Chapter 695: Chapter 695 – The Aspirational Flux Bead
“Quick, send some men over there!” Even though Brave Surge could not come up with a reason, he nevertheless felt that something was amiss.
Carouse had not made any moves to attack the city this whole time, and after the guild coalition was dissolved, Brave Surge did not think it was possible for them to forcefully take down Yunduan City just through their own efforts. This was why he had dispatched a good portion of his guild members to go searching all over for quests as he kept an eye on the situation over by the battlefield.
They had managed to find an assorted collection of loose quests, but none of them seemed to be important enough to affect the overall state of the war. However, Brave Surge believed that his guild was not too far off in terms of the contribution scores that they had earned after having gathered all these disparate quests. Those who were busy engaging in a bloody battle with the NPCs guarding the city walls were not faring any better either. Over by the east, west and south gates, the death count for the players steadily climbed over time. Things became all the more harder to follow through until the city guards finally took care of them, killing each and every wave that was thrown at them.
At the moment, the assault on these three gates was not as zealous as before. Some still held on, while others had diverted their attention to finding quests. There were even some who felt it was too much of a hassle and had decided to just log out. Of course, these were those small guilds that pretty much had no desire to carry on. After all, the members of these small guilds barely contributed much to the guild effort, because even if they did contribute, they might not be able to exchange any direct benefit for it.
However, things were different for the players in the large guilds. Things like guild points were almost equivalent to another form of currency internally. In the meantime, guilds would provide exceptional equipment and rewards after such large scale guild tasks, and it was not just up to the guild leader to decide where these would be distributed. The system had set up such a rule whereby members would have to spend guild points they had earned for the guild to obtain exceptional equipment, and players would have to participate in group activities and tasks with the guild often in order to earn points. Thus, no matter how much of an expert somebody could be, there was simply no other way for players to earn points with how the system would calculate them. Nevertheless, it was unavoidable for the system’s method of calculation to be a little inflexible, so there was no way for the system to tabulate some of the more human contributions, and these would therefore have to depend on the guild leader to find some other ways to make up for their efforts.
Every guild would total up the points that the system had given and establish their own reward and punishment framework, but it was mainly the large guilds that could formally implement this. In a sense, this was a virtuous cycle; there would be no standards without rules. So when the players all abide by the rules that were set, the guild would naturally be able to flourish and grow. As the guilds become larger, it was only apparent for them to get even better quests, which would also greatly improve the rewards they could find themselves earning. In order to obtain the rewards, guild members would of course participate even more fervently in guild activities and the ilk, so they could earn more points. Once such a cycle could be established, the sense of belonging a player would have toward the guild would naturally increase, and that would also mean the development of the guild would stabilize with time as well. Conversely, those guilds that failed to establish rules would have members that essentially do not care for it, and such guilds could only depend on a few of the more active members to support them. There was surely no way for such guilds to make it big, so all these players could only enviously yearn for the equipment that members of the large guilds have equipped, and subsequently see fit to leave the guild for better prospects.
For Carouse to have developed till today, that naturally meant its members would not be such a motley crew, so even though they were not having a successful City War, nobody left the guild and were all giving it their all searching for quests. If they managed to find one, while they had no idea just how much contribution score they would be awarded for the event, the guild points they could earn from the system would be clearly calculated, and that was no different from earning money.
After Brave Surge made the call, members from Carouse dropped what they were doing and gathered together, they followed Brave Surge’s instruction and headed out over to the cavity where their previous quest had been situated.
“Keep in contact with that Lemongrass person. Ask him which guild they are joining, the guild leader’s name and if we can work together,” Brave Surge directed that comrade of his.
After the person exchanged a few messages, the expression on his face became somewhat disturbed as well, “He declined my offer in a very evasive manner, refusing to tell us the guild leader’s name as well. I’m beginning to think there’s something wrong here too.”
“D*mn, he just blocked all incoming messages.”
“Oh crap. We’ve tipped our hand. Get those players who are near the site to hurry. We need to find out what’s going on there first,” Blue Surge said.
“Just what exactly is going on? Why don’t I understand what is happening right now?” someone was still confused about everything that was happening.
“You’ll understand eventually,” Brave Surge had a hunch, but there was no convincing evidence to affirm his suspicions yet, so he did not wish to make a random speculation. There was only one thing he dared to be certain about, and it was that Wind Seal was not the mastermind behind this situation. He should be the bargaining chip that every side was fighting over, and the real competitor he was facing off against was someone pulling the strings from behind the scenes.
