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Chapter 436 - In and Out of the Fog

 The system BOSS had always belonged to the masses and was never something owned solely by any individual. That was why even though Southern Lone Blade and his squad purposely came over here for this BOSS, and Gu Fei and his fellow mercenaries rushed over in hopes of slaying Southern Lone Blade, that did little to affect the BOSS from targeting Gu Fei first.

Everybody was searching around the place blindly; Southern Lone Blade and the others had their backs stuck fast and formed an enclosed circle, while Sword Demon maintained his Stealth. Only Gu Fei was arrogantly standing in the fog. If the BOSS did not choose to target him, it would truly be a joke for the officials who had boasted of their complex AI algorithm for this game.

NPCs would not produce killing intent when they attacked, and this was why the Shadowmist Assassin had been able to sneak behind Gu Fei and strike like it did without him realizing anything. As an Assassin, it was exceptionally skilled at hiding its presence; the BOSS did not even make a sound despite its high movement speed, However, it was also due to this fast movement speed that a flaw was created.

It was the flow of air that accompanied a high-speed movement, which was colloquially known as wind.

Perhaps, the average gamer would not have noticed such a slight breeze, but Gu Fei, who was more attentive to this sort of aberration, was able to nimbly turn around and block the BOSS's blow with keen acuity!

Against Gu Fei, a NPC that would not give off killing intent would have an innate advantage when ambushing. Slowly making its way to the target's back and stabbing the person from behind would be far more effective for the BOSS than making such a lightning blitz. Unfortunately, the person who designed this NPC had never thought of this.

The instant the Shadowmist Assassin attacked, it quickly turned around and dashed into the fog once more. Gu Fei might have blocked that stab from the BOSS, but he was entirely unable to resolve the ensuing force that came with it. The blow sent him hurtling through the air, becoming a hazy black blur as he flew in the fog.

"There!" three of the seven-man squad, who had their eyes trained on where Gu Fei had been, exclaimed, causing everybody to turn their heads over. Sure enough, they saw a figure streak out of the fog, appearing as if it was flying instead of running.

"Take care!" Southern Lone Blade shouted as their circle of seven turned to let him take the brunt of the blow from this black figure. The Knight in their squad bestowed Blessing of Resilience as the two Priests got ready to begin healing. Southern Lone Blade held his shield before him, hoping to use this opportunity to find out just how much damage this Shadowmist Assassin could deal.

As it turned out, this flying black figure did not come hurtling straight toward them and, instead, landed on the ground halfway to them. No matter how they looked, it did not seem that it was about to elegantly dash over and attack them, because this person's butt was facing Southern Lone Blade and the others.

This person stepped back for plenty of steps before finally finding firm purchase on the ground. He turned over and waved at the audience. "Don't panic; it's just me."

"F*CK!" the seven men bellowed.

At the same time, Glue's arrow and Flame Singed Clothes' spell came flying toward him. Gu Fei darted to the side in response. Blackwater wanted to bolt out and contend with the man, but Southern Lone Blade stopped him. "Don't mess up the formation!"

Limp Hands, who was standing in the core of these seven men, hurriedly shouted, "He's not the BOSS! The BOSS doesn't look like that!"

Southern Lone Blade did not even turn as he said, "He's not the BOSS. He's even stronger than a BOSS."

Limp Hands was perplexed. He could not understand what Southern Lone Blade meant by what he said. This person, decked out in a black mage robe yet holding a sword, was standing before them while grinning. This man had just very deftly dodged the incoming arrow and spell. This was when Limp Hands realized that this was not a BOSS but a freak, instead. A BOSS would at least follow the rules and framework that came with a job class, but just what sort of crazy mess of a character was this person before them?

Glue and Flame Singed Clothes' attacks would naturally not stop with that one wave, as more of their arrows and spells followed. However, Gu Fei was extremely calm when he faced the two's joint assault, casually wielding his sword to manage the situation. When faced against Flame Singed Clothes' AoE spells, he would proceed to run forward, getting himself closer and closer to that circle of seven men.

