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Chapter 131 – Encounter

    Chapter 131 - Encounter

    After returning to the city, Nie Yan planned to head to the auction house and get rid of all the equipment in his bag. His bag only had seven spaces left and would be completely full if he randomly chucked in a few more items. He stood up and was prepared to begin channeling a Return Scroll.

    However, a deep muffled roar cut through the air as it reverberated from the distance. He halted for a moment before putting away the scroll in his hand. This roar, it's from a Sub-Elite Zombie or possibly... an Elite Zombie King! Reigning over a certain region of space, these monsters would occasionally roar to announce their presence to potential intruders.As for weak players, this was a sign that they should depart the area immediately.

    After killing countless Leader-class monsters over the course of two days, he was finally going to meet a truly strong opponent.

    He headed toward the source of the sound. After passing through a mound of rubble, he entered a wide open area and was greeted by the sight of an enormous Zombie. Towering over its surroundings, it was three meters tall and entirely pitch-black in colour, while a fishy-smelling pus oozed out of its body. Its nails were extremely long and sharp, resembling steel swords. Even more odd was the dark scarlet aura that faintly enshrouded it.

    He activated Transcendent Insight.

    Zombie King (Elite): Level 10

    Health: 3,200/3,200

    "It's an Elite!" Nie Yan muttered as he surveyed the terrain for features he could take advantage of, causing his eyes to fall on the scattered mounds of rocks. "Sigh... killing this guy shouldn't be a problem, but I'll have to use my Flash Powder, Web Scrolls, and Sheep Transformation Scrolls." His heart ached at the thought of how expensive each one was. "But... the items it drops should cover the costs!" He faintly smiled before leaping onto a large boulder where he retrieved his crossbow and took aim.「Whoosh! Whoosh! Whoosh!」Three bolts flew in a straight line towards the Zombie King.

    「Put! Put! Put!」 All of the bolts struck the Zombie King in the back.

    −13, −12, −15

    The Zombie King angrily roared as it turned around and searched for its aggressor among the mounds of rocks.

    Nie Yan turned tail and fled toward the cover of the scattered mounds while firing bolts non-stop from his Crossbow of Blood. I'll wear it down with ranged attacks first.

    The Zombie King furiously clawed at its surroundings while seeking out Nie Yan, sending rubble flying everywhere as it quickly closed in on him.

    「Poof!」Just as the Zombie King was about to reach him, he lobbed a pouch of Flash Powder which promptly exploded upon impact with its eyes.

    The cloud of dazzling powder temporarily blinded the Zombie King as it let out a roar of anguish from the intense burning sensation in its eyes.

    Seeing the Zombie King helplessly flailing around, Nie Yan faintly smiled before circling behind and attacking it with Eviscerate followed by Lacerate. The two skills dealt 120 damage, and afterward, it was struck by the bleed status effect which caused it to lose 10 health every second.

    The blinding effect from Flash Powder would only last for so long. In fact, against an Elite monster, he would be lucky if it lasted more than a few seconds. Hence, after finishing his combo, he activated Swift Retreat and quickly withdrew from melee range. Having created some distance, he glanced at the Zombie King's health bar. The bleed damage from Eviscerate and Lacerate was quite potent and would gradually accumulate with each passing second.

    He took a stance and resumed firing crossbow bolts. Against an equal level opponent, he received no negative modifiers; thus the damage he dealt was fairly significant.

    Soon after regaining its vision, the Zombie King charged after him again. However, just as it was about to reach him, he crushed the Web Scroll he had prepared beforehand, whereupon a giant spider web emerged out of thin air and firmly bound it in place.

    He then dashed toward the Zombie King and leaped into the air before stabbing it in the neck with Vital Strike. After gracefully landing on the ground, he circled behind it and used Backstab to plunge his dagger deep into its spine.

    After two more attacks, he didn't dare to stick around any longer and quickly created some distance again. Just like before, he retrieved his crossbow and began peppering it with bolts.

    With his pitiful health and weak leather armour, he wouldn't be able to endure even a single strike from such a monster. Normally, an Elite monster like the Zombie King required a team of five or more players to effectively bring it down. Of the members in the team, a strong healer and a powerful tank were an absolute necessity, as well as having all members carry several Antidotes; otherwise, if they were struck by the acute poison in the Zombie King's claws, they would lose 30 health every second until either the player died or the poison was cured. As such, Nie Yan had to take extreme caution in avoiding the Zombie King's attacks.

    The battle between them persisted as the Zombie King's health was gradually being chipped away. Even now, it was still unable to land even a single hit. He had effectively sealed off all methods for it to attack. No matter how angry it got, its struggling was futile in the end.

    "I think the sound came from there."

    "Let's go over and take a look."

    A party of three arrived near the mounds of rocks where Nie Yan and the Zombie King were battling. They were all members of Victorious Return, and as players who could level in Black Gold Mines at this stage of the game, they definitely weren't simple. In fact, among their guild's ranks, they were considered the crème de la crème.

    The party consisted of a Battle Thief, Berserker, and female Arcane Mage. They were farming mobs relatively close by when they heard roars, so they rushed over to check out what was going on.

    "Night Shadow, hurry up! Go take a look at what's happening," the Berserker called out to the Battle Thief.

    "Fine, fine, I'm going! Sigh, why do I always have to do the tedious work..." Night Shadow replied in a begrudging manner. Of course, if he didn't want to scout, who told him to pick a Thief? As one of the nimbler classes, they were twenty percent faster than Warriors on average, and this was without taking skills into account. Hence, there was no one more suited than him for scouting up ahead.

    Haste!

