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Chapter 347 - Taking Their Leave First

 Chapter 347 - Taking Their Leave First

"Why are we suddenly continuing the expedition?" It was inevitable for the Yunduan City's players to pose this question upon being gathered in haste.

"Because we only have this fleeting opportunity," Oathless Sword's solemn expression right now made him look like a timber wolf.

"What about the other comrades that aren't here?" someone asked.

"We'll tell them to make their way over once they come online tomorrow," Oathless Sword answered.

"Where's our next stop?" someone asked.

Oathless Sword looked all around him. Beckoning the player who had asked the question to him, he whispered, "Private chat."

Curses came from all over.

"What's going to happen to Miles?" Sword Demon and the rest of Young Master's Elite were busy discussing this on their mercenary channel.

"Him? Can he even leave Linyin City? We'll just be dragged down if we stay with him." Young Master Han did not mince his words.

"So we're just abandoning him here?" Royal God Call found this decision hard to accept.

"Perhaps, you can stay behind and aid him," Young Master Han proposed.

"How am I gonna be of help?" Royal God Call asked.

Young Master Han shrugged his shoulders. Royal God Call was in deep contemplation.

Young Master Han finally said, "Fine. I really tried protecting your self-esteem, but you're just asking for it, so I'll just give it to you all straight: You randoms are nothing but dead weight on him. Help him? Not weighing him down by following him around is the best contribution any of you can provide."

"F*cking hell, you're the random one! We're leaving." Royal God Call was the first to walk away with a huff.

"Royal, you're going the wrong way." Young Master Han dispassionately informed.

Thus, Royal God Call coolly turned one hundred eighty degrees and continued walking.

"Alright, let's go; let's go!" Most of the troops started moving onward. Although they appeared scattered, the players' positioning and the battalion's job-class composition were already properly formed to counter any ambush coming from all sides. The Archers even fired off arrows in every direction from time to time, hitting a few random players as a result. None of the unfortunate victims moved to berate their assailants, however. Who would be foolish enough to confront such a large battalion over a small matter, anyway?

They walked along the edge of Linyin City for a while, but no movement came from Deep Waters' camp. They would soon be entering the jungle; everyone looked calm on the surface as they bid each other to take care before diving right into the trees.

They advanced slowly but surely. Sakurazaka Moony's group took the lead to check for traps, while Warriors and Priests followed behind to protect the flanks.

The Mages tossed AOE spells around them whenever possible; Archers kept a constant stream of arrows flying toward the treetops. Although the arrows would just fall and pierce their men, no one complained; The Knights incessantly directed Blessing of Spirit on everyone to increase their magic defense; the Warriors busied themselves with shaking every tree they walked past; finally, the Thieves patrolled the expedition's perimeter, performed reconnaissance, and acted as scouts. Everyone had their roles. Oathless Sword tasked all of them to quickly inform him of any enemy spotting or the loss of someone's life.

Once bitten, twice shy. Yunduan City players learned from their mistake and found a way to take precautionary measures against every trick and play that Deep Waters' camp had previously done to them on their journey through the jungle. There should not be any more problems this time, right?

Of course, there was none!

Deep Waters and his men were still around, yet quite a number went offline, and only some remained online.

Plenty of their Mages were currently serving time in prison, which greatly affected their combat might.

Moreover, Deep Waters was still in a drunken stupor. The others spent a long time arguing but failed to come up with a solid plan, so each of them ended up doing their thing. As a result, all of them were easily repelled by Yunduan City's players. The enemy team that was monitoring the expedition from behind never found a chance to strike and could only watch them escape from the jungle.

All sorts of feelings welled up in their hearts!

The moment the last player from Yunduan City stepped out of the jungle, everyone experienced a myriad of emotions that was too hard to describe. They were finally out of that ravenous jungle that had previously devoured plenty of their brothers and sisters.

"Beautifully done." Oathless Sword, who was beside Young Master Han, happily patted the latter's shoulder.

"Heh... I suppose you won't feel too exploited when you fish out your coin purse this time, right?" Young Master Han nonchalantly asked.

"Ha ha ha! You're making yourself seem like an outsider; what are you talking about money for?" Oathless Sword chuckled as he strode away. Indeed, the fee he had paid Young Master's Elite this time around was truly worth it that it did not elicit a complaint from him. They had incurred heavy losses from the enemies' vigorous assault the first time around and lost over half of their men; in comparison, their trek through the jungle this time was fairly smooth and risk-free. How could he not be elated?

He felt that every coin he spent was well deserved. He might have plenty of opinions, suspicions, and dissatisfaction about Young Master's Elite before, but reality proved that the group was indeed a huge problem-solver for them; hiring them for this mission had been a wise choice. Oathless Sword even expressed his concern for the currently offline Gu Fei who did not managed to join them in their escape.

"Money? You've already gotten paid for this mission? Where is it, then?" Royal God Call, War Without Wounds, and the others looked at Young Master Han in shock once Oathless Sword left.

"I've already spent it all," Young Master Han replied.

"On what?" The eyes of the two men widened.

