Chapter 655: Chapter 655 – Life of a Spy
Translator: Exodus Tales Editor: Exodus Tales
“This matter isn’t that complicated. To put it simply, he sold someone out and even got that guy to bear the consequences. Isn’t that right?” Coco asked her partner.
“I dislike how you worded it,” Deep Waters sternly said. “Strictly speaking, the project he’s operating back then was my bargaining chip; I was against the work itself, not the person. He just happened to be in charge of it, so he became the object of suspicion, which was why he ended up bearing the consequences. I swear that that’s not something premeditated. I’m not that type of guy!”
“Just what exactly did you do? Stop talking in riddles and just give it to me straight, you two,” Gu Fei said.
“How should I tell this to you.” Deep Waters landed a playful punch onto Gu Fei’s shoulder. “Once upon a time, your bro here was an information broker—”
“Tsk.” Coco sniffed as she clicked her tongue.
“Just kill her already!” Deep Waters pleaded to Gu Fei.
“Seriously?” Gu Fei reached for his sword.
“No, no, no…” Deep Waters had quite a fright. How could this person have no sense of humor?
“I was just trying to scare you.” Gu Fei chuckled. “Why don’t we let Coco narrate?”
“Hmph. He can go talk about it himself; I can’t be bothered to do it,” Coco snapped.
“Then, don’t interrupt me!” Deep Waters cleared his throat noisily before he continued. “Alright, where was I? Oh, right. A long time ago, I was once an information broker in MMOs. That’s something that requires quite a fair amount of skills, a keen eye on the market, the courage to advance with verve, and more importantly, accurate information from various avenues. Doing this job, your bro here created a bunch of alt accounts and managed to get himself into the servers where various major MMO workshops were active. There came a day when I discovered that rascal, Five Nights, leading some men from his workshop doing a goods sweep in a certain server of the MMO Hero’s Legend. Oh, right. Do you know what game I’m referring?”
“Nope.” Gu Fei shook his head.
“Hmm… If you don’t know… you won’t understand even if I tell you in detail! Do you know what I mean by doing a goods sweep?”
“Nope…” Gu Fei answered.
“What’s the point of listening if you don’t know anything?” Deep Waters was dissatisfied. Gu Fei’s hand reached for his sword again as Deep Waters nodded. “Yes, you gotta learn since you don’t know; that’s how young men should be like in their life…”
“This goods sweep often happens right before a game undergoes a major patch, and usually sees someone buying up certain materials or items in bulk to stockpile it. Back then, Hero’s Legend had yet to make any system announcement about it, so for something like that to happen, it was definitely a result of insider information trading. As an information broker, what I traded in was information I got from multiple spy accounts! The moment I witnessed that rascal conduct his goods sweep, I logged in all my other accounts in various workshops and tattled on what was happening. Thus, each of those workshops your bro here had an account in began conducting their bulk purchases. This insider information that only Five Nights’ workshop was privy of became known throughout the land, which led everyone into thinking that there was a spy! It was truly such a pity! Five Nights’ workshop was convinced that he was this turncoat. Actually, even now, I have no idea how they arrived to such a conclusion; it couldn’t be because he’s in charge of the task of purchasing the items in bulk, right? Anyway, I heard that he got kicked out of that workshop as a result. Ha ha ha ha!” Deep Waters gloated gleefully.
Gu Fei, who had listened to the story faithfully, wondered, “So what benefit did you get from doing that?”
Deep Waters glanced over at him before saying, “This is why I say you’re still too green! Back in those days, such news was extremely valuable, and every workshop out there would give a player a bonus as long as the information was proven accurate, no matter who was providing it. Where else do you think Five Nights’ workshop would originally get such information? Someone unscrupulous working in that game company probably revealed that information for the right price. With me releasing this information to five different workshops, besides a bonus, I also got a slice of the pie once everything panned out; how’s that for benefit, huh?”
Deep Waters continued after a moment’s pause. “Of course, my aim wasn’t to get a bonus. I was unhappy with how workshops would conduct businesses in games, and I just wanted to make a mess of whatever they were up to. What was originally one workshop sweeping goods turned into many workshops competing over the same commodities. I have no idea how much were sold in the end, but this purchase debacle happened because all those workshops competed with one another. This caused a price hike, so at least I succeeded in lessening their profits.”
“Okay…” Gu Fei nodded. What Deep Waters had done then was simple. It was basically getting several alt accounts to spread the news and make waves, but to accomplish it to such a degree was all because the seeds he had planted in each workshop bore fruit. For all these alt accounts to earn the level of trust necessary in achieving such a result was what really made it a difficult cultivation process.
