Chapter 328 - Mopping with Brave Souls
Young Master Han, who was standing on the side, laughed. “It’s not really difficult to understand this. Since the enemies were able to trap us the first time around without us getting alerted by their movement, why couldn’t they do so this time as well?”
Sakurazaka Moony froze. It made sense when he thought about it that way.
Glancing on their surroundings, Young Master Han continued, “This terrain is just too ideal for Hunters to do their thing. There are almost a thousand of us in plain sight, so they can see our every movement. In contrast, we can’t see our enemies and plenty of things are obstructing our view.”
Everyone nodded in agreement.
Youthful Reflection turned to regard Young Master Han. “Does Brother Han have any solution to this?”
“Presently, our pressing issue is how to deal with those traps. By finding a way to remove those traps, we can fearlessly clash with the enemies,” Young Master Han concluded.
Well, duh! Although no one uttered these words aloud, their faces clearly showed exasperation. Young Master Han raised the bottle of liquor in his hand to his lips and took a swig. “I’ve thought of a way to remove the traps, but I don’t know if anyone is willing to execute it.”
“What’s the method?” Youthful Reflection eagerly asked.
Young Master Han chuckled as he answered, “Human minesweeping.”
Everyone was stunned but quickly recovered. That was because Deep Waters had demonstrated to them a solo act of human minesweeping just earlier. However, such a method that treated one as a mere tool would be entirely humiliating to the person involved, so whether a player would be willing to sacrifice himself for the greater good was the real question here.
Take Deep Waters as an example; his entire body got covered with traps, and while the pain was tolerable, the way he looked, with even his head having four traps hanging on it, was just too distressing. Humans were naturally prideful creatures, and many people considered their image to be far more important than their lives. This was even more so in MMOs where lives were not worth much. As such, most of the players here would rather become suicide bombers than become living minesweepers.
Silence reigned after Young Master Han’s announcement of this idea. This persisted for quite a while until a bright fiery light flashed from within the main body of the expedition. The enemy Mages had evidently borrowed the cover of the dense trees to bring forth another wave of bombardment on them.
This time, however, the players from Yunduan City were ready for the enemies. The Archers and Mages, who had discovered the enemy Mages, immediately began firing back. However, only a few of the enemy Mages lost their lives in this round of assault, as they quickly retreated into the forest’s cover upon launching their spells. In fact, the Yunduan City’s players suffered worse; with traps isolating them in this area, plenty got injured or even lost their lives when their other comrades stampeded about in their haste to get into safety.
Knowing that their situation should not drag on any further, Youthful Reflection finally said, “Mr. Han’s suggestion just might work. Will your mercenary group take the lead on this?”
Young Master Han smiled. “You’ll have to discuss this matter with them; I won’t have any part in this.”
Everyone cast each other a sidelong glance after hearing his words. This was his suggestion in the first place, so if he would not do it himself, then did that not mean that he wanted others to become the laughingstock by employing it?
“Is any mercenary leader out there willing to take on this important task?” Youthful Reflection asked the others.
“Since this task is as you’ve said, important, small groups like ours may have difficulty accomplishing it. We think it’s best for the bigger groups to do it!” Some leaders of small mercenary groups were the first to express their view on the matter.
“Ahem… This… I feel… Is a little dangerous…” a few leaders of the large mercenary groups haltingly expressed their unwillingness to take on the task.
“It’s truly too heavy of a task for us. We don’t think that we can handle it, as well,” the remaining leaders expressed their unwillingness as well.
“This job doesn’t necessarily have to be done by us, mercenaries! Anyone can do it, so why don’t Reflection bro form a team by gathering those players who are able to take on this important task,” one mercenary leader suggested.
Seeing that no one was willing to take on the job, Youthful Reflection figured he could only use his killer move: money assault!
He waved his hand and declared, “I will have to trouble the leaders present to announce this to your men: anyone who is willing to take on this job will be paid 300 gold coins each.”
The sum of 300 gold coins was definitely not a meager payday. Going by the market price mercenary groups used, even the most difficult quest would not allow their members to receive 100 gold coins each. Since difficult quests would usually require more mercenaries to participate in it, splitting the additional earnings among a larger number of people made it so that each individual might not profit much. Offering 300 gold coins to each ‘volunteer’ essentially created a new record, which just showed that while the job was not particularly laborious, Youthful Reflection was aware that it was a difficult request to fulfill.
Each leader whistled in approval of his generous offer and moved to disseminate it to their men. Youthful Reflection did not stay idle, either, and extended the offer to his guildmates. It would be great if someone among his men was willing to take on this task. Nutrient-rich water would not flow to an outsider’s field this way, and the 300 gold coins could be treated as a reward to their men.
‘Exorbitant rewards attract brave men’ was an adage that held truth even now. Once the message was sent, many players from mercenary groups and Traversing Four Seas answered to the call.
Youthful Reflection felt disappointed when he saw that only a handful of his guildmates wanted to take part in this task. They were all professional gamers that he knew – people that made a living from gaming. They would be hard at work farming gold every day. Any in-game currency or equipment they got would be exchanged for real-world currency for their expenses outside the game. Thus, no matter how many coins these players earned, they would never squander them. These men did not care to own the best of the best equipment, as being sufficiently geared was already enough for them.
