Translated by: Effyis
Edited by: Stbunbun
Chapter 15: Nine Slashes of the Tang Dao
Sword Ghost was shocked by Gu Fei’s equipment the first time he set eyes on him. And the shock was so overwhelming that he forgot to use Identification on Gu Fei. But truth be told, there was no need for it as Gu Fei’s clothes and equipment all couldn’t be more than ordinary. The true high-graded things would look like it as well, like Frost Memories.
As the continuous screams resounded in the distance, Sword Ghost couldn’t take it anymore. How, just how did he battle those monsters? Sword Ghost, as an experienced player, could roughly tell what skills others used from the sounds they made, yet now, Gu Fei’s moves were simply unintelligible. Sword Ghost prepared to find out for himself.
In order to obtain first-hand information, Sword Ghost chose to use Stealth to get close to Gu Fei unnoticed.
In Parallel World, the skills were not learnt once and for all. They would still need polishing and upgrading to gain proficiency, of which higher values means better effects. Ways of doing so included using the skills frequently, receiving rewards from game quests, effects from equipment, and so on.
Stealth was certainly one of the most important skills of the Rogue class. Sword Ghost, as a die-hard gamer, clearly knew of its significance and had thus spent a lot of effort on it. Now, his Stealth skill was already of standard and had no time limitation to its effect. As long as he wasn’t attacking or being attacked, he could remain in Stealth mode forever. A skill perfect for spying.
Sword Ghost crossed the woods under Stealth mode to where Gu Fei was. There was no wind, but Sword Ghost could feel chills down his spine.
What Gu Fei did was beyond his comprehension. He felt as if his years of experience built up had been completely fallen apart.
With the half-worn straw hat covering part of his face, Gu Fei’s fluid steps made his mage robe flutter in the wind. Slashes of cold steel flashed before Sword Ghost’s eyes, bringing out the incessant screams of the monsters. What Gu Fei held in his hands was unexpectedly, a sword.
It was a sword which looked like a Tang dao1, and it flew with grace in Gu Fei’s hands, bringing down the monster, as well as all of Sword Ghost’s knowledge of gaming.
Gu Fei’s attacking techniques were beautiful, beautifully perfect.
Yet, they were just ordinary attacks, without using any in game skills.
Sword Ghost was completely baffled. Would anyone believe what he had just seen? A mage, equipped with a sword, used ordinary attacks, and somehow was much more efficient than he was.
After taking a closer look, Sword Ghost had realized some of the mechanics behind the scene.
Gu Fei could cause the greatest damage possible with every attack!
The damage caused by weapons in a lot of games is usually decided by choosing a number between a maximum and a minimum value, which leads to the damage being dealt varying greatly, leading to the never-ending debate of whether choosing a weapon that has higher maximum damage but contains a lower minimum damage or a weapon that has smaller difference between its minimum and maximum damage values is a better choice. How to reliably bring out the maximum damage value of the weapon was also an important question, but in the end, everyone agreed that it was probably up to one’s luck.
But in Parallel World, a game which boasts being a complete real world simulation, Sword Ghost could feel that achieving maximum damage was no longer a matter of luck and instead, could be determined by the players themselves.
Based on Sword Ghost’s estimation, the more accurate each attack was in terms of strength and position, the higher the damage caused. Gu Fei was the perfect example.
Sword Ghost believed that with every hit, the damage Gu Fei caused was never far from the maximum. He knew very well how much HP the monsters had, given that he had also grinded the monsters here for a long time. Thus, he could tell that Gu Fei was achieving the maximum damage per hit after counting the number of hits required to kill the monster and calculating the damage caused from each one.
Operation! The word popped into Sword Ghost’s head. Who said that a VR game had no operation? This was a type of operation that was more powerful than that of the traditional mouse and keyboard!
This kind of operation which goes for the greatest damage… Yes, we’ll call it Extreme Operation! Sword Ghost couldn’t help but be excited, as if he had discovered a new world.
Just then, Gu Fei began to retreat, fighting monsters while moving backwards in small steps.
“Hmm? So is he going to rest?” Sword Ghost was a little puzzled. He hadn’t seen Gu Fei get hurt, so it was probably due to Fatigue Level. Fatigue Level was present in the game, but to be honest, it was a setting that hindered gaming. Just imagine, if the character was as easily tired as in real life, continuous high-intensity battles would send players to the ground in minutes.
Thus although there was still Fatigue Level present in the game, it rose really slowly. Players nicknamed it “Addiction Prevention System” with sarcasm as to how the company totally had no intention of forcing players to play any less.
Could it be that the Fatigue Level rose much faster under Extreme Operation? Sword Ghost thought quietly to himself. If it were so, then it wasn’t worth the effort. Even though the Fatigue Levels were slow to rise, they dropped slowly as well, and there were no ways to speed this drop up at the moment. Though offline time counted towards the recovery as well, Sword Ghost felt that the drawbacks of Extreme Operation’s fatigue gain outweighed the XP benefits.
