Chapter 7 - The Dagger-Wielding Mage
Sword Demon had a glorious reputation back in Magic Domain. The Heaven-Defying Guild he had single-handedly founded was something many players flocked toward, wracking their heads to find a way in. When he had announced that he wanted to switch to Parallel World, everyone fervently answered that they would follow him and rebuild the guild only if he remained as their leader.
But who would have thought that everyone would retain their real appearance in the virtual reality game? The contrast between Sword Demon’s overly plain appearance and his handsome player character in Magic Domain was just too shocking; the contrast was so great that a majority of the guild members refused to accept it. A large portion of them quickly expressed their desire to go solo. The female players who used to flock around him never appeared again after catching a glimpse of him from afar. In the end, only about fifty people out of the close to a thousand original guild members were willing to follow him.
Sword Demon was bitterly disappointed by the ugliness of human nature. However, as a top-class, once-glorious gamer, he was still someone who possessed abilities. Sword Demon had no intention of giving up. Deep down, he had firmly made up his mind to relive his former glory in Parallel World and let the name 'Heaven-Defying Guild' resound throughout the game.
Making himself stronger was obviously the first step toward achieving these goals. However, Sword Demon felt that he was at a disadvantage from the first day of beta testing. The term 'control' had lost its advantage in this highly simulated environment. In addition, his hands could only be regarded as godly if he was using a mouse and keyboard to play a game, but now they were basically useless. As a top gamer, he knew that he could only overcome this huge disadvantage by thoroughly researching the VR game’s mechanics. Fortunately for him, the game underwent a major overhaul just after half a day of beta testing. This provided him another opportunity to familiarize himself with the game’s mechanism. For this purpose, he dedicated an entire month researching and studying every piece of information he could get his hands on about the game. He even practiced and memorized some fighting stances in real life to prepare for his clashes with the in-game characters. Hence, Sword Demon was brimming with confidence when he re-entered the game today.
In actual fact, he had already reached level 25 in less than a day. No ordinary person could ever fathom just how much hard work went into all that. Gaming, for him, was not just about playing for fun.
The best time to create a gap between levels was at the beginning of a game. Sword Demon would never miss such an opportunity. He did not waste his time by bringing his followers around as he had far exceeded their levels, so he was not among the people in the map outside the city. Only when Gu Fei had left with Fireball after knocking down the three guild members with a single sweep of his leg did Sword Demon’s followers return to their senses and report back to him.
However, Sword Demon was very puzzled about the content of the report. He had thoroughly familiarized himself with all the skills for every level and job class in Parallel World. If he had to take a guess, Gu Fei’s kick closely resembled the Swallow Counter skill of a Fighter. Such an advanced skill could only be obtained when one reached level 54; how was it possible for someone to know that skill right now? His followers had yet to reach level 10 as well, so how could an offensive skill be executed on them who were still under the PvP protection?
As a result, Sword Demon hastily returned from his previous map and traveled in the direction where the two had gone off to along with the rest of the guild. Sword Demon did not seek revenge over a minor matter like kill-stealing a low-level monster. He only wanted to know how Gu Fei had managed to accomplish such a feat.
Unfortunately, Fireball’s few words struck Sword Demon right in his sore spot. The easiest way to aggravate Sword Demon was to mention his poor looks, and Fireball had skillfully done just that. Sword Demon glared angrily at Fireball before asking Gu Fei, “What’s your level now?”
“10,” Gu Fei replied.
“Great!” Sword Demon nodded, “You two, up against me. How does that sound?”
“Sh*t man, I’m only level 1! Level 1! What’s your level, anyway?” Fireball fired back indignantly.
Gu Fei added, “Yeah, he’s only level 1. He can’t engage in PvP.”
Sword Demon smirked after hearing their words. He had no intention of fighting the two from the start. He had just issued the challenge so that the two would feel repentant. However, he did not expect Gu Fei to follow up his statement with, “So just myself will be enough.”
Sword Demon’s eyes widened, not quite believing what he had just heard, “What did you just say?”
“What? You wanted to PvP, right?” Gu Fei asked instead.
Sword Demon could no longer retract his earlier challenge after hearing Gu Fei’s question. Obviously, not wanting to fight was not because he was afraid; he just felt that it’s not worth it. Sword Demon considered his debut battle in Parallel World as too important to be wasted on a mere level 10 Mage.
But Sword Demon couldn’t think of any good excuse to back down from a challenge he had proposed himself, so he could only swallow his regret and proceed with the fight, “Very well.” As Sword Demon scanned his surroundings, he spotted a wide, empty field next to the pond at the bottom of the hill. He pointed to it and asked, “How about we fight over there?” It was his first PvP in Parallel World after all; a wide space was just right for him to fully display his in-game skills.
Gu Fei was fine either way. He just nodded and headed toward the area.
Fireball swiftly followed behind and urgently whispered to Gu Fei, “Are you out of your mind? You’ve agreed to PvP without even knowing his level?”
“Nothing’s wrong with that. A fight is a fight,” Gu Fei laughed carelessly.
