Translated by: Effyis
Edited by: Stbunbun
Chapter 9: A Master’s Metagame
The other players of Against the Heavens Guild all looked discouraged at seeing their Guild Master lose so plainly and completely. Glaring at Gu Fei and Fireball, they left with Sword Ghost in silence.
Fireball was an unforgiving chap, whistling and booing at the pro gamer he once looked up to. Now he only had one word for him: Pew!
“Drunk Bro! Drunk Bro!” Fireball found a new idol.
“How did you know he was behind you?” Fireball asked.
“He gave off Murderous Intent1.” Gu Fei smiled.
“Murderous Intent… there’s really such a thing?” Fireball muttered to himself.
“Of course,” Gu Fei nodded. “I’m still not that strong in the ability to feel it. My fourth uncle is the master of that. Imagine he is sleeping over there. He will still be in deep sleep if you just walk by. But he will wake up immediately once you focus your attention on him!”
“Wow, so you really can do Wushu?” asked Fireball.
“Not Wushu, it’s Kung Fu!” said Gu Fei.
“What’s the difference?”
“Wushu is for strengthening one’s body, whereas Kung Fu is for fighting enemies and defending one’s country,” sighed Gu Fei as he spoke. This was just where his father and he had diverged in opinion. His father stressed that what they practised was Wushu, but Gu Fei felt that it was obviously Kung Fu.
“Defending your country… Is there even such a need anymore?” Fireball said.
“No,” smiled Gu Fei. “So that’s why I’m here gaming online!”
“Oh, so can I learn Kung Fu?” Fireball’s spirits rose.
“You…” hesitated Gu Fei.
“Is it because I’m too old?” Fireball was disappointed. He was already over twenty years of age. According to the storyline of a typical web wuxia novel, the main character should have already become famous at this age. There would be no more chance of finding wives if he started learning martial arts at this age. The girls would all be taken before he could even graduate.
However, Gu Fei shook his head. “One’s body has to be fully developed and mature to officially start learning Kung Fu. That would mean at least fifteen or sixteen. You won’t be too old considering that you are almost the same age as me. But you would need a lot of time everyday to learn Kung Fu, at least eight to twelve hours. Do you have so much time?”
“Nope,” Fireball replied without hesitation.
“Or you can make use of your in-game time…”
“It’s ok, never mind that, let’s just continue gaming! I’m not learning it then,” Fireball cut him off hastily.
Gu Fei could only give a wry smile.
By now, the six vagrant NPCs had already respawned. Gu Fei picked up his knife which fell and was ready to dive in for the kill. Fireball said at his side, “Drunk Bro, I don’t have your skills and the mobs here are too high-leveled for me. I’ll go somewhere else.”
“I can help you!” Gu Fei said.
“I’m here to play, not for people to help!” Fireball said with ambition.
“Alright, then we’ll part here,” smiled Gu Fei.
“Drunk Bro! Don’t level up too fast! Wait for me ok!” Fireball waved as he ran. “Let’s have a drink in the city later if you aren’t offline yet.”
“Sure!” Gu Fei replied.
The two went their separate ways. Gu Fei continued to grind mobs in the area. He was really excited by the battle between Sword Ghost and himself. He had not had a chance for physical fights in a long time and liked the satisfaction he got right when the outcome was decided. Although the opponent’s fighting techniques seemed pretty crude, in a VRMMORPG game like Parallel World which requires physical fighting, everyone will gain fighting skills to some degree in time. And that is when things will get interesting.
As for the NPCs standing before him, they just held no threat to Gu Fei. AI is just AI. The attack routines used were repetitive, and with the repeated experience, all players would realise what the strategies of the AI are. Take that Sword Ghost for example. With his brains and quick responses, Gu Fei believed that he would become a pro eventually.
Gu Fei ground mobs for a full two hours at the pond next to the hill. To him, he wasn’t killing mobs. He was just practising his Kung Fu movements. He loved the perspiration and the hearty feeling Kung Fu gave him. He never once thought that this repetition was boring. Gu Fei was filled with love and passion for Kung Fu, and that gave him the determination to persevere whereas his family members gave up one by one.
After he finished another six vagabonds off, Gu Fei levelled up to Level 16. He splashed his face with the pond water. The icy water felt extremely refreshing on his sweaty hot face. It was the greatest feeling ever! For the first time, from the bottom of his heart, Gu Fei was full of praise for the game’s realistic simulations.
Just then, Gu Fei received a message notification. It was Fireball, as expected. “Drunk Bro Drunk Bro! What level are you now?” the message read.
“Level 16,” replied Gu Fei.
“Eh? That’s so fast! I just reached level 10…” Gu Fei could almost hear Fireball’s wails from his writing. But since Fireball rose to only level 10 in two hours, and he got to level 16 with two fights with the NPCs at this pond, Gu Fei realised that killing mobs of higher levels than oneself was a good way to level up fast.
