Numerous spiders had converged within the wide space where the tunnels intersected. They were constantly patrolling the area, which meant that their positions were ever-changing.
Nie Yan patiently waited for an opportunity to arise. He didn’t need to wait long; about half a minute later, the spiders began congregating towards the center. It was then that Nie Yan noticed there was one lone spider that had lagged behind. It loitered off to the side, not too far from where he was..
Nie Yan’s eyes lit up; this was his chance! There was no time to lose. He raised his crossbow, aimed at the lone spider, and fired.
「Pa! Pa! Pa!」 Three crossbow bolts lodged themselves into the their target, enraging it. The spider immediately turned to face its aggressor and charged.
Fortunately, none of the other spiders followed, thus, Nie Yan welcomed its assault with open arms.
When their skirmish reached its conclusion, the spider fell to the ground, dead. Nie Yan walked over to its corpse and picked up the single piece of equipment it dropped as loot: a White-grade Level 5 Dark Leather Thief Tunic.
The drop rates for equipment were extremely low regardless of which profession it belonged to, to the extent that prices for equipment always remained high. For instance, if this leather tunic were to be placed on the marketplace, it would sell for at least six or seven coppers.
Nie Yan tossed the leather tunic into his knapsack, then went back to waiting for another opportunity.
Within the span of roughly six minutes, he had drawn out and killed another three spiders. Afterwards, Nie Yan tallied up the remaining monsters and found that there were still twelve remaining.
Unfortunately, these spiders were clumped too closely to be drawn out one at a time.
Nie Yan searched for quite some time, but was unable to find a suitable position to repeat his earlier tactics.
Hmm… this seems to be the best position, though it’s still a bit lacking. I suppose I’ll give it a shot from here, though things might get a little dangerous.
Nie Yan raised his crossbow once more and fired. Subsequently, three bolts were sent piercing through the air.
−5, −5, −5
These bolts struck the body of a nearby Rock Spider. 「Scritch! Scritch!」The spider furiously cried out as it charged towards the one who had harmed it. Unlike the previous spiders he had lured, however, this one was being followed closely from behind by another.
I aggroed two of them… Nie Yan’s heart tightened as he made a hasty retreat back to one of the narrow tunnels within the cave. The narrowness of this passage meant there would be no room for two spiders to move side by side.
When they drew close enough, Nie Yan pulled out his dagger. He directly engaged the Rock Spider he had aggroed first and unleashed a continuous chain of attack upon it.
The spider repeatedly lunged at Nie Yan. One after another, a line of damage values floated up above Nie Yan’s head as they exchanged blows.
Ninety-two percent, eighty-seven percent, seventy-two percent… Slowly but surely, Nie Yan’s health continued to fall.
While in combat, Nie Yan made sure to maintain awareness of both his surroundings and the positioning of his footsteps. Currently, the only spider capable of attacking him in the narrow tunnel was the one he aggroed first. As for its partner, who had closely followed from behind, it could do nothing more than cry out helplessly.
The spider met its end when Nie Yan finally finished it off with Vital Strike. He glanced at his health bar—around a quarter of his health remained—then quickly retreated back from his current position
Almost immediately after the first spider was killed, its ally who had been helplessly crying from behind lunged forward.
Seeing this, Nie Yan hastened his retreat and began applying a Combat Bandage.
+20… +20… +20…
With each passing second, his health was being restored by a large amount.
The Rock Spider repeatedly lunged at Nie Yan as the latter dodged and leapt back in retreat. However, he soon reached an impasse. Approximately five meters behind him, there was another spider. If Nie Yan were to continued moving like he was, then it would undoubtedly be aggroed. Thus, retreating was no longer an option. By this time, his health had been restored to eighty percent, so he raised his dagger and ran forward to face the spider head-on.
The two parties finally met and clashed. Unfortunately, all of Nie Yan’s skills had yet to come off cooldown. Met with such a situation, all he could do was lash out with regular stabs and slashes.
After evading the spider’s lunge, Nie Yan would step forward and counter with successive attacks.
Under the barrage of violent attacks from the spider, Nie Yan’s health was quickly dropping. Whereas the spider currently had over sixty percent of its health remaining, Nie Yan only had a third left. In the end, the damage that could be dealt with regular attacks was rather limited. After all, Thieves were a profession that relied heavily on their skills to deal damage.
Twenty seconds later…
Assassinate, Lacerate, and Vital Strike had finally come off cooldown.
For Nie Yan, this was undoubtedly a great boon.
Not even a moment later, the Rock Spider came leaping forward while baring its fangs.
This is my chance!
Nie Yan slipped his dagger past the spider’s legs and aimed directly for its head—all while it was still leaping through the air. After his dagger was implanted deeply within the spider’s eye, Nie Yan used the momentum to ruthlessly slash outwards, causing a thick green liquid to ooze from its mutilated head.
Despite this, the Rock Spider still managed to use one of its legs to pierce through Nie Yan’s shoulder, dealing thirty-three damage and sending a number floating above his head.
Nie Yan quickly glanced at his health bar and found that he had a little over a tenth of his health remaining.
