Chapter 184 – Splitting Edge
“Those Ash Cloaked Heretics are Level 32 Elites,” Nie Yan informed. He reappeared in front of Tuoba and Forthright after sneaking back.
“Level 32 Elites…? We definitely can’t deal with them.” Tuoba wrinkled his brows. It was impossible for them to deal with three Level 32 Elites with their current line up. He estimated they’d all be wiped out after a single round of spells.
“Should we head back and find some more party members?” Forthright asked, putting away the greatsword in his hand.
“No, let those bunch of scoundrels be. They definitely won’t come. All of the Withered Leaf players are preoccupied with running dungeons. I’m guessing they probably won’t have any free time until the day after tomorrow. Besides, we’re going to have to log off in thirty minutes anyway. So let’s call it a day. We’ll bring more people with us next time,” Tuoba suggested after checking the server time.
“You’re right. There isn’t enough time left today,” Nie Yan said. Thirty minutes wasn’t long enough for him to explore the central hall. He was better off finding a safe place to log out.
“Are you planning to return to Calore?” Tuoba glanced at Nie Yan and asked.
Nie Yan shook his head. “I’m going to explore a bit deeper before logging off.”
“Really? You still want to go further inside?” Forthright asked in surprise. Exploring the depths of the Light Monastery by himself… was he looking to die?
Tuoba was also bewildered. Although Nie Yan’s strength could be considered decent, he absolutely was not a match for these Elites.
“Don’t forget, I’m a Thief.” Nie Yan smirked.
Tuoba stared blankly, then let out a clear laugh. “You’re right, I almost forgot!”
The Thief class had the innate advantage of being able to go where other classes couldn’t. An ordinary Thief absolutely wouldn’t dare to explore particularly dangerous areas, but Tuoba made the mistake of judging Nie Yan as an ordinary Thief.
Tuoba and Forthright had witnessed Nie Yan’s capabilities for themselves. Maybe he really could sneak into the central hall by relying on his skills.
“If you find any Paladin equipment, save them for me,” Tuoba said. He was a bit impressed by Nie Yan for daring to explore such a dangerous place.
“Me too! I need Warrior equipment,” Forthright loudly chimed in from the side.
“I’m just going inside to take a look. I can’t guarantee that I’ll be able to bring anything back,” Nie Yan replied. He was also going there for the sake of retrieving the Chapter of Justice. As for other things, they’d be truly difficult to obtain. But who could know for certain? He might just find some amazing treasure inside.
“No problem, just keep it in mind. We’ll be heading back now,” Tuoba said. There was no point in them staying here any longer.
“Mhm, sure!” Nie Yan nodded. Tuoba and Forthright definitely couldn’t progress any further today, unless they were somehow able to bring some people back here to clear out the Ash Cloaked Heretics in a short span of time.
“See ya later, pal! Remember to get me a few pieces of Warrior equipment,” Forthright said with a wide grin.
“Don’t worry. If I find any Warrior equipment, I’ll definitely save them for you.” Nie Yan chuckled. He felt Forthright’s character truly matched his name, straightforward and without any hidden schemes. He had a good impression of Tuoba and Forthright. They were certainly people worth befriending.
Although Nie Yan had reincarnated, he didn’t feel his skills would allow him to triumph over everyone. Even so, having knowledge of the future possessed one very large advantage—and that was the ability to recruit various heaven-defying talents to his side. With Tuoba and Forthright in the guild, Asskickers United gained two more experts.
Taking out a Return Scroll each, Tuoba and Forthright began activating them. Twenty seconds later, they were whisked away with two brilliant flashes of light.
Nie Yan glanced at the ceiling of the monastery. He spotted wooden beams about five meters above his head. They were carved with all sorts of designs which looked detailed and elegant on closer inspection. If he wanted to get past those three Elites, he had no choice but to climb over them by using the ceiling beams. However, there was too little time, and it was dangerous for him to log off in the central hall. He left the corridor to do a bit of grinding outside. After which he found a safe spot to go offline.
Setting aside the game helmet on top of his bedside table, Nie Yan walked out of his room to discover numerous large boxes sealed with tape blocking the hallway. It seemed much of the furniture and items in the house had already been packed away.
Nie Yan’s mother called out to him after spotting him walk out of the room. “Little Yan, we’re going to move to the city in two days. Your dad just registered his own company, so we’re moving closer to his office. We’re planning to transfer you to a high-class prep school in the city as well. I hear they’ll be able to teach you a few things you can’t learn here, and you’ll get a better education. When you have the time, you should say goodbye to your classmates.”
