Reincarnation Of The Strongest Sword God - Chapter 5-6
Chapter 5 - Black Market Challenge
As the Luxurious Jewelry Box slowly opened, a dazzling array of multicolored light burst out from within.
Fortunately, Shi Feng was currently standing inside a dark alley;there were no players who would wander over here. Otherwise, such a spectacle would have incited the greed in their hearts and Shi Feng would be killed and robbed.
When the glowing brilliance faded, a simple silver necklace and a purple-gold ring could be seen lying inside the Luxurious Jewelry Box. Carved on the ring's exterior were words resembling the ancient language of Elves and within them stored a tremendous magical power.
"Fortunately, it is still the Ring of Gravity." Shi Feng let loose his breath when he saw the appearance of the ring. Carefully, he took the ring out of the box and inspected it.
[Ring of Gravity] (Mysterious-Iron Rank)
Equipment Level: 0
Strength +2, Agility +1, Endurance +1
Additional Skill: 'Gravity Liberation'. Greatly reduces the gravity acting upon the user. Duration 30 seconds. Cooldown 5 minutes.
"Great! It's not just Bronze rank." After reading the item's introduction, Shi Feng became extremely excited. The situation was far better than he had expected.
The Equipment in God's Domain was categorized into Trash, Common, Bronze, Mysterious-Iron, Secret-Silver, Fine-Gold, Dark-Gold, and Epic.
At the start of the game, players only received Trash Equipment from the System. This equipment was utterly worthless. At this stage of the game, however, there were no players who possessed Common Equipment. While you could buy Common Equipment in large cities, the prices were costly. As for Bronze ranked, those were extremely rare and they also came with additional attributes. Mysterious-Iron Equipment, however, only dropped from Bosses and, needless to say, they were even more precious.
In Shi Feng's previous life, the Ring of Gravity obtained by the player was only Bronze ranked. It gave only an additional 1 point to Strength. The skill 'Gravity Liberation,' as well, only lasted for 15 seconds. It was a surprise to Shi Feng that completing the Quest at Level 0 would earn him a Mysterious-Iron Ring of Gravity.
As for the necklace, it was just a Gray Item. NPC merchants coveted these items and they were willing to buy them at high prices.
After wearing the Ring of Gravity, Shi Feng added the 4 Free Ability Points that came from leveling up all into Agility.
Shi Feng's Agility rose to 12 points, his Attack Speed to 5 points, and his Movement Speed to 6 points. He could almost rival a pure Agility Assassin of the same Level now.
"My Agility will reach 20 points after rising to Level 3. At that time, I can unlock the Hidden Basic Skill of the Agility System." Shi Feng looked at his Attribute Panel in anticipation.
Shi Feng moved his body, feeling it become a lot livelier than before. He wouldn't be in his previous sorry state if he were to face off with Town Mayor Cross, right now. If his Agility reached twenty points, the condition of his body would become even greater after activating the Basic Skill [Fast And Nimble];he could even rival against those Wulin Experts depicted in Wuxia novels.
Afterward, Shi Feng added 15 of the Free Mastery Points towards his One-Handed Sword Mastery, keeping the remaining 5 points for future use. With his One-Handed Sword Mastery now at a total of 20 points, Shi Feng advanced from Apprentice to Basic Swordsman and the additional damage dealt by using a one-handed sword increased to 10%. He was still 30 Mastery Points away from advancing to an Intermediate Swordsman.
Regular attacks were only the basics for a Swordsman. If one wanted to become an expert with the sword, Skills were a must-have. The more, the better, as this would create more flexibility when in battle, thereby allowing the Swordsman to dish out greater Damage.
Shi Feng was both an expert of the sword and a person who had been reincarnated. Now that he had a special tool such as the Ring of Gravity, he needed a large amount of Swordsman Skills to display the true potential of a Swordsman. He could then level up at a fast pace. Otherwise, it was impossible to increase the efficiency of killing monsters by relying on normal attacks.
"I recall there being a Black Market Challenge in Red Leaf Town's Trade Area. Players who cleared the challenge for the first time would be able to obtain a skill book for Swordsman." Most skill books dropped from monsters around Levels 3 to 5 and their drop rates were pitifully low. At this stage of the game, there were still no players capable of grinding those monsters. It would be a big waste of time if Shi Feng wanted to obtain the other skill books for Swordsman. He also did not have the time for it. So, the Black Market Challenge was the only way for Shi Feng to quickly obtain a skill book in Red Leaf town.
