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Chapter 306 – Marquis

The surroundings were dimly lit by crystal ores. From time to time, Nie Yan and the others saw shadows dance along the cavern walls. They likely belonged to the monsters that lurked inside these caverns, Crystalline Molemen!

Crystalline Molemen dropped rare ores upon death!

Nie Yan’s group retreated deeper into the Crystal Caverns while the Thieves from Bloodlust Blades spared no effort in chasing after them. Up ahead was a large open chamber. It would be troublesome if they were allowed inside.

There were Crystalline Molemen to the front while the Thieves from Bloodlust Blades were hounding them from the back. Nie Yan’s group was stuck between a rock and a hard place.

“They just won’t give up. What do we do?” Smoke Stub and the others looked toward Nie Yan. It would be hard to deal with the Crystalline Molemen up front with the constant threat of being ambushed looming over them.

Nie Yan pondered for a moment. “Let’s lure the Crystalline Molemen into blocking up the entranceway.”

“That sounds good and all, but we can’t guarantee the Crystalline Molemen will do what you want. It’ll be troublesome if they end up turning on us instead,” Smoke Stub said.

Smoke Stub’s worries weren’t unfounded. There was no way all the Crystalline Molemen would stay on the Thief that pulled them. They would surely split up and attack the other group members. Add this to the fact that the Thieves from Bloodlust Blades were nipping at their heels, and it would most likely lead to a wipe.

“The crux of the problem is aggro. Do any of you have Blizzard?” Nie Yan asked. His plan would be much simpler with this spell.

“I do,” Undying Scoundrel replied. Blizzard was one of the very first area-of-effect spells an Elementalist learned. How could he not have it?

“Good. Do any of you have a Basic Invisibility Potion?” Nie Yan asked. With this item, he would have everything he needed for his plan. Otherwise, he would have to think of another way.

Basic Invisibility Potions temporarily put the player in a state of invisibility. They would turn into a ball of mist, becoming immune to physical attacks. However, they would take 300% bonus damage from magic attacks and their movement speed would also be greatly reduced. This sort of potion was fairly rare. It would only show up occasionally in the hands of top-class experts.

“I have one,” Bladelight replied. His gaze fell on an azure bottle in his bag.

“I do too. I got it as a reward from a class-related quest,” Lofty Shadow pitched in. Luckily, he also had an Invisibility Potion. He kept it in his bag just in case it might be of some use one day.

“Give your Invisibility Potions to Undying Scoundrel. Scoundrel, follow me. The rest of you stay put,” Nie Yan ordered. Just the two of them sufficed to enact his plan.

Undying Scoundrel received the Invisibility Potions from Bladelight and Lofty Shadow, then followed behind Nie Yan.

Nie Yan and Undying Scoundrel quickly approached the large chamber.

“Stay put for now. I’ll go aggro the mobs…” Nie Yan explained his plans to Undying Scoundrel before darting off.

Nie Yan activated Shadow Waltz and dashed into the large chamber, passing one group of Crystalline Molemen after another.

Crystalline Molemen were covered in dark green crystals. Their heads were oversized while their appendages were wiry. They wielded pikes, and they moved around in groups of 50–60.

Crystalline Moleman: Level 50
Health: 8,000/8,000

From what Nie Yan recalled, these mobs were naturally resistant to physical damage. Physical attacks couldn’t do much damage to them, but they were vulnerable to magic. For every strength, there was also a weakness. Because of this, it was easier for Mages to attract their aggro. An Elite or Lord-class Crystalline Moleman abruptly shifting targets mid-battle would spell disaster for any team facing it. This was why no guild had cleared the Crystal Caverns yet.

Nie Yan travelled to the far edge of the chamber. When he saw a group of Crystalline Molemen up ahead, he took aim with the Dullahan Cavalry Crossbow and fired a round of bolts at them.

「Put! Put! Put!」Five bolts struck a Crystalline Moleman, immediately attracting the aggro of the entire group.

Nie Yan quickly turned around and fled back toward the chamber entrance. He attracted the attention of multiple other groups along the way. He was like a railroad engineer, and the train he was leading quickly grew to almost 300 Crystalline Molemen in size.

Seeing the surging tide of Crystalline Molemen, Undying Scoundrel’s heart nearly jumped out of his chest.

“Start casting Blizzard!” Nie Yan shouted.

Undying Scoundrel immediately began chanting. An icy mist formed around him as he gathered ice elemental energy, causing the surrounding temperature to plummet.

Before long, a few snowflakes turned into a blinding blizzard that swallowed everything in the immediate vicinity.

When the Crystalline Molemen entered the spell’s range, a blanket of damage values rose up into the air. Although they were only taking 10–20 damage with every tick, it was enough for them to shift their aggro onto Undying Scoundrel.

