Chapter 56: OP Garlic (X)
“This is bad….” Pan Feng whispered.
“Do you think he heard…?” Hua Xiong whispered back.
“I’m only a few meters away from you right now, why are you even whispering?” said Feng Bujue.
“Eh… heh heh… it’s like this…” Pan Feng tried to answer.
Feng Bujue cut him off, “Before you crack a joke and start spouting lies, let me first say: I really don’t think you’re hackers, because your actions don’t add up. You guys are obviously insiders from Dream Corp. I don’t know whether or not you guys are GMs, but I don’t think your work is the type that is appropriate to expose.” His eyes swept over Pan Feng and Hua Xiong quickly, implying that his next words would be of great importance, “Tell us the actual situation and we can cooperate with your work; plus, we can keep everything a secret after the Scenario ends. Otherwise… I just might take what happened here today, write a sort of dozen-chaptered, vividly detailed novella, and publish it in installments as breaking news on a large forum.
“Uh…wait just a moment…” replied Hua Xiong, “Let us discuss this for a second.”
“Be my guest,” Feng Bujue curtly said before turning around and moving some distance away from them.
The two of them left the edge of the glass wall and headed to a corner of the office space, whispering. About five minutes later, they came back.
Pan Feng started, he asked Feng Bujue and Lil’ Tan, “Alright then, what do you guys want to know?”
“What is your identity, what is your purpose for being here and what is going to happen in this Scenario?” Feng Bujue rapidly fired off his questions; he had long since prepared these.
“You’ve guessed correctly: we’re game admins,” said Hua Xiong, “We entered this Scenario to deal with a type of corrupt code, called ‘Deviant’.” He paused for a moment, “Concerning this Scenario’s plotline…. You guys saw it too, the thing we were chasing just then was Dr. Ashford’s mutant. The Scenario so far roughly went like this… Ashford, having some questionable morals, stole the virus from the research lab and then mixed it with a different source liquid that he had prepared beforehand. He then used a device on the roof of this building to infect everyone in the city.”
“So that’s why there’s only normal zombies inside the research labs, and why the ones outside are those bizarre Blood Wolf Zombies?” Feng Bujue cut in and finished the thought.
“It is worth noting that although the Blood Wolf Zombies are rather pathetic at the moment, they are a transformation brought about by the mutant virus and are much stronger than normal zombies. Once night falls, if a player at your level is caught without garlic, they would find it incredibly difficult to fight these monsters,” Hua Xiong said.
“Then what’s up with the Werewolf Zombies that we met earlier?” asked Lil’ Tan.
“In accordance to the events in the Scenario, the System will always set up several mini-BOSSes within this building,” answered Pan Feng. “The rate of Zombie Werewolf mutation was set so three in 100,000 fully transformed infected individuals would evolve into a larger, more stable mutant.”
Feng Bujue spoke, “Then there should be quite a lot of other things you guys can see: monster profiles, how many methods there are to pass the scenario, when FLAGs will trigger, and even the Scenario map.”
“It’s not limited to just those, we also have access to player coordinates, current statuses, skill repertoire, abilities from Titles, etc. Whatever they have and are, we can see all of it in our menus.” Pan Feng said, “I remember that a moment ago you had been infected, but relied on only your strength and went and found the antiserum in the research laboratory, right? You’re really quite the capable one.”
Feng Bujue replied, “You praise me too highly, however… I believe there’s one thing you don’t have information on,” He paused. “And that’s the thing you mentioned earlier, the ‘Deviant’, right?”
Hua Xiong sighed, “If we could have found it, then we wouldn’t have needed to waste so much effort to try and clear through the Scenario.”
Feng Bujue spoke up, “After completing the conditions to clear the Scenario, us normal players would all have been sent out, and you would’ve been able to ignore the transfer period. And then… in the time after we left the Scenario to deal with our rewards, your jobs would’ve actually just started. Without any players interfering, you’d then have free rein to search for the Deviant in the finished Scenario and deal with it.”
“Oh… very impressive, you were able to speculate the situation up to that point with from just a few sentences,” said Hua Xiong.
“I’ve already lost interest in your situation and this Scenario.” Feng Bujue raised a hand to the back of his neck and tilted his head up, loosening the muscles in his neck, “Tell me more about this Deviant in detail, please.”
“Even if you guys learn about it, it wouldn’t make any difference because there’s simply no way you could help.” Pan Feng said, “If it were me, I’d eagerly have the GM take myself and find the escaped mutant Ashford faster (than if without GM), then after killing it, clear the scene in ease and get my rewards.”
