Chapter 109 - Frost Memories
Nightmare of Death did not fall to his death after being tossed out of the crowd. Knowing that Gu Fei was right behind him, he did not try to enter the safe zone again. Instead, he quickly climbed to his feet and ran away.
“Pardon me! Make way, please!” Gu Fei shouted as he squeezed his way through the crowd.
These surrounding players were naturally supportive of Gu Fei’s pursuit of Nightmare of Death. Right now, however, quickly making way for Gu Fei could not be accomplished just because they willed it as they were clustered together. Although the clustered players moved away from one another as best as they could, Gu Fei still had to exert colossal effort to squeeze through them.
With Gu Fei’s low Strength, he found it easier to fight the seven Calabash Brothers than to squeeze through the crowd. Lie Lie, who was closely following behind, incessantly yelled “Hold it!” at him. Gu Fei was super mad at her right now and he struggled so much to stop himself from stabbing her with his sword. She might have seemed to be lending a helping hand out of the kindness of her heart, but Gu Fei knew that she had tossed Nightmare of Death away hugely because she wanted to show off. It was truly hard to find her likeable.
By the time Gu Fei got out of the crowd, Nightmare of Death had already distanced himself from Gu Fei by over five hundred meters. It was a distance that even the Repeating Fireball spell could not reach. Without a way to kill Nightmare of Death at such a distance, Gu Fei could only run after him.
Thieves had inherent advantage when it came to Agility. Hence, the now level 24 Thief Nightmare of Death benefited more from Agility than the level 31 Mage Gu Fei. Furthermore, the additional 25 points to Agility from equipping Frost Memories and the 14% boost to movement speed from wearing Shadow Boots allowed Nightmare of Death to run at a decent pace. Fortunately, Parallel World’s calculation of the data for movement speed of each character was very precise. After chasing for a while, Gu Fei’s slightly faster speed than Nightmare of Death’s began to show and the distance between the two gradually shrank.
From time to time, Nightmare of Death would look over his shoulder as he continued running onward. His heart beat faster and faster when he saw Gu Fei get nearer and nearer. He wanted to request for backup, yet he did not dare send a message out while running. That action was akin to reading a book while running; he risked the possibility of tripping or running into a tree – or, worst of all, getting caught by Gu Fei. Nightmare of Death did not want to die this time no matter what. He was now at level 24; dropping another level would lose him his Stealth skill.
The Stealth skill was undoubtedly the Thief job class’ specialty and what made Thieves valuable. Any Thief would spend substantial time grinding the proficiency of this skill. Nightmare of Death was no exception. Just the thought of losing the time and effort he had placed into grinding Stealth’s proficiency sent a shiver up his spine.
Since he could not send out a message while running, Nightmare of Death could only employ the most primitive method of asking for help, “SAVE ME! I’M OVER HERE!” He hoped that a nearby comrade would hear his cry for help, but what he got instead was the surrounding players’ disdainful look. While PvPs were always occurring in online games, a PvPer crying for help was a seldom seen cowardly act.
In the blink of an eye, the two participants of the high-speed chase were about to reach a junction at the end of the street. The sight of the junction was evidently not favorable to Gu Fei. This was because it would be a lot harder to chase after Nightmare of Death if he took a turning, changed into a disguise, and mixed into the crowd. It just so happened that the streets around this area had a lot of pedestrians as well. Everything seemed to be going in favor of Nightmare of Death.
As Gu Fei had predicted, Nightmare of Death, who was running ahead of him, really took the turning without a second thought when he reached the junction. By the time Gu Fei took the turning as well, not a shadow of Nightmare of Death’s running figure could be seen. Who could tell which among these pedestrians Nightmare of Death was?
Gu Fei carefully walked down the lane, looking at every player left and right, yet he could still not find a trace of Nightmare of Death.
Gu Fei helplessly sent a message on the mercenary channel, “Sorry. I think he escaped!”
“How?”“I got careless and he managed to bolt out of the safe zone,” Gu Fei reported, regretful.
“It’s alright. We know what he looks like now; we’ve still got opportunities in the future.”
“Frost Memories can’t be retrieved at this rate! We were so close, too!” Gu Fei was extremely disappointed. He knew that the chances of Frost Memories dropping were not high, but an opportunity had presented itself a short while ago. He was so close to actually snatching it back, but....
“Hey!” As he was mulling over this matter, he heard someone by his side call him. Gu Fei turned around and saw that it was Lie Lie. He immediately closed the distance between them and grabbed her collar, “Why are you still following me?”
