57. Grinding at the Derelict Ruins
Perhaps XiaoYu was frightened into a daze by HereticKing’s last sentence. All the way until they met up with the rest of the team, XiaoYu remained in a dazed out, lost-spirit state.
“Chief…what did you do to Xiao-Yu?” I_Am_A_Poor_Man asked.
“Nothing much…” Just a tiny scare. HereticKing must say, his brother’s strange way of scaring people is quite effective. It’d be hard to forget it. “XiaoYu, come back to us.”
“Ugh…hm?” XiaoYu didn’t know how to react to the sudden party of people before his eyes.
“Party up. Then, you can all introduce yourselves,” I_Am_A_Poor_Man said as he patted another healer.
“Sunshine_Illumination.” He started the party this time. A male healer.
“Silver-Winged_Angel.” Female archer.
“Eremes.” Dual-wielding assassin.
“Kathryne.” Fire wizard.
“Terminator.” Tank knight.
“Hi. I’m LuckyCat.” – “Meow~” – “Ah, this is my pet, TinyLuckyCat.”
“Hehe. We met before. Thanks for your buffs last Guild Wars.”
“Ah, no problem.” XiaoYu really didn’t recognise them. His attention was all on his chanting back then.
“Take this, Xiao-Yu. Use it once we’re through the gates,” said I_Am_A_Poor_Man as he handed the XP Penalty Waiver to XiaoYu.
They were now right outside the huge ruins. Marked with cracks and black scorch marks, its walls stretched on infinitely. If one listened carefully, they could faintly hear the sobs and cries of the dead souls coming from within. The world within this ruined city must be very interesting.
The two high-levelled healers refreshed the buffs on the party and the mighty nine-player party was ready to set out.
The giant city gates were slowly pushed open. A slight waft of rotting flesh scent drifted out. XiaoYu shredded the XP Penalty Wait and a buff with a five-hour timer started.
There were all kinds of spirits in the city. Some looked straight-up gruesome. Some had their heads covered up with only the three holes on their faces exposed. Some had a triangular headband on with their long tongues hanging out…Most of them shared a very special characteristic – they hovered over the ground. Thus, they were either higher than the players by half. But these monsters would lean down to bite and attack once they notice a player or get attacked. Therefore, there was no worry that players can’t hit them.
The city was very big, so big that one would barely ever see any other players in there. The nine fell into a circle formation with XiaoYu enclosed within. Slowly, they advanced.
All the bored XiaoYu had to do was pay attention to everyone’s health. If anyone’s health started dropping, he’ll just fill it back up. Poor_Man told him not to use his heals to attack those ghosts. While it won’t do much damage, magic attacks attracted more aggro than physical attacks. If he accidentally died, the Waiver would be wasted.
But compared to the professional healers, XiaoYu was always a beat slower to heal his party members. Thus, his skill would only reach the injured once Sunshine or Poor_Man had healed the other back up to full. He’d then waste his MP and his skill’s Proficiency won’t increase. (Proficiency would only increase if a skill succeeded. Using a heal on a full-health player wouldn’t increase anything.)
However, XiaoYu soon realised his skill was slowly gaining more Proficiency. Sunshine and Poor_Man had noticed XiaoYu’s fruitless attempts. After sneaking a few laughs, they decided to not fight with him over it. They instead used their heals to bash up the souls attracted by the scent of living human beings. Once XiaoYu was overwhelmed by the amount of heals needed, then they’ll help.
The party was silent the whole way through. Everyone was busy slash and bashing at the souls around them with all their skills. Still, it’d be boring if that was what happened the entire time. Thus, twenty minutes later when they got used to the formation and battle speed, they began chatting while they grinded.
“Has anyone seen the boss of this place before?” Terminator asked as he was munched on by three dead spirits.
“I’ve seen a minor boss before. It’s the soul of a rich businessman.” Those were the monsters created from the souls of a few businessmen who died during the peak of the city’s glory. Their fixed focus on wealth led them to bring along a large number of their men to continue guarding their treasures. Therefore, if a player could defeat them, the amount of gold dropped would definitely be higher than any other boss monsters of the same level.
“I saw a minor boss who was a military squad leader when he was alive.”
“There are so many types of boss monsters here?”
“I hear the final boss of the city is the soul of the city lord. That’s a Level 130 maniac. We definitely can’t touch him.”
