Chapter 877 - Path of the Thief

As the Darkwing Dragon swallowed the Dragon Core, the aura around its body shrunk, becoming far more dense and giving off a heavy feeling.

Since Nie Yan and the Darkwing Dragon had a spiritual connection, he could sense it was slowly digesting the Dragon Core. The energy permeated into its body a little at a time.

The Darkwing Dragon would need multiple days to digest this Dragon Core. 

Fate River, a surging river cut through a mountain range and flowed into a deep basin at the foot of a mountain. This was one of Calore’s most treacherous areas.

All sorts of different monsters prowled about. Elite creatures were everywhere. Even the much rarer golden monsters that dropped good equipment were rather common here. Not to mention the Fate River was rich with natural resources, home to many different kinds of medicinal plants and rare ores. Teams of players frequently entered this place, not to level but to adventure! 

A lucky few would return from the Fate River richer than in their wildest dreams. Just a few rare scores could allow you to live several months in luxury. If you were unlucky, however, and encountered some high level elites, you were most likely screwed. Even if you ran at the first possible moment, wiping was the most likely outcome. All this was assuming you didn’t encounter a powerful dragon, for if you did, you would be dead before even knowing what attacked you.

Nie Yan had the Darkwing Dragon circled in the sky before finally finding a suitable spot to descend.

The Darkwing Dragon landed on the ground. Nie Yan hopped off its back.

Before long, several Thieves arrived in front of Nie Yan.

“Boss, you’re here!”

Nie Yan glanced at these people. They were part of the Thief corps. Some of them looked more familiar than others. However, without inspecting them, he had no way of calling out their names. There were simply too many Thieves for him to remember all their names.

The Thieves all grew extremely excited when they saw Nie Yan.

“Show me where the Dragon’s Den is,” Nie Yan said.

“Alright. Follow us, Boss!” a Thief called Wind Blade said.

Nie Yan followed behind them as they dashed in a certain direction. The several mountains in the vicinity were poking into the clouds with high, precipitous cliffs. Occasionally, a few large creatures flew overhead.

The Thieves leading the way moved with extreme care. This place had dangers lurking everywhere. One slip up, and they could fall into a precarious state. They wouldn’t be the first, nor the last to die here.

“Boss, some large flying creatures frequently appear here,” a Thief said. However, seeing Nie Yan giving him a warm smile, completely unperturbed, he realized his reminder was unnecessary.

...

In a forest below a cliff, a dozen Thieves were eyeing the Dragon’s Den. They spotted two large dragons flying away to go hunt.

Two of the Thieves hid under some trees. They had a clear view of the cliff from behind the foliage.

“Chief, that should be the eighth one, right?” a 20 years old Thief with a somewhat immature appearance asked. His name was Su Yue. Beside him was a 30 years old Thief with a long mustache and dark skin. He showed a calm appearance. His name was Silvery Night, a junior captain in the Thief corps.

“No, still seven. We’ve counted that one before.” Silvery Night shook his head.

Su Yue asked in bewilderment, “Chief, how can you tell? All these dragons look exactly the same to me!”

Silvery Night chuckled. “Not at all. If you look carefully, you can easily spot their unique traits.”

Su Yue remained unconvinced. He stared at the dragons. They all looked the same to him. What unique traits were there to spot? He was amazed that Silvery Night could tell the differences between them. Ever since he joined the Thief corps, he’d always worked under Silvery Night, quickly gaining respect for his chief who always seemed to know everything.

“I heard the boss is coming,” Su Yu remarked. He had only heard this from a teammate. At present, everyone was still guessing. For the sake of preventing any information from leaking out, only a handful of them knew it was Nie Yan who ordered them to come to the Fate River.

“I’m not sure,” Silvery Night said, feigning ignorance.

“What kind of person is the boss?” Su Yue asked with curiosity.

