I suppose I’ll check Spiritmyth Pond first. There should be a few treasure chests there, not to mention the drops aren’t too bad either. Though I don’t know whether or not the chests have already been found by someone else. 「 Ding! 」 While contemplating this matter, Nie Yan suddenly received a notification.
「System: Player Yao Zi (Young Sparrow Hawk) has sent you a friend request.」
「 Nie Yan, it’s me, 」Tang Yao said in an anxious tone.
「 What’s the matter? 」Nie Yan asked. The anxiousness in Tang Yao’s tone caused him to furrow his brows.
「 I’ve been cornered at Levin Hills, 」Tang Yao said depressingly. The only person he could think of who could help him out at this moment was Nie Yan.
「 What, who’s got you cornered? 」
「 People from the Radiant Sacred Flame guild. There’s at least twenty of them! All five of my teammates were killed by those bastards. Only I alone managed to escape…. If it wasn’t for Lei Zi (Young Thunder) shielding me, then I would’ve died as well. Right now those guys are blocking the only two exits from Levin Hills. 」 Lei Zi was Nie Yan and Tang Yao’s classmate in middle school. However, unlike Tang Yao, he wasn’t very close to Nie Yan, as they had only made brief contact in the past.
Radiant Sacred Flame…. Nie Yan had actually heard of this guild before. It was a large guild, similar to Victorious Return. In the past, around the time he had reached Level 60, Conviction’s developers implemented the guild ranking system. Radiant Sacred Flame was one of the guilds that had ranked in the top sixties. Even as the years went by they never fell below the top one hundred.
“Hide well. I’ll be there in just a moment,” Nie Yan advised. Tang Yao would very likely be killed if he was late by even a few moments. Dying meant the loss of a level. This would be an extremely unfortunate outcome for Tang Yao.
Nie Yan entered a scroll shop and bought five Return Scrolls, five Basic Haste Scrolls, and five Basic Strength Scrolls. He only needed to give Tang Yao a Return Scroll and the latter would be able to be safely teleported to the nearest city or town. As for the other scrolls, he prepared them in case he needed them later on.
A single Return Scroll would cost upwards of thirty coppers. As for the Basic Haste and Strength Scrolls, they were slightly cheaper at twenty coppers each. Both these scrolls had a duration of thirty minutes. Basic Haste Scrolls would increase movement speed by twenty percent, whereas Basic Strength Scrolls would increase strength by five points.
For players who weren’t so wealthy, these scrolls were items that many of them couldn’t bear to use. No one would dare act like Nie Yan and buy this many scrolls in one go.
He also bought more Basic Health Potions in preparation for the future.
Nie Yan put away the scrolls and hastily made his way towards the nearest transport point. He was equipped with Bronze-grade equipment that gave stat bonuses such as Dexterity +5 and Move Speed +2. As a result, his current movement speed vastly outstripped the average player.
He quickly arrived at the transport point and teleported straight to Link town. After emerging in the town, he immediately sprinted off towards the north.
「 How’d you guys get into a scuffle with them in the first place? 」
「 We met a Leader-class monster in the area where we were hunting Level 3 mobs. While we were fighting it, a group of people came over and tried to forcefully steal the kill from us, just because they had the advantage in numbers. In the end our party’s Thief managed to grab a piece of Bronze equipment when the Leader-class monster died. Those guys weren’t willing to accept that though, so they tried to kill us afterwards. Now three of them have their names marked red. 」Tang Yao seemed to be out of breath while he said all this. It appeared that he was still hiding from his pursuers.
「 How much longer do you think you can hold out for? 」
「 Luckily, Levin Hills is a pretty wide area. So as long as I keep moving around, they shouldn’t even think about catching me within the next hour, especially considering how few people they have. That is… unless they call for more reinforcements. 」
「 One hour is enough. I’ll make sure to thoroughly have fun with them. 」Nie Yan was beginning to grow restless. He was equipped from head to toe with Bronze-grade equipment and had learnt many new skills. He was just itching to go, now that he had found new opponents to test them out on.
「 What’re you gonna do? 」
「 This brother is going to vent some frustrations on your behalf, 」Nie Yan confidently replied.
