Virtual World: Close Combat Mage

Chapter 100

Chapter 100 - Peddlers’ Street

Royal God Call was quite pleased with himself for finding out how Gu Fei was able to unleash the full potential of Moonlit Nightfalls’ Spell Damage. Feeling satisfied with what he deemed as a great accomplishment, he spiritedly continued explaining to Gu Fei about the Mage job class.

Royal God Call rattled off to Gu Fei all the combat techniques of the job class based on his past online gaming experiences as a Mage. Although each online game was distinct, the Mage job class’ general design was more or less the same. The specialty of a Mage, besides the difference in the skills available, had always been unchanging. Therefore, there would still be advantages if Gu Fei applied Royal God Call’s techniques into the spells in Parallel World. 

The current spells available in Parallel World were largely similar to the ones found in other MMOs. As a result, many players’ research of the spells in this VR game had hugely been guided by their past gaming experiences. 

Royal God Call listed out all the spells’ characteristics in large chunks, unmindful of Gu Fei’s ability to remember them all. Fortunately, Gu Fei was interested in what Royal God Call was saying, as the methods and tips sounded to him like a new form of kung fu, so he raptly listened to the latter. However, when Royal God Call explained how the spells were executed in other MMOs – tapping on a keyboard and moving a mouse – Gu Fei zoned him out. 

In Parallel World, everything – observation, physical movements, timing of unleashing skills and spells, et cetera – depended entirely on the players. This largely differed to other MMOs. This large difference became apparent to the two when Gu Fei tested the theories mentioned by Royal God Call to some monsters in Yunwu Basin, giving the two a bit of a shock.

Gu Fei was like a sponge the way he easily absorbed all the new information given to him. But while his flawless execution of the requested moves, steps, and attacks was enough to shock Royal God Call, what truly made the latter surprise was how the techniques always ended up failing. Maybe it should not be considered as ‘failing’, but that they ‘did not achieve’ the results expected by Royal God Call upon being performed in Parallel World.

Royal God Call forgot to consider something important: Players no longer had the panoptic view of their surroundings in Parallel World unlike in other MMOs. Meaning, they could no longer see everything around them.

“Seems like we’ll need to do major adjustment to these techniques,” Royal God Call muttered, asking, “You can’t see what’s behind your back, right?” But before Gu Fei could answer him, Royal God Call already voiced his discontent, “D*mn. This is really troublesome! I need to experience some things for myself to have a better grasp of them, but now—f*ck! To hell with the Archer job class!” He then proceeded to toss his bow to the ground.

“It’s alright. Just tell me all those techniques and I’ll try to adjust them myself,” Gu Fei said. In truth, he was more skillful than Royal God Call in executing those techniques because of his real-life combat experiences. He just did not wish to hurt Royal God Call’s pride by pointing this out, especially after the latter had just declared himself as the ‘number one’ Mage.

Royal God Call not choosing to be a Mage in Parallel World might be a good thing, as this fully immersive game had practically rendered all the experienced players’ past gaming techniques with their keyboards and mouses obsolete. A majority of the players in fact had to research every fighting technique anew with this VRMMO setting as the fulcrum. In this aspect, a gaming noob like Gu Fei who possessed great physical prowess had actually become the more skilled expert in Parallel World.

There were two types of physicists: theoretical and experimental. Likewise, there were two types of players in Parallel World.

The individual differences in terms of ability and potential of the players playing Parallel World gave birth to these two types. Those who could understand and speculate the VR game’s mechanics but never apply them real-time were categorized as theoretical players, with Brother Assist being the most extreme among them. Given their inability to apply their gaming knowledge in Parallel World, Sword Demon and the rest could also be considered as theoretical players despite being top experts in other online games. As for Gu Fei, he could be categorized as an experimental player – a top level experimental player.

Right now, Gu Fei and Royal God Call had this sort of symbiotic relationship. One provided theories and the other experimented with them. In Parallel World, experimenting was a lot harder than theorizing. So while Royal God Call was easily identifying the failed theories executed by Gu Fei, Gu Fei was painstakingly testing all the theories mentioned by Royal God Call.

