Chapter 303: Nightstar—Identity Revealed
Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
The first and foremost thing to do in a Herb Gathering was to identify the part of the plant that provided the best medicinal value using one’s Insight. The next step was to precisely determine the plant’s most suitable cutting point—the better the grade of the herb, the higher the magical power it contained and the stronger its branches would be. If the herb was mishandled, the cut would only cause irreversible damage to the valuable plant. Thus, it was certainly not an ideal strategy to harvest the herb in a hasty, reckless manner.
Qin Ruo spent a full ten seconds in completely identifying the herb. He was both surprised and jubilant at the same time. Once he figured out where the best cutting point was, his hand that was glowing with purple radiance fell quickly and accurately onto the position he had just pinpointed.
‘Grade 3 Herb! This must be a Grade 3 Herb!’
For a Grade 4 herb like Dreamy Blue Ice Chrysanthemum, Qin Ruo only needed five seconds to determine where the cutting point was. Hence, even though Qin Ruo was made restless by the prolonged identification process, his mind was no doubt filled with happiness and excitement at the same time.
He should have known better that a herb growing within the rift of the Dimensional Portal would be no ordinary plant. The jump point which supplied endless magical power was certainly a great nursery for high-grade plants to develop in. Furthermore, it was impossible that those prideful God-tier champions would allow such low-grade herbs to grow randomly under their watch.
Despite his excitement, Qin Ruo quickly calmed himself down. This was necessary because Herb Gathering was meticulous work. Only one with a tranquil mind would be able to extract the herb flawlessly.
Throughout the extraction process, Qin Ruo’s eyes and focus were solely conquered by the never before seen herb wobbling before him. The herb which looked grand, mysterious, and elegant was also appealing to the eye.
Gathering is successfully executed. Gained Grade 3 Material Nightstar!
When the herb was finally extracted and in Qin Ruo’s hand, its charm remained as it continued to sway in Qin Ruo’s palm.
In the midst of it all, a giant shade began to engulf Qin Ruo without prior warning.
Qin Ruo was momentarily shaken by the oncoming threat. He soon heard the nervous chirp of Poochie coming from behind him, followed by the dissatisfied roar of the Amethyst Orc.
Qin Ruo’s mind went astray after the commotion but he quickly figured the situation out—it was Cerberus, the guardian that had the ability to return to the Dimensional Portal.
Suddenly, as if he were dropped from heaven to hell, Qin Ruo felt his balance leaving him as he went dizzy.
Near the waterfall entrance, Brony and his group were still wondering who the guy that had successfully infiltrated the grotto under their watch was. They were also pondering on the how the invading champion had managed to obtain such a powerful Boss Sealed Core. While Qin Ruo had been concentrating on the herb, they were busy trying to guess what the Aquamancer had found…
Their attention was directed away from Qin Ruo when the Cerberus once again disappeared into thin air. Then, their heartbeat quickened as they saw the monster appear directly on top of the mysterious champion. They could not tell whether they were surprised or happy.
But one thing was for sure—the mysterious champion was going to meet his end.
Cerberus was indeed a Tier 5 Boss. And it was by luck perhaps that it was also an extremely rare creature—it was a monster that could simultaneously release three spells of different elements.
Water, Fire, and Shadow-type spells, all at once!
During the earlier battle against the Amethyst Orc, Cerberus had been in total control. The Boss had continuously released elemental spells, offensive spells, and barriers. The timely alternation between the three different types of skills had forced the Amethyst Orc to enter defensive mode.
Brony could tell that if it were not for the Amethyst Orc’s high HP and its slight advantage in melee battle, the Orc would have long been destroyed by Cerberus now. So, what were the odds that the defenseless champion would come out victorious in a battle against the merciless monster? Zero.
Even if the Aquamancer had dual defense activated and was equipped with a Tier 4 shield that could sustain a lethal blow, it would still be futile against Cerberus’ triple attack.
An attack from one Cerberus head was most likely more than enough to completely shatter the Tier 4 defensive shield, while the impact of two subsequent attacks would definitely hammer through the barrier and crush the caster to death.
The fight, however, took an unexpected turn.
As expected, Cerberus launched its attack, and rather quickly. Before Qin Ruo could back away, an inferno was already blazing under Cerberus’ feet.
But in the next moment, Qin Ruo was seen drawing himself out from the blazing flames.
‘A single spell? Why did the Cerberus only use one spell this time?!’
It seemed that Brony had gloated upon Qin Ruo’s seemingly ill fate a little too early.
While cursing Cerberus, Qin Ruo could not thank lady luck enough. He never thought that the almighty God-tier champion would degradedemote himself and use such a nifty ambush technique against him for gathering a Grade 3 Herb. ‘Darn it!’ Luckily, it seemed that some sort of restriction was in place for such rapid short distance teleportation by the hellhound, which was temporary immobility and disability to use the power of its other two heads.
‘This must be to give those who wish to enter the Underworld a lifeline.’ A true master with Tier 5 ability would certainly survive the direct fire attack, while rookies, like those from Netherspirit’s Claw, would no doubt be burned to ashes already.
Qin Ruo quickly withdrew and went further away from the inferno after he narrowly escaped death.
Though the previous attack had not hurt him much, the Darkfrost Shield had lost 126 Endurance Points. ‘If I were hit by the same attack once more…’
Right as he was imagining the dreadful outcome, a condensed fire bullet was fired right behind him. Then, Qin Ruo was greeted with the unfortunate news that his Darkfrost Shield had dissipated under the attack.
