Chapter 161 - Locked Dark Gold Chest

Chapter 161 - Locked Dark Gold Chest

When they arrived at the next location, Nie Yan employed the usual method by popping a pouch of Smoke Powder near the Sub-Elite Scaled Frog. Then, after the smoke enveloped it and the immediate surroundings, he would hand over the reins to Tang Yao.

Aside from the impacts of Tang Yao’s spells, all was tranquil in the forest. Every so often, soft, rustling noises could be heard from the nearby underbrush as small animals passed through.

In the distance, the faint and almost indiscernible sound of flowing water softly reverberated in the background.

“Is there a lake or stream nearby?” Yao Yao asked. Akin to a zither, the gentle sound floated amidst the trees and stretched far across the forest.

“Lake?” Nie Yan’s mind trembled. He suddenly recalled that there was indeed a lake near the Scaled Frog zone. It was a small forest lake, hidden from view by tall, exuberant trees. At its very center was a small isle where rumours told was the location of an abandoned Dark Elf shrine. Supposedly, ancient crafting recipes could be found there.

It’s close by anyway… can’t hurt to go check things out. If there’s nothing there, I can just head back.

Not much later, server closing time approached. At this moment, Tang Yao killed his last Scaled Frog for the day, and as he did, a bright radiance enveloped Nie Yan followed by a crisp, system jingle.

Nie Yan checked his status bar. He was now Level 17, the same as Tang Yao; however, Tang Yao’s experience bar was nearly filled to the top, so he would soon be levelling up to Level 18.

“There’s still about eighteen minutes left. You guys should find a safe place, preferably hidden from view from any mobs, to log off from,” Nie Yan said. He looked at the day’s harvest; three pieces of equipment, a Level 30 Silver-grade Armour Blueprint, an Intermediate Potion Recipe, and several Fortune Gems.

He and the others currently received a huge increase in drop rate since they were hunting monsters far above their level. Furthermore, the Scaled Frogs they killed were all Sub-Elites, so the profits they reaped were immense. If they were hunting here in the previous timeline, then it would be very difficult for them to run into an Elite or Sub-Elite. Even if they did, many nearby players would attempt to snatch the kill away. It was a classic case of too many monks and not enough gruel. As such, the average yield from a day’s worth of grinding would merely amount to one or two pieces of Silver or Gold-grade equipment. Most of the time, any group that could secure even a Leader-class monster for themselves would be considered very lucky. However, Nie Yan and the others had gone far ahead of others by hunting in this map when most players would never yet dream to. Moreover, Nie Yan knew exactly where to find the Elites and Sub-Elites, so it was clear to see the advantage he held over others.

Sun was now Level 11 while Yao Yao had risen to Level 12; she was only a smidgen away from Level 13. Both were shocked by their levelling speeds. It was simply too fast!

“Big Bros, Big Sis, I’ll see you guys tomorrow!” Sun waved goodbye before logging off.

“I’m heading off as well. See you guys later,” Yao Yao said before going offline.

“You’re not getting off?” Tang Yao asked as he felt Nie Yan didn’t seem like he wanted to log out just yet.

“There’s still around fifteen minutes left. I’m going to explore around a bit. Here, take these five pouches of Smoke Powder. Also, these are the spawn locations of a few Sub-Elites, record them down. If I’m not back by the time you get back online tomorrow, give Sun the Smoke Powder and you guys can continue on without me,” Nie Yan said before handing over the items to Tang Yao.

After thinking for a moment, Tang Yao nodded his head and said, “Fine,” before taking the Smoke Powder. If Nie Yan didn’t wish to tell him, then he wouldn’t pry. Besides, he held complete confidence in him. After all, with his skill and elusiveness, there was no need to worry about him encountering any real danger.

“It’s about time you get off too.”

“Well, see you tomorrow,” Tang Yao said. His body gradually turned illusory before disappearing completely.

After Tang Yao left, Nie Yan followed the sound of flowing water, eventually coming across a small stream where he walked along its bank. He encountered many Scaled Frogs on his trek that he would avoid by stealthing and making detours around them.

Along his path, he stumbled upon a wooden treasure chest. After opening it, he retrieved a piece of Level 30 White-grade equipment. It was a disappointing find. Was his luck really that poor? Nevertheless, he could still receive 5 silver or more by selling it to an NPC merchant, and there was also the option of recycling it into raw materials. The latter might be a bit more expensive, but it was better than nothing.

As he travelled further down the stream, reaching the yet to be explored depths of this forest, he eventually exited the Scaled Frog area and arrived at an opening where he was greeted by the sight of a lake in the distance. It wasn’t all that large, covering maybe a tenth of a square kilometer, but still gave home to a very small piece of land.

You’ve discovered Forest Lake Stratyn.

In his past life, there were rumours that a player had uncovered several recipes from the isle in the middle of this lake. Uncommon recipes found in Level 30 maps would usually be at least Intermediate-rank, making them quite valuable. For a person like Nie Yan who owned a thriving potion shop, every new recipe was of great importance.

He stood at the edge of the lake. It was serene without the slightest ripple. Even so, he recalled that monsters spawned in its depths, among which included Elites and Sub-Elites. Right now, his life was far too valuable. If he died, he would drop too many important items. Thus, he was increasingly vigilant when undertaking any risk.