Traversing Four Seas lacks the motivation to do something like this right now, so who else could it be? Brave Surge’s thoughts were hung up on the other three level six guilds. Aside from them, there were no other lesser guilds that would have such a large appetite and would want to fight with Carouse so openly.
The advance party that Carouse had sent arrived quickly, and going by the instructions that Brave Surge had given, they did not immediately approach and reveal themselves. Instead, they opted to send their Stealthed Thieves in to take a look first.
“Take note and find out which guilds the nearby players are from!” Brave Surge ordered.
The Assassin Flux Bead was the first from Carouse who got to the cavity. After reporting back to his party leader, he immediately received orders straight from the guild leader himself. Flux Bead was someone who was utterly consumed with the thoughts of heroism, but he was extremely diligent when it came to participating in group activities because he had his eye on a particular weapon: the dagger Crushed Snow. Flux Bead had seen the dagger in the hands of his friend from another city, and he really liked it. However, the weapon was a reward from a guild quest, and there was no way to obtain it other than by taking part in a large scale quest. This was the reason why Flux Bead had joined Carouse and was so assiduous when it came to accumulating guild points. Each day, he would find out about the various activities offered in the guild for the day and hoped that he would soon be able to join a quest that offered Crushed Snow as a reward.
It was unknown if every city’s quest content would be different, but Flux Bead had yet to see the quest his friend had mentioned while he was in Carouse. All he could do was frequently participate in all the guild quests at this level, just so he could grab Crushed Snow the moment it appeared as a reward. He was number four in terms of the points that he had accumulated in Carouse because he had never spent them on anything else. Aside from Crushed Snow, there was nothing else he desired.
Brave Surge felt relieved when he found out that the person who would be investigating the location was going to be Flux Bead. This Assassin was just another bit player, yet he had left a deep impression on Brave Surge, not only because of his rank in terms of the points that he accumulated, but more because he was someone who had very conscientiously attended all sorts of guild quests, stepping up to the plate without even a word of complaint. Guild leaders loved such players, especially since the man had accumulated so many points, as that also meant the person would not quit the guild easily.
“Be careful,” Brave Surge personally cautioned Flux Bead in the guild channel.
“Yes!” Flux Bead only replied with that one word as he went into Stealth, slowly creeping his way to the cavity.
Nowadays, Stealth no longer provided stalking the 100% safety it did before, as more and more equipment and skills gave players the ability to detect Stealth. A properly developed team would surely have been outfitted with something toward this end. However, after Flux Bead observed the surroundings, he realized there was indeed no cover around this cavity, so the only thing he could do was directly run in.
As someone who aspired to be a lone hero, caution was more than a necessity, and Flux Bead gingerly approached the cavity step by step. He would turn to look around every two or three steps to take note if there was any movement in his surroundings. Failing to see any movement around him. Even his nearest companion was currently lying prone within a nearby forest.
Flux Bead could see he was about to close in on the cavity, when he suddenly received a message from his companion, “Be careful!!”
Flux Bead turned around and saw glowing flames rise from within the woods, and he heard the sound of all sorts of skills intertwined together.
The enemy was prepared!!
Does that mean I’ve already been discovered?
Sure enough, the instant Flux Bead turned back around, two Assassins had already appeared in front of him, and the cold gleam of their daggers came stabbing right at him.
Flux Bead was not a famous player by any degree, but that did not mean that he was poorly skilled. Perhaps guildmates who had done quests with him would think that he was very average, but that was only because teamwork was not what he was good at. He had never once considered coordinating with anyone since his goal had always been to be a lone wolf that could go up against the world. Indeed, the man had no special teamwork capabilities to speak of, but his skills in terms of his solo PK was outstanding.
Against the daggers that came stabbing right at him from out of nowhere, Flux Bead was not in the least bit flustered as he quickly canceled his Stealth and circled away after activating his Fleetfoot. With a wave of his hand, he returned the stab with a cut from his own dagger right at the Assassin on the left, while tossing a small bag of sand out with his right hand, scattering the white sand in every direction. Unsurprisingly, the enemy was actually prepared for this, and there was of course not just the two Assassins in Stealth.
Alone, trapped in a situation like this, Flux Bead had instead inexplicably gotten excited about it. He had not forgotten his mission here, and taking note of the opponents’ chests, he did not find any guild emblem pinned on them. The enemies already had him surrounded. Flux Bead was very clear of his own strength and knew that he was no match for so many enemies at once. Even though this was only a game, and there was no penalty for dying currently, to someone as idealistic as Flux Bead, dying was a very uncomfortable ending. When surrounded like this, just being able to escape would be considered a victory.
