Classmancers – A MOBA Esport Story is a Webnovel produced by DarkClaymore.
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Read WebNovel Classmancers – A MOBA Esport Story 151 Vanishing Presence
『You have killed an enemy!』
“Phew,” Nia breathed in relief. That was a little scary but it was over; she got that Knight. [Hmph, that’s what you get for trying to counter-pick me.]
Okay, what’s next? She had the entire map to herself so she could do whatever she wanted right now. What was the best play in this sort of situation?
In Nia’s experience, taking the red buff was generally a helpful move. Therefore, she headed toward the Ogre Camp at the bottom of the map. She made quick work of the Ogres there with the help of Smite and returned to lane to clear the incoming wave.
[That guy should still be dead.] Nia double-checked and tripe-checked the status screen to make sure the Knight still had a resp.a.w.n counter on him. [Ok, he’s still out. Let’s push for now.]
With her buffed attack power, Nia took out the enemy minions in a blink of an eye. With n.o.body to threaten her, she rotated around the enemy minions to strike them from behind for extra damage. The small fry fell one after another like flies.
Almost all her minions survived the clash so this was a great opportunity to push hard. However, Nia decided against it. Instead, she left her minions behind and went to farm the Wraith Camp on her side of the map.
[Better not risk it.] Just as she thought that, the enemy Knight returned to the lane to defend his Golem. Had Nia invaded together with her minions, the Knight would have caught her there and would have ended her whole career. Scary.
[Phew. Bullet dodged.] Nia sighed in relief while casually murdering the wraiths. There was n.o.body around to seriously threaten her so there was nothing to be wary of.
With that said, her HP dropped to 40% from all the recent fights she partic.i.p.ated in. This was a no-no. She couldn’t return to the lane in such a bad shape so she recalled back to the base.
By the time she returned to the lane, it was time for another minion wave to clash.
[She’s playing decent so far.] Yuel nodded to himself while spectating the match from his tablet. [A little too safe to my taste but decent nonetheless.]
Instead of rushing to push the Golem, Nia chose the safe approach of securing both red and blue buffs. There were countless players in Duel who overextended as soon as they scored the first kill so Nia’s cautious decision was a smart one. Though, maybe she was just too cautious for her own good in general. That might be a playstyle weakness but it was too early to judge.
In real-time, on Vincent’s screen, the minion waves already clashed at the center of the map. Nia has just returned from the base with full HP. Now, how will she fight from this advantageous position?
Thanks to her kill and the extra farming, she made up for all the exp she lost during the laning phase. In fact, she got ahead of Vincent by now. On top of that, she had both the red and the blue buff. So, the power and cooldown of her skills were enhanced. She had the high ground in every way imaginable so she could go for another kill attempt.
Of course, Vincent understood that too. Hence, he didn’t advance to the frontline like before. Instead, he cautiously hanged at the edge of the frontline and waited to see what move Nia will make.
But, nothing of note was happening. Nia didn’t leave her Golem area to clear minions and she didn’t go into stealth to sneak up to Vincent. So, it didn’t look like she was planning to aggress on him any time soon.
[She’s not going to take advantage of her buffs?] Yuel wondered. Even though Nia went out of her way to get both buffs, it didn’t seem like she was going to capitalize on them. She kept played defensively, just like before she got the buffs.
[So, he’s not going to try getting revenge.] Nia twisted her lips. She hoped the Knight would be mad and do everything in his power to get a kill on her. Lots of players she fought in Duel were simple like that. Punishing them for such overextension and taking the game right there was the most fun; free victory.
Unfortunately, this Knight was cautious. He saw Nia as a threat, probably because she had the red buff. In other words, as long as she maintained this kind of advantage, the Knight actively registered her as a “threat” and paid attention to her. He must have been intently staring even at the slightest twitch she made. Scary.
“Brr,” Nia glanced around to make sure n.o.body else was watching her. Whether it was inside the game or outside of it, being stared was irking. She had to erase her presence anew.
“Oh? What’s this?” Vincent tilted his head. For some reason, Nia retreated back to her Golem area. “Is she luring me in?”
