Chapter 23 – Coming and Going Unobstructed
The Heavy Knight shouted with a booming voice then rushed forward and cleaved down with the sword in his right hand.「Slash!」The sword left a large wound after it struck the Deer Chief’s body.
The Deer Chief took one step forward and swept its sharp antlers at the Heavy Knight.
The Heavy Knight pulled back a bit and raised his shield to defend against the incoming blow.「Bang!」A heavy sound reverberated as a pair of antlers collided with a round wooden shield.
The Berserker and Paladin took this opportunity to flank the Deer Chief on both sides in a pincer attack.
“Guys, pay attention to your aggro,” the Heavy Knight urged with a worried tone. Due to their ability to wield a shield, Heavy Knights had a much higher defense when compared to other professions. Because of this, the Deer Chief was only able to deal ten or so damage to the Heavy Knight when it attacked. However, if the Deer Chief were to switch aggro onto the Berserker or Paladin… they would at most be able to survive five attacks.
Monsters would initially focus their aggro on whoever attacked them first. However, in the event that there was someone who dealt too much damage to a monster, or a player’s level, or strength was exceedingly low, the monster’s aggro would switch onto them.
“We know. You can relax,” replied the Berserker and Paladin.
The Holy Mage and Elementalist at the back began casting spells and dealing damage.
Their coordination would be considered about average. It seemed that killing the Deer Chief within the next few moments wouldn’t be a problem for them. Only, they weren’t aware of the danger that was quietly approaching from behind.
Nie Yan stealthily made his way behind the Holy Mage and Elementalist. Only a few steps more and he would close the distance between them. The two Mages were standing quite close to each other, and their attention was focused entirely on the Deer Chief.
It appeared that the Deer Chief would be dead within the next thirty seconds. The party members were filled with an endless amount of excitement when they thought about all the loot they would receive.
Before Nie Yan’s eyes, the heads of the Holy Mage and Elementalist were completely exposed.
Nie Yan’s pacing slowed as he drew closer, as he needed to be more cautious when he neared his target. Otherwise there was a possibility that the prey within his grasp would slip away.
Patience was another major quality that defined a Thief’s competence. After all, the outcome of their battles often depended on whether their first strike was a success or not. Of course, there was also an endless amount of sneaking and preparation which led up to that first strike. If a Thief lacked patience, it would be very easy for others to find flaws and catch them.
The battle between this group of players and the Deer Chief was about to reach its climax. The Deer Chief had been unceasingly ramming its antlers against the Heavy Knight, causing the latter’s health to rapidly fall. When his health fell to around twenty, the Heavy Knight took out a Basic Health Potion and drank it.
“Keep it up everyone! The Deer Chief only has half its health remaining!” the Heavy Knight shouted as he raised his shield and slashed forward with his sword again.
The Berserker and Paladin followed suit, increasing their attack speed. While in combat with the Deer Chief, their health had fallen to about half. The only ones who hadn’t received any damage were the two Mages in the back.
“Lei Zi, fall back a bit. Why are you so far forward?” the Heavy Knight admonished to the Berserker.
“I know, I know.” The Berserker hurriedly pulled back.
Evidently, out of the five people in this group, it appeared that this Heavy Knight had the most combat experience.
“When we’re running a dungeon in the future, you guys absolutely cannot go too far forward. Otherwise you’re looking to get yourself killed. Realize your mistakes today, and tomorrow we’ll run a small five-man dungeon together. Once you guys get more familiarized with team-based combat, then we can start running larger dungeons with a full team,” the Heavy Knight said. He then took a few steps back, luring the Deer Chief in between two large trees.
“What guild activities have there been recently?” The Berserker’s eyes lit up as he asked.
“There have always been guild activities. The Guild Leader and some of the others have been running the Treant Forest and Dark Wetlands for awhile now. You think you’re good enough to accompany them?” the Heavy Knight asked rhetorically.
The people running the Treant Forest and Dark Wetlands were all elites in the Radiant Sacred Flame guild. In terms of a player’s defense, attack, health, etc… their guild had harsh requirements. So unless a player’s equipment reached a certain level, or they had good skills, there was basically no chance that they would be allowed to run a dungeon with the elites. In other words, this group of five shouldn’t even dream of going.
“There’s no Level 2 dungeons? You know, like the Moose Rat Cavern or Skeleton Cave?” the Berserker asked. These dungeons were also twenty-person instances. They were easier and the equipment that could be looted wasn’t bad either. Which was why running one of these dungeons would help them upgrade their equipment in preparation for the higher ranked ones.
