Chapter 284 Wisteria Garden (Part 1)
The first floor of the Job Center was the largest, housing NPCs that offer their services to level up the skills of players of all classes.
Players in Fate learn their character skills primarily through the use of skill books, but they require the services of an NPC to level up their skills, as long as they have the coins to pay.
To prevent the overcrowding of players, the Job Center of Hero City had employed 7 NPCs to take charge of the skill leveling of each character class.
The number of players was significantly less on the second floor, which housed the NPCs in charge of giving out class quests as well as a large variety of unique quests. These quests can only be triggered by the fulfilment of specific requirements. These can be fulfilled by players who followed the guides, but at the current stage of the game, players were still unable to meet most of the requirements. This was why the second floor of the job center was significantly less populated.
Ye Ci could barely see any players on the third floor.
The NPCs on the third floor were the busiest whenever new level caps were released, but due to the uneven player levels, only four NPCs were stationed on the floor.
Only a handful of players in Fate had reached their level cap, which meant that there were barely any visitors on that particular floor. It was apparent that the few who set foot on that place wished to keep their identity a secret, as they hid their faces behind their hoods.
Ye Ci was one of them. She hid underneath her hood as she arrived on the third floor, and found it nearly deserted safe for the dozen of players gathered before the four NPCs. Every single figure on that floor other than the four NPCs was hooded.
She walked up to one of the NPCs surrounded by less players, and a cheerful tune erupted as she was queuing up. It was the BGM of a player leveling up.
Ye Ci glanced at the source of the sound, and saw a player glowing up with a colorful display of light. Ahh, so there’s quite a few who have already reached lvl60 just like me. That guy has stored quite a lot of experience points as well.
The NPC spoke to Ye Ci as she was still trying to figure out how many levels had the player advanced, “How may I help you, o’ hero from a distant land?”
Ye Ci snapped out of her train of thoughts, and nodded at the NPC, “Yes, sir. Can you help me raise my level cap?” she said with a smile.
The NPC muttered under his breath. It was apparent that he was doing a check on Ye Ci’s level, “Of course, hero from a distant land. Your level has met the requirement. I am glad to be of service, he said with a smile as orbs of hand rose from his palm and floated towards Ye Ci, who received a system notification: Your level cap has been increased.
The notification was followed by the jovial music of leveling out. The music rang out six times before finally stopping. The journey from lvl60 to lvl100 is a long and arduous one indeed. Ye Ci grimaced. She had been storing up a lot of points by fighting against monsters that were on levels higher than hers, but had only accumulated enough points to raise her level by six. Well, it seems that getting to lvl100 is something that can’t be achieved in a short amount of time. “Wow! Six levels! Not bad, Little Gongzi. That’s impressive.” Just as Ye Ci was considering her options of leveling spots, she felt a pat on her shoulder and a loud voice.
It was a voice that she would never forget even at the end of her life. She leaped away from the person, and stared at him. The person had already removed his hood, revealing his silvery hair and black eyes.
A player could remain anonymous as long as he or she remain hooded, which was why Ye Ci immediately ran the moment she saw that handsome face.
F*ck! I want nothing to do with that man right now! Ye Ci was his rival, and after he had accepted the bounty on her by the three guilds, she was also a pile of gold coins to him. Hero City was neutral ground, but it does not mean that players could not engage each other in combat. The last thing Ye Ci wanted was to start a fight with him in the middle of Hero City. It would be a huge waste of time.
Ye Ci was quick, but Fleeting Time was even quicker. He caught up with Ye Ci in the wisteria garden, standing before her with his arms crossed in front of him with a grin on his face, “We meet again, Little Gongzi. Why are you so eager to leave before we can even have a good talk?”
“You got the wrong person.” Ye Ci pulled her hood lower rin an attempt to hide her face and spoke in a faked hoarse voice.
“Oh?” Fleeting Time narrowed his eyes and studied the figure in front of him, “I got the wrong person?” a smile appeared on his face.
Ye Ci nodded at him as an affirmation. Come on, just let me go. I don’t want any trouble today.
“Ah, sorry about that.” Fleeting Time was not apologetic at all despite his words, “You look just like someone I know. That girl is so cruel. She stole my heart, but left without even saying goodbye. I’ve been waiting to hear from her for so long, but she did not even talk to me. Ah, poor me.” he even pretended to wipe away nonexistent tears as he spoke.
The grip Ye Ci had on her hood tightened, and relaxed. There was a hint of anger in her expression, but it was quickly suppressed. Just ignore that rascal… Just ignore that rascal… Ye Ci repeated to herself over and over again.
With her mental resistance firmly built up, Ye Ci spoke up to Fleeting Time who was still expressing his sorrow, “Can you get out of the way?”
“Ah, I’m in your way!” Fleeting Time reacted as if he had just come to a sudden realisation. He looked at the positions here he was standing, and alas, he was indeed in the middle of the road, and was blocking Ye Ci’s way.
He sighed and offered an apology, “Ahh, I’m so sorry. You see, I feel sad j whenever I see someone who looks like that girl and I just can’t resist the urge to get in the way.” but he showed no intention of moving out of Ye Ci’s way.
