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Chapter 171 - A Rare Commodity Presides Within

 Chapter 171 - A Rare Commodity Presides Within

The beauty stood on one spot as Brave Surge pulled Foe-herder to the side.

"That woman has been here all along, so she knows our intention. We can't let her lead us on," Brave Surge said, adding, "Since we're here together, we should not compete for this and instead split the price to buy this information from her."

Foe-herder nodded his head, "That's a good idea. It spares one of us from not knowing this way, as well as from getting hustled."

"Worse is if she sells this information to one and sells it again to another; that just means everyone gets hustled," Brave Surge added.

"That makes a lot of sense," Foe-herder agreed.

"So we must work together right now," Brave Surge said earnestly.

"We should, indeed."

After discussing the matter, the two headed back to the beauty's side.

The beauty gave them a faint smile, "How did the discussion between the two big bosses go?"

"State your price!" Since they were no longer fighting over the remuneration, it was naturally better to let the seller state her price. It was a very safe method in negotiations.

"Oh? I want to hear the price you guys have set for your remuneration first!" the beauty said instead.

The two looked at each other first before saying, "Darling, don't waste our time. Everyone here knows what's going on so we won't be bidding for it. Just tell us your price and we'll buy it together."

The beauty helplessly sighed, "If that's the case, the price will be 1000 gold coins!"

"D*mn, girl! You're quite vicious!" the two exclaimed, dumbfounded.

Although many people had joined Parallel World after its official release and invigorated the market by causing the prices of goods to increase as well as the amount of gold coins being spent, the surge had only been for a few months and the market had since settled back down. Thus, 1000 gold coins was still not a small amount.

Using the current market price for in-game equipment, weapons with skills, especially the ones with unique skills, were priced the highest. This type of weapons could be considered to be of the highest tier among top-grade items. Even if the additional traits on the items were bad, no one would consider them as trash. These items were usually at purple tier with a few that were at gold tier. It was just impossible for blue-tier items to have unique skills. This sort of equipment had no market value to speak of, so it could only be transacted based on the buyer and the seller's agreed upon price. Out of all the officially released transactions to date, 5000 gold coins was the highest price that a buyer and a seller had agreed on. It was unknown, though, if private deals with even higher prices had occurred among players.

Below this equipment with skills would be equipment without skills in the order of purple, gold, blue, and white tiers. The difference between the four tiers lay in the traits that the weapons had. White-tier weapons had no additional traits, blue-tier weapons had two traits, gold-tier weapons had three or four traits, and purple tier had five or more traits. The price would be determined by what traits these items had and the value of each trait. Most items cost hundreds, while the rarely seen and thus termed as top-grade equipment cost thousands.

As for the rumored green-tier equipment that came in a set, it might be as good as a myth. Green-tier equipment had yet to be sighted on the current market, so it naturally had no market price as well.

According to the information that the officials had leaked thus far, the advantage of green-tier equipment lay in the hidden traits that it had once the set entire was collected. Individually, green-tier equipment was no better than blue-tier or gold-tier equipment and could not even compare to the purple-tier equipment.

Hearing that this beauty's opening price was the price for top-grade equipment, the two guild leaders immediately thought that she was insane.

The two had every intention of expanding their respective guilds' influence and might, so they were of course willing to pay thousands of gold coins, provided that the Mage was guaranteed to join their guild. With just his IGN, neither of them felt that the price the lady had quoted them was worth it.

The beauty smiled, "Is it too pricey? Then, I guess we can forget about it!"

"Yeah, we'll forget about it. It's better off just putting out those posters," Brave Surge politely declined, tugging Foe-herder along with him.

Foe-herder was a bit reluctant to let go of this source of information, so he used his job class as a Warrior to resist Brave Surge's pull. Brave Surge threw him a backward glance before hurriedly sending him a message: "Don't be hasty. I'm sure she'll call us back. It's only a name. How is she going to earn anything from that if we pass on this offer?"

These two men did not waste a whole night together for naught and, at the very least, had added each other on their friends list.

Foe-herder saw the logic in Brave Surge's thinking, so he quickly followed Brave Surge outside of the tavern.

"Are we leaving, guild leader?" Foe-herder's men were still on the table, chasing after them once they saw the two guild leaders leaving the premise.

"Let's go! We'll sticking to our plan of making posters!" Foe-herder cried out intentionally.

"Okay!" the men answered as they began to follow the two men outside.

"Still not calling us back?" Foe-herder became quite anxious now that they were almost out of the double doors.

