By the time I returned to the workshop, it was already past 10 pm. So instead of grinding for levels, I purchased some food ingredients such as Garlic, Green Pepper and Chicken Meat and made some Rank 5 Magic Consumables for sale. It wasn’t a lot of money, but I was okay with covering some of my living expenses.
I went to bed at midnight. From here on, I promised myself not to stay up late unless there was a guild event.
The next day, early morning.
“Black Threads, Black Threads!”
Yamete’s slightly unhinged voice entered my room from outside. “Does anyone know where I can buy some Black Threads! It’s the only material I’m still lacking to make a level 50 Dark Steel–grade leather armor…”
Du Thirteen suggested, “Maybe buy some common threads and put them in ink?”
Gui Guzi also chipped in. “Or you can try casting a spell. Just say these magical words: Sink into darkness, you threads!”
Beiming Xue: “...”
It was at this moment I walked out of the room and said, “Calm down, I know a place where you can buy some Black Threads.”
“Really? Where?” Mamate’s eyes lit up.
“Hmm…” I thought for a moment before replying, “Yeah, I think there’s an NPC at Frost Mound that sells Black Threads. You won’t be able to buy them by yourself though. Just leave it to me, I’ll make the purchase once I log into the game. How many do you want?”
“40 stacks, please!”
“Not a problem. Just wait for good news at Floating Ice City.”
I logged in after eating breakfast.
I set out immediately after repairing my equipment and stocking up on potions. It took me only fifteen minutes to pass through Frost Forest and arrive at Frost Mound.
It was quite early in the morning, so the morning fog hadn’t dissipated yet. The frozen domain of death was chock-full of undeads, and I could smell the disgusting blood pools long before I saw them.
Lin Yixin sent me a message: “Lu Chen, I found legguards that boost dark attacks. You want them? I can sell them to you cheap!”
“Oh? Send me a screenshot, please!”
A few seconds later, I opened the screenshot Lin Yixin had sent me. I was surprised by how good they were. Silver-grade!
Bone-shatter Legguards (Silver-grade)
Passive: Increase user’s dark attacks by 50
Level Requirement: 60
“Fuck, this is amazing…” I couldn’t help but ask, “Where did you find such powerful Silver-grade legguards, Yiyi?”
“Well, Qingqing and my people challenged a Level 65 boss around 6 am in this morning, and they almost got party wiped. So, they wanted me to act as the tank and the DPS. This is my reward for helping them out…”
“It can’t be cheap, right?”
“It’s fine. So? How much gold are you willing to pay? If the price is acceptable I’ll trade it to you.”
“OMG, have a heart please…”
“200 gold then. That’s the most I can afford!”
“Deal. Where are you right now? I’ll bring it to you right away.”
“I’m at Frost Mound right now.”
“Okay, see you!”
I was very pleased with this unexpected boon. No matter how you cut it, 200 gold for such powerful Silver-grade legguards was a sweet deal through and through. Not only did they give 70 Defense, 24 Strength and 20 Stamina, they added 50 damage to all dark attacks. It was worth even more than plus 50 Strength! This equipment was only average to Lin Yixin, but it was a god-tier item to me!
Hopeful and excited, I ran all the way toward Frost Mound. It was at this moment a sorrowful ring suddenly entered my ears.
System Notice: You have failed the quest “Promise” (SSS)!
What? I failed a… quest? What… what’s going on?
I rubbed my eyes just in case I was seeing things, but there was no denying it. The quest had turned dark gray in my quest list. Somehow, my Epic-rank quest with Xinran had ended in failure!
Did something happen to Xinran?
I suddenly had a bad feeling about this.
I passed through a forest and heard a strange, crunchy noise all of a sudden. A Night Creature was currently feeding next to a blood pool. I knew the NPC’s back well, it was none other than my trainer, Undead Swordsman Suren!
I quickly ran up to him to see what he was doing. I was utterly shocked by what I saw.
A beautiful girl was lying on the grass next to the blood pool. She was dead, and her face was full of fear. Worse, her arm had been stripped off its flesh. It was the work of Suren.
Xinran… She was Xinran...
I felt like my heart was being twisted by a knife. A Night Creature had consumed Xinran! There was a tiny bamboo basket on the ground, and its contents—bread and fruits—were all over the place. It was what Xinran was staring at until the moment she died.
Xinran once told me that she would visit me at Frost Mound, but now...
Fury suddenly exploded from my heart like a volcano. I pulled out the Ghost Ice Soul and growled. “You damn monster! I’ll kill you!”
I struck Suren’s head with Pardon and Desperate Gambit!
Shit! His Defense is really high!
“What are you doing?!” Suren abruptly turned around and slashed me with his sword as quick as lightning. His blade sank deep into my shoulder!
The burning pain in my shoulder was nothing compared to the pain in my heart, however. Xinran’s body flashed across my vision, and my eyes turned as red as blood. I glared at Suren hatefully and growled again. “I will kill you!”