After some time, the two left the grinding map and returned to Yunduan City. Royal God Call brought Gu Fei to a crowded, wide street. Players were flanking both sides of it with various items, such as job classes’ equipment and crafting materials, on display on the mats in front of them.

“To think that there’s such a place in this city!” Gu Fei exclaimed in surprise. Although he had seen some players occasionally setting up stalls on the ground everywhere, he had never thought that there was a street specially intended for peddling goods and hawking wares in Yunduan City. All the in-game cities were large and Gu Fei only went to places he knew, so he would naturally not be familiar with all the areas in this city.

“Why don’t they sell their stuff in the Auction House?” Gu Fei asked Royal God Call.

“The system charges a fee when using the Auction House. The cost one incurs is dependent on the bid price set and the number of days it is listed. So if a player places an item and no one buys it, he or she will just end up steadily losing money,” Royal God Call explained.

“I see!” Gu Fei nodded his head in understanding.

Royal God Call eyed him, “I’ve always suspected that you’re a noob. Now, I’ve confirmed it!”

Gu Fei laughed, unperturbed. Not only was he a noob when it came to playing a game, he was an extremely unmotivated noob as well. He had been playing Parallel World for quite some time now, yet his knowledge about it was still rudimentary.

Royal God Call finally stopped in front of a rather large stall. The items on display in this stall were more exquisite and of greater variety than the ones set up by others. Gu Fei glanced at the stall owner and was momentarily stunned. The person before him was like an Adonis in white robe that had just stepped out of a portrait. He was clearly a NPC given the professional smile decorating his face.

Royal God Call bought a large quantity of booklets and quills from him. Gu Fei could not help but sigh upon learning where the in-game booklets and quills came from. Knowing what Royal God Call would need these things for, Gu Fei was thoroughly impressed. Just recording all his profound gaming knowledge about the Mage job class would require so many of these newly bought booklets. I wonder how many kung fu manuals can be made from all these booklets... Gu Fei calculated in his mind.

“Are you going to write down all the techniques and tricks you know in these booklets?” Gu Fei asked.

Royal God Call affirmed, “I doubt you’ll remember everything if I verbally pass them on to you.”

Gu Fei nodded his head in acknowledgement, “Sorry to trouble you, then.”

Royal God Call’s eyes suddenly shone brightly, “Hey... Do you think my techniques can be sold for coins?”

“Does the game have a movable printing skill?” Gu Fei riposted.

Royal God Call’s eyes immediately lost their sparkle. These techniques that were fast becoming obsolete in Parallel World could not even be put to good use in their final moments.

Gu Fei patted his back sympathetically, “Let me summarize everything. Then we can start classes and collect school fees from those. When the time comes, you can have half the profit.”

“Will that work?” Royal God Call asked, interested.

“That’s my career,” Gu Fei smiled.

“It's settled, then! I’ll go and start writing your teaching materials!” Royal God Call shook the stack of booklets in his hands.

“I’ll walk around and take a look. Check out our source of students,” Gu Fei said.

“F*ck!” Royal God Call cursed, before leaving the Peddlers’ Street.

As Gu Fei continued to window-shop along the street, he found everything he lay eyes on a novelty. Seeing the haggling of the players around him, he felt as if he had been transported to a flea market in reality; the only difference between the two was that the air around here was a lot cleaner.

“Violent Fei!” Gu Fei suddenly heard someone calling him while he was strolling along the street. He already knew who the person was with such a distinctive way of greeting him. Turning his head to look at the person, he saw that Xi Xiaotian was dressed in a thief cape. She was furtively squatting by the corner of a wall; her face was covered and a dilapidated stall was in front of her.

Gu Fei vigilantly looked all around him, only cautiously approaching her after he had ascertained that there was no trap or ambush laid for him.

“What’re you doing here?” Gu Fei asked, suspicious that she was currently doing some sort of shady business.

“I’m selling things!” Xi Xiaotian nudged the small stall before her.

