Chapter 73 - Tricked
Cloaking and Awareness were directly opposing stats. In situations where the opponent was a Thief under the effects of stealth, they could only be seen clearly if the other party’s Awareness was higher than the Thief’s Cloaking by fifty percent or more. When the two stats were equal, the Thief could be spotted if the other player concentrated hard enough while searching. If the Thief was good, however, then in situations where Cloaking exceeded the defending side’s Awareness, the opposing player would be stunned before they even had a chance to react.
Naturally, this wasn’t to say that when a Thief was discovered their attacks could be easily avoided. After all, Thieves were innately fast, whether it be in terms of movement or attack.
In a certain region within the marsh, the air distorted to reveal a silhouette. Its owner was Candy, who had activated Stealth and disappeared earlier on. She had re-emerged at Nie Yan’s rear. Her attack was terrifyingly fast as she attempted to strike him in the back of the head.
A single Concussive Blow would leave him stunned long enough to allow the Mages to send him directly to the graveyard.
However, before Candy even approached his back, he had already discovered her presence. Those nineteen points in Awareness weren’t just for show. He smoothly leaned to the side and avoided her strike.
After dodging, he pivoted his foot and struck back with his own Concussive Blow, aimed directly at her temple.
What a decisive attack! Candy rapidly pulled back, evading by just a hair's breadth, before distancing herself from Nie Yan.
This Thief had somehow discovered her!? Just how high was his Awareness? Not to mention his quick reaction speed and even fiercer counter. His movements were as natural as the floating clouds and flowing waters, a matchless style which left her heart in shock. What a strong guy!
At the moment, the average player was still quite low level, and although there weren’t many methods of attack, close-combat was the best judge of the opposing player’s experience and skills.
An expert! Candy was instantly convinced of this thought, though she wasn’t disheartened. In fact, she was delighted since things wouldn’t be interesting otherwise.
Just as their exchange ended, the Serpentine Lizard chose this moment to charge at Nie Yan from the side. Its gigantic body drew increasingly closer as its gaping maw appeared wider with each passing millisecond. He sidestepped the attack, locked his eyes onto a tree in the distance, then extended his left hand and shot out a line of webbing from his Silk Spinner Ring.
He jerked the web line and pulled himself out of immediate attack range.
The Serpentine Lizard’s attack had struck thin air yet again, enraging it to no end. It swung its body around and charged at Nie Yan once more.
In the brief moment when it had lost sight of him, Nie Yan activated a Basic Haste Scroll and bolted towards the three Mages at Eternal Sin’s rear. For the sake of preserving his life, he had no choice but to lead the Serpentine Lizard towards them; otherwise, he’d have no chance of surviving.
Eternal Sin firmly grasped his greatsword and blocked the approaching opponent’s path. He readied himself and prepared to attack when Nie Yan entered his range. A Thief’s innately frail defense meant that as long as he got in a few strikes, they could be easily killed.
As Nie Yan drew closer, Eternal Sin stared fixedly at him and the Serpentine Lizard in tow. At this point, it would be hard to avoid a confrontation with the lizard, though the most immediate issue was Nie Yan. They needed to kill him off; otherwise, it’d become quite annoying if he started wreaking havoc while they fought it.
Although Nie Yan initially had no enmity with Eternal Sin and his group, when he lead such a disaster towards them, it’d be quite normal for them to hate his guts.
Yet at the same time, this was also the wilderness, a place where life or death depended on skill. So even if they died, they would have no one to blame but themselves since they lacked the strength to survive.
By now the Serpentine was about to overtake Nie Yan, but the latter was likewise about to enter Eternal Sin’s range.
Eternal Sin brandished his blade and completely sealed off his path. It appeared he was going to match the Serpentine Lizard and perform a pincer attacker.
Nie Yan fully understood that the other party really wanted him dead. There was an enemy in front and another chasing from behind. He was being forced onto a narrow path. If he were to have the slightest slip-up, the Serpentine Lizard would pounce on him and Eternal Sin wouldn’t hesitate in cutting him down where he stood.