Flux Bead’s Fleetfoot had not expired, so he pretended to charge in a direction, spurring everyone to correct their trajectory to intercept him, before he suddenly turned around and bolted away in a different direction. Not all of the players were foolish enough to fall for this feint, and such a simple adjustment was not enough to ditch them all. However, it was still a very sudden move to them, and everyone reacting at different speeds. Flux Bead used the gap between a player who reacted quickly and another who reacted slowly and passed through the two like a ghost.
Flux Bead turned his head back and laughed in delight. He gained a great sense of satisfaction in being able to accomplish something like this.
However, these Assassins did not let him off so easily and were quick to give chase. Flux Bead laughed once more, and he lightly patted the emblem he had pinned on his chest. The speed of his Fleetfoot suddenly increased, instantly creating a huge gap between the Assassins and him.
This emblem he had just activated had a skill inlaid, and it was the skill ‘Accelerate’, allowing the user to increase their own movement speed by 30% and lasted for 10 seconds.
10 seconds was more than enough time for Flux Bead to create a wide berth away from the players pursuing him. Everyone’s movement speeds were around the same since they all shared the same job class, so after being able to increase the distance between them by so much, there was essentially no way for the other Assassins to catch up. All of them slowly came to a stop, staring at Flux Bead as he ran off before all of them returned to the cavity.
Flux Bead did not really leave the area immediately, and once his Stealth cooldown finished, he once more Stealthed up and reported the current situation back to the guild.
Brave Surge had already received a report on his end. The reinforcements that he had sent in advance had Stealthed themselves inside the copse of trees while Flux Bead went in to investigate just now. In the end, the players who were Stealthed there stumbled into an ambush, with everyone dying while Flux Bead was surrounded by others.
Brave Surge had never thought that Flux Bead would still be alive, and he could not help but see the man in a different light.
“The enemy was prepared, and I did not see any guild emblems of any sort,” the scout Flux Bead had managed to learn quite a lot of things, but his range of vision did not reach the bottom of the cavity.
“Every party, please take note. Assemble into combat teams. Team 1 and 2 will go from the east, 3 and 4 will go from the west, 5 and 6 will come in from the north and 7 and 8 will take the south. We’ll encircle the enemy in all four directions. Our elites and Mage teams will take up the northwest position over by this set of coordinates here and wait for further orders,” Brave Surge completed his assigning of men. The entirety of Carouse was split into 10 teams. Teams 1 to 8 were each a combat team with balanced job class compositions, while team 9 was a team of elites made up of experts, and team 10 was the Mage Formation team that Carouse was most well known for.
“Flux Bead, think of a way to assess the strength of the ambush in those trees,” Brave Surge instructed Flux Bead.
Flux Bead had just stopped right by the fringe of the treeline. He had Stealth, so he was not particularly afraid to brave the woods by himself. Receiving his orders, he decided to step right into the vegetation. Though this copse of trees was meager in size, it was actually rather dense, otherwise, it would not have been able to hide players within. Flux Bead inquired from the people who died previously about how they were ambushed, and more or less knew what to expect going in.
Remaining Stealthed amongst the trees, his footsteps would easily expose him, so Flux Bead did not dare to act rashly, taking only a handful of steps every time. He pulled out a trash item from his dimensional pocket and after positioning himself behind a tree, he suddenly poked his head out and threw the item in his hand toward a spot he had previously determined.
This throw he made would of course be considered as an attack, so the moment he made the motion, Flux Bead’s figure was revealed to all as he quickly dove right into a bush, secretly keeping his eye in the direction where he threw his item. Players from behind several trees overheard the sound and revealed themselves, as two Mages began bombarding the area immediately. Flux Bead was unable to see their faces when they saw no one after they were done with their bombardment. He believed they must surely have a confused expression, and he could not hold back his laughter as he quietly sniggered to himself.
“The ambush isn’t too much. They are mainly hiding behind trees. Were it not for Stealth, they would easily discover anyone that enter the woods. Afterward, while nobody would be expecting a sneak attack, these people will insta-kill in a single round of attacks. That’s probably the general tactic they are employing,” Flux Bead reported to Brave Surge.
“Then I’ll send some Assassins over to you, and you can lead them to eliminate everyone there,” Brave Surge was very satisfied with Flux Bead’s work here, and was interested in grooming him.
“Wait a moment. We’ll talk about it if I survive this.” Flux Bead replied.
