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Chapter 165 (Click to show "spoiler" title)

Chapter 165 – Demon Hunter

Nie Yan grinded Headless Horsemen for the entire day. Failing to complete Task 3 by the time server closing approached, he began musing to himself about how he was going to leave. Should I let myself die to see if I get teleported out…? Maybe the key to getting out is in that shrine I saw earlier. But if I try to barge in there with my current strength, I’m practically asking for a death wish…

Without being able to come up with a solution, he decided to put off such thoughts for later and logged off with a dejected sigh.

Shortly after taking off the game helmet, the house phone rang.

「Hey, you finally answered your phone! I’ve been trying to reach you for ages. You punk, where the hell did you go off to? How come I can’t get in touch with you inside the game?」Tang Yao anxiously asked.

「I ran into some trouble, ended up getting sucked into a special map.」

「No wonder we couldn’t reach you! Is it dangerous?」

「I’m fine for now. I just don’t know how to get out.」

「Ah, I see… It’s good that you’re not in any danger though. It’d suck pretty bad if you died with your name still being red… By the way, Heaven Breaker’s already Level 17. That guy’s really going at it, trying to overtake me on the leaderboards.」

「Hmm… he’s levelling up pretty fast, but for the time being, he still won’t be able to catch up to you.」

「I know, but who knows if that’ll be the case later on. It’s really tough levelling without the support of my Arcane Fairy…」Tang Yao said rather dejectedly. Heaven Breaker’s perseverance truly was worthy of praise. At the same time, without his Arcane Fairy, his levelling speed had indeed slowed quite considerably. He couldn’t say for sure Heaven Breaker wouldn’t reclaim his throne some day.

「Have you found a Killer’s Demonic Medallion yet?」Nie Yan suddenly asked.

「Nope, still haven’t…」Tang Yao let out a disappointed sigh.

Nie Yan wrinkled his brows. Tang Yao’s name was already so red that it definitely passed the threshold. He had to be seriously down on his luck if he still wasn’t able to find one.「Well… just keep soldiering on. It’s not that big of a deal if Heaven Breaker passes you. Everyone expects it since he’s the guild leader of Victorious Return. Besides, even if he takes first place from you, we can just snatch it back later on.」

A flash of determination swept across Tang Yao’s face. Clenching his fist, he said「No! I won’t give him the chance! I don’t care through what method, but I won’t be going down without a fight! I’ll make him suffer for sure. A real man always takes his revenge!」It seemed Tang Yao still felt quite a bit of resentment toward Heaven Breaker for the ambush which led to his Arcane Fairy perishing.

Tang Yao’s outburst reminded Nie Yan of the past. Back when they were in middle school, he and Tang Yao had been stopped by a bully outside the school gate and beaten up. Later on, Tang Yao had found that bully and returned the beating several fold. From that day forward, the bully didn’t dare to trouble them again. The teachers at school taught students to requite grievances with kindness and tolerance. However, ever since he was small, Tang Yao’s father told him that teaching was wrong. “If you suffer any injustices, you’ll have to rely on your own ability to claim retribution. They teach you how to behave with integrity, but I’m teaching you how to survive! It’s not a matter of who’s in the right or who’s in the wrong. Because in the real world, those beliefs are as flimsy as the paper you and I write on!” he would always say.

As a result, Tang Yao grew up to be a petty and vengeful person down to the core of his being. Of course, that was only towards the people he disliked.

「Before Level 25, you shouldn’t encounter any problems preserving your lead, so you can keep training on Scaled Frogs for a while longer. Anyways, just wait for me to get out,」Nie Yan said. There were a myriad of things he couldn’t do while stuck inside this quest map.

「Well, alright then… Try to find a way out quickly. I think I’ll be around Level 23 or 24, maybe even a little higher, by the time I fully clear my red name,」Tang Yao said. He had really killed way too many players.

