fei replied.
Deep Waters wiped his sweat before changing the topic again. “Why is this Five Nights so slow? The d*mn work efficiency of workshops is just getting worse with each passing day; do they not have templates and drafts? Can he still be writing it all at the last minute?”
Gu Fei was clueless about such matters, so he naturally avoided chiming in. However, he did discover that even though Five Nights had said that he was going to log out and draw up the contract, his name was still brightly lit in his friends’ list. Both parties had added each other as friends back at the barbecue joint, so Gu Fei did not bother delving any further into the matter; it was just waiting, anyway! Having nothing better to do, he decided to lead Deep Waters and Coco to a tavern for everyone to wait in. This was the first time either came to Yueye City, and walking from the city gate to the tavern, they witnessed eight separate incidents of PKing – some seeking revenge, others instigating a fight, and a few quarreling breaking out all because they bumped shoulders.
“This is Yueye City alright; its reputation truly precedes itself!” Deep Waters sighed repeatedly.
At the moment, those two players below level 10 had went to report to Overgrown Foliage about the situation after they got away from Eternal Dominion and Gu Fei’s line of sight.
“You guys got discovered so soon?” Overgrown Foliage knitted his brows. “How could you be so careless? I even repeatedly warned you guys to be extra careful. This is a huge deal we are making.”
The two felt aggrieved. “We have no idea. We were really being very careful, yet we still got discovered.”
“So did you two find out anything?”
“Nothing. We only started our surveillance of them,” the two answered.
“So what happened when you were discovered?”
“That Thousand Miles Drunk pulled his sword out and attacked us, so we departed just like how we always did,” the two continued.
What a violent man, indeed… Overgrown Foliage wiped his sweat. It seemed that his declaration about slaying them where they stood back in the barbecue joint had not been an empty threat.
“Alright, you two may leave!” Overgrown Foliage dismissed these two and immediately made his report to Five Nights.
Five Nights was currently still busy hastily scribbling away, making adjustments to the contract! Sure enough, Deep Waters still had quite a good understanding of how workshops operated, and they indeed had various contract templates and drafts ready for use. This was especially true for a huge workshop like Remarkable Flair, having plenty of such copies all stocked up so as to make it more convenient to talk business in-game. It was only that the agreement Five Nights had struck with Gu Fei was going to be with a completely new and emergent industry, and he had been unable to find an appropriate format that would fit their circumstances perfectly, which was why he was now making amendments to one of the templates that was closest to it. The game did not allow players to delete and correct documents like when using a computer, so he could only rely on the tried and true method of copying everything on on a fresh stack of papers.
“They were discovered right from the start, and had not managed to learn anything?” Five Nights was also knitting his brows when he heard this news. Victory would only be assured if he knew the enemies as well as himself! Five Nights had sent the two to keep an eye on Thousand Miles Drunk and Eternal Dominion not because he had some malicious scheme in mind, but he was only hoping to keep track of their movement and find out if they would do anything that could affect the negotiations later. Doing so would keep him in the driver’s seat, but now that the men he had sent were cut off so soon, he was essentially left guessing what would come next.
“Forget it. Guess I’ll just adapt to the situation accordingly!” Five Nights figured that there was nothing else he could do at this point, and so all he could do was quickly finish up the contract. With this thought in mind, he sent another message to Gu Fei and Eternal Dominion. He informed them that he had decided to do the necessary paperwork in-game and would soon be bringing it to them to take a look.
“It’s still much more convenient to do this face to face!” Five Nights’ reasoning was still rooted in logic.
“Five Nights is working on the contract in-game, and he’ll soon bring it over for us to look through,” Gu Fei related to Deep Waters.
“Yes, I’m looking forward to this very much.” Deep Waters nodded.
The four, who had already been waiting in the tavern for over half an hour, were unable to find a common topic, so they often descended into an awkward silence after exchanging a few words. It reached a point where none of them were bothered to talk to one another any longer. Coco soon got bored, so she wanted to get Deep Waters to go shopping with her. The man had no choice but to acquiesce, and just as they were about to leave the tavern, Gu Fei called out, “He sent a message. The contract is ready!”
“Heh… That’s rather quick of them, I suppose. Where are we gonna meet them? Let’s head over there now!” Deep Waters said.
“Let’s go!” Gu Fei led the way; the location Five Nights had set for the meeting was still that barbecue joint from before.
They had left this establishment not too long ago, but they now found themselves stepping back here again. It was Overgrown Foliage who had come to receive them once more, and seeing that Gu Fei and Eternal Dominion had brought along two more players, the man politely asked, “And these two are?”
