Chapter 318 - The Implications of Dying
The Thief Dusky Cloud was waiting by the Knights’ Barracks in Stealth mode. He wanted to be the first one to begin the process of killing Silver Moon. Just as he received the message, white light flashed and a Knight in gaudy armor appeared inside this spawn point. Who else could the man be but Silver Moon?
Silver Moon did not know what to think right now, but his actions and expression did not betray him losing his cool. The instant he respawned inside the Knights’ Barracks, he started observing his surroundings very closely. Dusky Cloud felt vexed when he saw how Silver Moon was behaving. The target was in such proximity with him, yet it was hardly that easy to kill Silver Moon, much less wipe him down to level 10. This was going to be a protracted fight that would expend so much manpower and effort. Dusky Cloud suddenly regretted his actions. Was it worth disrupting so many players’ gaming lives just to torment this person like so?
At the same time, back in the jungle, Gu Fei was gawking at Svelte Dancer, “Why are you here, too?”
Gu Fei had also used the same method Silver Moon had employed to get behind the tree, except Silver Moon made his move when the battalion had reached that copse of trees, while Gu Fei came in from outside beyond the copse. Unbeknown to Silver Moon, his most feared reaper of death, Gu Fei, was actually only separated to him by just one tree. By the time Sword Demon’s Bludgeon struck Silver Moon in the back of his head, Gu Fei had teleported himself right behind Silver Moon using Blink and ruthlessly stabbed him. At the same time, another person plunged a blade into Silver Moon, and that person was none other than Svelte Dancer.
“I’m the only one who has movement speed that can keep up with everyone even while in Stealth,” Svelte Dancer replied.
“So you’ve been keeping an eye on Silver Moon this whole time?” Gu Fei asked.
Sword Demon shrugged his shoulders helplessly. “I’ve got no choice. I just don’t have the movement speed.”
Silver Moon had sneakily left the main body by pretending to gather herbs from this tree, not knowing that a Rogue in Stealth was actually standing beside him and watching his every move all this while. Oathless Sword could also be credited for making this happen. The slower pace he set for the entire expedition for Gu Xiaoshang to catch up to them actually allowed Svelte Dancer in Stealth to close in on Silver Moon.
The three left the copse and quickly joined the battalion. The other men of Young Master's Elite that were hanging around the back of the pack naturally received the news about the successful assassination of Silver Moon. Svelte Dancer reached her hand out to Young Master Han. “Pay up!”
Young Master Han actually dismissively waved her off. “I have yet to get paid myself. I’ll pass your share to you once we reach Linyin City.”
Svelte Dancer did not badger him any further and merely left to find the Amethyst Rebirth ladies. Young Master Han announced to Gu Fei and Sword Demon, “Silver Moon has been sent back to the Knights’ Barracks in Baishi City, and Dusky Cloud already caught sight of him. That concludes our current mission. Everyone may now applaud.”
The others rolled their eyes.
“Record our contribution points,” Young Master Han told Sword Demon.
Sword Demon took out the booklet he was using to record Young Master’s Elite’s contribution points and awarded everyone points accordingly. Royal God Call and War Without Wounds were rather disgruntled, as neither of them had active participation in this mission, only acquiring some sympathy points for their presence. As Gu Fei watched Sword Demon record the points, he asked Young Master Han, “It makes sense for Royal and Wounds to only get 10 points each, but why are you the one receiving the highest points when it was Sword Demon and I who have performed the mission? 30 points for ‘orchestration’? What did you orchestrate?”
“Did you really think we were merely waiting for Silver Moon to leave the battalion to strike?” Young Master Han asked sarcastically.
“Wasn’t that what happened?”
“Don’t you think Silver Moon needed a reason to leave first?”
“Are you saying you caused Silver Moon to leave? Didn’t he leave because he’s afraid of those Thieves in Stealth being after him?” Gu Fei asked.
“And you have a hand in that?”
