Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation  Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation

[Verifying player…]

[Verified. Player 07958 has the invitation card. Connecting player to the quest…]

[Quest connected successfully. Current quest is Auction (Special)]

[Current quest has no story background and is not considered a round of the game.]

[Quest goal: None]

[Mode: Multiplayer]

[Time flow rate: 2]

(1 hour in the real world is equivalent to 4 hours in the game. Players would be sent back to the real world after an hour.)

[Friendly reminder. The game will begin in five seconds. Players, please get ready.]

……….

When Zhang Heng opened his eyes, he found himself standing on the deck of a cruise ship. He was wearing a black tuxedo perfectly tailored to his body, and there was a tag hanging in front of his chest. His player ID and place of registration were printed on it.

Zhang Heng then glanced at his watch and realized that it was ten at night. That would mean the auction would end at eleven. This time, he did not need to worry about the bug created by the extra time he had.

This round of the game was different from all the other quests that Zhang Heng completed. It was safe to say that he would not encounter any danger in this one, finally being able to relax.

After checking out his surroundings, he discovered that this place was similar to checkpoints that he had to go through before entering any game. He could see other players around him, but their faces had been blurred out.

One could not deny that the game’s developers did an excellent job of protecting everyone’s privacy. However, that did not mean that the players were always at peace with each other.

“Is this your first time attending an auction?”

Suddenly, Zhang Heng heard a voice from behind. Turning around, he saw a rather short man who immediately handed him his business card. His name was Ding Si, but Zhang Heng knew that it was fake.

“The world is not as safe as we thought it is! Some lunatics don’t know how to stick to the rules. We all have to be careful,” blurted the short man while shrugging.

“What is that supposed to mean?”

“You should be a new player, right? Before this, every player knew how to treat others with respect. Everyone was willing to help each other out whenever the going got tough. Unfortunately, some of the psychotic players came across the identities of others. They then hunted them down in cold blood! Most players are now in fear after the incident. That’s why everyone cares so much about their privacy nowadays. According to what I know, the number of people attending this auction is way lesser than last year.”

“Hunted?”

Zhang Heng looked at the card again and saw the words ‘North China Fu Lou Chamber of Commerce’ along with the person’s contact number.

“Yes. A large number of players are being hunted down. One of them found out that killing other players would allow them to rob them of their game items and game points. After that, this whole killing business went out of hand, turning into a full-blown catastrophe to all other players.”

“Are the developers going to do something about it?”

“As long as the players don’t reveal any information about the game to other players, they would not stick their noses in the business of other players. It seems like they have something more important to deal with….”

Ding Si had no intention to complete his sentence. Clearly, he did not want to dwell on it.

“You attended this auction to purchase some game items for yourself, right? Let me know if you don’t have enough game points, eh? Perhaps you can consider accepting our assistance.”

“What do you mean? Your chamber of commerce is selling game points?”

“You sure are a newbie, just as I expected. Not only the Fu Lou… many other chambers of commerce provide similar services as well. You can always purchase game points from us, though I wouldn’t recommend it. The exchange rate is really high right now. You will need 4.2 million yuan to exchange for 1 game point. Usually, you would only need 3.7 million. The best thing for you to do right now is to pawn your game items to us. Once we have appraised it, we will instantly transfer the game points to you.”

“Thank you so much. I will think about it.”

Ding Si was a professional salesperson. He knew the secrets of successfully closing a deal, patiently holding back and not pushing Zhang Heng into taking it.

“The auction only begins in an hour and a half. You can go explore, walk around the place a little. There are some interesting spots on this cruise. The first deck has a casino, cinema, and a game room. The second deck houses a theater for live performances and a place for you to relax. The third deck is a public space for people to socialize. I’d advise you to check out the first deck before you proceed… if you want to.”

Zhang Heng thanked Ding Si. This was his first time entering a social circle that was filled with players. In order to prevent more killings, Ding Si had told Zhang Heng that most of the players’ real identities were strictly protected.

This was the only time Zhang Heng could see so many players all at once in the same place. Other than bidding for game items, they would also seize the opportunity to enjoy the pleasantly entertaining facilities offered here.

A good example was the Fu Lou Chamber of Commerce, where they provided the players with different services. Among these included bartering items for game points and providing loans. Otherwise, they would also help with the sale of game items and customize certain items according to the players’ wishes. Custom-made items were usually cheaper than the regular by 20% to 30%. It was apparent that they were taking advantage of the auction to promote their services.

Amongst the three, Zhang Heng was most interested in the third deck. However, he did not go there right away. Instead, he took Ding Si’s advice and visited the lower deck first, managing to collect a few more business cards from different chambers of commerce. The services they provided slightly differed from each other, but they mostly charged similar prices. The one thing that they shared in common was that their game points were cheap. Of course, a particular risk presented itself when trading with them.

Compared to all the other chambers, Fu Lou had the best reputation as it had been around since the very beginning.

After that, Zhang Heng tucked all the business cards away into his pocket and rode the elevator to the third deck. This was the most crowded place on the entire ship. Someone was giving a briefing on a podium about the most effective way to accumulate game points. Zhang Heng then looked for a seat and listened to what he had to say. Soon though, he felt that the person would always change topics the moment he reached the key point of his speech.

“He is telling us useless stuff! The formula for acquiring game points is the top secret of the chambers. No one would simply let it out. He’s just trying to recruit others to join him.”

The middle-aged man extended his hand while talking to Zhang Heng.

“You can call me professor. I hope you don’t misunderstand. This is just my nickname. I think it’s rude to address someone by a number. You either get a fake name or a nickname for others to address you.”

“You can call me Simone.”

Zhang Heng shook his hand.

“Welcome to the game, Simone. Where are your teammates?”

“Teammates?”

“I think you should be a newbie, huh. The invitation said that every quest has its specific challenges. It is recommended for the players to form a team first before entering the quest!”

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