Although Nie Yan’s knowledge of the game far exceeded that of any other player in the present, even a glutton wouldn’t be able to consume a large meal in one bite. He needed to gather the best equipment, piece by piece, and gradually grow his personal strength. Only then would he be able to widen the gap between himself and other players.
Therefore, these several chapters from the Book of Order were an absolute necessity to accomplish his plans!
The vast region of barren land he had arrived in was encircled by a barrier, deeming it a safe zone in Hems. To reach the area populated by monsters, he would still have to walk quite a distance.
For his plan he could only rely on his intuition and vague memory of the surrounding landmarks to guide him in the proper direction. After he ventured past the first layer of the barrier, a giant silhouette appeared in his vision near the horizon as it lumbered around the expanse that was Hems Wasteland.
Hems was home to several types of monsters, and Skeleton Kodos were one of them. They were the remnant spirits of war mounts that had fallen in battle. Reanimated as undead, they wandered these wastelands eternally.
Over three hundred Skeleton Kodos dotted the entire region of Hems. Even if all of them were put to rest, they would simply respawn the next day. These Skeleton Kodos were relatively slow to respawn, but their drops were excellent. If the player was lucky, they might even be able to obtain a Skeleton Kodo Saddle.
When the game developers eventually announced the whereabouts of the Chapter of Freedom, countless teams and guilds had rushed to Hems Wasteland in a bid to be the first to retrieve it. With the sudden influx of players, it became difficult to fight a monster without having the drops stolen. As a result, deaths due to fighting over a single monster were rather frequent.
Nie Yan activated Stealth before gradually making his way toward the Skeleton Kodo, and after drawing close enough, inspected it with Transcendent Insight.
Skeleton Kodo (Leader): Level 23
A Leader-class Skeleton Kodo… at his current level, provoking it would undoubtedly be an unwise decision. Although Undead Rite had a probability of controlling an undead monster, if the skill failed, he would draw the aggro of the targeted monster. It was especially dangerous because these Skeleton Kodos were quite fast when they wanted to be. In addition to the disparity in level, there was no way he would be able to escape.
He needed to formulate a plan if he wanted to take control of a Skeleton Kodo, and the first step would be finding a suitable meat shield.
If I recall correctly, there should be some lower level undead to the east. I’ll head there first before deciding what to do.
Nie Yan slowly retreated from the area. Only after leaving the Skeleton Kodo’s field of vision did he dare to break his stealth and sprint off towards the east.
About three minutes later, he spotted a few lower level undead. They wielded rusty battle axes and wooden shields as they aimlessly wandered around the barren field.
Skeleton Soldier: Level 15
Although Concussive Blow might not be effective against these Skeleton Soldiers, with his current stats, he would still be able to handle them with ease.
He activated Stealth, approached one of the Skeleton Soldiers from the rear, and then opened with Assassinate.
A damage value appeared above the Skeleton Soldier’s head before slowly drifting up and fading away.
Wielding Blood Pact +7 and Assassin’s Decree +2, Nie Yan’s damage saw significant improvements. Even though he was six levels lower than the Skeleton Soldier, he was still able to easily penetrate through its defenses.
Upon being struck, the Skeleton Soldier turned around while simultaneously cleaving at its aggressor with the ancient battle axe in its left hand.
Nie Yan sidestepped to avoid the attack and countered with a slash followed by a stab.
He quickly depleted the Skeleton Soldier’s life until about sixty health remained, whereupon he disengaged from the melee.
「System: Undead Rite has failed!」
As the Skeleton Soldier charged toward him, he activated Swift Retreat and continued to pull back.
「System: Undead Rite has failed!」
With only forty percent of his health remaining, he cast Undead Rite once more but failed on the third attempt as well. No longer having the health to cast this skill again, he dashed back into melee range and felled the Skeleton Soldier with one final blow.