“I hired those men,” Young Master Han stated.
Gu Fei was stunned. He turned to look at the other four and saw that each of them seemed to be aware of this particular information as they gazed at him sympathetically.
“Why didn’t I know this?” Gu Fei asked.
Young Master Han did not bother to answer him; instead, it was Brother Assist who patted Gu Fei. “Everyone already discussed all this early in the morning; you just happened to be offline.” With that, he turned to Sword Demon. “Should we deduct 5 or 10 points from Miles for his failure to turn up for the meeting?”
“Logically speaking, yes. But he wasn’t online, so…” Sword Demon was hesitant.
“No excuses. Deduct 10 points,” Young Master Han declared.
“Indeed, deduct 10 points off of him,” War Without Wounds and Royal God Call immediately voiced their agreement.
Whether his attendance mattered when he was online or otherwise was a similar argument as an offside call on the soccer field1. Seeing the majority in favor of it and Gu Fei himself not really minding it either way, Sword Demon went ahead and deducted 10 points off of him.
Gu Fei was still pondering on this so-called ‘orchestration’. “Since you’re the one who hired those men, why didn’t you say a word when I set out to stop them? What would you’ve done if I had killed them all?”
“Didn’t I tell you to go easy on them if they’re after Silver Moon before you left?” Young Master Han asked.
“How would I know if they’re after Silver Moon or not?”
“You ask them, of course!”
“I did, but they didn’t say a peep. Someone wanted to reveal it, but his comrades actually killed him before he could,” Gu Fei said.
Young Master Han was surprised by this revelation, painfully bemoaning to the others after a moment, “How unfortunate! A true tragedy! Look at how professional that mercenary group is and look at yourselves. Each of you claims to be an expert, yet each of you will easily betray your comrades just for a little benefit; the treachery and lack of honor… Don’t you guys feel the least bit ashamed of yourselves?”
“You’re insane.” Everyone scoffed at Young Master Han.
In the end, it was still Brother Assist who patiently explained the entirety of their plan to Gu Fei. Since Silver Moon was aware that Dusky Cloud’s team and another group were after him, he was sure to be paranoid as he journeyed on. Thus, Young Master Han randomly hired a mercenary group in Baishi City to send some Thieves to tail the battalion of men from Yunduan City.
Young Master Han had intended to use Gu Fei’s well-known ability to counter Stealth to inform Youthful Reflection about the men secretly following them and sow suspicion in Silver Moon, but Traversing Four Seas had ended up discovering the men first.
Against their hidden stalkers that no one could detect, Young Master Han was confident that Traversing Four Seas would seek Gu Fei’s help. However, they were apparently holding such deep resentment toward their dependence on Gu Fei time and time again. Instead of seeking the help of Gu Fei who was proven to have a counter for Stealth, they sought the aid of Sakurazaka Moony’s team of trappers. In any case, Young Master Han had also prepared for such an eventuality. He only had to inform the men he had hired about the traps and those Hunters would fail to ambush them no matter how hard they tried, leaving Oathless Sword no other options but to look for Gu Fei.
In the end, everything had gone even smoother than what he had planned; Sakurazaka Moony faked having a stomach ache once he caught sight of Silver Moon, which allowed Gu Fei to pick up the reins. The other players whom Oathless Sword trusted accompanying Gu Fei fitted Young Master Han’s intentions perfectly as well.
Instead, the unexpected high level of professionalism of the mercenary group Young Master Han had hired was what almost ruined his plan. With those players keeping their mouth shut, they would naturally be beaten to death by Gu Fei and would subsequently result into Silver Moon not running away. It might even have the opposite effect and give Silver Moon a sense of security, instead.
Fortunately, everything went back on track in accordance to Young Master Han’s plan. With those stalkers clearly escaping with their lives intact, Silver Moon’s suspicions only grew to the point where he no longer wished to risk staying within the safety of the crowd. Opting to abandon his underlings once more, he ran off into the sunset.