“Hey Drunk Bro! You done? I’ve accumulated some money. Let’s go drinking in the city! It’s my treat.” Another message from Fireball came in.
“Sure!” Gu Fei replied, and then began inspecting the six NPCs lying on the ground. There was some money, some plants with their use still unknown, and knives which Gu Fei already had. He had no room for them as he had collected more than ten of these knives already.
Although the game was simulated to be as realistic as possible, players still had to have a bag for putting their items. This bag was designed to look like a pocket in Parallel World. An item is considered to be in the bag when you throw it into the pocket on the right side of the waist, and it will not fall out. When you want to retrieve the item, you just put your hand into the pocket and a panel display of all the items will appear before your eyes. When you have selected the item you want, your hand will be holding it, and then you can pull it out. It was as magical as Doraemon’s pocket2.
Done with the packing, Gu Fei climbed to the top of the hill and looked around for the direction back to Cloud City.
It was then that he saw another guy who had also been grinding beside a pond on the other side of the hill. Stealth, to get behind the vagabond. Backstab, and then mad stabbing. When one mob was killed, he would escape from the others to rest. Then, after his HP refilled, he would repeat the trick.
The player’s dagger had a light blue aura which Gu Fei recognised. He smiled. This player was Sword Ghost. He was actually suitable for grinding mobs here since his level was more than 20. However, vagabonds came in sixes. It was difficult for a player to solo. Only players like Gu Fei who had crazily good agility and skills or players like Sword Ghost who was good at scheming could handle them alone.
There were only three vagabonds next to the fire pit, where there were supposed to be six. When the fourth respawns, Sword Ghost would rush over, attack, rest, wait for respawn, then attack again.
The routine that Sword Ghost devised for attack used the same strategy as Gu Fei surprisingly. It was also a repetition planned in accordance with the characteristics of the NPCs. Gu Fei could not help but praise.
He then discovered another audience of Sword Ghost on a nearby hill.
Tightly-clad in a purple robe, the player was obviously female as her clothing showed off her great figure. Gu Fei could not get a clear look of her face from the side. He could only see her focusing her attention on Sword Ghost: her right hand supported her left arm, and her two left fingers tapped her lips.
Gu Fei was surprised that a girl could tell that Sword Ghost was skilful as well. He smiled. Sword Ghost had just finished a vagabond off and was resting. He seemed to have realised that he had filled up his pocket and raised his head after breathing a sigh of relief. Then he discovered the two looking at him from the hills. Slightly startled, Sword Ghost turned around and left.
Did he recognise me from this distance? Gu Fei wondered. He, unlike Sword Ghost, did not possess an iconic item like Frost Memories.
The two audience members parted after losing sight of the main actor. Gu Fei noticed that the girl was walking in the same direction as Sword Ghost. Could it be that Sword Ghost was going to get hit on? Gu Fei chuckled to himself. Although he had thoughts of following them for gossip, he gave it up as he remembered that Fireball was still waiting for him at the bar.
Umm, I see that people have been discussing about the style of the story… It would be too early if you just judge from the book and summary. Those who speak of style are all old readers of mine already. If I write a summary like that of Du Chuang Tian Ya (独闯天涯, not translated yet) and Xing Zhao Bu Xuan (星照不宣, not translated yet), everyone would probably laugh it off (both novels came before this one). But for those who really need a summary, they would just come to one conclusion: “What on earth is this?” True, the summary is not Butterfly’s (the author) style, since I should have written 1000+ words if it were the usual long-winded me. This short summary is really a breakthrough. Let’s applaud the breakthrough! The real style… Actually, if you reread the two novels, you would see that there is no specific style to them. You guys probably just have a deep impression of some of the scenes, so you all capped a style to them. Well! What a good summarization! Let’s applaud again…
Lastly, just read the book first! The book had just started. I’m thinking of using 2000 thousand words for the introduction to lay the foundation, 3000 thousand words for the first little climax, 4000 thousand words for the climax, 5000 thousand words for the transition to the next part, and then… Yay! Our book starts.
1: Murderous Intent(杀气): also known as sakki in Japanese, is the idea that when someone intends to inflict pain or death, their intent can be felt. The effect is amplified if you look into their eyes, or if they want to hurt you in particular.
2: Doraemon’s pocket: Doraemon is a fictional character in the Japanese manga and anime series of the same name. He is a male robotic cat that travels back in time from the 22nd century to aid a pre-teen boy named Nobita. Doraemon has a pocket from which he produces items known as “gadgets”, which range from toy and medicines, to technology from the future. The inside of pocket is 4D, functioning similarly like a small portal (in other terms, a ‘wormhole) that allows any item to be inserted inside it without using much space. The inside of the 4D Pocket looks like a limitless, floorless room.