Chapter 249 Guild Affairs
It was much simpler to return to Eastern Continent from Hurricane City. Ye Ci bought a few flying shards and headed towards the teleport crystal. Once there, it would only take but mere moments for her to return to Eastern Continent.
As Southern Continent’s capital, Hurricane City was far more prosperous compared to smaller cities. The city design was very different from the layout of Champion City. While Champion City was set up like an eight trigram, with the administrative area in the center, surrounded by different districts with roads providing easy to all parts of the city, Hurricane City was built like an inwards sinking basin. The administration hub of the city was located at its center while its districts were scattered around the slopes of the basin. From afar, one could see that the administration area was at a slightly lower elevation than its surrounding districts.
The city’s terrain was deemed disadvantageous for any defenders, but Hurricane City had the best fortifications among the four major cities. Any attackers would find themselves at odds against the formidable defences of the city. The developers did their best to eliminate the presence of BUGs from the game, which was why BUGs were very few and far between in Fate.
Ye Ci followed the crowd towards the administrative district’s largest teleportation crystal. This was the city’s main crystal. It was the best choice for another continent’s player like her as the main teleportation crystals was connected to all of the major cities in the other continents.
The Hunter enjoyed high Agility and Balance, while having a slightly lower Perception. Even when Ye Ci’s Perception could not compare to a Rogue’s, it was still considerably high when compared to the average player. She could feel gazes locking on to her as she waded through the crowd, but could find nothing suspicious whenever she turned around. Was it just my imagination?
Ye Ci sighed and continued with unhurried steps. She spotted a group of soldiers patrolling the streets, and immediately ducked into their midst, disappearing into a nearby alleyway. She activated Camouflage and immediately and melted into her surroundings.
Two Rogues appeared just when Ye Ci activated her abilities, and she was not familiar with the faces she saw.
“Where did she go?” one of the Rogues was a Human while his companion an Undead. The one who spoke up was the Undead Rogue. His skin was pasty white, and his grey eyes that were unique only to his race shone with a hint of ferocity. With a glance, Ye Ci could tell that the player was clad in Purple quality equipment. This meant that he was no ordinary player.
“I have no idea. She disappeared right as she passed by the sentries.” thought slightly inferior to the Undead, the Human’s equipment was quite decent as well. It was apparent from the conversation of the duo that the Human was a subordinate of the Undead Rogue.
“What the heck were you doing? How could you lose her like that?” The Undead Rogue frowned. His voice was fairly calm, but one could tell that he was reprimanding the Human Rogue.
The Human Rogue shrugged, “Boss Ghost Cat, she is Eastern Continent’s top-tiered player……”
Ghost Cat waved his hand dismissively, cutting the Human Rogue off before taking in a deep breath. He knew that the Human Rogue was not the one to be blamed. The Human Rogue was right; their target was the top player of the Eastern Continent and a renowned solo player. A player like her would have an in-depth knowledge of shaking off potential pursuers. Even though Ghost Cat and his Human subordinate were some of the best trackers in their guild, there was still a chance that they might be discovered by Gongzi You.
He lowered his head, appearing to be deep in thought, “Cabin In The Woods, head back to the guild first. Get the Rogue squadron to send 20 more men over. We must locate Gongzi You.”
“Boss Ghost Cat, will Gongzi You still be in Hurricane City? Wouldn’t she have already escaped after noticing our presence?” Cabin In The Woods was anxious.
Ghost Cat shook his head and studied his surroundings carefully, and the ghost of a smile appeared on his lips, “Nope.”
“Ah? Why are you so sure?” Cabin In The Woods was confused. How can he be so sure? It’s not like he knows Gongzi You. Why is he speaking as if he knows her well?
“She’s a top-tier player, and top players are strange creatures. They have a strong sense of curiousity, especially under circumstances like this. There’s no way she’ll leave before finding out why she was followed.” said Ghost Cat as he twirled his dagger. The smile on his face gave him a scary expression as he surveyed his surroundings with an intense gaze, “If I’m not wrong, it’s very likely that Gongzi You is just nearby.”