Gu Fei and Sword Demon faced off each other on the empty field by the pond. Sword Demon’s followers stood right behind him and they were all feeling very nervous. They all had faith in Sword Demon, which was why they continued to stick to him in the game. Could Sword Demon remain as glorious as before? The current battle might have had the answer to their question.
Standing behind Gu Fei, Fireball was lost in his thoughts. He carefully inspected every part of the pond and estimated its depth; he tried to find a corner where he could help himself out if he was ever thrown in. He felt that Gu Fei had no hope of winning the fight. Just who exactly was Gu Fei up against? It was that Sword Demon, a top gamer in the online gaming world. There was never an online game that he had set foot on where he had not emerged victorious. Magic Domain? That was just one of the highlights in his gaming career.
“Let’s begin!” Gu Fei said as he lifted his mage robe. He pulled a dagger out.
A dagger? Sword Demon was dumbfounded. This person was clearly a Mage!
A few skills in-game were unrestricted and available for all. They could be learned after reaching the appropriate level and paying up regardless of the job class. Appraisal was one of those skills. This skill was not only for appraising equipment – the job classes and levels of monsters and players could be appraised as well.
Rich in gaming experience, Sword Demon learned the skill as soon as possible. He had already appraised Gu Fei and Fireball as soon as he came across them. The two were definitely Mages, one at level 10 and the other at level 1. Sword Demon’s proficiency level over the skill was still not high enough, so he could not appraise their equipment. Therefore, he was quite taken aback when Gu Fei pulled a dagger out.
Just a noob, I see, Sword Demon shook his head, feeling rather disappointed. His first ever battle would actually be against a dagger-wielding Mage. There was nothing monumental about this fight at all.
Sword Demon casually pulled out a weapon from his waist as well – it was also a dagger! Sword Demon’s job class was a Thief, an actual dagger-wielding expert.
“After you!” Sword Demon felt that it would be dishonorable of him if he attempted a first strike against a low-level opponent.
“Please!” Gu Fei held onto his dagger with a reverse-grip and clasped his fist. He bowed toward Sword Demon. Sword Demon was momentarily stunned by Gu Fei’s gesture. By the time he recovered from his hesitation, Gu Fei had already shot forward and stabbed out.
So fast! Sword Demon was in shock. With his decent understanding of the game, Sword Demon could tell that Gu Fei had allocated all his stat points to Agility. Mage and Agility – recalling back to his previous online gaming experiences, there had been many instances where Mages focused solely on Agility. However, these players with high dodge rates or even absolute dodge rates required the support of extremely high level and extraordinary equipment. It could be said that the results would only be apparent in the later stages of the game.
Also, players would only attempt stat point distributions like that only after the gaming algorithms had been fully understood. Parallel World was a new game, so everything was still being explored. Players were restricted to one account in the game as well, so deleting and starting all over again was impossible if the character was ruined from incorrect stat point distributions or from other reasons. As a result, Sword Demon had only allocated ten levels’ worth of stat points even though he was already level 25. He could not risk distributing his other stat points before he identified a correct path of stat point allocation.
The agile Mage before him was an extremely reckless existence in Sword Demon’s eyes.
Before his thrust was fully executed, Gu Fei saw Sword Demon move so he turned his hand and pursued. Gu Fei’s reaction speed was unexpectedly fast.
However, Sword Demon's reflexes were not just for show either, considering how he had honed his fingers to a godly speed. He ducked down deftly and dodged the sweeping hand as well. However, he had never thought that Gu Fei’s assault was still incomplete. Gu Fei followed through with the missed swing and twisted around, facing Sword Demon with his back. Gu Fei unleashed another jab by thrusting from under his armpit.
Sword Demon was still in a half-crouching position after dodging the dagger earlier. The dagger headed directly for Sword Demon’s head as Gu Fei stabbed out. Without any more time to dodge, Sword Demon was reduced to any other person, instinctively holding his hands up to cover his face as if he was taking a beating. In the end, his dagger just happened to clash with Gu Fei’s thrust. With a clank, Sword Demon borrowed the force to retreat by a few steps, pulling away from Gu Fei.
Both their hearts churned.
Gu Fei did not anticipate that his opponent would be capable of dodging all three attacks from him. These three attacks were not just any old moves from him.
Taisui – Liaowei – Yecha.
These were a set of dagger moves honed and refined by Gu Fei through his painstaking practice. Each of them was equally lethal. Of course, this was only made possible due to the game. Gu Fei would not execute these three moves so easily in reality. A little carelessness on his part could cost a life.
Gu Fei thought his assaults were flawless at first so he did not expect them to actually fail. The person in front of him had never learned martial arts before, but it was evident that he had rather fast reactions. Aside from that, he was also someone who focused on allocating his stat points to Agility. This was a very important aspect. Furthermore, due to the special traits of his job class, he was undoubtedly superior when it came to speed. Gu Fei realized another problem because of him – only a kung fu practitioner like him was capable of such great speed in real life, but everyone could possess the same speed, if not faster, in this game as long as the stat points were allocated accordingly.
Never would he have thought that he would be able to come across something impossible in real life within this game. Gu Fei was utterly delighted by this.