Trade Area of Red Leaf Town
Shops filled both sides of the street. There were pharmacies, smithies, bars and more;it was extremely flourishing, just like a small market. However, the current trade area wasn't as lively as it should be. It hasn't been long since God's Domain started its operation, so most players were busy leveling up instead of enjoying what God's Domain had to offer. As a result, there was only the minority of Lifestyle players staying here. They were here to learn Auxiliary Jobs such as Enchanter, Forger, Pharmacist, Chef, Engineer, Alchemist, etc.
"Buying herbs at a high price, contact me directly if you have any."
"Buying ores;rip-offs can stay away."
"Sincerely buying high ranking equipment. Price is negotiable. Willing to pay with Credits."
Many logistics staffers of Workshops and Guilds had set up a small stall by the roadside of the Trade Area. They were mainly here to buy items and equipment.
Shi Feng quickly headed towards a two-storied building without halting. High-ranking Gnomes guarded the building, and above the building read 'Black Market'. This place was the dark side of Red Leaf Town and it was a place of entertainment built by the greedy Gnomes.
The Gnome's Auction House could be seen just after entering the Black Market. Going down along the basement staircase led to two empty fields;one was the Battle Arena, while the other was the field for the Challenge Race.
At the moment, several players were standing in front of the field. They were receiving the Gnomes' challenge.
"Good luck! You have to succeed this time!"
"Good luck! Stomp those Gnomes!"
A few players were currently cheering with all their might for an Assassin player that stood on the field. Their reddened eyes made them look no different than crazed gamblers.
The Challenge Race could be considered a testing grounds for a player's capabilities. Once a player entered the trial grounds, all their Attributes would be fixed at 10 points, their skills disabled, and their equipment rendered useless. Within the 30-yards-long and 10-yards-wide field, players were only allowed to block or dodge the incoming shots from the Gnome's muskets. A victory would ensue once players arrived at the finishing point.
The Gnomes gave out three ranks of challenges: Copper Prize, Silver Prize, and Gold Prize. After a challenge was completed, there would be a three-day cooldown. There was a fee of 5 Coppers for the Copper Prize, 5 Silvers for the Silver Prize, and 5 Gold for the Gold Prize. Naturally, the higher ranked the challenge, the greater the prize. There was even the chance of obtaining a Dark-Gold Equipment.
However, if a player obtained the First Clear for the challenge in Red Leaf Town, the reward of Copper Prize may be comparable even to the Silver Prize.
In Shi Feng's previous life, this First Clear was obtained by a Swordsman named Fierce Gale and the person had received a rare skill book for Swordsman.
After a short while, the Assassin on the field was struck. His body lay at the 20-yards mark, still ten yards away from the final point.
"Despicable. Just a little bit more. Do you guys still have money? I'll definitely clear it the next time." The male Assassin said after reviving from the field.
A male Cleric shook his head saying, "Boss Stabbing Heart, the five of us have already given you all our money. We don't have anymore."
By the side, Shi Feng shifted his sight towards the Assassin. He was shocked after hearing the two words 'Stabbing Heart'.
The person's body was covered in black clothing. He had a short and skinny stature, just like a monkey. Shi Feng could hardly believe that the 'monkey' in front of him was Stabbing Heart, the Assassin who ranked at number 10 on Star-Moon Kingdom's Assassin Leaderboard.
The Assassin named Stabbing Heart shifted his gaze onto Shi Feng. After sizing Shi Feng up, his eyes revealed a gaze as if they had just found prey. With a smile, he walked up to Shi Feng and said, "Nice to meet you, friend. I'm Stabbing Heart, Assassin Squad Leader of the [Assassin's Alliance]. Lend 5 Coppers to me and I'll return 20 Coppers to you tomorrow. How about it?"
Stabbing Heart was just ten yards away from the final point this time, so he was unwilling to accept defeat. He had already figured out some of the challenge's patterns;he would be able to clear it if given another chance. Hence, he thought of using his Guild's name to shock and awe Shi Feng into lending him 5 Coppers.
The Assassin's Alliance was a large Guild that was well known in the world of virtual gaming. Any veteran gamer would know this name. Someone capable of becoming the squad leader for Assassins was definitely a great expert, a figure that was respected by many players. Instead of lending, the average player would definitely just give the 5 Coppers to gain some favors.
"5 Coppers is it?" After some thinking, Shi Feng answered: "I can lend you the 5 Coppers, but you have to pay back 50 Coppers tomorrow."
