I passed through Sky Forest as I ran toward Cold Ice Canyon. The mobs in Sky Forest sat between Level 80 and Level 110, but I never gave them a second look. These mobs gave very little experience, not to mention that I was now a man whose wealth went up and down by the hundred thousands per second. Simply put, I had no time to waste on these low-level mobs.
I ran into a lot of leveling parties, but no one knew who I was because I had set my ID to hidden. Along the way, a lot of players were staring at me in astonishment probably because they were astonished by the equipment I was wearing. No one dared to attack me, however. Only a fool would attack a player whose level and ID were completely invisible to them.
I also heard a lot of players discussing the upcoming "Who Will Rise" tournament and asking around for party members. For example, I saw a party asking a solo-grinding Level 91 magic knight to join their party on an empty field in the forest. That party had no future, however. I could already imagine them being eliminated during the preliminaries.
China was full of talent, and barring any surprises all the parties who made it to Top 32 would be above Level 100 and after fourth promotion at the very least. Our country was always ahead of other countries in terms of player levels because most foreigners simply didn’t possess the fortitude or willpower to grind their way to the top.
Over half an hour later, I arrived at the foot of Dragonbone Mountain Range. I looked up. Although Cold Ice Canyon was connected to Dragonbone Mountain Range, it was strictly speaking an independent map. To this day, there were barely any rumors regarding Cold Ice Canyon because the mobs there were simply too powerful for the average player to explore.
I continued forward as the wind and snow started blowing at my face. I had entered the snowy region.
The sudden cold caused me to shiver a little, but I ignored it and continued to make way toward my destination. At the same time, I pulled out my Heaven-stealing Sword and started really paying attention to my surroundings. This was a leveling zone, and the mobs there were said to be pretty powerful. It would be unwise to treat this lightly!
As expected, a Polar Bear suddenly let out a roar from the distance before charging toward me. It hit my Heaven-stealing Sword with its paw, but it didn’t possess nearly enough strength to shake my sword. One hit was all it took to send it stumbling. I took the small time window to check its stats. Hmm, a Level 125 elite mob. This should be an easy fight.
The Polar Bear’s Attack was much weaker compared to a Level 125 shadow-rank mob. I didn’t even need to use my active self-healing skills to heal myself since Regeneration of the Undead was already enough. Regeneration of the Undead was now at max rank, but unfortunately its effect was a bit weaker than I thought it would be. At Rank 10 I regenerated 2% HP per second, meaning that I could regain all my health in 50 seconds tops. It was pretty amazing, but not so amazing that it could be considered broken. If my opponent had enough power, this amount of HP regeneration wasn’t enough to tip the scales in my favor.
That being said, there probably wasn’t anyone in the world who could kill me in half a minute in a one-on-one right now, not even if that person was Candlelight Shadow himself!
I killed the bear in one hit and was rewarded with a Rank 8 bear pelt and a Phantasmal Magic Stone. I took the bear pelt, but decided against picking up the magic stone. It was worth very little because its quality was just a measly 32.
I continued to fight my way toward my destination without hurry. I also summoned the Sky Obsidian Greedy Wolf to make my life just a tad easier. With my current strength, killing a Level 125 elite mob was as easy as pie. Heck, even my pet could solo these mobs without any trouble whatsoever, especially when it used its AoE skill Fire Cyclone. Sometimes, we would even take turns drawing entire hordes of Polar Bears toward ourselves so we could kill them all in one go and save some time. This was a material gathering and level grinding trip anyway, and Level 125 elite mobs dropped an okay amount of experience.
Almost half an hour later, I checked the map and noted that I was about one-third of the way through Cold Ice Canyon. The snow storm was subsiding, and the sun was peeking out of the clouds just a little. However, it was still incredibly cold, and every time the wind blew against me I felt like someone was cutting my skin with an ice blade.
At least my field of vision improved a lot, I suppose.
I still hadn’t found a single Ice Soul Giant though. I frowned a little. Just where the hell are these mobs?!
I resumed my march and ventured deeper into Cold Ice Valley. A while later, I finally spotted a shadow-rank mob!
