My respect toward NPCs was selective. The old king was a man of glory status and was dressed as such, but for some reason his eyes looked dim and almost evil to me. They stood out like a citrus fruit in a meat stall and reminded me of horrible monarchs who ruled with their lower head instead of their brain. He had most likely inherited his throne by right of succession, because he didn’t look fit to be the ruler of an empire at all.
I far preferred monarchs who were smart and strong like Princess Karinshan. Only they could actually protect their people in an era of war and strife.
I walked up to him and said softly, "Your Majesty, I’m an adventurer from Floating Ice City. I would like to apply for a piece of land and open a shop on it."
The old king opened his sleepy eyes and said, "Did the brave of little Karinshan finally make it to Sky City? Unfortunately, you aren’t strong enough to qualify for a piece of land yet, young warrior. Keep training until you’re Level 100!"
"Is that so?" I replied thoughtfully. That was a hint from the game itself. Besides having to spend a huge amount of Reputation and gold, I needed to be at Level 100 before I could even make the application. Long story short, anyone who wished to open a shop must let their wallets be slaughtered by the game company first!
I unhappily made my way out of the royal palace without anything to show for it. Oh well, I might as well head out and grind some levels as suggested. I should explore the brand new maps of Sky City before the rest of the players get to them!
I opened the world map and saw that Sky City was situated inside a vast valley. Behind Sky City was a vast mountain range thousands of meters tall called the Dragonbone Mountain Range. The cloud-piercing mountain range was a natural barrier that protected at least 70% of Sky City from direct attacks, and right beneath the mountain range was a vast forest called "Sky Forest”. It looked to be at least ten times the size of Frost Forest!
I had no doubt that Sky Forest would become the most contested leveling ground after the rest of the players had reached Sky City!
Before I set off, I took the time to familiarize myself with the NPCs in Sky City. After buying some potions and repairing my equipment, I went to the auction house, dumped all ninety or so items on the counter and set the bottom price to 100 RMB for all of them. They were all powerful and high-level equipment, and I saw no reason why they wouldn’t sell for a good price. Once the majority of the players were here 10 hours later, I expected them to be gone in a flash.
After that, I bought a set of return scrolls at 10 gold a piece. It was basically a 10 RMB one-way ticket that would teleport me back to Sky City no matter where I was, barring certain circumstances. I thought that it was a reasonable price for both paying and non-paying players considering that it would cut down at least a couple of hours of travel.
When I got out of the eastern gate, I noticed that some players were already leaping hurriedly but cautiously down the floating staircase. After all, it would hurt like hell to fall from this height!
Instead of chasing after their backs, I ran around the vast area in front of the city and discovered an inconspicuous teleportation formation at the corner. Upon selecting it, I discovered that it was a free-of-charge teleportation formation that anyone could use to teleport to the ground immediately!
A flash later, I appeared at the edge of a forest. I turned around and looked at the sky again, and I could see both Sky City and the statues of Annie and Fia from here. Hmm, that teleportation formation had saved me at least 5 minutes of leg work. It was never a bad idea to invest a bit of time in exploration!
Next, I opened my palm and summoned my new pet, the Sky Obsidian Greedy Wolf!
A blue magical formation appeared on the ground, and a cyan, hairy paw poked out from the center. The next moment, a little wolf appeared in front of me and wagged its tail until it looked around and realized that the pretty girls from before weren’t around anymore. It immediately ceased its actions and looked to me for orders.
I ordered, “Just follow. Now come on, let’s go grind some levels!"
The little wolf immediately wagged its tail again and ran up to me. The way it hopped, skipped, and jumped while shaking its head was so cute that even I had to admit that it was lovable. It was no wonder that the girls liked it so much.
I entered Sky Forest and looked around. Unfortunately, I could only find some animal-type mobs around Level 85 or so. I was a Level 92 player right now, so killing a Level 85 mob was just a waste of my time. I didn’t want to spend all my time powerleveling the Sky Obsidian Greedy Wolf either. A professional player should always plan before they act. When they chose to grind a certain mob, it must be because it was a quest requirement or because there were resources to be gathered in the area. There was nothing more boring and pointless than grinding for the sake of grinding.
Luckily, I didn’t have to travel far to find a worthy opponent, or in this specific case an entire pack of them. A pack of Level 90 Forest Saber-toothed Tigers had appeared not far away from me, and they were classified as social animals.  This tiger should give me and my Sky Obsidian Greedy Wolf a sizable amount of experience, and I could use Death Plunder on their bodies to loot a pelt or two for Mamate.