Gu Fei inspected the items briefly and saw that they were a hodge-podge of crappy baubles and trinkets. He did not even need to appraise them to know that they were all cheap objects. The top-grade equipment, especially weapons, in Parallel World could clearly be distinguished with eyes alone. Top-grade weapons usually had aura or energy field enclosing them. Gu Fei’s Moonlit Nightfalls, Sword Demon’s Frost Memories, and Silver Moon’s King’s Blade were examples of top-grade weapons. Royal God Call did not consider his weapon as top grade precisely because it did not have any aura.

“Since we know each other so well, why don’t you tell me what you’re really doing here?” Gu Fei asked Xi Xiaotian, as he squatted next to her.

“I’m just selling my items. Really,” Xi Xiaotian insisted as she adjusted the shawl covering her face.

“Do you have to conceal your face when you’re selling things?” Gu Fei asked.

“It’s because I’m trying to maintain a low profile!” Xi Xiaotian replied defensively.

“Is that so?” Gu Fei was sure that there was a reason behind this. He got up and looked around him to see if he could find any angry customer looking for her. This lady could also be trying to make him her scapegoat once more. In the end, he found no one like that, as everywhere around him remained peaceful.

At this moment, a player approached the stall, showing an item to her, “Sis Xiaotian, how much do you think this item should cost?”

Xi Xiaotian glanced at it, “12 gold coins. It’ll be marketable if you sell it at the price of 10 gold coins.”

“If I’m looking to cheat a noob?” the person asked while displaying a conniving smile.

“This item won’t fool any noob, since he or she will consider it as garbage,” Xi Xiaotian explained.

The person sighed and walked away.

“A syndicate of hustlers?” Gu Fei asked Xi Xiaotian.

Xi Xiaotian rolled her eyes and was about to say something when another person approached her, “Help me see how much this item’s worth.”

Xi Xiaotian gave it a glance and then shook her head, “Your level’s too high. My Appraisal skill didn’t work.”

Upon hearing this, the newcomer tried to pass the item over to Xi Xiaotian so that she could inspect the traits of the item, but Gu Fei quickly stopped him.

“What’re you doing?” The newcomer thought that Gu Fei was trying to rob him, so he hurriedly stuffed the item back inside his dimensional pocket.

“Giving your things so easily to people? Beware of not getting them back,” Gu Fei kindly gave his advice.

The newcomer was dumbfounded, “What a joke.” With that, he took the item out once more and passed it over to Xi Xiaotian while carefully guarding against Gu Fei.

Gu Fei stuffed his hand inside his dimensional pocket, ready to bring out his sword if the need arose.

Xi Xiaotian took the item and looked at it carefully, “20 gold coins.” She then returned it to the person.

“Thank you!” The person took the item back. Throwing a glance at Gu Fei, the person walked off and muttered to himself, “What a lunatic!”

Gu Fei felt extremely aggrieved. Once again, he squatted next to Xi Xiaotian, “What? Is that 20-gold-coin item not tempting enough for you?”

“Clever!” Xi Xiaotian said, “Looks like you’ve got quite the talent.”

Gu Fei rolled his eyes in response. Xi Xiaotian’s hands were now on Gu Fei’s body.

“What’re you doing?!” Gu Fei exclaimed in shock. Was this swindler now lusting after his body besides his money?

“Your robe is pretty good!” Xi Xiaotian had her hands on Gu Fei’s robe, rubbing it with all her ten fingers, “This material; it’s not something found in the current equipment. Where did you get this?”

“Oh, is that so? How much do you think it’s worth?” Gu Fei asked, somewhat amused.

“I can’t see its traits,” Xi Xiaotian continued inspecting it, saying, “Take it off and let me have a look.”

After waiting for quite a while and hearing no response, her gaze left the robe and went up to Gu Fei’s face. He was staring at her with a placid smile. Xi Xiaotian instantly returned that smile of his with her own, “I know you won’t have the guts.”

“Reverse psychology won’t work on me,” Gu Fei remarked.

“I’m really not trying to cheat you. I haven’t seen any textile like this before; it must be a top-grade item. Let me have a good look at it,” Xi Xiaotian pleaded.

“What else is there to see? I don’t wanna risk it with that fascinated look on your face,” Gu Fei absolutely did not trust her.

