Chapter 207 What a Troublesome Dilemma
Ye Ci was momentarily stunned. It seemed that she underestimated Thousand Sunsets. She thought that her action of supporting Unbridled Willow would definitely topple Thousand Sunsets from his seat of power. She was still too green compared to the Old Master. Ye Ci grimaced at the thought. I’m still too naive.
She looked at Green Hill’s Moon and sighed. She wanted to speak her mind, but decided against it.
“I know there’s something that you wish to say.” as a private investigator, Green Hill’s Moon was an expert when it came to human psychology. He knew that Ye Ci had a question for him just by studying her expression.
“So what am I going to say?” Ye Ci smiled at Green Hill’s Moon. Funny, this guy is smart, will he be able to guess it correctly?
“You’re going to ask about Leftie and Gleaming Sunshine.” Green Hill’s Moon was always correct when he made an assumptions.
Ye Ci frowned.. Even if she admired Green Hill’s Moon’s intellect, she was still slightly uncomfortable when somebody was able to guess her thoughts so easily.
“Don’t be angry. I’ve never mentioned this to anyone. You should trust my work ethics. Besides, I’m a man with a conscience. You’ve shown me kindness in my most desperate moment, I will never do something that will cause you harm.” said Green Hill’s Moon who noticed Ye Ci’s frown.
Ye Ci slowly relaxed her eyebrows, but the scowl remained on her face. She continued staring silently at Green Hill’s Moon.
Green Hill’s Moon pursed his lips and continued, “They’re not as lucky as Thousand Sunsets. They’ve lost all their investments. Hell, none of them even came online. I bet their families are in a complete mess right now. If I’m not mistaken, Gleaming Sunshine’s family will soon declare bankruptcy, and Leftie’s family is not doing any better. Don’t worry about it. Just think of it as a side story. Their condition is not within the scope of my job, so I will not dig up any more information about them.”
Ye Ci was dumbfounded. She knew that the two families had invested quite a fortune into the game, but she did not expect them to go all out. Both Dong Yin’s and Yi Cang’s fathers were rational men. They would never take such a huge risk without reason. So what caused them to entrust all their money to Thousand Sunsets?
Although Ye Ci could not fathom the reason behind their actions, it no longer mattered to her at this point.
After all, it was not her intention to hurt them, but they had to pay for the choice they made.
“Will they be able to recover from this?” Ye Ci raised her head and looked at Green Hill’s Moon after a long moment of silence.
A faint smile appeared on Green Hill’s Moon’s lips. His smile was beautiful under the sun, “Who knows? Nobody can predict the future.”
Ye Ci shared the same sentiment as well, “You’re right. Nothing is certain in this world. Nobody knows what will happen tomorrow.”
When he was almost done with his meal, Green Hill’s Moon stood up and stretched himself, “I’ll give you another piece of information for free.”
“What is it?”
“Thousand Sunsets is selling some of his shares of Steel-Blooded Battle Spear. If you have the money to spare, perhaps you can consider to try buying some.” Green Hill’s Moon chuckled, “To be frank with you, I’ve bought a few shares just for the fun.” he then turned towards the doorway, “If you’re going to make a move against him, I hope you can let me know. I don’t want to lose money.”
Ye Ci stared silently at Green Hill’s moon, and shifted her gaze the the scenery outside the window.
Has everything finally ended?
Everything that happened in this world was like an interlude in the life of a human. Something might be sorrowful when it happened, but when we look back in time, it seemed so insignificant.
As foretold by Green Hill’s Moon, Steel-Blooded Battle Spear made an announcement that the guild will be split into two. One half will form the Bloody Steel, while the other half will be known as Battle Spear. Thousand Sunsets will be in charge of the former while the latter will be under the command of Unbridled Willow. The glory of Steel-Blooded Battle Spear ended here.
Thousand Sunsets was still Thousand Sunsets, but Dong Yin and Yi Cang were no longer relevant. Ye Ci no longer heard about them from Liu Chang since that night, as if they had disappeared along with Steel-Blooded Battle Spear.