Undying Scoundrel abruptly turned tail and fled into the passageway.

「The Crystalline Molemen are aggroed onto Undying Scoundrel. Don’t attack them!」Nie Yan informed through the voice chat. He placed himself in the path of the fastest Crystalline Moleman.

The Crystalline Moleman stopped in its tracks to swing at Nie Yan with its pike, only for him to sidestep and vanish into the shadows. Just as it was about to resume its chase, he reappeared in front of it again.

Nie Yan kept intercepting the Crystalline Molemen at the front of the group. Like this, their overall speed was greatly reduced.

The horde of Crystalline Molemen were slowly led to the entrance of the Crystal Caverns.

The Thieves from Bloodlust Blades were still lingering around. When they saw the mob of Crystalline Molemen coming towards them, their eyes widened like dinner plates.

“Holy shit! So many Crystalline Molemen!”

Smoke Stub, Bladelight, and the others hurriedly stepped aside. These Crystalline Molemen ran past them without batting an eye. All of their aggro was concentrated on Undying Scoundrel.

Crystalline Molemen flooded into the entranceway of the Crystal Caverns. Several of them pounced onto Undying Scoundrel who quickly downed a Basic Invisibility Potion. He transformed into an incorporeal form and immediately lost all aggro.

Undying Scoundrel ran back to the others. Although he was sprinting with all his might, he was moving at roughly walking speed. It appeared as if he was running in slow motion.

After a while, the effects of the first Basic Invisibility Potion wore off. He quickly drank the second one. Luckily, the cooldown for this item was short.

By relying on these two Basic Invisibility Potions, Undying Scoundrel finally regrouped with Nie Yan and the others.

Looking back at the entrance, it was filled to the brim with Crystalline Molemen. Without clearing them away, it would be impossible for Bloodlust Blades’ forces to enter the Crystal Caverns! By that time, Nie Yan and the others would’ve long reached the deepest regions of the map, and all the monsters along the way would’ve already respawned.

Nie Yan could only imagine the faces of the higher-ups of Bloodlust Blades when they received this news. Despite stirring up so much trouble in their territory, he still got away without so much as a scratch, and there was nothing they could do about it. Bloodlust Mad Blade was definitely going to blow his lid!

Nie Yan’s lips curved into a satisfied smile. “Alright, the entrance is plugged. Let’s go and clear our red names.” Like this, there was nothing more to worry about.

Smoke Stub and the others couldn’t help but admire Nie Yan for his quick thinking. If it wasn’t for his idea, they would’ve been stuck at the entrance of the Crystal Caverns without any way to advance or retreat.

Nie Yan and the others started heading further into the Crystal Caverns. They definitely had to completely explore this map before Bloodlust Blades cleared out those 300 Crystalline Molemen at the entrance.

Bladelight, Lofty Shadow, and Yi Yan engaged the monsters ahead. With three powerful Fighters tanking at the front, the Mages at the back could cast spells without worry. They left a trail of corpses behind them as they traveled through the twisting and winding tunnels.

At some point, Nie Yan received a message from Sleepy Fox.「Check the Union of Assassins. You’ll be in for a big surprise!」

Did something happen in the Union of Assassins? Nie Yan checked the organization’s page to look for Sleepy Fox’s so-called surprise. A Marquis and three Earls had emerged in the list of professional players. This was unbelievable! In order to reach the rank of Marquis, it required a member to complete three missions with commission fees of 1,000 gold or higher. When he went to check the identity of this Marquis, he was given an even bigger shock to see a familiar name, Shadow Killer!

He had just completed these three missions recently.

Mission: Assassinate the guild leader of Holy Empire, Sleepy Fox.
Commission Fee: 1,200 gold
Status: Completed
Mission: Assassinate the guild leader of Alliance of Mages, Ardent Blaze.
Commission Fee: 2,200 gold
Status: Completed Mission: Assassinate the guild leader of Sapphire Shrine, Fa Lan.
Commission Fee: 1,800 gold
Status: Completed Mission: Assassinate the guild leader of Asskickers United, Nirvana Flame.
Commission Fee: 3,900 gold
Status: Incomplete

Damn! Shadow Killer actually joined the Union of Assassins! Nie Yan was greatly taken aback. Not only that, but there was a bounty for his head on the mission boards as well! This was definitely something he had never accounted for!

However, he had insisted from the start that the Union of Assassins wouldn’t discriminate against any client no matter the content of their request. He never expected this would come back to bite them in the ass so quickly.

Shadow Killer was really worthy of admiration. Besides Sleepy Fox, Ardent Blaze, and Fa Lan, he had assassinated countless others. Regardless of the target’s affiliation, so long as he was given the money, he would assassinate them without question. Of course, only experts were qualified for him to personally take action! Nevertheless, his first attempt on Nie Yan’s life had failed.

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