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The night passed uneventfully. Zhang Yang completed his training exercises early the next morning, before buying his take-away breakfast and logging on to the official forum. He was curious and had decided to observe the the war happening over the forum while eating his food.
Fatty Han had gone ahead and posted under the battle report category under his in-game nickname ‘Slim and Handsome’, boasting about how they conquered the first 4 bosses at the castle interior along with some screenshots. He then directed his sharpened tongue towards the 5th boss, Master Waller, bragging that Lone Desert Smoke would only require 2 days tops, to acquire the final dungeon’s first clear title!
The rather bold declaration had provoked a number of players into accusing them of arrogance! However, it also roused up the cries of many other players who were in support of Lone Desert Smoke, and one after another, they posted their praises and encouragement on the comment section below. Many fans of Lone Desert Smoke were declaring war to the players who once belittled Lone Desert Smoke before, “Do you see it now? This is the Lone Desert Smoke that we supported, without the slightest effort, they had taken down 4 bosses in the castle interior, in just one night!
The current outcome was a big fat slap on the faces of those who underestimated the Lone Desert Smoke. Even the King of Prediction, Martian Homeland edited his post on the battle report category immediately, praising Zhang Yang and his gang as if he was trying to lift them above the moon, saying that they are the real deal, despite having started late, they were progressing like a hot knife cutting through butter, demonstrating their pure, terrifying strength!
By comparison, even though the Imperial Sky guild which One Sword Stroke belonged to was also at the progress of 4/5, but they had spent around 5 days exploring the dungeon! At that instance, both parties were standing right before the final boss. According to the regular pattern of the dungeons, the final boss would certainly be the most difficult challenge there ever was. Although the stronger Lone Desert Smoke started out one day after Imperial Sky, their chances of winning instead were so much higher!
Because a simple boss required about 2 days to to pass, Imperial Sky would be one day ahead, and they probably could instantly secure the first clear for Master Waller! But with the boss being so much more difficult to handle, it would require about 4 to 5 days, or maybe even 7 or 8 days to unlock new areas, therefore the advantage of being ahead no long mattered!
After praising Lone Desert Smoke enthusiastically, Martian Homeland exclaimed for that the competition for the First Clear of the dungeons would become more unpredictable compared to the previous times. Where uncertainties lie, the competition is bound to be fierce! It would definitely far be more glorious as the small party of the Lone Desert Smoke who appeared out of nowhere had crushed all doubts about them!
He also tried to butter up One Sword Stroke and Imperial Sky, encouraging them to keep up with their good efforts, even if they lose to the Lone Desert Smoke in this attempt of acquiring the first clear title, they would still have revealed to all players in the whole of China that there were strong parties on equal standing as Lone Desert Smoke!
With this post out in the public, Martian Homeland had stirred up a fierce argument among the players, with part of them supporting Imperial Sky, while others supported Lone Desert Smoke, splitting them into half and starting a war of words on the forum!
Zhang Yang could not help himself but smile, this was probably because people would say, ‘love well, whip well’! No matter the winner at the end of it, even if it did not concern the players at all, everyone had a team as their favourite, just like the Olympic games, who would not wish to see their own country winning over a few more gold medals than the others?
After bagging up his emotions, Zhang Yang went online again. However, it was just Fatty Han, Han Ying Xue and him logged in today. Wei Yan Er had to go to school while the rest of the four members had to go to work.
‘Beep’ the voice communication device suddenly beeped, but it was a call coming from Perfumed Water. She was a fair Priest from Crimson Rage, also happening to be one of the core players in the guild. Ever since Zhang Yang had assisted them in slaying Chalvos the King of the Moutain Giant, this damned sister had passionately pushed Zhang Yang into adding her as his favourite friend.
“Hey handsome Zhan Yu, do you have any idea about how long I waited for you? You must take responsibility!” As soon as the communication channel was connected, the soft and sweet voice of Perfumed Water came right out from the device.
Zhang Yang felt a chill, as he replied, “Come on Sis Water, don’t talk like there’s something going on between us, alright? You and I are not an item! Spit it out, why were you looking for me?”
“Hmph, so cold, rejecting the old and craving for the new!”
Zhang Yang burst into laughter for a bit, and then he said “Silly girl, when did you ever become my girl before?”
“Alright, jokes aside!” Perfumed Water changed her tone and said, “By the order of milady Snow Seeker, I am hereby consulting you concerning strategies for clearing the bosses in area number 3 and area number 4!”
Are you kidding me? Zhang Yang wondered and asked, “Why didn’t she ask me that herself?” Although it was possible to predict the skills of the bosses in normal mode and hard mode, the damage output of the bosses differed in different modes, so sometimes it would be futile to use the same tactics on them. There was no doubt that seeking advise on the strategies for clearing dungeons from players who had completed the death mode was the simplest solution.
Perfumed Water giggled, and she said, “Milady Snow Seeker is a shy person, she cannot stand begging others. Come on, don’t be stingy. You guys have already cleared the boss stage, giving us a small piece of advice will not rob you of your first clear achievement!”