Ye Ci continued her life of dungeon exploration and completing her Epic-tier quest. Her days were dull at times, yet full of fun. Ye Nantian and Zuo Xiaolan received a storefront from Ye Ci in the heart of Red Lake City when they joined the game. From that place, they started their gaming experience in Fate.
There was no escape from running errands for NPCs even during an Epic-tier quest. Ye Ci had to run countless errands for the NPC. She had to deliver letters, buy groceries, and perform a lot of other trivial tasks. However, the quest chain was more complicated because it was an Epic-tier quest.
Ye Ci’s current task was such an example. She was required to make contact with the bandits that were based northwest of Red Lake City. Great, that’s great!
Ye Ci called up her quest menu, and found a side quest that she had been neglecting for a very long time. She was required to scout out the same bandit hideout. This meant that she could kill two birds with one stone.
Ye Ci teleported back to Red Lake City and headed northwest after summoning Ol’ Four.
The Silvery Tin Vein is a map northwest of Red Lake City. It was a very special place. There were elite monsters ranging from lvl 1 to lvl 100 in the vicinity, and the place was rich with herbs and ores. However, not many players ventured to this map due to the presence of the bandit lair.
The bandits were one of the factions in the Eastern Continent.
There were many different prestige rankings in Fate, including Continent Prestige, City Prestige, Race Prestige, as well as Faction Prestige. The so-called Faction Prestige could be earned from all the different factions that existed in different continents. If players were able to gain the prestige rank of Respected and above with any faction, they would benefit greatly from their relationship with them. There were different NPC communities within Fate, including bandits, criminal organizations, and even different clans of monsters and all races.
One of the factions that existed within Silvery Tin Vein was the Doran Thieves Guild.
Of course, the Doran Thieves Guild in the area was not the main force of the faction. They were merely a tiny branch that set up shop in this area, robbing and stealing from players and NPCs alike.
Despite Red Lake City’s large population, the areas in the outskirts were city were quite deserted. The presence of the Doran Thieves Guild was one of the contributing factors to such a phenomena. Players who decided to level up in Silvery Tin Vein would always travel in groups. Those who preferred to go alone were easy pickings for the bandits.
This was exactly why Ye Ci became the center of attention of the other players when she entered the Silvery Tin Vein alone. In fact, she had the experience of being robbed by the bandits in her last life. Back then, despite her high level, she was still overwhelmed by the bandits as she was travelling alone, and lost quite a number of good quality equipment.
Ye Ci was deeply traumatized by that incident, which was why she had ignored the side quest from Red Lake City.
The bandits were unable to run rampant in the area just beyond the Silvery Tin Vein due to the high number of players. They would surround and annihilate any bandit that appeared, and the bandits were forced to lurk in more secluded areas, picking off targets of opportunity.
Ye Ci avoided the main roads, and travelled down the narrow and more secluded mountain roads. This would definitely draw the attention of the bandits in the area. As expected, it did not take long for Ye Ci to run into a squad of bandits.
The leader of the squad was a ugly looking man. He laughed at Ye Ci with his hands on his hips, “Brothers! I told you there will be idiots walking into our ambush! See? I was right!”
“Boss, she looks tough.” said one of the snivelling bandits as he studied Ol’ Four.
The squad leader noticed Ol’ Four as well. Unlike players, the NPCs was able to tell Ol’ Four’s stats. He knew that Ol’ Four was a tough opponent. The bandit squad leader then glared at Ye Ci, “Oi, why don’t you work with us here and leave some of your belongings behind. It’s that, or you’ll be in a world of pain.”
Ye Ci smiled, “I’m actually looking for someone.”
“You’re looking for someone?” the bandit squad leader was momentarily stunned. “She says she’s here to look for someone” the bandit squad leader let out a laugh, and his subordinates followed suit, “We’re all bandits here! Who do you think you’re looking for?”
