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Chapter 163 (Click to show "spoiler" title)

Chapter 163 – Dullahan Cavalry Crossbow

Loose chunks of rock lay scattered across the ruins of this shrine. The scripture of the dragons could be seen engraved on their surfaces, though barely discernable with the passage of time. In the distant Dark Era, the dark elves were the servants of the dragons. They regarded them as divine existences. Even their sacred texts which were written in the language of the dragons reflected as such.

Their history and culture were deeply entrenched in their subservience to the dragons. Even a millennium later, they still regarded themselves as lowly vassals that didn’t dare to go against the will of those from the dragon race.

Around the shrine altar lay the skeletal remains of different creatures, some of which were the skulls of humans, piled together in heaps.

Nie Yan could imagine how the chiefs of small dark elf tribes would offer the lives of various creatures in ritual sacrifices to the dragons. During the Era of Shared Governance, when the reign of the dragons was finally toppled, the dark elves suffered retaliation from the humans, high elves, and the other races for their heinous acts, ensuing in a mass genocide that resulted in the dark elves completely disappearing from the continent. A great number of their tribes sought refuge in the isolated Underworld, but many places on the continent still held traces of their past.

When he approached the shrine, more than a dozen chunks of rock flew up from the ground. Each chunk emitted a strong aura of darkness while the characters engraved on them glowed with an eerie light.

Relying on his knowledge of Dragon Tongue, he was able to decipher the meaning of some of the characters, such as “god of destruction,” “denizens of the remote darkness,” “secluded dimension of evil…” but he found it difficult to piece them all together.

Just what sort of message were these dozen or so floating pieces of rock trying to convey?

There are still remnants of dark magic left over from the Dark Era in the abandoned dark elf shrine. After some cautious interaction, you discover that it opens a portal to another dimension. This is a powerful magic! You silently muse to yourself. The dark elves were the servants of the dragons. What could these despicable creatures have been doing in this place?

While reading the system notifications, from the corner of his eye, Nie Yan suddenly noticed the chunks of rock converging at the center of the altar before a dark portal slowly emerged.

Being only a few feet from the portal, he took a prudent step back when it emerged. Where it led to or whether it posed a threat to him were still unknowns!

I can’t take any chances!

Conviction had way too many strange maps that were fraught with danger. For the sake of preserving his Chapter of Courage and Chapter of Freedom, he firmly decided to renounce this opportunity.

However, just as he was about to turn to leave, he felt a powerful suction force pulling on his body. His face turned ashen with fright. He wanted to retreat, but the powerful force coming from the portal was simply too hard to resist!

“Ah!” Nie Yan lost his footing.

And like the mouth of an enormous demon, the dark portal gobbled him up in one fell swoop.

Inside the darkness of the portal, everything went black as he lost consciousness.

After he was pulled into the portal, the chunks of rock suspended in midair around the altar slowly dimmed. Losing the energy powering them, they fell back to the ground.

“Did Nirvana Flame go offline?” Sun turned to Tang Yao and asked in a puzzled tone. Nie Yan’s name had just gone dim on his friends list.

“I don’t know,” Tang Yao replied, sounding just as confused. When he tried sending Nie Yan a message just now, he got a system prompt telling him that the player wasn’t on the same map. Could Nie Yan have gone to a map that was inaccessible by others?

“Did something happen to Nirvana Flame?” Yao Yao asked worriedly.

“Whatever happened, I’m sure he can deal with it. C’mon, let’s continue.” Tang Yao’s confidence in Nie Yan almost resembled blind faith.

The Viridian Empire was a large, stand-alone map comprised numerous and various zones. Players could whisper each other as long as they were within the same map, but they weren’t able to make contact with players from different maps such as the Satleen Empire or the neutral territory of the giants. If Tang Yao couldn’t get a hold of him, then that meant Nie Yan wasn’t in the Viridian Empire right now. But how was that possible? The empire was vast and boundless and spanned at least several hundreds of miles across. Because they were still in the central area of the map, leaving its borders would still require five days or more, even with the fastest running speed! The other way was to teleport, but the only place in the entire empire with a transfer point connecting to the Satleen Empire was Calore.

Although his sudden disappearance left the group perplexed, they could only suppress their doubts for the time being. Right now, their main priority was clearing their red names. With the slight increase in damage output after reaching Level 18, Tang Yao felt confident in moving on to stronger mobs. So he took out the list of coordinates Nie Yan had given him the day before. After which they set out in search of Elite Scaled Frogs.

Not knowing how much time had passed, Nie Yan slowly regained consciousness. He was currently lying on the ground. A pitter-pattering sound gradually grew more audible as he felt raindrops hit his face, carrying a chill that seemed to pierce through his skin.

A certain thought jolted him into sobriety as he quickly sat up and rummaged through his bag. After seeing that the Chapter of Courage and Chapter of Freedom were still there, he let out a sigh of relief.

You’ve discovered the Illusory Realm of the Dullahans.

When he saw the system message, he understood that he was in an instanced quest map.

He found himself in a vast region of wilderness. The sky above him was dark and gloomy. A constant drizzle fell to the earth, and the wind whistled loudly, carrying an otherworldly chill.

After surveying around, Nie Yan noticed this was a sealed off area. He wouldn’t be able to use a Return Scroll to leave.

