“Brother Nie has impressive perception. He was actually able to find such a good vantage point!” Dusk exclaimed in admiration. He was much more knowledgeable compared to Yu Lan (Blue Feather), Bai Kaisui (Plain Boiled Water), and the others. Naturally, this was because he frequently followed his captain, Sleepy Fox, into difficult dungeons. How could he not be knowledgeable regarding dungeon specific techniques?
“Hey, tell us. What’s he planning to do?” Yu Lan asked. Although she held the position of team captain, she was only the captain of a run-of-the-mill team. Therefore, she and her team weren’t proficient in aspects such as dungeoneering, otherwise, they wouldn’t have been wiped out in this dungeon on Easy difficulty.
“When running dungeons, there’s always one person assigned a certain designated task. That task is to find a suitable position to attack certain monsters within a large group. Optimally, that person should aggro one or two monsters over to the team without alerting the other monsters in the group. Using such methods, teams can break down large crowds of mobs into more manageable sizes. Generally, this job is assigned to the Thief who uses a crossbow to carry it out. Presumably, you should all know these things by now. Those eighteen Treants just ahead are quite close to each other. The moment one of them is aggroed, many others will follow in tow. This difference in mob density is likely also one of the key differences in running a Specialist dungeon. Even the minor obstacles are this difficult to deal with. Earlier, I had surveyed the area but was unable to find a suitable position to start. It wasn’t until I saw Brother Nie Yan scale the tree that I realised I was mistaken in my judgement. His current location is the most optimal for luring mobs. If one didn’t have exceptional perception, they would be hard-pressed to find such a great spot! If we had such a Thief in our team, our survival rate would increase by at least thirty percent or higher,” Dusk explained. He was not in the least bit shy in expressing his praise and admiration for Nie Yan’s skills.
Yu Lan remained taciturn. Initially, she believed herself quite capable, for being able to properly manage a team. However, it appeared that notion was simply due to her lack of experience.
When Yao Yao gazed at Nie Yan standing at the top of the branch, her eyes shone with a peculiar splendour. Nie Yan’s position within her mind had once again been elevated a few steps. Other than her senior sister, Yu Lan, there was no other person she admired more.
“However, finding a suitable position is one thing… actually luring the monsters without attracting the rest of the group is another. The latter is a test of a Thief’s perception and reaction. If he’s even a little off in the timing or hitting of his target, worst case scenario, he’ll aggro the whole group towards us and cause us to be wiped. Even the most elite Thieves have lapses in judgement and make mistakes,” Dusk gazed at Nie Yan and said in a nervous tone.
While standing on top of the branch, Nie Yan sheathed his dagger and wore it on his waist. He promptly retrieved his crossbow from his bag and propped it up on his shoulder. As he observed the Treants’ movements through the sight, his forehead dripped with a bead of sweat. The pressure and nervousness in his mind reached its apex. At this moment, the lives of all nineteen members of his team would be decided by his hands!
As the tension in the atmosphere increased, Nie Yan gradually tuned out the distractions around him until what remained was only the crossbow in his hand and the target through his sight.
Even after the seconds ticked into minutes he patiently awaited his opportunity to strike.
Most of these Treants stood idle. Occasionally, one or two of them would uproot themselves and roam about. However, they consistently remained within two meters of each other. The close proximity put him in an extremely risky situation. A single badly timed shot could cause a chain of aggro that would lead the entire group to his team.
Below Nie Yan were eighteen other players watching his every movement attentively. Earlier, they had been ignorant of the severity of their situation. It wasn’t until Dusk’s explanation that they realised their lives were held in Nie Yan’s hands. Since this dungeon was a sealed space, they would have nowhere to run to if those Treants came lumbering over after discovering their presence.
With the cross propped on his shoulder, Nie Yan remained motionless atop the tree branch almost as if he were a statue.
Time seemed to have stood still.
Through the crossbow sight, Nie Yan’s eyes focused on several Treants in the distance.
Periodically, a gust of wind blew past the trees causing the leaves to fall and flutter as if they were butterflies.
Nie Yan glanced at the fallen leaves floating in the wind. Wind speed, medium…
He abruptly pulled the trigger. The crossbow recoiled acutely after the first bolt fired. Before the second bolt flew out, he sharply shifted the crossbow in another direction.「Woosh! Woosh! Woosh!」Three bolts fired from the crossbow. As these bolts flew through the air, they surprisingly weren’t shot out in a single line but in three separate directions.
