Chapter 199 Mutual Benefits
As Ye Ci’s consciousness began to fade, she heard an angered roar, and the hand choking her throat suddenly loosened its grip.
Ye Ci fell onto the ground, dazed. Her remaining consciousness registered that she was still alive, and as long as she was not dead, she had to carry on the fight. She stood up on shaky legs, and saw Ol’ Three biting down hard on Buru’s arm. The pain had caused the Werebeast to loosen its grip, thus saving Ye Ci’s life.
The enraged Buru began flinging Ol’ Three around as it hung on to his arm. This caused Ol’ Three’s hitpoints to plunge.
“Damned panther! How dare you get in my way!” Buru was finally able to dislodge Ol’ Three from his arm, and threw it on the ground. The panther let out a whimper, appearing to have sustained serious injuries. Despite that, it struggled to stand on its feet, determined to carry on the fight.
After being distracted by Ol’ Three, Buru’s attention was focused solely on the panther. Ignoring Ye Ci, Buru walked up to Ol’ Three, ready to end its life.
Ye Ci steadied herself. Stars filled her vision. She shook her head, and lifted her crossbow with trembling hands. “Buru! I am your opponent!” Ye Ci shouted with a hoarse voice, and fired all her high damage abilities on Buru.
Despite being at the verge of fainting, Ye Ci was able to miraculously hit Buru’s vital spots, dealing critical damage to her opponent.
Suffering from the tremendous amount of damage, Buru had only 1.1% of his hitpoints left. To make matters worse for the Werebeast, Ye Ci’s passive drained him of his already dwindling mana. He was no longer able to cast any spells.
Buru was thoroughly enraged. Giving up on any form of ranged attacks, he charged at Ye Ci. However, there BOSS did not shift into his animal form as he did not even have enough mana to transform himself. Ye Ci backed away, firing arrow after arrow at the BOSS.
She finally ran out of arrows when Buru had only 0.1% of his hitpoints left.
Ye Ci stood gasping for air 20 yards away from Buru, who was in no better condition himself. He was also at his limits. He was only able to stand upright through sheer force of will. Both parties glared at each other with bloodshot eyes, waiting for the slightest sign of weakness, ready to pounce on each other.
Ye Ci knew that it was not the time to wait. She slung her crossbow. Even though Hunters would become vulnerable when an opponent managed to get within 8 yards of them, Ye Ci did not forget that as a Huntress, she fought monsters in melee combat before she reached lvl5. Although a Hunter’s damage output in melee range was not as high as a Warrior’s, it did not mean that Ye Ci was unable to achieve victory.
She drew out her dagger and short sword. A cold glint reflected off her weapons.
“HAAAHH!” Ye Ci let out a shout after taking in a deep breath. It was a primitive and simple way to hype herself up for combat. She then charged at Buru. The outcome of the battle depended on this one hit. This was her last chance.
Echoing Ye Ci’s thoughts, Buru let out a roar and charged at Ye Ci, swinging his staff around as he went. He was ready to engage the Elf in melee combat.
2 ranged characters that were not adept at melee ranged were locked in combat, with both parties determined to fight to their last breath.
Even if Buru was just an NPC, he had earned Ye Ci’s respect. Such intelligent and tenacious monster was few and far between. Even if their ideologies were different, Buru was still a worthy opponent.
The sounds rang out almost simultaneously. Ye Ci could feel a stabbing pain on her body, and she noticed that she had only 2% of her health left. Damn! Even for a class that was bad in melee combat, Buru’s damage was just too high!
Under the darkening evening sky, a fire pit not far away cast its dim light on the two combatants. Ye Ci stared at Buru’s face, while the NPC glared at Ye Ci. The two had performed their last hit, and they stood unmoving, as if they were statues.
Ye Ci was gasping for breath. She took a glance at Buru, and found that his HP bar was empty. He has been defeated, but why wouldn’t he fall? Ye Ci did not have the answer to that question.
“Hehe… Elf… You’re a worthy opponent.” Buru let out a smile, and his body tumbled backwards, and the impact of his fall reverberated in the quiet forest.
