I was already acting the robber, so I might as well go all out. After snatching the Ascension Proof from midair, I grabbed the necklace right next to it and… that was it. The rest of the equipment was too far away for me to reach, and Dragon Soul Protection could only last so long. I would certainly die if God of War and Breeze and Rain caught up to me as my invincibility skill expired.
I crushed the Escape From Hell Scroll and caused another sheen of golden light to erupt from my body. It would take three seconds for me before the teleport was complete!
God of War and Breeze and Rain skidded to a stop just three meters away from me. Judging from their furious expressions, they knew that it was already too late.
Breeze and Rain pointed his sword at my face and uttered harshly, "No one has ever stolen the food in our jaws, and you are the first, Lu Chen! Just you wait, we will teach you a lesson later! You will pay heavily for everything you’ve done!"
I sneered, "Bring it on."
Finally, the scroll’s magic ripped a hole in space and time and teleported me away from Dragonsnake Devil’s Den!
I appeared inside a lush forest. At the distance, I looked to the side just in time to catch a group of Beast King Cavalrymen galloping toward somewhere. Good, I’m back at Frost Stained Canyon. The tiny dragon coiled around my arm turned into a huge dragon, and after I climbed onto its back I ordered, "Let’s go!"
Just like that, I soared to the nine heavens and left the Beast King Cavalry behind.
It was around this time Hickey sent me a call request: "How is it, boss? Did you escape successfully?"
I smiled. "Yes. It’s time to leave this accursed map behind. Let’s regather at Bonecrush Forest and protect our domain."
"Mn mn, your safety is more important than the Ascension Proof, boss!"
That made me laugh a bit. "Who said I didn’t get the Ascension Proof?"
Hickey exclaimed in pleasant surprise, "Wait, seriously? You got it?"
"I got it. See you at Bonecrush Forest!"
Hickey cheered. "Mn mn!"
The Ancient Divine Dragon flew toward Bonecrush Forest in a straight line. Barring any accidents, I should arrive at my destination in 20 minutes. At full speed, my mount moved like a meteor and was way faster than even the speed-based Zephyr Ironbone Warhorses. Part of the reason was because a land mount was affected by the terrain and could only travel between 50% to 90% of its max speed. To give an example, a land mount could only travel at at most 90% of their max speed on a perfectly flat plain. On the other hand, an aerial mount retained at least 97% of their max speed almost all the time. It was never going to be a fair comparison.
On the way, I opened my bag to check out my prize. Besides the golden Ascension Proof, I had also gotten a shiny necklace with a bent, heart-shaped pendant. Mini cyan cyclones surrounded the necklace, and it glittered like the most dazzling accessory in the world. I fully expected it to be OP, and I wasn’t disappointed when I checked its stats—
Necklace of the Ice Wind Goddess (Archean Immortal-grade, Outstanding★★★★★★)
Passive: Increases user's ranged attack power by 40%
Passive: Increases user’s ranged skills’ rank by 1
Outstanding Property: Power Strike Aura. Increases ranged attack power of all party members within 100 yards by 15%
Level Requirement: 205
Reputation Requirement: 450000
Class Requirement: Archer
My heart sang. What an amazing archer-exclusive necklace! The trip to Dragonsnake Devil’s Den had definitely been worthwhile. The one necklace I nabbed was an Archean Immortal-grade equipment, and more importantly, I got what we came here to get, the Ascension Proof. This Ascension Proof was more valuable than any other item I could’ve gotten because it turned anyone into a Divine General of Iron Skull Wilderness, one that was loyal to me no less...
A while later, I arrived at my destination and jumped off the Ancient Divine Dragon’s back to land in front of the NPCs of Bonecrush Forest. All around me, Godkiller players who had been killed in action and returned to our headquarters nodded at me and greeted, "Welcome back, guild leader!"
I nodded back in acknowledgment before lying down on top of a huge limestone and waited for Hickey, Warscar and the others to return. Although I had the Ancient Divine Dragon guarding by my side just in case, I wasn’t worried that someone would attack our resting spot. Bonecrush Forest was our headquarters, and Godkiller players were all over the place. Even Cyan Beast had to weigh their strength before invading this place, and after the battle of Frost Stained Canyon, I was certain that a large majority of their players had used up most of their supplies. This meant that they would have to return to Cyan Earth City for a time and restock their potions before attempting another invasion. After all, not everyone had the privilege of over 1000 bagspace and could spend half a month outside without worrying about supplies like me.
Almost 40 minutes later, Hickey, Warscar and the rest of the guild finally returned to Bonecrush Forest. Hickey greeted me with a smile, "Boss!"
By the time I sat up, Hickey had already plopped down next to me and watched me expectantly.
I passed her the Ascension Proof and said, "Here. Use it now and become a Divine General. If you had Great Earth Transformation earlier, you may not have lost to Flowing Cloud."
Hickey gladly accepted the Ascension Proof. The next moment, it flowed into her body as a glob of radiance—
System Announcement: Player "Hickey" has used the Ascension Proof and become the first Divine General of Iron Skull Wilderness! They have gained Level +2, Luck +3, gold +50000, and achieved the realm of Great Earth Transformation! They have also obtained an exclusive Divine General Skill:
Great Earth Dragon’s Blade: Trigger the rage of the great earth dragon and conjure draconic blades to kill all targets on the surface with the power of the divine. Deal AoE damage to all enemies within 15 yards. Skill’s attack power is based on the user’s stats. Skill exclusive to Hickey.
