When I woke up the next day, it was already eight in the morning. Although there was still an hour before the new map unlocked, and considering the travel distance and preparations I needed to make, I was cutting it real close. Therefore, after stuffing a couple of buns into my mouth and drinking a big glass of water, the girls and I quickly went online.
The moment I appeared in Dark Moon City, I heard a melodious ring—
System Notice: All players, please be informed that a scout party of the human alliance has discovered a region filled with powerful energy at the far reaches of the Dragonbone Mountain Range. The magi speculate that it’s a sign of the power of the World Tree waning, and the powers of hell growing restless. A tectonic shift has brought the ancient Dragon Domain to light once more, and the soldiers of the Silver Moon Alliance are surrounding it. The new map called “Nine Lost Dragon Domains” will be spawning in the China server in 57 minutes. The domain filled with mysterious energy awaits the adventurers that will brave its dangers!
Nine Lost Dragon Domains?
I took a moment to check the official website and found that information regarding this new map had already been revealed. Nine Lost Dragon Domains was a large-sized map that was split into nine connected areas. Each domain contained a giant dragon that had been slumbering for tens or even hundreds of millennia, and because they were completely isolated from the world, the only thing they knew upon waking was murder. The players could kill these bosses and collect 9 Divine Dragon Scales to receive a handsome reward.
I opened the map and set my destination marker to Nine Lost Dragon Domains. It was a bit far away from Dark Moon City, but I could definitely reach it in an hour. I was glad I wouldn’t miss the opening.
I hid my ID and took off with the Heaven-stealing Sword in my hand.
As I ran across the forest flora at top speed, I discovered many Sky City players traveling in the same direction as I was. They were obviously gunning for Nine Lost Dragon Domains, but they seemed unaware that the map’s recommended level was 100 or above. At least 50% of the participants were unqualified to challenge the new map.
I reached the blood red zone about forty minutes later. The area was jampacked with players, and columns of cavalry NPCs could be seen patrolling all over the place. Also, the soldiers of Silver Moon Alliance had the area completely surrounded. It looked like even Karinshan was wary of this Nine Lost Dragon Domains.
I couldn’t see the map clearly because it was hidden behind a blood-red fog. The zone was also blood-red on the minimap, signifying its danger for the average players. That wasn’t a problem for me, however. I far preferred my mobs to be high-level and challenging than otherwise.
A short distance away from me, a soldier NPC wearing a tattered metal armor and wielding an iron sword was glaring at his surrounding and speaking in a gruff voice, “There are evil dragons in all of the Nine Lost Dragon Domains, so I would advise all weaklings to stay away from this place. Dammit, how are these giant dragons still alive after slumbering for hundreds of millennia? What an unfortunate timing!”
Amused by his monologue, I walked up to him and asked, “How do I enter Nine Lost Dragon Domains?”
The NPC shot me a glance before his gaze was attracted by the Sky City emblem on my shoulder. He opened his mouth and said, “Why… Why do I feel like I’ve seen you before? Ah, forget it. Anyway, you need to find an entrance to enter Nine Lost Dragon Domains, and the closest one from here is about one kilometer away to the west. You can’t miss it because it’s guarded by countless soldiers.”
I nodded in thanks. NPCs were pretty good at giving directions at least.
I ran toward the entrance the NPC pointed me to, and it wasn’t long before I found a small valley that was filled with challengers. The Nine Lost Dragon Domains were a huge maze of sorts, and no matter which entrance you chose, you would always arrive at Wood Dragon Domain first. Players must then find the next entrance somewhere inside the Wood Dragon Domain to travel to the next zone. There could be some convoluted obstacle we needed to overcome before we could access the entrance, but there was no telling what it was until we saw it for ourselves.
“Lu Chen, over here!”
It was He Yi calling out to me on the Snow Domain Windchaser. She was pretty eye-catching even if the crowd hadn’t parted in front of her. When I got close to them, I saw Beiming Xue, Murong Mingyue, Chaos Moon and many more familiar faces.
“Is everyone here?”
“Yep!” He Yi nodded. “It’s ridiculous how many people are planning to enter Nine Lost Dragon Domains isn’t it? It’s probably because of that rumor about collecting all nine dragon scales to exchange for godlike equipment from Princess Karinshan. I wonder if it’s actually true…”
I smiled. “It’s probably just a rumor, and an exaggerated one at that. I’m definitely looking forward to the experience and loot we’re going to get though.”
Gui Guzi walked over with his spear. “Of course. However, Nine Lost Dragon Domains refreshes once per week and a player can only enter the map once during this time, meaning that all is lost if you are killed inside…”
He Yi smiled. “That’s why we need to stick together and avoid getting separated. Otherwise, it’s entirely possible for the enemy forces to defeat us one by one.”
I looked around for a bit before asking, “I think we’re missing Xu Yang, Li Chengfeng, and High Fighting Spirits.”
“Don’t worry, they’re coming soon. We’ll head in after everyone has arrived!”
I voiced out my ambition, “Some of the giant dragons in this Nine Lost Dragon Domains have to be Earth Rank or above, right? I can’t wait to fight them and get a second Earth-grade equipment!”