“If you’re not gonna believe me, then forget about it,” Xi Xiaotian pouted.

“Wait a minute. I’ll let you have a look at this one. Tell me how much it’s worth,” Gu Fei took out his sword, Moonlit Nightfalls, intentionally. Weapons were always the equipment worth the most. Considering how the grade of Moonlit Nightfalls was higher than that of his Midnight Spirit Robe, Gu Fei felt that it would be entertaining to watch this swindler’s reaction upon seeing something that she could not have.

The black aura emitted by Moonlit Nightfalls made all the difference. Quite a lot of players around Gu Fei found themselves drawn by its sinister radiance once he took it out. None of the players had seen such a top-grade item before in Peddlers’ Street. Bluntly speaking, this street was a place where the average players would do their purchases or exchange for much-needed items. Top-grade equipment was currently only purchasable by pay-to-win players, gaming workshops, or clan guilds and similar organizations. This essentially meant that such items were sold at high prices beyond the average players’ financial capacity and could only be found in the Auction House or a Trade Exchange platform. No one would absolutely bring them here at the Peddlers’ Street for the commoners to buy – except for this one before them, apparently.

Once Gu Fei took out his sword, quite a number of players’ eyes shone brightly and a variety of gazes fell on him. No one knew Gu Fei’s real objective of trying to tease Xi Xiaotian, and most of them only thought that they had finally met a once-in-a-hundred-year, once-in-a-blue-moon noob who treated a top-grade weapon as common goods, selling it for a low price.

This was a chance that should not to be missed as it only ever happened once. Quite a lot of people tossed aside the items that they had been inspecting and began to make their way toward Gu Fei. Some perceived the same intention in the others and threw them warning glares.

Plenty of people had such intention, so a crowd soon gathered around Xi Xiaotian’s stall. The experienced players, who saw the situation unfolding, quietly mumbled, “Oh, dear.”

Cheating the noob out of his top-grade equipment was considered as a source of learning as well. One rule that every expert swindler followed was to never show eagerness when dealing with his or her intended victim. Otherwise, the would-be victim might wise up regarding the swindler’s real intention. Although the noob before them was unfamiliar with the online gaming world, he was definitely not an idiot. He could easily realize the value of his top-grade equipment if they acted overly eager.

While none had yet to begin his or her ‘performance’, the crowd had already gathered near Gu Fei like a pack of hungry wolves. Everyone eyed one another. They were warning one another to tread lightly when dealing with this noob; otherwise, the noob would realize that his item was a cut above the rest.

The situation right now was beyond saving, however. After all, everyone here wanted to obtain the top-grade item in the noob’s hand. Peacefully letting anyone pull the noob to one side and discuss the trade was impossible. The initiative could only be seized by force this time.

Just as this thought crossed their minds, many people rushed toward Gu Fei. Nobody wished to lag behind, so a semi stampede immediately broke out. Gu Fei and Xi Xiaotian were still squatting together when they noticed the light before them getting obstructed. They turned their heads to take a look at what was blocking the light, only to realize that they had been surrounded.

Gu Fei was someone who attained the highest PK value in Parallel World, and Xi Xiaotian was a professional con-artist who considered swindling as a hobby.

The two were obviously the sort that people would bear intense hatred against. Seeing that they had been surrounded, the two reacted accordingly to the situation. And yet, they were momentarily at a loss regarding this large bulk of people’s intention. The two could feel their hearts sinking as they thought that their enemies had finally come to confront them.

Gu Fei gripped the sword in his hand firmly; Xi Xiaotian’s fingers squeezed Gu Fei’s robe tightly.

This encirclement is a little tight; it’ll be hard to break out of it, Gu Fei quietly lamented to himself. It was too bad that his casting speed was slow; Descending Wheel of Flames would not reach in time before he got shredded by this mob before him. This is retribution! Gu Fei felt remorseful inside. Because of his desire to tease Xi Xiaotian with his top-grade weapon, he had failed to take note of his immediate surroundings. Let’s just play this by the nose. If the enemies don’t make a move, I won’t either, just as he decided on this in his mind, one of the enemies made a move.

