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Lone Desert Smoke has successfully broken the speed record for Marzerway’s Lair Hardcore Mode! Rumors of how Zhang Yang’s feeble team, merely lucky in their triple chain of First Clear Achievements had dispersed. Their achievements invoked a burning fury in all the other guilds. One by one, they tried to break the record themselves.
Zhang Yang’s speed record did not hold up for long. Only half a day later, their record was replaced by Breaking Dawn, who broke it by 9 seconds! Several hours later, Crimson Rage broke the record, clocking a time that would last longer. They had successfully raided the dungeon in only 17 minutes and 2 seconds! However, even this speed record was broken and the process repeated itself, each time with a difference of just a few seconds! Still the record was continually broken to a point where the strong and the weak began showing their differences.
Since Zhang Yang’s team managed to break the record once, they had no intention of staying at that point. They had their levels to grind up! With the frenzied rate the Speed Record changing hands, no one would dare to claim that their speed record was unbreakable! However, a dungeon’s First Clear Achievement was very much different from the Speed Achievement. Once taken away, it was the end for the others, no one else could ever claim it again.
For the past few days, Zhang Yang had been receiving a steady income of 300,000 gold coins into his savings. However, the gold to dollar exchange rate had decreased to 6:1. It had slightly affected his savings but the amount was still remotely large.
The second recipe for [Beginner Anti-Shadow Potion] was found in Violet Star City. Even though Zhang Yang finally had a competitor, both of them still could not fulfill the demands for the potion, which did not affect Zhang Yang’s own sales. Days like that would last for at least 10 days or so, whereby more players would have achieved the level of 30. By then, they would not need to depend of the potion to raid the Hard Mode Marzerway’s Lair.
Deep down, Zhang Yang wanted the days of him making potions like crazy to end quicker. His fortune may have been piling up like mountains, but he had been so preoccupied with making potions to the point where the progress bar of the synthesis would remain as an afterimage beneath his closed eyelids whenever he tried to sleep.
On the last day of July, when most of the server was deep asleep, Zhang Yang had raided Marzerway’s Lair one more time and gained a level, finally reaching Level 30!
His luck chose that special moment to also give him the last piece of his set equipment, fully triggering the set effect! For the past two raids, Marzerway had been exceedingly stingy to him, never dropping the required helmet equipment that Zhang Yang needed the most.
And so, his final stats1 were as such:
Melee damage: 445-467
Critical chance: 12%
Before this, Hundred Shots was the first to achieve Level 30 before Zhang Yang. Fatty Han and the rest were still at Level 29. At best, they would only reach Level 30 by tomorrow night. Zhang Yang had managed to pick out 4 other capable players who logged in consistently and had decent fighting skills, to temporarily fill in the blank spots in his team to raid the Shadowmoon Castle dungeon.
However so, despite the best efforts of this selected four, they were still under Level 27. They would need at least another four days to reach Level 30! From Zhang Yang’s recollection of his alternate history, Crimson Rage’s main force will reach Level 30 in two days. Once their team was properly assembled, they would move with 20 members in 2 separate 10-man parties to raid the dungeon.
These two 10-man dungeons were different from Bangar Crypt or Marzerway in a way where there were no terrain bugs to exploit nor were there any special potions required to survive. These two dungeons could be easily conquered once players were fairly well equipped, and had sufficient knowledge on the boss’ skills. This was the most classic and straightforward dungeon in the game so far.
No matter the case, Zhang Yang had no intention of surrendering the dungeon’s First Clear to anyone else. He will raid the dungeon tomorrow, even if he only had 6 people!
When he arrived back at the city, the first thing Zhang Yang did was to ride on his Skeletal War Horse.
“Neigh…!” The horse snorted, standing behind Zhang Yang with its fiery flames emitting from all its hooves. The huge beast of bleach-white bones was a sight to behold. The emerald flames glowed wildly from those eye sockets! The moment it appeared, everyone started gathering to have a look at the magnificent mount. They were all shocked to suddenly see a monster appear in the middle of the town!
“Little Yang! God damn! I’m so jealous!” Fatty Han cried as he approached and rubbed his hands on the horse until he was satisfied.
“Oh well, since I can’t ride this. I’ll ride my own girl back at home!”
“Please Fatty. You’re so pitiful that I’m dying here.”
Zhang Yang got on the horse and carefully maneuvered it. The horse bellowed loudly, raised its flaming hooves, and started to gallop across the city.
“Wow! What NPC is that? I’ve never seen it around before!”
“Look at that ride! It’s not the usual horse you see around! It’s the Skeletal War Horse!”
“Oh man! I want it so bad now!”
“So cool! So awesome!”
Zhang Yang arrived at the auction house and stood in front of it. He then revealed his profile name.
Zhan Yu, Crypt Slaughterer, Physician’s Friend, Hero of White Jade Castle, Level 30, <Lone Desert Smoke>.
With the long chain of titles and his magnificent horse, he had successfully captured the attention of players who were on their way to the auction house.
“WTF! That’s not an NPC!”
“Hey look, is the famous Zhan Yu! As expected of the guy who achieved so much, just look at those titles!”
“That skeleton horse looks so damn cool!”
“I thought you could only ride a mount at Level 40?”
“Dude! What are you talking about? That guy is Zhan Yu! Of course he could have a mount at Level 30!”
“Whoever gifts me this kind of mount, I’ll sleep with him for 3 nights!”
“F*ck! With your looks, no one would be willing to do it with you for even 10 dollars! Keep living in your dreams, ugly b*tch!”
Personally, Zhang Yang was against riding out in the open. He was forced to promote their guild by both Han Yin Xue and Wei Yan Er.