Ye Ci knew that she could not reason with the bandits. She took out a badge and said to the squad leader, “I’m looking for your boss.”
“Wow! That thing looks expensive!” one of the bandits immediately stepped forward with the intention to snatch the badge away from Ye Ci, but the squad leader immediately shouted out loud, “Back off! All of you!”
Despite their confusion, the bandits backed off, staring carefully at Ye Ci and their squad leader.
“Where did you get that?” the squad leader asked carefully.
Despite his ugly appearance, the squad leader was slightly intimidating. “I came here from Dark Clay City.” Ye Ci smiled.
“Dark Clay City?” the squad leader narrowed his eyes. He studied Ye Ci closely, and sneered coldly, “But why do you reek of the smell of someone from the Red Lake City?”
“So what? I live in Red Lake City. Is there something wrong with that?” Ye Ci’s smile remained on her face.
“That makes you our enemy.” the squad leader waved at his men, and Ye Ci was immediately surrounded by the bandits.
Some of the many factions in Fate were hostile against one another. The Doran Thieves Guild, with their branches stationed in the vicinity of large cities, was naturally in conflict with the NPCs with the city. They were hunted down and killed on sight by the cities’ NPCs, and the NPCs in the cities would often be robbed by the bandits. If was only natural for the Doran Thieves Guild to be enemies with the cities.
As a citizen of Red Lake City, Ye Ci was in an opposing faction of the bandits. That was why they was immediately surrounded Ye Ci when her identity as a Red Lake City citizen was revealed. She was like a fat goat that walked willingly into the midst of a pack of hungry wolves. The bandits would shame their guild if they did not kill Ye Ci and wipe her out from the face of the world.
However, Ye Ci remained calm and maintained her smile, “Yes, I am indeed a citizen of Red Lake City, and it is true that you’re enemies with Red Lake City. However, I believe that this has nothing to do with my business here. I’m running an errand in the stead of Lord Moore of Dark Clay City. Why would you stop me just because I’m a citizen of Red Lake City? Why don’t you allow me to settle my assignment from Dark Clay City first?”
The bandits were confused by ye Ci’s words. After remaining silent for a long while, the squad leader replied, “You make sense. If I stopped you from completing your task just because you’re a citizen of Red Lake City, it will be troublesome for the lord of Dark Clay City. I’ll be in deep shit if my boss finds out!”
Ye Ci narrowed her eyes. She had long suspected that the bandits had ties with Dark Clay City. She was proven to be correct. However, she was still not sure if it was the mayor of the city or Lord Moore himself that had dealings with the bandits. After all, she has never even seen the face of Lord Moore before.
Just like that, Ye Ci was escorted by a large group of bandits into their hideout deep in the Silvery Tin Vein.
The hideout was actually a small village packed full of men, women and children. There were even merchants within the village. However, their names were all red to Ye Ci, and she was sure that her name was red to the NPCs as well. They would definitely have torn her apart if not for her escort.
She was like a mobile aggro generator in the village.
Ye Ci was led into a slightly beautiful house, and was stopped in front of an NPC named Millard . From his appearance and demeanor, he was the boss of the bandits, which meant that he was the person Ye Ci was looking for.”
“Boss! Boss! I’ve caught somebody from Red Lake City!”
“Why didn’t you kill her right away? Why did you bring her here? You’re useless!” Millard stared at Ye Ci with disgust written all over his face. It was obvious that the bandits harbored a deep hatred for red Lake City.
“I was going to do it, but… But…” the squad leader in an awkward spot. He looked at Ye Ci, and then at Millard , as if he was a rat trapped between two monsters.
“But what?” Millard lost his patience. He stood up, flinging the book that he was previously reading aside, and glared angrily at the squad leader.
“But she said that she was here to do Moore’s bidding.”
“Moore?” Millard was slightly stunned, “What Moore?”
