Yu Lan (Blue Feather) glanced at Nie Yan who stood off to the side in a laissez-faire manner. She thought of the ever-increasing amount of favours they owed him. If this continued, it would soon reach a point where they couldn’t possibly repay him.
“Yao Yao (Dark Mystery), give Nie Yan our thanks. We would have never been able to get all this good equipment if it weren’t for him,” Yu Lan suggested. In retrospect, Nie Yan’s conditions hadn’t been excessive at all.
“Mhm,” Yao Yao replied. She then walked to Nie Yan’s side, her bright eyes examining his expression as she approached.
“What are you looking at me for?” Nie Yan glanced at Yao Yao and smiled.
“We’ll be taking the round shield. You really don’t mind losing out on it?” Yao Yao faintly smiled and a pair of dimples emerged on her unblemished face.
Nie Yan’s pulse slightly raced after seeing her elegant yet bewitching smile. However, when he thought of Xie Yao, he immediately regained his composure. “It’s just a round shield. Do you really think I’m that stingy of a person? In any case, I’m already pretty satisfied as it is. I get to take any useful drops I want, and the Featherfall Jewel from the Treant King goes to me as well. When we entered the dungeon, did you guys not put in a decent amount of effort too? I definitely couldn’t clear this dungeon on my own,” he replied.
“Well, that shield is worth quite a bit of money. My captain asked me to thank you on the team’s behalf.”
“Oh?” Nie Yan glanced at the nearby Yu Lan. She was tall, slender, and had a voluptuous figure which could be rated as perfect. However, she rarely smiled in spite of her beautiful face. From his memory, he recalled she was quite a prideful figure. It was seldom that she would ever lower her head to someone.
As for what he knew about her, it was limited to a certain event where a player took too many liberties with her, and she retaliated by going on a rampage and killing him until he dropped back to Level 0. At that point in time, the only thought on Nie Yan’s mind was that this woman was extremely terrifying. However, after becoming more familiar with each other, he came to understand she had a quiet and amiable personality. Thus, she never left him with any sort of bad impression. Besides glancing back at her figure every once in awhile, he didn’t really have any other opinions of her. He had never really chatted much with her either and by the end, they were nothing more than nodding acquaintances.
With the new equipment spurring them forward, the team members became even more spirited as they cleared mobs, especially Bai Kaisui (Plain Boiled Water) who charged into every battle. Nie Yan and the others took a detour and headed onto a smaller path where they encountered a group of five Treants. Shortly after making swift work of those Treants, another Lesser Heal skill book dropped from one of their corpses, just as Nie Yan had said earlier. From then on, the number of Priests who could cast Lesser Heal on their team rose to three.
As their group progressed, they completely cleared the path of any and all Treants. Eventually, they penetrated into the deepest part of the forest and entered a clearing. The surrounding vegetation visibly lessened. Moreover, no more Treants emerged on the path and even the presence of fauna and insects disappeared.
“We’re almost there. Be wary of the vines beneath your feet,” Nie Yan warned as he went on guard. He walked at the front of the group and opened up a path by disarming each and every trap along the route. As the team drew closer to the centre of the forest, two vines which were lying motionless on the ground suddenly sprang to life. Like real serpents, the two vines snaked their way closer and shot towards Nie Yan.
Nie Yan sidestepped the attack and switched to a reverse grip.「Slash!」The vines were severed upon meeting his blade and fell to the ground.
The people in the back also suffered attacks; however, they were safer due to their numbers. Even if one of the members met with true danger, the others around them could come to the rescue. Therefore no problems occurred in the back.
After passing through the clearing, Nie Yan and the team finally caught sight of the Treant King. It resembled an immense tree towering at over ten meters high and several meters wide—many times larger than the average Treant. Its leaves and branches shrouded the entire sky and cast an immense shadow over the area. However, its most distinct feature lay in the ash black bark that covered its entire body.
The Treant King awoke from its deep slumber, aware of the approaching players as a cold, sinister glow radiated from its ancient eyes.
Treant King (Lord): Level 5
“It’s Lord-class!” Dusk screamed in shock. The Treant King had only been an Elite-class monster when he and his team ran this dungeon. Not only did this version have much more health than its normal difficulty counterpart, it was even upgraded to a higher class!
