Chapter 238 – White Elves
Nie Yan’s mind raced as he considered various scenarios in search of a way to ambush the True Illusion. He needed to trick it into walking into the trap of its own accord.
Standard traps reliant on common skills had no chance of catching the True Illusion off guard. He could only look for a more unorthodox strategy.
The system used precise calculations to allowe the True Illusion to maximize efficiency and act with precision accurate to several decimal points. By doing so, it could maximize the True Illusion’s combat abilities in a way no human could. However, the system still had to maintain some semblance of fairness, so the True Illusion didn’t know Nie Yan’s attributes. Otherwise, if it possessed Nie Yan’s skill and stat data on top of maximum combat efficiency, it wouldn’t even be possible to damage it, much less beat it.
After careful consideration, Nie Yan concluded that his best chance would be to change his attack speed and patterns to trick the True Illusion’s relatively rigid algorithms.
Nie Yan calculated the combat power brought to him by his stats, especially his movement and attack speed. His calculation speed was obviously nowhere near the system’s, and he was only able to come up with a rough estimate. Hmmm… I’ll only use 95% of my attack speed to scout him out.
Before Nie Yan knew it, ten minutes of quick exchanges had passed. Both of them made sure to disengage after every single move, conserving their strength as they gauged their opponent. For a Thief in head-on combat, trading blows in this tentative manner served an incredibly important purpose. It allowed him to learn more about his opponent before launching a fatal blow. The ancient practice of gathering information on an enemy before launching the real attack worked for Thieves as well.
Additionally, Nie Yan began purposely leaving a peculiar false opening for his opponent. Even when it would be easier to use a forehand move to block, he manoeuvred his hand to perform a backhand block.
Nie Yan’s act was world-class. His lowered attack speed and defensive quirk flowed seamlessly as though they were naturally ingrained instincts.
Almost everyone had some odd quirks in combat. A skilled player knew to look for such tells in order to abuse them, and the AI was no different. Under Nie Yan’s meticulous trickery, the True Illusion finally decided to act on what it saw as Nie Yan’s biggest weakness: he only blocked with backhands.
After yet another strike and parry, the True Illusion entered stealth. It didn’t reengage, choosing to stay hidden among the shadows. Nie Yan didn’t think anything of it until two minutes had already passed. Feeling that something was off, he took a deep breath and readied himself. The storm is coming! It’s probably just waiting for its cooldowns to run out now.
He couldn’t afford to mess up here at the final stretch! Nie Yan double-checked his skill bar to make sure his skills were all up before looking up again.
Right at that moment, the True Illusion appeared behind him, aiming its dagger at the back of his head. Before Nie Yan could turn around, the True Illusion launched its attack, lunging forward and plunging its dagger at its target.
Nie Yan activated Shadow Waltz to dodge the attack, reappearing behind the True Illusion. He performed the exact same move he had just dodged, stabbing at the back of the opponent’s head with lightning speed.
The True Illusion immediately turned around and blocked Nie Yan’s strike with its own dagger. This was the first time the two crossed blades repeatedly instead of retreating after the first sparks flew up in the air. Since neither of them were proficient in control skills, they could only spam their attack skills again and again.
Finally, Nie Yan managed to land a Vital Strike followed by Eviscerate. The True Illusion took over 100 damage, but quickly struck back with a Backstab for over 300 health.
The True Illusion’s attack and defense were both higher than Nie Yan’s. After trading just a few hits, Nie Yan was already down to 15% health. He hastily backed up before chugging an Intermediate Health Potion, recovering his health.
No matter how they clashed, Nie Yan maintained his facade of only blocking with backhands. He also made sure to keep key skills such as Intimidate and Concussive Blow in reserve
The True Illusion’s health was slowly chipped away at in their clashes, but Nie Yan wasn’t the only one with health potions. His copy also drank an Intermediate Health Potion, instantly refilling its health bar.
Damn it, I had him down to 30%! This thing can use health potions too! Nie Yan felt more than a little frustrated seeing the True Illusion shrug off all the damage he’d done to it. He suspected that it had some mechanism to prevent wearing it down in a battle of attrition, but he hadn’t expected it to be as direct as a health potion. As he’d thought, the only way to beat it was to control the flow of battle and make it fall for a trick.
Nie Yan continued to wait for an opportunity to strike. Neither of them had used Intimidate or Concussive Blow yet, nor any other major skill. They had both been using low-cooldown skills just to wear the opponent’s health down.
Of course, in such a battle of attrition, Nie Yan’s health wore down much faster than the True Illusion’s.
After a while, Nie Yan began applying Combat Bandages to himself to keep his health up. As the True Illusion watched Nie Yan use yet another method to heal himself, it finally ran out of patience. It actived Shadow Waltz, closing the gap in an instant, and used Intimidate.
Nie Yan’s body stiffened. He was momentarily immobile!
Before being struck by Intimidate, Nie Yan made sure to keep his dagger in a forehand grip.
Noticing the forehand position of Nie Yan’s dagger, the True Illusion’s AI decided that this was a prime opportunity to attack. It immediately sped its dagger toward Nie Yan’s forehead.
The dagger quickly closed the distance, striking as fast as a gale with the momentum of lightning.
If Nie Yan tried to do as he had done before and switch to a backhand before parrying, he would definitely be too late.
