The sound of heavy, turbid breathing travelled between the scattered stacks and entered Nie Yan’s ears. As he carefully went over to investigate, an enormous, scaly body, lying flat on the ground, entered his sight.
It was a Gaia Monitor!
Nie Yan knew he would be encountering this fellow even before arriving at this location.
This five-meter long lizard hidden between the piles of rocks was covered in sharp spikes, making it almost indistinguishable from an ancient dinosaur.
As he looked elsewhere, he spotted a small cave well-hidden among some boulders. If one didn’t observe carefully, it would be rather easy to overlook.
From where he stood, he was unable to see deeper inside the cave.
I’ll need to get past this lizard first… Entering the cave without alerting the Gaia Monitor wasn’t going to be a simple task.
By habit, Nie Yan inspected the Gaia Monitor with Transcendent Insight.
Gaia Monitor (Elite): Level ??
Although Transcendent Insight failed to gather anything significant due to the level discrepancy, Nie Yan dimly recalled the Gaia Monitor was an Elite monster that was at least level 30. Even the slightest graze from such a high-level monster would undoubtedly mean his death.
Fortunately, this Gaia Monitor wouldn’t stay in this area for too long.
That being the case, Nie Yan patiently waited…
After twenty minutes, the Gaia Monitor finally began to move. It lazily rose to its feet, then stumbled over to a nearby boulder. As it perched itself at the top, its massive tail smashed into another boulder which happened to be quite close to where Nie Yan was hiding.「Boom!」A large explosion echoed out as the boulder instantly turned to rubble, sending debris flying in every direction.
「Pa! Pa! Pa!」Unfortunately, several of the fragments struck Nie Yan as well.
−23, −27. −26
Yet he didn’t dare to budge an inch lest the Gaia Monitor discover his presence.
The Gaia Monitor lowered its head and scanned over the mess of rocks and boulders.
Nie Yan felt his heart skip a beat. He remained motionless as he hid behind the cover of the rock pile, praying the Gaia Monitor wouldn’t notice his presence.
Only after what seemed like an eternity did the Gaia Monitor, having not found anything strange, languidly crawl off toward another area.
Once it had moved far enough away, Nie Yan at long last breathed a sigh of relief. Good… it didn’t notice me. At the sight of its silhouette disappearing into the distance, he finally dared to venture out and head for the cave.
After arriving at the cave’s entrance, Nie Yan felt a cold wind blowing from deep within the cave’s cavity. As he went inside, he noticed a slight dampness in the air as well as the walls that were full of deep scratches, presumably left behind by the Gaia Monitor.
This cave was its nest. Every two hours it would leave the area to sunbathe near some distant cliffs for five minutes or so.
With Nie Yan’s current gear and level, even if the Gaia Monitor laid motionless and allowed him to shoot at it with reckless abandon, the damage he dealt would be entirely negated by its base regeneration.
Were it not for the fact that Nie Yan knew the Gaia Monitor would leave its nest for some time, he would have never dared to come to this place.
As Nie Yan gradually explored deeper, the surroundings became increasingly dim until light no longer shined inside the cave. It was pitch black. He wasn’t even able to see his own hands. Thus, he could only rely on his other senses to guide him through his search.
Fortunately, aside from the Gaia Monitor, no other monsters inhabited this cave.
Nie Yan’s time was limited. If the Gaia Monitor caught wind of an unknown scent after returning, it would immediately rush inside the cave to tear the intruder into shreds.
After three minutes of exploring, Nie Yan still hadn’t reached the end, though he discovered a faint glow being emitted from deeper within the cave.
Is that a chest…? Nie Yan couldn’t help but get excited and hastily head towards the source of the glow.
When Nie Yan explored this area in his past life, this chest had long been opened by another player, so he had been unaware of its existence until now. In this life, however, since he was the first player to arrive in this cave, he also became the first to discover this chest. This was quite the pleasant surprise!