「I’d say around Level 26 or 27 is more likely and that’s assuming you’re training efficiently.」Nie Yan gave his own assessment. With a kill count of nearly a hundred, Tang Yao’s red name was truly rather difficult to clear. Few players could achieve something similar so early on in the game. In the future, Mages would have much more powerful group target spells. Some would even be able to wipe out hundreds of enemies in a single siege. Generally, such players wouldn’t be able to clear their PKer status effect before getting into another battle, so their names were constantly shifting between different shades of red. Regardless, so long as they possessed enough Influence, they would be able to walk freely in any city, town, or village.

He spoke with Tang Yao a while longer before hanging up the phone.

Soon, another day quietly passed by, and as the clock struck five, he put back on his game helmet.

After returning to the game, he proceeded to complete Task 3, whereupon he received the Advanced Undead Slayer title. It raised his Influence in all human nations by 5. Although the reward was great, he was already going half-insane from mindlessly killing Headless Horsemen for the second day in a row.

What drove him even madder was that he received yet another quest.

Task 4 – Kill 6,000 Headless Horsemen

As if he were stuck in a never ending nightmare counting twisted sheep, Nie Yan was on the brink of a mental breakdown from seeing Headless Horsemen every waking hour of the game.

He had toyed with the idea of just killing himself to return home many times. If an ordinary player were stuck in his circumstances, then they would have chosen to commit suicide long ago rather than continue on with this quest line. You couldn’t even level on this map! Oh, how he wished he could just die. He’d gladly accept the experience penalty. At least he’d be able to make appreciable progress after recouping his losses.

But, he couldn’t. Even if this was a quest map, he wasn’t confident his Chapter of Courage and Chapter of Freedom wouldn’t drop upon death.

As for the affairs that required his attention in the Viridian Empire, he was able to convey them through Tang Yao. And so, everything was progressing smoothly. Hence, there wasn’t much to worry about.

Another two days passed by before Nie Yan finally managed to complete Task 4 which gave him the Junior Demon Hunter title as a reward. He examined the title’s bonuses.

Junior Demon Hunter – Increase Influence in all human nations by 8. Reduce the stats of every creature of darkness within 5 meters of the player by 10%.

What a terrifying title!

Aside from the Influence boost, the debuffing aura that reduced the stats of all creatures of darkness around him was beyond amazing!

In regard to his future growth, two days of his time for the Junior Demon Hunter title was certainly well worth the trade.

However, no matter how much better the bonuses of this title were, Nie Yan could only remain speechless as he had received yet another quest.

Task 5 – Kill 12,000 Headless Horsemen

Although the Junior Demon Hunter title would make mobbing a bit faster for him, 12,000 Headless Horsemen was no small number. If they were ordinary Level 30 mobs, the experience he’d receive would bring him directly from Level 17 to Level 25!

He checked the leaderboards. Tang Yao was Level 23; Heaven Breaker was Level 22; and the rest were all around Level 20. Meanwhile, he was still stagnating at Level 17.

Even though he wasn’t progressing in level, he still had some parts of him that wanted to proceed with this quest line. As long as he could find a way out, overtaking those players at the top of the leaderboards would be a simple task anyway.

He had lingered around the shrine many times over the last several days. On several occasions, he had barely restrained his urge to go in. Even if he died, he’d finally be able to escape this god-forsaken place; however, without fail, the thought of the potential consequences would bring him back to his senses.

When the servers shut down, he took off the game helmet and placed it on his bed. The nonstop grinding over the past few days had left him completely burnt out.

「How come you’re still not out?」Tang Yao phoned him again today as he asked in confusion.

「Ugh… Don’t bring it up. I think it’s gonna be a while before I can actually escape,」Nie Yan gloomily replied. He had vastly underestimated how much time he would be spending on this quest line.

「Just what kind of quest line takes this long to finish…?」Tang Yao said in shock.

