Chapter 265 Dark Inferno Part 1
It did not take the duo long to dispatch the Dullahans.
Their leader Vantor was in grave peril as well. The BOSS went Berserk when his health was at 20%, but it did nothing to turn the situation around. The boulders would not budge despite Vantor’s onslaught, and Ye Ci was able to dodge the BOSS’s blows when he stabbed his sword through the crevice.
Ye Ci’s hiding spot was simply too perfect. It almost felt like a BUG that was intentionally left behind by the developers themselves. Of course, Ye Ci’s priority was not to report the BUG. She stumbled upon the map through sheer luck. It was very unlikely that another player would be able to gain access to the map after her departure, which meant that reporting the BUG would do her no good.
The sanctuary provided by the two boulders stood firm despite Vantor’s attacks. The BOSS’s impotent rage did nothing to harm his enemies and was instead weakening himself. BOSS-tier monsters in Fate tend to go Berserk at low health, greatly enhancing their attack and defense. However, this state would not last forever. It was just like a temporary buff that would put the BOSS in a weakened state upon expiration.
Berserk could be said to be an act of paying for extra stats in advance, and the price that a BOSS had to pay was its health. It was a gamble that could change the course of the battle if it was able to defeat its opponent during its Berserk state.
Defeating a Berserk Vantor would usually require at least a hundred lvl90 players, but with their unmovable stone fortress, all the duo had to do was to wait for Vantor to be weakened after his Berserk.
Perhaps realizing Ye Ci’s ploy, Vantor’s attack grew even more frantic. It swung its sword in a flurry of attacks and even directed his steed to stomp its hooves against the boulder in an attempt to create an opening. His efforts were futile.
It was a one-sided slaughter that ended with Vantor’s demise.
After making sure that the enemies in their surroundings were eliminated, Ye Ci led Alaunar out of their hiding spot. The boy, despite his limited inventory slots, could still hold some items for Ye Ci. She handed some of the loot with better stats to Alaunar, and filled her own inventory slots with blue-quality equipment.
She was also able to gain a considerable amount of Ancient Ores from the Dullahans, enabling her to afford Lia’s harp and many of the items from the merchant NPC.
As a minor BOSS, the items dropped from Vantor were all unidentified, but Ye Ci could tell by a glance that they were meant for tank characters. She stuffed them all into her inventory and would hand them over to Bai Mo when she finally returned to the Eastern Continent.
Once all the loot was sorted out, Ye Ci could finally enter the Shrine of Sha’jia.
She slowly climbed up the stairs and stood before the shrine’s massive doors. Ye Ci stared into the pitch-black interior of the shrine, took in a deep breath, and walked through the entrance.
Two system notifications appeared before Ye Ci the moment she entered the shrine.
The first notification was a change to her equipment, “Your equipment seems to have experienced some sort of change, please take note.” She immediately raised her hand and stared at a particular ring on her finger. The plain-looking ring was emanating a faint glow as she called up the stats window of her item.
Mysterious Ring (Rarity: Normal):
Level requirement: 0
Special Trait: Allows user to activate skill: Featherfall. Duration: 3 minutes. Cooldown: 20 minutes
Just like when it first appeared, there was a short description written under the ring’s stats. “Life has returned to the seemingly dead ring when you entered the Shrine of Sha’jia. What caused the change?”
Ye Ci was not surprised by the change. Sha’jia was a demon, a subordinate of Naga. The ring was an artifact of Naga according to Frodo. The ring’s reaction to a demonic shrine would, of course, be natural. Ye Ci wanted to know how the ring would look like at the final stage of its growth, but she was still unclear about the future of her gaming career.
Will I continue to be a devout follower of the Gods, or will I end up as a follower of Naga?
But there was something that would not change: Ye Ci’s desire to grow stronger.
She needed strength. The strength to protect the people around her.
Light or dark, divinity or corruption, there was no right or wrong for a player. It was merely a choice of the game. The only thing that would go on was the conflict between humans.
Ye Ci was determined not to allow the system to dictate her choices after her reincarnation. She wanted to grow stronger with her knowledge of the game. Good and evil mattered not to her, only her desire to protect. Even when she knew that the ring was trying to lure her onto the path of corruption, it mattered not as long as she had something to gain.
The other system notification appeared in the form of a low voice, narrating a story just like Ciel did. The voice could be heard by Ye Ci, but not Alaunar, who was standing beside her.
“I cannot forget the day we first met, my master, my king. You stood before me and my followers alone, and you said to me, ‘You will swear your allegiance to me, or die by my sword.’ With the difference in our status back then, I could’ve refused your demands, but I chose servitude instead. I threw everything away and became your most devout follower. It mattered not if we were walking down the path to hell itself or the heavens. As long as you’re here my lord, I, Sha’jia, will always follow you. Please do not hide your face from me. Please guide me and give me strength. I, Sha’jia, am always yours, in this life and the next,” said the androgynous voice.