Buru has fallen.
It was a pyrrhic victory for Ye Ci.
“You are the first player to slay the Swamp Of Sorrows World Boss, Werebeast Shaman Buru. Do you wish to hide your ID?”
“Yes.” replied Ye Ci as she let out a long sigh. The system notification began flooding the World Channel. It was a glorious moment for Ye Ci, but she was tired. She sat, or rather slumped onto the ground as her legs buckled beneath her. She realised that she no longer had control of her body. She could not even move even a single finger.
She knew that it was the fatigue penalty that was imposed on her by the system due to prolonged combat. The effect of the penalty was very serious during its first 30 minutes duration. Players would be unable to move, and have their mana and hitpoints recovery severely lowered. Taking a glance at her HP bar, Ye Ci noticed that she had only 3% of her hitpoints left. If a monster appeared, it would be able to kill her easily.
Fortunately for Ye Ci, monsters would tend to avoid Buru’s territory. Ye Ci was able to lay next to Buru’s corpse unharmed for 30 minutes while staring up into the night sky. Even when she could finally move after 30 minutes, Ye Ci’s body was still heavy with fatigue. She struggled to get up on her feet and walked up to Ol’ Three.
It took Ye Ci almost 10 minutes to cover the short distance between her and Ol’ Three. The panther let out a soft whimper as its owner walked up to it, as if it was trying to console its master despite the pain. Looking at the gaping wound on Ol’ Three’s side, Ye Ci fed a bottle of potion to the panther. She had quite a lot of her mana left, but she was too fatigued to cast Pet Healing.
Ye Ci caressed Ol’ Three on the forehead as it gulped down the potion. It purred and narrowed its amber eyes. A sliver of warmth crept into Ye Ci’s heart. “Thank you, Ol’ Three.” Ye Ci patted Ol’ Three on the head and dismissed her pet.
She stood up slowly and walked up to Buru’s corpse.
Due to her extremely bad luck, even a World BOSS like Buru did not yield much of a loot. She was only able to obtain a ring, 3 Perfect Gems and a treasure map from the BOSS. The gems could be used to enhance equipment, but only one of the 3 gems were of use to her despite their high level. Ye Ci decided to keep the gems for later use for when her guild members have managed to level up or when the prices of gems in the auction soared. It would be a waste to use them right away at this stage of the game.
Ye Ci was very satisfied with the two other loot drops. The treasure map was her Main Quest item. It was a fragment of the map to the Elven King Da’uer! She need four of the fragments to form a complete piece of the map. This was the second piece of map she obtained – 10 months after launch of the game.
Any quest related to the Elven King Dau’er would never be simple. Such quests were usually very troublesome, and Ye Ci was very excited because the fragment of treasure map dropped. As for the two other pieces of the map, Ye Ci was in no hurry. She believed that she would be able to complete the quest eventually.
The final item she obtained from the loot was a ring. It was a purple quality ring.
The only souvenir Werebeast Shaman Buru brought along with him as he was exiled from Werebeast Territory. The ring is Buru’s most treasured belonging.
Purple Equipment, level requirement: 0
Dark Dispersal (Remove all negative debuffs when used. Cooldown: 3 minutes)
The ring was was perfect for a Druid. Despite having a high Agility and Strength stats that were favourable for Hunters, the ring offers a high level of additional Intelligence as well. This meant that it was not the perfect item for a Hunter. However, Ye Ci paid no heed to this fact. Such stats could always be remedied in the later stages with of the game through gem casting and equipment refining.
The most important thing about the ring was its ability, Dark Dispersal.
In the state that she was, Ye Ci had no skill that could allow her to remove any negative debuffs. In a BOSS fight or a PvP battle, she would be crippled if she was hit by any crowd control skill. With this ring, she would be able to remove all the debuffs on her, greatly increasing her survivability. The only downside to Dark Dispersal was its cooldown time. The 3 minutes was just too long. Ye Ci would definitely laugh like a madman if Dark Dispersal had a cooldown of only 1 minute.
It was still better than nothing.
