Chapter 283 Hero City (Part 1)
The sun was still shining high up in the sky. There was no sign that the weather was getting colder even when autumn was almost arriving.
Ye Ci rolled down the window on the passenger seat, and warm wind immediately blew onto her face. She stared at the rows of houses beyond, her thoughts unfathomable.
“Are you worrying about the game?” asked Bai Mo.
And she grunted in affirmation without looking back at him.
She was worried.
The experiences she had in her last life was very different from the life that she was living in the present. Is the Fate that I knew the same with the Fate now? Will the measures I take now be useful?
It was a big question that had been troubling Ye Ci deeply.
“Are you worrying about Golden Era?”
Ye Ci was snapped out of her thoughts. Am I really worrying about Golden Era? No. I’m worrying about my lack of ability to protect the people that I care about from the coming storm.
She was fortunate to be given a second chance, and she knew what should be the most important things in her life. She wanted to protect the things, but she was afraid. She was afraid that she might lose what she had gained once again.
“Not really.” Ye Ci responded with a sigh and shook her head, “I’m just worried. I’m worrying that I can’t protect mom and dad like I am now when Golden Era arrives.” and she continued after a pause, “and you, Polang, and Upwards Ho! too.”
Bai Mo glanced at Ye Ci, and turned his head back to the road ahead. He did not immediately speak up, but there was a smile on his face. The sunlight shone down on his slender, long fingers. It was a good sight. “Little Ci, the people you want to protect want to protect you as well.” he finally spoke up after a long moment of silence, “They’re not the only ones who need protection. They are also protecting you. Don’t you worry about it. Golden Era is just a single guild. There are things that can’t be destroyed by even the strongest of storms.”
Ye Ci was momentarily stunned. She stared at Bai Mo, and was at a loss for words.
And she let out a laugh. I’m wasting my time worrying about things that are not in my control again.
Fate was already bustling with activity by the time Ye Ci logged into the game. Of course, it was not solely due to the influx of Golden Era players. The pre-existing players of Fate were very eager for the release of the new patch, where their level cap was finally raised and the Middle Continent was made available to all. They might not be able to survive in the maps infested with monsters, but they could still take a stroll in Hero City of the Middle Continent.
The Hero City was accessible by spending a few gold coins to rent a flying pet from the Flight Manager stationed beside each of the main city’s Teleportation Stone. It was not a straight flight to the continent itself. Perhaps due to design by the developers to allow their players to appreciate the beauty of the world of Fate, the flight plan of these flying pets would take players across the skies of each of the maps in their home continent before finally arriving at the Middle Continent. It meant that the flight would consume a large amount of time, and of course, gold coins.
But to players who are eager to explore the new continent, the time spent in the air for nearly an entire day was a worthy price to pay. There was already a long line by the time Ye Ci made her way to the Flight Manager. Every player who were at lvl30 and had more than 2 gold coins in their pockets were queuing up in a trip to the Middle Continent.
Ye Ci wasted no time in joining the queue of thousands of players. Fortunately for the players waiting in line, the NPC was not set to deal with players one at a time. But even with its capacity of dealing with 50 players at a time, there was still a long wait ahead for players to finally be able to fly.
Ye Ci could see familiar faces in the queue. Some of them friends, while others were her enemies. They wore excited smiles on their faces, eager to soar into the skies and explore the Middle Continent. Despite her knowledge about the continent from her past life, Ye Ci could still feel the anticipation growing in her heart as she waited among the countless thousands.
The voices of players who knew each other could be heard from the large group.
“Hey, XXX, are you heading to the Middle Continent?”
“Yup! Are you going to the Middle Continent as well?”
“That’s right! Do you want to go together?”
“Sure! It’s good to have company.”
Similar conversations were happening along the entire line.
Ye Ci directed Ol’ Four forward as the line advanced slowly. Ol’ Four was not happy at all to b e surrounded by such a large crowd. It would have broken into a fit of rage if Ye Ci had not calmed it down in time.
“Where are you headed, Dear Traveler?” asked the Flight Manager as Ye Ci finally made her way to the front of the line.
“I want to go to Hero City, sir.” Ye Ci stated her destination.
“Alright. Have a safe journey!” said the Flight Manager as he led Ye Ci to her Gryphon on a platform, and two gold coins were immediately deducted from Ye Ci’s inventory. Gryphons were the most common flying pet in all four continents. They were already domesticated by Humans, and were very tame in nature. Their great endurance made them the ideal means of transportation for long distances.
The Gryphons are not the only flying pets in Fate. There was a wide range of flyers such as giant bats, eagles, and other winged beats that could be kept as pets. These beasts lived in abandoned forts, and could not be obtained in the state of the game where none of the guilds had successfully conquered an abandoned fort, which meant that Gryphons were the only form of transportation in the current state of the game.
“My Gryphon is too thin. Look at how large I am. What if it falls out of the sky in the middle of my flight? Give me a stronger one!” It was the first thing that entered Ye Ci’s ears when she ascended the platform and stood beside the Pet Trainer. A Barbarian Warrior was grumbling at the trainer, and standing in front of him was a petitely built Gryphon.
