Chapter 5 – Vital Strike
Towns contained only the most rudimentary of buildings: general stores, low-level equipment shops, personal storages, etc…. Even NPCs were sparse in number, and these NPCs were quest givers. For the most part, these simple quests consisted of gathering and collecting various items, hunting and killing an animal to collect its fur, collecting herbs, ores, and so on. After completing these quests, one would be rewarded with either money or experience.
After arriving at the general store, Nie Yan went forward and bought three low-level health potions. One potion would restore upwards of thirty health, and each potion was priced at a single copper. General stores only offered beginner health potions. Middle- or higher-tiered potions could only be purchased from an Alchemist.
Following the purchase of his three potions, only a single copper remained in Nie Yan’s pockets.
Nie Yan walked outside and went out of the town’s boundaries. After leaving the town, he hurriedly rushed over to the treasure chest’s spawn point. If he met a monster, he would make a detour around it and maintain his distance.
The place he was heading towards was a Level 5 monster area. At present, with his current level, the danger was very high. However, with his experience currently at Level 0: 0.00%, even if he died, he wouldn’t lose any experience.
Nie Yan passed through two Level 1 monster zones, a Level 3 monster zone, and a Level 4 monster zone. After four minutes, Nie Yan had finally arrived at the monster zone where Level 5 Wildcats spawned.
After surveying the surrounding area, he saw dense pastures and lush grass that could reach up to one’s waist. Gazing at a distant area within the dense pastures, he saw a tall willow rising above the vegetation. It appeared to be especially lofty and majestic as it occupied its own space within the pasture.
The silver treasure chest wasn’t far from this location. Nie Yan’s heart began to tense up with nervousness as he grew closer.
At his current level, the Level 5 Wildcats in this area weren’t monsters that Nie Yan was capable of dealing with.
Occasionally one or two Wildcats would pass through the area, and Nie Yan would hurriedly conceal himself.
Thieves possessed a passive profession skill which raised their ability to conceal themselves. Once they went into hiding, it wouldn’t be easy for other lifeforms to detect them.
At the same time, he was still able to use his Stealth skill.
Nie Yan began calculating the level difference formula for Stealth in his head. After using Stealth, the safe distance between him and a Wildcat should be about two yards. In other words, if he went within two yards of a Wildcat while he was in stealth, he would be discovered. Between two and three yards was the buffer zone where he could possibly be discovered. Beyond three yards he was at an absolutely safe distance.
Having spent over a decade playing the Thief profession in his previous life, Nie Yan’s usage of these Thief skills had long been tempered to perfection. In addition, using his vision to estimate distance also wasn’t too hard of a feat.
Suddenly, the underbrush in the distance began to tremble and stir with movement. Nie Yan’s complexion rapidly changed as he quickly went into hiding by activating Stealth.
A Wildcat that was as large as a German Shepherd pounced out of the thickets. Its sharp eyes surveyed the surroundings, but it didn’t discover anything strange. As it passed through the open space that lay ahead, it entered into another patch of grass and disappeared.
Only when he was assured that the Wildcat had gone far away, did Nie Yan dare to continue moving forwards.
There was a stretch of open space in a ten-yard radius around the willow. A silver white chest quietly lay at the base of the willow tree. The nearby area had six to seven Wildcats roaming around freely.
To clear out these Level 5 Wildcats would require a team of at least twenty Level 3 players.
It would not be easy getting ahold of this chest.
Nie Yan observed the movements of these Wildcats within the thickets of grass, as he attempted to find a safe route to the willow tree.
Their movements appeared to have a fixed pattern.
After observing for a while, Nie Yan removed all the equipment on his body, and stored them in his inventory. He then re-equipped his defenseless beginner equipment. If his beginner equipment were to be sold to an NPC store, they wouldn’t be worth even a single copper. Simply put, they were trash. Even if one were to throw them on the ground, no one would bother picking them up.
Dying in Conviction would result in the loss of a level. Additionally, a random piece of equipment would also be dropped upon death. If the new equipment he had just recently bought dropped unexpectedly, then that would truly be wasteful. However, if the beginner equipment dropped, he wouldn’t care. He was only equipping it to temporarily to cover his body anyway.
While using his Stealth skill, Nie Yan slowly crept towards the willow tree. He walked for approximately ten seconds, before suddenly stopping and holding his breath. A Wildcat was making its way around Nie Yan’s left flank—within approximately two yards.
After waiting for six seconds, Nie Yan pressed onwards once again—carefully exercising control over his distance between each Wildcat.
Gradually, the distance between him and the chest shortened.
Nie Yan’s heart rate sped up once again. He understood that as a Level 0, if he succeeded in grabbing this skill book, then it would be immensely helpful in the future.
Two wildcats began moving towards Nie Yan’s location.
Nie Yan quickly halted, but the wildcats continued their advance. Fortunately, the distance between them was still about two yards apart. Nie Yan was frightened badly as he felt a cold sweat run down his back.
Stealth had a total duration of two minutes, and time was ticking away. Knowing that Stealth’s effects would end within thirty-two seconds, Nie Yan’s state of mind began to fluctuate.
There’s not enough time…! Nie Yan slightly accelerated his pace.
Not far from where Nie Yan was located, a Wildcat moved slightly. It became aware of Nie Yan’s location almost immediately. After locking its eyes onto Nie Yan, the Wildcat exposed its sharp teeth and let out a hoarse growl.
Not good, I was discovered!
