「How’s it going? Are your runs going smoothly?」
「Sigh… Please don’t remind me. We wiped on the first run. Dealing with the Werewolves’ poison is just too difficult without Black Phenol. We barely made any progress… That aside, the equipment drops are pretty decent. Not only does the boss have a chance to drop Dark Gold equipment, even the common mobs have a chance of dropping Gold equipment. Why? Are you interested in joining?」Sleepy Fox didn’t miss a beat and made use of this opportunity to try and recruit Nie Yan.
「Nah, not really, but I do happen to have some Black Phenol on me. I’m wondering if you’re interested?」
「Black Phenol? How much do you have?」 Sleepy Fox asked. He couldn’t help but get excited. Was Nie Yan unaware of just how many players were madly scouring for Black Phenol right now?
「Thirty bottles, one recipe, and sixty raw materials. Give me an offer,」Nie Yan replied.
「S-so much?」Sleepy Fox sucked in a breath of cold air. He thought Nie Yan would have ten bottles to offer at most, but thirty? It would be more than enough for them to not have to worry about their supply of Black Phenol, even if only for a short while.
「Hmm? Too much for you?」
「N-no! Definitely not too much!」 Sleepy Fox hastily replied. He felt he’d really be shooting himself in the foot if he allowed Nie Yan to sell these items to someone else.「Brother Nie… I, Sleepy Fox, will definitely remember this favour. If anything comes up in the future, don’t hesitate to let me know!」
To Sleepy Fox, it was almost inconceivable how Nie Yan had managed to get his hands on so many, especially when there was such fierce competition over a low supply. Just what wasn’t this person capable of?
「Then let’s get straight to the point. What’s your offer?」Nie Yan said.
「Thirty silver,」Sleepy Fox answered, his tone slightly embarrassed. Although his offer was already a little higher than the current market price, who knew just how high the prices would rise over the course of the next few days? Though, in truth, thirty silvers was his absolute limit. The daily costs of maintaining a guild weren’t cheap. Thus, he couldn’t afford to spend too much money. Holy Empire might be a large guild, but it didn’t have much in the way of expendable income.
「Hmm… how about this? I need a few items, but I’m too lazy to go looking for them myself. How about you have some of your subordinates collect them for me? I’m looking for the skill books for two active skills, Backstab and Eviscerate, and five passive skills, Power of the Barbarian, Primal Strength, Strength Amplification, Strength of the Restless, and Power of the Warlock. If you find these for me, you won’t need to pay money for the Black Phenol.」The value of these skills books roughly covered the costs of the Black Phenol along with its recipe and materials. As for how much exactly, he couldn’t be bothered to calculate.
「The first two should be simple, but why do you need so many Strength boosting skill books?」Sleepy Fox asked in bewilderment.
「Sorry, that’s a secret.」
「Alright… It’s going to be a little difficult, but it’s doable. After all, they’re still relatively common skill books,」Sleepy Fox said. The passive skills Nie Yan was looking for were decent—capable of permanently increasing one’s strength as long as they were equipped. However, they couldn’t be improved, took up a skill slot, and were quite expensive, so few players found them worthwhile.
「That’s fine, so I guess it’s a deal then. I’ll mail you the items.」
「Alright, I’ll send over thirty silver first as collateral. You can return the money to me when I collect the skill books,」Sleepy Fox said after thinking for a moment.
「That’s fine too,」Nie Yan replied. He placed the items into the mailbox beside the transfer point and wrote Sleepy Fox as the recipient.
「System: Blade Dancer has deposited 30 silver into your storage.」
「I’ve sent the money over,」Sleepy Fox said.
「Yeah, I just received it. I’m a little busy, so let’s talk some other time.」
Shortly after hanging up the call, Nie Yan put on the black garbs, concealing his entire appearance, and then stepped into the transfer point.
「System: Confirm your destination. Transfer to Plague Canyon, Tasoyi village? Cost: 2 silver」
Since the location of the town was so remote, the transfer fee ended up being a total of two silver.
The scenery shifted and, by the time Nie Yan opened his eyes, he was no longer surrounded by the towering walls of Calore, but rather, a plethora of dense thickets and plant life. However, this place was more than just forest, it was actually a town. Numerous houses had been built into the trunks of trees in the area, many of them looking weathered and shabby, the result of enduring the elements for countless decades.
After stepping out of the transfer point, a man in worn, ash-gray robes who was carrying an archaic staff brushed past Nie Yan. He could be best described as haggard and approaching old age. From the indistinct patterns inscribed into his robes, Nie Yan could tell this aged fellow was an NPC Arcane Mage.
The old man shot Nie Yan an unfriendly glance and began radiating a strange arcane aura. Nie Yan hastily bowed his head and made his way forward.
Tasoyi was an odd little village. Translated from the Ancient Common language, its name meant unfriendly sins. According to the legend surrounding the village, God condemned the residents of the town to eternal sickness by spreading a plague. Moreover, the NPCs here were not only unwelcoming to strangers, but were also notorious for being incredibly difficult to interact with. It was to the point where even a single word greeting from a player to an NPC would incite such an outrage in the village that the player would be lucky to get off with just being expelled, lest they be attacked.
Though he looked so unremarkable and frail that even a gentle breeze could knock him over, this old man was really a Level 30 Elite NPC. In fact, no resident of this town was below Level 30.
Therefore, from Nie Yan’s perspective as a mere Level 7, this town was an extremely dangerous place.
Nie Yan knew it was imperative that he protect himself in such a perilous location.
As he walked through the village, Nie Yan encountered various NPCs with unique appearances. He kept his head low, appearance hidden behind black garbs, and hurriedly walked past them. When he arrived at the village entrance, he raised his head to look at a quaint cabin built atop a nearby tree.
In his past life, many players liked shopping at that place since it sold many useful goods. However, with his current financial capital, Nie Yan still lacked the qualifications to frequent this location.
Without uttering a word, Nie Yan silently exited the village. He followed along the winding and twisting path and headed into depths of the forest.
「System: You’ve discovered Plague Forest.」
Dull, decaying trees dotted Plague Forest. Here, neither greeny nor life could be seen in the dreary forest. The oppressive atmosphere here, combined with the dense plant growth, would easily leave players claustrophobic.
The inhabitants of this forest were all extremely dangerous, each and every one of them exceeding Level 30. To Nie Yan, at his current level, they were unparalleled existences.
Nie Yan stealthily advanced through the forest. The trees here hid the sky and covered the earth. Few rays of light pierced through the gaps between the forest canopy, and the ones that did only left behind mottled reflections on the forest floor.
The lighting was dim, and the stale atmosphere was stifling.
Upon arriving in this forest, Nie Yan’s mind became extremely focused. When he heard the slightest of rustles, he raised his head and looked at an area between two trees off in the distance.
Spread across several large trees was a giant spiderweb. There, a giant blood-red spider was sprawled on top of it, quietly lying in ambush while awaiting its next meal.
That was the Level 30 Leader-class monster, Tempered Blood Spider!
Even the faintest sounds would alert these highly sensitive spiders to the presence of nearby prey. Nie Yan quietly departed the area and ducked into the maze of trees.
After several more detours around other dangerous monsters, Nie Yan eventually came across an area littered with towering stacks of stone and boulders, almost as if it was a forest itself. Under the erosion of wind and rain, these stones had become extremely smooth and round.
It’s over there… Nie Yan became even more cautious as he neared his destination. He passed through the dense underbrush, neared one of the stone stacks, and then hid behind it for cover.