After all was said and done, Nie Yan had knowledge of the next ten years of gameplay, events, and updates. Just a few words from him to Bai Kaisui (Plain Boiled Water) would allow the latter to reap endless benefits.
Another wave of spells struck the Treants. After the third wave, the first Treant collapsed and exploded into a pile of wood debris. Ten seconds later, the second Treant collapsed as well.
Nie Yan walked over their corpses and rummaged through the wood pile. He found a few coppers and a pair of Bronze-grade Mage gloves with Focus +2.
“A pair of Mage gloves dropped. Decide who should have it among yourselves,” Nie Yan said and threw the gloves over to Yu Lan (Blue Feather).
Naturally, Tang Yao and Dusk declined as they had no use for such gloves. Even though the Bronze-grade gloves were decent, it was still inferior to their set equipment.
In the end, the player named Pirate had the winning bid and received the pair of gloves for twelve copper. The money from his bid was then evenly split among the other team members. In this fashion, players could obtain equipment inexpensively rather than paying higher prices in the marketplace.
“Nie Yan, that move earlier was amazing! How did you pull it off? You should teach me next time!” Yao Yao (Dark Mystery) exclaimed excitedly, since crossbow techniques similarly applied to magic as well. She was considered an expert amongst her friends but in reality, she felt there was quite a large gap between herself and the true experts like Nie Yan.
Nie Yan replied with a faint smile and said, “Sure. Actually, it’s not really that difficult. I’ll tell you later when we get out of the dungeon.” After he finished speaking, he walked back to his prior position so they could continue the run. Nie Yan lured the Treants over one after the other. Sometimes, only one lumbered over; other times, they brought one or two companions with them. However, there were never more than three Treants at once. Since they ran the dungeon on Specialist difficulty, the drop rate was increased by over five hundred percent. Moreover, the type of equipment dropped was of a much higher quality. When all eighteen Treants were killed, the team obtained two more pieces of Bronze-grade equipment with decent properties and one piece of Silver-grade equipment.
When Yu Lan and her team ran this dungeon on Easy, they obtained no more than five pieces of Bronze-grade equipment per run. The properties of the equipment they picked up weren’t spectacular either. Yet, at present, the value of their recently dropped equipment far surpassed the profits of an entire run for them on Easy. Moreover, this was still the beginning of the dungeon! Such a fact put the members of the team in higher spirits.
“The profits from running a Specialist dungeon are staggering!” Dusk exclaimed. He felt the current drop rate was unimaginable.
“This is only the beginning,” Nie Yan replied. From his experience, these profits were simply a drop in the bucket. The total amount earned in a Specialist run was much more.
“The path splits up ahead,” Dusk called out. Everyone cast their gaze forward. The path between the forest thickets forked into two different directions.
“We’ll head west,” Nie Yan replied.
“Aren’t we supposed to go east?” Dusk asked in surprise. He and Sleepy Fox always went east when running this dungeon because the path to the west was a dead end. Regardless of the selected difficulty, the map for the Treant Forest always stayed the same.
“You won’t go wrong by listening to my instructions. While it’s true the west path leads to a dead end, don’t you think it’s odd for the path to exist for no reason? In fact, that area actually contains something very special! However, we’ll have to be a little more cautious. Many Treants lurk on the path ahead, making it quite dangerous,” Nie Yan replied. The secret to the dead end was hidden quite deeply. Very few people were able to discover it. If it weren’t for the information from his past life, he might have missed out on a great opportunity.
Everyone followed Nie Yan and took the west path. While on the path, they encountered many Treants roaming around. Sometimes, the Treants even charged towards the team. However, thanks to Nie Yan’s reminders, they were able to prepare in advance.
“Smothering Strike!” Nie Yan struck a Treant from behind and stunned it. He then turned around to attack another one nearby.
Bai Kaisui and the rest of the frontliners rushed up to take aggro while the Mages followed in tow.「Boom! Boom! Boom!」A volley of spells bombarded the two Treants.
The two Treants finally collapsed to the ground.
From their corpses, they found three coppers and a single skill book.
Skill Book: Uncanny Dodge (Passive)
Skill Description: Increases the player’s senses and ability to evade attacks.
Skill Attribute: Evasion +2, Awareness +1
User Restriction: Thief, Warrior, Paladin; can be learned by any faction.
“Since it’s a skill book I can learn, I’ll be taking it,” Nie Yan said to the team. The skill book was quite rare. Even its drop rate on Specialist was very low.
The skill could be learned by Thieves, Warriors, and Paladins. If he were to put it up for auction, it could sell for at least two silvers. Furthermore, at present, it was a skill book that had yet to appear on the marketplace. If such a skill book appeared in a run beside theirs, that team’s members would certainly fight or even become enemies over it.