As expected, shortly after Nie Yan arrived at the corner of the cave, he found a shimmering silver treasure chest. Full of anticipation, he quickly examined it, and to his relief it wasn’t locked. If it had been a Level 30 locked chest, he would have no hope whatsoever of opening it.
Treasure chests were divided into two categories, normal chests and locked chests. Any player, regardless of profession or level, could open and retrieve the contents of the former. The latter, however, required a skill or key of the corresponding level.
Nie Yan squatted and started opening the chest.
「System: Opening treasure chest… Estimated Completion: 10%… 30%…」
「Click!」The chest was opened. Nie Yan put his hand inside the chest and felt around until he found something, whereupon he took out two items before hastily examining the first one.
|Dark Pendant (Silver)
Requirements: 20 Strength, 30 Dexterity
Properties: Strength +7, Night Vison +3
Weight: 0.1 lb
Nie Yan’s heartbeat sped up a little as he stared at the pendant. It turned out to be an accessory that increased night vision. Not only that, but he was even able to wear it right away! Thanks to his gear being good, he had long met the pendant’s Strength and Dexterity requirements.
The moment he equipped the pendant, Nie Yan’s range of vision increased significantly, so much so that he could even vaguely make out the walls of the cave, but even then, it was still extremely limited. At this stage of the game though, it could already be considered quite good.
Nie Yan then inspected the second item.
|Thunderbolt Blaze (Intermediate Scroll)
Requirements: 30 Intelligence, set of incantation gestures, set of invocation syllables
Description: Deals 200 damage in a 20-meter radius every second for fifteen seconds
Restrictions: Human; Thief, Paladin, Warrior
The second item was a rare intermediate scroll, which was fairly expensive even when the average level of the playerbase was around thirty to forty. Their drop rates were abysmal, not to mention they were one-use only. As such, they came to be categorized as too-good-to-use among the ordinary players. For Nie Yan to find this scroll now was tantamount to finding a priceless treasure. Its usefulness even exceeded the Dark Pendant’s.
The requirement for activating the scroll could be met by switching to gear that increased Intelligence. Then, he could simply switch back to his old gear when he finished using the scroll.
Done with inspecting his newly acquired loot, Nie Yan stored the Thunderbolt Blaze Scroll in his bag then proceeded deeper into the cave.
After walking for several minutes, Nie Yan found another treasure chest, a golden one at that! Unfortunately, the celebrations ended there because it was locked…
A Level 30 gold treasure chest required at least the Intermediate Lockpicking skill to open. So for the time being, Nie Yan had no way of opening it.
Truthfully speaking, Nie Yan was already able to learn Lockpicking when he reached Level 5, but he had not because of the skill’s high demand amongst the playerbase. Even after visiting the auction house several times, he had still been unable to find the skill book for sale, and although it could be farmed, the drop rate was one in ten thousand. Wasting several days for a single skill book just wasn’t worth the effort, so he had no choice but to put off learning Lockpicking for another time.
Nie Yan felt a deep sense of regret as he unwillingly departed the area. After travelling a little further in, he suddenly felt vibrations in the ground. Shit, this isn’t good. The Gaia Monitor is back!
The sound of heavy, lumbering footsteps soon followed, echoing along the cave walls before entering Nie Yan’s ears.
Knowing he couldn’t dally any longer, Nie Yan relied on his limited vision and madly sprinted towards the depths of the cave.
After half a minute, he saw traces of light as the howling of wind blew into the cave. He had finally found the exit!
Nie Yan sped up his pace and soon arrived at the end of the cave where he halted his footsteps. Just ahead was an overhanging precipice. Now standing at the edge, strong winds howled as they blew past his face. The drop down was in excess of several hundred meters.
This mountain looked as if it had been split down the middle with another cliff face straight across from him while a valley lay beneath him at bottom of the rift. As he gazed down, he could see the lush forest growing below.
Nie Yan quickly gauged how far he was from the opposite cliff face. Where the gap was the widest, he would have to cover over a hundred meters to get to the other side. In the narrow regions, however, he would only need to cover a roughly fifty-meter distance.
