Nie Yan fled the battle but he didn’t immediately leave the area. Instead, he took a detour and circled round the perimeter before stopping to scan his surroundings. Eventually, he spotted a slope not too far in the distance. He dashed toward the slope and promptly arrived at its peak, whereupon he looked over in the direction of Eternal Sin and his team. Despite the somewhat low visibility, the light show of magic and clamor signalled that the battle was still ongoing and quite fierce.
At first, for the sake of preserving his life, he only planned to borrow their hand in killing the Serpentine Lizard and nothing else. However, since they tried to kill him, he wouldn’t sit by idly and let them enjoy their meal in peace.
No, the temptation of obtaining the equipment dropped by a Level 7 Sub-Elite couldn’t be abandoned so easily.
Thus, Candy and the others were unaware that Nie Yan hadn’t actually fully retreated but was instead spying on them from atop a slope.
After believing they had finally driven that hateful Thief away, Eternal Sin and his team inwardly breathed a sigh of relief. Just a moment ago, he was in quite a panic due to being rooted by the quagmire. If anything had happened to the Priest in the rear, he would’ve been a goner as well. Luckily, Candy discovered that Thief before it was too late and helped them avert a disaster that could’ve wiped the team.
「Good work! You all did well,」Eternal Sin praised in the team chat.
「We were just lucky. That guy isn’t so easy to deal with. We need to be careful if we ever encounter him in the future,」Candy replied, ending the celebrations early.
Eternal Sin assumed that with her skills, the other side wouldn’t be able to gain the slightest advantage over her, but it was clear that assumption was wrong. That Thief was quite astonishing.
After forcing Nie Yan away, killing the Serpentine Lizard became much more relaxed.
「Bang! Bang! Bang!」The Serpentine Lizard was bombarded by several spells. Its body was charred and bloody, and many of its scales had been split open. The barrage shaved a hundred and sixty points off its health and left it at death’s door; it simply lacked that one final nudge. Yet even in its death throes, the lizard did not give up and revealed its final card. It suddenly spat out a peculiar mist which, unlike the previous times, was far denser and pitch-black in colour. It rapidly expanded and encompassed everything within a twenty-meter radius, completely obscuring everyone’s vision.
Su Yan (White Smoke) and the other Mages had hastily retreated when the mist began to expand. While Eternal Sin, who was at the epicenter of the skill, missed his attack and saw the shadow of the lizard bolt away.
The sudden change took him by surprise, causing him to be dazed for a brief moment before realizing what was going on.
「Over there! It’s trying to escape!」Eternal Sin roared.
This was the first time they had come across a Sub-Elite that ran away when at low health. However, it didn’t mean they had never heard of them. Several Elite-class field bosses would also use a skill to try and flee after falling below a certain health.
「Where?」asked one of the Mages.
Under the cover of the mist, their vision was completely blocked and it was impossible for them to find their target.
Su Yan suddenly saw a shadow flash past some bushes. She raised her staff and prepared to cast a spell. Just as she spoke the first syllable to the incantation…
「System: Target is outside of spell range.」
She helplessly cancelled the incantation.
By the time the mist dissipated, any traces of the Serpentine Lizard would have long disappeared!
「It escaped…」Su Yan lowered her staff.
「In which direction?」Eternal Sin asked. They had poured enormous amounts of effort into getting the Serpentine Lizard’s health bar to barely a sliver of health. If it escaped just like that, wouldn’t that mean all their hard work had gone to waste?
At an earlier point in time.
As Nie Yan silently observed the battle from the slope, a black mist emerged and covered his view, causing his heart to jump in excitement. It’s about to make a break for it! Just as he expected, from within the mist, he saw a shadow escaping towards the southeast.
The reason he didn’t entirely leave the area was because he had known the Serpentine Lizard would try and escape. So, he camped out atop this slope in order to cut off its escape.
The low-health Serpentine Lizard wouldn’t be able to run too far, around eight hundred meters at most. He planned to kill it before Eternal Sin and his team arrived and snatch the dropped items for himself.
He pondered for a moment, calculating the most optimal route, then bolted down the slope towards the nearest path and rushed to intercept the Serpentine Lizard.
