Chapter 305 – Crystal Caverns
This was usually the end result when ordinary players faced off against elites, a one-sided slaughter. According to convention, Warriors tanked at the front while the Mages behind them focused their firepower on two or three individuals at a time. Which in turn was offset by the healing from the Priests. These battles tended to drag out for a long time before reaching their conclusion.
This was also the strategy of Bloodlust Blades, keep the battle in a deadlock until reinforcements arrived. The enemy would have nowhere left to run. But who could’ve predicted Nie Yan’s group would topple all expectations. Nie Yan, Sun, and One Strike Vow through their outstanding skill bypassed multiple layers of defenses and ambushed the Priests in the backline. Following which the defensive line at the front crumbled due to the lack of healing, leaving the Mages completely exposed. It was this series of decisive blows that led to the more than 300 players from Bloodlust Blades being soundly defeated in just under six minutes.
The might of Nie Yan’s group was clear for all to see.
The surviving players from Bloodlust Blades lost all will to fight and fled for their lives, lest they lost the chance.
Piles of corpses littered the ground. Only Nie Yan’s group remained on the battlefield.
“How many did we lose?” Nie Yan asked. It would be wishful thinking to hope they suffered no casualties after such a battle.
“Three. We’ve recovered their equipment. But if we revive them here, they’ll suffer an even heavier experience penalty. Plus, we have even more difficult battles up ahead of us. So I decided it was best to let them respawn in the cemetery,” Smoke Stub replied.
Nie Yan nodded in approval. Fortunately, they only lost three members. These losses were within an acceptable range.
“Everyone, get back on your mounts. We’re leaving!” Nie Yan ordered. They couldn’t dally in one place for too long.
If they kept skirmishing with the forces of Bloodlust Blades, with their numbers slowly being shaved away every time, there would eventually be none of them left! Although Nie Yan could go back to Calore with a Return Scroll, the others who were branded with red names didn’t have that luxury. After they risked their lives to save him, how could he just abandon them to save his own skin?
Everyone got back on their horses and continued galloping south. Before long, a dense forest came into view at the edge of the prairie. Nie Yan’s eyes lit up. It would be much easier to get out alive under the cover of the forest. No matter how large of a force Bloodlust Blades brought, it would be difficult to surround them.
Just as Nie Yan was inwardly celebrating, he received a warning from Guo Huai.「Don’t go there! Over 6,000 players from Bloodlust Blades are lurking in ambush. It’s too dangerous without Advanced Magic! Flee to the Crystal Caverns in the east. It’s a Level 50 map. When you’re there, Bloodlust Blades will have no way of catching you no matter how many people they send. All of you can hole yourselves up there, then come out when you’ve cleared your red names. Just be careful. Crystal Caverns is an unexplored map, so there’s bound to be a lot of high-level Elites and Sub Elites.」
Even Nie Yan was flabbergasted by how Guo Huai obtained this information. Ever since the incident that occured in Sinful Gorge, Guo Huai started doing his utmost to expand Asskickers United’s intelligence network. With the support of the Dragonsoar Financial Group, resources were no issue. Now, all that effort was finally paying off.
It took many capable individuals for Asskickers United to reach this stage!
After receiving Guo Huai’s warning, Nie Yan immediately led the group away from the forest and toward the Crystal Caverns in the east.
Red River Stronghold.
Back in the guild headquarters of Bloodlust Blades, Mad Blade’s face turned dark after receiving the news that 300 or so of his players had been wiped out by Nie Yan’s group. However, he still had many troops stationed in front of their path, ready to intercept them. At this moment, he received another update. Their target had abruptly changed directions and was moving toward the east!
A thought suddenly crossed Mad Blade’s mind. “Shit, they’re escaping to the Crystal Caverns! Stop them!” The Crystal Caverns were similar to a labyrinth. His troops had no hope of chasing them down if Nie Yan and the others were allowed to reach that place. His plans of killing them would go up in smoke!
Mad Blade had no way of knowing what would happen inside the Crystal Caverns. A Level 50 map was extremely difficult to explore. However, Nie Yan’s group was simply too strong. They might really be capable of pulling it off! If they walked out of this unscathed and with a huge pile of loot to boot, wouldn’t that be pouring more salt on the open wounds of Bloodlust Blades?
Crystalline Molemen spawned in the Crystal Caverns. It was rumoured on the forums that a Level 50 Lord and many Elites lurked there. Bloodlust Blades had dispatched an expedition group to explore this map before, but they returned with their heads hung in defeat. A certain region inside the caverns contained seven Level 50 Elite Crystalline Molemen. This was an incredibly difficult obstacle they couldn’t overcome.