“Usually, the more one wished to not meet something, the more likely they will.”
“Phooey! Don’t jinx it.”
“I’m hoping we find a rich businessman. They’re so juicy. Yesterday, I read a post that said a party found 100 crystals from it.”
“Come throw your money down at me. I’ve been panicking over how poor I’ve gotten enhancing a sword lately.”
As XiaoYu watched everyone talk and laugh, while not slowing down their attacks at all, XiaoYu couldn’t help but admire how well they could all multitask. He couldn’t join in their conversation, so he merely listened and absorbed the knowledge sprinkled within.
“Yes! We found a knight’s longsword,” Terminator gasped as he finished off a ghost wearing the military outfit. With a bam, a longsword fell on the ground. Before anyone had time to look at it, the sword had already been absorbed into a ball of black shadow.
“I…I was going to ask. What mystical beast is that?” Terminator was about to point at the tiny cat, but it had already leapt to another spot to collect more treasures.
“This is the great lucky cat. Remember to pray,” Poor_Man explained.
“Lucky cats aren’t…that breed…” Terminator who was busy stabbing at another soul couldn’t think up of an appropriate description for the traditional lucky cat just then.
“Stop thinking, tankie. The lucky cats in this game are all like that,” Below_The_Moon added. He couldn’t believe it back then either. (Terminator = Tank knight = Tankie)
“That’s so unbelievable. Isn’t it afraid of Kathryne’s flames?” Terminator spared a glance at the small cat. It actually ran over to Kathryne’s side of the formation to pick up the dropped loot. Surrounding here were a myriad of blazing embers. A single misstep and its fur would be burned to ashes.
“It’s even more agile that I am,” HereticKing solemnly commented.
The whole party went silent.
Alien – is what everyone concluded of the small cat.
“Ah. A silver crossbow again.” A shimmering bow fell from the clothes of a covered-up soul Silver-Winged_Angel shot down. It ended up getting swallowed by the kitten too.
“We’re astonishingly lucky today,” Eremes sighed. Generally, two pieces of equipment would be considered as a good harvest for an afternoon’s worth of grinding. Today, they’d gotten two in a row after only an hour. From the glow he glimpsed, the bow had special stats too. It’s not some common store-bought item. But just how bad were its stats, he wondered.
“Hmph. You now know how lucky you are I called for you. Xiao-Yu, that’s LuckyCat, he’s very good with RNG when in a party. That Ant Queen card was found with him.” Poor_Man had his nose high up in the air. When he contacted these brats, they complained so much. It’s not that they don’t want to help a newbie, but they were each very strong attackers. They didn’t need to be protected and didn’t know how to protect anyone else. They were deeply afraid they’d accidentally let LuckyCat die. Once dead, all effects would be cleared away. The XP Penalty Waiver would be wasted. They’d be dumped into the PvP Arena to be tortured to hell and back by their higher-ups.
“Yes, yes. All hail the great Poor_Man. Please do call on us mere peasants the next time any good gigs pop up.” While they only half believed him, they were pretty lucky with their loot today. Hopefully it can continue on.
- Silver-Winged_Angel: MTL might have issues translating this name as it used the “no” (の) hiragana. Possibly a reference to One-Winged Angel from Final Fantasy 7.
- Eremes: Reference to Eremes Guile from the original game. A boss/MVP demon mob found in The Endless Tower and the Bio/Regenschirm Laboratory. As expected, this lab experimented on humans. Its name is German for “umbrella” aka a reference to Resident Evil.
- Kathryne: Kathryne Keyron from the original game, also known as Katrinn. Same as Eremes, she’s a woman of “unparalleled magical prowess” which led her to be targeted for experiments.
- Terminator: Some may remember him as the poor guy being charged extra in guild chat due to being the same class as XiaoYu’s bully.
That’s the last of the Advent Calendar. Hope you enjoyed it. Updates will be going back to usual, aka weekly.
P.S. Some have been asking for my schedule. It’s roughly Wednesdays for GC and Fridays for LC (Australia time as it’s where I’m living in until next February). I’ve been shying away from setting actual times because of my inability to be punctual with the updates. Hopefully that’ll change once I finish the move back to Malaysia in March. Until then, keep guessing. ( ‵▽′)ψ