“We’re done for… Brother Nie’s hands were unsteady when he fired!” Dusk called out in alarm. When firing a crossbow, the user shouldn’t be nervous and absolutely shouldn’t have shaky hands. Otherwise, a single slip-up could cost the lives of the entire team.
No matter what profession, the shooter must first have a calm and steady mind because a single shot could decide the fate of their comrades. Under this kind of intense mental pressure, even an experienced expert could have a lapse in judgement due to nervousness. Consequently, such a lapse in judgement was the guaranteed deaths of the entire team.
It seems Brother Nie couldn’t handle the pressure…
Every member of the team felt their hearts sink upon hearing Dusk’s words.
“Bai Kaisui, prepare to hold position [289.288.212]!” After firing the crossbow, Nie Yan didn’t bother watching to see if the three bolts were on target. He leapt off the tree branch onto the ground and began running towards the team.
Dusk and the rest of the team looked over in the area where the bolts were fired.「Put! Put! Put!」The first bolt passed in between the Treants and struck a tree further in the back while the second bolt struck a sapling in the west. Despite both bolts missing their supposed targets, the noise from the bolts striking bark alerted the nearby Treants and over ten of them moved towards the two points to investigate the sources of the noise.
The remaining bolt struck the Treant nearest to the team and alerted a companion as well, whereupon the two Treants began lumbering over to Nie Yan.
These two Treants quickly separated from their group as they chased Nie Yan from behind.
He managed to lure two of them without aggroing the others!
“Holy shit, that was amazing!” Dusk exclaimed in surprise. The others might have not clearly seen what had happened but how could he not? The crossbow in Nie Yan’s hand was a type of semi-automatic crossbow that fired in three-bolt bursts. The three bolts were fired in different directions. The first two bolts had drawn most of the Treants away while the last bolt drew two Treants towards the team. He had been mistaken earlier in believing Nie Yan had unsteady hands when firing the crossbow. Rather, it was actually Nie Yan quickly changing directions to fire at different targets! He had only heard about this kind of highly-advanced skill in rumours!
Even with the same crossbow, if it were another person firing, the outcome would likely be vastly different!
Dusk had been secretly recording during this entire run. Although this type of video couldn’t be publically viewed online if it was recorded without the consent of the person in the video, it could still be shared privately with friends. He would definitely show this clip to his captain, Sleepy Fox.
A true top-class Thief!
This method of drawing aggro was an innovation in dungeoneering! If publically disseminated, it would certainly become textbook among Thieves!
Two Treants were nothing difficult. Since Bai Kaisui had already gotten into position, he easily intercepted one of the incoming Treants while Nie Yan used Concussive Strike on its companion. The rest of the frontliners arrived to surround the Treants and the Mages began casting their magic.「Boom! Boom! Boom!」A rain of spells exploded over the Treant’s bodies.
One of the Treants swept its arm out repelling most of the frontliners away. However, Bai Kaisui held his position, refusing to retreat. He loudly roared and struck the Treant using Shield Bash.
“The key to being a successful Knight isn’t necessarily the ability to be aggressive. It’s the ability to be firm and stable. It doesn’t matter what situation, you mustn’t create any openings that could lead to a break in the ranks,” Nie Yan frankly advised, after seeing Bai Kaisui’s action. Although Nie Yan believed Bai Kaisui was a decent player, he was still far from being an expert in Nie Yan’s eyes.
In reality, before he reincarnated, those who were stronger than him could be found everywhere. It was just that everyone, in the present, was simply new to the game. The players were still gradually familiarising themselves with the combat and different skills and techniques in the game. However, Nie Yan was different. He had over ten years of experience in the game as a Thief and was already quite familiar with the various aspects of the game. The saying goes, “Practice makes perfect,” and Nie Yan, with his ten years of gameplay knowledge, had already far exceeded any current player in the game. The techniques he used now that would cause others to exclaim in admiration would be standard ten years later. There were still a few genuinely difficult techniques that even he wasn’t able to grasp. Those were the true highly-advanced techniques!
Bai Kaisui tuned down his aggression after listening to Nie Yan’s advice. When they first met, he wasn’t particularly impressed with Nie Yan’s ability. However, after witnessing Nie Yan’s display of skill just a moment ago, he became thoroughly convinced even if he wasn’t able to see it clearly. Since Nie Yan was elevated to the status of super expert in his mind, he would firmly believe in any advice that he was given by Nie Yan.
After focusing more on defense, even though the Treant’s attacks were fierce, he found it easier to hold his ground. He stood more stably and the pressure he felt had immediately lessened.