Chapter 152 - Glaring Red Name
Back at Victorious Return guild headquarters, Heaven Breaker was so infuriated that he could no longer calmly stay seated on his throne as he watched the live video feed. If those reinforcements hadn’t arrived, no matter how much stronger Nie Yan and Tang Yao were, they would have still succumbed to death in the end. Even though he was bound to suffer enormous losses, enough to feel as though his heart was bleeding, he only had a single objective in mind, to completely crush the pair… because he had an inkling of a feeling that they truly posed a threat to him like no other before. Truthfully, even when the reinforcements from Asskickers United arrived, he had still been as steady as Mt. Tai. After all, those mediocre forces were nowhere near the level of the elites of his guild. However, with the sudden emergence of Holy Empire, his plans had truly gone awry.
“Dammit! It’s Holy Empire!” Heaven Breaker’s expression turned hideous. He now regretted not being there to personally lead this operation himself. To lose three hundred elites and still not accomplish his objective, such a bitter pill was simply too hard to swallow.
Lost in the fervour of battle, Nie Yan and the others didn’t expect a new force to jump into the fray. Holy Empire had actually decided to involve themselves! With more reinforcements coming to his aid, Nie Yan felt the tension in his mind easing significantly. I suppose I owe Sleepy Fox a favour this time.
When Scorching Meteor appeared, all of the Victorious Return players were quivering in fear at the might of such a formidable spell. In the face of its frightening damage, even a high-health Fighter would be unable to endure, to say nothing of squishier classes.
As the sky was covered in blazing clouds of fire, the magic energy in the atmosphere stirred restlessly, growing ever stifling and oppressive.
“Paladins, quickly silence him!” Skinny Dog shouted in a panic. He had experienced the might of Templar Magic, Elemental Hall Magic, and Obscurus Magic before. If that Holy Mage was allowed to successfully cast Scorching Meteor, it would spell disaster for what little remained of his forces.
Five Paladins charged toward the pile of rubble and boulders where Cold Maple was standing.
But just as they were closing in, a dozen Warriors from Holy Empire leaped out from behind the boulders and intercepted them. Each of the warriors sought out a target as they blocked the Paladins from advancing. How could they possibly let these players do as they pleased?
When they saw their Paladins getting intercepted, Skinny Dog and the others’ faces fell.
“Everyone, fall back! Holy Empire, you dogshit-eating bastards!” Skinny Dog and the other Victorious Return members bolted away in a bid to get out of the spell’s range. They would have to delay killing Nie Yan and Tang Yao for now. After they were all safe, they could regroup and act from there.
After escaping the encirclement, Moon Child was finally free from being obstructed. She cast Lesser Heal on Tang Yao, raising his health by a good amount as a gentle radiance enveloped him, and then followed up with Divine Radiance Shield.
Earlier, she didn’t receive much damage, but her spells would constantly be silenced by the enemy Paladins. With so many silencers focusing their attention on her, she hadn’t be able to cast even a single Lesser Heal.
She had no idea why they were mainly focusing on her, but perhaps it had to do with Dusk and Tang Yao’s resistances being too high, particularly the latter’s. With such a large level disparity between them and their target, their silences were pretty much ineffective, hence they threw all their Silences on her.
Moon Child brought Tang Yao back from the brink of death to being somewhat healthy again, saving his life.
“Young Sparrow Hawk, quickly escape!” Nie Yan anxiously shouted. Scorching Meteor was about to finish casting. If he didn’t run now, then he would definitely die!
Prior to Holy Empire’s emergence, Tang Yao had fired off spells like a madman, but without his Rank 3 Arcane Fairy, his damage had dropped noticeably and his cooldowns and cast times rose back to their original values. Nevertheless, by relying on his level superiority alone, he had still been able to inflict some serious damage.
And so, after being caught off guard by the Arcane Fairy’s explosion, the Victorious Return players were scattered and in disarray, and before they could reorganize and launch a counterattack, several more of them were annihilated by his spells.
With that, Tang Yao’s kill count had risen to ninety-two!
