Chapter 4 - Village Building Quest
With a short hum and a flash of white light, Ouyang Shuo found himself being sent away to a strange place. He opened his eyes after a moment and found himself lying on an antique wooden bed. Before he could look around any more, a relieved voice filled his ears.
“Sir, it is to our great fortune that you have finally awakened! The Black Flag Army is descending upon us tomorrow. We cannot waste any time!”
Speaking those words was a grandfatherly old man in an elegant courtier’s clothing. He seemed quite shrewd and was waving a fan in his hand. His forked beard wiggled as he spoke.
Ouyang Shuo blinked for a moment to get his bearings. Waking up like this, the Village Building Quest was actually a scene quest.
This type of ‘situational quest’ was Earth Online’s own quest system. Players received the quest and were sent to a separate quest space, automatically playing a certain role there. At the end of the quest, they were sent back to the main map once more.
Time during the quest moved much more slowly than on the main map. Spending two days in the quest amounted to only two hours in the main world. Scene tasks and hidden tasks were very rare, but once completed, the rewards could also be very rich.
Having woken up, a system prompt now sounded in Ouyang Shuo’s ear.
“System Notification: Congratulations to player Qiyue Wuyi for opening the S-Ranked Village Building Quest (non-mandatory situational quest). Quest background: In XXX calendar’s 15th year, October 7th, the Black Flag Army’s Li Lin commanded eight thousand practiced soldiers to attack Sishui City. Sishui City is about to fall.
Quest requirements: Player is the lord of Sishui City and has just recovered from sickness. Player must control the endangered Sishui City, and repel the enemy from the city. Task Reward: Village Creation Token, Summoning Token, and a Resources Bag.”
After reading over the quest tips, Ouyang Shuo formed an idea. A strong enemy was coming to attack and at this critical juncture, the lord of the city was sick and unable to maintain control. Thus, the people were starting to panic. Therefore, the first order of business was to calm the people and restore morale.
Ouyang Shuo quickly rose and told the aide to let the news of him awakening spread, and then called the principal officials of the city to the audience chamber. With the help of a maid standing by, he put on his official state clothes, and with unhurried stride and demeanor moved down the hallway towards the audience chamber.
As he walked, Ouyang Shuo slowly recalled what past players had posted about this quest in the forums, about what would happen and how to deal with the invasion. Sishui City was just a small town, the city guards numbered less than three thousand and were also untrained, with no battlefield experience. If he wanted to resist the attack of the incoming well-trained Black Flag Army, he could only rely on the city walls for passive defense.
In order to defeat the raiding army, the players had to employ many tricks and use a great deal of unconventional strategy. Fire, poison, superior numbers, and rolling stones were all used. However, most of the tactics had achieved little success.
For example, using numbers to win: If casualties reached twenty percent, army morale plummeted. Just because you wanted all your soldiers to have fearless hearts of steel and guts of iron didn’t mean that it was going to happen.
One of the most famous guides was by the player who’d gotten the gold rank Village Creation Token from the quest. It was by a fellow called Xunlong Dianxue, a professional gaming fanatic known for his quest completions.
He entered the game after a week. In that time of a week, the Lord players had tried just about every method, but still couldn’t reach the hidden condition for getting a gold Village Creation Token.
Perfectly completing the quest upon entering the game really showed Xunlong’s skill. Ouyang Shuo remembered that this player, by dint of receiving the gold village, grew all the way to become one of China’s top lords, full of glory. But this time around, Ouyang Shuo was going to shamelessly steal Xunlong’s thunder. Thinking of this, Ouyang Shuo even felt a bit sorry for that person. If he had the chance, he would repay Xunlong well.
According to what the he had said, he received the quest, but didn’t do things conventionally. Instead of hastily organizing the city’s military as well as civilians and posting them on the walls, he kept talking with the NPC’s in the city, trying to find hidden clues or some other resource he could use to complete the quest successfully.
His hard work paid off, and finally he had learned something from a water management official. A short distance to the south of Sishui City, there was a reservoir. When the Black Flag Army encamped, if someone was stationed to suddenly dig open the reservoir, the raging flood was enough to annihilate the Black Flag Army. But the approach was quite harsh, as the flood outside also inundated a great deal of farmlands and villages, who would also suffer.
If the player did not take the initiative and ask questions, the NPC’s would not give the crucial piece of information needed to complete the quest. Perhaps this was where Xunlong was above everyone else. When so many people were focused on conventional defense and counter-attacks, his focus had jumped outside of the city to learn about the surrounding area and find opportunities there.
Ouyang Shuo arrived at the audience chamber, and the main officials of the city were lined up to receive him. Despite their attempts to look impassive, it was clear that they were all uneasy, with nervous frames of mind.
After bidding them all to be seated, Ouyang Shuo looked them over one by one, calmly saying, “You have no need to panic. I have already come up with a plan to defeat the enemy. What you need to do is to calm the civilians. We will impose a curfew tonight to prevent thieves and looters from robbing others. In addition, get the city guards to start fortifying the wall, and dispatch scouts to track the enemy. We must always know the location of our enemy, do not fail in this.”
These actions really puzzled the officials there, but in the presence of their lord, they did not question him. That would only be inviting trouble on themselves, so they nodded obediently and went along with him.
