Chapter 170: Trading Storm (1)
Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
Other than the reconciliation of interests, some players had another mindset toward NPCs, which was admiration and adherence. This mindset came from the love toward a certain character, the popularity of the character, or players being fascinated by what the character had been through, which formed a group of fans for these NPCs. The classic examples of these are ‘Dragonborn’, ‘Chloe von Einzbern’, ‘Medivh’, ‘One Punch Man’, ‘Kratos’, etc.
By gaining admiration and love from players, the players might behave in a biased way toward the characters when making certain decisions, such as refusing to accept missions from the enemy camp or following popular NPCs to war. Ladies, weirdos, and overly powerful characters had congenital advantages in such things—Han Xiao was confident in that.
However, without real benefits, this kind of relationship based solely on admiration would not have any real meaning. To have players fight for him, perks and benefits were a crucial requirement. He knows how the players behaved; they might help out an NPC out of enjoyment, but only for a short period and would leave sooner or later if the player did not get any benefits from it.
Luckily, his plan consisted of both benefits and popularity, killing two birds with one stone.
Han Xiao has also watched Bun-hit-dog’s video, which was exactly what he had hoped for—to gain the curiosity and interest of players by sending out a video with some clues in it.
The information flow between players and NPCs was restricted; they both had a different set of intelligence at hand, so leaking out his real name was not an issue.
The Germinal Organization knew that he was Zero and might even know the original name of his body, Han Xiao, but they did not know he was Black Phantom and Han Xiao
Stardragon knew that he was Han Xiao and Zero, but they were not sure if he was Black Phantom.
Players knew that he was Black Phantom, his name was Han Xiao, and he served the Stardragon before, but they did not know he was Zero.
Oh, players have yet to receive any information on ‘Zero’.
Dark Net only knew him as Black Phantom.
Every organization only had a fraction of the information, and if his true identity was exposed one day, he would just have to change his face, and nothing would happen. He could even increase his legendary level by the time he was strong enough and choose to reveal all his identities.
Since the official launch, Han Xiao’s name had always been on the top of the Planet Aquamarine forums, which made him quite well known. Just like celebrities, the more people that knew him, the easier it was for him to strengthen his impression on people.
The situation was going great for him, from what he had done and the help of various videos, his popularity was continually growing at a fast pace. But Han Xiao always has the habit of planning ahead. He had already started to feel an imaginary ceiling on the path of his increasing popularity.
Although the functionality of the game was praised by the players, it lacked interactive storylines, and the only way that could make players actively want to interact with him was through the main storyline. Therefore, Han Xiao decided to take on one of the main storylines from Bennett.
After going to two more novice villages, Han Xiao decided to take some time off so that the players could get some money, and he could have some time for himself to do other stuff. At the top of his ‘to do’ list would be to get the Bonfire Mini Reaction Furnace.
He called Lei Zhenyu to ask where the seller wanted to carry out the deal, and he gave him the seller’s number
“Greetings,” the person on the phone said. It was an electrical generated fake voice, so he could not figure out the age nor the gender—it was very confidential.
“How are we going to carry out the deal?” Han Xiao was very straight to the point.
“In three days. In a moment, I will send you the location. Bring your money, and I will bring the stuff,” the person said.
“Okay, I will get one of my men to carry out the deal,” Han Xiao replied.
Ten seconds after hanging up the call, Han Xiao received a message.
‘Severus, the city near the border of Ordina.’
Financial organizations and families were deeply rooted in Ordina, so it was filled with competition and very clear class differentiation, as the country’s policies were focused on the elites. Every city felt grand and solemn, and the regular rainfall created a light fog that made it look gloomy.
It was drizzling in Severus. The weather was damp and bleak, which suited the atmosphere of the city.
In a residential flat that had been made into a surveillance room that was connected to every traffic cam within three streets, a dozen or so men wearing black were busy doing something. Some were checking on the guns, some were looking at the surveillance screens, and some were going through the intelligence.
This was an intelligence action group in Ordina, together with six other action groups, which locked down three more areas nearby.
The agents gathered around to capture an escaped criminal who had stolen classified country intelligence. The target had been on the run for many years, and they had finally found a lead that he would appear in Severus to carry out a deal with a third party.