Fortunately, where he stood now happened to be the closest to the opposite cliff wall.
The only reason he came to this location was for the sake of reaching that cliff wall before him. With his present abilities, if he wanted to reach there, the only method available to him was this!
Nie Yan carefully scanned the opposite cliff wall but didn’t find anything stange.
The vibrations he felt from the Gaia Monitor were progressively becoming stronger, which meant he didn’t have much more time. He needed to act before it arrived.
There’s no point in hesitating any longer. Making it to the other side shouldn’t be a problem anyway… Nie Yan thought. He prepared to make a running leap and backed up approximately ten meters. Before making the jump, he familiarized himself with the surroundings to ensure that he wouldn’t trip.
Though he didn’t have long since a large silhouette was rapidly approaching from behind.
Nie Yan activated a Haste Scroll before breaking into a sprint. He gained more and more momentum as he neared the cliff.
By this time, the Gaia Monitor had finally arrived at the cave exit and lunged forward in pursuit. Even within the confines of the narrow cave tunnel, it was still rather fast. Its roar was akin to claps of thunder as it rushed at the intruder from the rear.
Nie Yan had already reached his fastest speed, the distance between him and the cliff quickly shortening. Five meters… Three meters… One meter… After arriving at the edge of the cliff, he leapt forward and shot into the air like an artillery shell as he flew towards the opposite side.
The strong winds howled past his ears, blowing into his face, but strangely… Nie Yan sensed that something had followed from behind and jumped off the cliff alongside him. Presumably, it was the Gaia Monitor…
Nie Yan began rapidly descending as he flew toward the opposite cliff face.
If such motion were expressed in a mathematical model, it would be a graph of horizontal projectile motion with air resistance. Nie Yan would continuously near the opposite cliff in this motion until he crashed into the opposite cliff or fell to his death.
After falling about a hundred meters, Nie Yan was quite close to the cliff wall. Without a moment’s hesitation, he activated the Featherfall Jewel’s ability and gradually slowed his descent until he was floating just like a feather.
As he attempted to find a place to land, Nie Yan quickly scanned over the cliff and spotted a cluster of vines near a cave about ten meters away. Over there!
Nie Yan shot a web line from his Silk Spinner Ring at the cluster and firmly stuck to it.
Now suspended over the cliff wall, Nie Yan slowly pulled himself up. His right hand grasped onto the vines, and he was left half dangling in the air.
「System: You’ve discovered Raindel」
Nie Yan had arrived in Raindel, a towering mountain peak. High and steep rock walls surrounded him. As he looked up at the peak of the mountain, he recalled certain legends that said that Temple of Raindel was located above, though he had never went there himself.
After being used, the Silk Spinner Ring’s ability went on cooldown.
Nie Yan estimated the distance between himself and the cave. It was roughly five meters away. He only needed to wait for the Silk Spinner Ring’s ability to come off cooldown, then he would be able to get over there.
In his past life, when Nie Yan heard someone had arrived here using only the Silk Spinner Ring and Featherfall Jewel, he thought it was inconceivable. However, now, after experiencing it firsthand, it really wasn’t all that far-fetched.
Twenty seconds later, the Silk Spinner Ring’s ability finally came off cooldown.
Nie Yan shot out another web line, whereupon it stuck onto a shrub near the cave’s entrance. He pulled on it to make sure the line was secure, then grabbed hold and began climbing upward. Once one of his hands grabbed onto the ledge of the cave, he swung his leg upward and rolled inside.
After entering, Nie Yan discovered there was molten lava flowing within. Although the cave was small, it still contained its own little world. Numerous stalactites hung down from the cave’s ceiling, forming a unique landscape.
Scorching hot gases bubbled from the depths of the mountain. According to the information from his past life, there was a Level 60 Elite Fire Elemental sleeping at its core. If Nie Yan were to enter the area, he would inevitably disturb it, though his goal for coming here was anything but that. After all, he had better things to do than throwing his life way.