Chapter 414 - Rock Giant Stargazers
After completing their transaction, Nie Yan and Warlance bid each other farewell, with the latter leaving first.
Nie Yan looked at the equipment in his bag, several dozen pieces that increased Night Vision, a few that increased Focus, and the rest increased Shadow Damage. The demand for Night Vision equipment on the surface was finite. Since so many pieces had been sold only a week ago, if another batch were to flood the market so soon, the equipment likely wouldn't sell to their full potential. Additional time was required to allow players to digest. Although equipment that increased Shadow Damage wasn't as popular on the surface, it would still sell well enough.
After sorting out his inventory, Nie Yan stood up and walked toward the tavern exit. Shortly after, the two Great Thieves also got up and left. Giving up on their pursuit of Warlance, they entered stealth to tail Nie Yan and find out his identity instead.
Nie Yan glanced at his status bar. He had been marked by Pursuit, a Spectral Thief exclusive skill that allowed the tracking of an invisible target. However, the mark would disappear if the target got more than 100 meters away.
Nie Yan looped around the area, using the 20% speed boost from Gale Step to throw off his pursuers, before he exited Ivory Village and sprinted off into the wilderness. By the time the two Great Thieves realized they had been fooled, Nie Yan was long gone. He had faded into the eternal night that shrouded the Underworld.
Nie Yan made his way through the wilderness. Every so often, he spotted players from various guilds wandering about, searching every nook and cranny for him to no avail.
Six different guilds! Looks like Fallen Angel made quite a few enemies this time. But… they still can't catch me.
Finding a spot hidden away from view, Nie Yan ditched his black cloak and switched back to the Righteous Faction.
Nie Yan started looking for a place to level. When the Dark Portal came off cooldown in two days, he could finally return to the surface.
After grinding for a full five hours, Nie Yan found himself in a dense forested region full of Level 70+ monsters. At this moment, Bennett's Soul floated out of the journal and appeared before him. To his surprise, it had grown bigger and brighter than before.
Bennett's Soul drifted through the woods much faster than before. Nie Yan picked up his pace to keep up as it made a beeline toward the south.
Half an hour later, after passing through numerous maps, Nie Yan arrived in a region full of Level 100+ monster. His scalp turned numb. The monsters here could kill him with a single attack. Level 100 was a watershed like Level 50. An ordinary Level 100 monster was as strong as a Level 90 Elite. Similarly, the equipment at Level 100 became much better as well. For example, the base stats of Level 100 White-grade equipment were equivalent to that of Level 90 Gold-grade equipment. The drop rate also saw a sharp decline, about one in a few hundred. As a result, many players would find themselves stalling at this level.
Nie Yan had first-hand experience of how difficult it was to overcome this barrier. When he had reached Level 100 in his past life, even white-grade equipment cost an arm and a leg. It wasn't until much later, as Level 100+ players grew more abundant, that prices slowly fell to more reasonable levels.
Trying to fight a Level 100+ monster with Level 50 equipment was nothing short of courting death. Take the Guardian of Order as an example, even if it was a Level 100 monster with inferior intelligence, it was still an immensely powerful existence.
Nie Yan surveyed his surroundings and spotted several Rock Giants roaming around up ahead. They were five meters tall with bulging muscles and marble-like skin, and wielded spiked clubs embedded with wolf teeth.
Nie Yan snuck up to one of the Rock Giants and activated Transcendent Insight.Rock Giant Hunters: Level 100
Nie Yan looked up the information page for Rock Giant Hunters on the official website.
Though relatively weak for Level 100 monsters, Rock Giant Hunters couldn't be underestimated. They possessed smart combat AI, strong defensive and offensive skills, and their attacks could stun. They could be best described as caster killers. Their stun in combination with their quick speed allowed them to jump on players in no time. Only those with at least 500 movement speed would have any hope of keeping up with them.
Nie Yan didn't wish to tangle with these Rock Giant Hunters. But Empress Finas' Venom Sac was too important to him. Since he was already so close to his goal, it would be a shame to turn back now.
As Bennett's Soul flew off into the distance, Nie Yan cautiously proceeded forward. He made sure to maintain a distance of no less than 30 meters between him and any of the Rock Giant Hunters. The level discrepancy was too high. Any closer and he would likely be noticed.
Nie Yan eventually arrived at the entrance to a ravine and spotted seven Rock Giant Hunters blocking the path forward.
Bennett's Soul flew over to Nie Yan and bounced up and down in front of his face. It seemed to be telling him that Empress Finas' Venom Sac was in this ravine.
