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Chapter 133 – Murder!

    Chapter 133 - Murder!

    Even now, Nie Yan still didn't wish to use Sacrificial Gambit. Its two-day cooldown wasn't trivial since he wanted to have this skill in his arsenal for the quest he planned to embark on after returning to the city. However, since he had been forced into a corner, he was left with no other choice. He firmly believed that a person should live their life with a steadfast resolve. As such, if he were to back down now, without even putting up a fight and allow the Zombie King to be taken away by someone else, he would be nothing more than a spineless coward!

    Seeing Nie Yan dash over, Night Shadow withdrew from the battle with the Zombie King and raised his daggers to intercept him.

    Battle Stance!

    When a Battle Thief activated Battle Stance, they would receive a 30% increase in Attack Speed and a 20% increase in Attack, allowing their damage output to even surpass some Berserkers'. Its only flaw was that, even though their offensive abilities saw a sharp rise, they were still protected by merely leather armour.

    「Klang!」Two pairs of daggers clashed together.

    Amidst their deadlock, Nie Yan suddenly switched over from a reverse grip to a forward grip as his dagger slipped through Night Shadow's guard. Like a snake before a fatal strike, everything was over in an instant, and before Night Shadow even knew what was going on, he found himself in a dazed state.

    Nie Yan's mysterious action was actually a technique from his past life which Shadow Dancers often displayed in featured videos on Conviction's official website. During the animation for switching grips, there was a very precise timing window where a Thief would be able to slip through an opponent's guard and stun them with the pommel.

    Back then, for the sake of mastering this technique, he had practiced these movements over several hundred thousand times. Perhaps this little trick wouldn't be effective against the experienced Shadow Dancers of his original timeline, but it was more than enough to deal with players in the present day.

    But, before he could proceed any further, a streak of arcane magic came flying his way.

    Tangerine's spell was perfectly timed. If he rolled out of the way now, the outcome would be the same as last time; Night Shadow would be allowed a moment to catch his breath.

    However, the circumstances this time were substantially different from the previous encounter. For one, he was no longer the target of the Zombie King's aggro, which was why he previously hadn't dared to be rash and chose to avoid the oncoming spell. Yet now, the Zombie King was entirely aggroed onto Hidden Blade. If Tangerine believed she could shoo him away with just a single spell, then she was living in a dream!

    Nie Yan mentally braced himself to endure the impact.「Bang!」He felt the Arcane Fireball explode on his back as it depleted 120 of his health.

    What ferocious damage! His gear was considered good, but he had still lost so much health.

    Afterward, Nie Yan struck Night Shadow with Assassinate followed by Lacerate and chunked him for 180 health. Aside from this initial damage, Night Shadow was also inflicted with the bleed status effect which caused him to lose 10 health every second.

    Even though this number was frighteningly high, it didn't kill him since Battle Thieves were generally more durable than Tempest Thieves. Night Shadow, for instance, had as much as 520 health.

    However, when matched against Nie Yan's damage, it still wasn't nearly enough to save him!

    Nie Yan followed up by circling behind Night Shadow and hitting him in the back of the head with Smothering Strike. Afterward, he brought out a Sheep Transformation Scroll and began channeling it. His target for the spell, surprisingly, wasn't Night Shadow but Hidden Blade instead!

    Just as Hidden Blade was about to strike the Zombie King with Flame Slash, a bright radiance enshrouded him and his skill was interrupted as he transformed into a small sheep.

    Currently, the Zombie King had only 8% health remaining. After falling below 20%, it would enter an enraged state and gain a life drain modifier on all of its attacks, making it noticeably more difficult to kill if a party was fighting against it the standard way. Therefore, when both Night Shadow and Hidden Blade stopped dealing damage, its health would soon begin to recover.

    For the sake of rescuing Night Shadow, Tangerine changed the focus of her firepower onto Nie Yan while Hidden Blade was still hopping around as a sheep. As a result, the Zombie King's health stagnated after falling down to 3% before recovering back up to 5% upon successfully swiping the sheep in front of it several times.

