46. Team Training
“Ahem.” One of the laws of stories: a perfect moment will always be interrupted.
However, it wasn’t I_Am_A_Poor_Man this time. He was busy sighing over the innocent little white rabbit that’s about to be gobbled up by the evil big black wolf.
HereticKing let go of XiaoYu and unhappily looked over to where the sound came from. The sight made his mood worse. Well, if it wasn’t GloryOfTheWorld who’d been poking at him before? And his forever follower, LittleZhuGe.
“Is there something you need?”
“I’m here to say hi. We won’t come for Prole-3 next time.”
“Hehe. Are you afraid we’ll go for Serica next time?” I_Am_A_Poor_Man replied for HereticKing. He knew Chief wasn’t in the mood for it then.
“Well, Mr Glory, what did you learn from your grand tour to Prole-3?”
“It’s easy to defend but hard to attack. If the Heretic Demons conquered it, we’ll have no chance at it. But since Prole-3 is so important to you guys, we won’t come barging in.”
“The great Glory giving up so easily? We are so honoured.”
“Serica is the Wings’ main battlefield. We only went to look at all the number 3 fortresses. It wasn’t a wasted trip. We were able to go toe-to-toe with the great Heretic chief himself. However, it still doesn’t feel enough. Why don’t we go for a spar at the PvP Arena someday?”
“Sure.” This time, HereticKing replied. He’d welcome anyone who wished to be beaten up. His poison wasn’t on his weapon that time. He could tell that GloryOfTheWorld also held himself back. He was somewhat looking forward to the match.
“Hey, LuckyCat. I didn’t realise you succeeded your job change. Congratulations,” LittleZhuGe greeted XiaoYu.
“Thanks,” XiaoYu politely responded with the tiny cat in his arms. The moment HereticKing released XiaoYu, the small cat had taken advantage of the situation to cling onto the XiaoYu’s pants and ask for hugs. Just as it thought, its owner’s hugs are the best.
“Congratulations, LuckyCat. Pardon us.” GloryOfTheWorld left with a wave, along with LittleZhuGe.
“You know them?”
“Mn. I bumped into them the time I was going to become a Chef.” XiaoYu retold a brief summary of eating at the same table at the restaurant.
“It’s getting late. Sleep early,” HereticKing said.
“Mn. Goodnight.” XiaoYu walked off yawning in search of the Portal back to the capital. Which free hotel should he sleep in tonight?
When XiaoYu was some distance away, I_Am_A_Poor_Man let out a cold chuckle. “Would they ever be that desperate as to sit with another party? Looks like the Wings are eyeing up Xiao-Yu, Chief.”
“Tell Egg_Tart to keep an eye on it.” The higher-ups of the major guilds rarely interact and what the other people said about the Wings’ higher ranks differ so much. HereticKing wasn’t completely sure why Glory and ZhuGe struck up a competition with XiaoYu. If it’s for a good motive, then that’s great. If there’s a chance XiaoYu could be hurt, he won’t just stand by and watch.
Under the bright and dazzling midday sun of Sunday, Hei QiYao and Lin Qiong was on the land of another country. Meanwhile, XiaoYu was looking for the party he’d be training with under the directions of Egg_Tart.
“This is the new guy, LuckyCat. Take good care of him.”
“Just let his pet collect the loot.”
“Oh.” The unspoken rule in Heretic Demons’ parties had always been letting the healer pick up most of the loot. The others would use this time to continue grinding. Another mob killed was more experience gained. A pet picking up the drops would be even better. The healer could focus on their health and buffs at all times.
“LuckyCat, once group training sessions are over, you can just hand everything to the party leader, Desireless. He’ll split them,” Egg_Tart directed to XiaoYu.
“Okay. I look forward to training with you,” XiaoYu said.
This was a very normal grinding party. The only difference between them and XiaoYu’s former party was his party consisted of players within the same 10 levels of each other. Every job was basically there. If they worked together, they’d have no trouble clearing up all monsters below Level 65.
For the whole afternoon, XiaoYu followed them around in the Maze Forest. As the name stated, the moment one entered this forest, there was no way for them to differentiate north from south, east or west. The mini-map was shrouded in fog. The game had been out for a long time, yet no a single player could confidently say they could walk out of this forest. The way out was either to tear up a Return Scroll, through a Portal or through death.
Honestly, the Maze Forest was very much like a large-scale dungeon. Parties of different levels would encounter different monsters. The mobs would never be over 10 levels higher than the highest party member, they would also never be over 10 levels lower than the weakest party member. For example, XiaoYu’s party. The monsters they encountered in the Maze Forest ranged from Level 41 (XiaoYu was now Level 51) to Level 70 (Desireless was Level 60).
While it seemed like a great grinding zone, not a lot of parties truly went there to train. That’s because even though the mobs were within a safe level range, that didn’t mean the game won’t spawn a frightening number of mobs at them. If the party didn’t have all the basic jobs, good equipment and coordination, the moment they flashed into a group of mobs so packed together they seemed like a dense, buzzing flock of locusts, their only choice was to wait for death.