“Really?” Cabin In The Woods immediately studied his surroundings as well, but to no avail.
The duo was at a level disadvantage against Ye Ci, which meant that they would not be able to see through her Camouflage easily. This was why she was not worried as she eavesdropped on them. Despite their lowered voices, Ye Ci could still hear their conversation due to her heightened hearing as an Elf. She smiled as she stared at Ghost Cat’s plain face.
His deduction of the situation is correct, and he was able to track me despite the large crowd. Even if he’s not a top-tier player of the Southern Continent, this man sure has the potential.
But why is someone like him going after me? Ye Ci was puzzled. The Southern Continent is allies with the Eastern Continent. Conflict between us is next to impossible. Besides, I’ve never done anything bad in the Southern Continent! Why are people out for me? Ye Ci, who had just returned from the Western Continent was baffled by the absurdity of the situation. What the heck is going on? Why am I treated like a VIP in a hostile continent, but is tailed like a criminal in a friendly continent?
Ye Ci knelt in a corner as she studied Ghost Cat and Cabin In The Woods. Cabin In The Woods left after receiving an instruction from Ghost Cat, who immediately entered Stealth.
Since they were players of allied continents, it was more difficult for them to locate an ally player than to find and enemy. Besides, Ye Ci could not activate Detection while she was in Camouflage. She chose to close her eyes and sensed her surroundings with her high Perception. It’s so quiet. Has Ghost Cat left?
Ye Ci was certain that Ghost Cat had already discovered her existence during his conversation with Cabin In The Woods. But where is Ghost Cat?
Suddenly, Ye Ci felt a sliver of cold air directed right at her head, its speed made dodging almost impossible. Ye Ci knew that the incoming attack was Staggering Blow, a skill frequently used by Rogues. A hit will take away a large chunk of her HP, and stun her for a significant period of time. Despite the differences in their levels, a Rogue would receive bonus that could ignore level penalties when attacking from the back.
Ghost Cat narrowed his eyes, his vision turned green, allowing him to see the form of a person in Stealth or Camouflage. This was a high-tier Rogue skill, Expose, that had a very low drop rate. Ghost Cat had never missed a person with his Expose.
Then again, Ghost Cat was faced with a major blunder: His opponent was Gongzi You. He had been trying to detect the presence of Gongzi You with Expose during his conversation with Cabin In The Woods, but had only detected her presence when he was within 20 yards of the Gongzi You.
She’s not a Rogue, but she’s better at hiding than most of us. Ghost Cat was not stingy with his praise, As expected of a top-tier player. She’s a tough one. Despite his orders to simply observe the actions of Gongzi You, Ghost Cat’s thirst of battle drove him to send Cabin In The Woods away. He then launched an attack at Ye Ci. Even when he was ranked high in the ranking board of the Southern Continent, Ghost Cat was still not qualified as a top-tier player.
Ghost Cat had no previous gaming experience, and Fate was his first virtual reality game. However, some people were born with an innate talent for gaming, and Ghost Cat was one of them. He was able to quickly to hone his techniques through countless battles, and even when he was unable to reach the very top, he had few equals in the Southern Continent.
In a fight between a Rogue and a Hunter, both sides would have an even chance of winning. Hunters were better at dodging, while Rogues excelled at closing the gap with their opponents. The two classes also shared a similar amount of points in terms of Agility, which meant that it was rather difficult for both combatants to keep a distance from each other. But if a Rogue could was able to remain within 8 yards of the Hunter, then victory is certainly assured for the Rogue.
This was the experience gained by Ghost Cat after his fight against some of the Southern Continent’s best Hunters. He applied his experience in his fight with Ye Ci, but he had forgotten a very important thing: the gap between a top-tier and an expert player is vast.
Ghost Cat’s eyes were filled with bloodlust as he took at swing at the back of Ye Ci’s head. It’s a hit!
