Chapter 411 - Empress Finas’ Eye
Nie Yan refused to believe Bloodlust Blades had more than a few Armoured Catapults. They were extremely costly to manufacture, both in terms of resources and manpower. Although only several of them were enough to destroy the walls of the Blackstone Stronghold, they didn’t pose much of a threat beyond that.
Armoured Catapults were only dangerous in large numbers. A single bombardment could wipe out players in droves. The vast majority of players, save for those over Level 100 with full set equipment, would be instantly killed by the explosive incendiary shells.
Perhaps the Goblin Magic Cannons could destroy the Armoured Catapults before they neared the Blackstone Stronghold by relying on their superior range. However, that would depend on Asskickers United getting them out in time.
This was only the beginning of the siege. Both guilds had brought out their most advanced weaponry.
Aside from manufacturing siege weapons, Asskickers United also had to start focusing on reinforcing the defenses of their strongholds. After provoking the likes of Bloodlust Blades, Alliance of Mages, Divine Protectors, and Angel Corps, their future was guaranteed to be full of strife.
War was fast approaching. Nie Yan understood just how important funding was to Asskickers United at this moment.
「Try to hold out for the next two days,」Nie Yan said. When he returned to the surface, Asskickers United would have at least an additional 1,000,000 gold in capital.
「Two days shouldn’t be a problem. I’ll mobilize the five branch guilds. Even if they can’t do much to the enemy’s forces, they can still buy us a precious few hours,」Guo Huai said. Without accounting for travel time, taking down a stronghold generally took at least a day, which meant the most Bloodlust Blades could accomplish before Nie Yan returned was the occupation of the Blackstone Stronghold. If it really came down to it, Asskickers United could just cut their losses. After all, the stronghold wasn’t going anywhere. It would fall back in their hands after they won the war. All it meant was that their initial investment would be lost.
Asskickers United would have no problem delaying the final battle until Nie Yan returned from the Underworld.
Aside from discussing plans on how to deal with Bloodlust Blades, Nie Yan also ordered Guo Huai to start recruiting more Engineers, Tinkerers, Blacksmiths, and Miners. He feared it would be too late if they waited until the war was over. Since Bloodlust Blades had produced Armoured Catapults, Asskickers United also had to step up the pace, or risk facing grave consequences if they lagged too far behind in terms of both scientific advancements and technology.
What Asskickers United lacked the least right now was Alchemists. Branches of the Starry Night Potion Shop could be found all across the Viridian Empire. With over 600 Alchemists employed, 13 of which were at the Advanced rank, they were unrivalled and could fulfill all the needs of the guild. However, when it came to the other crafting professions, they were sorely underdeveloped.
Guo Huai immediately got to work. Developing players for these several crafting professions would cost at least 100,000 gold. Talented Engineers and Tinkerers were especially hard to find. Thankfully, Nie Yan had given him a list of names, so all he had to do was go down the list. As for Miners, that was a far simpler task. He could recruit five or six hundred in a heartbeat. It was just a shame they couldn’t spare the manpower for mining expeditions in the middle of a war.
Generally, a whole map had to be cleared followed by the construction of a mine before operations could commence.
Doing anything required gold. Wars especially were expensive. It was crucial Nie Yan took full advantage of the Dark Portal!
「Hurry back after you’re finished with your business in the Underworld. Also, that Jewelcrafter you asked me to look for, I’ve already found him,」Guo Huai concluded.
「Alright.」Nie Yan had asked Guo Huai to help him find an Advanced Jewelcrafter because he wanted to use the five Radiant Gems in his possession to upgrade his special items.
The two chatted for a while before hanging up. One of the benefits of the game capsule was that it could link both in-game and real life communications. If Guo Huai had something important to report, he could exit the game and give Nie Yan’s phone a call. Like this, they could circumvent the no-communication restriction when players were in the territories of different factions, allowing Nie Yan to control Asskickers United remotely.
Nie Yan returned his attention to the group of Lava Giants ahead of him. He carefully studied their paths in an attempt to figure out a pattern. Even after intently observing them for a long time, he failed to discover an opening. Do I really have to kill all of them to reach the top of the pillar?