“No one knew that I was the real culprit in that incident, but when one of my alts got exposed, the tower of alts I had then came tumbling down in an instant. What a waste of all the time and effort I put in it!” Deep Waters sighed.
“If only one account got exposed, how did the rest follow suit?” Gu Fei was nonplussed.
“That’s because I sometimes used two or more alts when engaging in a double act before others. Nobody could tell what was going on if they did not know about the matter, but the moment they realized that there was a spy in their midst, a further investigation on the offending account’s past interactions and actions ultimately caused all my alts to be exposed,” Deep Waters explained.
“What do you mean by double act?” Gu Fei asked.
“Let’s say that there’s a negotiation between two workshops today. I’ll be Five Nights, and the moment I discover that there’s such a project, I’ll suggest to the boss about looking for a workshop to cooperate with. The boss gives the go-ahead, and I’ll be off to make contact! I’ll then get onto my Deep Waters account and tell my boss in this other workshop that there’s this other workshop who has a lucrative joint project looking for our participation. That boss agrees and sends me to take a look. Thus, when Five Nights gets back and reports about contacting the other workshop’s Deep Waters, the same happens with Deep Waters, informing his boss that they have successfully made contact with Five Nights. Everything is done, and all that’s left is negotiations! Since I’m the player in charge on either side, what’s the point of negotiating? There; that’s the double act!” Deep Waters elaborated.
“You’re really too talented!” Gu Fei sighed in admiration.
However, Deep Waters felt very ashamed. “No. I have yet to master the art. That’s how I got myself caught. There’s that time when five workshops came for a discussion and opened a group chat. I’ve got five QQ accounts to juggle, and in a d*mn moment of confusion, one of my account said the wrong thing to the wrong bunch of mongrels. Those mongrels were quite sharp and sniffed me out from that one statement, completely uprooting yours truly in an instant. I dealt with plenty of things, so those tracks I inadvertently left became huge loopholes. With this, wouldn’t I actually become implicated in real life? Thankfully, yours truly had foresight, and was perceptive enough to have gotten a budding hacker friend to mask my IP and use random proxies, properly deceiving those people as a result. Back then, those guys claimed that they’d hire assassins to kill my friends and my loved ones; I have no idea if they ever went that far. Even if they really wanted to go after me, I wonder how much they had to spend to do that?”
Deep Waters spoke with much yearning as he recalled all this. Gu Fei wiped his sweat. “Now that you’ve shown yourself out in the open again, aren’t you afraid of their revenge?”
Deep Waters chuckled darkly. “Times have changed, my friend! Of those workshops I mixed with in the past, three folded, two changed bosses, and one was too busy focusing on its development now that it has gone international. Since that one became a legitimate company, why would they nitpick over such old matters? He he! Therefore, those old grudges are as good as gone, and all that remains is that bit of resentment from my former colleague Five Nights.”
Sure enough, Five Nights harbored quite the resentment. The man had neither invited unnecessary trouble nor provoked anyone throughout the entire ordeal and had completely become the scapegoat for Deep Waters; Five Nights was sure to have stomached a bellyful of grievance when he was sacked from his workshop. For such a thing, even though Deep Waters had been exposed and lost everything in the days that followed, everybody was focused on condemning his actions; who cared about redressing all his victims? It was apparent how prejudiced Deep Waters was toward workshops and those working for them that he showed not even a shred of remorse regarding what he had done to Five Nights. In fact, Deep Waters even happily enjoyed the reaction Five Nights had shown after all these years; it was truly quite the viciously motivated act on Deep Waters’ part. Meanwhile, learning what had happened between the two, Gu Fei was equally heartless as he felt no sympathy for Five Nights. It was apparent that during their negotiation today, Gu Fei simply abhorred how profit-focused that person was.
Five Nights felt that Gu Fei and Eternal Dominion were not particularly keen on the collaboration, but he did not know that it was actually because Gu Fei felt that what the workshop had done lacked sincerity in the first place. Gu Fei firmly believed that, if this were a sincere negotiation, he would propose the price he wanted and the other party would do the same. Both parties would then discuss the terms properly, each making concessions accordingly, so both parties would be happy with the outcome at the end of the day. Everyone was working together with the intention of getting rich; that was what sincerity meant to Gu Fei. Five Nights’ act of putting his interest above the rest by finding ways to squeeze the other party dry made Gu Fei deemed him as insincere. Especially when Five Nights said that Eternal Dominion’s calculation of several decades of living expenses were irrelevant to their current negotiations, this only reinforced Gu Fei’s notion that everything was a mere farce. This sort of person did not even think about the purpose of making money and only cared to make money; his ken was truly limited.
