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Chapter 419 - Using Two Peaches to kill Three Warriors

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The west gate of Linshui City. Southern Lone Blade had finally arrived safely after making the scary yet uneventful journey.

"Are we all here?" he asked the rest via the mercenary channel.

"Yup..." the other five reported in. Southern Lone Blade was currently positioned in a small alley and had not left it. He peeked out from it, only to find his comrade Glue had pretended to set up a stall right by the market that had sprung up on the street. Glue often set up his stall to hawk his goods by the city gates, so he was leveraging one of his skills, pretending to go through the motions without raising anyone's suspicions.

As for the other four, Southern Lone Blade had carefully observed his surroundings and could not spot them in the crowd. He was very pleased with this. If even he was unable to identify them, he doubted the strangers that were after them could.

"Southern, what now? Do we rush out?" The one asking was Fire Singed Clothes.

"That's a little troublesome. There looks to be plenty of players lingering by the gate," Paddy Scent Pastures spoke up.

Southern Lone Blade had also quickly realized that problem. Compared when he was over at the east gate, the amount of men guarding each gate had increased since he had made the mistake of getting the squad to gather. Southern Lone Blade was originally confident that he could muster his squad, make a push and kill off the guards in one fell swoop, so that at least they would be unaware the direction the group would be taking thereafter.

But now that the number of people they had to face had increased so dramatically, forget about killing them all off, they might have troubles even fighting their way out in one piece.

The mercenary channel was silent.

"Let's do this instead," Glue spoke up. "I'll draw their attention. They are sure to use this opportunity to chase after me."

"It's best if I do that instead. As a Priest, I'm sure to draw all their attention," Paddy Scent Pastures said.

Everybody was silent. What Paddy Scent Pastures had said was true; there was no way Glue could get all their attention if he was the one doing this. Only the appearance of a Priest would do, but the problem was that Glue had the movement speed to get away from the enemy since he was an Archer. If a Priest exposed himself like this, death was the only outcome.

"I'll be going, then." No one else had spoken up, so Paddy Scent Pastures had made up his mind.

Just as he was about to reveal himself, Southern Lone Blade suddenly sent out a message, "No one go."

"What?" Paddy Scent Pastures was perplexed. Southern Lone Blade was never the sort to have such emotional impulses.

"There's no use getting you to draw their attention. You'll be killed the moment you step into view, how far can you even run?" Southern Lone Blade said.

Paddy Scent Pastures thought what he said made sense. How could he even draw the enemy away when he had no movement speed to begin with? They would probably finish him off the moment he took no more than two steps.

"So what do we do?" someone else asked.

"Here's what I think..." Southern Lone Blade already had a plan in mind.

"That's a great idea!" everybody cried out in unison by the time they heard it all.

------

Members from more than ten guilds were gathered beneath the west gate. All of them had a well-balanced team composition, taking what they believed to be the best position under the gate. Tension was in the air as these players glared at one other with palpable anger. They were waiting for their guild leaders to conclude their discussion; if no accord could be reached, the place would turn into a battlefield in an instant. Currently, each team had their weapons at the ready, already making preparations as to what they should be doing the moment battle ensued.

But at the same time, none of them had forgotten the true purpose of their presence here: to keep an eye on the players leaving the city!

Anybody could have cut through the tension with a knife, their palms sweaty as each player gripped their weapon.

Suddenly, everybody saw a panicking Priest dashing down the street nearest to the gate. The eyes of the players beneath the gate from the various guilds shone.

-Is that the guy?- This slight hesitation flashed through their minds even as they saw an arrow streak through the air out from the very alley that Priest had run out of, hitting the man squarely on his shoulder.

The players standing by that gate immediately reacted and hurried closer to that Priest at the same time.

The Priest did not halt, continuing his way onward in an attempt to escape. Unfortunately, a stream of Repeating Fireballs was trailing behind him, exploding upon his back while a single Homing Projectile came flying over.

White light consumed the Priest, but amid the glow, the faint outline of an item fell out.

Clattering to the ground, an item dropped. By the time the light subsided, everybody looked intently and saw that it was a magic staff.

Almost at the same time, an Archer was already sprinting down the alley. The moment he saw those players standing by the gate witnessing this scene, the man anxiously dashed for that magic staff. But right behind him was a Warrior that came dashing afterwards aggressively, activating a Charge that struck this Archer right at his waist, knocking him far away.

The Warrior wanted to pick up the staff, but unfortunately, his movement was just too slow, the players from the various guilds under the gate had already reacted. Shouts rang out as the spells from the Mages, arrows from the Archers, all came flying out towards that magic staff. With that item at the heart of everything, the AoE spells burned even as the arrows peppered down on that Warrior. No longer able to take even half a step forward, that Warrior hid himself in the safety of the alley in his panic once more.

"Quick, the magic staff!" No one knew who cried that out. The members from the various guilds all darted over recklessly as one of the player with a superior movement speed broke away from the mob. But before they could get within meters of that item, flames came crashing down from the sky and burned the eager player into cinders.

Everybody came to a stop. Anybody who dared to get near the magic staff would instantly become public enemy number one. Everybody came to that realization thanks to that player's death moments ago.

