Nie Yan’s act of generosity proved effective at persuading this Apprentice Alchemist’s heart, though the unbridled manner in which he spent his money held a much more devious purpose. The further he invested into Bird, the further he would become irrevocably bound to his ship, thus making it all the more difficult to leave. In the event Bird truly wanted to get off, he’d have to pay an exorbitant price to do so, and considering his financial situation, trying to break away was basically impossible. In other words, Nie Yan had accomplished another one of his objectives.
By the end of his shopping spree, he had bought Bird ten silvers worth of alchemy recipes and a vast quantity of ingredients and materials, filling all five bags completely.
“Here, use these supplies for now. Even when I’m not around, focus hard on raising your skill,” Nie Yan said. These alchemical ingredients were sufficient to last Bird a long time.
Seeing the bags packed to the brim with various plants and recipes, Bird couldn’t help feeling emotionally moved. No matter how much of an idiot he believed himself to be, he could tell these ingredients were more than enough for him to rank up to a Junior Alchemist. After being expelled from the Dark Hero guild, his experiences with Nie Yan felt like being pulled out of the depths of hell and placed into heaven. There were even several times where he believed this was all simply a dream.
“For showing me such kindness… I don’t really know how I could ever repay you. So for now, I’ll simply say thanks,” Bird said, his voice trembling in gratitude.
“Enough of that, these lines are getting too cheesy. It’s not like I recruited you solely from the kindness of my heart; there was a purpose as well. As long as you’re able to become an Alchemy Master or even Grandmaster and earn me more money, that’ll be the best way to repay me,” Nie Yan replied, waving him to stop. He couldn’t help but ponder over a certain problem. After returning to the past, this was the first time he significantly changed history. Without Victorious Return’s support in this timeline, would Bird still be able to become a Grandmaster Alchemist? At the moment, he couldn’t be sure since there wasn’t a clear answer. He could only try his best to make it happen. After all, every investment held their risks. “Now that everything’s settled, go and improve your Alchemy. I still have a lot of other business to attend to.”
“Gotcha, boss! I’ll be excusing myself then,” Bird answered. If he failed to attain any results even after spending so much of Nie Yan’s money, he simply wouldn’t have the face to show himself again. From being kicked from his guild to being picked up by a stranger, an ember of hope and a certain desire had arisen from the ashes of his despair. Thus, he felt nothing but grateful towards this savior of his.
He expressed his gratitude once more and took his leave.
Nie Yan paused for a moment and began to ponder. Such a chance encounter was analogous to having picked up a gem off the streets. Even if Bird couldn’t reach the Grandmaster level in the future, only reaching the Master level wouldn’t be too much of a loss either.
He planned to slowly gather a few people to serve his purpose in the future. Medicine King Bird from his original timeline had become the first among these individuals he successfully recruited.
After returning to the past, he was filled with wild ambition. Establishing his own elite team, acquiring an alchemy shop, recruiting a Master Tailor… there were many things he wished to do. Perhaps one day, he would even be able to establish his own guild! He might not interact alongside them all the time but there were other methods to manage the guild as well. By using his knowledge of the game and future events, he could still develop his elite forces from afar.
Many mysterious and wondrous new areas would be released in future patches. Included, of course, would be new dungeons, crafting materials, and other items as well. Furthermore, there would be intense struggles over strongholds and enormous guilds wars beyond the scope of one’s imagination. Even cities, provinces, or entire nations could get involved in these virtual battlefields.
In the previous timeline, countless financial firms across the globe had established their presence within the game. The potential commerce and booming economy within the game left many of these firms watering at their mouths. These major figures were itching to get the biggest slice while dividing up this enormous cake. They opened stores, established guilds, took over cities, and even became the powerful lords reigning over their regions.
Armed with the knowledge of the future, he was absolutely unwilling to be resigned to surviving in the cracks and crevices these numerous figures overlooked. Therefore he required his own power and influence in order to contend against them. He might not have any significant influence at present, but do remember: great oaks grew from the smallest of acorns, and even the tallest skyscrapers were built from the ground up. The foundations to realizing his wild ambitions were already steadily being built.
