Chapter 96 - King Manticore
Speaking truthfully, the pressure Nie Yan felt while evading these Manticores was immense, but such actions were required for the sake of convincing the team of his ability, which was also why he refrained from using the items he purchased beforehand.
The Alpha Manticore was much faster than its brethren. So despite the use of a Haste Scroll, it eventually closed the distance and leaped forward.
As it pounced toward him, baring its fangs and claws, Nie Yan suddenly dodge rolled the fatal attack that was mere inches from taking off his head.
A bright blue light trailed behind the Alpha Manticore as it swiped only thin air. In spite of its quick attack speed, Nie Yan had avoided the attack in a timely manner, resulting in its massive frame barrelling past him.
Nie Yan quickly recovered from the roll and fled in a different direction.
This bold display of skill, where he was merely an inch away from death, left the onlookers endlessly shocked and excited. Nie Yan was truly a fearless person for daring to perform such a risky maneuver.
Upon landing, the Alpha Manticore veered its body and then continued after Nie Yan.
In order to keep buying more time for the rest of the team, Nie Yan deliberately ran in a zigzag pattern.
Every six to eight seconds, the three rearmost Manticores pursuing Nie Yan would be peeled from the main group. The formidable group of Manticores gradually dwindled until only the Alpha Manticore and an ordinary Manticore remained.
If not for the team members being there to personally witness it themselves, they would never believe a single Thief could be capable of evading such a large pride of Manticores for so long, especially one with an Alpha Manticore leading the chase.
At this moment, no member in Sleepy Fox’s team dared to call his ability into question. They finally understood their captain taking the time to invite Nie Yan and even conceding leadership of the run to him wasn’t without reason!
A player of Nie Yan's caliber was definitely deserving of such consideration!
Despite there being no real evidence, Sleepy Fox surmised Nie Yan was quite possibly a member of a powerful team that must have already beaten Agmota Muddy Wetlands on Specialist difficulty before; otherwise, Nie Yan wouldn’t be so familiar with luring such a large pride of Manticores. Assuming this conjecture was true, didn’t that signify the strength of Nie Yan’s team had already reached a terrifying level?
With each and every revelation, Nie Yan’s origins were becoming more and more mysterious.
Never in his wildest dreams would he think that Nie Yan was actually someone who had reincarnated into the past. Nie Yan did indeed beat Agmota Muddy Wetlands on Specialist difficulty, but that was in the previous timeline where walkthroughs for all low-level dungeons were widespread and publicly available. By then, the number of teams that had cleared the Specialist dungeons were as numerous as the grains of sand on a beach shore.
As Sleepy Fox pondered over this matter, he saw Nie Yan leading the remaining Manticores over to them.
“Everyone, get ready for battle!” Sleepy Fox hurriedly announced. The Leader-class Manticore was still going to be rather difficult to deal with.
Violent Waves raised his shield and ran over to intercept the Alpha Manticore.
Though, before he could reach Nie Yan, the Alpha Manticore suddenly pounced.
“Watch out!” several people cried out in alarm.
Seeing Nie Yan about to be killed, many members couldn’t bear to watch any longer. It appeared, even after persisting for long, he was still going to fall at the final stretch.
In that instant, as if he had grown eyes at the back of his head, Nie Yan suddenly pivoted his foot and dodged to the side.
The abrupt change in direction resulted in the Alpha Manticore’s claw harmlessly brushing past him.
Sleepy Fox and a few other who witnessed the scene all broke out into a cold sweat. The attack had missed by just the tiniest fraction of an inch. However, it was this small gap—this line of demarcation—that represented the pinnacle of skill.
Unlike the others, Nie Yan wore an expression of complete calm on his face despite having been just a hair's breadth away from death; he acted as if such a haggaring situation was merely an everyday occurrence.
“Shield Bash!” Violent Waves rammed his shield into the Alpha Manticore and helped take aggro off of Nie Yan. Following immediately after were the numerous spells arriving from the rear line.「Bang! Bang! Bang!」They bombarded the Alpha Manticore’s body as damage values rose above its head.
