“Bloody Shield Domain, huh…”
Beiming Xue brought up the world map and scanned it for a moment. “The domain is within Vanished God City’s jurisdiction, but it’s near the borders and it’s at least 2 hours away from the main city. The map is dark red in color, so if I had to guess, the mobs there are at least Level 200 or higher. The map isn’t actually opened yet, but since the quest is sending us there I’m sure we’re qualified to enter… right?"
"I don’t know..."
I said, "Anyway, we need to return to Sky City and teleport to Vanished God City, so save the discussions for later. I’ve already checked. From Vanished God City, it’d take almost 3 hours to travel to Bloody Shield Domain on foot. The good news is I have two pairs of boots that increase movement speed by 50%, so Mingyue, Lian Xin, wear them when we’re ready to depart later. Also, I suggest we depart from the tier 2 main city, Sangharama City. It’ll take less than 2 hours to reach Bloody Shield Domain if we travel from there."
"Okay." All the girls nodded in unison.
We took out our return scrolls and teleported back to Sky City. Then, to Vanished God City and finally, used the teleportation formation to reach Sangharama City. The tier 2 main city was under Vanished God City’s jurisdiction, which was why we could only teleport there from Vanished God City.
Swhoosh swhooosh swhoosh…
The five of us appeared in the tier 2 main city, also one of the nine main cities of the China server, Sangharama City. It was on the same level as Dawn City and Floating Ice City, although, of course, Dawn City was reinforced by a fortress and had much tougher walls than any tier 2 city. In fact, after the War of Dawn City, it was the strongest tier 2 city bar none. It wouldn’t be able to defend against the Northern Alliance’s invasion otherwise.
I summoned the Armored Ice Qilin Horse, climbed on top of it and looked around. Sangharama City was an average-sized city that was built using light blue bricks. There was also an impressive-looking statue in front of the west gate. It described a hero wielding a trident.
We passed by the statue while the city’s music resounded in our ears. When I glanced at the pedestal, it stated: Sangharama City is an old city with three thousand years of history. During the warring times, the great Hero King, Theuriau, slayed a powerful devil and built a new empire on these barren lands. It eventually replaced the once mighty Dharan Empire!
I frowned a little before saying, "That’s a familiar name. I think I saw it when I was reading the expansion set. If I remember correctly, the Dharan Empire was one of the first ten human empires and member countries of the Silver Moon Alliance. It declined over time due to the endless war and was ultimately occupied by the undead and turned into rubble. Since then, no human traces could be found on its soil anymore."
Lin Yixin nodded and shared her view of the world map with us. She then pointed at the bloodiest area on the map and said, "This is the map we’re headed to, Bloody Shield Domain. Now, look closely. Do you see the text? It’s rather faint and blurry, but…"
Everyone moved closer to take a look, and it wasn’t long before Lin Yixin’s observation skill was proven to be true. There was a faint text just below the name "Bloody Shield Domain", and it stated "Dharan Empire Ruins”. This meant that our destination was definitely the site of the former Dharan Empire. Coincidentally, the city we were in was built by their descendants after the empire’s collapse.
"Well, the history lesson can wait until later. Let’s head to Bloody Shield Domain now. I’m sure there’s a ton of treasure waiting for us to pick up!" I sheathed my sword and said.
"Yeah. Let’s go!" Beiming Xue agreed with a nod.
And so the five of us entered the forest next to Sangharama City and moved in the direction of Bloody Shield Domain. We encountered some mobs along the way, but they were mostly shadow-rank mobs between Level 140 and 180. After all the ancient and dread-rank mobs we had been fighting recently, they hardly deserved our full attention.
On the way, a surprising amount of players sent us party invites in hopes of adding us into their parties probably because we looked reliable even though we had turned off our equipment luster. In the end, it got so annoying that we turned on all our equipment luster at once and damn near gave the poor bastards a heart attack. In fact, it was their fortune that powerful adventurers like us had decided to grace their city with our presence.
The road was long, so we conversed to each other to pass time. Lin Yixin, Beiming Xue and Murong Mingyue were pretty close to each other, so their conversation went pretty cheerfully. However, the same couldn’t be said for Fruit Knife Goddess’s conversation with Lian Xin, since the latter was a stubborn girl who would do everything in her power to defend He Yi’s rights. Long story short, Lian Xin refused to accept Lin Yixin as anything but a party member. Still, it was much better than the time they first met. At least they weren’t trying to murder each other anymore.