“Maybe she’s taking precaution,” Yuel said. “Her red buff should be running out soon.”
“Oh, so we’ll be back to square one then,” Vincent nodded. “Alrighty, I see how it is. She’s going to keep turtling then.”
“So it seems,” Yuel didn’t like that. Even though that incident was much due to Vincent’s carelessness, Nia successfully scored one kill off him. She should’ve taken full advantage of that momentum because she might not get a chance to generate another one. Vincent was more vigilant now and won’t fall for the same trick again.
[I guess this is going to be a fatigue match.] Vincent smiled wryly as Nia executed her favorite tactic again. She tossed a Smoke Bomb on him to aggro the minions toward herself, then fled to the Golem area to lure them to their death.
Even though Rogue was a dangerous a.s.sa.s.sin, the way Nia was playing made that fact irrelevant. Her job boiled down to luring minions toward her side of the lane and swiftly taking care of them. It was an interesting way to take advantage of stealth mechanic but it made her come across as a rather harmless opponent, quite the opposite of what an a.s.sa.s.sin player should aspire to be.
All Vincent had to do was deal with the leftover minions after Nia finishes her routine. It was a tad tedious to kill all these minions on his own but, at least, he got the exp advantage this way. He just had to optimize his farming during these situations to eventually out-level Nia and then dive under her Golem.
While the enemy minions were busy shooting at his minions, Vincent snuck up to them from behind and struck them down. It was the Secret Ninja Art! He was playing like the real a.s.sa.s.sin here!
Until now, Vincent has been farming the minions cautiously because he thought Nia might launch an attack at him at any moment. However, at this point, it was clear this “a.s.sa.s.sin” wasn’t going to lift a finger. She was like air and there was no need to pay much attention to her. Vincent just had to focus on the minions and optimize his farming.
As expected, the entire exchange ended without much action. Both sides finished clearing minions and awaited the next wave. Nia’s red buff was already gone, which made her even less of a threat. At this point, there was definitely nothing to worry about. At this rate, Vincent will have this one in the bag without even doing anything.
The next wave arrived and Vincent already prepared for it by advancing to the front. He planned to strike the enemy minions as soon as they focus their attention on his Dark Army of Evil. He was going to sacrifice his little demons for the sake of outvaluing his opponent! Muhahaha! Their deaths won’t be wasted!
[He advanced!] Nia clenched her controller. This was the moment. Has she erased her presence enough to pull this off? It was scary not knowing for sure but she had to give it a shot.
As usual, Nia started off by dumping a Smoke Bomb on Vincent and his minions. That made the minions venture on a long journey to seek revenge for their master. And, Nia was the target of their malice. Scary.
However, as long as she had Stealth, she could erase her presence against anybody; even bots couldn’t find her. She was like a professional ninja. Nin nin.
[Alrighty, she’s at it again,] Vincent smiled wryly as the familiar smoke obstructed his field of view. At this point, he didn’t even care about the fact he couldn’t see his surroundings for a brief moment. After going through this routine so many times, he could tell exactly what was going on out there by using his third eye.
Surely, Nia was retreating toward her Golem and Vincent’s minions were chasing her. He also ventured through the smoke toward the enemy side of the lane so he could farm the enemy minions as soon as possible.
[He’s advancing?] Yuel wondered. It made sense that Vincent wanted to start farming as soon as possible but it felt a little careless. After all, defensive or not, a Rogue was still a Rogue. It was a dangerous a.s.sa.s.sin that could kill even a bruiser from close quarters under the right circ.u.mstances. Hopefully, this wasn’t the beginning of another unfortunate incident…
[Alrighty, out of the smoke.] Vincent reached the light and could see the lane again. As expected, his minions have already reached the enemy Golem. And, as always, Nia went into stealth to deflect attention away from herself right before the minions got to her.
Nothing new was happening here so Vincent simply proceeded with his plan. He snuck up to the enemy minions and hacked away at the unsuspecting foes. It was the easiest laning of his life. He didn’t even really have to contest with-
“Eh!?” Vincent blinked. That wasn’t the sound of his basic attack. No, that slash came from somewhere else. It came from behind!