Warscar clenched his fists as he laughed, "Hickey has ascended to become a Divine General! Iron Skull Wilderness has finally welcomed its first Divine General, wahahaha..."
Hickey thanked me profusely, "Thank you so much, boss!"
"You’re welcome…" I waved at her. "We are one and the same from the moment Sacred Oath and Godkiller joined hands."
It was at this moment I checked the time and realized something. "Oh shit, I almost forgot I had an appointment. I need to leave right now. Protect Bonecrush Forest and keep an eye out for Cyan Beast. We cannot allow Breeze and Rain and God of War to ambush our headquarters. If we lose these NPCs, we won’t be able to resupply for several days at least."
I returned to the sky and arrived at the agreed upon coordinates seven minutes later. I could see Flowing Cloud holding the reins of her white horse and staring at me from the ground.
The Ancient Divine Dragon let out a warning roar as I jumped down while I was still three meters in the air. After I landed on both feet, I walked up to her and said with a smile, "Thank you for helping me earlier, Flowing Cloud. I will remember this favor."
Flowing Cloud smiled wider. "How many times have you owed me already?"
"Whatever. Now talk to me. You called me over for a reason, right?"
Flowing Cloud drew in her cloak before leaning against a nearby stone wall. "You’ve seen what happened in Dragonsnake Devil’s Den earlier, haven’t you? Natural Flow is one of the top guilds in Elephant City, but Cyan Beast thinks of us no more than a puppet."
I nodded in agreement. "God of War and Breeze and Rain are arrogant fellows. They have the strength to match that arrogance though."
"That is why I would like to change things!"
Visibly agitated, she clenched her fists tightly and breathed hard enough to cause her bust to sway hypnotically. "Just a few days ago, God of War had the gall to contact me and suggest that Natural Flow is subsumed into Cyan Beast. Subsumed! He wants out elite players to join their main guild, and the guild itself to become their subguild! The shame!"
She abruptly unsheathed her sword and cut down an orange tree next to her. Face stiff with determination, she continued, "I, Flowing Cloud had climbed all the way to where I am now through my own two hands. I’ve neither relied on others nor begged for outside help. If Cyan Beast must extend their claws to Elephant City, then I will be the one to cut off their talons myself!"
I leaned against a fir tree while confirming her intentions. "You wish to break ties with them?"
"Yes." Flowing Cloud nodded. "Well, maybe not that far. But Natural Flow will never become another person’s puppet. You should’ve figured it out by now, but I helped you today so you could do me a favor…"
I laughed. "You sure think highly of me, Flowing Cloud. Well, speak. If whatever you want me to do benefits me as well, then I promise you I will do everything in my power to see it done. You are the only one who respected my strength enough to travel all the way to Final Duel Valley to recruit me after all, not to mention that it irks me that I’ve never been able to repay so much good will you’ve shown me."
Flowing Cloud giggled a bit before tilting her head. "Why do you think I helped you because I respect your abilities, not because I fell in love with you?"
I licked my lips and answered, "All the women who love me would never hurt me. You would. It’s that simple."
Flowing Cloud pursed her lips. "You also dislike women who are too calculative, right? Hmph."
I looked her in the eyes and replied seriously, "Yes. I like smart women, but I dislike those who are good at manipulation. Maybe I’m misjudging you, but make no mistake: I will never think of you that way, Flowing Cloud."
"Ceh, like I want your love…"
Flowing Cloud snorted in disdain before continuing, "Anyway, back to business. All I ask from you is one thing…"
Flowing Cloud withdrew her smile and started in an unusually serious tone, "In 19 hours, a conquerable NPC territory will spawn close to Elephant City at Thunder Mountain Range. What’s special about this territory is that it will be Rank 9 from the moment it spawns, and it increases drop rate of all members of the guild it belongs to by 15%. It is why all the guilds in India are vying for it. I’ve come to a secret agreement with various guilds such as Dark Clouds and Flames of War, and, long story short, we are going to do everything in our power to stop Cyan Beast from obtaining it. If they succeed, Cyan Beast will truly be unbeatable in all of India. I want you to help me occupy this territory…"
I exclaimed in astonishment, "You want me to help you occupy a Rank 9 territory? But… how does this benefit me?"
Flowing Cloud chuckled. "It’s very simple. This territory stands directly between Railroad Fortress and the China server. If I become the owner of this territory, not only will I allow you to enter and exit it as you please, I will clear the way home for you myself!"
"The way home…"
She got me. Flowing Cloud was a smart woman, and she knew exactly what my weakness was.
A long time later, Flowing Cloud walked up to me and kissed me on my forehead. After she pulled away, she said seriously, "Lu Chen, you are my friend.  I hope you will help me just this once."
I thought for a long time before answering, "I demand 10 million gold as compensation for the brothers and sisters who are going to die for your cause. We are done if you disagree."
Flowing Cloud replied imperiously, "10 million it is! I can afford it!"