SPO chapter 55

Chapter 55: Point of Time Confirmed

There was another person Yue Qiang met that was similar to Yin. It was that trader in the Zhao Army, Ai Qian.

By ‘similar’, he meant that they shared the same attribute: Memory Unlock Rate. That guy’s memory unlock rate was 3%, which was slightly higher than Yin’s 0%.

Other than that, the duo also shared another common point: They all showed some traits of modern people.

Yin might not remember what happened to her, but she could understand the gaming jargons Yue Qiang revealed to her. As for Ai Qian, he might be mingling within the Zhao Army’s camp, but he gave off a feeling that separated him from other people. Moreover, this guy also had an item that was obviously of a modern era. It was an inspirational babble type book called ‘The Philosophy of Cockroaches’ aimed at a niche market.

Yue Qiang had a premonition that as Yin and Ai Qian’s memories were gradually unlocked, the truth behind the game would slowly float to the surface as well.

Wait a second, Ai Qian… I think he mentioned about a trading market not far away to the north of Yue Village.

While Yue Qiang was pondering, Yin spoke, “Therefore, your problem is to seek out the main quest, whereas my problem is to attempt recalling what happened to me before, which is to unlock the memory unlock rate you mentioned earlier. The common point between these two problems is that they both need a location where a large amount of information can be sought for!”

“About that, I have just the information.” Yue Qiang said and told Yin about the trading market.

“If it’s titled a market, then there must be a lot of people, and the more people there are, the more information we can get.” Yin said agreeably, “There should be three types of people in this game. One is this world’s NPC characters, which are the majority of the population; next would be a player like you, and you should be the one and only; and finally there are people like me, who have this ‘memory unlock rate’ attribute. This assumption should be correct.”

“Besides that,” she continued, “Don’t you think that the difficulty to survive in this game – or should I say, this world – is a little too high? From your description, nearly every one of your battles were close calls, and the two tigers especially – I cannot find another explanation but a ridiculous amount of good luck to explain the fact that we actually manage to beat them with just our strength alone. Therefore, I am sure that you must have missed something earlier in the game. For example, what are Progress Points used for, and how exactly do you raise one’s stats!”

“You must have missed out on some important ways to increase one’s strength!”

Suddenly, Yue Qiang felt that it was a truly lucky thing for him to have met a girl like Yin. What was a confusing mess of problems was – okay, it was still a confusing mess of problems, but with her logical analysis alone, they had at least found some clues to be used from it. It might still not be able to solve their problems completely, but at the least they had a couple of ideas about the solution now.

Stats, and Progress Points. These things had appeared multiple times as the game progressed, but he never really paid them any real emphasis from the beginning until now. He had been playing all this time with the attitude of a superior elitist, attempting to surpass the obstacles through meticulous control alone.

Now that he thought about it, the battles he experienced earlier were too risky, and his answers to them were too irrational.

“Alright, then let us head to that trading market immediately.”

Yue Qiang helped Yin to her feet, and before he left he did not forget the other ‘S/L Module’. This item was his biggest reward this trip; it was something that could save his life. He picked up the other S/L Module growing with rainbow light and put it into his backpack. When he successfully put the two modules into his backpack, to his surprise a series of system messages were triggered.

System Message: The third stage of the Quest ‘Request Aid’ is complete. Quest ‘Request Aid’ is complete!

‘Save/Load Module’ has been collected!

New Quest ‘Search and Investigate’ has been triggered!

Quest Background: You have received the village elder Chen Zi Han’s quest to request for aid, hoping to seek help from the School of Mo’s Great Camp. However, to your surprise you find that the place has already turned into a tiger’s den.


Quest Objective: Gather information, and through various people investigate the cause behind the change of the School of Mo’s Great Camp.


Quest Reward: The requirements have not been met yet.


Note: A new quest chain has been triggered.

This was great news, since their goal to seek out the truth behind the game and the main quest had coincided with each other. It would seem that their trip to the trading market was now set in stone.

Yue Qiang investigated the surroundings one more time, and after finding that he missed nothing, while supporting Yin, they slowly left behind the small room.

