Chapter 104: Burapha and the Qi Kingdom - Pine Tree Garden
While Sila was battling against the Eight-Legged Spider King Aramut in Misty Valley, Burapha had followed Ginny on the journey to Zhongsuyuan City. It was a journey based on Bluebird's information that a man matching the description Ginny provided had appeared in this city.
As they didn't go offline, they had spent four to five days traveling before arriving at the city using the normal route. For the record, they had depended on the chariot service of the Mountain Thieves League to travel day and night.
During their journey, Burapha tried to please Ginny along the way, but it seemed she found it annoying. She made a displeased face and tried to fend Burapha off. Nevertheless, with Burapha's shameless patience of a professional merchant, her attempts weren't effective at all.
"I hate weaklings," Ginny said a sentence that even she herself found too harsh.
However, Burapha didn't seem to mind and acted the same toward her. In the end, Ginny quit trying to chase Burapha away as he always came up with new excuses to be with her.
Finally, the chariot arrived in the Qi Kingdom. The chariot passed through the main gate that resembled a pair of pine trees. On top of these two pine trees, there was a small litter that would be used as an observance spot during wartime.
Both Burapha and Ginny stepped down from the chariot and entered Zhongsuyuan City, the official name of the Qi Kingdom.
Zhongsuyuan City was located in the eastern part of the Main Continent. It was one of the three main kingdoms. The city gave off an old feeling, resembling an ancient Chinese city. The ground was hard and dry. The most noticeable and unique thing in this city was the large quantity of pine trees that existed all over the place, causing the entire city to be covered by the shadows of the pine trees. Hence, the name Zhongsuyuan (Pine Tree Garden).
The stalls and the buildings in the city matched the ancient theme being made of wood and brick. The streets were two times wider than those of the other cities, causing this city to appear spacious despite the crowded population.
Even further east of the city, a few hundred meters away, was a place called the Wuxia Home, a.k.a. the Victorious Wolves Sect.
Someone once said that each kingdom specialised in particular items. If you seek medicine, go to the Qi Kingdom. If you seek tools, go to the Psychic Kingdom. And if you seek scrolls, go to the Magic Kingdom.
Many people came to this place intending to acquire high-grade medicines or the ingredients to make them. The monsters that inhabited the eastern side of the Main Continent tended to possess medicinal properties and often dropped parts of their bodies once defeated. On the other hand, weapons and equipment were rarely drops. Thus, the medicinal ingredients were very easy to purchase and sell as they were easy to find, in constant demand, and had a low price.
That was the reason why a majority of the stalls were selling ingredients and medicine. Of course, there were still weapons and armor being sold, but most of them were subpar.
Another distinctive point of Zhongsuyuan City was that it was a city where the legendary weaponsmith NPC lived. Although he only accepted works on a whim, he was very popular among the players as the weapons he made were top class and suited the wielder.
Burapha took a look at all the products being sold with great interest, almost forgetting Ginny who walked next to him. These products could be resold at a slightly higher price if he sold them in other cities, or even much higher price if he processed them with his craftsmanship skill.
Nevertheless, Ginny didn't give attention to any of the items. She sped up, heading toward one of the branches of the Blue Pigeon Guild as Bluebird had suggested.
Burapha walked side by side with Ginny. Despite her being in a hurry, her short legs made her have to take two steps for every step Burapha took.
This made her feel very irritated. She was a short woman from the start. As she had selected the fairy race, her height was further reduced by ten centimeters. She wouldn't have selected this race if not for its dual casting ability which was very compatible with her dual sword style.
They walked for fifteen minutes before arriving in front of the branch of the Blue Pigeon Guild, which was far from the shopping area.
Ginny pushed the front door open and entered. She informed the staff at the front desk that she was told by Bluebird to meet with someone there.
Afterward, another member of the guild came out from the back door. She was a mature-looking young woman wearing white female wuxia clothing. Her long, braided hair reached her back and her eyes were big and clear.
"Hello, are you two friends of Blue?"
Ginny shook her head while Burapha nodded, causing the woman to feel confused.
Burapha hurriedly explained, "She is not a friend of Big Brother Blue but I am. My name is Burapha."
The woman nodded in understanding. "I see. My name is White Swan. I'm the same as Blue, one of the vice leaders of the Blue Pigeon Guild. About the person that Blue has mentioned, he indeed made an appearance in this city."
"When? And where is he right now?"
"First things first." White Swan opened her palm forward. "The cost of this information is 1,000 gold."