“What kind of person is the boss? Hehe… I don’t really know either.” Many memories surfaced in Silvery Night’s mind. He was a long-time member of Asskickers United, having joined when the guild was only 20,000 members in size. At that time, he and the others had joined for fun. Who could’ve expected the guild would rise to such heights in two short years, experiencing victory after victory against some of the most powerful foes? Now they ruled over the Viridian Empire. Naturally, the status of people like him had risen as well. In the past, he wore trash equipment and was looked down on by almost everyone. Now, whenever he walked the streets of Calore, bystanders would gaze at him in envy and show respect. All of this was because of one person—Nirvana Flame! Thinking back to these past two years in Asskickers United, all of the guild’s ups and downs, honours and disgraces deeply affected his heart. As for Nie Yan, he was undoubtedly an unrivalled existence to him, not someone he actually knew.

“Chief, have you ever met the boss?” Su Yue asked.

“A few times.” Silvery Night chuckled.

“Wow! Tell me, what is he like? I’ve seen his videos, but I mean those are just videos! You can’t even get a close look at him in them!” Su Yue said. A big reason he joined Assskickers United was his admiration for Nie Yan. The man who had single handedly built up a hegemony from scratch! The man who undoubtedly was an extremely amazing character!

“From what I remember, he looks pretty average. But that only makes it easier to get along with him. He isn’t arrogant, he isn’t stuck-up. He’s a stand-up guy. I bet you’ll be greatly disappointed. He definitely isn’t like what you’re thinking.” Silvery Night faintly smiled.

“You’re lying, right?”

“Appearances are superficial, right? My most vivid memory of him was when me and two of my friends ran into 60 people from Victorious Return. We thought we were dead for sure. Only later on did we discover that those people were all chasing the boss. They didn’t even pay us any attention at all.”

“What happened after?” Su Yue asked, interested.

“Back then, we were all pretty low level. The boss’ equipment wasn’t like the Legendary set he has today. But it was still better than anyone else’s. He slaughtered half of them, the other half running for their lives. It was amazing,” Silvery Night recounted. “He showed me what a true Thief can do.”

A single person killing 30 enemies. Su Yue dropped his jaw in shock. This sort of thing was fairly normal for Nie Yan these days. However, when his equipment was only above average, that was a far greater achievement.

Silvery Night chuckled. “Anyway, after that event, I started improving by leaps and bounds. This was all thanks to seeing the boss in action that one time. Kid, do you know what’s called a true Thief?”

“What?” Su Yue asked. Wasn’t it just a class? Was there a need to be so mysterious?

“A Thief is a path, one of a king. If I explain it like that, you probably won’t understand. Do you know why the Thief is called the king of the wilderness? It’s not because our direct combat strength is particularly strong. We have two unparalleled abilities. The first is the ability to retreat and hide at any time. A highly skilled Thief can escape from any danger. The second is the ability to launch ambushes. Under the cover of the shadows, we’re invisible killers. This is just my understanding. If I wanted to kill you, you would die without even knowing what happened. Everyone can only tremble before my dagger. Their fear will sap away at their strength. They are my prey. When you truly understand the path of the thief, you’ll give off a certain aura. You’ll become invincible,” Silvery Night said.

“Path of the Thief?” Su Yue muttered. This topic went over his head.

“Try your best to understand, kid.” Silvery Night patted Sue Yue’s shoulder. Glancing at his chat, his face lit up with excitement. “The boss is here!”

They looked into the distance and saw several Thieves dashing over. One of them was wearing a cloak which hid his appearance. Even so, the gazes of all 12 of them instantly fell on him as their breath stagnated. They all knew who he was.

The man, the myth, the legend, Nirvana Flame!

Nie Yan walked over. Under the shade of the trees, he took off his hood. His eyes scanned over everyone’s faces before finally falling on Silvery Night’s.

“Silvery Night, have you investigated the surrounding terrain?” Nie Yan asked.

“Yes, Boss! You actually remember me?” Silvery Night asked, surprised. He didn’t expect the boss to remember a nobody like him.

The surrounding people all gazed at Silvery Night enviously. For the boss to remember him, this was a glorious thing.

Nie Yan chuckled. “How could I not? My impression of you is pretty deep. You have good eyes. The executive guild leader mentions you quite often.“

After seeing Nie Yan in person, only then did Su Yue discover that they were around the same age. Even though Nie Yan was young, he gave off a mature impression. He appeared dignified and approachable. It made people feel as if his actual age were different from how he appeared. He was that kind of mysterious person!

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Translator: LittleShanks (Follow me on Twitter)
Editor: Sietse