Fine. If he’s not going to move, I’ll just go around him. Ye Ci sighed when she realised that Fleeting Time would never move.
According to Ye Ci’s knowledge of Fleeting Time, he was good, and he has a quick reaction speed. He was like an adhesive that would never let go once he had locked on to a target. Even Ol’ Four would not be much help for her. This was why she made the decision to make a run for it.
But Ye Ci had overestimated her own speed, as well as the reaction speed of Fleeting Time.
Fleeting Time had identified any and all possible escape routes when he first intercepted Ye Ci, and was able to react to any action that she might take. The time she spent listening to Fleeting Time’s nonsense was actually the best time for her escape.
The man was able to grab hold of Ye Ci’s shoulders as she sprinted past him, and he pressed down on her with force.
Ye Ci was caught off guard by the sudden force that was pulling her back. She would have fallen onto the ground if she did not support herself with one hand against one of the pillars beside her.
She pushed hard on the pillar, launching herself away, and was able to twist away from Fleeting Time’s grasp.
But Fleeting Time was not someone she could shake off that easily. Due to Ye Ci’s motion, she was not able to evade Fleeting Time for a second time as she made another grab at her. She could feel a force throwing herself backwards.
And at that moment, Ye Ci remembered her battle against Fleeting Time in the Southern Continent. He had used the same method against her on that day. Oh? Is he trying to pull the same move on me? A smile appeared on Ye Ci’s lips. If that’s what he has in mind, then he has grossly underestimated what I can do.
Ye Ci would never fall for the same trick twice. She pretended to lose her balance as she was tossed away by Fleeting Time, but immediately rebounded and pounced on him the moment she landed.
She was hoping that she would catch him by surprise, but a smile appeared on Fleeting Time’s face as she approached.
Her heart sank the moment she noticed the smile.
She had always been a sceptical person.
And because of that smile, she could not decide if she wanted to press the attack, or to seek for a better opportunity.
Her body, however, had already reacted to the change of Fleeting Time movements. She drew her sword with her right hand, and changed the path of her attack in midair towards the left arm of Fleeting Time.
But Fleeting Time jumped backwards with a sudden movement.
Ye Ci did not even think as she drew a dagger with her other arm, and advanced on Fleeting Time. She had been enraged by Fleeting Time, hence her attacks were all aimed at his most vulnerable spots.
Fleeting Time countered with a pair of his own daggers, and their clanking of their weapons as they met each other in the air was like a symphony in the tranquil wisteria garden.
The fluttering wisteria buds made the already breathtaking spectacle of their fight into a more astonishing sight.
Perhaps due to the scent of wisteria that filled the air in the battlefield, or perhaps due to the contrast of the soft wisteria buds against the sharp killing intent, the intense battle between Ye Ci and Fleeting Time was like a work of art created by a master artist.
Fleeting Time did not attempt to launch his own attacks, and was only backing away from Ye Ci. His movements were swift like the wind that was slipping through the gaps between her fingers. None of Ye Ci’s attacks had landed on Fleeting Time.
But she was not frustrated by her failed attempts. Each miss had only served to make Ye Ci’s head cooler, with her movements matching the swiftness of Fleeting Time.
“Wow! Look at those two! Are they fighting?” Some of the players in the wisteria garden noticed the battle between the two Hunters. Many stopped dead in their tracks, and began watching the awe inspiring spectacle that was playing before their eyes.
“It can’t be! They must be NPCs placed here by the system. Look at their movements! Do you think normal players could do that?”
“This is so cool! I’ve never done anything like this.”
“And the songs from the bards are like background music to their fight! Awesome!”
While their movements were graceful and elegant to the onlookers, only Ye Ci and Fleeting Time could see the dangers that lurked behind every move.
Fleeting Time slowed his movements without warning, and leaned backwards as if he was about to fall.
But Ye Ci could see the trap, and redirected the blade of her sword, stabbing it towards her back.
One of them sprinted forward, as the other leaned backwards. Ye Ci could feel the blade of her sword cutting through something, but she did not have the time to look as she landed 4 yards away.
Fleeting Time was already back on his feet, and was a mere step away from Ye Ci as she recovered from her landing. She felt something cold pressing against the back of her neck before she could react. Ye Ci creased her eyebrows. She had failed to see through Fleeting Time’s movement. He had apparently began to launch his attack as Ye Ci barreled past him.
“Aiya, you’re a troublesome person. Why did you start attacking before I can finish talking?” Fleeting Time’s lips formed themselves into a beautiful arc as he spoke with a voice filled with mirth. Ye Ci could see a trail of blood on his face. The wound was not deep, but it was seeping blood.
Despite the game’s realism, Ye Ci’s attack would not leave a permanent scar on Fleeting Time’s face. But Ye Ci still enjoyed the satisfaction of leaving a scar on that beautiful face nonetheless. The satisfaction that she felt was that of a person crushing a beautiful flower. Especially when the flower was Fleeting Time. It felt good.
She was caught by Fleeting Time, but she could not but smirk as she stared at the wound that she left on his face. If he’s a tad bit slower, I would’ve cut that pretty face of his into shreds. Even his own mother would not recognise him by the time I’m done.
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