Chapter 1203: River Map

Suddenly, High Fighting Spirits started as if he recalled something. "Oh shit, if I learned Xing Tian’s Defiance, and Who Will Fight Me learned Alexander the Great’s Battle Axe, what about you, boss? Fuck, I’m sorry, I didn’t even think until it was..."

I smiled reassuringly. "It’s fine, I was planning to stay here for as long as possible anyway. As long as I’m still here, Breeze and Rain and God of War will not get their Ancient Divine Skills easily!"

High Fighting Spirits could only nod and say, "Alright. By the way, I’m going to be teleported out in ten minutes!"

Who Will Fight Me said smilingly, "You are probably the only player in all the servers who possesses the power to make such a claim. I will be gone in ten minutes as well. What is your plan?"

I pondered for a moment before answering, "I will continue moving toward the source of the Ji River. This river is the lifeline of China. I’m sure I’ll find some greater Ancient Divine Skills if I continue following it."

"You’re aiming for an SSS Rank Ancient Divine Skill, am I right?"

"Of course!" I clenched my fists tightly. "It’s SSS or nothing! That’s my modus operandi for this journey at least!"

"Understood!"

……

A short time later, the duo vanished in a flash of light, and our short but fruitful alliance came to an end. The eight remaining Vanguard players added me as a friend, although no message could be sent for as long as we were still inside the Ruins of the Gods. They went toward the east, and I, to the north. Ideally, we all wanted to learn our country’s unique Ancient Divine Skills, like how Xing Tian’s Defiance was a Chinese Ancient Divine Skill. It was lucky that High Fighting Spirits and I stumbled upon this place at an opportune time. If Tear Stain had been able to kill the boss and learn it first, she would’ve been able to use our own unique skill against us in a future Nation War. That would’ve been the biggest possible insult to us Chinese!

As we had discussed earlier, I continued to follow the Ji River. I was sure that there were other Ancient Divine Skills along the way!

After picking up a few gemstones from the ground, I walked between the trees toward wherever the Ji River would lead me. I avoided riding the Ancient Divine Dragon openly because it was way too visible. Also, I could move far more agilely in my human form, and Dark Pupils would always give me the surprise advantage over any enemy.

The sheer cliffs on the two sides of the Ji River were growing increasingly steep. They were so tall that it felt like they would meet each other at the center.

As it turned out, I didn’t need to walk far before I noticed something of interest. Two dots appeared on my minimap, and they were hostile toward me!

I immediately crouched lower and dashed toward them at high speed. Two human figures entered my view. It was an assassin and an archer from Swallow Ear Canton walking along the riverside. To the naked eye, it would’ve appeared that the archer was alone. In reality, Dark Pupils revealed to me that the stealthed assassin was walking right next to him. He was obviously playing bodyguard for his ally.

……

There was no need to hesitate. This was a kill-first-and-ask-questions-never scenario.

Thud!

An indentation appeared beneath my Ghost Spirits War Boots as I dashed toward my opponents like a released arrow. The archer had higher perception than his buddy, and he was able to shout out a timely warning, "Ambush, Third!"

At the same time, the archer activated Impossible Escape—a skill that gave him a 10% chance to revive immediately upon death—and Clear As Flame. I could tell from his reaction that he was an excellent archer. If nothing else, he had done everything he should’ve done as an archer. A normal fighter would’ve had a hard time going up against a fully-warned and prepared archer.

Unfortunately for him, I was no normal fighter. Rinser’s personality aside, he was a badass skeleton who taught me skills that possessed both physical and magical properties. I brought my fingers to my forehead and fired Myriad Swords Obliteration on top of the archer and the assassin.

The archer reacted quickly and Leaped to the back. I reacted even quicker by tossing the Purple Ying Sword right where he was going to land. The spinning blade rushed toward the soaring archer with a draconic roar!

"Shit!"

