Virtual World Close Combat Mage Chapter 750: Chapter 750 - Abducting an NPC
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All roads lead to Rome, and Yunjiao Lakeside was also out in the open air, so there were plenty of options to get to the place. Meanwhile, the biggest benefit that came with using the system's main road was not because it was a shorter route, but that it would allow players to concentrate on hurrying along without interruptions from any monsters. But if players wanted to look for the shortest route to their destination, their journey would most definitely have them cross paths with monsters along the way. In the event that the players would find themselves crossing a high level area that they have no choice but to traverse, forcefully doing so would possibly result in the players putting their own lives at risk in the process.
These were not much of a problem to these four people, firstly because they had fast movement speed, and secondly, because Gu Fei, Svelte Dancer, and Royal God Call were all very quick when it came to clearing monsters. They would circle away from the monsters that they could run from, or end up killing those they could not bypass in just a few strokes of their weapons. It did not take them too long to circle around the hills of Yunjiao Lakeside and come up from behind.
"We'll go up right here!" Xi Xiaotian lifted her head up and said.
The other three nodded. It was as if the place around the hills were already adopting the features of Yunjiao Lakeside: there were not too many monsters, and the ambiguous atmosphere that permeated had evidently made Royal God Call somewhat excited.
The area of Yunjiao Lake was huge. When the four climbed up to the top of the hill, they could see quite a good distance into the rippling lake, where light bounced off its calm surface, and the tall grass and reeds that would not reveal anyone hidden within even when saying in the gentle breeze.
"The log cabin is right over there," Gu Fei pointed. The location was not exactly too far away from where they were currently positioned.
"Haha, isn't that the spot where you got Honor-killed?" Svelte Dancer gloated.
"Look at that huge lake," Gu Fei sighed.
The three others turned and regarded him strangely, uncertain as to why he had suddenly made such a wistful sounding comment.
"Someone had swum across once," Gu Fei gestured.
"ARE YOU COURTING DEATH!?" Svelte Dancer was gnashing her teeth.
Xi Xiaotian chuckled and looked all around, "I don't see any NPCs from here."
"There's already among the trees in the vicinity. If it's a ranger, its job should be to safeguard the forest, right? It's gonna be troublesome finding someone in a forest," Royal God Call said.
"Yes. Stick close to us, don't lose your way," Gu Fei called out.
Royal God Call was tearing up, but he knew that Gu Fei was not insulting him this time round, but was really reminding him out of the kindness of his heart, so there was no way he could lambaste Gu Fei for not keeping his word.
"I think it would be more effective if we split up," Xi Xiaotian made the suggestion.
"Or we could just shout out its name loudly. Maybe it would find its own way to us," Royal God Call said.
"Yes, that would do. The three of us will split up and look for it. Royal God Call, you can stand where you are and shout out its name," Gu Fei nodded.
"I—" Royal God Call felt he had really walked into that one by himself.
And so, the three players departed separately, as Royal God Call began to walk around in the forest, shouting out Courtney's name earnestly. In the end, Courtney did not appear, though plenty of players were roused by it. Several figures all popped out from the bushes and thicket, all of them trying their best to gaze in the direction of all the yelling, hoping to see who was the fool that had been abandoned by his partner.
Gu Fei and the two ladies each went in a different direction, heeding Gu Fei's advice to remain wary of a possible ambush. Thankfully, NPCs acted properly in the game, not intentionally skulking about in low brush and bushes as they patrolled the forest, so their target should be very conspicuous. It did not take long after the three departed for Xi Xiaotian to message the other three, telling them that she had discovered the target over by the lake. Gu Fei and Svelte Dancer hurriedly made their way over, while Royal God Call sent a message to Gu Fei, "Are you coming to pick me up?"
Gu Fei sighed. He had no choice but to run over and pick him up. Xi Xiaotian and Svelte Dancer were not reckless though, continuing to hold their position by the hills as they followed Courtney from a distance. By the time Gu Fei and Royal God Call had rejoined the ladies, Xi Xiaotian extended her hand out and pointed, "Looks like you're right. There's indeed an ambush awaiting us."
