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Chapter 275 - A Thorough Fleecing
Oathless Sword entered Ray's Bar haughtily and left it in a similar fas.h.i.+on. While it might have left a bad taste to everyone's mouth, he had also left behind a very enticing proposal.
Putting aside Traversing Four Seas' set remuneration for this mission, if it was truly a chain quest, the items that would drop along the journey would surely be extraordinary, which was precisely what these experts were finding irresistible. No gamers worth their salt would be unmoved at the prospect of acquiring powerful equipment. Furthermore, rumors abounded in Parallel World that anyone who could complete a chain quest would instantly become an unparalleled expert of the highest order. It was essentially a G.o.d-given opportunity for them to be part of a chain quest! With such thoughts in mind, plenty of these mercenaries were already hurrying after Oathless Sword.
Those that remained inside the bar were the ones who could not make up their minds and were still considering the matter thoroughly. The six members of Young Master's Elite were also scrutinizing the proposal together as well.
"So what do we do?" Brother a.s.sist asked.
"I'm definitely doing this! Even if you guys aren't going, as a member of that guild, I am obligated to go!" Royal G.o.d Call resolutely expressed his stance on this. While he presented himself as a person loyal to his guild, he was actually an opportunist who acted according to the benefits he could get, and he simply would not pa.s.s up something that had a great chance of benefiting him.
Gu Fei frowned. "The journey will take tens of hours upward, so how is that gonna work?"
All of them knew that Gu Fei could not spend much time online daily. As the others expressed their disdain over this issue, Brother a.s.sist said, "There's no way they can finish this quest in one go. Traversing Four Seas has to consider its members' schedule as well. They'll probably choose those players who are available, much like how they handled the tournament. Miles, you have no issue if it's after 7 P.M., right?"
"Oh… That's fine, I guess," Gu Fei sighed in relief.
"I take it that Brother a.s.sist is interested as well?" Young Master Han turned his gaze on him.
"Heh!" Brother a.s.sist laughed dryly, "It's not often that I can partic.i.p.ate in a chain quest; I'm sure I'll be able to gather plenty of data from this run."
Young Master Han swept his gaze over to everyone on the table before saying, "Alright. It's time to express your interest in this! Those who aren't interested in doing this can buy his way out with a bottle of the most expensive liquor."
"D*mn! What's that for?!" All expressed their derision.
"If no one is buying me a bottle, then that means that we are all going," Young Master Han concluded.
"That's so evil!" everyone exclaimed, yet none of them had an issue with this. Everyone was hesitating on whether to partic.i.p.ate in the quest or not since there was not a clear reason for either decision, yet Young Master Han pretty much gave everyone an excuse to partic.i.p.ate in it, albeit the reason was shamelessly d.a.m.nable.
This was when some Amethyst Rebirth ladies approached their table and asked Gu Fei, "Are you guys doing it?"
"Yes. And you?" Gu Fei asked in return.
"Who's gonna help that maniac?! You guys shouldn't do it either!" Svelte Dancer harrumphed, going as far as to decide for Young Master's Elite.
"But I wanna do it…" June's Rain was clearly upset.
Understanding her pa.s.sion for quests, Gu Fei sympathetically said, "No problem. Xiaoyu can join us."
"Can I?" June's Rain asked, her face brightening considerably.
"I have no issues!" Gu Fei looked at his fellow mercenaries when he nominated June's Rain as a temporary member.
Young Master Han's expression immediately turned frigid, while War Without Wounds and Royal G.o.d Call wholeheartedly supported his suggestion. Brother a.s.sist, for his part, turned his face to the side and said, "I'm abstaining."
"Majority wins. Done," Gu Fei called out. Although Young Master Han was the group leader, he did not even get a chance to voice his take on the matter.
"That won't do!" July saw Young Master Han's expression, and since she was not the sort to trouble anyone, she said to June's Rain, "It's best if I accompany you!"
"Yay!" June's Rain cheered.
"In that case, won't you need a Priest?" Luo Luo asked.
"I love to fight!" Lie Lie boomed.
"Alright. Let's head back and ask the others if they wish to go as well." July gestured for the ladies to leave. Stunned, Svelte Dancer chased after them, "Hey! I'm going too if you're all going!"
Brother a.s.sist looked at the departing ladies. He waited until they were out of earshot before saying, "Honestly speaking, I think Traversing Four Seas only invited them due to Svelte Dancer's presence in it. If Svelte Dancer won't go, I strongly doubt the rest will have a chance in this."
The rest of them did not say a word. Gu Fei also comprehended this, so he invited June's Rain to join them. He knew that if Svelte Dancer refused to go, June's Rain would never be employed by Traversing Four Seas.
In the blink of an eye, two mercenary groups came to a decision. Sakurazaka Moony, Fireball, and friends also came over to ask Gu Fei, "What did those babes talk to you about?"
"Oh? They were about to join the mission," Gu Fei replied.
Sakurazaka Moony straightened his back as he waved his arm to his men, "That settles it, then. I'll look for Oathless Sword."