“Sure, I understand. Mom, let me help you pack.” His mother’s words reminded him of the previous timeline. His father had moved the whole family to the capital around this time as well.
While helping his mother pack, Nie Yan heard his father writing away in the study room. He guessed it probably had something to do with the company.
Summer vacation was coming to an end, and the new school year was about to start. Nie Yan thought of Xie Yao. He’d finally get to meet her again. He wasn’t sure what she was up to lately. An intense sense of longing washed over him, like the pleasant burning sensation of a strong spirit going down his throat as he recalled her pleasant smile in his mind.
It had been ten long years—an entire lifetime for him even, yet the feelings he had for her never faded. In fact, they had only grown stronger over time.
During his last year of high school, his heart had been thoroughly snatched away by her. But back then, he had been a hopeless coward, muddleheaded and incapable of confessing his love. All he could do was hide behind a corner and timidly sneak glances at her. Yet the fact that he could even catch a glimpse of her every day left him content to go about his complacent life.
This life, however, would be different. He would never repeat the same, disastrous mistakes.
Nie Yan helped his mother pack away various household items. Anything that they needed would be stored inside a box.
“Mom, we don’t need to bring these things. We won’t have any use for them anyway.” Nie Yan pointed at a medium-sized box full of antiques. He remembered that in his past life, all they did was collect dust and take up space in the basement of their villa.
“It’s no problem. We can bring a little extra. I’m fine storing them in the basement. We could probably put some of them on display,” Nie Yan’s mother replied with a faint smile, a hint of nostalgia in her voice. She wore an expression full of reminiscence as she took out some of the items from the box to examine.
Spotting the wrinkles that had formed near his mother’s eyes as she smiled, Nie Yan was beset with a feeling of melancholy. His mother had grown old before he even realized. She got engaged with his father when she was in her early twenties, giving birth to him less than a year later. Afterwards, his father left to serve in the army for five years, but she had never once complained. When the family reunited later on, they lived in constant poverty. She toiled endlessly from morning to late evening every day to help support the household. Her youth quickly faded away. Yet despite the bitter hardship, she went about her life with no complaints.
Even when the family became wealthy later on, the relationship between his parents had always stayed strong.
His father very rarely expressed his feelings, but he was a man who deeply cared for his family, an aspect about him that Nie Yan respected the most.
Shabby as those items may be, he now understood why his mother wanted to bring them along. They carried the memories of the past and a lifetime of countless trials and tribulations, when she along with his father struggled to create a family. Even though those times were full of hardship, they represented a simple kind of happiness.
Recalling that his mother had suffered even more hardship in the previous timeline, partially because of him, Nie Yan couldn’t help but feel guilty. A strong desire to take responsibility arose from deep within his heart. Whoever dared to encroach on the happiness of his parents in this life, he’d make sure they would forever disappear from the world.
“Your Uncle Lin and his family will also move with us. We bought a large villa on the outskirts of the city. It’s quite spacious,” his mother warmly explained after noticing that he had gone silent.
“I understand.” Nie Yan nodded and smiled. He carefully packed away all of his mother’s things, wrapping them in cloth to prevent them from getting damaged to some extent before storing them in a box.
“Your father is planning to give some shares of his new company to your Uncle Lin and Uncle Liu, my youngest brother; your cousin, Ah Chen; and some of our other relatives. Although our situation has gotten a lot better, we mustn’t forget those who’ve helped us out. Remember, if it weren’t for them, who knows where our family would be right now?” Nie Yan’s mother earnestly reminded.
Nie Yan’s father was a deeply sentimental man. He always kept in mind those who had treated his family well in the past. When his father had asked Old Lin, Old Liu, and his youngest brother-in-law for money, they insisted on not taking interest. The people who did only agreed to because his father was being stubborn. Even then, it still wasn’t very high.
As for Ah Chen, needless to say, he had done the most for the Nie family. Thanks to Ah Chen running all over the place on his father’s behalf, the company could finally be started. So, naturally, he would receive the largest share of the company. As for Luo Ming and his group, they had acted no differently from loan sharks when his parents had asked to borrow money from them—not to mention they had hounded him on numerous occasions to pay back the debt despite knowing full-well that his parents weren’t home. His parents were greatly disappointed that they had such contemptible relatives.
Suddenly, there was knocking on the front door.
As his mother got up to answer the door, Nie Yan quickly stopped her. Grabbing hold of her wrist, he shook his head and said, “Mom, no need… Let me go answer it instead.”