"Tighten up!" Southern Lone Blade suddenly commanded when he recalled that Gu Fei was able to Blink; None of them would survive if Gu Fei Blinked right into their midst and executed that 900-degree Twin Incineration on them. Even if he possessed high HP, him being able to dish out a 900-degree attack would translate to two and a half revolutions. Meaning, half of them would take three slashes from his Twin Incineration. Was there anyone alive that could actually tank through all that damage?

All of them understood this tacitly; immediately stepping back, they tightened up the formation they had. It was mainly Glue and Flame Singed Clothes that were dishing out attacks, so all they needed to do was ensure that the two had ample space to do their work. Thus, the circle shrank until Limp Hands found it hard to breathe from being squeezed at the center. Southern Lone Blade turned to look him in the eye. "Hang in there."

The eyes of Limp Hands revealed his perseverance as he nodded his head resolutely. He felt that this was the moment for him to undergo his personal trials.

Gu Fei came to a grinding halt the moment he saw his enemies' move. He had indeed originally intended to close in on them, Blink right into their midst, and then follow that up with Twin Incineration to clear them all out. However, he had not expected for his plan to be seen through and be acted upon by squeezing out any potential space between them for him to exploit.

Now, all he could do was kill them off one by one from the outside. Gu Fei was about to get started when he heard someone shout, "Behind you!"

Gu Fei was startled. He deduced that the Shadowmist Assassin had probably made its way to his back once more, and this shout was definitely from Sword Demon warning him as the latter kept watch. Gu Fei turned his body, and sure enough, that grey shadow came sprinting out of the fog, looking to stab him right in the back again. With this backward look, Gu Fei could easily tell that the Shadowmist Assassin's movement speed far outstripped Svelte Dancer's. There was no doubt it was a downright, formidable BOSS.

Gu Fei hurriedly moved several paces to the side, but the Shadowmist Assassin was already right before him, driving its matte grey dagger right toward him in a hazy blur. Gu Fei was ready for this, though. It was not difficult for him to parry this attack, and it seemed that the BOSS did not use as much strength and force in this plunge like before. It instantly retracted its arm after its attack and did a flip in the air, extending its arm out as it rained a flurry of blows. Any average player would see just a mess of attacks, but Gu Fei's eyesight was far from the average. He was able to distinguish each stab the BOSS made as he matched these attacks with a nimble twist of his wrist. Sparks bloomed and danced as they exchanged strikes, the sound of clanking metal ringing repeatedly as the BOSS's attack was completely sealed.

While Gu Fei did not attack as quickly as the Shadowmist Assassin, his technique was far more consummate. The placement of every thrust of his sword was adjusted for the cleanest execution. Generally speaking, the Shadowmist Assassin had a faster attack speed, but its margin of error was large as well; meanwhile, Gu Fei might be slower in his attack speed, but he exercised pin-point precision. As a result, there was hardly any differences in the time it took for either party to initiate their attacks, leaving either side evenly matched.

In truth, Gu Fei did have a method to penetrate through the enemy's attack with one strike, but the problem was that he was dealing with a BOSS and not an actual human being. Against a player, a slash to the throat would be all it took to send that person back to the spawn point, but against a BOSS, there was simply no way for him to insta-kill a BOSS no matter where his sword slashed. Furthermore, a NPC would not back down after taking an attack, which meant that Gu Fei would only end up dead at the hands of the ensuing rain of dagger strikes the BOSS would dish out. As a result, he had no choice but to honestly fend off its every blow.

As far as methods went, directly clashing in such a fashion was an inferior option, yet those who were unfamiliar with the world of martial arts found such a display extremely exciting. Either party continued to trade blows through the countless exchanges they made as their weapons danced against each other. Suddenly, the Shadowmist Assassin halted his attack, as some unknown strength, seemingly plucked from the thin air, came to it, making it tumbled back into the fog.

