Virtual World: Close Combat Mage

Chapter 108

Chapter 108 - Camping Battle

Gu Fei’s sword brushed past Nightmare of Death’s dagger and zeroed in on the latter’s body. Gu Fei followed up his sword strike with the Twin Incineration spell, ending Nightmare of Death’s life right there and then.

When Nightmare of Death revived at the spawn point, he still had that calm expression on his face. Obviously, he had yet to process what had just transpired. He was crossing blades with Gu Fei, and then he was teleported a few meters inside the spawn point. How miraculous! he thought to himself. But upon seeing that he was now at level 26, Nightmare of Death realized what had truly happened.

That was right. He lost four levels. This meant that he had died twice.

When their gang ‘looted’ Sword Demon earlier, Nightmare of Death accrued 1 PK point. This 1 PK point would result into him losing two levels every time he died. Since he died twice, he dropped four levels as a corollary. 

His expression quickly transitioned from calm confidence to pure anger. It was quite a sight to behold.

Gu Fei, who was standing outside the spawn point, motionlessly admired his handiwork. 

Nightmare of Death would surely enter Stealth mode when he came out next. Gu Fei purposely blocked the entrance so that Nightmare of Death would have no choice but to focus his gaze on to him, allowing Gu Fei to detect his aura and see through his Stealth. The only downside in this plan was if Nightmare of Death calmly ignored him. If that was to happen, Gu Fei would have no way of detecting him.

Nightmare of Death was indeed calm. He indeed calmly ‘stood’ at the spawn point without leaving. Honestly speaking, Nightmare of Death did not need to exit the Thieves’ Union right now, as he could just wait for his backup to arrive while inside the safe zone. Despite losing four levels after dying twice, he did not lose his clear-headedness.

Gu Fei felt annoyed and quickly sent a message to his mercenary mates, “I killed him once. Now, he’s not exiting the spawn point.”

Everyone was equally annoyed. Fooling an experienced combatant like Nightmare of Death into leaving the safe zone to die once more was a tall task.

“What a lucky b*st*rd!” Everyone could only remark. Nightmare of Death not dropping an item after dying twice versus Sword Demon dropping Frost Memories after dying once... could only be described as Nightmare of Death being extremely lucky.

Meanwhile, Gu Fei was feeling quite disappointed that Nightmare of Death did not take out Frost Memories to use. Had the latter done so, he would have used barehanded techniques like Kong Shou Ru Bai Ren1 to disarm him and potentially retrieve the said weapon. It was clear that retrieving Frost Memories from this guy would be a colossal undertaking.

Gu Fei and Nightmare of Death, who were separated by the boundary of the safe zone, glared at each other.

“Come out if you’ve the guts!” Gu Fei goaded. This was a cliché line used in online games to provoke others into a fight. Hunting a person was significantly harder in-game than in reality. After all, killing someone once in reality would end everything; in contrast, killing someone in game would not end everything. This was because players practically had limitless lives in MMOs. Hunting after someone day after day… Unless a deep grudge existed between the players, nobody would actually go through such a never-ending hunt. In most cases, players would gather their friends to a certain location and have a huge showdown with their adversaries. The cliché phrase, “Come out if you’ve the guts!” would be uttered by one side to incite another side into starting the brawl. Unintentionally, Gu Fei used such a cliché line right now. He should not be blamed for saying such an overused phrase, though. After all, he had yet to experience such clashes in-game.

Nightmare of Death of course would not make things easy for Gu Fei. At the moment, he was rumbling darkly while mocking Gu Fei’s idiocy internally. Would it not be akin to Gu Fei welcoming his death if he continued to block off the entrance alone? Nightmare of Death sincerely hoped that his buddies would arrive soon and pulverize the man. “I lost four levels, so we gotta kill this guy and his friends at least four times. Oh, right! There’re those two chicks as well… Guess twice each will do,” Nightmare of Death was still in the mood to demonstrate his kindness, albeit only toward the women. The mindset of going easy on women was evidently ingrained deep inside the male population in the gaming community.

