The players in need of mana immediately shouted out loud, as if it was the last chance they would have in their entire lives. However, there were only 8 Rangers, and not all the players were able to receive a Mana Infusion. Some of them could only gulp down Mana Potions, and some were forced to wait for their mana to regenerate. At a time like this, the players began to realize the importance of conserving their mana. Their orders were to hit the BOSS with everything they’ve got, but they were unable to keep up with their attacks.
In a situation like this, the only solution was to make do with chugging down Mana Potions continuously.
Due to the good teamwork, the party was able to deal enough damage to the BOSS. They matched Ye Ci’s speed, while carefully calculating their mana, to deal the most damage while spending the least amount of mana.
Ye Ci knew that they were in a tightspot, and she knew that if they did not push themselves to their limits, they could easily fail. She pushed away any thoughts of failure. She simply wanted to give her best. Be it ingame or in real life, she had to put her best effort into everything. Ye Ci was someone who was even greedier than a gambler.
She ordered to continue the attack even at such a dire moment, asking herself: Why am I doing this? Would Ye Ci make the same choice if she was leading the members of another guild? The answer was no. In her heart, ‘Upwards Ho!’ was the only guild that would allow her to act on her whims. This was the only guild with members who would trust her unconditionally, and give her their unconditional support. That was why she had the courage to make the gamble. If she was working with any other guild, they would definitely demand a repair fee from her.
It had been 10 years since Ye Ci last entered this dungeon. After a few tries, she was able to remember the correct positioning and speed. The ranged classes suffered some degree of damage at the start, but was later able to avoid any damage.
Despite that, the healers were anxious. They were worried about any sudden ultimate skills that might be released by the BOSS.
None of the guilds managed to make it past the third stage of the BOSS battle, which meant that nobody knew what would happen in the fourth stage of the fight. Ye Ci, of course, was an exception. She was no longer travelling in a straight line or in an arc. She began running an “S” shaped pattern. The pathing of such movement skills had to be precise, pushing the ability of her party members to the limit. In Ye Ci’s last life, this secret was only discovered after the countless sacrifices made by players.
As long as any party member strayed from this “S” -path, they would be damaged by the BOSS’s Icy Blades and poisoned by her attacks. The path could be said to be a BUG that was discovered by players in Ye Ci’s past life. Nobody, including members of Tang Dynasty and Wolf Pack, knew about such a method. To prevent suspicions, Ye Ci would often stray from the path so that her members would suffer some damage. This would be able to mask her knowledge of such a strategy while keeping her members alert.
After stumbling their way around, the party suffered some minor casualties. Most of the party members survived, and the healers began healing the players up frantically.
Ye Ci paid close attention to Dani’s health, preparing for the BOSS’s ultimates, Icy Blade of Haste and Lethal Poison.
“Do you think that you can defeat me? You’re dreaming!” as Dani’s health was slowly chipped away, she stopped her attack on Bai Mo and Little Icy Cold Hand. She stood glaring at the rest of the party, and began taunting them.
Ye Ci was waiting for this moment. This moment that spelled disaster for countless guilds trying their best to defeat Dani. The BOSS would release dozens of low flying Icy Blades in every direction that were almost impossible to dodge. No player, no matter how tough their character was, would be able to survive 3 hits from the Icy Blades. Even if a player had a perfect positioning, he or she would not be able to dodge the Lethal Poison that follows after the Icy Blades.
The strategy employed by most of the guilds was to jump when the Icy Blades appeared. This would throw the party into disarray, but it made sure the survival of many of the players before Lethal Poison was released. They would then drink a Medium Antidote to resist the poison effect.
Mi Lu and Overflowing Ink were also using such a strategy.
It was a strategy that just won’t work. It was impossible to ensure that all the party members have the same mechanical skill. There were those who had practice, and there would always be those who panicked in crucial moments. It was very easy for them to make mistakes while dodging the Icy Blades, leading to heavy casualties. Under such circumstances, there was no way the party would have enough combat strength left to fight the BOSS even if they survived the Lethal Poison.
Besides, a Medium Antidote was one of the most expensive potions in the market at the current stage at the game.
Ye Ci had a different solution. She stopped moving, prompting the rest of the party to do the same. They had all reached this stage of the fight in the past, and were slain by the Icy Blades. The player were anxious as they waited for Ye Ci’s orders.
It was something that they have not expected.
Instead of ordering her members to jump, Ye Ci gave the following command, “I want everyone to lie flat on the ground!”
