Chapter 58: OP Garlic (XII)
“The cooler is still full of blood.” Feng Bujue once again got up to walk to the cooler, “Seems like the Deviant didn’t need this. It came here solely for one goal: to kill the two players.”
Lil’ Tan continued his questioning, “Then why didn’t it come to kill us? Are we lower leveled?”
“It makes sense why they didn’t kill you: you spawned closest to the GMs. If it went after you, it’d have run the risk of getting within range of detection,” said Feng Bujue. “At the start of the Scenario, the three of us–Atobe-sama, Names Are Really Difficult to Choose, and myself–all could’ve been acceptable targets. Myself in particular was likely to be targeted: low leveled and alone. Even if I were killed, the GMs would’ve probably wrongly attributed my death to a Blood wolf Zombie.
“But… during that exceptionally vulnerable moment, the Deviant didn’t attack me at all and it certainly didn’t look for the other two. It waited until you, me, and the GMs were all in Allerbmu Tower before it made a move. So….”
Feng Bujue, who had been talking up to this point, suddenly raised his head and yelled at Pan Feng and Hua Xiong, “Hey! Generals! Is there a period of time at the start of the Scenario when the Deviant is unable to move?”
Hua Xiong leaned forward and shouted from the rooftop, “It’s not that it’s unable to move, but that it had not yet fully formed.” He followed with, “You still remember that mug of coffee?”
“What about it?” shouted back Feng Bujue.
“Normal code is like ordinary instant coffee, it instantly dissolves in hot water. The Deviant, however, is like that stubborn clump of powder that needs more time before it dissolves,” replied Hua Xiong. “Normally, it’s not until we’ve hardcore-carried the players and are on the verge of clearing the Scenario do they appear.” He paused for two seconds before saying, “But the Deviant we’ve encountered this time has formed unusually quickly.”
“So that’s how it is…” suddenly Feng Bujue recalled something and spoke up again, “Oh, by the way, how did you guys know it’s a Class 4? Were you notified by the System upon entering the Scenario? Or is it something that can be identified in your GM menu?”
“After we ‘encounter’ it, we’ll be able to see its class in the menu.” Answered Pan Feng. “Using a close quarters melee weapon to scratch it once would do it.”
“Wait, wait…” said Feng Bujue, “You’re telling me that this whole time you’ve claimed this Deviant was a Class 4 you were guessing?”
Having heard that Pan Feng and Hua Xiong looked at each other for moment, then burst out laughing, “Ha…when we said that there’s a total of four classes of Deviant, you really took it seriously? Where would we even go to find a Class 3 Deviant? Our job is to eliminate all Class 4 Deviants. It’d only be possible if we’d repeatedly failed or if a fourth class Deviant was lucky enough to continuously run into six-man teams, otherwise it’s fundamentally impossible for a third class Deviant to be born de novo (out of nothing).”
Feng Bujue laughed dryly, “Well, let’s hope you’re right.”
Pan Feng asked, “So, hey. Lil’ Feng bro, how does the crime scene look down there? Did you come to any useful conclusions?”
“Well…” Feng Bujue shoved his hands in his trouser pockets and began to pace back and forth while stating his conclusions, “The Deviant has taken the form of a female human, 165 cm tall, slender. The creature is capable of pulling out or extending an approximately 20 cm long claw-type weapon from some part of its body instantaneously. It won’t be much faster or stronger than the mutant Dr. Ashford that we saw earlier at Allbermu Tower.
“From an intelligence aspect, you guys can only track its coordinates while it is within your detection range, but it has been fully aware of your positions from the very start. At the same time, it also knows the exact position of every player. Consequently, using us as bait won’t work. As long as you guys are nearby, it will not approach us.
“Exactly how intelligent this Deviant is, I am unable to confirm at this time. Guessing based on the current situation, it is completely aware of what it ‘should’ do: its aim is to survive and evolve and the requirement to fulfill this objective is to have all the players and GMs to leave the Scenario.
“Considering things from its point of view…
“Firstly, it will not prevent any actions that allow you to use your Admin leverage to expedite the clearance of the scene, because clearing means that all the players will be sent out and that would save it the trouble.
“Secondly, if we continue with this line of thinking under the premise that it acts primarily to ensure its own safety–as exemplified by it avoiding you guys–the Deviant also shouldn’t need to personally eliminate the few players. That is unless doing so contributes to its growth? I’m not sure….”
He stopped pacing when he reached this point, “The other troubling thing is the whether the creature can interact with the other monsters. Would such interactions result in the Deviant attacking the monsters or is it able to communicate with them? But, whether these interactions would impact the storyline or main mission, I have no way of determining.
“But in short… if I were that Deviant, combined with the situations in this Scenario, there’s more or less three courses of action it could take.”
Feng Bujue reclined on the couch once more and lowered his head. He touched two fingers to his forehead in thought. “Well… its best strategy would be for it wait until dusk, or some other ideal time, and use itself to lure you to a set location by entering your range of detection. There, allied with mutated Ashford and the nocturnal forms of the Blood Wolf zombies, they would strike together.” He raised his head slightly and drew his fingers from his forehead down along the bridge of his nose. “I know you guys can look up the various flags, monster profiles, and the Scenario layout, but you can’t see every mob’s coordinates in real time. That bit wasn’t hard to figure out because you found Dr. Ashford by triggering the plotline flag. But once that mutant escaped, you two lost all traces of it.” His voice became grave, “If this Deviant can find Ashford and communicate with it, it will definitely exploit the monster to get what it wants if it is smart enough.
