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Chapter 358 - Conditioned Reflex

 Chapter 358 - Conditioned Reflex

Gu Fei was euphoric once he got the 'Bounty Mission' that would help bring his PK value below 30 points. Actually, what made him really elated was the prospect that he could log off once he completed this mission.

While Gu Fei had a lot of fun playing Parallel World, as it had allowed him to enjoy utilizing his kung fu for fighting, he was always prudent when controlling his play time. Actually, with the job he held and the kind of lifestyle he had, he could easily find more time to play the game, but he never did take the plunge. He always made sure to play the game for no more than two or three hours a day and to log off after he enjoyed himself fighting with kung fu.

However, ever since he began following Traversing Four Seas on this expedition, Gu Fei had repeatedly broken his self-imposed time limit for staying online. This was out of his hands, though. The game world had its rules; there were times where he had to abide by it. Otherwise, it would be truly difficult to continue living in on this VR world.

Gu Fei could not help but think of the saying: 'A man in Jianghu is no longer in control of his fate.'

He was not even in the real Jianghu but just some damnable game, yet there were several things he had to do because he had no other choice.

Just take this current situation as an example; if he could not take this chance to erase his PK value while the guards were still out in the sea, he would have to do what he did yesterday, and that was to first log off and deal with the problem the next day....

Gu Fei did not believe he would be fortunate enough to have another crowd of onlookers interfering just like today in the future. He seriously doubted if he could clear his PK points while the guards were chasing him and decided against taking such a risk. Thus, he thought it would be best for him to grab this chance and erase some of his PK value until it was below 30 points.

Coming to this decision, Gu Fei decided to extend his gaming session. Considering that his PK value would be down to 29 points once he completed this newly obtained mission, he was already considering himself to be well and safe at this point.

Whistling in a carefree manner, he glanced at the indicated coordinates before pushing the door of the Bounty Assignment Hall to exit the building.

A strong gust welcomed him.

This was the strongest gust of wind Gu Fei had ever experienced since he started playing the game.

At this same moment, he utilized his kung fu capability to the fullest for the first time since entering Parallel World.

Dodging this gust of wind was a reaction he barely registered - a conditioned reflex born out of tempering his body from a young age by spending his every waking moment practicing kung fu; he even dreamed of it when asleep.

This sort of conditioned reflex, which was imprinted on to every inch of his body, played a crucial role in this instant.

Even Gu Fei was unaware that he had reacted.

What a fast reaction!

Unfortunately, no matter how quick his reaction speed was, there was a huge difference between facing a surprise attack and an expected assault. Furthermore, his actions did not become quicker just because his body reflexes set in.

It could not be helped. He was still in Parallel World, after all, so his speed, just like the other players, would always be determined by stats. While his conditioned responses and reflex allowed him to react as quickly as he could, but no matter how quick he registered his thoughts, this movement was still bound by his stat allocation if he were to execute it accordingly.

While Gu Fei was fast due to his current stat point distribution, he was still slower against a sudden attack that could bring forth such a strong gust of wind. Even if he were to possess superhuman reaction speed and judgment, there was no way he could have completely avoiding all of this attack.

Managing to avoid a portion of the attack meant that a part of him still got hit.

Gu Fei lost his balance, but he did not fall.

As long as it was possible, he would never fall.

Although that gust of wind dropped his HP to the red, he still managed to stay upright despite having to take several steps backward to do so.

The second gust was already on him.

This time, however, he was prepared, and his reaction was no slower than before, so he was able to dodge the attack in its entirety. Simultaneously, he was able to identify who his attacker was: NPC guard.

The NPC guards were indeed as unrestrained as Gu Fei had pegged them to be. These two slashes were just basic attacks, yet the speed and strength contained within were unlike anything he had ever seen.

This sort of attack was even more difficult to manage than their Earthsplitter skill.

Earthsplitter required its user to leap into the air, land, and take the appropriate pose; time would be wasted as each step was executed accordingly. In comparison, a basic attack was just a swing of the sword. The damage, AOE, and relevant stats behind it were nowhere as powerful as a skill, but it was a lot crispier, cleaner, and more accurate.

The simplest of moves was often the most efficient.

This terminology that kung fu practitioners would often mention was actually reflected in the guard's actions right now.

Gu Fei was indeed a true maestro as he was still able to grasp the intricacies of the current situation.

This was just a d*mn AI; there was no way it could possess such level of kung fu mastery. Only one explanation would suffice as to how it was able to create such an effect: the gap in strength between this NPC and him was simply too wide.

With such a huge disparity between the two, complex moves would be redundant. Perhaps, the damage would still be the same when applied, yet it would be nowhere as efficient as a simple move.

