Chapter 75: Elemental Barrier

Coldmoon Rose got up from the grass while gnashing her teeth together in anger. It reminded me of a joke. A farmer went to visit a prostitute, and the prostitute said, “It costs 10 to do it once on the grass, 20 on the chair and 50 on the bed.” The farmer gave her 50, and she smiled. “It seems like you’re a tasteful person, sir!” But the farmer said, “What the hell are you talking about? I want to do it 5 times on the grass.”

……

The Weeping Fire Blade continued to glow faintly as it diced an Imp’s head to pieces. Having killed the fourth Imp, I looked at my experience bar; it had risen considerably. Dark Wasp was at 65% HP after the battle, but I was still completely untouched. All things considered, it was a pretty good result!

Right now my reaction time was about 400 milliseconds at most, whereas an average person’s was around 300 milliseconds. This meant that I would soon return to my peak state from before the first accident, although I was still a ways away from top pros out there. Through conditioning their brains and superior connection latency, some geniuses could reduce their effective reaction time to even 100 milliseconds. Vegetable Tofu Soup, Frivolous Scholar and Candlelight Shadow were all legendary pros at this level.

Still, my condition IS steadily improving. The virus might be bringing me burning pain whenever I’m under the sun, but it also helped me out of a low point in my life. Turns out this illness isn’t all bad after all! I’m sure that my brain delay would eventually return to the normal state, 200 milliseconds, or even lower in the near future!

I continued to train and coordinate my and my pet’s movements. It gave me a lethargic feeling of rebirth, as some of the skills I had long forgotten because of my crippling delay were slowly returning. I was on my way to recovering to my peak form.

Some more grinding later, Pardon, Slayer Slash, Undead Energy and Regeneration of the Undead all reached Rank 4. Killing mobs became even easier than before, and my experience just kept on rising. In less than three hours, after countless Imps had fallen to my blade, a beam of golden light marked my ascension to Level 43. I was now only one level behind the highest-leveled player in the game, Lin Yixin, though I was still at third place.

Coldmoon Rose didn’t return after being sent away. She knew there was no point. Even if she could rally a couple hundred members to cut me down, I had a top-tier skill like Earth Escape and could retreat safely. More importantly, she knew I had returned to Floating Ice City, so she also knew that the equipment from the boss wasn’t on my person. Therefore, there was no point in mobilizing so many players just for me to maybe drop a level.

I grinded till past 7 am. I’ve gained plenty of experience in this session, and my bag was filled with Big Magic Stones. Moreover, I had fulfilled the quest requirement. Every mob in this town was dead, and the flask was filled with the Night Creatures’ Venom that Court Alchemist Shuy had ordered. It was time to turn in my quest!

I looked at my experience bar and saw that it was 97%. I should be able to level up to 44 and be on equal footing with Lin Yixin after turning in this quest. Still, I was sure that she would leave me in the dust again the moment she came back online. Her Killer Wind Swordplay was incredibly powerful and greatly increased her leveling efficiency.

Moreover, Lin Yixin wanted to build a guild of her own, so she would definitely do everything in her power to maintain her number one spot in the Heavenly Ranking. After all, who wouldn’t want to join a guild that was commanded by the strongest player in Floating Ice City?

An involuntary smile crossed my face when I thought about Lin Yixin. The girl was both a friend and a rival to me. Our relationship was slowly but surely growing more complicated over time.

I left the town and headed to Crow Ridge. Upon returning to the small house, the Court Alchemist Shuy narrowed his eyes at me before laughing. “Young undead, you truly are as powerful as you look. Come, this is the reward you deserve!”

Ding~!

System Notice: You have completed the quest [Night Creatures’ Venom]. You have gained 14500 EXP, 550 Reputation and the quest reward: “Elemental Barrier”!

……

Huh? I got an equipment reward?!

I hastily opened my bag and found a colorful, lustrous shield was sitting at a corner of my bag. It seemed to be of pretty high quality!

My mind turned blank when I checked its stats.

 

Elemental Barrier (Dark Steel–grade)

Defense: 72

Block: 7%

Stamina: +9

Passive: Increases user’s Defense by 1%

Level Requirement: 35

 

……

What the hell? I didn’t expect to see such amazing stats on a Level 35 item! It has more Defense than even my Silver-grade war boots, this is amazing!

In Heavenblessed, the only class that could equip shields was Magic Knight. It was why they were certainly going to be the tankiest class in the future, with highest HP and Defense. They were the obvious choice for the main tank in a party too!

If this is what a Level 35 Dark Steel–grade looks like, I can imagine how overpowered higher-level shields will be. All classes have their unique characteristics, I suppose. For example, Warriors like me relied on explosive power of two-handed swords to gain an advantage. Yep, this Elemental Barrier is seriously fantastic. I can sell it at Floating Ice City or gift it to Gui Guzi!

I tried chatting with the NPC a bit longer, but he didn’t have another quest to offer me. Disappointed, I had no choice but to return to Floating Ice City.

Swhoosh!

It was 8 am when I appeared at the city square. Most hardworking players had already come online and rubbing shoulders with each other at the auction house. It was a bustling scene.

I went inside and sold two Iron-grade cloth armors I had in my bag. They dropped while I was killing the Imps, and they were worth dozens of silver at most.

I sent a message to Gui Guzi and asked, “How’s your shield right now?”