「 How many people do you have with you? 」Tang Yao asked, bewildered. He couldn’t help but wonder if Nie Yan actually managed to bring a lot of people with him.
「 None, just me. 」
「 Is this some kind of joke!? 」Tang Yao felt this was simply too ridiculous.
「 Haha! W hat do you think? 」 Nie Yan replied. At present, most players in the game weren’t that strong. After all, they’ve only been playing the game for about a week. To put it simply, they were all still novices. Even guilds like Radiant Sacred Flame would be hard pressed to find even a single member that could rival Nie Yan, let alone having the bottom ranking runts facing him. 「 I can’t wipe them all out, but taking care of a few of them shouldn’t be a problem. 」
Nie Yan had ten years of experience playing a Thief. He knew all the skills used by each and every profession for PvP. Not to mention he understood combat strategies like the back of his hand. Even if they have more people… so what?
「 Don’t go getting yourself killed though. If the situation starts looking dangerous and you can’t help me, then so be it. Even if I die, I’ll only lose one level. It’s nothing to lose your head over. 」
「 No worries. Find a place to hide and don’t come out. Just sit back and watch. 」
The entrance to Levin Hills was a small ravine that allowed only three to four people to pass through at a time. Steep vertical cliff faces flanked the ravine on both sides.
There were three players guarding this entrance: a Level 3 Berserker, a Level 3 Elementalist, and a Level 2 Priest.
Among the three, only the Elementalist had their name marked red.
Their companions had already gone in to chase after Tang Yao, leaving only these three to guard the entrance.
And the hapless Tang Yao was trapped inside, just like a turtle in a jar.
“Damn! That bastard is as slippery as a loach. Even after all this, we still haven’t managed to catch him. What’s worse is that I don’t even know when this red mark on my name is going to disappear. I can’t even enter any towns or cities until it goes away,” the Elementalist cursed while chatting with his teammates.
“Captain Dian Cang (Blue Drop), don’t be angry. There’s no problem as long as you don’t get killed by someone before your red name disappears. Besides, we gained a lot of profit from this. Each of those five people we killed dropped a piece of equipment,” the Berserker consoled.
“Peh! Those five pieces of garbage aren’t worth ass. If it weren’t for those brats thinking they could actually steal our equipment, putting me in a shitty mood, then this old man wouldn’t even have bothered with them.” the Elementalist named Dian Cang replied disdainfully.
“Captain Dian Cang you’re truly like an invincible god. You managed to single-handedly take out three of them by yourself. Remember when you cast Scorching Flame Explosion earlier? The way you used it was simply too exquisite!” the Priest next to him began flattering and fawning.
“Hmph! Those three were just weak. It only took one Scorching Flame Explosion to take out over half of their health. If it weren’t for their small amount of magic resistance, they surely wouldn’t have survived!” Dian Cang said, somewhat pleased with himself.
The nearby Berserker and Priest were simply followers of this ill-tempered Elementalist. It seemed that his position within the Radiant Sacred Flame guild was rather high.
The three chatted on idly like this.
“Ah! A red name. Looks like today’s meal will be rather decent.” Nie Yan cackled with a strange laugh while hiding far off in the distance. If a player with their name marked in bright red like this Elementalist were to be killed, then not a single a piece of equipment on their body would remain. Everything equipped would drop!
Furthermore the equipment this Elementalist donned didn’t look half-bad. He wore a blazing red mage gown that resembled flowing flames. He held in his hands a dark crimson redwood mage staff with a fiery blaze that circulated at the top. It appeared to be a part of the Fire Chaser set, but Nie Yan himself wasn’t too sure.
This Elementalist was going down a route that focused on fire damage. The high damage from his fire spells was going to be a slight pain to deal with. The nearby Berserker also looked like he would be hard to handle. As for the Priest by their side, he could simply be ignored. Most priests still haven’t even learned Heal this early in the game. Therefore, they would just follow the team from behind and leech experience.
Dian Cang swept his eyes over the surroundings. The steep inclines of the nearby mountains made the background slightly difficult to blend into. However, Nie Yan had learned the Enhance Stealth passive skill, so it wouldn’t be much of a problem.
He entered Stealth and slowly moved towards those three players.
He grasped the dagger in his right hand, holding it in a reverse grip, and slowly crept closer. At about five meters away, he was able to clearly make out the expressions on each of their faces.