Not long after they left, a family suddenly appeared inside the small and dark room.

The way they appeared wasn’t like how the Zhao Army Scout Zhu Huai had appeared gradually from the shadows. In fact, it was rather similar to Yin’s condition, where they were just abruptly there.

This was a family of three. The husband and wife were dressed sumptuously. The husband was holding the wife’s hand. One of the wife’s hand was completely intertwined with her husband’s, whereas her other hand was holding a baby. The husband looked at the bloodstains and corpses on the floor and frowned, seeming slightly worried that the blood stench would affect the baby. He said to his wife, “I’ll go out and have a look around.”

He returned quickly, and with a slight frown said to his wife, “There were a lot of dead soldiers out there. There’s also a dead female tiger. It has also exceeded its limits just like this male tiger corpse. They probably used the S/L Module.”

The wife did not seem to care too much for these things, and simply looked tenderly at her child. The blood stench in this air was a little thick, and the baby began to cry loudly after smelling it.

Seeing this, the wife hurried untied her clothes and revealed a swollen breast. She pressed the baby’s mouth to her nipple, and while shaking her body slightly and swinging her arms rhythmically, she sang a children’s tune softly,

“Two old tigers
Two old tigers
Run very fast
Run very fast
One of them has no eyes
One of them has no tail
Oh how strange
Oh how strange”

(T/N: The above song translation belongs to Sammy Li Wei Long from this link. I am borrowing it here, and I do not own the song or the translation in any way whatsoever)

After drinking the milk, the baby slowly fell asleep within the wife’s lap. The husband stood beside his wife and tenderly put her clothes back in order, saying, “the baby slept?”

“Mm.” The wife answered softly. She continued to swing her hands gently, and the baby slowly fell into sweet slumber inside her arms. She abruptly lifted her head and said with a hint of worriness to her husband, “Is the point of time confirmed?”

“We can basically ascertain that we are at the end of the Warring States Period. The people who died outside were all wearing clothes unique to the Zhao State.”

“Then… how much longer can we live?” When the wife said this, her tone was a little distant.

“It is not important how much longer we can live, really. What’s important is the hope that our child can live on.”

“Mm, you’re right. As long as our child lives, it is fine.” The wife slowly leaned into her husband’s lap and no longer said anything.

Her husband was also quiet as he inhaled twice swiftly, still appearing to find the blood stench in the air a little hard to breathe in. He waved his hands, and after he made some sort of unknown movements, a bubble-like thing appeared in the surrounding and wrapped gently around the family of three.

“Anyway, let’s go find the others first.” He held his wife’s hand gently, and slowly led her towards the passage’s exit.

Their footsteps appeared slow, but they were gone in the blink of an eye.

Before them, the corpses that might have frightened the child, including the tiger corpse without a tail and the tiger corpse without an eye, had turned into green smoke all of a sudden…

… and vanished.

SPO Chapter 54

Chapter 54: Game Character, Game Player

‘Are you playing games’ was something mom always said when he was young. At the time, he would hide in his own little room playing games, and his mom would show up unannounced from time to time to check him out. If he was doing his homework, then his mom would praise him; if he was playing games, then his mom would throw the phrase above and followed it up with a long bout of criticism.

This was a very common phrase.

However, this very common phrase had suddenly become not so common, because the person who was saying it… was inside a game.

Yue Qiang felt wrong from head to toe.

This feeling was a bit like… it was a bit like playing King of Fighters in single player mode using the character Yagami against the CPU Kusanagi. Kusanagi did not taunt Yagami, but instead taunt him outside the monitor and said: Can’t even chain a triple Aoibana? Just watch me kick your ass!

No no no, the analogy was unsuitable. If he was to describe this feeling from Yin’s point of view… then it would be like his mother entering his room unannounced and discovering that he was playing games instead of studying. She did not criticise him, and instead say: You’re a bunch of meaningless data, so I might as well delete you. Then he, the data, was deleted completely from the world without leaving behind a trace.

That was it!

Yue Qiang closed his eyes firmly and shook his head hard in attempt to flush out the absolutely terrible feeling. He forced himself to calm down and placed both hands back on the keyboard. He typed a few words, “Yes, I am playing a game.”