Such a complex idea had only flashed through his mind for a fleeting moment when the enemy's third attack came on him again.

A slash. Another one. Another one.

This was the third attack the guard had dished out toward him. Besides the suddenness of the first attack, which he could not fully defend from, he was successful in evading the other two that followed. He was even a little excited after observing the situation he was in.

There was only one guard before him!

Gu Fei could easily understand how this had come to be. Who would have any idea where the choppy waves would bring them to? Therefore, their subsequent journey toward his location from different places meant that some would reach him earlier than the rest. This NPC had been the first to make it to him, but the other guards were quite possibly still adrift back in the sea.

He might not be entirely defenseless against a guard.

Gu Fei was confident, ignoring the fact that his HP was already in the red and that even the slightest touch from the guard would likely send him to his grave.

The fourth slash from the guard arrived shortly after.

It was a strike that brought along buffeting wind.

Just as how the Saint Seiyans would put it: "The same move won't work on us twice!"

Gu Fei might not be a Saint Seiyan, but this was already the fourth slash he had faced. He already started to counterattack the moment the guard raised his arm to attack.

The sword came crashing down on him with the strong wind gust, yet he had already dodged to the side.

"Twin Incineration!" He widely cleaved downward.

The clanking of metal resounded when his sword made contact with the guard's shield just like when he had clashed with the guards before. With the NPC guards having a ridiculously fast hand speed, their reaction time would surely be nothing slower.

Gu Fei did not recover his strike, though. His sword swept across the shield with a flick of his wrist, transforming this side cut to the shield into a pierce as he immediately punctured the guard's waist.

"Incinerate!" He finally completed the incantation at this point.

The system for spell-casting in Parallel World allowed the caster to space the initial chant that called forth the spell and the activation command to a certain degree. The usual Mages that focused on ranged attack would not think too much about this aspect of spell-casting, but for a close-combat Mage like Gu Fei, this design let his attack become even more prodigious.

A kung fu move was nothing as simple as the slash from the guard.

Every move withheld the potential to adapt and transform accordingly with numerous follow-ups. What was more; humans would surely not be as rigid when it came to their thinking like the AIs, so there was no need to say just how tricky Gu Fei's one strike was.

This sword stroke that he had delivered made use of a simple transformation. To find this gap in its defense and critically injure the NPC, he fooled it into raising its shield to defend. Adding the spell incantation at the same time, he was able to deal an indomitable attack of his own.

When that guard took that sword into himself and it angrily cleaved an attack toward him, he once more dodged to the side. He then reached out his left hand and electricity arched in wild brilliance.

Palm of Thunder.

Gu Fei had not seriously unleashed this skill in combat before.

This skill allowed its user to gather lightning at the center of his or her palm and to unleash it into a palm-sized attack with one thrust. Simply put, it could be used as a lightning spell that directly shot out in a straight line.

Moreover, besides the spell's ability to be fired off from a different location unlike the other lightning spells, this skill had another unique aspect.

It needed to be unleashed with an open palm. However, if a Mage kept his magic staff when casting the spell, the subsequent Spell Damage would be significantly reduced. The game designers considered this point and, thus, included an additional condition: It must be cast with the non-dominant hand.

Actually, it had another unique feature, and that was the fact that lightning needed to accumulate in the user's palm first. This particular aspect was incongruent with the characteristics of other lightning spells, which were nearly instantaneous when cast, so it was considerably stronger than the average spells from the Lightning Affinity tree.

Still, this spell was not so powerful that it could annihilate the heavens. In truth, the spell was not a special skill and was merely a reward for a level 40 quest, and finding it in the market was easy.

However, any spell would need reevaluation once it fell into the hands of Gu Fei. While Palm of Thunder was considered to be a ranged attack, it actually became a close-ranged attack when he was the one using it.

Focusing the lightning in the palm and delivering that single palm strike at the perfect moment....

Gu Fei's kung fu was not merely limited to just weapons; he had mastery over many palm, fist, and kick styles, too. This one palm strike he did was equally as precise and simple as a slash of a sword.

The moment his palm connected to the guard, he unleashed Palm of Thunder. Being a ranged attack did not mean its damage would be weakened just because the caster was at close range. Numerous monsters fell to this one strike when he was experimenting with it.

Gu Fei's usage of this skill attached a new value to this spell.

With his dominant hand dealing Twin Incineration from his Moonlit Nightfalls, and his non-dominant hand blasting forth Palm of Thunder in close range, Gu Fei's close-combat Mage strongly resembled a Berserker's Dual-wielding Mastery. And to top it off, his non-dominant hand attack was not subjected to any damage reduction at all.