Fortunately, he had just moved out of Cerberus’ effective attack range. He commanded the Amethyst Orc and Poochie to protect him while he dashed toward the left flank of the grotto. Qin Ruo resisted the urge to put the Amethyst Orc up against Cerberus so soon despite the latter being limited to only one-third of its original power at such a crucial moment. He did not overlook the fact that the restriction would only last ten seconds at most.
He did not wish to be ambushed by the hellhound from the back a second time. So when he fled from the Dimensional Portal, he also avoided the position where it was initially at when it disappeared not long ago.
Qin Ruo first checked the Amethyst Orc’s condition while distancing himself and discovered that its initial one hundred thousand HP had dropped to less than twenty thousand, while Poochie had suffered little damage thanks to its flexibility and lightning speed. Pressure was taken off Qin Ruo as he felt relief, knowing that two of his comrades were safe.
‘Based on such speed, I supposed it is possible to gather all three Night Stars.’
Qin Ruo wasted no time and tried to heal the Amethyst Orc while fleeing. Although he was clearly aware that the effect of healing under such condition was suboptimal at most, he still felt obligated to do something as the Orc had fought for him wholeheartedly by putting its own life at stake.
When they finally stopped somewhere far enough, Cerberus remained stagnant in front of the Dimensional Portal and continued to roar viciously at their direction.
Qin Ruo ignored the enraged Cerberus and kept on casting Aquaheal on the Orc as he spotted Brony and his gang standing near the waterfall entrance.
‘Hmph. They still chose to come in after all. Forget it. You guys better not try anything funny or you will have yourself to blame.’
A sense of cruelty flashed past Qin Ruo’s eyes.
“Brony, I think we’d better leave.” Two Bowmasters of the party swallowed a mouthful of saliva and offered the suggestion cowardly. They could tell that the mysterious champion was greatly displeased by their presence. They even vividly felt the chilling sensation emanating from Qin Ruo’s eyes a while ago.
“Leave? Stop being cowards!”
Brony hyperventilated while he fixed his gaze upon the treasure chest lying inside the grotto. He spoke with gritted teeth, “He is an Aquamancer, not a Bandit. Since he will not be able to open the treasure chest anyway, I don’t think he will mind letting us take it.”
The only Bandit in the party paled quickly after hearing this. He interjected, “But…”
“Cut the crap. You may go first and pick any two items from inside after that.”
Brony reluctantly made the promise. Although this meant that he would need to surrender the two most valuable items in the chest to the Bandit, he had no other choice seeing that the guy was the only Bandit class in his party. The Bandit might not be willing to do it if he were not offered the most lucrative share.
The Bandit went quiet after hearing what he was offered. Then, he spoke with a pair of greedy eyes, “Alright! Just tell me when.”
Right after he finished the sentence, all of them noticed that Cerberus in front of the Dimensional Portal disappeared again and immediately reappeared at its original location.
Cerberus let out a ferocious cry and jumped over to Qin Ruo and the Amethyst Orc at about a hundred meters away.
The Amethyst Orc did not back off and instead growled back courageously. It then activated Violet Combat Aura and took on the familiar foe at an astonishing speed.
Brony urged his teammates loudly through the party channel. “Quick! While they’re fighting, dash over and open the box. Retrieve everything fast and run back to us with all your might!!”
The Bandit gave no reply and directly activated Stealth. He transformed into a dark silhouette and quickly disappeared from everyone’s vision.
Naturally, Qin Ruo was distracted by the Cerberus’ attack and did not realize a player had gone missing from Brony’s party.
After he carefully calculated the interval between the two short term teleportation made by the Cerberus, he understood that he had no time to waste if he wanted to gather the remaining two Night Stars. Thus, he had drafted a plan in his mind on how to stall Cerberus so that he could quickly approach the Dimensional Portal again.
The Amethyst Orc, Poochie, and Qin Ruo moved forward in succession to square off with the monster. Cerberus charged toward them maliciously with burning rage. It could not believe that the ambush had not worked out and the adventurer that had stolen Nightstars was still in one piece after its inferno attack.
As soon as the Amethyst Orc entered its attack range, the monster’s three mouths opened simultaneously.
Poof! Poof! Poof!
Blue Hail, Blaze Bullet, and Concentrated Corrosive Ball were shot out all at once.
The Amethyst Orc made a deep growl and suddenly accelerated as it saw the incoming spells. It moved a few meters horizontally to one side and caused the first three spells from the Cerberus to miss its target altogether.
Their distance shortened rapidly. Cerberus habitually placed a layer of Barrier around it and cast yet another two attacking spells. This time, a brown figure suddenly emerged on the Orc’s shoulder and leaped forward.
The Amethyst Orc roared and pried open Cerberus’ barrier. With the second round of the Cerberus attack nullified, the Orc pounded the Cerberus heavily and tossed it backward.
Before Cerberus could counterattack, the brown little figure used its laughable tiny body to follow up the attack and crashed onto the hellhound’s steely body like a high-speed bullet train.
Brony and his gang initially only bemoaned that Cerberus had lost the initial contact against the Amethyst Orc so quickly. But when they saw that the Cerberus was heavily injured again in mid-air, in which its monstrous body was blasted farther as if it was hit by a train, they were stumped.
In the midst of shallow breaths, the gang finally saw it. The culprit that damaged Cerberus in mid-air the second time and blasted it away was no other than a tiny monster that looked like a mouse.