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Chapter 449 - Emergency Protocol

 The sharpest spear and the strongest shield.

The moment the Shadowmist Assassin's dagger pierced that strongest shield, a blow from the sharpest spear connected to its head.

The Chiwave Shield instantly shattered the moment the Shadowmist Assassin's attack connected, but it was at least able to serve as some defense, allowing Eternal Dominion to more calmly use his kung fu to mitigate that strike.

Using strength to mitigate strength; the principle behind Dragon Swallowing the Clouds was that simple, but outsiders had no idea just how to utilize it and mitigate an attack. Even though this was just a game, and their opponent was a NPC, be it a player or a NPC, every action within the game had to follow the laws of physics. While there were occasions where it might go against common sense, it would not be totally nonsensical overall.

That was why this attack from the Shadowmist Assassin could be mitigated by Eternal Dominion's efforts.

This was something Gu Fei, who lacked the Strength, could not achieve.

The Taichi concept of using a little strength to overcome a powerful force was nothing but a vivid exaggeration. In reality, it simply leveraged on skillfulness and technique to overcome strength. The average person would not know this, however, so they would only imagine it to be the current state of excessive hyperbole. In truth, when two strengths were pit against one another, the difference between the two could not be too great; otherwise, even the application of the said concept would be useless. Given how weak Gu Fei's Strength stat was, while he might be able to occasionally overpower certain players through the utilization of this concept, Gu Fei was well aware of his limits when facing against a BOSS that was at level 60.

In the end, the Shadowmist Assassin did not react much to that sword slash Gu Fei had dished out. Eternal Dominion, for his part, had expended all his strength just to mitigate that one strike, resulting in both his arms to shudder upon impact and for the Shadowmist Assassin's attack to actually be redirected in another direction.

Eternal Dominion considered this as a sort of failure. The technique 'Dragon Swallowing the Clouds' was not supposed to redirect the enemy's strength but to swallow it in its entirety and to diminish the strength until it was indiscernible, instead. The fact that Eternal Dominion was only able to redirect the Shadowmist Assassin's attack in another direction showed that even he did not bear the Strength to fully mitigate it to naught, and all he could do was to go for the next best outcome.

Still, he was not left discouraged by this. Now that he was able to redirect the attack over to his side, Eternal Dominion immediately followed up with a counterattack of his own; he reached both his hands out, locked them into the BOSS's waist, and used his Seismic Toss on it. The Shadowmist Assassin, which had flown up in the air, used its leg to counterattack just like before. This was the weakness showdown of a man versus machine, for it was only able to judge the immediate gains and losses that occurred but unable to identify the greater dangers that lurked in the unknown.

The BOSS sent a kick toward Eternal Dominion while mid-air; it was a kick that Eternal Dominion, who had already taken it before, was prepared for and responded accordingly by crossing his two arms to block. Simultaneously, Gu Fei leaped to follow the Shadowmist Assassin up in the air. Brushing past it, he executed the second half of his 'Floating Clouds during Sunset' technique after having landed his Palm of Thunder on the BOSS moments ago.

Eternal Dominion, who was witnessing every exchange, was no longer focused on the Shadowmist Assassin's current state. All he did was gasp as he took in the splendor of Gu Fei's technique, wondering if he would be able to evade this follow-up move if he were the one fighting against Gu Fei...

This attack Gu Fei had landed in the air was dealt in the same direction as the Repulse effect from his Palm of Thunder and applying more power and damage to the Shadowmist Assassin. As a result, the BOSS was sent flying off even faster and zooming off right into the fog without having to initiate this itself.

"HA!" The two successfully collaborated on that attack, and Eternal Dominion punched his fist in the air to show his excitement. Gu Fei ignored this entirely, not wasting any time as he pulled out an apple and began munching on it. Eternal Dominion had only expended mana on a Chiwave Shield before and after, while the rest depended on his Strength and technique to resist that BOSS's attack. Meanwhile, Gu Fei had unleashed Twin Incineration and Palm of Thunder in order to deal the maximum damage, which used up a huge portion of his mana. If he did not replenish what he could when the opportunity presented itself, he would have difficulty dishing out damage as efficiently as he had just demonstrated during the next round.

With the two men collaborating to such a degree, even though the Shadowmist Assassin was in a state of enrage, its patterns of attack did not increase or change whatsoever. All it did was strengthen the few moves it had, which were all patterns that Gu Fei had already familiarized himself with. By giving Eternal Dominion any slight prompts, he too would be able to figure out the nuances behind these attacks as well.

Since they were able to deal with that first assault, they would naturally be fine dealing with it the second time, third time... The BOSS's remaining targets were just the two of them by this point. Eternal Dominion was more than able to mitigate its attack if it chose to target him, while he already knew what he had to expect and prepare when the BOSS targeted Gu Fei, so the entire execution of this fight went very smoothly. Even though he would suffer some damage each time he redirected that aggressively powerful attack from the Shadowmist Assassin, he would take every chance he got to consume some bread as Gu Fei munched on some fruit. Thus, they were able to hold out this long.

The confidence within the two men grew as they carried on in this fashion. Beating the Shadowmist Assassin was only a matter of time at the rate that they were going - that was if nothing even more insane cropped up, like becoming even more enraged...

Were BOSSES able to enrage twice? There was temporarily no need for this discussion, as the gaming operations end had already been overwhelmed by the BOSS's first time of becoming enraged.

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That unsanctioned modification Ye Xiaowu had made was indeed ingenious; the system had deemed every action made after the Shadowmist Assassin got enraged to be entirely working as intended, and it did not result in any reports of foul play. However, he had underestimated the many colleagues from the monitoring team that were presently watching the performance of this Shadowmist Assassin.

