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Chapter 367 - Target: Luori City
“Is that a guess or a fact?” one of the men asked. The final stage of games was often the hardest to accomplish, so it was common for players to make such an inference.
Southern Lone Blade actually nodded his head. “It's a fact.”
“Is this from the same informant?” someone asked.
“No. Even that informant doesn't what's in store for them for this final segment. In fact, I had only received this information the moment they left the harbor,” he said.
“What information is that?”
“The moment their ferry left the sh.o.r.e, a new mission appeared in the Hall of Mercenaries over in their next stop, Luori City, and the task for it is to a.s.sa.s.sinate the prisoner that they are escorting,” he shared.
“Mercenary mission? Their expedition has more men than a level 5 guild. Is there any mercenary group out there that can even contend with them?” one of them expressed his doubt.
Southern Lone Blade laughed when he heard this. “The difference is that this is a limitless compet.i.tive quest.”
All these players hummed with understanding. They were very familiar with mercenary missions and a limitless compet.i.tive quest had two major characteristics that was unique to it. First was that there were no particular requisites for mercenary groups picking it up, and second was that there were no restrictions on how many mercenary groups could pick it up. However, only one group could emerge victorious and claim the final prize, which was why it was tagged as 'compet.i.tive'.
This sort of missions could be considered as the most compet.i.tive kind, as it could theoretically let hundreds of mercenary groups partic.i.p.ate. However, rules did not have a mind of their own like humans did. Whenever such uncommon missions turned up, experienced mercenary groups would not focus their efforts on fighting with one another and would, instead, team up with several other stronger mercenary groups to obtain the upper hand in completing the mission before splitting the rewards accordingly.
With how bountiful this sort of missions was and the transparency of the listed rewards for these missions, no one was really worried that a mercenary group awarded with the completion rewards would attempt to hide anything from the others.
“Even if that's the case, there's no telling how many mercenary groups in Luori City will actually team up or if they can form a large enough army to contend with Yunduan City's players.” Some were still worried.
“Don't forget Luori City's Eternal War mercenary group,” Southern Lone Blade said.
“Eternal Dominion's mercenary group!” someone inhaled sharply. Although Eternal War was not known throughout Parallel World, the players in Linshui City had of course heard of that mercenary group given their proximity to Luori City. While they were uncertain of the finer details, they at least knew of Eternal War's amazing combat prowess. Rumors were abound that all the members of that mercenary group were people who knew how to fight in reality. Others said that they were just a bunch of hoodlums; some said that they were a bunch of martial arts pract.i.tioners; finally, a few claimed that they were retired military men.
Southern Lone Blade have had dealings with them before while conducting his “business”, and although he had no idea where these people came from, he could say for sure that their fighting skills were out of the ordinary. Actually, he had merely came into contact with a few random members of Eternal War, so he simply could not accurately gauge the strength of their group leader, Eternal Dominion, who also happened to be one of the Five Unyielding Experts.
The mention of this mercenary group caused Southern Lone Blade and his few comrades to worry for Yunduan City's players, instead. “With such strong opponents, there's a possibility of them getting wiped out before we even get off the ferry.”
“That is definitely a problem. That guy has 29 PK points on him. I reckon he'll lose all his equipment the moment he gets killed. Meaning, our trip over there will be wasted,” Southern Lone Blade agreed.
“I suggest we skip the ferry altogether and just find a boat to bring us to that city. They're already far off, so I doubt they'll be able to spot us.” One of them gazed at that ship that was becoming more and more obscured as it slid into the fog ahead.
“Yes, go call for a boat,” Southern Lone Blade agreed. His comrades quickly departed from the beach. They no longer needed to stay at the harbor, since they were going to use a player-made boat.
No sooner that these people left, the ferry from Linyin City banked in and docked by the harbor, and a string of men could be seen alighting off it. The boisterous and enthusiastic scene that greeted them at Linshui City's harbor caused these players to do a double-take.
The business owners by the harbor were perplexed as to why many outsiders were arriving at Linshui City over these few days. Of course, they did not intend to inquire after this matter and were merely hoping to earn a tidy sum off these players. Linshui City's unique leisure industry usually did very well stimulating foreigners like them to spend extravagantly.
However, these players showed no interest in trying what Linshui City had to offer upon disembarking. Instead, they approached those people who were soliciting to customers and asked them about the schedule of the next ferry trip to Luori City.
“It has just departed. The next ship will set sail four hours from now. If you guys are planning to wait for that ferry, why don't you come over to our bar to rest and relax while you wait?” This player that they had accosted was someone who had set up an open-air bar. He expectedly began promoting his business after answering their question without missing a beat.
“Do we have any other options?” the person at the forefront of this group asked.
“There are players own little wooden boats and ferry potential customers, but since there are many of you, I'm afraid such a method may not work,” the man answered as he carefully counted the players present. He was amazed when he realized that almost everyone before him were Archers besides a few Thieves and Mages; this group composition was truly offbeat.
“Do we really have to wait for four hours here?” the person in the lead mumbled.
“Deep Waters, why don't we sit here and wait?” a comrade suggested; it was evident that quite a lot of them were eager to try this beach set-up out.
Deep Waters! The eyes of the surrounding Linshui City players instantly shone when they heard the man's name. Could the leader of this party of Archers that had come to their humble city be the top Archer of Parallel World and one of the Five Unyielding Experts?
