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Chapter 298 - Wolf's Ear
Everyone who heard Young Master Han's words was stunned, with even a few exclaiming, "What?!"
"Nothing! It's nothing!" Oathless Sword hurriedly said, "You guys are free to do your personal businesses for now. Our friends from Young Master's Elite will scout the path ahead for us!"
Young Master Han merely smiled as the other mercenary group leaders stood up and left. When they were well out of earshot, Oathless Sword quickly said to Young Master Han, "Please keep all our transactions to private chat, bro."
"Sorry. My tongue slipped." Young Master Han was all smiles. All the mercenary groups signed different contracts with Traversing Four Seas. In the case of Young Master's Elite, Young Master Han had demanded a series of unfair conditions from Traversing Four Seas. Oathless Sword had only grudgingly agreed to all those after considering that Young Master's Elite was a group of only six men. But if these conditions were to be exposed to the other mercenary groups, Traversing Four Seas would certainly suffer immense losses, with each of them demanding the same conditions. This was why Oathless Sword almost had a heart attack when Young Master Han mentioned the word 'deposit' in front of everyone.
Putting aside just how much this deposit was, many of the mercenary groups did not even have the condition of receiving additional payment for every extra contribution they performed. Thankfully, none of those mercenary group leaders paid close attention to Young Master Han's 'slip of the tongue', so Oathless Sword was able to send them away with a few words.
Now that it was just him and Young Master Han, the two quickly settled the payment issue. By the time they left the clearing in the forest, the Traversing Four Seas' players and the mercenaries were already wandering about as if they were here on vacation. Only Gu Fei and the rest reckoned that something was up when Young Master Han did not exit the forest together with the other mercenary leaders, so they waited by the forest outskirt.
When Young Master Han finally emerged, they immediately bombarded him with questions.
Young Master Han had the air of a boss when he beckoned the five toward him. They had no wish to humor him so they all averted their gazes in unison, pretending not to know him.
"Come on over!" Young Master Han lost his patience. As the five men listlessly drew near him, Young Master Han imperiously told them, "You four are not needed." He then singled out Gu Fei amid the four's cursing, "You. Go and look for the Werewolves' location."
"Where would that be?" Gu Fei asked, dumbfounded.
"Didn't you say that they are somewhere north of the village? Head over there and take a look; otherwise, we'll simply carry on with the expedition," Young Master Han bossily ordered.
Figuring out what this was all about, they eyed Young Master Han disdainfully, "Did you waste all that time coming up with this 'c.r.a.ppy' errand?"
"It's a simple task that can earn us a bit more gold coins; I'd love to see you guys do better," Young Master Han scoffed.
"Why must it be me, though?" Gu Fei asked.
"We don't know how a Werewolf looks like! Ha ha ha ha!" Young Master Han replied in elation.
Gu Fei irately spat on the ground before turning around to go.
"Hey! I wanna go with you!" Brother a.s.sist ran after him, briefly explaining, "Information!"
"This… What will you do if anything goes wrong and we need to retreat?" Gu Fei hesitated.
"It's fine. You can negotiate with the Werewolves alone. I'll stay and observe from a distance." Brother a.s.sist already had everything planned out.
Gu Fei saw no point in persuading him otherwise, so the two of them merely proceeded northward.
Oathless Sword, who was closely watching the six men's action after a.s.signing the task to them, felt great dissatisfaction when only two men left to do the task. This was because he had paid out a deposit for the service of all six men. Whether they were the best of the best or the worst of the worst out there, headcount would always be an important factor when determining the payment for services rendered. It was just unfair for him to pay for the services of all six men when only two of them would actually be working. Oathless Sword could not bear it any longer and approached Young Master Han to call him out for it, "Leader Han, are you busy?"
Young Master Han was in the midst of opening a bottle of liquor, so the popping sound that echoed about made Oathless Sword jump a little. Young Master Han said, "Don't worry. That task you've a.s.signed us will surely be completed."
"I know. Both Miles and Brother a.s.sist seemed to have left already," Oathless Sword emphasized on the word 'both' when he said this.
"Yes. I sent the two of them to scout the road ahead, while the four of us will search for clues over by the left and right side of this forest. Everyone, let's get moving!" Young Master Han motioned for the others to stand up.
The way the three men were sitting on the ground showed that they did not have plans to go anywhere any time soon, but with Young Master Han's prompting, they quickly stood up. Royal G.o.d Call even cleared his throat to say, "Guild Leader Oathless, please be at ease. I guarantee that they won't dare to slack off with me around." Royal G.o.d Call projected himself as someone loyal to Traversing Four Seas, yet anyone with eyes could tell where his allegiance truly lay.