“Truthfully, I am a bit scared as well.” Yin went silent for a long time before saying, “This fear comes from the unknown.”

When Yue heard from the girl behind the screen that she was a bit scared as well, he didn’t know why, but his fear suddenly faded quite a bit. From the moment the girl had appeared in a sudden, to the moment when all their enemies were dead, the girl had always faced every situation with a calm expression no matter how dangerous it was. Even though she was met with several sure death situations, she was so calm she did not appear like an ordinary person at all.

However, at this moment, when the girl had admitted openly that she too was a little scared, Yue Qiang realized that she really was just a little girl, and a delicate one that needed to be looked after no less. At the very least, this girl really seemed like a real person; far more than anyone he had met in the real world.

A human that was most human-like, was instead inside a game.

Inside the game, Yin continued to sit on the floor in a fetal posture, closing her eyes somewhat helplessly and saying, “I do not know why I am suddenly in this cave. I do not know anything that happened before I arrived to this place. When faced with imminent danger, I can only use every energy I have to resolve it. But once everything is over, and I’ve settled down, I would feel… an indescribable sense of loneliness and fear.”

She continued, “It’s not just that. When I realize that everything about you is in slight dissonant with this world, when I realize that you may… be a person from outside the world, this fear grew even worse.”

Yue Qiang could feel her loneliness. It was very easy for him to imagine himself standing in her place and understand her feelings: to appear for an unfathomable reason within a cave full of corpses, with no one or nothing familiar around to hold on to; to not remember anything that happened to herself, with her one and only temporary teammate indirectly verifying her assumptions that she was inside a game, and that she may turn into a bunch of data at any moment… there was no way one wouldn’t feel that kind of loneliness and fear once they’d settled down.

As for Yue Qiang himself, this feeling was even more tangible.

That’s because the real world he’s in was far less realistic than the game itself.

He sat in front of the computer, controlling his mouse and keyboard and operating his character to live and explore inside the game’s world. Every person inside the game was very interesting, and very realistic. Moreover, they were only getting more and more realistic.

Yue Qiang blanked out for a little.

It was at this moment Yin spoke up again, “I think that you have met with a very difficult, and perhaps even very terrifying problem in that world. Am I right?”

Yue Qiang was quiet for a long time before he typed and responded, “Yes.”

“Do you have any way of solving it?”

“I… do not have a clue.”

“I think that the cause of this change must be the game, am I right?” Yin’s tone was just as leveled as before. She analysed calmly, “Although the entire world has undergone a change, and this change far exceeded an average person’s imagination, but there should always be a cause to every effect. If you do not have a clue, then why don’t you start at the source of the change and search slowly. As you said earlier… the world I am in, is in fact a game to you. Then the key to this problem must be inside the game as well!”

The key to this problem must be inside the game as well. It wasn’t the first time Yue Qiang heard about this.

That mysterious fitness coach Luqiu Duanyi had once reminded him about something similar, and her advice had been even more specific than Yin’s, “Only by increasing your own strength, will you be able to resolve everything”. These were her words. Not only that, Luqiu Duanyi had even helped to increase his stats massively and learn two very powerful skills. As compared to Yin, Luqiu Duanyi seemed to know a lot more, but it’s just that she couldn’t say anything because she needed to suppress the blue progress bar.

Yin did not have such concerns because she was inside the game already. Moreover, she was a very smart girl.

“Do you have any ideas?” she asked.

“I think… that I might have been hypnotised, or even better, I may just have been dreaming all this time. Once I wake up from the dream, or once the hypnosis is over, then I will wake up and realize that everything is just a friend’s joke after all.”

Yin shook her head seriously, “That is an absolutely impossible explanation.”

“Whenever something strange or illogical happens, it is an incredible irresponsible behavior to explain it off as a dream or hypnosis.” Yin gave emphasis to her tone and said, “The occurrence of any phenomenon must have a reason behind it. If it cannot be explained, then either it is very possibly due to insufficient reserve of knowledge, or more commonly, the lack of sufficient information.”

