"Vienna has become a Divine General…" said Zi Chuanyu while grimacing, "Not sure how powerful this Ice Stream Blade is, but it’s going to be troublesome for sure!"
Lin Yixin agreed. "A skill that adds attack range is pretty troublesome."
I said, "Come on, it’s time we went to the fourth floor. It’ll be bad if we keep letting the Northern Alliance get ahead of us."
When we fought through the corridors and arrived at the center where the boss was, its body was long since cold and dead. The Heaven-slaughtering Tiger had been killed, its Tiger Soul Essence had been taken away by Vienna’s Sorrow, and its body had turned into a teleportation formation. A group of Candle Dragon players were rushing into it right now.
I appeared on the fourth floor of Nine Tigers Soul Suppressing Tower. Every entry was a reshuffle where players were randomly teleported onto the map, and parties had to be reformed. That was why whoever entered a map first had a natural advantage over the others. It had nothing to do with strength and everything to do with luck. Whoever killed the boss first would get to enter the next floor first and potentially become the king of that stage!
Li Chengfeng sent me a message: "What took you so long, Lu Chen?!"
"What is the situation on the fourth floor?" I asked.
Li Chengfeng sounded very urgent. "We entered the fourth floor a bit late, and at least a hundred Northern Alliance guilds had gotten ahead of us. They all accepted the newly ascended Vienna’s Sorrow as their commander and are currently doing a sweep across the whole floor! Take a look at the map. There are Northern Alliance players guarding nearly every point of the floor, and they are trying to split up our players and kill them one by one. Their goal is to wipe out every Chinese player who entered the fourth floor! Moreover, the four main passages leading to the boss's location are also guarded. Just ten minutes ago, they managed to trap 50+ Dragonlight Cavalrymen and 200+ Cyan Tiger Cavalrymen at a corner and killed them all!"
I opened the map and noted that the layout of the fourth floor was a bit different from the previous floors. Like a head-to-head circuit, there were points where pathways converged, or intersected, into one every bit of the way.. It was also how the Northern Alliance gathered their strength and defeated the separated Chinese players with superior numbers.
"Chengfeng, I have an order I want you to deliver."
"Sure, tell me!"
"Upon teleporting to the fourth floor, our players are to wait for more Chinese players to join them. They will attack the Northern Alliance’s defense line only if their party has 50 people or more. Avoid solitary operations at all if possible, and take back control of the fourth floor one step at a time!"
"Mn, got it!"
I looked at the map again and saw no friendlies around me. Then, I activated Dark Pupils and saw a dense pack of red dots about 400 yards ahead of me. It was a group of Northern Alliance players gathering around an entrance. I should clear the way first and think about my next move later.
I got up the Armored Ice Qilin Horse and moved forward slowly with my apparition and the Phantom Wolf King next to me. As my vision widened, I spotted a silver figure standing on the dry, rotten floor some distance away from me. When I got closer, I realized that it was a humanoid warrior wearing rusted silver armor and wielding a rusted spear. It shambled toward an unknown destination while letting out a guttural growl—
Silver Halberdman (Dread)
God damn! It was a Level 188 dread-rank mob with incredible stats and multiple skills such as Thrust, Charge, Stampede and more; a true fighter in every sense of the word. It was also an undead mob that was forged into an automaton with molten silver, so it had an insane Defense of 7500!
Noticing my presence, the Silver Halberdman let out an angry growl and charged toward me daringly!
Thud thud thud…
I jumped three times to the back, timed my movement and dodged the dread-rank mob’s Charge almost perfectly. When its skill came to an end, my Cyan Netherworld Sword was already biting into its neck, its weak point, and erupting into Burning Blade Slash + Universe Break combo. A column of high damage numbers rose above its head—
Hmm, the mob’s Defense was so high that I wasn’t able to crush it like rotten wood even with my Attack. That was fine though as I was accompanied by the Phantom Wolf King and my apparition. Both Universe Break and Burning Blade Slash had a cooldown of 6 seconds, and I estimated that it would take 3 combos of Universe Break and Burning Blade Slash, or 20 seconds, to kill the mob. It was no trouble at all.
The Silver Halberdman retaliated with a hit to my shoulder, dealing over 15000 damage and leaving behind a hot, painful sensation. This thing was way stronger than the Bronze Armor Wolves and Bronze Beasts on the first to third floors.
Just as I had predicted, I was able to claim the Silver Halberdman’s life at the end of my third Universe Break. I checked my HP and saw that I was sitting at 65%. Even with lifesteal and a recovery skill, I still lost about 70k of my HP. The good news was that I had Regeneration of the Undead, so it wouldn’t take long for me to regenerate back to full health. Struggling I might be, I should be able to fight my way through without too much delay.
On the map, the red dots that were the Northern Alliance players hadn’t strayed away from their original positions too much. From time to time, I saw one or two dots at most moving toward a certain point almost as if they were aggroing a mob. It was natural. If they aggroed too many Silver Halberdmen at a time, a tragedy was sure to happen.