Nie Yan was now much more thoughtful than he was in the past. His mother showed a gratified smile. She nodded her head and sat back down.
Nie Yan opened the door to the sight of who else but Luo Ming and his loathsome face?
“Little Yan, are your parents home?” Luo Ming asked with an awkward yet somewhat ingratiating smile.
“Scram!” Nie Yan’s expression frosted over. Back then, his father had only given Luo Ming’s group some shares in the company because they had begged shamelessly. Who could’ve guessed that they’d plot against his father later on, leading to him committing suicide out of depression after losing all control of his company? He absolutely wouldn’t allow these events to repeat themselves in this life.
“How can you speak to me like that!? I’m your uncle!” Luo Ming attempted to use his seniority to restrain Nie Yan, but his confidence faltered after seeing the icy glint in Nie Yan’s eyes.
Just as Nie Yan was about to slam the door shut on Luo Ming, his mother’s voice came from behind. “Little Yan, who’s at the door?”
“Sis! It’s your big brother! Little Yan won’t let me in. I just want to talk for a bit. I’ll leave right after,” Luo Ming shamelessly called out.
Nie Yan’s mother furrowed her brows. “Little Yan, let him in.”
Although Nie Yan despised Luo Ming, he didn’t dare disobey his mother and stepped aside.
After Luo Ming entered the house, he was followed by his wife and the other relatives who clung onto him.
Luo Ming took a quick glance at the study room, then let out a forced laugh. “It seems my brother-in-law is pretty busy these days, huh?”
“What do you want? Speak.” Nie Yan’s mother thought back to the time when she and her husband asked them to borrow money. Luo Ming’s group treated them like strangers and even responded with hostility.
“About the matters in the past, we were in the wrong… Little Sister, don’t get angry at us. We came here today to apologize,” Luo Ming’s wife explained. Her grating voice sounded like a squawking duck, making her unpleasant to listen to.
“Sure, we acted coldly, but we still lent you the money. Now that you’ve gotten wealthy, you’re just going to hang us out to dry? How is that reasonable? You can argue your logic with anyone, and they’ll still say it doesn’t make any sense!” Nie Yan’s other aunt sneered.
“Little Yu’s words are a bit crass, but they’re still reasonable. A person mustn’t forget their roots!” Luo Ming’s wife added. It seemed one was tasked to play the role of a villain while the other played the role of the hero.
Nie Yan’s mother frowned. “You were more like loan sharks than family. When we asked you to borrow money, did you act like family?”
Luo Ming’s wife and the other aunt’s expressions flickered with embarrassment.
“Based on your family’s financial situation at that time, who would dare to lend you money? Even real loan sharks wouldn’t take the risk of loaning you money. They wouldn’t believe that you’d be able to pay it back! It all worked out in the end, right? Well, you’re all well-off now. So you suddenly decide to cut all ties with us?” Luo Ming’s wife shouted in a harsh tone.
“Exactly! We can find anyone to be the judge! No one in the world would agree with your reasoning!” Nie Yan’s other aunt pitched in, adding more fuel to the fire.
“How is it fair that outsiders like Old Lin and Old Liu get shares in your company and we don’t!?” By now, Luo Ming started fuming.
Nie Yan’s mother was naturally mild-mannered. She wasn’t a match for the two aunts when it came to quarrelling, nor was she used to dealing with such a stream of slurs. Red-faced and teary eyed, she shouted, “Ask yourselves! Old Lin and Old Liu might be outsiders! But have you people ever treated our family as well as they have…?”
Nie Yan clenched his fists. Staring at their ugly, repulsive mugs, he wanted so badly to rush up and beat the tar out of them.
“Tell your husband to get the hell out here! If he gives us each a three percent share of his company, we’ll drop the matter! If he doesn’t, we’ll find people and let them judge!” Luo Ming threatened, directing his voice toward the study room.
Nie Yan’s father walked out of the study. He stared coldly at Luo Ming’s group.
Luo Ming immediately shut up. He still felt a sense of dread toward this brother-in-law of his who served in the army.
“Are you just about done? Get out of my house! I don’t care how many thugs you bring. You’re not getting a cent out of my company.” Nie Yan’s father walked to his wife’s side and wrapped his arm around her waist. This simple gesture was enough. Her shoulders dropped, relieved from the weight of a crushing burden. Tears rolled down her face as she leaned against her husband.
“Sister, we came here today to have a civil discussion, but your family is simply too out of line!” Luo Ming said, wrinkling his brows.