“The change originated from this game, so the clue to resolve this problem must appear inside this game as well.” Yin said with certainty, “Tell me about this game. Perhaps I may be able to help you find some details that you missed. Then we may be able to walk out of this dilemma.”

“Alright, from the moment I enter this game, I have been doing this main questline…” Yue Qiang began to describe his experiences inside the game in detail. His explanation was incredibly detailed, and he without reserve, he talked about the game’s super realistic graphics, sound effects, equipment, skills, NPCs with personalities, way to raise one’s strength… everything.

Yin listened quietly throughout the explanation, and from time to time she would nod her head. After he was finished, she said, “You explanation is very detailed, and from some of the things you said, I should be able to make a lot of deductions. Among them, the one I am most interested in is the term you spoke of at the beginning – realistic. Can you describe exactly how realistic this game is?”

“Very realistic. I cannot find any trace of pixels or textures, and in fact, I suspect that if I have a microscope right now, I may be able to see the bacterias on the ground.” Yue Qiang pondered for a moment before giving out his opinion.

“You are playing on a computer, aren’t you?”

“Yes.”

“Has the computer been restarted?”

“Mm.”

“Although there are still plenty of questions, I can basically assume that the place I’m in, that is the place behind your screen, should be a real world. At the very least, I don’t need to worry that I will become a rootless data and vanish the second you pull the plug on the computer.”

This was the only explanation. Yue Qiang closed his eyes, and pondered.

Yin’s deduction that ‘the game is a real world’ was also something he had been guessing all this time, and at this point, he could almost completely confirm this assumption already. However, there were still many things that could not be explained.

“If we assume that this place is a real world, and that your computer has become a device that connects your world and the game world, this train of thought can definitely answer a lot of questions clearly. However, there is a very critical question that cannot be ignored!”

“This question is,” Yin let out a long breath, “your main quest!”

“It is absolutely inexplicable for a main quest to appear in a real world.” she said, “To use your real world as an example, it is very normal for everyone to go to school, go to work, and live their everyday lives. There’s absolutely no chance that something like a main quest demanding XXX follow a bunch of clues to defeat a certain boss and dominate the entire world to appear out of nowhere. On the other hand, ‘main quest’ is something that will only happen inside a game.”

Yin’s words were irrefutable. She took the train of thought a step further and said, “Games can be split into many kinds. Is it possible, that this ‘main quest’ can happens inside an ‘online game’?”

Yue Qiang thought over this question and said with certainty, “Not possible. An online game is actually something like a fantasy world. There will be all kinds of NPC issuing quest to search for treasures, explore the world and so on, but there does not exist an absolute main quest. The closest thing to it may be the so-called ‘World Quest’, but even that is just an event where the players of the entire server are gathered to beat a World Boss. In reality, the only main quest in an online game is leveling up.”

“But you said that the characters of this game cannot level up.”

Yin said with a positive tone, “Therefore, this game should be a single player game. Only a single player game would have a clear cut main quest, and when the main quest is completely finished, then the game will also end!”

“And you, are the only player of this single player game!”

The only player, the only player… Yue Qiang quietly muttered these three words inside his heart. Suddenly he asked, “What about you? Why aren’t you a player?”

“I am definitely not a player.” Yin said without any hesitation, “I know what you want to ask. I am definitely not the kind of player whose consciousness has slipped into a certain game world, but their body’s are still somewhere outside. I… I am different from others. If it really is that kind of situation, then I will know it.”

“If you’re not a player then…”

“Look inside the game. I believe that there will be other people who cannot remember anything just like me. However, I believe that a player like you should be one and only.” Yin continued to say, “Therefore, let us continue to complete your main quest. I can almost be certain that finding other people and acquiring more information is a part of the main quest.”

“The main quest? Alright then.”

SPO chapter 53

Chapter 53: You Are Playing A Game, Aren’t You

Yue Qiang’s close combat ability now was already pretty amazing.

Although there was no leveling system in this game and his stats weren’t OP, his skills had quite the compatibility with one another. Killing power, movement, attack power, and recovery… the basic elements required in close combat were already all there. They propelled him from a person who nearly died when he first ran into a Zhao Soldier level enemy to someone who could now single handedly beat down three Zhao Sergeant level enemies alone.

