Cheng Yang squinted excitedly and in the distance, saw some golf ball sized blue gems further ahead.
Cheng Yang’s anticipation was building. He had earned more than a thousand Experience Fragment just using the Low-Grade gems but, these were clearly must better. How much would he make if he grabbed one of those?
As Cheng Yang rushed forward to grab the gem, a shrill squeak echoed through the cave. It was precisely the same cry as the Rotoskr he had killed outside!
“Dammit! I forgot there were monsters in here!” Cheng Yang thought to himself, running back towards the cavern where he first found the Experience Gems.
Sure enough, before he could even make it ten steps, a pair of reflective orbs appeared from around a corner behind him. Cheng Yang’s spirit fell into the gutter when he got a clear view of the massive rodent that was even bigger than the ones he had fought before.
If the Rotoskr from earlier were around the same size as a leopard, the one behind him was the size of a black bear. When it ran, the ground trembled.
As the looming figure approached him, Cheng Yang knew the situation wasn’t in his favor. In an attempt to create distance, Cheng Yang began casting Hibernation Chill on the Rotoskr and fled. Although the Cast Time was less than a second, when the blast of cold air fired, there was only a ten-meter gap between the two.
Fortunately, Hibernation Chill had a 100% chance of freezing the opponent so that giant monster nearly froze solid.
Cheng Yang didn’t dare to stick around any longer. As he sprinted back to the safety of the open sky, he fired an Icicle Blast into the Rotoskr’s head.
However, at the same time, the slow effect of Hibernation Chill wore off. That is to say; it had broken free from the debuff after only half the time had passed!
Taking into account that even when slowed the monster was able to travel ten meters, Cheng Yang was able to guess that the Rotoskr in front of him was a Pinnacle-Grade monster with an Innate Ability that helped it ignore debuffs.
Cheng Yang had experience killing Pinnacle-Grade monsters, but that was only in the Blood Soaked Cathedral where he was able to attack the Boss from the top of the tree safely. Here, however, not only had he lost his terrain advantage, he was actually at a disadvantage!
In the blink of an eye, another Icicle Blast hit the Rotoskr. Although it hit, just the tip was able to pierce through while the rest shattered on its tough hide. Unfortunately, Cheng Yang wasn’t lucky enough for the freeze debuff to activate.
By that time, the Rotoskr was only twenty meters away.
Quickly making some calculations based off of information in his past life, Cheng Yang tried to guess the stats of the monster. The Rotoskr’s Magic Defense would be at most 16 with a Health of 280. Thus, each of his shots would deal around 50.5 damage, and he would need to hit the monster six times to kill it.
He’d already hit twice, and there was only one more chance to attack before the Rotoskr reached him.
Once the monster caught up, both parties would only need to land three attacks, but how would he land the other needed attacks? Right now, his only advantage over the monster was that he had potions; otherwise, it was far more likely for him to die.
Moreover, this was just to kill a single Pinnacle-Grade Rotoskr. Who knows how many more at that level were crawling through these stone tunnels.
If it weren’t for the Experience Gems, he’d be taking a pretty significant loss. The only other benefits to killing this Rotoskr would only give him eight Experience Fragment after all.
From now on, there was no need for planning and schemes; he just had to fight slightly better than his opponent.
Cheng Yang sent the final attack he could before the enemy reached him flying. Now Cheng Yang’s good times were at an end.
Letting the ice shatter on its skin, the Rotoskr swiped at Cheng Yang with its claws. Tearing flesh and slamming Cheng Yang into the ground.
“So fucking strong!” Cheng Yang rolled away from the monster and kicked to his feet.
Without letting Cheng Yang take the time to attack, the Rotoskr had immediately kicked off the ground with its powerful back legs after its first attack.
Cheng Yang watched the wall of flesh move forwards, its other clawed hand aiming for his neck. Although Cheng Yang knew that only Mature monsters would have attributes applied to their attacks, after making so many mistakes in this life, he decided to play it safe. Instead of trying to duck, Cheng Yang used the fraction of a second he had to hop into the air lightly. His honed dexterity allowed him to avoid a potentially fatal decapitation blow, allowing the sharp claws to pierce his chest instead.
The Rotoskr tossed Cheng Yang into a cavern, making Cheng Yang the star of a trapeze. He flew a full fifteen meters away before hitting the cavern wall with a sickening crack. His ribs had cracked and the pain of a pierced lung wracked Cheng Yang’s body. This Pinnacle-Grade asshole was really irritating!
A bloody streak ran down from Cheng Yang’s mouth. That attack had dealt a total of forty damage, the most he had ever suffered from a single attack, and now he only had twenty Health left.