“Scram! If I hear any more nonsense out of you, I’ll kick you of the house myself!” Nie Yan stared daggers at Luo Ming.
“Look at your son! Is that how you teach him to talk to his elders!?” Luo Ming’s anger had reached its peak. His hand moved to slap Nie Yan’s face. Lost in his rage, he forgot that Nie Yan was no longer the same cowardly boy he knew from the past.
Nie Yan recalled the unhappy experiences that he had with Luo Ming in his childhood. He had been beaten by Luo Ming more times than he cared to remember, quite ruthlessly too. Many times, he’d been left with deep bruises. His mother would always burst into tears, her heart aching deeply whenever she saw the abuse that she was helpless to stop.
Nie Yan grabbed Luo Ming’s wrist like a vice grip and fiercely twisted his arm backwards.
“Let go! Let go now!” Luo Ming screamed out in pain.
Nie Yan carried Luo Ming to the front of the house. Opening the door, he threw him out.
“Well, are you going to get the hell out? Or do I have to throw you out?” Nie Yan’s eyes flashed with a hint of ruthlessness as he swept his gaze over Luo Ming’s wife and the others. Ever since he had shot Cao Xu dead, he was no longer the same weak, timid boy.
Luo Ming’s wife and the others were badly frightened by Nie Yan. They quickly vacated the premises while letting loose a stream of curses.
「Bang!」Nie Yan slammed the door shut.
“Mom, don’t cry. They’re not worth your tears.” Nie Yan consoled his mother.
Although Nie Yan’s father found his aggressive actions just a moment ago to be a little strange, he quickly realized something. Presumably, while they were out of town, Nie Yan probably suffered quite a lot under the harassment of Luo Ming’s group. It was only natural for him to change.
Nie Yan’s mother seethed with anger. She felt helpless that she had such a man for an older brother.
Nie Yan spent the entire day helping his mother pack. As dusk approached, she went out to buy groceries in preparation for dinner. Soon, the whole family sat at the table, enjoying a warm meal.
“I’ve heard the prep school we’re sending you to is very nice, but the academic requirements in the capital are much higher. Little Yan, keep up with your studies. You musn’t fall behind your peers,” Nie Yan’s father patted him on the shoulders. His relationship with his father now seemed much closer in comparison to what it was in his past life.
“Yes, I’ll try my best,” Nie Yan replied, simply to please his parents. As for the need to actually study, passing his senior year of high school with full marks wouldn’t be a problem.
“While I was out buying groceries, I heard Little Yu has been going around to our neighbours, telling them that we’ve forgotten our roots, and abandoned the relatives who’ve helped us after becoming rich,,” Nie Yan’s mother said, sounding quite vexed about the matter.
“Hmph! Let them prattle on. Clear is clear, and muddled is muddled. As for who’s in the right, anyone with a discerning eye can tell,” Nie Yan’s father said in an annoyed tone.
“Mom, Dad’s right. Don’t let them get to you,” Nie Yan comforted.
Nie Yan chatted with his parents for a while after finishing his meal. They would be moving to the capital the day after tomorrow. After they settled down in their new home, school would start a few days later. Just the thought of being able to see Xie Yao again left him feeling somewhat excited. A stream of memories flooded his mind. He recalled that Xie Yao should still be single at this time. She wouldn’t enter a relationship with Liu Rui until university. Even so, they were all going to be fellow students in the same school.
In other words, there was still a chance left for Nie Yan to win her heart. As he thought about this matter, Nie Yan’s mood became complex. He entered his room and put on his virtual reality helmet.
As he logged back in the game, Nie Yan found himself near the respawned Ash Cloaked Heretics. Taking advantage of the spawn immunity from the opening of the server, he found a hidden place to blend into his surroundings, activating Stealth. From a safe position, he looked cautiously at the three Elites to confirm that they were still in the center of the hallway.
Nie Yan slowly advanced until he was directly beneath a ceiling beam. He shot a web line from his Silk Spinner Ring which stuck on the beam. Confirming that the line was secure, he jerked his arm back as his body was flung upwards toward the ceiling. Once he neared the beam, he immediately activated the Crawler Ring and clung on. With the combined abilities of his two rings, he was more than capable of climbing under the beam like a spider.
Nie Yan hid behind the ceiling beam while still in stealth. He quietly crept right over the heads of the unsuspecting Ash Cloaked Heretics. Since they were still in their passive states, it was clear that they had yet to notice him crawling above them.
