Chapter 212 Andrei
How can the ring be of use to Ye Ci?
The ring had no real use other than helping her to gain the trust of Andrei. I could not put Fa’tar to sleep, allowing Ye Ci to safely rescue Andrei. It could not stop the patrolling soldiers from spotting her, nor could it allow her to walk into the dungeon to Andrei’s rescue.
In short, the ring was far less useful than the Lethal Poison.
However, there was still an upside to it. Ye Ci did not have to end the life of Fa’tar. This meant that Red Lake City could continue to flourish and prosper. Ye Ci felt that she was a noble person. She even thought of the future of Red Lake City in the process of completing her quest. I deserve the Best Citizen Award!
Of course, it was just Ye Ci’s fantasy. Her Brooch of Deceit could only be used to disguise herself, and would not work on anybody else. She could not disguise Andrei as a soldier and bring him out of the dungeon. This meant that she could no longer complete the quest. A distressed Ye Ci sat fishing at the bank of the moat not far away from the prison. Although appearing to be fishing, Ye Ci was actually deep in thought. A few of the fishes that she caught even managed to escape.
Just as Ye Ci was at her wit’s end, two soldiers walked past h, while having a conversation. One could easily miss their words if one was not paying attention to them.
In Fate, every NPC had their own thoughts, which would affect their decision making, actions and emotions. If a player paid attention, he or she could always notice that every NPCs exhibited a different behavior, and their dialogues are not repetitive.
The attention to details of the game was very impressive.
Ye Ci was originally not interested in having conversations with NPCs. After all, as a reincarnator, she has experienced a lot of such instances in her past life. She was not at all amazed by such a feature. Fate in its later stages was even more realistic than its current state.
However, today was different for Ye Ci. She was extremely agitated, and could not focus on the problem the she was facing. When the two NPC soldiers walked past Ye Ci, she chanced upon their conversation.
“Aiya, I’m so tired! We’ve been patrolling the streets a lot, but our salary is so low.” Soldier A stretched himself, he was very tired.
“I know right! I barely have enough to drink after handing part of my salary to my wife.” said Solder B. It was apparent that Lord Sha’gar have not been giving his troops a raise for a long time.
“See? It’s good to be single. Even if my salary is little, I can still spend them on drinking and playing cards. I get to spend all the money for myself, unlike you who has a wife and children to take care of.” Soldier A chuckled.
“You don’t know how good it is to get married.” Soldier B shook his head and sighed, “No matter how you look at it though, it’s true that we’ve been earning too little. When can I earn as much as our Chief Warden?”
“Dream on, buddy!” Soldier A chuckled, but he seemed to harbor the same sentiment for Chief Warden Fa’tar as well, “Say, we’re all basically doing the same job, but we don’t get to rest, eat lousy food, and our pay is shit! The guy Fa’tar on the other hand gets to enjoy lavish meals. Hell, he even gets to have his afternoon naps. He’s not even doing anything, but he’s earning way more than us! We’re all the same, but why are we treated so differently?”
“That’s just too unfair.” said Soldier B as he pointed at the hot sun, “Look at that goddamn sun. We don’t even get to rest, or find somewhere shady to hide away from the sun, but Fa’tar gets to have his afternoon nap! This is really, really unfair!”
“Yup! What a jerk! He’s always so strict as well! We’ll have our wages deducted for the slightest mistake we made! I hope he screws up big time someday! I’ll be happy to see him get sacked by Lord Sha’gar.”
That was the conversation between the two NPC as they walked past Ye Ci.
The simple grumbling between two NPCs that appeared so trivial was like a light in Ye Ci’s darkest moment. She was able to finally come up with a plan that would allow her to rescue Andrei from the prison.
However, the plan required an extensive planning and careful observation. Ye Ci could not afford to act rashly. There was only one chance for her to succeed. If she failed, she might never be able to complete the quest ever again.
Bai Mo was curious why Ye Ci would always disappear during noon time every single day. Because of that, he was forced to allow a short 30 minutes break for the guild’s dungeon-clearing activity or find a replacement for Ye Ci’s position. No longer able to tolerate such behavior, Bai Mo finally asked before heading into the dungeon.
“Oh great Gongzi You, where are you headed this afternoon?”
Ye Ci chuckled at Bai Mo, “What do you think?”
“Stop joking around, just where are you going? Don’t you feel guilty that the rest of us have to wait for you in the dungeon everyday?” Bai Mo grabbed hold at Ye Ci’s cape as she was about to leave, “You’re not going anywhere today if you don’t give me an answer.”
