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Chapter 129 – Solitary Wanderer’s Leather Armour

Nie Yan followed the crowd of nobles as they marched into the administrator’s office. Here, they found Administrator Kallan to whom they began to express their dissatisfaction and outrage, turning the formerly quiet hall into a place of clamour.

“Administrator Kallan, we’ve caught swindlers!”

“Krusch was scamming us this whole time!”

An outraged noble emotionally walked up to the tied-up Krusch, grabbed ahold of his long flowing beard, and tugged at it to vent some of his anger. Surprisingly, the beard along with a mask came off, revealing a shifty-eyed, fair-faced young man in his twenties. This Krusch was never an old man to begin with!

“Wait, he’s not Master Blacksmith Krusch! I’ve seen his face somewhere before. He’s that thief!” the noble exclaimed in shock as he came to a sudden realization. “He isn’t Krusch! This guy is just pretending to be him!”

“So, it all makes sense then… Master Blacksmith Krusch has always been a kind and respectable fellow after all. Everything he creates is of high-quality and sells for a premium in auction houses across the empire. Among his creations, there’s no lack of Legendary-grade equipment. I should’ve known there was no way he would run such a shameless scam!”

“So he was actually an imposter…” The nobles finally understood.

“You wretched bastard!” The crowd began beating up the fake Krusch who started to wail and beg for forgiveness.

Administrator Kallan was incensed as well. He pointed at the young man writhing on the floor and shouted, “You wretched cur! Because of you, not only has Hilderlocke received a vile mark on its reputation, but you’ve also sullied Master Blacksmith Krusch’s good name! Your actions are absolutely unforgivable. Guards, send them to jail!”

Afterward, two fully armed guards came forward, apprehended the young man and his three accomplices, and then escorted them away.

“Administrator Kallan, it was this young gentleman who uncovered that swindler’s dastardly plot!” an old noble said as he pointed to Nie Yan.

Following which the crowd began expressing their admiration and praise.

Administrator Kallan’s expression revealed a hint of surprise as he walked over to Nie Yan and said, “Youngster, thank you for exposing that impostor and redeeming Hilderlocke’s reputation. I will make sure those four are punished to the full extent of my authority. And to you, on behalf of all the residents of this city, I would like to express my deepest gratitude. Your foresight and judgement are very admirable. Please take this as a token of our appreciation.”

You have successfully completed the quest, “Exposing the Imposter Master Blacksmith Krusch.”

You have received 38,297 experience points.

Your Influence in Hilderlocke has increased by 13 points.

Your Intelligence has increased by 20 points.

You have received Solitary Wanderer’s Leather Armour.

Alternatively (Click to show "Old Format") 「You have successfully completed the quest, “Exposing the Imposter Master Blacksmith Krusch.”」

「You have received 38,297 experience points.」

「Your Influence in Hilderlocke has increased by 13 points.」

「Your Intelligence has increased by 20 points.」

「You have received Solitary Wanderer’s Leather Armour.」

-Please vote on which format you would prefer.

These quest rewards are pretty good! Nie Yan glanced at his experience bar and noticed it had already risen to twenty-three percent. Moreover, since his Influence had now reached twenty points, he would be able to receive preferential treatment in this city. How could he not feel happy over such a development? As for the twenty-point increase in Intelligence, although it didn’t have much of an effect for Thieves, it still had some influence on the success rate of the Lockpicking skill. Not to mention it would also be useful when he wanted to use special scrolls that had Intelligence requirements.

Afterward, he took the leather armour in his hands and examined its properties.

Solitary Wanderer’s Leather Armour (Gold)

Properties: Defense 51–57, Resilience +9, Awareness +15, Dexterity +13

Restrictions: Thief; can be equipped by all factions.

In the current progression of the game, rewards like this piece of Gold-grade equipment were already quite generous. Even in the hardest dungeon available right now, Sosil Valley, unless a team was running it on Specialist, it was fairly rare for Gold-grade equipment to drop. The many rewards, as well as the Eye of Truth skill, left him feeling very satisfied.