However, Ye Ci seemed to have subconsciously shifted her body slightly to the left a second before his dagger connected with her head. They were half a yard away from one another when he decided to strike, but his had missed its mark completely. Ghost Cat’s heart stopped. What was going on? How did Gongzi Yo avoid my attack? Was her action intentional or did she do it unintentionally?
A person caught hold of the wrist of Ghost Cat’s hand that was holding his dagger while he was still deep in shock. He lowered his head and saw a pale arm with long fingers and an ornamental ring on the thumb. This was the hand of Gongzi You.
Ghost Cat froze.
He knew that he was fast, and he knew that his attack was swift. Gongzi You was able to dodge his blow and grab on to his wrist despite his speed. Just what sort of ungodly reaction time does she have?
While Ghost Cat was still in shock, he felt his body suddenly lighten as he was lifted up and thrown aside. Even as he landed roughly on the ground, Ghost Cat still could not understand how Gongzi You was able to pull off such a maneuver. His thoughts went back to the previous moments, searching for any hints that might help in solving the mystery. No matter how hard he tried, it was to no avail.
“Why are you following me?” Ye Ci frowned as she stood before Ghost Cat. She had refrained from riding on Ol’ Four to avoid notice, and yet she was still discovered.
Ghost Cat stared at Gongzi You as he sat up. The Huntress did not show any intention of taking his life. After all, they were from allying continents and they were currently in Hurricane City. If they fought, sentries would immediately arrive and throw them into jail. As he stared at Gongzi You, his brief encounter with the Huntress mere moments ago was still replaying in his mind.
Ye Ci immediately made ready to leave when she received no answer from Ghost Cat.The Southern Continent was in turmoil. Despite her initial plan to have a look at Southern Continent’s Mithril mine, she knew that it was not the time, especially when she was being followed by a large number of unknown players.
A quick glance at the guild emblem on Ghost Cat’s chest told Ye Ci that he was a player from the Isle of Heroes. She sneered coldly at the man, the situation in the Southern Continent is worse than I thought. No wonder I was able to back Fluttering Red Feather into a corner so easily. They’re already at each other’s throat. I bet they have been tailing me the moment I entered this city. They must be after the same thing as the Black Plum Family.
Ye Ci’s heart almost skipped a beat. She had thought that the Eastern Continent was the most chaotic of the four continents, but reality showed that it was the same in every continent. Golden Era’s impending had plunged the players into restlessness. With the objective of the other party already clear in her mind, Ye Ci no longer see the need to remain in the city. She was quick the blend in with the crowd and vanished from sight.
Ghost Cat was still badly shaken as he stood up slowly. So this is the difference between a top and expert player? He took in a deep breath. Though he was still unsure how he was defeated by Gongzi You, but he aspired to achieve the same feat in the future.
Ye Ci took in a deep breath as she stood beside the teleporter of Red Lake City. Ah… I’m finally back in the Eastern Continent. The few days she spent away from the Eastern Continent felt like an eternity. There are things that need to be done, I have to make haste. thought Ye Ci to herself as she made her way to the guild encampment.
With Bai Mo away frequently, the important task of handling the guild fell to Timely Rain, who was able to manage the guild very well. Ye Ci’s return was a great source of joy to Timely Rain. She knew that the man had shouldered the great burden of managing the guild alone, and that he was exhausted.
Timely Rain immediately began updating Ye Ci with reports the moment she stepped into the guild encampment.
“The First Squadron has already cleared all the lvl45 dungeons at the Expert difficulty. Now they are helping the Second and Third Squadrons with clearing the Hard difficulty lvl45 dungeons. The Second Squadron is making good progress, but the Third ran into some minor problems. With the help of the guys from the First Squadron, I’m sure they can make it somehow.”
