10. Three-Man Team
CopperPlateKing said “help” but what it actually meant was Bai XiaoYu didn’t have to hide in the narrow corridor and aggravate the mobs one by one. Instead he can just stand in the middle of that vast expanse. First, choose a zombie he liked and fling any healing spell at it. The aggro-ed zombie will then die under CopperPlateKing’s spear or NonMetaAssassin’s katar. With one in front and one behind, Bai XiaoYu was clamped in the middle and so well protected that not a drop of water could get past their guards.
Zombies who attacked them solely because they smelled the scent of humans were even more unfortunate. Before XiaoYu could even comprehend what they looked like, they’d be swooshed away by the two.
The three formed a party. While experience would not be split equally if the party members of the quest-taker was 10 levels or more higher than the quest-taker, higher levelled players can still participate in kill missions accepted by low level party members. (That is to say a LV 15 kill mission Bai XiaoYu accepted at LV 11 can be shared to a LV 80 player, but if the LV 80 player accepted a mission at LV 21 or higher, the mission couldn’t be shared to XiaoYu.)
Anyway, killing these low level monsters was like eating entrees to CopperPlateKing and NonMetaAssassin. Such a low level mission wouldn’t waste much time either.
It’s a massacre! XiaoYu thought.
“Meow, meow, meow~” The tiny cat was so happy it could dance! It’s hands (paws) were limp from lunging for money. As the pick-up settings of their party was set to shared, any party member could pick up the dropped items.
Staring as the little cat bravely dived into the different zombie corpses and joyfully collected coins and equipment, CopperPlateKing’s jaw dropped in shock at first. Finally as his face muscles began cramping, he decided to ignore it all. Even NonMetaAssassin’s mouth twitched, though the slaughter of zombies never stopped once.
Not 15 minutes later, the 100 zombies mission was easily completed. As XiaoYu had already taken down about half of the target, he’d heard the mission complete notification ping early on right after the massacre started. He spent the rest of the time paying attention to each member’s buffs and keeping them up. If he had time to spare, he’ll fling some healing spells to leech some experience. (In AO, experience and drops are split according to each player’s total damage to a monster. The more damage dealt, the more experience gained. Even if it’s just a drop of damage dealt, the player would gain some experience. The party with the most damage dealt would have 5 minutes to pick up items dropped before others could pick them up.)
The three soon found a safe passage that could be considered spacious, and sat down for food and rest.
“Ha ha, your pet cat is really cut,” said CopperPlateKing as he munched on a piece of chicken drumstick and examined the little cat. It was so delirious with joy from collecting such a huge amount of money that it span round and round.
“Levelling?” NonMetaAssassin too spat out a few rare words.
“?” XiaoYu didn’t quite understand what the other meant by that.
“What he meant was, your pet can level up? I think I saw the glow of a level up coming from the little cat as we were killing monsters.” CopperPlateKing filled in as a translator.
“Aren’t collection-type pets unable to level up?” CopperPlateKing, the curious baby, voiced out the two’s doubts.
“I don’t know what type it is.”
“The tiny cat has attack skills but it can only attack monsters smaller than itself.” XiaoYu didn’t want to conceal anything from the two because, from their interactions just now, he felt that the two weren’t evil at all and were quite caring towards a fragile little Acolyte like him.
“Hm, could it be a rare multi-functional pet? But there really aren’t a lot of monsters smaller than it. It’s probably still considered a collection-type. Um…a mutated collection-type pet,” CopperPlateKing concluded with his chin in his hand.
“Meow!” As if it wasn’t happy with the CopperPlateKing’s conclusion, the tiny cat objected with a wave of its paw.
“Eh? It understands me too? What a sophisticated A.I.”
“Can’t the other pets understand human speech too?”
“Of course not! How can there be so many pets with such great A.I., especially non-human pets.”
“Oh…” So it was his own comprehension that was in the wrong. He’d thought all pets were like the tiny cat. Looks like it’s very special. No wonder the game made it account-bound.
“Next…” NonMetaAssassin interjected.
