Chapter 8 - Sitting and Waiting
At this moment, Sword Demon’s state of mind completely differed from Gu Fei’s. The three strikes earlier left him breaking out in a cold sweat, especially with the last attack. He had covered himself purely out of reflex, which was why he somehow managed to block the blow.
The opponent was a Mage while he was a Thief. He should have been the one thinking of methods to approach the opponent, while Gu Fei should have been doing everything he could to maintain a distance and employ ranged skills to attack.
But now, it was actually the Mage who engaged the Thief with a dagger, with an end result of the Thief keeping his distance after receiving three attacks. No matter how experienced Sword Demon was, it was impossible for him to expect that he would come across a situation like this. He initially focused on the Mage’s beginner spell, Fireball. Despite its low level, the damage it could cause if it landed was as substantial as a few strikes of his weapon. But in the end, Gu Fei did not even use magic and attacked with a dagger instead. This situation was far too absurd!
With both sides in a deadlock, neither of them dared to make the next move so easily.
Sword Demon quickly calculated his battle plan. Without a viable long-range attack skill, he needed to be in melee range if he intended to take down his opponent. But just the thought of closing in on Gu Fei had him in cold sweats.
“Fireball...” Gu Fei suddenly turned toward the crowd to speak, but a ball of fire quickly lit up before him.
Oh, no. He was so consumed by fear after witnessing Gu Fei’s melee capabilities, Sword Demon had forgotten that he was ultimately a Mage. As soon as he saw the ball of fire form, Sword Demon began to move in a serpentine motion. He had seen the Fireball spell in-game before. After firing, the ball of fire would only track the target within a small area for a brief period of time. The spell could be easily dodged as long as the target ran out of the range or avoided being hit.
Sword Demon zigzagged about crazily, waiting for Gu Fei to say the word “fire”. Unexpectedly, Gu Fei became momentarily stunned as he stared at the fireball in front of him. He muttered, “Not you. I was calling for that person Fireball.”
Pssshhhh. The first fireball was extinguished, but a second fireball was immediately lit. Sword Demon’s movement became even more erratic now. Gu Fei stood there with a fireball that was still not unleashed, completely at a loss. Eventually, the ball of fire fizzled out.
Sword Demon had to take precautions from afar against the Fireball spell, while he could not prevail in close combat either. How could he fight at this rate? He was helpless; the situation was unchangeable. He had thought that Gu Fei repeatedly ignited a fireball to limit his movements, so Sword Demon also used his class-exclusive skill before Gu Fei had the chance to rekindle his third fireball. Sword Demon’s body began to fade and blur like mist, before disappearing before everyone’s eyes.
"Stealth!" someone in the crowd shouted out.
It was obvious that Stealth was a trump card of the Thief job class, so it was hardly surprising. The real reason behind everyone’s shock was that the skill could only be learned upon reaching level 24. While they knew that Sword Demon’s level surpassed their own, no one had expected it to be so high. Everyone expected nothing less from a first-rate gamer in the world of online gaming. Even those who had become worried after witnessing Gu Fei’s three strikes began to feel more reassured.
Levels were the clearest indicator of strength in MMORPGs. With the stark disparity between level 24 and level 10, resistance was futile!
Sword Demon completely disappeared from everyone’s eyes. He hid somewhere on the field as he paid attention to Gu Fei’s movements.
Sword Demon did not activate Stealth immediately when the fight began because of the Mage’s level 6 spell, Ring of Fire.
A Thief would immediately be revealed if he attempted an attack or was hit by an attack when under Stealth. Although the damage from Ring of Fire was negligible, its area of effect extended a little bit further than a melee range. Thus, it was impossible for a Thief to approach a Mage silently when Ring of Fire was still active.
Of course, Ring of Fire had a weakness as well. It would only last for a certain amount of time after being casted and it was also limited by a cool-down time. The difference between the two times made it impossible for a Mage to ensure that his body was constantly cloaked in Ring of Fire. This difference in time was a good opportunity for a Thief to make a melee assault after approaching the opponent.
Sword Demon had extrapolated two possibilities for this fight based on his experiences. Beginner Mages would usually begin PvP by casting Ring of Fire, or they would have no clue that he was in possession of a Thief skill only obtainable at level 24. Therefore, he originally planned to approach Gu Fei and deal a fatal blow after Gu Fei’s Ring of Fire had expired.
But now, it seemed that both the possibilities he came up with were wrong. Neither did Gu Fei use Ring of Fire nor was he surprised at Sword Demon’s activation of Stealth. In addition, this Mage's melee ability was far scarier than his, something he would not have thought possible had he not experienced it himself.
Forced into such a disadvantageous situation, Sword Demon could only activate his Stealth skill first. He believed that Gu Fei would immediately cast his Ring of Fire in response to his use of Stealth, and since his skill lasted three seconds longer than Ring of Fire, he was certain that he could use that time to finish the opponent as long as he stayed slightly outside the area of effect. There was the possibility that the Ring of Fire spell had been leveled up, allowing it to last longer than his Stealth, but this was basically impossible for a level 10 Mage with neither the time nor funds.
