Translated by: Effyis
Edited by: Stbunbun
Chapter 20: The Secret Passage in Black Dragon Cave
The four at the front were concentrating on killing monsters, so they had no time to even glance back. Moreover, they were not as particular as Master Han to demand someone watch the others even though he himself was not ordered to do anything.
The group moved deeper into the cave. Master Han had wanted to take an opportunity to reprimand Gu Fei but he knew that he wouldn’t have the chance to anymore because as a person who had completed the quest before he knew, the deeper into a dungeon one goes, the more dangerous and concentrated the monsters would get. If they wanted to keep going on like this, killing one monster at a time, it was vital to be extremely focused.
“We have to pull through until the deepest part, where there will be a rock door. But the small boss at the door is also pretty powerful. To reach the one-room hut of Sotu, we have to defeat it and open the door.” As Master Han planned the route and was keeping track of time, he had not expected nor noticed that something had gone off script behind him.
The passage in the cave was uneven and difficult for one to walk on. Their employer had accidentally lost his footing and swayed a few steps to the side. “Be careful!” Since Gu Fei could tell that he had only lost his balance and wasn’t going to fall, after all, he only gave a short reminder.
The player regained his posture and gave his thanks. But it was then that Gu Fei felt that something was amiss. Something was lurking in the darkness behind the player.
“Get out of the way!” yelled Gu Fei as he pounced forward.
The player had not even reacted before seeing Gu Fei fly past him and land behind him. “Clank!” The sword in Gu Fei’s hand had slid out of its scabbard and had struck the weapon of the figure in the dark with a clear sound.
“Don’t help! Leave now!” Gu Fei shouted as he looked back.
“Damn you!” Gu Fei couldn’t help but curse as that fellow had already run off without any signs of wanting to help Gu Fei. In the player’s mind, since he had spent money to employ them to help him, it was their responsibility to save him as well. As for him helping them instead? Please! If I could manage this myself, what would be the use of employing others? Thought the player.
“Nevermind, you can follow them first!” Gu Fei said as he fought.
The player walked off in a daze and was somewhat baffled. Wasn’t that guy a mage? Why did it look like he was going to fight the monster with a sword? Oh, he must have done that to pull the aggro away from me! Wow, he’s indeed a pro!
The employer rushed off to follow the crowd, leaving Gu Fei to fight the monster by himself.
It was difficult to fight in the dark, so Gu Fei stepped back gradually to the main path as he fought, where it was somehow bright enough to see his opponent. The opponent was also a bandit, but a bandit who wore blue clothes.
What did the blue clothes mean? In this VR game, characters didn’t have their names hanging above their heads, thus there was no way to tell the rarity and level of the monster based on the colour of the names like in many traditional online games. It was certainly not appropriate to imprint names like “BOSS” or “mini BOSS” onto their faces as well. So in the end, the game company decided to reflect that based on the monsters’ clothes.
This bandit was a blue monster, and it was the first time that Gu Fei had ever met one in this game, making him somewhat excited.
Yet, the blue monster didn’t give him the exciting new experience he had expected.
A blue monster was still not considered a boss. It was only a normal monster who had more HP, higher defence, and attack points. The real bosses were those which had sparkling costumes and brilliant weapons, and would make you look like a beggar if compared beside them. They were ones who had grand skills, excellent equipment and weapons, high intelligence and higher-levels. A blue monster was nothing in comparison to them.
Yet the nothing still took a few minutes to put down. Gu Fei could perform his Extreme Operation on this monster, however, his weapon was still mediocre.
Before the monster collapsed, Gu Fei heard the monster mumble clearly under his breath, “I will not hand the key to the secret passage to anybody.”
“What key?” Gu Fei asked.
No one answered. The monster was already dead. Even if it were still alive, it wouldn’t reply if it wasn’t programmed to.
Gu Fei quickly gave the monster’s corpse a thorough search. In addition to the more-than-usual amount of money that it gave, there was indeed a heavy iron key hanging from its side, which had the words “Black Dragon Cave Secret Passage Key” engraved on it with a closer look.
But where was the secret passage? Gu Fei looked around and decided to check the area the monster had appeared from.
It was too dark to see anything. But that wasn’t a problem for Gu Fei since he had some torches with him.
When he was grinding those vagabond mobs by the lake, he had received plenty of fire-making equipment that those mobs used along with their rusty daggers. Gu Fei, as a mage who had limited Strength, certainly wouldn’t bring all those daggers with him since the space in his pocket was finite. But as for things like torches, it could serve some use in the future. And now was their time to shine!