The players were stunned. Only a few of them responded to Ye Ci’s command. While the rest of them shared confused looks with each other, Ye Ci shouted out again, “Lay flat on the ground now! Those who do not listen to my command will pay for the repair fees of the entire party!”
No way! It would cost a fortune to pay for the maintenance fees of a 100-man party!
In the end, humans were beings that prioritize their own gains. When they heard that their benefits were being threatened, the party members immediately reacted to Ye Ci’s words. Just then, Dani released her Icy Blades, and the entire party laid flat on the ground.
“Don’t peek! Just lay still and don’t move a muscle until I give another command-” Ye Ci reminded her party members.
Despite their curiosity, the players knew how devastating the Icy Blades could be. One tiny mistake could spell disaster. Not one of them dared to move. They laid motionlessly on the ground, like puppets with their strings cut off, waiting for an order from Ye Ci.
Dani let out a loud wail. It was the signal that she would stop firing her Icy Blades, which meant that she was about to cast Lethal Poison.
They were not exploring the Elite difficulty version of Castle Ruins, so the Lethal Poison was not that hard to deal with. As long as they would remain laying on the ground, the players would be able to avoid any damage from the skill. However, if they were challenging the dungeon at Elite difficulty, the damage from Lethal Poison was impossible to avoid. The only option for players was to resist the effects of the poison with a Medium Antidote. With the shortage of such potions in the market, there was no way they could challenge Castle Ruins at Elite difficulty.
After what seemed to be an eternity, Dani’s voice finally rang out, “It seems that I have to get serious. You ants have disturbed my peaceful rest. I will make you pay!”
Ye Ci raised her head, and saw Dani moving slowly towards the center of the pond. The process would take 20 seconds, and this meant that the fourth stage of the battle will begin.
“Everyone, get up! Back at least 24 yards away from the BOSS! Do not get close to her when the battle starts!”
A system notification rang out, and a message appeared in the display of all party members, “The battle is about to enter its fourth stage. Prepare for battle. Countdown: 10 seconds.”
“We’re entering the fourth stage soon people! None of us here have entered this stage before. Stay away from the BOSS! Even if our party gets annihilated, we have at least found the way to clear the third stage of the BOSS battle!” of course, Ye Ci could not reveal the fact that she knew the strategy to win the fourth stage. She could only patiently guide them towards the right direction.
She was able to convince her party members, and they began backing away from the BOSS to the safe distance of 24 yards. None of them dared to attack. Each and every one of them was waiting for Ye Ci’s instruction.
“Oh? What is happening? I seem to have grown tired.” said Dani when she reached the center of the pond. She rubbed her temple softly and let out a sigh, “But, even if I’m tired, I cannot forgive your insolence!”
With that, she moved towards the players slowly, surrounded by a golden aura. The players knew that it was a good idea to stay away from the circle of aura.
Ye Ci fired an arrow at Dani. When it was confirmed that she was able to deal damage to the BOSS, she gave the order, “Concentrate all your attacks on the BOSS! She has only 20% of her health left! There will be no fifth stage! Stay away from that circle!”
The ranged classes began peppering Dani with spells and abilities. When they were lying down, many were able to recover their mana, which meant that they could bombard the BOSS with everything they had without reserve.
“What about us?” asked the melee players in the party. There were only 35 melee class players in the party, but all of them had superior equipment and a high combat strength. Without them, it was next to impossible for the party to get past the fourth stage.
“Calm your horses, give me some moments. You do know that I’ve never been to this dungeon before right?” Ye Ci knew that melee classes were not needed in this stage of the battle, but she had to come up with a believable excuse. She spoke up after a brief pause, “The melee players can launch throwing knives at the BOSS.”
The melee players were not happy with the tiny amount of damage they dealt, but they had to carry out the orders of their commander.
Not long after their attacks began, a system notification flashed before their eyes, “Cold Winter, you have angered Frost Queen Dani, she is glaring at you.”
This was what Ye Ci has been waiting for.
She was waiting for this DEBUFF. In truth, Dani herself doesn’t pose much of a threat to players in the fourth stage of the battle, but she could cast a very potent debuff on players. It was the debuff that had just been cast on Cold Winter: Wrathful Glare. Players who were affected by the debuff would receive a 200% attack and defence bonus, and were rendered immune to Dani’s Ring of Wrath, but would die within 30 seconds. The only viable strategy was for players affected by the debuff to rush into the ring of golden aura and attack Dani with everything they had. If the affected players did not rush into the circle and sooth Dani’s warth, all members of the party will be slain by an ultimate skill called “Blood of Annihilation”.
