Chapter 78 - Fate Dice
Fate Items were spread by the powers of the Chaos Faction. They were extremely rare items and often possessed unimaginable effects.
This information came from the dark region known as the Underworld, an area filled with pestilence and blight. There, countless creatures roamed amongst the lands dotted with ancient tombs. In addition to that, the land was also where the undead flourished, being home to wraiths, skeletons, ghouls, and all other sorts of dark entities. Aside from evil Necromancers, who beckoned the unliving with their magic, no others could approach this land.
The Spirit Summoning Scroll was an item used to bypass countless layers of earth and summon spiritual entities directly from the Underworld, most of which had never seen the light of day.
Some Fate Items served as catalysts for Necromancers to summon spirits, while others were dark items that contained powerful curses. Though no matter what their use was, not even Necromancers were fully capable of controlling these items as they desired.
Just like their name suggested, the outcome of using a Fate Item could only be left up to fate.
Nie Yan read over the Cursed Skull’s description.
In order to activate its effect, the player was required to crush the skull, whereupon three Fate Dice would be summoned. Once activated, there was no turning back. The player must roll each die; otherwise, they would be cursed. If a four or higher was rolled, then the player would receive a reward. If the player rolled a three or lower, however, they would be inflicted with a curse based on the result—the lower the roll, the heavier the penalty. Inversely, the higher the roll, the greater the reward.
Be it a reward or a curse, opportunity and risk were two sides of the same coin.
Additionally, the Cursed Skull would disappear if it wasn’t used within five minutes.
After he finished reading the description, Nie Yan felt an indescribable sensation in his chest. The outcome of using this item was hard to predict. This was because the summoned dice were rolled by the system, which meant it was impossible to cheat, and thus the end result depended entirely on luck. This meant each roll had a fifty percent chance to be a boon and an equal chance to be a curse.
Nie Yan calmly sat on the ground and started eating a loaf of bread to replenish his health, though his state of mind was anything but tranquil.
Gaaaah! It all depends on my luck! Even he couldn’t say for sure whether his luck was good or bad. While pondering about what his next action would be, Nie Yan closely examined the skull in the palm of his hands. The skull had a gem embedded in each eye, and they were flickering with a ghastly light. As he stared into the eyes, he felt as though they were staring back, watching him.
It was calling to him, telling him that it was simply providing him an opportunity. As for whether he dared to challenge fate, that choice was solely up to him.
The future was filled with uncertainty.
Nie Yan firmly grasped the skull in his hand, despite still being entirely hesitant about what he should do. If he delayed his choice any longer, then the Fate Item would vanish without a trace.
He endlessly questioned himself to the point of torture. In such a situation, no one would dare make a rash decision.
As the minutes and seconds continued to pass by, he suddenly recalled an old folktale in the game. It was about an old man who arrived in a village carrying a sealed chest. The old man entered the village square and told the residents that he would unlock the chest and give all the contents within it to whomever paid him a silver. Yet in the end, not even a single villager was willing to spend the money for the chest. Eventually, the old man left; however, from then on the residents of that village would often lose sleep as they tossed and turned in bed, recalling the old man and his mysterious chest. They regretted not paying the silver and getting to the bottom of that chest.
The moral of the story was quite simple, and it applied to his current situation rather well. If he didn’t use this Cursed Skull and let it fade away, then perhaps he would end up like those villagers, endlessly thinking back to one event with regret.
There’s no harm in trying my luck… Nie Yan firmed his resolve and gradually exerted more strength on the skull in his right hand.「Crack!」It began to split under the pressure as he gritted his teeth.「Pop!」the Cursed Skull was crushed into pieces.
The next twenty seconds passed in complete silence, as if everything in the vicinity had been frozen in time.
Suddenly, an enormous bone-white, six-sided Fate Die emerged in the sky, suspended directly above Nie Yan. Each face had a different number carved into it; one to six appeared in ancient, crimson red characters belonging to the Spirit race.
It awaited his attempt to challenge fate!
After taking in a deep breath, Nie Yan slowly extended his right arm. As his hand hovered over one of the floating die, it began to spin at an incredible speed, with the number facing him changing at a rapid pace.
The scene was easily capable of making a person’s head spin from dizziness.
“Stop!” As soon as he called out, the rapidly spinning Fate Die immediately came to a rest, and the number was revealed before him. The bolded character was in a shade of red that resembled blood.
Shit… I’m out of luck.
Almost immediately, a sinister, malicious energy covered his entire body and slowly drained his Strength.
「Pestilence of the Frail: Your Strength has been permanently reduced by 10.」
The terrifying curse sent chills down his spine and caused his heart to freeze over. Even if he was a top expert, losing ten Strength was still incredibly difficult to bear.
Each stat point was as precious as the next. Not to mention that, outside of leveling, permanently raising a stat by even a single point was an extremely challenging task.
To Nie Yan, it seemed as though the scarlet number painted on the die had transformed into the slithering tongue of a devil; flamboyant and alluring, it gazed at him in a mocking manner.
The die had only landed on a three yet it had permanently reduced his Strength by ten points. He had a hard time imagining what sort of severe curse he would’ve come under if it had landed on a two or even possibly a one.
Even worse, he still had two more rolls to go. He didn’t dare think about the consequences that potentially awaited him. Would he end up a cripple? In that case, he would have to delete his character and start all over again.
His fate was unknown.
And because it was unknown, it was all the more terrifying to think of.
However, he couldn’t back out now. The next Fate Die was quietly floating in the air. If he didn't roll before a certain amount of time passed, he would be automatically cursed regardless.
Was he regretting his decision? No. To be more accurate, he didn’t have the time for regret. He hovered his right hand over the second die, causing it to rapidly spin in the air. He didn’t know if the next roll was going to be a dazzling reward or a debilitating curse. Though, no matter the outcome, he was unable to escape this trial of fate.
What if it’s another curse...? No, it definitely won’t be!
“Stop!” Nie Yan called out. The tone of his voice revealed his faltering resolve compared to earlier, but he still pressed on regardless.
The ivory-white Fate Die was akin to a snake coiling itself around his heart. The sound of the die stopping practically caused his heart to stop beating.
Five! It landed on a five! Then, a white radiance descended over him, and he felt as though a huge weight had been lifted. It’s not a curse!
As long as it’s not a curse, then it’s okay!
Nie Yan regained his calm and checked the system announcement, whereupon he immediately checked his skill window. There was an extra skill in one of the slots!
Undead Rite (Undead Temple Magic - Rank 1): Sacrifice 30% health for a 20% chance of controlling a targeted undead for three hours. The player can only control a maximum of 5 undead at one time. Cooldown: 30 s
Apparently, where there were sacrifices, there were also gains. When he saw Undead Rite, he couldn’t help but feel excited. It was actually Temple Magic! Elemental Hall Magic and Undead Temple Magic were both classified as high-level skills. After losing ten points of Strength, this seemed like a reasonable return. After all, since he had the Chapter of Courage, it was possible to make up for the permanent loss in Strength after twenty-five levels. In addition, this rare skill was a priceless treasure! In the future, he’d have an advantage when levelling and traversing areas filled with undead!
Unfortunately, that was where the celebrations would come to an end. The last die floating in the air caused him to gaze at it with a complex expression. This item could truly allow a player to reach the heavens in a single bound. At the same time, however, it could also consign a player to the deepest layers of hell.