Chapter 88 White Bomb
If the sudden disappearance of Steel Blooded Battle Spear was a relief for the members of Upwards Ho!, then Clear Moon’s question that followed was the trigger to their heated discussion.
“Eh? Where did they disappear to?”
After a few seconds of silence, a lively discussion exploded in the party. Some said that the surface of the ice was actually a jerry-built project, some claimed that it was divine intervention, while there were some who said it was a glitch in the system. The guild members discussed the topic enthusiastically while collecting more colored balls.
The culprit, Ye Ci, did not take part in the discussion. She focused all her attention on collecting more balls.
The second round ended without much suspense. The representatives of the Eastern Continent who would join the third round of the competition were Wolf Pack, Upwards Ho! and Blade of Abyss.
After a short rest, the 3 parties were transported to the arena for the third round.
Ye Ci took a quick look at the arena and noticed that they were in the sky. With this, they’d been to air, land and sea.
The rules were slightly different in this round of the competition. With exception to the platform that the 12 parties were standing on, players would levitate whenever they left the platform. All the parties were required to collect blue colored balls while bringing along their dragon. But in the process of grabbing the blue balls, players must also beware of the white colored ones, which would randomly explode. Parties that had their dragon’s HP depleted due to the explosions would be eliminated.
To win the round, a party must collect 999 blue balls, and each blue ball was worth 1 point. When a party had accumulated 999 points, a giant colored pearl ball belonging to the party would appear in a specific location. The party must then rush into the giant pearl with their dragon.
The game sounded simple. But for humans who were used to walking on land to suddenly have to fly in the sky was a huge challenge in terms of controlling their direction and the force needed to maneuver.
Upwards Ho! was not the only party to face trouble. All the participants had the same problem as well. Not only that, Upwards Ho! was unable to fully utilize their cat claws as they were unable to grasp the distance of objects in this 3-dimensional space.
The competition would last for 1 hour. If no party was able to achieve victory within the round, 3 of the parties with the highest score would be selected to proceed to the 4th round. Although players would only need to hang on for an hour, the blue balls offered rare items and would be bound to whoever collected them. The players were fired up to acquire as many blue balls as they could.
It was a sinister design by the developers. Such arrangements in a group activity that offered rare items that were bound to a player was obviously meant to incite disharmony within a party. Before long, a party from the Northern Continent had an internal dispute, and their players began shoving each other.
Just then, Customer Service No.094’s anger inducing voice rang out again along with a system message, “Everyone remain calm. You can always talk things out. Don’t fight~~ Or your points might be deducted~~”
What’s with the ‘~~’? Ye Ci strongly disdained Wang Jiangnan’s action of fanning the flames. Why are you typing out that symbol? Are you trying to act cute or something?
“Everyone, turn on your distance assistance plugin. I want everyone to only grab the balls closest to them. I don’t wish to see our own members quarrel because of the balls. Those who get into a fight because of the blue balls will have 50 DKP deducted from them.” Bai Mo immediately warned his guild members after seeing what happened to the Northern Continent party.
Although blue equipment could be gained from the blue balls, they were still more inferior compared to blue equipment of the same level obtained from dungeons. DKP was the thing needed for guild members to redeem items from the guild warehouse. Nobody was willing to risk their DKP for a couple of blue balls, and the party became rather harmonious.
The accursed white balls were rapidly growing in numbers. They did not move slowly like the blue balls. They moved fast and they exploded randomly. Some would have a 10 second delay before exploding, while some would explode instantly upon contact. There was nothing much the players could do against them.
“Bai Mo, slow down, we’ll advance slowly and steadily. Keep your eyes peeled everyone, if you see a 10 second delay one, kick it away.” Said Ye Ci calmly after she was hit by an instant explosion white ball and a time delayed one.
“T-then what about those that explode instantly?” Cutie Lemon was so nervous that the bridge of her nose was sweating. A white ball exploded right on top of her, scaring her to the point where her face turned white.
“Then… Chug down more health potions. Don’t die before the dragon’s health is completely gone.” Ye Ci spread out her hands, indicating that she had no solution to the problem either.
In the hearts of Upwards Ho! members, Ye Ci was a know-it-all and the synonym for ‘awesomeness.’ There was nothing that she couldn’t solve. The emergence of such a problem drove them to a state of nervousness. They no longer chatted in the party channel. All of their attention was focused, for fear that they would trigger an instant-explosion white ball.
