Chapter 30: Conquering Demon City (7)
In a second, countless thoughts flashed through No. 1’s mind.
When the announcement came, he knew that Jin Cheng didn’t come back to save him. Disappointment bred evil thoughts, a sense of bravery starting to rise from inside his chest. His expression suddenly turned hideous as he threw himself at the toy ball desperately.
The victory was his!
Why couldn’t he win for once?!
But just when he was about to touch the toy ball, an arrow flew through the air and pierced into the hollow gap on the ball, nailing it firmly to the ground.
The sharp wind cut No. 1’s finger.
“You’d better not move.” Jin Cheng kindly warned him.
But as Jin Cheng stood on the sideline and was yet to walk over, No. 1 fumblingly got up, his eyes fixated on the toy ball. He couldn’t see or hear anything else.
He just wanted the ball.
He stretched out his hand again, an unwavering desire for victory flashing in his eyes.
He was only one step away! Perhaps he could turn the tide! The rewards of this dungeon must be very generous, and if he could get those rewards, he would become as powerful as others —
“Thud!” Jin Cheng crushed his delusion into pieces with a single kick.
No. 1 fell heavily on the ground, coughing painfully while clutching onto his chest, but his eyes were still hell-bent on the ball, the one thing that was definitely out of his league. He stared at Jin Cheng with bloodshot eyes: “Why don’t you let me take it?! You are already so good, why don’t you help me, why?… if you are willing to help me, I won’t be this miserable!”
“Tsk. If you don’t help yourself, why should I help you?” Jin Cheng stared back at him, his eyes colder than those of a villain. But then he remembered that he had actually helped No. 1 once on the steel cable and immediately felt like he had slapped his own face. This agitated him even further.
No. 1 had been completely exposed. He opened his mouth and wanted to scream something but ended up chewing on his own blood, his face turning into an angry shade of red. Just then, Jin Cheng neatly knocked him unconscious with a knifehand strike.
As Jin Cheng bent down to pull the arrow, the toy ball hooked on the arrow was picked up together. He didn’t touch it. Instead, he turned around and smiled at No. 10, who just reached the arena: “Are you going to try for it? I can give you a chance, fair and just.”
No. 10 stared zealously at the toy ball but seemed rather hesitant. She actually wanted to grab the ball a few times, but looking at Jin Cheng’s smiling face, she finally backed down.
“No, you came first, it’s yours.” she said.
The little demon finally couldn’t help but exclaim: “Really, you don’t want to take it? There are big rewards in this competition. In Demon City, as long as you have the nerves, nothing is impossible. Do you know what kind of pet is most popular? This is Demon City, we demons detest harmony!”
But the more he babbled, the more resolute No.10 came to be and she even took a step back. The little demon was so angry that his nostrils flared up, but he wasn’t allowed to interfere and could only give in.
“Then I’ll take it.” Jin Cheng simply reached out and took the toy ball from the arrow. The moment it was taken off, the familiar announcement rang throughout Devil City.
“The 72nd competition of Demon City’s pets has come to a triumphant ending. Congratulations to all players for successfully completing the mission [Conquering Demon City]!”
“We will begin to calculate the rewards now.”
All the players looked up and Tang Cuo jumped down from the window, glancing at the front. The crowd of goblins began to retreat like a tidal wave, just like when they came.
The joy of surviving another catastrophe was also like a tidal wave washing through the hearts of the players.
“[Conquering Demon City], Difficulty: Medium, Initial Players: 12, Survivors: 11, Rating: A, Character points to be earned: 14.”
“The upper limit of all players’ HP will be permanently increased by 10.”
“For the remaining personal rewards, players please check the system panel by yourselves.”
“Welcome back to Yong Ye City!”
The dungeon was over and the familiar darkness engulfed their eyes. After the eleven survivors were teleported out of the dungeon, the familiar voice of the system came again on the road of the third round.
“We’ve detected that the player is carrying Mr. Crow’s feather. Resurrection has been triggered.”
Back in Yong Ye City, East Cross Street, Zone F.
Tang Cuo opened the system panel and checked the harvest this time. He was in no hurry to add the 14 points for the time being, rather, he was curious about the personal rewards.