“Sir Zhu, stay. I have something to speak with you about. The rest of you are free to go!” Sir Zhu was the old man from before and the lord’s confidante.
With a concrete plan, Ouyang Shuo directly sent away the group of NPCs. As for the matter of breaching the dam, this was naturally not something he should be talking about publicly. If the Black Flag Army found out about what he was planning, the plan would be for naught.
After the rest of the officials were gone, Ouyang Shuo informed Sir Zhu of his task, and arranged for people to get to the reservoir dam that very night. Tomorrow morning, the Black Flag Army would arrive and make camp. The gates here would signal with smoke, the workers would breach the dam, and the Black Army would be washed away.
Sir Zhu heard Ouyang Shuo’s battle plan, and was secretly scared. He thought that this method was quite similar to the saying, ‘Lose eight hundred to kill one thousand.’ But if this plan could defeat the enemy, the people would have no objections. The Black Flag Army conquering them might bring the civilians great harm. Having no other alternative, he did not raise an objection.
The next day, early in the morning, the Black Flag Army arrived as scheduled and set up their camp about five miles outside of the city. Waiting until the Black Flag Army was fully encamped with all its forces, Ouyang Shuo gave the decisive order to light the smoke signal.
As the signal came up, the people who had waited at the dam overnight immediately breached it with a great hole. In order to prevent accidents, the team had already done more than half the work the night before. In less than ten minutes, rolling floodwaters had poured out of the reservoir and like a winding dragon, heading for the Black Flag Army camp five miles out.
At this time the Black Flag Army was getting ready to make dinner and had no time to respond as the wave swept over it. Before the mighty floodwaters, both people and animals were killed. Ouyang Shuo led the city officials in watching over the devastation, standing at the top of the city walls.
Seeing the hellish scene of a drowned land before him, Ouyang Shuo’s expression became solemn. Although they were just NPC, just packets of data, he could only blame the game for being too realistic, and pretend not to be moved by what he was seeing.
At this point, the sweet tone of the system chimed in.
“System Notification: Congratulations to player Qiyue Wuyi for the completion of the S-class Village Building quest, Sishui City. There have been no casualties to Sishui soldiers and the Black Water Army has been annihilated. This has met the hidden reward requirements. You are awarded a gold level Village Creation Token, an emperor-rank Summoning Token, and a intermediate rank Resource bag.”
Fortunately this scene was in the quest space, so players in the quest couldn’t hear outside announcements or release announcements. Otherwise, there would definitely be an uproar!
“System Notification: Congratulations to player Qiyue Wuyi for completion of the S-Rank Village Building quest with 100% completion. Additional experience reward of 10,000 experience points, 500 reputation points, and 100 gold coins will be awarded.”
“System Notification: Player Qiyue Wuyi has leveled to 6!”
Note: A player’s level was calculated as EXP = 30 (N^3 +5N) - 80, where N was the current level.
For this village quest, the more common people and soldiers died, the lower the completion number of the quest. The only way to get the gold-level Village Creation Token was to not have any casualties, which in ancient warfare was nearly impossible. Thus, only a eccentric method like this one was the way to complete it.
The Village Creation Token, Summoning Token, and Resource Bag were called the village creation set. Each of the players that finished the Village Building Quest would be rewarded these items. With full completion, naturally the Village Creation Token was upgraded to the gold level and the Summoning Talismans along with the Resource Bags would both raise a level. Ouyang Shuo could scarcely wait to see what he had received, as this was a key step in his future success or failure.
Name: Village Creation Token (gold)
Specialty: 50% increase in attracting settlers. 20% increase in attracting special talents. 50% increase in crop production. 20% increase in proficiency of production skills of residents. 20% increase in experience for soldiers.
Exclusive: Talent breakthrough success rates in this territory are increased by 10%.
Evaluation: This is a token that can increase territorial strength on all fronts and beyond the normal level of artifacts. How to use these gifts is being left for the players to explore on their own. This item cannot be destroyed or traded.
The gold grade token had tremendous advantages over other tokens. It was a world-changing level of difference.
Summoning Token (Emperor rank): Summon a random Emperor-level historical figure to your city.
Historical figures started at the King level and went up to the Emperor, Divine, and Saint rank. It was said that there was another higher level at the Almighty Saint rank for Confucius, who stood alone above all others.
In the past game, there had been no Lords who were able to get Confucius to work for them or even satisfy the requirements to even invite Confucius to settle there. The old man liked to travel around the country, never staying in one place for too long.
Resource Bag (Intermediate): 5000 units of food, 500 units of wood, 500 units of stone, 500 units of iron ore.
The resource bag held four resources that players called the basic resources. Basically, everything used in developing a territory was tied into these four resources. In addition, the bag was a one-time item, and you couldn’t put anything into it, only use it up. When the last of the resources were removed, it would automatically disappear.
An intermediate resource bag was five times the size of a basic resource bag, which made Ouyang Shuo much more confident of his ability to implement his early development plan. Of course, the most critical award was the 100 gold coins. This was still the early stage of the game and the main currency was still copper coins. 100 gold coins now was simply a massive sum of money!
“System Notification: The quest has been completed. Teleport back to the main map?”
“Send me back!” Ouyang Shuo ordered promptly.
There was a hum and a white flash, and Ouyang Shuo disappeared from the quest space.