As he reveled at the thought of exacting vengeance, Nightmare of Death forgot to ask Gu Fei why he was getting pursued relentlessly.

Gu Fei and company were naturally glad that he did not remember to ask such a question. As long as Nightmare of Death remained oblivious of Sword Demon’s connection to their hunt, they would have higher chances of retrieving Frost Memories. How would they know who Frost Memories would end up with if their opponent had dozens of men to pass it over? This was why Sword Demon had not revealed himself all this while.

“What’s the situation over there?” Young Master Han asked.

“We’re in a stalemate,” Gu Fei replied.

“Why aren't you leaving, then? His backup is coming,” Brother Assist informed him.

“If his backup is few, I’ll just kill them all. If there’re many, I’ll enter the safe zone. There’s no problem either way!” Gu Fei said.

“How bold!” The few experts were impressed.

“Miles, what’s your PK value?” Sword Demon asked worriedly. He was the most touched by Gu Fei’s efforts. Everything Gu Fei did thus far was for his sake, after all.

“6 PK points… Oh, wait. It’s 7 PK points now!” Gu Fei was in tears.

“Tsk! Tsk!” All clucked their tongues.

“We’re on our way now. We’ll hide in the shadows and assist you when you need it the most,” Young Master Han reassured him.

“No need. It’s better if you guys guard the mailbox. He may go to a mailbox to send Frost Memories out in the event that I’m forced to stay inside the spawn point if an overwhelming force arrives here,” Gu Fei rejected.

“That makes sense,” Young Master Han said. He then went ahead and arranged the rest in position.

“Come out you, runt. Come out!” Gu Fei continued his taunting.

Nightmare of Death pretended to not register Gu Fei in his eyes. Occasional passers-by would stop to watch what was happening while inquiring about the matter to nearby players. This put pressure on to Nightmare of Death, as the current situation made him seem like a coward. His opponent was just one man, yet Nightmare of Death was fearfully staying inside the safe zone. That was just far too cowardly. Thus, players would throw him a disdainful look first before leaving the Thieves’ Union.

The scornful gazes of others made Nightmare of Death anxious. Fortunately for him, the current circumstance would not last for long. His buddies just sent him a message saying that they were about to arrive at the Thieves’ Union.

“You’re a loser. Good for nothing. Despicable. I’m not gonna fight with you anymore. Bye!” Gu Fei flung a few more insults at him before turning around to leave.

Nightmare of Death felt flustered. It was as if he was in a YY novel. After experiencing a turbulent growth period, he was about to become a peak existence that disregards all before him when the novel went on hiatus. How depressing would that be? With that thought in mind, Nightmare of Death rushed out of the safe zone and roared, “Stay if you’ve the guts!”

With Nightmare of Death’s first step outside the safe zone, a fiery glow engulfed him as he heard the word “Incinerate”. His vision blurred as he lost his senses for a moment, and then he found himself back in the safe zone once more.

Gu Fei’s figure appeared by the entrance, “You called? Haven’t gone that far yet!”

Nightmare of Death’s whole body shook visibly as his chest was filled with extreme vexation.

“Ah! You dropped something,” Gu Fei bent over and picked up the item, “Dual Serrated Dagger? Is this yours? He he!” Gu Fei briefly glanced at it before tossing it away with a swing of his hand.

Gu Fei had two reasons for doing this. First, he wanted to infuriate Nightmare of Death further. Second, Gu Fei wanted Nightmare of Death to think their mercenary group was not interested in anything he owned.

The surrounding spectators hummed in envy when they heard the three words ‘Dual Serrated Dagger’. It currently dealt the highest damage among all the known daggers. As the best dagger right now, even a white-tier of it could be sold for dozens of gold coins. However, the crowd was more shocked when Gu Fei casually tossed it aside as if the dagger was trash.

Several players nearby disregarded their image as they pounced on the thrown dagger like a pack of hungry wolves. One among them succeeded in snatching Dual Serrated Dagger for himself. Checking its description window, he jovially exclaimed, “It has Bleed status effect!”