“We have 23,000 players in our guild, but only 2,000 are qualified to be part of our elite squadron. Players in the Elite Squad had all signed their contracts with us. There’s 123 players who are deemed as our core members. Remote Depths have signed contracts with these players as well before he left. They will have to pay a very high compensation if they leave the guild, and I have already acquired the services of Green Hill’s Moon to have a thorough background check on them.They’re quite dependable, and are very loyal to the guild. Some of them were headhunted by the other guilds, but they have rejected their offers”
“The guild has 3,730,000 gold coins in its account, and while they are enough for our daily expenses, it’s not enough for us to expand our guild.”
“We are running dry on equipment and materials, but there’s nothing much we can do as most of the resources are being hogged by the major guilds. The leftovers that we get are hardly enough, and the prices at the auction house are not helping at all. We will not be able to sustain the expenses of purchasing materials through the auction house for long with the rapid increase in prices. Something must be done about this…”
“We only have 96 players who possess skills above lvl45. Drop rate for skill books is too low, and this is greatly limiting our growth.”
“The guild now has 1 Advanced tier and 43 Medium tier Potion Potion Masters; 2 Advanced tier and 37 Medium tier Tailors; 1 Advanced tier and 39 Medium tier Alchemists; 3 Advance tier and 56 Medium tier Blacksmiths; 2 Advanced tier and 44 medium tier Chefs; 1 Advanced tier and 32 Medium tier Engineers; 1 Advanced tier and 18 Medium tier Jeweler; 2 Advanced tier and and 41 Medium tier Enchanters…”
Ye Ci was a silent partner in the Guild and had rarely tended to guild matters. The reports from Timely Rain gave her a pounding headache. She came to the realization that she had been idling for far too long while Bai Mo and Timely Rain were busy managing the guild. As a reincarnator, she contributed less to the growth of the guild than Bai Mo and Timely Rain.
“Do we have any guild members who learned Goblin Engineering?” Ye Ci finally found the opportunity to speak up since Timely Rain began his report. This was something that she had to resolve as soon as possible.
“We do, but there’s only 6 of them, and none of them is at the Medium tier yet. Goblin Engineering recipes are very hard to come by.” replied Timely Rain. The true worth of Goblin Engineering was not known to players at the current stage of the game.
Goblin engineers were definitely difficult to find. thought Ye Ci to herself. Even in her past life, the population of Goblin Engineers grew only after siege engines were introduced into the game. Goblin Engineering was something that was deemed inferior to players at the current stage of the game. Wait a second… a sudden thought flashed across Ye Ci’s mind, that person should already be a Goblin Engineering at this point in time. If we can invite him into the guild, Upwards Ho! will become a major arms dealer.
She decided to quickly find this person. However, she still had some other tasks to complete first. She leaned over the desk and wrote down numerous names and handed the list to Timely Rain. “Get your people to try and them to the guild. I don’t care if you have to give the most generous terms you can afford.”
Timely Rain looked at the list of names. They were names that he did not recognize at all. “And they are….” asked Timely Rain a confused expression.
“They are all Life Players.” The names listed down by Ye Ci were all exceptional players.. They did not enter the game as soon as it was released, and had only started their life as a gamer half a year later. They started off as players simply looking for fun, but ended up as professional players after some good streaks of luck that saw them obtaining rare skills through the completion of Epic and Legendary tier quests.
Of course, Ye Ci made her decision after serious considerations.
The initial batch of Life Players who had potential had all been snatched up by the large guilds. By now, the large guilds had already collected numerous Life Players. They won’t pay much attention to the Life Players who entered later. Even if they did, new Life Players were too expensive to train. With the medium and small guilds lacking the capabilities to afford them, and the requirements to join a large guild harsh, these players lived in misery.
Some of the names listed were not exceptionally famous in Ye Ci’s previous life, but they were individuals with great personalities. The large guilds selected exquisite players, but Ye Ci picked the top of the cream because of her prior experience, and this would definitely help in the growth of her guild.