He withdrew from his daydreaming and began thinking of more immediate matters. No matter what the future held, his most urgent goal at present was still to hurry up and get strong.
He worked hard to recall the locations of the several other chapters from the Book of Order. As he quietly deliberated over the problem of acquiring the other chapters, he also began wondering which ones were attainable at his current level.
However, after a brief moment, he reluctantly decided that it was best to abandon such thoughts. All chapters were protected by a Guardian of Order. Were he to even attempt to retrieve another chapter in the hopes of surviving and succeeding, his actions could only be accurately described as foolishly throwing his life away. A few days ago, prior to his decision in retrieving the Chapter of Courage, he didn’t have much to lose. He didn’t have any valuable equipment on him, and at worst, he’d only drop a level. However, even he didn’t expect himself to succeed in the end as he had only gone in with a try-and-see attitude. Moreover, the reason he succeeded had a lot to do the Chapter of Courage’s location, a closed ravine by the mountainside. They were natural barriers he could cross over and take advantage of, and the ravine itself was a near a town. The other chapters certainly weren’t located in such convenient places. At the same time, he now held the Chapter of Courage on him. If he were to go and retrieve the other chapters and somehow met with an accident, he’d lose that as well. The risks compared to the rewards were simply too high.
From the moment he entered the game to up until now, he had never played with the intention of levelling up at the fastest possible pace. Yet, he still managed to amass quite a few good things: the Ring of Woven Silk, the Featherfall Jewel, the Chapter of Courage, and numerous skills and stat points. These things represented the strength that he had slowly built up for himself and would allow him to walk even further in the future.
What else can I do? Diverting his train of thought, he began to recall of something else. The chapters from the Book of Order might be the sacred objects of those who guarded order. However, for Thieves, there was another item that was heavily coveted, a pair of Legendary-grade boots called Sulgata’s Shadow. If he were to equip a piece of Legendary-grade equipment, he’d imagine his stats would be high enough to frighten others. Unfortunately, in the distant past during the Sulgata War, these boots were damaged and separated into three pieces, which were scattered across the Veridian Empire. Only by retrieving and assembling these three pieces together could this Legendary item be restored to its original form.
One of the pieces of Sulgata’s Shadow was located in an area not far from Calore. The area was an ancient city that became swallowed by marshland.
Sulgata City, though abandoned, survived from the distant Dark Era to the present.
“The Ancient City of Sulgata… Tsk, what a troublesome area,” he muttered to himself. In the previous timeline, he had been to this location before but by that time, the piece had long been taken. Over the course of centuries, the city had transformed into an extremely queer place. The respawn rate and density of the monsters there were high as well, and trying to enter without a team certainly wouldn’t be a simple matter.
However, for a Thief, it wasn’t necessarily an impossible feat. Perhaps he would be able to secretly enter.
Legendary-grade equipment were truly too difficult to collect. Simply having an opportunity to retrieve Sulgata’s Shadow, if only a part of it, was an extremely valuable thing, and he wasn’t willing to let it slip by. Since after some time, he couldn’t say for sure that there wasn’t already a guild preparing to storm the city.
I should give it a try. Who knows? I might actually succeed in collecting all the pieces.
Before departure, he purchased a few consumables that he deemed necessary for this trip before leaving through Calore’s west gates and teleporting to the surface. After reaching solid ground, he travelled to his destination, passed through a patch of wilderness where the warm sunlight shone down on the abundant vegetation which blanketed everything in green.
Passing the wilderness, he encountered an open plain. After walking through this plain for around ten minutes, he turned around and gazed east, looking off to the horizon. There, he could see Calore, with its enormous walls and pearly white buildings, floating high in the azure sky and suspended over the open fields. Above the highest buildings, above the city itself, he saw a ring of light hovering and revolving in the air. Under the refraction of the mid-afternoon sun, the ring shone with a dazzling splendor.
This indestructible, impenetrable city in the sky represented the Veridian Empire’s greatest achievement in architecture.
The Veridian Mages, with all their wisdom and matchless abundance in mana, had controlled powerful magic beyond imagination to prop this imposing city into the sky, where it would stay suspended for past and future generations.