“Oh, my friends whom I brought along the way to have a look,” Gu Fei said.
Deep Waters smiled as he gazed at Overgrown Foliage. “Bro, how should we address you?”
“Overgrown Foliage,” Overgrown Foliage answered.
“Ah, new blood! Do well and you’ll have a bright future ahead!” Deep Waters clapped Overgrown Foliage on the back as he took the lead and stepped into the establishment. Overgrown Foliage was left puzzled over what had just happened, but when he saw the others following in one after another, he quickly stepped in line right behind them as he said, “It’s the same spot from before.”
Everybody met one another inside the room. Gu Fei originally thought that there would be bloodshed the moment they came into contact, so his sword was already at the ready for the fight that he presumed would breakout. Unexpectedly, Five Nights’ reaction was just as mild as Overgrown Foliage’s, immediately querying the moment he saw Deep Waters and Coco. “And you two are?”
Gu Fei was stunned, but he soon realized that these people must have only met each other in a limited capacity in those MMOs of the past. They possibly never had the chance to meet face-to-face like this, which explained how neither man recognized Deep Waters.
Sure enough, Deep Waters sent a message over to him, asking, “Which is Five Nights?”
“The one speaking,” Gu Fei hastily replied. He then saw Deep Waters flash a bright smile. “He he! I’m his friend. I heard that something is up, so I took this chance to come over to have a look.”
“Oh! Welcome, welcome!” Five Nights did not forget his manners and quickly gestured the two to the seats. The room was rather large, so adding two more players to the table was not an issue.
Deep Waters immediately turned from guest to host when he sat down, asking imposingly, “Where’s the contract? Are you taking it out for us to have a look?”
A stack of papers was already present on the table, which Five Nights pushed toward them as he sat down, smiling. “This is just a draft that I’ve hastily done, so please don’t take offense if there’s anything I missed out, or if I’ve made any mistakes in its wording.”
“Oh, yes, I have yet to ask—” Five Nights was just about to ask for Deep Waters’ IGN when Deep Waters interrupted what he wanted to say with a scoff. “A shared agreement?”
“Yes!” Five Nights smiled and nodded.
“Hmph!” Deep Waters harrumphed as he picked up the contract, skimming through it with his eyes. Originally, he thought that this one would rely on the same old tricks, which was why he was actively wondering just how he should begin poking holes at it. In the end, after skimming through the pages a couple of times, his expression began to become more and more astonished, as he involuntarily looked up to sneak a glance at Five Nights.
A shared agreement was basically fishy business; this was never a secret to anyone, and it was not something that was unique to workshops. Other professions would more or less have restrictions toward this end, but something like workshops simply lacked any sort of robust legal standards in place, and this only made the industry all the more arrogant with how these agreements panned out, becoming an obvious target for public ire. Plenty of workshops no longer offered formats like shared agreements, which was why Five Nights and the others felt that their world was in upheaval when Gu Fei was the one who actually suggested it. How little understanding of how MMO dealings work did Gu fei have to possess to actually raise the option of taking a shared agreement with a workshop without being prompted? It was truly hard to imagine it being uttered by these two men – one of whom was considered to be the apex expert in Parallel World as of date, while the other was someone who ranked among the Five Unyielding Experts.
Five Nights was not one to miss such a heavenly windfall, so he naturally went with the flow of things, accepting the offer after feigning a moment of contemplation in fear of raising suspicions from the other party. However, ultimately, it was unknown just how he had accidentally ended up tipping off Gu Fei of the matter, resulting in the man to become wary and said he would find out more from his friends…
Five Nights had no idea who this friend could be, but as long as this friend was not a new gamer, he or she would most likely be someone who would have been exposed to a workshops’ dirty inner workings. That was why if Five Nights still treated this as a godsent deal, he would then be the one being too much of a fool. The draft agreement he had drawn up presently corrected several of the more obvious pitfalls, and when Deep Waters took a look through the document, he was actually unable to spot any loopholes, which was naturally very surprising for him.
“Could the workshops have really changed their ways and are going down the straight and narrow path now?” Deep Waters had his doubts. However, he had a really tough time accepting this thought; he was someone who had made his rounds with many different workshops, and there were truly too many of these people who would be more than willing to resort to such questionable means in order to secure an increased revenue. Was it possible for them to turn over a new leaf so abruptly? It needed to at least make sense! He had never heard anything about potential regulations particularly targeting MMO workshops.