The troops that the enemy had sent to ambush here in the trees were no fools. They had not found anyone after having been teased by Flux Bead’s toss of his trash item. However, this very action was obvious, without a doubt. These people were naturally well aware that someone had entered the copse of trees and was secretly playing a trick on them. Several of these people decided to just walk out from behind the trees and began to gather and carefully search the area.
Flux Bead remained stationary in the bushes, but his heart was feeling both anxiety and excitement. This is the game life that I wished for! Flux Bead was thrilled as he thought about it.
If Flux Bead were to use Stealth right now, the people here might have equipment that detected Stealth and that would make it easier to locate him. Right now, he was hiding himself completely by using the environment with his own means, and that meant players would have to rely on themselves to search and find him. Doing so ended up sending these people going back and forth around, completely failing to locate him among all the trees and foliage. But because they were positive that there was someone around hiding near them, the two Mages had no choice but to begin randomly casting their AoE spells all over the place, intending to blast the sneaky interloper out from his hiding spot. However, Flux Bead was completely composed! A* single AoE spell would not kill me, so bombard away!* When a Blazing Tree of a Thousand Inferno began to blaze under his belly, he endured through the entire ordeal and did not move a muscle in response. By the time the flames from the spell had subsided, he quietly took out a piece of bread and stuffed it into his mouth. Flux Bead began to be more and more impressed with his own performance.
“Where did that guy run off to?” Flux Bead could even hear the voices of those people as they discuss this openly.
“Could he have Stealthed away?”
“We should have discovered him if he did,” Another said.
Flux Bead received a huge tip-off from this, and he immediately updated Brave Surge, “There’s a total of eight players here, and they are able to detect Stealth.”
“How are you?”
“Still fine,” Flux Bead replied.
“Hold on, we’re coming.”
“Have you guys carefully combed through the area?” The eight men were unable to find Flux Bead, and they were all feeling uneasy.
“We’ve carpeted the area once over,” one of the Mages spoke up.
“What’s the use of doing that? Do you take yourself as Thousand Miles Drunk, able to cause people to flee the moment you toss a spell out? What are you gonna do if they hide themselves and endure through the damage?”
“Who said my name?”
Everyone had gotten the fright of their lives. The last voice actually came from another direction. Flux Bead turned his head to look and saw a Mage dressed in black robes swinging his sword grandly as he stepped into the woods. When Flux Bead turned his head to look, the Mage’s eyes had actually glanced over in the direction where he was lying prone.
Did he see me? No way, right? Flux Bead was uncertain, for he felt that he had hidden himself rather inconspicuously.
“Who’s there!?” The eight men had already came running over to where the voice had come from.
“It’s me, I seem to have heard you guys calling my name,” the Mage said as he continued to step forward…
Did he see me? Or was it just a coincidence? Did he see me? Or was it just a coincidence? These two thoughts were busy fighting with one another in Flux Bead’s mind until the Mage really ended up walking right beside him. Flux Bead was presently prone on the ground, blankly lifting his head up and saw that the Mage was currently looking down at him.
“What are you lying down there for?” This Mage was speaking to Flux Bead. Flux Bead finally confirmed that he had been discovered, and was uncertain just what he should do. The eight men had already charged right up to them and had them both surrounded. They yelled out “Who are you?” as their attacks came down upon them.
Of course, Flux Bead was more than aware that hiding any longer would be meaningless now that he was discovered. Furthermore, looking at how this Mage was dressed and hearing the words he had exchanged with their opponents, Flux Bead could already guess his identity. Even more so, he could clearly tell that this Mage was not together with the eight men. Flux Bead felt he must have stumbled into the oriole who was looking at a good show unfolding before him.
Flux Bead nimbly rolled to the side and avoided the other party as another spell was thrown. The eight players saw him roll out and exclaimed, “There’s another one.”
Just as this sentence was uttered, one of the eight was already right in front of himself and the Mage. A flash of fiery glow appeared among the trees, and the eight men were all insta-killed before they could even make heads or tails of what had happened. He’s Thousand Miles Drunk indeed! Flux Bead rolled several times out of the way as he hid in another bush, confirming Thousand Miles Drunk to be the Mage after seeing the move he just made. At the same time, he could tell that Thousand Miles Drunk was focused on fighting the enemy, and did not pay attention to where he was hiding. Just as he was enjoying himself peeping out from cover, he instead saw Thousand Miles Drunk turn his head around and stared at him in his bush, “Why are you still lying prone there?”