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Chapter 730 - Old Friend

Nie Yan didn’t know much about the Shadow Strifer. Whoever obtained this title in his past life had never revealed themselves. So, he had no clue what skills or innate abilities it possessed.

Shadow Strifer was the second high rank title to come out after Luminous Dancer. Nie Yan had no idea what the differences were.

Mistaken Smile obtaining the Shadow Strifer title was a type of fate. With Nie Yan obtaining the Luminous Dancer title, destiny made it up to him in some other way.

Nie Yan went to meet with Mistaken Smile right away.

Mistaken Smile had just completed his quest. He was still in the guild headquarters stocking up on supplies, preparing to set out to do some levelling. He had fallen too far behind the others in level due to his long time spend class advancing.

The two bumped into each other in the main hall.

Mistaken Smile wore completely different equipment from last time. Shockingly, he wasn’t wearing leather armour but rather light armour. The Thief class was restricted to only wearing cloth armour or leather armour. They couldn’t wear any type of metal plate armour. However, the Shadow Strifer had clearly broken this rule.

Mistaken Smile was clad in silver ashen metal armour. Even though the colour was fairly reserved and the armour itself looked somewhat dated, the craftsmanship was sublime and elaborate. Every joint was reinforced with all sorts of ancient runes which glowed with a faint blue light.

This was a runic light armour. They were known for having the highest defense among all light armours, rivalling that of some heavy plate armours. Not to mention since it was so light, it had very little impact on the wearer’s speed. This was certainly a rare find. Mistaken Smile’s light armour was at least Sub Legendary-grade, maybe even higher.

“I heard you became a Shadow Strifer. Not bad, not bad. Congratulations!” Nie Yan grinned. Mistaken Smile looked quite valiant and imposing in his light armour. 

“Thank you. I think this class really suits me. An ordinary Thief’s defense has always been too low for me. So, I’m really happy with the defense of a Shadow Strifer. It’s roughly on par with a Knight-errant, but my powerful crowd control isn’t negatively affected in the slightest,” Mistaken Smile said.

The two chatted for a while. Mistaken Smile didn’t hide anything from Nie Yan. Shadow Strifers inherited some of the traits of a Warrior. Their health and defense sharply increased, and they gained some speed boosting skills like Charge and crowd control skills like Tendon Break. If he used these skills in battle, they were almost guaranteed to catch the enemy off guard.

Seeing that Mistaken Smile was quite satisfied with the Shadow Strifer title, the slight guilt Nie Yan felt in his heart completely disappeared. After all, in this life he had snatched away the Luminous Dancer title which should have rightfully gone to Mistaken Smile. If Mistaken Smile was a stranger, he wouldn’t have cared. But after becoming guildmates and friends, he would always feel apologetic when he thought of this matter.

“While you were away, Summer Bug became a Magister. She, Sun, King of the World, and the rest went to the underworld together. When they come back and find out you became a Shadow Strifer, Sun and King of the World will definitely feel the pressure.” Nie Yan chuckled. He recalled Sun had been a Shadow Stalker in the previous timeline. He wondered if it would be the same in this life.

“I’m going to do some levelling first and familiarize myself with the skills of a Shadow Strifer. I’ve fallen too far behind. The others are almost 20 levels ahead of me,” Mistaken Smile said. Thinking to this point, he felt a bit depressed. He had really spent too much time doing the Shadow Strifer quest. It’d been incredibly difficult.

“Not a bad idea. That’ll also allow you to get used to your new title. I’m guessing a Shadow Strifer’s playstyle is pretty different from that of a regular Shadow Dancer.”

“Everything in the Viridian Empire has more-or-less settled down. What are you planning to do next?”

“I’m about to make a trip to the Satreen Empire.”

“The Satreen Empire?” Mistaken Smile knitted his brows. This was the territory of Angel Corps. “Are you sure about going there by yourself? Want me to come with you?”

“No need. I’m only going there for a quest, not to get payback on Angel Corps. Focus on raising your level. Go get some Inferno Bombs from Violet Mist and use that levelling method I told you about previously. Trust me, you’ll be amazed.” Nie Yan smiled.

Mistaken Smile though for a moment, then said, “Alright, be careful.” Nie Yan probably wouldn’t have any problems going by himself. At this stage of the game, no one could kill him. Even other Masters didn’t dare to PvP with him. Because it wouldn’t be an even fight but rather a one-sided beating.

The two bid farewell. Mistaken Smile went to pay a visit to Violet Mist to get Inferno Bombs for levelling. Nie Yan packed some essentials and prepared to head to the Satreen Empire.

Before Nie Yan set off, he received a message from Guo Huai. A mysterious tribe in the Abernathy Great Grasslands called the Zala had opened up a secret shop in the north district of Okoron. The requirements to purchase from this shop were extremely high. One had to be at least an Earl to enter.

The Zala weren’t orcs, but they were much burlier than ordinary people. They wore bizarre clothing with necklaces made out of human bones around their necks. Their bodies were covered in white, red, and green dyes. They were a small tribe. However, no NPC dared to look down on them, all those visiting the shop showing their utmost respect.