This time, a total of 9 small squares popped up.
[Transformation Potion Recipe]
Description: Transform into any species for 30 minutes.
[Air Walk · Basic]
Description: Stay in the air for 1 second, Cooldown time: 1 minute.
Description: The 12th of the card series [Immortal Poet Li Bai]1. It can stimulate the skill ‘Meteor Rain’ to attack the enemies within a radius of 5 meters for 5 seconds.
Looking at these three Skill rewards, Tang Cuo was now affirmative that the potion recipe could indeed be brought out. He thought to himself that if he couldn’t learn how to make the potion, he could sell it away. Meanwhile, the actual effect of ‘Air Walk’ had to be tested during actual combat. What made him most curious was the card ‘Meteor Rain’, which turned out to be part of one whole series.
Wasn’t this ‘Meteor Rain’ a reference from Li Bai’s ‘Ode to Gallantry’2?
Tang Cuo didn’t get a lot of education, but he still knew something about the famous Li Bai.
He kept looking at the panel.
Description: Silk of a thousand-faced spider. Clothes made of this are difficult to pierce, but remember not to hang yourself upside down with it.
[A Piece of Rag]
Description: A kitchen rag that Mrs. Sally discarded.
Description: A rusty dagger.
Description: A general blade.
Description: A revolver with a fixed cylinder containing 7 bullets. When the cylinder is empty, it will automatically refill one bullet every 5 minutes until the cylinder is full.
Description: The ring of Mr. Lancelot, the most popular bard on the whole continent. It is said that when the ring is bathed in moonlight, you can hear the most beautiful singing in the world. The engraved skill ‘Moonlight Tide’ has a cooldown time of 24 hours (available after the repair is complete).
[Colt Anaconda]3 was the revolver Jin Cheng gave Tang Cuo for self-defence. [Nightingale] was the ring that Tang Cuo picked up in the second round. This ring triggered the hidden mission [Kingdom Hidden In The Moonlight], then it unexpectedly turned out to be a legendary item.
But what should be done to repair it?
Tang Cuo thought as he walked to the window and looked down. He found a large group of people gathering downstairs, the atmosphere looking as though some undercurrent was surging under the calm surface.
“It seems that during the three or four hours we were away, something else happened here.”
Jin Cheng’s voice came from next door. Tang Cuo turned around to see him squatting on the window sill, just like when they first reunited in this city. Tang Cuo simply said: “Go on.”
Jin Cheng: “Meng Yufei killing Cheng Ke was a dumb move. With Cheng Ke’s caution, he should know that he won’t be released from prison any time soon, so he likely has planned for An Ning and other underlings to move up to Zone E. As soon as they leave, the power structure of Zone F will be reshuffled.” [T/N: A bit of explanation here: Reshuffle refers to the displacement of gangs / power groups in a zone. What Jin Cheng means is that with Cheng Ke, the gang leader, stuck in jail and his underlings moving to Zone E, some other gangs will take over the role of Cheng Ke’s gang in Zone F.]
Tang Cuo had seen it in the document that Jin Cheng gave him; Cheng Ke was indeed an extremely cautious and stability-seeking person. He could have levelled up to Zone E two months ago, but he was dragging his way up and desperately gathering equipment to enhance his power.
Who would have thought that this dragging would drag him to death?
“How often does this power reshuffle happen?” Tang Cuo seemed to think of something.
“Up to three months.” Jin Cheng jumped into Tang Cuo’s room. “Zone F was the place with the highest elimination rate, with people coming and leaving all the time. High elimination rate also means high mobility. Most of the newcomers can’t survive the first three dungeons, and those with actual strength will definitely level up. A gang that has just emerged today may see half of them dead and the other half leaving tomorrow, thus collapse quickly after. In the end, only the elite gangs will survive. The fewer people, the easier it is to maintain.”
Tang Cuo understood now: “So you let Chi Yan suppress the newcomers in East Cross Street?”
With this arrangement, Jin Cheng was applying the concept of managing a gang to managing a whole territory.
Kitchen Knife Gang belonged to someone, hence it must have a leader. But East Cross Street belonged to the players, and what it needed wasn’t a leader. The only things that could maintain its order were laws.