Instead, he squinted deviously and swung out for a forehand, blocking the True Illusion’s attack.
The True Illusion’s eyes narrowed. A puzzled expression appeared on its face as it went over its data again. However, despite multiple recalculations, it couldn’t figure out where the original calculation had went awry.
Right then, the effects of Intimidate wore off.
“My turn.” Nie Yan grinned sinisterly as he activated Intimidate, causing the True Illusion’s body to stiffen.
Nie Yan used Shadow Waltz to circle behind the True Illusion. Before it could turn around, Nie Yan pierced its heart with Backstab. He instantly followed up with an Eviscerate that left the illusion spurting geysers of blood.
Nie Yan used another Vital Strike before stepping back to watch the damage rack up. Various damage values floated up above the True Illusion’s head: his attack damage, his poison damage, and his two bleed damages.
When the effects of Intimidate finally wore off, the True Illusion tried to move away. But before it could do anything, Nie Yan struck from behind with a Smothering Strike and stunned it. Smothering Strike’s stun effect would wear off if the target was attacked, so Nie Yan took the time to nimbly circle back in front of the True Illusion. He continued his attack with Concussive Blow, followed by Assassinate and Lacerate. Nie Yan stepped to the side of the True Illusion, his dagger flashing across his opponent’s throat. Slicing out one last time, he slit his opponent’s throat with a well-placed Cut Throat.
It was a perfect stun lock!
He hadn’t even given the True Illusion a chance to react!
Although his control skills only affected the opponent for a second each, they became highly lethal when chained together. Although he didn’t have many such skills, Nie Yan’s timing and efficiency in chaining them already reached the peak of stun locking for Thieves.
The True Illusion swayed oddly for a second until its health finally drained to zero. Its corpse collapsed miserably before fading into a shadow and dissipating into nothingness.
Nie Yan grinned with giddy relief. He finally beat his copy, but it had been even harder than he’d expected. He looked down where the corpse had disappeared and saw a black cloak laying on the ground.
This should be a great piece of Thief equipment!
Nie Yan bent down to pick up the cloak.Nirvana Flame’s Cloak of Void (Special)
Description: A True Illusion’s cloak woven from the owner’s shadow. A player’s trophy for beating their True Illusion.
Properties: 120-139 Defense, +30 Strength, +30 Dexterity, +10 Speed, +10 Stealth, +10 Cloaking, +10 Reflex
Void Concealment: Stay completely hidden among the shadows. Stealth Effect +300%. Movement Speed -50%. Cannot be seen through stealth for the first nine seconds upon activation. Unable to attack for the first 20 seconds while this skill is active. Duration: 60 seconds.
Cooldown: 2 days
Restriction: Only the named player may equip this item.
It was a piece of special equipment marked with his name! Only Nie Yan could equip this item. It’s attributes were pretty good, but it was the supplementary skill that really made his heart throb. Void Concealment was simply too useful. When he came across a life-threatening adversary, he could use it as a life-saving skill. Even more importantly, he could use this skill to gain access to at least five Sub Legendary and over a dozen Legendary fragments!
It was precisely this that made the skill so valuable!
The item bound itself automatically, so it could neither be traded to others nor dropped upon his death. If there came a day when he no longer wanted it, he could discard it and it would disappear forever.
The Void Concealment skill had a cooldown of two days, but for some reason it was ready the moment Nie Yan got it.
After thinking it over, Nie Yan figured that it probably meant he needed it to complete this quest map. Do I have to make use of this Cloak of Void to complete the Hidden Realm of Moonlight quest?
The contents of some special quests would change according to the class of the participant. Nie Yan was a Thief, so for an item like this to drop now, it made sense that it would be needed to complete the quest.
Nie Yan decided to wait and see. He crept through the darkness toward the distant flames. After the True Illusion, he encountered no other enemies. As he got closer, he could see a white tent contrasted against the night. Outside the tent, several NPCs were sitting around a leaping bonfire.
Nie Yan didn’t dare to be rash. He slowly crept forward to get a better view. Hidden within the underbrush, he could finally see the faces of the NPCs. There were five white elves, three males and two females. All of them were Mages. They had beautiful appearances and fair skin, but their ears weren’t pointed like those of true elves. They appeared to be half-elves.
Nie Yan thought for a moment before slowly approaching the white elves with Disappear, whereupon he activated Transcendent Insight.Traitor Kasa (Elite): Level 35
It was a Level 35 Elite! The others were probably of similar strength. Seeing that these half-elves were all humanoid creatures with individual names, Nie Yan expected them to be difficult to deal with. Nie Yan looked through the open flap of the tent, only to see a girl lying in a bed. He couldn’t make out her features, but there was a thin sheet of paper floating in a circle around her. Magical elements of all colours glowed around her. Nie Yan was extremely familiar with these things! He had finally found what he was looking for, the Chapter of Virtue!
He had worn through iron shoes with no success, only to acquire it through no effort of his own!
Nie Yan was just about to show himself when the half-elves’ ears twitched as if they had heard something.
Nie Yan quickly held his breath as the four elves looked around cautiously. However, not seeing anything, they resumed their chatter.
Nie Yan slowly backed up. There was no need for him to get into a fight with these half-elves. All he wanted was the Chapter of Virtue.
However, based on his previous experiences with the other chapters from the Book of Order, he knew there couldn’t be just these five Elites guarding the chapter!