After hearing Guo Huai’s description, Nie Yan recalled a certain race, barbarians!

It was War God Kelo’s race. Barbarians were divided into many branches. These Zala were likely one such branch.

As he walked along the streets of Okoron, Nie Yan put on his cloak. He headed in the direction of the secret shop.

After passing by the auction house, Nie Yan glanced inside. There were people streaming in and out. It was bustling.

Nie Yan was about to continue forward, when a familiar voice entered his ears.

“Level 100 Warrior Dark Gold Crotia War-Axe, Level 115 Paladin Dark Gold Glorious Sword, trading for equal level Mage equipment only!”

This voice couldn’t be more familiar to Nie Yan. He halted his steps, a look of pleasant surprise on his face.

Nie Yan turned his head toward the source of the voice. A burly Mage in azure robes entered his vision. The fellow had set up a stall outside the auction house with a Level 100 Dark Gold war-axe and sword on display. These items were of pretty decent quality. 

Seeing Han Lei’s crude appearance and gruffy beard, memories of the previous timeline flooded back into Nie Yan’s mind.

Nie Yan had many close friends in his past life. He’d tried his best to track them down, but most he couldn’t find. Even as the leader of Asskickers United, it was still extremely difficult to find one specific person among these millions upon millions of players. Not to mention how would he even approach them? Those people no longer knew him. If he publicly announced he was looking for them, others might think they were people being hunted down by Asskickers United. Even if they reunited, he might know them, but they wouldn’t know him. So, what was the point?

However, this Mage before Nie Yan was a special case. He was called Han Lei. His in-game ID was Ever Lively. He was a close friend back in his younger years. They went to middle school together in Ninjiang. However, he transferred away in the second year, and they lost touch. It was only in his third year of university that Han Lei bumped into Tang Yao, and they got back in touch. The two eventually ended up talking about Conviction, and they met up inside the game. Later on, he joined their team.

Han Lei was a burly fellow. He was clearly more suited to be a Warrior, but he insisted on playing a Mage. Even so, he was quite skilled as a caster. Back then, everyone believed he had the highest chance out of all of them to become a Master. But that never came to pass. His equipment was of too low quality. He never stood a chance.

When Nie Yan first entered the team, he was only Level 80 or so. At that time, Han Lei was already Level 120. Han Lei spent almost a month helping him slowly raise his level. If it wasn’t for Han Lei’s help, he wouldn’t even have had the qualifications to remain in the team. Later on, he was still in Han Lei’s care. They chilled together, levelled together, and were even hunted down by Victorious Return together. That period of time was something he would never forget.

Han Lei always set his voice chat on do not disturb. Nie Yan also had no idea how he would get in touch with Han Lei. He didn’t expect to bump into him right here of all places. Complicated emotions welled up in his heart.

In this life, many things had completely changed. Even though this former bosom friend of his was right in front of his eyes, he seemed like a distant stranger.

What should I do?

Nie Yan hesitated for a moment. Turning around and leaving like this wasn’t his style.

Even if Nie Yan gained riches and honour, he would never forget those who helped him along the way. This was a true brother!

Right now, he was Nirvana Flame, the guild leader of Asskickers United. His status might be completely different in this life, but his core personality hadn’t changed one bit!

Even if they were separated by a lifetime, Nie Yan didn’t want to let these previous bonds disappear! After thinking for a bit, he walked over to Han Lei.

“Hey, you remind me of someone I once knew,” Nie Yan said. He couldn’t help but inwardly facepalm at his botched greeting. But there was no going back.

“Didn’t you hear me before? I’m only trading, not selling. No exceptions.” Han Lei raised his hand, cutting Nie Yan off. He looked Nie Yan up and down. Seeing this person hiding their appearance in a black cloak, his eyes were filled with vigilance. 

Nie Yan was stunned. He suddenly realized Han Lei had mistaken him for someone coming over to haggle. He couldn’t help but wryly smile.

“I’m not here to buy anything,” Nie Yan explained with a smile.

Han Lei stared intently at Nie Yan. Conviction was full of scammers. They’d strike up a conversation with stall owners, acting like they were the best of friends. They’d show their interest in buying, but when it came time to pay, they would suddenly realize they’d forgotten their gold or be short on funds. A promise to pay them back later, a loan in the form of the item... they would come up with the craziest of ideas. Those gullible enough to fall for this swindle often wouldn’t realize their items had been scammed until it was already far too late. These scammers would often approach their would-be-victims just like Nie Yan, with their appearances completely hidden.

Seeing Han Lei’s expression, Nie Yan immediately knew what this fellow was thinking. He didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Thinking for a bit, he pulled back his hood, revealing his appearance.

When Han Lei’s gaze fell on Nie Yan’s face, his eyes nearly popped out of their sockets and his mouth gaped open so wide you could stuff a chicken egg in there.

“N-nirvana Flame? W-what? Do I know you?” Han Lei stuttered. Seeing Nie Yan’s face, he felt like a mine had been set off in his head. He really wanted to give himself a hard smack to make sure he wasn’t dreaming. To randomly meet Nirvana Flame while running a stall, what kind of world was this!?

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