Gu Fei glanced around and was quietly chuckling to himself. The reeds were really tall, but Courtney walked through them like normal, her upper torso exposed as she made her way around. It was simply that by walking as she did, the wake of her motion was a little too much so several meters of reeds ended up being rustled by it, and the players hiding within were momentarily revealed. This ambush was pretty much set up a little too haphazardly.
Of course, Gu Fei had not considered that there were further complications to this situation. With Ye Xiaowu added in the mix, the four large guilds had immediately hurried over to this location from Yunjiao Quarry. With their manpower, it was only natural for them to very quickly locate Courtney. The four guild leaders all sent men whom they were personally trusted, and all of them did their best to interact with the NPC in an effort to get a quest out of it, only for each of them to come up empty handed. Ye Xiaowu did not give the four any clear hints either, which left them all feeling somewhat disappointed with his lack of aid. How they ended up setting up such a poor ambush was also the result of the four men bickering with each other, each wanting to snatch the quest from the other, so they had made sure to send their most trusted men to keep circling around Courtney, no one willing to give in the chance to anyone. Every time these men got to such a critical juncture, getting them to work together in any capacity would always end up becoming a joke.
"Something's wrong here. Even if Young Master Han knew that we would be coming here for our quest, how would he know that we're looking for this particular NPC? Most players would not even know that there was such an NPC here in Yunjiao Lakeside, right? Is Young Master Han someone that would frequent this place? Xi Xiaotian asked.
"I don't think so…" Gu Fei said. Considering just how vile Young Master Han was, anyone with a shred of decency would find it hard to stomach him. Love? Something so beautiful being bestowed to someone like him would simply be a complete waste of a good thing. Just thinking about this possibility made Gu Fei feel like he had sinned greatly.
"Furthermore, this should not be him either! I don't think that man would come up with such a comical ambush. Just look at them. Their butts are all exposed, and they are even crawling!" Gu Fei exclaimed.
"No matter who it is, just how did they know that we will be coming to find Courtney?" Xi Xiaotian wondered.
"With so many players, there must surely be someone who knew about this particular NPC, and since we're on a quest, we would indefinitely be interacting with NPCs, so why not give it a shot?" Gu Fei said.
"But could it be so coincidental?" Xi Xiaotian was still unconvinced.
"Plus, you've said that their current set up leaves them very exposed. Hmm, if this was supposed to be an ambush, then they indeed be very exposed, but perhaps the goal of the other party here is just to protect the NPC, intent on preventing us from getting in touch with Courtney, wouldn't being able to ambush us be no more than a convenient afterthought?" Xi Xiaotian continued to give her analysis of the situation.
"Yes, what you said makes a little sense," Gu Fei nodded. He turned around to look at the other two, "What are your thoughts on this?"
"There should be many couples in the bushes, why is it that they had not trod on any of them as they traipse among the reeds?" Royal God Call was also capable of thought sometimes.
"That…" Gu Fei was stumped for a moment before he realized what this meant. "Have they filled all the tall grass here with their men?"
"That appears to be the case…" Xi Xiaotian nodded. "They had arrived much earlier than us and made the necessary arrangements. The reeds that aren't moving must be the real ambush, while those guys who are sticking closely to Courtney might perhaps be the bait?" Even Xi Xiaotian could not guess that those players following the NPC were simply recklessly fighting over the quest.
"For these guys to have gone to such lengths setting up in advance; could they have been informed of Courtney's patrol route?" Svelte Dancer said.
"Hmm, could there be players that often hang around this area that are familiar with this NPC?" Xi Xiaotian said.
"Wait a minute, could it be that guy!?" Gu Fei suddenly thought of someone, pulled out his friends' list and checked. Sure enough, that person was online, so he sent a message over, "Are you here to mess things up again?"