“Lord Moore from Dark Clay City. Look, she even has Moore’s badge.” the squad leader pulled Ye Ci forward, motioning for her to show Moore’s badge to Millard as a proof that he was telling the truth.
Ye Ci took the badge out from her inventory and handed it to the squad leader, who then handed it to Millard , “Look at this, boss! This is the badge of Dark Clay City’s lord am I right? Although I’ve only seen it once, I will not forget something as beautiful as this! There’s nothing more gorgeous than the badge of Lord Moore!” the squad leader boasted, as if it was his idea to capture Ye Ci.
Millard rolled his eyes and studied the badge silently to confirm its authenticity. He then looked at Ye Ci, and gestured for the rest of subordinates to leave the room. He spoke up after they have left the room, “Did the lord of Dark Clay City handed this to you?”
“No.” not wishing to lie to Millard , Ye Ci told him the truth.
“What? You lied to me!” the squad leader who remained standing by Millard ’s side drew his sword –
“Get out! I’m the one in charge here!” Millard immediately dismissed the squad leader before shifting his gaze back to Ye Ci, “If it’s not the city lord, it must be…”
“It’s from the mayor. He told me that the city lord wanted me to hand this letter to you.” said Ye Ci as she handed a letter to Millard .
Millard raised his eyebrows as he accepted the letter from Ye Ci. Different expressions flashed across Millard ’s face as he read the letter. Ye Ci was very curious about the content of the letter, and had even attempted to read what was written within. However, she was restricted from opening the letter by the system.
As she observed Millard ’s expression, Ye Ci was still unable to make a guess about the letter’s content. Despite that, Ye Ci paid close attention to Millard . She was ready for the worst case scenario. If Millard ordered his subordinates against Ye Ci, she was ready to kill every single one of the bandits should the need arose.
However, the worst case scenario Ye Ci was expecting did not happen. Millard raised his eyebrows and spoke to Ye Ci, “I’ve read the letter, but I still don’t trust you. Even if you’re favored by Moore, it does not mean that you have my trust. You do know that there’s a feud between us and the people of Red Lake City, and you happened to be a citizen of that city. I can’t do as Moore asked and entrust you with the next task.”
Ye Ci creased her eyebrows. Don’t tell me that I’m going to fail this Epic Quest just like that! But when she took a look at Millard , Ye Ci noticed that he had more to say, and she waited patiently for him to continue his words.
“But… I respect Moore’s choice. I’ll hand the quest to you if you can fulfill my conditions.”
As expected, NPCs were always trying to tempt players to fall into the abyss of endless errands by offering them huge amount of benefits. Ye Ci smiled at Millard , “What do you ask of me?”
“If you can reach the prestige of Respected in the Doran Thieves Guild, I will hand you the task.” said Millard . When Ye Ci tried to talk to Millard after he finished his sentence, she was only offered the same response, “You have not fulfilled my condition yet.”. It was apparent that Millard ’s condition must be met before she could proceed with the quest.
She now had to raise her prestige with the Doran Thieves Guild to the level of Respected.
But how? Ye Ci wasted no time in pondering such a question. Upon leaving Millard ’s house, Ye Ci noted that the bandits within the hideout were still red-named, with the sole exception of an NPC named John, who had a yellow name. After a brief conversation with John, Ye Ci knew what must be done.
She had to raise her prestige with the Doran Thieves Guild by robbing players. Her prestige level would rise with each kill of an NPC from Red Lake City.
Ye Ci stared at the description with mouth agape. You’ve gotta be shitting me! She would definitely be chased down and annihilated by players if she led the bandits against players who were nearby. If she opted to rob or kill NPCs from Red Lake City, her hard earned prestige level in that city would suffer a devastating blow. If she wanted to complete this Epic-tier quest, she must sacrifice her prestige in Red Lake City. Ye Ci refused to accept such a fate.
It was a very troublesome dilemma.
With her wit at its end, Ye Ci could only leave the place and return to Red Lake City to complete her side quest. After reading the description of the follow up quest, Ye Ci felt that she was the unluckiest person in the world.