Using profound knowledge of the game and accurate deductions to formulate the best battle strategy – this was the style Sword Demon had adopted for MMORPGs. He was not one to completely underestimate an opponent, even if he was merely a level 10 Mage.
Unfortunately, he had made an error in his judgment once again.
Gu Fei had not casted his Ring of Fire spell, nor did he move about in an attempt to evade the unseen foe. He simply remained standing still.
Has he yet to learn Ring of Fire? Or is he really the noobiest of all noobs? Suspicion filled Sword Demon’s heart, but this was an opportunity that could not be missed. He rapidly closed in on Gu Fei, as he tried to predict the possible choices Gu Fei might make.
Gu Fei did not move even a single muscle. Sword Demon even suspected that Gu Fei might not even be aware of the impending crisis unless he stood right in front of him and breathed.
Sword Demon came up behind him in an instant, yet Gu Fei still showed no reaction. Sword Demon readied the strongest Thief skill he currently possessed without further thought just before his Stealth state came to an end; it was the level 18 Thief skill, Backstab.
Just like its namesake, this skill could only be used from behind. Under normal circumstances, it would deal 40 damage + 200% attack. Although the people’s gasps around them would alert Gu Fei of the cancellation of his Stealth skill in the instance he used the attack, Sword Demon’s dagger would have pierced his heart by then. An instant death was the only possible outcome for a Mage receiving Backstab from a Thief fifteen levels higher.
No one in the crowd understood what was happening, nor did anyone know that Sword Demon had already arrived behind Gu Fei.
At precisely this moment, Gu Fei abruptly turned around and extended his left hand swiftly. Everyone could not help but gasp in confusion. Sword Demon slowly appeared from the region of blank space. His right hand was outstretched with his dagger clasped tightly, but Gu Fei’s left hand held his wrist firmly.
This scene was frozen in everyone’s mind even as the battle erupted.
Gu Fei promptly twisted his left hand and applied pressure to Sword Demon’s wrist. The spike of pain temporarily sapped the strength of Sword Demon’s fingers, forcing him to let go of his dagger as it fell to the ground. Gu Fei took this chance to scoop out with his right hand, dropping his carving knife and catching the falling dagger instead. Together with his left hand, he brought Sword Demon’s right arm against his back. Gu Fei lifted his left arm and stepped behind Sword Demon, placing the dagger close to his neck.
The series of moves Gu Fei executed displayed the full extent of his adroitness. Sword Demon had been completely subdued by the time everyone recovered from shock.
No one knew if it was threatening to have a blade pressed against the neck in this game. Regardless, everyone could easily determine the winner of this battle.
“Wow! Amazing!” Fireball exclaimed in admiration. Fear and anxiety had gripped his heart when he realized he would be the next target if Gu Fei was defeated, yet the outcome that unfolded before his eyes was both beautiful and spectacular. He rushed out from the crowd, incessantly clapping his hands in congratulation. Patting Sword Demon on the back, he said, “Aren’t you level 24? How does it feel to be so thoroughly beaten by a level 10 Mage? Ha ha ha!” Fireball’s satisfaction made it seem like he was the one who had beaten Sword Demon.
Sword Demon’s face darkened. He had lost very convincingly. He was defeated despite being given the chance to perform a stealthy Backstab, so how could he still express discontent? Those were all the tricks a level 25 Thief like him could pull. Just who was this person? None of the techniques he used seemed to originate from any skills in the game!
Just because the match had a clear result did not mean that Sword Demon was happy about it. He felt a mixed bag of emotions at this moment. He had doubts toward Gu Fei’s skills but also felt the pain of his mediocrity. To think he was a top expert in the world of online games, yet here he had just lost pitifully to a Mage who was fifteen levels below him. Had he really become a thing of the past now?
Gu Fei suddenly released him as he was thinking about this. Sword Demon turned and took a few steps back. He looked at Gu Fei and asked, "What's your name?"
“Thousand Miles Drunk,” Gu Fei replied.
“Excellent. I’ll be back!” said Sword Demon.
Gu Fei nodded with a slight smile. Sword Demon turned to leave, but Gu Fei suddenly called out, “Wait, your dagger.” He then tossed it toward Sword Demon.
Sword Demon caught it while feeling stunned. This dagger was called Frost Memories. Aside from its attack, it also boosted Agility by 25 points, possessed a 30% probability of dealing a Fatal Blow, and another 10% chance of inflicting Tier 3 freezing damage. Sword Demon obtained it serendipitously after killing a boss mob of unknown level while grinding monsters in a forest. There was not a single weapon on the official website that had stats which surpassed it. Half of his remorse and disappointment of the loss came from the fact that this weapon had fallen into Gu Fei’s possession.
Sword Demon could not believe Gu Fei would return it back to him at this moment. He held the weapon tightly in his hand. A huge amount of pay-to-win players had flooded MMORPGs nowadays. Weapons at such a grade could easily fetch a price equal to a few months of an average salaryman’s wage. Was he clueless? Just what was going on?
He could not understand, nor did he know what to say. He could only nod and thank Gu Fei before leaving.