The Bleed status effect meant that a wound created on a target’s body using the dagger would incessantly bleed, causing the target’s HP to continuously diminish. It would undoubtedly increase the efficiency of grinding monsters and afflict a troublesome condition to an opponent in PvP. Since Priests had yet to learn the Cure skill as of date, the only way to recover from open wounds under the Bleed effect would be to use blood-clotting medication or bandage. Who would have the time or ability to bandage oneself up during PvP? Therefore, it was clear how troublesome an opponent would be in a fight if he or she was wielding such a weapon that could readily create bleeding wounds.

Gu Fei once threw a flying dagger at Xi Xiaotian to cause that same effect; he also nearly succumbed to this effect after taking Xiaoyu’s Cyclone previously. However, those status effects were applied purely by chance. Something the system would ‘bless’ a target with a status effect after taking into account the character’s level of injury. It was a separate case from equipment that had the Bleed status effect additional trait.

Selling the strongest dagger thus far with its Bleed effect for 100 gold coins was easy. Therefore, the crowd was speechless that Gu Fei had casually tossed it aside.

Gu Fei remained indifferent to this revelation and only flashed a bright smile to the lucky recipient of the thrown Dual Serrated Dagger.

The crowd now inexplicably felt a sense of favorability toward Gu Fei. They began helping Gu Fei ridicule Nightmare of Death. Nightmare of Death felt extremely aggrieved; Gu Fei had clearly killed him for no rhyme or reason. How did he become the wrongdoer in this situation when he was the one who lost his weapon after getting killed by Gu Fei?

Gu Fei also did not expect his plan of killing two birds with one stone would create a third favorable outcome. Seeing the expression of anguish on Nightmare of Death’s face, Gu Fei sent out a message on the mercenary channel, “Sword Demon, you should really come by and have a look at this guy’s face right now. I guarantee that it’s ten times more worth it than killing him.”

“What did you do?” everyone asked curiously.

“I killed him again after I tricked him into coming out. It’s a shame he dropped his dagger instead of Frost Memories,” Gu Fei lamented.

“It’s easier to drop equipped items than stored items.” Regardless of the situation, Brother Assist loved to share his nuggets of information to others whenever he had the chance.

“Hopefully, he’ll equip Frost Memories next,” Gu Fei gazed at Nightmare of Death in anticipation.

Regrettably, Nightmare of Death no longer dared to clash with Gu Fei. Instead, he focused his energy on to the conversation window as he hurried his buddies to rescue him.

“We’re here. Just waiting for the rest,” someone replied.

“What’re you waiting for?! F*ck him up now!” Nightmare of Death’s hatred toward Gu Fei had now infused into his very being.

“There’re only a few of us. He’s got many people on his side,” one of his buddies said.

“Where? It’s just him alone,” Nightmare of Death asked.

“Are you kidding me? That group of players outside the Thieves’ Union, of course!” his buddy sputtered.

“Those are just onlookers. Don’t mind them!” Nightmare of Death insisted.

“Is that so?” his buddy asked, suspicious. It was common for people to watch a fight, but it was rare to see a crowd participating in the taunting. Looking at the spectators, he heard a few of them curse loudly at Nightmare of Death. Even more joined in to chant en masse, “Come out! Come out! Come out if you’ve the guts!” How were these people ‘just onlookers’? They were clearly here to challenge him!

“They’re truly just onlookers!” Nightmare of Death was on the verge of crying, “Just come over and finish this guy off already!”

“We’re here! We’re here!” Several of his buddies realized that squeezing through the crowd to assess the situation would not pose danger since no one knew them. One of them faked ignorance and asked a player beside him, “Bro, what’s happening? Why is it so lively here?”

The player pointed to the spot where Gu Fei was, “That bro’s way too amazing. Some matter caused him to hunt that other guy. He didn’t bother looking at the dropped equipment and just tossed it away. That guy inside…” The player now pointed at Nightmare of Death, who was squatting inside the safe zone, and continued his explanation, “That guy’s a coward, though. A person who used to possess Dual Serrated Dagger with Bleed effect must be a pro, right? But he’s now huddled inside the safe zone not daring to even squeak. He he… useless!”

