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HC Volume 1: Chapter 9

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Volume 1: Chapter 9 – Wandering Gnome Warlock

Xihu Park was located in the western suburb of Jiang City and was mostly constituted of an artificial lake. As the breeze blew over the lake, the surface of the lake glittered. On the river banks, jade green grass fluttered in the wind. as willow trees whistled. This was originally an extremely beautiful sight but unfortunately, the air was permeated with the thick, bloody smell of decay, ruining the atmosphere.

Five people gingerly walked into a delicately crafted red pavilion, their backs facing towards the man-made lake, facing a small square about 100 meters away. The concrete floor was covered in a dark layer of red, a coagulation of human blood, where several bodies had been gnawed to pieces, abandoned in the middle of the square and surrounded by a swarm of flies while several goblins randomly wandered about.

Then, a sparrow flew into the pavilion, landing in Qin Min’s palms.

Zhang Mu asked inquired, “What is the situation?”

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Qin Min communicated with the sparrow momentarily, replying, “There’s no apparent danger. In front, there are twelve goblins with five on the square and four on the outside.  Three of them are in the woods to the left.”

Zhang Mu nodded his head in satisfaction, “This will be easy to handle. After killing this lot of monsters, everyone should be able to level up.”

Sun Bing laughed as he spoke, “To reach level 4 in two days time, this leveling speed is pretty fast.”

Fatty immediately butted in, “This is all a result of following boss., otherwise,, we would be extremely cautious. How could we dare to run all over the place to kill monsters?”

Sun Bing laughed honestly as he smiled, “You’re right!”

Qin Min could not resist, and snapped, “You giant fatty, can you kiss less ass?”

Leng Yun covered her mouth as she giggled, a sight that could dazzle any male. However, Zhang Mu did not notice, as he was observing the surrounding environment. He raised his right hand gently waving, motioning for the group to jump into action.

The five man team had reached level 3 after killing two days’ worth of monsters under Zhang Mu’s leadership; this was no small feat. However, the first few stages required less experience. With each rise in level, the experience requirement doubled each time, making leveling up increasingly difficult.

Zhang Mu brought Fatty and Sun Bing with him as they entered the woods, finding the tracks of three goblins. Goblins were not very strong monsters and for close combat fighters like Fatty and Sun Bing, as long as they had better skills, they could match up with one or two each. Zhang Mu’s combat and fighting skills were able to match up with even more, up to five or six goblins.

However, in order to let everyone get some practice and adapt to their capabilities and fighting styles, strengthening them, Zhang Mu used the traditional method of attracting the aggression of one monster and pulling them in a circle. Sun Bing would then grasp the right timing to cast Taunt, causing one monster to leave the pack and allowing a few people to attack and kill it together. Only when Sun Bing inadvertently attracted too many monsters would Zhang Mu take action.

After half an hour, the monsters had been killed, and the five people rose in level.

Zhang Mu checked his experience bar and said, “From level 4 to level 5, it requires several times the experience needed to advance from level 3 to level 4. If we keep killing monsters under level 3, the experience gained would be lacking. If we continue to stay in the city to level up, however, it would take at least 5 days to raise another level.”

Fatty dismissively said, “Then let’s head towards Dawn Camp.”

Zhang Mu raised his head, looking up. As it was about 4 in the afternoon, the sky was slowly starting to dim. “No rush, first let’s rest for the night and use the extra time to prepare some supplies.”

Sun Bing said, “I know that there is a supermarket in front of the park, we can find some food and tools there.”

“Then what are we waiting for?” Qin Min was a very bubbly person, immediately saying, “Let’s go!”

The five people slowly left the garden. The supermarket that Sun Bing had mentioned was indeed at the entrance. However, it was visible from afar that there were some silhouettes moving in the middle of the road. Zhang Mu realized that it was three gnomes. In Jiang City there were no advanced monsters; gnomes had less health and low defence, but they were a ranged attack species; therefore, it made them relatively harder to deal with.

Leng Yun’s eyes flashed in excitement, “Everyone look, there is a chest.”