However, as one of the training grounds of Heretic Demons, everyone other than XiaoYu had been here before. As long as their Sir Healer didn’t fool around, the chances of getting wiped were extremely low. Fortunately, XiaoYu was very patient. He wouldn’t zone out just because of the dry, repetitive motion of buffing his teammates. He kept a close eye on every member’s buff timer the whole time. He even listened to the party leader’s orders and suggestions.
A serious child would always be easily accepted by everyone. No one wished to work with a layabout. Therefore, while the other party members might’ve been rather distant at the start, they were now acting like his best buddies. They’d even chat while looking for more mobs.
“Lucky, where did you catch your kitten?” When the monsters crowd around, the ground would be covered in random items when they die. If they were to pick all of that up, bending over every time would be so very troublesome. If they didn’t, there might be a chance they’ll miss something rare. Pets that pick up loot were common, but their speed would sometimes be so much slower than the player picking the drops up themselves. For example, the slime pet. Just watching it slowly inch and slop around like a ball of playdough towards items on the ground…It really made one’s skin itch.
In comparison, look at how the tiny cat moved. In the beginning, everyone in the party was worried they might accidentally hit it. After observing it a few times, they realised its speed was godlike. It’s likely not even the big Guild Leader himself had such high agility. So, everyone just let this ball of black shadow dance around them without worry. With their time freed from picking up loot, their efficiency skyrocketed.
“It’s a gift from a chest,” XiaoYu said.
“You’re so lucky. No wonder you’re called LuckyCat. Beckon some luck for us.”
“Okay. I’ll try.” Every time XiaoYu encountered a question about the small cat, he would always be worried. But when he saw that everyone was just asking and didn’t really care, he couldn’t help but berate himself for being slightly too petty.
Suddenly, the ground shook as if something gigantic was walking somewhere close.
“A boss.” An archer’s sharp vision is a necessity in the thick woods. “It’s a black bear. FaHai’s Monster Records.”
“Ding. Big Black Bear (Boss), Lv 55, HP: 82745, EXP: ???”
“Its health isn’t high. It probably has a HP recovery skill. Be careful. Lucky, fire buff.” Desireless quickly arranged the battle formation and also reminded XiaoYu for additional buffs.
Elemental buffs were a skill healers obtained when becoming a Priest. They could add some magic elemental damage to other player’s attacks for a short amount of time. If the monster just happened to be weak to that element, the damage would be increased. Of course, if it was the wrong element, there would be a damage penalty. However, XiaoYu wasn’t that proficient at that skill yet. So, the additional damage wasn’t that obvious. However, any additional damage was better than nothing. One cannot let down their guard when going against a boss monster.
In the Maze Forest where roads twist and turn and merge, no one knew just where and when the boss would spawn. Hence, a boss encounter required plenty of luck. At the sight of his happy teammates, XiaoYu began to get excited. His voice quivered as he chanted his buffs. This can be considered his first time challenging a boss in its range with everyone else in his party. He must calm down. He can’t make a mistake.
Fire elemental buff. AoE heal (for 60 seconds, 1% HP is recovered every 5 seconds); ah, got to cast Slow (reduces its movement speed) and Leaden (reduces its attack speed) on the bear; have to check on the Blessing for close-combat members (additional physical damage), keep an eye on the archer’s Saint’s Seal (increase critical rate)…While the others were gathered up, clashing and bashing against the Big Black Bear and its minion bears, XiaoYu was kept busy at the back throwing out all sorts of support spells he could think of. Obsecro’s chant took too long. He couldn’t just use it willy-nilly. There was only one Bible left anyway. He couldn’t use it. He hadn’t used Incremento before. Let’s try it out.
Without anyone paying heed to XiaoYu, he cast one of his special skills. XiaoYu’s stats weren’t high in the first place, so a mere 5% didn’t feel that obvious.
Just as Desireless predicted, the Big Black Bear had a self-healing skill – drinking honey. Afterwards, it seemed to have raised its Attack.
“Shoot his honey pot.” Lord only knew how much honey the bear had on it. If it kept downing honey, this would never end.
“The leader is the leader,” said the archer, Robin, as realisation dawned on him. He changed his aim to the tiny pot in the bear’s claws.
In a blink, the Big Black Bear was robbed of its replenishment. The small bears standing guard by his side were nearly gone. It was furious! It bellowed and waved its huge paws high in the air. It wanted to swipe away these annoying flies right now.
“Lucky, keep healing us up. All of you, be ready to down a potion at any moment.” They only had one healer with them – XiaoYu. He’s also the one with the lowest level in the party. Desireless didn’t know if he could place all his hopes for keeping the party’s health up on XiaoYu.
As if to prove Desireless’s words correct, the bear slammed its paws down on the ground. With a rumble, the fragile earth let out a moaning shriek and violently trembled. Near or far, every player’s health was dropped by at least a third. Those who stood closest to the bear were down to half-health immediately.
