Volume 1: Chapter 23 – Skeleton mage
The white-bone accessory set did not increase attributes and attacking power, but it did provide a 10% chance of doubling damage. This effect was quite practical since it was not limited to the type of attack – physical or magical. On average, one out of ten hits would have double the damage.. To a warrior with a fast attack speed, the effect would be frequently activated. To a mage using an area of effect spell attack, targeting multiple enemies would ensure quite a high chance of activating the effect. Ultimately, the accessory’s effect would certainly increase anyone’s damage output.
And seeing that this was merely a level 5 Black Iron set.
Such an effect could be considered as amazing already!
Zhang Mu equipped the accessory set, allowing his attacking power and attributes, health and mana to all increase. Coupled with having leveled up to level 6 recently, his overall combat strength had a tremendous growth.
The Skeleton Captain had also dropped a Broadsword, with its attributes being relatively all right. Zhang Mu passed the Broadsword to Chen Ling for her to use. She was already a level 5 swordswoman, and using an axe was rather lacking for her. Furthermore, with a higher attacking power, the Broadsword would definitely transform Chen Ling’s damage output.
Now that the small group consisted of two level 6 players and that Zhang Mu’s other empty equipment slots were filled, the overall combined combat power of the team made a quantitative leap upwards.
The five of them took a breather before continuing deeper into the cave.
Not long after, a Skeleton soldier appeared within sight.
“You all stand ground. Let me try out my newfound combat power.”
Zhang Mu charged at the Skeleton soldier, dual-wielding his long swords. The soldier quickly noticed Zhang Mu and reacted, brandishing its own long sword towards him. Taking a deep breath, Zhang Mu raised his two swords, activated his technique, Assassination, and continued with his new-found technique – Fierce Wind Combo Slash.
“Set effect activated, -34!”
“Sword of Skeleton Soldier’s effect activated!”
Five rays of sword light hit the Skeleton soldier, totalling up about 96 terrifying damage!
Zhang Mu’s Fierce Wind Combo Slash actually allowed him to continuously slash out five times. Fierce Wind Combo Slash’s attacking frequency was determined by one’s agility and equipment attacking speed. Before level 10, this technique would have a hard time exceeding three strikes. Because the Skeleton Captain they had encountered before was an Elite monster, it had a faster attack speed and agility than Zhang Mu. Yet it could only hit a maximum of four times.
Zhang Mu was only able to strike out five times because of the crucial technique 【Assassination LV1】. This technique did not inflict additional damage, yet it could increase one’s attacking speed tremendously, stacking with any effects brought about by other techniques. Previously, Zhang Mu was precisely using this effect of combining both 【Assassination LV1】 and 【Fierce Wind Combo Slash LV1】, allowing the stacking of both techniques to let him strike out five times. Certainly, without the aid of Assassination, he should only be able to at the most, strike out three to four times.
During the third attack, the set effect activated, doubling his damage.
And during the fifth attack, his Sword of Skeleton soldier’s effect activated.
The so-called curse effect was primarily referring to 【Petrification】, 【Weakening】,【Slow】,【Numbing】 and a dozen more negative effects. Activating the curse effect was not a sure thing every time. Inherent within was a risk of failure. When Zhang Mu used his long sword to attack, that 1% chance of inflicting a curse effect ended up being the effect of Petrification.
This unlucky Skeleton soldier was first damaged by the Fierce Wind Combo Slash, causing half of its health to be depleted. Before it was able to raise its weapon to react, its entire body had long been plated by a layer of stone-grey colour, as if it became an immovable sculpture.
Zhang Mu did not miss out on this opportunity. He immediately slashed out four to five times with his swords. By the time the curse affliction ended, the Skeleton soldier’s health had depleted to near zero. With a cold ray slashing out of Zhang Mu’s Dinichthys’ Sword on the cervical spine of the skeleton, the skeleton’s spine immediately fractured, decapitating its skull from its body where it landed on the floor a dozen meters away. The flame in its eyes flickered for a while before extinguishing completely.
The rest of the group stared in a stupor. This was still a level 5 Black Iron Elite monster, and yet, it did not even have the chance to retaliate. Within three seconds, it was cut down by the sword. This result seemed too exaggerated to the rest!