It was a humanoid mob with a translucent exterior. In fact, it almost looked invisible against a snowy backdrop. Its exterior was covered in a frightening amount of sharp icicles, giving it the appearance of an ice-type sea urchin.
Ice Urchin Devil (Shadow)
Skills: Ice Stab X, Desperate Gambit X
Introduction: The Ice Urchin Devils are one of the guardians of Cold Ice Canyon, and they possess incredible Attack and Defense. After guarding the canyon for countless years, they have become incredibly violent creatures who only care about tearing apart any adventurers who come their way.
Eh, it was just a Level 125 shadow-rank mob with an average Attack. 1400 Attack mobs were barely a blip on my threat radar these days. Not only could I kill it by force, the 14% lifesteal on my Heaven-stealing Sword might be all the healing I needed to keep myself healthy.
I stopped thinking and charged!
Thunderous Charge successfully stunned my target. At max rank, the chances of Thunderous Charge triggering its paralysis status was over 90%. It was literally harder not to stun my target.
I then swung my sword three times and unleashed a Pardon + Desperate Gambit + basic attack combo!
Thud thud thud!
Not bad. The Sky Obsidian Greedy Wolf also attacked the Ice Urchin Devil from the sides. Together, the two of us managed to delete over half of its heath in just 7 seconds!
Another 7 seconds later, the Ice Urchin Devil only managed to attack me twice before dying in a screaming fit.
A round-shaped, dark cyan helmet dropped on the ground. When I picked it up, I was pleasantly surprised by what I saw—
Cold Helmet (Gold-grade, Outstanding★)
Magic Resist: 160
Passive: Increases user’s physical hit rate by 11%
Passive: Increases user’s Attack by 4%
Property: Cold Set, Helmet
Level Requirement: 105
Tsk tsk, I wasn’t expecting to grab a Level 105 1-star Outstanding equipment in this place! Considering that most players should complete their fourth-promotion quest and hit Level 105 in the next half a month or a month’s time, there was no better time to gather this set than now. I was certain that it would sell for at least 100k RMB per set, so it might be a good idea to stop here for a moment and grind the set pieces!
The opportunity for profit excited me deeply. The Ice Soul Giants were still nowhere to be found, so I might as well grind these Ice Urchin Devils first. Any mob who gave me a good chunk of experience was a good mob.
I continued killing the Ice Urchin Devils after making up my mind, but it would seem that the chance for a Cold set piece to drop was incredibly low. I got nothing despite grinding for almost half an hour!
After killing god knows how many Ice Urchin Devils later, I noticed a short frozen hill not far ahead of me. When I walked closer in silence, I was surprised to hear the sounds of fighting on the other side of the hill. Huh, someone is actually grinding in this map?
I quickened my footsteps, but made sure that my ID and my equipment glamor was completely hidden first. I even withdrew the Sky Obsidian Greedy Wolf to minimize the chances of me being discovered. I could decide what to do after I figured out who the players were.
The sky started snowing a little again. A bit of iciness seeped into flesh when a snowflake touched my cheek.
Behind the cover of the falling snow, I stealthily made my way forward until I saw a group of players. The insignia on their arms were very familiar, and they belonged to none other than Hegemon Palace!
I looked closer and was surprised yet again. The party leader was Pillar of the Nation, the guild leader of Hegemon Palace himself!
Pillar of the Nation was currently fighting against an Ice Urchin Devil. Unwilling to go down quietly, the mob plunged its icicles into Pillar of the Nation’s chest!
The guild leader stumbled two steps backward as his HP dropped drastically. He yelled, "Priests, heal me now! Archers, don’t stop firing at the mob!"
At the back, a high-level archer asked while slowing down the Ice Urchin Devil with Freezing Arrows, "Boss, what are we doing at this place? These mobs’ levels are way too high for us to fight them properly!"
Pillar of the Nation replied angrily, "I refuse to be underestimated, that’s all. Hmph! Let’s see what else Little Piglet and his men have to say after we clear out Cold Ice Canyon and gather a full Cold Set! Broken Halberd Sinks Into Sand can’t be the only player in the entire Sky City who deserves to be called a Divine General!"
