Lian Xin pointed to the north and said, "There’s a path next to Dragonbone Mountain Range over there called ‘Angry Bear Canyon’, and it’s filled with brutal fiend-rank bears between Level 240 and 250. They’re just right for a party like us and especially for big brother Lu Chen. If he fights a monster that’s too weak, he won’t get any experience at all. That would be too unfair…"
He Yi let out a soft chuckle. "Very well, we shall head to Angry Bear Canyon and grind some angry bears…"
Murong Mingyue giggled. "Yep. Let’s go!"
There was huge traffic beneath the mountain range. It was because over half of the players of the entire China server had come here to rest and resupply. After we finally squeezed our way out of the crowd, I maintained the Fusion Armor and kept pace with Murong Mingyue and Lian Xin while He Yi acted as the point of our party.
He Yi took out all the random mobs we ran into on the way until we reached Angry Bear Canyon. There were almost no players here because the mobs in Angry Bear Canyon started at Level 240 and ended at Level 260. At the current stage of the game, only those with extremely good equipment would be able to challenge them.
We saw a 10-man party standing at the entrance to Angry Bear Canyon. One of the archers was saying with a deep frown, "We already lost Fourth once to the mobs, so I think we should stop here. Yes, our quest is to venture into the deeper areas of Angry Bear Canyon to gather the herbs there, but at our level it’s just plain suicide. Fuck that Princess Karinshan, seriously. Can’t she gather some more common herbs?"
The assassin beside him echoed in agreement. "Yeah, this is just impossible. Furious Strike from one Angry Bear is enough to delete 190k HP from our main tank. Two can straight up instakill him before we can do anything else. Even with a priest and a bard in the party, we don’t have even nearly enough HPS…"
"This quest is just fucking impossible, man. A map like Angry Bear Canyon is just a suicide map until you’re at least Level 240 or something…"
Their complaints stopped temporarily when He Yi and I walked up to them and asked, "Excuse me, but can you move out of the way? We’re going inside to do a faction quest."
"You want to enter Angry Bear Canyon as a four-man party? Are you trying to kill yourselves?" the assassin said bluntly.
However, the axe wielder next to him frowned and said, "Shut up and open your goddamned eyes, Fifth."
The assassin finally noticed the guild emblem on our shoulder. Although we had hidden our IDs, we were so famous that few people would be unable to identify us through appearance alone. He shuddered from head to toe and murmured, "L-lu Chen, From Water, Lian Xing and Murong Mingyue…? Fine, I was wrong. This map is easy peasy for you four…"
I shot him a polite smile and walked past him. Immediately, I spotted 5 Angry Bears on the other side of the entrance. They were all Level 249 fiend-rank mobs. It was no wonder that a normal player would have trouble against them.
I clenched my fist and let out a growl. Battle qi instantly condensed around me into a protective layer of astral wind. Was this overkill? Of course not. Why be sorry when you could be safe?
I walked straight toward the group of monsters and unleashed Summon the Storm. The skill enveloped a wide enough area that 7 Angry Bears were aggroed toward me at the same time. When they swiped my chest with their blood-red claws, the assassin behind us turned purple. "Holy shit, 7 Furious Strikes in a row? Not even Lu Chen can survive this, can he?!"
He Yi and Lian Xin giggled at the comment. The damage numbers, or rather lack thereof, quickly proved that his concern was appreciated, but unnecessary—
Battle Astral Wind was so strong that it absorbed 7 Furious Strikes in a row and lost less than 3% durability. It truly was a god-tier skill in every sense of the word, be it for PvE or PvP. And even if I hadn’t used it, there was still little chance these Angry Bears could threaten me at all. The two Sacred Armaments, multiple Divine Armaments and Immortal-grade equipment I was wearing wasn’t for show after all.
After that, Lian Xin unleashed her God Devil Break and Ice Spiral Formation, and ten or so seconds later, all 7 Angry Bears were dead at the same time. The ten-man party behind us could only stare in shock. To put it mildly, what they were shown was a level of power they could never hope to bridge.
He Yi spurred her mount forward while smiling at the party. "Lu Chen has opened up the way, so feel free to go in and complete your quest. Of course, we won’t be escorting you all the way. Whether you can complete the quest is up to your own abilities."
The assassin declared confidently, "Yeah, thanks! It should be fine now. There is ample space within the canyon, so it should be no problem stealthing over to the herbs and gathering them at all."
"I wish you luck."
After we bade the ten-man party goodbye, we continued deeper into the canyon, killed more Angry Bears and picked up all the fur they dropped. Because we had a fur-gathering quest, over 75% of the furry monsters we killed would drop the animal fur we needed. Of course, their pelts were classified as quest items and couldn’t be used to forge leather armor or anything of the sort.
