On the second day, the elite players gathered, there were multiple Blue Infinity players, strong guilds, and famous solo players.
Feng Yu Chen addressed everyone.
“I believe everyone’s already heard about the news. Yesterday, a female player suffered an attack by another player and died as a result…
This should come as a surprise, how did a player die inside the Zone?”
“There should be no other way other than duels, right?”
“A bug of the Cardinal System?”
The players started discussing among themselves, it’s clear they aren’t taking this news lightly. If players can kill inside safe zones, it will be very troubling down the road if they don’t deal with this problem now.
Feng Yu Chen continued.
“Quiet, I understand your concerns. I interrogated the witness who was at the scene of the crime. That witness claimed that the killer is a player they met in the fields. The killer helped them when they were in a pinch and they returned to the town together. On the way, their squad kept losing members. It was only last night that they finally saw the killer but it was already too late…
The killer probably sensed me coming, the perpetrator got away before I arrived. After some investigation, most players couldn’t identify the killer, suggesting that the killer’s origin isn’t the same as us, he’s something… foreign…”
“You must be outta your mind. Not a player, are you suggesting the killer is an NPC?”
“That’s plausible, NPC probably could kill players…”
If it wasn’t a player that killed the female player, then who did?
“Captain Feng, do you have any other evidence that the killer wasn’t a player?”
Kirito asked. He’s a beta tester who made it past the 5th floor, he didn’t encounter any player-killing NPC, but, things have changed since the beta test. In this situation, where they are cut off from the real world, it’s hard to rule out the possibility of a malicious NPC going around killing players, Kayaba Akihiko is probably the sick guy who came up with this.
Feng Yu Chen nodded.
“Yeah, I did my homework, I asked the players in the Town of Beginnings, I also asked the NPCs in the Town. You should all know about my tendency to speak with the NPCs, they told me a lot of stuff.
I came to this conclusion through multiple verifications. I believe we are dealing with a game setting that is intended to test the players by making an NPC blend in with the players and then killing them off one by one. The Zone won’t be able to stop these NPCs. They are products of the System after all.
We are not fighting the monsters in this world, we are actually fighting the System itself. The System designed a trial to stop us and delay our clearing progress. Our stellar progress must have forced it into making killer NPCs!”
“What do we do?”
“We can’t kill them because we are inside the Zone, but, they can kill us, this is just…”
The SAO players started panicking.
The Blue players who heard Feng Yu Chen started laughing silently. He made the Red players out to be killer NPCs. This is a top-of-the-line Public relations manipulation job. The captain of the Wings of Freedom had a sharp brain inside that head of his.
Clap clap clap
Feng Yu Chen caught everyone’s attention by clapping his hands.
“Calm down, we can still fight against them. We can use NPC’s features against them. For instance, we can guard against them by asking for identity verification at town entrances. We can make those without proper identities to cut another SAO player lightly. If the SAO player’s HP decreased, then we have caught the killer NPC. We can all gang up on them just like when we are fighting bosses. We have more numbers on our side, we would do well to use that against these hostile NPCs.
We can also issue memorandums, telling adventurers to not make contact with strangers in the fields. Any contact should be substantiated with identity checks. Once we have figured out their quirks and features, it will be easier to deal with them. They are nothing more than elite monsters who are a bit special than the other monsters and we should wipe them out as such.”
“That sounds like a good idea…”
“Captain Feng has a point…”
“As expected of the leader of the raid group. His analysis is on point. A special field boss, huh? Yeah, I see how we can deal with that…”
“Yeah, if we beef up surveillance at the entrances, we would know the moment they enter our town…”
The SAO players started feeling better, after going into an emotional purgatory, this must be what it feels like to be absolved from the torture, right?
With methods to capture and kill the killer NPCs, the players started storing away their sullen looks…
The Blue players silently gave Feng Yu Chen thumbs up for diverting attention away from them while making life hell for Red players. It will definitely be hard for them to enter towns from now on. They won’t be able to repair their equipment, even food procurement would be hard. If they are forced to stay outside the town, they would have to be constantly on the guard for monster attacks. Fights will get incredibly hard for Red players from now on…
Actually, Feng Yu Chen wasn’t the one who came up with his ideas. It was Zi Yue Ling who gave him the ideas. She was smart, Feng Yu Chen already knows how smart she can get from her achievements in [Highschool of the Dead]. After spending some time with her, he pegged her as a witty girl who is as slick as Takagi Saaya if not smarter.
Only Zi Yue Ling had the chops for an idea this innovative. She probably took a page from Feng Yu Chen, making crisis work for him. She turned the Red player’s advantage into a disadvantage.
Feng Yu Chen coughed again.
“Now, I want you guys to spread the information we just discussed to the other players. After that, I want everyone to chip in and guard the town. The Wings of Freedom will be actively participating in this exercise too. After the murder last night, I am highly certain the killer is still in town, waiting for things to cool down before moving on. You guys will need to keep the borders closed so we can seal off the killer’s escape routes. Given more time, the killer NPC will probably snap and come out of his hiding hole, that’s when we will get him.”
“Captain Feng, please continue, anything else we can do?”
“Yeah, give us some jobs, I mean, you’re the one who led the raid groups during every Floor Boss raids…”
“Yeah, we need to catch the killer as soon as possible…”
The players wanted Feng Yu Chen to give them more tasks. The sooner they can catch the killer NPCs, the better.
Feng Yu Chen nodded.
“Okay, since you all voiced your confidence in me, the Wings of Freedom will be in charge of guarding the South Gate, the guilds will be in charge of guarding the West Gate. There are only two gates in this town. If the killer NPC wants to escape, the killer will have to go through one of these two gates. The other players will be in charge of locating the killer, combing the town for any suspicious individuals. Don’t let any of them get away…”
Saeko rushed into the room and she gave Feng Yu Chen a black piece of paper that looked like an invite.
“The player you wanted me to guard died. The killer is someone with high sneaking abilities, I didn’t see how the assassin killed the player. But, he left an item behind…”
Feng Yu Chen looked at the piece of paper. It was a challenge, a warning, and a death threat mixed into a single letter. The word “Death” is written in solemn white ink on the paper.
“The next one to die will be you! I hope you’re ready to accept Death because Death is coming for you!”