He received seven hundred experience for his efforts as the Skeleton Soldier collapsed into a pile of dust. Afterward, he found a safe area to sit down and replenish his health by eating Barley Bread. When he was fully recovered, he stood up and began to seek out his next target.
Nie Yan repeated these actions until eventually, while fighting the third Skeleton Soldier, the crisp sound of the system prompt echoed after he had cast Undead Rite.
Finally… I succeeded! Nie Yan examined his new undead servant. Just like with Dark Gladiator in the Ancient City of Sulgata, the Skeleton Soldier’s appearance transformed into a shade of deep, metallic black. Of course, he was now also able to control its actions and movements!
「System: Set a name for your new servant.」
Without putting much thought into it, he named it Soldier #1.
Having obtained his first Skeleton Soldier, the following ones would become much easier. After all, by making Soldier #1 act as a meat shield, he was able to safely cast Undead Rite from the rear. Then, if he still failed to control the undead after three attempts, he would simply order Soldier #1 to finish it off before moving on to the next target.
Finally, he managed to successfully take control of three more Skeleton Soldiers, which he respectively named Soldier #2, Soldier #3, and Soldier #4. After growing accustomed to their movements by having them kill some of the mobs in the area, he began to lead them back to the area inhabited by the Skeleton Kodos.
Several minutes later, he could see a Skeleton Kodo in the distance. In comparison to it, his Skeleton Soldiers seemed tiny and pathetically frail.
After thinking for a moment, Nie Yan ordered Soldier #2 to approach the Kodo. Its sole purpose was to simply play the role of bait.
Upon discovering an unfamiliar undead encroaching on its territory, the Kodo let out a deep, muffled roar and began pawing the ground with its forefeet while puffing out breaths of hot air.
The literally brainless Soldier #2 had no concept of fear and gradually closed in on its target. In the meantime, Nie Yan entered stealth and slowly circled behind the Kodo.
Once in position, he ordered Soldier #2 to charge toward it.
「Bang!」Soldier #2 rushed up and struck the Kodo with its battle axe.
With a furious roar, it puffed more breaths of hot air before striking the Skeleton Soldier with the sharp horn on its head.
A terrifyingly high damage value appeared above the Skeleton Soldier’s head before slowly drifting up and fading away.
Nie Yan was alarmed. The Skeleton Kodo’s attack was far too frightening. His Skeleton Soldiers would only be able to take three hits each at most!
He neared the Kodo and cast Undead Rite, whereupon a queer energy struck the creature, halting its movements. However, an instant later, the Kodo rammed into the Skeleton Soldier once more and sent it flying back.
「System: Undead Rite has failed!」
Seeing Undead Rite fail, Nie Yan didn’t dare to stick around any longer. He activated Swift Retreat and hastily fled from the Kodo’s line of sight while it was still preoccupied with the Skeleton Soldier.
Soldier #2 soon returned to the earth as it was beaten senseless like a ragdoll under the relentless assault of the Kodo.
He waited for Undead Rite to come off cooldown before making his second attempt by sending Soldier #3 toward the Kodo.
Following the death of Soldier #4, he still wasn’t able to successfully control the Skeleton Kodo. For lack of a better option, he brought Soldier #1 with him as he once more headed to the east. There, he would gather another four Skeleton Soldiers before returning.
So long as he kept at least one Skeleton Soldier alive, recruiting more with Undead Rite wouldn’t be too difficult. Nonetheless, doing it this way was still a huge waste of time. And so, after countless attempts, all of which resulted in failure, a full day had passed.
Once the servers shut down, Nie Yan took off his game helmet.
Although he had some free time on his hands before the servers reopened, Tang Yao had been dragged out by his father to do hard labour and the rest of his good friends from school were all in other parts of the country. Besides, his hometown was indeed a damnable place, definitely not somewhere a person would want to live. The environment wasn’t good, and the public security was a mess. If anyone had a little money, they’d definitely buy a house somewhere else and move out.
