It was noon by the time we got back to the workshop. After He Yi put on a new set of clothes, she abruptly discovered that her luggage was still on the airplane. She immediately contacted someone from GGS’s subsidiary company at Wuxi to deliver them over. Thankfully, both her luggage and her gaming helmet arrived safely around 3 pm or so. Losing that helmet was practically the same as losing her account forever.
After that, Murong Mingyue and Beiming Xue formed a party with Xu Yang and Gui Guzi and left to grind. The party would be even stronger if they could add a high-level mage with powerful AoE spells into the mix, but that was unfortunately one of the few weaknesses of Ancient Sword Dreaming Souls: we had super-tier warriors, archers, magic knights and priests, but no super-tier mage or assassin at all.
I logged back into the game and continued to grind Ice Soul Giants at the Ice Soul Cave. I was leveling much slower than I’d like, but it was a grievance I could swallow for He Yi’s sake. Moreover, level wasn’t the most important thing to me right now. With a reaction time of only 0.15 seconds or so, I could easily make up for a small level gap with my skill!
Another day passed by in the blink of an eye, and it was now 9 am of the third day.
The Heaven-stealing Sword only had 7% durability left, but I also got the final piece of Ice Soul Steel necessary to forge He Yi’s shield after using Death Plunder on the dead mob. I took a look inside my bag and counted exactly 100 Ice Soul Steel!
It so happened that Murong Mingyue sent a message at this exact moment: "Hey, the preliminaries will begin at 1 pm this afternoon. Whatever you’re doing, you really should come back soon."
"No problem. In fact, I’m coming back right now. Have you gotten the 5 Rank 2 Cyanfire Gems I told you to get?"
"So long ago too. When should I pass it to you?"
"Let’s meet up at the eastern gate plaza right now!"
I took out a return scroll and teleported out of Ice Soul Cave in the blink of an eye. Unfortunately, I didn’t find a boss despite scouring the entire map for one. In a sense, my failure proved how rare Spirit Rank bosses were at the current stage of the game. At the very least, there were only two or three Spirit-grade items in the entire Sky City right now.
Speaking of which, I heard that Gods of Destruction formed a thousand-man party and tried to challenge a Level 145 Spirit Rank boss that resided in Dragonbone Mountain Range. Not only were they annihilated to the last man, they didn’t even manage to remove 10% HP from the boss's health bar. I heard some people saying that Gods of Destruction pissed off the boss so much that it used a forbidden spell to annihilate all of them, and the skill was so powerful that the entire Dragonbone Mountain Range was shaking at the time.
Warsky Alliance was also planning to kill the boss for themselves, but Warsky postponed the assault to a month later when everyone was above Level 120 immediately after he learned of the effect of the forbidden spell. It was a wise decision. They just weren’t capable of tackling a Level 145 boss right now.
Upon arriving at the eastern gate plaza, I saw the beautiful priest standing at a corner of the city wall. After she walked up to me and passed me five Cyanfire Gems, she asked with a smile, "What’s next?"
"Nothing, not for you at least. You should log out at 11 am, eat lunch and make sure you are in the best possible physical condition. The preliminaries start at 1 pm and will probably last the entire afternoon. It would be bad if you ran out of energy halfway."
After that, I contacted our high-level miner, Xu Yang, and waited for him to show up. He gave me 10 Soulstones but insisted that I paid him for his labor, so I gave him 10 gold and watched him leave happily like I had paid him a fortune.
I checked my bag again. The shield blueprint, 100 Ice Soul Steel, 10 Soulstones and 5 Rank 2 Cyanfire Gems were all ready. It was almost time to take off to the Violet Empire!
Before I left, I repaired my equipment and stocked up on potions for a bit. Most of my equipment was about to run out of durability; in fact my wristguards and helmet had run out of durability and put me in quite the bind during the last couple of hours. The past three days in Ice Soul Cave hadn’t been easy to say the least.
I checked the time and noted that there was still half an hour to go before 11 am. Violet Empire, here I come!
I ran out of Sky City like the wind with the Sky Obsidian Greedy Wolf beside me. On the way, I brought up Sky City’s Heavenly Ranking to see how everyone was doing. As expected, countless players had been grinding like crazy before the tournament, probably skipping meals and even sleep to level up as much as they possibly could in three days—
|Broken Halberd Sinks Into Sand||108||Undead Swordsman|
|Wind Fantasy||107||Light Wanderer|
|Beiming Xue||106||Dark Archer|
|Legendary Brave||106||Dragon Warrior|
|Little Piglet||106||Cold Wind Swordsman|
|From Water||106||Magic Knight|
|Gui Guzi||106||Undead Knight|
|Laughing At The Heavens||105||Magic Knight|
|Shadow Chanel||105||Dark Tongue Mage|
The players of Sky City were insanely dedicated. Nine players had reached Level 106, and over 20 players had reached Level 105 in just three days. Heaven knows how many experts in total there were in Sky City!
Moreover, Who Will Rise was a national-level tournament where every player of every major city would be competing in, meaning that we would be fighting the top experts of Wind City and Vanished God City as well. The mere thought of it made my blood boil with excitement. Unless Candle Dragon performed well below my expectations, there was a high chance the main party of Ancient Sword Dreaming Souls and Candle Dragon would eventually clash against one another. Of course, one should never count out the Beautiful Little Pepper. There was no party she couldn’t beat if she turned on her invincible mode and went on a rampage, not to mention that her general, Purple Marquis, wasn’t too far behind our own dragon warrior.
