Abraham’s Tomb was almost within reach, yet there was a near-insurmountable barrier in his path.
An endless sea of skeletons stood between Nie Yan and the entrance; there were simply too many.
With Transcendent Insight, he inspected one of the skeletons among the crowd.
Skeleton Warrior: Level 13
In the previous timeline, the owner of the Chapter of Freedom was a Thief named Quiet Life. He was the Representative Thief of the Victorious Return guild and one of few players worthy of the title Shadow Dancer. He would earn significant achievements in guild wars, stronghold sieges, and town sieges, killing at least a hundred enemies in every battle, most of which were cloth-armoured professions such as Magi and Divine Priests. Not only that, but he was quite elusive as well, possessing many life-saving skills that enabled him to escape unscathed, despite being completely surrounded, on several occasions.
Shadow Dancer, an honour that all Thieves sought after! Just because someone was high levelled didn’t necessarily mean they would obtain this title. In order to advance to one, they were required to go through an incredibly difficult profession advancement quest that pushed their abilities as a Thief to the limit, and upon passing it, they would receive greatly increased stats and skill rewards.
A Thief that achieved Shadow Dancer was an extremely terrifying existence. They were able to emerge in unpredictable places as they hid among the shadows. Once they took action, it was almost guaranteed to be a certain kill. Although they were unable to do much against their equally powerful Warrior and Paladin counterparts, the other side was helpless in pinning them down as well.
The best counter to a Shadow Dancer was a Priest’s Marking Sigil or a Paladin’s Divine Eye. Moreover, Magi with high awareness also had a fifty-fifty chance of beating a Shadow Dancer in a duel. Interestingly, they were only able to maintain such a victory rate for none other than the fact that they possessed a ludicrous levelling speed. Often times, when a Magus encountered a Shadow Dancer, the former would hold a level advantage of ten or higher.
Although there was nothing to criticize about Quiet Life’s ability, the Chapter of Freedom’s contribution could not go ignored when discussing his advancement to Shadow Dancer.
Victorious Return… Nie Yan let out a deep sigh. The sea of enmity he felt towards them was certainly not shallow, and it only increased after they were bought by Cao Xu and subsequently became one of the five major guilds under his control. Those five guilds were Victorious Return, Radiant Sacred Flame, Alliance of Mages, Divine Protectors, and Bloodlust Blades. Each one held so much power that, upon joining forces, they would become unchallenged in the entire server. In the end, no one came even close to toppling his sovereign-like position in the game. In fact, many guilds were barely able to sustain themselves under Cao Xu’s oppression.
Rumours told that the guild leader of Victorious Return and Cao Xu were actually business partners in real life, which meant they would certainly form an alliance in the end. As such, if there was an opportunity to weaken Victorious Return, Nie Yan wouldn’t let that chance slip by. Regardless of whether they were going to be purchased by Cao Xu and his overbearing wealth, he would never let down his guard.
He gradually grew more determined as he stared at the vast sea of skeletons up ahead.
I won’t allow anyone to stop me on my path to becoming powerful!
He glanced at the Skeleton Kodos beside him. His reasoning for taking control of them was so that they could open up a path for him towards the tomb’s entrance. Afterwards, their mission would be complete.
As for the interior of the tomb, long after Victorious Return had removed the Chapter of Freedom, Nie Yan had explored and levelled in this place before. So, he had a general impression of its internal structure. As long as he got inside, he would be able to recall these memories.
Nie Yan ordered his minions to clear a path as he headed toward the tomb. The Kodos protected his front and both flanks while the Skeleton Fighters protected his rear.
The three Kodos spearheaded the sea of skeletons, pushing aside everything in their path which knocked many Skeleton Warriors away.
Many of the Skeleton Warriors began attacking the Kodos as damage values rose up above their heads.
−12, −12, −12…
As soon as he set foot on this graveyard, it was as if a single rock had set off a wave thousands of stories high. Like a swelling tide, upon sensing the breath of the living, these Skeleton Warriors frantically surged toward him and barred his way forward.
The Kodos pressed on while clearing the path ahead, losing a large chunk of health each time they moved forward. If it weren’t for their astonishing health recovery rate, they would have collapsed a long time ago.
At the current pace, however, these Kodos would die long before reaching the tomb’s entrance.
This somewhat deviated from his predictions. He had to somehow increase their speed!
Otherwise, he would sink into a sea of skeletons and undoubtedly meet his demise.
Nie Yan ordered the Kodos to speed up. However, this allowed a Skeleton Warrior to squeeze through their defensive formation. Brandishing the longsword in its hands, the Skeleton Warrior slashed towards him.
He sidestepped the attack and countered with Vital Strike followed by a reverse-grip slash, striking the Skeleton Warrior in the back.