“What are you doing? Let me go!” Lie Lie was not so easily unnerved by Gu Fei’s action given her combative personality.
Some pedestrians stopped to watch the scene unfolding. Gu Fei recalled that Lie Lie was a lady. Thinking that his action was a little uncalled for, he let go of her and fumed, “Stop following me.”
“What’s the matter with you?! I’m just trying to help you!” Lie Lie said confrontationally.
“You gave him the chance to escape when you tossed him out!” Gu Fei bellowed, equally confrontational as his patience finally snapped.
“If I hadn’t tossed him out, he would’ve plunged his dagger into you! With you as a weak Mage, he’d definitely insta-kill you!” Lie Lie confidently voiced out her assessment.
“Are you blind? Didn’t you see that I already evaded his strike?” Gu Fei asked.
“Stop bluffing!” Lie Lie refuted, not believing him. The average player truly had no way of realizing that Gu Fei had dodged Nightmare of Death’s Backstab previously. Besides Gu Fei and Nightmare of Death himself, no one among the people present at the Thieves’ Union could tell that Backstab had already been fully executed. Those around, including Lie Lie, thought that Backstab was still in the process of being executed. Thus, Lie Lie fully believed that had she not timely intervened, Gu Fei would have been stabbed with the dagger.
Gu Fei did not know how to explain it, and he was too lazy to find a way to do so anyway. He simply coldly repeated, “Just stop following me.”
“You’re so unreasonable!” Lie Lie cried in frustration.
“If I’m really unreasonable, you’ll find yourself dead,” Gu Fei coldly retorted.
“Alright, then. Fight me!” Lie Lie initiated an attack, hurtling her fist toward him.
Gu Fei parried her fist using his open hand. With that punch deflected, his leg apathetically hooked hers and dragged it toward him, sending Lie Lie sprawling to the ground on her back. A cloud of dust scattered about.
“Not everyone will let you do as you please just because you’re a woman,” Gu Fei said icily, “Stop hindering me from now on.” With that, he turned around and left.
Lie Lie finally got scared. She dazedly lifted her upper body off the ground and arranged herself into a sitting position. Gu Fei had tripped her backward with ease. Lie Lie was sure that he had done so without using a skill or spell in the game. She had studied a bit of kung fu, so she understood something from this exchange: Miles knows kung fu… He was also much stronger than her by who knew how many folds. He really was someone who knew kung fu.
Gu Fei scoured the entire lane after abandoning Lie Lie, but he saw no signs of Nightmare of Death. He could only heave a deep sigh and send a message to the rest of the mercenary group, “I couldn’t find him anymore. Which mailboxes are you guys camping? I’ll go keep watch on one, too.”
“West gate is unguarded. Go there!”
“Okay!” Gu Fei acknowledged, closing the mercenary channel. He raised his head to get his bearings and spotted a lady beckoning him with her hands, an enigmatic smile on her face. The lady was Xi Xiaotian.
“I’m in a rush; talk later!” Gu Fei waved his hand in greeting. He then lowered his head and prepared to be on his way.
“Don’t be so hasty!” Xi Xiaotian ran up and blocked Gu Fei.
“I’m really in a rush!” Gu Fei insisted.
Xi Xiaotian smiled, pointing at the still seated Lie Lie on the ground, “You went overboard there!
”Gu Fei glanced back, “You may wanna take that back. Or else, I don’t know how you’ll be able to describe me if I twist her head off.”
“Is the matter that serious between you two?”
“I’ll tell you about it when I’m free. I’m really busy right now,” Gu Fei got around Xi Xiaotian and quickly ran off.
Xi Xiaotian did not let him off. She turned around and caught up with him shortly.
“What?” Gu Fei asked.
“You run yours, and I’ll run mine. Why do you care?” Xi Xiaotian retorted.
“You’re quite fast,” Gu Fei commented. Not many were an extremist like Gu Fei who had invested all points into Agility. Even some Thieves and Archers would not be as fast as him.
“I went with a full-Agility build. Plus, I’ve the job class advantage,” Xi Xiaotian explained.
“Oh… What’s your job class?” Gu Fei recalled that he still did not know Xi Xiaotian’s job class even now. Determining her job class through her attire was impossible. When Gu Fei first met her, she was wearing a purple robe. He now knew that that robe was what a Priest would wear. At the moment, she was wearing a thief cape.