“Please be sure to explain all the ins and outs regarding the Deviant in detail.” Feng Bujue wore a smile on his face as he continued, “Or else, it’d be very possible that I won’t be able to stop myself from writing two very piercingly and extremely provocatively worded letters to Atobe-sama and Names Are Really Difficult to Choose letting them know… that it was only due to some technical errors on the part of the game corp that they two were killed by a type of ultra-powerful monster that shouldn’t have existed in this Scenario.”
“How… how did you know they were killed by the Deviant?” asked Pan Feng.
“Simply connected the answer to the question, that’s all,” said Feng Bujue.
The Pan Hua duo just simply didn’t understand this reply, but it seemed pretty impressive….
“Well…cough cough, okay then.” Hua Xiong spoke, “There’s no harm in telling you too. Actually, the players will realize the existence of the Deviants sooner or later. Even though the odds of the players encountering them are slight, the company is still prepared to release an official statement with a more appropriately worded explanation during Open Beta on the issue.” He surveyed his surroundings and then said, “Come with me,” then strode away, leading the other three toward a coffee machine.
He arrived at a cubicle closest to the coffee machine, picked up an extremely conspicuous coffee pot off the desk, and opened the lid to point at the coffee grounds that filled up three-quarters of the inside before speaking, “Suppose these coffee grounds are all code,” he raised his right index finger, “among these grounds there is one bad grain, corrupt code that was unintentionally created, that the system needs to eliminate.” He paused a moment before continuing, “Yet that one grain is continuously changing form and its position throughout the entire pot of coffee grounds,” he looked at Feng Bujue and Wang Tanzhi, “how would you precisely pinpoint it?”
“It can’t be done.” answered Feng Bujue immediately.
“Yes, it’s impossible,” Hua Xiong concurred. After which he reached his hand into the pot and grabbed a palmful of coffee grounds. “However, what the system can do is grab that piece of corrupt code along with any surrounding code for a fleeting moment like this in its hands.” He lifted his fist slightly and let the coffee grounds gradually slip between his fingers. “But, I only need to eliminate one grain in this handful of coffee; the rest is still useful. I can’t trash the entire handful just to get rid of one grain, and I can’t hold this handful for too long because at any moment that one grain could stealthy slip through my fingers.”
“Then… the system converts the code into a Scenario,” said Feng Bujue, “to allow the Deviant to actualize from code into a monster, leaving it up to you guys to kill or defeat it. After forcing it into a corner, the system can then can wipe it out when it clears out the Scenario.”
Hua Xiong spoke, “Yes, exactly like that.” He then proceeded to pick up a mug and also grabbed a container of sugar cubes. “Now suppose this mug represents the Scenario’s outer shell. You players are these sugar cubes.” He gestured at the mug, “The moment you queued for the Scenario and heard the system notification:【The number of team members has been randomly generated: 6 persons】,” he tossed the coffee grounds from his hands into the mug, “the corrupt code was cast into the shell. But, at that point the code was still just a variety of different, basic elements: air, water, clouds, dirt etc…” He placed six sugar cubes in his hand, “The moment six players–the two of you included–arrived at the entrance of this Scenario, each of you having heard from the System 【Your group has entered queue; searching for other individuals or groups】,that’s when…” he tossed away two of the sugar cubes before saying, “two players from among the six were replaced by me and Pan Xiong (TN: Not a typo. This Xiong means elder brother and is not the Xiong from Hua Xiong’s name.) Those other two were immediately assigned to another waiting scenario, them still unaware of any change.”
Pan Feng spoke, “Us GMs usually work in teams of two on standby. If a Deviant’s code has been found and confined into a Scenario that’s just about to start, we we’ll be inserted into that queue. The players that we replace are usually two-person teams or two single-players and aren’t already in a group with the players who’d successfully queued into the Scenario.”
“What if you encounter five-man, or six-man groups?” interrupted Lil’ Tan.
“If it’s a five-man group, then we can only substitute that single player and send one person in. As for six-man groups, then there’s nothing that can be done. They have to face the Deviant on their own. However, from the start of the server until now there hasn’t been a situation where a six-man group has met with a Deviant,” answered Pan Feng. “On that note, the code that the system ‘captures’ can only be used to generate six-man Team Survival Mode Scenarios, that’s why you guys won’t have to worry about meeting a Deviant in two to five man Scenarios or other Modes.”
“Doesn’t that just mean six-man Team Scenarios are super dangerous?” asked a startled Lil’ Tan.