"Guild Leader Oathless, we are about to cut through this forest and make our way around, allowing us to cover a radius of several hundred meters with this one sweep. I'm sure you won't have any issues with that, right?" Young Master Han asked. Before Oathless Sword could reply, he quickly added, "I'll make sure to inform you at once if we discover anything unusual. Naturally, we won't charge you anything extra for this. Alright. We will go now."
With that, the four men left Oathless Sword blankly standing there and entered the forest to begin their 'search'. He opened his mouth to speak, yet he did not manage to find a chance to do so. He really wanted to know: If the Werewolves were that far away from this road that they were advancing to, then how were those monsters still connected to them?
Ignoring the fact that Young Master Han brought the other three inside the forest to slack off, Gu Fei and Brother a.s.sist were actually responsibly handling the task right now. The two were constantly on the lookout for any movement around them as they continued down the main road. Gu Fei even sought Brother a.s.sist's advice, "Do you think that those Werewolves I previously helped in my chain quest would know me now that they have turned into monsters?"
"That is really hard to say…" Brother a.s.sist paused, saying, "Technically, they should be able to recognize you if they are still considered as quest NPCs. The problem is that they are currently involved in a different quest, so it's quite uncertain if they'll be able to recognize you right now."
There were two types of NPCs in Parallel World.
One type was the 'monster NPC'. They were what players usually killed to level in grinding maps. Monster NPCs were essentially bots that only knew how to fight and did not possess the intelligence to talk with or remember the players.
The other type was the 'quest NPC'. They were what the game company bragged about as possessing high level of A.I. Quest NPCs were able to identify players' speech, expression, actions, etc, which allowed them to interact with the players just like real humans. However, there was a limit to their level of interaction. For instance, if a player randomly asked a NPC he or she met on the street: "What's your m*th*rf*ck*ng surname?!", the NPC would be able to reply to the question provided that it had a mother-related quest; if it was just a regular NPC without a family background coded into his or her backstory, it would completely ignore the player's question.
Overall, they were really nothing more than pre-programmed bots. This was precisely why Brother a.s.sist could not tell if the Werewolves would be able to recognize Gu Fei now that they were part of a different quest.
"You can't tell either, huh," Gu Fei sighed. If even Brother a.s.sist could not answer this, there was probably no other player out there that could. As he was thinking of this, the system notification for when a friend of his came online sounded. Gu Fei would usually ignore this, but since he was doing nothing at the moment, he casually pulled up his friends list, receiving quite the welcomed surprise. Speaking of the devil himself! Gu Fei hurriedly sent this particular friend a message: "Hi!"
"What?" was the other person's cautious reply.
"It's been a long time!" Gu Fei said.
"What did you get yourself into this time?" this person's skepticism did not recede in the least.
"About that… I want to ask you something!" Gu Fei openly broached the topic. "If I encountered a bunch of NPCs for a certain quest in the past, would they still recognize me now that I am involved in a different quest?"
"Naturally. Our quest NPCs fully simulate human interaction, which basically makes them similar to living, breathing human beings. Meaning, they are fully capable of remembering past interactions provided they actually occurred. For them to forget about past events just because they are now involved in a different quest, that's just sloppy programming."
"Is that so? What about those NPCs that I've killed before? Since they are alive once more, will they recognize me or not?" Gu Fei thought back to Yeguang Village's Adrian. He recalled seeing NPC Adrian by his mansion when he walked past the church before.
"Of course, those won't recognise you. Although the current NPC shares a name with the past NPC and bears the same task, that NPC is actually an entirely different person. It's like a job; if a person resigns from his or her position, a new one will replace him or her to perform the same type of work."
"So that's how it works! Alright, I got it now," Gu Fei declared.
"What did you want to ask me about?"
"You already answered it. Thanks a lot!" With that, Gu Fei closed the conversation window.
"Was his question complex enough to warrant my answer?" Fleeting Smile asked himself, "Have I accidentally leaked important information to him again?"
Fleeting Smile was indeed thinking too much. He did not actually provide Gu Fei a hint but rea.s.sured the latter that his a.s.sumption was correct, instead. Gu Fei along with Brother a.s.sist already thought that that would be the case in Parallel World; they merely lacked first-hand information to prove their belief. With a game employee's confirmation, why would Gu Fei still have a sliver of doubt?
Gu Fei was now confident that the bunch of Werewolves would recognize him. And since he was their great benefactor, those Werewolves would not have enmity with him!
Thinking up to this, Gu Fei braced himself and yelled, "Wally, where are you?! Come out!"
"Are you INSANE?!" Brother a.s.sist exploded from shock.
"Relax!" Gu Fei patted Brother a.s.sist.
Following his shout, a figure appeared from behind an old oak tree far ahead. A wolf's ear definitely lived up to its reputation.