Although their friend was being scorned before their eyes, these few men instead felt glad as they learned that this crowd was truly just a bunch of onlookers. Only Nightmare of Death’s cowardly actions had caused this crowd to throw in their lot behind Gu Fei. Everything would be ending soon, though. They would end that guy’s arrogance here. These men all caught one another’s gazes and uniformly leaped forward.

“They’re here!” Nightmare of Death slapped his thigh, discarding his misery. He did not care that his cry would alert Gu Fei. From his perspective, nothing was scary about the lone Gu Fei anymore as seven of his friends had come to rescue him.

Gu Fei faced backward when he heard the sound of movement from his rear and saw seven men standing there. They stared daggers at Gu Fei, silencing the crowd at once. The onlookers were very aware of what was happening. Joining in on the taunting was just them having fun; now that the PvP situation had worsened, they quickly shut their mouths to avoid being implicated along with the offending party.

“You guys are finally here,” Gu Fei drawled, adding, “I’ve been waiting for such a long time.”

The seven glanced at one another as they became more vigilant of their surroundings. Could this be an ambush? they thought to themselves. However, nothing strange could be found around them at all.

Gu Fei stared at their attire and pointed at each of them, “Mage? Archer? Warrior? Thief? Priest? Knight? You…” Pointing toward the last man, Gu Fei hesitated for a moment before asking, “Are you a Fighter, then?”

“I’m a Warrior, too!” The last man answered indignantly. This person could identify the rest of their job classes with a glance, so why could he not tell what was his own?

“What a pity!” Gu Fei had a face full of regret, “If you were a Fighter, wouldn’t that mean that the seven main job classes were here? Each with its advantage. Your team would be spectacular, just like the Calabash Brothers2!

The seven looked at Gu Fei as they ruminated on whether his words contained a deeper meaning or just crazy talk.

“You should leave!” Gu Fei said to the second Warrior of the bunch, “Swap with another Fighter. That way, when seven people with different job classes lose against me later, the seven Calabash Brothers may still stand a fighting chance if they fuse into a Calabash Titan.”

“F*ck!” They never imagined that the person would make a fool of them by acting silly. They each angrily took a spot to surround the person.

Gu Fei sighed. He doubted that taking care of these seven men would be difficult. At this rate, his PK value would increase by 7 points.

“Ring of Fire! Release!” Gu Fei raised his sword and issued the command, casting the spell that Mages could obtain upon reaching level 6. It was a beginner spell and the weakest out of all the defensive spells. This spell’s manifestation was not flashy, but it would look like an actual ring of fire if the proficiency of the spell was high.

It was a pity that Gu Fei’s proficiency for this spell was currently zero, so it only appeared as a flame orb that circumvolved his entire body. His plain and solitary form became more pronounced with the seven men encircling him.

Looking at this scene before them, the seven men laughed riotously. The Warrior, who still held a grudge for being teased as a Calabash Brother, said sarcastically, “Oh, boy. Your flame orb is truly fearsome. We’re quaking in our boots!”

“Is that so? You better not come any closer, then,” Gu Fei advised faintly.

“Oh, yes! I won’t dare come near you,” the person said as he strode confidently toward Gu Fei. He was a Warrior. He knew very well how insignificant the damage Ring of Fire could deal to Warriors like him.

In the blink of an eye, the Warrior was now within the AOE of Gu Fei’s Ring of Fire. With low proficiency, the spell’s damage output was also small. The Warrior was just standing beside Gu Fei. The rotation speed of the flame orb was slow as well, floating around like a ghostly flame that could lose its buoyancy at any moment. Once the Warrior stepped within the spell’s AOE, he actually dared to stare at it and guffawed, “Oh, dear. Your flame orb is about to float into me. I’m gonna die! Save me!”

Just as his voice faded away, the floating orb really entered the Warrior’s body. At that same moment, Gu Fei pulled out Moonlit Nightfalls...

