(BM) "The game masters?" Baron hid his surprise well but he was shocked beyond by this revelation. After all this was technically the afterlife, who knew someone would make it into a game? "Who are these game masters?"
(MZ) "This is a bit complicated to explain, plus most of this is just baseless speculation. However, no one can doubt that planet 4, all the other planets, and this whole reality that is the afterlife is a bit suspicious." Madam Zheng thought carefully before answering.
(BM) "In what way is it suspicious senior?."
(MZ) "Have you not noticed? All that we do here, all that our community does, all that anyone on this planet does? This is just one big never ending battlefield full of countless other smaller battlefields. All battles have a purpose, an end goal that the common soldiers are too inexperienced in warfare to understand."
(BM) "I think I'm starting to understand. To these game masters we are nothing but pawns, even the two current great elders are likened to the commonest of peasants sent to the battlefield to bolster the numbers."
(MZ) "Oh? You are nothing like my expectations of you"
(BM) "I'm sorry?"
(MZ) "You're even better. Now what do you think is the end goal of these game masters?"
Baron thought long and hard about everything he had witnessed, and learned in the time that he had been on planet 4. Then he came to a realization that shocked him deeply.
(BM) "They.... Are trying to find something. Probably talented strategists."
(MZ) "How do you think they will manage to do that?" Madam Zheng said with her cold and calculating eyes piercing into Baron's soul.
(BM) "The tournament. The current number one place Jordsand, you said they could be representatives of the game masters? Could they be here to assess the talented people? But what for?"
(MZ) "That is just one of many possible realities that i've come to a conclusion to, it's anyones guess as to what their actual purpose for being here is. You are a lot more perceptive than I thought. That is a very valuable characteristic here. "
(BM) "You flatter me senior. I have to ask though, why are you telling me all this, what are you planning?"
(MZ) "oh? Can't I take interest in my fellow clansmen?"
(BM) "The lady apprentice just now said that elders hardly ever grant the normal clansmen audiences, yet you willingly chose to invite me over. I'm no fool, I also know that while you were alive....."
(MZ) " Don't you dare say it, I get it. You've clearly done quite a bit of research on me."
(BM) "Apologies. May I ask a few more questions?"
(MZ) "What is it?"
(BM) "Yue Fei couldn't answer this question, but he told me it was some sort of upper echelon secret?"
(MZ) "What could it be?"
(BM) "Why is everyone here so.....good looking?"
(MZ) "Oh haha, that's not a secret really. The answer is that we don't actually know why."
(BM) "It seems really weird to me, why does everyone get plastic surgery after they die? I mean i'm all for it but it would be really nice if I knew why."
(MZ) "I haven't put much thought into it, and neither should you. Maybe one of the great elders know, but no guarantees. Besides we have much more important matters that we need to worry about."
(BM) "Oh wait that reminds me, I have one more question. Does the time that passes here the same as the time that passes back on Earth?"
(MZ) "Do you know what year I died?"
(MZ) "That's...weirdly impressive. What year did you die?"
(MZ) "Well, if time was the same then the number of years difference in our deaths would be the same, but I've only been here for about 80 years. So no, the time flows differently on planet four than on Earth. I'm not too sure about the other planets though."
(BM) "Then can you tell me what this Death Match Tournament is all about?"
(MZ) "You should forget about this tournament for now. You wouldn't be able to enter anyway."
(BM) "What? I have to enter it's my ticket back to Earth."
(MZ) "The tournament is held once every 1,000 years. Everyone who has been on planet four can participate, but only if they have been here for over 1,000 years themselves."
(BM) "No way. There is someone back on Earth that I have to get back to, they can't wait for 1,000 years."
(MZ) "Like I said, time flows differently for them and us. Besides, i've heard that if you win the tournament you can choose anytime to go back to Earth. It could be when you died, or 500 years after your death."
(BM) "Oh thats good...."
(MZ) "But, you won't be able to win, even if you have had excellent performances your first few simulations."
(BM) "Is it about the competition once we enter?"
(MZ) "That's one part of it. You should know that in the tournament it is set up differently each time so that it avoids giving anyone any advantages. The second part is that the people of Jordsand play extremely dirty."
(BM) "How dirty?"
(MZ) "Who do you think plays the dirtiest in all the history of Earth?"
(BM) "Save for a few, every country has had their fair share of generals who make disgusting plays their defining characteristic in warfare."
(MZ) "That's quite an insightful answer, and you're right. However, these Jordsand players are on a completely new level altogether, militarily and playing dirty. Have you heard of the four great generals of the warring states period of China?"
(BM) "Yes, it's Li Mu, Lian Po, Wang Jian, and Bai Qi I believe."
(MZ) "You are correct, these four along with me are 5 out of the top 20 elders in our community. They challenged one of the elders in Jordsand and the four of them combined their knowledge but were still completely destroyed by just one of the regular elders there. Needless to say, anyone above that elder in Jordsand must be complete monsters if just one of their elders could win against four of our best strategists."
(BM) "No way, they are that insane? Can you tell me more about this matter"
(MZ) "Unfortunately not, what I have told you just now is something everyone knows. However, this is only because the people of Jordsand broadcasted the results to every community on planet four."
(BM) "I really wanted to know in what aspect those four were bested by."
(MZ) "The broadcast made it sufficiently clear that we were bested in every conceivable aspect."
(BM) "That is very disheartening, even much more so since I have to do my utmost to win the tournament next time around. Oh, when is the tournament after this next one?"
(MZ) "The next one is in another 400 years, the one after that will be hosted another 1,000 years after that."
(BM) "I see, how many blueprints do you have?"
(MZ) "Oh, quite a few hundred, but I don't really use them because my specialty is naval battles. Most of what our community has is land based blueprints, so I have to go to the other communities to go buy the ones I find useful."
(BM) "How about a trade?"
(MZ) "You? What have you managed to gain in these past few weeks could hardly be said to be impressive, I doubt you have one that suits my interest. But you might as well pitch it."
(BM) "I'm sure you'll love this. I'd like for you to trade all of your blueprints for a blueprint of a basic sea mine."
(MZ) "That is something that i'd be interested in. How did you manage to get this?"
(BM) "I studied quite a bit of warfare and weapons back when I was alive."
(MZ) "Wait a minute, are you saying that you understand the inner workings of many of the technologically superior weapons?"
(BM) "Those of note yes, the repeating crossbow, a basic landmine, a basic minesweeper, and a basic rocket launcher to name a few."
(MZ) "Do you realize what this mean?"
(BM) "Just tell me senior."
(MZ) "Our blueprint library is above average compared to the other communities, but we are seriously lacking in some crucial weapons post 1900's. With your help we could expand it and gain a lot of favour from the elders." She said expecting Baron to show a smile.
(BM) "Sorry I don't think that's a good idea. Now, do we have a deal or not?"
(MZ) "If that is your wish then so be it. And yes, we do have a deal, but I want to test it out first before we make this transaction. Even if these blueprints are worthless to me they still represent the strength of our community, I can't give it to an idiot can I?"
(BM) "No of course not, that is reasonable."
The two of them then proceeded to engage in multiple simulations testing out Baron's land mine. An object of envy in Madam Zheng's eyes."
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