Gui Guzi replied excitedly, “Brother B and I got a Level 39 Dark Steel–grade shield after we killed a boss last night. It has 65 Defense and +11 Stamina. Amazing, right?”

Well, that’s a downer. I guess I sell the shield to some other Magic Knight.

I was just about to submit it when a melodious voice rang beside me. It was a familiar voice that I had been longing to hear all this time.

“Mm… Mingyue, this is a bit expensive, isn’t it? A 100 gold price tag on a Level 25 Dark Steel–grade Shield? Did poverty get too deep into this seller’s head?”

……

I turned around in shock and found two beautiful girls standing next to a trade window. One of them—as well-endowed and beautiful as ever—was Murong Mingyue, and the other one was a Level 29 female magic knight. Her equipment wasn’t very impressive, but she wielded a black spear, and she wore an elegant, black chest armor that tightly hugged her body. Her curves were in no way less impressive than Murong Mingyue’s, and the smile on her face accentuated her already attractive looks even more. She looked beautiful and charming even though all she was doing was standing and observing the equipment that had been put on sale. As for the line of text floating above her head—

From Water LV-29 Magic Knight

……

He Yi! It’s actually He Yi!

I sucked in a deep breath while my heart beat like it was about to explode. This was the second time I saw He Yi in Heavenblessed, and she still looked as gentle and natural as ever. Even her most careless smile was enough to make the world swoon on their feet.

Murong Mingyue said, “Eve, can we cut to the chase already? You’ve been carrying around this Level 4 Common-grade shield since forever! Even if your goal is to cut down on expenses, this isn’t the way to go about it, not to mention that your wealth goes up and down by the hundred thousands every second in the real world. Ask yourself: do you really lack 100 gold? Right now this Level 25 Dark Steel–grade shield is the best shield in the auction house. I admit it’s a bit expensive, but it will boost your Defense by a lot and make my job as a healer a lot easier.”

But despite Murong Mingyue’s advice, He Yi still couldn’t come to a decision, her pursed lips and knitted eyebrows a portrayal of her internal struggle. A while later, she ultimately said, “Forget it, I’d rather grind for one!”

Murong Mingyue didn’t know what to say. “Seriously? How long do you think that’ll take… Eve, you are the boss of Ancient Sword Dreaming Souls, you know. You can’t still carry a Level 4 shield with you…”

He Yi: “...”

I finally mustered my courage and greeted them using the low, raspy voice that was unique to a Night Creature, “Hi, Beauty Murong. Do you still remember me?”

Murong Mingyue was caught off-guard by my greeting. He Yi’s bright gaze also made me feel a bit uncomfortable.

“It’s you, handsome?” Murong Mingyue smiled. “I didn’t expect to see you here. So? What do you want to talk about?”

I took out the Elemental Barrier and said, “I got this shield just this morning. I heard that your friend needs this, and we are friends, aren’t we? So I’ve decided to sell this to you cheap!”

“Oh? Let me see…”

After Murong Mingyue saw the shield’s stats, her mouth fell open as she exclaimed, “My god, it’s a Dark Steel–grade shield! And these stats are just… crazy…”

She looked up at me and asked, “Sinks Into Sand, this shield is very expensive, isn’t it?”

I gave her a smile. “Make me an offer and I’ll sell it to you. I can’t use this shield anyway.”

Murong Mingyue’s eyes lit up. “Does that mean you’ll sell it to me even if my offer is 1 gold?”

I was speechless. “Come on, that’s too cruel…”

He Yi giggled softly before saying, “How about 20 gold then?”

This Dark Steel–grade shield was worth 100 gold at minimum, but He Yi’s pure and flawless smile was too much for me to bear. Oh well, if He Yi wants to slaughter my purse, what can I do besides accept my fate?

The shield was a lucky quest reward anyway. I might as well give it to He Yi as a reunion gift.

I nodded slightly and said, “Alright, 20 gold it is!”

He Yi exclaimed in shock. She clearly didn’t expect me to agree to this. Murong Mingyue’s mouth was agape when I passed the shield directly into He Yi’s hands and said, “Now, give me 20 gold so I can log out. I’ve been online since last night so please be quick…”

He Yi nodded and gave me 20 gold, and the losing trade was complete.

I waved my hand once and walked out of the auction house.

“Wait…”

He Yi chased me out of the auction house, but I was already entering a nearby inn. By the time she reached the inn, I had already begun logging out, my character fading out of existence.

He Yi stared at me with watery eyes, murmuring, “It’s not him? It’s not him… right…”

I hadn’t logged out completely when she said this, so my heart ached as the system counted down the seconds. Just how much longer will it take for my body to go back to normal so that we can reunite in real life?

I returned to the real world in pain. It was already late morning.

Gui Guzi and Du Thirteen had logged out as well. We ate a quick meal outside before returning to our workshop and falling asleep in our beds.

In my dreams, He Yi’s exquisite face seemed to appear to me. As the blurry images floated inside my head, I could see her tears, hear her laughter and smell the fragrance of past time. Ancient Sword Dreaming Souls had been the thing that tied our hearts together. It cursed us with eternal longing and many wounds, but we still persisted like fools who didn’t know what regret meant.

……

I was covered in sweat when I woke up. A shower later, it was past 5 pm, so the three of us went downstairs for a drink at the food stall. As the saying goes, brothers greet one another with three bowls of wine!

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