That was dangerous!
He had hastily pulled out a Basic Health Potion and gulped down its contents. His last hit with Vital Strike had taken out thirty-nine of of spider’s health, but the fight still wasn’t over. The Rock Spider dashed towards Nie Yan with the intent of ramming into him.
When the two collided, the spider crashed into Nie Yan’s chest and dealt thirty-five damage to him..
After receiving the blow, Nie Yan quickly retreated back several steps.
The Rock Spider turned its body to face where its opponent had retreated.
Nie Yan swept his eyes over the spider’s health bar and noticed it that only had fifteen health remaining. In comparison, after drinking the Basic Health Potion and taking the spider’s attack directly, he barely had a tenth of his health left. Right now if one of the spider’s attacks were to even slightly graze him, then he would likely meet his end.
He quickly took several more steps back as the spider lunged in pursuit.
If he were to engage this spider, and if their battle was to be anything like the last, then it would be a mutually assured destruction.
As the spider pounced forward, two damage values popped up above its head one after another.
In its final moments, the spiders raised its forelimbs and attempted to stab Nie Yan as its lumbering body descended forward.
Nie Yan instantly reacted and dodged the spider’s final attack by rolling. 「Crash!」The spider’s body smashed into the ground beside him, creating a large pit in the earth.
If he had been just a millisecond too slow, then he would’ve been struck by that attack. Nie Yan broke out into a cold sweat as he thought of how he had just narrowly escaped death.
Finally, the spider’s health had been bled dry. The legs that had been struggling to get up earlier suddenly lost all their ability to support the main body, causing the spider to collapse to the ground.
「System: You’ve gained 280 experience points.」
The second Rock Spider had finally met its end… using this short respite, Nie Yan breathed a sigh of relief. Using both arms to support himself, he pushed his body off the ground and propped himself up against the cave wall. Soon, his health gradually started to recover.
Pitifully, this spider hadn’t dropped even a single item upon death. What’s worse was that he had been forced to expend a Combat Bandage against a common mob like this Rock Spider. The cost of crafting a single bandage was such that the payout of this battle wasn’t worth his efforts.
After a few moments of rest, his health was at last fully restored. That was just too dangerous… If I’m going to lure out more Rock Spiders, then I should definitely avoid aggroing more than one of them at a time.
Nie Yan picked himself up off the ground and walked over to the intersection. There was a lot more space to maneuver there now, as only ten spiders remained.
However, these ten spiders were moving together in groups of two or three, which made it incredibly difficult for Nie Yan to find an opportunity to strike.
At least there’s more room to move around now… I should be able to use Stealth to make my way through here. At Stealth’s current level, I should be able to pass within a meter of these spiders without being detected.
Gradually, Nie Yan’s body became increasingly transparent until it completely blended in with the darkness of the cave. Shortly after, he began to slowly make his way forward.
As he moved, Nie Yan spotted three spiders approaching him from behind. One was off to his left, about three meters away. The other two were off to his right, about five meters away.
Nie Yan carefully observed the positions of each spider and determined their patrol routes as he continued moving ahead.
Suddenly, two spiders crawled until they were just two meters away from his current position. Seeing this, Nie Yan quickly halted his footsteps. After a short period of time, the two spiders slowly moved on without having noticed his presence.
While Nie Yan was moving forward, he suddenly happened to spot something over in the corner of the room. Nestled between several large rocks was a single chest that faintly glowed with a silver light.
The rocks had obstructed his line of view, thus he was only able to see the edge of the silver chest.
Son of a b*tch… they really hid it well.
Unexpectedly, it’s a silver treasure chest! Nie Yan’s heart rate involuntarily sped up.
At the same time, three spiders abruptly halted their movements and looked around.
These actions were akin to a bucket of cold water being dumped over his head, causing him to immediately calm down. Right now, it was still too soon to get excited. The duration of Stealth was finite, and he couldn’t afford the luxury of spending time to open the chest. Thus, he was forced to give up on the chest and leave it for another time.
Nie Yan maintained his breathing,
Having not discovered anything, the three spiders resumed their patrols and crawled further and further away.
Nie Yan carefully crept his way around the remaining spiders until finally making it out of danger. He breathed a sigh of relief. This kind of work definitely wasn’t suited for an average person.
After proceeding forward for a while longer, Nie Yan glanced at his coordinates. Finally, I’m here!
“Tang Yao, where are you?”
The next moment, a figure slowly emerged from the nearby shadows. Who knew what hole this guy had deeply burrowed himself into? By the time he finally crawled out, his body was completely covered in dirt.
“Haha, not bad… you hid yourself pretty well,”Nie Yan said with a smile.
Tang Yao patted the dirt off his body and gloomily replied, “Don’t say anymore… Anyways, there were so many Rock Spiders over there. How’d you manage to get through?”
“Stealth,” Nie Yan answered back.
‘You can even do that?” Tang Yao’s mind went blank for a moment. That intersection was littered with Rock Spiders. How the hell could a Thief Stealth their way through that? It was an incredibly difficult task to pull off!