    Night Shadow suddenly became much faster, leaving after-images behind him as he dashed toward the source of the sounds.

    "I think there's an Elite up ahead. Tangerine, if it really is one, Night Shadow and I will draw its aggro, then the rest will be up to you," the Berserker instructed. As a Berserker, tanking an Elite-class Zombie would be rather difficult. Fortunately, he had learned a new skill, that had a 20-minuteduration with a 2-day cooldown, which would significantly improve his survivability. With it, it was possible for him to endure an Elite-class Zombie's hits.

    "Should we ask the guild leader to send a Priest over? An Elite Zombie seems like a very hard monster to deal with," Tangerine asked while knitting her elegant brows. She had an average appearance that couldn't be regarded as first-rate. However, her status in the guild was nevertheless very high.

    "Nah, I think we'll be fine. Besides, who knows how long it'll take for a Priest to get here? Can you still cast Arcane Reset?"

    "I can, but it has a two-day cooldown... and I still need to run dungeons with the team tomorrow."

    "Forget it then, I guess. Let's see how it plays out."

    Nie Yan was still whittling away at the Zombie King's health, which by now had already fallen to twenty percent. Even though everything seemed to progress smoothly, he felt a slight tingling sensation in the back of his mind, warning him of danger. At his present level, his Awareness had already reached a terrifyingly high degree. So, if anything were to occur within his vicinity, he would be able sense it fairly quickly. Immediately, he pulled out another Web Scroll and activated it, causing a giant spider web to emerge out of thin air and fall over the Zombie King, leaving it temporarily immobilized.

    Earlier, Night Shadow had arrived in the area and was observing the scene from a distance with an expression of indescribable shock. He, Tangerine, and Hidden Blade were regarded as prominent figures in Victorious Return. Even if they weren't in the top ten, they were at least among the twenty best players in the guild. However, as elites belonging to the prestigious Victorious Return, they were repeatedly hesitating over facing off against an Elite monster. Yet this Thief before his eyes had single-handedly taken out more than eighty percent of an Elite monster's health, and it looked like he was going to kill it soon and without even breaking so much as a sweat! This really was too unfathomable...

    After inspecting him, Night Shadow discovered this player was called Nirvana Flame!

    It's him!

    Night Shadow recalled a certain incident. About a week ago, when their guild was sieging the Fishmen Village, one of their Elementalists, Violet Flame, had been killed by a Thief named Nirvana Flame. Not only that, but he had also managed to easily escape despite being completely surrounded by their members. Afterwards, this event became a huge topic of discussion among their guild members. Even if he wished to forget such a ferocious figure, he still wouldn't be able to!

    He never imagined that he would encounter this person here!

    As members of Victorious Return, they would always act unbridled without the slightest restraint. If anyone were to even slightly inconvenience them, the entire guild would have them pay back a hundredfold, to say nothing of a player who had safely escaped after killing one of their members and left them with no face!

    Night Shadow faintly smiled. If he killed Nie Yan, aside from snatching all the experience and items from the Zombie King for his party, he would also be able to collect on the bounty from his guild! Just what kind of player wouldn't take advantage of such an opportunity!

    Besides, the Zombie King was fully aggroed onto Nie Yan!

    「Hurry over, I've found a big fish!」Night Shadow excitedly sent out a message to Tangerine and Hidden Blade in the party chat.

    "Night Shadow found something. Let's meet up with him," Hidden Blade said after looking at the chat. After exchanging glances, they both rushed over.

    It would be too much of a waste if he were to allow Nie Yan to finish off the Zombie King. So, while Hidden Blade and Tangerine had yet to arrive, Night Shadow entered stealth and gradually approached Nie Yan from the rear. Even as he closed in, his target's back remained completely exposed. Seeing this lack of response from his target, he reaffirmed the quality of his own stealthing ability.

    Never did he expect, in the instant he was about to attack, Nie Yan would suddenly turn around.

    Eye of Truth!

    Nie Yan's eyes became bloodshot as they turned a deep scarlet red and blossomed with a frightening radiance. With Eye of Truth's assistance, he spotted a faint silhouette from the corner of his eye. As it gradually approached, the corner of his mouth curved into a disdainful sneer. You want to sneak attack me? It's not going to be that easy! He spun around and chucked a pouch of Flash Powder directly at the Thief's face.「Poof!」The glittering powder released a dazzling light and completely enshrouded the surrounding area in a bright radiance.

    As Night Shadow approached, he suddenly found his target facing him with bloodshot eyes and shining with a unnerving light. It was as if this light could reveal everything, leaving him bare-naked and exposed. He was inwardly alarmed. C-could he have noticed me...?

    He then saw a strange pouch appear in Nie Yan's hand, and before he was even able to react, a brilliant radiance blinded him as if a thousand needles were stabbing into his eyes.

    S-**-**-**, not good! Night Shadow felt an intense and imminent sense of danger. He quickly pulled back by activating Swift Retreat. However, since the terrain here was rocky and uneven and he had been completely blinded, he lost his footing after tripping over a rock.

    Nonetheless, he was a top expert within his guild for a reason. He quickly realized that his sudden loss of vision was caused by the opponent's item. He regained balance of his body mid fall, and with his right hand as a support, he did a backflip and landed firmly on his feet. Though, in the same instant, he found himself directly staring at the cold edge of a blade.

    His opponent's movements were as fast as lightning!

    So fast!

    As if he had fallen into a pit of despair, Night Shadow gave up all hope of surviving. When faced with such a sharp and decisive attack, it was impossible for him to dodge. Only now did he understand why Nie Yan was able to kill Violet Flame and escape their encirclement unharmed.
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