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Chapter 431 - Bounty License

 DING! The system prompt sounded, first, to announce the condition Gu Fei had completed: [Successfully hunted 300 unique players as bounty targets.] The second portion of this condition did not matter once one considered the total number of players in Parallel World. Even an avid bounty hunter like Gu Fei only encountered instances where he would coincidentally get the same target again while doing 'Bounty Mission' very infrequently. Moreover, all of these occurred while he was in Yunduan City.

What followed second to the achievement descriptor was the special reward. He originally thought he would receive another equipment with the very cheesy name of 'Windchaser's', but what he got this time was something new. He received a Bounty License.

This was not any equipment and could even be considered as a quest item - something specifically used for doing 'Bounty Mission'. According to the item description, once he received a 'Bounty Mission', if he showed his Bounty License to the NPC managing the Bounty Assignment Hall, as the license holder, he would be able to view confidential information the average player was not privy of, which was of course only for personal use.

He rummaged through his dimensional pocket and, sure enough, a hardcover book was in one of his empty slots. He took it out for a look. The black book's cover had 'Bounty License' written on it in silver font. Opening this book, he saw that its left page depicted an emblem - a thorny vine forming a braid. He found this emblem to be very familiar and quickly realized that it was the same image as that one on the door plaque of every Bounty Assignment Hall. As for the page on the right, its first row had his license number: 1; the next row listed the license holder's name: Thousand Miles Drunk; finally, the third row showed the person's job class: Mage.

He vaguely understood what this was and felt as if he had become a VIP to the Bounty Assignment Hall. He was awarded this certification as a form of encouragement!

He was really curious as to what type of special treatment he would get for becoming a VIP. Waving this identification to the NPC present, he saw it nod to him, and indeed, he was given access to hidden information when he picked up the next bounty.

What sort of hidden information was this? They were the names of the players and their job classes.

Before Gu Fei's eyes, the Wanted Players List no longer just displayed serial numbers and PK value. The player's name and job class followed after every serial number he saw, which delighted him to no end. The first thing that crossed his mind was using this to locate Southern Lone Blade.

However, he soon got a little glassy-eyed after going through the list. PvP and PKs were not against the law in MMOs but were instead seen as a form of hobby people pursue for entertainment. Considering the tens of thousands of players in a city, there were at least thousands of slayers out there; meanwhile, cities like Yueye City that were a little more unrestrained in this aspect had far more than that. Furthermore, Gu Fei currently had no idea if Southern Lone Blade and his crew had even registered in Xiawu City, so just casually going through a few pages of the names in this city alone was overwhelming enough as it stood. Unfortunately, there was no way to change how the names on the list were sorted, as they were still listed from the highest PK value to the lowest. If only there was a way to list it according to the players' names...

Perhaps, there's a search function? he wondered. Since he could see the players' names, it would make sense that he could search for Southern Lone Blade's IGN and pick the bounty on his head! With this thought in mind, he inquired after this function to the NPC. At first, he was even worried that the NPC would not understand what he meant, but it unexpectedly understood his question perfectly and responded, "Your Bounty License grade isn't high enough for that."

He was stunned and finally made sense of things. It seemed that this was just the first level of VIP access he had earned, and that there were even higher levels and greater access he could strive for. He felt that this made sense, considering how the Windchaser's Emblem leveled up after he had completed 200 'Bounty Mission'. This Bounty License he had just acquired was probably similar and would level up again once he completed 600 unique bounty targets.

This was obviously something Gu Fei could not accomplish overnight, and there was also no guarantee that the next upgrade of his accessibility would unlock the search function. He sighed and returned to the bounty board to slowly flip through the list of names manually. While this was a really dumb method, it was ultimately just a test of patience. The biggest worry was that the whole lot of them did not even have a PK point on them; if that was the case, this would have been all for naught. What made him more worried was that while he was looking through the names with 2 PK value, Southern Lone Blade would slay another player, causing his PK value to increase by a point, which would also waste his effort. I can't possibly be that unlucky, can I? he thought to himself as he continued to look through the names.

And so, Gu Fei stood in the Bounty Assignment Hall like an idiot for over half an hour. He went through the entire list from start to finish once, yet none of the names of the seven players in Southern Lone Blade's squad came up even once. Could they have not registered their characters here? he wondered. Sadly, the Wanted Players List in Xiawu City would not provide the names on Linshui City's fugitive board. The Overall Wanted Players List? He turned his head and left the Bounty Assignment Hall. He was well aware that searching for names on the Overall Wanted Players List was entirely impossible, considering that there were over hundreds of thousands of players listed there.

He hailed for the others on the mercenary channel. Royal God Call and War Without Wounds were currently getting the sisters, Slyris and Yan Xiaozhu, to be their guides in the city; they had the sisters bring them around the city to familiarize themselves with the surroundings. Of course, that was only an excuse, as the two men were only looking to extend the time they spent with the two ladies. Meanwhile, after Sword Demon came up with nothing when he scouted out all the spawn points, he began doing quests around the city. Earning experience points as he continued to inquire after the whereabouts of Southern Lone Blade's gang, he truly lived up to his name as the most responsible and hardworking member of their mercenary group.

On the other hand, Brother Assist had gone offline once he received instruction to gather more information and he had yet to return. Young Master Han was of course still drinking in that first tavern Young Master's Elite had been to. Gu Fei wondered just how Young Master Han, who spent almost every waking moment in a tavern, was able to make the cut as one of the Ten Great Adepts of his job class. Was he really worthy of the title when put beside the other Priests who worked to their bones healing for their parties?