“Aiya, it’s just for a little while. You can just find a replacement or clear some monsters away, you don’t have to wait for me.”
“The reason…” Bai Mo refused to allow Ye Ci’s escape without a satisfying answer. He clung on to her cape. We can do this all day long.
“It’s for an Epic-tier quest.” Ye Ci was initially reluctant to reveal the nature of the quest to anyone before she completed the quest. She was not someone who would boast about things. She preferred to quietly inform the people who were close to her after the quest was done. If Bai Mo did not stop her from leaving on this day, she would never have told him the truth.
“An Epic-tier quest?” Bai Mo was momentarily stunned. He then let go of Ye Ci, “Where did you get it?”
Ye Ci checked the game time. It was the time when Fa’tar was about to have his afternoon nap after having his lunch. She had no time to spare. “I’ll tell you about it later. This is a very crucial moment for it. If I screw this up, I’m not going to complete this quest.” said Ye Ci as she activated the City Recalling Stone.
Bai Mo knew about the rarity of such quests, and the uncertainty when it came to completing quests like this. He immediately let Ye Ci go and waved at her, “Go, I’ll get someone to replace you.”
“Okay. Alright then..” Ye Ci disappeared from Bai Mo’s view with a flash of white light before she could finish her sentence.
Ye Ci immediately headed to the area near the prison when she arrived in Red Lake City. After a few days of careful observation, Ye Ci could imitate Fa’tar’s behavior almost perfectly. Of course, she would always disguise herself using the Brooch of Deceit as she observed Fa’tar.
As usual, after a short while after a soldier delivered lunch into Fa’tar’s office, he came out of the place and headed back to his home in the city center. Ye Ci was disguised as a Dwarven Warrior nearby, pretending to be shopping in one of the shops.
“Good afternoon, Lord Fa’tar.”
The merchants in the city would always greet Fa’tar when they heard the clinking of his heavy armor. Despite being a mere Chief Warden, Fa’tar played a more important role than the general of the city’s garrison. He was in charge of keeping any criminals locked away and protecting the safety of the merchants and NPC in the city.
This was also the reason why Ye Ci avoided robbing the NPCs within the city, and could only pick on the NPCs in the surrounding villages. No matter how strong she was, Ye Ci would be wiped out if she took on Fa’tar, who was a lvl 100 Elite NPC.
“Good day, how are you?” Fa’tar was strict only to his subordinates and vicious only to his enemies. He was a very friendly person to the other normal NPCs. Of course, players were not classified as NPCs, and Fa’tar would usually view players with disdain. As an NPC that came from a noble bloodline, Fa’tar hated the players, who were commonly known by the NPCs as “outsiders”. Fa’tar even thought that the law and order in Red Lake City was deteriorating because of the presence of the “outsiders”.
Fa’tar’s thoughts did not matter to Ye Ci. When she saw Fa’tar walking past the shop, Ye Ci immediately left the merchant district.
Ye Ci hid into an alley nearby the prison, and snuck into an abandoned house. She then activated her Brooch of Deceit. Moments later, Fa’tar emerged from the abandoned house in his shining armor..
He looked just like the real one.
This was one of the huge advantage provided by the Brooch of Deceit. A player could disguise himself or herself into any NPC that he or she has interacted with. The disguise was perfect. As long as players were able to imitate the behavior of their disguised NPC, even another NPC could not tell the difference.
That was why the soldiers posted in the prison had their wits shocked out of them when Ye Ci appeared at the entrance. They were surprised and baffled to see Fa’tar suddenly returning to the prison. The soldiers immediately stood at attention and saluted Ye Ci, “Lord Fa’tar, good afternoon.”
Ye Ci snorted coldly, perfectly mimicking Fa’tar’s behavior, “Good afternoon? From what I can see, the afternoon is indeed good for you!”
Ye Ci imitated Fa’tar’s speech perfectly, and the Brooch of Deceit was able to emulate every single features of Fa’tar’s expression. None of the soldiers realised that the Fa’tar standing in front of them was a fake one.
Fa’tar was known to be overly strict to his subordinates. The soldiers knew they were in trouble, when they were caught lazing of on duty. However, Ye Ci’s aim was only to intimidate the soldiers. She opted to punish them lightly and hoped that she did not arouse their suspicion.
“It seems that you think that being a soldier in Red Lake City is dry and dull. How can you doze off in such a good weather? I must punish you, so that you know what it means to be a soldier.” Ye Ci exclaimed loudly with a solemn expression.