Nie Yan touched the rock walls to the side and noticed they were covered in a slippery substance. He couldn't make use of the Crawler Ring. He had to think of another way.
After observing the movements of the Rock Giant Hunters, Nie Yan activated Pygmy Transformation and started making his way forward while sticking close to the wall. Before long, he was near enough to make out the full appearance of the Rock Giants. Their sinister faces and immense size, especially now that he was a third of his normal size, made them quite frightening.
Nie Yan didn't know what the safe distance between him and the Rock Giant Hunters was while in pygmy form. He gradually neared the 30-meter mark, his body hidden in the shadows cast by the rock walls.
As the the Rock Giant Hunters patrolled around, the one closest to Nie Yan starting walking in his direction.
25 meters, 20 meters, 15 meters… Nie Yan started growing anxious.
In the end, he wasn't willing to take the risk and retreated back to his previous hiding spot.
Pondering over the matter, Nie Yan opened up the window for Divine Recruitment. He looked down the list and summoned Keo, the Rank 7 Paladin that boasted 200% of his stats.
It seemed like Nie Yan couldn't avoid sacrificing Keo this time around. In any case, he could just pay a fee to revive him later.
"Sir Devil Slayer, how may I assist you?" Keo asked respectfully.
Nie Yan took manual control of Keo and made him approach the seven Rock Giant Hunters.
The Rock Giant Hunters started hollering and making threatening gestures. Although Nie Yan couldn't understand them since they were speaking in the Rock Giant language, the meaning was clear—back off!
Nie Yan directed Keo to use Purification on one of the Rock Giant Hunters.
After the attack struck one of them, all the Rock Giant Hunters charged toward Keo.
Under Nie Yan's control, Keo turned tail and fled with Indomitable Will, disappearing into the darkness.
As Keo lured the Rock Giant Hunters further and further away, Nie Yan seized the opportunity to pass through the long and narrow passage and enter the ravine.
Several minutes later, Nie Yan received a notification that Keo was killed.
Nie Yan followed Bennett's Soul through the ravine, eventually arriving in an open space covering 500 by 500 meters. The vegetation here was cleared away, and the ground was smoothed out with gravel.
A large stone platform about three meters tall with an area of 10,000 square meters sat in the middle of the open space. There were flights of stairs on all four sides, leading up to the top, where three Rock Giants in robes could be seen roaming around. They were noticeably bigger than the ones outside.You have discovered the Cavell Sacrificial Star Platform.
Nie Yan cautiously approached the altar and inspected one of the robed Rock Giants with Transcendent Insight.Rock Giant Stargazer (Leader): Level 100
Although there were no other Rock Giants in this area, these three Rock Giant Stargazers were more than enough to stop Nie Yan dead in his tracks.
There appeared to be something at the center of the platform. Nie Yan moved to a different side. Peering through the gap between two Rock Giant Stargazers, he saw a peculiar object floating three meters in the air. It was around the size of a fist and let out a resplendent green glow.
Since he was too far away, Nie Yan couldn't tell exactly what it was.
At this moment, Bennett's Soul flew to his side and informed him the object was Empress Finas' Venom Sac.
Nie Yan opened up the relevant information page on the official website for Rock Giant Stargazers.
Rock Giant Stargazers: Even deep in the Underworld, these Rock Giants can still sense changes in the stars. They are servants of darkness that possess formidable magic power.
Rock Giant Stargazers had a large variety of skills at their disposal. The most notable were Wolf Golem which summoned a giant wolf made out of stone, Lunar Sacrifice which dealt continuous damage to all living creatures within a 50-meter radius, and Howl of Terror which knocked out all targets within a 30-meter radius. Besides this, their physical attacks were even stronger than the Rock Giant Hunters.
These Rock Giant Stargazers were quite frightening. Nie Yan cautiously approached within 30 meters of one of them, whereupon it seemed to notice something and looked in his direction. The gaze hidden behind its hood seemed like it could pierce through the darkness.
Nie Yan held his breath, not daring to move an inch.
After a while, the Rock Giant Stargazer turned away. Only then did Nie Yan dare to slowly step back. Even with the increased stealthing capabilities from Pygmy Transformation, the safe distance was only 30 meters. He estimated that range would increase to at least 50 meters if he returned to his original size.
The Level 100 Rock Giant Stargazers prevented Nie Yan from taking even half a step forward. Empress Finas' Venom Sac was so close, yet so far away.