All of this was already in the past, though. Plenty of players kept their eyes on the leaderboards and Deep Waters' drop of level was already an open secret. Everybody was naturally curious how such a top player could be slain just like that. Now that such a larger than life figure had appeared in Linshui City, they were all craning their necks to get a glimpse of the man even as they eavesdropped on their conversation.
“Guess we don't have a choice but to rest here and wait for the ferry.” Deep Waters shrugged helplessly as he casually chose a seat. Although he did not order a drink, he inquired after the recent matters that happened in Linshui City with the barkeep.
“Oh, that large group of players just departed from here on a ferry toward Luori City” was what the barkeep said after he had asked about the expedition from Yunduan City.
“G*dd*mm*t, just by that bit? This system is a real b*tch! Intentionally staggering the departure and arrival of the ferries by a little bit and resulting in us wasting more time here, the system is really despicable. Just downright despicable!” Deep Waters cursed incessantly.
“Even if we made it here on time, do you think we could share the same ship as them?” someone reminded Deep Waters.
“I'm talking about how despicable the system is; are you saying that you disagree with this?!” Deep Waters roared.
“Yes, yes! It's truly despicable!” people echoed. They were mostly players from Linshui City, though.
“Boss, now that you have asked all your questions, what liquor would you like to order?” the barkeep asked.
“Liquor?” Deep Waters' expression turned cold instantly. “I've sworn off the sauce entirely. Ask the rest of them!”
Deep Water and the rest of his men waited for the next ferry to arrive by the beach, while Southern Lone Blade and his comrades looked for the enterprising individuals who had made boats. As for Gu Fei and the rest of Yunduan City's players, they were on board the big ship and were currently sailing peacefully across the waters.
The final segment of Traversing Four Seas' guild quest only required the safe delivery of Todd into Luori City's prison for it to be tagged as 'completed'. As the leader of this guild, Oathless Sword could barely hold in his excitement. After lingering around Gu Xiaoshang for quite some time and failing to catch even one good look his way, he carefully backed off and began to visit each mercenary group to express his thanks for them staying. Since a good portion of the mercenaries they had initially selected for this expedition backed out halfway through and returned their fees, Traversing Four Seas managed to save a significant amount of the expenses. Oathless Sword, who was currently feeling very elated, proactively promised them to increase their payment upon the completion of the quest.
Most of these mercenary groups actually reacted indifferently to this, though. Honestly speaking, the reason those mercenary groups had given for dropping out spoke volumes for everyone; no mercenary group out there would be swayed by such a paltry sum into taking on such a dangerous mission. Naturally, they were all hoping to reap some unexpected benefits after taking on such a huge chain quest.
Although they did meet a BOSS in the first part of the expedition, how would one BOSS be enough for over a thousand players? The few items it dropped had actually ended up in Gu Fei's pocket.
These mercenaries barely caught a glimpse of the Werewolves in the second segment, so none of them received any reward. Gu Fei managed to get an item off the Werewolves' hands, but most people were unaware of this. If they did, they would surely feel an even greater ire toward him.
It was in the third segment that their expedition came under the attacks of other players due to the existence of a compet.i.tive quest. The heavy losses these mercenaries suffered, with many of their teammates dropping a level, became the last straw that caused them to abandon the mission when they realized that no benefit or profit could be gained from this mission. The mercenary groups that remained no longer dreamed of any sort of windfall. Groups like The Black Hand only stayed to maintain their image, placing importance on keeping the contract they had made. Gu Xiaoshang's mercenary group remained because they had an ongoing relationship with Oathless Sword and had not joined for profit to begin with. There were those that had managed to gain a lot from this mission, such as Young Master's Elite.
These people were unmoved by Oathless Sword's promise of giving them more gold coins. Oathless Sword, for his part, was not really bothered by their lukewarm reaction and merely continued to wander about happily.
Instead, Youthful Reflection, who was stuck in Yunduan City, was the one that expressed his worry through a message: “Since we are now at the final leg of our expedition, we cannot afford to be careless. It will be a pity to fail at this point.”
From Linshui City to Luori City, half of the journey was across waters and the other half was via land. The ship sailed for about an hour and finally neared the pier on Luori City's side.
The pier was still over an hour's worth of travel away from Luori City, and, besides this ship, no other ferries were scheduled to arrive at this city's sh.o.r.e, so there was no way a beach bazaar would be present here like in Linshui's harbor.
After everyone alighted from the ship, they immediately began the next portion of their journey towards Luori City as Oathless Sword already knew which direction to go.
They were not lackadaisical for this final stretch, either. Not long after they began their trek toward Luori City, someone realized that unknown people were keeping abreast with their expedition.
“They are players!” Oathless Sword felt comforted when he got this message. He was originally worried that the system would sp.a.w.n an overleveled BOSS for this final segment, as they truly would not stand a chance if that were to happen. However, since they discovered that it was just some players skulking about, it appeared as if they were now engaged in a compet.i.tive mission just like the last two segments.
Their trip to Linyin City had been disastrous solely because the jungle was a specific terrain that allowed those players who specialized in guerilla warfare to decimate their ranks. There would have been a different outcome if they had faced those Linyin City's players in a direct confrontation. Given that they numbered above the average level 5 guild and that it was the final segment, there was no need for them to worry about what would come after. Hence, Oathless Sword was largely unperturbed when he thought they were up against just another compet.i.tive quest.
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