Whatever the case, Gu Fei was obviously retreating as he fought, and those monsters pulled were cleared off one by one. Those which respawned were not within the aggro radius and so did not pursue him. As he reached the side of the woods, the last monster was killed off with a slash.
Sword Ghost had only one word for it – amazing! The accuracy shown during the retreat was truly deserving of the title Extreme Operation.
What was more amazing was however yet to come. After bringing down the last monster, Gu Fei turned around. With his sword in one hand and the other pushing up his straw hat, he looked towards Sword Ghost’s direction and spoke, “What’s the matter?”
Sword Ghost turned around to look but no one was in sight.
“Are you saying that you can see me?” Sword Ghost was taken by surprise.
“I can’t see you, but I can feel your presence,” said Gu Fei.
“How is that possible?” Sword Ghost wondered out aloud. His thoughts suddenly went back to the day of their PvP. He thought Gu Fei had discovered him as he was about to attack using Backstab, but, according to the current situation, Gu Fei probably had already known that he was laying in wait long before then.
Sword Ghost was bewildered. Did this even count as operation?
“Hey you! Show yourself!” Gu Fei shouted. Though he could feel Sword Ghost’s presence, he still could not see him, and it was too bizarre a scene to be conversing with the air.
Sword Ghost came out of Stealth mode and gradually appeared before Gu Fei.
“Is something the matter?” asked Gu Fei.
“I wanted to watch you battle monsters,” replied Sword Ghost.
“How was it?” smiled Gu Fei.
“Impressive!” nodded Sword Ghost.
“My Nine Slashes of the Tang Dao…”
“Nine Slashes of the Tang Dao?”
“Yep!” Gu Fei nodded.
What was that? The name for his operation techniques? Tang dao, there was a weapon with that name in a wuxia online game two years ago, but it was pretty low-levelled, Sword Ghost thought to himself. He was an expert only with regard to online games, so the famous Tang dao was only an online game weapon to him.
“Three moves of splitting waves!” Gu Fei exclaimed suddenly. He flipped his wrist and the sword sliced through the air in three swift moves.
“Three moves of cutting water!” As the words were spoken, his demeanour had changed, akin to that of a fierce tiger, striking the air trice.
“Three moves of blazing sun!” The sword was drawn back and stabbed thrice in succession.
“In Nine Slashes of the Tang Dao, it makes use of slicing, striking and stabbing, and without years of practice, it’s impossible to achieve mastery. What I did was not at all worth mentioning.” Gu Fei dismissed himself.
Sword Ghost could only nod in bewilderment. He had absolutely no idea what Gu Fei was talking about. To him, what Gu Fei showed him just now was not at all a spectacle compared to when he was battling the monsters.
“Hmm, so what’s the matter?” Gu Fei asked.
Sword Ghost did have something to ask, but he couldn’t decide on it. After watching Gu Fei’s “Extreme Operation”, he finally made up his mind. “I have a friend who wants to form a mercenary group. Are you interested in joining?”
“You don’t know about it?”
“I do, of course I do.” Gu Fei had been well-informed about the details of the game, so he did have knowledge about the two main forms of organization in game.
Guilds and mercenary groups.
A guild functioned just like in the usual online games. In Parallel World, as long as there is one person who initiates and twenty responses, a guild is formed.
As for mercenary groups, it was a new creation which had no requirements about the number of members. You could form one with just one person. After forming the group, the members could accept quests from the system and complete them for XP, money or other rewards. Other than that, players or guilds could also set quests and offer rewards in the mercenary group building. If a mercenary group completed the task, the rewards would go to them. Of course, rewards provided by players themselves would be things like money and weapons. Players are unable to award XP for completion of their quests.
There was no conflict between forming a guild and a mercenary group, which means that people belonging to different guilds could belong to the same mercenary group. But the prevalent trend now was that guilds formed their own mercenary group. The main reason was that although one person could form a mercenary group by himself, it was impossible for him to complete the quests given by the system alone. Such players would probably only be able to complete simple quests set by other players in the future. Therefore, guilds raising strong mercenary groups in game was a hot topic for now.
Gu Fei smiled, “So you want me to join your Against the Heavens guild’s mercenary group?”
Sword Ghost gave a bitter laugh and said, “Against the Heavens guild has dissolved.”
“Eh? Why?” Gu Fei was curious. A guild could be initiated by a player who was level 30, and responded by players above level 30. Sword Ghost reached level 30 long ago, so Gu Fei thought that his guild had already been formed for some time.
1: Dao are single-edged Chinese swords, primarily used for slashing and chopping. During the Tang Dynasty, dao were exported to both Korea and Japan, influencing the swordsmithing of both nations. The blades of Tang era dao are similar to that of the Japanese chokuto. As in the preceding dynasties, Tang dynasty dao were straight along the entire length of the blade.