Chapter 157 - Heaven-Acclaimed Genius
Nie Yan informed Guo Huai that he had his eye set on some of the equipment dropped by the elites of Victorious Return, a few of which were even better than his own. They were all Sosil Valley and Medusa’s Lair-quality. Aside from the Thief equipment for himself, there also happened to be some Arcane Mage and Holy Mage gear that were perfectly suited for Tang Yao and Yao Yao to equip. With their gear improved, hunting monsters would become much more efficient. At the same time, he also had a few things that he wanted to send back to make space in his bag.
The best items on him were his accessories and special items which couldn’t be found on the marketplace. However, as for his more replaceable pieces of equipment such as gloves, shoulderguards, and so on, they were actually inferior to the gear of the elites from Victorious Return.
「The Starry Night Potion Shop should’ve already produced a couple Intermediate Health and Mana Potions by now. Find someone to retrieve some, then assign a trustworthy person to deliver them here, preferably a Thief.」Nie Yan instructed Guo Huai. A Thief was most suited for the role of a courier; plus, they were fast as well.
「Alright, just tell me your coordinates. I’ll send someone from the guild to deliver the things you want.」
「Here’s my coordinates: 38528.59683.」
「Good, they’ll be coming over with your stuff soon. The player I’m sending is named Sun, so be wary if anyone else approaches you. Besides that, don’t stay in one place for too long; otherwise, you guys might be spotted by Victorious Return’s scouts,」Guo Huai replied. He was quite concerned about Nie Yan and Tang Yao’s safety. After all, if something bad happened to them, then their fledgling guild wouldn’t be able to bear the loss.
「Wait, right before the part about staying in the same place for too long, what did you say?」Nie Yan asked in shock.
「I’m sending Sun over to deliver the items to you. Also, I want you guys to be careful and not get spotted. Why, what’s up?」
「Tell me again. Are you sure that that player is named Sun?」
「Yeah, I’m sure. He joined our guild right after we were established. If it’s a question about how reliable he is, he has the highest contribution out of all our members with 600 merit points. He’s also only fiteen years old, and he told me that he’s a big fan of Tang Yao and really wants to meet him. The kid really worships him for being able to hunt Level 30 mobs. More importantly, he’s pretty skilled too. He was originally Level 10, but he dropped down to Level 7 after volunteering on our mission to save you guys. What’s more, he was actually able to take out three Victorious Return elites with him before dying. I definitely think he’s worth nurturing. Why, is there something wrong?」Guo Huai asked in a puzzled tone. Sun was only a fifteen-year-old boy, still naive and innocent. It was unlikely that he was the spy of some other guild, especially considering how much he had already sacrificed to save their guild leader.
「No, there’s nothing wrong. You’re fine sending him over,」Nie Yan answered after finally calming down. He wasn’t sure whether this was the same brilliant player he knew of from his past life. As a legendary Shadow Dancer and three-time consecutive arena champion, Sun was praised as a genius Thief. After pondering a bit more, the timing did seem about right; Sun’s age should only be around fifteen at the time of Conviction’s release. Nevertheless, such a young boy would display astonishing talent a few months down the line. Many videos of his PvP battles would surface on the official website. After which they would lay the groundwork for dueling as a Thief, becoming recommended learning material, a digital canon of sorts, for anyone who wished to play the class. In fact, Nie Yan himself had learned many of his basics through watching them. Yet right now, Guo Huai was telling him that this legendary figure was actually a little brother of their guild who would be delivering the things he requested in just a moment. A heaven-acclaimed genius being reduced to the role of a mere porter, this was just too inconceivable...
He never expected Sun to join their guild. Thankfully, he was quickly noticed by Guo Huai because of his excellent performance during the rescue mission.
There was a saying that went something like: “A true gem would shine wherever it went.” Who knew that this gem would fall right into his pocket.
Sun was merely a fifteen-year-old boy right now, seemingly ordinary at a glance, but sometimes... talent was an inherent trait that would naturally manifest itself regardless of how circumstances changed. Sun was precisely that kind of person.
