It was obvious that the Goblin Robots in the depths of the Goblin Palace were superior to the robots stationed at the entrance of the palace. They were more resilience to attacks and could deal more damage while having more abilities. Fortunately for the duo, the machines acted as independent units instead of utilizing horde attacks. With the aid of Ol’ Four and her captured machines, Ye Ci was able to defeat her foes with relative ease. Despite their individual strength, the Elite Robots could not stand up against the onslought of so many attackers.
Whenever an Elite Robot was defeated, Ye Ci would then insert a power core into the fallen machine. Ye Ci was able to replace every single robot in her party with an Elite Robot within the span of half an hour.
With her party bolstered with Elite Robots, Ye Ci’s journey forward was made easier. She was able to clear away all opposition that was encountered along the way. As a lvl60 player, Ye Ci was not able to benefit from the experience points of slaying the enemies within the palace. Her screen, however, was filled with prestige points whenever a foe was slain.
Ye Ci noticed that her Prestige with Vo’sok grew whenever she slew a foe in the map. A Goblin would offer 1 to 2 points upon its death, and a robot would yield 3 points, while her points would increase by 4 whenever an Orc or an Undead was slain. She did not know how Prestige with Vo’sok would benefit her, but she knew that gaining Prestige with any faction was definitely something good.
She sat on the ground and began replenishing her status after all her enemies had been converted into loot drops and Prestige points.
“How are things on your side?”
“I’ve defeated all the robots over here. How about you?”
The duo maintained constant communication after their separation. Coordination was very essential in the dungeon that was full of hidden mechanisms, and the slightest mistake made by either party might lead to disaster.
“I’m done with my side as well, but I need to take a left turn up front.” replied Fleeting Time. The duo would constantly describe their surroundings to each other, “I’m facing the north with the corner to my left. Do you see anything on your end?”
Ye Ci immediately faced north as well after listening to Fleeting Time’s words, “The path ahead of me leads to a corner turn as well, but to the right.”
“Let’s keep moving. Be careful and remain in constant contact with me. Don’t push yourself too hard if you run into trouble.” replied Fleeting Time after a brief moment of thought.
“You too.” replied Ye Ci who was nearly done with replenishing her Stamina. She remain in constant communication as she continued to press on deeper down the corridor.
The machines that Ye Ci encountered after that were no longer humanoid in shape. Her foes were mechanical spiders that spewed special web that could root their enemies in place for 8 seconds. Whenever a target was rooted by a mechanical spiders, smaller spiders would then be deployed to deal damage on the rooted target. Ye Ci had to go to great lengths to avoid getting hit by the spiders’ web in combat.
It was a relatively simple task for Ye CI. As long as she was careful, any misfortune could easily be avoided. The same could not be said for Ol’ Four and the Elite Robots that were under Ye Ci’s control. Due to their sheer numbers, Ye Ci’s entourage of Elite Robots were easy prey for the spiders’ web. Once the Elite Robots were rooted, they were immediately swarmed by the smaller spiders.
The smaller spiders were not notorious because of their attack damage, but because of their ability to self destruct. A single small spider could deal damage equivalent to 10% of the health of a single Elite Robot, and 10 of them would be able to instantly destroy the robot.
Ye Ci was forced to release her AOE skills like Rain of Arrows and Multi Arrows in such a situation. It was the only effective countermeasure she had against the small spiders. In her bid to reduce the damage dealt to her Elite Robots, Ye Ci expended a large amount of her Stamina. This meant that she would run out of Stamina within 15 minutes, and would be forced to take a rest.
Penalties against players from hostile continents were indeed high before the patch was introduced into the game.
With the current stage of the game meant as a period for players to muster their strength, the developers have placed measures to ensure deter players from invading an opposing continent. This included a high penalty that was imposed on players who was on a foreign hostile continent. Even with a way to deal with the spiders, Ye Ci’s progress was very slow as she had to take frequent breaks. When she received a message from Fleeting Time, Ye Ci was replenishing her stamina on the ground.
“How are you doing? Have you taken out the spiders yet?”
“Nope. The little ones are very obnoxious with their self destruct. I’ve expended a lot of Stamina by casting AOE skills to keep them in check.” said Ye Ci as she took a sip of water. Even if she was to replenish her Stamina, Ye Ci’s character was affected by Fatigue after the long hours of battle.
“Are you starting to have a high Fatigue value?” guessed Fleeting Time when he heard a groan from Ye Ci.