The Wildcat moved, pouncing towards Nie Yan.
The Wildcat’s sudden attack was quick, and Nie Yan’s movement speed meant that he was basically incapable of keeping up. However, Nie Yan still managed to sidestep out of the way of the Wildcat’s attack by relying on his reaction speed—something he had developed during his past life.
The basic movements for a character were sidestepping, rolling, jumping, etc…. Players were able to utilize these movements to dodge attacks—as long as it was within the capabilities of the system.
The sharp claws of the Wildcat swiped through empty air, missing Nie Yan’s throat by just an inch.
Just as Nie Yan had dodged, two more Wildcats appeared and pounced at him from the sides. One of them clawed at him from the back, while the other bit into his arm.
****, I’m finished!
Under these circumstances, using health potions would be useless.
Two damage values floated over Nie Yan’s head. He collapsed to the ground as his health fell to zero.
The scenery changed, and Nie Yan found himself resurrected at the cemetery in Tellak town.
His failure was a result of using Stealth too early. When Stealth’s duration was nearly up, he had become impatient and mistakes were made. This was the root cause that led him to failure.
Nie Yan summed up all the causes of his failure, and continued forward. As he glanced at the equipment on his body, he noticed that his armguards had been dropped. However it was only a piece of beginner equipment. Even if it dropped, it wouldn’t be too alarming. As for losing experience… it didn’t matter because he was still at Level 0: 0.00%.
He had already created a plan in case he ended up dying, which was why he dared to venture into an area with Level 5 monsters.
Nie Yan set off once more. After he had left the boundaries of Tellak town, he went back over to where the Wildcats spawned.
Once again, Nie Yan arrived at that open space. He soon discovered slight changes in the movement paths of the Wildcats. He had led the Wildcats near the chest before he died, and they continued to remain close by where he fell. Obtaining the silver treasure chest had just become a much more difficult task.
The Wildcats were constantly roaming about in the area. Nie Yan began studying their movement again. He could possibly brave death by drawing these Wildcats away. Then, he could resurrect,use Stealth to easily slip past, and get to the chest afterwards.
He ended Stealth. Gradually, his figure emerged about three yards away from the Wildcats.
Five Wildcats in the surrounding area simultaneously discovered him, and began their pursuit.
Nie Yan made a mad dash away from the area, but his movement speed was slow compared to the Wildcats. Soon, they quickly caught up with him. One Wildcat pounced forward, causing Nie Yan to fall to the ground. The other Wildcats soon encircled him and went in for the kill.
After a flash of white light, Nie Yan once again resurrected at the cemetery in Tellak town. This time, his leg guard had dropped.
He once more set out of the town, rushing back to plunder the treasure after resurrecting. With the passage of ten minutes, Nie Yan had once again reached the open clearing.
The Wildcats were now some distance farther from the treasure chest. As he calculated their movements in his head, Nie Yan’s eyes lit up. There shouldn’t be any problems this time around.
Nie Yan activated Stealth and approached the silver treasure chest. He advanced for more than twenty seconds, before stopping in place after noticing two Wildcats coming up from behind. They came close to Nie Yan’s location, before gradually walking away.
All the Wildcats in the area were rather far away from Nie Yan—at about a distance of approximately five yards. When he confirmed that he was finally safe, Nie Yan accelerated his pace and quickly arrived at the silver chest. Stealth still had a remaining duration of thirty-six seconds—six seconds more than he had initially anticipated.
Nie Yan crouched down to open the chest while still using Stealth—opening the chest would not cancel the skill.
System: Opening chest… Estimated Completion: 20%… 50%…
A Wildcat in the vicinity walked towards Nie Yan. It neared a little over two yards before eventually stopping.
Nie Yan’s pulse unconsciously sped up. Calm… must remain calm…. He had to constantly console himself in his head before his pulse finally calmed down.
The Wildcat glanced around for a short while, but eventually turned around and left after not detecting anything.
Nie Yan’s body eased up and he let out a sigh of relief.
System: Chest successfully opened! Time taken: 27.0 s
Nie Yan opened the chest, and began feeling around inside. When his hand came into contact with a book, his heart abruptly jumped. This is it!
Taking the book out, he looked it over.
Skill book: Vital Strike
Skill description: Thieves can cause additional damage by attacking an enemy’s vitals.
Required for use: Action (requires weapon)
Skill attribute: Hitting a target’s vitals causes 5% additional damage, marking the target with a damage debuff.
Skill cooldown: 30 s
Profession Limitation: Thief, Warrior, Paladin, can be learned by any faction.
Indeed this was the Vital Strike skill book. This was the best skill he was capable of learning at Level 0! This was what he had worked so hard to obtain. After Nie Yan grabbed the book, it became a ray of white light.
Glancing at his skill bar, he noticed that another skill had appeared: Vital Strike!
Following Nie Yan’s removal of the Vital Strike skill book, the silver chest began to gradually fade away before disappearing without a trace.
It’s all settled! Heh… I can return to town for free too.
As Stealth’s duration ended, Nie Yan’s figure slowly emerged. The few Wildcats in the area immediately discovered him and attacked.
Nie Yan didn’t have any experience to lose, so he was planning on dying and resurrecting in the town to avoid having to run back. Nie Yan peacefully awaited his fate.
Once again, Nie Yan died and returned to the town cemetery. This time, his novice gloves dropped. However, compared to the Vital Strike skill book, the loss was negligible. By obtaining Vital Strike, his training speed would increase greatly.