However, Nie Yan directly took it without any opposition. Although many members drooled over the skill book, no one dared to say anything since they had already accepted Nie Yan’s conditions before setting out. Besides, without him, let alone obtaining such a good item, they wouldn’t even be able to take one step forward in this Specialist dungeon.
Each profession had a maximum of fifty skill slots. For an average Thief to fill even twenty-five of those slots was an accomplishment. Most players were able to comfortably get by with around ten active skills. Players able to attain more than twenty active skills were in the top ranks among the player base. Therefore, the majority of players had their skill bars padded with passive skills.
Some skills could be improved as time went on; however, those were few and far between. The bulk of skills obtained by players generally couldn’t be improved. Skills could also be forgotten to free up space in the skill bar. Therefore, once some lower level skills outlived their use, they could be replaced with higher level ones.
Uncanny Dodge was classified as one of the skills that couldn’t be improved.
Nie Yan glanced at his character page after learning the skill. His Evasion and Awareness had increased. The stat bonuses from passive skills were permanent. He felt passive skills were much better because the stat bonuses from equipment would disappear once the gear was unequipped.
The team had walked half-way through the path—just enough to see the edge of the forest. They could hear the gentle melody of a flute as the sound drifted between the leaves and floated into their ears. The clear melody moved the hearts of the members in the team.
“There’s a delirious old man who speaks nothing but gibberish at the end of the forest. No matter how we inquired or interacted with him, he wouldn’t give us any sort of quest. Since we could beat the Treant King regardless and the old man didn’t seem to do anything, we figured he was just a useless NPC. Don’t tell me he’s actually part of a quest line or something?” Dusk asked and turned to face Nie Yan. He didn’t know whether Nie Yan had any thoughts on this old man.
“There’s never an NPC who appears in a dungeon without reason. They have a ninety percent chance of being related to the main storyline,” Nie Yan replied before continuing on the path.
Dusk looked on in confusion. Could Nie Yan have found some clues regarding this old man? In any case, he feared this attempt would be futile as well.
Nie Yan had read over detailed guides for every dungeon in the game. Moreover, he himself had personally experienced ninety-nine percent of these dungeons. The matter of the senile old man was an easy case for him to solve.
“Nie Yan, have you been through this dungeon before?” Yao Yao asked. She was quite curious. Why did he seem to know everything about this dungeon?
“I’ve run this dungeon with a team before,” Nie Yan replied with a nod.
“On Specialist as well?”
“Nope, only on Normal difficulty.”
“Why were you so confident in entering the dungeon on Specialist then?”
“Like I said before, Specialist isn’t actually that hard. You simply need to have enough skill and if you understand the dungeon well enough, passing it on Specialist won’t be difficult at all,” Nie Yan replied.
When Nie Yan spoke in a confident and certain tone, it almost seemed as if every matter that appeared before him could be easily resolved. Yao Yao quietly gazed at Nie Yan. The outline of his face, as well as his overall appearance, still looked somewhat childish; a little bit of stubble had barely grown out of his chin. He wasn’t particularly handsome but he had a peculiar personality that made her subconsciously feel she could trust and rely on him.
As Yao Yao stared longer than what was considered polite, a thought suddenly emerged into her mind and she quickly turned away. A faint tinge of red could be seen on her elegant face.
“Yao Yao, how did you meet him again?” Yu Lan asked as she stood right beside Yao Yao. She also became quite interested in Nie Yan. The game servers had barely opened a week ago, so such a strong player was a rare sight.
“Remember when I was killing Water Spiders in Lake Rando? He was the one who saved me that day. If it weren’t for him, I’m afraid I would be a level lower right now,” Yao Yao replied. She shuddered at the thought of losing one level. Actually, she didn’t know how she got into such a mess in the first place but she had found herself being surrounded by six Water Spiders. She managed to kill three of them after using up two scrolls and a Basic Health Potion. However, the remaining three nearly ended her life.
Yu Lan couldn’t help thinking Yao Yao was extremely lucky to have met Nie Yan back then. Even if you searched every nook and cranny, you wouldn’t necessarily find someone as skilled as him.
Along the path, the team had killed another Treant and a jingling sound rang out. A white light then surrounded Nie Yan’s body.
“I levelled up,” Nie Yan said and glanced at his character page. He had finally reached Level 4.
“Congratulations,” the team members applauded one after the other.
“Nie Yan, you levelled up already? How are you so quick!?” Tang Yao exclaimed in surprise. Just yesterday, he was almost fifty percent ahead of Nie Yan in experience! How did Nie Yan suddenly get so far ahead of him in only one day!?