The soldiers were all shivering in fear.
“You must’ve grown impatient in this cool and comfortable prison. I want you to go patrol the streets, and teach those outsiders who dare to cause trouble a lesson.” it was widely known that Fa’tar hated the “outsiders” and would always make such arrangements. The soldiers did not suspect a thing when they were given such an order. On the contrary, they were secretly happy that they only received a light punishment from Fa’tar.
With the soldiers out of the way, Ye Ci headed deeper into the prison. That was where the most vicious criminals in Red Lake City was held, and Andrei was one of them.
“L-lord Fa’tar, w-why are y-you here?” the soldier on duty was shocked to see Fa’tar. It was common knowledge that Fa’tar would be taking a nap at this time. Something serious must have happened if he suddenly showed up.”
“What? I can’t show up in the place that is under my supervision?” Ye Ci snorted, “If I did not come here today, I wouldn’t have known that my loyal and hardworking subordinates are all dozing off during my nap time. You’ve all disgraced the image of the Red Lake City military!”
The soldier did not even dare to speak up. He was lucky that he went to bed earlier the day before, and was not tired. He would usually be dozing off at this time, and if he was caught red handed by Fa’tar… The soldier gulped. He did not even dare to imagine what would happen to him.
When the soldier saw Fa’tar heading towards the cells holding the criminals, he immediately handed him the keys, “Milord, are you interrogating one of the prisoners?”
“Hmph!” Ye Ci snorted without answering the soldier, which was a perfect imitation of Fa’tar.
The soldier remained silent as he followed anxiously behind Fa’tar as they headed for the cells. Ye Ci was looking left and right for Andrei. Although she has attempted to scout out the area, the holding cells were not accessible to players. Ye Ci did not have Andrei’s precise location. She could only strolled along like Fa’tar while looking for Andrei.
The area holding the major criminals is not complex, and Ye Ci was able to spot Andrei quickly.
Ye Ci stood outside the cell and motioned at the soldier, “Open the door.”
“Yes milord.” the soldier did not even dare to question the order. He opened the door for Ye Ci, and followed her into the cell.
The smell of rot filled the air in the holding cell. There was no light source other than a burning charcoal pit in a corner of the cell. It was obvious that the charcoal pit was not put in place to warm the prisoner up, and a few iron brands could be seen lying in its withering flames. With the help of the dim light emanating from the charcoal pit, Ye Ci began surveying the holding cell.
It was a big cell with dozens of different torture instruments lining the wall. One would shiver when one lay his or her sight at the dozens of gruesome instruments.
The person who Ye Ci was looking for, Andrei, was strung up on a rack. The man was badly beaten, with wounds covering all parts of his body. Some of his wounds have even begun to fester.
Ye Ci stood in front of Andrei, and covered her nose with a disgruntled expression just like Fa’tar would. The soldier on duty immediately placed a chair behind her and spoke with a tone full of flattery, “Milord, have a seat.”
Ye Ci nodded and took the opportunity to send the soldier away, “You can go now. I’ll come out in a short moment.”
“Yes, milord.” the soldier was reluctant to stay long in Fa’tar’s presence as well. After all, he could feel tremendous pressure whenever he was near Fa’tar. It would be better for him to be lazing around somewhere else. After saluting Ye Ci, the soldier left the cell.
Ye Ci listened to the soldier’s footsteps, and slowly looked at Andrei when she was sure that the soldier was quite a safe distance away.
Andrei returned her gaze with a glare full of fury, “I will not tell you a thing even if you kill me. Is this all you got? Come on! We’ll see which one is tougher! Will it be your torture instruments, or I, Andrei?”
Ye Ci continued staring at Andrei. He did look like a tough guy. Ye Ci rested her elbows on the armrest and crossed her fingers before speaking up calmly, “I haven’t even spoken yet, why do you have to be so loud? It seems that you still have a lot of strength in you.”
“It doesn’t matter anyways! You know why? Because I don’t give a f*ck about suns of beaches like you! Come! Kill me if you have the balls!”
“Oh really? Are you sure?”
“Yes! Come on! Show me what you got!”
Ye Ci smiled. He was indeed a tough person. But, was this tough person smart enough to cooperate with her? If he refused to cooperate, it would be really hard for Ye Ci to complete her quest.
Andrei studied the ring silently, and his expression changed, “Fa’tar! You sun of a beach! You killed my brother! I can’t believe that you killed my brother! I’ll kill you!”