The size of flying pets were randomly generated to provide players with a different experience each time, but their stats remained the same. But the body size of the Barbarian simply did not match the size of his ride. It was easy to see why he was unwilling to mount the Gryphon.
“This is the only one, take it or leave it!” the trainer was at the end of her patience. She turned around to talk to another player, and resumed glaring at the Barbarian.
“No! Give me another mount, or give me a refund!”
NPCs in the major cities had received a major boost in their AIs capability after the release of the new expansion. Their dialogues were no longer limited to the few lines that were predetermined by the system. This made the conflict between players and NPCs after the update a common sight, and the Barbarian was starting an argument with the trainer which was one of the NPCs with a more intelligent AI.
“No refunds! Take it or leave it! Now stand aside, don’t get in the way of the customers behind.” at the current stage of the game, Flight Managers were still exclusively available to the capital city of each continent. This meant that they had a monopoly on air travel, and were not afraid to offend the players.
The Barbarian’s face was red with rage, but there was nothing he could do.
“Are you headed to Hero City?” Ye Ci had long since dismissed Ol’ Four and stood before the trainer alone. As long as players do not attempt to incur their wrath, the NPCs would display a good attitude. Ye Ci received an entirely different treatment from the Barbarian before.
“Yes.” Ye Ci nodded.
The trainer offered her a smile and clapped her hands. A large Gryphon appeared before Ye Ci. It was a majestic beast with shiny feathers and a wingspan of 4 yards. There was a seat cushioned with feathers strapped on the Gryphon’s back. It looked like a comfortable ride. “Enjoy your journey.”
Ye Ci nodded at the NPC, and was about to mount the Gryphon before she felt a presence behind her. She dodged out of reflex, but the person was quicker, and managed to grab hold of her arm. This came as a shock to Ye Ci. She turned around, and found the Barbarian standing behind her.
The man was facing Ye Ci with a smile, “Come on, Elf. Help me out here. Why don’t we exchange mounts?” and Ye Ci raised an eyebrow at the man. Does size really matter that much to him? It’s just a bunch of codes.
“You see, I’m big, but the NPC gave me a small mount,” the Barbarian continued when he received no response from Ye Ci, “Don’t you think it’s not appropriate?”
“It’s a long trip to the Middle Continent, and this Gryphon is so small. What if it dies of exhaustion in the middle of its flight? And what if I have to pay for the loss of the Gryphon?”
“The size of the flyers might be randomized, but they still share the same stats. Your Gryphon has the same stamina and carrying capacity as mine. Something like that will not happen.” Ye Ci pursed her lips. The reasoning behind the player’s action was simply too absurd. It was information that was already released by Fate officials to the players in the patch notes.
Even when his excuse was easily brushed aside by the Elven Huntress, the Barbarian did not give up, “Aiya, aren’t we players from the same continent? Let me out here! I’ll look ridiculous riding that small thing. I won’t look cool at all? How am I supposed to impress the ladies? Just think of it as saving a life!”
Ye Ci could never understand how young male players interpret the aesthetic judgement of female players. To her, stats was more important than appearance.
“Come on, I’ve waited for almost half a day here for a ride. You’re the only one who managed to get such a large Gryphon. Why don’t we exchange our rides? I will look so cool on that Gryphon that the ladies will certainly be impressed. If you ride on the small one, you’ll appear small and petite, and the gents will want to protect you…”
Ye Ci cut the Barbarian off before he could continue his string of nonsense and spoke to the trainer, “Can we switch mounts?”
“If you’re both okay with it, I don’t mind.” The trainer, who was already thoroughly annoyed by the Barbarian Warrior, immediately accepted the proposal so that he would disappear from her sight.
“Alright, this is yours then.” Ye Ci handed the reigns of her Gryphon to the Barbarian, not wanting to waste more time on something as trivial as the appearance of her mount.
The smaller Gryphon was actually very beautiful as well with its body covered with golden skin, and its head with white feathers. It was a shame that these Gryphons belonged to the System, and were not easily obtainable by players.
Ye Ci leapt onto the Gryphon and grabbed hold of its reigns, taking off with an almost perfect posture. The Gryphon circled around the players below before finally climbing high up into the sky.
Even with their flight paths set, players were still in charge of the take off and landing of their flying mounts. A less skillful player would find himself or herself falling off a mount very frequently. Of course, such dangers only presented themselves in the process of taking off and landing. Players were protected by the system during their flight, which would prevent them from falling when they were in the sky. This meant that players who were flying for their first time would not fall out of the sky due to their own anxiety.
Ye Ci had her fair share of embarrassments from falling off her mount in her last life, and had already mastered the art of mounting a Gryphon, as well as taking off. Her body automatically assumed the most correct posture out of reflex as she completed these actions in a series of fluid motions to the surprise and even envy of players around her before soaring into the blue skies.
“Wow! You were so cool back there! Teach me how to do it, Elf!” Ye Ci heard a voice behind her when she was in the sky.
Why is this voice so familiar and yet so annoying?
Ye Ci turned around and saw the Barbarian Warrior behind her with a wide grin on his face, riding on the Gryphon that he had traded from her earlier on.
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