“Why learn Alchemy Crafting?” Yao Yao (Dark Mystery) asked in a puzzled tone.
“Mages who don’t learn Alchemy Crafting are certain to become poor beggars by the time they reach a high level. After all, magic potions are extremely expensive. The innate skill of a Human Mage is that they are able to skip a grade when creating magic type potions. It would simply be too much of a waste if a Mage didn’t learn Alchemy Crafting,” Nie Yan replied.
“Alright then, I’ve recorded the coordinates. Thanks for the recommendation, Nie Yan.
After noticing the movements of a water spider just ahead of him, Nie Yan began swimming towards its location. It was in an area about five meters away. Though suddenly, he stopped and swam no further. The Water Spider in front of him wasn’t exactly the same as an ordinary Water Spider—its build was slightly larger than average.
Water Spider Leader: Level 3 Health: 160/160
“It’s a Leader monster,” Nie Yan turned his head and said to Yao Yao.
“Can we beat it?” Yao Yao asked. Nie Yan was more knowledgeable than her. So somehow, she was starting to get used to asking Nie Yan whenever she had a question.
“Just barely. Only… it’s going to be slightly difficult.” Nie Yan surveyed the nearby area. The open water didn’t have any terrain they would be able to make use of. Not to mention this region was a haven for Water Spiders.
“If it’s too dangerous, then we should let it pass,” Yao Yao added. It would simply be too much of a loss if they ended up dying and dropping a level. For it would take two to three days’ time at minimum if they desired to train back to their current state.
“Do you have any Underwater Breathing Pills?” Nie Yan asked. The Water Spider was a type of creature that could only move on the water’s surface. Hence, they were unable to dive underwater—a fatal weakness of theirs.
“I don’t have any more. I didn’t carry enough and ended up using them all before.” Yao Yao’s expression had turned a shade of red. She hadn’t expected that—while on this journey—she would be required to use up so many Underwater Breathing Pills. If she did have enough pills, she also wouldn’t have met with such dangers. She could dive underwater whenever she encountered danger, and there would’ve been no problems at all.
“I still have one more pill with me…. Take it. Water Spiders can’t dive underwater, so you’ll be the one attacking it first. If you’re forced into close quarters with it, then dive underwater immediately. I’ll be in the distance shooting crossbow bolts to draw it away. Once it’s gone far enough, resurface and continue casting. When its health nears zero, we’ll regroup and face it then,” Nie Yan said after contemplating for a moment.
Using this method, they could gradually whittle at the Water Spider Leader’s health until it died.
“I didn’t see it before, but that head of yours is truly useful.” Yao Yao couldn’t help but stare at Nie Yan. In his hands, any sort of problem simply became a cakewalk to resolve.
“When I was younger, my IQ was tested to be at two hundred and six. Matters such as these are a mere trifle!” Nie Yan smiled before swimming over to another side.
Seeing the appearance of how pleased Nie Yan was with himself, Yao Yao couldn’t help but break out into a grin. Really, this guy, give him a little praise and he gets so happy.
Seeing that he was about twenty meters apart from the Water Spider Leader, Nie Yan signaled Yao Yao.
She waved her staff and cast Holy Smite. The spell struck the Spider Leader’s body, dealing fifteen points of damage to its health. [Health: 145/160]
What’s with this Leader monster? Its defense is actually higher by a lot!
「Hiss!」The Spider Leader let out a strange screech and began sprinting towards Yao Yao. Before the Spider Leader was able to reach her location, she could still cast one more spell. She began to activate Holy Strike.「Boom!」A beam of light exploded forth, falling from the Heavens and smashing down onto the Spider Leader’s body—causing it to lose sixteen health. [ Health: 129/160]
Once Nie Yan finished arming his crossbow, three bolts fired out in succession.「Putt! Putt! Putt!」All of them hit their target. −6, −6, −6 [Health: 111/160] Three damage numbers floated above the Spider Leader’s head. Afterwards, he continued to rearm the crossbow.
Having finished casting Holy Strike, Yao Yao saw that the Spider Leader had charged close to her position. Almost immediately, she dove back into the water.
After Yao Yao had dove underwater, the Spider Leader had no means of getting to her.