The canyon was filled with short shrubberies and rocks. Multiple Angry Bears could be seen growling from between the rocks almost as if they were protesting something. They should be. The entire point of a monster’s existence was to be killed by players, and their tragic fates would never change.
1000 fur wasn’t a small number, so I suggested that we find a choke point and aggro the mobs en masse. It would take less time and net us more experience this way.
Like a dragonfly, I swooped just low enough to aggro a group of mobs before rising back into the air. I repeated this again and again until nearly a hundred Angry Bears were chasing behind me. After I returned to He Yi’s side and plugged the last hole in our defense line, Lian Xin and I put on a light show and murdered the absolute hell out of the poor mobs.
The Angry Bears were physical attackers with super high Strength but next to zero Intelligence, literally. This meant that Lian Xin’s God Devil Break was absolutely monstrous against them. Every time she cast the spell, she easily dealt over 400k damage to each mob. The grinding speed of an eighth-promotion mage was inhuman to say the least!
In fact, Lian Xin’s PK speed was just as crazy as her grinding speed. During the Nation War, the number of metal-armor cavalrymen who had died in her hands was practically uncountable. Every time there was a battle, she would hide behind He Yi and cast God Devil Break again and again, reaping all kinds of ace cavalrymen like wheat. It was why she was placed fourth on the Nation War leaderboard, and why her contribution points outstripped even Beiming Xue’s by a country mile. Ultimately, mages were just better at grinding, and archers at scouting and interception.
It took us almost 2 hours, but we were able to gather a total of 1000 animal fur and some more. We returned to Sky Ridge Fortress just in time to catch Commander Stark galloping with 10000+ Black Riders for training purposes. A temporary barracks had been set up at the bottom of Sky Ridge Fortress, and all the NPC soldiers of Sky City were gathered at this place. Karinshan had never been a passive person, and she knew that strengthening oneself as quickly as possible was the one true way toward obtaining true authority on this continent.
I looked up. The five Dragon Knights were flying high above the sky doing whatever it was they were doing. Sky Ridge had become Karinshan’s new base, but she would return to Sky City the second the 7-day period was up and return the mighty King of Cities into our possession. This wasn’t something the Northern Alliance or Cyan Earth City could prevent no matter what.
We found a guard and turned in the quest. Upon submission, the guard guffawed and said, "Oh, you actually managed to gather all these precious materials, my brave adventurers! Thank you for your contributions to the Silver Moon Alliance! Please receive your reward!"
We each got 100 faction points and a ton of experience. If we weren’t certain before, we now knew that the faction quests were a pretty good choice to grind. Moreover, the appearance of faction points also unlocked the ability to obtain military titles within Sky City. Unfortunately for me, my faction points went straight into my undead faction as Kill Points because I was an undead, so there would be no Sky City military title for me…
Currently, my military title in the undead faction was Phantom Knight, and the benefit I got from it was a 7% reduction to the experience needed to level up. It might not seem like much at all, but at this level every bit of reduction was greatly appreciated. Moreover, this was just the fifth-lowest military title. At Rank 9 or “Shadow God General”, the percentage of experience reduction was a whopping 15%. Level was king in an MMO, and just imagine having to grind 17% more experience than the other player simply because their military title was better than yours. It would be so depressing…
I grinded cheerfully until it was almost midnight. Then, I went to bed.
The next day early morning, I opened my eyes and chanted this in my head like a mantra: faction quest, Rank 9, Shadow God General, level up! Faction quest...
After I got out of my bed, cleaned myself and entered the living room, I saw that He Yi and Lian Xin were checking out a web page, and Murong Mingyue was chopping pumpkins in the kitchen. Murong Mingyue smiled at me and said, "Today’s breakfast is pumpkin porridge, Lu Chen. Just give me half an hour…"
I asked in puzzlement, "What are you guys reading, Eve, Lian Xin?"
"Check this out, Lu Chen! A new patch has been released!"
"Ah? what new patch?!" I exclaimed in surprise.
"Just come over and read this!"
I did as she said and sat down beside He Yi. After I put my arm across He YI’s shoulder and moved my head toward the monitor, I saw an eye-catching headline on the official website—
The Heavenly River Era had officially begun. A new map called the "Sky Vortex" will be spawning at the foreign map in between Wind City, Cyan Earth City and Purple Grape City in 72 hours!
"Heavenly River Era… Sky Vortex…" I muttered in a daze.
He Yi nodded smilingly. "You may have guessed it already, but Sky Vortex is the springboard to Heavenly River Realm. Once you pass through the Sky Vortex, you’ll enter a new map called the Ruins of the Gods. There, you will experience many adventures and potentially learn a whole new skill called the Ancient Divine Skill. All players who learn an Ancient Divine Skill will automatically enter the Heavenly River Realm…"