“Yup.” Ye Ci was straightforward with her answer. The Fatigue value was a measure imposed by the developers on the character of a player in-game, and had nothing to do with the player themselves in real life. As a game with servers that were operational 24 hours a day, there would always be overly enthusiastic players who stayed logged into the game to endlessly grind for gears and experience. This could be said to be unfair to the vast majority of Fate’s player base. This was why the Fatigue system was introduced and was imposed on players who spent long moments in dungeons or activities like leveling up and crafting items or consumables. Continued and prolonged activities would generate Fatigue for a character, and unlike Stamina that could be replenished by consuming food in-game, players could only recover from being affected by Fatigue by logging off.
Of course, if nutrient packs were attached to a player’s gaming cabin, the rising of Fatigue levels could be slowed down.
Even if it was deemed unfair to certain players, one must understand the world was never fair, and only relative fairness could be imposed in the game.
“How many Fatigue points do you have now?”
“28.” replied Ye Ci after stealing a glance at her Fatigue level.
“That’s a rather high number.” Fleeting Time furrowed his eyebrows.
The maximum points of Fatigue that could be accumulated by players in Fate was set at 100 points. When a player had an accumulated 30 points of Fatigue, the player would have all their stats reduced by 5. A player afflicted by 50 points of Fatigue would face a penalty of -15 on all stats. When the accumulated Fatigue of a player was as high as 70 points, a penalty of -50 on all stats would be imposed on a player. By then, the player would have reduced movement speed and hit rate. The success rate of item crafting would also be drastically reduced. Players would usually log out of the game when their accumulated Fatigue points were at 30.
If a player managed to accumulate more than 70 Fatigue points, the player’s character would slowly die of exhaustion. This was the same problem that was encountered by Ye Ci during her fight with Werebeast Shaman Buru. Things would play out more differently if her Fatigue level was lower at the beginning of the fight.
“It’s alright. I’m fighting against spiders anyways. I’ve been the one who is dishing out all the AOE attacks, of course I’ll have a higher Fatigue level. When I’m done with the spiders, I’ll let Ol’ Four and the robots take over the fighting, and my Fatigue level will not be increasing too much by then.” Ye Ci knew that her high Fatigue level would affect the dungeon exploration process. With the duo now separated, things could go very bad if she was forced to take a break due to high levels of Fatigue.
“I guess this is the only way. There’s another turn ahead. It’s still a left turn this time, so you’ll be taking another right turn I presume? Let me scout on ahead first. I’ll tell you what I see.” knowing that he was of no help to Ye Ci, Fleeting Time decided to advance ahead and relay more information to her.
“Alright then.” Ye Ci took in a deep breath, knowing that gathering information about what was ahead was vital in helping her to conserve her dwindling strength.
Due to her Fatigue level, the recovering speed of Ye Ci’s stamina had become significantly slower. As she sat on the ground with her eyes closed, a system notification rang out, “This is not a safe place. Are you sure that you want to rest here?”
A quick glance on her Fatigue level told Ye Ci that she had no other choice. She actually reluctant to rest at this spot, but she knew that the fight ahead would be tough if she chose to press on without some rest. “I’m going to take a 5 minutes nap. Wake me up in the party channel in 5 minutes.” she sent a message to Fleeting Time.
“Alright. Go have some rest.”
Ye Ci then stationed Ol’ Four and the robots around her before selecting the option to rest. A character in Fate would not lose sleep or have its sleep disturbed. Any character could be put to sleep when a player selected the option to rest, and would wake up at a preselected time or when the character was woken up by another player.
The five minutes of rest passed quickly. Ye Ci felt as if she was immediately woken up after the lids of her eyes were closed. A quick glance at her Fatigue level indicated that her Fatigue was reduced by 2 points. I wonder how long can I rest after taking care of the monsters in this place?
Knowing that she did not have much time, Ye Ci made sure that none would gone to waste. She immediately began clearing away the mechanical spiders with the aid of Ol’ Four and the Elite Robots and continued her advance.
With her high Fatigue level, Ye Ci was forced to relinquishing the main damage dealing role to Ol’ Four and her machines while remaining at the back and fire off some occasional attacks. Most of her time was spent on looting her fallen enemies while her entourage of helper pressed onwards, earning her Prestige points in the process.
Despite her slower progress, it was a safer approach for Ye Ci. She was able to recruit new machines into her entourage of helpers, with larger more powerful machines and the mechanical spiders added to the ranks of party. With Ol’ Four taking the lead followed by the machines and Ye Ci taking up the rear, the small band advanced forward slowly, sweeping aside any resistance they met.