Guess we can't turn back, either. F*cking hell. 1000 gold coins. If you're gonna spend that much, go do it yourself. I would rather stick to the posters. I refuse to believe that she's the only one who knows this Mage in Yunduan City, Brave Surge comforted himself.

The two men really ended up leaving the tavern as the beauty quietly watched them.

"Oh, well. Guess we really gotta put up those posters now," Foe-herder sighed.

Brave Surge shrugged to show his helplessness. Just as Foe-herder was about to speak further, he saw two members of Carouse walk past him. Calling for Brave Surge's attention, they proceeded to tear two pages off the notepads that they were carrying and pasted them on the wall outside the tavern.

"F*ck, you're really wily. Your boys have already started posting," Foe-herder yelped as he read the content of Carouse's poster.

[Search notice: Looking for a certain male player who has managed to join Amethyst Rebirth Guild. Please contact me if anyone has information about him.]

What followed after were these words in large font: 'HUGE CASH REWARD AWAITING YOU!' The contact listed below was actually a player's name instead of a guild.

"Mhm!" Foe-herder nodded his head, knocking on the poster and saying to his men, "Write something like this. Don't reveal our guild's identity since that will be too conspicuous."

The two guilds had not mentioned even once this black-clothed Mage's prowess in this whole night of questioning and merely described him as deplorable man who had managed to get into an all-female guild, not once indicating that he was a powerful character.

"Quickly get everyone in the guild to get on this!" Foe-herder grew anxious once he saw that Carouse had already begun pasting their posters. While saying this, he took out his notepad and personally wrote out a copy by the tavern entrance. He then instructed everyone on the guild channel: "We need to move fast. Put posters up everywhere that Carouse has pasted and to the places that their guild hasn't done so."

"That's pretty good!" Brave Surge commented upon seeing Foe-herder's beautiful penmanship on the two posters the latter had hastily made.

"Hmph! We're having a friendly competition right now, so we can paste wherever we want. But! Don't even think about tearing off the posters from our side!" Foe-herder warned.

"Of course. We need to agree on matters when the need arises," Brave Surge said as he put forth similar instructions to his guild, "We have an accord with Cloud Herder. Nobody is allowed tear off each other's posters."

"We won't tear them off, but we can just paste ours over theirs!" Carouse truly did not lack for cunning schemers.

"Hmm. Everyone should do what they deem as appropriate!" Brave Surge's words implied that he was neither against nor for the suggestion that the member had given. It was important for a guild leader to master the art of ambiguity to give members freedom to do what was necessary. Credit would be given when results were shown, while responsibility could be pushed away if needed be; it was the best of both worlds.

Both guilds became busy from this point onward. The entire Yunduan City - the walls on the streets, the doors of business establishments, the roads of often used streets, and so on - was filled with those little posters.

Foe-herder even instructed his men to climb up the Bell Tower and the City Hall and throw a stack of posters off of them. "We'll let the wind be the bearer of our message!" was what Foe-herder said when he made them execute it.

In that moment, papers flew all over Yunduan City. Wherever players walked to, there would be posters of this black-clothed Mage. There were so many of these posters that people could now recite their content word-for-word without looking.

The contacts that the two large guilds had assigned quickly received many inquiries about the remuneration issue and the information required.

"Hello, player! Appropriate reward will be given based on the information you have provided. If you have any information regarding the person in question, we hope to speak with you personally" was the contacts' generic response to the public's general inquiries.

Many players quickly began to ask for a face-to-face meeting. Foe-herder and Brave Surge were elated at first and promptly set up rendezvous points, awaiting the informants to come to them. However, these two guild leaders soon felt that something was off, given the quick response that they were getting. With more and more people asking for a meet-up and each saying that they had information regarding the OP Mage, the two realized that they themselves did not know anything about the black-clothed Mage. Therefore, they had no way of verifying the validity of any information. Given how abuzz the whole city was regarding this matter, both were positive that some swindlers would be present in these meet-ups.

This was the drawback of acquiring information through such method. If they had stated a guild was behind this, most of the swindlers would think twice before doing the deed. After all, offending a whole guild was a lot more serious than just one player. Since this was just an individual, the swindlers would not even bat an eye as they cheated their mark, quickly taking off after.

In the blink of an eye, the two guilds' respective rendezvous points had already amassed thirty-seven different names for the Mage. The contacts in charge were no fools either and also realized that things had not gone according to plan upon seeing the situation at hand.