“The Guild Leader will be organizing something in a few days, so let’s focus on raising our levels for now. Be careful and don’t let your attention wane. But for now, let’s get rid of this Deer Chief. Who knows? It might drop some decent equipment.” The Heavy Knight took two more steps back. His retreat was was firm and stable.
The Holy Mage and Elementalist copied him and retreated a few steps back as well.
Nie Yan noticed the opposing Heavy Knight was rather decent. His ability to pull aggro was quite good. As soon as he noticed the Deer Chief was about to switch its aggro, he would strike it with his shield and attract its attention again.
Between attracting and pulling its aggro, the Deer Chief was unable to display its full fighting strength.
Were it not for this Heavy Knight, this team wouldn’t have stood a chance against this Level 3 Deer Chief.
Nie Yan’s movements were extremely cautious in order to prevent being detected by the Holy Mage and Elementalist. However, they unexpectedly started retreating back towards him.
For the love of God… Nie Yan thought. The Holy Mage had already retreated back to where he was standing.
Nie Yan raised his dagger and struck down, aiming at the back of the Holy Mage’s head.
His dagger hit the Holy Mage and put him under a dazed state.
“Someone’s trying to steal our kill!” the Elementalist beside them noticed the commotion and turned his head, immediately discovering Nie Yan. Yet before even half of these words could come out of his mouth, Nie Yan dashed over and used the handle of his dagger to strike the Elementalist in the forehead.
After successfully stunning his target, Nie Yan followed up with Assassinate, Lacerate, and finished it off with a Vital Strike aimed at his opponent’s throat.
Nie Yan’s actions were quite fast. In just a short amount of time, he managed to inflict a massive amount of damage.
−20, −22, −29, −36 Four damage values floated above the Elementalist’s head. By the time the Elementalist came out of his dazed state, he was left with only eighteen health remaining.
He panicked and lost control. Rather, wasn’t this Thief’s damage a bit too terrifying?
−5, −5 Two more damage values floated above the Elementalist’s head in succession.
The Elementalist hurriedly took out a Basic Health Potion. Just as the bottle touched his lips… Nie Yan’s dagger flashed into view and lightly slashed across his chest. −8 A damage value floated atop the his head.
The Elementalist staggered back and reached out as if to grasp something, but his hand found only empty air. Soon after, he collapsed on the ground as his health bar fell to zero.
“That’s one down,” Nie Yan whispered to himself as he picked up the piece of equipment that the Elementalist dropped.
By this time the Holy Mage had come out of his daze. But, unluckily for him, Nie Yan had already finished off the Elementalist. The Holy Mage turned tail and attempted to escape, but how could Nie Yan possibly give him such an opportunity?
Nie Yan brandished his dagger and gave chase to the fleeing Mage. After catching up, he unleashed a barrage of attacks on the Holy Mage’s back.
−12, −13, −15 Without exception, every single one of his skills were on cooldown. Therefore Nie Yan could only use a normal attack. However, due to a Thief’s attack speed being innately fast, the damage dealt was still quite considerable.
The Holy Mage wasn’t about to go down without a fight though. He turned around and hit Nie Yan with Holy Strike, then followed up with Holy Smite—dealing a total of fifty-three damage.
During all this, the Heavy Knight, Berserker, and Paladin had continued fighting with the Deer Chief. They became aware of the situation after noticing that, all of a sudden, the constant damage from their Mages in the rear had suddenly disappeared.
“Someone mounted a sneak attack! It’s that Thief, Nie Yan (Nirvana Flame)!” the Heavy Knight anxiously shouted. Why did this scoundrel have to suddenly appear during such a crucial moment in their fight against the Leader class monster?
In addition, Nie Yan still had over twenty minutes of Retaliation Time left!
“What are we gonna do!?” Little by little, the Berserk slowly retreated. Their current circumstances were quite unfavourable. They were suffering from a pincer attack, with the Deer Chief attacking from the front and Nie Yan attacking from the rear. The three frontliners had been constantly dealing with the Deer Chief, which was why each of them had a little under half their health remaining. If they were even a little careless, it was very likely that all five of them would die here today. In the blink of an eye, Nie Yan had taken out their Elementalist. Their other Mage was still alive, but he barely had any health left. The way things were looking, the situation was about to become even more worrisome!
“First kill the Deer Chief; we’ll deal with the rest later!” the Heavy Knight instructed. The Deer Chief’s aggro was completely focused on them. If they ignored the Deer Chief and went after Nie Yan instead, it would definitely cause them trouble later on.
The Deer Chief doesn’t have much health left!