Ye Ci was able to advance down the dungeon slowly with Fleeting Time guiding her with information that he gained. Despite some little setbacks, Ye Ci was slowly catching up to Fleeting Time in terms of progress.
“There’s something weird up front. There seems to be a huge glass.” Fleeting Time was still scouting ahead. The enemies have already thinned out for unknown reasons, and the stone walls of the corridor was replaced with transparent glass.
Fleeting Time could tell that something was unusual with the glasses. Instead of advancing forward, he directed one of his captured robots to move forward. It was indeed strange to have the difficulty significantly toned down after all the challenges he was forced to face.
The robot rumbled on forward with unsteady steps, but encountered no traps that Fleeting Time was expecting. He laughed out loud moments later. So this is how it is. I knew it! There’s no way things will become less difficult for me!
As his robotic companion move forward, Fleeting Time could see countless reflections of the robot on the glasses. They were actually mirrors that formed a house of mirrors. This was also why there were lesser monsters in the area.
A player could not tell the precise location of a monster due to the mirrors that lined the entire corridor, and their judgement would be easily confused by a monster’s reflection.
This was a very clever design that could easily hamper the progress of players, but could be easily traversed by Hunters. With their pet’s strong sense of smell, a Hunter could easily locate and eliminate any monsters within the house of glass.
As Fleeting Time relayed the information to Ye Ci, he could see that her status was already in the red. This was a telltale sign that a player was at the brink of death, or was affected by a high Fatigue value. With Ye Ci’s health still in the green, it was obvious that her high Fatigue was the cause to such a phenomenon. Fleeting Time knew what would happen if the duo could not meet up in the near future.
“You should go offline if your Fatigue is higher than 70 and log back in 6 hours later.” said Fleeting Time as he stared at the shining red light on Ye Ci’s portrait.
“I can hold out longer.” Ye Ci was already making good progress into the house of mirrors, and was even progressing faster than Fleeting Time. From her perspective, it would be a waste to just go offline when she was already near the end of the corridor.
“Stop pushing yourself. If you die of exhaustion, the penalty will be very great. We don’t know what’s ahead of us, so you should log out of the game and take some rest.” Fleeting Time was worried.
Ye Ci knew the truth behind Fleeting Time’s words, but she was still reluctant to follow his instructions, “If I stay offline for too long, the dungeon might reset itself.”
“Don’t worry, I won’t be going offline. I’ll take a rest in the dungeon.” said Fleeting Time. He knew what Ye Ci was worrying about, “I have a feeling that we have a BOSS fight ahead of us. If you don’t take a rest, the BOSS fight will be very tough for the both of us.”
Ye Ci finally relented after listening to Fleeting Time’s words. She knew what the smart choice was, and went offline after bidding farewell to Fleeting Time. A smile appeared on Fleeting Time’s face when Gongzi You’s portrait went grey. He continued to push forward with the help of his captured machines and Ol’ Five, as if Ye Ci was still online in the game. He did not allow himself to relax even after Ye Ci had went offline.
Because of the nutrient pack that was connected to her gaming cabin, Ye Ci was not overly tired after logging off from the game. Despite that, she was determined to grab some precious rest during the six hours window. The sweet scent of the dishes left for Ye Ci by her parents hit her nostrils the moment she set foot into the kitchen. She turned to face the sudden rustling of keys just in time to see Tan Polang entering the house.
“Why are you back? What day is today?” Ye Ci had lost track of the time in real life after the days she spent in the game. When she cast a glance at the clock, she was shocked to see that it was Friday.
“It’s the weekends, Sister Ye Ci! The weekends! Do you mean to say that I have to stay in school at all times?” said Tan Polang with a smile.
“I said nothing of such! Don’t you dare put words into my mouth!” with Tan Polang home, Ye Ci decided to heat the food up, knowing that he would definitely have not eaten if he returned home at this hour.
“Is Brother Mo not back yet?” Tan Polang threw his bag onto the couch and headed into the kitchen to help Ye Ci with preparing the food.
Ye Ci shook her head, “Nope.” She had received no news from Bai Mo in real life for almost an entire week. Her location in the Western Continent meant that she could not keep tabs on Bai Mo in-game as well. Despite that, Ye Ci chose to believe in Bai Mo. She knew that there were things that Bai Mo wished to keep hidden even from her, and she respected his decision.
“Is he going on a date with girls?” chuckled Tan Polang set the dishes onto the table.