Gu Fei’s two-pronged attack caused the Warrior to be replaced by a short-lived white light. The seemingly innocuous flame orb continued to orbit Gu Fei. He shook his head and sighed, “You left so delicately, just as you came so daintily.” Flinging his sleeves, Gu Fei raised his head, “Next.”

The remaining six men exchanged looks. They could not tell how the Warrior had died. Did the Ring of Fire kill him? As they were very logical gamers, none of them believed a whit of this nonsensical truth. They suspected that there was something dubious beside Gu Fei or that there was a long-range attacker hiding among the crowd.

The Mage among the six men waved his magic staff, “Fireball! Shoot!”

A ball of fire flew out.

“Perfect timing!” Gu Fei shouted. Placing the sword by his face, he cleaved the incoming Fireball. He had long wanted to try this out. The Fireball spell’s tracking ability was quite inconvenient to dodge every time. Gu Fei recalled how Xiaoyu had previously dissipated that attack with a hack of her axe; he felt that such a method would be quite effective when it came to dealing with Fireball.

Following the flick of his sword, the ball of fire exploded mid-air. Gu Fei felt heat spreading out from the ball of fire’s explosion. He took a look at his HP bar and saw that a bit of it had been chipped off. It seemed like the ball of fire he had cleaved contained a bit of AOE damage. But since it was just a bit, it was not a hindrance to him.

“Don’t be fooled by that guy. Quickly gang up on him to finish him off!” Nightmare of Death was madly hopping in anxiety within the safe zone. In his opinion, Gu Fei had no choice but to provoke the group into attacking him singly because he was outnumbered. Gu Fei must have tricked the Warrior into approaching him to eliminate the latter through an unknown method, leaving the rest of the group clueless and suspicious. Just a small act of cleaving the ball of fire from Gu Fei was enough for everyone to see him differently. Just how hard could it be to disperse a slow-moving ball of fire with a sword?

This bunch of idiots! Nightmare of Death cursed in his mind. He verbally urged them, “This person is all bluff. He’s just one man; nothing to be scared about!”

“Let’s go!” The six men growled through clenched teeth as they pounced on Gu Fei from all sides.

The still undefeated Gu Fei flourished Moonlit Nightfalls to create a sword cordon just like when he was being surrounded by the Past Deeds’ members before. Now that he knew the usefulness of employing spells, Gu Fei began to coordinate Twin Incineration with his kung fu. With that, Gu Fei’s weak damage output had been fixed unintentionally. While this was not the solution he had hoped for, the fact that he was now a lot stronger remained.

The six men’s encirclement did not even enter Gu Fei’s eyes. With a few quick flashes of his sword and the rotating flame orb’s damage output, the rushing Warrior, Knight, and Thief screamed in terror.

“What is this?!” the Warrior yelled as he saw his HP suddenly get halved. He was different from the Warrior that had died before; he had an Endurance build so he had an abundant HP. Thus, the significant damage he had just received left him frightened.

“Quickly heal me!” the three fearfully vied with one another for the Priest’s Heal, knowing that Priests currently could only heal one target with each bestowal. The team’s Priest was at a loss of what to do, so he randomly bestowed Heal on one of the three.

Gu Fei did not care who got saved as he casted Twin Incineration on them once more. He had grasped the essential aspects of this spell after repeated usage. This spell would produce a flare of light that would ignite a target. The flare would light a weapon if a player was equipped with one and would flash between the fingers if a player was barehanded.

Twin Incineration attached itself differently from Fireball toward a target. Just like a lit matchstick, the spell would easily set whichever target on fire. Unlike Fireball that would explode upon contact with its target, Twin Incineration would linger for a short while. This meant that any target in contact with the flare on Gu Fei’s weapon would be set ablaze. In other words, as long as Twin Incineration was used properly, it would be able to apply damage within an area just like Ring of Fire.

