Chapter 77 - Cursed Skull
Nie Yan climbed back to his feet and dashed toward his destination, clearing out the skeletons as he travelled along the narrow, twisting passages of the Sulgata Rampart. After clearing out several passages, and finishing off the last nearby Skeleton Mage, his experience bar had risen by two percent. Along the way he had picked up many items, though he still hadn’t had the time to sort them out yet.
As he advanced onwards, he eventually encountered an area with no skeletal remains. Finally… This ought to be a safe area.
He sat down and began sorting through the items he had recently picked up: twenty-seven coppers and two subpar pieces of Bronze equipment.
Just as he was about to close his inventory menu, a shabby-looking scroll at the bottom corner of the window caught his eye. Only then did he recall that he had obtained such an item. He must have picked it up from that Skeleton Mage he destroyed earlier.
Written on this yellowed scroll were the ancient characters of the Dragon race. It read: “Ancient spirits awaken from within the shadows.”
It was a special one-use item called a Spirit Summoning Scroll. As the name suggests, the player could summon an ancient spirit by activating this scroll. However, there were downsides. In the event that the player failed to control the spirit, they would be devoured in turn.
It was quite an uncommon item. In Sulgata, the likelihood of it dropping was one in two thousand. So, if one were lucky, they’d obtain it every so often while killing skeletons in the area. The ghost summoned by this item wasn’t all that strong. At best, it could be used as a meat-shield. However, in an area like Sulgata that was filled with countless roaming skeletons, this item was surprisingly handy.
Though, there was a slight problem. His low level would make it difficult for him to control the summoned ghost, which meant that it was highly possible it would try to devour him.
Hmm… should I use it or not?
Nie Yan pondered for a moment. If I’m capable of controlling it, then I’ll have a meat shield at my disposal. If I fail, however, my only loss will be a scroll.
With those thoughts in mind, he turned and surveyed his surroundings. It’s pretty spacious here, and for the time being, there won’t be any monsters to disturb me.
After thinking for a bit, he bit into his thumb and pressed it onto the scroll, using his blood to draw a dark red mark.
As his blood gradually seeped into its fibres, the scroll began to radiate with a faint glow.
The ancient seals written on the scroll were slowly beginning to activate.
Soon, a dark ghastly energy emerged from the scroll and gradually condensed into the form of a person. The spirit he summoned was a Ghost Assassin. It appeared translucent and held a shadowy dagger in its hands.
Ghost Assassin: Level 10
Its stats actually weren’t bad for a Level 10 summon. In his previous timeline, he had also used this item when he was Level 10 or so. In those days, the price of a Spirit Summoning Scroll was about eight silvers, which wasn't considered to be very expensive as the average player was able to buy them. If he were to sell the scroll at the marketplace now, then considering its current rarity, it would probably go for around ten silvers.
The Ghost Assassin's combat strength was decent, and it had a summon duration of thirty minutes. It also possessed three skills: Shroud, Concussive Blow, and Self-Detonate. With this summon at his side, his levelling speed would certainly increase significantly.
After being summoned, the Ghost Assassin didn’t move at all. Instead, it scanned the surroundings with its cold eyes.
Nie Yan attempted to control the ghost, but it didn’t budge an inch. He tried once more, and this time, it actually moved.
I succeeded? His heart filled with pleasant surprise. With the Ghost Assassin by his side, he’d have an extra hand to help fight the skeletons.
Contrary to his expectations, however, the Ghost Assassin’s dagger flashed with a cold glint as it suddenly dashed toward him.
Shit, this asshole is trying to devour me!
This wasn’t entirely unexpected, though, as he never had high hopes to begin with when he summoned it. His level was simply too low. Moreover, the ghost wasn’t merely a level or two above him, it was five entire levels above him. Controlling it couldn’t have been an easy matter.
In the event that the player failed to control the summoned creature, they would be the first thing the summon would aggro onto.
As it sped toward him, Nie Yan rapidly pulled back and dodged the Ghost Assassin’s oncoming attack. Then, seeing an opening, he quickly pounced forward and went on the offensive.
“Vital Strike!” Nie Yan shouted out as he slashed his dagger across the Ghost Assassin’s neck.