“Cold Winter, were you affected by any debuff?” asked Ye Ci. She would not of course immediately order her member to rush into the circle right away as this would indirectly reveal that she was very familiar with the dungeon.
Cold Winter was a skillful Rogue among the elites of ‘Upwards Ho!’. Despite his good mechanical skill, the man had very bad luck.
“There’s a debuff called Wrathful glare that has a 30 seconds countdown timer. I received a 200% bonus in attack and defence, as well as immunity to the Ring of Wrath.” Cold Winter was able to react quickly to Ye Ci’s question.
“Alright, get into that circle and attack the BOSS. Mana is not an issue, just throw everything you have at her.” Ye Ci immediately gave the order.
Cold Winter immediately rushed into the circle and attacked the BOSS. Noticing that Cold Winter had only half his mana left, Sugar Candy Sweet asked, “Leader, do I need to cast Mana Infusion on Cold Winter?”
“There’s no nead.”
“Why? His mana won’t last for long.” Sugar Candy Sweet was curious.
Ye Ci could not offer a direct answer. She shook her head and let out a sigh, “I don’t think he’ll be needing it. We don’t know what will happen when the countdown is over.”
She then followed up with another order, “I want all the healers to attack the BOSS as well. No matter how little damage you think you’re dealing, just hit the BOSS with everything you’ve got.”
Cold Winter was worried as he entered the golden circle surrounding the BOSS. Gongzi You did not give the order for healers to heal him up, he was afraid that he would be killed by the BOSS. However, the BOSS did not react to his presence even after taking several attacks from him, and was still moving forward slowly.
The attack bonus was very potent. Cold Winter was able to deal a tremendous amount of damage to the BOSS. This gave him a sense of accomplishment. When the 30 seconds of the debuff was up, he heard a system notification, “You’ve died out of fear for Dani’s wrath.”
His character let out a blood-curdling scream, and dropped lifeless on the ground. “I knew it! There’s no way the BOSS will give such a good buff to you! That thing will kill you when the 30 seconds is over!” he shouted.
The party members had finally gained an insight about the BOSS’s ability in the fourth stage of the battle. When their name was called by the BOSS, they immediately dashed into the circle and did their last performance before their deaths.
“I have a bad feeling about this.” said Bai Mo who was throwing knives at the BOSS.
“Why is that?” asked Little Icy Cold Hands who was also forced to throw daggers at the BOSS.
“It’s like waiting for our own funeral. When our name is called, it’s death for us. What a tormenting experience.” said Bai Mo with a sad voice.
His words were met with agreement by Little Icy Cold Hands, “I know, right! I thought I’m the only one with such a thought! I’m looking forward for my name to be called, but I was afraid to be called out at the same time!”
Their conversation was overheard by the rest of the party members. They looked at the ground that was littered with corpses and felt depressed.
“Raging Tides, you have angered Frost Queen Dani, she is glaring at you.” every member of the party was praying that their name would not be called, but they knew that it was an eventuality. Raging Tides was the first Ranger to be named by the BOSS. As he stepped into the circle, Ye Ci shouted out, “Tides, cast Mana Infusion on a mage with the least amount of mana!”
After doing the last thing he could to help the party, Raging Tides charged into the circle without hesitation.
Ye Ci’s sight never strayed away from Dani’s health. She paid close attention to the BOSS’s hitpoints while also silently counting the number of players alive and also keeping up her attacks on the BOSS. She was very busy.
The members of the party knew that they were at a very crucial moment. They began chugging down all sorts of potion and casting different buffs on themselves in an attempt to deal more damage to the BOSS before time ran out.
Only 9 players were alive when Dani had 2% of her hitpoints remaining. Ye Ci was pressured. 2% might not seem to be a lot, but it was a huge uncertainty if the 9 of them could defeat Dani.
Ye Ci was not the only one who realised how dire the situation was. The members who were alive were going all out on the BOSS, while those who were dead cheered them on.
Since the “dead” was unable to speak, chat bubbles began to rise from the corpses, cheering the living on. Ye Ci felt a sliver of warmth creeping into her heart as she read the words of encouragement.
So this is what it means to be have team. So this is what it means to have a team that is willing to accept her!
Just then, Timely Rain, who was one of the best mage class players in the guild, was called out by the BOSS. He immediately rushed into the circle. He was determined not to go down without a fight.
Timely Rain was indeed worthy of being one of the best mages in the guild. He was able to deal a lot of damage to the BOSS within the 30 seconds window, bring the health of the BOSS down to 1.4%. Before he fell, Timely Rain shouted out to Ye Ci, “Gongzi, hang in there!”