"1,000 gold!?" Ginny was shocked. "Isn't it too expensive?"
"I guarantee that the value of this information is worth the amount."
Burapha interrupted, "I'm a friend of Big Brother Blue. Could you please give us a discount?"
"That's more the reason I can't give you any discount. Do you know Bluebird's title?"
Burapha gave it some thought. He recalled Bluebird had once told him. "Is it Bluebird of Happiness? How is it related to our topic?"
"Bluebird of Happiness? I bet he just shamelessly call himself that. His actual title is Blue-Colored Catastrophe, as he always brings misfortune wherever he goes. Does he know how much work others need to do to even out the debts he has made so far? He even dares to rest instead of putting his ass to work!!!"
White Swan's voice got louder with every word. Many people began to turn their attention to her.
"Cough. I'm sorry! I was too emotional just now. In short, I really can't give you any discount. Our guild is having financial difficulties too."
Burapha started to fear this woman a bit. He took out 1,000 gold and gave it to her silently without attempting to bargain again.
"Thank you for choosing our service. This is the information you seek for." She handed Burapha an information card with a blue pigeon picture on it.
Burapha took and inserted it into his system window. Then, he read the information.
"Hey, you, I can't see. Read it out loud for me," Ginny said to Burapha.
Burapha inhaled a deep breath before reading it to Ginny.
"Player Revin, the Flame Monarch, is a dragon race player in Marquis Rank who excels at fire magic. His level is unknown but is estimated to be 1,000. He is one of the Two Monarchs of the Heavenly Dragon Guild. His main weapon is some kind of heavy metal sword with very little information discovered about it. It is theorised that it was specifically made by the legendary weaponsmith NPC.
"Six days ago, he visited Zhongsuyuan City with the long-lost Dragon Killer Sword in his hand. He declared that he would give the sword to the most skillful player in the city. He announced that he would prepare a battle royale match in the central square of Zhongsuyuan City at midnight of every day for seven days straight. Tonight will be the last one."
Burapha was distressed. He didn't have any personal grudge against the Heavenly Dragon Guild but Sila clearly declared himself to be an enemy of this guild. Thus, Burapha considered himself to have some enmity toward this guild as well.
"Revin..." Ginny muttered to herself.
"Isn't doing something like this problematic? Although Zhongsuyuan City isn't under any faction, it is a well-known fact that the Victorious Wolves Sect is taking care of it. There is a leader-level figure of the Heavenly Dragon Guild making trouble in the city, why hasn't someone stopped him?"
Ginny frowned at Burapha's sentence. "Making trouble? Do not slander the Heavenly Dragon Guild. Isn't the Victorious Wolves Sect an unjust one? I heard that its members often join forces with the thief bands. Mister Revin clearly stated that he intends to give the sword to the most skillful player. Having casualties is natural in a match. Are you saying that the Heavenly Dragon Guild giving away S-grade weapons to normal players is something problematic?"
White Swan looked at Ginny's face without saying anything. This was a common misunderstanding among many guildless players who didn't give much thought to the political standings within Monster Soul. It was common sense of them to think of the righteous guild as heroes and the unjust guild as villains while, in fact, they were just a different faction who held a different ideology. One was the victor, while the other was the loser, that was all.
The first impression Ginny got from her meeting with Revin caused Ginny to view the Heavenly Dragon Guild in a good light. It would be hard to change her thoughts, especially when the information in the game was full of rumors.
Burapha realized this, but he still tried to explain, "If the Heavenly Dragon Guild truly has good intentions, why didn't Revin hold the match in Alkedia City, the Magic Kingdom? Instead, he held the match in Zhongsuyuan City, especially when the war event will begin soon. This is clearly a move intended to cause chaos in the city."
Ginny continued to defend the Heavenly Dragon Guild. "That's because many people staying in the Kingdom of Magic are magic type users. If it's about giving away a sword, giving it away in Zhongsuyuan City is only natural, isn't it?"
Burapha sighed. "Since you said that the Victorious Wolves Sect is an unjust guild, how about the Royal Armament Guild that is a righteous guild similar to the Heavenly Dragon Guild? Can you tell me the difference? You have personally met Lone Wolf and have had a match with Venom, the vice leader of the Royal Armament Guild yourself."
"That's... the Heavenly Dragon Guild has said that the Royal Armament Guild turned evil and has punished it. As for Lone Wolf, although he seems to be a good person, his Victorious Wolves Sect still join forces with the Mountain Thieves League, doesn't it?"
