Virtual World: Close Combat Mage

Chapter 111

Chapter 111 - The Story of Digression

Crap! was Gu Fei’s first thought when he saw Young Master Han. Currently, only the members of Young Master’s Elite mercenary group and Will-low were aware of his fierce Close Combat Mage persona. Besides them, the Amethyst Rebirth’s ladies were possibly the closest to uncovering his secret.

Had a Mage job class, visited Yueye City, skilled and adroit, and was acquainted with Young Master Han… The more similarities the Amethyst Rebirth’s ladies found, the easier they could piece things together and discover his hidden identity.

He turned around and saw that July and the other ladies were indeed staring at him suspiciously.

I’m about to be exposed. But upon considering this matter from a different perspective, Gu Fei realized that it might not necessarily be a bad thing even if his other identity got exposed. The only people he had provoked were No Smile as well as Silver Moon and his guild in Yueye City. Fugitive 27149’s image on the forums was still considerably positive, the PvP matters he had instigated were often reasonable, and nobody painted him as a PK terrorist so far. Most of the players hot on 27149’s trail were either innocuously curious of him or admired him. If people like No Smile came to look for revenge... Gu Fei smiled. How exhilarating would it be if he could fight endlessly? He had no other word for it but ‘awesome’!

However, Young Master Han quickly killed Gu Fei’s fantasies of such a wondrous outcome.

Hiding their identity was Young Master Han’s idea. Masking themselves was also his creation. All this while, he was the one with the greatest concern about the possibility of them being exposed to other players. Thus, how could Young Master Han’s expression be the straw that broke the camel’s back right now? 

He simply swept his gaze around the room before smiling indifferently, “What a crowd!” Without looking at the ladies again, Young Master Han lowered his head to address the seated Gu Fei, “We’ve managed to retrieve the item you requested.”

Young Master Han was pretending to be doing a transaction with Gu Fei, making it look as if the latter was an employer of Young Master’s Elite mercenary group.

How cunning! Gu Fei marveled in his mind. It would be awkward if he spoiled the cover-up that Young Master Han was weaving for him, so he could only play along by asking, “Oh? Where is it?”

“It’s not on me. I’ll send it over in a moment,” Young Master Han had on a  poker face.

“Thank you so much,” Gu Fei numbly acted his part.

Young Master Han nodded his head, “I’ll leave you to your chat, then. I’ll look for you later.” With that, he bade the others farewell and left the room.

Luo Luo swiftly stood up, strode toward the room exit, lifted the curtain, and looked around. She then chased after Young Master Han before returning in a short while.

“How is it?” July was anxious – or was she excited, perhaps?

Luo Luo shook her head in response, “It’s still just him alone.”

July looked disappointed, as Lie Lie said, “What a pity!”

In that instant, Gu Fei and Lie Lie’s matter seemed to have been tossed into the clouds.

“What’re you all doing?” Gu Fei asked, faking ignorance.

“Miles, did you hire them to retrieve the item your friend lost?” July asked Gu Fei.

Gu Fei nodded his head.

“Young Master’s Elite mercenary group,” July murmured, before asking, “Do you know who the members of that mercenary group are?”

“Nope,” Gu Fei shook his head.

“Fugitive 27149; have you heard that moniker before?” July inquired further.

“Of course,” Gu Fei affirmed, expounding, “I heard he’s quite a powerful Mage.”

“Quite powerful? More like, very powerful! The most powerful one to be exact! I don’t think anyone else would be more powerful than him!” Lie Lie shouted; the look of admiration on her face made Gu Fei feel very uncomfortable. Big sis, that’s me right here! If there’s ever a day when my other identity gets exposed, how’re you going to face me? Gu Fei thought to himself, adding, Besides, I’m well-aware of how super awesome I am. I’m only being modest right now, okay?! Gu Fei was quite confident of his ability. Displaying the same level of exultations as Lie Lie… Although the others would not know that he was praising himself, Gu Fei would still be cringing inside from saying such words.

“That 27149 is a member of Young Master’s Elite,” July informed him.

“Oh!” While Gu Fei gave an appropriate reply, he did not know if the expression he was making was fitting. After all, he was not that great of an actor unlike a certain narcissistic, pretty-faced individual.

“I was the cause of that matter with No Smile in this city. We got Young Master’s Elite mercenary group to aid us...” July gave Gu Fei a run-through of what had happened with Past Deeds, thinking he was clueless about it. If awards were to be given from this matter alone, Gu Fei would definitely get the Best Male Lead, Most Valuable Player, Most Patient, and Most Vicious Slayer Awards. In fact, with how this issue was progressing right now, a Lifetime Achievement Award would eventually be in the bag for Gu Fei.

“So I see! So I see!” Hearing July’s narration, Gu Fei could only nod his head and agree along.

“I really wish I could meet this strongman. It’s a pity we don’t have the chance,” July sounded regretful.

“I’m sure there will be a chance in the future,” Gu Fei consoled.

July registered that as a polite comment, so she did not put it to heart. She merely smiled and said, “I hope so, too!”

“Currently, getting acquainted with that person depends entirely on Young Master Han. But he is far too cautious. Notice how it’s just him when he came over to discuss things with you? There’s not even a trace of those companions of his,” Luo Luo observed.

It turned out that she had previously bolted out the room so quickly to chase after Young Master Han and learn the identity of the other players with him. Gu Fei sighed. If he was correct in his guess, Sword Demon and the lot must be next door. At most, they would be in the room after the next. As for the one they wished to meet the most, he was actually right in front of them.

“But it appears that he frequents this bar. He conducted his transaction with us here, same as Miles,” Luo Luo said to July.