The following was written in the description of her side quest: Deal a crushing blow to the Doran Thieves Guild (100 times). How can she deal a crushing blow to the Doran Thieves Guild? The are as follows:
Kill a bandit. Capture a bandit. Torture a bandit.
Ye Ci nearly cursed out loud as she stood at the entrance of the city hall. Just what the hell is wrong with all these quest?
Really, the game developers were not the ones to be blamed. Who would have thought that a player would receive the side quest and the Epic-tier quest at the same time? At the same time, nobody would expect that particular player to choose Red Lake City as her home city.
Just as Ye Ci was faced with this headache-inducing dilemma, she received a private message.
“Gongzi You, did you tell NightAndDay about the thing between me and Into The Sunset?” the sender of the message was none other than Wandering Cloud. Ye Ci could feel his anger even when it was only a text message.
Ye Ci narrowed her eyes. Had NightAndDay spilled everything to Wandering Cloud? It can’t be! He was the leader of a large guild, there was no way he would do something stupid like that. Noticing that NightAndDay was online when she opened her friend list, Ye Ci immediately sent him a message, “Wandering Cloud is bothering me.”
She received an instantaneous reply from NightAndDay, “He’s bothering you? Why?”
“What do you think?”
NightAndDay immediately grasped the meaning behind Ye Ci’s words, “I’ve never told him anything. Do you think I’ll do something so stupid after what he did?” said the man as he shook his head.
Ye Ci felt the same way as well. If NightAndDay was unable to keep such a trivial thing a secret, there was no way he could achieve what he had. There was only one possibility: Wandering Cloud made his own assumptions. Judging from his tone, he was not entirely sure of his accusation as well, “Alright, sorry for bothering you.”
Before she could turn off her chat window with NightAndDay, Ye Ci received another message, “By the way, about the fifth BOSS of Castle Ruins… Did you run or did you jump?”
Many of the major guilds were unable to clear the Castle Ruins even after the First Five was already announced. They were still bogged down by the final BOSS. Tang Dynasty was one such guild. NightAndDay himself took command in the dungeon exploration, and was unable to solve the problem at the third stage of the BOSS battle. That was why he decided to ask Ye Ci for a hint.
“200,000 gold coins.” Ye Ci immediately asked for a price.
“F*ck me! Can you be even more of a scrooge?! You want me to pay you 200,000 gold coins just for a word? Do you seriously think that the money I have fell from the sky?” NightAndDay was driven mad by Ye Ci.
“Then you can go ask someone else.” Ye Ci wasted no time with NightAndDay. She was annoyed by the blinking message notifications from Wandering Cloud.
“Wait, wait!” NightAndDay immediately sent a message to catch Ye Ci’s attention. This was the only chance he could get an answer from someone, “Just tell me, please!”
“Many of the guilds out there have cleared the dungeon. Why must you get the answer from me? You can simply ask around.” Ye Ci was baffled. Castle Ruins was a 500-man dungeon. There must be someone who was willing to tell him the answer.
“I did, but the answers I received were all false. I had no choice but to ask you.”
“200,000 gold coins.” Ye Ci did not even blink, “Don’t forget that you’ve caused a substantial amount of losses to my guild when your members attacked mine the last time. This is not a high price to pay.”
“Alright, alright! 200,000 gold coins it is! So do I run away from it or do I jump?” NightAndDay could only admit defeat. He had come to realize that he must not always follow his emotions. If things could be solved that way, the affair between Wandering Cloud and Into The Sunset would not have happened. He was no longer disgusted by Gongzi You’s attitude of placing benefits above all else. “I’ll pay you when I leave the dungeon. Just give me the answer. Please, please!”
“It’s neither of them. You have to lie down.” said Ye Ci to NightAndDay. Just then, she received yet another message from Wandering Cloud, “Did you not bring him along to explore the dungeon?”