“Thump.” A white ball bumped into Ye Ci’s pole. It was a delayed-explosion type. Without thinking, Ye Ci kicked the white ball away towards a spot where several other white balls were clustered together.
“Thump thump thump…” The white ball that was kicked away by Ye Ci collided with the other white balls, triggering several large explosions.
Ye Ci was momentarily stunned. It worked like that as well? Even the collision between balls would trigger a detonation? She immediately shared her discovery to the rest of the members, “If you encounter a delayed-explosion white ball, kick it towards the other white balls.”
The ranged players were way more adept at doing it than the melee players.
After spending a short period of time to get used to their environment, the 12 teams were able to stabilize their pace. They no longer quarrelled because of the blue balls, and they were more skillful when it came to maneuvering in the air.
The 11 other guilds were different from Upwards Ho!. Their dragons were crewed by a full complement of 100 players. It was easier for them to collect 999 blue balls when compared to the 72-player party of Upwards Ho!. They could easily get more balls.
Ye Ci realised that it would be hard for her guild to get into the top 3 with conventional methods. She narrowed her eyes, and kicked a white ball which was flying towards her to the direction of a party closest to her. Her timing was perfect. The delayed-explosion ball exploded right after it came into contact with the party’s dragon, dealing quite a huge amount of damage.
Everybody was busy with dodging the white balls, and there would certainly be those who were not that lucky. Nobody had noticed Ye Ci’s dirty trick. They simply became more alert when it came to dodging white balls. If one continuously pull tricks on the same target, one would be discovered very soon.
When her guild’s dragon spiraled upwards, Ye Ci did the same trick on several other parties. Quite a few of them realized that they were victims of somebody’s antics, but they were unable to locate the culprit as their attention was focused on the competition. They began to retaliate on the parties that were closest to them. Right then, Ye Ci urged Bai Mo to stay away from her victims, and turned towards another direction.
It would be daft to get involved in the mess that she herself had created.
Upwards Ho! stayed far away from the 11 other teams, showing clearly that they were not involved in the plot. They collected blue balls at the edge while watching the other parties plot against each other. Ye Ci in particular was enjoying the show.
“What are they doing…?” Pea Cake was curious. “Everything was fine just now.”
It did not take long for the other parties to realise that Upwards Ho! was steering clear of the mess. They immediately shifted their attention to Upwards Ho!. In their eyes, Upwards Ho! that had only 72 members was the one that was supposed to be eliminated.
“Hurry up and ascend.” Ordered Ye Ci as she noticed the other parties closing in while simultaneously sabotaging each other’s progress.
The 72 players of the guild were very united. They immediately ascended while furiously grabbing blue balls right after Ye Ci gave her command.
973… 974… 986… 992… The number of balls collected by Upwards Ho! increased along with their altitude. Several parties that were close to achieving their goal gave up on going after Upwards Ho!. Those parties that had entirely no hope at all to advance to the next round gave chase, hoping to drag Upwards Ho! down along with them.
“Bang bang bang.” Explosions continuously rocked Upwards Ho!’s dragon, and its HP dropped rapidly…
One ball left. A white ball flew towards Upwards Ho!’s dragon. Ye Ci shifted herself slightly, and spun in midair. She raised her foot and kicked the white ball away while reaching out towards a blue ball that happened to be within sight. She grabbed hold of the blue ball and a system notification immediately chimed in, “Upwards Ho! has collected 999 blue balls. The pearl shall now activate.”
When Ye Ci thought about it, she had never had good luck in her entire life. She had never won any lotteries, nor was she lucky when it came to item drops. But reality proved that every cloud has a silver lining, just like…
The pearl appeared right above Upwards Ho!’s dragon. The guild members were delighted. They immediately headed towards the pearl. Right at that moment, a few more explosions rocked their dragon.
It was close. By the time they made it into the pearl, Upwards Ho!’s dragon only had one tiny bit of HP left.
That, however, was not important. They had managed to advance to the next round.
The one to announce the news was not the system, but Customer Service No. 094. “Congratulations to the party from the Eastern Continent, Upwards Ho!, for being the first party to enter the 4th round. All the players of Upwards Ho! please stand still, you’ll be transported to the arena for the 4th round.”