Chapter 170 – Kill Stealing
After finishing his business with the Union of Assassins, Nie Yan checked the level leaderboards. Currently in first place was Tang Yao at Level 25 followed by Heaven Breaker at Level 24. Although Heaven Breaker was consistently a level behind Tang Yao, the gap between them was actually growing wider.
「Eh, you’re out?」Tang Yao sent a message.
「Yep, I’m finally out.」
「Wanna join back up with us to hunt Scaled Frogs?」
「Nah, I’ve got some stuff to do. Go on without me. Besides, the experience should still be pretty good, even at your level,」Nie Yan replied.
Overtaking the top players on the leaderboards wasn’t difficult. It wouldn’t make much of a difference if he put off levelling for a few days. Ranking up his Lockpicking Specialist skill would be a better use of his time. Otherwise, he’d be helpless when he encountered a locked chest on higher level maps.
The guild treasury was filled with no less than five hundred pieces of Level 30 equipment. Some of it was from his time in the quest map, but most of them came from Tang Yao and the others who contributed around four hundred pieces of equipment. They had killed several dozen Sub-Elite and Elite Scaled Frogs every single day for the last week or so on a non-stop grind.
The frightening quantity of high-level equipment in the treasury left the guild members speechless! However, they also felt a little depressed. Though it was nice to see so many pieces of high-level equipment, none of them were even close to Level 30, so they wouldn’t be able to use all of that equipment for a long time. Plus, there was a severe shortage of low-level equipment in the guild!
「What are you busy with?」Tang Yao blankly asked.
「I found a Lockpicking skill recently, but it’s still only at Junior rank. I want to raise it a bit before heading off to a high-level map.」
Nie Yan planned to hop from one place to the next opening chests, mainly to improve his Lockpicking Specialist skill. It would also give him an opportunity to pick up some more low-level equipment for the guild. He felt it was about time he started collecting the other chapters from the Book of Order as well.
「Oh, so it’s like that… Alright, I see then.」
「Did you clear your red name yet?」
「Yeah, it’s cleared, but I still didn’t find a Killer’s Demonic Medallion.」
「Really? I guess you’re pretty unlucky. So be it then…」
Despite his casual reply to Tang Yao, he was confused that the Killer’s Demonic Medallion didn’t drop. There was no mistake, he knew for a fact that Scaled Frogs dropped the Killer’s Demonic Medallion. Was it possibly due to Tang Yao’s red name not being severe enough…? No, that was impossible! He had killed almost a hundred players!
At times, luck came in waves you were helpless to resist. Other times, you could be so down on your luck it was like you were stuck in a deep pit.
Arriving at the Starry Night Potion Shop, Nie Yan upgraded it to a Tier 4 shop. He also found that Bird had hired many Tinkerers, Scroll Makers, Disassemblers, etc. Basically, anyone who had reached the Master rank in their respective crafting profession in the previous timeline was scouted out by the Starry Night Potion Shop. Its formidable financial fortunes swayed the hearts of many. Some of them signed on immediately, while others chose to wait and see. Even though the Starry Night Potion Shop dominated the market for Alchemists, there was no guarantee of similar results in other markets. However, the invitation from the Starry Night Potion Shop did ensure that the ones who didn’t join straight away wouldn’t rashly accept an offer from another power.
Nie Yan was elated at the rapid expansion of his capital, but he also felt a sense of crisis. All of the properties in several cities had been snatched up. His properties accounted for less than three percent of the purchasable land in the Viridian Empire. Luckily, they were all relatively valuable. If he calculated their worth later on, they could possibly make up around thirty percent of the total value of the empire’s real-estate market. Many of his properties had fallen into the hands of the major guilds, top teams, or wealthy individuals.
However, the most lucrative part of Conviction wasn’t in real-estate. No, it laid in the most important military structure that every major power would soon struggle for control over, strongholds! For guilds, a stronghold was equivalent to a base. It also accommodated various business enterprises because ordinary players were allowed to trade inside. Guilds could tax every transaction made within their stronghold. As for management, they could assign housing and various other things to players. As such, many powers would rather focus all their energy on expanding their forces, heavily investing into their guild treasuries, than spend too much resources on purchasing land. Waiting for real-estate to appreciate was a long and slow process. With a powerful force, however, what awaited them in the future would not merely be land but entire cities within strongholds!
Nie Yan sent a message to Guo Huai.
「Did Young Seven and the others get those Unknown Transfer Scrolls I asked for?」
「Yeah, they got two.」
「Good, send them to me through the mail.」
Nie Yan felt he had way too many things on his plate right now. Although there was so much he could do as a person who had woken up in the past, he could only focus on a few things at a time while doing his utmost to improve his strength.
After withdrawing the Unknown Transfer Scrolls, he teleported to Link Town. Evading the sight of other players, he exited the town gates. He really wasn’t afraid of common players, he just didn’t want to deal with the problems caused by someone following him
His destination was a certain cave within a ravine in a Level 20 map. The Chapter of Wisdom was inside, guarded by a Hellfire Guard. The Hellfire Guard would fall asleep for two minutes every two hours. He planned to take advantage of that time to get around the guard and snatch the chapter. Two minutes wasn’t enough to let him safely evacuate, but by using an Unknown Transfer Scroll, he would be able to immediately escape. The scroll made getting the Chapter of Wisdom much easier.
However, the Chapter of Wisdom was mainly for Mages. The bonuses it gave to them were especially powerful. So it wasn’t that useful to Nie Yan. Just like with the Chapter of Courage and the Chapter of Freedom, the former was more suited for Warriors who bravely took up the vanguard, while the latter was more suited for a Thief like him.
