“Boss, should we move out of the map?” Gui Guzi inquired. That sudden attack had cost him about half his HP.
“We can’t. Did you forget that a player can only enter Nine Lost Dragon Domains once every 7 days? If we withdraw now, our adventure here is over!”
I stared at the Wood Porcupines for a moment. “Little Gui, look. The Wood Porcupines move really slow, and there’s only one line of them. The passage is clear once we defeat them.”
“But how are we going to get through that Spike Rain? It’s impossible!” Gui Guzi replied helplessly.
We were safe for now because we had withdrawn out of the Wood Porcupines’ attack range. However, we had to wait until our HP was full to progress again.
I objected. "It’s a huge AoE attack, sure, but if you look closely you’ll notice that there are actually several blind spots that we can exploit. For example, if you look to the north about 40 yards away from us, you’ll see that there’s a 10-yard space that is completely untouched by the spikes. This means that the bombardment isn’t seamless. If you think it’s a fluke, look to the northeast about 25 degrees and 50 yards away from us. Again, you’ll find a 10-yard space. The Wood Porcupines are also practically stationary when they’re attacking which means it’s entirely possible for us to exploit these blind spots and get close enough to the Wood Porcupines to kill them. Even better, we only need to kill 10 or more to open up a path wide enough for everyone to pass through!"
Gui Guzi’s eyes lit up when he noticed the patches of open space unsullied by the spikes. He couldn’t help but laugh and said, "Fuck, you’re right! You’re amazing, boss! I can’t believe you noticed something so obscure!"
I smiled. "I’m sure you can do the same thing as long as you concentrate and don’t let anything slip past you. Remember, Eternal Moon Corporation’s programmers and planners aren’t idiots. If you pay attention, you’ll find something to exploit on every map."
"So, what should we do now?"
"Let’s call everyone and tell them to keep to the left side. We don’t need to take up the whole entrance; just 10% of the area by the entrance should be enough to fit everyone. Also, this allows our competitors to charge blindly into the Spike Rain and die. Once we’ve cleared out the Wood Porcupines, we can then pick up the equipment they will have left behind. Ain’t that just awesome?"
Gui Guzi immediately said in the party channel, "Guild leader, Li Chengfeng, Fighting Spirits, You and Yun, Chaos Moon, please queue into a line and come in from the left side one by one. Don’t push. Once you come in, do not move past me and Boss Broken Halberd because there’s a minefield up ahead. We’ll talk about the plan after you come inside."
Our players were already growing impatient. A short while later, He Yi came in first and stopped behind me, asking, "What’s going on, Lu Chen? How did those players die?"
I pointed at the row of Wood Porcupines ahead of us and shared their stats inside the guild channel before replying, "This Wood Porcupine is the ‘native’ mob of Wood Dragon Domain. They’re incredibly powerful, and they’re programmed to use their AoE skill all at the same time. Don’t move in recklessly, or you’ll be killed for certain. This map is turning out to be far more difficult than we thought."
A while later, Li Chengfeng, Xu Yang, High Fighting Spirits, and the others came in as well. Since I had already told them how the ambush near the entrance worked, no one charged recklessly into their deaths. In fact, it was the players from other guilds who lost their patience and charged through the entrance without a care.
Swhoosh swhoosh swhoosh…
Countless players appeared from the entrance and charged onward, screaming and swinging their weapons like barbarians. There were at least thousands of them, but these poor fools had no idea what awaited them at the front.
The next moment, the hundred Wood Porcupines surrounding the entrance unleashed their AoE skill again and filled the sky with spikes. By the end of it, only a couple of tanky magic knights with shields were able to make it back alive with red health.
The ground was covered in shiny equipment. That one volley had killed at least thousands of players and caused Dark Gold–grade and even Purple Gold–grade equipment to litter the floor. Who wouldn’t be moved by the pile of treasure just a hundred yards away from them?
A magic knight who just entered the map saw this and shouted, "Holy shit, look at those items! What are you all waiting for? Let’s grab them and get rich now…"
The players behind him caught his shout and charged toward the pile of treasure with red, excited faces, It almost looked as if they were on drugs. Not to be left behind, the players at the back pushed the people in front of them and tried to force their way forward. A couple of people had been trampled because of it. Just like that, a new crowd of victims willingly delivered themselves to the fatal spikes of the Wood Porcupines.
Thud thud thud…
The row of rodents shuddered and murdered the shit out of the players again. Blood painted the ground red, and countless screams filled the air. Out of the two thousand people who pressed forward, only two or three people made it back alive. These meaningless deaths only added to the pile of items on the ground.
As the hills of treasure grew, so did the greed of the players who had lagged behind and didn’t die to the Spike Rain. Unable to resist the dark and purple gold sheen of the equipment, the second wave of fodder threw all caution to the wind and charged blindly into danger. And just like the first group, the only thing that awaited them was death!
We watched the comical scene unfold in front of us again and again as we stuck to the left side of the exit. Gui Guzi muttered in wide-eyed shock, "Holy shit, if this isn’t what you call a meat grinder, I don’t know what it is…"
Chaos Moon urged me, "Lu Chen, didn’t you say you have a way to deal with this minefield? Well, what are you waiting for? If we don’t act soon they’re all going to die."