I slowly made my way forward. Level 188 dread-rank mobs gave more experience, and they absolutely satisfied my need to grind up the level ladder faster. For now, I wanted to grind up to Level 180 as soon as possible. I shouldn’t be satisfied with just being at Earthfire Realm, especially when I knew that there was a realm above it. Only a lazy person would think that way...
The third Silver Halberdman I killed dropped a silver helmet. When I picked it up, I was surprised to see how good it was. Looks like I have another reason to grind!
Silverblade Leather Helmet (Spirit-grade, Outstanding★★★★)
Defense: 570 
Passive: Increases user’s evasion rate by 25% and increases user's ranged attack power by 15%
Outstanding Property: Eyeshot. Increases user’s critical hit damage by 10%
Property: Silverblade Set, Helmet
Level Requirement: 155
Not bad at all. It was a 4-star Outstanding, Level 155 leather armor set, and from the looks of its stats, it was probably tailor-made for archers. Metaphorically speaking, it was spring season for any archer who managed to gather a full set.
I tossed the Silverblade Leather Helmet into my bag and continued the fight. I currently had exactly 10 complete Cyanblade sets in my bag, and now it looked like it was time to gather the Silverblade set. No matter what might happen next in Nine Tigers Soul Suppressing Tower, I would be leaving as a winner.
Meanwhile, a riot was going on in the guild channel—
Xu Yang raged, "Those shameless motherfucking sonuvabitches are blocking the exit and keeping about 30 of us trapped! It’s bad enough that there are almost a hundred of them, but worse still are the two Heroic Bannermen playing guardsmen! If it wasn’t for the fact that there are hundreds of Silver Halberdmen standing between us, they might’ve killed us all already!"
Gui Guzi: "Calm down, Brother Xu Yang, I see you, and I’m not too far away from you. I’m currently on the move with Chaos Moon, High Fighting Spirits and about 40 or so of our brothers and sisters. Our coordinates are directly ahead of yours. Once we take out the mobs blocking our way, we’ll catch these people in a pincer attack and kill them all."
Xu Yang: "Got it. Man, the Northern Alliance is playing so dirty this time!"
He Yi let out a chuckle. "Well, they were the first people to enter the fourth floor, and they waited around the boss's body for 20 minutes and assembled almost ten thousand players before they teleported. It’s no wonder that they were able to secure all the passages of the fourth floor so quickly. Just hold steady and take things one step at a time. I’m currently at coordinates (1737, 9898), and all those who are near me should come to my side. I’m planning to hit the first Northern Alliance blockade of my position in ten minutes..."
Li Chengfeng let out an insidious chuckle as he joined in the conversation. "By the way, do you guys know that Hegemon Palace lost three 100-man parties when they entered the fourth floor? Not only did these idiots charge blindly into the fray, they managed to provoke both the Northern Alliance and the mobs at once! I can’t believe these idiots managed to make it into the Top 10 guilds of China…"
"Come on, they’re pitiful enough already…" Eighteen Steeds of You and Yun laughed. "In my case, I saw Laughing At The Heavens leading a 70-man party against a defense line where Vienna’s Sorrow was present, failing and escaping with only 7 people left. We mustn’t underestimate Vienna’s Sorrow, by the way. His new Divine General Skill is an offensive one, and he even changed his weapon to an Immortal-grade spear called ‘Frostwound’. Its Attack is so high that he nearly instakilled un-Guarded Laughing At The Heavens in one combo. You wouldn’t believe how purple the guy looked when he almost died…"
He Yi let out an incredulous chuckle. "The situation is really bad, isn’t it?"
Li Chengfeng: "Yes, but don’t worry. This is just the fourth floor of the tower, and we have plenty of chances to turn things around. Lu Chen, can you rally the friendlies around you? We are all separated right now. No one should challenge your authority considering your current strength and reputation."
I looked around me and saw a group of people walking toward me from behind at that exact moment. I chuckled. "Fine, I’ll see what I can do to lead these people…"
I cut down the Silver Halberdman in front of me and picked up a pair of Silverblade Legguards. Then, I turned around and rode up to a small Chinese party. Their emblems on their shoulders marked them as players of Wind City, and worse, they belonged to an enemy guild, Silver Soul. They belonged to the Avengers, so I had no doubt that this group served under Candlelight Shadow.
Still, I had to consider the bigger picture, so I waved a hand at them and greeted, "Hello!"
The captain of the party of a dozen exclaimed in surprise when he saw me, "Broken Halberd Sinks Into Sand?"
I pointed behind me and said, "There are almost 20 Silver Halberdmen down that direction, and almost a hundred Northern Alliance players guarding the exit, so I suggest that we cooperate and break through their defenses together. What do you think?"
The leader—a magic knight—stepped forward with a dark expression on his face. "We are Silver Soul, and Ancient Sword Dreaming Souls is our enemy. Why should we listen to their vice leader?"
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