Chapter 637 – Dark Puppet Lord
All the materials Nie Yan brought back from the Ancient World without exception were extremely rare. If they were put up for sale, they would be expensive beyond compare. However, the quantity was far more than the market could digest. So, they could only be set aside for personal use.
Guo Huai did some inventory. The artisan skill books and materials Nie Yan provided could nurture numerous high rank artisans! This was an enormous boon for Asskickers United!
Nie Yan had brought back a treasure trove from the Ancient World. The value of these items was incalculable.
“Pass these things down to our most talented artisans. As for those specialized skill books, just leave them in the guild treasury. Anyone that’s interested can take them,” Nie Yan said. He completely emptied his bags in front of Guo Huai, save for the Life Cores which he had a special use for.
“Alright, no problem.” Guo Huai nodded.
The value of artisans couldn’t be underestimated. They were the fuel that kept the frontline going. One of the reasons Asskickers United was so powerful was that they had a large number of talented artisans supporting them. A number that only grew by the day. Since the Starry Night Potion Shop controlled 60% of the market in the entire Viridian Empire, raking in enormous profits every day, they could offer much better benefits than anyone else. Something that had more and more skilled Alchemists flocking to them. As a result, Asskickers United never lacked potions. The Starry Night Potion Shop could claim a large portion of the credit for Asskickers United’s current success. Not just Alchemists, but also the Engineers, Tinkerers, Enchanters, Blacksmiths, and so on played important roles. With so many artisans, the skill books Nie Yan provided would definitely have a great effect.
Asskickers United was like his child. Nie Yan had employed all sorts of methods, including investing a large sum of gold, donating the loot he personally collected, and attracting experts from all over, to develop it to this point. In the future, nothing could stop its rise.
It was now time to collect his debts with interest, and Angel Corps, the Century Financial Group, and most recently the Monet Financial Group were all his targets!
“How many flying mounts do we have?” Nie Yan asked. Their aerial force couldn’t be neglected.
“Ah, we’ve sort of been lagging behind in that department. At present, we only have about 30 or so flying mounts altogether. We used to have more, but we recently got into some clashes with Angels Corps in Griffon Woodlands and lost about half our flying mounts. Angel Corps have a major advantage in the air since they got a large head start on us. Plus, Soaring Angel is sparing no effort to develop his aerial forces. He often sends expedition teams 100,000 men strong to explore every nook and cranny of Griffon Woodlands. Our players have been surrounded many times. I estimate they have at least one or two hundred flying mounts on their side, possibly even more. Since the other guilds are also rapidly developing their strength in the skies, they probably have quite a few flying mounts as well,” Guo Huai said. Flying mounts was the only area where Asskickers United was lacking. They had started late and didn’t invest into it too heavily .
“Where’s our elite team right now?” Nie Yan asked. It would be a serious problem if they didn’t have enough flying mounts. Though their Armoured Ice Catapults didn’t need to fear flying mounts, fending them off was a whole nother story. Since siege engines were fairly immobile and their ranges limited—while flying mounts had near limitless mobility—a skilled rider could wreak havoc across the battlefield with nothing barring their path.
“They’re in Griffon Woodlands right now. They have around 5,000 players. The 60 or so among them who reached Level 100 all went to class advance. So, they’re being led by Paladin of the Elegy right now,” Guo Huai said. Asskickers United’s harvests from exploring Griffon Woodlands were passable, average at best. This map couldn’t be explored with only strength. Luck also played an important factor. On a bad day, you could end up with absolutely nothing for your efforts. On a good day, you could get your hands on a few flying mounts, which was already quite amazing. Asskickers United obtained most of their flying mounts by relying on Dispel Fog Scrolls.
Nie Yan pondered for a moment. He actually had a method for obtaining flying mounts quickly.
“I’ll make a trip to Griffon Woodlands,” Nie Yan said. If he could help Asskickers United obtain a few more flying mounts, it would be a huge help to them in the upcoming war.
Nie Yan bid farewell to Guo Huai and left the Cripps Stronghold. He had to make some preparations before heading to Griffon Woodlands. He teleported back to Calore and restocked on his consumables, then took to the skies on his Darkwing Dragon. His destination was Puppet Castle.
Nie Yan checked the level leaderboards. Many players had already reached Level 100, with the highest level player being Level 105. After staying in the Ancient World for so long, it was only natural that he would end up falling behind. However, even if those other players were higher level than him, they still weren’t his match. When an Adept Class met a Master Class, even a 60–70 level advantage wouldn’t matter; they would still end up crushed all the same. This was an insurmountable gap, a difference in realms. Master Classes represented the absolute pinnacle, having long since surpassed the restraints of ordinary Adept Classes.
Five minutes later, a castle situated in the middle of some plains emerged over the horizon.