Five Nights thought that Gu Fei and Eternal Dominion did not understand business and had no sincerity to do business when, in fact, Gu Fei’s perception toward business was far more profound. In his eyes, Five Nights’ little business scheme was simply petty, small-minded, and without decency; it was fine if such people engaged in small business, but they were definitely not the caliber to do large deals. Gu Fei hardly regarded this man positively, so no matter how much sympathy he had, there was no way he would sympathize with such a person. All he asked was for this deal to be completed as soon as possible to help extricate Eternal Dominion from his financial predicament first.
“So, your bro’s past is rather brilliant, huh?” Deep Waters asked.
“Brilliant.” Gu Fei nodded.
“It’s such a pity that there’s no chance to do something like that in this current game setting!” Deep Waters shook his head regrettably.
Gu Fei had no words. He had a strong dislike for Five Nights, but it was not as much as the hatred Deep Waters had toward workshops and the players working there. The man was in too high a realm for that.
“Then, what about the matter with the falling apart of Sword Demon’s guild? What exactly happened with that? Just tell me what you know!” Gu Fei prodded.
“That’s really too complicated…” Deep Waters hesitated. “Besides… we don’t feel like talking about it.”
“It’s best if you don’t ask Sword Demon about it too; I don’t think he would enjoy discussing it either,” Coco said to Gu Fei.
“Is that so…” Gu Fei only answered thusly. The four continued their idle chatter for a bit after they left Remarkable Flair’s barbecue joint. Because this was a workshop-operated store, Deep Waters originally wanted to bare his fangs and ruthlessly ask for a huge discount, only to find out that Five Nights had already instructed for their fees to be waived. Thus, Deep Waters adjusted his plan, deciding to come by daily to eat all three meals before calling for them to waive his bill each time.
“If you’ve got so much time on your hand, why don’t you help us do that market research? When the time comes, we’ll pay you a bonus as well,” Gu Fei suggested.
Deep Waters laughed. “I was just kidding before; my decision not to help you do that is because of how time consuming it is, and I really don’t have much time on my hands. The date for the City Wars event is inching closer, and all the guilds in every city are actively making their last-minute preparations. As the guild leader, I’ve been spending almost all my time waiting for it to arrive. Honestly, I say, you guys should quickly teach us that efficient monster grinding routine. Do you want to take the plane with me? I’ve got the ticket for it!”
“I’m still teaching the men from the Ten Guild Alliance here, and what they are learning is very complex, so it’s better if I supervise them a little longer.” Gu Fei was troubled. Deep Waters had just been a great help to them, so it was really hard for him to turn down the man’s request, but the matter with Dusky Cloud was not over yet! With the duo monster grinding routines being slightly complex, Gu Fei still needed time to oversee it from the sidelines. He had spent so much time with Five Nights already; Dusky Cloud and the others were still waiting for him to return!
“Then, I shall leave a ticket for you. Once you are done here, just fly over to my side,” Deep Waters said.
“That works!” Gu Fei nodded.
“Then, we’ll take our leave first. Help me say hi to Sword Demon. Get them to come along if they have the time!” Deep Waters said.
“Sure. I’ll ask them,” Gu Fei said. Teleportation Scrolls were no longer expensive commodities to any of the members of Young Masters’ Elites. As long as they were in stock, none of them would lack the funds to purchase it.
Deep Waters and Coco teleported back to Linyin City, while Gu Fei and Eternal Dominion headed in the direction of Youye Valley. Apart from teaching the Ten Guild Alliance the routine, Gu Fei wanted to inquire if those experts had any friends whom they trusted that could help with this market research.
Over in Youye Valley, Dusky Cloud and his posse were sweating profusely as they continued to practice the routines they had been taught. Those who studied the solo grinding routines were already very familiar with the moves, and those learning the duo routines had improved quite substantially as well; at the very least, the monsters were not treating them like punching bags anymore. Upon seeing Eternal Dominion and Gu Fei make their return, these men all crowded around the two men excitedly, not even asking questions about the efficient monster grinding routines, but were all more interested in finding out how their negotiations had gone. It was a deal worth in the millions! How could they not be concerned?
“It’s rather successful,” Gu Fei replied.
“Great! Awesome!” Everyone marveled. Southern Lone Blade’s gang was all the more envious. Look at them! Earning here and there in this game and managing to make upward to million after a little supplementary transaction. Meanwhile, we’ve been working our butts off all this while yet only barely managed to make ends’ meet. Who knows when we will have the chance to make tens of millions at one go? By then, we can peacefully concentrate on playing games for the rest of our lives… The seven men shared a goal like Eternal Dominion’s, hoping to be able to earn enough money to play games without worry; it was very similar to Eternal Dominion’s wish to keep practicing his kung fu in peace after earning enough money.
