Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
Upon understanding Han Xiao’s reasoning, Herlous’ expression softened. He paused before asking the question that he had been curious about. “What’s my future like?”
“You…” Han Xiao picked his ear, tutted, and said, “You sacrificed yourself during the Catastrophe, dying a horrible death.”
“Ho-how horrible?” Herlous’ face froze.
Han Xiao grabbed the glass, tightened his grip, and shattered it into pieces. Then he shrugged and said, “Something like that.”
With a doubtful expression, Herlous said, “Although I’m not one of those grade A Supers, the beasts on this planet are not strong enough to slaughter me.”
“From the parts I saw, the beast wave breached Forest City. You firmly defended the opening and fought till your last breath, using up all your energy. Alas, you were torn apart by the beast wave.”
Herlous was surprised. He knew himself too well, and protecting the race was taking on a supposed responsibility. However, he definitely did not have the strength to never retreat even in his last breath. If he met lethal danger, he would run away immediately. How could he become so firm?
“How far in the future is that?”
With a shrug, Han Xiao said, “Do you think I’m some Spirit Emperor who’s worshipped by the Ethereal Sect? I’m just a normal foreseer, not all-knowing.”
He knew that he could not be too ahead when playing a foreseer—it was for his own protection and to make Herlous guess.
Han Xiao knew Herlous’ growth path very well—he would become a selfless hero of the race in the future. As a main character that was growing, he was young, unlike Bennett who had completely matured.
Seeing Herlous’ frown, Han Xiao’s eyes sparkled, and he said, “What I saw were just the parts of the future from the existing scenario. If there are other factors at play, the future will change too. With Sunil’s current situation, the Catastrophe will become harder and harder for you people to deal with, but that future can be avoided.”
Hearing that made Herlous feel relieved. Han Xiao said that his foreseeing ability had limitations, which Herlous thought was more trustworthy. He would easily doubt those people who claimed to know everything.
“You said you have a solution?” Herlous asked sincerely.
“Sunil’s current situation is very bad. The Catastrophe is the most obvious danger, and the retreating route toward Godora is unsafe. Plus, DarkStar is hiding in the darkness. If you rise up again, you might face DarkStar’s attack…” Han Xiao gave a simple analysis, and Herlous’ expression gradually turned grimmer.
The Sunils faced danger from everywhere. Herlous could not figure out a solution, only feeling that the road ahead was filled with darkness. “That means Sunil has no way out…”
“Of course not, the way out has always been obvious, but you people subconsciously did not think in that direction.” Han Xiao smiled knowingly.
“Obvious?” Herlous was a little surprised. He frowned and thought for a while. Suddenly, his eyes widened, and he exclaimed, “You’re saying… to destroy DarkStar?”
If DarkStar is destroyed, the largest threat will no longer exist, but we are incapable of that!
Herlous widened his eyes. He did not expect Han Xiao to be this ambitious. This idea was completely insane!
“DarkStar has destroyed the home of many civilizations,” Han Xiao said calmly. “They’re notorious in the Garton Galaxy, and even in the entire Colton Star Cluster, comparing them with you people is like comparing a giant to an ant. However, they’re not invincible, or they would not hide from Godora. You people have always ignored this possibility, and it’s because of nothing other than the fear toward DarkStar, which is now deep-rooted in your hearts. You don’t even dare to think about it; you feel it can never be done.”
“It really cannot be done. DarkStar is too large and mysterious. I vividly remember every scene back when DarkStar attacked us; countless battleships covered the sky as well as countless laser beams, the planet’s crust cracked, lava shot out…”
Han Xiao cut him off, shook his head, and said, “DarkStar has many enemies. There are potential allies everywhere. Other than this path, you can only join Godora. If you are willing to give up, you will not have to fight the Catastrophe. I didn’t say to fight DarkStar right now—this is just the final target. Before that, we need to hoard our resources and stay low profile.”
“You really are daring…” Herlous shook his head. “The hope is too little. I don’t think this is a good solution.”
As if he had expected such a response, Han Xiao smiled. He did not plan on convincing Herlous with such a large target—he just threw it out to broaden Herlous’ mindset. Thus, he changed the subject and said, “Let’s put DarkStar aside for now. Regardless of whether your race rises up in the future or not, the imminent problem has to be dealt with first. Sunil’s largest issue right now is exploring this planet and dealing with the Catastrophe. About this, I have a very direct solution.”
Herlous became more focused. Plans regarding DarkStar were too far away, and the Catastrophe was an imminent and real disaster that he was more concerned about. “What solution do you have?”
“I can bring many Supers here.”
Herlous had thought that he would hear some brilliant solution, but Han Xiao’s solution was similar to Sunil hiring mercenaries. After all, the ‘many’ in Han Xiao’s sentence was surely at most thousands.