The Elementalist Dian Cang felt something peculiar, and glanced over the nearby area. Seeing this, Nie Yan quickly halted his steps and exercised control over his breathing. Seems this Elementalist has a rather high awareness .
“Captain Dian Cang, what’s wrong?” the Berserker asked with a bewildered expression. He looked around, but all he saw was empty space.
Dian Cang searched the surroundings once more with a more focused gaze, but still didn’t discover anything. He shook his head and said, “Nothing, probably just my imagination.”
Nie Yan faintly knitted his brows. He could tell this Dian Cang was experienced in PKing, because he was able to vaguely sense Nie Yan’s presence from such a far distance.
The more points a player has in awareness, the easier it would be for them to detect hidden enemies—such as Thieves.
I can’t take my opponents too lightly. Nie Yan inwardly reminded himself. Numerous bitter experiences in the past reminded him that underestimating an opponent would often lead to defeat.
Nie Yan lightly treaded forward, occasionally altering his walking speed. After calming his mind, he gradually entered a Thief’s stealthing state, and completely merged with the background.
“Captain Dian Cang, who knows where that Arcane Mage could be hiding up in the hills. Maybe Bai Mao (White Hair) and the others have already lost him,” the Berserker said after taking a quick glance at Dian Cang’s expression.
“Oh,” Dian Cang absent-mindedly replied.
“That brat is pretty cunning. He nearly killed Dong Zi (East Child) just now,” the Priest informed after looking at the party chat.
“Mhmm… his defense is too weak,” Dian Cang answered back. He seemed preoccupied with something else.
The Berserker and Priest were quite puzzled. What’s going on with the Captain? Why is he so absent-minded?
By this time, Nie Yan had made his way behind Dian Cang, and was unable to see the expression on the latter’s face.
He was now only two meters away from Dian Cang. Nie Yan attentively gazed at his target’s back. After making some quick measurements, he found that he was about three meters away from the other two. It’s about time. He resembled a cheetah as he patiently stored up power in his legs before suddenly pouncing towards his target—Dian Cang!
“Brat! I was waiting for you to show yourself!” Dian Cang laughed sinisterly. He retreated back and brandished the staff in his hand. “Fierce Flame Ring!”
He had discovered Nie Yan long ago! His eight points of awareness weren’t something to be trifled with.
Even if they were stealthed, it would still be incredibly difficult for a Thief to leave behind no traces in front of an expert.
The Elementalist had intended to lure Nie Yan closer so he could kill him with the help of the nearby Berserker and Priest!
“You took a fancy to this old man’s equipment? Do you think you’ll still have a life to snatch it with?” Dian Cang smiled disdainfully. He thought Nie Yan was no more than a passing Thief who was lusting after his equipment. One who was urged on after seeing his red name and the type of gear he was wearing. From the start, he never thought Nie Yan and Tang Yao were connected.
Dian Cang finished casting his spell. Immediately, a blazing ring of fire emerged out of thin air, expanding outwards in every direction as it headed towards Nie Yan.
After casting Fierce Flame Ring, the Elementalist immediately retreated backwards.
Nie Yan was assaulted by the sensation of scorching flames!
Nie Yan was inwardly surprised. This guy’s reaction speed is pretty quick….
“Thief!” The nearby Berserker and Priest finally reacted to the situation, and immediately began taking action.
At present, it was much too dangerous for Nie Yan to turn his back on them and try to make an escape. If the Berserker were to start off with Charge, and then the Elementalist and Priest were to follow up with their attacks, he would undoubtedly die!
“Kill him!” Dian Cang forced Nie Yan to halt his steps by casting Fierce Flame Ring. The Berserker seized this opportunity and went to cut off his escape. Meanwhile, Dian Cang started putting more distance between himself and Nie Yan so that he could calmly cast spells from the back.
How could Nie Yan not understand his intentions? He knew that retreating at this moment was the same as asking Dian Cang to barrage him with spells.
With a flick of a finger, a scroll appeared in his hand. Although he was a little regretful, he still used it without the slightest bit of hesitation.