Several eyes followed the direction that her finger was pointing at. Behind the gnomes, there really was a large chest. This chest was constructed purely from glossy black metal, with a featureless square body. It was likely that there was an item stashed in the chest.

Zhang Mu flashed a smile, “That is a black iron treasure chest. We have really good luck.”

Qin Min curiously asked, “What is a black iron treasure chest?”

Zhang Mu shrugged his shoulder as he vaguely replied, “This… according to gaming experience, on the field there will sometimes appear treasure chests. Usually there is a surprise inside them.”

Black iron treasure chests were chests that would only appear in the areas that were under level 10 difficulty. There would often be black iron equipment within the chest, and if one was lucky, they could obtain extraordinary items. To be able to encounter a chest could also be considered to be an adventure.

Fatty excitedly raised his axe, “Great, let’s get going then.”

Zhang Mu dragged him back, “When are you going to use your brains?”

“Boss! I don’t understand!”

“Did you not realise that one of the gnomes is different from the common ones?”

Only then did Fatty realise that the gnome in the middle was different from ordinary gnomes. It held a wooden rod instead of a short bow, and if you looked closely, you would notice the gnome had a beard, seemingly a lot older than the rest of the gnomes.

[Wandering Gnome Warlock], level 4 Black Iron elite, 100 health, 200 mana, attributes: ??, skills: ??

“One hundred health points? Fuck, it’s tank!”

“This is an elite.” Zhang Mu paused momentarily before adding, “Its high health is not the problem, but it is a spellcaster and thus, deals out considerable damage. We have no equipment, therefore, we can be easily killed.”

Monsters had different rankings: Common level, Elite level, Leader level, Lord level, Earth Spirit level, Heaven Spirit level, Saint Spirit level, and Celestial Spirit level for a total of eight levels. The higher the level of monster, the more scarce its number and its strength increases. Elite levels could be further divided into four levels: Black Iron, Bronze, Silver and Gold.

Within the ranks of elites, this was the weakest Black Iron elite, but when opposing a bunch of low-level players without skills and equipment, it was simply invincible. Not to mention the fact that it was a highly offensive magic caster.

“Then how should we fight it?”

Leng Yun observed Zhang Mu’s calm countenance and did not know why she felt a sense of budding confidence. Leng Yun had the visage of a delicate tender beauty, but she had experienced a rough childhood when she was small, causing her to develop a highly competitive personality. There had never been a man that made her feel such a sense of security, Zhang Mu perhaps being the only exception.

Zhang Mu pondered briefly before speaking, “I checked the stats for the Gnome Warlock before, they have two skills, the first is a flame missile, which moves extremely fast and inflicts high damage and apart from Uncle Sun Bing who will be able to endure one blow, the rest of us will be instantly killed by it. The second skill is a magic shield, its speed is slower, but it constructs a defensive shield with a value of approximately 25 health points, effectively giving the gnome 25 extra health points.”

Leng Yun frowned, “So how should we fight it?”

“With your current fighting ability, in all likelihood you will end up dead. So stay here for now, and let me handle it this time.”

“Will you be able to handle it yourself? That is an elite you know!”

“Elite? It’s only an elite, that’s all!”

Zhang Mu was the backbone of the team. In the case anything happened, the difficulty level for the others would shoot up drastically

Leng Yun was about to speak, but then she saw his disdainful expression. She couldn’t help being momentarily stunned. By that time, Zhang Mu had already pulled out the pistol, quickly creeping forward.

Gunshots would be too loud, causing the weapon to be useless in the Bloody Jungle.

This sort of attributeless weapon did not grant experience on kills, so there was no point in keeping it. It would be put to better use here. When there was about less than 100 meters between them, Zhang Mu suddenly accelerated and used the Quick Step skill. Both feet slid across the top of the ground as if he had stepped on an invisible skateboard. He quickly charged towards the gnome.

Gu Gu! Gu Gu!”