I mentally ordered the Sky Obsidian Greedy Wolf to stay where it was before rushing toward the tiger. A couple of gorgeous zigzags later, I successfully baited all thirty or so Forest Saber-toothed Tigers into chasing me. Once I confirmed that they were nicely packed in a triangular formation behind me, I immediately turned around and launched Thousand Mirage Slash!
A crazy amount of damage numbers popped above their heads. My Attack was already insane in the first place, but Wild Roar boosted that even further and allowed Thousand Mirage Slash to deal on average 5000 damage or so to each mob, and that was before counting the 20% splash damage. A great number of Saber-toothed Tigers were one-shot before they could even get close to me!
The rest of them caught up to me and scratched me with their claws, leaving faint marks on my Obsidian Dragonscale Armor. Unfortunately for them, each attack only did around 50 damage or so. The Obsidian Dragonscale Armor was so powerful that not even Level 90 mobs could pierce my Defense now!
I raised my sword as bright light enveloped my body for a moment. Next, I leaped into the air and slashed downward in one thunderous strike. The entire pack of low-health Saber-toothed Tigers died just like that!
Tsk tsk, War Crush truly is the perfect grinding skill. I estimated that my leveling efficiency had gone up by 30% at least thanks to it, especially because it only had a short cooldown of 7 seconds. War Crush’s damage wasn’t flat, meaning that it scaled with my Attack, meaning that the higher my Attack was, the more damage it dealt. Even if the mobs were tanky enough to survive my first combo, the second or third such skill would certainly be enough to kill them.
It wasn’t long before I cleared out all the Saber-toothed Tigers in the area. The Sky Obsidian Greedy Wolf was now Level 12 and as big as a soccer ball. However, the way it ran up to me and woofed happily reminded me more of a dog in heat than the king of wolves.
Thankfully, that wasn’t the only thing that had changed about the Sky Obsidian Greedy Wolf. Its stats had increased drastically after just 11 level ups, showing me just what it meant to be an Epic Rank pet—
Sky Obsidian Greedy Wolf (Epic Rank Boss)
These stats were positively ridiculous. It was only Level 12, but it had a whopping 240 Attack already! Not even the Dark Wasp had this Attack when it was Level 20! Its HP was even more impressive though. I wondered if it would have 20k HP by the time it reached Level 100?
I couldn’t help but laugh. The Dark Wasp had an amazing Attack at the beginning, but its HP and Defense were so poor that Candlelight Shadow’s pet was able to one-shot it. There was no way his Heaven-devouring Tiger would be able to repeat the same feat on my Sky Obsidian Greedy Wolf though, not with this kind of HP growth. The tables had turned in my favor now!
Usually, a pet in Heavenblessed was good at one thing and nothing else. It was either Attack, Defense, HP or Agility. But this Sky Obsidian Greedy Wolf was clearly an oddity because it was good at everything. I couldn’t wait for the day it grew into full maturity so I could drop it on a group of terrified men.
I walked up to it and caressed its head for a bit, smiling. "Not bad, little bastard!"
The Sky Obsidian Greedy Wolf woofed like it was asking for a praise. Too bad it didn’t understand what the term "little bastard" really meant, or it would be crying instead.
Anyway, I was absolutely pumped that I finally had a super pet of my own. Hmph hmph, I should grind harder so that I can scare the daylights out of Candlelight Shadow the next time we meet!
Level 90 mobs could no longer satisfy me, so I kept walking deeper and deeper into the forest until I entered an expected clearing. It was a temporary camp with human banners, and unlike the campsites I had encountered in the past this one was a strategic location. It was purposely built deep inside the forest, and it was fortified with newly-chopped wooden stakes. The three-meter-tall wall should be enough to keep away most low-level Night Creatures.
I also heard the neighing of warhorses from inside the camp. Clearly, there were also cavalry troops inside.
I walked toward a frowning NPC in heavy blue armor. He was staring at a parchment map and talking to himself, "Dammit, where on earth did those Hellhounds come from? If this situation continues, the guardsmen and civilians are sure to die a violent death!"
I couldn’t help but smile on the inside. If this isn’t a quest, I don’t know what is!
I walked straight toward the NPC and showed him my new city badge. "Sir, I’m an adventurer from Sky City. Is there anything I could do to help you?"
(Note: Player is automatically bound to a super city the first time they enter it)
This NPC just so happened to be the commander of this temporary campsite. His name was "Guard Captain Rice”. When he saw me and my super awesome level and equipment, he immediately broke into a smile of relief. "Thank goodness! I knew that the king wouldn’t give up on his citizens! The townspeople of Dry Town are saved!"
I rolled my eyes. What the hell did the king have to do with my decision? I’m here because of my high resolve and because it’s my duty as a young, courageous and handsome adventurer to save people in distress!