If it weren’t for the existence of such an overpowered item like Einpat’s Flute, even if the entire elite team from Holy Empire came over and joined them, they’d likely still end up being wiped.
“Everyone, prepare yourselves and get into formation. Wait for the Heavy Knight to engage before going in. There’s no need to feel anxious. Just listen to my commands,” Nie Yan reassured before sprinting towards the Treant King.
He stopped upon entering the boss’ line of sight.
“Wretched humans! For trespassing on my territory… DIE!” The Treant King roared deeply and slammed a gigantic branch towards Nie Yan.「BOOM!」Its gigantic arm left a deep mark on the earth. However, Nie Yan had already rolled out of the way.
At that moment, Nie Yan had already fled and circled around its side. The Treant King raised its gigantic arm again and swept it towards Nie Yan.
As he saw the massive arm spanning towards him, Nie Yan abruptly lowered his body and slipped into a slide.「VOOM!」The Treant’s sweeping attack hurtled above and past his head. The fierce pressure alone was enough to cause pain as the wind scraped against his cheek.
Just a little bit slower and I would’ve been swatted into the air by its attack.
Nie Yan got up and fled in the other direction. Although the Treant King was overbearing and fierce, during the whole course of events, none of its attacks were able to reach Nie Yan who evaded like a slippery loach.
An average team would have most likely sent their Heavy Knight, who held Einpat’s Flute, to engage first since only that player could withstand the attacks of the Treant King. However, they would have neglected one key point. Heavy Knights, as their namesake would suggest, wore heavy armour which caused their movements to be hindered and clumsy. They were unable to dodge the Treant King’s attacks which had a strong knock-back effect. Thus, they had no chance of closing in on the Treant King without others covering for them. However, if another player were to be struck by an attack, they would undoubtedly die.
Nie Yan’s movements seemed awkward whenever he evaded the Treant King’s attacks. Each time the team believed he was going to die from one of the attacks, they would discover he miraculously survived by dodging, rolling, or jumping out of the way at the very last second. More or less, he appeared to be more scared than hurt as he survived every encounter without mishap.
Dusk, however, felt shocked by Nie Yan’s actions. Holy shit! He can even do this? What a godly Thief! He subconsciously began comparing Nie Yan with the other Thieves in his team. However, he suddenly came to the realization that there wasn’t a single Thief within Holy Empire that could compare to Nie Yan! If there were a Thief with even half of Nie Yan’s skills in his team, they’d already be quite terrific.
From Nie Yan’s perspective, the Treant King’s attacks were slow and predictable. Each attack gave more than a second of reaction time to get out of the way. Thus, evading its attacks really wasn’t much of a problem.
It was simple and extremely easy, just like an adult being asked to do a grade schooler’s math homework.
After making sure the boss’ aggro was fully on him, Nie Yan gave an order through the team chat.「Bai Kaisui, take the lead and engage the boss. The rest of the frontliners will follow after. Backline, under no circumstances are you to go within thirty meters of the boss!」
Bai Kaisui rushed towards the Treant King. Since the boss’ attention was completely focused on Nie Yan, he quickly arrived in front of it. He struck the boss with Shield Bash and followed with Heroic Strike.
“Dammit! The Treant King has such high defense!”
Even with Einpat’s Flute, his attacks only dealt so little damage to it.
Shortly after Bai Kaisui’s engaged the boss, the other frontliners arrived as well and firmly surrounded the Treant King.
Under Bai Kaisui’s fierce assault, the boss’ aggro quickly shifted. It swept its arm and began attacking him instead.
「Mages, attack!」Just as Nie Yan finished his order, numerous spells flew into the air.「Bang! Bang! Bang!」The spells bombarded the Treant King’s body.
Roughly a dozen damage numbers floated above the Treant King’s head. Most of these numbers were in the low tens and some of them were even misses. However, two of them were in the thirties. These were the attacks from Dusk and Tang Yao.
Dusk’s Dark Winter set and Tang Yao’s Fire Chaser set were both from Blackflame Forest. Thus, both of their damage numbers were rather decent.