An Imperfect Ending
After receiving the order from Foe-herder, the two teams of Cloud Herder mercenary group headed straight to the hill within the forest.
Finding a hidden person among the dense leaves and branches in the verdant forest was not easy, but none of them gave up searching – even making the Archers and Mages climb up the trees – since Foe-herder was certain that someone was hiding somewhere on this hill.
Young Master Han remained unfazed by what was happening around him and merely continued monitoring Gu Fei who was currently trying to avoid being spotted by the other six enemy teams. Giving another set of instructions, he finally sighed, “Your current position is a blindspot for that hill. Also, I want you to remember these few places.” Young Master Han quickly sent him a few more coordinates and said, “Move sequentially through these coordinates; they should help you for a while, but everything will be up to you after that.” Pausing for a bit, he said almost to himself, “There are still… eleven minutes left. Hang in there.”
“What’s the matter?” Gu Fei gleaned from Young Master Han’s tone of voice, which resembled someone relaying their last will, that something was not right.
“I’ve been discovered. But don’t worry; we will still be in the lead with 6 against 5 kill points even if I get killed. You just have to survive these eleven minutes!” Young Master Han replied in earnest. In his peripheral vision, he could see that two Archers had already climbed up the nearby trees and were now looking all around them.
“Over there!” one of the two Archers spotted Young Master Han and quickly indicated his location to the rest of the search team.
“Run. Keep running and take advantage of your speed. Definitely do not engage them.” As Young Master Han finished saying this, a ball of fire and an arrow hurtled through the air toward him. Despite Young Master Han’s amazing skills as a Priest, his HP was really low. This was due to his unique way of adding points that was unlike the other Priests who would focus on an Endurance build. Thus, Young Master Han was only able to endure two volleys of the enemies’ concerted attacks before he turned into a stream of white light.
The score changed once more to 6 against 5. Victory and loss now obviously lay in that final kill point. Foe-herder was very much willing to sacrifice all his troops for this final kill point from their last opponent since it would mean the elimination of the entire Young Master’s Elite mercenary group.
Foe-herder sighed. It was no wonder that all his attempts to surround the Mage earlier had been met with failure. He had originally thought that it was due to his instructions being vague, which resulted into his teams being unable to properly encircle the Mage. He should have suspected earlier that someone on the opposing side was secretly giving the Mage directions. Foe-herder was a little frustrated, but he felt better knowing that there was only one opponent to deal with in these final ten minutes.
Foe-herder lost sight of the Mage’s figure after the latter went over a small knoll in a distance. Nonetheless, determining which way the opponent had gone to was easy. With this thought in mind, Foe-herder quickly directed his men to head over the small knoll.
“Team 4 and Team 5, circle around that knoll from the left. Team 1 and Team 2, take the right. Team 6 and Team 8, head over the knoll as well. Team 3 and Team 7, head toward the forest in the 4 o’clock direction.” Foe-herder sent out these commands as he assured himself, There shouldn’t be any further problems this time. While he was daydreaming of success, the figure clad in black robe suddenly appeared at the top of the knoll after clearly going past it a short while ago. “That guy’s at the top of the knoll! Surround the whole knoll!” Foe-herder immediately ordered.
“Roger!” all the members replied.
Gu Fei, who was standing atop the mound, was visible not only to Foe-herder but to every enemy spreading and surrounding the knoll in its entirety as well.
“Listen to Young Master’s directions…” The final words Sword Demon had left Gu Fei as he sacrificed his life for the latter rang in his ears at this moment.
“Since that’s the case…” Gripping Moonlit Nightfalls in his hand, Gu Fei told himself firmly, “This sword is not a weapon to slay people; right now, it is a booster that will provide me additional 20 points to Agility for my goal to evade the enemies.”
Waving to everyone approaching the mound, Gu Fei retreated through the knoll’s other side and began his mad sprint for freedom. The coordinates that Young Master Han had provided him were clearly displayed on the mercenary channel. “The first one…” Gu Fei muttered to himself as ran toward the first set of coordinates.
Although both sides of the knoll were already surrounded by the Cloud Herder mercenary group’s men, they were unfortunately a lot slower than Gu Fei. The opposing group’s four fastest Archers failed to block Gu Fei in time, so they proceeded to fire off arrows on Homing Projectile toward him.
Four arrows on Homing Projectile flew toward Gu Fei. Holding Moonlit Nightfalls with one hand, he fished out Sacred Flames of Baptism with his other hand. He looked backward to take note of the distance of the arrows to him. When the timing was right, he suddenly pirouetted and knocked off the four arrows hot on his heels with his swords.
The attacks hampered Gu Fei’s speed and allowed the enemies to close the distance with him by quite a bit. Sadly, all skills had cool-down time, so the four Archers could temporarily not shoot arrows on Homing Projectile. When they fired off arrows on Snipe instead, Gu Fei easily shook them off with a few change of directions.
The four Archers were extremely regretful at this point; they would not have used Homing Projectile altogether had they known that this would happen. They should have taken turns in interfering with Gu Fei’s progress, which would allow them to catch up to him eventually. Who would have thought that it was possible to knock off four arrows on Homing Projectile like that, anyway? When the four shot out their arrows, they had already assumed that Gu Fei would be a goner for sure.
It was too late for regrets now, as Gu Fei had already left them in the dust. Those with slower speed, such as the Warriors and Priests, did not even consider chasing after the Mage who had insanely fast speed. In just a short while, Gu Fei had gotten out of the encirclement and left everyone far behind.
Foe-herder knew that things were going south when he saw Gu Fei successfully evade his men’s pursuit.Given the Mage’s monstrously fast speed, it was impossible for Cloud Herder mercenary group to form any sort of encirclement to deal with him.