Almost 100 minutes later, we exited the forest and arrived at a barren land. The trees were all wilted, the ground was black and rotten, and animal carcasses released a horrendous smell from the soil. We also spotted broken weapons and rusted shields along the way. A war must’ve been fought here a long time ago, for shields usually took a considerable amount of time to rust completely.
I checked the world map and noted that we had entered the border area. In fact, we hadn’t encountered any player parties for the last half an hour or so. Most people wouldn’t choose to grind here because the mobs here were Level 180 dread-rank mobs, and this place was too far away from the city to replenish one’s supplies quickly, not to mention the plethora of Corpse Eaters and undead graveyards that littered the place. Only an exceptionally strong player would dare to venture into these lands.
Suddenly, Lian Xin pointed toward the distance and said, "Look, there’s an NPC over there!"
It was just as she said. A simple camp fenced by rotted deer horns had been erected among a forest of stones, and several terrible-looking soldiers were sitting around a bonfire and chatting to one another. Their pale faces alone spoke of the circumstances that had found themselves in.
"Cough cough! That damned border guard captain, I can’t believe he sent us to this hellhole to scout the undead. It’s so cold…" a young soldier complained in a grudgeful tone.
A broader middle-aged soldier licked his dry, cracked lips before replying, "Yeah, I miss the inns of Sangharama City. Their girls are hot and passionate, and they never hesitate to warm a cold traveller’s body with their own, or tease an adventurer’s soul with their tongue. If it wasn’t for this damned mission, we would be drinking ale in an adventurer’s inn, listening to a bard’s song and even teasing his wife if she happened to be present. It was such a good life…"
It was at this moment a greenhorn who looked around sixteen or seventeen years old suddenly hugged his broken spear and cried, "There’s no way we’re going to survive this! The Corpse Eaters had cut off our retreat, and we’ll be entering Bloody Shield Domain if we venture any deeper. The old men told me that Bloody Shield Domain is a forbidden land of the dead that consumes all life, no matter how strong you are. Even the sword saint hadn’t returned since he ventured into that accursed land. A sword saint, dammit! And let’s not forget the plethora of legendary warriors such as the earth riders and sky riders who died before and after him. I don’t want to die. I miss my beloved mama and her oatcakes…"
The fat middle-aged soldier laughed loudly and gave the greenhorn a slap on the shoulder. "Don’t cry, Little Jimmy! We’re not going to die here. It’s true that we’ve lost more than half of our men, but… Anyway, we’re not going to die here. Come on, I’ll play a tune for you…"
The middle-aged man grabbed an old goat head Tovshuur and began playing. Unfortunately, he was a terrible musician, so his tune only caused Jimmy to cry even harder.
Lin Yixin spurred her Moonchaser Tiger forward until she reached the NPCs. Then, she dismounted and shot them a sweet smile. "Warriors of Sangharama City, we are adventurers of Sky City. Is there anything we can do to help you?"
The middle-aged soldier brightened when he saw her. "Adventurers from Sky City? Oh, I recognize your kingdom emblem. You serve Princess Karinshan, right? Haha, we’re saved!"
All the NPCs rose to their feet and surrounded us in no time. It looked as if they had found their life-saving straw.
The middle-aged man grabbed Lin Yixin’s small hands and raved excitedly, "Your timing cannot be better, adventurers from Sky City! We almost failed our mission!"
His action caught Lin Yixin by surprise so much that she nearly unsheathed her sword and killed him. After striding toward them and slapping his lecherous hands away from my girlfriend’s, I said, "What can we do to help you?"
The NPC uncle continued without showing the slightest shred of shame, "We were tasked to enter Bloody Shield Domain and spy on the Night Creatures because we heard rumors that the devil from hell, Ovia the Bloody Finger, had taken over. However, most of us were wounded or killed on our way here, so we would like you to escort us into Bloody Shield Domain and figure out their movements. If you succeed, I promise to reward you generously on behalf of the Silver Moon Alliance!"
System Notice: Do you accept the quest "Azar’s Request"?
We accepted it as a matter of course.
System Notice: Your party has accepted the quest "Azar’s Request"! (Current Quest Rank: SS-)
Description: Protect Azar’s party and escort them to the edge of Bloody Shield Domain. Kill at least 10000 Night Creatures and bring their heads to Azar.
I see, this is a mob-killing quest! Although it was just an SS- Rank quest, the experience and Reputation reward alone were worth it. At our level, Reputation was just as important as experience because guild expansion required a lot of Reputation. In Lin Yixin’s case it was even more important because she had to restart from zero, and all good equipment also required the player to have a high Reputation stat.Previous Chapter Next Chapter