「System: Your movement speed has been increased by 20% for 30 minutes!」
Nie Yan’s base movement speed was already quite high. However, with the twenty percent increase, it had reached an astonishing level. He welcomed the oncoming blaze head on and rushed forward.
「Boom!」An explosion rang out as the Fierce Flame Ring struck Nie Yan.
「System: The opposing party lead by player Dian Cang (Blue Drop) has taken the initiative to attack you. You are free to retaliate in legitimate self defense. Time: 30 minutes.」
The retaliation period increased to thirty minutes when facing a small party. It would increase even further in team battles or guild wars.
The magic damage from Dian Cang’s Fierce Flame Ring was quite high. If Nie Yan hadn’t changed his old gear to his current Bronze-grade equipment, this Fierce Flame Ring would’ve surely taken out at least the greater half of his health!
Sparks scattered in every direction as Nie Yan rushed through the Fierce Flame Ring, rapidly drawing closer to Dian Cang. He stabbed out with his dagger, aiming directly at his opponent’s chest.
Dian Cang had originally hoped that his Fierce Flame Ring would force Nie Yan to withdraw. He never thought that Nie Yan would be so unwavering in his offense, pushing ahead instead of retreating. His speed was even faster than it was just moment prior. Moreover, he hadn’t expected that his spell would do so little damage to Nie Yan. He honestly thought that it would deal around fifty damage at the very least.
He hastily retreated backwards while casting Small Fireball.
「Splash!」Blood gushed out and splattered everywhere. Nie Yan had met the spell head on as his dagger penetrated Dian Cang’s chest.
Finally within melee range, his dagger flashed with a chilling light.
This wasn’t the first time Dian Cang had faced a Thief in combat, but it was definitely the first time he had felt such enormous pressure. Nie Yan’s damage was quite high and his movements were extremely quick.
He used a scroll!
Dian Cang hurriedly drew back and pulled out a talisman for his next spell. As he put some distance between himself and his opponent, he prepared to cast Scorching Flame Explosion.
Scorching Flame Explosion required five syllables, two gestures, and a magic catalyst to cast; the spell wouldn’t cast if even one of these components were missing. Fortunately, the talismans could be bought in stores and weren’t expensive at all.
The Berserker came around from the side, then leapt into the air and cleaved down towards Nie Yan with Flame Slash. He was covering for Dian Cang so that the latter could cast their spell.
The two had fairly good teamwork. The Berserker had managed to block Nie Yan at a crucial time.
Red coloured fire elements began rapidly coalescing. In Dian Cang’s arsenal of spells, Scorching Flame Explosion had the highest amount of damage. If the opponent’s magic resistance was low, it was even possible for them to be instantly killed on the spot.
The magic resistance of Thieves could only be considered average. Their base magic resistance was equal to sixty percent of their defense.
The casting time for Scorching Flame Explosion was five seconds.
Seeing the Berserker leap at him from the side, Nie Yan waited until the edge of the oncoming blade was in front of his eyes. In that moment, Nie Yan swiftly and elegantly raised his dagger, parrying the blow.
The three inch dagger and Berserker’s greatsword clashed against each other. A sharp metallic sound rang out, jolting both players at the same time. The Berserker’s greatsword struggled to advance by even half an inch.
Dian Cang continued retreating backwards while chanting out cryptic sounding syllables one after another. His voice radiated out with a muffled yet explosive power.
This voice was beckoning the elements to his call.
「Bang!」A ray of holy light had struck Nie Yan, dealing thirteen damage. Although this Priest’s damage output was limited, he still continued to attack Nie Yan regardless.
Nie Yan quickly went in pursuit of Dian Cang once more after he had parried the Berserker’s attack.
The Elementalist’s heart shook in awe after witnessing this Thief who was still advancing forward, even after facing an onslaught of fierce attacks. What a valiant Thief!
Nie Yan clearly understood that he had no time to think, because he would lose his life if he hesitated in the slightest. In order to preserve his life, he could only put it at stake.
He bravely faced the enemy head on so that he could achieve victory.
Countless years of PvP experience from his past life gave Nie Yan extremely sharp instincts. He wouldn’t lose!
Three seconds… four seconds… blazing flames were rapidly coalescing into a huge mass atop Dian Cang’s staff. Soon the flames had rotated into a chaotic mass of deadly scorching fire essence.
