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"Insane. This is just too insane…" everyone muttered to themselves.
They knew that this was not the full force of Carouse, but even if it was just 200 to 300 players, to be beaten to such a state by just one person was something completely unheard of.
"Can a player really solo so many people at one go in online games?" The whole lot of them were all looking at each other. Any regular player would never be able to fathom just how indomitable Gu Fei was in Parallel World.
Gu Fei was still busy electrocuting people up and down the hillside he was on, carefully paying attention to his mana regeneration. He had complete control over the state of affairs. After having electrocuted so many players to their death, his mana had not depleted but increased, and it had even filled up its maximum limit by now. When Brave Surge gave his order, it was like everyone already had a direction in their mind, turning back as they went running straight into the arms of the majority of their guild. Gu Fei did not let any of these people escape, continuing to unleash bolts of lightning as he gave chase. The clap of thunder sounded with each cast, and Brave Surge's face flashed light and dark with the stucco of bolts.
"Mage Formation!!" Brave Surge stepped forward and bellowed angrily.
Carouse's Mage Formation was personally led by the guild leader, Brave Surge, and they were considered to be the guild's signature combatant team. As long as anybody stepped into the range of their Mage Formation, there was no way that they would make their way out of it alive. After familiarizing themselves and cooperating with each other over time, the attack range of their Mage Formation had been greatly maximized to the point where any area that they were unable to reach would not be an issue of their skill, but the limitation of the game's design: Mages could only control their spells up to a set distance.
The Thieves and Archer team had returned back to the main body with heads full of grime and soot, each of them not daring to say a word as they trudged back with their heads lowered. They felt as if they had utterly disgraced themselves deep down, even going so far as to feel embarra.s.sed to ask the Priests to Heal them.
A majority of the guild also ignored them as the Mages followed Brave Surge's command and stepped forward. They stood out in the front, everybody raising their magic staff while they waited for Gu Fei to arrive so they could drown him in a sea of flames. In the end, Gu Fei stood some thirty meters away from where the Mages were and stood still.
The Mages were gripping onto their magic staff to the point they were almost clammy. They stared at Gu Fei fixedly, but… Sure enough, Gu Fei did not take another step forward.
A Mage's attack range was only 30 meters! The enemy was indeed a Mage as well, and had a very good understanding of this detail. All the Mages were holding themselves back from jumping the gun, just waiting to unleash their a.r.s.enal of spells right onto Gu Fei! In the end, Gu Fei had come to a stop even before they could erupt everything pent up within them, causing everyone that had endured to this point to suffer internal injuries from suppressing themselves.
Sure enough, Brave Surge lived up to his status as a big shot guild leader. While all the Mages were enduring to the point that they were about to vomit blood, he was still maintaining his calm composure, firing off a Repeating Fireball into the air as he sent a message out to them all, "Advance!!!"
The Mage Formation stepped forward.
If the enemy doesn't come near, then I shall do it in their stead! This was what everyone was thinking, which was why the enemy retreated.
"F*CK!!" Brave Surge finally could not stand it any longer, and vomited out blood. With how Gu Fei had moved, in the time it took for Carouse to move forward, he had taken three steps back in turn. This meant that it was no more than an impossible pipe dream if they still wish to close the distance between them and Gu Fei.
Only the Agility-based team of Thieves and Archers would be able to close in on Gu Fei, but that team… Brave Surge turned around and gazed at them. That bunch of Thieves and Archers were currently all looking particularly forlorn, not daring to even lift up their heads, and it was impossible for them to be counted on…
Meanwhile, according to the a.n.a.lysis from the team leader in charge of the pursuit, Folding Fan Invader, regarding the situation before, they would not have suffered such a serious defeat if they had the support of Priests' healing. However, the problem was that they did not have any, and Thousand Miles Drunk's unpredictable movements made them waver. Furthermore, their enemy was very sharp-eyed as well; whenever they wanted to take turns and consume bread and recover their lost HP, Gu Fei would end up targeting whoever tried to consume food and it was really hard to deal with.