Ye Ci snorted and looked at Andrei with disdain. It seemed that he was not very smart. His abilit to analyze the situation was lacking. Ye Ci had overestimated the IQ and EQ of this NPC, “If Fa’tar killed Milada, do you think that you, Andrei, will still be alive?”
Of course, the words were spoken with Ye Ci’s own voice. It was a soft feminine voice with a hint of coldness. It was a coldness that could chill one down to one’s bones.
“Who… Are you?” Ye Ci was lucky that Fate was a Western Fantasy world. If this happened in an Eastern Fantasy, the NPC might even have thought that Ye Ci was deceiving him through the use of ventriloquism.
“You don’t have to know. I’ve been entrusted by someone to get you out of here.” Ye Ci replied calmly.
“By someone?” Andrei was momentarily stunned before coming into a sudden realization, “You must be talking about Milada! Did Milada sent you to rescue me?”
Ye Ci wasted no effort in answering his question. She continued staring at Andrei while tossing the ring up and down.
“No, it can’t be! You must be Fa’tar! Even if you sound different, you’re still Fa’tar! You’re trying to trick me!” bellowed Andrei angrily, “I will not be tricked by you! Let me tell you, I will never tell you a thing!”
Ye Ci could not bring herself to waste time on talking sense into this NPC with apparently low IQ. Fa’tar was about to return in any moment. If this dragged on, her plan would fail, and she would never be able to get her rewards, and might even lose her Prestige with Red Lake City. She might even be jailed because of this.
She stood up and walked to the interrogation table nearby and took up a set of keys. She walked up to Andrei and released him from the metal rack. Despite Andrei’s tough appearance, his body was heavily injured due to prolonged torture. He fell right onto the ground, opening up more wounds on his already ravaged body. He could do nothing but groan in pain.
Ye Ci paid him no heed. As an NPC, as long as he’s not dead, Andrei would be able to heal up in time.
“The real Fa’tar will be back in about an hour. Do you want to leave this place with me, or do you want to continue wasting time by bickering with me?” Ye Ci looked down at Andrei and gave him a choice. She prayed silently that Andrei would make the right choice, and not drag her down.
“I’m not going with you!” Andrei could still not bring himself to trust Ye Ci who looked just like Fa’tar, “You’re lying!”
Ye Ci’s temper rose. She stooped down and pinched Andrei’s face that was riddled with scar. The convict immediately winced in pain, “So what if I’m Fa’tar? You’ll die if you stay here, and you might die if you go with me. You’re going to die anyways! So what are you afraid of?”
“Who said that I’m afraid?” somebody like Andrei would easily fall prey to tricks like this. Andrei was apparently angered by Ye Ci’s words, “I, Andrei, has been through a lot. There’s nothing that I’ve never experienced before! Do you think that I’ll cower before you petty tricks, Fa’tar? Let’s go then! We’ll see where you end my life today!”
Ye Ci was satisfied with Andrei’s reaction. She let go of his face, and patted him on the cheek, “If that is your wish, let’s go then.”
There was no way Andrei could still move after the injuries that his body has suffered. However, he was reluctant to lose face in front of Ye Ci, or rather, his old Rival Fa’tar. He forced himself to stand on his feet by sheer force of will, and followed close behind Ye Ci, “Fine, I’ll go with you.”
Ye Ci wasted no time in talking with Andrei. She left the cell and leave the prisoner holding area, mimicking Fa’tar’s gait, with her armor clanking on the damp floor, as if she was a harbinger of death.
“M-milord…” the soldier on duty immediately greeted Ye Ci when he heard her footsteps, and his face turned pale when he saw Andrei who was following close behind, “Milord, this prisoner is very dangerous…”
“I’m going to end him this time.” a sinister smile appeared on Ye Ci’s lips, inducing fear nto the soldier’s heart.
“What can I do for you, milord?”
“Get a wagon ready.” said Ye Ci calmly. The soldier immediately snapped to attention and went to carry out Ye Ci’s orders. Ye Ci then picked up her pace and led Andrei out of the prison.
It has been too long since Andrei last seen the sun. He vision blurred the moment he stepped out into the sun, and fainted. Ye Ci gave the soldier who was on duty a look, and the soldier immediately threw Andrei onto the wagon. Ye Ci then climbed onto the horse that was pulling the wagon and nodded at the soldier, “You did a great job. You’re a smart man, well done.”