A gang might collapse in minutes. But East Cross Street wouldn’t collapse as long as the laws could be established here.
The most important thing was to ensure that Jin Cheng and Tang Cuo kept their distance and not be dragged into those so-called gangs. Although Jin Cheng also had teammates like Wen Xiaoming and Lilith, he was essentially the same as Tang Cuo: he didn’t enjoy big crowds.
Thinking about this, he teased Tang Cuo: “When I talked to Chi Yan that day, you didn’t seem to pay attention at all. But it turned out that you actually heard everything?”
Tang Cuo thought, Why do you bother?
Jin Cheng shrugged and continued: “Chi Yan has some talent, but he’s too naive and unlikely able to control this. When the next reshuffle comes, the above might intervene and try to fish in troubled waters.”
“How about the high-ranking zones?”
“Yong Ye City is all about survival of the fittest. Do you know what most people in Zone F look like in the eyes of high-ranking zones? It’s a pool of resources that everyone can abuse and take advantage of.”
“Do you want to fight them?”
“No, obviously it’s they who want to fight me.”
“I forgot to ask this; you said that Meng Yufei killed people to take their points. How many points can you get when killing someone?”
“Half of their remaining character points.”
Killing people for points also needed luck. If the person had added or used up all their points, you would gain nothing.
Which fish was the fattest in Zone F these days? ― Jin Cheng.
Tang Cuo stared at him intensely, some thoughts bubbling inside.
Jin Cheng always scolded him that he was a little bastard, an outrageous disciple perpetually ready to betray his master. But Tang Cuo was also phenomenal at changing the subject: “Just now the system said that the upper limit of all players’ HP will be permanently increased by 10 points. Everyone has a different upper limit for their HP?”
“Of course, this is tied to the value of your Strength .”
Tang Cuo’s current Strength was only 6 points, a pathetic number.
Jin Cheng leaned against the window with his arms folded, smiling as he asked: “Do you want to know how many points I have?”
Tang Cuo was silent, for he didn’t want to be beaten so soon.
Jin Cheng “The three powers of Yong Ye City are Strength, Intelligence and Charm. Strength determines the length of your HP bar and physical fitness, while Intelligence determines your mental energy. Where you add your points will determine your game class later. Think about it like the difference between a Warrior and a Wizard.”
“What about Charm?”
“It enhances an NPC’s affection value towards you. With it, you can obtain clues in a dungeon more easily. Also, its most important effect is age reversal.”
“Don’t you see that there are barely any old people in Yong Ye City?”
It wasn’t like there were no old people here. Some of them had reached over 60 years old, and even if their rating wasn’t high, they owned quite a number of points. Here, 60 years old was like a benchmark that as long as you hit it, you could earn a relatively large number of points.
Jin Cheng: “If an elderly player can rise to the high-ranking zones, he must be truly terrifying. He not only has strength but also the experience and wisdom that far surpasses young people. And all this while, he still carries a youthful-looking face.”
Hearing this, Tang Cuo couldn’t help thinking of the old man he met in the arena. He asked: “How about children? For both children who die soon after birth and those who already have basic capabilities and cognitive abilities, where do they get sent to?”
Jin Cheng: “Children are pure and innocent. Most of them will directly get to serve their karma, and the serving time will be very short. Only a few special cases will be sent to Yong Ye City. Here is a piece of advice from your instructor: Never underestimate the old people and children in Yong Ye City.”
Tang Cuo agreed.
By this point, he had roughly understood how Yong Ye City worked. The place seemed cold and ruthless, but it also harboured an absurd sense of justice. The addition of points gave everyone all sorts of possibilities, everything revolving around only one principle ― Survival is justice.
Turning around to pour himself a glass of water, Tang Cuo decided to stop thinking about it for now. He took out the ring and said: “I triggered a hidden mission.”
Translator and reviewer at Strictly Bromance blog. In essence, she lives to indulge in plot-driven stories sprinkled with camaraderie and slow-burn drama-free romance, especially more so if they belong to adventure, mystery or supernatural genre. A trope that she always thirsts after: “Comrades who go through life and death together”.