"Thousand Miles Drunk is here," Ye Xiaowu did not even bother replying to Gu Fei as he quickly divulged this information to the guild leaders of the four large guilds.
"How did you learn this?" The four were shocked. The four of them had left scouts all along the way, yet none of them had reported any sighting of Thousand Miles Drunk; how did this little Priest even learn of his arrival before them?
"He just sent me a message. He had guessed that I'm here as well," Ye Xiaowu said.
"The two of you… just what sort of relationship do the two of you share?" The four wondered out loud.
Ye Xiaowu did not answer this question, changing the subject by asking, "Have all of you deployed your scouts in the area?"
The four nodded, and relayed their coordinates to get an overview of their coverage.
"Looks like they did not take the main road, but took a detour to come in from another path," Ye Xiaowu said.
The four guild leaders nodded. This was not something that they could help prevent either. Given how large the map was, finding a side path that circumvented the main road could essentially be found everywhere. There was no way for the manpower from the four large guilds to cover the entire Yunjiao Lakeside and keep an eye on everyone coming and going.
"Now that he has discovered us, that means he must have made note of the situation over with the NPC, which also means he's already somewhere nearby." Ye Xiaowu said as he looked all around.
The four guild leaders were very confident, "We've already hidden plenty of players here in the reeds, while we've gotten the most elite members of our respective guilds trailing after the NPC. No matter how powerful Thousand Miles Drunk is, I doubt he would be able to take on the four large guilds in a direct confrontation like this."
"Does he have to interact with that NPC?" The four asked Ye Xiaowu.
"While it was not a guarantee, I was at least 80% certain that he had taken this route. Now that he's here, I can confirm this beyond the shadow of a doubt," Ye Xiaowu said.
"Then let's wait for him to throw himself right into our trap!" The four men were happy, as they could kill Thousand Miles Drunk once more.
"Unless he what?" The moment the four of them heard this change in tune, they all got nervous.
"It's Thousand Miles Drunk!!" Someone in the reeds suddenly exclaimed, and it was evident that they had spotted their target.
"Where?" The four guild leaders called out at the same time.
"The northwest foothills!"
If everyone was crouched in the reeds, that would make it difficult for them to observe anything outside. Now that they had received confirmation, the players all slightly poked their heads out from the cover. Sure enough, there was that familiar yet terrifying black figure that was sprinting right down the hill. The confidence the four guild leaders had shown before wavered ever so slightly, as they each gave out the order, "GET READY!"
Everyone gripped their weapons tightly, not moving a muscle while they kept themselves hidden, all of them prepared to wait till Gu Fei was deep in their encirclement before they would surround him and attack. But who would have thought that Gu Fei did not run over at all? Standing several hundred meters away, the man came to a halt and loudly yelled out, "COURTNEY! ANGUS ISN'T DEAD!"
This shout could be heard by everyone in the sea of reeds, and all of them were puzzled about what had been said. They had no idea just what Thousand Miles Drunk was up to, but Ye Xiaowu had already muttered in dismay, "He really ended up using that method."
"What now?" The four guild leaders were astonished.
In the end, they got their answer. Courtney, who had always been in the middle of their encirclement, came to an abrupt halt and proceeded to very swiftly turn its head over to the direction where Gu Fei was shouting from. When Gu Fei saw that it had an effect on the NPC, he shouted the same line once more. Without saying another word, Courtney quickly came running over toward Gu Fei.
"Crap!" The four guild leaders finally understood just what Gu Fei was trying to accomplish. To think that the NPC did not require players to approach and engage in a conversation, but could actually be sent running to the player just by shouting at it. This went against the conventions of the normal MMOs since it would mostly be the players who would be subservient to the NPC's whims in the other games, serving them dutifully in exchange for their quest rewards. However, this NPC right now was the exact opposite, and it even acted with such urgency like it was in a hurry to accomplish some sort of quest.