The Spider Leader was skittering back and forth fretfully on the water’s surface, where Yao Yao had submerged.
「Whsh! Whsh! Whsh!」Three bolts arrived at their target, hitting the Spider Leader’s head. [Health: 93/160] Nie Yan immediately attracted its attention, and the spider went sprinting towards his location.
Nie Yan anxiously resupplied his crossbow with bolts. Before he could even finish fully reloading, the Spider Leader had already rushed in front of him. He hurriedly swapped his crossbow for his dagger.
Nie Yan struck out with Assassinate, stabbing the Spider Leader in its flank—dealing twelve points of damage to its health bar. [Health: 81/120]
The Spider Leader leapt forward and struck him, causing Nie Yan to lose sixty health.
What a strong attack!
If I suffer another hit, I’ll undoubtedly die!
Nie Yan originally wanted to fight it out for another round. However, when he was facing a danger of this degree, he didn’t dare take the risk. In the next moment, he dove into the water.
The Spider Leader’s next strike hit empty air. Raising its sharp stinging legs, it stabbed into the water below. Its legs were similar to arrows raining down and entering the water’s surface. One struck Nie Yan and pierced directly into his shoulder.
A damage value floated atop Nie Yan’s head.
The Spider Leader had succeeded in hitting with one of its attacks. Soon after, another leg came piercing towards Nie Yan.
Nie Yan did a quick roll within the water. The Spider Leader’s awl-like leg pierced through the water, just past Nie Yan’s cheek, causing a large streak of bubbles to emerge.
Close call! Only after Nie Yan dived a bit deeper, did he finally leave the Spider Leader’s range of attack. He had a little less than twenty health remaining. Next time he wouldn’t confront the Spider Leader head on.
Taking advantage of the Spider Leader’s attention on Nie Yan, Yao Yao cast her strongest spell dealing twenty-seven damage to its health. [Health: 54/120]
“Are you alright?” Yao Yao asked in a worried tone. She saw two very large damage values float over Nie Yan’s head.
“I’m fine. The Water Spider Leader’s attacks are too powerful. By all means, do not get hit by one of its attacks,” Nie Yan said while still having some lingering fears. He had underestimated the Spider Leader’s attack capability and nearly died.
“Okay, I understand,” Yao Yao answered back and continued to brandish her staff.
Under her unceasing bombardment of attacks, the Spider Leader’s aggro shifted back to Yao Yao. Once more, it charged in her direction.
“Holy Smite! Holy Strike!”
−15 [Health: 39/160] −16 [Health: 23/160]
After Yao Yao finished casting another round of spells, she once again dove underwater.
The Spider Leader irritably skittered around the water’s surface. Nie Yan then fired off another three bolts, hitting the Spider Leader in its butt. [Health: 5/160]
So after kiting it back and forth, the Spider Leader’s health bar was gradually drained clean. Following Yao Yao casting one final Sacred Art, the Spider Leader’s health bar dropped to zero. its body floated above the surface of the water, shrivelled and curled up.
The entire process was simpler than they had imagined.
Seeing the Water Spider Leader meet its death, Nie Yan finally relaxed and sighed in relief. After killing it, his experience bar rose to fifty-two percent.
“What item did it drop?” Nie Yan asked.
“Come and see.” Yao Yao put the two items she just picked up into the trade window.
Fine Silk Gloves (Bronze Grade) Level Requirements: Level 0 Properties: Defense 2–3, Magic +3 Weight: 1.3 lb User Restriction: Mage; can be equipped by any faction
Rare Fine Silk (Raw Materials) Quantity: 5
“You have the Appraisal skill?” Nie Yan asked. It’s reasonable to say that recently dropped items should be unidentified. He would’ve never expected that Yao Yao—with her Level being so low—had already learned the Appraisal skill.
Yao Yao nodded her head and said, “Correct! I learned the most basic Appraisal skill.
“The gloves go to you and, since I need it, the Rare Fine Silk to me,” Nie Yan said. What difference does this Rare Fine Silk have with ordinary Fine Silk? I wonder… will Physician Blevins accept this Rare Fine Silk, or not?