Thus, Nie Yan stayed home all day exercising and studying. Such a routine was also pretty satisfying. At certain times during the day he would think of his father and mother. He was also looking forward to starting his final year of high school, which was just around the corner.
Like this, the day quickly passed and 5:00 pm soon arrived. He placed the game helmet back on his head and continued off where he had stopped on the previous day.
After an hour or so, he eventually gathered another party of Skeleton Soldiers and set off towards the Skeleton Kodos again. Getting just one of those Skeleton Kodos under his control was extremely crucial to the success of his plan.
「Nie Yan, how are things on your side? Did you get what you needed to do done?」Tang Yao messaged.
「No, not yet. I encountered some trouble.」
「Ah… Anyway, when you get back, send me a message. Also, try and guess what I just found? Hehe…」Tang Yao giggled mischievously, almost unable to hold back his excitement.
「What? What did you get?」
「An Arcane Soul Crystal…」
「Really, what rank!?」Nie Yan asked in surprise. He even managed to pick up an Arcane Soul Crystal? First the Meteor spell and now this, just how lucky can he get? Very few items were capable of holding his attention this early in the game. The only ones he cared for were the chapters from the Book of Order, the Featherfall Jewel, the Silk Spinner Ring, the Crawler Ring, and Sulgata’s Shadow. As for an Arcane Soul Crystal, it was a top quality item for Arcane Mages and not an ordinary one at that!
They existed in the form of a crystal and only dropped from Arcane Fairy monsters. However, the chances of this item dropping was frighteningly low. Though, on the off chance an Arcane Mage obtained one, they could use it as a catalyst to beckon an Arcane Fairy to their side. The fairy was the same as a summon. Its health was proportionate to the summoner’s, its defenses were slightly lower, and it was incapable of attacking. Another downside was that the crystal was a one-time use item, and if the summon died, it would be gone forever. Even then, these fairies were still extremely useful since they were able to significantly improve an Arcane Mage’s mana recovery rate and shorten both cooldowns and cast times. Naturally, the higher rank the Arcane Fairy, the more valuable it was.
An Arcane Fairy was a great boon to any Arcane Mage lucky enough to obtain it. In the future, numerous top class Arcane Mages would compare their fairies to see who was better. Having an Arcane Fairy following by one’s side was certainly a matter to be proud of. Attributing to the fact that these fairies would disappear forever once they were killed, they became even more valued by Arcane Mages.
「It’s rank one. You know what it’s used for?」Tang Yao asked in a surprised manner.
「I found some information about it in the library,」Nie Yan replied.
「Ah, I see. It seems I should pay a visit to the library to check as well.」
「Be careful, once you summon the fairy, don’t let it die. If you can raise it to rank three, it’ll become even more valuable. If you can get it to rank five, then it’ll be priceless,」Nie Yan cautioned. Higher ranked Arcane Fairies would give Arcane Mages better bonuses. However, since they were so fragile, very few players were able to raise their fairies to rank three, let alone rank five. He had only ever seen a rank five Arcane Fairy once during his ten years of playing the game. At that time, he was killing monsters in the wilderness when he ran into a Level 135 Great Arcanist. The two of them got into a scuffle, and even though he was a level 165 Great Thief, he ended up being beaten like a dog, narrowly escaping with his tail tucked between his legs. Foolishly, he had underestimated the abilities of an Arcane Mage with a rank five Arcane Fairy as he had thought that the level discrepancy would pull the fight in his favour. That Great Arcanist was basically a machine gun that fired magic as he recklessly shot spells everywhere, seemingly losing no mana in the process. It was simply too terrifying.
「Just don’t end up getting killed. Wait for me to finish things on my side, then I’ll help you raise your Arcane Fairy’s rank,」Nie Yan said. If they had a rank two Arcane Fairy, levelling would become much easier.
「No problem! Hurry up already!」Tang Yao broke into a fit of excitement after hearing Nie Yan’s words and couldn’t help but become a little impatient.