"On Deep Waters. I gave it to him," Young Master Han answered.

Their eyes returned to normal, but it was still open in disbelief. "All of it? You should at least leave some for us. We've done a bit of work, too!"

"Oh, please." Young Master Han impatiently retorted, "The one who killed Deep Waters was Svelte Dancer. Did you guys see her come over to ask me for money? You two should learn a thing or two from that lady."

"F*ck! Is she your average lady? She's the richest player in the game!" The two showed Young Master Han their middle fingers. Young Master Han was truly too despicable. To actually tell these two to learn from the attitude the richest player had toward money and achieve actualization....

"Alright, alright!" Oathless Sword, who was done basking in his happiness, began reminding all the players to rein in their celebration. "It's getting late. If nothing unexpected happens, we should arrive at the next city in about three hours. It's best if we seize this opportunity to be on our way!"

"Ohhh!" The players were all in high spirits.

"Those players from Linyin City may not easily give up their pursuit. Brother Sword Demon, bring a few Thieves with you and stay behind the pack in Stealth. Secretly keep watch for a while! All of you can return once we cover quite a distance without encountering any issues. What do you think?" Oathless Sword now felt that Young Master's Elite was the most dependable, so he delegated this important task to Sword Demon.

"Roger!" Sword Demon nodded.

Thus, after choosing several Thieves from the mercenary groups and his guild, he passed the authority to Sword Demon. They were currently lacking in manpower, as many mercenaries had withdrawn, so Oathless Sword could only get his men to bear some risk as well.

Once all these Thieves came forward, Sword Demon took them to bring up the rear as the rest of Yunduan City's players carried on to their next destination.

These players made sure to leave behind messages to those who were currently not with them, informing them of their departure from Linyin City on that very same night toward the next city and telling them to hurry over upon receiving their messages.

Most players received this message rather early, yet quite a number only learned of this when they went online the following night. Among these players was Gu Fei.

The message Gu Fei received was naturally different. Not only did he have to make the journey alone, he also had to clear off his PK value of over 30 points. He was essentially a walking disaster. 'Bounty Mission' was being issued throughout Parallel World, so Gu Fei would still be hunted no matter where he ended up in. Currently, he bore a weighty PK value of 54 points. Many players were already worshiping this slayer god and inquiring about him.

Given the attention others were dedicating into this matter, why would Gu Fei be any different?

Before he logged on to the game, Gu Fei did something he had never done before: he thoroughly researched on the matter. He lurked on Linyin City's forums for any relevant information about the city. No one wished to lose five levels as well as spend the rest of their in-game lives behind bars. Gu Fei only had a solution to this and that was to do what he had done countless times before: 'Bounty Mission'.

He was determined to clear off his PK value.

This would usually be a simple task for him, yet he was currently facing a nearly insurmountable difficulty this time.

First, the OP NPC guards would attempt to apprehend him the moment he appeared. There was no point in wondering why they were able to find him; if the players had the Windchaser's Emblem that let them refresh the coordinates of their targets every minute, why would it be a stretch for the shameless system to give the guards a way to track Gu Fei every second, instead?

Second, Gu Fei was unfamiliar with Linyin City. In Yunduan City, he had essentially been tempered by experience to the point where he could tell the nearest landmark to a place with a glance to the coordinates. In fact, he even knew how populated the said location would be. This was something he had learned after spending all those hours down the streets and alleyways hunting down and slaying bounty targets. In Linyin City, he would have to take note of the very coordinates he was on while running and of the street intersections, and that was before adding the pursuing guards to the equation. This was a truly disadvantageous setting to be in.

The first problem Gu Fei had to deal with was clearing off his PK value, and the second problem was that he had to complete all the preparations for this task in one day.

He used almost half the day just familiarizing himself with the map for Linyin City hand-drawn by players and getting acquainted with the coordinates of each location as he attempted to find any exploitable route. He also tried finding a loophole to the bounty system, rules for someone with over 30 PK points that he could take advantage of, and any probable weakness of the guards. Unfortunately, not one bit of information turned up during his search.

Gu Fei was the god that first broke through the 30-PK-point ceiling, and he had no predecessor. He was the first man to eat crab1 - a pioneer that would now become a teaching experience to future players who would break through the ceiling as well.

Gu Fei was rather annoyed. Even if he went online and Fleeting Smile was online, he was sure he would have difficulty extracting information from the latter.

Maps, terrain, coordinates... He could only memorize these things to the best of his ability in order to efficiently tackle the missions that he was about to pick up in Linyin City.

His reputation as a kung fu genius was not mere talk. As someone known for his kung fu versatility in the martial arts community, no one should doubt Gu Fei's ability to memorize information. After spending half a day memorizing and testing himself, Gu Fei was confident that he did not miss out anything, so he proceeded to enter Parallel World.

Chapter Notes:

[1] A quote attributed to the famous Chinese philosopher called Luxun. Essentially, he stated that the first man to think of eating crab deserves to be praised, for only a brave man would be bold enough to attempt eating it.

"Crabs look scary and ugly. The first man who had eaten it surely needed courage to do so, but... Just who was this great man?"