Translated by: Effyis
Edited by: Stbunbun
Chapter 16: Meeting at Little Thunder Bar (Part 1)
Gu Fei’s “why” made Sword Ghost glum.
Why else? It was obviously because of Gu Fei. After Sword Ghost, a level 24 rogue, was beaten by Gu Fei, a level 10 mage, no one believed that Sword Ghost was still as capable as before. What’s the use of having a high level? Even a mage 15 levels lower could win you. With such a common thought, those who considered staying with Sword Ghost all left him within days.
But Sword Ghost felt that Gu Fei had beaten him fair and square, so he had no intentions of blaming Gu Fei. It was just that the “culprit” had a bemused face and blurted out “why”, which made him a little indignant.
“Uh, nothing! Let’s talk about the mercenary group instead. Are you interested?” asked Sword Ghost.
“Ok, I’m free to go,” said Gu Fei. He did not want to participate in group events, which would eat into his personal time, but from Sword Ghost’s expression just now and information from Fireball about Sword Ghost, he could guess what had happened to Sword Ghost’s guild, and he felt a bit apologetic.
Gu Fei regretted it. He shouldn’t have been so competitive and instead gave in a little to the extent that Sword Ghost knew about their difference in skill but still managed to keep some face. Sword Ghost, as a sincere person, would not have pursued the matter anymore after that.
What was most important was that Gu Fei knew perfectly what being ostracised felt like. And the reason for Sword Ghost’s ostracisation was his looks! How unfair was that! It was too much for those people to shun someone just because of his looks. And luckily for me, I’m not born as ugly… thought Gu Fei as he felt sorry for Sword Ghost at the same time.
With remorse and empathy, Gu Fei felt that he should give up a bit of his personal time and fulfill Sword Ghost’s wish as compensation to him.
Sword Ghost didn’t know that Gu Fei only agreed out of goodwill. He nodded after he heard Gu Fei agree and said, “Very well, we’ve agreed to meet in the afternoon. Let’s go together.”
“Afternoon? What time will it be?” asked Gu Fei.
“2pm,” said Sword Ghost.
“We’ll meet in the afternoon then!” Sword Ghost nodded and returned to where he was killing monsters at the other side of the woods.
Gu Fei, on the other hand, stretched a little and shook his shoulders, and charged towards the mobs once again with his sword raised.
Sword Ghost sent Gu Fei a message at 1:50pm. “Where are you now?” he asked.
“Almost back in the city!” Gu Fei had been training in the outskirts of the city, and started rushing back to the city when he felt that the meeting time was near. Parallel World did not provide any shortcuts back to the city. The official statement justified it as making the game more realistic. Players all scorned the company and deemed the decision a way to extend players’ online gaming time. The best proof to this was that the game would only have game time cards and no monthly game cards after official operations started.
“Good,” Sword Ghost replied.
“Where are y’all meeting at? I’ll go straight there,” typed Gu Fei.
“Little Thunder Bar,” answered Sword Ghost.
“Ok, I’m going there now,” replied Gu Fei.
Little Thunder Bar could be regarded as a legend, as it was the first player-operated bar in the whole of Parallel World. The requirement for players to open shops was that they had to be at least level 20, but that wasn’t the crux of the matter. The key thing was – the money needed to buy the shop.
You could set up a stall on the streets and the system would not care, nor would there be Urban Management officers1 to fine you. But to own an actual shop, you had to buy it from the system.
Though cities in the game were big, fixed assets like houses were still limited, thus they were very costly. No one would have thought that someone could really start a bar at level 20, especially a bar that was actually quite large.
Where did he get so much money from? Everyone racked their brains and only one way seemed possible: He had used real world money to buy equipment or weapons from the Trading House, and then sold them in the Auction House for in game money. Such a rich guy! Everyone marveled.
And yet he opened a bar with such high capital. Everyone felt puzzled by these actions. The bar might look like it had good business for the time being, but when the beta test ends and game time cards came into play, fewer people would waste their valuable play time in a bar. Furthermore, the system’s bars have a variety of wines which players are unable to provide. Though you could choose to be a bartender as your Life Profession and then make wine, how much wine would you be able to make at such low levels? Another way would be to buy wine from the system and sell them in your own shop, but who would do that?
Yet, the fact was that Little Thunder Bar did function that way. The owner buys wine from the system and sells them at the same price. Not only that, the system still requires him to pay a transaction tax every day for his shop. He was totally just bleeding money!
But he still continued even though he was sustaining losses! What a strange person with such unique leisure pursuits! Everyone marveled.
This rich and exceptional man however had an ordinary name: Little Thunder.
This was the first ID that became famous in Parallel World. Although countless secretly regarded him as an idiot, he was still a cool idiot no matter what, and the pride of all Cloud City players since he was born there randomly!
It was only natural for Gu Fei to know about such a famous person and his bar. He had even been there once with Fireball, and had seen the well-known Little Thunder who was selling drinks behind the bar counter himself.
After Gu Fei arrived outside Little Thunder Bar, he looked at the system time. It was two o’clock on the dot. He took a deep breath and walked in.
Gu Fei looked around and couldn’t seem to find Sword Ghost in the bar. He was just about to send him a message when Little Thunder himself approached him, “Do you need any help?”