The archer smiled a little. "Boss, you don’t need to be angry about this. Words are just words, you know? Also, don’t forget that Falling Dust used to be a stronger player than even Candlelight Shadow, and there is only one Falling Dust in all the servers of China. You are the tactician type, so you really don’t have to improve your strength…"
Pillar of the Nation replied in frustration, "Even so, I’m the guild leader of Hegemon Palace. I cannot not be strong, you understand? Priest, keep an eye on my health bar, will you? Here I go!"
Behind him, a beautiful Level 97 priest nodded repeatedly. Looking at the green numbers popping above Pillar of the Nation’s head, I deduced that she was probably the strongest or second strongest priest in their entire guild. She might be no match for Murong Mingyue, but she was definitely not a priest that could be underestimated. If it wasn’t for her, Pillar of the Nation would’ve died a million times to the Level 125 shadow-rank mob already.
Their conversation also piqued my curiosity a little. I should’ve known that Little Piglet’s relationship with Wang Dongliang wasn’t as solid as it seemed on the outside. Little Piglet was a mercenary who valued money above everything else, and the only reason he served Hegemon Palace was because they paid him well. There wasn’t a shred of loyalty to be found in him at all, at least not to a guild like Hegemon Palace. Also, I had only fought him a couple of times thus far, but even I could tell he was the kind of person who respected no one but himself. It was only natural that he would insult Wang Dongliang from time to time.
A beautiful figure suddenly appeared behind the Ice Urchin Devil, stunned it and comboed it to death. There was only one class who could pull out this level of physical burst damage, and only one top-tier assassin in the entire Hegemon Palace who could pull this off—Shangguan Wan’er!
I already knew that Shangguan Wan’er was an incredible player from our previous battle. Currently, there were only a handful of top-class assassins in China, and Shangguan Wan’er was almost at the peak. I had no idea how Hegemon Palace was able to recruit someone like her.
The pressure on the party immediately lessened after Shangguan Wan’er appeared. Composition-wise—an assassin, a warrior, a priest, an archer and a bard—it was almost the best five-man party they could make, and strength-wise they weren’t half bad either.
However, disaster suddenly struck Hegemon Palace without warning. Three Ice Urchin Devils had spawned right next to them, and the bard unfortunately aggroed a fourth Ice Urchin Devil at the worst possible moment. All 4 mobs attacked them at once!
Pillar of the Nation dropped to red health in no time at all. Feeling the blood draining away from his face, he shouted, "Heal me, priest!"
The priest barely got her scepter up into the air when two icicles pierced her chest and one-shot her. These Ice Urchin Devils switched aggro way too easily!
Shangguan Wan’er instructed sternly, "Run while I keep their attention, guild leader!"
The assassin zigzagged in front of the Ice Urchin Devils and slowed them down a little. Meanwhile, Pillar of the Nation ran away while chugging down a health potion in despair. In this map, their party couldn’t fight any battle of attrition without a priest!
Suddenly, a holy-looking figure appeared at the distance and raised his scepter. It was a Level 101 priest wearing pure white robes. He had a brave and determined face, and his ID was—
Profound Puff LV-101 Dark Gold Priest
The male priest stared at Pillar of the Nation and Shangguan Wan’er with righteous eyes before crying out, "I’ll save you for 10k gold per person, and not a copper less!"
Pillar of the Nation exclaimed in shock. "This… this is daylight robbery!"
Shangguan Wan’er also looked at him. "Please save us, hero!"
Again, Profound Puff said with an incorruptible expression, "Chivalry is the natural duty of every hero. You don’t have to pay me anything, miss, but I do want a kiss for my effort…"
"Son of a bitch!"
Shangguan Wan’er and I cursed in unison.
Suddenly, a look of recognition passed through Pillar of the Nation’s features. He shouted angrily, "Fuck! You’re Zhao Yufeng! We’ve been classmates for three fucking years, and this is how you treat me!?"
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