The voice grew softer but clearer as Ye Ci headed deeper into the temple.
The interior of the shrine was instantly lit up following a loud “Bang!” Ye Ci was finally able to see her surroundings clearly once the shrine was illuminated by the countless torches on the walls. She could see a red carpet with delicate patterns at the center of the shrine hall, with twelve 30-foot tall pillars on both sides of the carpet. Cushions littered the floor beyond the pillars. Those were apparently the praying altars for devotees of a god. The wall behind the praying altar was lined with drawings.
The drawings, done in a unique style, recorded the first meeting between Sha’jia and Naga. The two demons were depicted as benevolent deities full of righteous glory in the drawings. The ghost of a smile appeared on Ye Ci’s lips. Only the weak would record their life’s story in the form of paintings so that they could be remembered. They were unaware that it was futile. These paintings could last for a long time, but they could not last forever. They would one day be lost to the unforgiving forces of nature.
She turned around and headed to the front of the shrine. There were no portraits, no drawings, no statues, but a desk. And on that desk laid an arrow.
Yes. It was an arrow.
Ye Ci could not believe her eyes. It’s an arrow! But why is an arrow doing here? Isn’t this the Shrine of Sha’jia? Why are they worshipping something like this here?
Based on her past memories, Sha’jia was the final BOSS of the Death Abyss dungeon. The Demon himself was a mage and not an archer, adept at casting high damage spells. That was why the presence of this arrow in the Shrine of Sha’jia felt so out of place to Ye Ci.
Ye Ci could feel the temperature of her ring rising as she approached the arrow, and it eventually burst into black flames that surrounded the golden ring in a horrifying sight. She checked the stats of her ring once again, but nothing seemed to have changed.
Of course, the change of its appearance alone was a shock to Ye Ci. She could tell that the ring was leading her to a hidden quest in Fate.
“Hold it right there! Where did you come from? How dare you vermins defile the divinity of Sha’jia!” a voice rang out in the empty hall.
Ye Ci turned her gaze toward the direction of the voice and saw a woman in a black mantle standing by the main altar. There was a faint red glow in her eyes as she stared at the intruders. She stood with a golden staff in hand, staring at Ye Ci with a cold glare, her eyes glowing faintly red. It was as if the woman would bring destruction upon Ye Ci if she took another step forward.
Detection was not even needed for the NPC’s stats. It was available for all to see.
Servant of Sha’jia, Ciss. Level: 95. She was a BOSS-tier NPC.
If Ye Ci’s assumption was correct, Ciss was the BOSS of the Shrine of Sha’jia. She was not worried despite their difference in levels. She knew that it would take a party of at least 100 players to take on Ciss head-on. She was nothing but a speck of dust compared to Ciss.
But this did not necessarily mean that Ye Ci had no way of taking down Ciss.
If she wanted me dead, she would’ve killed me the moment I entered the Shrine. Why now? Ye Ci stared at the black flames surrounding her ring, and her eyes narrowed. This is an open-ended quest that can be cleared easily if I can give the correct answer.
I might even get something unexpected out of this.
Ye Ci’s gaze then strayed towards the arrow. She had a strong urge to check it out, as if her whole being was drawn to the arrow.
After all, it had something to do with her character class, and not many players could remain calm when they came across an item that had something to do with their class. Ye Ci, of course, was one of them.
“A shrine, you say?” Ye Ci sneered at Ciss. “How dare a low-level demon play god. It’s a joke!” Ye Ci did not wish to anger Ciss, but under such circumstances, any answer had the potential of triggering her anger. Yet when Ye Ci stared at her ring, she felt the urge to make a gamble. It was a gamble of Ciss’ loyalty to Sha’jia, and Sha’jia’s loyalty to Naga. It was also a gamble to see if the ring was indeed an artifact of Naga.
The worst-case scenario upon her loss was death. She was not afraid of dying as she would receive no reduction in level in a dungeon like this. Most of the monsters had been defeated, which meant that retrieving any items would be an easy task. She could always revive Alaunar with Soul Restoration with a 24-hour debuff. It did not worry her much.
Since it was a gamble, there must be a risk to play. But the rewards that she could gain from winning this gamble outweighed her loss. It was a chance that she would never let slip.
“What did you say? How dare you insult Sha’jia! You will pay for your impudence!” Ciss began channeling a spell.
With Ciss’s level, she could kill Ye Ci very easily. “Run!” Ye Ci whispered to Alaunar.