“Right now, they need us to do field research with them pertaining to the cost this deal could incur, as well as the potential profits we can expect. However, neither Eternal Dominion nor I know anything about this! Big South, can you guys do it?” Gu Fei proceeded to ask Southern Lone Blade. Having this chance to earn money, he wanted to help these people get a slice of the proverbial pie as well.
“This… I’m afraid there’s no way that we can be as professional as those people from the workshop!” Southern Lone Blade and the others had never done something so specialized, so they did not wish to casually promise Gu Fei anything.
“Who needs you to be professionals? We don’t know anything at all, so I’m worried that we’ll just be confused by them, instead. That man called Five Nights is always thinking of ways to make us slip up; he’s really insidious,” Gu Fei said.
The moment he used the word insidious, everybody involuntarily turned to look at Young Master Han. This kind of person should be left to him to take care of! In the end, all they got was a middle finger from him, and everyone quickly turned away, as if nothing had happened.
“In that case, leave it to us! At the very least, we shouldn’t be so easily hoodwinked,” Southern Lone Blade expressed with a measure of confidence. He did not believe that he could be so easily misled, either.
“Well, once we get paid, I’ll be sure to give you guys a cut!” Gu Fei said. “We still have no idea just how much we can make!”
“How very crafty. With you dangling their earnings right before them, won’t it mean that our Big South and company will desperately help you keep a strict watch on this matter?” Young Master Han coldly interjected.
Southern Lone Blade’s response to this was just a slight smile. They were all well aware of Gu Fei’s personality by now, and there was fundamentally no need to worry about that man when it came to matters pertaining to money. Gu Fei was not one to chase after money and had demonstrated himself to be someone who would often share what benefit he had with others around him. It was really a stroke of luck to have such a boss, so even if Gu Fei was really as scheming as what Young Master Han had pointed out, Southern Lone Blade’s lot did not mind it in the least, merely nodding when they heard those words.
“Alright, then. We’ll wait for Five Nights to keep us informed! Old Cloud, how goes your practice? Raise whatever questions you may have regarding the duo monster grinding routines. I’ve still got to visit the next client!” Gu Fei said.
“Next client? Where?” Dusky Cloud was vigilant. In Yueye City, every guild could be seen as their competitors, so Dusky Cloud was of course hoping that Gu Fei would not pick up another business here in Yueye City, but he knew that it was just wistful thinking on his part. Hearing that Gu Fei had come across his next client after a quick trip to the city, all Dusky Cloud could do was preemptively inquire after their identity and properly pay attention to this adversary in the future.
“Deep Waters asked me over to Linyin City to impart them the routines as well!” Gu Fei hurriedly answered when he saw everyone turning to stare at him.
The moment Dusky Cloud heard that it was over at Linyin City, his mood did a one-eighty, stepping forward with his comrades like nothing had happened and asking Gu Fei the various questions they had regarding the duo monster grinding routines.
Everyone in Young Master’s Elite saw that it was not the right time for them to come forward, so they each asked over the mercenary channel. “How much is it for Deep Waters’ side?”
“Brute! Isn’t Deep Waters your friend? How can you have the nerve to ask for money?” Gu Fei held them in contempt.
All of them quickly rebutted, “We’r worried you’d act like a brute and ask him for payment.”
Brother Assist muttered, “Why do I feel that after we made an arrangement with Amethyst Rebirth, all the business we are getting doesn’t seem to require them at all?”
“Amethyst Rebirth? What arrangement?” Gu Fei was not present for this, so he had no idea what had happened.
Brother Assist filled him in accordingly, but Gu Fei did not seem phased after hearing the account, continuing to supervise Dusky Cloud and his men’s grind, and leaving Brother Assist alone to worry about it! As the one who had suggested it to the Amethyst Rebirth ladies, if the agreement they set remained unfulfilled, would all those ladies give him trouble? Recalling how No Smile had acted dead in the tavern after suffering those ladies’ beating, Brother Assist could not help but feel a shiver run down his spine.
“What? Pride Sovereign and Overgrown Foliage?” Dusky Cloud had been idly chatting with Gu Fei even as the kung fu practitioner kept an eye on the players executing the duo monster grinding routines. Dusky Cloud wanted to learn about the workshop situation over at Yueye City since the strength of those organizations was huge. He figured it would be foolish not to keep an eye on them, especially since a major event like the City Wars was about to begin. During their conversation, Gu Fei very casually mentioned the names of Pride Sovereign and Overgrown Foliage. Dusky Cloud had not expected that the two biggest adversaries his alliance was currently facing would turn out to be members of the Remarkable Flair workshop and were even in charge of the branch in Yueye City; this was definitely no good news for the Ten Guild Alliance.