“The aforementioned strategy, for the Deviant, is the approach with the highest chance of success.”
At this moment, he pointed into the distance and glanced meaningfully at Lil’ Tan. Lil’ Tan turned his head in that direction, and discovered a lone Blood Wolf Zombie approaching. He understood what Jue Bro wanted, and grabbed his baseball bat and went after it.
While Lil’ Tan was beating up the monster, the PanHua Duo had already jumped down from the rooftop. Since Feng Bujue just said it was useless lying in ambush, they also didn’t stay up there getting windswept.
“The middle strategy would be to kill Mutant Ashford,” Feng Bujue continued to explain to the two GMs. “If it does things this way, Lil’ Tan and I will be forced out of the Scenario since it technically would be cleared. After that the Deviant would come deal with the two of you or continue this game of cat and mouse. In any case, after a maximum of 80 hours, you would be disconnected due to Game Cabin restrictions. Of course, since the Deviant is only a collection of data, it is highly unlikely that it has even a basic concept of the ‘real world’ and it wouldn’t know of this restriction.” He paused for a moment, “Electing this option would mean the Deviant cannot communicate with monsters and thus chose to act in a way as to prevent unpredictable elements, such as the mutants and the players, from disrupting things. At the same time such a course of action would suggest that this Deviant is confident that it has a higher chance of killing you in a 1 vs 2 situation.”
At this time, Lil’ Tan had already bashed that monster to death and was heading back.
“As for the worst strategy, ah… it’s not very likely to happen.” Feng Bujue spoke, “The worst option is to just casually choose a time to charge on over, directly launching an attack at us four.” He said, “Although the last option doesn’t fit with this Deviant’s previous methods of operation at all, if it truly intended to kill us in that way, then it definitely would have some reason for doing so. For instance… if after it ate Ashford’s brains it suddenly transformed into an extremely strong monster and gained the confidence to take down four people on its own.”
Pan Feng and Hua Xiong’s jaws dropped after they finished listening to Feng Bujue’s explanation. Both of them wore expressions as if they were looking upon a monster. “Might I dare ask, what is it that you do sire?”
“A Great…” right as Feng Bujue was about to loudly declare one of his customary answers—
Lil’ Tan interrupted, “Freelancer!”
Feng Bujue shrugged and directed the conversation back on track by directing his next words at the GM duo, “We should still discuss how to respond two these three possible scenarios. Except in the case of the second situation, Lil’ Tan and I both can serve of some use, no matter how much or little.”
“The deaths of the Level 14 and Level 12 players already demonstrated a lot of issues (with that), right? You’ve done your own analysis and have an idea of the Deviant’s strength; did you really think you two can help?” Hua Xiong said, “I know, you’re a very capable player and have a very good head on those shoulders and aren’t in anyway someone who’d get played by the game. In regards to gaming, if I weren’t a GM, 80% of my achievements wouldn’t even begin to compare with yours. But to combat an existence such as the Deviants, only fighting strength is required; everything else is secondary.”
“You guys have greatly underestimated a player’s strength.” Feng Bujue spoke in a relaxed manner, “Just like you’ve said, the success rate of a solo GM hunting a Class 4 Deviant is over 95%. If that is the case, let’s use your GM’s strength as our benchmark. In a Scenario of this level, the Deviant’s strength is then nearly equal to that of player’s just shy of level 20, right? But we shouldn’t forget that it is only AI, not a human.
“Atobe-sama and Names Are Really Difficult to Choose were insta-killed due to carelessness. If the first thing they did was treat it as a formidable threat and used their firearms, skills, and so on rather than attempt to socialize, would they still have been insta-killed? I believe they, at the very least, would have certainly inflicted some injury, so much so that it might have been possible for them to successfully escape.
“I for one am very much looking forward to being able to live during, witness, and participate in the course of the events leading up to and including the killing of the Deviant. So…” he paused for just a moment, “for the time being, let’s believe that this Deviant will choose the strategy that will cause us the most trouble–the best option–and let’s think about how we should deal with it….”
The sun has set in the west; the buildings and woods were plunged into darkness.
Night has fallen. In the city, every last wisp of air seems ice-cold; filled with a chill that makes the blood of men freeze.
The eyes of the Blood Wolf Zombies bled red and they still moved unevenly like zombies, but their sense of smell had already become keener than it was during the day. Once they detect the scent of their prey, their steps will surely hasten suddenly, their bodies lowered at a run on all fours. Their strength, speed, and disposition, compared how they were during the day, were poles apart. The Blood Wolf Zombies were now at the very least twice as strong as normal zombies.
In the dim light of the night, two human silhouettes advanced at high speeds.
Behind them there were already over fifty Blood Wolf Zombies in pursuit.
Twenty minutes ago, the Deviant appeared within the detection range of the two Admins, but it came no closer. It hovered at a distance, showing no desire to move closer. This turn of events was in line with the worst situation that Feng Bujue had predicted.
At the moment, Pan Feng and Feng Bujue were running from Blood Wolf Zombies, though the duo were still somewhat faster than the monsters could give chase. The duo’s clothes were smeared in no small amount of highly attractive, uninfected blood….
Soo, literally it’s freelancer. In Chinese, it refers primarily to writers and editors. But I’m going to leave it like this since it gives the impression that now the GMs think he’s a GREAT freelancer… of any kind. *coughdetectivecoughmurderercough*