Brave Surge more or less understood that there was no way to suppress Thousand Miles Drunk without the support of Priests; and if they did have said support, they would not be able to catch up to Gu Fei… They were at an impa.s.se! Brave Surge glanced at his own team and posed a question to them, "Are there any Priests who have allocated points toward Agility?"
The entire guild was silent. It was at this time when the players with better insight realized the problem: In order to suppress Thousand Miles Drunk, they had to be able to keep up with his movement speed. Adopting such a point of view, while it seemed like Thousand Miles Drunk was going up against the entire guild, he was actually just engaging in battle with no more than approximately 300 players at this time. The baby-legged Warriors, Mages, and Priests completely had no chance to fight with him. Even if they occasionally allocated some stat points toward Agility, why would any of them be so extreme as to go Full-Agility? Without speed as insurance, there was no way that any of them were able to even come face to face with Thousand Miles Drunk.
Having plenty of people did not mean that they would be that strong themselves. Only by having plenty of useful people would they have immense strength! By the time Brave Surge had realized this logic, it was already too late. The over 300 players that would have been useful in this fight were absolutely no match for Gu Fei. Amid Folding Fan Invader's report, not only did he point out that Thousand Miles Drunk most definitely have some form of mana regeneration method, he had even suspected that he had equipment that gave him HP regeneration. Adding to the fact that that person had very nimble reactions, Thousand Miles Drunk was basically capable of evading at least 95% of the attacks that were thrown at him, making him near impossible to kill. During the previous fight, Folding Fan Invader had felt that the time when Thousand Miles Drunk was damaged the most was when he charged into the subsiding Blazing Tree of a Thousand Inferno that he had unleashed himself.
Concluding this report, Folding Fan Invader heavily emphasized and pointed out something to Brave Surge: Given Thousand Miles Drunk's awareness and skills, he possessed the ability to destroy them all. Folding Fan Invader reminded Brave Surge that they would not lose their levels during the City Wars so they can afford to go on grinding things out like this, but Thousand Miles Drunk was even more willing to continue in such a manner because he was but one man who had no particular goal or responsibility. If he wanted to focus all his time and effort into creating trouble for Carouse, he can basically fight like his life did not matter in the least, bringing down hundreds of men from Carouse every time he flung himself into their midst. How could Carouse continue taking part in the City War if things were to deteriorate in such a manner since Thousand Miles Drunk could also just keep coming back after he died?
Brave Surge could feel his heart tremble despite not being in the least bit chilled when he heard Folding Fan Invader's conclusion. It was like he had the tiger by its tail, and he had sallied forth with the might of his thousand men strong guild in a show of force, yet the tail that he had been grabbing on to had slipped out of his grip unknowingly. Just how could he explain this? At this point, should he be more concerned with his face or his future? Brave Surge was once more at a juncture where he had a difficult decision to make, and deep down he found Folding Fan Invader to be really detestable. Since he had already a.n.a.lyzed the situation so perfectly, why did he not openly relay this over the guild channel so that everyone could also understand the situation they were currently in? Why must he send this via private messages, leaving my head hurting over what must be done… Once I take his reasoning and relay it over to the guild, even if everyone in the guild understood the dilemma that we are in, it would still be equivalent to me yielding to Thousand Miles Drunk. I'll be the one giving the orders on what we should be doing, and that means I'll be the one making the decision for us to give concession toward Thousand Miles Drunk as well; how can I continue to be the guild leader at this rate?
At this moment, Brave Surge even had the mind to just give up and wash his hands off this matter entirely. The Mage Formation that he was in charge of watched as Gu Fei maintained his distance away from them and came to a halt to observe them once more. Thus, these men all turned toward Brave Surge, waiting for their guild leader to come to a decision.