Stabbing Heart was surprised. He was Stabbing Heart, the Assassin's Alliance's famous Assassin Squad Leader. However, Shi Feng's uncourteous reaction was completely different than what he had imagined it would be. Could Shi Feng be a rookie gamer?
Seeing Stabbing Heart staying silent, Shi Feng asked, "Still borrowing?"
"I'll borrow." Stabbing Heart wanted to weep. Other players would be going 'Expert, expert!' when they met him, yet Shi Feng showed no such reaction. However, when he thought about the bountiful reward awaiting him, even 50 Coppers was worth it.
"Here's 5 Coppers. Let's add each other as friends. Don't forget to return 50 Coppers to me tomorrow." Shi Feng took 5 Coppers out of the 60 he obtained from selling the necklace, not forgetting to remind Stabbing Heart to return the 50 Coppers.
With tears flowing down his face, Stabbing Heart received the 5 Coppers and said, "Fine. I won't forget."
Not knowing what Stabbing Heart was thinking, Shi Feng walked away after the trade was completed. He headed towards the green-skinned Gnome who was the Challenge Race's administrator.
"Sir, time is money. What business do you have?" The Gnome administrator said so in a lofty tone.
"I want to enter the Copper Prize Challenge." Shi Feng said as he handed over 5 Coppers.
After flipping the Copper coins a few times, the Gnome nodded his head in approval. He opened the wooden door to the Challenge Race, allowing Shi Feng to enter.
"Ladies and gentlemen, we have a new challenger on the field. Please let us welcome this brave Swordsman." The gnome loudly announced.
"Boss Stabbing Heart, the kid that lent you money is participating in the Challenge Race," the male Cleric pointed out.
The resting Stabbing Heart laughingly said, "That kid's just a rookie. Does he think the Challenge Race is so easy? Even though the distance is only 30 yards, the Gnomes' attack pattern will change after you get past 15 yards and their attack rates greatly increase. Not to mention, even I have difficulty facing them."
"That's for sure! Even an expert such as Boss Stabbing Heart could only reach 20 yards. I'm guessing that kid will, at most, reach five yards before being done in." The male Cleric nodded with a smile.
Inside the field, the three Gnomes standing at the finishing line readied their muskets, aiming them towards Shi Feng.
Above the challenge field, the timer started counting down.
Chapter 6 - Stunning Skills
The instant the countdown ended...
Shi Feng's body leaned forward and his legs bent. Just like a leopard, he dashed away from the starting line with explosive force.
By the time the muskets had started ringing and shooting towards the starting line, Shi Feng was already three yards away.
Subsequently, another volley of musket shots rang out;a total of six bullets shot towards Shi Feng's path. Several green lines indicating the trajectory of the bullets covered Shi Feng's body. Shi Feng would become a sieve if his reactions were not keen.
Just as the bullets were about to hit, Shi Feng dodged to the right with a sidestep. He rushed forward once more, after avoiding the second volley of shots.
Bullet casings fell to the ground consistently as the three Gnomes continued to aim and shoot. However, Shi Feng avoided them with the vigor of a leopard, every single time. The way he stayed a step ahead of the bullets made it seem as if he had control over them.
"It can't be. He's already at the 10-yard-mark." Seeing Shi Feng taking less than five seconds to reach the 10-yard-mark, the male Cleric couldn't help but be shocked;it was only a half of Stabbing Heart's time.
Stabbing Heart became speechless by the side. He silently watched Shi Feng's advance.
He had originally thought of Shi Feng as a fresh noob;someone that he didn't know of and someone that came to the Challenge Race for fun. Yet, the speed and accuracy Shi Feng just displayed were like a veteran who had tempered himself for countless years on the Challenge Race. Every move of his was straightforward and efficient, something a rookie definitely couldn't pull off. Even Stabbing Heart himself, after going through the challenge several times, felt he couldn't do any better.
Stabbing Heart had the pride of an expert. He did not think that Shi Feng could be stronger than he was. He explained, "With such nimbleness, maybe this rookie is an athlete or someone who trained in martial arts. However, the Gnomes will change their attack patterns after he goes past 15 yards. He won't be able to hold it, by that time."
"You're right, boss. If it's someone that isn't known to our Assassin's Alliance, he definitely isn't an expert. He'll surely be shocked once he reaches 15 yards. Then, he'll turn into a beehive."
"Right. After 15 yards, the number of bullets fired will be twelve. The target would also no longer be focused on the player, himself. Instead, it'll cover a wide area. Dodging to either side won't be an option."