"Just recently, we rode in the chariot of the Mountain Thieves League ourselves. Do they seem like bad people to you?"
"Despite how they seem to be good people, a thief is a thief. Otherwise, why do they call themselves the Mountain Thieves League? Who knows? Maybe they're doing bad things behind the scene."
Burapha stopped arguing. Ginny clearly rejected every word he said as she was biased toward the Heavenly Dragon Guild. It was quite normal for an individual player like her to think this way.
"It is the same for the Heavenly Dragon Guild. Who knows? Maybe they're doing bad things behind the scene," Burapha said indifferently. He used the exact same lines as Ginny but replaced the Mountain Thieves League with the Heavenly Dragon Guild.
"Don't follow me!! Since our beliefs are this different, we should part ways here." Ginny's face reddened with anger. She exited the building while Burapha silently stared at her departing figure without following her.
Burapha turned his head to White Swan who was watching Ginny walk away.
The existence of the Mountain Thieves League was another misunderstood topic for most players. When the game had just launched, Beluga, who was presently the leader of the Mountain Thieves League, was the leader of a small group of players back then. He had declared himself an enemy of the Heavenly Dragon Guild. Despite him and his comrades not having the ability to fight the Heavenly Dragon Guild head on, he used several tactics to keep them in check. Thus, he and his comrades were defamed as bandits.
Beluga had a peculiar personality. When he and his friends were called bandits, instead of feeling angry, he was pleased. He didn't try to protect his reputation but instead founded the Mountain Thieves League as if wanting to ridicule the Heavenly Dragon Guild, showing that he didn't care what he was called.
The Mountain Thieves League's business included logistics, mercenaries for hire, protection, and trading. In a business sense, it competed well against the Heavenly Dragon Guild and the Royal Armament Guild, causing the enmity to grow more and more.
For the record, the common bandit gangs aiming at the newbies were groups of individual players. They were not a part of the Mountain Thieves League in any way.
"Is it okay for you to not follow your girlfriend?"
Burapha shook his head. "She isn't my girlfriend. It's one-sided on my end."
White Swan wasn't sure how to soothe a man about his unrequited love. "You are okay, right?"
"Yes. About my previous question, won't the Victorious Wolves Sect put a stop to what Revin doing?"
White Swan was back to her usual professional self. "They tried, since the first day Revin came. However, Lone Wolf wasn't present and all the vice-leader level figures didn't possess the ability to fend off Revin. Thus, they have no choice but to leave things like this."
"Leave things like this?"
"I don't know if Revin came up with this tactic himself or not, but it was smart to host the matches between midnight and three o'clock in the morning each day. At that time, most of the stalls are closed. The central square of Zhongsuyuan City is quite spacious so the match doesn't disturb anyone, and the rooms in the hotels are soundproofed. In fact, these matches have made the city livelier. Many merchants are making a lot of profit from this event. So, even if the Victorious Wolves Sect wanted to put a stop to this event, no citizen would allow it. Actually, they even want this event to last longer than seven days."
It didn't take long for Burapha to understand what was going on. The most important thing for merchants was profit. In this kind of profitable event, they wouldn't care who lived or who died. Their only interest was to make as much money as possible.
The fact that the economy was booming in Zhongsuyuan City might end up benefiting the Victorious Wolves Sect. However, it was only for a short moment. In the long run, there would be chaos. The players living in the city would start to hate each other as they fought to the death during this event. After the seven days had passed, the merchants would be gone and the economy would subside.
More importantly, it was an indirect message from the Heavenly Dragon Guild to the world that the Victorious Wolves Sect didn't have what it takes to stop the members of the Heavenly Dragon Guild from doing whatever they wanted.
"Thank you very much. I have learned a lot from this," Burapha bid White Swan goodbye and walked away.
"Wait, how do you plan to find your... friend? Zhongsuyuan City is very large. How about you wait here and let me order my teammates to find her?"
Burapha waved his hand to decline her offer. "Thank you for your concern, but I think I know where to find her."
Burapha left the Blue Pigeon Guild's branch building. Negative thoughts filled his head. He was sure that he could find Ginny in the central square at midnight.
Burapha sighed and cast his eyes downward as he walked through the streets between the stalls that were selling many interesting products. However, he was no longer interested in them.
It was the first time that he didn't feel like meeting Ginny. Nevertheless, he knew that he would meet her.