Suddenly, Nie Yan heard the faint sound of trickling water. He investigated further and discovered an underground lake hidden beneath the thick layers of rock. The maps in Conviction were always full of surprises. He hid under a crevice and slowly crawled over there before dipping his finger into the water. Surprisingly, it wasn’t hot at all. He dived in head-first and was greeted by a beautiful underwater world, where the only light was the scant rays that slipped through the cracks between the layers of rock.
As Nie Yan passed by a few crevices, he could see the Lava Giants roaming around above him. After swimming for 150 meters, the pillar was within reach.
Climbing back up to the surface through a crevice, Nie Yan discovered several Lava Giants roaming nearby. He hurriedly activated Disappear and took advantage of the increased Cloaking to approach the pillar and start his ascend.
A moment later, Nie Yan reached the top of the pillar. There he saw an eye calmly floating above a one-meter tall pedestal. It looked like a dazzling emerald emitting a brilliant splendor. It occasionally swiveled around as if it were still alive.
This was Empress Finas’ Eye!
This was the second Occult Item in the quest! Recalling the previous experience with Empress Finas’ Fang, Nie Yan equipped the Detoxifying Marble into his accessory slot before reaching out to take the eye. Suddenly, it trembled and locked onto him.
Nie Yan was struck by a powerful force, every nerve in his body firing off all at once as his skin turned deathly pale.
This was the effect of an Advanced poison!
Nie Yan felt stiff all over as his body was paralyzed. Even moving his fingers was difficult.
Nie Yan hurriedly activated the Detoxifying Marble as he felt a warm energy course through him and slowly expel the poison.
Nie Yan finally regained control of his body. With the Detoxifying Marble still in effect, he grabbed Empress Finas’ Eye. It resisted violently, trying to break free from his palm. However, his grip remained firm. It gradually lost its brilliance and transformed into an ordinary looking marble.
Nie Yan examined the properties of Empress Finas’ Eye.
Empress Finas’ Eye (Quest Item): Occult Item
Description: Attacks inflict the enemy with poison and reduces their movement speed by 30%.
It was the second of three Occult Items, and boasted pretty decent properties. Nie Yan checked his quest log.
Quest Progress: Search for Empress Finas’ Venom Sac, Occult Item (2/3).
One more to go… Nie Yan wondered what sort of reward he would get for completing this quest. As for whether it would end there or continue on into another quest, he wasn’t too sure.
Nie Yan put away Empress Finas’ Eye in his bag. Although he had collected the eye, Bennett’s Soul didn’t look like it was ready to stop. It danced around him and tried to guide him somewhere else.
Surveying his surroundings, Nie Yan spotted a crevice below the pillar. He jumped back down and dove into the water. He started swimming forward, following after Bennett’s Soul.
Gazing down at the serene depths of the lake, all Nie Yan saw was a large span of darkness along with the faint glow of lava here and there. Large clusters of gas bubbles would occasionally rise up and cloud his vision.
Nie Yan was eventually led to an underwater ridge. As he moved along the ridge, he discovered another cave.
I should still have enough breath left. Nie Yan swam into the cave. Travelling deeper inside, he noticed man-made scribblings on the walls. Could someone be living here?
Pushing these doubts to the back of his mind, Nie Yan pressed forward. As he looked around, he noticed all sorts of strange veiny runes drawn into the walls. They were made out of a black substance and stretched all the way into the depths of the cave.
Nie Yan eventually arrived in a stone room, where he could see the flicker of a figure’s shadow. Any monster or NPC that was residing here would at least be Level 80!
Nie Yan became wary. He slowed his movements and entered stealth. The stone room was roughly 50 by 50 meters, and was completely empty save for an NPC in tattered clothes sitting at the center. He was surrounded by black rope-like lines which converged on him and extended out all across the floor and walls.
This was a sealing formation!
Nie Yan looked at the NPC’s face and saw a bare white skull with two red flames flickering in the eye sockets.
It was an undead NPC!
Nie Yan’s heart tightened. At this moment, the NPC raised his head and looked in his direction. He felt like he was completely laid bare under his gaze.
“Human, what are you doing here?” the NPC asked in the Ancient Common Language, his voice hoarse.
The Modern Common Language had replaced the Ancient Common Language in the Viridian Empire hundreds of years ago. This meant the NPC had been around since at least the Era of Shared Governance!