In a situation where Dark Dispersal was her only option, the 3 minutes cooldown was worth it.
As she equipped the ring, Ye Ci noticed the presence of another ring. It was the Ring of Precision dropped by Fleeting Time. The ring was one of the reasons she was able to defeat Buru on this day. However, she somehow felt that the ring was sticking out like a sore thumb. Ye Ci creased her eyebrows and removed the ring from her finger, storing it into her inventory. She would never admit that it was Fleeting Time’s ring that had contributed to her victory over Buru. Ye Ci stubbornly insisted that she would have been able to defeat Buru even without the ring.
She was very certain.
Ye Ci did not forget her purpose of coming to this place. She was here for the Spirit Soothing Grass that was needed by Lord Moore.
The Spirit Soothing Grass would usually grow on the Abandoned Altar that was behind Buru. The altar had been abandoned for a long time. Even the foundation of the building had begun to crumble away. Blades of grass squeezed themselves out from the cracks on the altar’s ground, and vines growing along the altar’s walls painted the chalky altar with specks of green. Even with the darkening of the sky, the altar looked as if it was full of life.
Ye Ci found a few plants that were luminescent. It was the Spirit Soothing Grass that she was looking for. Not knowing how many of the Spirit Soothing Grass did Lord Moore need, Ye Ci picked every one of them in sight.
Despite the good night vision possessed by Elves, Ye Ci scooped one of the logs out from the firepit to use as light source and began searching the altar. It was a habit that she picked up in her years of gaming. She would scour every inch of a newly discovered place as it might be the only time she would visit the place. She would seize every opportunity and make the most out of them..
Ye Ci circled around the altar and found nothing. She summoned her little red horse and rode towards Dark Clay City.
Perhaps due to the fact that the death of Buru has granted Ye Ci good luck, or perhaps the monsters in the forest were already asleep, Ye Ci did not run into any enemies on her way back to Dark Clay City.
As there was no time limit to complete her quest, Ye Ci headed to one of the many taverns in Dark Clay City and rented the best room. She directed the tavern staff to prepare a hot bath and a nice warm meal for her to remove her fatigue.
After a hot bath and a nice, warm meal, Ye Ci laid on the bed for a rest.
She then logged out of the game. It was already late at night in the real world just like the time in game. Bai Mo had just finished his bath at the time. As he whistled happily on the way out of the bathroom, he ran into Ye Ci who went into the kitchen, ransacking it for food.
He stared at Ye Ci’s pale face and saw her tired expression. It was as if she had been to hell and back. He called out to her, “Little Ci, what have you been up to? You look awful.”
Ye Ci who was exhausted did not have the energy to spare to play word games with Bai Mo. She rolled her eyes at him and spoke up weakly, “Did you leave anything for me?”
“Yup. Get seated, I’m going to warm the food up for you.” noticing Ye Ci’s lack of energy, he knew that Ye Ci was exhausted. Without a single word, he walked into the kitchen and prepared a meal for Ye Ci.
Ye Ci slumped onto the sofa in the living room. Although the battle with Buru was not fought with her own flesh, the long hours of intense battle had exhausted her mentally. She was tired even after logging out of the game. She was nauseated when she thought back about her battle with Buru.
Ye Ci turned on the television. She closed her eyes, listening to the soap opera that was being aired. She could not even comprehend a single word. She was tired. The only thing that was occupying her mind was the need for sleep.
After an amount of time in mental oblivion, somebody tapped lightly on Ye Ci’s shoulder. She opened her eyes, only to find Bai Mo staring at her, “Little Ci, dinner’s ready. Go eat before you sleep.”
“Alright.” Ye Ci forced herself up. Bai Mo handed her a bowl of rice, and set the dishes on the table in front of her. They were all her favourite dishes. The food was exceptionally appealing with steam rising from them.
Despite her exhaustion, Ye Ci’s tummy rumbled in the face of good food. She immediately began wolfing down the food.
Bai Mo sat on a bench beside her and smiled, “Eat slowly. I’ve eaten my fill. I won’t take your food away.”