“I placed him in charge of the third and fourth squadron.” NightAndDay was visibly calmer when he received his answer, and was able to converse with Ye Ci in a calm and composed manner. One might even think that he was not even in the process of exploring a dungeon. Ye Ci admired his attitude. Everything is fine as long as the guild members could work together to clear the dungeon. The achievement of First Blood, or securing a spot in the First Five were not important. They should be enjoying the game, not being r*ped by the game.
“I should charge you another 200,000 gold coins for leaving him so idle,” Ye Ci gritted her teeth, “Can’t you keep your own members in line? Stop bothering me with your guild’s problems!”
NightAndDay could understand Ye Ci’s annoyance, “Just try getting rid of him on your own just this once. I am going to deal with him soon enough. I’m sorry.”
There was nothing else Ye Ci could say to NightAndDay. After closing the chat window with him, Ye Ci opened the messages from Wandering Cloud.
“Gongzi You, say something!”
“Gongzi You! How could you tell NightAndDay about something like that? Have I ever wronged you? Why did you do this to me?”
“Say something! Do you think I’ll let it slide if you remain silent?”
“I’m warning you! If you don’t respond, I will find you, and I will make you pay! You’ve caused me trouble, and I’ll make sure that you suffer for a lifetime!”
Wandering Cloud’s messages were all anonymous as he was not a friend of Ye Ci. However, Ye Ci knew who the messages were from judging by the names mentioned in the messages.
As she read the messages, more were flowing into her mailbox. There was no way Ye Ci was willing to be dragged into this mess. It was for her best interest to act dumb, “Excuse me, may I know who is this?”
The blow this message has dealt to Wandering Cloud was devastating. He felt as if somebody has poured a huge bucket of ice onto him. He was utterly lost for words
Wandering Cloud could not connect to a voice chat with Ye Ci as she was not a friend of his, and he knew that his messages would appear anonymous as well. Despite that, he expected ye Ci to be able to guess his identity after all the messages he sent.
Wandering Cloud’s temper soared.
He was so angry that his brain was about to burst from all the rage. It was not clear if Gongzi You did not know who he was, or was simply feigning ignorance. No matter what the answer was, he knew he had to get to the bottom of things.
He suppressed his anger and sent another message to Ye Ci, “Gongzi You, it’s me, Wandering Cloud!”
“Ah, it’s you! Why are you spamming me with messages?” Ye Ci knew that it would be hard to deal with Wandering Cloud after reading his reply.
“Did you… Tell NightAndDay about that?”
“What are you talking about?” Ye Ci narrowed her eyes.
“Uhh… You know…” Wandering Cloud’s answer was very vague, “Floral Apartment…”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about! What is Floral Apartment anyways?” Ye Ci continued to feign ignorance. If Wandering Cloud was smart enough, he would be able to take the hint.
As expected, Wandering Cloud was still quite rational. He remained silent for a long while after receiving Ye Ci’s message before sending her another message, “You don’t know?”
“What do you want me to know?” Ye Ci pursed her lips.
With that, Wandering Cloud was forced to take believe Ye Ci’s words. He could no longer bring himself to continue his questions. Doing so would only mean that he was admitting his affair with Into The Sunset to Ye Ci. Judging from Ye Ci’s words, he was sure that she would not reveal his secret. In a circumstances like this, there was no choice for Wandering Cloud but to trust Ye Ci’s words.
“Ah, it’s nothing.” Wandering Cloud immediately ended the topic. NightAndDay might really have discovered something. Or, could it be…
“Why don’t you add me as a friend, Gongzi You? I’m sure we’ll have the chance to work together in the future.” despite his suspicions, Wandering Cloud attempted to build up a relationship with Ye Ci. It would benefit him greatly if they could become friends. This girl had connections with the leaders of many major guilds. If he was able to secure a friendship with her, he might be able to put her to use if he had a fall out with NightAndDay.
Ye Ci raised her eyebrows.
These words… He said the same thing to her in her past life… But how did she respond to them back then?