“Oh, he’s asking what should we do next. Lucky, you got anything to do?”
“Hm…The two of us still need to head back to that disgusting boss. Why don’t you come with us? Have a look and you can even leech some experience.”
“My level’s low…”
“It’s fine. With me tanking, we can even crawl around.” Other than the boss, the rest of the monsters could definitely be dealt with in one or two hits.
“Stop being so frank, you bastard! Um…The monsters and boss in that level can actually poison players. While it’d be automatically cleared in 2 minutes and your health won’t drop faster than a potion could replenish, you also know about this game’s realism. It’s very painful once you’re poisoned. So take it as an invite to help us. I will absolutely ensure you are safe at all times!” CopperPlateKing raised his right hand and swore.
“Okay, but my Poison Removal’s proficiency is very low.” The monsters here range from levels 15 to 50. XiaoYu will probably be spending a lot of time here while grinding for levels. Having two high level players acting as bodyguards as he scoped out the environment would be for the best.
“It’s fine. Fine. Um…The bastard’s very straightforward with his words. Don’t mind him.”
“It’s okay. Mr NonMeta is actually quite a good friend.” While he’s rather cold, doesn’t like talking and was even a little fierce at the start, XiaoYu’s impression of NonMetaAssassin was still a good one. These two fill in each other’s gaps and were rather interesting. They should be worth befriending.
“Ugh…>///<” It was only then that XiaoYu realised what he said.
Having just gotten used to using the initial words of their game ID as names for CopperPlateKing and himself, he thought that he should be calling NonMetaAssassin in that way too. But he didn’t think it’d create a separate meaning. The characters used in “NonMeta” were the same as that infamous epidemic that happened a hundred years ago, SARS. His dignity’s gone. Flown away forever.
“Haha! This nickname is nice. Lucky, you thought his name was too long as well, right? Not bad. Not bad, I’ll call him that from now on too,” settled CopperPlateKing.
“…” NonMetaAssassin didn’t voice out any objections. Perhaps he felt it was much better than CopperPlateKing’s previous overuse of bastard.
“Rest complete! Off we go to the boss’s nest!”
As CopperPlateKing had promised, he walked in front of the party to open up a path. On the lowest level, he even equipped a single-handed spear and a large steel shield instead of his double-handed Dirk Spear. The shield blocked every single drop of acid the high level zombies spat out.
XiaoYu followed a few steps behind. Once he discovered CopperPlateKing had been poisoned, he’d immediately throw out a Poison Removal. However, his proficiency was so low that it’d only succeed once out of 7 or 8 times. Poison Removal’s cooldown time was just 1 second so even though XiaoYu reacted fast, CopperPlateKing would still receive poison damage for 5 seconds or so.
“Sorry. My proficiency’s too low.” Even if XiaoYu had never been poisoned before, he could imagine how bad it felt by looking at CopperPlateKing’s furrowed brows and slightly stuttering steps.
“It’s nothing.” Although he said that, CopperPlateKing’s chest felt like it was on fire and there seemed to be thousands of ants crawling all over his body. The taste of being poisoned is really hard to swallow.
Actually, the one who was previously poisoned the most was NonMetaAssassin. That’s because the Assassin class has some resistance to poison. So for the past two days, it’d been NonMetaAssassin who was dealing with the small mobs on the way. Still, his build was a katar build and not a venom splasher. With such a short range, it’s hard for him to avoid the acid that’d fly everywhere, even if he was cloaked.
The three made their way smoothly forward. The crowd of zombies began to thin out until there were none left. The vast room around them felt deserted.
“Careful.” NonMetaAssassin had snuck to XiaoYu’s side and piped up a warning.
“Lucky, be careful. Stand 20 steps away from me. That Zombie King has an AoE (Area of Effect) acid spitting skill. The cooldown time is 5 minutes. If you’re not sure on the timing, just stay as far back as possible. Take care not to go too far as you might attract the zombies behind us.” CopperPlateKing put away his joking attitude and changed back to the more powerful double-handed spear – Dirk Spear.
