As it turned out, the Golden Arrow Tiger was a ranged killer that specifically targeted ranged players whenever it could, and out of all our mages, archers and priests, Beiming Xue and Moonlight Stone were the only ones who could take a hit and survive. By the time we took the four Golden Arrow Tigers, we had lost three archers and two mages. It was a poor battle result considering that replenishing our numbers was difficult, and those who were killed couldn’t return until a week later.
The last Golden Arrow Tiger we killed dropped a round metal armor helmet. When I picked it up and gave it a look, I saw that it was a Level 125 3-star Outstanding Dark Gold–grade item with Outstanding Property that boosted the user’s Defense by 12%. It was very good to say the least. A short discussion later, I decided to do away with the usual loot distribution rules and passed it to Chaos Moon directly. The tankier she was, the lesser the chance someone in our hundred-man party would die.
We encountered the Golden Arrow Tigers a few more times in packs of five to ten as we continued to march toward the meeting spot. The good news was that these mobs didn’t appear in large numbers, or this journey would have been absolutely hellish. Right now, no player in the entire server could withstand focused fire from an entire horde of Golden Arrow Tigers.
Meanwhile in the guild channel, everyone was venting their frustration—
Li Chengfeng: "These motherfucking Golden Arrow Tigers are so disgusting. When they use their ranged attacks, they ignore aggro table and shoot those with low Defense in your party. It hasn’t even been twenty minutes, and we’ve dropped to just over 70 people already. This is bullshit…"
He Yi: "Same. We’re losing people every time we run into these mobs. They’re so powerful that losses are unavoidable no matter what you try."
Gui Guzi: "What about you, boss? How many did you lose?"
Me: "There are only 84 of us left…"
Gui Guzi: "Damn, if even you are doing poorly, I can’t imagine things ending well for us…"
Xu Yang: "How is the situation in B1 right now?"
He Yi: "Candlelight Shadow and his men have cleared out a large majority of the Wood Porcupines. October Rain seemed to be waiting for Candle Dragon to start the boss before acting. The path to the dragon scale of the ‘Giant Dragon of Life’ must be paved with countless corpses…"
I smiled. "We’ll leave them to quarrel among themselves. Those who are still in Wood Dragon Domain, be careful. Once you find a B2 floor teleportation scroll, form your parties and teleport to the B2 floor immediately. Right now we are still the only guild in the Golden Dragon Domain, so we must find the boss and take it out as soon as possible!"
Gui Guzi: "No problem. By the way, I already found a B3 floor teleportation scroll…"
Xu Yang: "WTF Little Gui, your luck and karma must be off the charts today…"
"What do you guys think the reward will be if a player manages to gather all nine Dragon Scales? Immortal-grade equipment, or a divine beast for a pet?" Chaos Moon asked dreamily.
Li Chengfeng chuckled. "Who knows? One thing is certain though, this quest is going to cost a lot of lives…"
I nodded in agreement. "Yes, but we still have to do it nonetheless. This is a battle between the strongest guilds in China, and whoever manages to gather all nine Dragon Scales will get to improve their prestige by leaps and bounds. In conclusion, let’s do our best and gather as many dragon scales as possible!"
He Yi: "Mn, Lu Chen is right. We’re challenging the Nine Lost Dragon Domains not because we’re vying for the reward, but because we want to prove to the world that we’re strong enough to challenge any opponent!"
Everyone echoed in agreement before focusing back on the mobs in front of them.
Some time later, we had a total of seven parties exploring the depths of the B2 floor. My party was still progressing forward slowly and killing the Golden Arrow Tigers. Although they were difficult to kill, the shadow-rank mobs yielded so much experience that it almost felt like they were bosses. In fact, my experience bar flashed every time one of them was killed. It was at least a 0.1% increase per kill.
Another painful two hours later, a group of players finally appeared at the horizon. The good news was that it was He Yi’s party. The bad news was that I saw only 40 or so players in her party.
Surprised and dumbfounded, I walked up to her and asked concernedly, "Eve, where are your players? Did they lag behind or something?"
He Yi spread her arms and admitted honestly, "Nope. They’re all dead…"
We waited for another while as Gui Guzi, Li Chengfeng, and all the parties who had already teleported to the B2 floor made their way toward the meeting spot. In the end, almost five hundred of us were gathered in one place. Despite losing over 200 players in total, it really wasn’t a bad outcome considering how disgusting the Golden Arrow Tigers were to fight against. I reformed the parties after everyone was gathered. I tossed a hundred mounted players to Gui Guzi, just barely gathered 100 archers to toss to Beiming Xue, and split the rest between He Yi, Li Chengfeng, and myself.
"Do we know where the boss is?" I asked.
Li Chengfeng nodded before replying solemnly, "We saw the boss's coordinates while we were on the way. It’s about 10 minutes away from here. It’s an Earth Rank boss though, and I don’t know if we can do it with just five hundred people…"
I smiled. "Doesn’t matter. We have to do it one way or another. Now come on, let’s kill the boss of the B2 floor before another guild shows up and explore the B3 floor afterward!"