“Archer,” Xi Xiaotian’s answer indeed did not reflect her outfit of the day.
A full-Agility Archer would of course not be slower than Gu Fei; it was considered as the job class that benefited the most from Agility.
Gu Fei nodded his head and did not say another word.
“Are you off to kill people?” XI Xiaotian tried to engage him in small talk.
“Hopefully…” Gu Fei said. Indeed, he was hoping that Nightmare of Death would appear by the west gate’s mailbox.
No further words were exchanged between them along the way. Gu Fei sprinted his way to the west gate, as Xi Xiaotian followed him all the way. Gu Fei eyed her oddly many times over, but she pretended to not see any of them.
Gu Fei sighed in relief when he saw that Nightmare of Death was not at the west gate’s mailbox. He had rushed here as fast as he could. If Nightmare of Death rushed here from their previous location, he should not be faster than Gu Fei even if he tried his best.
Gu Fei retreated to the side of the road. If Nightmare of Death spotted him from a distance, he would of course not go near the mailbox, especially since it meant his death. Gu Fei settled himself into a corner and trained his eyes on the mailbox. Suddenly, he slapped his forehead, “I’m so stupid! I know that Nightmare of Death will be the one holding on to Frost Memories, so why didn’t I just patiently wait till he had to mail it from the start? If he wants to mail something, he’ll naturally take it out of his pocket to put it into the mailbox! Earlier, a bit of effort and skill would be enough to snatch that weapon back!”
Currently, Gu Fei was feeling very remorseful for that kick he had sent to Nightmare of Death upon their first meeting over at the north gate’s mailbox. This meant that he had not lost one but two great chances to retrieve Frost Memories from the Thief.
That method of retrieval could not be employed any more. Back then, Nightmare of Death allowed Gu Fei to be beside him and acted very courteous toward Gu Fei as if he was a dear friend. Currently, Nightmare of Death would loudly squeal for help if Gu Fei so much as came within fifty meters of him. Stealing Frost Memories now when he took it out would be a nigh impossible task. Gu Fei was so regretful that he wanted to smash his head to a wall.
“Why do you suddenly look so remorseful?” Xi Xiaotian asked.
“I’m such a dummy. Really!” Gu Fei lamented.
“I agree,” Xi Xiaotian nodded her head.
Gu Fei heaved a long sigh toward the heavens, finally asking Xi Xiaotian, “Why’re you following me, anyway? If you want to help, I need to set down all the rules and restrictions to this matter, so you won’t make the same mistake that Lie Lie did.”
“Who’s here to help you? I’m here to mail something,” Xi Xiaotian replied mockingly. With that, she walked toward the mailbox.
Gu Fei listlessly swept his gaze over her. Xi Xiaotian got to the mailbox and turned her head back to look at Gu Fei. She saw that he was busy looking at the many nearby roads. Xi Xiaotian smiled gaily as she reached into her dimensional pocket and took something out. She knocked her knuckles on the side of the mailbox to get his attention, “I’m gonna mail it!”
“Just mail it already, what’re you yelling at me for?” Gu Fei said as he threw her a glance before turning his attention back to the roads in the vicinity. It was then that his brain registered the familiar object in Xi Xiaotian’s hand. He did a double-take. In her hand, a dagger was giving off a bluish white glow. Gu Fei could identify what it was without the Appraisal skill. He instantly darted over to her, and his hand tightly gripped Xi Xiaotian’s wrist.
“Why do you have it?!” Gu Fei demanded, his eyes turning cold.
“Why don’t you make a guess?” Xi Xiaotian’s smile was dazzling.
Gu Fei did not say anything. Frost Memories was still in Nightmare of Death’s possession when Gu Fei was chasing after him. Xi Xiaotian could only acquire it sometime between Nightmare of Death taking a turning into that lane and her calling out to Gu Fei.
“Actually, you’re right from the start; I’m indeed in cahoots with them,” Xi Xiaotian confessed. As the color of Gu Fei’s face changed, she continued, “But you missed one bit. I’m in cahoots with them, but I’ve a different intention.”
“To mix into their gang in order to cheat off their top-grade equipment after gaining their trust?” Gu Fei asked.
“More or less. I guess you can call it scamming the scammers,” Xi Xiaotian said with amusement.
Gu Fei laughed. Seeing that his hand was still holding on to her wrist, he let go immediately.
“Aren’t you afraid I’ll send this away?” Xi Xiaotian dangled Frost Memories in front of his face.