“Wha!?” Vincent jumped. It was impossible! Unfathomable! Nia was right behind him, driving her dagger through him!
“W-When!?” Vincent turned around in a hurry. This couldn’t be! What was this Phenomenon Intervention!? Nia was supposed to be all the way back at her Golem right now, clearing minions like always. How could she be all the way out here!? It was First Cla.s.s Magecraft!
Wait, was this even really BlackFlower attacking him!? Maybe this was her secret evil twin, WhiteFlower! Yes, that explained everything! Nia had a twin who waited in the shadows this entire time and snuck up to Vincent while he had all his attention concentrate on her! What a ploy!
[Anyway, real talk, this is pretty d.a.m.n bad!] Vincent gulped. First, he had to hide his back from this mysterious a.s.saulter. Whether this attacker was BlackFlower, WhiteFlower or GrayFlower, it was still a Rogue. Therefore, the damage from behind was devastating. He fell down all the way to 60% HP before he even got a chance to blink!
[I-It’s okay, I can turn this around.] Vincent clenched his mouse. [No matter what kind of magecraft or tricky you use, you shall not take down the Demonic Knight! No mere a.s.sa.s.sin can topple a knight!]
Vincent was the bruiser so he had a natural advantage at close-quarters. Rogue’s damage was high but it was a squishy cla.s.s. If Vincent just turns around and lands a couple of good hits, he’ll turn the entire situation around.
Therefore, to start off this Battle of Ragnarok, he opened an attack with Shield Bash! Alas, it gloriously missed! The enemy rolled away in the nick of time to dodge it.
[A marvelous dodge! As expected from a sneaky a.s.sa.s.sin! However, this was only the first taste. Now comes the coup de grace!]
Vincent followed up with Blade Swing, the skill with the most original name in the entire game! It did exactly what it said on the tin: a sword slash! What a surprise!
The slash connected and took a little over 10% HP of the mysterious enemy. Honestly, Vincent expected it to do way more against a Rogue.
[Oh, it must be Muramasa doing its work. The cursed blade of the jealous blacksmith, infused with the desire to acquire anything and everything from his opponents!]
The few surprise attacks the enemy unleashed at the beginning of the fight were crucial. They stole some of Vincent’s defenses and transferred them over to the a.s.saulter. This was such a nasty setup. Not only it made Vincent more vulnerable to incoming attacks but it also made the Rogue tankier than it should ever be.
Vincent hasn’t built much power yet so even a little bit of extra defense was super effective against his attacks. Darn, this was a disaster! A tragedy! Historians will be hard-pressed to find a more disastrous event in humanity’s entire history!
[I have to get out of here. Now.] Vincent rolled away toward the jungle. Since the enemy has already spent their Dodge Roll, she won’t be able to close the distance right away. So, if he just mounts Sleipnir fast enough- STAB!
“Excuse ma!?” Vincent jumped. The predator was already right behind him! And, her blade was digging deep into his back, delivering hefty damage! Unbelievable! How did she always appear behind him like this? Did this mysterious a.s.saulter possess the ability to stick the enemy’s back like a glue!? It must have been a ghost! A phantom! A stalker from the depths of the abyss!
Well, in truth, Vincent heard the swift dashing sound so he knew that was the work of Rogue’s Phantom Strike. The enemy blinked right after him and delivered a heavy blow, as well as stunned him because it was an attack from behind.
[I don’t feel so good.] Vincent gulped. He was already down to 25% HP. It was pointless to summon Sleipnir in this situation and he didn’t have any other escape tools at his disposal. On top of that, this heavy Knight had no chance of outrunning the nimble Rogue. It was over.
In a last-ditch effort, Vincent turned around and attacked the ghostly a.s.sailant. He had no chance of getting away so he might as well get some damage in. Unfortunately, this mentality was a lot more useful in the MOBA mode than in 1v1 so it didn’t do much for him…
『You have been killed!』
“Welp,” Vincent threw his back backward. “That was interesting indeed. I still have no idea what attacked me. Was it a doppelganger? A shadow clone!?”