Thank goodness for Desireless’s reminder beforehand. After the shockwaves, the party quickly chugged on their health potions. XiaoYu didn’t have time to heal himself. He threw spell after spell at his teammates the moment they went off cooldown. In what little time he could spare, he’d take a swig of his potions.
Single-targe healing spells, an AoE healing spell that slowly healed everyone plus potions meant the health shaken away by the bear was quickly filled up once more. This enraged and depressed the boss even further. These weren’t flies. They’re a freaking bunch of cockroaches!
Thus, the little cockroaches exhibited their excellence at being immortal to the max. The Big Black Bear was slowly, unwillingly, tormented to death and into a mountain of loot.
By the time the party killed off the bear, it was already past 5 pm. Desireless made the decision to end their training there and returned back to the city.
The party sat down by an isolated little corner and XiaoYu poured everything from the tiny cat’s pockets before Desireless to be split up.
“We’re quite lucky today. We actually bumped into the boss.” As everyone watched their leader separate the mountain of junk as he always did, they chatted.
“Some of the mobs before that dropped gear too. Did the game suddenly found its kindness today or what?”
“It can’t be because we have a lucky cat? Let’s train together next time, Lucky.”
“Okay.” It looked like XiaoYu really had the ability to beckon luck for his party. At the thought of him, the lowest levelled player of the group, being able to contribute something, XiaoYu gleefully smiled. His cute little canine tooth glinting.
“We’re finally free of the awkwardness that is no healer.”
“?” XiaoYu didn’t really get what they were sighing in relief about.
“We were all busy with work before. Although we were in the guild way before the limit of Second Job Change, we could only watch as the kids who came after us speed past. Especially the healers who were near our levels. They always had someone to carry them. Soon, we weren’t able to grind in the same party. So, our grinding sessions would include a healer one day, then none on the next, and so on.”
“Yes. We opened up a company with Desireless here. The company’s not big, but it’s slowly getting there.” This was why they didn’t have time to log on and train before. It was a surprise Egg_Tart didn’t kick them out. But upon consideration, they didn’t go against any of Heretic Demons’ rules. They just didn’t log on frequently due to work. If they were kicked out, that would be indicate a problem.
“We can at least guarantee attendance to the weekly group training sessions now, and we can take turns working and logging on to grind. Finally, we don’t need to live in the topsy-turvy days from before. How wonderful.” Robin stretched himself out and sprawled out on the ground, happy as can be.
“Oh dear. Thank you for your hard work.” The sentence drifted over from Desireless who was still sorting.
“Ah, no. No, you’re the one who worked hardest.” Robin hurriedly sat up, the image of a good student waiting to be taught.
Before long, Desireless was done and handed a neat pile over to each member. No one cared who had what and no one argued. They just dumped the items into their Inventory.
“You had decent technique. You were also very logical in your skill usage. But the next time you’re hurt, remember to heal yourself first,” Desireless said to XiaoYu. During the boss fight, he’d noticed XiaoYu’s health being the last to be filled up the entire time.
“Yes. What will we do if you’re hurt, Lucky?”
“I know. I’m sorry. My AoE heal is still too weak.” XiaoYu never used it before because he was mostly alone.
“Silly boy, that can be slowly trained up. We all have potions.”
“Our buffs never ran out the entire day. You did your best.”
As the crowd chattered on, XiaoYu suddenly felt that it was a good choice to join the Heretic Demons. From the main guild, Yao, Big Brother Poor and Below_The_Moon; from the subsidiary guild, the leader Egg_Tart, guildies who discussed lucky charms with him and the teammates who grinded with him – they were all so nice to him.
- White Rabbit vs Black Wolf: Yes. It’s a pun/play on their surnames. It might just be because “big bad wolf” just translates to “big grey wolf” in Chinese. Since black > grey, the author might’ve gone for the more logical (Chinese-wise).
- Desireless: The proper translation is an idiom for “fulfilled, no wants or desires”.
- Slime pet: Technically, jelly pet. Aka Poring (and its numerous recolours) from Ragnarok Online.
- FaHai’s Monster Records: The sorcerer from Madame White Snake, inspired by a real-life monk from the Tang dynasty who’s born to a scholarly/aristocratic family.
- Elemental buff: Also known as the alternate version of Bendedicto Sanctissimi Sacramenti, a buff only for players standing near the caster.
- AoE heal: Likely referring to Sanctuary which healed all in an area, monsters and players alike.
- Blessing: Blessing. It’s sort of a copy-paste from RO. The RO version increases STR, DEX and INT. This version merely adds damage to each attack. For those who know Tree of Savior, just like the Blessing from that game instead of the RO version.
- Saint’s Seal: Aka just the DEX portion of Blessing from RO. As critical rates were determined by DEX along with hit rate etc, there wasn’t a spell from the healer’s section that just raised the critical rate.
- Commas and semi-colons in the spell dump: Punctuation from original text kept as it might help show just what XiaoYu was thinking in sequence and what might’ve been going through his mind minutes after the last “sequence”.
- Cockroaches: The Chinese slang/common word for cockroach is the most apt name you’d ever find – “Little Strong (One)”.