There was no lack of young geniuses that could make even the most experienced of experts marvel at their skills. They were heaven’s darlings: an eighteen-year-old Magister, a nineteen-year-old Guardian, and of course, the Shadow Dancer, Sun… Many such geniuses had left their tracks in Conviction’s ancient history books.
These extraordinary geniuses would grow into supreme existences that couldn’t be overlooked by anyone. If he was able to secure Sun’s loyalty, then it would become an absolute boon for their guild in the future.
As they awaited Sun’s arrival, Nie Yan, Tang Yao, and Yao Yao hid themselves behind some bushes and began chatting to pass the time.
“I saw two pieces of equipment in the treasury that had Ignore Level +1. They’re nowhere close to comparing to your Arcane Fairy, but they’ll still be a little helpful. When we’re hunting Scaled Frogs later on, I want you to put them on,” Nie Yan said before suddenly having an idea. Should he get himself a set of Ignore Level gear in the future, specifically for grinding certain mobs?
In the later stages of the game when progression slowed down to a crawl, usually around Level 100 and onward, players would start to gather various pieces of equipment to create sets specifically for hunting mobs, dueling players, Fire Resistance, Lightning Resistance, and so forth.
“Mhmm…” Tang Yao simply nodded his head. He was still depressed after losing his Arcane Fairy, so for now, it was hard for him to return to his usual happy-go-lucky mood.
“Yao Yao, how are Yu Lan and the others doing right now?”
“Some of them ended up losing all their equipment. Most of them lost quite a few levels too, so they’re pretty depressed. They also wanted me to apologize on their behalf,” Yao Yao answered.
“Apologize? What for?” Nie Yan asked with a hint of surprise.
“When all's said and done, we were the main cause for the incident. After all, the player who sold you out was still a member of our team. We’ve already kicked them by the way.”
“That still can’t be blamed on your entire team. That player was acting on their own devices,” Nie Yan replied with a faint chuckle. They were overthinking things too much. However, many players placed extreme importance on the reputation of their team. They were like a single entity, if a member gained glory, then the entire team would thrive. If a member fell from grace, then the entire team would take on the burden. “I’ve given your team 3000 merit points. If there’s anything they need in the guild treasury, then they can go ahead and take it.”
“Ah... thank you, Nie Yan,” Yao Yao said in a grateful tone. If it was like this, then Yu Lan and the others wouldn’t have to worry about finding new equipment. Training normally, they would be back to their previous levels in several days.
Nie Yan waved it off. Yu Lan’s team was currently an important force within the guild. Only by treating them well would they have the desire to stay in the guild and return the kindness.
While chatting with Yao Yao, he was suddenly struck by a peculiar feeling.
There’s a Thief!
His gaze scanned over the distant underbrush before going into stealth. His high awareness allowed him to quickly lock onto the opponent’s position.
When the player’s Awareness was equal to a rival Thief’s Cloaking, they would be able to vaguely sense the Thief’s approach. A relatively cautious player might even be able to guard against their sneak attack, but they would never be able to sense the Thief’s location. If the player’s Awareness was a bit higher than a rival Thief’s Cloaking, then they would be able to vaguely sense which direction they were coming from. However, in the event that the player’s Awareness vastly exceeded a rival Thief’s Cloaking, then they would be able to pinpoint that Thief’s exact location.
Nie Yan had already discovered the general area where the rival Thief was located, but he still wasn’t quite able to see them clearly.
Eye of Truth!
His eyes suddenly emitted a mysterious glow as they turned bloodshot. Soon, an indistinct shadowy figure materialized in the nearby vegetation.
He slowly approached it, his silhouette completely hidden within the shadows.
The Thief seemed to be looking for something. He quietly circled behind them. The opponent’s Awareness was far below his Cloaking, so they had no chance of discovering him unless he made an egregious mistake or purposefully revealed himself.
Nie Yan aimed a Smothering Strike at the back of that Thief’s head.