After sweeping through the first bowl of rice like a typhoon, Ye Ci finally slowed down after Bai Mo offered her a refill.
“What have you been doing? You look dead tired.” asked Bai Mo.
“Fighting against a World BOSS.”
“Werebeast Shaman Buru?”
Hiya minna-san! How’s everything going? Hope you guys enjoyed this chapter! What an epic battle between Ye Ci and Buru rite??
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Even if Ye Ci did not pay attention to the impact of her First Blood to the World Channel, it did not mean that everybody else was ignorant of the fact. Perhaps due to the fact that he had gotten used to Ye Ci’s many First Bloods, Bai Mo was not surprised when Ye Ci achieved yet another First Blood on Buru. He let out a smile, “Ah, great!”
“What do you mean?” asked Ye Ci as she nibbled on a piece of pork rib.
“Somebody set up a betting ring on the forums when Werebeast Shaman Buru was slain. They say it was set up by the Fate officials.”
“What are you talking about?”
“The Swamp of Sorrows is a neutral territory. So it’s possible that the BOSS was slain by players from any continent. The player who did it hid his or her ID when the system announcement was made. So the Fate officials have set up a betting ring where players can bet on the names of the top players from all 4 continents. Each player could bet for a minimum of 100 gold coins and the result will be released 3 days later. So…” Bai Mo was grinning with joy.
“Why are they so lame?” Ye Ci creased her eyebrows. She hid her ID to keep her deed a secret, but it was used by the officials to set up a betting ring. If that was the case, she would rather not hide her name.
“Say, both you and Fleeting Time were included,” Bai Mo winked at Ye Ci, “And both of you have the highest amount of votes.”
Ye Ci was dumbfounded, “What are you laughing at?”
“Nothing. I’m just telling you that I’ve bet 10,000 gold on you. I wonder how much I will earn…” annoyed by Bai Mo’s sly smile, Ye Ci continued wolfing down her dinner.
“What?” Ye Ci rolled her eyes at Bai Mo, “You want me to thank you for having so much faith in me?” Why is Bai Mo such an asshole?
“Eat, eat.” Bai Mo did not continue the squabble. He patted Ye Ci on the head, and began briefing her about the guild’s progress. “Purity Essence is assigned to the second squadron. I’ve placed him there to get to know the members. He’s not a commander yet. Since you’ve recruited him as a battle commander and we haven’t had a guild war in ages, I’m going to assign him to dungeon-clearing for the time being.”
“Alright. His equipment is bad anyways. It’s good for him to go explore dungeons.” Ye Ci was satisfied with Bai Mo’s arrangement. She did not have any objections to Bai Mo’s way of handling Purity Essence, “Oh, by the way, keep an eye out on how Overflowing Ink and Mi Lu react to Purity Essence.”
“Oh, don’t you worry about that. I’ve put this into consideration.” Bai Mo stretched his body, he was tired, “We’ve tried taking on the 5th BOSS today, but we failed.”
“How’s Wolf Pack doing?”
“I have no idea, but rumors have it that they’re doing better than us. Although they’re also bogged down by the 5th BOSS, they’re still having a better time than we are.” Bai Mo took in a deep breath, “Truth to be told, with the non-stop dungeon exploration, our members are tired. We’re not a major guild like the Wolf Pack. A lot of our members are not used to this.”
“Once we’ve cleared this dungeon, we’ll be done with the Beginner lvl 30 dungeon cluster. We can give the members some rest, and perhaps some reward for their hard work.” Although she was rarely involved in managing the guild, Ye Ci could understand Bai Mo’s worries. A small fledging guild like ‘Upwards Ho!’ could not keep up with the pace of larger and more established guilds like Wolf Pack and Tang Dynasty. Both of the guilds have 3 squadrons assigned to dungeon exploration while the other guilds like Steel Blooded Battle Spear, Blank Space and World Conqueror have at least 2 squadrons which are exploring dungeons.
However, ‘Upwards Ho!’ could barely gather enough members to form a single squadron. The rest of the players in the guild were either not overly reliable, did not have a high enough level, or were guild hoppers.