Zhang Yang gave it a thought, and said, “Fine, I can give you the strategy, 100,000 gold for a boss, cheap and fair!”
“Wuwuwu, Zhan Yu, how can you be so mean to talk about money? 100,000 gold… That’s a solid 800,000 dollars for only 2 bosses! Fine! I am selling myself to you then!”
“I’m not taking you, money only!”
“Come on, don’t reject me just yet! I can cook and clean the house during the day, and warm your bed during the night for you! A gentle and caring girl like me is impossible to find out there!” Perfumed Water used her best effort to sell herself high.
As expected, this woman is dirty and bold, a little teasing from her will drag you down straight to hell when confronting her verbally!
So, Zhang Yang smiled and said, “If I am to take you in, my wife would force me to kneel on the washing board everyday!”
“What are you so afraid of then? I can be your mistress! You men are professionals in keeping ‘the red flag’ (wife) standing in the house, with ‘colorful flags’ (mistress(s)) fluttering outside!”
“…… Are you here to get some strategies or to sell yourself high?”
“Huh? The blame is on you! You made me forgot my main purpose!” without any pause, Perfumed Water remorselessly put the blame on Zhang Yang. “Come on, aren’t we all allies? Alliances are supposed to help each other out right? No money should be involved, money corrosive to relationships! It’s also no big deal for me to sell out some private information about Milady Snow Seeker to you!”
“No thanks, I am totally out of the league to get your ‘Milady Snow Seeker’, just get your notepad ready, I am going to brief you on the strategies in taking down the 2 bosses.”
“OH YEAH!” the cheering of Perfumed Water instantly came from the other side of the communication device. “Since you kept your word and all, I should be returning you the favor. Our Snow Seeker is currently divorced, left without child, and is definitely very lonely and empty at the moment. Now is the best time to thrust yourself into her life!”
“Oh yea, please don’t tell her that I told you this! That’s all, bye!” Perfumed Water ended the communication straight.
Zhang Yang was not bothered about giving the strategies to Crimson Rage, and what Perfumed Water mentioned earlier was true, the Crimson Rage did not pose any threat to them for them in acquiring the first clear title for the dungeon. Furthermore, since both of them were alliances, they did have the obligation to help out each other, so they had decided to start with the Lone Desert Smoke.
However, the idea of selling these strategies out for some money had put Zhang Yang down a rather skewed mindset.
Being free all along the way, Zhang Yang regrouped with Han Ying Xue and Fatty Han, and together they departed for the 1st floor of the Centaur Palace to grind for a bit.
Although 3 of them were grinding a little bit slower than they would as a full party, fewer players also meant more experience points for each of them! Other players usually took about 5 days to level up once, but Zhang Yang and the gang only took one day to receive the flash of golden light across their body, a level up!
Zhang Yang was currently at level 42 while Fatty Han and Han Ying Xue were both at level 43!
For the current top 20 level in the White Jade City, the highest level achieved is level 44, and the lowest level achieved is level 42. As Zhang Yang had only stepped into level 42, he was not on the list yet, but Fatty Han and Han Ying Xue had fulfilled the requirement to be on the list, securing the 8th and the 10th place respectively.
Fatty Han was joyful at that instant, preparing himself to work harder to climb up to the 1st spot on the list. Just as he was preparing to challenge the list of the China Region, he was pulled back to the main city by Zhang Yang ------- it was almost 6:30pm, they should be prepared to explore the Waller Dungeon after dinner.
Just before logging into the game, Zhang Yang went to the official forum again and found a surprising notice, a challenge issued by Imperial Sky!
This notice was published by one of the higher rank officer of the Imperial Sky, with the identity and ranking officially verified, under the in-game ‘authentic name’, Mountain Cleaver.He issued a challenge towards the Lone Desert Smoke on behalf of the Imperial Sky to see which guild would take down Waller and acquire the first clear of the castle interior dungeon before the other does!
Mountain Cleaver were full of confidence, he also placed a voting option for players to pick their side.
The debate on who was the stronger between the Lone Desert Smoke and the Imperial Sky on the forum had been incredibly intense, and now, with this challenge invitation sent by the Mountain Cleaver, the players are hyped to the limit! Countless players had replied and voted for the guilds that they supported.
Currently, Lone Desert Smoke held the lead, reaching a rate of 57%.
However, Zhang Yang responded with a sneer, knowing that no matter the outcome of the challenge, Imperial Sky would be earning enough popularity by stepping over the Lone Desert Smoke if they won! If they lose, there will be nothing to lose. They basically belong to the stronger category, plus, the first few titles of first clear had been taken by the Lone Desert Smoke, so it would not be unexpected for them to lose.
How about victory? It would be even better for them to be victorious, stepping over the dead body of Lone Desert Smoke to secure the throne of the strongest dungeon team in the whole China Region!
But the unstoppable train had already started, no matter what Zhang Yang does, the Imperial Sky had successfully shaped their own image as one being equivalent to Lone Desert Smoke, they had called dips on that claim!