Nie Yan dashed forward at full speed, and arrived in front of Dian Cang.
In the end, Dian Cang was just a step slower. Nie Yan bashed his dagger into the Elementalist’s skull. The Scorching Flame Explosion rapidly collapsed before completely dissipating into thin air.
Concussive Strike had the effect of interrupting attacks. Therefore Nie Yan attacking Dian Cang with Concussive Strike in the middle of casting caused Dian Cang’s spell to be cancelled.
Nie Yan felt the tight heartstrings in his chest loosen by a bit. I barely made it. If I had let him successfully cast Scorching Flame Explosion, I just can’t imagine what sort of consequences there would’ve been.
The Berserker’s Flame Slash had been parried, and in the a blink of an eye, Nie Yan had already gotten out of his attack range. Furthermore, he had also managed to interrupt and stun Dian Cang.
Too fast. The Berserker felt a chill in his heart. Nie Yan’s speed was much faster than any other Thief he had seen before. However he didn’t have the time to continue staring out blankly. He brandished his sword and activated Charge. The Berserker resembled a tank as he came crashing forward in Nie Yan’s direction.
“Vital Strike!” Nie Yan completely ignored the incoming Berserker. He took advantage of Dian Cang’s dazed state to activate Vital Strike and pierce his dagger into Dian Cang’s heart.
「System: Vital Strike successful! Attack +5%, causing additional damage!」
The sixty or so health Dian Cang had remaining immediately started to plummet, then completely disappeared. 「Thud!」Everything he was wearing, from his upper body to his lower body, dropped. From his headgear to his mage robes, gloves, pants and boots, not a single piece of equipment remained. Every single piece of equipment had dropped and fallen on the ground.
「System: You have killed a red name player, and receive Fame +1!」
In the game it was possible to receive a little fame for killing a player who had their name marked in red. However, you wouldn’t receive any more fame after killing the same red-named player more than three times. Killing red-named players wasn’t the only way to earn fame though, players would also receive it for completing missions. The higher a player’s fame, the easier it would be to receive certain missions. Fame would also allow players to receive more preferential treatment in towns and cities.
By the time Nie Yan had killed Dian Cang, the charging Berserker had finally arrived and came slashing down with his sword. Nie Yan dodged by side stepping, and their shoulders brushed as the charging Berserker missed his target.
Nie Yan was right before his eyes. The Berserker had been absolutely certain his attack would hit Nie Yan. He never expected that Nie Yan would actually dodge all of a sudden, leaving him to continue charging far off into the distance.
“All of the captain’s equipment dropped! Quickly, pick it up!” the Berserker anxiously shouted. Dian Cang was an important figure within the Radiant Sacred Flame guild, and someone who frequently participated in guild dungeon runs. Every piece of equipment on his body was extremely valuable and rare. Even if you compared it to the entire guild, it would still be considered more valuable. If one were to estimate their value, they would be worth more than ten silvers!
However, the dropped equipment was just too far away from him. When he looked back, he found that Nie Yan was already beginning to pick the equipment up.
The Priest quickly ran over to where Dian Cang dropped his equipment after dying. Just prior, he had ran off into the distance, casting spells from the back in order to evade Nie Yan. How could he possibly make it back in time to grab some of the equipment?
Just as Nie Yan had bent over and stuffed two pieces of equipment in his bag, a ray of holy light struck his body.
A damage value floated above Nie Yan’s head.
The Berserker came leaping forward with his sword, slashing towards Nie Yan.
Nie Yan ignored the oncoming Berserker’s slash, and continued stuffing one piece of equipment after another into his bag.
Ah… that’s everything. Picking up equipment sure does make a person happy. By the time he lifted his head back up, the Berserker had already arrived in front of him.
「Bang!」The Berserker’s sword aura struck Nie Yan’s body, causing him to lose twenty-two health.
Nie Yan only had twenty-three health remaining, yet he still maintained a cool head. He rapidly fell back and drank a Basic Health Potion.
“Brat! Let’s see if I can’t hack you to death!” Dian Cang had been killed. If he didn’t kill Nie Yan, then he would have a hard time facing Dian Cang. As a result, he frantically pursued Nie Yan with bloodshot eyes.