There were several knights riding ghastly, skeletal war-horses roaming around the wilderness. They wore full suits of black armour and carried three-meter long pikes. However, what stood out the most… was the fact that they lacked heads!

Nie Yan entered stealth before slowly approaching one of them.

Headless Horseman (Undead): Level 30
Health: 1,200/1,200 Task 1 – Kill 20 Headless Horsemen

I wonder what happens if I die here on this map… Either way, I don’t want to find out, but these Headless Horsemen aren’t going to be easy to deal with. With his current strength, slaying a monster so far above his level was truly too difficult of a task.

He opened the official website to search for information regarding these Headless Horsemen, but to his dismay, nothing came up. He let out a dejected sigh. For now, he had no choice but to drop the matter and figure out a way himself.

Since his own stats were severely lacking, he could only try to figure out the monster’s weak point.

After thinking for a bit, he decided to probe things out. He first approached within 70 meters of a Headless Horseman, then took out his crossbow. Employing the same method he had used back at Agmota Muddy Wetlands, he would fire at the ground near the Headless Horseman to see whether or not it would be alerted. In this way, he would be able to figure out its aggro range.

After observing the Headless Horseman for a while, he noticed its movements were actually pretty clumsy, especially when trying to turn.

「Whoosh-whoosh-whoosh!」Three crossbow bolts struck the ground within 30 meters of the Headless Horseman. It suddenly reacted, prompting its skeletal horse to charge 20 meters toward the direction of the sound. Its powerful charging speed kicked up a whirlwind of dust.

This bastard’s explosive speed is at least 120 or higher!

Who knew this clumsy monster would actually charge at such speed upon discovering an enemy!

Nie Yan nearly jumped up in fright. He quickly activated Swift Retreat and withdrew far into the distance.

With an aggro range of about 35 meters and a charge speed of 120, Headless Horsemen definitely weren’t the kind of monster he could take on in a direct confrontation at his current level!

He stared at the Headless Horseman from afar, growing increasingly vexed. The faster the enemy’s charge, the more bonus damage it would deal. With the Headless Horseman being so far above his level, if it discovered him, then there was a chance that he would be taken out in a single hit!

After failing to discover an enemy, the Headless Horseman stood in place for a moment before urging its horse to turn back. As an undead, their joints were extremely stiff. Therefore, when turning around, their movements were slow and difficult.

Seeing the Headless Horseman struggling to turn, Nie Yan suddenly had an idea. He circled behind it and used the same method as before to probe it out.

After ten minutes of firing bolts to figure out what the Headless Horseman’s aggro range was from behind, he was finally able to confirm that it was only about 3 to 4 meters, far less than was it was from the front. Moreover, even if he alerted it from behind, it would take ages for it to turn its horse around to face him.

Nie Yan faintly smiled. Now this would be much easier to deal with. Propping up the crossbow in his hand, he fired at the Headless Horseman.

「Put-put-put!」The three bolts struck the Headless Horseman.

−26, −29, −31 Three damage values floated up above its head

Upon being attacked from behind, the Headless Horsemen urged its horse to turn around.

Seeing this, Nie Yan naturally wouldn’t stay motionless. He constantly circled around it, mirroring its movements as he shot it from behind.

No matter how the Headless Horseman moved, it was unable to turn to directly face Nie Yan. All it could do was continuously turn in place. From beginning to end, it was never able to discover Nie Yan’s position. With its low intelligence, it simply had no idea how to respond!

「Put-put-put! Put-put-put!」Nie Yan fired an unending stream of bolts at the Headless Horseman. The continuous damage caused its health to rapidly fall. Three minutes later, it finally collapsed to the ground.

Task 1 – Kill 20 Headless Horsemen. (Progress: 1/20)

Perfect! Nie Yan walked up to collect the items that the Headless Horseman dropped, 2 silver and a damaged blueprint which was filled with various diagrams.

Dullahan Cavalry Crossbow Blueprint: Pieces: 1/10

Requirements: 800 Strength

Weight: 56 lb
Restrictions: Thief, Paladin, Warrior

I never thought it would be a Sub-Legendary weapon blueprint. The properties are amazing! Nie Yan inwardly exclaimed. However, the 56 lb weight and 800 Strength requirement were really quite intimidating. He probably wouldn’t be able to equip it until around Level 60–70.

So if I collect all ten pieces, I’ll be able to craft a Sub-Legendary cavalry crossbow?

He examined the materials required to create it: 10 top-quality Magic Redwood Logs, 3 top-quality Fire Source Crystals, 3 Enchanted Blackvein Gold, 3 Enchanted Runestones, and 1 Fire Essence Extract.

Seeing the materials listed, Nie Yan was left speechless. Top-quality Magic Redwood Logs and Fire Source Crystals were a bit easier to find, but they were expensive because they were treasured materials. As for Enchanted Black Rune Gold, Enchanted Runestones—or any materials that had the word “Enchanted” in the prefix of its name for that matter—were extremely hard to come by. As for Fire Essence Extract, it was an item of legends. In any case, in his past life, he had never come across it in any which way.

Even if he was able to find all the materials required to craft this Dullahan Cavalry Crossbow, he wouldn’t be able to equip it at his current level. Nevertheless, he could collect all the blueprint pieces right now, then figure out a way to craft it later on.

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