Puppet Castle was one of the few Level 100 maps in the vicinity of Calore. Scarcely any players visited this place in the past because the monsters here were too strong.
However, that didn’t appear to be the case right now. When Nie Yan surveyed the ground below from atop his Darkwing Dragon, he saw many players moving about.
Nie Yan knitted his brows. “Why are there so many people here? This might affect my plans…”
The Darkwing Dragon made a rapid descent to an altitude of 70 meters.
Nie Yan chanted out an incantation and recalled the Darkwing Dragon in mid-air as he leaped off its back.
He dropped down from the sky and started accelerating towards the ground.
Glancing at his status screen, a fall from a height of 70 meters wouldn’t pose any danger to him. Nie Yan didn’t activate the Featherfall Jewel. With a loud thud, he firmly landed on the ground.
Nie Yan entered stealth and dashed toward Puppet Castle. On the way there, he came across the remains of Stone Puppets scattered across the ground. Entering the castle, he saw a large group of players numbering 2,000 gathered in the main square. They were probably fighting the boss.
The field boss of Puppet Castle was the Dark Puppet Lord. Nie Yan’s purpose for this trip was a certain item that dropped from it. Discovering that he had arrived late, he felt a bit depressed.
Several players served as lookouts outside the entrance. Nie Yan dashed past them unnoticed.
Nie Yan glanced at the guild insignias on the chests of these players. “Splendid Temple… this makes things much easier.”
As Splendid Star commanded the 2,000 players under him to attack the Dark Puppet Lord, he discovered that his thinking had been far too simple. The boss was way more powerful than he expected. This Level 100 Variant Lord was ridiculously strong. They had been beaten back again and again. Despite having spent close to half an hour here and suffering more than 600 casualties, its health had barely fallen at all.
“Warriors, retreat and keep up your guard. Priests, heal them!” Splendid Star hurriedly ordered after seeing the Dark Puppet Lord charging forward like a steamroller.
Standing over five meters tall, the Dark Puppet Lord’s body was constructed out of black stone. Each step it took violently shook the ground. Its battle prowess was extremely frightening. Smashing down with a single punch, it sent three Warriors flying and continued slaughtering the players of Splendid Temple.
“Boss, we can’t hold on. That monster’s attacks are too powerful!” shouted a Warrior as he retreated.
“Dammit! Everyone, we’re withdrawing!” Splendid Star couldn’t help but curse.
Under the pursuit of the Dark Puppet Lord, Splendid Temple lost all composure as they made a beeline for safety. A path of corpses lined behind them, only a lucky few reaching the edge of the main square.
Splendid Temple’s forces had finally retreated to safety. The survivors crumpled to the ground and began catching their breaths. Looking back at the main square, the Dark Puppet Lord’s health had returned to full, and it returned to an idle roaming state.
“Boss, the Dark Puppet Lord is way too strong. We can’t beat it.”
“Boss, what should we do?”
“What else can we do? We go home.” Splendid Star gritted his teeth.
“What about our fallen teammates?”
“We can only cut our losses. We’ll send in a few Thieves to retrieve their equipment,” Splendid Star said. He started picking out several of his most skilled Thieves to enter the tiger’s den and snatch its food.
At this moment, a silhouette flashed by. A person materialized in front of Splendid Star.
“A Thief!” Splendid Star’s heart trembled. He instinctively raised his weapon, only to realize the other wasn’t attacking him. Not only that, it was a familiar face, too—Nie Yan!
“We meet again,” Nie Yan greeted.
“H-huh, hi. It’s good to see you again too. What are you doing here?” Splendid Star asked in bewilderment. As he looked around, the surroundings were filled with his people. Yet Nie Yan had snuck in completely unnoticed like some kind of ghost. This was too frightening. If Nie Yan wanted to assassinate him, he would’ve already been a cold corpse on the ground.
“I have some business here. Could I ask you to help kill the Dark Puppet Lord with me?” Nie Yan asked. He only wanted a certain drop from the boss.
“Uhh, sure. Oh, I heard you became a Shadow Dancer? Is that true?” Splendid Star said.
“Yeah.” Nie Yan nodded with a light smile.
“We’ll listen to your command. If you need something, just give the word,” Splendid Star said. He really admired how Nie Yan conducted himself. Last time they were also saved by him. If he needed their help with anything, Splendid Star would gladly oblige.
“I just need something from the Dark Puppet Lord. Follow me,” Nie Yan said before turning around and dashing towards the main square.
“Everyone, follow him!” Splendid Star hurriedly mobilized his troops.
A few seconds later, Nie Yan arrived behind the Dark Puppet Lord.
Dark Puppet Lord (Variant Lord): Level 100
Since it was a Variant Lord, its health regeneration was quite high. If Nie Yan were to attempt to solo it, it would take him at least an hour to take it down. With Splendid Temple helping out, he could cut that time down significantly.