Li Chengfeng and I exchanged a knowing smile with each other. "Patience. If these people want to kill themselves, who are we to stop them? Also, if we carry out our plan now, I guarantee you they’ll attack us and try to rob us of our safe passage. Excessive benevolence is really just hypocrisy, you know."
Chaos Moon looked speechless. "You guys are so bad…"
We all broke into laughter in unison. It wasn’t even a matter of good or bad. In a game, there were no champions without a devious mind on their shoulders. The difference was that some people managed to keep their principles intact, some would abandon them in the face of adversity, and some had completely renounced any and all morals.
The wait lasted an entire half an hour. The meat grinder had probably slaughtered a million players at this point, and the ironic thing was that the rush almost never slowed until the very end. By now, the pile of equipment had grown so tall—the height of a full grown adult at least—that we almost couldn’t see the Wood Porcupines anymore. There was every item imaginable in the pile such as helmets, weapons, shields and so on, and some were Purple Gold or even Outstanding Purple Gold–grade.
"Just look at all this equipment. What a waste…" Xu Yang clicked his tongue admiringly.
I smiled. "Don’t worry, they’re definitely not going to waste since it takes 10 hours or more for dropped items to disappear. Once we clear out all one hundred Wood Porcupines, we can summon our low-level players to carry these items back to the city. We can keep everything above the Dark Gold grade in the warehouse. The rest we will liquidate."
"Okay! God, this is so awesome…"
Chaos Moon: "Awesome my ass, we haven’t even heard the plan to clear out the Wood Porcupines yet. These mobs just slaughtered almost a million players, and we may very well be next."
I smiled and checked the exit again. The flow of players had finally abated—for this entrance at least—and over 4000 of our players had arrived and secured it from outside. This was Ancient Sword Dreaming Souls’ private entrance now.
"Alright, it’s time to break through the Wood Porcupines!"
I raised the Heaven-stealing Sword and ordered, "I want 10 people with high HP and Defense to come with me. The guild leader will be our party leader. Gui Guzi, I want you to party a hundred riders and activate Knight God. Prepare to clear out the Wood Porcupines the moment I give you the signal."
We took some time to reform our parties. He Yi currently had 170 Tactics, meaning that Royal Road’s effect was boosted by 170%. Long story short, all our stats were boosted by 40%, and the Wood Porcupine’s Attack was reduced by 30%. In situations like these, her Famous General Skill was much better than my Martial God.
"How should we do this?" Li Chengfeng asked.
I replied, "Stay close to me, and do not lag behind me for more than 3 seconds. We’re going to move forward using the blind spots between their attacks and take out the 3 Wood Porcupines to the left first. Then, we’ll push forward bit by bit and take them all out. I repeat, stay close to me, or you’re going to suffer a horrible death…"
"Okay, we got it, don’t worry!"
I, He Yi, Li Chengfeng, Xu Yang, Chaos Moon, High Fighting Spirits and all the other fighters who had learned Barrier Break were all in one party. Now that our HP and Defense were boosted by 40%, we could endure a round or two of Spike Rain without any problem. Again, this was why Famous Generals were so important. What could a guild without a Famous General possibly do against these brutal Wood Porcupines?
I ran forward in a straight line while nine of my party members followed closely behind. The second I stepped past the line, dozens of Wood Porcupines immediately locked onto us, shuddered their bodies and fired their spikes. While they were falling toward us from the sky, I abruptly cut 45 degrees to the side and entered a blind spot. Once all ten of us were inside the clearing, I raised my sword and shouted, "Hold!"
"Thud thud thud thud!
The spikes landed all around us. Some of them were practically centimeters away from our noses. Chaos Moon’s face turned as white as a paper when she saw this. "OMG, thank goodness we followed the right person, or this would be real bad…"
I had known since the beginning that the Wood Porcupines launched their Spike Rain once every 7 seconds. It was our frame to advance!
I shouted again and ran about 30 yards forward before cutting toward the second blind spot I had planned for in my head. This time, even more Wood Porcupines locked onto us and launched their devastating Spike Rain. Thankfully, it was relatively safe inside the blind spots, and no one got hurt. Still, everyone except He Yi was so nervous that they looked like they could faint at any moment. He Yi had desummoned her mount to stand next to me. She even grabbed my arm and gave me a sweet smile when I looked at her. The sight was so enviable that Li Chengfeng and Xu Yang thought in unison: Sigh, the guild leader is so biased!
This was the third time we took off, and another 30-yard charge later, we were only 8 yards away from the nearest Wood Porcupine!
"What do we do?" Gui Guzi shouted for instructions.
I raised the Heaven-stealing Sword and fired a red beam into the air. The next moment, four divine weapons descended from the sky and plunged into the Wood Porcupine. The God Binding Art could bind even a god, to say nothing of an animal!
I pointed at the leftmost Wood Porcupine and shouted, "There are no blind spots there, so we’re going to have to Charge and kill that Wood Porcupine in one go! But be ready, we’re going to have to endure at least one Spike Rain! In 3, 2, 1, charge!"
Swhoosh swhoosh swhoosh...
The ten of us swept across the grassy floor and reached the Wood Porcupine instantly. The next moment, the unfortunate mob was hit by ten Barrier Breaks and an avalanche of other skills.Previous Chapter Next Chapter