Chapter 71 - Endless Robbery
“Are you there?” Gu Fei asked Fleeting Smile.
“...” was Fleeting Smile’s reply.
“?” Gu Fei answered that with a question mark.
“One doesn’t visit a temple without a cause. What’s your problem this time?” Fleeting Smile asked.
“Sword Aptitude, Spell Aptitude, and Spell Mastery… I found these additional traits on my equipment. What do they do?” Gu Fei asked.
“This…” Fleeting Smile hesitated.
“You can’t say?” Gu Fei asked.
“No, it's not that. I just never expected anyone to encounter these item traits so soon,” Fleeting Smile explained.
“Tell me about them, then,” Gu Fei requested.
“You know that there’s no job-class restriction on the weapons in Parallel World. That essentially means that anyone can equip any equipment,” Fleeting Smile began.
“Mhm,” Gu Fei replied.
“But that’s not entirely accurate,” Fleeting Smile continued, “Traits on low-grade weapons don’t factor much, so we decided not to put those traits on such weapons. But it’s different for higher-grade weapons; they have something called ‘Aptitude’, which decides how eligible players are to unleash the weapons’ full potential. ‘Spell Aptitude’ and ‘Sword Aptitude’ belong to that category.”
“How’s Aptitude calculated?” Gu Fei asked.
“A character’s Aptitude depends on its stat point distribution. Each of the job classes has an innate Aptitude bonus for the different in-game weapons. For example, Mages have higher Spell Aptitude, Thieves have higher Dagger Aptitude, Archers have higher Bow Aptitude, and Warriors have high Aptitude for every weapon except for magic weapons. Of course, each weapon has different Aptitude requirement. In short, if a player’s character lacks the necessary Aptitude for a respective high-grade weapon, it will be impossible to unleash the weapon’s full potential,” Fleeting Smile mentioned a lot of details, so he inquired at the end, “Did you understand all that?”
“I see,” Gu Fei realized something. When he had used Moonlit Nightfalls to attack back then, he could feel that it did not deal the maximum damage possible. Since he had always been using his kung fu to achieve maximum damage, Gu Fei just thought that his lackluster moves resulted into reduced damage. As it turned out, it was the weapon’s Sword Aptitude requirement that had caused it. In this sense, Sword Aptitude and Spell Aptitude were not traits that strengthened him but requirements set for the equipment’s use instead.
Fleeting Smile continued explaining, “As for the relation between stat point distribution and a character’s Aptitude, it's related to the job classes. There’s no way I can explain that complex connection in one sitting. To sum all up, the players will be fine as long as they allocate stat points according to their respective job classes’ specialty. As for the other stats, they’ll just have to resolve them through other means.”
“Wait. Based on this method of calculation, even if someone has the suitable job class, he or she still needs to reach a very high level just to to be able to wield a weapon with high Aptitude requirement, right? The players’ Aptitude will never reach the Aptitude requirement of the weapons if their stats are insufficient, then!” Gu Fei surmised.
“It’s not that a player can’t wield it… but more like the weapon’s full potential can't be unleashed,” Fleeting Smile clarified.
“Isn’t that the same thing? It’s just a different form of level or stat requirement for a weapon,” Gu Fei said.
“That’s not right either. It’s more like a player’s Aptitude decides how much of a weapon’s traits he or she can tap. So a player can still wield a weapon despite not reaching its Aptitude requirement. Let’s say a sword’s Aptitude requirement is 200%, while your character’s Sword Aptitude is only at 180%. With that 20% gap, it’ll be as if the weapon only has 80% of the attack power listed on its traits window. The difference between lacking just 10% and about 20% is significant, you know? With 20% less of the required Aptitude, you can visibly feel the weapon’s reduced damage. And if your Sword Aptitude reaches 199%, you won’t even notice the damage reduction, since the damage that you can cause is almost the same as when you’ve fully reached the sword’s Aptitude requirement.”
“So how do I calculate my character’s Aptitude?” Gu Fei asked.
“That’s not something we plan to announce. We want the players to research and find that out on their own,” Fleeting Smile replied.
Gu Fei was speechless for a moment.
“Are you doing fine in Yueye City?” Honestly, it was rare for Fleeting Smile to engage in small talk with Gu Fei.
“Why would I be fine here?! The way things are in Yueye City is horrible. Players ambush me without a word even when I’m just walking down the street. Where’s the justice in that? Shouldn’t you guys be keeping an eye on all these?” Gu Fei complained.
“If we’re going to start keeping an eye on things, we’ll probably start with you first. You’re the most wanted player in the entire gaming server, and yet you can walk around freely. Where’s the justice in that? Is anyone keeping an eye on you?” Fleeting Smile countered.
Gu Fei was momentarily speechless once more. After a bit, he replied, “Still, players shouldn’t go around cutting people with no rhyme or reason!”
“You’re a fugitive, so everyone can rightfully kill you…” Fleeting Smile remarked.
“Don’t I even have the right to defend myself if others attack me?” Gu Fei already noticed the issue.
“Originally, you have. But not anymore,” Fleeting Smile pretended to hedge.
“Because you’re a fugitive; everyone can rightfully kill you…” Fleeting Smile replied matter-of-factly.
Gu Fei was speechless once again.
“Stay safe out there!”
“I protest! I’m also a player. I shouldn’t be discriminated just because of my PK value,” Gu Fei appealed loudly.
“What do you want us to do? Reward your actions for taking a player’s life eight times in a single day?” Fleeting Smile retorted.
“At least… Give me a chance to atone…” Gu Fei said helplessly.
“You can! Stay in jail to atone,” Fleeting Smile said.
