Ye Ci could see nothing but destruction as she walked out of the conference room. The fort was in a complete mess. Many of its buildings were damaged by Golden Era’s sieges weapons, and many of its facilities were crippled by hooded saboteurs that went unnoticed during the heat of the battle. Ye Ci stood surveying the aftermath of the battle for quite a while before pulling up her hood and headed to the entrance of the fort.
A hooded figure was waiting for her at the entrance. She tilted her head to a side and smiled, “Why are you here? This is the Eastern Continent. Are you not afraid that you’ll get attacked by the members of my guild?”
The figure pulled down his hood, and smiled at Ye Ci, “These are trying times. We might be players of opposing continents, but we’re also allies. I have a feeling that I’ll be alright.”
“Trying time?” Ye Ci raised an eyebrow, “Does our fight with Golden Era count?”
“It won’t be if it’s just you against them.” he chuckled.
“Oh? You fought against them as well?” Ye Ci smiled. She would have long heard about it if it was the case, “Come on Fleeting Time, I hate it when people beat around the bush.”
Fleeting Time shrugged and imitated her tone, “Little Gongzi, I don’t like it when I’m threatened.”
And the two shared a look before breaking into laughter.
It felt strange to Ye Ci, as they have never had such an interaction before.
They would always fight whenever they met, until they made the decision to try out their new relationship.
It felt new to Ye Ci.
They were able to talk to each other openly, with no secrets hidden in their hearts.
Ye Ci tilted her head. It was apparent that she was fatigued. Even the usual intensity in her eyes had died down. The fight against Gongzi Yi had exacted a heavy toll on her.
Fleeting Time narrowed his eyes and asked much to Ye Ci’s confusion, “How good was the person with the Void Dragon.” How did he know? Of course, the question did not leave Ye Ci’s mouth. She knew that Fleeting Time had his own ways of acquiring the information, “I felt like I was fighting myself.”
“What do you mean by that?”
“Everything she does is just like me. Feels like I’m looking at a mirror.” and Ye Ci quickly remembered the time when she started playing as a Huntress. She had also been imitating the playstyle of Fleeting Time, “How did you feel when you fought against me for the first time? Did it feel like looking into a mirror as well?”
Fleeting Time smiled in response, “How can that be? If it’s a mirror, then my opponent should be a man.”
Ye Ci shook her head, and Fleeting Time continued, “Well in a way it does seem like it. Our playstyles were quite similar, but you have an advantage of your own. And it made me feel the difference between the two of us.”
“And what is that advantage?”
“You fight with reckless abandonment, while I’m more cautious.”
“Hmm… It sure don’t feel that way.”
“It’s a concept that we’ve interpreted differently.” Fleeting Time explained, “One can only deal out the highest amount of damage by staying alive.” he chuckled, “That is the truth. But the way you interpreted it is completely different.”
“You would always take risks while I tend to avoid them. While we might have similar fighting styles, we have very different philosophies in battle. And that was why I can feel that we were different.”
Ye Ci began comparing herself with Gongzi Yi after listening to Fleeting Time’s words, and the man did nothing to distract her from her train of thoughts. He instead turned his head around to look at Upwards Ho!’s fort.
Our way of fighting was affected by our mentality? A smile appeared on Ye Ci’s face as she thought of the fight. Fleeting Time was right. She quickly realised that she had always been fighting with the knowledge that she might die in each fight.
While Gongzi Yi had a similar fighting style, she lacked Ye Ci’s fear of death. If she was Gongzi Yi, she would have continued the pursuit even if the Void Dragon was at its limits.
The slight lull in the fight was what gave Ye Ci the opportunity to seize victory from the jaws of defeat.
Gongzi Yi might have imitated her skill, but her will was something the player was never able to replicate. It was an advantage that she would never be able to match.
“By the way, you haven’t answered my question yet.” Ye Ci smiled at Fleeting Time.
“And what was it again?”
“Why are you here?”
“Will you believe me if I tell you that I have to help out my in-laws since they’re in trouble?” Fleeting Time shamelessly declared with a very seductive smile on his face.
But Ye Ci remained unaffected. “It’s still too early to make that conclusion.” Ye Ci snorted, “Nothing is absolute.”
Fleeting Time sighed, and shook his head, “Golden Era came looking for us. They wanted to be partners.”
“Golden Era is way bigger than Genesis. Do they even need to work with you?” Ye Ci was confused, “With their new recruits added into their original number, they might even be able to dominate the game.”
“They realised that they’ve made too many enemies. If they don’t lay low, the major guilds will simply wipe them out before they can grow. They’ve been laying pretty low this time.” Fleeting Time smiled.
“Have they now?” Ye Ci laughed, “Doesn’t feel like it.”
“Well, it’s all relative.”
Indeed. This is not how Golden Era used to do things. Thought Ye Ci. “Were they seeking an alliance against the other guilds? I don’t think Absalom would agree to something like that. Besides, your guild is quite reputable. Accepting their proposal would only place you in an awkward spot.”
“They came to talk about Mithril.” Fleeting Time finally stopped beating around the bush, “And the price they offered for our ores was quite high. Absalom did not agree, and they offered us another term.”
Ye Ci could feel unease creeping into her heart, “They wanted you to join them in their fight against us, didn’t they?” she frowned.
“My, my. You sure know them well.” Fleeting Time nodded, “That’s exactly what they proposed. The ore vein in the Southern Continent is locked, while the rest were controlled by Genesis, Heavenly Body and Upwards Ho!. Genesis and Heavenly Body are both large guilds, but Upwards Ho!...” a smile appeared on Fleeting Time’s face, “Who will you choose as your target if you’re Golden Era? Upwards Ho! will definitely be my choice.”
Despite her anger, Ye Ci knew that Fleeting Time was right. Upwards Ho! was small, new, and did not have the backing of any third parties.
“So what did Absalom decide?” Ye Ci could guess that the offer was declined, but she still decided to ask.
“Ah, that shameless man would’ve accepted their offer if it’s not for my objection out of consideration for my own happiness.” Fleeting Time laughed.
Ye Ci laughed as well. She could imagine Absalom’s disturbed expression.
“I bet he’s not very happy about it.”
“And that’s why I’m here.” Fleeting Time looked at Ye Ci, “Genesis would like to be the first guild to form an alliance with a guild from a hostile continent. Of course, it would be a formal alliance recognized by the system. What do you think?”
“I think you should talk to Remote Depths about it.” Ye Ci pursed her lips.
“Of course. But…”
“But I’ve missed you.”
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