A man with a friendly smile on his face extended his hand, “Brother, how much are you planning to sell your sword?”

Gu Fei and Xi Xiaotian were stunned. They each breathed a sigh of relief. While Gu Fei only knew that the person before him had no ill intention, Xi Xiaotian understood what was really happening at Peddlers’ Street right now. She instantly grasped that this bunch of people had a different sort of ill will toward Gu Fei.

“I’m not selling the sword,” Gu Fei said, not knowing whether to laugh or cry.

“Bro, I’ll give you a high price for it,” someone said.

“Oh? How much?” Gu Fei’s interest was piqued.

The person suddenly deepened his voice. As if making a hard decision, he gritted his teeth and declared, “I’ll pay you 20 gold coins.”

Gu Fei was startled. Even if he neither understood the economic market nor knew the situation, he could at least tell that Moonlit Nightfalls was not just worth these measly 20 gold coins. This amount might be a large sum to an average player, but it was not worth much in the game. A mere glass of the most expensive liquor in a tavern was already worth 20 gold coins, so how was it possible for a top-grade sword to share the same price?

The other players showed a look of disdain toward the man who had offered 20 gold coins for the sword. Just the fact that a sizeable crowd had surrounded the noob, he would naturally be able to tell that the sword in his hand was worth more than 20 gold coins. But when they saw that Gu Fei was rooted to the spot, as if he was hesitating on something, their hearts trembled.

Could this once-in-a-hundred-year, once-in-a-blue-moon noob have no idea about anything in this game? Maybe he’s an inborn fool!

The crowd was boiling.

“20 gold coins? Aren’t you being too much of a cheapskate? Bro, I’ll pay you 21 gold coins!”

“21 gold coins? Just that one extra gold coin? That’s stingy as heck. I’ll give you 23 gold coins!”

“25!”

“30!”

“Look at you guys with only that bit of aspiration; 50 gold coins!” someone said as he thumped his chest.

In Peddlers’ Street, 50 gold coins was considered as a huge sum. Some players left dejectedly upon hearing that amount being offered. Seeing that a top-grade weapon was currently being held by an idiotic noob, the surrounding players collectively thought, I won’t make a loss if I take it to a Trade Exchange platform! In fact, I can probably turn it into a tidy sum.

With such a thought, all did not even bother to check how many gold coins they actually had in their money pouches and just vehemently called out higher and higher bids.

50, 55, 60, 80, 100….

In the blink of an eye, the price had already risen to 500!

The top-grade equipment in Parallel World was going for thousands in the Trade Exchange right now. The transaction would still be very profitable for one of these bidders if Gu Fei sold the sword at 500 gold coins.

In the process of bidding for the item, the bidders came to a realization.

The noob’s sword indeed had denser aura, which was the trademark of top-grade equipment, but its traits were still unknown. The crowd had a lot of Appraisal experts, yet none had been able to appraise the sword’s traits.

Would an idiotic noob level up his Appraisal skill to such a high level? In other words, was it possible for this idiotic noob to actually be at a higher level than everyone present? Could he actually be at level 31?

They suddenly realized that the noob might not be so simple, despite him showing such a dull expression when all had called out bids.

The bidding stopped as suddenly as it started. All coincidentally shut their mouths at the same time, realizing that the current situation was not what they had expected. They wanted to see what sort of reaction their target would make if the bidding stopped.

“Bro, 500 gold coins is already the upper limit in terms of price. I believe no one else will be willing to put out a higher price than this,” someone from within the crowd said, looking all around him with squinted eyes.

The others knew what that person was thinking, so they cooperated by keeping their mouths shut, awaiting Gu Fei’s reaction.

Gu Fei was about to speak when Xi Xiaotian, who was beside him, winked at him.

“See? There’s actually a ton of swindlers in this world,” Xi Xiaotian remarked.

Chapter Notes:

WE REACHED 100!    ٩(̾●̮̮̃̾•̃̾)۶ \(• ◡ •)/

As you already found out, this chapter is a long one (as is tomorrow's)

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