Nie Yan entered the central hall after getting past the Ash Cloaked Heretics. He was greeted by an ornate and magnificent room with a row of massive pillars on each side and a red carpet laid down the middle. The pillars in each row were about six meters apart from each other, with a hundred of them in total stretching far into the distance. Inside the hall were a few humanoid monsters in silver armor. They carried huge swords as they patrolled, and were clearly melee attackers.
On each side of the hall, in the far corners, a dark gold chest quietly flashed with a metallic light. Nie Yan’s pulse suddenly started racing. These were dark gold chests!
He hadn’t expected this hall to provide loot as good as two dark gold chests. This was the benefit of being a pioneer exploring a new area, because a latecomer would never be able to find these treasures. Ordinary chests would respawn after a random period of time, but dark gold chests would disappear forever!
Sadly, each chest had over a dozen monsters guarding it. Ignoring them for now, Nie Yan noticed that one of the patrolling silver-armored monsters was about to reach his hiding spot behind a pillar.
Corrupted Silver Paladin (Elite): Level 33
After seeing the Corrupted Silver Paladin’s stats, Nie Yan felt a chill run down his spine. There were over thirty of these Corrupted Silver Paladins in this hall, all of which were level 33 Elites! If that was true, then he felt that this would be difficult to deal with. Paladin-type monsters usually had high health and attack. Some of them even had specific anti-Thief skills! On top of that, these level 33 Elites were much higher level than him. He had no chance facing off against them!
Creasing his eyebrows, Nie Yan helplessly pondered his options. Using stealth to bypass them as he had the Ash Cloaked Heretics was impossible: these Corrupted Silver Paladins would certainly notice him. His gaze happened to fall on a certain pillar in front of him, causing him to have a sudden flash of insight. He could make use of these pillars! He smiled at the simplicity of his method, but if he could do things the easy way, then why not?
Nie Yan used his Crawler Ring to deftly climb up a pillar, then dropped down like a spider with the line of webbing from his Silk Spinner Ring. Hanging about five meters from the ground, he took out his Crossbow of Blood. He carefully selected and then locked onto a Corrupted Silver Paladin. Suddenly. three bolts flew out in succession. They all hit their mark, dealing thirty points of damage each. Looking at the damage values, he realized that his attack power had truly grown.
After being struck, the Corrupted Silver Paladin quickly noticed Nie Yan hanging from the pillar. It tried to rush at him to attack, but all it could do was run in circles around the pillar with no way of getting to him. Since it couldn’t jump high enough to reach him, it could only fruitlessly attempt to find a path to him.
After the Corrupted Silver Paladin entered the range of Intermediate Demon Hunter’s aura, it began to take fifty damage per hit from Nie Yan’s steady stream of bolts. Making things even worse for the helpless mob, some of the bolts would proc the Armor Pierce property and deal over one hundred and fifty damage.
Under the constant damage and with no way to retaliate, the Corrupted Silver Paladin’s health quickly fell to thirty percent within a short five minutes. At that point, it raised its sword and summoned a grey beam of light from above. To Nie Yan’s dismay, the mob’s health began to rise until it was full.
These things have healing skills… that’s annoying. Nie Yan continued his one-sided assault. This sort of monster usually had limited mana pools that could only sustain two or three spells at most. He’d have to deplete it of all of its mana before he could start dealing any meaningful damage.
If only I had a weapon with the Mana-Siphon property... With such a weapon, he'd be able to deplete the enemy’s mana with every attack. It was the bane of Paladins, Priests, and Mages. Sadly, that sort of property only appeared on weapons of at least Sub Legendary-grade.
As the Corrupted Silver Paladin once again fell to low health, it cast another self-heal, restoring itself to fifty percent health. Apparently, it could only perform a Greater Heal once before only having enough mana to cast a Lesser Heal. Finally, under Nie Yan’s unceasing assault, the monster’s health fell bit by bit down to zero. At long last, the defeated corpse collapsed onto the ground.
Nie Yan had successfully killed a Corrupted Silver Paladin! Elated, he jumped down from his position five meters in the air and collected the loot dropped by the monster. The item was a rather special one.
Splitting Edge (Incomplete): 1/20
The Splitting Edge appeared here?! Nie Yan’s heart thumped in shock and excitement. No one knew better than him just how amazing the Splitting Edge was. In his past life, he had used this exact weapon all the way until Level 60. Even though part of the reason for this was his inability to find a suitable replacement, the great properties of this weapon were still the main reason that he could use it for so long.
This very Splitting Edge was renowned as the best Thief weapon under Level 50!