That Thief’s reaction was pretty quick. As soon as they sensed something was off, they attempted to roll to avoid the attack. However, Nie Yan’s dagger resembled a viper as it pursued after them, and before they could even complete their roll animation, his Smothering Strike had already struck them in the back of the head and put them into a dazed state.
Knocking the rival Thief out of stealth with his attack, he circled back to the front to get a good look at their appearance. He found their face a little familiar. Actually, after watching so many videos of this person in the past, he was able to recognize them at a glance. This was Sun! Although he still looked a little young and immature, his facial features didn’t differ much.
Nie Yan put away his dagger and waited for Sun to awake from his dazed state. When Sun finally did and discovered him, he raised his dagger and was about to attack.
“I’m Nirvana Flame,” Nie Yan abruptly introduced himself as he sized Sun up. He had a clean complexion, and his hair was cut pretty short. With just a single glance, anyone could tell he was still a young kid.
“Oh, so it was you, sir. Watchful Snail told me to deliver a couple pieces of equipment to you,” Sun replied with a somewhat reserved tone.
Many people would find it hard to believe that this somewhat shy and reserved kid, in the next seven to eight years, would actually grow up into a peerless Thief that countless players would look up to.
“Thank you,” Nie Yan said with a faint smile.
“Don’t mention it. Nirvana Flame, sir, your Smothering Strike just now was really too amazing! Can you teach me how you did that sometime?” Sun asked as he gazed at Nie Yan with a somewhat revering expression. Ever since he entered the game, Nie Yan was the only Thief that he had felt completely powerless against.
“My Awareness and Cloaking are pretty high. That’s why I was able to discover you and track you down.” Nie Yan laughed.
Sun shook his head, then said in a serious tone, “If it was simply you having higher Awareness and Cloaking, then I wouldn’t have been caught so completely off guard. It’s impossible for a Thief to fully conceal their presence while in stealth. We’re not gods. When you attacked me earlier, you were able to predict where I was going to escape to as soon as I moved and adjusted your aim accordingly. I feel that takes a lot of skill.”
When Nie Yan fought other players, he subconsciously employed a few of the positioning and attacking techniques from his past life. A Thief required finesse down to the smallest actions, but it was precisely these minute details that made it the hardest class to master. He didn’t know how many grueling hours he spent in order to master it. These PvP instincts had already long permeated into the marrow of his bones. After all, practice makes perfect. In the previous timeline, there were at least 30 Thieves on equal standing with him. However, to these new players in the present, he seemed completely unrivalled.
Nie Yan faintly noticed the same graceful bearing of the Thief he knew from his past life coming from Sun. It was precisely his astonishing observational ability and serious attitude that had allowed him to grow from his experiences in duelling other players and become a peerless talent.
He had an inkling of a feeling that Sun’s emergence might be an opportunity for him to improve. In his past life, he was only a step away from becoming a Shadow Dancer. In terms of skill, he had a hard time making even an inch of progress. Without being able to take that step, he was unable to cross the final barrier. However, Sun was a natural talent that could become a Shadow Dancer. Sooner or later, there would be a day when he would mature into an unequalled Thief that everyone would admire. If he improved along with Sun, then he might be able to learn many more new things.
I just wanted to thank you guys for the show of support in the last chapter. To be honest, I was thinking about replying to each and every comment, but I felt that would be a little weird, disingenuous-ish, less meaningful? Anyway, I truly do appreciate the understanding. As for how I'm doing now, well the symptoms have peaked, so I can only go up from here. Also, a little weird tidbit I found out recently. I thought it was a typo from Mad Snail when Yao Yao was calling Nie Yan with the characters of his actual name instead of Nirvana Flame—granted they sound the same anyway so vocally, you wouldn't be able to tell the difference anyway—but he's been doing this with Yao Yao consistently. So I think that this might be a hint that Yao Yao actually knows who Nie Yan is but not the other way around. Anyway, cheers, I've gone back and corrected all the instances I could find. I hope you enjoy the chapter