Chapter 166 - Intermediate Demon Hunter
As per his usual routine, Nie Yan took off the game helmet, went downstairs to the kitchen where he grabbed a tube of nutrition tonic, and then headed back to his room to start his morning workout. He had just begun walking up the stairs when he heard knocking on his front door.
Wondering who would come by so early in the morning, he went to answer the door, whereupon he was greeted by a pair of familiar faces. It was his mother and father!
His father very much resembled himself. Yet despite only being in his forties, his hair was already streaked with gray. He was dressed in a neatly pressed suit, but his broad shoulders and intimidating stature matched with his stern, clean-cut appearance easily gave away his military background. As for his mother… you could tell she had been quite beautiful in her younger years, but the ravages of time caused wrinkles to appear on the corners of her eyes. However, what had been lost with age was replaced with an elegance and grace that set her apart from those of the lower class, which explained why she was disliked by some of their extended family.
His parents were weary from travel, their faces ashen from fatigue. It appeared as if they hadn’t gotten a good night’s rest in weeks.
“Mom, Dad…!” Nie Yan’s nose turned sour as tears began freely flowing from his eyes. Too many things had happened in his past life that had left him with more than just a few regrets. When he was finally able to see them again after so many years, he could no longer hold back the flood of emotions.
“Oh, Little Yan… I’m so sorry we left you all alone for so long without even calling!” His mother immediately embraced him, her voice stifled with emotion. They had been compelled by circumstances which had left them with no other choice. “But, we’re finally back...”
“Mom, Dad… It’s fine, I understand. You both came home safely, that’s what matters the most…” Nie Yan replied, sounding all choked up. He was all too aware of the difficulties his parents had braved these past few months. After waking back up in the past, he was no longer that ignorant brat whose selfishness did nothing but cause them misery. Just being able to see them again left him feeling immensely grateful to the heavens.
“Little Yan, you’ve grown up! You’re taller too…” his mother affectionately said.
“Mom, Dad, you both look like you haven’t slept in days. Come in quickly so you can rest!”
His father normally wore a serious and unsmiling expression, but when he witnessed how much his son had matured, he couldn’t help but gaze at him warmly.
“I told you, boys need to learn how to be independent. You coddle him too much. See, in the time we were away, our son has grown up.” His father laughed heartily.
Nie Yan’s father was a rigid man who rarely expressed his feelings which led to few words exchanged between father and son. As a result, he had felt distant from his father in the past. However, as he grew older, he came to understand that his father cared for him just as deeply as his mother, only that his love was shown differently.
When noon arrived, his mother was amazed to discover that her son had learned how to cook. The taste of the food was quite good too. It seemed he had indeed grown independent. He even seemed much more confident than before. She felt very gratified to be blessed with such a son.
As everyone enjoyed a peaceful meal, the warm feeling from having his parents back allowed Nie Yan to experience a happiness he hadn’t felt in ages, causing a powerful desire to slowly well forth from deep within him. I must acquire enough power to protect my family!
“We should invite Ah Chen over to have a meal with us. He’s really done us a favour,” his mother suggested. The Ah Chen she spoke of was an older cousin from his father’s side. Since childhood, he had always been close to their family. He had even accompanied Nie Yan’s parents on their trip.
“Don’t be so meddlesome. You saw how reluctant he was at that time to part with his family. Let him spend some time with them,” his father chided.
His mother gently laughed in agreement.
“We should probably return the money we borrowed from Luo Ming and the others first thing tomorrow,” his father said. Even though Luo Ming and Nie Yan’s other relatives had no qualms about making things difficult for them when they asked to borrow money, this time around, Nie Yan’s parents had returned home with honour. At long last, they would be able to hold their heads up high. The money earned from smuggling near the border was enough to allow the family to live without worry as well as pay back what they had borrowed. Furthermore, thanks to the many connections he had built up during his time near the border, he would be able to start up his own company soon. The Nie household had a very bright future ahead of them.
“I’ve already paid back the money you borrowed from them,” Nie Yan interjected. His heart brimmed with disdain when he thought of those relatives. From this day forward, he would make sure to sever all connections they had with that part of the family.
“What did you just say...?” his father asked blankly. Nie Yan had paid back the loans in full!?
“When you guys were gone, they banged on our door at least several times a week, hounding me for the money. Without any other option, I could only turn to Tang Yao. He lent me the money to pay them back,” Nie Yan answered in an almost indifferent tone.
“Lowlives! Luo Ming and the lot… they’ve really fallen to a new low!” Slamming his fist on the table, his father’s expression frosted over. Even though Nie Yan sounded calm when he recounted the events, he could imagine just how many grievances his son had suffered. When they had left him at home, they had done so partially because it was too dangerous to have him by their side, but also to give some assurance that they weren’t running off with the money. Yet while they were away, Luo Ming and the lot actually had the gall to harass their young son who had been left all alone at home—even more so, to the extent where his son had no choice but to turn to his friend for help!? They had crossed the line! Even Buddha’s tolerance could be tested!
His mother was also infuriated. Luo Ming was her big brother. How could he treat his nephew like that!?
