Chapter 102 - A Large-scale Organization
The axe-wielding Warrior left with his 10 gold coins. The onlookers also gradually dispersed when they saw that the show was over. Currently, the three teenage wannabe heroes, who had tried saving the damsel in distress, were stoically being complimented by Xi Xiaotian for their efforts.
Standing by the side and watching all these, Gu Fei tried to slip away. However, Xi Xiaotian noticed his minute movement and hollered, “Stay there!”
“There’s nothing else to do, so I’m leaving. Chat on without me,” Gu Fei passed this as goodbye.
“There’s something!” Xi Xiaotian stated rather firmly.
“What else is there?” Gu Fei asked, beaming.
Xi Xiaotian looked at him without saying another word.
Gu Fei sighed, “Fine! Today’s my fault for slandering you. I’m sorry!” Deep down, Gu Fei was unwilling to apologize. Xi Xiaotian squatting at a corner of Peddlers’ Street to sell odds and ends was something he could not accept as for real; it was a pity that he had no evidence to prove her otherwise. Gu Fei remained suspicious largely because he intuitively knew that Xi Xiaotian’s passion for swindling was not inferior to his passion for kung fu.
Hearing Gu Fei apologize, Xi Xiaotian smiled triumphantly, “You didn’t slander me; I really do have an ulterior motive.”
D*mn! Knew it! Gu Fei howled in his mind. On the surface, his facial expression remained unchanged, “What’s your purpose, then?”
Xi Xiaotian did not speak but looked toward a certain direction. Gu Fei followed her gaze and saw that she was looking at a man. It was the guy from that group Gu Fei had expected to get his second battle from previously. The man was currently squatting by the corner with a stall set up in front of him. From time to time, he would throw a glance over to them.
“What?” Gu Fei asked, puzzled.
Xi Xiaotian turned around and coaxed the three ‘wannabe heroes’ to leave, before pulling Gu Fei to squat by her stall, “That guy right there is part of that equipment-robbing gang that I’ve just told you. They’ve a few good items on them.”
“How long have you been eyeing them?” Gu Fei asked.
“Quite a while,” Xi Xiaotian admitted, adding, “I noticed their gang in my trips at the Trade Exchange and Auction House. They took note of those players who had bought top-grade equipment. Afterward, they attacked them. I thrice witnessed them PKing players possessing top-grade equipment.”
“That’s too much,” Gu Fei felt disgusted.
Xi Xiaotian nodded her head, “I feel that this gang isn’t just a random party. The members most likely belong to the same gaming workshop, or maybe they’re part of the same clan guild.”
Seeing Gu Fei’s look of confusion, Xi Xiaotian gave a more detailed explanation, “When we, the players, first entered Parallel World, we’re randomly assigned a city. The world map isn’t officially released yet; there ain’t teleportation portals for traveling between the in-game cities either. These workshops and clan guilds naturally can’t gather in one place. Thus, every city has some of their players, temporarily doing their own things. For now, they won’t unfurl their workshop or clan guild banners.”
“Gaming workshop? Clan guild?” Actually, Gu Fei was confused about those.
“Don’t you know what they are?” Xi Xiaotian asked.
Gu Fei laughed awkwardly, “I’ve heard of them. I just don’t know the particulars.”
“I’ll give you a quick rundown, then. Gaming workshops exist for the purpose of earning profits. So if those of a gaming workshop obtain the dropped equipment of the targeted players, they’ll sell them when the time is ripe. If it’s a clan guild doing the stealing, I’m afraid the goal will be strengthening the clan guild using the ill-gotten equipment. The pieces of top-grade equipment are probably used by them once they obtain them,” Xi Xiaotian explained.
“So which group do those guys belong?” Gu Fei asked.
“I’ve a feeling they belong to a clan guild. The purpose of workshops is to earn money; they care more about the gaming regulations and environment than anything else. Renowned workshops are organized and have strict rules, so they won’t do such lowly acts. Still, there’s a possibility of those guys belonging to a small workshop that does this sort of ‘killing the goose that lays the golden egg’ thing. But the scale of these small workshops is limited. In games like this where entering a city is entirely random, it’s quite difficult for them to gain a foothold in any city,” Xi Xiaotian elaborated.
“That makes sense,” Gu Fei nodded his head.
“I’ve reached out to the gang’s victims for more information; I was thinking of identifying the gang members through the stolen equipment. Yet, those stolen goods all vanished. They didn’t appear in the Auction House or any Trade Exchange platform. They’re not seen in any players’ hands in various grinding maps, too,” Xi Xiaotian said.
Gu Fei realized what she was doing, “So you came all the way to Peddlers’ Street, hoping to see if they’ll appear here?”
Xi Xiaotian nodded her head, “While the chance of them appearing here is slim, this is the only trail I can pick up.”
Gu Fei laughed, “You’ve forgotten another trail.”
“What?” Xi Xiaotian asked.
“Mailbox,” Gu Fei answered.
“OH!” Xi Xiaotian knocked her head lightly with her fist as she received this epiphany.