Meanwhile, another Fighter charged ahead and took the aggro of the other Manticore, assuring it wouldn’t attack anyone else.
During all this, Nie Yan circled behind the Alpha Manticore and unleashed a chain of attacks.
The damage Nie Yan dealt was quite considerable, causing the Alpha Manticore’s aggro to switch back to him. However, a moment later, Violent Waves let out an ear piercing roar that carried an intimidating force.
The shout resulted in the Alpha Manticore immediately halting its movements. Then, in response, it turned back to Violent Waves and furiously started attacking him once more.
Demoralizing Shout was able to intimidate a monster for several seconds and interrupt their attack. At the same time, it was also able to attract aggro. This was the bread-and-butter within the toolkit Fighters had at their disposal to pull monsters.
Since the Alpha Manticore had become isolated, the battle was much easier and ended without much suspense. Under the constant barrage of spells, the Alpha Manticore was quickly, and simply, blasted into smithereens.
After collapsing onto the ground, the Alpha Manticore dropped a piece of a Silver equipment for Paladins.
Unfortunately, in a Specialist dungeon, getting a Silver equipment drop seemed a bit lackluster.
They really could clear an entire Manticore den without the need for Scorching Meteor. Completely amazed at this fact, Sleepy Fox was now thoroughly convinced Nie Yan’s skills were beyond exceptional. He was an incredibly talented player. Sleepy Fox really wanted to recruit him into the guild and even offered very generous conditions, but he was tactfully refused. Now, since it appeared Nie Yan becoming his subordinate was unrealistic, he decided the next best plan was to maintain a friendly relationship.
Afterward, the team proceeded to clear over a dozen dens of similar size. Sleepy Fox was the first to reach Level 7 while the other members followed in succession. Seeing everyone else level up, Nie Yan glanced at his experience bar. He was still thirty-five percent away from levelling up, so he wasn’t far off either. During this period of time, where they cleared den after den, Sleepy Fox and his team acquired many good pieces of equipment. Among them was a pair of Thief Gold-grade leg guards: Strength +10, Balance +6. It could be considered decent and was better than the ones he had currently equipped, so Nie Yan directly took it. With the events that had transpired, the other Thieves in the team no longer had the courage to quibble with Nie Yan over it either. Regardless, by the end, the entire team had upgraded their gear in one way or another.
Nie Yan calculated in his head. From this run alone, he would receive at least ten or so silvers. Although it wasn’t much, it was still better than nothing.
Continuously employing the same tactics, Nie Yan and the team gradually approached the King Manticore’s den which was located at the center of the marsh. It was wide open space with many Manticores roaming around with roughly sixty to seventy of them. If one looked into the distance, over a hundred meters away, they would catch sight of a gigantic, golden-maned Manticore wandering about. It was many times larger and significantly more muscular than the other Manticores around it. This was the one and only King Manticore.
“If only we had Scorching Meteor for this boss…” Sleepy Fox mumbled in embarrassment. He couldn’t help but feel regret over wasting it in such a rash manner so early in the run.
“No worries, the area here is big enough that we can lure the Manticores without attracting the attention of the others. The only difficult part is actually killing the King Manticore. It’s Lord-class,” Nie Yan said. The boss’ Easy and Normal difficulty counterparts were Sub-Elites while the Hard and Expert ones were Elites. Only in Specialist would the players have to confront the Lord variant of the boss.
Although the Specialist counterpart was rather difficult to beat, the quality of the drops scaled accordingly with the increase in difficulty. Naturally, the kind of equipment that could be retrieved from this boss was on an entirely different level than ones from its lower difficulty counterparts. At the very least, an item of Gold-grade would drop, and occasionally, a Dark-Gold item would drop as well. Besides equipment, the boss also frequently dropped special items such as gems, special crafting materials, and unique consumables.