"Moony is too cool!" his brothers applauded.
"You may have gotten yourself a girl, but you didn't forget to look out for your bros; now that's what we call a real brother!" These reprehensible men left Ray's Bar soon enough as well.
After that, Black Index Finger, Drifting, and the others also left. Some came over to bid Gu Fei farewell, but none discussed the matter of joining the mission any further, leaving just a handful of tavern patrons. Royal G.o.d Call got up and said, "Shall I head over and speak with Oathless Sword about this?"
"Don't!" Young Master Han gestured for him to sit once more, "We can't raise our value if you take such a proactive approach. Don't worry. Oathless Sword may look very casual when he walked out of here, but he is actually the most anxious if no one turns up to help."
"Is that so? But he really looked like he couldn't care less!" Royal G.o.d Call insisted.
Young Master Han chuckled. "Several days have pa.s.sed since they received this quest as a prize for winning the tournament. They must have attempted this mission but realized that it was impossible to complete it with the guild's current strength, leading them to look for mercenaries to help. They can't be foolish enough to expend gold coins for the mercenaries' a.s.sistance just from reading the quest description, right?"
"They've already done it? Why don't I know about it, then?" Royal G.o.d Call asked, confused.
"Lil bro, you've clearly been ostracized." War Without Wounds patted Royal G.o.d Call's head once more.
"That may not be true. As a guild member, isn't it supposed to show on your quest log?" Young Master Han asked Royal G.o.d Call.
"Nope!" Royal G.o.d Call shook his head.
Young Master Han appeared to be deep in thought after this.
"What have you found out?" Brother a.s.sist asked.
"The wine today's a little sour," Young Master Han replied.
"F*CK!" everyone derided.
"Anyway, you guys can go about your businesses. Leave it to a.s.sist and me to do negotiations with Oathless Sword," Young Master Han told the others.
As expected, Oathless Sword had not let the cat out of the bag for no reason. Just the fact that they could not complete the guild quest by their merit was depressing. They could only turn to mercenaries for aid in the end; why else would they be willing to fork out money otherwise?
He had even purposely made it sound casual over by Ray's Bar to cover up this truth and prevent people from making a quick buck by overcharging him. In the end, he was still easily seen through by Young Master Han and other similarly insightful players. Oathless Sword actually felt elated when people immediately chased him to express their interest just after he had left the bar! Their earnest att.i.tude naturally made it easy for Traversing Four Seas to seize the upper hand in the ensuing price negotiations.
However, he soon discovered that the players who had chased after him were not from any powerful mercenary groups. Oathless Sword was keener on getting those mercenaries that made it to the semifinals, yet not one of them came to them.
Clearly, those mercenaries had seen through his 'cat and mouse' ploy¹. Oathless Sword could only show sincerity by privately messaging these leaders.
The rumors about Gu Xiaosang and Oathless Sword's matter were true. Given their private dealings with one another, and despite her cursing Oathless Sword endlessly in Ray's Bar, she did not make things difficult for him and easily agreed to lend him a hand.
Brave Surge instantly rejected his offer. He had little involvement with Oathless Sword and he frankly did not plan to aid Traversing Four Seas in this matter since the guild was his Carouse Guild's fierce compet.i.tor in Yunduan City. Oathless Sword should really be thankful that Brave Surge did not mess things up for them in secret after realizing that they had difficulties completing the chain quest. As for providing a.s.sistance, why would he do that? Oathless Sword knew of this, yet he still extended an invitation to him. On the one hand he wanted to see how Brave Surge would react to this, but on the other hand he wanted to ward them off from trying to sabotage his plan by finding plenty of help for this quest and threatening the latter of incurring all those mercenary groups' wrath.
Guild Leader Brave Surge's reaction was in line with his status and personality. Foe-herder also refused to aid them. He felt very unhappy with Traversing Four Seas' action today since his guild was a compet.i.tor for the top position as well. As such, Oathless Sword received quite a few rejections from these large guilds.
However, it was The Black Hand and Young Master's Elite that had dealt him a truly devastating blow. They just so happened to be the two major targets of Oathless Sword this time around. The Black Hand was one of the largest mercenary group in Yunduan City that was unaffiliated with any guild, while Young Master's Elite had members that were considered as top experts in a mercenary group or possibly in the whole of Yunduan City.
It was as if the two groups had colluded with one another; telling Oathless Sword of the possible danger in this mission, its long completion period, how the profits mostly depended on drops, the possibility of losses without gaining any benefits… Both claimed that it was bad business given the potential risks that their groups had to take on. While they sounded serious, Oathless Sword could read between the lines and tell that they were merely haggling for a better payout!
Oathless Sword gritted his teeth and offered them a high payout. This made the two express their intention to give the matter further thought, yet neither got back to him after 'thinking further'. Despite his anger, Oathless Sword could only raise the already high price he had previously quoted before finally getting the two mercenary groups' agreement to join this expedition.
Just you wait! We'll settle the score once this quest is completed! Oathless Sword resolved inside after suffering such a thorough fleecing.