The Peaceful Dream Valley was the go-to place for Level 10–20 players to level. Currently, a party of six was grinding mobs there: one Paladin, one Priest, and four Mages.
“Sugar Cane, where do you think our guild leader is levelling? His levelling really is too fierce. Even Heaven Breaker can’t catch up to him. He’s actually pulling farther and farther ahead,” said a Paladin in silver armour who looked to be around twenty-three years old. At a glance, he gave off a very neat and tidy feeling.Paladin of the Elegy (Asskickers United): Level 16
He was nicknamed Water King because he was the most active in the guild chat. He’d flood the guild chat with messages every day, whenever he got bored. Despite this annoying tendency, he was well-liked by his guildmates, which was why Guo Huai had appointed him as a minor group leader.
“Who in the world knows? Our guild leader really is amazing! I heard Heaven Breaker has over sixty players helping him level. They’re casting area-of-effect magic nonstop to hunt mobs. The levelling speed must be extremely fast. Yet they’re still not able to beat our guild leader. Heaven Breaker is actually falling behind even more. Our guild leader is a god! Haven’t you heard that gods act in mysterious ways? If his secrets were so easily revealed, he wouldn’t be our guild leader!” Sugar Cane replied. As a fellow Arcane Mage, he blindly worshiped Tang Yao who was firmly at first place on the leaderboards.
“Let’s hurry up and level. When I reach Level 30, I bet I’ll be able to get Silver-grade equipment from the guild. If I can raise my merit points a little more, maybe I’ll even get Gold-grade equipment. Our guild leader is too awesome! We have a hard time even getting a hold of Silver-grade equipment. Owning Bronze-grade equipment is decent. Yet he’s actually able to find so many pieces of Silver and Gold-grade equipment,” Paladin of the Elegy said.
“He definitely has to be hunting Sub-Elites and Elites! Generally, only monsters around that class regularly drop Silver and Gold-grade equipment. If we encounter a Sub-Elite, we won’t be able to deal with it. We can only circle around. We can barely handle Leader-class monsters. So of course we only find Bronze-grade equipment.” Sugar Cane said. Leader-class monsters only had a small chance of dropping Silver-grade equipment. Even if one did drop, the properties on the equipment wouldn’t be all that great. As a result, many players in the guild greatly desired the equipment Tang Yao had obtained. Right now, the entirety of Asskickers United were putting in their greatest effort to level up and earn merit points.
“There’s a Leader-class Wild Boar!”
“Paladin, quickly!” Sugar Cane shouted. In the entire party, only Paladin of the Elegy could take on its aggro. Fortunately, the Priest in the team had learned Junior Heal. Along with four Mages, dealing with a leader-class monster wouldn’t be a problem.
“Nice!” Paladin of the Elegy gave himself a few buffs before charging in with his sword swinging.
Although Paladins weren’t as good as Warriors at tanking damage, they weren’t weaker by much! However, their aggro attracting capabilities really fell short in comparison. This was also why a Paladin would never be able to replace the role of a Warrior in a team.
After what seemed like half a day, Paladin of the Elegy finally firmly secured the Wild Boar’s aggro.
“Start casting your spells!”
These players were gradually whittling away the Wild Boar’s health.「Bang! Bang! Bang!」As the magic from four Mages rained down on the boar’s body, a string of damage values rose above its head.
A Level 15 Leader-class Wild Boar wasn’t too difficult for them to handle. As long as they were careful, they’d finish the battle in around two to three minutes, and a piece of Bronze-grade equipment would fall into their hands!
They eagerly anticipated the equipment dropping.
“Damn! It definitely has to drop a piece of Arcane Mage equipment! I haven’t gotten any in the past two days!” Sugar Cane shouted as he furiously fired off spells.
“Hah! In your dreams! It’s obviously going to be a piece of Paladin equipment. My luck has always been pretty good,” Paladin of Elegy giddily replied.
“What the hell, Paladin! You really are ruthless! In the last two days, at least three pieces of Bronze equipment have gone to you!” Sugar Cane angrily exclaimed.
While they were in a cheerful mood and anticipating the drop from the Wild Boar; a party of eight players quietly appeared on a tall hilltop not far from their location. They had been levelling around the area when they received a message from their Thief to rush over immediately.
“It’s a Leader-class monster!” a Mage among the group excitedly shouted.
“But there’s already another party fighting it.”
“What are you afraid of? Let’s just take it!”
Since the decision was made, the Thief activated Stealth and started creeping towards Sugar Cane and the others, hoping to stun one of them before he was noticed.
A chill ran down Paladin of Elegy’s back. He instantly felt something was off.
“Shit! It’s a Thief. Quickly cast Heal!” Paladin of Elegy immediately retreated as a gentle radiance enveloped him, restoring a good portion of his health. He immediately activated Endure, a skill that Paladins and Warriors had in common. This ability blocked stuns. It was exactly for this reason that Warriors and Paladins didn’t fear Thieves!
“Lousy shit-eaters! They’re shamelessly trying to steal our monster!” Sugar Cane roared out when he heard Paladin of the Elegy calling out. He switched his focus to the ground, paying careful attention to the nearby grass blowing in the wind for signs of the stealthed Thief. Paladin of the Elegy got farther and farther away from the Leader-class Wild Boar as he withdrew.
When their Thief was noticed, the eight players charged down from the hill towards the Wild Boar.
The Warrior among the eight players charged over and intercepted the Wild Boar.
“God dammit! It’s Victorious Return!” Paladin of the Elegy cursed as he glared resentfully. The Wild Boar they had found and painstakingly brought down to half-health would be taken just like that. How could he not feel indignant!?