If the Rotoskr hit him again, Cheng Yang would be paying a visit to King Yan. As for whether he might reincarnate again? Cheng Yang hadn’t even considered it.
“Damn. Two more….” Cheng Yang murmured firing the Icicle Blast he had charged while flying through the air. Letting the attack land, the Rotoskr charged forwards, jaws wide open.
At the same time, Cheng Yang drank a Health Recovery Potion with one hand and began casting with the other.
Suddenly, the Rotoskr used Acceleration Burst, turning into a blur of flesh and death. Cheng Yang’s heart dropped, the potion hadn’t had time to reach his stomach yet!
With mere meters between them, Cheng Yang fired an Icicle Blast into the Rotoskr’s open mouth. The moment it hit, shards of ice started to cover the monster, and when it finally slid into Cheng Yang, it was completely frozen.
It was the freeze debuff! Although its claws hit Cheng Yang, the god’s rules didn’t recognize it as an attack! In the single second, he had bought himself, Cheng Yang was able to move outside its immediate attack range, and the potion healed him enough to survive another hit before dying.
With a smile, Cheng Yang cast Icicle Blast the Rotoskr right as it was thawing. He didn’t need to even try for this shot. If he missed a stationary target, what was the point of the experience from his past life?
With an angry squeak, the monster desperately tried to reach Cheng Yang.
Cheng Yang gazed coldly at the approaching rodent, the tip of his stave glowing with blue light as ice condensed on the tip. With a flash, it drove itself into the Rotoskr’s flank. The monster’s legs fumbled as it crashed to the ground, with eyes that were unwilling to close.
Staring at the ceiling, Cheng Yang basked in the warmth of living. If not for his luck, he would be the one lying on the ground.
Watching the blood pour out of the giant rodent, Cheng Yang reflected on his actions.
Ever since he was reborn, Cheng Yang had felt a sense of superiority to the people of the past. Not only was he was the most knowledgeable and skilled person but had become the strongest as well. Despite being ordinary cannon fodder in his past life, Cheng Yang had grown arrogant.
However, the last few big fights he had been in had shocked him out of that mindset. It didn’t matter how skilled or knowledgeable he was if he died. Being better than other humans wasn’t important; he needed to be better than the monsters threatening his life.
Over the past few days, he may have killed thousands of monster, but all of them were high-Grade or below; existences that couldn’t compare to him. Just like when fighting the Imperator Sarcosucus the other day, Cheng Yang had made too many mistakes in this fight. Twice now, he had been outplayed by what he considered to be brainless beasts, and both times he had only survived by relying on luck.
In the future, he would have to live up to the power he had obtained and stop underestimating monsters. Otherwise, he’d be throwing his second chance away.
Cheng Yang finally took a good look at the Rotoskr’s corpse. It was a shame his Profession didn’t allow him to obtain animal skins. Monsters that had reached Pinnacle Grade were a trove of resources that crafters could turn into Black Iron quality equipment.
With a final glance at the corpse, Cheng Yang went to retrieve the treasure that had gotten him into this mess.
This time, Cheng Yang moved more cautiously. If he hadn’t let his greed blind his sense, there was no way such a massive creature would have been able to sneak up on him. Cheng Yang wouldn’t make that mistake again.
He would go back to where he found the blue Experienc Gem then carefully observe the situation. Only if it was safe would he try to obtain it.
Near the end of his journey, he would take a full minute to move ten meters. He wasn’t confident in beating another Pinnacle-Grade Rotoskr, and there was a high chance that more than one might appear so he couldn’t take any risks.
Finally, after listening carefully, Cheng Yang snuck forwards and grabbed the blue Experience Gem.
Thanks to the gods’ rules, Cheng Yang didn’t need to wait until he got back to the village to identify the gem. When they transformed the world, the gods had been generous enough to allow humans to learn about an object just by touching it. Even so, humanities knowledge about the world was surface level at best.
The moment Cheng yang picked up the gem, a system pane had popped up in front of him.
Standard Grade Experience Gem
When crushed or sacrificed to a Territory Altar, gives one thousand Experience Fragments
Just like he thought, it was a higher grade Experience Gem! Moreover, that one level increased the amount stored inside a hundredfold. Just thinking about it excited Cheng Yang to no end.
If this pattern continued wouldn’t a High-Grade stone have one hundred thousand Experience Fragments!?
Calming himself down, Cheng Yang observed the situation. Just from where he was, there were dozens of Low-Grade gems and three Standard-Grade ones. It was a very tempting opportunity.
If he were able to obtain those three Standard-Grade gems, he could level up the village a day earlier than planned. Moreover, those Low-Grade gems would be useful for his training.