However, before he could finish his sentence, Ye Ci’s name was called out by the BOSS as well.
The party members began laughing at Timely Rain. Because of this incident, he was forever known as the jinx in ‘Upwards Ho!’. Of course, it was something that happened in the future.
When Ye Ci’s name was called out, she immediately dashed into the circle and summoned Ol’ Four. She began furiously attacking Dani.
There was only 30 seconds for her left.
Ye Ci used every ability she had as a Huntress on Dani, and a multiple of dazzling visual effects erupted around the BOSS. The entire party was stunned. Gongzi You was really showing off the true potential of a Huntress when she went all out.
Her attacks were elegant, dazzling, and deadly. The Hunters in the party were excited to see Ye Ci’s performance. So this is the true potential of the Hunter class!
Despite her ferocity, Ye Ci was unable to defeat Dani when the 30 seconds ended for her. She dropped dead on the ground with Ol’ Four when Dani had 0.2% of her health remaining.
Despite the dissatisfaction in her heart, Ye Ci knew for a fact that she has failed to defeat Dani. It was all up to the rest of the members who remained alive. This was her second death in Fate, but her death was not meaningless. It was an honor to have fought and died with her party members.
Fruit Jelly was the next player to be named by the BOSS.
As a Cleric who was known for her high DPS, Fruit Jelly did not fail to deliver. With 9 seconds left on the timer and 6 surviving players, Dani was finally defeated.
“I can’t believe it! I can’t believe it! I will never lose! I’m just… Too tired…” Dani clutched at her face and let out a wail. Her health bar was empty, but she did not fall.
Fruit Jelly’s attack on Dani did not stop. She began grumbling out loud, “Why is she not dead yet? Why is she not dead yet ?! Will she become enraged or something?”
Her words were met with anger.
“Shut up, Fruit Jelly!”
“If it happens, you’ll be the first to die!”
“Fruit Jelly, if the BOSS becomes enraged, you’ll pay for all our equipment maintenance today!”
“Oi oi oi… Cut me some slack! I’m just worried!” Fruit Jelly was dejected. She was merely voicing out her worry.
Ye Ci unlocked the voice channel, allowing the members to speak freely without having to type. The voice channel immediately bustled with activity. Each and every one of the players were waiting for Dani to fall. If she did not fall, the system will not register her death, and it meant that Upwards Ho! have not cleared the dungeon. All eyes were on Dani, with their owners silently praying that she would simply drop dead.
However, Dani’s death cinematic was too long, and the party members began losing their patience.
Ye Ci was not worried. This was a BOSS she had defeated countless times in her past life. She was not at all worried that Dani will go berserk. She knew that the BOSS will fall very soon.
“F*ck! Is she going to die or not?” White Snow, who was one of the surviving players began stabbing Dani on the buttocks with his dagger, “If you don’t die now I’ll take claim the first blood on your chrysanthemum!”
“You perv!” Fruit Jelly voice out her disdain at White Snow.
The remaining party members followed their lead and began attacking Dani with their weapons.
Ye Ci was dumbfounded by their actions. She decided against stopping her members. Even if every BOSS had their own dignity, it was not her rights to stop the players from venting their frustration. She averted her gaze, and pretended that the scene unfolding in front of her did not happen.
“I think… I need… Some rest… I really, really…” Dani finally walked towards her throne, and slumped onto the throne.
“Is she dead?”
“I don’t know!”
As the players continued their assault on Dani’s corpse, the system notification rang up.
“Congratulations Upwards Ho! for achieving First Clear of the 100-player dungeon, Castle Ruins at Normal difficulty. Rewards: Guild Prestige x2000, Global Prestige x2000, Gold coins x15000. Let us remember the names of the heroes!”
“Congratulations Remote Depths for achieving First Blood in the 100-player dungeon, Castle Ruins at Normal difficulty. Rewards: Black Stone City Prestige x500, Talent Points x8. Achievement: “Normal Difficulty Castle Ruins First Five”. His name shall forever be remembered in the history of Fate!”
“Congratulations Gongzi You for achieving First Blood in the 100-player dungeon, Castle Ruins at Normal difficulty. Rewards: Black Stone City Prestige x500, Talent Points x8. Achievement: “Normal Difficulty Castle Ruins First Five”. Her name shall forever be remembered in the history of Fate!”
“Congratulations Little Icy Cold Hands for achieving First Blood in the 100-player dungeon, Castle Ruins at Normal difficulty. Rewards: Black Stone City Prestige x500, Talent Points x8. Achievement: “Normal Difficulty Castle Ruins First Five”. His name shall forever be remembered in the history of Fate!”