These contacts also did not know if the information that they were getting held some truth, so they were truly stumped on whether to accept it or not.

Some of those who had come to make a quick buck somewhat felt guilty upon seeing the situation and opted to just leave. The remaining players were those who had placed money over their morality and insisted that the information that they had provided was factual, demanding to receive the expected reward. They even tried to discredit their fellow swindlers by calling one another as liars. This was precisely how Carouse and Cloud Herder ended up with thirty-seven different IGNs.

Seeing that the matter was about to escalate into a PvP when these swindlers did not get their reward, Brave Surge and Foe-herder each brought their men to their respective rendezvous points.

The two were wringing their hands regarding their plight when they saw the listed names that their contacts had collected. Society was truly in a decline. This situation was a visible representation of the death of morality! The general etiquette that the people practiced in-game was no longer like before. Brave Surge attempted to add these IGNs, yet none of them were online. There was even someone called 'Butterfly Blue' that the system had stated did not exist in-game.

"Who gave me this name?!" Brave Surge asked genially.

Someone's eyes flashed, as he hurriedly bounded over, "Me! Me!"

"You g*dd*mn idiot! You don't even know how to swindle properly, providing a name that does not exist in the game at all! I'll show you what 'does not exist' mean!" Brave Surge casted a series of spells in his anger and bombarded the man to his death right there and then. He then slammed the butt of his magic staff on the ground as he shook the list of names in his other hand: "Who else claims that the IGN he or she has given is real?"

No one dared to say a word. The swindlers stuck their tongues out as if this was all a prank and quickly made their escape.

"Looks like this method isn't working," Brave Surge sighed as he furrowed his brows.

"I think we need them to provide us some concrete evidence," someone suggested.

Brave Surge nodded his head. Evidently, those who had just left were swindlers. Had he the heart, he would give them all a good tongue lashing for their lack of morals.

Not all the players had scheduled to meet up this time. When that bunch of swindlers was chased off, others tried to muddle their way through this. Learning that they were swindlers as well, Brave Surge only awarded them his brutal threats.

Furthermore, the posters' content was revised, such that players could not attempt to bluff their way through. In half an hour's time, the rendezvous point that Brave Surge had set became crisp and quiet.

"How are things on your end?" Brave Surge messaged Foe-herder.

"I'm super busy!" Foe-herder hurriedly replied.

"Ah? You've received news?" Brave Surge asked, stunned.

"I'm erasing my points! I currently have 28 PK points!" Foe-herder choked back his sob, adding, "I thought the patrolling soldiers would arrest me just now!"

Brave Surge could not stifle his laughter. It seemed that Foe-herder had a shorter fuse than him, killing all those who had attempted to bluff their way to get the reward.

Could it be that no one in Yunduan City knows this person? Brave Surge thought to himself, That's just not possible. Those who know him must be offline right now... Or the ones online are all good friends of his... Sigh!

Brave Surge immediately realized that their approach was a double-edged sword. Because they did not want other guilds to get a wind of such a powerful Mage, they refrained from mentioning the Mage's fighting prowess and only identified him as the sole male player of Amethyst Rebirth. Anyone who saw the posters would immediately assume that a bunch of players was looking for the Mage to get revenge. In such a scenario, any friend of the Mage would not betray him. Who would even think that a large guild was looking to recruit him?

Brave Surge felt frustrated. He had originally thought that this method was rather comprehensive, yet it was actually filled with pros and cons. In the end, there were hardly any pros in this method, while all the cons were blatantly revealed.

With the contact person not having anything to do for over half an hour and the lateness of the hour in-game, he continued to nod off like a chick pecking on rice and could not hold himself back from yawning. He was soon sprawled on the table, fast asleep. Even Brave Surge felt lethargic as well. He had done nothing of value this whole night and wasted his time on a fruitless approach. Perhaps, this method would be best employed at daytime when more people were online.

Someone slipped into the room for their rendezvous point just as he was about to call it a night. Brave Surge turned his head and felt surprised, "It's you." It was the beautiful lady at the tavern.

The beauty still had a mischievous grin on her face as she regarded Brave Surge, "How's the result of your posters?"

Brave Surge stayed silent. This woman at least had the confidence to mention that the Mage they were looking for was at level 39, which made her more trustworthy than those players who had come to him today. It was quite possible that she indeed knew who the Mage was.

However, Brave Surge was adamant on admitting that his poster plan had failed, knowing that this woman would seize the opportunity to raise the price once more.