“Bai Mo, I’m really not good with managing the guild. I am depending on you people for that. I have no problem rampaging around in the frontlines and an obtaining First Bloods, but managing the guild is just not my forte. Perhaps we could change the topic. It gives me a headache.” Ye Ci was still wary of dealing with people. She was weary whenever anything regarding guild management was mentioned.
“Alright. We’ve drew up a plan for the development of our guild, you don’t have to worry about that. Since you’re so worried about the First Blood of Castle Ruins, why don’t you help Overflowing Ink and Mi Lu out? I think they’re at their wit’s end.” Bai Mo knew that Ye Ci was very worried about the First Blood on Castle Ruins. He was concerned when Ye Ci did little to help out the 2 commanders. He dropped Ye Ci a hint, telling Ye Ci that if she did not act sooner, Wolf Pack might be able to secure the First Blood.
Ye Ci, of course, understood the hidden meaning of Bai Mo’s word. She let out a sigh. With all said and done, there are things that she needed to deal with herself.
“Alright, so when is the next scheduled exploration?”
“Alright, I’ll be joining the expedition. After all, I did not help out much with the first four BOSSes. If this keeps on, people might think that I’m just a mascot.” Ye Ci began mocking herself. Bai Mo, who remained silent, offered Ye Ci a smile.
Ye Ci slept very early that night. Perhaps due to her exhaustion, she slept like dead for the entire night, and was woken up by the sound of Bai Mo pounding on her bedroom door.
“Little Ci, it’s 9 o’clock! Get up, clean up, and have some breakfast! We’re getting ready to head into the dungeon.” Bai Mo was acting like a good househusband. He prepared breakfast every morning and had to act as Ye Ci’s alarm clock. He managed to do his job perfectly fine as well.
“Got it.” Ye Ci was still groggy when she woke up. When she was reminded that the guild was going to take on the fifth BOSS, she immediately got out of bed.
Ye Ci logged into the game immediately after cleaning up and finishing her breakfast. She took a glance at her quest tracker out of habit. She had completed the objective for the quest to look for the Spirit Soothing Grass for Lord Moore of Dark Clay city, but decided against handing in the herb first. After all, she did not complete such a quest in her past life, and could hardly remember anything about the quest from the forums. With the lack of a walkthrough and other vital information, she had to figure things out bit by bit and on her own. There was no time limit for the current stage of the quest, but if a time limit was imposed on her in the next stage of the quest, it would be troublesome.
After all, failing to complete any stage of an Epic-tier quest would result in the reduction of the rewards received from the NPC. The player might even be denied from proceeding with the quest.
With the fact in mind, Ye Ci was reluctant to proceed to the next stage of the quest. Clearing the dungeon was a better option.
With her decision made, Ye Ci teleported back to Red Lake City.
As the spell began the channel, Ye Ci received a message. She was surprised to see the name of the recipient.
It was Unbridled Willow. With the relationship between herself and Unbridled Willow, it was normal for her to receive a message from the man. But as Gongzi You of ‘Upwards Ho!’ and Unbridled Willow of Steel-Blooded Battle Spear, the chances of him sending a message was lower than the chances of the sun rising from the west, especially regarding such a sensitive topic. Ye Ci was still looking for a means to get chance to get in touch with Unbridled Willow, but before she could act, he made a move. Ye Ci was relieved. That was one problem solved.
There were times where people might not even talk to each other after adding each other as friends.
The relationship between Ye Ci and Unbridled Willow was just like that. Despite adding each other as friends, they have not had a single conversation with each other. There was really no need for Unbridled Willow to talk to Ye Ci especially with her conflict with Thousand Sunsets.
This was why Ye Ci was wary. After reading the message from Unbridled Willow, she canceled the channeling of her teleportation and connected to a voice chat with Unbridled Willow.
“Gongzi You, long time no see.” Unbridled Willow spoke up, as if they were friends who have not seen each other for a long time.
Returning the favor, Ye Ci replied with a laugh, everybody was capable of pulling small word games like this, “Yup. It seems that we’ve both been busy.”