Herlous was disappointed, and it showed on his face. “Just Supers is not enough.”
“Not enough?” Han Xiao smiled mysteriously. “Then what about hundreds of thousands of Supers?”
Hundreds of thousands? Herlous’ expression said, Do you think I’m three years old?
A small mercenary from a surface civilization, how can you find so many people to help? Furthermore, Supers!
Did simplicity limit my imagination?
“I can bring waves of people even more horrifying than the Catastrophe! They don’t fear death, they are brave, and they can fight well. Not just for the Catastrophe, they can also help you explore the planet during the rest of the time, digging Prophecy Stone veins, and what they need is just a small reward.”
At this moment, Han Xiao smiled brightly! This was his biggest target of the trip! He was interested in the NPC resources of the entire race!
If the players were seeds, these NPCs were the soil!
Sunil was just a start; the Great Mechanic Han’s plan was much deeper and longer than that!
In the late stage of Version 2.0, Planet Aquamarine’s players would start to enter the galaxy through guidance from a galactic organization. Han Xiao wanted to replace that galactic organization and become a mentor.
The players knew nothing as they took their first steps into the vast galaxy, so it was the best time to be convinced. If he could give them guidance in a similar way to when he guided the new players in the novice village, he would be able to guide the players into their next area of activity. Han Xiao wanted to turn his own faction into the faction that the players joined after they entered the galaxy, to make it a compulsory part of their player career!
If he succeeds, he could have every player in Planet Aquamarine join his faction!
After all, he had already made a strong impression in the hearts of the Planet Aquamarine players!
To guide the players through their galaxy career, other than the rewards, there was another thing that had to be present, NPC resources.
Although the galaxy was vast, the players would need time and a stable activity area for them to develop themselves, and the best way would be to have one or more storylines to lead their activities. This was why Han Xiao targeted NPC organizations—not only could they provide NPC resources, they also had storylines.
Black Star Mercenary Group gave many rewards, and with Bun-Hit-Dog’s videos that helped to spread publicity, it was very attractive… but that was not enough!
Faction rewards had a quota, and it was an indirect limitation to the number of members. However, if he could come to an agreement with some organizations, guiding the players there for missions and monster killing, he could break through this limitation. It was reaping the benefits of other NPCs.
Since he needed help from other NPCs, he had to emphasize on what his faction could provide in order to let the players realize the benefits of joining the Black Star Mercenary Group. Other than reward and item exchanges, there had to be privileges! As such, if he became an ally with some organizations, players in Black Star Mercenary Group would receive better treatment from that organization, or he could put prerequisites in certain areas, and joining the Black Star Mercenary Group could grant them access to better areas for development… Through various methods, he would make sure that the players knew that not only was Black Star Mercenary Group full of rewards, it would also give them many indirect benefits.
One special characteristic of a mercenary group was that the members could be spread out across maps, which was an advantage of his faction.
The players would get access to areas to do missions and ally with organizations to receive help. His faction would further develop, and in turn, he would reap benefits. This was a win for multiple parties! The players were like manpower resources, and these organizations in need of help were like the customers looking for hire. His faction would be the middleman to provide them with manpower, but the difference was, all of these manpower resources belonged to his faction, the ‘middleman’.
These were just considerations from the perspective of benefits. Another way to look at it would be from the perspective of emotions.
Most mercenary groups did not have a history, and through ‘helping’ NPC organizations and having the players experience the storyline of these NPC organizations, it would give the players a stronger sense of reality. The mercenary group, as the bridge connecting these storylines together, would then become something that went through ups and downs with these players, adding history to the mercenary group, hence enhancing the sense of belonging that the players would have for the mercenary group.
The players not only needed benefits but also good stories, only then would they feel the role-playing part of a ‘Role Playing Game’, hence feeling a sense of belonging for the faction. Therefore, Han Xiao decided to shape a common enemy, and DarkStar was the most suitable target. Working together to fight against a common enemy was the easiest way to develop a sense of belonging. Thus, the Sunil race, which had a deep-seated hatred toward DarkStar, was a very suitable ally.
Furthermore, by introducing NPC organization areas to the players by the mercenary group, it could develop a blurry sense of territorial awareness in the players, which would also indirectly increase the attractiveness of his faction.
Emotions like a sense of belonging could bring many long-term benefits, even exceeding the attractiveness of the reward itself.
Players were the representatives of chaos, and the Great Mechanic Han always did everything that he could to shape himself as ‘one of them’ among the players, to become a shadow that followed every step that the players took in their gaming career. Developing a Faction was a key component to achieving this target.
His plot was enormous, but it needed time to slowly make it a reality. For now, he had merely taken the first step.