If that’s the case! Zhang Yang logged in the forum with his in-game name and sent a post with only one word on it, ‘Accepted!’
Luckily the official forum did not have rules that required 15 words to issue a notice. This simple yet powerful post was instantly moved to the top and being highlighted by the forum administrator. Within just a few minutes, the post attracted tens of thousands of clicks and thousands of replies!
The fans of ‘Zhan Yu’ were hyped up, they all cheered for Zhang Yang on the post, it was like a complete detonation of words all over the forum.
It was 7:30pm, all gang members had arrived, so once again, the gang stepped into the Shadowmoon Castle : Castle Interior.
On their way straight to the boss stage, Zhang Yang informed the gang about the challenge notice from Imperial Sky. Han Ying Xue and the gang were all pumped with the will to fight, fiercely practicing their formation and moves, while Zhang Yang and Endless Starlight were casually talking to each other.
But, a guy with a head full of women was obviously not on the same page as Zhang Yang, as he was bombarded with female bust, hip theory to the point that he rolled his eyes backwards entirely. He could not stand it anymore, so he rubbed the bandages at his side.
Another 2 hours had passed, Han Ying Er and the gang were almost done with the training at last. Zhang Yang had decided to challenge the dungeon once, because he knew, it will be futile with a lot of practices alone, actual combat was the best way to find out the results of their training.
“Huh? Who dares to interfere me while I am absorbing energy?”
Following by the boss’s introductory saying, the battle had finally begun.
20 seconds later, the critical moment, of the boss using the <Shift of Light Rotation> formation has begun.
Han Ying Xue and the gang swiftly retreated back by the edge of the hexagram and when the lights were resurfacing, they instantly ran to their own positions.
1 second, 2 seconds!
All lights were blocked by them, and no one had made any mistakes!
The battle continued, after 40 seconds, the second <Shift of Light Rotation> had began. It was alright, none of them made any mistake as well!
“Alright, everyone maintain your pace, the first clear title is about to be ours!” Zhang Yang encouraged the gang.
“Noob tank, that’s easy for you to say, why don’t you switch with me and have a taste of this!” Wei Yan Er grumbled.
Actually, the most relaxed players among them at the moment were Zhang Yang and Endless Starlight. Zhang Yang only needed to maintain the aggro values, and Endless Starlight was even more relaxed because all he had to do was to share the damages received from the boss!
“Hahaha!” Zhang Yang burst into laughter for a bit and said, “It was I who always had to keep the boss at bay, it’s always been tiring! Now every one of you will have a taste of what I had to go through those days back!”
“Piss off!” Wei Yan Er cried loudly.
60 seconds…… 120 seconds…… 180 seconds……
The longer they were held in the battle, the more stressful they tend to get, and it would be more likely that they would make a mistake!
During the 13th <Shift of Light Rotation>, finally, there was an error in the collaboration among Han Ying Xue and the gang. Fatty Han ran into a red light carrying a negative effect called <Blue Source>!
Instantly, a gigantic wolf head appeared out of the void right from the above of the boss stage, with indescribable dread, it swiped the stage with only it’s eyes and boom! A damage output of ‘-1000000’ appeared on everyone. The whole team was instantly wiped out!
“Ashes to ashes, dust to dust!” The wolf head then vanished into the void again immediately, disappearing and never to be seen again after that.
But the gang managed to put a lock it before it vanished, they wanted to see what exactly is this wolf god thing.
[God of Wolf] (Celestial, Beast)
Everyone felt that they had died for nothing, one by one they released their souls and returned to the cementery to report in.
“Brother Yang, hunters can tame beasts, so can they tame this God of Wolf?” both eyes of Fatty Han were shining brightly, having thoughts of capturing the Celestial boss as a pet, any bosses they encounter in the future, close to the gate of their territories, he can just release his… wolf to settle everything!
“Wretched fatty, in your dreams, if you can get a Celestial boss as your pet, what about the other players? Do they still have anything left to play for?” Wei Yan Er shot a straight and sharp arrow at Fatty Han from her tongue.
Zhang Yang gave it a thought and asked, “Theoretically, a hunter can have the monster as a pet as long as the monster is under the beast category. But Fatty Han, what are the criteria for taming a pet?”
“One must be acquire the first aggro of the taming target, and guide the taming spell for 30 seconds. Any attack during this period of time will immediately interrupt the taming spell and put it to a stop. The higher the level of taming target, the lower the success rate of taming the target." Fatty Han immediately dug out the description of the skill and read it out loud.
Zhang Yang smiled and said, “So do you have any idea on how to be the first aggro of a Celestial boss and survive for 30 seconds long?”
“It seems impossible!”
“Furthermore, even if you succeeded in keeping a Celestial boss as your pet, the standard will decrease a lot when it reaches the hands of the players! Just like taming an elite beast as a pet, will the HP and attack of the pet be the same as it was before it was being tamed?”
“No it will not!” Fatty Han mellowed down a little bit.
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