He didn’t believe himself capable of soloing a Level 30 Sub-Elite on land, let alone underwater where he was much less mobile. Even encountering a common monster would be extremely dangerous in such a scenario.

Nie Yan observed the isle in the distance which was about 30 meters away. Numerous willows dotted the shore, each reaching about fifty or sixty meters in height, casting shadows over the lake as their slender, drooping branches lazily hung just above the water’s surface.

He even noticed how the willows’ lush foliage intertwined with its branches in a seemingly chaotic manner. 

He suddenly had a thought. Even if he couldn’t directly swim over from the shore, he still had a chance of reaching the isle!

Walking up to a nearby willow, he activated the Crawler Ring ability. Then, as if he were a spider, he nimbly clambered up its trunk before perching on a thick and solid branch near the top. As he surveyed his surroundings, he estimated the tree branch across from him was about ten meters away. 

“Should be about right,” he silently muttered to himself while judging the distance. A second later, he suddenly leaped forward. 

He was still at least twenty meters away from the water’s edge. Borrowing the forward momentum of his jump, he barrelled toward the lake.

As he fell, he activated the Silk Spinner Ring’s ability, shooting out a line of silk which adhered to the branch he had been eying prior. Soon, the web line tensed, converting the potential energy from his fall into kinetic energy that flung him forward like a child on a swing.

Nearing the peak of his momentum, he withdrew the web line and continued soaring through the air.

On his rapid descent toward the isle, he went into a landing roll before regaining his footing. 

−23 A damage value floated up above his head.

Patting the dust off of his clothes, a faint smile emerged on his face as he glanced back at the opposite shore. He had succeeded in his attempt. Owning both the Silk Spinner Ring and Crawler Ring really was quite advantageous.

In the distance, a Water Snake gradually broke through the water’s surface. It was about five to six meters long with yellow and white scales dotting its body. As it swam about, ripples spread out across the lake. It was probably a Level 30 or higher monster. He didn’t dare to be careless as he entered stealth, then proceeded to take cover behind a nearby patch of shrubbery.

Being unable to find any trace of Nie Yan, the Water Snake dived back down into the water and disappeared into the lake’s depths.

Nie Yan’s tension eased as he breathed a sigh of relief. If he had chosen to swim across the lake instead, rather than jumping over, then he could hardly imagine what could’ve happened.

The isle was merely nine hundred square meters across. As he explored around, he found no monsters roaming about. In fact, other than several trees, there really didn’t seem to be anything on this isle. At its center was a very large tree that towered above the rest. Sadly, it had long since died, its trunks hollowed out by insects, but hidden within was a faded black treasure chest. Many ancient treasure chests, after not being uncovered for who knows how long, had corroded over time, collecting dust as they lost even the faintest shimmer.

He walked up to the treasure chest which permeated a timeworn air. Its design dated back to the Dark Era when the Dragon race reigned supreme. It was far more ancient than any chest he had encountered thus far. Older, historically rich chests tended to contain better items. This was common knowledge among players.

As he wiped off the mud and dirt that stained the chest, a dark golden lustre caught his eye.

Dark gold!

His eyes twinkled in excitement.

To this date, he had never come across a dark gold treasure chest before. Even in his past life, he had only heard rumours of their existence. They were guaranteed to produce an item of at least Dark Gold-grade. Most of the time, they contained Sub Legendary items. There was even a chance of obtaining a Legendary item fragment. Naturally, the likelihood of that was very low.

I hope it’s not locked… Nie Yan bent down as he attempted to open the chest. As his right hand came in contact with a lock, an immense sense of disappointment welled forth inside him. It was sealed by a small, delicate lock. Its intricate design was worthy of praise.

It was by far the most sophisticated lock he had ever come across. At the very least, it would require Specialist Lockpicking to unlock or possibly a Specialist Key since an ordinary key absolutely wouldn’t work.

He let out a bitter chuckle. Truthfully, this was to be expected. How could a chest of such rarity be sitting so freely in the open, almost as if it were just waiting for him to unlock it?

Even though he knew there were hidden treasures on this isle, what he ended up finding greatly disappointed him.

Just as he was about to reluctantly move on, after some more reflection, he suddenly found this situation very strange. Logically speaking, a player would only have Specialist Lockpicking after they advanced to a Great Thief. In other words, it would take at least five to six years, seven or eight at most, for a player capable of unlocking this chest to appear. However, considering how popular this area was in his past life, that meant numerous players would’ve long since found it. The discovery of a dark gold chest would have definitely rapidly spread across the player base. Yet why was it that he had never heard of such a chest appearing in this place before? 

Unless a player arrived here before anyone else had and furthermore possessed the Specialist Lockpicking skill required to remove the items inside the chest, subsequently causing it to disappear, there was no way players would not know of its existence.

Even most Great Thieves didn’t possess Specialist Lockpicking. It wasn’t a skill that could be obtained as one simply pleased, but rather, it required the player to pick open tens of thousands of locks to achieve such a level.

There was only one possiblity. There was another method to open this chest! Perhaps, he would be able to find a special key.

Thinking to this point, Nie Yan stood up. The answer was definitely located on this isle! This place was also the location of an abandoned Dark Elf shrine. Maybe the two were connected! 

As he glanced at the in-game clock, he noticed the servers were just about to shut down. Right now, there wasn’t enough time. He’d have to continue when he logged back on.

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