Seeing his opponent enter striking distance, Eternal Sin directly slashed down as a blade of light flew towards Nie Yan’s face. In the same instant, Nie Yan fiercely pivoted and leaped toward a nearby thicket.
The blade of light struck Nie Yan mid-leap and drew blood, followed by two explosions as a Holy Smite and a bolt of lightning landed afterwards.
Several damage values rose above his head, and he had nearly lost all of his health with a little over a tenth remaining.
Shit! Just how far can he leap!?
Eternal Sin immediately felt his heart sink after seeing Nie Yan successfully escape through the bushes.
How high or how far a player could leap was based on the Strength and Jump stats as well as weight load. The upper limit of how high a player could leap was five meters. The higher Strength and Jump were, the more powerful the leap. On the other hand, as weight increased, jump range decreased.
Fortunately for Nie Yan, his weight load was light, and he possessed the Chapter of Courage which provided fifteen points in Jump. It was no wonder his leap was so astonishing.
Eternal Sin was confident in obstructing and pinning Nie Yan down. He had even perfectly matched the timing of his attack with the Serpentine Lizard. If things had proceeded without a hitch, his opponent would have been dead in less than five seconds. Yet, never did he expect that Nie Yan would turn into a frog and bound across the bushes to escape.
In the next moment, the Serpentine Lizard arrived at Nie Yan’s previous position. It had lost sight of its target. Fortunately, there was new prey standing right beside it. It immediately turned around and pounced at Eternal Sin.
He had been tricked! As he stared at the giant lizard already in mid-leap, he knew he didn’t have the chance to retreat. He brandished his greatsword and stepped forward to meet it head-on.
“Everyone, be careful of that Thief! Candy, go after him!” Eternal Sin promptly commanded, then focused on repelling the Serpentine Lizard’s attacks. He feared Nie Yan would turn back and sneak attack the Mages in the backline.
The situation could get dangerous if Nie Yan got within melee range of the Mages. His could easily overwhelm them using his skill and agility, especially against the Priest who couldn’t put up much of a fight.
“No worries. Just leave it to me.” Candy’s eyes flashed with a peculiar expression. This guy’s quite skilled.
After successfully baiting Eternal Sin into engaging the Serpentine Lizard, Nie Yan turned around to examine the scene. Seeing as Eternal Sin and the Serpentine were already fighting, he felt somewhat alleviated of his stress. I finally got that lizard off my tail.
Should I take advantage of the situation to get rid of them or should I just leave? Nie Yan pondered for a moment. Let’s watch and see for now...
Nie Yan entered stealth and began blending in with the background before completely disappearing from view.
The Mages at the rear spotted Nie Yan’s dissipating silhouette from across the bushes. When they noticed they couldn’t detect his presence, they couldn’t help bunching up a little. Despite their surroundings seeming completely empty, they felt an enormous pressure weighing down on them.
Candy also entered stealth and scanned the surrounding for traces of Nie Yan. However, she didn’t dare to stray too far from the Mages. A Thief in the shadows posed too much of a danger to lightly armoured professions.
The only sound that emanated from the scene was the battle between Eternal Sin and the Serpentine Lizard. Eternal Sin’s defenses were high so he could hold it off temporarily. After a short while, the Mages and the Priest also began casting their spells.
Nie Yan glanced at his health bar; only a slight sliver remained. He hid behind the cover of the bushes and began applying bandages.
+20… +20… +20...
He restored two hundred health after ten seconds. Only then did he loosen his mind that had been on edge ever since he encountered the Serpentine Lizard.
Afterwards, he quietly observed the battle. Eternal Sin firmly held his ground as the Priest healed him and Mages dealt damage. Their composure and synergy left him wondering why he didn’t recognize them. They were such a strong team! However, after thinking about it for awhile, it made sense. In his original timeline, there were countless experts who were reserved and didn’t reveal their strength. It was quite normal that he didn’t recognize them.