The archer was an expert. He knew he was in deep shit the second he saw my wind-up animation. I also made sure to angle Coiling Dragon Revolution in such a way so that he couldn’t pull off some insane body trick and somehow dodge the skill by a hair’s breadth. As expected, the spinning blade tore through his chest armor, carved a hole in his chest, and dealt an insane amount of damage.

"Ah…"

While the archer groaned and dropped dead, the assassin attempted to rush me from a different angle. Thanks to Dark Pupils, I could see some weird sparks floating above the ground. It was the assassin’s eighth-promotion skill, Trap. It was hidden well enough to avoid most players’ perception, but not my Dark Pupils.

I fired Dragon Slaying Slash at the Trap and triggered it. It resulted in an explosion that looked like it would deal a ton of damage against a normal player. It looked like the spring season of assassins had arrived as Traps were the perfect complement to their stealth skills, and a wonderful tool during a Nation War. Unfortunately for this assassin, he would have to enjoy his spring another day.

"You’re dead!"

Says the guy who didn’t even read my ID properly before attacking me. He was running along an S-shaped path and hoping to cut me down while my main weapon was still a ways away. He tried to hit my chest with Blade Vortex, but all I needed to do was spin sideways and knock his skill aside with the Dragon God Shield.

I didn’t even activate Battle Astral Wind. After I sent him stumbling backward with another shield bash, I canceled whatever skill he was going to use with a well-timed Magic Piercing Punch and dropped Ancient Seal on top of him.

Boom!

242882!

The assassin stared at me dumbly as he dropped dead. He hadn’t expected me to use Ancient Seal to one-shot him. I could’ve killed him some other way, but frankly I just didn’t want to waste any more time on this guy.

……

After the battle ended, I caught my returning sword and picked up the potions and bread on the ground. Fortunately for the two players, they hadn’t dropped even a single piece of equipment. This is bullshit, I say!

On a semi-related note, it seemed that both Chinese and Japanese players shared the tacit understanding that they were going to murder the shit out of each other upon meeting, especially in a map like the Ruins of the Gods. Well, this was that type of game. It was fight, fight, and fight some more!

Last but not least, I checked my surroundings to ensure that there were no players close to me before leaving the area as quickly as possible. There was a chance the Japanese players I had killed earlier would log out of the game, get to a player who was inside the Ruins of the Gods, and yell out my coordinates beside their ears. After all, I was the No. 1 public enemy of Purple Grape City. Speaking of which, almost 7 hours had passed since the Ruins of the Gods were opened. I bet that a ton of Swallow Ear Canton players had come inside. If they were able to form a hundred-man group, even I couldn’t say I could survive them with absolute certainty.

……

I took out the Chiyou Demonic Soldiers who loitered by the riverside as I continued along the Ji River. It was nice being able to take in the sights and grind some experience at the same time.

However, contrary to my expectations, I didn’t find any trace of the Ancient Divine Skills after ten or so minutes. Worse still, checking the map screen revealed to me that I was very rapidly approaching the borders. If I progressed any further than this, I would cross over to another map that was most definitely not tailor-made for China like this one. I had no intentions of getting an Ancient Greece Ancient Divine Skill or something. That would be completely uncool.

I glanced at the Ji River again. The waters here were unusually rapid, and there was even a huge, black whirlpool at the center of the river. It looked like a black hole from where I was.

With no clue what to do next, I decided to sit down and rest a bit. However...

"Ouch!"

The back of my head hit something hard. A rock? Why is there a rock hidden inside a bush? That’s practically a trap...

However, when I turned around to take a look, I saw a pair of engraved words that sent a shudder of shock through my spine—

 

River Map

……

What? Is this THE River Map?!

My eyes turned as round as saucers. According to the legends, Fuxi had drawn the River Map based on a picture on the back of a dragon horse. There was also another River Map on the back of the dragon tortoise at the Luo River. It was how Yu the Great was able to dredge and irrigate the rivers later. However, what did this River Map mean in the game? Could it be...