As such, Young Master’s Elite had managed to achieve the two conditions necessary for Silver Moon to act. Silver Moon abandoned his men once more and was sent into the snapping maws of Dusky Cloud alone, essentially making it impossible for him to garner any external aid for his escape. In such a situation, Silver Moon would have no way of escaping with his men even if he wished to, as his men were no longer with him. Using those three Guardians assigned to protect Todd as examples; they were quite possibly the most important three players that upheld the guild quest of Traversing Four Seas, so the guild would simply not allow the three to leave.
Of course, Young Master's Elite would have to take care of Silver Moon in secret, so they made sure to keep Silver Moon in the dark about their involvement. This was a MMO, after all; there was no way to silence anyone with death alone. Despite his death, Silver Moon would still be able to tattle to Traversing Four Seas about Young Master's Elite’s role in his demise. Therefore, the men of Young Master’s Elite were very careful to not leave any evidence behind for Silver Moon to use as leverage. With how serious this quest was for Traversing Four Seas, using a feeble excuse of Gu Fei killing off Silver Moon because of the latter ‘stepping on his foot’ would not float well with Oathless Sword and the rest.
Thus, Silver Moon’s assassination was smoothly carried out, with implications to boot. His killers could not be incriminated for their actions, while Silver Moon himself had no way of receiving any help at all. He might even have difficulties getting Traversing Four Seas to help him because he would then have to explain why he chose to sneak off like he did. Unpacking this can of worms might clue the guild’s core members in on his intention to borrow their strength to fend off the four-thousand-strong Ten Guild Alliance and his plan to use the ensuing confusion to escape from their clutches.
All that was left now was the contest of patience between Dusky Cloud and Silver Moon, which was already something outside of Young Master Han’s considerations.
As the mercenaries continued their way with the rest of the battalion, they incessantly sent messages of encouragement to Dusky Cloud. “Looking forward to hear ‘good news’ about your killing….”
Eventually, at 10:37 P.M., almost an hour after Silver Moon’s first death that had sent him over to the Knights’ Barracks in Baishi City, Dusky Cloud sent them a glum reply: “That b*st*rd has actually been squatting in the spawn point for over an hour now. That m*th*rf*ck*r, that asshole, surely knows that we are looking to block him within, so he’s looking to waste our time with this.”
“You’ve got numbers on your side; what’s there to be afraid of?! Grind his time out slowly! Good luck!” Young Master's Elite sent forth these words of encouragement to them.
At this time, the continued advancement of the battalion from Yunduan City had come to a halt. What they saw before them was a jungle that spread as far as the eyes could see. Oathless Sword took out the map the system had given them for the quest and pored over it before finally announcing, “Linyin City is somewhere inside this jungle.”
“Are you sure? Why has the road ended, then?” Everyone was puzzled by this.
“Logically speaking, there should be one! I’ve never heard that the road will end abruptly like this!” When Oathless Sword and his men arrived at Baishi City, they already learned that the next leg of their journey would be to Linyin City. Naturally, they also took the time to find out more information about the said city. While they knew that this particular city was situated within a jungle, they were not aware that the road leading into Linyin City would not be there.
“Do you remember the Oolong Mountain Range?” Youthful Reflection asked.
“What about it?”
“There were no crevasses over that mountain pass originally, but because of our guild quest, much of that road got eroded away.”
“So what you mean to say is that there was a proper road here before, but it has temporarily disappeared thanks to our quest?”
“F*ck! The system really loves creating these problems to waste our time. Everyone, enter the jungle. I doubt we’d lose our way since we have the d*mn coordinates for the city, anyway,” Oathless Sword ordered.
The truth was they had no choice but to enter the jungle. If they did not find Linyin City, would they not have to spend over three hours making their way back to Baishi City just to log out? 5 Best Chinese Romance Books of 2018 So Far