    Consequently, Hidden Blade's transformation was forcefully cancelled by these attacks.

    Nie Yan chugged down a health potion and then applied a Combat Bandage.「Bang!」Tangerine's spell struck Nie Yan again, chunking him for 130 health.

    However, Nie Yan endured the pain and struck Night Shadow with Backstab and Eviscerate, causing 253 health to disappear at once.

    Night Shadow was awoken from his dazed state by Backstab, but he wasn't given the time to drink a health potion.

    "Die!" Nie Yan activated Vital Strike, his dagger flashing brilliantly before streaking across Night Shadow's neck.

    The last of Night Shadow's health was instantly taken away, and with a plop, he collapsed onto the ground.

    Tangerine stared blankly at the scene. She never expected that Nie Yan's damage would be so terrifying. It hadn't even been several exchanges yet Night Shadow was already down for the count. She hadn't even finished casting her third spell yet!

    Hidden Blade, whose transformation was broken, was left in shock when he saw the party notification of Night Shadow's death. However, he didn't have much time to process this information when the Zombie King struck out with yet another swipe of its claws. He did his best to resist, but his health had already fallen by over 200 points while enduring its assault.

    "Flame Slash!"

    Hidden Blade finally got his skill off, and as his claymore ignited with flames, he slashed down on the Zombie King who in turn let out a mournful cry. As its lumbering body collapsed to the ground, a wisp of light floated up from its corpse before dissipating in the sky.

    Shortly after Nie Yan finished off Night Shadow, he turned around to find that Hidden Blade had already slain the Zombie King. He was still a step too late... In the end, it was snatched away!

    Nie Yan was absolutely indignant, seeing the experience from the Zombie King, that he had worked so hard on to wear down, go to someone else.

    Hidden Blade was also briefly taken aback by the death of his teammate. However, he soon recovered and dashed toward Nie Yan with Vanguard Rush.

    If Hidden Blade was allowed to get in range to use Tendon Break, then Nie Yan would be done for.

    Meanwhile, Tangerine's Arcane Fireball was also flying over. Suffering an attack from both sides, Nie Yan would undoubtedly die!

    It's either you or me! He had to instantly finish Hidden Blade off. Otherwise, he had no hope of surviving this predicament!

    Sacrificial Gambit!

    Nie Yan's health bar plummeted as he sacrificed 30% of his current health. The missing health transformed into energy which converged at the tip of his dagger where it began radiating a murderous aura. As streaks of sparks danced in the air, the dagger was instantly propelled forward and plunged into Hidden Blade's chest, causing the volatile energy to wreak havoc inside his body.

    −193

    As the damage value rose up above Hidden Blade's head, an inconceivably shocked expression was plastered all over his face. He believed that his 193 remaining health was more than enough to deal with Nie Yan. In fact, none of the Thieves he had encountered so far were capable of dealing more than 30 damage to him in a single hit. Protected by his heavy plate armour that was capable of brushing off any attack from a dagger, he was confident that as long as he could cripple Nie Yan with Tendon Break then follow up with Violent Slash, Nie Yan would undoubtedly die!

    His overconfidence in his defensive abilities and gear was the main factor leading to his untimely death.

    At the same time, Nie Yan's Sacrificial Gambit was truly an anomaly!

    Never could he have predicted, not even in his wildest dreams, that Nie Yan would be able to deal such explosive burst damage!

    Both Night Shadow and Hidden Blade were killed within seconds of each other. Now, the only remaining member of the party was Tangerine. Even though she had experienced countless battles in her life, she could never have foreseen this one coming to a conclusion such as this. Even in life and death battles on the front lines of large-scale guild wars, she would be able to maintain a calm and collected heart. Yet at present, she couldn't help but feel a chill run down her back.