Most Mages would consider it good enough if their intended target ignited once by the flare that they had casted. As for the all-Agility Mage Gu Fei, his fast movement was able to manipulate Twin Incineration into setting ablaze a radius of one hundred eighty degrees. If he added more points to Agility in the future, he would be able to launch an attack radius of three hundred sixty degrees or even seven hundred twenty degrees.

The Twin Incineration Gu Fei had casted just now incinerated everything within its radius of one hundred eighty degrees, killing off the Thief and Knight in one sweep.

The Warrior with abundant HP got healed by the Priest, so he thought he could survive all this. As he thought of this, Gu Fei’s flame orb burningly passed through him. The Warrior retreated in shock, yet the much faster Gu Fei immediately closed in on him. Lifting the sword in his hand, Gu Fei chanted, “Fireball! Shoot!”

With this three-pronged attack, the Warrior was unable to withstand the damage. White light came and went in the same way that his fellow Warrior had left.

Gu Fei pointed the tip of his sword next to the Mage and Archer who had been looking for an opportunity to attack alongside the Warrior, Knight, and Thief. Unbeknown to the enemies, Gu Fei’s attention was actually focused on the man behind him. He did not forget that his original goal was only Nightmare of Death.

At the time when the six men were encircling, he saw in his peripheral vision Nightmare of Death activating Stealth and skulking away.

The Archer and Mage had already realized Gu Fei’s might and no longer dared to face him head on. They began running to and pro within the crowd outside the Thieves’ Union, looking for a chance to attack Gu Fei from a distance. However, to their horror, Gu Fei did not move slowly like most Mages. In a few quick dashes, Gu Fei quickly closed in on the enemy Mage. Swiftly slashing his sword, Gu Fei killed the Mage before the latter could even squeak a word.

When he saw Gu Fei chasing the Mage first, the Archer thought that he could use this chance to quickly nock an arrow and attack. However, he had not expected Gu Fei to make short work of the Mage. In the next moment, Gu Fei bounded toward the Archer.

Shooting an arrow from within the small crowd was hard for the Archer. His shooting preparation – nocking an arrow, pulling the bowstring, aiming at a target, and letting loose an arrow – was greatly hindered by the cramped space as well. As a corollary, Gu Fei reached the Archer before the latter could fire an arrow. The Archer’s shaking hands caused him to shoot an arrow with an unsteady flight. 

At this moment, a sharp scream echoed from within the crowd. When the Archer took this chance to flee, Gu Fei did not give chase. This was because he could feel a familiar killing intent radiating from behind him. “He’s here!” Gu Fei muttered as he took a step forward.

The figure that had appeared beside Gu Fei was accompanied by a loud “F*ck!” Nightmare of Death’s heart was in turmoil, “Why did I attack while this guy was stepping forward?!” He did not realize that Gu Fei had intentionally stepped forward to dodge his attack.

“I’m here!” a voice rang from within the crowd once more just as Nightmare of Death faded into view. A fiery red figure dashed out of the clustered players, but Gu Fei paid no attention to the person. His focus was on Nightmare of Death’s hand that was now gripping Sword Demon’s Frost Memories.

Gu Fei would wager his life and level if that was what it took to retrieve Frost Memories. He put his sword back inside his dimensional pocket and prepared to risk it all.

However, Gu Fei did not expect that the target of the person who had yelled “I’m here!” was not him but Nightmare of Death. At this very moment, the person got right in front of him and heaved Nightmare of Death upward with a “HA!” Gu Fei failed to extend his arm fast enough to stop the person. He could only watch as the person tossed Nightmare of Death out of the crowd along with the dagger, Frost Memories.

The person, Lie Lie, then gladly said to Gu Fei, “Thank goodness I arrived in time to save your neck!”

“YOU MORON!” Gu Fei bellowed as he rushed out of crowd without a backward glance.

“F*ck! What did you say?!” Lie Lie angrily asked. She clenched her fists and chased after Gu Fei.

[1] 空手入白刃 - an unarmed combat technique. 

[2] Calabash Brothers -  a Chinese animated series about seven brothers with different abilities, all born from a calabash. 

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