Li Chengfeng acted as the point as we traversed across the black plains and moved toward the boss. On the way we saw a couple of Golden Arrow Tigers roaming at the distance, but this time we ignored them because no one here wanted to fight a disgusting mob that could use ranged attacks and buff its own allies before engaging the boss. Plus, we had already gathered five B3 floor teleportation scrolls on the way to the meeting spot. Even without accounting for the casualties we were almost certainly going to take when we fought the Earth Rank boss, they were enough to teleport everyone to the next floor.
It wasn’t long before we heard faint, reverberating roars of a giant dragon coming from somewhere. Many of us tensed up immediately. The boss was of the Earth Rank, and no one had a clue what it even looked like, much less its stats and skills. The entire Nine Lost Dragon Domains felt like a sentient slaughterhouse that dangled a tasty bait in front of the players to lure them into its bottomless stomach.
“Hey, did you guys check the forums?" Chaos Moon asked.
"There wasn’t time. What’s wrong?" I asked.
Chaos Moon replied with a smile, "When the Nine Lost Dragon Domains first opened, everyone was swarming it like sharks who caught the scent of blood, right? That lasted until the Wood Porcupines of the Wood Dragon Domain burst their courage like a bubble. Right now the people on the forums are claiming that Nine Lost Dragon Domains is a cursed and unlucky place. Long story short, at least 90% of the existing players hate this map to the bone, and they won’t be entering this map anytime soon."
"That will be for the best. The more people there are, the harder it will be for us to fight a boss…" I commented.
Li Chengfeng nodded in agreement. "Yeah, we already have too many competitors as it is. The powerful guilds in Sky City. Candle Dragon, Purple Lily, and Peach Garden from Wind City. Ten top guilds of Vanished God City. And there’s more. Each is more troublesome than the last. To be honest, we should thank our ancestors if we managed to grab two or even just one dragon scale when this is all over."
High Fighting Spirits chided him. "Li, you’re ever the pessimist who looks down on your own strength, you know that?"
Li Chengfeng smiled but didn’t reply to that.
I said, "Chengfeng is right. In this place there are only a handful of guilds we can really call our allies, and our enemies are everywhere. Anyway, just be on your guard, okay?"
We arrived at the entrance of a canyon just as the conversation ended. It was a terribly still and smelly place.
Gui Guzi and a couple of magic knights rode into the canyon to scout the area. The next moment, they rushed out like frightened sheeps as a jet of golden flames blasted against their asses!
"Fuck! The boss is inside the canyon! Prepare for battle!"
I pulled out the Heaven-stealing Sword and ran toward the boss with Li Chengfeng and the others. At the back, Beiming Xue and our ranged players also got ready to unleash their attacks.
An earthshaking roar blasted out of the canyon. A couple of seconds later, a golden claw appeared at the top of the hill, followed by the sinister-looking head of a one-horned dragon. It extended its wings and pulled itself to full length. The One-horned Golden Dragon had appeared!
"Fuck, it’s definitely the One-horned Golden Dragon!"
Li Chengfeng stared blankly at the ridiculously huge giant dragon for a time. Even he was stunned by its appearance, to say nothing of the others.
I shouted to break everyone out of their daze, "Stop dreaming and prepare to fight! Magic knights, grab its attention. Damage dealers, get into positions and blast its ass! Priests, keep everyone alive! Remember, it’s just a Level 155 Earth Rank boss! We can definitely do this!"
I was running toward the boss even as I barked out the orders. The boss's stats appeared after I moved closer to it—
One-horned Golden Dragon (Earth Rank Boss)
Skills: Dragon Blade, Scale Armor, Golden Barrier Blade
Introduction: One of the legendary Golden Dragons. The One-horned Golden Dragon isn’t as powerful as the Three-headed Golden Dragon, but it is still an excellent warrior of the dragon race. Moreover, this particular One-horned Golden Dragon is rebellious, evil, violent and very aggressive.
"OMG, these stats are… an upper Attack limit of 3000? I can’t even imagine how painful it’ll be to get hit by it..." Li Chengfeng sucked in a deep breath. "Let’s wait while those with Knight God and Royal Road aggro the boss. It’d be unwise to challenge it head-on without extra HP and Defense…"
I nodded in agreement. "You heard him. Those with Knight God should go first. Eve, you and your party should go too. I leave the MT position to you all…"
He Yi got up her horse, smacked its butt with Whirlwind and rode toward the boss like a lightning bolt. On the other side, Gui Guzi was gripping his Rainbow in one hand and charging the boss as well. The complete lack of fear on their faces greatly raised our parties’ morale.
He Yi and Gui Guzi activated their Charge at the same time. An instant later, Eighteen Steeds of You and Yun did the same as well. However, none of them managed to stun the boss! Unlucky!
The One-horned Golden Dragon roared angrily. Still crouching atop the hill, it swung a gigantic paw at He Yi.
He Yi had been training in the competitive arena, and her efforts were definitely starting to bear fruit. She raised her shield in front and withstood the attack without flinching. Before the boss could unleash a second attack, she moved her shield aside and counterattacked with a beautiful Barrier Break!
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