The other members of Assassin's Alliance voiced their agreements. They, too, had already witnessed such a scene before, seven to eight times, at that.
Stabbing Heart passed 15 yards on his first challenge. In the subsequent challenges, however, his furthest distance was 20 yards. The difficulty after 15 yards was clear to behold.
"He went past 15 yards," an Assassin's Alliance member commented.
Stabbing Heart and the others quickly focused their sights on Shi Feng, wanting to see Shi Feng's performance.
On the field, the three Gnomes became enraged once Shi Feng stepped past the 15-yard-line. They no longer aimed as they fired their muskets with wild abandon.
Suddenly, the bullet trajectory-indicators within Shi Feng's sight covered a large area. There were only three bullets that would hit Shi Feng. However, it was game over if even a single bullet hit its mark.
"Finally, showing your shameless behavior, eh?" Shi Feng revealed an indifferent smile. Unsheathing his Novice Sword, Shi Feng used it to greet the bullets.
In his previous life, Shi Feng was always busy with work and leveling up as the captain of Shadow;he had no time to play the Challenge Race. However, he had seen it quite a few times, so he still had a clear understanding of the Challenge Race. He knew the Gnomes would change their attack patterns after the 15-yard-line.
The fifteen-yard distance of the Black Market's Challenge Race was a bar that tested a player's operating skills. Only those who passed it could be considered to have entry-level operating skills. However, a majority of the players required two or three months before being able to reach this level;a minority took a month. There were only a scant few experts capable of passing it in one try. Stabbing Heart was one of those few experts.
Three bullets were about to hit Shi Feng's head, chest, and arm, three locations.
"As expected, this kid's no good. The bullets are too numerous and too spread out. He's already forgotten to dodge them. He's even dashing ahead like an idiot." Stabbing Heart knew it was foolishness when he saw Shi Feng rushing towards the bullets. Did he think the challenge would continue if he were just shot by one or two bullets?
Right this moment, Shi Feng's head shifted. He waved his Novice Sword, creating a white streak of light.
A spark was created. Shi Feng had waved the Novice Sword just at the right spot, effortlessly hitting the bullet that aimed at his chest.
The threat of the three bullets was simply resolved by Shi Feng. He had, once more, advanced another section of the distance.
Yet, the three Gnomes did not stop firing. The muskets in their hands were like machine guns, firing volley after volley of bullets. Within an instant, Shi Feng faced off with another five bullets. There were also bullets all around that prevented him from dodging.
Dang! Dang! Dang!
Shi Feng swiftly moved his body while waving his sword to deflect the unavoidable bullets. As the bullets passed by his body, his ears could even hear the air being split.
Only three seconds went by and Shi Feng had passed through the 20-yard-mark. He was only 10 yards away from the finishing point.
"Crap. Boss, who is this kid? He actually used his sword to block the bullets." The male Cleric widened his eyes in surprise. Shi Feng had given him an indescribable sense of shock.
Although the bullet trajectories were indicated, accurately blocking them was easier said than done. Such an action required extreme precision and skill to carry out. Not to mention, the margin of error allowed was a damnable one.
Stabbing Heart suddenly became speechless. Deflecting bullets with a weapon was like walking on a thread of wire high up in the sky;a single misstep would send you plunging into the abyss. As if he was enjoying it, Shi Feng blocked the oncoming bullets over and over. Whereas, the bullets seemed to have a life of their own, intentionally avoiding Shi Feng's body as they flew past.
"Boss, that Swordsman has run past 25 yards. He'll definitely pass the finish line at this rate." The male Cleric's heart became a chaotic mess as he watched Shi Feng danced forward, sparks occasionally flashing in front of his body.
"I have eyes. I don't need you to remind me." Stabbing Heart said in annoyance. He was deeply drawn in by Shi Feng's actions.
The moment Shi Feng went past 25 yards...
"Die, challenger." One of the Gnomes at the finish line laughed. The Gnome took out an automatic musket, sending a wave of bullets towards Shi Feng.
Suddenly, the number of bullets increased to twenty-four. Not only that, their distance from Shi Feng was a mere 5 yards. It was an unavoidable distance for players.
"Hell! This is cheating!" Stabbing Heart unwillingly shouted.
The other players became extremely nervous when they saw the scene and they couldn't help but curse at the shamelessness of the Gnomes.
Facing the hail of bullets, Shi Feng quickly turned grave. Although he had known about the second change at the 25-yard-mark, even he would panic in the face of so many bullets.