Such a number was enough to terrify anyone on the battlefield! From when he first opened with Meteor to ordering his Arcane Fairy to self-destruct, he inflicted massive casualties on the enemy’s forces. Those he killed weren’t ordinary schmucks that could be found off any city street either; no, they were the elites of Victorious Return! Yet he was picking them off like clay pigeons at a shooting range!
After falling on deaf ears for so long, Nie Yan’s words finally got through to Tang Yao, and he soon regained some clarity. He absolutely could not afford to die! With how heavy his PKer status was, he’d drop by at least five levels if he died now!
Fortunately, the Arcane Fairy’s explosion had wiped all of the Victorious Return members in his immediate vicinity, and adding the threat of Scorching Meteor, there were no longer any enemies trying to prevent Tang Yao from escaping.
Tang Yao hastily began running to Moon Child and the others. He’d be done for if he didn’t get out of Scorching Meteor’s range in time!
“You still want to leave after killing so many people!?” Skinny Dog shouted from a distance away. His eyes flared with anger. Among those ninety-two players who died, how many had been brothers that he’d gone through life and death battles with? As soon as he saw Tang Yao attempting to run, his eyes became bloodshot and he turned around and dashed toward him in a bid to prevent his escape. In spite of the looming danger of Scorching Meteor, he did it all for the sake of avenging his fallen brothers.
Noticing Skinny Dog pursuing Tang Yao, Nie Yan turned around to stop him.
“I’ll cover for you! Quickly, run!” Nie Yan shouted after Tang Yao. Crushing a Basic Haste Scroll in his hand, he rapidly closed in on Skinny Dog.
Tang Yao didn’t dare to dally as he began to run for safety.
Sadly, a Mage was no match for the speed of a Thief.
Closing the gap in no time, Skinny Dog lunged forward and aimed his dagger at the back of Tang Yao’s head.
In that instant, Nie Yan leaped forward and intercepted Skinny Dog from the flank.
「Clang!」Sparks flew everywhere as the daggers clashed together.
Skinny Dog wished to prevent Tang Yao from getting away, but now with Nie Yan firmly blocking his path, getting to him was going to be near impossible!
Roughly five to six hundred more Holy Empire players emerged in a nearby open space. The Priests from Holy Empire began to cast Heal on Tang Yao, causing his health to almost instantly rise back to full.
With Adjudicator of God running out just now, Nie Yan stopped tangling with Skinny Dog when he saw Tang Yao had gotten a safe distance away and began to flee himself.
Everyone wanted to get out of the immediate range of Scorching Meteor. Nie Yan, Skinny Dog, and the others were near the edge of the spell’s range, so they still had a chance of making it out unscathed, but for the many others at the center, all of whom were part of Victorious Return, they didn’t have the slightest hope of surviving.
After Cold Maple finished chanting the long set of invocation syllables, scorching-hot meteors of divine fire began raining down from the sky.
As if they would purge the world of everything, the tyrannical flames engulfed the land.
Those directly struck by the meteors lost over two hundred health in an instant. Collapsing one after the other, several dozen more Victorious Return members died. Just like that, the strike force consisting of three hundred elites, tasked with killing Nie Yan and Tang Yao, was reduced to almost nothing. The ten or so that actually survived had only been able to do so because they were lucky enough to be on the outskirts when the meteors began falling.
Nie Yan, Tang Yao, and Skinny Dog, however, were still within the spell’s range.
“Quickly heal those two over there!” Sleepy Fox, who was clad in silver-white armour, shouted as he pointed at Nie Yan and Tang Yao.
After hearing Sleepy Fox’s command, the over a hundred Priests on Holy Empire’s side began casting their heals.
And then, countless rays of gentle light fell on the pair.
−270, −290, −260… A string of damage values floated up above their heads as they were baptized in the sea of raging flames, but their health bars were completely stable thanks to being constantly topped up by the endless heals.
Over a hundred Priests were simultaneously healing Nie Yan and Tang Yao. So long as none of the meteors killed them instantly, they would be able to safely get out of this ordeal alive!
Having given up all hope, Nie Yan and Tang Yao were caught by surprise when they suddenly pulled away from the grim reaper’s grasp. Bathed in gentle light, the pair traversed the shower of meteors before eventually managing to safely come out on the other side.