“Since you’ve returned all the money, so be it! From now on, we sever all ties with them. Our family no longer has those sorts of relatives! Still, we need to return the money you borrowed from Yao’zi. Find some time when you can invite him over for a meal. We need to thank him properly for extending a helping hand to our family,” his father said apologetically. Thankfully, his son had matured; otherwise, who knows the sort of trauma a fragile child at his age would have suffered. They would have been ridden with a lifetime’s worth of guilt.
“Right, I’ve already given him a phone call. He’ll be coming over tomorrow,” Nie Yan replied. These last few weeks, he had been wondering why Luo Ming and the others were bothering him so much to return the debt, even more than they had in his past life. Perhaps, it had something to do with that woman, Lin Jia, spreading rumours around town. In any case, the matter had been settled. There was no point in holding onto past grudges. Luo Ming and the others’ actions had led to his father directly breaking off all relations with them. If not, those so-called relatives would have attempted to force their grubby hands on his father’s company. In that respect, Lin Jia had actually done him a great favour.
“We’ll have to invite Old Lin and Old Liu over some time as well. They’ve also done us a great favour,” his father said. It seemed some relatives couldn’t even compare to those old comrades whom he had gone through life and death with.
“Yes, we should.” His mother nodded.
The family then chatted all the way to evening.
“Mom, Dad, you guys should rest early. Then, you’ll have the energy for tomorrow!” Even though he had the experiences of his almost thirty-year-old self, because he was still in his eighteen-year-old body, he had no choice but to play the role of a thoughtful son to please his parents.
“You should get some rest too,” said his mother affectionately after kissing his forehead.
Although his father didn’t say anything, Nie Yan could tell he was very happy.
Going from the living room back to his own room, Nie Yan reclined on his bed. With his father and mother back home, he felt very happy. Today was the most peaceful he had ever been since waking up in the past. As he glanced at the game helmet beside him, he knew that there were still many things he had to prepare for in the future. However, so long as everything developed at a steady pace, no matter what, he wouldn’t allow the tragedies of his past to befall his family again.
For three days straight, Nie Yan entered the game at night to clear the quest, then visited his parents’ friends and other family during the day. After all, people like Luo Ming and the other relatives who hounded him were in the minority. There were still many extended family members who had given a hand when his family was in dire straits. When Tang Yao visited their house for a meal, he was warmly welcomed by Nie Yan’s parents. Their family had stayed at Uncle Lin’s home for a while and visited his cousin Ah Chen as well.
On the third day, Nie Yan’s father nervously began the preparations for his company. He had created those connections with great difficulty. If he didn’t hurry up and establish his company, then those connections were very likely to be lost.
Registering a company was never a cumbersome task. With the company registered and staff hired, his father’s business was officially off the ground, and it was quite lucrative indeed. There was no need to worry about the market. When the goods were shipped over from foreign countries, they would immediately be sold domestically for a high price. Otherwise, how else would his father have amassed such a massive amount of wealth in the short span of one to two years? Naturally, as the company grew, his father started branching out to more proper business endeavours to fool people of their dubious origins.
With everything going smoothly on his father’s side, Nie Yan could put his mind at ease as he focused his attention solely on the game.
Shortly after logging back on, he checked on his quest progression.
Task 5 – Kill 12,000 Headless Horsemen (Progress: 11,997/12,000)
Nie Yan was only three away from completing the quest. Without batting an eyelid, he continued on the grind since, in any case, he had already grown numb to it.
Three Headless Horsemen later...
Task 5 complete! You have received the Intermediate Demon Hunter title.
Doing these quests was truly a test of willpower. If there was a Task 6, he felt like he’d absolutely lose his mind.
He examined the new title’s effect.
Intermediate Demon Hunter – Increase Influence in all human nations by 12. Reduce the stats of every creature of darkness within 10 meters of the player by 20%.
Intimidate: Inflicts the target with fear for 2 seconds. Range: 3 meters
Deterrence: Disperse all monsters within the surroundings for 10 minutes. Not valid if the monster's level exceeds the player's level by over 20.
Even though Intimidate was a short range skill, it was still pretty good. It was perfectly suited for PvP. As for Deterrence, it was also pretty useful when hunting mobs. More importantly, it would allow him to enter that shrine in the center of the map.
Though the Junior Undead Slayer, Intermediate Undead Slayer, and Advanced Undead Slayer titles gave decent effects, they were merely token rewards. It was only when the title changed to Junior Demon Hunter and Intermediate Demon Hunter that the rewards for this quest line were becoming generous!
Nie Yan checked his status page. Adding the 12 points from his new title, his Influence in Calore reached 31. Now, even if he returned to the city with his name still red, he wouldn’t be attacked by the guards!
While he was inwardly celebrating, he suddenly received a system prompt.
Congratulations on clearing the first five tasks! You have received Strength +10, Dexterity +10, and Intelligence +10.
Task 6 – Kill 50,000 Level 30 or higher Undead Monsters.
Upon reading the second prompt, he nearly had the urge to commit suicide right there and then. However, when he saw the quest wasn’t making him kill Headless Horsemen, he breathed out a sigh of relief. This quest only required him to kill 50,000 Level 30 or higher Undead Monsters. It didn’t necessarily mean he had to complete it here. He could finish it anywhere outside as well. He felt curious as to what sort of effects the Advanced Demon Hunter title had... or if that was even the end. Perhaps there were more?