"Block it! Don't let it get away!!" The four guild leaders were also anxious by this point and had all decided to trap the NPC in their encirclement.
"No, don't!" Ye Xiaowu rushed to stop them. But the players would of course listen to their own guild leaders; who would even care to take heed from Ye Xiaowu!? As such, they had all already stepped forward to block its path.
"What's gonna happen?" The four guild leaders quickly asked Ye Xiaowu
"Blocking it would only cause it to turn hostile, so what do you think will happen?"
Two streaks of white light appeared. The unseemingly female ranger actually attacked without any hesitation or restraint. The players wanted to block the NPC from leaving, only for two men to end up getting stabbed the moment they stood in its way. The NPC did not cause any trouble to anyone else after that, merely continuing to run at a decent pace over to Gu Fei.
"She's a Thief?" Most combat NPCs would also have job classes, and when everyone saw this female Ranger use a dagger and had a quick movement speed, they were quick to draw their conclusion accordingly.
"Rogue, Hunter, and Sharpshooter," Ye Xiaowu said. This was one of the areas where NPCs showed their shamelessness; They had a different job class system in place, and each of them would often have multiple job classes.
"If we kill it, would that mean Thousand Miles Drunk's quest cannot be finished?" The four guild leader asked.
Ye Xiaowu paused for a good moment before nodding, "It would be impossible for them to finish the quest with this particular route."
"You should have told us this sooner!" The four guild leaders complained to Ye Xiaowu as they immediately got ready to give the order to slay Courtney.
Ye Xiaowu's expression showed a brief hesitation, but finally added, "If you do kill it, your quest would also be similarly stuck here!"
"STOP STOP STOP STOP!!!" The four guild leaders were yelling their command out madly, glaring at Ye Xiaowu after that was done, "Just what is going on?"
"Both sides are competing over this same quest," Ye Xiaowu said.
"But didn't you mention that there are plenty of routes? Can we not take these other options?" The four asked.
"You're not wrong, but let me remind you all, my goal is to stop Thousand Miles Drunk from becoming an existence that would disrupt and influence the game, not to help you guys with your quest," Ye Xiaowu said.
"You've already told us this before!" Foe-herder cried.
However, Brave Surge had gleaned the subtext in that comment, "What you mean to say, is that you won't be giving any hint for the other routes. Right?"
"That's right," Ye Xiaowu nodded.
The four guild leaders exchanged glances with each other. During this exchange, the various guild channels each had their underlings urging for further instructions, "What are we going to do? Do we kill them or not? It's about to run off!"
"Do it!" Oathless Sword spat as Foe-herder and Black Index Finger nodded their heads decisively. This Priest had claimed that he would not provide any assistance with the other potential routes, but how had he provided any hints at all even with their current route? The four large guilds came alive by this time, though none of them really understood what was going on with the quest, nor did they have any information or background about everything happening. Just what did Thousand Miles Drunk mean by what he shouted, and why did that NPC run toward him after hearing him?
The four guild leaders all discovered that everything was the same to them, be it this route in front of them or the other routes that they have not discovered yet. Leaving this NPC alive, they would still have no idea how to proceed with the quest, but it would give Thousand Miles Drunk the chance of completing their quest instead, and that was not worth it at all. In such a situation, it was better to just bury this opportunity here altogether. And the icing on the cake would be that Brave Surge's quest would be discontinued as a result!
Perhaps the last reason was why Oathless Sword had been able to come to this decision so quickly. Before Brave Surge could even express his thoughts about this, the three had already given the order to their men to attack Courtney.
"D*mm*t, the 3 of you!!!" Brave Surge was still meticulously weighing the pros and cons from the start, so he was a little taken aback by just how soon the other three had come to their decision. When he later saw how the three had made their move without even caring about what his decision was, he instantly realized he was in a different position than the other three! My quest is still tied to this route, so I have something to lose here. Unlike the others, I actually have a chance to advance this quest!