I also checked the Heavenly Ranking of Wind City and Vanished God City. Candlelight Shadow was the highest-leveled player in Wind City as usual, followed by Luo River God of the Capital and Indigo Collar. On the forums, the battle for supremacy was just as fierce as it was in the game. Candle Dragon, the number one guild led by the Martial God Candlelight Shadow was currently challenged by the two greatest guilds beneath it, Purple Lily led by Luo River God of the Capital and Peach Garden led by Indigo Collar. Neither challenger would stop unless a decisive victor was decided, and at least a dozen or so wars had broken out in Wind City in just half a month’s time.
Vanished God City was much quieter in comparison. Unlike Sky City or Wind City, they weren’t ruled by one or a couple of super guilds. Instead, they had a dozen or so middle-rank guilds who shared more or less the same strength as each other. All of the top guild leaders of Vanished God City were fairly passive, refusing to reveal their hand at all as they accumulated strength. They reminded me of old foxes biding their time to claim supremacy in one fell swoop.
Yeah, Ancient Sword Dreaming Souls definitely still had a long way to go before they could become the best guild in all of China’s servers. But it wouldn’t be fun if that wasn’t the case, would it? One of the biggest points of gaming was to fight in a world of sword and fire alongside your brothers and sisters and enjoy this process to your heart’s content.
I surfaced from my thoughts and looked in front of me. A major city—the major city of the Violet Empire—was right ahead of me. Just outside the city walls, I could see squadrons of undead riders blitzing past the empty fields in training or patrol. The Violet Empire was slowly but surely growing stronger day by day, and it was only a matter of time before they reached the same level of power as the three major cities!
Countless undead glared at me when I entered the city and arrived at the palace hall. It was only after I revealed my red eyes and my identity as an Asura that they withdrew their hostility and showed me the respect I deserved. Clearly, there were perks to being an Asura, especially when you were facing an undead.
Inside the hall, I saw Queen Sophia standing proudly beneath the banner of the Violet Empire with twenty or so military or court officials gathered in front of her. Judging from the serious looks on their faces, they seemed to be discussing some important military business.
Before I could enter the hall though, someone grabbed my arm and pulled me to the side. It was none other than Shadow Dancer Xue Wei. I couldn’t help but notice that the beautiful NPC assassin was wearing heavy armor, however. If I didn’t know better, I would say that the NPCs were trying to hurt the players’ delicate feelings...
"Long time no see. Why are you here?" Xue Wei shot me a look of surprise and a smile. "Let me guess, you’re here to meet Lady Wind Singer, aren’t you? Unfortunately, you came at the wrong time. Wind Singer left for the Lost Lands just three days ago to search for the divine bones. I don’t think she’ll be returning anytime soon."
I shook my head and smiled back. "No, no, I haven’t come for Xinran. I’m here to see you!"
At the same time, I praised myself in my mind: Wag that silver tongue more you handsome bastard!
Shadow Dancer Xue Wei turned a little red before asking, "You’re here to see… me? What for?"
I asked seriously, "Xue Wei, Violet Empire must have a Master Blacksmith, am I right? I need one to forge me a shield right now!"
"Oh? A Master Blacksmith…" Xue Wei pondered for a moment before her eyes lit up. "We actually do have a Master Blacksmith! It was a wandering blacksmith who came to our city just a month ago. Come, I’ll take you to him right away!"
"Oh, thank you very much, Xue Wei!"
Xue Wei moved so quickly that she disappeared around a street corner in almost the blink of an eye. Despite running after her at top speed, I still couldn’t catch up to her. The good news was that the blacksmith’s residence wasn’t too far away. I spotted a muscular middle-aged man swinging his iron hammer at the royal smithy almost immediately. In fact, he was a human, not an undead!
Noticing my look of astonishment, Xue Wei smiled and said, "Your eyes aren’t fooling you. Your Majesty announced to the world a long time ago that all races are welcome to join us during the reestablishment of the empire as long as they submit to our laws and management as a matter of course. As a result, countless bards, fugitives, deserters and so on came to the Violet Empire to contribute their skill and strength."
I nodded and walked up to the blacksmith. I asked, "Master Blacksmith, can I ask you to forge me a shield?"
The blacksmith shot me one glance and rejected me immediately. "Go away. I won’t work for a dog from Sky City. Since the day Duke Luke took my wife from me, I’ve sworn to destroy all the corrupt nobles and royal members of Sky City."
I hastily took off the insignia on my shoulder and persuaded, "Look, I’m actually a member of the Blood Dance Legion! I… I’m spying on Sky City on behalf of the Violet Empire, you see…"
Xue Wei looked at me with strange eyes. I could almost hear them saying, "Fuck, where is your shame, man?"
I glanced at her and asked, "Why are you looking at me like that?"
Xue Wei smiled and vouched for me. "He is a member of the Blood Dance Legion. He’s even the trusted aide of Queen Sophia herself."
"Oh, really?" the blacksmith exclaimed in astonishment before apologizing. "I’m sorry, my lord."
"Can you make my shield now?"
The blacksmith’s eyes lit up like a pair of light bulbs when I put the blueprint and the materials in front of him. "Heavens, I can’t believe someone actually managed to gather all these precious materials… I thought I would never see them again in this lifetime!"
He then looked at me with determined eyes. "I promise to forge you a divine shield like nothing the world has ever seen, my lord! But before that, please pay me 100k gold!"
I almost broke down in tears there and then. Only heavens know how much suffering I endured to make this shield!Previous Chapter Next Chapter