The intelligence source was trustworthy; it had come directly from the information division. They had hacked into countless phone lines and were able to pick out a few that were suspected of being important calls from the target.
“Continue your surveillance. Snipers get ready; take down the target once he meets the dealer. The higher-ups suspect that the target is dealing with a political finance organization, so we need evidence,” the leader of the mission said through their earpiece. “The target is quite crafty. You’re our last level of insurance Mr. Mag. Please be ready to act at all times.”
“Yes,” he replied in a very cold tone.
Mag was one of Ordina’s aces; his position was similar to Mo Ran’s. The fact that even he had been sent to ensure the completion of the mission showed how important this mission was to Ordina.
Airplanes were not allowed to dock at Ordina; therefore, Han Xiao travelled by Electromagnetic Hover-boots for a day after alighting to reach Severus.
Wanderers entering the city formed a long queue at the border of Severus while the soldiers of Ordina were patrolling the area. Their equipment was more refined than that of Stardragon, and their expressions were covered by a tactical mask.
Everyone was silent in the team, with the only sound coming from their food steps.
The deal will be carried out in Severus, Han Xiao thought to himself. He had already changed his clothes and appearance, but his equipment was still with him. He would be looking for a beating if he went in the official way, so he had to be smuggled in.
With enough money and threatening from his gun, the smuggling process was smooth. Just like mankind never being able to kill all cockroaches, there would always be such smugglers no matter how tight security was at the border.
Han Xiao’s clothing covered him from head to toe as he had to hide his equipment, and he carried a large backpack with his guns.
Light rain poured on his raincoat, and hiding under the cap was a different face that Han Xiao had changed into. The reminder from Antonio made sense, and he did not want to mess up this deal, so there was no way he would’ve appeared with the face of Black Phantom or his true face.
The location was a cafe at the side of the road, seat seven.
As the buyer, if he did not arrive first, the seller might not even appear. Therefore, he sat at seat seven and looked around the cafe.
The radio was playing slow music, and he could see the fog outside the windows, it was quite soothing. Half of the seats were filled; some were drinking quietly, and the others were looking at the newspaper or their laptop. The arrival of Han Xiao did not attract any attention, and they carried on doing what they were doing.
It was normal and peaceful.
Han Xiao called the server and ordered a cup of coffee while waiting for the seller.
He looked out the floor-to-ceiling window. People who seemed to be rushing home passed by quickly from time to time while carrying their umbrellas, and a few men at the other side of the road were hiding from the rain while playing with their phones. The drizzling rain fell from the ceiling and formed a puddle at the side of the street.
Han Xiao looked normal as he lowered his head to sip his coffee, but he had noticed something unusual.
The guy reading newspaper sitting three seats away is breathing heavily and has a much higher heartbeat rate than normal. The woman drinking coffee at the bar is sweating at the side of her head. The man that passed by the floor-to-ceiling window had a very steady pace but slowed down on purpose for 30% when he passed by the window. The second person from the left hiding from the rain is stamping the floor with the back of his feet, which is a sign of worry and nervousness, Han Xiao thought.
At LV 55, his senses were at a very high level. Through the tiny details of movement and expression of normal people, he was able to figure out their emotional state.
Someone is monitoring the café—seller or third party? Could I be the target? I don’t think I’ve messed with anyone in Ordina…
The interface showed up when he notices the monitors.
Mission Introduction: The mysterious seller you’re having a deal with is an outlaw of Ordina. Your deal with him has diverged. Unlucky for you, you’re now also under surveillance, dragged into a storm that does not concern you.
Mission Requirement: Run away from Ordina’s pursuit.
Reward: 65,000 experience
Bonus Reward: Unknown
I have been so damn unlucky recently. Han Xiao was upset. All he wanted to do was get the Mini Bonfire Reaction Furnace, but it seemed like he was now involved in a rather serious event. Could things not just be peaceful and easier for him?
The item was very important to Han Xiao; it was the core of mechanical suit. He did not want to give it up just because of a small risk. He was already involved anyways, and even if he left right now, they would still have their eyes on him, so he decided to stay put for the moment and react accordingly.