Brave Surge looked up the hill they were on, even as Gu Fei seemed to look down the same slope. How Brave Surge wished he could privately message Gu Fei and communicate with him at this time, but unfortunately, the system had removed the permissions for him to do so. Even if he wanted to withdraw now, what was he supposed to do if Thousand Miles Drunk refuse to give up and hunt them down instead? Wait a minute! If that happened, and the Mages make their move, a single Spell Bombardment from this Mage Formation would be perfect to trap him. If Gu Fei did not give chase, Brave Surge could just blatantly claim that his plan had failed. He can then randomly send Folding Fan Invader and several other men to pretend to search for Thousand Miles Drunk's location and slowly de-escalate the situation into nothing…
Brave Surge immediately began to enact his plan the moment he came up with the idea. Giving out orders through the guild channel, he relayed how the Mage Formation would be unable to demonstrate its prowess if Thousand Miles Drunk do not step into their range, so he wanted everyone to pretend to back away. Brave Surge would still remain in front. The rest of the Mages would seek to secretly mingle around the back with the rest of the guild while this happened. The moment that Thousand Miles Drunk step into their range, they would then respond with their own spell bombardment.
When everyone heard this idea, they too felt that this was the only option they had left to pursue. This was because these men were keenly aware of their own inability to chase after Thousand Miles Drunk, which was why the only thing they could attempt to do here was to draw the man to step into their range by tricking him thusly. However, Folding Fan Invader had sent a private message to Brave Surge at this time, "You need to think this through; the moment Thousand Miles Drunk comes seeking revenge…"
Brave Surge closed the message window from Folding Fan Invader and blocked him. All this guy knows is to private message here and there, I'll private message your m*th*rf*ck*ng *ss! Brave Surge was completely annoyed by this time. When Folding Fan Invader saw no response to his message, he tried to send it again, only for the system prompt of rejection to appear. Folding Fan Invader knew that he had been blocked, though he could not understand why that was so. Did I say something wrong? Folding Fan Invader pondered.
Carouse had now begun their retreat as the teams slowly began to withdraw. The Mages that had originally been positioned out in the front were now in the back since the entire guild had turned around. If Thousand Miles Drunk was near, they could then rapidly disperse and unleash their bombardment; it was truly a rather promising plan, everyone thought…
"He's moving!" The players in charge of keeping an eye on Thousand Miles Drunk sent this message out on the guild channel, and everyone felt a wave of excitement come over them. Did he fall for their trap, hook, line, and sinker? However, Brave Surge was actually in tears. He had hoped that Thousand Miles Drunk would not chase after them, so this matter could essentially de-escalate into nothingness! But who would have thought Thousand Miles Drunk would want to step into his trap… Of course, Brave Surge was well aware that this might end up drawing Thousand Miles Drunk into an endless cycle of revenge. This was precisely what he had been afraid of, which was why he had lost his temper and angrily blocked Folding Fan Invader's messages just now. But Brave Surge had no choice. He had to give himself a way out, and there was no way that he could live it down if he had to frankly and bluntly tell his guild members that there was no way for them to take care of Thousand Miles Drunk, and their only option was to withdraw.
"Here he comes! Mages, get ready!" This time, there was no need for Brave Surge to take command of everyone. In a skirmish that was actively being prepared for, especially those Thieves and Archers who had been bullied by Gu Fei, everybody was on the guild channel egging the Mages on. All of them hoped that the Mages would be able to avenge them on their behalf, impatient to the point that Brave Surge wished he could just slap them… Is there really no one sensible in this guild that would step up and talk some sense!? Brave Surge had forgotten that there was someone like that, but he was only private messaging the guild leader, which made him very dissatisfied.
"Almost there. Just a few more steps forward and he will be within firing range," the Mages told one another.
"He needs to take those few more steps, otherwise we won't be able to cover him."
"But what do we do now? Do we pretend that we have no idea he is behind us? Wouldn't that be too telling?"
"Should we quicken our pace, as to make it seem like we are attempting to escape?"
"I think we don't have to act like we are afraid or anything like that. After all, there's no need for us to be afraid. Let's just act normally like our attacks are unable to reach him. Lull him into letting his guard down, so the moment he takes several steps forward, we can retaliate all in one shot!" Someone mentioned.
Everybody discussed how they should bait Gu Fei to fall for their trap. They were all in high spirits, and that only made Brave Surge feel like dying.
"We should be able to hit him from here!" One of the Mages at the back who were closest to Gu Fei reported.