Beiming Xue giggled. “Cool your horses, big bro. We’ll be lucky to kill three or more bosses considering that every expert in China is vying for this map. Besides, there’s almost no chance anyone is going to collect all nine dragon scales by force. It’s much more likely that the dragon scales will be split between the bigger guilds, and those who want to collect them all must spend an exorbitant amount of money to buy them…”
I nodded. “You’re absolutely correct.”
It was at this moment Li Chengfeng, High Fighting Spirits, and Xu Yang finally showed up. Almost a thousand of us were gathered at this entrance, and everyone was an elite of Ancient Sword Dreaming Souls.
In total, Ancient Sword Dreaming Souls had dispatched almost three thousand players to this place. For other guilds, their total player count was only higher. Forget killing mobs, I was actually worried that the map wasn’t big enough to fit all of us, and that we would have to tread on literal bodies when we were inside.
Time passed bit by bit. Everyone was staring at the timer on the UI and waiting for 9 am to arrive.
Finally, a crisp ring entered everyone’s ears, and the fog before us suddenly condensed into a gigantic red door. When it creaked open on its own, a terrible stench washed over us like a whirlwind, stunning everyone for a second.
The first floor of Nine Lost Dragon Domains was the Wood Dragon Domain. Players would be descending further and further into the underground as they moved past the floors. As of now, no one had a clue where the entrance to the next floor was, but as long as we stayed alive, it was only a matter of time before we found it. There were almost 20 entrances all over the place, so the players’ restlessness had lessened a little.
That changed immediately after the entrance opened, however. Directly ahead of us, thousands of players from a smaller guild of Vanished God City rushed toward their entrance like their lives depended on it. They vanished the second they stepped through the door. Clearly, they had entered a different zone.
I raised my arm and shouted, “Wait a moment!”
Li Chengfeng, Gui Guzi, and the others kept their cool despite the absolute chaos around us. They didn’t rush in recklessly.
I put my hands to my ears and opened my nostrils, and a few seconds later I heard the sound of people screaming and caught the scent of fresh blood as expected. The undead race was especially good at sensing something like this. Unless I was sorely mistaken, the first group of players to enter the Wood Dragon Domain had taken huge losses. They might even be wiped out already for all I know.
“What happened? It sounds like a lot of people have died in there…” He Yi exclaimed in surprise.
I smiled and said to Gui Guzi, “Little Gui, come with me. Everyone else, wait until we give you the signal!”
Gui Guzi followed behind me on his Armored Steelback Dragon. The moment we entered the Wood Dragon Domain, I immediately felt a horribly-smelling wind blowing against my face. The silent valley was vast space with little vegetation in it, and directly in front of us was an entire floor of dead bodies. As I thought, every player who had rushed into the Wood Dragon Domain without a care for the potential danger had died!
Gui Guzi felt goosebumps crawling over his skin as he watched the floor of corpses and blood. “What do you think happened here, boss? It’s only been less than a minute, and thousands of players were killed just like that!”
Frowning deeply, I said, “There must be a mob ambush of some sort. Let’s move forward slowly. Be ready to Guard at any moment.”
The two of us cautiously stepped over the bodies. The sky was unusually bright and clear, but I couldn’t stop my heart from beating in trepidation. I just couldn’t calm down knowing that the thing that killed thousands of players in one go was hiding somewhere.
Not long after we walked ahead, Gui Guzi suddenly let out a cry of alarm. “There’s something in front of us!”
It was just as he said. Small bumps had suddenly risen from the ground about a hundred yards away in front of us, and when the soil fell away we saw an entire row of round creatures the size of a mini tank. Their backs reminded me of sea urchins because they were covered in sharp spikes, and the cyan eyes peeking out from between the spikes were staring directly at us!
The stats screen of the closest mob appeared inside the party channel—
Wood Porcupine (Shadow)
Skills: Poison Thorn, Rock Crushing Assault, Spike Rain
Introduction: The guardians of the Wood Dragon Domain. The Wood Porcupines possess incredible strength that terrorizes any foe at any range.
Their Attack was insane. Could they be the one who killed those players? But something still didn’t quite make sense to me. How did they kill so many players in one go?
“Boss!” Gui Guzi suddenly cried out in alarm. At least a hundred Wood Porcupines were growling in low tones and shaking violently. A moment later, spikes burst out of their backs and soared into the air. It was an AoE attack! Black spikes were literally raining down from the sky and striking everything in its path!
“Fuck, is this how they died?” My eyes widened. “Little Gui, use your Knight God and Guard immediately!”
“I know. Don’t die, boss!”
I put my arm in front of me and Guarded. The next moment, countless spikes hit my body and dealt varying amounts of damage. Although the damage I took was massively reduced, it was still an incredibly close thing—
I was hit at least 50 times and lost almost 17k HP by the time the rain of spikes was finally over. It was no wonder that all the players who went ahead of us were killed!
“Gui Guzi, retreat!”
I chugged a health potion and ran toward the exit without hesitation. At the same time, I used Tenacity of the Dead and just barely pulled my HP to the midpoint.Previous Chapter Next Chapter