The real factor that enhanced Yue Qiang’s combat strength and allowed him to unleash all sorts of combination skills was in fact, the realistic fighting system.

If he attacked an enemy’s vital spot, such as a tiger’s head, then he might be able to kill it in one shot. He could also potentially deal penetration damage to an enemy with weak defense and nail him on the ground. The many and varied attack effects and meticulous control allowed him to deal far more damage than what the superficial numbers suggested. This was also why Yue Qiang was able to win from a position of weakness multiple times.

He looted the scout Zhuo Huai’s body. The drops he got were 1.1 Progress Points and an accessory: Black Bracelet.

Black Bracelet: Equipping it will cause the user’s figure to become difficult to identify. The effects are even better in a dark environment. There was also a short text at the back: Green Cow Village Market – Deng Fang. Quality comes only from Deng Fang.

The reason the scout Zhu Huai had appeared soundless just now was probably to the merit of this item. Although there were no stat enhancement whatsoever, it was an excellent equipment for ambush purposes.

Yue Qiang put on the bracelet and went blank staring at his own pathetic assortment of equipment. He had killed a lot of mobs up to this point, and this was the first time ever a mob that he killed had dropped an equipment (that he could equip). Moreover, it was an equipment that did not give any stats at all. Does this game really have no equipment that can directly increase one’s stats?

He glanced at Yin once. The girl’s white bed sheet was even more damaged than before, revealing many places that shouldn’t be revealed. There were also a lot of dust and dried blood on them. After glancing a couple more times, he controlled his character to strip Zhu Huai’s clothes.

“Um… You can tear the white bed sheet around you and wrap your wounds a little; there’s a wound on your leg that’s still bleeding. Then you can wear his clothes.” Yue Qiang said.

“I realized that you really like to loot bodies*. You looted a tiger, and you looted a soldier as well.” Yin accepted the clothes and turned around. She pulled all of the torn white bed sheets around her body and tossed it at the side. Then she put the large-sized Zhao Scout uniform on herself. The hem of the upper outer garment nearly reached her knees, and the pant waist was three sizes too big. She first tore a few clean fabric from the white bed sheet and bandaged her wounds simply, then wrung the rest of it into two long shreds. One shred was used as a belt, and the other was wrapped around her chest. It covered the huge gaping hole in the uniform caused by Yue Qiang’s earlier stab.

*In Chinese, the gaming term ‘loot’ can be read as ‘gropes’ as well.

Yue Qiang quietly watched her change at the side.

When the girl had abruptly appeared, she was wrapped around a white bed sheet, and now she was wearing a tattered military uniform three and four sizes too big. None of them fell under the normal category of clothing. However, no matter how odd her clothings were, the foundation of her beauty was still the same. She was very beautiful.

Very, very beautiful.

The process of a woman changing was a long one. In his boredom, Yue Qiang clicked open Yin’s character stat since he had nothing to do, and because there were no urgent issues this time, he was able to read it in greater detail.

Name: Yin

Class: Patient

Strength: 8 (grey font) A strange illness prevents Yin’s strength from rising in any way.


Stamina: 8 (grey font) A strange illness prevents Yin’s stamina from rising in any way.


Intelligence: 25 (Yin has analytical abilities that far exceeds the common man) (rare attribute)

?? : ??

Skill:

Plague of Grave Illness LVL 1: A strange illness prevents Yin from increasing her basic stats in any way. This skill will automatically level up, and as the level rises, Yin’s stats will continue to drop further.


Eye of Truth LVL 1: Yin’s unique skill (A sub skill that can be expanded further)


*Passive Effect 1: Take damage when opening one’s eyes. The amount of damage increases along time.

*Passive Effect 2: Can see the object directly in front while one’s eyes are closed.

*Passive Effect 3: The power of all of the active effects of Eye of Truth are directly affected by Intelligence.

*Active Effect 1: Gaze. Unleash an absolutely accurate attack at a close range target. This attack cannot miss, and its attack power is directly affected by Intelligence (This skill requires the user to open their eyes).