The gnome issued a harsh cry upon noticing Zhang Mu. The two ordinary gnomes stood at the side nocking arrows. The Gnome Warlock began casting, a blue glow emerged from his rod and gradually turning into a shield. The caster type monsters which had the shield skill would always deploy it as soon as a fight would start. The distance between combatants was very far, allowing it to cast the spell unhindered.

Zhang Mu cocked his head slightly, a wooden arrow brushing past his cheek as he raised his hand “Bang! Bang!”, continuously firing two rounds. Zhang Mu was a level 4 Ranger, his physique greatly surpassing that of a common man. With an extremely high balance, he was able to aim properly even while moving at high speeds. Unfortunately the bullets bounced off the shield, only dealing 21 damage to the the shield.

With only three rounds left, Zhang Mu had already closed the distance to 50 meters, aiming at one of the gnomes to the side. “Bang!” The bullet penetrated the gnome’s skull, dealing 32 points of damage. The gnome was killed on the spot, and while the other gnome was attempting to pull back its bow to shoot, it was also shot down in the same manner, instantly dead!

The Gnome Warlock had just finished casting another spell at this time, a ball of flame shooting forth from its rod and condensing into a fireball slightly larger than a fist. In regards to this flame missile, if it directly hit its target, Zhang Mu would be instantly killed. “Gu Gu Gu!” The Gnome Warlock barked out harsh shrieks as it pointed its rod towards Zhang Mu. Amidst its wails,the fireball shot forth at an alarming rate .

Zhang Mu pulled the trigger, firing off the last bullet and shattered the blue coloured shield. This caused a blood flower to emerge on the Gnome’s chest, only cutting off 8 points from its health. An Elite ranked monster had much higher defence than a common ranked monster.

Magic spells were not unavoidable. Given Zhang Mu’s reflexes and fighting experience, he was able to discern its flight path the moment the fireball was released. As long as the distance was not too close, he could definitely dodge it. Except, Zhang Mu wanted to get close to his opponent as quickly as possible, rapidly charging forward without bothering to dodge at all. “Thud!” The fireball exploded on his chest, the flames instantly engulfing Zhang Mu.

Qin Min cried out in shock, “Wa!”

The rest of the team were also shocked.

Zhang Mu’s body was wrapped in a pale golden light, charging out unscathed from within the flames. His right hand held the dagger in a reverse grip, viciously stabbing at the gnome and dealing 12 damage. The Gnome warlock shrieked, raising its wand to strike, however, the invincibility had not worn off yet, leaving him unharmed. Zhang Mu used Assassinate, stabbing twice in a row and dealt a total of 20 damage. At this moment, the warlock had 60% of its health left.

The Gnome Warlock turned around and ran. As a caster-type monster, it was lacking in close combat and required a bit of distance to cast its spell. As long as it struck, it would be able to kill Zhang Mu, however, Zhang Mu was a Ranger, therefore his movement speed was not slow, especially when you included the status boost from God’s Blessing. This allowed him to easily keep up with the gnome, however, even before Zhang Mu took action, Fatty and Sun Bing had already charged forward from the right and left, Sun Bing using Taunt on the gnome to attract the warlock’s aggression. This caused him to stop moving, angrily staring at him. A streak of fire formed on his rod, rapidly condensing into a fireball.

“Brutal Charge!”

Fatty was like a rampaging wild boar, suddenly charging at the Gnome Warlock, hacking down strongly with the axe, and cutting off 28 points of health in 2 hits. The fireball was knocked astray as a result of the collision, barely hitting Sun Bing’s right shoulder. The flames enveloped his shoulder in an instant, causing Sun Bing to cry out in pain from the burns. Leng Yun and Qin Min busily ran up trying to put out the fire.

Zhang Mu and Fatty attacked several times before the Gnome Wandering Warlock finally fell.

This was the first time these people had killed an Elite. When looking at the residual traces of fire on the ground, they couldn’t believe that what just happened was true.

Suddenly, Fatty loudly cried out, “Woah, look! It dropped a piece of equipment!”


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Comments 7

No spoilers