July nodded her head in agreement, “This establishment is very close to our guild house, so we can swing by when we have nothing on.”

“Wait a second!” Luo Luo lightly slapped her forehead with her open palm as she excitedly said, “If he’s a regular, Ray must know Young Master Han. Maybe, he knows who the people he hangs out with, too!”

“That’s true!” July’s eyes shone as she quickly lifted the curtain to call Ray over.

Ray hurried over, “Is there anything missus wish to order?” Humble and attentive were Ray’s style. Gu Fei’s heart leaped to his throat. Although he was not too worried of revealing his identity any longer, it would be very awkward if his identity was revealed right now.

“A certain person arrived and left not too long ago. He looks very… very… uhm, a very beautiful man. Do you know him?” July momentarily could not find the right words to describe Young Master Han’s ethereal beauty.

“Ah, Young Master Han?” Ray nodded his head.

“You do know him!” July was excited.

“I can refer you to Young Master Han if you’ve business with him. Young Master’s Elite is the strongest mercenary group in Yunduan City. Looking for the group to help with quests is a wise choice. Besides, you can also look for him for specialized work,” Ray said.

“Specialized work?”

“Like killing people to level 0,” Ray whispered. Players could directly use the interface window in the Hall of Mercenaries to enlist the help of mercenary groups regarding quests and ilk, and the system would automatically provide the mercenaries details for the relevant quests. As for personal matters or requests between the players, such as ‘killing people to level 0’... Firstly, it was naturally frowned upon. Secondly, using the Hall of Mercenaries to enlist help for such matters would be as good as informing the target of their intention before acting; the element of surprise would be lost. Thirdly, the system would not openly endorse such acts, so there was no way for the system to assess such matters.

There was a limit when it came to interpersonal trust in online games, which was expressed by the reliance of players on the system when mercenary groups were hired to help in quests. Players would publish their quests in the Hall of Mercenaries, passing the reward to the system directly. Once a mercenary group picked up a quest, everyone would head out to accomplish the job together. Only when a player’s quest was completed could a mercenary group retrieve the reward that had been passed over to the system from the Hall of Mercenaries.

The system could tell whether a quest was completed from the players’ quest log. However, it would be hard for the system to judge the completion of the task assigned when it came to dropping people to level 0 or bounty hunting missions. There were so many ways to die, such as dying to monsters in the grinding map and being killed by other players… The system could not tell if it was part of the plan or coincidental.

That was how the ‘specialized work’ tag came to be. This sort of missions outside of the usual line of work was usually negotiated in private that did not involve the system’s assistance. July and the other ladies did not know of the term, but the act was precisely what they had asked for from Young Master’s Elite when the mercenary group dealt with No Smile for them.

“We don’t have any mission at the moment. I just wanna ask if you know anything about his mercenary group,” July asked Ray with anticipation, adding, “Or perhaps, what sort of people he usually meets while he’s here.”

Gu Fei did not stay idle at this moment as he was quickly trying to add Ray as a friend. He intended to privately message him for a bit, but Ray did not open his request to be friends yet. July’s question had cut straight to the crux of the matter, so all Gu Fei could do was let fate take the wheel.

“I don’t know,” Ray actually shook his head.

“You don’t know?” July was stunned. Gu Fei was stunned as well, and his expression this time was not fake.

“I’ve never seen him with any familiar faces,” Ray reiterated.

“Oh…” July was despondent once more, adding, “Sorry to have bothered you, then.”

“Do you all want something to drink?” Ray’s business face was back on. They were all seated in a room in Ray’s Bar, but they had yet to order even a glass of water or alcohol. It would just be bad business sense if he did not badger them about it now.

“Alright,” July ordered some wine and passed the coins over.

“Your drinks will be served shortly,” Ray stepped back to lift the curtain. Before he left, Gu Fei, who was staring at him, saw his mouth curve upward in bemusement.

Young Master Han has already contacted him! Gu Fei sighed in relief. That man really thought of everything. Luo Luo was several steps behind him in comparison.

Ray returned with the drinks in no time. There was a glass for everyone.

At the moment, everyone was thinking about the matter with Young Master’s Elite mercenary group and Fugitive 27149. They had long since forgotten about their original intention for gathering here. This was the magnificence of the digression effect. Legend had it that when women got together to chat, the ensuing flow of discussion would be so unrestrained and unpredictable.

The atmosphere turned frigid in the next moment. July brought her glass to her mouth and took a sip. Her previous melancholy and longing when she talked about 27149 had long since disappeared. Gu Fei could tell that she was about to resume the previous matter, so he quickly raised his glass and said, “Well, you all have heard it, too. Since that dagger has been retrieved, I guess we should bury the hatchet. There’s no need for apologies after all, and we are all still good brothers and sisters. Lie Lie, did it hurt when you fell?”

“Ah? Nope, it didn’t,” Lie Lie replied absentmindedly.

“Mhm, that’s good then. Come on, everyone... Cheers!” Gu Fei called out.

The ladies were briefly shocked before raising their glasses from the table and clinking them together.

Gu Fei down the content of the glass in one draft. “Alright, I’m taking my leave first,” Gu Fei put down his glass and got up.

The ladies did not say another word as they waved their hands to send him off.

Gu Fei spied that the silent Ice Glaze had barely sipped her glass and was about to place it down. Vaguely recalling her nickname that Lie Lie mentioned in passing, he said jokingly, “Xiao Bing1, my friend, remember to finish your drink!” With that, he pushed the curtain away and left.

Chapter Notes:

[1] Xiao Bing (小冰) - is the nickname for Ice Glaze (冰琉璃)

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