*Active Effect 2: Unravel. Capable of unraveling any forms of complications. The level of difficulty that can be unraveled increases along with Intelligence.

Power of the Heart LVL 1:

?? : ??

To Live Through Death LVL 1:

Memory Unlock Rate: 0%

Yin’s character stats were many and complex. The one that drew his attention the most was without a doubt the ‘strange illness’. The effects of this illness seemed incredibly scary, and worse, it wasn’t a continuous debuff, but a skill that can be leveled up. Even more scary was the fact that the skill seemed perfectly capable of leveling up on its own.

Yue Qiang suddenly understood a little why Yin’s expression was so calm when she told him that he should have used her as bait. He wondered how she was infected by this illness – or should he say, this skill Plague of Grave Illness LVL 1 – and what kind of story she had.

“Are you finished reading?” At this time, Yin had already finished changing into her clothes and making some simple bandages around her wounds. She continued to look incredibly weakened, but her expression was calm, and she seemed utterly incapable of feeling pain at all.

“I’m done. You…”

“If you’re done, then I would like to ask you about a few things. We both have questions of our own before, but they were postponed due to the urgent circumstances earlier.” Yin said slowly.

In order to preserve her stamina, Yin curled up and sat while holding her knees. The clothes on her body were too huge, causing her to look weak and delicate. She brushed her hair to the back and waited quietly for Yue Qiang’s arrival while closing her eyes.

Yue Qiang walked beside her and sat down. Now that he was close, he could clearly see every detail of her face. Yin was extremely beautiful. It’s just that her complexion was a little pale; the kind of delicateness only a patient would have. Originally, he had a lot of questions that he wanted to ask as well, but after considering the girl’s powerful observation and analytical abilities, and the 25 Intelligence stats gave out by the system, he chose to let her ask first.

“I have a lot of questions.” Yin said, “But these questions all originated from some basic questions… I realize that your combat abilities are terrific, but there is always a kind of disharmony every time you move. For example, when you walk, run and jump, no matter what kind of terrain you’re on, the extent of your movements and the strength you used every time are incredibly constant… can you explain this?”

Yue Qiang watched the computer monitor quietly. His two hands were placed on the keyboard and he had tapped out the dialogue box. And yet, he didn’t know how to answer her.

Of course there was an answer to this question. There were only so many hotkeys on a keyboard, and even if he found far more methods and hotkey tied to his character’s movements than there were in other games, some amount of lifelessness and stillness was inevitable.

Yin waited for a short while, and seeing that he did not answer her, she continued to speak, “Why do you speak so little, and your tone is always exactly the same? Why is there no difference in the time lag between every word you speak at all?”

Yue Qiang could only continue to stay silent; he was only using the dialogue system to type words was all. Could it be… Suddenly, an incredibly strange emotion fleeted through his heart. This feeling, was a little like… fear.

Yin did not stop talking and instead continued to ask, “Then, I would like you to help me explain a few terms.”

“This item. You call it a ‘Save/Load Module’?” Yin pointed at the wooden log overflowing with rainbow light.

“Yes.”

“Can you tell me what ‘Save/Load’ means?”

Yue Qiang fell silent. He did not know how to explain it.

Yin did not give him the time to explain it either. She continued to ask, “I realize that you really like to loot bodies. Can you explain the two words ‘loot bodies’ to me?”

Yue Qiang suddenly felt immeasurable sense of dread. He abruptly bolted away from his chair, stood up and circled behind his monitor to take a look. There was nothing there. Then he returned to his seat dejectedly, and it was just at this moment Yin asked her final question, “Can you explain the two words ‘skill book’ to me? I remember you uttering that term when you passed over that ‘The Philosophy of Cockroaches’ to me.”

“You do not speak, and you wear no expression as well. In that case… it would seem that my guess is correct.” Yin said calmly.

“You are playing a game, aren’t you?”

SPO Chapter 52

Chapter 52: Talk Much, Die Quick

The shadow wore a Zhao Army uniform. The shoulder area of his uniform was painted with three black feathers.

He wore the hint of a contemptful smile on his face. He looked pleased at himself as if he had every situation well under his control.