"Relax. Don't react. Draw him in before we reel him in- OH f.u.c.k!!!" This person was still giving out instructions when a Thunderbolt streaked down from the heavens, and that Mage closest to Gu Fei was struck and covered in soot.
"He has made his move!" Everyone called out as they reflexively turned around and attempted to return fire. In the end, they could only watch as Gu Fei retreated. But because they were unable to chase after him due to his superior movement speed, Gu Fei was able to remain outside of their range of attack the entire time, so all the Mages could do was stare.
"What the h.e.l.l was that?" Everyone was still dumbfounded when Gu Fei suddenly closed the distance and sent another bolt of lightning, striking that same Mage from before.
"Priest! Send some Priests over here!!" That person who had been struck twice by Gu Fei's Thunderbolt was about to explode, yelling out for a.s.sistance. There was still quite a lot of Priests alive in the guild right now, and a good number of them came rus.h.i.+ng over to administer their Heals. Just as the Mages were left at a loss over what to do, they suddenly felt the land their feet were standing on warm up…
"It's a Blazing Tree of a Thousand Inferno!! Hurry up and split!" Everyone scrambled to run off, leaving those who were too slow to be burnt by the searing flames. It was really hard for them to notice Thousand Miles Drunk sneakily casting spells from this 30 meters distance. After this burning and the zapping of Thunderbolts, one of the Mages had actually died by Gu Fei's hands as a result. The Mages were now going insane; Thousand Miles Drunk was able to attack them from this distance, and they could do the same to him as well, thus many of these Mages began chanting their own spells to retaliate. However, with so many of them doing so, no matter how large their target was and their numerical advantage, the fact remained that they were completely incapable of blocking off his retreat. Because Gu Fei was simply skirting around the edge of the Mages' range, he would quickly retreat the moment he saw the Mages respond with attacks of their own. When the AoE spells that they thrown were unleashed, the position where Gu Fei was standing moments ago would be thickly covered with flames that it seemed somewhat ridiculous. It was unknown just how many Mages cast the spells, but there was no doubt that Gu Fei would be dead if he was anywhere near this. However, the problem was that he was not. Deftly circling around the zone swathed in fire, Gu Fei secretly lifted his hand and tossed out his Descending Wheel of Flames, causing the Mages to retaliate and they soon saw him retreat once more...
"What the h.e.l.l?"
"It's like we are the ones being kited…"
"This is a Mage's style of fighting. Has he always been capable of doing that?"
"Merely choosing not to use it did not mean he does not know how to fight like this…"
Every ranged job cla.s.s was capable of using this kiting method to fight. At the moment, Mages relied on the Arctic Whirlwind spell to reduce the speed of their enemy before they begin kiting once they gained the advantage in terms of speed. There were also some Mages who had sacrificed a bit of intelligence, putting some points toward Agility, and going so far as to acquire boots with dual movement speed traits to enable them to move faster than the job cla.s.ses without Agility. Currently, Gu Fei was using his stat points to achieve an advantage in terms of movement speed and depending on equipment after to grant him indomitable spell damage. Including how he now had equipment that allowed him to sustain his mana, even adopting the perspective of a conventional Mage to a.n.a.lyze such a set up, veteran gamers like Royal G.o.d Call, Drifting, Sword Demon and others of their caliber would also be able to achieve a similar effect using their conventional online gaming style of combat here. Any of them would be able to hara.s.s and hamper the enemy like what Gu Fei was doing, advancing when the enemy retreated and retreating when the enemy attempted to retaliate. The only difference here would be how none of these experts would have survived the initial skirmish when Carouse sent their group of 300 Archers and Thieves; but because Gu Fei was capable of engaging in melee as well, he was able to send all 300 of them running for the hills as a result.
This was the first time that Brave Surge had the privilege of meeting such a completely indomitable Mage like Gu Fei. Undefeatable in close combat, yet also capable of turning back into a Mage when at range; Brave Surge felt like crying, though no tears came out. Someone suggested sending the Thieves and Archers out to prevent him from retreating, so the majority of their men could forcefully fight back, getting the Mages to bombard Thousand Miles Drunk to kingdom come. However, these Thieves and Archers shook their heads vigorously to this suggestion. They were still as pragmatic as ever: if we had been able to contain Thousand Miles Drunk in all his glory like that, would we honestly need these people to teach us what to do?