At first, the crowd was extremely excited by the fact the Shadowmist Assassin got enraged, but they all became tongue-tied when they saw the BOSS give up its original target and directed its aggro toward the other nearby players, beginning its massacre in the grinding map.

At the moment, the actions of the Shadowmist Assassin were entirely in line with how it was configured, so the system did not consider this to be an abnormality that required reporting. However, to the game employees personally witnessing this match, they soon realized just how terrible the situation would become. This method of killing would only spiral out of control and continue endlessly.

"Chief Ye, this..." Someone began to voice his doubt on Chief Ye but stopped himself. This was because the issue here was not the program per se. Rather, it was a huge flaw in the configuration of the BOSS Shadowmist Assassin.

Ye Xiaowu was already as pale as a ghost at this point. Even the members of the monitoring team could tell that the configuration of the BOSS was an issue, so how could a game designer like himself not realize what a torrent of disaster this Shadowmist Assassin would become?

Nobody waited for Ye Xiaowu to reply as the immediate attention was to deal with this sudden situation within the game, and this was not something he was responsible for. The monitoring team that had been watching the spectacle all dispersed, with someone even asking him to leave the station he was seated at, so that they could begin to work on the issue. Ye Xiaowu heard that the monitoring team's supervisor was already reporting this matter to the higher-ups.

Since this was not a situation that occurred as a result of players cheating but by a loophole in the game's design, it meant that this incident was similar to that ensuing slaughter by the BOSS which had previously wandered over to the city. Thus, the monitoring team did not dare bungle the handling of this matter, immediately requesting the higher-ups for further instructions to determine if this was a situation that called for intervention and the enactment of emergency protocols.

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At the same time, Brother Assist's detailed support ticket had also caught the attention of the GMs. Compared to Young Master Han's joke response of 'BOSS is slaughtering the city', Brother Assist's ticket was so meticulous that the GMs were unable to find an excuse to dismiss the issue. The GM he contacted immediately saw the tragedy that had struck Xiawu City from Brother Assist's description of 'BOSS seems to have lost control and is engaging in an indiscriminate massacre!

Furthermore, the power the GMs held was entirely directed at the players, allowing them to ban, suspend, or even delete players' account, but they had no power when it came to irregularities in the system configuration, such as a BOSS going berserk like this.

As such, that GM also reported this matter to the higher-ups immediately.

Actually, only one person was the higher-up...

This higher-up was the senior lead of the game operations. Upon receiving so many reports on this one matter, he quickly made his way over to the monitoring office and spotted Ye Xiaowu among the crowd the moment he entered the room.

"Xiaowu is here as well!" The senior lead, who had come to oversee the commotion, greeted Ye Xiaowu, entirely unaware that the man was the instigator of the situation. The man even assumed Ye Xiaowu had arrived to participate in this matter's discussion. After all, he was a primary game designer for Parallel World.

When this was happening, Gu Fei, Eternal Dominion, and the Shadowmist Assassin had yet to exchange blows. The senior lead very quickly witnessed the endless massacre that the BOSS was initiating. Similarly, because he was unfamiliar with the backend configuration, he immediately asked Ye Xiaowu of what had led for this situation to occur.

Ye Xiaowu answered him stiltedly. The supervisor of the monitoring team had already asked him the same question once before, and Ye Xiaowu identified it to be an issue that originated from the Shadowmist Assassin's configuration.

Ye Xiaowu told the truth. He summarized the current situation as the following: The Shadowmist Assassin's aggro formula was a huge BUG. His actions to combat the player BUG that was Gu Fei had him triggering the Shadowmist Assassin's enrage state, and that resulted in an even bigger BUG. Countless players had lost their lives and levels as a result, and this matter had truly transcended into a disaster of epic proportions.

The senior lead had no idea what to say upon hearing Ye Xiaowu's answer. Just like the supervisor of the monitoring team, the senior lead immediately determined that the biggest issue lay in the configuration of the BOSS itself, but because the game designer Ye Xiaowu was present, neither of them said anything more of the matter to save the man some face. Thus, the senior lead gave the order for the monitoring team to immediately resolve this crisis; at the same time, he contacted the employees working on the backend data to restore the losses incurred by those players that were implicated in this enraged BOSS incident.

The work involved in this was far more difficult than just deleting the BOSS. The monitoring team could easily use the modification tool to remove the BOSS, but it was really troublesome to troubleshoot the data as ordered. The employees that were supervising the backend data cursed the high heavens but could only do as instructed. The BOSS had already killed more than half its share by this point, so they had to investigate the player data of those who had lost their lives to the BOSS before, even as they hurried to track the BOSS's movement. They quickly made sure to lock on and freeze the data assets of the succeeding victims.

This was also why Young Master Han and the rest could not respawn after being killed; their data assets had all been lock and frozen. This was not special treatment from the employees in any sense but merely their method of lessening their eventual workload.

Meanwhile, the members of the monitoring team that were preparing to modify the BOSS suddenly stopped what they were doing. This was because there were no longer any players around the BOSS at this point, and the two players it was fighting had been entangled with it for many rounds, and they looked to have the ability to slay it.

Everybody was staring at the screen, and the supervisor of the monitoring team turned to look over at the senior lead, pointing toward the two players taking on the BOSS. "Do we let them continue?"

The senior lead looked at the HP of the BOSS and saw that it was left with but a sliver of health. Mulling over it for just a moment, he nodded. "Continue."