“If this gang really belongs to this sort of large-scale organization like you supposed, it’ll definitely have manpower in various in-game cities. This method of strengthening themselves must’ve been adopted in every city they’ve a presence. This gang’s members are probably cautious enough to not use the equipment in the city they’ve gotten it from. They must’ve used the mailbox to exchange equipment with their fellow clan mates across the game, which will explain why you no longer see the stolen equipment,” Gu Fei hypothesized.
“You’re right! That must be it,” Xi Xiaotian patted Gu Fei on the arm, “You ain’t half bad.”
Gu Fei chuckled. He did not actually possess a deep understanding of the game. It was only because he had written a letter back in Yueye City and learned about No Smile mailing Zephyr’s Whisper to Dusky Cloud a few days ago, so Gu Fei easily made the connection.
“It’ll be difficult to track them down if that’s really the case,” Xi Xiaotian sighed. It was really easy for players to hide their identities in Parallel World. No one would know the players’ IGNs unless they gave those themselves, faces could be covered with pieces of cloth, and equipment could be changed if players had a few sets – exactly what Gu Fei had done to hide his identity.
“Thus, you’re in need of a person with top-grade equipment to be the bait. This person will attract these men out of their hiding places for you to try and swindle them,” Gu Fei concluded, “Coincidentally, I appeared before you!”
“I’ve never thought of that before,” Xi Xiaotian denied vehemently, feeling dumbfounded, “It’s useless to attract them that way! If you get looted by them and lose your equipment, you’ll still be left in the dark regarding their identity.”
“Just don’t die easily, then,” Gu Fei smiled.
Xi Xiaotian rolled her eyes, “Didn’t I explain it clearly? This gang steals players’ top-grade equipment every day! The gang members’ prowess doesn’t need further proving, right? They’re in possession of some top-grade equipment, too.”
“So why did you stop me for?” Gu Fei asked, puzzled.
Xi Xiaotian was puzzled as well, “It’s just to explain to you why I’m really squatting in this corner here.”
“That simple?” Gu Fei asked.
“It’s that simple,” Xi Xiaotian nodded her head.
Gu Fei was about to say something when the system notified him of a new message. Seeing that it was from Young Master Han, he immediately opened it up to have a look: “Sword Demon was killed.”
Gu Fei was startled and quickly asked, “When?”
“While he’s grinding. I just received a message from him,” Young Master Han said, “Ray’s Bar. Waiting for the rest of you.”
Gu Fei did not bother with Young Master Han; instead, he messaged Sword Demon, “Are you at a spawn point? Don’t go out yet!”
“What?” Sword Demon asked.
“Don’t go out of the spawn point,” Gu Fei repeated himself.
Sword Demon replied with one word, “Fine!”
Gu Fei stared at Xi Xiaotian, “Looks like one of my friends caught the eye of this gang, too.”
“He got killed while grinding. Oh, yeah. You know him. Frost Memories, remember?” Gu Fei reminded her.
“Of course…” Xi Xiaotian replied daintily.
“That’s him. I’m heading over now,” Gu Fei got up.
“Wait! Don’t forget they’ve got eyes on you, too! That man over there from their group has been watching us from the start!” Xi Xiaotian reminded him as well.
“You’re right!” Gu Fei said as he quickly walked toward the man who had been watching him all this while.
“Hey!” Gu Fei shouted as he arrived right in front of the person.
The person lifted his head and was shocked upon seeing that it was Gu Fei. However, he quickly regained his composure as he smilingly asked, “Do you need me for something?”
Gu Fei smiled in return, “Robbery.”
“What?” The person felt stunned when Gu Fei pulled out Moonlit Nightfalls from his dimensional pocket. Gu Fei then plunged it straight toward the player. The person managed to quickly shift his body to the side to dodge the attack. Unfortunately for the guy, Gu Fei was even faster than him and had already changed his sword’s path to where the person was planning to move his body.
“Twin Incineration! Incinerate!” Gu Fei roared. A fire dragon sprang out of Moonlit Nightfalls, brushed through the person, and disappeared along with him. His parting gaze was one of disbelief.
Gu Fei did not wish to exchange blows with the man, so he casted a spell to insta-kill him. Gu Fei knelt down and carefully wrapped up the items the man had left behind in his stall.
The entire place descended into silence as he got up. All the players stared at Gu Fei with a horrified look on their faces. Quite a number of them hurriedly packed up their stalls in response to what they had just witnessed. Others took out their weapons, exchanging eye contact with one another as they planned to take down the strong foe.
Gu Fei smiled at them all, “This is a personal vendetta. Everyone, just ignore me and carry on with your business.”
Gu Fei headed toward the street exit under the crowd’s gaze. Passing by Xi Xiaotian’s stall, he flicked something toward her with his finger and casually said, “This stuff here looks pretty good. It’s my gift to you!”
Xi Xiaotian caught it and inspected it. It was a crystal badge; the stats on it were garbage but it had a very pretty design. Xi Xiaotian pouted, “You robbers are the most annoying. There’s not even a bit of elegance or skill in your techniques.”
Gu Fei laughed as he quickly left Peddlers’ Street.
Silence reigned in the street. After Gu Fei left, everyone’s eyes fell on to Xi Xiaotian.