Suren sneered at my comment, “Little skeleton, did you forget that I’m your trainer? How can you possibly defeat me?”
I drank an HP pot and summoned my Dark Wasp. Then, I charged Suren again without a second thought. My mind was filled with only anger and the desire for revenge at this point.
“You damned lowly Night Creature! Madness has overtaken you!”
Suren cursed me before raising his sword high. He shouted, “Sword Spirit Slash!”
A red beam poured down from above, and I was one-shot before I could do anything.
Combat Log: Undead Swordsman Suren used “Sword Spirit Slash”, dealing 2284 damage! You have died!
It was a critical hit!
My soul departed my body and appeared in the nearby graveyard. Suren faced toward me and sneered, “You still have pity in your heart? Someone like you will never become an Asura. Challenge me again anytime you want, I’ll always be waiting at Frost Mound!”
I revived on the edge of the graveyard, but Suren had already gone back to Frost Mound. I couldn’t go after him now because it would be suicide. I needed my friends to kill him!
I couldn’t begin to describe my feelings as I turned to look at Xinran. This was the girl I swore to protect, but not only did I fail to fulfill my promise, she was killed because of me.
I crouched on the ground and carried her body in my arms. A lump came into my throat, and a tear slid down my cheeks and landed on Xinran’s chest.
I wasn’t expecting it. Undead creatures like me could shed tears?
With Xinran’s body in my arms, I walked unsteadily to a silver fir tree, pulled out the Ghost Ice Soul and dug a hole on the ground. Then, I put her inside and buried her. When her face was the only thing that was still visible, I knelt beside her grave and carressed her cheeks. I said softly, “I’m sorry, Xinran, I’m sorry I failed to fulfill my promise…”
My heart was in tatters, but I made one last promise to her. “Xinran, I swear I’ll kill Suren and take revenge for you!”
I completed the burial and got back to my feet. Just like that, a once pure and beautiful spirit fell into eternal slumber beneath a silver fir tree.
For a long time, I was quiet and distracted. Finally, I sensed someone behind me and turned around to find a beautiful warrior. It was none other than Lin Yixin, and for some reason she was staring dazedly at me.
“When did you come, Yiyi?” I asked.
“I was here since a long while ago…” She stared at me and asked, “This girl… was she killed by Suren?”
“But Suren is your trainer. If you kill him, you won’t have a place to promote your class and learn new skills anymore…”
“It doesn’t matter. I will find a way.” I clenched my fists and said in a low tone, “A true man does not surrender himself to rot!”
Lin Yixin smiled and looked at the tree overshadowing the both of us. “Oh, it’s a snowy cathaya! Do you know why I named my guild ‘Snowy Cathaya’, Lu Chen?”
“It’s because snowy cathaya is a plant that grows in the coldest of regions. No matter how cold the weather gets, it always manages to persevere one way or the other. I want to be like a snowy cathaya myself. I want to be able to persevere and always walk the path I choose, no matter what hardships I have to face along the way…”
Lin Yixin turned her gaze to Xinran’s grave solemnly before asking, “How are you planning to take revenge?”
I sucked in a deep breath before replying, “I need your help. I’m going to summon Gui Guzi, Beiming Xue, and Yamete as well!”
“Are you… planning to purge the entire Frost Mound?” Lin Yixin looked at me in surprise.
I nodded. “Today, I finally understood the line that separates good and evil. Good can hurt me, but evil can also hurt those around me.”
“You…” Lin Yixin stared at me with a strange glow in her eyes. A while later, she smiled and said, “You’re saying goodbye to the Night Creatures?”
“I am!” I nodded strongly. “And I will never turn back!”
“Okay. I’ll support your decision.”
Lin Yixin smiled. “Now, go call your friends already. Just for today, I’ll act as your accomplice for free and purge this evil place from the surface of Heavenblessed!”
I brought up the chat window and sent a message to Gui Guzi, Yamete and Beiming Xue: “If you’re all done resupplying then come to Frost Mound immediately. Do not take more than 20 minutes!”
A while later, everyone showed up on time as promised. Beiming Xue looked surprised to find Lin Yixin beside me, so she asked, “What’s wrong, boss?”
“It’s nothing. I’m going to purge Frost Mound today. Beiming, your trainer isn’t here, is he?”
“Nope, he’s in a valley far away from here!”
I nodded in acknowledgment. “Good. Gui Guzi, what about yours?”
Gui Guzi answered, “He’s not in Frost Mound either. He’s at a wasteland outside. It’s fine!”
“Got it. Gui Guzi, you’re the tank. Mamate, you’re the healer. Yiyi and I will find a way to launch a sneak attack and get in!”
Lin Yixin pulled out her Snow Shadow Sword and pointed at the scouts patrolling the perimeter. “These NPCs are only Level 60. Let’s take them out first!”
Gui Guzi let out a war cry and charged toward the scouts.
At the same time, Beiming Xue jumped onto a thick branch with incredible agility and concealed herself behind the greenery. It was a perfect spot to launch ranged attacks at the enemy.
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