[TL: Same Chinese name as the Barbarian skill in Diablo 3. Apparently the localization team for Blizzard translated Cleave into 順劈斬 in Chinese.]
The Heavy Knight cleaved down with his sword. The Berserker and Paladin also quickened their pace as they unceasingly hacked at the Deer Chief.
The Berserker and Paladin each used their most powerful skills, with the intent of causing high amounts of damage. One after another, damage values drifted up from the Deer Chief’s head.
Every person was in a race against time.
The battle between Nie Yan and the Holy Mage was also entering its climax. The two were running while fighting each other. Nie Yan dashed and leapt about, moving around the Holy Mage’s back and repeatedly slashing with his dagger. Blood would fly wherever the dagger went.
The Holy Mage was fleeing and trying to break free from Nie Yan’s range while also unloading magic on him.
The health bars of the two gradually fell. However it was clear that the Holy Mage’s health was falling quicker. He hurriedly took out a Basic Health Potion and drank it, and then drank a Basic Recovery Potion as well.
+3 + 3
Not even few seconds had passed, and the Basic Recovery Potion that the Holy Mage had drank was interrupted by Nie Yan’s attack.
“Run over here!” The Heavy Knight was burning with anxiety as he anxiously yelled. He was fighting the Deer Chief while also maintaining his attention on the battle between Nie Yan and the Holy Mage. He could see that the Holy Mage wasn’t a match for Nie Yan.
The Holy Mage only had thirty-six health remaining.
“Damn that bastard. This guy wouldn’t be targeting us on purpose, right?” the Heavy Knight cursed as he continually slashed at the Deer Chief’s body. Nie Yan had first taken out Dian Cang and his group, and now he suddenly appeared here. This definitely wasn’t a coincidence. Don’t tell me… this Nie Yan is friends with that Arcane Mage and his group?
“Nie Yan, I’ll remember you! Our Radiant Sacred Flame guild definitely won’t let you off easily!” the Berserker furiously shouted.
“I’m extremely honoured. I’ll gladly await you all at any time,” Nie Yan replied with an indifferent expression. At this point in time, Radiant Sacred Flame was but a small guild. If you were to add their members up, they still wouldn’t surpass a thousand. How could they have the energy to spare to search everywhere for Nie Yan and Tang Yao. Granted even if they could find Tang Yao and Nie Yan, they still couldn’t possibly dispatch the entire guild after them. Even if everyone was sent over, if he couldn’t afford taking them on, couldn’t he just hide instead?
Originally in the past, Nie Yan had single handedly caused the five guilds under the Cao Xu Financial Group to rush and scramble over him. The over several hundred thousand people were incapable of dealing with him, so how could Nie Yan possibly fear a guild like Radiant Sacred Flame?
The Nie Yan after being reincarnated was definitely much more difficult to deal with than his past self.
So what was there for Nie Yan be afraid of?
“Even if your backup arrives, they’ll simply be sending side dishes!” Nie Yan said with contempt. He stabbed his dagger into the Holy Mage’s chest and finished him off. He glanced at his health bar. He still had a little over fifty remaining. This amount fell in line with his estimations.
Nie Yan dashed over to where the Warriors were. The Deer Chief had already been whittled down. It only had around ten percent remaining. Nie Yan was preparing to snatch the equipment dropped by the Deer Chief.
“Kill!” the Heavy Knight furiously yelled. With a Shield Strike, he pushed the Deer Chief back.
The Deer Chief’s body suddenly wavered.
“Linear Slash!” the Berserker tightly gripped his greatsword and slashed at the Deer Chief.
−15，a large number floated above the Deer Chief’s head. It was a critical strike!
The Deer Chief let out a miserable whine before it collapsed.
The Heavy Knight quickly bent down, picked up the item that the Deer Chief dropped and threw it into his bag.
“I was late by a step.” Nie Yan halted his steps when he saw the Heavy Knight picking up the dropped item and then began retreating back.
The Heavy Knight only had a quarter health remaining, the Berserker about forty percent, and the Paladin at thirty-five percent. Although their healths were low, facing these three close combat professions together wasn’t as simple as one plus one. Not to mention the damage with his dagger would be quite low when dealing with a profession such as the Heavy Knight that had thick armor. I can’t deal with the three of them. I’m better off not taking this risk, Nie Yan thought to himself.
The Heavy Knight and the two others didn’t have much health remaining. They as well didn’t dare to take such risks and rush in front Nie Yan in an attempt to block him. Thus they stood there in their original locations and slowly recovered their health. Having lost two people taking out a single Deer Chief and only gaining one piece of Bronze-grade equipment in return, this definitely wasn’t a profitable outcome.