These players’ goal was to earn money, so why would they bother on improving their own strength and skills in-game? What came naturally to any other gamers was actually strictly calculated by these men. For example, if they needed additional 5 points to Strength to accomplish a certain undertaking that could earn them 200 gold coins, they would readily spend a hundred gold coins on a piece of equipment that could grant them that extra 5 points. On the contrary, these men would never be compelled to spend even 1 bronze coin for additional 5 points to Strength that only served the purpose of improving their weapons’ effect or their Attack Power.
Most people assumed that professional gamers were high level, had exceptional equipment, and possessed remarkable skills. In actuality, most professional gamers only had high levels due to them devoting a lot of time to playing a MMO. And while they had different types of equipment for different situations, those were usually rather average. Moreover, their skills were usually highly specialized; those who were good at questing would usually not bother honing their PvP capabilities.
Most guilds would not accept many but would take in a few of such type of players for when something cropped up that only they could solve. In any case, they were rather helpful to their guilds in their own ways. Youthful Reflection did not really like this sort of players, so when he saw these guildmates volunteering for the task, he knew that they would transfer their earning in their bank accounts immediately after; there was no way these players would invest it in better equipment to improve their skills.
Youthful Reflection sighed. Anyway, since he would surely be parting ways with this sum later, he figured these guidmates earning the money was better than outsiders earning it. After selecting a few of these professional gamers, Youthful Reflection asked Young Master Han, “Brother Han, how many players do you reckon we’ll need for this particular task?”
“Ten should do.” Young Master Han smiled at these brave souls who had come to offer their services in exchange for monetary rewards.
“Right…” Youthful Reflection started choosing the mercenaries for the task. His choice was not influenced by level, equipment, or skill; instead, he focused on finding the tall and stout players that had a larger surface area, since they would more efficiently clear out the traps out there!
As he was slowly considering each player, Youthful Reflection received a surprise by what he saw. “Does this lady here really wish to participate in this task?”
“Yup! I’ve never done such a task before!” the lady happily replied.
Youthful Reflection was extremely astonished. He had never expected that a lady would be willing to roll on the ground and bear the traps for some coins. Youthful Reflection found such a thought to be rather unbearable, so he feebly said, “You won’t do.”
“Why?” The lady was flummoxed upon hearing his words.
“Uh… We need people like this!” Youthful Reflection patted the tall and stocky man standing next to her.
The lady stared at the player, nonplussed. “What sort is that?”
“The tall and big sort.” Youthful Reflection approved the man’s body type. With such a body frame, their human minesweeping plan could be carried out more easily.
“I’m pretty strong, you know!” The lady said as she slapped the well-built man, striking him down to the ground. “Look. I’m even stronger than him!” She beamed.
“It’s not an issue of Strength.” Youthful Reflection wiped non-existent sweat off his forehead as he took two steps away from her. The lady’s Strength was no joke, and the man she had struck to the ground had yet to get up. Although the player looked well-built, he was actually just a Priest....
“Then, what’s the problem?” the lady asked.
“Uhm… This… Well…” Youthful Reflection struggled to explain this plainly. Fortunately, someone stepped out from the crowd and tugged at the lady. “Xiaoyu, you’re definitely not suitable for this task.”
“Sis Luo Luo, why is that? Why am I unsuitable?” June’s Rain seemed rather aggrieved.
“It’s because this task needs male players,” Luo Luo explained.
“Oh, so that’s why!” June’s Rain nodded. “Since that’s the case, I’ll back out, then.” With that, she turned to leave the selection.
Youthful Reflection was rooted to the spot until the stocky Priest climbed to his feet while massaging his shoulder. “F*ck me! An All-Strength Warrior?”
Luo Luo bestowed Heal on the man. “Are you alright?”
“I’m okay.” Fortunately, the Priest was big-hearted enough to not mind getting knocked off his feet by a slap.
Youthful Reflection shook his head to clear his thoughts. Everything that had just happened was like a dream sequence. Focusing back on the task at hand, he quickly completed selecting from the remaining crowd. Including his few guildmates, there were ten players. Without further ado, each of the ten men was given 300 gold coins, which amounted to a total of 3000 gold coins. Other players sighed in awe over the dispensing of this hefty amount of coins, but besides those players who did not make the cut, none was envious in the least.
Young Master Han stood up once the selection was concluded. Glancing at the ten men, he flashed them a bright smile. “Sorry to trouble you guys.”
These men pocketed the gold coins and then shouted, “For the quest!” This garnered them plenty of curses from the surrounding players.
“There are two methods when minesweeping. The first one is just like what was done to Deep Waters before; we’ll tie a rope around you, toss you out, and haul you back to clear out all the traps along your way back. The second method is to treat you guys like mops; we’ll push onward with you guys in front and reinforce you from behind. You guys can choose which method you prefer!”
When the ten men heard this, all of them felt that the second method was less degrading as they would not have to be tossed out. They would also be safer as they would be closer to their comrades, so they quickly chose it. “We’ll be mops!”