Some things just came naturally. Thought Ye Ci. The cunningness of businessman, the hypocrisy of politicians and the ingenuity of the common people were all written into our being when we were created by God. Even after being cast aside from by his family for years, Unbridled Willow retained the quality of a businessman. According to Green Hill’s Moon, he was smarter than Thousand Sunsets.
He had a clear grasp of the situation. He knew what was beneficial to him, and what would cause him great harm.
Ye Ci felt lucky. She had been categorized by Unbridled Willow as a person that was of use to him, while Unbridled Willow was also one of the people that was useful to her. Ye Ci did not feel unpleasant about her relationship with Unbridled Willow. To her, it was natural for things to turn out as they were.
The scariest thing in this world was not when people took advantage of someone.. The scariest thing in this world is the fact that there was nobody that could be used. That was why Ye Ci did not mind the fact that Unbridled Willow was simply using her for his benefit. She would, of course, use him in return.
After a small talk, Unbridled Willow began to lose his patience. After all, it did not matter to Ye Ci if Thousand Sunsets managed to clear the dungeon. However, to Unbridled Willow, it was the deciding factor to him to gain power within the family.
“Gongzi, I heard that ‘Upwards Ho!’ has been busy with Castle Ruins?”
Ye Ci narrowed her eyes. As expected, he was the one who gave in first. It seemed that Unbridled Willow had been backed into a corner by Thousand Sunsets. Based on what she knew, although Unbridled Willow’s team had a faster progress than Thousand Sunsets’s, he was still new to the guild. This meant that he was unfamiliar with the ways of managing his own team. Even with the help of Zero Arsenic, he could not depend fully on that man, as his loyalty was only towards the Old Master. There was no way Zero Arsenic would serve him sincerely.
On the other hand, Thousand Sunsets was very familiar with his men. Even if he had less elite players allocated to his team, he had the loyalty of his men. The players in Steel-Blooded Battle Spear knew nothing about the conflict between Thousand Sunsets and Unbridled Willow. In their eyes, Thousand Sunsets was their leader. Besides, even after losing the favor of the Old Master, Thousand Sunsets was the heir apparent in the family for quite some time. He had many connections which granted him access to quite a number of resources. In this situation, Thousand Sunsets appeared to be able to emerge victorious in his competition with Unbridled Willow even when the latter had the advantage.
How could Unbridled Willow not be desperate? Despite his apparent advantage, he knew that he was surrounded by enemies. In a situation like this, he knew he could not depend on Zero Arsenic, and could do nothing against Thousand Sunsets. There was only one way: to look for outside help.
However, there were a lot of limitations when it came to seeking for outside help. The person must have a good relationship with him, and was an enemy of Thousand Sunsets. This would eliminate the possibility of the outside help’s betrayal. There was only one person that fits both of his criteria: Gongzi You.
He did have his own suspicions that his run in with Gongzi You was actually set up by her. But… Does it matter? As long as he could bring down Thousand Sunsets, no cost was too high.
After all, there is no everlasting friendship in this world, nor there is an endless hostility. There is only eternal benefit.
Unbridled Willow did not know what happened between Gongzi You and Thousand Sunsets, but based on the information he received, she might be happier than him if Thousand Sunsets would topple from his seat of power. With such mutual benefit at hand, Gongzi You was definitely the right person to work with.
However, Gongzi You had never expressed her dissatisfaction towards Thousand Sunsets. The assumptions he made were of course the best case scenario. But… What if Gongzi You refused to work with him? Would she sell him out? Won’t it make the situation worse if it happens?
That was why Unbridled Willow chose to beat around the bush as he talked to Ye Ci. He intended to test the waters out. But… He had heavily underestimated the girl. She did not take the bait, and had even pretended that she did not understand what he was talking about, and that she had no intention at all to deal with Thousand Sunsets. Unbridled Willow was forced to get straight to the point.
“Aren’t you guys exploring the Castle Ruins as well?” Ye Ci chuckled. She was satisfied with how things went. The best way to reap the most benefits was to lead your victim on and deliver the killing blow when his interest was piqued.
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