For example, Upwards Ho!’s main dungeon clearing squad’s growth was similar to those of the large guilds like Tang Dynasty, Wolf Pack and Genesis. This was an impossible feat for a new and relatively small guild like Upwards Ho!.
“OK, I’ll send someone to get in touch with them.” Timely Rain did not ask too many questions. He knew that no matter how nonsensical Ye Ci’s decisions appeared to be, they were made after countless thoughts and considerations. Thus, Timely Rain never questioned the tasks handed to him by Ye Ci.
His faith in Ye Ci started when he first ended up in the same party as Ye Ci, and it had only deepened.
“Also, I heard from Remote Depths that our guild has a team dedicated to intelligence gathering. How is that group developing?” this was something that Ye Ci had never paid attention to before. As the guild leader, Bai Mo had considered numerous aspects that Ye Ci herself have overlooked. The ability to obtain covert information early was an advantage in this digital era.
Every large guild had their own intelligence division, and Upwards Ho! of course was not the one to come up with the idea. The guild, however, enjoyed a higher population of quality players than their counterparts, which gave them an edge in intelligence gathering. Without the efforts of their intelligence divisions, Fluttering Red Feather and Isle of Heroes would not be able to know of Ye Ci’s arrival in Hurricane City. What happened to Ye Ci in the Southern Continent told her that Upwards Ho! must not be lacking in terms of intelligence gathering, especially with the impending arrival of Golden Era. Depending solely on Green Hill’s Moon would definitely spell disaster.
“It’s been going on for some time now, and they’re getting better and better at it.” Timely Rain could not suppress the smile that appeared on his lips. It was apparent that he was satisfied with the group’s performance.
Ye Ci then sent a set of coordinates to Timely Rain, “Send someone to explore this area, see if there’s any other guilds that are after this deserted city.”
The coordinates belonged to a deserted city located near a lvl90 map. The city, in its former glory, flourished more than Champion City. However, the city later fell into ruins in the Great War and became the home of Demons. The city was once known as “Morley”, which means “flourish” in the Old Common Language. It was known in the current day as “Sodom”. It became a city of sins.
In the Eastern Continent, Sodom was one of the cities closest to the Middle Continent upon its capture. The whole map was part of the Forbidden Zone surrounded by more than 60 lvl90 maps, 30 lvl100 maps, and more than 30 lvl100+ maps. This meant that Sodom was virtually inaccessible by players.
This was also why Ye Ci did not choose Champion City as her home city. She knew that Upwards Ho! could not afford to appear to be overly ambitious until the guild was strong enough to take on any potential opponents. Besides, the expensive properties in Champion City meant that Upwards Ho! simply did not have enough funds to sustain its growth in the city. Setting up in another city was a way better alternative than trying to survive in Champion City.
Players would definitely flock to the area near Sodom upon its capture, and the faction in control of Sodom would be able to earn huge amounts of tax when players travel to the Middle Continent with the teleportation crystal in the city.
Ye Ci clearly remembered that Wolf Pack was the guild that captured Sodom with great effort in her previous life. The Wolf Pack competed against Tang Dynasty for the ownership of Sodom after Golden Era had finally pulled out of Fate. The battle between the two guilds was of such epic proportions that it was recorded in the history of Fate. The Wolf Pack emerged victorious in the battle and began their journey to be the dominant power in the Eastern Continent.
With the capture of Sodom, Wolf Pack experienced a growth in an unprecedented scale, and they were able to surpass the Tang Dynasty who was considered their rival with equal power in merely half a year.
Sodom was originally not part of Ye Ci’s plan to expand her guild. Even with her exceptional skills, she was but a single player. With the formation of Upwards Ho!, the discovery of the Mithirl ore vein, and Goblin Engineering, Sodom is easily within her grasp.
In her previous life, Sodom was taken by Wolf Pack three years after the game started. However, in this life, she may be able to capture Sodom way before that if she could pull it off before the arrival of Golden Era. Ye Ci’s heart was thumping in her chest. Not only would she correct her past mistakes, she would also work hard to push herself to new heights.