“Besides jail time?”
“The only option left is to resolve your crimes through meritorious service. Accept a new ‘Bounty Mission’ and chase after people with PK value. While players will normally be rewarded with coins and experience points, you’ll be rewarded with PK value reduction. Your targets’ PK value will be the amount deducted from yours,” Fleeting Smile explained.
Gu Fei laughed, “Stopping killings with killings, are we?”
“Nope. It’s killing one another. We’re encouraging bad players like you to mutually kill one another!” Fleeting Smile clarified.
Gu Fei was utterly dumbfounded.
“Oh. You haven’t explained to me what Spell Mastery—”
“I’ve got something on. I’ll explain that to you next time. I’m logging off now,” With that, Fleeting Smile logged off.
Gu Fei’s question was left hanging in the air.
Gu Fei looked around after his conversation with Fleeting Smile. He saw a man huddling in a corner, looking pitifully like a male version of the Little Match Girl. He walked over and asked, “Hey, buddy! How do I get to the place that offers ‘Bounty Mission’?”
The person raised his head drowsily. His breath stank of alcohol as he mumbled almost unintelligibly, “Over by 4th Night Main Street.”
“Thanks a lot!” He patted the guy on his shoulder, “Just log off if you want to sleep. It’s not comfortable to slouch over here in one corner.”
“Nah, I’m waiting for someone,” the person said, “He’s a man wearing what looks like a black mage robe. He’s a little good looking, but his actions and demeanor are nothing short of despicable. Have you seen such a person?”
“I’m sorry. That man you’re speaking of, besides the last bit, sounds exactly like me!” Gu Fei said.
“Uh?!” The still sleepy guy forcefully opened his eyes. Now that he could clearly see the person whom he was talking to, he immediately sobered up with a start. Just as he was about to say something, Gu Fei brought out a sword, slashed him once with it, and pointed the tip to his chest. Gu Fei thought that simply pointing the sword’s tip to the player would not be very threatening since they were in a game, so he reduced the person’s HP first.
“The Black Hand mercenary group, right?” Gu Fei asked.
“Ah…” The person felt petrified.
“Why’re you guys looking for me?” Gu Fei pressed on.
“Rob – Robbery…” the person stammered.
“Robbery?” Gu Fei questioned, feeling perplexed.
The person did not respond. Gu Fei noticed the blank look in his eyes. He was most likely calling for reinforcement on the conversation window. Gu Fei immediately put the sword back inside his dimensional pocket and turned around to leave.
Although the person was an enemy, the information he had provided should still be true. Gu Fei left the designated log-off point. After randomly asking a player, he found the direction to 4th Night Main Street. Since the possibility of Gu Fei getting ambushed by The Black Hand mercenary group on his way there was high, Gu Fei decided to get into a secluded corner to take off Midnight Spirit Robe and put on his beginner mage robe.
The opponents had obviously used the black mage robe as the main method to identify Gu Fei. He reckoned that by changing his equipment, the opponents would have a harder time distinguishing him from others.
With that, he strutted out the street. While a beginner mage robe was a sensitive symbol to players in Yunduan City due to the ‘Masked Slayer’ incident, it was just a common sight here in Yueye City. In fact, Gu Fei noticed that a majority of players in Yueye City favored wearing beginner equipment. It was probably because of the rampant PvPs in Yueye City. The players here did not want to risk losing their equipment if they got killed.
As he was walking down the street, he suddenly received a message. He opened it and saw that it was from Brother Assist: “F*ck me. You actually reached level 31! Is there a special grinding area over there?”
“It’s not that. I just finished a chain quest. The experience points I received are quite hefty,” Gu Fei explained.
“Chain quest…” Brother Assist muttered, “Come back and tell me more about what type of quest it is.”
“Now that you’re at level 31, it'll be easier for you to hide your identity,” Brother Assist said.
“Really? Why’s that?”
“Players with lower level can’t use Appraisal on players with a higher level. Since there’re only a few level 31 players in the game right now, you don’t have to worry about the others managing to appraise your equipment or job class,” Brother Assist explained in detail.
“So that’s how it works,” Gu Fei’s eyes shone brightly, “That’s great, then!”
“Yup. If not for the fact that you’re the highly sought after Fugitive 27149, you’d have no problem swaggering down to the Bounty Assignment Hall and obtaining a ‘Bounty Mission’.”
Gu Fei laughed, “I may be Fugitive 27149 in Yunduan City, but over here I’m a nobody. Actually, I’m just about to head over to the Bounty Assignment Hall to obtain a ‘Bounty Mission’.”
“Where’re you?” Brother Assist asked, curious.
“Yueye City. The players will arrive at this new city once they cross over the Oolong Mountain Range,” Gu Fei said.
“I see. How’re things over there?” Brother Assist asked.
“Extremely chaotic. The streets are filled with fights and even robbery—f*ck! I’m being robbed right now! I’ll talk to you later—” Gu Fei abruptly ended their conversation.
“...” Brother Assist was left alone on the conversation window.
“Who’re you?” Gu Fei stared at the person before him.
“My name’s Coward’s Savior! I want to clarify to all that I’m not a coward!” the person thundered.
Yet another drunkard! Gu Fei sighed in his heart. “Come at me, then!” Gu Fei said, as he took out his Sacred Flames of Baptism. He decided not to use Moonlit Nightfalls for now to prevent The Black Hand mercenary group from recognizing him. He did not know, however, that the person before him was originally a member of that very same mercenary group.
Coward’s Savior assumed a fighting stance bare-handedly. Gu Fei felt stunned when he saw this. The stance was....
“Mantis Fist Style?!”