I shivered again as I inspected it carefully. I noticed a lot of circles on the River Map. Some of the circles looked empty, and some were not. What did they mean? I knew a bit of hexagrams and yin and yang, but only a little. What should I do?

I lay down on the grass, brought up the in-game drawing board, and drew the River Map. Then, I made it appear in the sky as a blue hologram. Suddenly, an idea entered my mind. I opened the map screen, zoomed out, and enlarged the River Map. Then, I overlapped them together. To my shock, I was able to match the place I had killed Xing Tian to a highlighted circle on the River Map. There were 7 such circles on the River Map, so that meant...

Seven… Now where have I heard of this number before?

I abruptly recalled a line from the official website. It stated that there were 7 Chinese Ancient Divine Skills in total. Could the 7 highlighted circles on the map be the locations of the 7 Ancient Divine Skills?

It felt like someone had recharged my batteries instantly. I had to be right! The locations of the 7 Chinese Ancient Divine Skills were all located on this Ji River Map!

I glanced at my surroundings. There were two Ancient Divine Skills hidden within the mountain ranges to the east, two within the forest behind me, one at the canyon where I had killed Xing Tian earlier, and finally two more along the Ji River. More importantly, the biggest highlighted circle on the River Map matched the mad spinning whirlpool at the center of the Ji River. Unless I was sorely mistaken, this meant that China’s best Ancient Divine Skill was inside the black whirlpool.

I shivered for a third time and grimaced visibly. Did this mean that I had to jump into the whirlpool? What if I was killed by the rapid currents? I… I don’t know what to do. If I’m wrong, the world will learn that the No. 3 player of the CGL Hall of Fame, the Little Heavenly King, has disqualified himself from the Ruins of the Gods via voluntary drowning. I couldn’t even imagine the embarrassment I would feel if that happened...

……

In the end though, after a long and hard consideration, I decided to make the leap of faith, literally. I had come all the way here to obtain an SSS Rank Ancient Divine Skill, the best my country could offer. If I failed, then I might as well get nothing at all. Yeah! All or nothing!

And so I kicked up to a standing position and stared resolutely at the black whirlpool for a moment. Then, Fusion Armor surrounding my body, I jumped straight into the river.

……

Holy shit, it’s so cold!

I forged myself to open my eyes while still submerged inside the river water. I saw swirling water plants and the giant whirlpool. From where I was, it looked like it was connected to the bottom of the river. If I entered the whirlpool, that was probably where it was going to take me. There was a problem, however. I literally couldn’t see the bottom of the river. It was entirely possible that I might drown before I reached the end. So, I activated Great Earth Transformation. Maybe I will be able to last longer as a Great Earth Divine General?

I waved my arms and slowly swam toward the whirlpool. At first, I was able to swim toward my destination in a controlled manner. However, the closer I got to the whirlpool, the harder it became to control myself. Eventually, I found myself being dragged toward the bottom in an unstoppable spiral. It felt like I was inside a washing machine. My vision darkened, and I nearly blacked out there and then. I hurriedly unsheathed the Purple Ying Sword and fired Burning Blade Slash to the river bottom. The plan had been to illuminate the area below and see where I was heading to, but what I saw nearly caused my soul to fly away from my body.

There was a gigantic water python resting right next to me. It seemed to be completely unaffected by the rapids, and judging from its shut eyelids and drooping head, it was asleep.

……

I slowly dimmed the light on the Purple Ying Sword. The water python was a Level 280 boss. I wasn’t stupid enough to think I was strong enough to challenge it in its territory.

The river was ice cold, and it moved so rapidly that it felt like I was physically being torn from limb to limb. Even my Sunchaser Cloak was flapping wildly to the current.

Boom!

Then, I felt a blade-like impact, and I blacked out there and then.

Blacked out...

What the fuck!?

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