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Chapter 235 - Competitive Quest
The members of Ultimate Class 3 Guild proceeded to the valley's entryway in an orderly fashion. The lack of any onlookers made them feel less embarrassed and caused their jubilation at capturing the Brigand leader to gradually rise. Gu Fei smiled wryly to himself, They are just a bunch of kids through and through; making them feel awkward is really not easy!
Along the way, they encountered a party that was heading inside the valley.
This party of twenty-seven players felt somewhat intimidated by Ultimate Class 3's high form of discipline, which was displayed through the neat rows of students marching in unison. Moments later, these twenty-seven men saw that two Warriors among Gu Fei's group were carrying a tightly bound Boss, causing the men's expression to become somewhat unnatural.
"So that's how it is," all of them furtively whispered to one another.
Among these twenty-seven men, four were regarding the disciplined procession with stiff upper lips. They did not display any emotion on their faces at the sight of the bound Brigand leader; each of them seemed to have readily accepted this truth and was merely surprised by the students' orderly lines.
Teams that had discipline would definitely be able to fight better, which was particularly important in a group PvP. 'Discipline' was not how people called it in MMOs, though; instead, people would say that the players in a group had 'excellent teamwork' - teamwork that was derived from the the tacit understanding the players had formed with one another. It was easy for three or five individuals to cultivate this understanding with one another, but it was highly difficult for a group of thirty, fifty, or even one hundred players to have such strong bond and understanding. Such level of rapport would have to be nurtured over time and be forcefully changed from good understanding into a form of discipline.
Achieving discipline in a group was undoubtedly a very agonizing matter. Entertainment was the core of MMOs, so few people would want to be under strict rules or discipline. Therefore, seeing such a team that showed high level of discipline was truly astonishing. Such a team will most likely have high combat might, everyone subconsciously thought.
Fortunately, there was a way to check the actual combat strength of a player in-game: Appraisal skill. Each of these twenty-seven players chose a target and appraised him or her. What they saw next gave them the biggest shock of their lives.
This team did not even have a player above level 35. Furthermore, this bunch of players showed listless expression on their faces at the sight of the twenty-seven men. Their steps became lackadaisical and their neat marching suddenly became somewhat disorderly. This was a given, though, as the students felt embarrassed to continue walking in neat rows upon seeing the presence of others.
Quite a few of the twenty-seven men expressed glee at this. As the team of students brushed past them on their way out of the valley, the twenty-seven men looked at one another questioningly. Finally, someone addressed the four calm men among them, "Are we still doing it?"
Someone from the four men replied, "You guys can decide this for yourselves! But since you guys have picked up a competitive quest, the reward we have originally discussed will be doubled. This can be considered as a PvP, so the potential cost for this upcoming clash will be added to the total."
"We know that." The person who had asked the question nodded his head in acknowledgement. He turned to his twenty-two companions to discuss the matter first before saying to the four, "But… These guys don't really look strong. Perhaps, we won't need your help…."
The four merely chuckled at this before saying, "They indeed seem quite weak. But even if we don't lend you guys a hand in this fight, the deposit you've paid won't be refunded. We'll simply waive the remaining fee that was originally agreed on. We hope you understand that."
"Of course, we do!" The man nodded his head once more, "However—"
"We will stay here. If you guys ever need our help, we will immediately come to your aid. Does that work for you?" The four players had already seen through these men's intention and gave them the most satisfying answer. The man did not speak further and just turned his head over to his twenty-two companions to exchange a few more words. The twenty-three men silently took out their weapons and initiated their sneak attack on to the back of someone from Ultimate Class 3.
The Archers' arrows were the first to arrive by a target. They targeted the last person walking behind the opposing guild.
Unexpectedly, that person swiftly pivoted as he pulled out a sword from within his dimensional pocket. A few waves of his sword swatted off the arrows heading his way. "What are you guys doing?" Gu Fei had long since felt that something was not right with these twenty odd men. He would have dodged the incoming arrows, which was the safest move for him, had he not been worried that they would hit his students, instead. Hence, he had chosen to risk injuring himself by blocking the arrows. Thankfully, none of the enemy Archers had used a skill in their attacks, so the four arrows that had been shot were easily deflected by him. These men seemed to have deemed it wasteful to use powerful skills to assassinate a mere Mage like him.
A black robe and a dark purple sword… His attire quickly grabbed the four men's attention. Although this was the first time they had seen this getup for themselves, it had actually been the hot topic in Yunduan City and within their group.
This person was the Mage of Young Master's Elite: Thousand Miles Drunk. He was the one opponent The Black Hand had focused most of its attention on since their mercenary group would be facing him and the rest of Young Master's Elite in the finals of the mercenary PvP tournament.
These four men were relieved once they identified Gu Fei, as things began to make sense. They had originally been somewhat surprised that this group of below level 35 players had managed to take down a Boss. By the looks of things, this party had hired a mercenary group to help it. However, Young Master's Elite had only sent out one person… This clearly showed that that mercenary group truly possessed indomitable strength!