Sun Bing laughed out, “Captain is becoming stronger!”
Leng Yun gazed upon Zhang Mu’s figure before her. Although it did not look sturdy, it still gave her the feeling of safety. She nodded in agreement.
Chen Ling’s expression turned ardent, emitting a deep look of admiration. Towards Zhang Mu’s talent and strength, she felt only admiration. She tightened her hold of the sword in her hand. If only… she had such strength, wouldn’t that be so much better?
Fatty dismissed Sun Bing’s words, twitching his lips and saying, “Isn’t that obvious?”
Zhang Mu did have the strength to treat the Skeleton Soldier as if it were a common monster. But of course, this kind of victory would happen only under the right set of conditions. The fact that he was able to end of the Skeleton soldier so quickly was because he borrowed the strength of the Fierce Wind Combo Slash and the fact that the special effects activated two times during the fight. Under normal conditions, such occurrence would not be so easily replicated.
Zhang Mu took up the rewards – White-bone accessory set bracelets, increasing all attributes by 1. Right now, the person who needed an all-round improvement the most was Sun Bing, and thus, he passed it to him.
The Skeleton cave still had a very long pathway, with the possibility of many Skeleton soldiers and other stronger Skeleton creatures to encounter.
The five of them continued without rest, killing everything in their way – exterminating seven more Skeleton soldiers. Leng Yun and Sun Bing both leveled up, allowing their conditions to fully recover with an increase in strength to a higher level.
These Skeleton soldiers did not drop any pieces of equipment other than two White-bone rings. Zhang Mu gave one of the rings to Sun Bing and the other to Leng Yun. The White-bone ring’s effect was quite good – increasing the health and mana by 10. Leng Yun by nature did not have much of either health or mana.
The cave became wider the deeper they went. When they passed by a turn, an area of approximately 100 meters square appeared in front. Three skeletons were standing in the middle, with a few meters-wide slit in the ceiling that allowed the moonlight to shine down on the skeletons. This moonlight highlighted the forest-white coloured of the skeletons and the ghost-flame jumping about in their eyes. The skeletons gazed right at their direction. This entire scene actually gave the group goosebumps.
However, Zhang Mu did not worry too much.
The Undead’s five senses were useless. Instead, they utilised some special methods to perceive their surroundings. Thus even though the skeletons were in front of them, the skeletons fundamentally could not see anybody. However, should they enter the skeleton’s area of perceiving, even from the back, the skeletons would also realise their presence.
These three skeletons were different from normal. Two of them had spears in their hands, while one of them, the one standing in the middle, wore a red-coloured flowery long robe with a two meters long staff.
【Spear Skeleton】(Bronze), Level 6, 500 Health Points, 200 Mana, Description: Initially a spearman in its past life and part of the main force of the army.
【Skeleton mage】(Bronze), Level 8, 400 Health Points, 400 Mana, Description: Initially a mage of the army in its past life with capable magic abilities.
These three skeletons were stronger than the three skeletons led by the Skeleton Captain. Furthermore, one of them was actually a Skeleton mage, which obviously was a Mage-class monster and the most troublesome out of all.
In the past, dealing with any mage-type monster was not an easy task. The attack power of a Mage-class monster was too high. With just a spell or two, any ordinary person would die.
As for the Spear Skeleton, its health was relatively high, and that it was wearing armour. From the description, during it’s past life, it was actually a spearman. A spearman and a knight were quite similar to each other– just that the first did not have shield and its primary weapon was solely a long spear. Thus, it could be considered a high-health type of monster. According to their earlier tactics, they would kill off the small fries before facing the stronger monster. However this time round, they were instead afraid that they would first turn into slag from magic spells before they could finish off the Spear Skeletons. Skeleton mage was, after all, an extreme threat to them. If they did not finish it off in time, the team would eventually be annihilated.
“We’ll first focus fire on finishing off that mage!” Zhang Mu rapidly analysed the situation, before delegating the roles, “Sun Bing, attract the monster’s attention first. Your task is to pull those two Spear Skeletons. Chen Ling, aid Sun Bing. Fatty, Leng Yun and me will focus on the mage. Once the mage dies, there should be no threat coming from the two Spear Skeletons.”