And so, someone else gave another suggestion to split their manpower and take separate routes around to form a huge encirclement around Thousand Miles Drunk before slowly shrinking in on him, but that was rejected as well. They were current on hilly terrain, with Thousand Miles Drunk occupying the high ground. They simply did not have the s.p.a.ce to execute such a maneuver with so many people discreetly. Why would he just stand there and stupidly get himself surrounded?
While everyone was anxiously discussing the situation, Gu Fei did not hesitate as he kept sending out his Thunderbolts without holding himself back at all. No one could avoid the spells, and these men from Carouse really suffered whenever he threw both his AoE spells together, his presence sowing so much chaos that all of them were running around like headless flies when they saw Gu Fei close in on them. People ran in every direction in order to avoid being barbecued if they were ever caught in between the flaming jaws of the spells.
Gu Fei had plenty of fun this entire time, even throwing out an Electric Wall. However, because the wall merely stood there pa.s.sively, there was no one foolish enough to harm themselves by stepping up and touching it, and so that spell looked no more than just some adornment for the battlefield.
As Carouse suffered at Thousand Miles Drunk's hand, they were actually still maintaining the pace of their retreat, their eyes seeing that the hilly terrain was about to change into plains. They had lost ten guild members in the process; while this was not a huge loss to the guild, the issue was that they were completely helpless when it came to dealing with Thousand Miles Drunk. Brave Surge had hoped that he could hear a sound, hoping someone would appear and call out for a compromise, but that never happened...
In all honesty, the mention of a compromise would only be beneficial if viewed from the perspective of the guild. Objectively speaking, players would not lose their level of dying now, so there was nothing to be afraid of. This was why everyone was still discussing how to deal with Thousand Miles Drunk even after having been so utterly bullied by him this entire time. The majority of the average player out there would not be like Brave Surge or Folding Fan Invader, who would both consider the impact of engaging with Thousand Miles Drunk in combat after this skirmish happening right now, wondering if getting themselves entangled with this person would hinder their progress with the City Wars. At the moment, they were already too engrossed in thinking up ways to take on the BOSS known as Thousand Miles Drunk that none of them could extricate themselves from this mindset.
"How about we form a team of Warriors and Priests to draw his aggro?" Someone suggested.
"He'll run, yeah?"
"He will run and even randomly toss spells at us," The Warriors and Priests shook their head repeatedly.
"Do we really have n.o.body from all the various job cla.s.ses who added a bit of Agility?"
"Some did, but it is hardly as much as how much that man had added. The difference is staggering," The players from the various job cla.s.ses who allocated some points toward Agility fretted.
"I still think it makes more sense to get the Thieves to go into Stealth and sneak up right behind him. There's no need for you guys to attack, just stand behind him and when our Mages step forward, he would surely retreat, and that would be the time when all of you can hold him down. As long as you guys can do that for several seconds, we Mages can take several steps forward in that time and bombard him with our spells…"
"There's really no use if it's just several steps."
"Blink can clear 6 meters in one go. In that instant, he could just fly out from the ensuing flames…"
"F*ck, I forgot he still got that in his back pocket…"
"That means if we do want to get him with our Spell Bombardment, we will have to add an additional 6 meters into the equation…"
"You need to take into account his reaction time and movement speed as well, so I think it should be around 10 meters…"
"10 meters… I don't even think we can strive for that distance even if all of us died…" The Thieves commented.
"We're talking about the fringe of the Spell Bombardment from our Mage Formation here. Theoretically, we need to give him 10 meters just on this alone, when practically, we need to have another 5 meters, making it a total of 15 meters in order to ensure this is foolproof."
"15 meters? Stop teasing. He could essentially have free rein staying 30 meters away from us, never once making the mistake of taking the step in. The extreme precision he has demonstrated to us with regards to his positioning... D*mm*t, that man is a Mage, through and through."
"How about Archers? Can we gather all our Archers and suppress him with a volley of arrows?" Someone suddenly proposed.