The students with Gu Fei were in an uproar when they became aware of the situation that they were currently in.
"We're really sorry; we took up a competitive quest," someone among the twenty-three men gave this simple explanation.
Competitive quest… Gu Fei had heard of this term before. According to Brother Assist, the system would design certain content in the game as a competitive quest, so that players could take up opposing sides and pit themselves against one another for a reward. In a competitive quest, the players were no longer fighting with the system but with other players like themselves. Most competitive quests were for guilds or mercenary groups; rarely was there this competitive element to solo content.
"What's the completion condition for your quest?" Gu Fei asked. Since they were all doing quests, there really was no way to say who was in the right or wrong. It was therefore best to find a peaceful resolution for this.
"To kill off the Brigand leader while he is being escorted," the opposing team replied. As a small guild, they were not confident to face off against a Boss by themselves for this quest, so they quickly contacted The Black Hand, the largest mercenary group in Yunduan City, for aid.
The Black Hand had become a reputable mercenary group among the players, so its credibility was more or less guaranteed. Most people would not go to the Hall of Mercenaries to set a mission when looking for external aid. Although it was safer to go through the system and create missions, players would then stumble into the system's unavoidable 'intermediary fee'. Thus, most players would be more than happy to make a private deal with a mercenary group as long as its credibility was proven.
The two parties had easily agreed on a price and a deposit had quickly been passed from one hand to another. Following this, players from both sides gathered by one of the city gates and headed toward the system-provided coordinates to complete the mission. Very soon after, they caught sight of Gu Fei and the members of Ultimate Class 3 Guild by the valley's entryway. The stage for this competitive quest was essentially set once these men identified the students as the guild tasked to deliver the Brigand leader.
Gu Fei quietly cursed at how despicable the system was once he heard the opposing team's quest completion condition. Ultimate Class 3 was required to capture the Brigand leader alive, while the opposing guild was tasked to dispose of the Boss. There was simply no room for discussion, as the interest of both teams clearly clashed just by this fact alone.
"I'm sorry, but our mission is to capture him alive," Gu Fei apologetically said.
"Naturally. It's a competitive quest, after all, so it's understandable for our quest conditions to differ," the opponent replied.
At this point in time, someone from the opposing guild used Appraisal on Gu Fei and reported his findings, "Careful. This guy is at level 40."
"Oh. A level 40 player has established a small guild and recruited these newbies…" These players of a small guild incorrectly deduced as they did not know of Gu Fei's identity.
"So, how are we going to do this?" Gu Fei sighed.
"We won't forfeit our mission!" the opposing guild resolutely declared.
Gu Fei turned to look at his students and laughed, "Naturally, we won't be forfeiting either."
"Since that's the case…" the opposing players each gripped their weapons to show their intention to fight.
"Is there really no other way?" Gu Fei recalled the duel system that people used to fight over grinding spots. But while a new grinding spot could be found once a group lost to another, a quest would not have such an alternate solution once it was failed. Despite competitive quests being very contentious, the players never complained about this, especially upon seeing the system's rich rewards for this sort of quests. Therefore, few people would feel awkward about taking up a competitive quest; instead, players would often celebrate if they acquired one. There was simply no way for them to abandon such a quest.
In fact, the players of this small guild felt very excited when they found out that the quest that they had gotten was a competitive type, and they were even more excited when they learned that they were up against weaker players. Why in the world would they give this competitive quest up with these? When Gu Fei asked for other means to resolve the matter, they did not even bother to consider it.
The four players of The Black Hand mercenary group came forward at this point and asked the leader of the small guild, "Are you sure you don't want our help?" As the guild leader looked at the four men questioningly, one of them pressed on, "Have you never heard of this player called 'Thousand Miles Drunk'?"
"Ah!" everyone exclaimed in shock.
Gu Fei's identity had recently been exposed, but the rumors involving him had originated from long ago. At present, he was undisputedly viewed as the top player in Yunduan City. "I heard that wherever this person points his sword, the opponent will instantly turn to ash, as he possesses herculean strength specially gifted by the system!"
"I heard that not even twenty or thirty men can take him down. Also, that he decimated the seven hundred fifty players of Carouse by himself!" Rumors of Gu Fei's lethality were blown out of proportions. As the members of the small guild continued to discuss the hearsays about Gu Fei, their initial excitement disappeared and they began to feel disgruntled about facing off against such a formidable foe.
The four players of The Black Hand approached Ultimate Class 3, and the one at the very front of the pack chuckled toward Gu Fei, "To think we would meet like this before the finals."
"Who are you?" Gu Fei naturally did not know who these people were.
"The name's Monologue under the Moon," the person replied, adding, "And I, along with these three, are from The Black Hand mercenary group."