Shi Feng bent his knees, leaping forward like a leopard. He darted headfirst towards the area with the least amount of bullets, reducing the surface area of his body that would come into contact with the bullets. Following which, he madly waved the Novice Sword, simultaneously creating four streaks of white light.
Peng! Peng! Peng! Peng!
After a series of sparks, Shi Feng's body passed through the storm of bullets.
The moment his body was about to make contact with the ground, his free arm pressed downwards. Shi Feng quickly stood up with all his might, rushing past the finish line like a bolt of lightning.
Total time spent: 14 seconds. Estimated record time of 18 seconds for Copper Prize broken.
"Ng… I'm really not used to this soft and weak body," Shi Feng slightly lamented after passing through the finish line. If he was over Level 100, with his body's constitution, he could easily carry out the four simultaneous sword slashes with great ease.
"Ladies and Gentlemen, a round of applause! This Swordsman has passed the challenge!" The Gnome administrator announced loudly.
System: Player was the First to pass the Copper Challenge and break the record. Rewarding player with 1 Silver Coin and Swordsman Skill [Thundering Flash].
"It can't be. It actually gave out the super-rare skill, Thundering Flash. This is a skill that even a Swordsman over Level 100 can't get." Shi Feng thought he was hallucinating. However, he was shocked when he saw the Thundering Flash skill book inside his bag.
[Thundering Flash] (Action-type)
Rapidly send out three sword lights to 10- x 2-yards forward. Each hit will cause 130% damage and also give a Damage Amplification effect, amplifying the damage of your following attacks by 20% for 15 seconds.
Cooldown: 30 seconds
Without a second thought, Shi Feng clicked and learned the skill.
Swordsman was a Job that mainly focused on dealing damage to single targets;it didn't have many powerful AOE skills. Thundering Flash was one of the few powerful AOE skills a Swordsman possessed. If it were learned during the early periods, it would definitely create a huge gap from the other Swordsman.
After learning Thundering Flash, Shi Feng started to feel himself gaining the makings of a Swordsman.
"You guys continue playing;I'll be leaving first. Don't forget my 50 Coppers." Shi Feng looked towards the dumbfounded Stabbing Heart, leaving the Black Market after calling out to them.
Stabbing Heart indifferently nodded his head.
"Boss, he's gone. He took away the prize, as well. Should we chase after him?" the male Cleric asked.
Stabbing Heart's shock gradually faded after Shi Feng left. He stared at the male Cleric, scolding, "Are you an idiot? We'll be lucky if we have time to even curry up to such an expert Swordsman. Making enemies of him? Are you courting death?"
"Not good. I have to tell this to Guild Leader. Luckily, I added him as a friend. Is he called Ye Feng? I can't believe I've never heard of such an expert. Could he be some sword expert in disguise?" Stabbing Heart acknowledged that he could not pass the challenge in such a magnificent way. Especially the last bout after the 25-yard-mark;that was just cheating. It was impossible for players to block or dodge. Yet, Shi Feng had done it.
At the Trade Area, Shi Feng met with Potion Master Kevin. He spent 120 Coppers purchasing 20 [Exploding Berry], instantly shrinking his wealth down to 30 Coppers.
However, he still spent it, all to level at the speed of a rocket.
Shi Feng took the Exploding Berries and left Red Leaf Town, running westward.
At that moment, all players were at Level 0, and all of them were killing Level 0 monsters around Red Leaf Town. There were also a few with good techniques killing Level 1 Baby Wolves in a party. A Warrior tanking at the front and a damage dealer and healer behind, fighting together in an orderly manner. Although the EXP was shared between several people, the efficiency was a lot higher and there were fewer competitors.
However, Shi Feng did not plan to compete with these people. Passing through the Level 1 monster area, followed by the Level 3 monster area, Shi Feng headed straight towards Red Leaf Forest, a Level 5 monster area. There were no players who would go there.
There were still no players who dared to challenge Level 5 monsters at this stage of the game. Not only was there the suppression due to the difference in levels but there was also the significant disparity in HP and Attack Power. A Level 5 monster could easily steamroll over a Level 1 player. Even a 6-man-party was no match for a Level 5 monster.
There was a heavy penalty whenever a player died. Not only would they lose an entire Level's worth of EXP but their Skill Proficiency would also be decreased. There were simply no players who would take the risk. Otherwise, hours of their hard earned EXP and Proficiency would become pointless.