I cautiously proceeded forward while stepping across the rocks on the valley floor. The map was displayed as red in my interface, meaning that the mobs here were considered dangerous for someone my level. Although my Defense and HP had increased drastically as of late, it would be embarrassing to capsize in the gutter due to a moment of carelessness.
Beside me, the Sky Obsidian Greedy Wolf let out a low, angry growl and stared down a certain direction with its blood-red eyes.
Not long after, a black panther rushed into view and stared at me and the Sky Obsidian Greedy Wolf with greed. It had long teeth that were covered in saliva.
The Level 130 shadow-rank monster had incredibly high Attack. It also had a passive that increased its attack speed by 40%, making it a highly-offensive with ridiculous DPS.
But the only thing the panther’s sudden appearance elicited in me was a smile. Level 130 shadow-rank mobs were nothing to me now.
I locked onto it and activated Thunderous Charge!
I blitzed toward the mob like a lightning arrow, leaving behind lightning afterimages along my path. Once the black panther was stunned, all it could do was stare at me with its black eyes and growl.
I executed War Crush and Desperate Gambit at the same time. The mob couldn’t dodge my skill while it was stunned, so of course War Crush and Desperate Gambit was the most damaging combo I could dish out.
The somewhat fragile black panther lost nearly thirty thousand HP in one go, not to mention that the Sky Obsidian Greedy Wolf hadn’t been idle all this time. Not even a shadow-rank mob could withstand this level of attack.
Five seconds passed, and the black panther finally got to unleash its first attack. However, I easily defended against it with Guard before ravaging it again. Together with the Sky Obsidian Greedy Wolf, I killed the Level 130 shadow-rank mob almost without taking any damage at all!
"Roar roar roar…"
The black panther let out a death groan and collapsed to the ground. It didn’t drop any item. After stripping it of its skin and stuffing it into my bag, the Sky Obsidian Greedy Wolf and I continued forward.
I didn’t have to walk far before I noticed a simple camp fortified by rocks at the valley entrance. It didn’t look like it was made by a beastman, and there was an azure banner with a Chinese redbud on it hanging in front of the camp. I recognized the symbol immediately. That’s the banner of Floating Ice City!
Pleasantly surprised, I walked into the camp and saw seven or eight human NPC soldiers. The leader of the group wielded a sword and was staring at the deeper parts of the valley, sighing. "Goddammit, we missed our best attack opportunity because the bad weather wouldn’t let up for an entire week. How are we going to report this to Lady Ziyan without the beast horns we were tasked to collect?"
Ziyan? That was another familiar name. If I remembered correctly, Ziyan was the corps commander of Princess Karinshan’s Frost Army and a beautiful woman. This also meant that the NPCs before me were soldiers of the Frost Army.
Even a person with poor senses could see that this was clearly a quest. I consciously moved closer to the NPCs and showed them the Sky City emblem on my shoulder, saying, "My lord, I’m an adventurer from Sky City, and I once stayed at Floating Ice City for a time. Is there anything I can do to help you?"
"Oh?" The scout captain looked at me and said, "Young warrior, as you may have noticed already, we are currently trapped in this place. The valley is filled with terrifying animals, especially those violent Fireblade Warhorses. Sigh, we were supposed to carry out Lady Ziyan’s orders and gather the beast horns of 100 Fireblade Warhorses to create the Fireblade Sword, a sword with fire magic imbued in it. However, we quickly discovered that these monsters were exceptionally violent, wild and powerful. Despite our best efforts, we lost a dozen or so companions and had no choice but to garrison ourselves in this place."
I patted my chest and declared confidently, "Well, I’m here now. Just leave whatever tasks you need completed to me!"
"Very well, I will leave this dangerous quest in your hands, young warrior!" The scout captain patted my shoulders before saying seriously, "Your task is simple. Head deeper into Fireblade Valley and find the Fireblade Warhorses. Kill them and get 100 Fireblade Warhorse Horns to me. Bring them back to me for a very generous reward!"
System Notice: Do you accept the quest "Fireblade Warhorse Horn"? (Current Quest Rank: S)
Wow, it’s an S Rank quest? I’m absolutely pumped now!
I accepted the quest and began to turn around. However, the scout captain wasn’t done yet. "Wait, warrior from distant lands. Before you go, I have a gift for you!"
"Oh? What is it, captain?"
The scout captain took out a cyan-colored, cylindrically-shaped gem from his pockets and passed it to me. "This is a Sealing Stone. If you encounter a Rare Fireblade Warhorse during your journey, try reducing its HP to 20% or below before using the Sealing Stone on it. Right now I’m in dire need of a high-level warhorse, so if you can bring me a Fireblade Warhorse I promise to grant you an even greater reward!"