「One that makes you go around killing Headless Horsemen nonstop. They’re Level 30 undead monsters,」Nie Yan replied. Not knowing how much longer it would take until he could finally come out, he had no choice but to attempt and finish the quests.「What’s the situation like on the outside?」

「It’s not bad. Guo Huai said he’s already bought sixteen properties in seven different cities with the money from the Starry Night Potion Shop. They’re all places you suggested, but some of them were already taken, so he could only move on. We’ve also smoothly advanced to a Level 2 guild. As for that elite team of yours, where in the world did you find such amazing players? They cleared ten dungeons in only two days, many of them on Specialist, and at minimum, it would be on Expert. I heard they just beat Medusa’s Lair this afternoon. My Lord… are these guys gods!?」Tang Yao exclaimed. He was thoroughly amazed by Resplendent Bladelight, Leader Young Seven, and the others.

Nie Yan faintly smiled.「It’s within my expectations.」Bladelight and Young Seven’s gear was already top-notch even among peak experts, to say nothing of their skill. When they were all grouped together, they had the potential to explode forth with devastating might!

Tang Yao began to inform Nie Yan of some of the going-ons in the guild. For example, Bladelight, Young Seven, and the rest of the elite team’s achievements weren’t immediately revealed to the rest of the guild. As you could well imagine, when it was, it sent waves of shock across the entire guild. Ten dungeons on Specialist or Expert difficulty in only two days, what kind of crazy idea was that!?

Bladelight and the others had no use for most of the equipment they came across during their runs, so they were set aside for the auxiliary teams like Yu Lan’s as well as the decently skilled players Guo Huai had organized together. With this, the auxiliary teams were also developing at a speedy pace.

Asskickers United had grown rapidly since it was established. Even though not everything was perfect, with a true guild treasury already taking shape, the Starry Night Potion Shop as a backer, and the incredible performance of the elite team… the players became even more profoundly aware of just how much potential this guild had. Those who were already members all called out to their friends, trying to get them to join. So when the guild advanced to Level 2, allowing space for more members, there was another wave of players lining up at the headquarters.

Asskickers United showing great momentum, along with the knowledge that they were working together with Holy Empire, left Victorious Return and Radiant Sacred Flame feeling extremely restless. Hence, some minor friction was bound to occur.

On Wednesday afternoon, several Asskickers United players levelling in the wilderness were ambushed by a group of Victorious Return players and sent back to respawn at the Calore graveyard. After which those Victorious Return players began bragging that sooner or later Asskickers United would be crushed.

On Thursday, Asskickers United players were being harassed in various places. By the end of the day, more than sixty members had died.

On Friday, the harassment continued. The accumulated deaths over the course of that day exceeded one hundred.

Although the members of Asskickers United were fuming, Guo Huai managed to temporarily quell their anger. At such times, they had to remember Victorious Return’s status as the number one guild of Calore. For now, Asskickers United simply couldn’t afford to provoke them too much. After all, if a large-scale guild war broke out, they were certain to get the worst of it. Besides, with Holy Empire placing their own interests first, they wouldn’t necessarily be willing to enter the fray. Guo Huai warned all guild members, while they weren’t strong enough yet, they would have to silently endure. He even advised them to hide their guild emblems when they were levelling outside. However, some foolhardy members, who felt a sense of belonging to the guild, would proudly wear their emblems anyway, resulting in them being ambushed by Victorious Return players. However, they would at least take out a few with them before they died.

The frequent conflicts gave rise to huge tensions, as if they were building up to something major. Victorious Return and Radiant Sacred Flame were already itching for a full-scale war. Given the chance, they absolutely wouldn’t miss the opportunity to deal Asskickers United a fatal blow.

As for Nie Yan, he was still stuck inside that quest map. He exerted all his effort in killing Headless Horsemen. He didn’t receive any experience, nor was he able to reduce his red name. The only consolation was that he was getting decent item drops.

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