Yet, the attack seemed to be ineffective as its shadowy neck simply restored itself almost instantly after being cut. Brandishing the dagger in its hand, that ghastly being dashed forward and answered with an attack of its own.
Nie Yan was forced back onto the defensive and had to constantly retreat as they fought. Their positions were ever changing as they moved about the area. This ghost was much stronger than those frail skeletons. Thankfully, he had only summoned a Ghost Assassin and not something tankier. So although he was five levels below it, his damage wasn’t insignificant.
Two damage values rose above the Ghost Assassin’s head.
After losing a sizable chunk of health, the ghost’s body began to sway and fade, eventually disappearing from sight.
Nie Yan had lost sight of his target. No matter how hard he concentrated while searching, he was unable to detect its position. The level discrepancy between them was just too large, so he was unable to see through the Ghost Assassin's Shroud.
He cautiously retreated to a nearby wall, then pressed his back against the stone so he would only have to face attacks from the front.
Suddenly, the nearby shadows flickered and a silhouette emerged at his side. The dagger in its hands deftly struck towards his head.
The Ghost Assassin was also capable of using Concussive Blow, and Nie Yan was a goner if he let himself get stunned.
Seeing the dagger approach, he quickly sidestepped the attack and avoided a perilous situation.
But just as he dodged the attack, the Ghost Assassin turned its blade back and lashed out at Nie Yan again, though this time, its dagger transformed into three flashes of light before it struck.
−52, −57, −56
The unexpected chain of attacks cost him the greater half of his health. Nie Yan hurriedly pulled back, just narrowly evading the Ghost Assassin’s second flurry of attacks, then leapt away to put some distance between them.
He took out a Basic Health Potion and poured its contents down his throat, instantly restoring thirty health. Seeing the Ghost Assassin draw near, Nie Yan swung out his right arm and attempted to hit it in the head with a Concussive Blow.
The Ghost Assasin’s head split in two from the force of the strike, but rapidly began recovering to its original shape.
While its head recovered, the ghost halted its movements for several seconds. And those few seconds were all Nie Yan needed to unload enough attacks to bring it down to a third of its health.
He proved to be a bit too greedy with his attacks, though, as he continued attacking even after the stun had worn off. He didn’t have time to react as the Ghost Assassin slashed at his chest.
A critical hit! The attack reduced his health to thirteen percent, leaving him badly frightened. Without sparing a second, he quickly fell back with Swift Retreat and applied a Combat Bandage.
+20… +20… +20…
The Ghost Assassin had no intention to let him rest as it rushed towards him with a dagger aimed right for his head.
Nie Yan dodge rolled to the side, evading the attack, then swiftly retaliated with Assassinate. His dagger slashed across the Ghost Assassin’s chest.
His attack also dealt a critical hit and brought the Ghost Assassin down to five percent health.
The Ghost Assassin suddenly let out a cry as its body turned a dark shade of red and began to rapidly expand and violently surge with energy.
It wants to self-destruct!
The explosion from a Ghost Assassin self-destructing was especially terrifying. He had been caught in such an explosion before in his past, and it caused him to lose over eighty percent of his health. But that was when he was Level 10. As a Level 5, he probably wouldn’t even be left with a complete corpse.
Judging that it was too late to escape the blast radius, he rushed at the Ghost Assassin and planted his dagger in its throat.
The Ghost Assassin’s health fell to zero, and its Self-Detonate was cancelled. As it dissolved into thin air, it let out a single mournful cry.
“Hah… Hah… Hah…” Nie Yan gasped for air. That bastard was more difficult than I thought.
As he recovered his stamina, his eyes happened to glance over the ground. It actually dropped something!
Although the Ghost Assassin was a summon, as soon as it broke away from the summoner’s control, it would become indistinguishable from common mobs. This meant that it could drop items upon death like any other mob.
Nie Yan bent down and grasped the item that had dropped. Upon further inspection, it appeared to be a skull that was roughly the size of his palm. Numerous delicate patterns and designs were carved onto the top of the skull, and there were even two green gems embedded in its sockets.
Cursed Skull (Fate Item)