    After killing Hidden Blade, Nie Yan rolled out of the way and dodged another one of Tangerine's Arcane Flame Bursts.

    「Bang!」Upon impact with the ground, the spell exploded into a shower of black flames.

    After regaining his footing, he fished up the equipment that Night Shadow, Hidden Blade, and the Zombie King dropped upon their deaths. A moment later, he shifted his attention to Tangerine whom he stared at with an icy expression.

    In that moment, Tangerine finally revealed a trace of panic. Dropping a level was a small matter, but if she died, she would also drop a piece of equipment and lose the set bonus from her gear.

    Out of the three members in the party, only she was left. The mental blow from such a realization was intense.

    "I thought you were so strong. What now? Are you finally getting scared?" Earlier, Tangerine had completely disregarded his existence. He still hadn't forgotten her arrogant expression that was full of contempt. Step by step, he began to walk toward her.

    "It's not over yet. Don't be so eager to count your chickens before they hatch!" Tangerine shouted in a flustered manner. She then brandished her staff to show that she had yet to give up. However, the high and aloof sense of superiority that she felt toward him had been completely shattered by the death of her two comrades.

    Spells like Repel, although effective against Thieves, would only be able to keep them away for a short time and posed no real threat to their lives.

    Tangerine had overestimated her ability. In a true one-on-one battle, Nie Yan could effortlessly toy with her to death!

    If she believed Nie Yan was one of those Thieves she could kill by simply relying on her high damage, then she was in for a surprise.

    Tangerine raised her staff and began chanting the incantation for her magic. As a halo of magical energy began converging at the tip of her staff, it started emitting an azure radiance that was magnificent to behold.

    This woman actually has Arcane Reset!

    Obscurus Magic was similar to Elemental Temple Magic and Templar Magic in that they possessed formidable might. Arcane Reset, for example, when cast successfully, would set the cooldowns of all the caster's other spells to zero for three minutes. In other words, during that period of time, she would be able to fire off however many spells she had in her arsenal without worrying about their cooldowns. With its short cast time, this spell was absolutely terrifying in duels! Of course, there were still cast times. However, as long as they had enough mana, the caster would be able to cast several dozen spells in the span of thirty seconds.

    He couldn't allow her to finish casting that spell! Even a tanky fighter would not dare to rashly confront such a formidable magic. Nie Yan retrieved a pouch of Flash Powder and lobbed it at her.「Poof!」The pouch exploded into a shower of  blinding rays that pierced into Tangerine's eyes like a thousand needles, causing her to temporarily lose her vision.

    "Drop dead!" Tangerine's expression turned incomparably ugly to behold as she sent a wave of Arcane Fireballs flying over to him.

    「Boom-boom-boom-boom-boom!」 Like tongues of flame, countless fireballs streaked through the air and chaotically peppered the earth with craters.

    "Stupid girl, where do you think you're aiming at?" Nie Yan coldly smiled. The area where he stood was completely untouched; however, just a little to the left of him, the earth was no longer recognizable.

    A brief moment later, Tangerine finally regained her vision.

    "Already out of mana, eh?" Nie Yan coldly chuckled. This arrogant woman had finally taken a bite from a bitter fruit. Although the utility of Arcane Reset allowed her to explode with all her damage in but a split second, it didn't provide her with an endless pool of mana.

    Tangerine was just like a rooster that had lost his fight. She bitterly glared at Nie Yan and shouted in a fierce tone, "I'll get my revenge!"

    "I welcome it at any time. Here, let me make things easier for you. I'll send you back to the city for free." Just in case Tangerine still wanted to pull any dirty tricks, Nie Yan dashed forward and stunned her with Concussive Blow before finishing her off with Lacerate followed by Vital Strike, sending her back to the graveyard in Calore. As a Mage, she was much frailer than other classes.

    After getting rid of Tangerine, Nie Yan bent down to pick up the item she dropped, a Level 10 Arcane Mage Staff.
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