The soldier was nervous. He was confused by the happenings. But when he received praise from Ye Ci, the soldier was happy. Everybody knew that it was very rare for Fa’tar to praise his subordinates. How could the soldier not be happy when he was praised by “Fa’tar”?
“Thank you milord! Thank you milord.” the soldier was beaming happily.
Ye Ci waved at the soldier, “Get back in there. Somebody must watch over the criminals.”
“Yes, milord.” the soldier, who felt a sudden surge of diligence after receiving praise from Ye Ci, immediately vanished from sight. Ye Ci stole a glance at Andrei who has passed out in the wagon and smiled. She would be able to complete her mission if she was able to leave Red Lake City before Fa’tar returns.
Ye Ci spurred the horse forward with the whip, and the horse immediately dragged the wagon along with it towards the outskirts of Red Lake City.
The wagon was actually not well built, and was rattling furiously as Ye Ci galloped at full speed. She was slightly worried that the wagon would fall apart before she could leave the city. However, she had no time to worry. It was a long journey from the prison to the city gate. If she was not fast enough, she might not be able to leave the city.
Ye Ci did not remove her disguise. Her journey across Red Lake City was not obstructed as the soldiers and NPCs would clear a path for her as she galloped onward.
“Lord Fa’tar is leaving the city! Lord Fa’tar is leaving the city!” shouted the sentries as Ye Ci galloped towards the city gate. The soldiers formed up and saluted at Ye Ci as she rode past them out of the city. She did not even look at the soldiers as she stormed past the men. She then headed to the forest in Silvery Tin Vein after she was a safe distance away from Red Lake City.
Fa’tar who returned to the prison was stunned when there were no sentries around the prison, “Where are my men? Where are my men?” he then roared out in anger.
The soldiers who were posted at the prison were all patrolling the streets, and had no knowledge of the arrival of the real Fa’tar.
After his shouts went unanswered, Fa’tar immediately activated his skill to summoned his sentries. Before long, the soldiers who were patrolling the streets gathered at the prison. They soon came to the realisation that somebody pretending to be Fa’tar has rescued Andrei from the prison.
Fa’tar was furious. Fa’tar was very, very furious.
“All of you are good for nothing! Lock the city down and find this person or you’ll all be fired for your dereliction of duty today!” Fa’tar drew out his sword and roared at his men.
It was all too late.
By that time, Ye Ci had already brought Andrei to a secluded spot in the Silvery Tin Vein. When Andrei returned to his sense, Fa’tar was nowhere in sight, and a female Elf with Silvery hair was staring at hm not fair away. Andrei was confused. He even begun to suspect that he has died.
If he’s alive, why is he not in the prison when he opened his eyes? Why is he in the forest?
Andrei blinked and looked at the female Elf with silvery hair. She was roasting meat over a campfire. The meat sizzled, and Andrei’s nostrils were assaulted by the meat’s fragrant smell. There was a knife covered in blood beside the rock that the Elf was sitting on, and as Andrei looked at the object beside the knife…
He found two lifeless eyes staring at him. Even a seasoned veteran like Andrei was startled. Of course, those eyes belonged to a horse.
“Ah, you’re awake?” Ye Ci stared at Andrei who was looking at… the horse’s head beside her, and smiled, “Eat up. I’m a rather good cook. Do you want a bite?”
Andrei was able to retain his wits despite the relentless assault by the fragrant smell. He visibly gulped, and asked, “Who… Are you?”
Ye Ci tossed the ring to Andrei. It was the most direct answer to Andrei’s question. As expected, he was stunned. That was why the Elf’s voice sounded so familiar to him, “Ah, it’s you!”
Noting that Andrei have not moved closer, Ye Ci threw a piece of roasted meat to him, “Eat while it’s hot. When you’ve regained your strength, I’ll be able to complete my mission.”
Andrei picked up the meat and stared at Ye Ci for a short moment before speaking up, “You’re a citizen of Red Lake City, why are you helping me?”
“I’m a merchant, and a merchant will only do something that benefits him or herself.” Ye Ci pursed her lips, and began eating the roasted horse meat. The horse given to her by the soldier was such a fine horse. Since it was impossible for her to bring it back to the city, she might as well kill it for its meat. It was such a waste.
Andrei stared silently at Ye Ci for a long moment before he started gobbling down the meat. He let out a hearty laugh as he enjoyed his meal, “I like dealing with merchants! They only have benefits in their eyes.”
Ye Ci remained silent. She stared up into the sky, at the dazzling sunlight shining down on her.