Skinny Dog, on the other hand, wasn’t so lucky. Not long after taking several steps, he let out a blood-curdling scream and collapsed on the ground.
After surviving that calamity, Nie Yan and Tang Yao felt like they had been given a new lease on life. To run across a field of falling meteors, perhaps there were no others in the world who would dare to attempt such a foolish feat.
Yao Yao and Moon Child were gasping for breath as they ran up to the pair.
“You guys made it out okay! That’s great!” Yao Yao rejoiced.
“Whew… that was quite thrilling. Thankfully, you two are alright.” Moon Child was still feeling a bit of an adrenaline rush.
“Hey, thanks for healing me and giving me a shield back there. If it weren’t for you, I would’ve died long ago,” Tang Yao gratefully said. He had acted too rashly back then by letting the death of his Arcane Fairy get the better of him. However, when he thought back to its sacrifice, he couldn’t help feeling depressed.
“It’s nothing. I know your Arcane Fairy died, but you can still get another one. So don’t feel too down,” Moon Child comforted.
Tang Yao showed a faint smile, but anyone could tell he was forcing it.
Yao Yao stared at Nie Yan and said, “Nie Yan, you didn't die even in a situation like that. You’re too amazing! But ughh…. There’s something that’s been really bugging me. What are we going to do about our names? They’re already so red! I’ve already killed five players. I think I’d have to hunt down about 6,000 ordinary mobs before I can get rid of it…”
“I killed eleven, so I’d have hunt down about 20,000,” Nie Yan glanced at his status bar and said with a wry laugh. He was truly fortunate to have lived. Thanks to that, he was able to prevent the chapters from the Book of Order from dropping out of his bag.
Yao Yao stuck out her tongue. He had killed eleven people all by himself. For a Thief, that was a pretty terrifying feat.
“Hah, let me see… I killed... ninety-two...? Wai-what!? There’s no way! This can’t be real… Did the system miscalculate!?” Tang Yao was given quite a shock when he checked his status bar. However, thinking back to the recent battle, perhaps he really did kill ninety-two players… He had been lost in his grief and rage, so he couldn’t say for sure. However, if that was really the case, then how many months, or even years, would it take for him to get rid of his red name...?
As for Moon Child, she was much better off. Putting aside the notion of a Priest being able to kill anyone, she had been silenced so much that she couldn’t even get a proper Heal off. As such, she didn’t have a red name at all.
“You can tag along with Tang Yao and I to hunt Scaled Frogs together then,” Nie Yan suggested. At the moment, that was the fastest way to get rid of their PKer statuses.
“Without my Arcane Fairy, can we still even kill Scaled Frogs...?” Tang Yao asked in a somewhat pessimistic manner.
“You’re Level 17, so we should be able to. If it still doesn’t work out, then we can just hunt the ordinary ones.”
“It’s too bad my Arcane Fairy died,” Tang Yao mopped. From just a moment ago when he was reminded, he had continued feeling sad.
“When your Arcane Fairy died, the Arcane Crystal in your bag didn’t disappear, right? It should just be a lump of rock now. Take it out, and let me see if there are any cracks on it.” Nie Yan suddenly recalled a story he had heard of from his past life. There was a player who had been able to revive their fallen Arcane Fairy, but the road they had walked to accomplish this task had been extremely arduous. In the end, their journey led them to Everlasting City where they had found a way to breathe life back into their Arcane Crystal.
“Yeah, the crystal is there. Before, it was shiny and glistening, but now, it’s completely dim,” Tang Yao replied after taking the crystal out of his bag. Right now, the crystal seemed like nothing more than a dull and ordinary mineral without the slightest shimmer of life. He couldn’t help but ask, “What’s this thing useful for?”
Nie Yan took the crystal from Tang Yao’s hands and began examing it. After determining that it was completely intact, he faintly smiled and said, “Fortunately, it didn’t break.”
“Tell me, is there a way?” Tang Yao asked, a glimmer of hope shining in his eyes.
Nie Yan pondered for a moment, then said, “It should be possible, but I can’t make any promises.”