Am I willing to spend 1000 gold coins or not?! Brave Surge asked this question to himself. The positive thing here was that Foe-herder was not present. Although the two now had a rather cordial relationship, Brave Surge would still rather find the Mage while Foe-Herder failed on his search for him. It was a grand opportunity to have this woman before him and not Foe-herder's!

Brave Surge was quite tempted to spend 1000 gold coins for this exclusive information, but after tonight's experience, it could be said that his trust for everyone in-game was at the lowest.

Even if this woman accepted his 1000 gold coins and promised to not leak the information to Foe-herder, how would he know that she kept her word? This lady who was trying to earn a fortune from her information was very likely to look for Foe-herder once she had earned a tidy profit from him. For this greedy woman, it was not past her to do something so unscrupulous.

"Big Boss Surge, what are you deeply thinking about?" The beauty's gaze on Brave Surge was unreadable.

"Darling, your price is just too high," Brave Surge admitted.

"Is that so?" The beauty laughed daintily, "I thought that after all that you have experienced, you two would understand the value of the information I have on me."

"So you've already guessed the outcome," Brave Surge's expression changed. This woman is pretty farsighted if she has already foreseen this result that neither Foe-herder nor I thought of while executing this plan!

The beauty remained smiling.

"So what do you want to do?" Brave Surge asked.

"Continue selling the information I have on me, of course!" the beauty replied frankly.

"All we want to know is a name, darling. Your price is far too high," Brave Surge did not back down.

The beauty slowly shook her head, "Looks like you don't do business a lot. You've at least heard of the story behind 'A rare commodity presides within', right? Although some things appear to be superficial at the start, there will come a time when they rise in value. The only question is that are you able to seize this opportunity in time?"

Brave Surge mirthlessly laughed, "And you think that his IGN is a rare commodity?"

"You've wasted two days and yet you could not even learn his name; would you not call it a rare commodity as well?"

"I've only busied myself with this matter in this one night. There are fewer people online at night. I'm certain that I will hear something this morning," Brave Surge justified.

The beauty smiled, "I think I have a better understanding of his circumstance, so I can safely assure you that the situation in the day will be just the same as tonight. Because no one will even know who you're talking about."

Brave Surge froze before he suddenly laughed, "The Amethyst Rebirth's ladies are not online at night. Why would I be afraid to wait and see what happens at daytime? Do you mean to tell me that even the Amethyst Rebirth's ladies don't know him?"

"They do know him." The beauty chuckled slightly, "Do you think that I can't tell them to not reveal his identity because someone is trying to poach him? And that the men and women who wish to get to know them will all have ill-intentions...."

"You!" Brave Surge could not believe that their plan was easily uncovered by this woman, "Just how long have you got your eyes on us?"

"Oh... Not very long. It's only after people kept on asking me if I am a member of Amethyst Rebirth and knowing that the matter pertains to a certain male player in that guild," the beauty admitted, adding, "From that moment onward, I realized that I know something of great value. When it comes to such things, it's important to properly manage it. Don't worry, besides me, I guarantee that you won't find another person who will tell you information about him."

"Are you trying to dupe me? Hmph! I'll have you know that I am not afraid to test whether you are the only one who has that piece of information!" Brave Surge challenged.

"He he! Try it if you wish, but let me tell you; if you have yet to find out anything by the end of the PvP tournament the next night, the price for this information will increase. You should be aware that most guilds that are still in the running are no longer small guilds. They will most likely have the same intentions as you do and will love to poach him away to their guilds. Hmm... Wonder which guild is Amethyst Rebirth matched up with this time? I haven't checked it out yet! He he... No matter. Given the strength he possesses, he is bound to attract attention no matter the match's outcome. I do hope that Amethyst Rebirth wins, though. The more rounds he gets through, the more attention he will get. Can you even imagine how much more I could earn once all the big guilds wish to know about his name?" When the beauty finished her soliloquy, she gave Brave Surge a wink that was full of expectation.

Without waiting for Brave Surge to say another word, she had already waved her sleeves gracefully and turned away. Walking a few steps, she turned back and smiled, "I'll take my leave first. You better think carefully, Big Boss Surge. The price I have set will still be 1000 gold coins before the upcoming match. You can send me a private message later; my name is Xi Xiaotian."

Xi Xiaotian then drifted off, leaving Brave Surge and the other members with him rooted to the spot.

One piece of information for 1000 gold coins... To buy or not to buy, that was the question!