There was an old line from a poem: “Making a beautiful dress only to give to others.” The line held a deeper meaning. It referred to others who, despite working hard and toiling for hours, gained no benefits and had instead given it to others. This would be an accurate portrayal of Eternal Sin and his team.
Nie Yan activated a Basic Haste Scroll and ran like the wind as he traversed the marsh.
The marsh was full of wandering Marsh Monitors. Therefore, he inevitably ran past quite a few of them, who would aggro onto him and chase. Though in the end, he was too fast for them and quickly broke away. After a while, they would de-aggro and resume roaming around.
After travelling for a while, he heard explosions in the distance and wrinkled his brows. There are others in this area?
As he drew closer, the figures of another group of players entered his sights. There were six of them in total, and they appeared to be training in the marsh.
However, he didn’t slow down and soon entered their sights. Seeing him approach, the group eyed him suspiciously.
「It’s a Thief! Everyone, be careful.」
All six players raised their guards.
「He’s probably just passing by.」the leader of the group said. If this Thief really wanted to ambush them, he wouldn’t have emerged in front of them and exposed himself in plain sight.
「I think he’s just aggroing monsters for his team.」
These six players remained prudent and didn’t take the initiative to intercept him. If by chance, this Thief belonged to a team and they barred his way, it would bring them unnecessary trouble.
Nie Yan had more important fish to fry, so he didn’t want to get in a tangle with these players unnecessarily. Plus, they didn’t pose much of a threat. He ran past them and disappeared within the thickets.
Those six players were astonished by his speed as he dashed past them. He had closed the distance between them in almost an instant.
「What kind of speed is that?」
That Thief was simply too fast. Even if they had tried to intercept him, not only would they likely fail to stop him, they would have probably ended up worse for wear as well. These six players felt like they dodged a bullet.
“Forget it, let’s go back to levelling.”
“Hey Yi Wang (Forgotten), do you have any more health potions? I ran out. Share some with me.”
The Thief’s unexpected appearance was just a minor incident for them, so they quickly went back to training.
As Nie Yan travelled further through the marsh, he finally began finding traces of the Serpentine Lizard.
Finally found you. So I just need to keep going this way! He accelerated his pace. There were too many players in this area, and he didn’t want the Serpentine Lizard falling into another person’s hands.
After running several dozen meters, he caught sight of the Serpentine Lizard resting behind some bushes.
Likewise, the Serpentine Lizard noticed him as well. Its scarlet tongue flickered in, hissing as it watched him attentively. Like a lamp that had spent the last of its oil, there was no more strength left in its body. The final sprint had put it in a weakened state. By now, it no longer had the ability to flee.
Nie Yan retrieved his crossbow, took aim, and fired.「Whoosh! Whoosh! Whoosh!」Three bolts went flying through the air.
The Serpentine Lizard let out a mournful cry as it writhed in pain.
Nie Yan put away the crossbow, retrieved his daggers, then dashed toward it and dealt the final blow.
A bright red damage value rose above the lizard’s head. It struggled briefly before going limp and collapsing on the ground.
“I saw it running over this way!”
“Look, I see its footprints on the ground!”
The several voices belonged to Eternal Sin and his teammates. However, they had arrived too late. Nie Yan stooped down to the ground and picked up the item that dropped from the Serpentine Lizard’s corpse. Hmmm… It’s a skill book.
After passing through some thickets, Eternal Sin and his team finally arrived and almost immediately noticed his presence.
“It’s that Thief!”
A spell came flying straight towards him.
Goodbye~ He faintly smiled and gazed at Eternal Sin, Candy, and the others before bounding over the shrubbery and disappearing from their sight.
Eternal Sin and his team anxiously went in pursuit but by the time they arrived at the lizard’s corpse, all signs of Nie Yan had long disappeared. They turned to look at each other and saw the similarly dismayed expression in their teammate’s eyes.
It took them an enormous amount of effort to get the Serpentine Lizard to low health. Yet somehow, it still ended up in that Thief’s hands. Could it be that he had never left the area and was waiting for another opportunity to appear the whole time? If that was the case, he must have possessed a terrifying level of patience.