If even their 60 player expedition team failed, Mad Blade doubted Nie Yan’s group could actually succeed. However, he couldn’t simply eliminate the possibility from his mind.
Regardless of the method, Mad Blade absolutely didn’t wish to see Nie Yan’s group reach the Crystal Caverns!
While riding on horseback, Nie Yan’s group spotted a large cave at the base of a mountain in the distance. Scattered outside the entrance were many crystal-covered boulders that glistened brilliantly under the sunlight.
The Crystal Caverns was a primary location for ore production.
When they reached within 30 meters of the Crystal Caverns, Nie Yan suddenly had an uneasy premonition. He quickly activated Eye of Truth and located several groups lurking in the vicinity: 30 players to the left, 50 to the right, while more and more were arriving from behind. Every single one of them was a Thief, and they were all hiding in the shadows. The fate of anyone ambushed by them was obvious.
When Nie Yan first decided to form the Hundred Thieves, he felt the characteristics of the class were most suited for ambushes. Their tactics in a group, which were similar to that of a pack of wolves, achieved great success. He had seen this sort of model successfully pulled off several times in the previous timeline. He never expected that today he would get a taste of his own medicine.
「Everyone, dismount! Rush into the Crystal Caverns!」Nie Yan ordered. After which he and the others jumped down from their horses and unsummoned them.
Painted Muslin and Young Seven both tossed out illuminates in different directions. The piercing radiance poured down from the sky and revealed the silhouettes of every Thief in the vicinity.
Smoke Stub, Bladelight, and the others charged toward the enemy.
Sword beams flew out in every direction.
The Thieves quickly divided themselves into smaller groups, with five or six of them taking on each person. The remainder all swarmed toward the Mages in the back like a surging torrent.
The Thieves were like a pack of hungry wolves, their eyes locked solely onto their prey.
Facing off against a group like this was a huge headache. If any one of these Thieves managed to stun you, your fate was sealed. It was just too easy to get stun locked.
Tang Yao, Summer Bug, and the other Mages did their best to keep the enemy at bay. As they repelled the Thieves, more and more would swarm forward from the back. They cast crowd control spells in quick succession, occasionally killing one or two Thieves. However, it felt like herding cats.
Tang Yao and the others unleashed a flurry of spells, blasting swaths of Thieves away.
“Fuck, is there no end to them? There’s so many!”
Nie Yan’s group pressed forward toward the Crystal Caverns with much difficulty.
Bladelight charged into six Thieves, sending them flying away. However, more Thieves rushed in to fill the gap. A Thief managed to land a Smothering Strike on the back of Bladelight’s head. In that instant, all the Thieves swarmed toward him and unleashed their full burst, causing his health to plummet.
Painted Muslin threw out a Heal and restored Bladelight’s health back to stable levels. Tang Yao cast Repel, forcing the Thieves back.
Only then did Bladelight break free from the crowd control. The others weren’t faring much better. The frontliners engaged the Thieves in close-combat, so it was almost impossible to dodge every stun. Another two members died.
Nie Yan’s group was getting closer and closer to the Crystal Caverns, 10 meters, 5 meters…
The enemy’s attacks were getting fiercer. The number of members at low health steadily rose. Young Seven, Painted Muslin, and the other Priests all broke out in a cold sweat. They were struggling to keep up with the healing. If this went on for any longer, the number of casualties would rise dramatically. They would likely collapse before reaching the entrance of the Crystal Caverns.
At this moment, Tang Yao who was under the protection of the surrounding members finally finished chanting a spell.
A powerful burst rammed into the Thieves and swept them away.
They were forced to retreat over 20 meters away, creating a large clearance between the two parties.
Everyone charged into the Crystal Caverns. Smoke Stub, Bladelight, and Lofty Shadow blocked off the entrance and bunkered down with their shields raised.
“Here I thought this Obscurus Magic was useless. Who knew it had such effect,” Tang Yao exclaimed in an incredulous tone. This Obscurus Magic’s cast time wasn’t all that long at roughly 3 seconds, yet its effect was quite powerful. It surprisingly repelled the opponents by over 20 meters. In a battle, this was definitely a useful skill!
The Thieves from Bloodlust Blades were blocked from entering the Crystal Caverns. Nie Yan and the others turned around and looked inside. So far as the eye could see there were rocks of various shapes and sizes protruding from the ground and walls. They were covered in crystals that emitted a faint light within the cave. No one knew where these deep, winding passages led.