“Congratulations Let Go Of That Girl for achieving First Blood in the 100-player dungeon, Castle Ruins at Normal difficulty. Rewards: Black Stone City Prestige x500, Talent Points x8. Achievement: “Normal Difficulty Castle Ruins First Five”. His name shall forever be remembered in the history of Fate!”
As Ye Ci was not the party leader, she did not receive a confirmation from the system. Bai Mo who was the leader would of course chose to announce their names. There was no way Bai Mo would let go of a chance to advertise their guild to the world.
Ye Ci who was very anxious to achieve First Clear would of course not stop Bai Mo from doing so. After all, it was beneficial to the guild. She turned off the recording function of her game. There was no need for Unbridled Willow to see the loot dropped by the BOSS.
“Aiya, we’ve got First Blood!” the members of the party screamed out their joy. The cheers was so loud that Ye Ci could feel her eardrums rupturing. She immediately turned off her voice chat.
Since they’ve managed to clear the dungeon, none of the players waited for Fruit Jelly to cast Resurrection. They immediately respawned as the spawn point was not far away.
As usual, Ye Ci was not involved in the looting. She backed away from Dani’s corpse and healed herself up before resurrecting Ol’ Four.
At that moment, her private message channel was flooded with messages. She did not have to take a look to know who were the senders of the messages. They were probably the leaders of all the major guilds trying to buy the dungeon clearing guide from her.
She ignored each and every one of them and shouted at Bai Mo, “Remote Depths!”
“What is it?” Bai Mo, who was ready to loot the BOSS’s corpse turned around when he heard Ye Ci’s call. “What is it?” he sent a private message to Ye Ci.
“The major guilds are trying to buy dungeon-clearing videos and guides from me. You know what to do.”
“Don’t tell me you’ve sold the guide to someone?” Bai Mo knew Ye Ci very well. He was immediately able to guess Ye Ci’s intention.
“Who did you sell it to?” curiosity washed over Bai Mo before he was hit by suddenly realization, “Could it be… Unbridled Willow?”
“Why are you so smart?” Ye Ci laughed.
“Of course! Do you know who I am? I am your genius cousin!” Bai Mo answered arrogantly, “How much did you sell it for?”
“That’s rather low!” Bai Mo pursed his lips, “That’s like 4 million in real world currency. We have to split it among so many members, and then there’s the guild’s expenditure…”
“In real world currency.”
Ye Ci received no reply from Bai Mo. When she stole a glance at his direction, he has already fainted.
Both Ye Ci and Bai Mo were not from wealthy families. For them, 22 million was a huge sum of money that they would never even dare to dream of. To have such a large sum of money falling onto his lap, it was no wonder that Bai Mo fainted.
Ye Ci pursed her lips. Ignoring Bai Mo, she began muting all her private message channels. When she saw a voice call from Unbridled Willow, she picked up the call without hesitation.
“Congratulations, Gongzi You! Really, congratulations!”,Unbridled Willow’s excited voice immediately entered her ears. It was as if he was the one who have achieved the First Blood instead of Ye Ci.
Ye Ci pursed her lips and replied softly, “Congratulations to you as well. I wonder if you’re congratulating me, or are you congratulating yourself?”
Unbridled Willow paid no mind to Ye Ci’s sarcasm. After his earlier dealings with the girl, he knew that it was best to ignore her taunts, or he will be angered to death some day.
“I’ve sent you the money. 55 million gold coins. You’ll receive them once you leave the dungeon.”
“Alright, I’ll get in contact once I’ve made sure that the amount is correct.” Ye Ci nodded, as if she was not excited to receive the payment.
However, Unbridled Willow could barely contain his excitement, “When can you give me the video?”
“I’ll get in touch once I’ve confirmed the payment. Of course, I’ll need to talk to my guild members about this first. After all, this is the result of their hard work.” Ye Ci was as excited as Unbridled Willow, who was biggest benefactor of this deal.
Despite his anxiety, Unbridled Willow knew that haste will ruin everything. He was able to keep his composure, “Alright. I await your good news.” said Unbridled Willow. Despite that, Unbridled Willow was still slightly worried, “Of course, I hope that you won’t make me wait too long for that video.”
Unbridled Willow’s words fell on deaf ears. Ye Ci let out a laugh and disconnected from the call. She cast a glance at Bai Mo, who was slowly recovering from his shock. He gave Ye Ci a thumbs up the moment he opened his eyes.
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