“I will introduce myself.” He said, “I am grandmaster Zhao’s subordinate scout. My name is Zhu Huai.”

While he spoke this Zhu Huai shook his clothes pretentiously, putting on a most carefree appearance. Compared to him, both Yue Qiang and Yin cut a sorry figure. Yin could only stand by leaning against Yue Qiang, and the latter hadn’t even recovered over 20% of his HP up yet.

He had fought through multiple consecutive battles, and he was literally a hair’s breadth away from death during the struggle against the two tigers. At the time, his nerves were extremely taut. When he acquired the quest reward ‘S/L Module’, he relaxed so much that he actually did not sense someone coming from behind them.

There was no doubt that this fellow was an enemy, and from the looks of it he wasn’t an easy enemy either.

“These two monsters are incredibly formidable, and yet they still died in the hands of a small fry like you. Moreover, you have suffered grievous injuries while killing them. It looks like I have arrived at exactly the right timing.” While speaking as if he was a calm general unruffled in the midst of chaos, Zhu Huai closed in slowly towards Yue Qiang. His face wore a leisurely smile, but he gripped a small knife in his hand.

Yue Qiang knew that he was in a bit of a pickle.

When he saw Zhu Huai’s Zhao Soldier uniform, he only needed to ponder for a moment to figure out the whole picture.

Why was he able to escape the Zhao Army’s watch so easily even though he was obviously a captive? Even if he had the assistance of that strange Ai Qian, he still had escaped the enemy’s watch a bit too easily. The only explanation was that Zhao Yan had let him leave on purpose.

There was no such thing as friendliness towards one’s captive during the war of two States at all. If he himself would not give up on the experience points that were surrendered to his hands, then on what basis must the enemies of this game capture but not kill their enemies? This was the first point. The second point was the sheer risk of his act of stealing from Zhao Yan’s residence. Not only did he take away the quest item, he even took the opportunity to steal the Ring of Earth beneath Zhao Yan’s pillow as well!

He once calculated carefully the Zhao Army General Zhao Yan’s true strength. If he assumed that the Zhao Soldier’s strength was 1, the Zhao Sergeant’s strength was 3, and his own strength after the culmination of three months of hard work and all sorts of good luck was around 4 or 5, then Zhao Yan’s strength was at least 50! Moreover, his strength could only be more than 50, and his upper limit being an unknown figure. To this day, he still could not imagine exactly what kind of ability one must possess to be able to catch a giant crossbow bolt with just the strength of two fingers, while looking like he still had unspent strength that he didn’t use.

Now then, here comes the question: Would an elite at General Zhao Yan’s level really had not noticed him at such close range?

At the time Yue Qiang merely thought that he was lucky, but after meeting this scout he knew now that it was nothing more but a delusion. Zhao Yan must have sensed him since a long time ago. He was simply too lazy to bother, or putting on an appearance. His true aim was to send someone to follow him and check out the happenings at School of Mo’s Great Camp. In fact, his aim might even be the ‘S/L Module’ in his hands!

That was why this scout named Zhu Huai had appeared, and during the moment he was about to acquire the final quest reward no less.

He had to say that Zhu Huai’s timing was impeccable. He must have followed his tracks all the way up to this point.

“You know, I actually quite admire your courage.” Zhu Huai continued to close in slowly, “Back in the room, you knew that grandmaster Zhao can kill you with a single finger. Yet you still dared to steal from him.”

“You were there?”

“I wasn’t just there, I saw everything clearly from the start to finish.” Zhu Huai smiled and said, “Not only do you have quite the skill on a battlefield, your improvisation abilities are also quite impressive. You actually managed to figure out all sorts of ideas to prevent that woman from screaming. Otherwise, grandmaster Zhao would not have been able to continue pretending anymore.”

“It is thanks to you that we realize the abnormal situation in this area. It is also thanks to you, that we do not need to face these two terrifying beasts ourselves. I have no idea how you manage to take down these two tigers. I would not have the confidence to succeed at all if I was you.”

Zhu Huai continued to speak, but he never slowed his approach either. Just as he walked to a point that was very close to Yue Qiang, he suddenly made a turn and kicked right at Yin!

