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137 Shoot Me

 In the first place, Xi Wei had imagined the fishmen's assault on the Frogmen Village would be no different from an apocalyptic zombie movie: hordes of fishmen crawling out of the ocean, throwing the crushing weight of their sheer numbers over the weak and helpless Players. On the other hand, the Players, driven by the generous rewards he had put in place would wage a terrible war against the fishmen, inspiring songs and tears.

After all, those Players who were stranded outside could not return as of yet. In addition to the thirty-three players who sacrificed themselves to the tsunami, just over a hundred Players out of the current two hundred could stand on the beaches to repel the fishfolk.

And yet, reality was:

"That fishman is mine. Please don't kill steal, bro-let's be reasonable, okay?"

"Shut up. You might have yours in the next wave."

"But I never got one since yesterday..."

"Oh, that's the Swordmaster class for you, I guess. Next time remember to pick a long-range class next time, got it?"

The faces of Players who had changed their class to Swordmasters were awash with tears.

Whether it was because the Ocean Eye on the Fishmen Island needed time to be opened fully or the Ocean God considered Xi Wei too much of a weakling to really care, the fishfolk simply weren't launching any major assault. Instead, they were attacking with just a few dozens in each wave.

For the Players, those fishfolk that averaged less than Level 5 were small fries in the truest sense of the word. As the Players fired off barrages of long-range attacks before they could reach land, no more than a handful would actually reach the beach.

Under that major premise, the waves of fishfolk were like the Hulu Brothers trying to save their grandfather, dying by each passing horde...[1]

That, however, made things very difficult for the Swordmaster class.

Whether they took the route of Berserker or Kengyoku, their basic attacks were all sword skills, not to mention that it was very rare for them to fire sword beams. On the other hand, while the Ranbu route would have long-range sneak attacks such as sand-kicking and brick-throwing, both of those skills are manually used with their own hands. As such, they were a completely different story compared to Mages' spells that were homes on their targets and the Rangers' arrows that correct their trajectory.

Therefore, whenever the enemy attacks, swordmasters wouldn't even get a bone to pick their teeth with and were left suffering in anguish.

Some might wonder then: if they couldn't get to the beasts, why not have PVP sessions and go for PVE only afterwards?

The reason was simple: although Swordmaster had a higher ceiling in stats that no other class could reach, the Players had clearly not grasped the gimmick within yet to become unbeatable.

And they weren't getting any trade done, much less PVP...

***

As Players who had adventured far and wide returned and the others who had fought the tsunami to death were revived, the resistance against the fishfolk's assault had become relaxed in the third day of the event. In fact, the Players were now taking turns to return to their normal daily quests.

It was also worth noting that the Players who had been awarded the title of 'The Valiant Heroes Who Fought the Ocean' basically had no stat buffs. Still, they do have a rather cool title hanging over their head as they walked around, attracting envious gazes from other Players.

Meanwhile.

"Eyeballs, eyeballs, eyeballs... Why is it always eyeballs? There isn't even a single gill, much less a spikefin!" Joey grumbled as he waded through the sea to fish out his party's spoils. "I've already been picking up eyeballs the whole morning!"

Although the Eyeballs could be exchanged for rewards, said rewards were either useless or came with side effects. Even the strengthening stone redeemable was lesser-grade, making eyeballs the most rubbish of item drops.

Be that as it may, Xi Wei had already expected such a situation. In a great gesture of compassion, he had set a trade between item drops: 5 fishman eyeballs for 1 fishman gills and 5 fishman gills for one fishman spikefin. Still, in reverse it meant that 1 spikefin drop equals to 25 eyeballs, which would have been so efficient...

"Unlucky, so unlucky." Another Player who had watched Joey as he started to fish out the items drop could not help but sigh. "Why, though? Have you been partying with someone else before this?"

"Vulcan and Zonyan led us for one clearing of the Living Dead Cellar."

"I see." The Player immediately put on a 'Hoho, you're finished' face. "No wonder this is happening to you. You're a brave one, kiddo, to party up with the Black Hand..."

"Are you joking? I'm super brave."

Joey shot back as he continued to fish out eyeballs, being not one to believe in superstition.

That was when the other Players on the beach erupted into an uproar.

"What's happening?" Joey asked, curious.

"Not sure. Maybe the boat can be exchanged now, and Players could go directly to Fishfolk Island for monster farming." The Player appeared eager too, as if he was going to gouge out the eyes of every Fishmen he could reach.

Regardless, being curious (or joining any action) was human nature. As such, Joey and the other Player got on the beach after fishing out the last eyeball and headed towards the bustling crowd to see what was actually happening.

But before they could clearly see what all the fuss was all about, Joey's eyes sharply noticed the flustered duo of Jom and Terry who were being surrounded by the crowd.

It was the first time Joey had laid eyes on them after he became a convert of the God of Games and they parted ways.

They were looking disheveled at the moment, with snowflakes sticking on their face and some blue goo spread all their body, which could well be melted snow or something else.

Joey remembered what Vulcan told him about the youths then: they had accidentally lost the chocobos they had contracted with as they led the Players in culling the Barren Giant and were being blamed by some of those Players.

Seeing that things weren't looking right, Joey ignored the fact that he was a newbie who hadn't even reached Level 10 as he squeezed his way through the crowd and

"Who are you?!" One Player asked indignantly.

"I'm their daddy!" Joey replied as if justice was on his side.

Then, he was backstabbed and tripped over by Terry and Jom from behind, both of whom looked upset.

After a good beating, Joey only realized then that the person who the Players were surrounding wasn't Terry and Jom, but the gray dwarf who was too short and was therefore completely blocked from sight.

"Uh..." Ironfelt the gray dwarf stared at the pack of Players and, remembering what he experienced, asked Jom quietly. "Are all the Players of the God of Games that crazy?"

[1] The Hulu Brothers' tale speaks of seven brothers who went one after another to save their grandfather, only to end up captured one by one and realizing after the fact that there was strength in numbers.