Expanding outwards from the city center a dome of multi-colored light began to enclose an area of two and a half square kilometers in Xiāngyáng.
People that saw the barrier fled from the approaching curtain of light lest they be trapped inside. Although they didn’t know what the dome was for no one wanted to take the risk of finding out. Those that weren’t fast enough were quickly enveloped making those ahead of them sprint even faster.
Unbeknownst to them, four Class Statues like the one in Phoenix Village but ten times as tall were rising from the ground. In addition, six ancient-looking buildings had materialized in a ring around the statues were constructed. What purpose did these buildings serve? Chéng Yáng knew but the people of Xiāngyáng certainly didn’t.
At the same time Chéng Yáng and the others were running towards Phoenix Village.
Niú Bīng was an athlete so the pace was manageable. Páng Shān and the taxi driver, however, were struggling. Even so they had managed to make it seven hundred meters in the last four minutes which was already commendable.
At that time, Chéng Yáng’s face crumpled. Just now he had detected multiple energy fluctuations around them which could only mean one thing: monsters had spawned.
Fifty meters ahead of the group a curtain of light shimmered and a large gray wolf with black fangs streaked in green liquid stepped out. It let out a wild howl before charging at Chéng Yáng.
Niú Bīng and the others jumped in shock. Where had such a ferocious beast jumped out from. Not to mention what its weird appearance.
With a thought, Chéng Yáng activated his Magic Missile Skill. Mana flowed through his body from his heart into the stave he was carrying, forming a swirling ball of white energy on the tip. Then, as quickly as it had gathered, the ball of energy shot towards the wolf like a meteor.
Using the mental connection between himself and the Skill, Chéng Yáng steered it towards the wolf. The attack struck it on the head, shattering an eye socket and leaving a bloody hole. The wolf was only a Low-Grade Immature monster. In front of the Standard-Grade Apprentice Chéng Yáng it was like meat on the chopping board.
Despite the severity of its injuries, the wolf continued to charge towards them without even the slightest decline in its vicious aura. No matter how close to death a monster was, its only focus would be to kill the enemy in front of it
“How is that thing still alive?!” Niú Bīng gasped.
Even as a normal person he could tell that that the power of Chéng Yáng attack far surpassed that of a normal weapon.
“A Venom-Fanged Gray Wolf of this level has thirty Health and one Magic Resistance. I only deal twelve damage so I need at least three shots to kill it.” Chéng Yáng explained while his Skill was on cooldown.
As soon as the cooldown ended, Chéng Yáng cast Magic Missile again. This time it hit the wolf’s legs, shattering one and causing it to stumble, its charge halted.
After their initial shock the three bystanders were able to calm down. Even so how could they accept that such a monster existed in this world? And what did Chéng Yáng mean by Health? Level? Magic Resistance? Damage? Weren’t those terms only used in video games?
The wolf howled in pain as it got back up. Even with a broken leg it was able to run at the same speed as before, rapidly closing the distance between it and the group. Without flinching Chéng Yáng sent out a final Magic Missile which caught the monster in the chest.
The wolf fell to the ground and was still. The fight had ended.
Faint blurry shard of light flew out of the monster’s body and into the sky. Some of which floated over to Chéng Yáng. These were Experience Fragments, the condensed form of a monster’s power, experience, and memories.
In addition to being used as currency, Experience Fragments were able to accelerate a Player’s growth. When using the Meditation Skill if you had a large amount of Experience Fragments you could absorb a little bit of the energy stored inside to vastly decrease the time needed to level up. You would also need to absorb a large number of Experience Fragments when leveling up normally or upgrading a Skill.
Even for non-Lords there was value in gathering Experience Fragments to use as currency. Each safe zone had a six NPC shops: a blacksmith, a woodworker, a leather worker, an enchanter, an alchemist, and a general store. They offered vital services but only in exchange for Experience Fragments.
Chéng Yáng was pleased to see the number of Experience Fragments he had increase but it was a pity he was too far from his Settlement for it to obtain some Experience Fragments as well.
Although monsters had started to spawn Chéng Yáng wasn’t too concerned. At most he would have to fight two or three at once and while he might be injured, as a Player, so long as his Health was above zero he would be fine.
As the group continued Chéng Yáng killed another Venom-Fanged Gray Wolf and a Razor-Tailed Fox. As a result, his Mana was reduced to half its maximum capacity so he decided to rest for a moment and Meditate.
Mana and Health both passively recovered one point every minute but using your Core Skill greatly increased that rate. The recovery efficacy of your Core Skill increased when you leveled up, so as a Standard-Grade Apprentice Chéng Yáng was able to recover his lost Mana in just twenty seconds.
Once he was finished the group started moving again. The rest of their journey went smoothly since the spawn rate was still low. But right as the Settlement walls came into sight, a trio of Hunter Stalkers, monsters with claws like swords, ambushed the group. Despite their numbers, Chéng Yáng was able to easily dispatch them while protecting Niú Bīng and the others. Low-Grade Immature monsters were helpless before Chéng Yáng who was a level higher.