“Raaargh~” A spine-chilling roar sounded out from far off in the distance. A gigantic black shadow could be seen slowly moving towards the three.
The distant muffled sounds of shuffling footsteps became clearer and soon the true appearance of that black shadow was revealed: the tall Zombie King guarded by 20 or so zombie guards.
The Zombie King had a huge body. It was more than double the size of its guards which were as tall as an average human being. Its clothes were in an ancient grand style and the shine of its lavish fabric could still be seen. Most of its rotting flesh had been covered up by these shimmering clothes.
It’s a pity that the only thing adorning its head was a crown embedded with a large blue gemstone. All the disgusting aspects that could be found in a zombie were all present on that ugly face. That face could definitely be used in the most scary horror movie of the year without needing to be tweaked.
With a sweep of his spear, a quarter of most of the guards’ health disappeared. Hence, all the zombies focused on CopperPlateKing.
NonMetaAssassin took this chance to exterminate all but one of the guards, to prevent the Zombie King from summoning another batch.
Meanwhile, CopperPlateKing had already started battling with the Zombie King. The powerful dual-handed spear raked out a large wound on the boss’s large body. Pus and rotten flesh began flying everywhere.
“Raaaargh~!” The Zombie King screeched at the sky and a big glop of acid was spat out from its gaping mouth. The other two were poisoned and their skin turned green. Their health began dropping by 100 every second.
This was probably the Zombie King’s AoE attack, XiaoYu thought. After a glance at the game’s clock to start his internal countdown, he swiftly stepped forward until the other two were in range. A series of healing, hastening and attack increase buffs were thrown at the two. Then, he began flinging Poison Removal at them without pausing.
The game’s skill failure notifications rang out endlessly. XiaoYu didn’t think the boss’s poison would be that difficult to remove. He’d already casted over a dozen of Poison Removal yet none of them worked. In spite of this, he never gave up. As soon as the cooldown finished, he’d fling out another in hopes of ending CopperPlate’s and NonMeta’s suffering earlier.
“Ding. Poison Removal successful. Skill Proficiency +1.”
The two were 30 levels higher than the Zombie King so they didn’t find it difficult going against it. Even if there were no healers, if they drank the larger potions in time, the one to die first would absolutely be the unlucky boss due to NonMeta’s high damage and CopperPlate’s high defense and health.
Even so, the two would be very tired. The boss was meant for parties to grind away at. That’s why previously, they’d never want to move at all before the next boss appeared. They’d find a spot with few mobs to rest.
Bai XiaoYu repeatedly retreat, move forward to maintain buffs and remove poison, then retreat, and forward again…Finally, the boss let out a earthshaking and sorrowful roar and fell to the ground, bursting into a pile of items.
“Aaah! Heart! NonMeta, get it quick!” yelled CopperPlateKing in excitement. He’d spotted that beating and faintly shimmering heart among the pile of items immediately. He didn’t think they’d be lucky this time.
“…?”Just as NonMetaAssassin was about to bend over, he felt something strange. He tilted his head, and saw a tiny shadow flash by his side and leaped straight into the pile of items.
=O=! The sudden movement startled the three. Before they could react, the items were all gone. All that was left was a very satisfied little cat lazily lounging on the floor and happily smiling up at them.
“Aaaah! My heart!” CopperPlateKing went mad.
“Idiot.” NonMetaAssassin turned a blind eye to his idiocy and turned to look at XiaoYu.
“Here. Sorry, I didn’t control the tiny one in time.” XiaoYu opened up the Pet Inventory and gave the heart over to NonMetaAssassin.
“Eeh? It’s not bound?”
“I didn’t accept the quest.” Only quest items would be bound. To the quest-less Bai XiaoYu, the heart was just another ordinary item.
“Oh, so that’s why.” With his right fist smacking into his left palm, CopperPlateKing expressed a display of sudden realisation.
“Back to city,” said NonMeta. Since the quest item’s collected, there’s no need to continue camping at the boss with its foul stench.
Cloaked: A state where the player is invisible and unable to be damage or healed by others, but they can still move.