He was not willing to stand out in the crowd but he was less willing to withstand the bombardment from every single one of his “gang” members. Some of them basically told him to whore himself out for the greater good, to help the guild to promote their name. Zhang Yang had absolutely no say in the matter. He had to listen to their requests obediently and rode the horse out there like an exhibition’s display. His situation was not unlike the gigantic robot model in Japan, completely surrounded by fans enjoying the view.
“Damn you, little brat!”
The spectators grew larger and larger. Even though Zhang Yang had disabled private messaging from strangers, he was still barraged with so many friend requests that his view was practically blocked by the pop ups! Zhang Yang could no longer endure this public embarrassment. He quickly hid his profile, got off the horse before unsummoning it, and ran off by himself.
Wei Yan Er was giggling like a mad girl. “Haha! You took my precious horsie! This is the price to pay!”
Zhang Yang shock his head and said, “I have nothing to say to you! Guys, listen up. There is a job quest in Level 30. The quest is fairly easy and straight forward. All you have to do is defeat an NPC! However, the quest can only be done alone without any help! The quest has 4 difficulty levels. Different difficulties will reward you with different Skill strengths! S difficulty could only be accepted at Level 30. A difficulty can be delayed till you’re Level 35, B difficulty could be taken late at Level 40 while C difficulty could be taken anytime, even after Level 300!”
“S difficulty is truly difficult, but I strongly suggest that you take this option. The difference between the rewards is just too much to ignore. Do it for the sake of your own futures! Just endure it! There is another catch. For the entire duration of the quest, your character will be the same as not wearing any equipment at all! All equipment bonus attributes will be muted2. This quest will fully test a player’s skill!”
“Interesting! Very interesting! I will go and try it out!” Wei Yan Er cheered. “Sister, let’s go and grind for a bit! The noob tank had been leeching3 our experience points for several days now! If he hadn’t, we would already be Level 30!”
Zhang Yang laughed. He summoned the Skeletal War Horse and rode all the way to Warrior’s Home, to meet the pretty class instructor.
Emmy was still wearing the same revealing armor and the ever-present crowd of horny guys surrounded her as usual. The only difference between those players and Zhang Yang was that from his own perspective, he could see a huge glowing yellow exclamation mark floating on her head.
Zhang Yang first learned the Level 30 warrior skill <Shield Wall> and continued the conversation after to start the quest.
“Zhan Yu! Your excellent growth in strength has been most impressive. The empire will always need warriors like you to protect the land from spectres, demons, and other threats to the empire’s interest! However, you will still need to undergo a test and based on your results, I will teach you a class skill!”
Emmy placed one hand on her waist and bent over. Zhang Yang could clearly see her cleavage, deep down into darkness.
“Are you ready for it?”
“Yes!” Zhang Yang instantly replied.
“There are four quests here for you to choose! Different quests will have different levels of difficulty. However, I’ll have to see your willpower, only then will I grant you a strong skill!”
“S level difficulty! Must be completed by Level 30!”
“A level difficulty! Must be completed by Level 40!”
“B level difficulty! Must be completed by Level 50!”
“C level difficulty! No level limit!”
Zhang Yang did not even need to stop and think, he immediately picked the S level difficulty.
“Wise decision, young warrior! You have an indomitable heart of a true warrior, but now, I want to see whether you have the capability to finish this quest! If you’re ready, you can talk to me anytime and I will open the training gates for you!” said Emmy.
‘Ding! You have accepted the quest: The path forward (S level)! This quest must be completed at Level 30, the quest will be automatically deleted when the character gains a level!’
The quest limited the character to only be able to complete the quest at their current level; they have blocked off players with higher levels from coming back to complete the quest with their level advantage.
Zhang Yang drew a long breath and said, “Respected instructor, I’m ready for my test!”
Emmy nodded and took out a huge, green crystal. She held the crystal with both her hands and started to chant a spell in an unknown language.
Is she a warrior? Or a magician? Or perhaps both? Zhang Yang thought absent-mindedly.
A progress bar appeared on her head. She carried out the chant slowly and only finished the spell 30 seconds later. A green orb of light appeared in front of Zhang Yang. The orb was so huge that it was enough to let 3 men walk across simultaneously.
Zhang Yang stretched his legs and stepped into the orb. After a flash of bright light that quickly faded away, Zhang Yang was now in the middle of a huge battle arena. It looked like the same battle arena that Ancient Rome used to have gladiators fight each other. The audience set was completely filled with races of all types. Aside from the 4 main races of the world, there were also Dragons, Elementals, Gnomes and many other extremely rare races.
“Welcome! To the Battle Arena! To all fighters out there! There are no other rules but to kill, or be killed! If you want to leave this place alive, you have to be the last man standing! May the God of War bless you!”
The sound of the announcer echoed across the arena. There was no telling where was the voice came from!
Kang Kang Kang…!
The sound of a metal gate dropping down could be heard from a corner of the arena.
A thundering growl echoed through and a huge 3-meter-tall blue-skinned giant rushed out of the pathway furiously.
“HULL!” The giant had glowing bloodshot eyes. It raised its fist and smashed it down on the ground, sending shockwaves through the floor! Above its head was written the name tagged “Blue Giant Hull”.
Is the developer trying a little too hard to copy Marvel’s Hulk?”
‘Ding! The Deathmatch will begin in 10…9…8…”
It smashed the ground, propelling itself, and charged towards Zhang Yang.
From Zhang Yang’s perspective, he was staring at a huge mountain moving on its own, seeking to trample him.
1 Stats - The short form of statistic, is the full attribute of the character information.
2 Muted - Mute or muted is the nullification effect of an equipment during a special event or scenario. If all equipment is muted, your character will still be wearing the equipment but the bonus attribute it carries will not be added into the character’s attribution.
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