“En, I won’t be polite then,” Yao Yao said. Fortunately, those gloves were just what she needed—having Magic +3 as a property. To a Mage, an increase in Magic was the best property they could wish for in a piece of equipment. If it were placed in the market, it would go for at least fifty or sixty coppers. If one calculated, Nie Yan had received the raw end of the deal. Yao Yao felt slightly apologetic, but recalling that Nie Yan had also picked up the Assassinate skill book earlier, she became less flustered.
Yao Yao placed the Rare Fine Silk in her trade window. Afterwards, both of them pressed accept.
While the two were conducting the trade, they were both really close. Nie Yan glanced at Yao Yao’s cheek. Her skin tone was as healthy as ever—jade like porcelain so white, he couldn’t find a single blemish.
“What are you staring at?” Yao Yao asked in a panicked manner. Being gazed at by Nie Yan caused a deep red to emerge from her cheeks, lightly spreading across her face.
Seeing Yao Yao’s expression redden like a tomato, Nie Yan laughed and swam towards a nearby Water Spider.
After an afternoon of killing monsters, Nie Yan had collected twenty-three Fine Silks, and Yao Yao finally finished gathering the Water Sacks she required.
“In a few days, my team will be hunting in the Treant Forest near Tellak Town. We still have a few spots, do you want to join?” Yao Yao pretended to ask in a casual and nonchalant manner. However, in her heart, she actually had some faint hopes and expectations that Nie Yan would accept.
Treant Forest is a small Level 3 instance; it’s one of the basic instances. The difficulty for basic instances are usually high. The final Treant King is pretty troublesome as well—an Elite monster. If a Knight’s Defense stat didn’t reach sixty, and their health wasn’t at least two hundred and twenty, they basically have no chance.
“How many people do you have?”
“Including you, we have eighteen: two Heavy Knights, two Berserkers, two Paladins, two Thieves, three Priests, and seven Mages.”
“How much defense and health do your Heavy Knights have?” Nie Yan asked. If her team is skilled, there’d be no harm in going once. Treant Forest drops quite a few good Thief-related items.
“Fifty-three Defense, and two hundred thirty health.”
“Their health is fine, however their defense is too low. I’d still advise you guys to not go,” Nie Yan said as he shook his head. The Knights’ stats were lacking by a bit.
“Why?” Yao Yao opened her eyes widely, staring at Nie Yan in bewilderment.
“The Treant King has a two percent chance of landing a critical hit. Therefore the Heavy Knights’ defense and health must be high. The Priests’ Heal skill also needs to be able to follow up. Otherwise, if a critical hit occurred and your Heavy Knights are killed, then your whole team will end up being wiped. Although you don’t drop equipment or levels in a instance, you’ll still lose twenty percent of your experience. Which is enough to be unbearable for most people.”
“How do you know this?”
Nie Yan faintly smiled, but he didn’t reply.
“Although I feel what you’re saying could possibly be correct, they’ve already been preparing for many days. I can’t just refuse to go, right?”
“Just listen to my words. Have your Heavy Knights get their defense to sixty first, then go,” Nie Yan said. If Yao Yao didn’t listen to his warnings and went now, she was sure to lose twenty percent of her experience. Fortunately, twenty percent wasn’t all that much. With less than a day’s worth of training, she could gain it back.
“Defense of sixty… it’s only possible if we get another piece of Bronze-tier equipment at the very least. That’s going to be too difficult,” Yao Yao said while shaking her head. A piece of Bronze-tier equipment was at least, but not limited to, five or six times the price of ordinary equipment. At minimum, it would cost at least three to four silvers. Their team definitely didn’t have such financial power.
“If you can refuse, then just refuse. However, if your friends really are determined to go, then there’s no helping it. In any case, it’s only twenty percent experience, nothing more.”
“Nie Yan, is what you said true?” Yao Yao furrowed her beautiful brows and asked with concern.
Nie Yan nodded his head, and swam over to a nearby Water Spider that was off to his side.
Yao Yao’s intuition told her Nie Yan’s words were credible, yet she was still quite puzzled. How did Nie Yan know about this information? Could it be… he had already been to the Treant Forest before? Even if he did go there previously, it was still impossible for him obtain such accurate data so quickly.