The players that were present all glanced at one another. That magic staff was still lying on the ground a short distance away from everyone, but no one dared to take a step forward and retrieve it. They were all discussing this matter privately in their own respective channels, with some even informing their guild leaders of what just happened.

The situation over by the Priest Academy was already in a huge mess. The guild leaders were still attempting to discuss that matter and had hardly been able to come to a consensus when they saw a Priest revive. Before any of them could get any further details, that Priest was already swathed in a white light and had logged off. Everybody stared fixedly as the report from the west gate came in, "That Priest dropped a magic staff upon his death."

The moment everybody heard this, they saw no need to discuss the matter any further. They immediately led their members towards the west gate as they were filled in on the details of the situation over there.

"The staff is on the ground. No one dares to touch it!"

The state of affairs was not terrible, but there was no way it would remain so since the system would remove items that were dropped on the ground after five minutes.

Even the player with the fastest movement speed would not be able to reach the east gate in five minutes; that meant that someone must pick up that magic staff before the leaders arrived, otherwise the whole situation would be for naught.

The various guild leaders were currently mulling over the situation quickly as they each made sure to remind their underlings: Do your best to grab that staff! Even if they failed to do so, they need to ensure they have a good look who picked it up, as well as their job class.

At the same time, the troops left at the various spawn points were all instructed to remain vigilant.

The atmosphere by the west gate by now was at its peak. It had been thirty seconds since the staff had dropped. Nobody looked to be moving, but the front row of players closest to the staff had already slowly been making imperceptible shifts towards it. Everybody wanted to enter the area where a player could grab hold of the item with a swift reach of their arm. They would still come out on top, even if they died the moment they did this. Unless their luck was literally in the pits, it was unlikely that this one death would dislodge the item from their possession.

A minute passed, and the intentions of the players had already been exposed. They had all shrank the distance between the staff and themselves by an entire step, which was easily a change that even the naked eye could tell. The players behind this front row were perturbed. Those players in the front row were now a whole step away, unbeknownst to them. When they finally realized what happened, these players could not help but marvel about the frightfulness of the saying, "many a little makes a mickle".

Someone in the front row suddenly bolted out!

In truth, not everybody shared the same distance from the magic staff, since they had lined themselves up in a row. Some were a little closer, while others further, and the man that bolted out right now was actually the closest to the staff. He was but two steps, or one giant stride away from the item. The man finally could no longer restrain himself and made the first move to snatch it.

He was fast! But someone else was faster.

He might be the nearest to the staff, but there were others closer to the player than he was to the staff.

The two players beside this man cooperated the moment they saw that man bolt out like that and immediate made to kill him on the spot. But someone in this pair was even more scheming, for he capitalized on this opportunity to attack and cleverly shifted himself forward, hoping to casually pick up the staff after completing the attack. Almost at once, players who had their eyes on this man acted too.

The status quo was already on the cusp of breaking, so what more when there were two incidents of blatant provocations like this? With the two incidents resolved back to back in such a fashion, the gauntlet was thrown and everybody came out swinging, making an attempt to grab the staff even as they got rid of the people near them.

Chaos reigned as the players used all sort of methods to better bolster their chances.

Someone was about to pick up the staff in the mess and the people nearby saw they were unable to stop him, they would quickly thrust their leg out and kick the magic staff away. With all the feet in the way, the staff would not roll too far away, but the player who made the mistake of trying to pick up the staff would instantly die as he was lost in the chaos.

The second who tried to take advantage of the situation had just bent over when someone planted a heavy kick into his behind. The man lost his balance and fell to the ground, but even then he was still reaching out with his arm to grab a hold of the staff. In the end, he was trampled to death.

Everyone finally realized that attempting to bend over and grab the staff in this pandemonium was suicide, so no one bothered to make such reckless attempts. Players who dashed towards the staff audaciously stretched their legs over instead, in an attempt to step on the staff with their own feet.

It was cramped, as scuffles broke out and spells rained down. Death was everywhere. The players who were not involved watched this scene play out.

At this time, Southern Lone Blade brought the rest of his brothers and slowly crept out from that alley, walking towards the west gate. No one noticed their presence, since they were all focused on the magic staff on the ground.

But the entire incident had actually been orchestrated by Southern Lone Blade and his squad. Even the Priest they killed was not one of their own, but a low level noob that they had randomly appraised. 50 gold coins and a passable piece of equipment for a Priest was all it took to convince that player to act out this scene and sacrifice himself.

As for that magic staff, it was just a white-tier staff that the noob had tossed out in the instant he was about to die. Anybody could have pulled this off!

Southern Lone Blade had already expected these players to have a mistaken first impression about what was happening, and none of them would have suspected it was actually all an act, as all it would take to expose this charade would have been a simple Appraisal.

Southern Lone Blade was the last to clear the west gate. He turned back and watched as that whole bunch of players continued to fight over that white-tier magic staff, leaving with a smug smirk stuck across his face.

[1] A Chinese Parable. The gist of the story is rather interesting, and the takeaway from it pertains to the method applied by Southern Lone Blade: Using others to achieve their means. You can read a version here: http://media.huayuworld.org/interact/ebook/36story/438/english2.htm