“Huh? What are you on about?” Kai raised an eyebrow. “Who else could it be? Nia just did you in.”
“No, no, no. That’s impossible.”
“She wasn’t there. At least, she wasn’t supposed to be there,” Vincent insisted. “Wasn’t she clearing the minions at the Golem?”
“No,” Yuel said matter-of-factly. “She went into stealth as usual to deflect the aggro but then she snuck up to you while still in stealth. Did you even check whether she was really at the Golem?”
“I thought I did…” A jolt ran through Vincent. He checked Nia’s position right before he charged ahead, right? He saw her clearing minions at the Golem area, right?”
Actually, maybe he didn’t look. He got so used to that trite routine that he just charged in. After all, there was no doubt in his mind that things will play out exactly the same way as before. So, he just went along with it as if that was the case.
[That’s so not like me.] Vincent smiled wryly. How did his Information Blackhole fail him during such a critical moment? He was supposed to be capable of observing all the information that existed in this world and even to get a glimpse of the records of Akasha! And yet, he missed something so simple that was happening right under his nose. It was unreal.
Worst of all, this wasn’t the first time. His previous death was just as embarra.s.sing. This was the second time he failed to consider the possibility of Nia sneaking up to him.
What was wrong? Did his Information Blackhole not work today? Or, maybe…
“Are you doing this on purpose?” Yuel asked.
“Not at all,” Vincent claimed. “There’s something supernatural going on here. I haven’t discerned its true nature yet but my senses are tickling as the Arbiter of Talents. That girl got ‘something’.”
“Is that so,” Yuel rolled his eyes. As far as he was concerned, all that happened both times was Vincent lowering his guard for no good reason and paying dearly for it.
Yuel has seen similar scenarios before so it’s not like he was condemning Vincent per se. There was a vicious fox in StormBlitz whose specialty was to train the opponent to get used to a certain routine. Then, she subverted things at the most critical moment to pull the rug from under them. It felt similar to how Nia was playing.
Except, the way Nia did things didn’t look nearly as impressive as Ellen’s tricky. Not to mention, Vincent should have been the cautious and observant type who wouldn’t fall for such basic tactics. Even Ellen surely would have had trouble tricking him like that.
As such, frankly, these two deaths felt like intentional feeding. However, Vincent seemed bewildered by these developments as well. So, unless he was an Oscar-winning actor, he clearly didn’t intend to die during any of these incidents.
“I wonder,” Vincent turned to the others. “Was I the only one surprised by that ambush?”
“That came outta nowhere for me too,” Lars admitted. “Dude just popped outta thin air, yo!”
“No kidding,” Luke nodded. “I bet the girl was all like ‘You’ll never see it coming~’ while sneaking up to you.”
“I agree,” Kai nodded. “It was unexpected. Though, I would’ve dealt with it way better than Vincent did.”
[Wait, n.o.body expected something like this to happen?] Yuel frowned. To him, it was obvious that Vincent should tread carefully because Nia might launch an attack at any moment. Especially, considering she has already pulled a fast one on him last time. He should’ve been on maximum alert.
Therefore, the moment Vincent came out of the smoke and Nia was nowhere in sight, it sounded the alarm in Yuel’s head. He had a feeling Nia was about to try something. Everybody else should’ve seen that as well yet they were acting oblivious. Why? How come?
After this second death, the match was as good as decided. Vincent’s resp.a.w.n countdown was much longer this time around, so Nia had all the time in the world to capitalize on this opportunity. She had enough time to take the red buff, push Vincent’s Golem, destroy it, and even bring her minions to his Colossus before he revived to defend.
After Vincent’s Golem fell, Nia’s minions gained heavier armor and flaming weapons. With this empowered army, she had no trouble pushing through the upcoming enemy waves and take down the Colossus.
“Welp,” Vincent smiled wryly. “That was sure interesting.”
With that, the first part of Nia’s exam was over.
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