Overjoyed, I grabbed the Sealing Stone without hesitation. It was because the item allowed me to tame a mount even if I wasn’t a mounted player. I still couldn’t equip it, but I could sell it for an exorbitant price. How wonderful was that?
I smiled at the scout captain when I thought up to this point.
The scout captain shivered when he saw my smile. "What are you planning, young warrior?"
Still gripping the Sealing Stone, I asked, "Captain, surely you have a couple more of these babies, right? Why don’t you gift some to me? I am also in need of them right now."
"This is the one and only Sealing Stone I have, warrior!" the scout captain declared. "The Sealing Stone is a crystal made from the essence of the world, and only a royal magus has the skill to inject it with sealing power. So how could I possibly have more than one? Really!"
"Is that so?"
I stared at him. "To tell you the truth, I’m a close acquaintance of Commander Ziyan, and a friend of Princess Karinshan herself. What do you think Princess Karinshan will say if I head back to Floating Ice City and tell her that, not only did a scout captain of Frost Army fail to complete his quest, he even hired an adventurer to complete it for him, and he bribed the adventurer with a Sealing Stone to get a mount for himself, my lord?"
"You! You cannot do this!" The scout captain puked blood. "Heavens, why have you sent a devil to me, an honorable and righteous knight of humanity…"
I showed him the very Sealing Stone he gave me. "This is the proof! I’m sure Princess Karinshan and Lady Ziyan will be very interested to hear my story!"
Gray-faced, the scout captain finally acquiesced and pulled out another two Sealing Stones from his pockets. "Fine. The Royal Magus Las is actually an old friend of mine, so he agreed to make me a few Sealing Stones when I called upon his help. This is all I have though. We may be old friends, but he still made me pay a couple bottles of Wild Lily Wine for them!"
Realizing something, I said, "He only made you three Sealing Stones? I don’t believe you. I’m going to tell Princess Karinshan that you and Royal Magus Las have made a lot of Sealing Stones. I’m going to say that they are proof that the both of you are conspiring together to buy troops and plot against the throne of Floating Ice City…"
My mouth was running at full steam at this point. It would be a shame not to toy with an NPC this funny!
The scout leader glared at me. "Fine! You must be a devil incarnate. Heavens, why did the adventurer guild of Sky City accept a villain like you…"
The scout leader produced yet a pile of Sealing Stones and said reluctantly, "I had to trade a couple-hundred-year wine for these…"
Feeling slightly apologetic, I passed the scout captain a bag of 10000 gold before saying, "Here, this is your compensation. Now give me all the Sealing Stones you have, or I guarantee you’ll become Princess Karinshan’s stable manager…"
The scout captain wailed in sorrow, but accepted the gold and surrendered me all the Sealing Stones he had. Holy shit, this guy. He actually had 31 Sealing Stones in total!
I smiled as I stared at the pile of Sealing Stones in my arms. Very good, all that’s left now is to pray that the Fireblade Warhorses won’t turn out to be a disappointment!
Logically speaking, the number of bosses, Rare mobs, and shadow-rank mobs of an untouched map should always be higher than a cleared map. For example, assuming that Fireblade Valley had a total of 5 Rare Fireblade Warhorses right now, the number of Rare Fireblade Warhorses that respawned should be lower than this after they respawned 72 hours later. Therefore, the early bird should always get to enjoy the tastiest worms!
I didn’t torment the scout captain any more than that. Although he was a drunkard and a bastard, he was still a knight. If he hung himself in his makeshift camp because I went overboard with the humiliation, I would have no place to turn in my quest.
I went deeper into the valley and felt an obvious rise in temperature around me. Even so, the plants still managed to thrive in such a hot environment. It would be a bad idea to touch them when fiery sparks were literally flying off the vegetation. Speaking of which, I saw a wild, brawny horse feeding off a low, dry shrubbery on an empty plain. It was none other than the mob I was looking for!
The warhorse looked very impressive. Flames were rising softly from its fur, and its muscles looked like they were filled to the brim with energy. Despite the burning blade at the center of its forehead, it shared more similarities to a fire beast than a unicorn. After I got close to it, its stats screen entered my vision—
Fireblade Warhorse (Shadow)
Skills: Stampede X, Haste X, Fireblade Thrust X
Introduction: As the rulers of Fireblade Valley, Fireblade Warhorses are extremely heat-resistant as their diet consists mainly of fire-attribute vegetation. Over time, the fire energy accumulating inside their body caused a mutation and grew a blade of fire on their foreheads. No wild beast had dared to challenge them since.
It was a Level 135 shadow-rank mob as expected. I smiled and called out to my Sky Obsidian Greedy Wolf, "Get ready, wolfie!"Previous Chapter Next Chapter