"So how are things on your end? Any news on Southern Lone Blade?" This person, who was idly sitting in the tavern, acted as if he were the boss. Gu Fei had not spoken or typed a word on their channel ever since he left that first tavern, yet the moment he sent out a message, Young Master Han came hounding him to get to work.

"No new leads," Gu Fei replied.

Silence.

"We're not even certain if they have registered their characters in Xiawu City!" Gu Fei fumed. If they were able to ascertain that Southern Lone Blade had registered his account in this city, he felt that, just through the Bounty License he had recently obtained, it would be a matter of time before he got a hold of Southern Lone Blade. They were a bunch of larcenists, so there was no way they would be able to escape from accruing PK points. With how Gu Fei grinded on 'Bounty Mission' on a daily basis, he would surely come across their names if he spent half an hour a day going through all the names.

"When did he meet up with Slyris?" Young Master Han asked.

Gu Fei had not asked Slyris this question, so they naturally had to inquire through Royal God Call and War Without Wounds, who were currently glued to the sisters. Slyris did not attempt to hide this information, telling them truthfully that it was at around 8:20.

"Southern Lone Blade's squad reached ashore at 6:03, leaving at 6:09. We spent around an hour and forty seven minutes walking from the shore to Xiawu City, so those guys are most likely more familiar with the route to the city than we are, allowing them to shave a bit of time. Sword Demon, how long does it take to get to the nearest spawn point from a city gate?" Young Master Han asked.

"I'd say it's around ten minutes," Sword Demon replied.

"With a departure time of 6:09, let's assume they only spent an hour and forty minutes walking, putting them at Xiawu City at 7:49. That would give them eight minutes to reach the spawn point and register their accounts, leaving just twenty minutes to meet Slyris in the Tavern. The timing seems to be a little tight," Young Master Han said, "did they or Slyris reach the Tavern first?"

War Without Wounds and Royal God Call asked the ladies once more, reporting back: "Slyris was in the tavern first."

"What time were they supposed to meet? How did they meet, and what time did they arrive at the tavern? When did they leave?" Young Master Han gave them a series of questions to ask.

"Ask her yourself..." War Without Wounds and Royal God Call were dejected. How would they successfully court these ladies if they were to interrogate the lady like this?!

"Miles, you go," Young Master Han ordered, acting like the boss once more.

"Why me?" Gu Fei had no wish to do the job of jotting down a recorded statement.

"Because you're the one who wants to kill Southern Lone Blade and earn some money and not me," Young Master Han replied.

Gu Fei indeed had no choice, so all he could do was dash right over to the small tavern. Royal God Call and War Without Wounds had already prepared him writing materials and told Slyris that he would be coming over to ask her a few things.

"Ahem..." Even after meeting, Gu Fei still felt a little uncomfortable. He sat down and cleared his throat before beginning, "I'm just hoping to ask a few simple questions regarding Southern Lone Blade."

"Do I have the right to remain silent?" Slyris asked.

"You don't have to say a word if you prefer not to," Gu Fei replied.

Slyris nodded, which Gu Fei took as a sign for him to start. "When did Southern Lone Blade suggest meeting up?"

"8."

"How did he arrange it?"

"I happened to be in the tavern at that time, so I asked him to come over."

"What time did he reach?" Gu Fei asked.

"Around 8:20, I guess."

"When did he leave?"

"Five minutes, I think!"

"F*CK!" He slapped the table.

Slyris expressed her understanding of his frustration. "And you arrived not five minutes after."

"That's right!" He wanted to cry, yet no tears would come out. It turned out he was quite literally just a step behind Southern Lone Blade, and they almost bumped into each other.

On the other end of the mercenary channel, Young Master Han received the live broadcast of what was being said from Royal God Call, who was already making his assertions. "Meeting Slyris at 8, arriving twenty minutes later at the tavern. Judging from the time, it's very likely that he registered his account here in one of the spawn points."

"That's right," Gu Fei agreed.

"However, registering their accounts doesn't mean that they'll stay in the city for long. It's entirely possible that they have left the city by now," Young Master Han said.

"Left..." When Gu Fei heard this word, he suddenly recalled something and ran out of the tavern doors. The rest had no idea what was he doing, so they followed him as well. Gu Fei looked down the left and right of the tavern, before turning to face War Without Wounds. "Wounds, you came from this direction, right?" Gu Fei asked, pointing down the right lane.

War Without Wounds nodded.

"Royal and I came from that way." Gu Fei pointed to the left and asked Slyris again. "We didn't see anyone looking like Southern Lone Blade when we arrived. Does this street split off into anywhere?"

"There are two street entrances." Slyris pointed to the left and right. "The left lane faces North, while the right heads South."

"Where does either lane lead to?" he asked.

"The lane to the right connects to a normal alley, so I can't really say where they could have gone from there. As for the left lane, which is facing south, it leads directly to the Hall of Mercenaries."

Gu Fei immediately shoved Royal God Call. "Head into that alley and inquire after Southern Lone Blade."

Royal God Call immediately paled. "Are you asking me to die?"

Gu Fei was momentarily stunned before remembering that Royal God Call lacked any sense of direction. Sending him alone would be a fate worse than death to this man, so he nudged War Without Wounds as well. "You two will go."

The two clearly wanted to spend more time with the ladies whom they had not chatted enough, but upon being given a task to fulfill, they did not shirk from their responsibilities and immediately headed down the alley as instructed. Gu Fei proceeded to thank Slyris for her cooperation before hurrying down the left lane toward the Hall of Mercenaries.

One out of these two lanes should be the path Southern Lone Blade's squad has taken, so they might have left some traces behind, Gu Fei thought to himself.