After putting the armour on, Nie Yan began admiring its light blue colour and sleek design, which made him feel as if he were nimbler by simply wearing it.

He then walked around in all directions in order to get used to the sensation of wearing it.

Hmm… not bad.

“Thank you for your generosity, Administrator Kallan,” Nie Yan smiled as he expressed his gratitude.

Since he had no more business here, he expressed his thanks once more before leaving Administrator Kallan’s office. While walking out of the building, he felt his mood was much improved from when he had first arrived. Despite having a sudden quest being thrown at him, he had managed to adapt fairly well. Moreover, a hint of his old questing rhythm and game sense seemed to have returned. In his past life, he had relied on this combination of know-how to gradually catch up from being a minor character to becoming an elite player himself.

However, the one gold transfer fee for his return trip still made his heart ache a bit. “Hah… I really shouldn’t travel to other cities too much this early on. Still, this trip to Hilderlocke was quite fruitful…” Nie Yan faintly smiled while muttering to himself.

Having stepped out of the transfer point in Calore, his thoughts drifted to Gato the Lion King and the Ogre Devourer which both should have respawned by now. However, at his present level, it wasn’t really worthwhile to farm them anymore. The little experience he’d receive wouldn’t make up for the time spent killing them, and the equipment they dropped no longer caught his eye.

As he pondered on his next move, the Steal skill that he obtained from Sulgata’s Boots came to mind. There was a suitable quest at this early stage of the game which made the skill’s usage almost a necessity. After such a long time, he no longer remembered the exact details of the quest; however, he knew that aside from the Steal skill he would also require Tang Yao’s cooperation. Unfortunately, Tang Yao was still training in Hems, so he would have no choice but to put it off for now.

In the end, Nie Yan decided he would go off and train in a Level 10 zone. As for the zones that were suitable for his level, there was no place better than Black Gold Mines. The Level 10 Leader-class Zombies there gave relatively high experience and dropped good items, including several pieces of Level 10 Thief Equipment. On top of that, there were also numerous gems and ores for the pickings that he could sell for a favourable price.

The current level of his gear was simply too low, and it would be hard for him to find Level 10 equipment in the marketplace at present. The high-level players able to find Level 10 equipment generally wouldn’t sell them, as they would rather exchange with other players because they themselves lacked Level 10 equipment as well. Thus, it wasn’t a bad idea for him to go over there and check it out. After all, he knew the general locations of every Leader, Sub-Elite, and even Elite monster that spawned there.

While preparing to set out for this trip, he realized he should also use this opportunity to restock on Flash Powder and other items. Hence, he headed over to Trembling Milo’s where he bought Flash Powder, Web Scrolls, and Sheep Transformation Scrolls which were all very effective against monsters of Level 10 and lower.

Once he completed his preparations, he exited the city gates and activated a Haste Scroll and Shadow Dance before dashing off toward Black Gold Mines. The thirty-point increase in movement speed from Shadow Dance combined with the Haste Scroll made him seem like the wind as he rapidly flitted across the path within the forest.

Ten or so minutes later, he exited the forest and was greeted by the sight of black mountains stretching out as far as the eye could see. This was Black Gold Mines. In about half-a-month’s time, various guilds would send their mining teams, consisting of both escorts and Miners, here. This was effectively killing two birds with one stone, since the escorts would be able train here by clearing out the surrounding monsters while the Miners would be free to mine for gems and ores. Despite the surrounding Zombies, mining in this location was quite profitable. In a single day, a Junior Miner would be able to earn approximately two silver. However, at present, there was not a single trace of player activity.

Nie Yan ran across the rocky surface and leaped onto a large boulder where he perched and muttered to himself.

“If I remember correctly, it should be somewhere in the east, but dammit, I forgot the exact location…” Nonetheless, he had trained here for quite a while in his past life, so he still had some vague impressions of this place. After a short while and coming across several familiar landmarks, he spotted a group of roaming Zombie Miners.

