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Chapter 496 - The League of Assassins 2

 Chapter 496 - The League of Assassins (2)

The group of them huddled around and examined Sword Demon's arm. Royal God Call pointed to the blade of the dagger tattoo and asked, "What's written in there?"

"Death or Glory..." Young Master Han translated for everyone.

"Tsk, tsk, tsk!" everyone tut-tutted in unison.

"Number 2!" Brother Assist was hung up on the number. "Does that mean that Sword Demon is the second to join the League of Assassins?"

"In other words, there are only two members right now," Young Master Han said.

"Two members... I don't think it is appropriate to call it a faction," War Without Wounds said.

"That just means that the use of this system hasn't spread among the general public yet. Considering the strength of the Shadowmist Assassin as an approximately level 60 BOSS and this quest, which gave us the option to join this faction as a reward, came from its diary, we can say that level 60 is the point where the players can join a faction en masse. It might be possible that such an opportunity would arise following along certain other questlines," Brother Assist analyzed.

Everyone felt that it was a logical assessment.

"However, the world out there sure is vast. To think that we are not the first to complete a level 60 quest. I wonder who is the saint that got the number '1' spot." Brother Assist sighed.

"Who cares about him?! We wanna join, too!" Royal God Call and War Without Wounds cried out in unison, fighting to be the next in line. Obtaining a leading number symbolized their qualification, which was practically a lifetime's worth of glory! No matter how powerful the person with the no. 42568 was, he or she would never be able to supersede the pride that came with being number 1. Why else would people take their QQ¹ serial number as a nickname just because it was shorter by a few digits?

"I wanna be three; I wanna three!" Royal God Call and War Without Wounds yelled as they charged toward Gru. In the end, the NPC stared at the two men coldly and remarked with disdain, "Even though the League of Assassins is no longer as pure as in the days of old, that doesn't mean any random person can walk up and join us."

"Then, how can we join?" the two asked at the same time.

Gru did not answer them.

Everyone else was deriding them. "We've already said it; there's no reason for you guys to qualify for the reward as well!"

"In that case, I probably wouldn't be able to join, either." Brother Assist stepped forward to give it a shot, and just as he had predicted, Gru gave the same answer as before.

"I won't bother trying either, then!" Young Master Han did not even attempt to interact with Gru. While he was a big help in this quest, no matter how much he was involved in the positioning and organization of the battle, the mechanical system the game was based on would never be able to calculate his contribution. Only the players themselves would know in their hearts how much his participation mattered.

Everyone's eyes fell on the final two players. Svelte Dancer was personally called over to open the lock, entered the underground room where the dehumidifier was in, and even managed to stab Giordano. Logically speaking, she had substantial participation in this quest.

They all watched as Svelte Dancer came forward. However, in a shocking turn of events, Gru's expression immediately turned scornful the moment it laid eyes on Svelte Dancer. "Rogue? It seems you've completely abandoned any sense of ideals and has come to worship money in every sense of the word. You've already fallen into the abyss; the League of Assassins will not be tainted by the likes of you!"

"WHAT?!" Svelte Dancer was completely stunned, feeling wronged and at a loss.

"This... It sounds as if Gru has issues with your job class. It appears that the League of Assassins won't accept Rogues," Brother Assist offered.

Everyone found this to be a little strange. Rogues and Assassins were advancements from the same job class - the Thief job class would split into two paths once it reached level 40. Who would have guessed that a group that had the Assassin's name to it would vehemently reject players who had chosen the Rogue path, and the tone the NPC had used even sounded as if it held a deep-seated hatred for it?

"Would Mages be rejected as well?" Gu Fei stepped forward this time. Everyone wondered what sort of vicious words Gru would spout to vilify the Mage job class.

Everyone was once more in for a shock as Gru glanced at Gu Fei and heavily reprimanded the man, "Stick to your word and adhere to your ideals. No one welcomes capricious and fickle-minded individuals."

Everybody hung their mouths agape, with War Without Wounds obliviously asking, "Man, this Gru sure has a way with words. What the heck did he mean this time?"

"I don't know; Miles, talk to it again," Royal God Call suggested.

Gu Fei tried to join the faction once more, but the silly NPC repeated the same line as before.

"This... It sounds like this line is Gru's way of refusing you from changing your faction!" Brother Assist said.

"Miles already joined a faction? When did that happen?" Everyone was stunned at this revelation.

"When was this? Why don't I even know about this?" Gu Fei was equally perplexed.

"Wait a minute!" Sword Demon spoke up, pointing to the tattoo he had on his bare arm. "Something unique about factions is that they'll provide a sequential serial number to the players who join them..."

Everyone once more turned to look at Gu Fei at this point. "Could it be..."

Gu Fei had taken out his Bounty License by now. "This is considered as a faction?"

"Looks about right." Everyone nodded.

"What kind of faction is this?" Gu Fei was in despair! Sword Demon's faction had such a resounding name, possessing a resolute philosophy with a NPC that had quite the gift of the gab. Anyone could tell that this faction had the potential to see great success, yet Gu Fei did not even have any general idea of what his faction was called.

The others were all sniggering at his expense.

"Ahem. What you have here... looks to be the career of a civil servant. Working for the government is a secure job!" War Without Wounds said.

"A detective? Cop? Or a city manager?" Royal God Call imagined.

"Hey. At least, you're number 1!" Brother Assist said.

"No wonder you can't trade that thing. It works exactly like Sword Demon's tattoo!" Svelte Dancer said.