Deep Waters pondered on this even as he began to carefully studied the contract. Gu Fei had also sensed that something was off. Deep Waters had stepped into this room acting all high and mighty, and the expression he showed almost visibly read out ‘stomp’. However, the moment he picked up the contract, everything changed. It was evident that Deep Waters was more than a little at a loss on what to do, while Five Nights instead acted self-assured, as though he had plenty of confidence that the contract he put out to be perfectly in order.
“What’s the situation?” Gu Fei sent this message to Deep Waters. This was the biggest advantage of the game, allowing players to secretly converse with one another without leaving any sort of trace.
“This contract is very suspicious,” Deep Waters replied.
“Oh? How so?” Gu Fei asked.
“There’s nothing suspicious, which is the most suspicious aspect of the contract,” Deep Waters said. He was already on the last page of the contract. Five Nights had been maintaining his smile as he watched Deep Waters’ actions. The moment he saw Deep Waters got to the final page, he waited a good moment before asking without missing a beat, “So, are there any problems with the contract?”
Gu Fei shifted his gaze on to him. This agreement had actually corrected the loopholes that Deep Waters was familiar with, and there was only a single portion of the contract that was problematic, and it was regarding the issue of transparency for this shared agreement. Deep Waters previously wanted to raise this particular point, only for Five Nights to beat him to the punch and mention it when he saw how quiet Deep Waters had been this whole time, “There’s a problem with the contract right now, and it is an issue with the detailed account of this venture. Normally, the revenue will be reported in accordance to the bill of tax, but I can tell that you guys all understand, so I won’t bother denying this. Our workshop operation has difficulties when it comes to taxes, so we usually avoid using that as evidence. As a result, we must have a proper discussion about what will we be using to base our final split on.”
Deep Waters was in shock. He never would have thought that after being so out of touch with workshops for such a long time, Five Nights would actually become so much more crafty than before. It was apparent that this man had already planned from the start to properly gobble up the noobs Gu Fei and Eternal Dominion, but the moment Gu Fei got suspicious over a possible fraud, Five Nights had taken precautions against this as well. The man did not take any chances and decisively made such a contract out for this deal. He conscientiously covered up all the sinister intentions he had from the start by presenting them with a flawless contract, leaving just the issue of where to base their profit division for further negotiations. By doing so, Five Nights had successfully hidden his tracks behind the veneer of reason and circumstances.
As for the issue of splitting, if this was something easily resolved, would it still exist as the cancer that it was? He brought this problem forward just to show how equitable he was, but as it was a problem which there was no way of being cleanly dealt with, what other options were Gu Fei and Eternal Dominion left with in the end? What Five Nights pulled out was no longer a secret plan but an overt scheme. The problem was now out in the open for all to deal with!
What can be done? Deep Waters’ head ached. Although Five Nights was cunning, Deep Waters could see that the man was rather sincere about this collaboration, and this would indeed be a good opportunity for both parties to make a killing this one time, but with the situation at hand, it could be said that Gu Fei had made a huge mistake when he offered to go into a shared agreement. Given this awkward position that they were in right now, Gu Fei and Eternal Dominion could not possibly just take the loss and go ahead with the proposed plan, right? Alternatively, could they simply change their mind and call a halt for the shared agreement idea and do something else instead? There was simply no suitable reason they could offer to justify this change of heart, and even if the other party accepted this, they would gain leverage to better drive down the next offer proposed…
Deep Waters was depressed. He never imagined that Five Nights would have improved to the point that he was unable to contend against him. Unexpectedly, this was when Gu Fei opened his mouth. “Your accounts are unclear? D*mn. If you can’t give a proper report of your accounts, doesn’t that mean we have no way going forward with this collaboration?”
Five Nights smiled. “That’s right. Which is why it is best if everyone gets back to the drawing board for this one.”
Deep Waters gave a mirthless chuckle. Back to the drawing board? There’s no way that guy is going to be brainstorming for ideas over this!
Out of the blue, Gu Fei nodded. “Then, we’ll have to trouble Brother Five Nights with it. We await your message.”
“Ah?” Five Nights was taken aback.
“We don’t really know much about this business, so we’ll have to trouble Brother Five Nights here to think of an appropriate solution to this issue,” Gu Fei earnestly offered.
Seeing the look Five Nights had, uncertain if he should be laughing or crying, Deep Waters suddenly could not hold himself back from laughing. Today, he finally understood what the saying ‘great justice is only achievable without any secular desires’ truly meant. No matter how treacherous Five Nights was, the unfortunate fact was that he truly had every intention of doing this deal, and facing against somebody who was not particularly inclined to see this venture through, the only thing Five Nights could do was take the loss.