"Brave Surge, we're simply considering the bigger picture!" Oathless Sword explained with a heavy heart.
"We know that your guild has a little foothold in this quest route, but look: Thousand Miles Drunk is pretty much nearing the finish line, we need to do something and stop him," Foe-herder said.
"All the city assaulters from Yunduan City will remember Carouse's sacrifice," Black Index Finger pretended to be the spokesperson for the masses.
The three were all of the same tune, and that angered Brave Surge greatly. But what else could he do? Even if there was a way for him to preserve his quest, the fact remained that he had absolutely no leads here. Beyond Thirty Miles, the player who was currently holding onto the quest, had been scurrying randomly all over the place like a stray dog during this time, interacting with what he could whenever something cropped up. Previously, when Brave Surge learned that Courtney was an important NPC, he had sent Beyond Thirty Miles to probe it as much as he could, but the man was unable to learn anything from it. By the looks of things, there was no difference if he had a quest or not, as he was completely clueless as to how to continue it. Brave Surge thought about it and gave up on the quest; All he could at this point was stay silent. Actually, what use would it have been if he objected? Was he going to have a falling out over this? There was no way his 1 guild could take on the other 3.
With their guild leader giving the order to kill, the players were no longer simply trying to stop Courtney. With their high HP Warriors stacked up together, they began to step up and provoke it.
Ye Xiaowu could not resist and shouted from the sidelines, "That's no use. No one's going to be generating any Threat with it right now, and all it wanted to do now was to make its way over to Thousand Miles Drunk."
"D*mm*t, what sort of weird monster is this!?" The four guild leaders chided.
"Form a human wall and surround it!" Ye Xiaowu prompted.
"We should have done that long before," the guild leaders of the four large guilds answered. When it came to their command ability, none of them could be considered weak.
But everything was not that easy. How could they focus on all their effort on just killing the NPC? When Gu Fei discovered that these men planned to put their lives on the line and turn this into a life or death situation, he had already come charging over to reinforce Courtney as fast as he could. Gu Fei found himself in the midst of the encirclement with a single Blink, and he actually coordinated his attack with Courtney's own, lashing out his sword to carve out an opening in the encirclement with just one stroke.
"What did you just say?" In the end, Courtney did not run any longer, but it had accosted Gu Fei regarding what he had said to trigger it in the first place.
Gu Fei did not answer it with words either, casually pulling out that necklace he found and handed it over to Courtney. Courtney took it in its hand as hot tears flowed freely down its cheeks, mumbling to itself, "Angus, it's really Angus!"
"Where is he?" Courtney hastily asked Gu Fei.
A mess of cries and exclamations suddenly sounded all around him, leaving Gu Fei puzzled as he swept his gaze all around him. It was unknown what sort of madness had overcome the players surrounding him as they all yelled senselessly while they fought, creating such a din that he could hardly hear himself speak.
"Will this work?" The four guild leaders asked Ye Xiaowu. They had hoped that this audio interference they were creating would make it impossible for Gu Fei to interact with Courtney.
Ye Xiaowu had no idea if he should be laughing or crying, "This won't work against NPCs. It might be rather effective against players though…" As a game developer, Ye Xiaowu had never expected the players to come up with such a bizarre audio attack.
"Let's not waste time here any longer, we won't be able to find Angus if we don't escape now!" Gu Fei shouted.
Sure enough, the NPC was undeterred by the noise, nodding its head with much aplomb, "I must go see Angus!!!"
"It's over…" Ye Xiaowu shook his head.
"What's over?" The four guild leaders were confused.
All of them watched as Courtney retrieved the longbow it had slung on it back and nocked 10 long arrows at once. It then drew the bowstring and released it, sending the 10 shafts of arrows out in a fan, insta-killing ten players at once!
"F*ck, that's way more ferocious than me!" Gu Fei exclaimed in surprise.
"The BOSS's Enraged," Ye Xiaowu explained to the 4 guild leaders.
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