A smile appeared on Ye Ci’s face, “That’s what he should be doing. He’s a 24 years old man now. He should be going on dates, and eventually get married.”
“If that’s the case, I guess it’s going to be sister Ye Ci’s turn soon.”
“Me? I’m barely 20 years old! Don’t you think that it’s too early?” Ye Ci was a 30 years old woman in her past life, but her reincarnation meant that she was of a younger age at the moment.
The two sat by the table and began enjoying their meal after more small talks.
“Are you still in the Western Continent?” asked Tan Polang as he was showing food into his mouth. As a player who started his gaming life in the Western Continent, he had deep emotional attachments to the continent.
“Yup.” Ye Ci could feel a rising headache when the issue was raised. She was not able to locate De’frei after spending a few days in the Western Continent. How long do I have to spend in that dark underground place?
“So what are you doing in the Western Continent?”
“An Epic-tier quest.” Ye Ci was straightforward with Tan Polang.
Tan Polang was immediately filled with excitement, “An Epic-tier quest! Sister Ye Ci! You’re so awesome! How did you even get your hands on one? I haven’t even managed to get close in finding an Epic-tier quest!”
“Well, it depends on a lot of luck.” Ye Ci scratched at the back of a head and offered a halfhearted answer. There was no way she could tell Tan Polang that she was able to trigger the quest because of the fact that she was a reincarnator.
“Heh… Despite your bad track record with loots in dungeons, you’re quite lucky when it comes to quests.” Tan Polang was slightly jealous, “I’m willing to sacrifice some of my luck in dungeons as well if it means that I’ll be lucky with quests!” he was then reminded of the time he spent in the Western Continent. Fleeting Time shared the same lucky when it came to good missions, but even he had never managed to come across an Epic-tier quest. The Elite-tier and Master-tier quests that were completed by Fleeting Time, however, yielded bountiful rewards.
That guy and his stupidly good luck. mumbled Tan Polang under his breath.
Tan Polang’s mind was racing as he ate, and Ye Ci was not prepared at all for what transpired next, “Sister Ye Ci, is the Epic-tier quest hard?”
“An Epic-tier quest is full of uncertainties and dangers, but as long as you’re able to utilize your skillset and your knowledge of the game to the fullest, it won’t be too difficult.” Ye Ci answered the question truthfully. Then again, what appeared to be the truth to Ye Ci might not be able to applied on the rest of the player base as many of them lacked her skills and capabilities in handling sudden situations.
“Why do I have a feeling that I can’t trust your word on it…” Tan Polang pursed his lips. He might have chosen to believe Ye Ci’s words if he was told that the Epic-tier quest was hard, but when he received the answer from Ye Ci, he had a nudging feeling that Ye Ci was speaking the incomplete truth. He was reminded of the answer from a certain someone who had just completed an Elite-tier quest, “It’s easy! You can go try it out yourself!” and after 205 tries, Tan Polang gave up on the quest.
Tan Polang came to a harsh realization on that very moment. People like Ye Ci and Fleeting Time assessed the difficulty of a quest based on their own capabilities. Their assessment had to be taken with huge pinches of salt.
“What?” Ye Ci was not able to hear Tan Polang’s words clearly.
“Ah, I was saying that you might run into a lot of trouble even if the quest itself is not hard. You’re literally surrounded by hostile players who will definitely gang up on you.” said Tan Polang. If Gongzi You was spotted by a Western Continent player, she would definitely be hunted down by the players. After all, killing Gongzi You was seen as the greatest of honor, “Are you safe over there?”
“I’m exploring a dungeon right now, so I should be relatively safe.” Ye Ci was in constant danger the moment she arrived in the Western Continent. She had to travel either in disguise or in Stealth, and was forced to avoid enemies with high Perception like Clerics. It was not a fond memory for her.
“So you’re exploring an Epic-tier dungeon alone? You’re my idol!” Tan Polang was shocked when he heard Ye Ci’s words. She was already exploring a dungeon even he had a chance a chance to contact Fleeting Time about Gongzi You’s arrival in the Western Continent.
“Not really, a friend of mine is helping me out.” replied Ye Ci. The seemingly normal response sounded unusual to Tan Polang’s ears.
In the current stage of the game, players from the Eastern Continent and the Western Continent could not send out private message to each other, and were not able to add each other as friends, nor could they be placed in the same party. The only means of communication between players from these continents was through the Map Channel or the World Channel.