“I’ve finished my quest, so I should get going. Today has quite enjoyable. Training together with you was very fun. Nie Yan (Nirvana Flame), how about we add each other as friends? So in the future, I can contact you again,” Yao Yao said. In her heart, she felt a little reluctant to part. Nie Yan was the very first friend of the opposite gender she felt happy being around with. Of course, her intentions were for them to be within the boundaries of friends and nothing more.
“Sure,” Nie Yan responded, and added Yao Yao to his friend list.
“I’ll be leaving first then. Bye bye!” Yao Yao said while waving her hand in farewell.
The figure of Yao Yao’s back became increasingly distant.
Once Yao Yao left, Nie Yan felt a bit of melancholy. However, very soon, he adjusted his mood and continued to kill Water Spiders.
One after another, spiders continuously fell at the hand of Nie Yan’s dagger.
He looked at the time—still three hours until the game closed.「 Pururu! Pururu! Pururu! 」Nie Yan received a voice notification.
“Expert, it’s me,” Stone said via a voice message.
“What do you want?” Nie Yan replied back.
“I have a friend who wants to meet you.”
“I’ve been very busy lately. I don’t have the time.”
“My friend said he’s willing to pay the two silvers required to obtain the guide for the Fallen Shaman camp.”
“Did your team get wiped out by the wooden fences there?” Nie Yan asked. That area was an extremely difficult hurdle. If you didn’t know the trick to get through, then passing was extremely difficult.
“H-how’d you know?” Stone asked in surprise. Nie Yan had guessed correctly. He became more certain—Nie Yan had definitely beaten the Fallen Shaman camp in the past.
“Of course I know. You guys want the Fallen Shaman Camp guide? That’s fine. First send the money over to my personal storage.
A personal storage was the same as an account. Players themselves were free to access their own storage. They were even allowed to send money and items to another player’s storage, but they were not allowed to take anything out.
“This… I’ll have to ask first,” Stone said. It was evident he wasn’t the one making the decisions. After a moment, he sent another voice message to Nie Yan. “My friend said we’re able to send one silver in advance as a down payment. If your guide truly is effective, then we’ll send the other half of the payment.”
Nie Yan thought for a moment and said, “Alright, that’s fine.” Due to Nie Yan having hit the mark several times on the things he spoke of, the other party was willing to do this trade. However, by paying first, they were taking on a huge risk. If by chance Nie Yan was actually a swindler, it would be the same as if they flushed their money down the toilet. Thus, they chose to send the first half as a down payment.
「System: Player Flying Stone has deposited one silver into your personal storage.」
“The money… I’ve already sent it,” Stone messaged again. He was a little bit nervous. If Nie Yan really was a scammer, then their one silver would completely go to waste.
“The first hurdle you’ll face is by the wooden fences. There are seven Fallen Shamans in that area. Don’t send your Warriors to tank. At Level 5 and under, they’ll be completely unable to resist a volley from seven Fallen Shamans attacking together. Instead, send your Thief over to the willow tree outside the fence and station them there. Tell them to use their bow or crossbow to shoot at the Fallen Shamans to the left. Remember carefully; there cannot be any mistakes in where you shoot. Only then will you be able to draw out three Fallen Shamans and kill them. After you’ve gotten rid of them, the remaining four should be much easier to deal with. The second important location is off to the side of the altar; there’s a Fallen Shaman Priest located there. When facing him, if you’re not careful you’ll end up aggroing the Fallen Shaman Leader as well. Once every five minutes, the Fallen Shaman Priest will start walking around. Wait until it walks past the altar and arrives next to the obelisk. Then, have your Heavy Knight draw it outside to about five or six meters away, where you’ll surround and kill it. Afterwards, you’ll be able to kill the Fallen Shaman Leader. If you still have any problems, just send me a message,” Nie Yan said. This was taking another’s money to help them avoid disaster. In any case, it was just a small instance. Very soon, someone would come along and beat it. So it was quite good that he managed to exchange a some information for a bit of spending money. What’s more, it was two entire silvers.
“That’s all…?” Stone asked in a daze.
Just this little bit of information was worth two silvers. Nie Yan had earned this money a bit too easily.
However, this method for overcoming the hurdles was summed from the experiences of countless players. An average team needed to go through this instance at least several times before they could get a feel for it. In that perspective, perhaps the guide wasn’t that expensive after all.