Gu Fei felt proud of his foresight. He took a torch from his pocket and lit it.
The area instantly brightened up and Gu Fei immediately discovered a big iron board with a huge lock on it. He put the key in and the iron trap-door was easily unlocked. After opening the door, Gu Fei saw a tunnel, big enough for one man to travel down at a time, extending deep into the cave.
Gu Fei promptly sent Sword Ghost a message, yet received a notification that the latter had rejected the message.
The rest of the group naturally did not want to be disturbed by messages when they were engaged in battle, thus all had their message logs closed. If anyone had anything to say, they might as well say it out loud since they were all together.
Let’s get back to this when we’re done with the quest! Gu Fei closed the door and prepared to return to the main road when he was surprised by what he saw.
The mobs which the others had killed had already respawned. Though they were of level 35, they served no threat to Gu Fei. Yet the problem was that Gu Fei was not as familiar with the cave as the others to kill only the necessary ones, thus he would have to kill all the mobs if he wanted to catch up with the others, which just spelt “troublesome”.
“I guess this is just God’s will,” shrugged Gu Fei as he returned to the secret passage.
“Maybe following this I will even get ahead of them and give them a shock! Haha,” Gu Fei climbed down into the tunnel with a small mischievous smile.
The tunnel was narrow but the path was much easier to walk on compared to the outside. Gu Fei raised his torch high and stayed on high alert in case of any ambush.
Fortunately, nothing happened along the way. At the end of the tunnel was another large rock door. Gu Fei pushed with all his might only to manage a slight crack between the door and the wall, and from how the door shook slightly it looked like it would reclose at any time. Gu Fei quickly squeezed through as he pushed. Once he let go, the door immediately closed up. Gu Fei pushed the door from the other side, yet it wouldn’t budge. It was impossible for Gu Fei to open the door again for his Strength stood no chance if he were to pull the door. Gu Fei was a little discontent with his character’s Strength. Maybe it was time to add some points to Strength.
After leaving the rock door, Gu Fei looked around the area. It was a wide area with flat ground and a lone wooden hut in the middle of it.
“Sotu stays in a little wooden hut deep in the Black Dragon Cave… Though there’s a wide space outside the hut…” Gu Fei remembered the words of Master Han when he was introducing the quest.
Gu Fei was delighted. So the passage was the short cut to the destination! And he had arrived, ahead of all the others! Since that was so…Gu Fei grasped the sword by his side and walked towards Sotu’s little hut.
He did admire Master Han’s plan, and he had also seen the skilful cooperation that the others had done. If they had followed Master Han’s plan strictly, they would probably complete the quest safely.
Yet admiration didn’t mean that he liked it. What Gu Fei much preferred was fighting. Face to face combat.
Gu Fei understood about technical terms like “lure”, “trap”, “pulling aggro” worked and even how to use them. He was aware that their use reflected how highly skilled a game player was. Yet Gu Fei was different. He also wanted to be one of the best players in this game, but what he was going to depend on was not gaming skills but his Kung Fu, and that was precisely the reason why Gu Fei chose to play this game.
Gu Fei was looking forward to fighting a boss after having battled small monsters for so long, and now there was finally a chance before him.
It was a fact that fighting a boss as part of a quest was pretty uncommon. The system gave out random quests every day, and most were just trivial busy work like finding chickens or delivering messages. A player had to be extremely lucky to get a challenging quest which gave lots of rewards. Thus, their employer had even decided to spend money and employ people to help him when he received this particular quest.
Thus, Gu Fei thought, it was a good thing to join this mercenary group after all. There were more chances to challenge oneself now.
As Gu Fei was thinking this to himself, he had reached the door of the hut.
Gu Fei did not bother to knock since in it lived the NPC whom he was going to kill. He instead sent a fierce kick onto the door. The door flung open and Gu Fei shouted, “Sotu!”
It seemed like such a method could lure the monster too. The person who was lying on the bed turned neatly onto his feet, grabbed the huge sword next to his bed and pounced towards Gu Fei.
Gu Fei blocked the sword with his own. A loud “Clank!” resounded from the two weapons.
“What great strength!” Gu Fei managed to block the hit, but he could not withstand the force that came with it. He flew backwards into the wide space.
Immediately Sotu roared and charged out of his hut.
“Oh damn it!” Gu Fei had remembered the words of Master Han, that once Sotu manages to get out of his hut, he would whistle to summon his underlings.