A friend in-game was usually someone that a player knew from real life, or someone who had always been in the same party with the player. There was no way two players from opposing continents would have such a chance. The only chance they might have was through battle. Tan Polang knew that Ye Ci was not good at making friends. She barely had any friends in the Eastern Continent, so how did she have a friend in the Western Continent?
There was only one person that came in mind: Fleeting Time.
Despite their frequent conflicts, Fleeting Time was the only Western Continent player that had interacted with Ye Ci. Of course, there might also be a possibility that Ye Ci was harboring some secrets. Tan Polang narrowed his eyes, “Oh? You have a friend in the Western Continent?”
Tan Polang placed emphasis on the word “friend” as he spoke as an expression of his shock and disbelief.
Ye Ci was aware of the meaning behind his words. She rolled her eyes at him and replied, “Why not? Is that wrong?”
“Who might that be?”
I just want to know some gossip materials. was written all over Tan Polang’s face. Ye Ci was baffled by Tan Polang’s action. It felt as if he was more interested in trying to pry information from her mouth than knowing about her Epic-tier quest.
“What’s with all the questions?” Ye Ci decided to end the conversation right there and then before she was tricked into disclosing more information, “Hurry and eat. Have you finished your homework?”
“Don’t change the topic like that, sister Ye Ci. It’s arouses suspicions, you know?” Tan Polang’s eyes narrowed and a smile formed on his face, “A friend in the Western Continent… Could it be Mr.Fleeting Time who shares a love-hate relationship with you?”
Ye Ci spurted the content of her mouth onto Tan Polang’s face when she heard his words. Ye Ci stared at Tan Polang’s darkened expression and calmly sipped on some water, as if she did not cause the tragedy that fell on her brother. She cast a killer glance on Tan Polang, “Yes, it is Fleeting Time. But what do you mean about a ‘love-hate relationship’? Where did you hear about something like that?”
Tan Polang’s heart was filled with grief as he cleaned his face. He was regretting his decision of not waiting for Bai Mo’s return before asking such a question. Why did he not control himself? The female jinx was staring at him with a very scary look. This is nothing. I can endure it. Oh, Fleeting Time, why don’t you tell me that you’re already with her? My sacrifice was in vain!
“I remember that I have some homework that I have to take care off. I’ll eat up and get them done immediately.” Tan Polang could not hold back the torrent of grief in his heart. He began shoving food into his mouth after cleaning his face. It’s not easy to be a paparazzi… How Tan Polang wished that he could return to the Western Continent. Dealing with a sly fox like Fleeting Time was way easier than dealing with a female jinx that could take away his life in any moment.
Ye Ci was satisfied with Tan Polang’s behavior. She stood up and headed to the bathroom. Her body stank after days of not having a shower.
A sudden thought flashed across Ye Ci’s mind right before she stepped into the bathroom. She turned around and spoke to Tan Polang who was still silently eating by the dining table, “Polang, will you be going online after you’re done with your homework?”
“Of course,” Tan Polang turned to face Ye Ci, “What is it?”
“Before you go questing, I want you head to the Lesser Demon Sanctuary.” as a Rogue, Tan Polang could make his way to a lvl60 map in relative safety in contrast to players of other classes.
“Why are you asking me to go there?” Tan Polang was baffled, “It’s a lvl60 map! What if I die there?”
“I want you to head to this location,” said Ye Ci as she gave Tan Polang a set of coordinates, “I want you to check on the Black Iron Dwarves’ progress in exploring the ore vein. Let me know when you’re done. If I’m in the game, just knock on my gaming cabin.” and she headed into the bathroom.
“Aiya! What are the Black Iron Dwarves looking for over there?” Tan Polang could tell from the serious expression on Ye Ci’s face that it was no tiny matter.
Ye Ci turned around and stared at Tan Polang. She then said in a very calm voice, “Mithril.”
Tan Polang was shocked. Mithril! He was not an ignorant normal player. He was part of the elites of Genesis during his time in the Western Continent. He had heard about the Mithril and knew that the ores had a very low drop rate. A Mithril ore vein, however, was something that managed to catch him off guard.
“Are you for real?” Tan Polang’s surprised to the max.
“Well, why don’t you check it out yourself?” said Ye Ci with a laugh as she slammed the bathroom door shut.
Oh my God! Mithril! It’s Mithril!
Absalom stared at the Black Iron Dwarf name Rose who was having a conversation with Silent Hymn. He was extremely tired. His five-man party had spent three days to gain any sort of information about a Mithril ore mine from the Black Iron Dwarves. Their efforts, however, yielded no results.
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