The Skeleton Warrior that had slipped through didn’t have much health remaining in the first place, so with his high damage, Nie Yan was able to finish it off in only two attacks.
In this fashion, the Kodos accelerated while he dealt with the skeletons that slipped through the formation.
When he was no more than twenty meters from the entrance, the Skeleton Fighters protecting his rear collapsed. Although relatively few Skeleton Warriors attacked from the rear, their frail defenses were unable to endure the constant assault.
The horde of skeletons unceasingly swelled and surged towards them like the raging waves of the sea while Nie Yan and his Kodos were like a reef within. They were battered relentlessly, in danger of being engulfed at any time. And yet, when the swells receded, they still remained resolute, towering like monoliths over the surrounding sea of skeletons.
He glanced at the health bars of his Kodos. The highest one had eight hundred remaining while the lowest only had three hundred.
Having received Nie Yan’s command, the Kodos fiercely charged into the mob of skeletons, sending Skeleton Warriors flying in every direction.
Numerous Skeleton Warriors fell beneath his feet, meaning many items had dropped as well, but he had only bothered to bend down and pick up one or two that he felt were fairly valuable. As for money and ordinary items, he absolutely wouldn’t care about them, nor would he dare to retrieve them.
After all, the longer he dallied in place, the higher the likelihood of his death.
Amidst the intense assault, Nie Yan was now only eight meters from the entrance. With his destination being almost within reach, his heart began to race.
Eventually, one of the Kodos’ health bars was close to being depleted as numerous cracks began appearing and spreading on its skeletal frame.「Thud!」The Kodo finally died, and as its bones fell to the ground, it buried four Skeleton Warriors along with it.
One of his Kodos had died!
Nie Yan was greatly alarmed as only two Kodos remained; not only that, but they didn’t have much health left either!
He felt an impending sense of doom. If all of his Kodos died, he would lose his final screen of protection. The moment he was engulfed by the sea of skeletons, let alone a complete corpse, not even his bones would remain!
With one less companion, the two Kodos that were already barely holding on were put under even more pressure. Furthermore, the gap left Nie Yan with no other choice but to step up and deal with the wave of Skeleton Warriors surging toward him.
As soon as he killed a Skeleton Warrior with Assassinate, two more emerged and charged at him.
He dodged the first Skeleton Warrior’s attack but was unable to evade the second’s as it slashed his chest.
In the next moment, five more Skeleton Warriors poured in from the gap and began surrounding him.
There were simply too many skeletons. As he was gradually overwhelmed, his health constantly fell lower and lower. 65%… 37%… Upon falling below fifteen percent, he hastily drank a Health Potion and applied a Combat Bandage.
+20, +20, +20
As he fended off the assault, he shot a glance in the direction of the tomb’s entrance. The ruined building stood three meters high. After centuries of erosion by wind and sand, its walls were covered in cracks. In fact, it seemed like it could collapse at any time. The inside of the tomb was hidden in darkness, but he was still able to vaguely make out a flight of stairs leading below where the darkness, as if it were a man-eating beast, awaited its prey with an open maw.
With what little remained of their health, Nie Yan and the two Kodos pressed on. After another three meters, the second Kodo ran out of health, and like the previous one, it let out a muffled groan before collapsing into a pile of bone fragments.
He became even more alarmed as he glanced at the remaining Kodo’s health bar. −12, −12, −15… A string of damage values rose up above its head. Under the constant assault of the Skeleton Warriors, it eventually ran out of health as well.
He had lost his final barrier of protection. Soon, an endless sea of Skeleton Warriors swarmed toward him. It seemed he would be engulfed at any moment.
Dammit… I’m running out of time. He helplessly glanced at the tomb which was only a few meters away. Could it be that he was really going to fail at the final step?
Countless Skeleton Warriors were like frantic beasts as they swarmed toward him. Two of them slashed him with their swords, resulting in his health falling from thirty-seven percent to twenty-one percent.
As he searched for an escape, his eyes happened to land on the beam of the tomb’s entrance. Without the slightest delay, he immediately shot out a web line from his Silk Spinner Ring. It flew over the Skeleton Warriors’ heads and stuck to the beam. With a hard tug, he was pulled towards the tomb’s entrance as his body soared over countless Skeleton Warriors.
While mid-air, he glanced back at his previous position. An instant later, it was engulfed by a surge of Skeleton Warriors.
He quickly approached the tomb’s wall. However, just before crashing into it, he held out his right hand and caught hold of the beam. After stabilizing himself, he climbed up on top of it and stared down.
The Skeleton Warriors beneath him grew restless as they constantly stirred around. However, they were incapable of reaching his location which allowed Nie Yan to breath a sigh of relief; he was finally safe. With only a little health remaining, he hastily found a spot to sit before eating some Barley Bread to replenish his health.