“Two more were killed,” the Heavy Knight whispered under his breath as he stared daggers at Nie Yan. If they were to calculate their losses now, a total of five members from the Radiant Sacred Flame guild were killed by Nie Yan’s hands.
Nie Yan wasn’t too far from the Heavy Knight, Berserker, and Paladin. They both stared at each other, neither daring to rashly attack. Although their health was low, the three of them together could definitely take on Nie Yan. However if they were separated, then who could say what the outcome would be.
A single Thief had frightened three Warriors to the point where they didn’t dare to take action. This was simply a huge loss of face. A hint of anger and humiliation could be seen on their expressions.
Nie Yan extended his right hand forward, raised a certain digit, and made a disdainful gesture.
“The three of you aren’t going to come? If you’re not coming, I might as well leave then.” Nie Yan glanced at the three and mockingly laughed. His eyes focused farther into the distance within the thickets. There movements and activity south, east, and west of him. He reckoned the other Radiant Sacred Flame members were flanking from every direction in an attempt to corner him.
Nie Yan didn’t dare to be careless and hastily retreated back. He seemed like a hare as he dashed through the gaps between the trees.
“Reinforcements have arrived! Block him and don’t let him escape!” The Heavy Knight pursued in the direction Nie Yan had run off to.
The Berserker and Paladin followed closely from behind.
「Why did it take you guys so long to arrive?」 the Heavy Knight gloomily said in voice chat.
「We found out where that Arcane Mage was hiding and almost caught him. If it weren’t for you guys being in trouble, that bastard would already be dead. What happened over on your side?」
「Dao Zi and Huang Ni were killed,」the Heavy Knight replied.
「What happened? Weren’t they together with you guys?」
「It was that thief called Nie Yan (Nirvana Flame) again. He mounted a sneak attack against us and killed Dao Zi and Huang Ni,」the Heavy Knight explained. He hid the fact that he and his party members were also fighting a Deer Chief at that moment.
「Fuck, it’s that damn Thief again!」
They had never met such a powerful Thief. Moreover, this scoundrel had specifically targeted them when he had emerged.
「I reckon he’s friends with that group of people we killed earlier. He escaped north! Let’s chase him!」
Several figures flew past the gaps between the trees while travelling through the forest.
Nie Yan was quite fast. In a blink of an eye, he had pulled open a very large distance. Ahead of him, several silhouettes emerged from the trees and came flanking from the side. There were no paths in front, and the reinforcements were pursuing him from behind. No matter where he ran, he would definitely end up surrounded.
With no path of escape, Nie Yan hid behind a tree and entered into Stealth.
The Heavy Knight, Berserker, and Paladin came running from behind and met up with the several figures were flanking up ahead.
“What happened? Where is he?” asked the Heavy Knight. He looked all around and could see nothing but empty space. Where had Nie Yan’s figure disappeared to?
“Did he run off?”
“I think he went into stealth. Let’s stay here and search.”
These players spread out and began searching every nook and cranny in the surrounding area.
Nie Yan maintained his breathing and made his way out under stealth.
However, there people from the Radiant Sacred Flame guid everywhere. Therefore the crisis was still unabated.
「Where are you? What’s the situation?」Tang Yao asked through voice call.
「I killed another two,」replied Nie Yan. He glanced back at his knapsack. Although there were two more pieces of equipment, they weren’t anything special. Even if he threw it up for auction, at most, it would sell for a few coppers at the auction house.
「Awesome! Brat, I’m impressed!」Tang Yao exclaimed in admiration. The Radiant Sacred Flame members usually operated in groups of three or four. Tang Yao couldn’t help but wonder how Nie Yan managed to accomplish such a thing.
「Where are you right now?」asked Nie Yan.
「I encountered group of Radiant Sacred Flame people just a moment ago. I almost ended up being caught by them so I ran deeper into the cave. In the end, they left the cave and went back. There are Level 5 monsters everywhere in this cave. I can’t get out,」replied Tang Yao. He guessed the reason why those Radiant Sacred Flame members went back was to deal with Nie Yan. This meant Nie Yan had indirectly saved his life. However the problem was… he was currently in an even more dangerous predicament. The deeper parts of the cave was filled Level 5 Rock Spiders. If he was one bit careless, he would likely lose his life.
「Stay put. I’ll give you a Return Scroll when I get there.」
「Having a Return Scroll would make things a lot easier, but can you even get here? The passage is completely blocked by Rock Spiders now.」
「We’ll deal with that later. There’s a bit of a problem over on my side, so I’m gonna hang up first.」