"Then, what if I lose it?" Gu Fei suddenly wondered aloud.

"Uhm. If this is truly a proof of membership to the faction, I reckon there will be some ways for you to get a replacement if you do lose it," Brother Assist supposed.

"But given the system's ever despicable nature, I'm sure there's an exorbitant fee for the replacement, and it's most likely the reduction of benefits from your said faction," Young Master Han added.

"Benefit? I don't even have any..." Gu Fei said.

Everyone patted him, silent.

"Come; let's continue to further our understanding of this League of Assassins!" Everybody turned their attention back to the matter at hand. Gu Fei's nameless faction was far too lacking in its character that these veterans had already deemed it to be a weak faction.

Since everyone finished trying to join the faction, Sword Demon renewed his interaction with Gru.

"As a member of the League of Assassins, you need to constantly develop your skills. Here; choose a skill that you need. Train hard and get a good grasp of it!" Gru said.

"WOW!" everybody exclaimed. "You got rewarded so soon!" As they shouted this, their eyes inadvertently strayed on to Gu Fei and the Bounty License he was holding.

Amid Sword Demon's delight, the others inquired, "What did you learn?"

"Dual-wielding Mastery!" Sword Demon replied excitedly. Today was truly his lucky day! Not only did he manage to learn that insane overleveled skill Shadowmist Assault, he now even learned the Dual-wielding Mastery skill he had dreamed of having. With a cold gleam, Sword Demon equipped the pair of green-tier daggers, Lasting Sentence Dying Breath.

"WOW! Big Brother Sword Demon looks so cool!" Royal God Call faked a high-pitched scream.

Svelte Dancer was also a dagger user, so her eyes burned green with envy.

"You're invincible now. Utterly invincible." War Without Wounds clapped Sword Demon on his back. They were all clear as to the stats and traits Lasting Sentence Dying Breath possessed.

However, a tinge of regret lingered in Sword Demon's eyes. "I still can't use the skill this set of daggers has!"

"Don't be too greedy!" War Without Wounds said.

"Not that. I'm just wondering what the necessary requirements are to activate it. Miles, the skill on your sword hasn't been usable all this while, right?" Sword Demon asked.

Gu Fei nodded. "If it's not an issue of level, it must be that my Sword Aptitude isn't up to par yet."

"With how you allocate your stats, you shouldn't even have enough Spell Aptitude to begin with..." someone commented.

"His robe has that trait 'Spell Mastery +1'," another reminded.

"Could it be that Sword Demon still doesn't have enough Dagger Aptitude?"

"Even with Dual-wielding Mastery, it's split between the dominant and the non-dominant hand. The Aptitude a non-dominant hand has is lower, especially since Sword Demon has just learned it. Wait till he levels up its proficiency!" As someone who also had the Dual-wielding Mastery skill, War Without Wounds provided his view accordingly.

"That seems to be the case." Everyone did notice that the glow from Dying Breath, which Sword Demon was holding in his left hand, was dimmer than the glow of Lasting Sentence, which was in his right hand.

"Quickly tell us what other benefits you got from the League of Assassins?" everyone urged.

"Nothing else... Dual-wielding Mastery was one out of the three skill rewards I could choose from," Sword Demon answered.

"One out of the three? What are the other two options, then?" these people asked.

"I chose the passive skill Dual-wielding Mastery; another is an offensive skill, Throat Slice. It's usable only when the target is below 15% of maximum HP. An accurate strike will result in a sure-kill. The other is a movement skill, Shadowstep. Creating blurry afterimages and instantly appearing behind the target-"

"Shadowstep?!" Before Sword Demon finished his words, Gu Fei already exclaimed this in surprise.

"You know that skill?" Everybody was astonished. Gu Fei should be a blank slate when it came to in-game knowledge, so there was no reason he should be aware of a skill that even they had not heard of, unless... he had seen it during his PK-ing stints.

"Have you fought someone with that skill before?" Young Master Han asked.

Gu Fei nodded.

"So that guy should be number 1, then." Everyone made such a guess. Based on the information they had gather, they could draw the assumption that this faction should be something for players at level 60; meaning, the skills that the faction provided to its members would be at that same level. Such over-level rewards were not exactly common, so it was highly likely that the same skill could possibly be awarded via the same method.

"And this person would be..." Everybody was waiting for Gu Fei to reveal this player's IGN.

"Cool Apple," Gu Fei immediately supplied.

"Cool Apple? He's from Xiawu City! So it was your handiwork when that man, who used to be part of the Ten Great Adepts for Thieves, dropped by a level two days ago!" Brother Assist said.

"Eh? You guys didn't know that?" Gu Fei thought he had already told this lot about the story with him and the gang of nine.

"You've mentioned it to me before," Sword Demon affirmed. "Cool Apple seem to have been Four from that incident!"

"That's the one. Furthermore, not only did he learn the skill Shadowstep, even his dagger has that ability, which is why he's able to use it twice consecutively. It's pretty hard defending against that," Gu Fei shared.

"Pretty hard to defend? Didn't you still manage to slay him, you Ten Adepts killer?! I knew it's your doing when the leaderboard changed anew," Brother Assist exclaimed.

"So that guy's actually the number '1' in the League of Assassins? That PK maniac..." Gu Fei recalled Cool Apple's depraved smile.

[1] I've mentioned before how QQ is a messaging service/app. Just think of it as something like Discord, where a set of serial numbers is given to every account. The author is trying to say that there are people out there who take pride in having lower serial number.