“You won’t show it to me if you intend to,” Gu Fei remarked.
“I may have shown it to you, but that doesn’t mean I’m returning it,” Xi Xiaotian teased.
Gu Fei refused to humor her.
“Besides, it’s not yours. I didn’t get this from swindling your friend, too,” Xi Xiaotian did not stop.
Gu Fei remained mum.
“What’s wrong? Cat got your tongue?” Xi Xiaotian asked.
Gu Fei was indeed speechless. Xi Xiaotian was currently a third party that had obtained Frost Memories. He could not hold Xi Xiaotian responsible for Nightmare of Death and gang’s despicable action of stealing that weapon. Moreover, the method she had used to obtain the dagger might not exactly be proper. But if she had gotten the dagger through the legal method of buying Frost Memories from Nightmare of Death, what should Gu Fei do?
If this were in reality, one could say Frost Memories was a stolen item and any relevant transaction pertaining to it was invalid under the law. Right here, right now, in an online game, Gu Fei truly could not say the same.
“Ha ha ha ha ha! To think I’d see the day when you would be speechless,” Xi Xiaotian felt very pleased with herself. She offered Frost Memories to him hilt-first, “Here you go!”
“Wha... A kind gesture?” Gu Fei took it and examined it carefully. It was indeed Frost Memories.
“I’m only returning this because that guy’s your friend,” Xi Xiaotian informed him cheekily.
“That’s a lot of face you’re giving me,” Gu Fei smiled brightly.
“Well, I don’t particularly hate you,” Xi Xiaotian reasoned.
Gu Fei laughed.
“Also, it felt great to see you trip up Lie Lie. I don’t really like that brat, either,” Xi Xiaotian said.
“Had you said it earlier, I would’ve brought her head over to you,” Gu Fei was feeling particularly jovial now that his sorrow had faded away. While Lie Lie did not seem as hateful as before anymore, he figured it was fine to play along with Xi Xiaotian. “Seriously though, how did you get it?” Gu Fei asked curiously.
“I swindled it back,” Xi Xiaotian put emphasis on the word ‘swindled’. “I don’t think you’ll be interested to hear the process.”
“Try me,” Gu Fei urged her.
“As I’ve just said I managed to get myself recruited into their gang. While I’m not an important member, I’m able to employ tricks on those people to make them misjudge my value,” Xi Xiaotian explained vaguely.
“What sort of tricks?” Gu Fei pressed on.
Xi Xiaotian stared at him, “Are you thinking of something impure right now?”
“Uhm, I’m actually not thinking of anything. I’m just curious,” Gu Fei answered.
“Some tricks. Like acting like a big shot… Go ponder it more yourself!” Xi Xiaotian dismissed the question casually.
Gu Fei nodded his head, “So that’s how it is.”
“Apart from that, it’s also because of your ‘antics’. You persistently hunted Nightmare of Death, yet he did not know why,” Xi Xiaotian said, bemused.
“We purposely deceived him. Otherwise, he’d definitely transfer the ownership of Frost Memories,” Gu Fei explained.
“And that’s exactly what I told him,” Xi Xiaotian giggled.
Gu Fei found it absurd, “That’s all it took for him to pass Frost Memories on to you?”
“Isn’t it really simple?”
“Logically speaking, it’s very simple. The hard part is earning his trust, right?” Gu Fei asked for confirmation.
“In his moment of crisis, I helped him resolve the problem. His trust in me naturally soared. It’s human nature,” Xi Xiaotian elucidated.
“What problem did you help him solve?”
“You failed to catch him, right?” Xi Xiaotian asked, smiling once more.
“You hid him?” Gu Fei suddenly realized.
“I only reminded him that he’s a Thief, so he should know how to use Stealth,” Xi Xiaotian elaborated further.
Gu Fei nodded his head. He and Lie Lie attracted so much attention when they fought down that lane. After cruelly causing the beautiful lady to fall on her back, their squabble became more eye-catching. It was impossible for Gu Fei to discover Nightmare of Death who was on Stealth under a situation where many people were focusing their gazes on to him.
“Think you got the gist of it?” Xi Xiaotian asked, adding, “Anything else you want to say?”
“Thank you,” Gu Fei expressed his gratitude readily.
“Don’t thank me,” Xi Xiaotian laughed daintily, “There will still be times when you’ll hate me.”
“Is that so?”
“Of course!” Xi Xiaotian confidently nodded her head.