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Chapter 377 - Phantom Assassination

The ancient walls covered in cracks and moss, with many regions having collapsed into ruins, served as a testament to the bleak history of the Cripps Stronghold. 

This square-shaped stronghold which covered an area of 5,000 by 5,000 meters still showed traces of its former glory. In the previous timeline, after clearing out all the monsters, Victorious Return rebuilt it from the ground up.

Back then, the Cripps Stronghold with its renewed life and flourishing commerce was a marvel worthy of players’ admiration.

It was important for Nie Yan to continue making both himself and Asskickers United stronger. Only then would they stand a chance against the Century Financial Group. Securing the Cripps Stronghold was a must.

In this life, the Century Financial Group had withdrawn most of their capital from the Viridian Empire and redirected all their time and energy on Angel Corps in the Satreen Empire. However, Nie Yan still felt an impending sense of crisis. The Century Financial Group was a behemoth of an existence no one could rival in the virtual reality industry.

Nie Yan galloping like the wind on his Faulkner Warhorse arrived outside the Cripps Stronghold. He dismounted and slowly approached. From memory its interior was akin to a vast labyrinth with many buildings spread out in a complex fashion. Investigating such a place was going to be a huge pain.

Nie Yan entered the Cripps Stronghold, where he was greeted by a bluestone paved street about 100 meters wide, big enough to allow 100 people to walk side by side. On both sides were broken down shops, a small reminder of a once bustling populous.

Black armoured swordsmen roamed the street. Nie Yan inspected one with Transcendent Insight.

Phantom Swordsman (Elite): Level 50
Health: 35,000/35,000

Even the weakest monsters in the Cripp Strongholds were Elites. Lords were far from rare, and Super Variant and Demonized Lords appearing was possible too. The only way to deal with such powerful monsters was with numbers!

Nie Yan entered stealth and proceeded forward. The numerous wide-open streets weaved and crossed with each other. He occasionally encountered small squares big enough to fit 600 players. These plazas were often occupied by Lords ranging from Level 50–60.

Marking down all the bosses he encountered, Nie Yan started creating a map of the Cripps Stronghold. His stealth ability was unrivalled. Not a single monster spotted him.

Nie Yan slowly made his way to the center of the map, successfully avoiding the Phantom Swordsmen roaming the streets. As he passed by a run-down street, he happened to notice the unmistakable sparkle of a gold treasure chest not far away. It was tucked away in a corner patrolled by a Phantom Swordsman.

Only a single Phantom Swordsman, dealing with it will be a piece of cake! Nie Yan thought. How could he pass up on this treasure chest?

Nie Yan slowly crept up behind the Phantom Swordsman. It passively wandered about, occasionally stopping to look around. 

The Phantom Swordsman as a Level 50 humanoid Elite possessed high Awareness.

Nie Yan was extremely careful with his steps as he approached from behind. He adjusted his grip on Zennarde’s Sword and pounced forward with a Smothering Strike aimed at the back of the Phantom Swordsman’s head.

Nie Yan was as fast as lightning. But even so, the Phantom Swordsman lit up with a golden radiance at the very last moment. Although the attack landed, the Phantom Swordsman wasn’t stunned and retaliated with a sweeping slash.

“Crap!” Nie Yan cried out in alarm. He never expected the senses of the Phantom Swordsman to be so sharp. He hurriedly raised Zennarde’s Sword in an attempt to parry. A loud klang! rang out as a powerful force travelled down his arm and pushed him back several steps. 


The Phantom Swordsman didn’t let up and charged after Nie Yan.

Nie Yan activated his Blackbright Barrier while quickly falling back.

The Phantom Swordsman slashed down its sword at Nie Yan. Its blade radiated a sharp sword light.

Nie Yan suddenly shifted his footwork. 

Reverse Grip Backstab!

Nie Yan stumbled mid-execution as he attempted to avoid the attack. The Phantom Swordsman struck him squarely, causing his Blackbright Barrier to shudder.


Reverse Grip Backstab was a difficult skill to pull off. There seemed to be some sort of a trick he had yet to grasp. Clumsy movement would only lead to the skill failing.

The Phantom Swordsman refused to let up and hacked down at Nie Yan once more.

Nie Yan activated Gale Step to block the attack and countered with a Concussive Blow to the Phantom Swordsman’s forehead.

With the Phantom Swordsman stunned, Nie Yan circled around and unleashed a flurry of attacks. 



Blood spurted out into the air like a fountain.


A string of damage values floated up into the air. Nie Yan continued his ruthless assault, dealing massive damage to the Phantom Swordsman.

When the Phantom Swordsman was about to break free from the stun, Nie Yan plunged Zennarde’s Sword into its back and activated Blast.「Bang!」It flew out like a loose kite before crashing into the ground with a heavy thud, only struggling back to its feet after a long time. 

The Phantom Swordsman charged at Nie Yan yet again.

In order to avoid attracting the attention of other Phantom Swordsmen nearby, Nie Yan couldn’t use items like Flash Powder. Seeing the Phantom Swordsman closing in, he activated Gale Retreat and pulled back as fast as he could.

This alleyway was too narrow, but he ran the risk of attracting other monsters if he fled too far. He could only summon up the courage to duke it out with the Phantom Swordsman in here.

Just as the Phantom Swordsman arrived in front of him, Nie Yan’s footwork changed yet again.

Phantom Assassination!

Nie Yan transformed into a blur as his body started moving in an unpredictable manner. He slashed the Phantom Swordsman’s neck in the blink of an eye as blood splattered on the ground.

Despite Nie Yan’s erratic movements, the Phantom Swordsman still managed to graze him.


Phantom Assassination: 35% Completion, 52% damage, 0 Combo

Every Freedom Skill required some technique to execute. Without properly grasping these movements, even a seasoned Shadow Dancer would look clumsy. For Nie Yan to perform this well on his first try was an impressive achievement.

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