Gu Fei wiped his sweat. Despite the short exchange, he had expended a great amount of energy dealing with the BOSS. His left hand flicked and batted away an arrow to the ground that was heading straight for his right shoulder. He turned around to face the seven men once more.

When Gu Fei was being attacked by the Shadowmist Assassin, Flame Singed Clothes and Glue had also wished to continue their ranged attack at him, but they were stopped by Southern Lone Blade. He was worried that this attack might redirect the BOSS's aggro, sending the Shadowmist Assassin straight to them when it was originally targeting Gu Fei. Having to contend with Gu Fei was already a frightening prospect by itself; would they not just be voluntarily seeking death if they pulled the BOSS's aggro, as well?

The others also felt that this was a rather logical assessment, so Flame Singed Clothes ended up sending little Fireballs, while Glue fired off Homing Projectiles. These were attacks that had low damage yet were virtually unmissable, so there was no chance for them to accidentally hit the BOSS, allowing them to harass Gu Fei and lend the BOSS a hand. But who would have thought that Gu Fei would completely ignore them, concentrating solely on dealing with the Shadowmist Assassin, such that they never achieved their intended goal, though?

Even though a period of peace had resumed, Gu Fei was well aware that he was not in a favorable position at all. At this point, he was essentially being attacked from the front and the back, and he could no longer afford to be as brazen as before. Thinking of this, he postponed his plan to take care of the seven men and ran into the fog as well. While this might not be an issue for the BOSS, he would at the very least no longer be harassed by the seven men.

There was no way he could continue to survive all the Fireballs and Homing Projectiles they were throwing at him no matter how low the damage of these attacks was!

Gu Fei was hiding in the fog. Munching on his piece of bread, he thought of how to deal with the Shadowmist Assassin. It was fine that it had a fast movement speed and attack speed, and Gu Fei was positive that he would be able to find a way to deal with this BOSS if it were willing to face him directly. However, the problem now was how it was going in and out of the fog to plant a few stabs on its target before instantly retreating back to the safety of the fog. Gu Fei did not think he would be able to continue this back and forth if it continued. He was a human, after all. There was no way he would not make a mistake forever considering how machines would not deteriorate due to fatigue like humans would.

"Careful; they are currently moving in your direction," Sword Demon reminded him.

"You should take care as well!" Gu Fei said. Sword Demon verbally gave him a heads-up while he was Stealthed just now, so the squad would surely be aware that a Stealthed Thief was around. They did not make any move mainly because it had only been a sudden shout on Sword Demon's part, and they were unable to accurately tell where this person was situated. They were most likely on high alert right now, and Sword Demon would definitely be bombarded the moment he gave more hints as to where he was hiding.

Before Gu Fei could even see the effect of that piece of bread, he spotted a mass of figures in the fog. He hurriedly backed off now that he knew it was that lot of men heading toward him.

"What's the situation?" Young Master Han and Brother Assist had finally arrived, and they immediately sent off a message asking about the situation.

"Take care! The BOSS is somewhere around here. Be careful it might attack you guys," Gu Fei warned.

"I doubt that! Why will we have its aggro when we've just arrived? Did Southern Lone Blade and his crew not even manage to draw any aggro of its at all?" Young Master Han asked.

The mercenary channel was silent for quite some time before Sword Demon said, "It is Miles who earned its aggro!"

"Wa ha ha ha! What an expert, indeed. So what? Did he solo the BOSS again?" Young Master Han asked in a mocking tone. He could tell from the message Gu Fei had sent moments ago that even the Video Mage was having trouble dealing with the BOSS this time.

Just as this message was sent out, Young Master Han and Brother Assist heard the crisp sound of metal meeting metal somewhere in front of them on the left. They turned their heads over and saw a black figure flying out.

He did not manage to find purchase on the ground and ended up sprawled on the ground right before Brother Assist and Young Master Han after backing out several steps.

"He he he! Experts are truly different, huh? Is he bearing the momentum even as he dove to the ground like that, or is he just sliding on his back?" Young Master Han asked Brother Assist.