Zhang Mu ordered, “Fatty’s Brutal Charge must not be used randomly. This technique could actually create a one second Stun effect. Even though it has no effect on Undead, it could still break through the mage’s spell during critical moments.”
“Then let’s go. Everyone must be careful.”
Sun Bing went in first with his shield. At about 60-70 meters away from the skeletons, it appeared that the skeletons noticed him , with the two of them bringing down their two-meters long spears, standing firm on the ground, before charging forward. They stabbed forward with their long spears, a tinge of white glowing on the spear-head.
This technique was similar to a Swordsman’s Charge; it could be said to be a common skill between knight and spearman as well.
Sun Bing shouted out, “This is troublesome. They even have this kind of technique!”
At this moment, the Skeleton Mage raised its staff, forming a 50 point defence mana shield. The mage called forth a bunch of flames with the staff, brightening up the entire pitch-black cave and forming a fire cone. With a ‘Sou’, the mage flew over.
【Fire Cone】 was known as the strongest single-target attacking spell in the past.
Sun Bing’s shield was burned until it became charcoal-black. The flame set itself upon Sun Bing’s clothes, damaging him with that powerful magical spell and reducing his health by half.
The two Spear Skeletons attacked, one after another. With a stab of its spear, one of the skeletons hit Sun Bing’s shield, causing nine damage. The other spear plunged upon Sun Bing’s thigh, causing 18 damage. Sun Bing’s activated his Hardened Skin, thus ensuring that he did not feel any pain. Chen Ling hacked her sword at the body of of one of the Spear Skeleton, causing a mere a dozen points of damage. With an attack of the spear, the skeleton retaliate, stabbing at her abdomen. Chen Ling immediately retreated behind Sun Bing. Lifting up their spears, the two Spear Skeleton once again began their round of attacks.
The two long spears hit upon the shield, causing the shield to be almost ripped through. Under this great strength, Sun Bing was pushed back until he fell onto the ground. At this, Chen Ling could only firmly plant her feet and momentarily defend against the Spear skeletons. It was fortunate that their speed was relatively slow, allowing her to barely exchange a few moves with them.
The Skeleton mage was about to cast its spell. Before that, Zhang Mu immediately slid across the cave towards it, activated his Fierce Wind Combo Slash, destroyed the mana shield, and caused an additional 30+ damage. Leng Yun hurriedly took this opportunity and cast an Ice Arrow and Acid Bomb, reducing the Skeleton mage’s health to 75%. Fatty followed up close behind.
The Skeleton Mage emitted a breath of fog from within its body. Zhang Mu and Fatty felt the bone-penetrating cold as a layer of frost formed upon their bodies. The breath numbed their legs, causing their movement to momentarily stop .
Fatty angrily exclaimed, “Damn! Why would it have this kind of spell?”
The Skeleton Mage utilised this opportunity to retreat a dozen meters before suddenly casting a Fireball, hitting t Zhang Mu’s chest. The flame wrapped the top half of Zhang Mu’s body, immediately shaving off 50% of his total health. At the same time, the burn effect of the flame continued to reduce Zhang Mu’s health over time. The flame burned Zhang Mu’s leather armour. An ordinary person would not be able to bear this agonising pain. The Skeleton mage raised its staff. Countless sparks formed in the air within a two meters area in front of it. The Skeleton mage controlled these sparks, and they began gathering on the palm of its left hand, accumulating until the sparks formed a fist-size Fireball.
This seemed to be the strongest attacking technique of an Elemental Mage in the early days!
This spell’s attacking power was more than twice that of the Ice Arrow spell, coupled with its area of effect, even Sun Bing would be instantly killed by it!
Zhang Mu shouted, “Fatty!”
Having just recovered from the Frost condition, Fatty immediately used his Brutal Charge, enveloping his body with a red glow before charging upon the body of the Skeleton Mage. Undead could not be stunned, but this Brutal Charge did interrupt the mage’s spell by knocking it down on the floor. That Fireball Explosion immediately dissipated into nothing. Fatty took this chance to inflict some damage with his Great sword, slashing against the body of the mage, causing 25 damage – about 5% of its health.