Timely Rain’s heart skipped a beat when he heard Ye Ci’s words, and his face immediately paled, “Gongzi, this is a lvl90 map…”
“Send in Rogues with a lvl3 Shadow Step.” Shadow Step was Rogue’s best Stealth technique. It was a skill that was very rare among Rogues, and was extremely hard to level up. Few among the Rogues were able to get their Shadow Step to lvl2. The skill was able to boost the effects of Stealth for a Rogue 60 folds, and was a required skill for members of the intelligence division. Rogues equipped with such a skill would be able to traverse through maps that were inaccessible to normal players.
Shadow Step… Timely Rain knew that a few among the intelligence division was in possession of such a skill, but only one of them has managed to achieve lvl3 in Shadow Step. He was unsure if that person alone can accomplish the task.
“Alright, I’ll get someone to try.”
Ye Ci stared at Timely Rain, but chose to remain silent at his hesitation. She knew that the risk was too much for Timely Rain.
“By the way, the Black Plum Family has an order for us. They wish to buy 300 Mobile Cat Claws from us at the price of 6,000,000 gold coins. Can it be done?”
“That much?” Timely Rain shocked. Ye Ci could not tell if he was shocked by the amount of gold or the number of Mobile Cat Claws required by the client, “They can get 3,000 of them with this amount of money! Why would they do something like this?”
“They wish to buy 10 days worth of time for us.” Ye Ci smiled. This sure is a huge sum of money. No wonder Fluttering Red Feather was so upset.
Timely Rain, had been with Ye Ci and Bai Mo for a long time, understood the meaning behind Ye Ci’s words, “You mean to tell me that they want to delay our shipment to the Isle of Heroes by 10 days?”
“Yeap.” Ye Ci smiled as she twirled a pen between her fingers. She quickly wrote down another set of instructions, “I want you to use the money to raise the levels of our core members to lvl60 before the patch.”
“Isn’t this too difficult? We’re still busy with dungeon clearing.” the amount of money was sufficient to raise the levels of 2,000 members. However, these members were all at lvl50, and it would be impossible to raise their levels to lvl60 within 20 days.
“I’ve found a few excellent leveling spots. I’ll send you the coordinates later. I want you to get our people organized. We’ll put the dungeon clearing on hold for now. It’s fine to delay our progress by 20 days. I want us to be prepared when Golden Era arrives after the update.” Ye Ci took a deep breath. She knew that such a measure was too hasty, but she wanted the elites of her guild to be ready. Golden Era would need 10 months to catch up with their progress, and this meant that Upwards Ho! would have a significant head start.
“Oh, and the materials…” as someone who knew nothing about Life Skills in her last life, this was difficult for Ye Ci as the locations of the skill books were unknown to her, “Get someone from the intelligence division to look for them. It doesn’t matter if they spawn in a high level location. As long as the respawn timer is short, we can figure something out.”
Timely Rain recorded down everything as Ye Ci instructed. She was usually not involved in guild matters. She was a symbol to its members, and was never associated with the management of the guild. He would never have sought Ye Ci out if not for Bai Mo’s long absence.
He had originally planned to keep Ye Ci updated on current affairs. Ye Ci’s thorough planning for the expansion of the guild came as a shocker. Timely Rain came to a realization that Ye Ci was better than him in terms of management. She chose to not involve herself in the affairs of the guild, but she would definitely outperform the officers if she tried her best.
“Gongzi… You’ve changed.”
Ye Ci grimaced. What do you mean I’ve changed? I’m just the same! I was forced to do something like this! Ye Ci’s opinion was shaped after her deal with Fluttering Red Feather. She had always thought that it would be enough for Upwards Ho! to be able to defend itself, but she came to realise that being on the defensive was not enough. It was an age where the strong prey on the weak. Upwards Ho! must be strong. Upwards Ho! must be able to instill fear in the hearts of the other guilds.