Monsters were starting to gather around the walls but luckily the area surrounding the north gate was clear. With a final burst of energy, the group rushed through the massive doors. Only once they shut were they able to let out a sigh of relief.
Chéng Yáng was never in any danger since he could just run if a group of monsters too big for him to handle appeared. But if that were to happen, he’d have no choice but to carry Niú Bīng and leave the other two, including his girlfriend, to die. As a result, the journey was quite nerve-wracking for him.
Seeing that his benefactor had returned, Lǐ Wànshān ran over to Chéng Yáng. After Chéng Yáng left he had become the de facto leader. Despite that, all he did was try to keep everyone calm. Lǐ Wànshān was a sensible man and didn’t want to disrupt any plans Chéng Yáng or threaten his position as leader.
“Mr. Chéng, soon after you left more than twenty wild beasts started to prowl outside the walls, attacking it occasionally. The walls seem sturdy but I’m worried they won’t be able to last if we leave the creatures out there. What do we do? If I became a Player would I be able to kill them all?”
“Those are the monsters I told you would spawn. Don’t worry about the walls for now, but you’re right. In the future, after you become a Player, clearing monsters away from the wall will become one of your daily duties.”
“Does that mean we can become Players now?”
“That’s right, our next step is to have everyone here perform a Class Change Ceremony. For now, I’ll farm the monsters surrounding the settlement so we can afford the fees.”
While explaining his plan, Chéng Yáng Meditated to restore his Mana. When he was finished, he climbed up to the wall’s alure to kill the monsters below with Magic Missiles.
Every two or three attacks, Chéng Yáng would kill a monster gaining Experience Fragments for himself and for the Settlement.
A Low-Grade Immature monster would drop a single Experience Fragment and had a twenty-percent change to drop a second. As a result, after killing four monsters and getting a lucky second drop on one of them, Chéng Yáng had a total of twelve Experience Fragments.
For a Settlement, Experience Fragment drops were doubled! So Phoenix Village had a total of ten Experience Fragments in its coffers.
With his goal amount reached, Chéng Yáng jumped down from the wall and walked over to Yú Kǎi.
“Kǎizǐ, you’re up first. Once you become a Player go up on the wall and hunt monsters.”
“Huh? Why me? Why not someone like Liú Hào who has played this kind of game before?”
“Liú Hào is more suitable to become a Warrior and wouldn’t be able to safely attack the monsters. You’re better as a Ranger which can attack from afar with arrows, so you’re the better choice.”
The Yú Kǎi in Chéng Yáng’s memories had a C-Rank innate ability that increased Attack Range by twenty percent and Attack Damage by ten percent. Its rank wasn’t high but it had great synergy with the Ranger Class and Attack Range was a rare Hidden Attribute. It was on par with most A-Rank Innate Ability.
With Chéng Yáng’s guidance, Yú Kǎi pressed his palm to the Ranger Class Statue and used the Settlement’s Experience Fragments to perform his Class Change Ceremony. Once the light show was over, he emerged with a bow in his hands and a quiver of arrows on his waist.
Using the Territory Altar system pane Citizens tab Chéng Yáng took a look at Yú Kǎi’s stats.
Phoenix Village Citizen
Level: Low Grade Apprentice (0%)
|Attack Damage||6.5||Magic Damage||1|
|Attack Resistance||1||Magic Resistance||1|
|Attack Speed||1||Movement Speed||1.1|
- Attack Damage is increased by 30%
- Attack Range is increased by 30%
- Movement Speed is increased by 10%
Origin Return (Core Skill)
Adopt a seiza and circulate your energy to recover and advance
Reinforced Arrow (Low-Grade)
Fill an arrow with your Mana, reinforcing its structure.
|Damage: 8||Cost: 4 Mana|
|Range: 39 m||Cooldown: 3 sec|
Wooden Bow (Two-Handed)
A simple wooden bow strung with the sinew of an unknown animal
|Damage: 6.5||Cooldown: 1.5 sec|
|Range: 39 m|
Magic Quiver (Trinket)
A soft quiver with silk embroidery. It hides the secrets of creation magic within it. Produces one arrow every minute.
Chéng Yáng was baffled when he saw Yú Kǎi’s Innate Ability. How did it increase to S-Rank? He had attributed the increase in quality of his Innate Ability as a quirk of his regression, but obviously that didn’t apply to Yú Kǎi.
His best guess was that maybe the quality of an Innate Ability was somehow tied to how soon someone became a Player. It was a good hypothesis but he would need to test it.
Regardless of the reason, Yú Kǎi’s S-Rank Innate Ability took a burden off of Chéng Yáng’s heart. With the combination of his Innate Ability and the bonus provided by the Settlement, Yú Kǎi would be invincible within his level. Ranger’s were the strongest Class for PVP, so if not for the difference in fighting experience, even the Standard-Grade Chéng Yáng would lose to him in a duel!