“How could it be possible for so many Deviants to exist,” laughed Pan Feng, “The ratio of code that the System can’t control is nearly 1 out of a trillion. During the company’s internal testing period, the servers for Sleep Mode and Awake Mode continuously ran for thirty days and Deviant code only appeared a total of ten times.”
“In short, when you heard the sentence【Scenario is being generated】…” Hua Xiong who was currently to the side, threw in the rest of the sugar cubes at this moment, took the mug next to the coffee machine and added hot water. The coffee grounds he’d added earlier immediately dissolved in the liquid. “Every element considered your levels, combat strength, tendency in Proficiencies, past performances, and so on to randomly generate a completely normal Scenario. The plot, the worldview, and other such things are generated at this time as well. The Deviant then blends with data elements in the Scenario to become something substantial.”
Feng Bujue thought for a moment before asking, “Then…how powerful is the Deviant actually?”
“Ha ha…” laughed Pan Feng, “I take it you’d also seen our actual strength earlier, then.”
“I noticed….” said Feng Bujue.
“Do you know why it’s necessary to have two people in a team to deal with the Deviant?”
“Is it because they could get killed if they’re alone…” answered Feng Bujue.
Pan Feng spoke, “It’s good that you know. Don’t judge us just because we look like Level 13s. Since we’re using GM accounts, our actual fighting strength is comparable to those about ten levels higher. Although it’s like that, we can’t say that we’re invincible. Just take that BOSS from earlier; it jumped down from the upper floors and fled, and we were powerless to stop it. If we jumped after it, we would’ve died just like any other player.”
Lil’ Tan asked, “Then why doesn’t your company just raise their admin’s characters’ abilities a bit? Like why not have you guys look like Level 13s but with the strength of Level 50 or something like that.”
Hua Xiong lifted the coffee mug in front of him, “Two sugar cubes will fit into the mug, but will two watermelons?”
“Oh….” nodded Lil’ Tan, seeming to have understood.
“Our two accounts won’t level up as we’re specifically in charge of Scenarios ranging from Level 5 to 14. Admins in charge of other level intervals are under similar circumstances as us and possess strength that surpasses their displayed levels.” Pan Feng said, “Since you guys know about the Deviant situation now, if you meet any in the future… even though the odds of that are endlessly near zero, but if by any chance you run into them, please cooperate with the Admin working on site and keep the matter secret from other players.”
“I’m quite curious…” Feng Bujue spoke pensively, “If in a Scenario… a Deviant escapes your execution, what will happen?”
When the PanHua duo heard this, their entire expression changed.
Feng Bujue spoke up again, “You’ve also admitted that it’s possible for one Admin to be unable to deal with a Deviant. That means something similar has happened before, right? That kind of… it was a situation where an Admin chased after a Deviant on his own and in the end was killed.”
Hua Xiong spoke up, “That Scenario would normally be closed and become code once again. And the surviving Deviant code will morph and become stronger and more cunning….”
“Cunning?” asked Feng Bujue suspiciously.
“These Deviants posses AIs with a certain degree of self-awareness. They can be divided into four classes. Usually the Deviants us Admins are sent to deal with are of the fourth class, the weakest. To put it in perspective, these AIs are slightly more clever than a main BOSS in a Scenario, but much greater in strength.
“If a (fourth class) Deviant survives past the end of a Scenario, then that Deviant will become, just as I said earlier, stronger and more cunning. It’s very possible that it might rise to the third class. About 97% of the time, an admin can defeat a Deviant of the fourth class; a third class Deviant can only be dealt with by two admins together. The success rate of a solo admin under these conditions would be less than 50%.”
Feng Bujue asked, “And higher classes?”
“Haven’t seen one,” replied Hua Xiong. “Truthfully speaking, I haven’t even heard about them. A second class Deviant is only possible in theory at the moment. In actuality, there has only ever been one third class Deviant thus far. The odds of one appearing are low and having the game in full operation only increased the odds slightly. But regardless, even with a tenfold increase, the chances of one appearing are next to nothing.”
“Hm…understood. In that case, let us go and experience just how powerful the fourth class corrupt code in this Scenario is then….” laughed Feng Bujue.
Ok, so I know what you’re all thinking: That’s not how coffee works, and you’re right. This author is treating coffee grounds as instant coffee, and I’m betting it’s coffee grounds because you don’t usually put instant coffee into the entire pot. Clearly, he’s never made coffee before.
Reminder that worldview refers to the rules and regulations that dictate what can happen in that mini-world in the Scenario