“Oh I’m looking for someone,” Gu Fei proceeded to describe Sword Ghost’s appearance.
Sword Ghost had a face that was just too unique. Gu Fei had only managed to say a few words before Little Thunder pointed at private room No. 3, “They’re there.” As it was a bar operated by a player, the bar wasn’t as old-fashioned and inflexible as the system’s. Little Thunder had used logs to build up a few private rooms by the side of the bar, giving it the feeling of a modern bar.
“Ok thanks!” said Gu Fei.
“You’re welcome. Call me if you need anything!” Little Thunder’s smile was really exemplary of the service industry.
“Little Thunder!” Gu Fei waved a finger. “Your real name must be Lei Feng2, right?”
“You must be kidding,” laughed Little Thunder.
Gu Fei bid farewell to him with a smile and walked towards private room No. 3.
Since the private room was made out of a circle of logs and had no door, a piece of old sheet was hung in place as the door. Gu Fei shook the cloth in place of knocking.
“Come in,” said someone in the room.
Gu Fei lifted the cloth and walked in. And it was then he saw the person directly facing the door.
One word: beautiful.
Two words: very pretty.
Three words: just too gorgeous.
Four words: how could it be?
Five words: that is actually a man?
Such a fellow was sitting facing the door beside Sword Ghost. If not for his flat chest and bulging Adam’s apple, Gu Fei would have never believed that he was a man.
The young man had slung an arm across Sword Ghost’s shoulder and pointed at Gu Fei as he walked in, “Is that him?”
Sword Ghost nodded and spoke to Gu Fei, “You’re here.”
“I’m here,” nodded Gu Fei as well.
The beauty pointed at an empty chair and said, “Have a seat!”
Gu Fei sat down and looked at the other three people present. All had very ordinary and common facial features. They seemed much more human than Sword Ghost and the other guy who were exceptionally ugly and beautiful respectively.
“I’m going to give you an introduction now,” said Sword Ghost to Gu Fei and started with the person beside Gu Fei. “Battle Unscathed. He is a warrior.”
Battle Unscathed was a middle-aged man who had a sturdy physique and gave off a mature and staid vibe. “Hello!” he stretched out a hand and introduced himself further. “I like the Warrior class, so I choose it for all my online games!”
“And always the number one warrior while he’s at it,” added Sword Ghost.
“Hello hello!” Gu Fei took off his straw hat and quickly held his hand, only to find that Battle Unscathed’s grip was too strong. It was an inevitable fact, for warriors would definitely place emphasis on Strength. For a mage like Gu Fei who spent all his points on Agility, his bones were nearly crushed from this one handshake. Fortunately, it seemed like only a habit. Battle Unscathed didn’t mean to make things difficult for Gu Fei and let go immediately after the shake. Gu Fei could only smile wryly. It was the first time in his life that he had actually had the weaker hand in a handshake.
“This is Bless Brother. He always chooses his class randomly. He got Knight this time round. He is good at collecting information and noticing minor details,” Sword Ghost introduced the next person.
“Bless brother3? You don’t look very old,” Gu Fei extended a hand.
“Haha, it’s just that my ID is Bless Brother. Sorry for taking advantage of you!” Bless Brother scratched his head in embarrassment and then shook Gu Fei’s hand, his genial smile showing that he was an easy-going person.
“I see,” Gu Fei smiled back.
“This is Royal Heaven’s Cries, and he is an expert in Mages. But he chose to be an archer for this game,” said Sword Ghost as he introduced the third person. This person displayed no trace of a smile. He looked like an arrogant and defiant teenager, most likely he was still a student.
“Pleased to meet you,” said Gu Fei as he reached out a hand. His attitude was the most serious this time around. He knew that when dealing with such youngsters, it is best to show them your respect and don’t treat them as children.
Yet, that didn’t work with Royal Heaven’s Cries. He was childish enough to not even extend a hand and only snorted a greeting through his nose, “Hi!”
What a rude kid! He totally has no respect for his elders. Gu Fei felt like rolling his eyes.
“And the last one would be him, Master Han, my old partner in game. His class is forever Priest.” Sword Ghost finally introduced the one beside him.
1: Chengguan, or Urban Management officers, walk the streets of China with their main roles as chasing away unlicensed street vendors and checking permits. They are widely reviled for harshness and are regarded by many as little better than thugs, though they have been trying to rebuild their image recently.
2: Lei Feng (1940-1962) was a soldier in the People’s Liberation Army and is a communist legend in China. After his death from an accident, his diary was discovered and it had recorded countless good deeds he had done anonymously. Lei was portrayed in propaganda as a model citizen, and the masses were encouraged to emulate his selflessness, modesty, and devotion to Mao. Lei Feng remains a cultural icon representing earnestness and service till this day. The term “活雷锋/Huó Léi Fēng” (literally “living Lei Feng”) has become a noun (or adjective) for anyone who is seen as selfless, or anyone who goes out of their way to help others. Here, since Lei literally translates to thunder, a pun is made on Little Thunder’s name.
3: The brother here is elder brother in Chinese, which unfortunately has no corresponding single word in English. Asians are particular about family hierarchy, and calling people elder brother is usually a display of admiration or to show their seniority in status. Thus, Bless Brother implied that he had put upon Gu Fei in terms of seniority.