Enclosing and capturing Gu Fei with his speed would require Foe-herder to set up a net across a wide area and to limit his space gradually. Their attempted encirclement just then was akin to letting a bird leave its cage or a fish to get out of the fishing net and return into the sea. Trying to encircle him again… would ten minutes be enough? No. Only nine minutes were left now.
Foe-herder’s forehead began to sweat profusely. He no longer dared to deploy his men so casually like before. While attempting to get a read of Gu Fei’s destination, he quickly organized his mercenaries into new groups based on their speed. The slower teams would exert pressure from the front to cut off all possible retreats for Gu Fei; meanwhile, the faster teams would close in from the sides in a wing-like formation. The goal this time was to enclose and keep Gu Fei in a huge pocket.
Unexpectedly, Gu Fei had rushed out of one segment of the enclosing wing and suddenly veered off into another direction. This one move of Gu Fei instantly caused the two-wing formation to fail forming the pocket that Foe-herder had just strategized.
“How is this possible?! Could there still be someone secretly guiding him?!” Foe-herder exclaimed in his astonishment. However, the score that the system had calculated was irrefutable; there really was only one person left in the opposing mercenary group at this point.
Foe-herder tried forming a new formation again, but just as his fresh plan was about to succeed, Gu Fei had once more unpredictably changed his direction.
Foe-herder was now utterly flabbergasted. He was clearly doing the entrapment, yet he could not help but feel that he was the one being entrapped by an even bigger net.
He would have to change his tactics in order to shed himself off of this unseen, bigger net, and to properly entrap Gu Fei. While it was possible for him to come up with a new plan to force Gu Fei into a corner, he simply did not have time to do so at the moment. After all, there were only six minutes left until this match’s end.
The entire mercenary group was in a mess right now. Originally, none of these men thought that this six-man mercenary group was worth their attention or time. All of them thought that this round would be the same as yesterday’s match, where they could easily tour about the PvP arena and leave it with a ‘perfect’ score. And yet, the unexpected happened and they were now in such a disheartening situation. The opponent only had to survive these six minutes and his group would achieve victory. No... That was not right either, as only five minutes were left now.
Gu Fei took note of his surroundings as he ran and spotted a few heads occasionally popping up here and there. Someone was still standing atop that faraway hill; he reckoned that the person was the Berserker from before. Gu Fei restrained himself from rushing over to exchange blows with the Berserker and continued to rigidly follow the path that Young Master Han had set for him through the series of coordinates.
Although he still felt dissatisfied with Young Master Han’s method of doing things, he decided to heed Sword Demon’s words and curbed his desire to PvP.
Time slipped by. Gu Fei finished running Young Master Han’s coordinates with only two minutes left to the PvP match. At the moment, he found himself atop a small hill with the members of Cloud Herder mercenary group heading in his direction in a disorderly fashion.
Gu Fei felt somewhat anxious… With only two minutes left, he did not wish to risk their win by rushing toward the enemies and meeting a similar fate to his dead comrades. That would be too much of a disappointment, after all. If it were just him alone, he would long revel in slaughtering the enemies, consequences be damned. But right now, the fate of the mercenary group was heavily resting upon his shoulders… F*ck! Did I fall for Young Master’s tricks yet again? Gu Fei thought to himself as he ran toward a direction where no enemy was visible.
One minute… Thirty seconds… Ten seconds….
Foe-herder finally sat down on the ground in dejection, “We lost… But it’s such an unmerited loss!” All the Cloud Herder’s members bellowed helplessly as they were sent out of the PvP arena.
With this, the second round of the mercenary PvP tournament was concluded. Young Master’s Elite mercenary group eliminated Cloud Herder mercenary group with a score of 6 against 5.
“Where are they?! Where the hell are those cowards from Young Master’s Elite?!” Beyond the teleportation array outside the Hall of Mercenaries, the Cloud Herder’s members gathered together and incessantly cursed up and down the street, trying to find the members of the mercenary group that they had just lost to.
When he exited the teleportation array, Gu Fei was immediately dragged off by Sword Demon to a secluded corner, where the other members of Young Master’s Elite were huddling. With curses reverberating everywhere, they, especially Royal God Call, could not help but show a distasteful expression on their faces.
Young Master Han listened for a while before shaking his head and saying, “The tactics we have used this time are still imperfect. We should have covered our faces during the match just now.”
Everyone remained silent for a good while in the face of his statement.
“F*ck! How can this still be considered a win!” Royal God Call was the first to explode, resentfully saying, “With your command and coordination with Miles, we totally had the ability to take them down. Why did we have to fight them like that?!”
Although they won, the way they had achieved it was neither beautiful nor satisfactory. Cloud Herder mercenary group’s unending curses were a testament to this fact.
Young Master Han smiled coldly before replying, “Our goal is to win this whole mercenary PvP tournament. To do that, we have to rely on a battle strategy that affects the outcome of everything instead of depending on tactics that can only win us one match.”
Royal God Call was taken aback, “What strategy?”
“You’ll find out very soon,” Young Master Han answered mysteriously.
“Fleeing about until the time runs out is not the least bit challenging!” Royal God Call cried indignantly.
“Challenging? Why don’t you eat ice cream in a blizzard or take a piss in a rising gale? That’s very challenging,” Young Master Han remarked dryly.
“What do you mean by that?!” Royal God Call angrily yelled.
“A meaningful ending or a meaningless challenge, which will you choose?” Young Master Han asked.
“There are some challenges themselves which are very meaningful to me…” Gu Fei suddenly interjected.