Yin was already severely injured due to the female tiger’s attack. Later on, she forcefully used the Eye of Truth to damage the enemy and appraise his items, so she was now incredibly weak. There was no chance she could have avoided Zhu Huai’s kick at all, and so she fell sideways on the ground and rolled far, far away. The white bedsheet wrapped around her body was also torn to shreds due to the crushed rocks on the surface of the ground.

“It would be fantastical to think that your strength alone was enough to kill the two tigers, so I thought that the little girl might hide some tricks up her sleeves. But I suppose I overthought things.” Zhu Huai continued to smile leisurely and approached Yue Qiang once more.

Every since Zhu Huai had appeared abruptly in this little room, Yue Qiang made almost no moves at all. He simply listened to Zhu Huai chattering and taunting incessantly, and even when the man had sent Yin flying away with a kick, Yue Qiang merely frowned a little and continued to make no moves at all.

However, when Zhu Huai reached about three meters away from him – which just happened to be the maximum attack range of the iron rod – Yue Qiang moved.

He neither used ‘Killing Style, One’, nor used Basic Jabbing Skill.

He typed a few words:

“Do you wish to escape death?”

Once he was done typing, Yue Qiang then decisively tossed out a small log at Zhu Huai. The item he tossed out was the dim wooden log.

Yue Qiang had prepared for this strike for a long time.

This Zhao Scout Zhu Huai had appeared from behind his back, so there was a huge possibility that he never saw the ‘S/L Module’s’ true appearance and only heard about Yue Qiang and Yin’s discussion. Even when the scout showed himself, Yue Qiang had consciously blocked the rainbow light emanating from the small wooden log.

Zhu Huai had heard of Yue Qiang and Yin’s discussion. Therefore he extended a hand and attempted to catch the small log flying in the air. This movement would split Zhu Huai’s attention and slow him down.

Therefore, this was an opportunity.

If Yue Qiang wanted to kill him, then he must create such a deliberate opportunity. He did not know how powerful this Zhao Scout Zhu Huai was, but he must prepare for the worst and do his best to increase his chances of victory.

When Zhu Huai reached out to grab the log, Yue Qiang also used the fastest speed in his life to equip the iron rod.

Right now, his HP was still below 20%, which was why his gauge was recovering continuously and thus at full bar. His stamina bar was also full.

He activated Basic Jabbing Skill, and Run LVL 2 to increase his speed at the same time before stabbing out with his fastest speed.

His attack immediately scored a penetration damage!

The iron rod had actually pierced right through the scout Zhu Huai’s right chest and exited through his back. The force of his attack still did not fade as it nailed Zhu Huai right onto the ground!

Contrary to expectations, Zhu Huai’s defense was unbelievably weak.

Yue Qiang came to realization instantly. This scout Zhu Huai was a kind of assassin class personnel. His close range damage was extremely deadly, and his agility was pretty high as well. Judging from the way he appeared, he probably had some sort of concealment skill as well. But in contrast, his defense was also far weaker than an average soldier’s. He could not see Zhu Huai’s health bar, but from the single jab of his iron rod alone he could more or less guess that this guy’s defense and health was probably incomparable even to a normal Zhao Soldier’s!

If this scout was given enough space to hide and time to lurk, then he could probably take out several Sergeant level people on his own. But seeing that his condition and Yin’s were terrible, and he was afraid that Yue Qiang would employ his ‘S/L module’ item to regain his strength, he had appeared beforehand and actually gave Yue Qiang the opportunity to fight head-to-head instead.

In reality, Yue Qiang’s face-to-face combat prowess was pretty amazing already.

He nailed his opponent to the ground with a single Basic Jabbing Skill. Then he immediately followed up with a fully Rage enhanced ‘Break Fist – Killing Style One’! It was nearly impossible for him to miss a fixed target in close range.

There were no popping numbers. The system no longer gave out a numerical indicator for damage.

Yue Qiang blew his head off with a single punch.

After he walked over and picked up his iron rod, he then arrived at Yin’s side and supported her. He typed, “Those who talk too much, usually die quickly as well.”