Zombie Miner: Level 10
Health: 560/560

Unwilling to waste his time on these ordinary Zombie Miners, he quickly moved on. After searching for five or six minutes, he finally spotted another group of Zombies. This group was nearly identical in appearance to the first save for a lone Zombie a good distance away that appeared much bulkier and larger than the others. It had a large black metal plate on its back, and the common Zombies nearby seemed much sharper.

Nie Yan inspected this Zombie with Transcendent Insight.

Zombie Foreman (Leader): Level 10
Health: 1600/1600

This was his target! Nie Yan entered stealth and began slowly making his way toward the Zombie Foreman’s back who was completely unaware of his approach. With the bonuses from the Chapter of Freedom, Sulgata’s Boots, and his other gear, his present stealth ability, having reached a terrifying level, was most likely unrivalled. Even if the Zombie Foreman were five levels higher, it would still be unable to sense his approach.

After getting into attack range, Nie Yan exploded forth as Blood Pact’s blade coldly streaked toward the back of the Zombie Foreman’s head.

Smothering Strike!

He then took advantage of its dazed state and struck it with Assassinate followed by Vital Strike.

−93, −110, −107

Impressive damage values rose up above the Zombie Foreman’s head. After suffering his surprise attack, the Zombie Foreman spun around and furiously clawed at him with its razor-sharp nails.

Having been in Abraham’s Tomb before, where he faced similar attacks, Nie Yan was well-aware of how terrifying these claw strikes could be, especially when it was from a Level 25 Vampire Baron. If he was even struck once, he would probably lose the greater half of his health. Comparatively, this Level 10 Zombie Foreman was no more threatening than an equal level Warrior with decent gear.

Nie Yan sidestepped the attack as a bloody claw streaked past his previous position before countering with Concussive Blow, dazing the Zombie Foreman once more. After which he took advantage of the time to circle around and lash out with Backstab and Eviscerate, chunking the Zombie Foreman for another 200 health.

After losing more than half of its health in a short period of time, the Zombie Foreman’s skin began transforming into an odd shade of red before exuding a faint bloody mist.

This was the Zombie Foreman’s ability, Plague. If a player foolishly came into contact with this mist, they would lose at least 20 health every second. Unless a Priest who could cast Lesser Heal and Dispel was on hand, that player would gradually lose more and more health until they died!

This was also the reason why it required the cooperation of multiple players when taking on an equal level Leader-class monster. The few who were able to overcome such obstacles and solo these monsters were existences that were already overpowered to a perverse degree.

Nie Yan activated Swift Retreat and disengaged from the melee. He then pulled out a Web Scroll from his bag and activated it upon which a giant net of webbing entrapped the Zombie Foreman, leaving it unable to budge an inch.

After which he pulled out his crossbow and fired off a volley of bolts.

「Put! Put! Put!」

−21, −23, −21…

A string of damage values rose up above the Zombie Foreman’s head.

The Zombie Foreman incessantly struggled before finally breaking free and charging toward Nie Yan. Just as it was about to reach him, he retrieved a pouch of Flash Powder from his bag and lobbed it at the Zombie Foreman’s eyes.「Poof!」The bag exploded into a cloud of blinding glitter.

Taken aback by the sudden loss of vision, the Zombie Foreman let out a blood-curdling roar and clawed wildly at its surroundings, leaving visible marks on the nearby walls and boulders.

Nie Yan took advantage of the opportunity to retreat ten meters where he unceasingly fired out volley after volley of crossbow bolts. As the Zombie Foreman’s health approached zero, with a wobbly stagger and mournful moan, it finally collapsed, falling face first on the ground.

“It’s done.” Nie Yan faintly smiled. Although the Zombie Foreman had over fifteen hundred health, he was able to make short work of it without even breaking a sweat. He walked over to the Zombie Foreman and bent down to pick up the item that dropped. It was a piece of Silver equipment, a pity that it wasn’t for a Thief. He got back up and then headed off to his next target.

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