“Is there anyone else who has a speciality like yourself in Shadow City, Boss Boboa?” After learning Decomposition, Chen Mo furtively slipped a gold coin into Boboa’s hands again.
He knew Boboa was a greedy NPC. Chen Mo wanted to try and see if he could get more information out of him since his human favour points seemed to be working well.
Boboa’s eyes lit up again and he quickly pocketed the gold coin, but he sighed, “You are very sincere, Adventurer. Unfortunately, I don’t know anything about this.”
WTF? You don’t know and you still took the coin?!
Chen Mo parted with yet another gold coin. The damn fatty pocketed it again without hesitation but this time, his words were different. “Please don’t do this, Adventurer. I really don’t know anything.”
You fat, greedy bastard. Others probably would have cracked at two gold coins but he still wanted more!
Chen Mo gave Boboa another gold coin and he snatched it up like lightning, all the while saying, “You can’t do this. How can you do this? Oh, you’re putting me on the spot.”
Damn it! Still not talking!
Chen Mo relinquished his last two gold coins unto Boboa, determined that if this fatty still kept mum, he would kill him given the chance and see it as a merit to humankind.
Boboa seemed to sense Chen Mo’s killing intent, for this time, he finally glanced cautiously about himself, as though afraid of being seen, then quietly said to Chen Mo, “Since you’re so very sincere, Adventurer, and seeing as you’ve learnt Medicine brewing, I’ll tell you something. Be warned though, I am only telling you what I know and whether you succeed or not depends on your own ability. That wretch is a strange one and she ignores normal people, especially upstanding ones like yourself. I’m afraid she will chase you away on sight.”
“What does it have to do with Medicine brewing?”, asked Chen Mo curiously.
“Heh heh. You didn’t know this but there are many types of medicine brewing skills in this world. The one you Adventurers learn is only a very basic skill. Of course, even if it’s very basic it is also the easiest and most useful skill. That wench learnt a Medicine brewing skill that is detrimental to us humans so she has been ostracised. She now lives in the wilderness beyond the gates of Shadow City and over the years her personality has become warped.” Boboa smiled impishly.
“If this skill is detrimental to humans, what is the use in me learning it?” Chen Mo felt cheated. His five gold coins might have just gone down the drain.
“I’m tens of years younger than that wench and I was still a butt-naked babe when she was kicked out of Shadow City. What I know is all from rumours and gossip so I can’t answer you, but take the Decomposition skill I taught you as an example. It was banned because breaking down equipment reduces the number of equipment available to humans.” Boboa smiled wolfishly as he explained.
… … …
The wench Boboa talked about was Elena. Chen Mo asked for her location and exited Shadow City.
Outside Shadow City was Forest of Shadows.
Those who’d never been to Forest of Shadows would think it was a gloomy forest.
Chen Mo also thought that way when he heard the name of the forest. However, when players went to Shadow City and to Forest of Shadows, they realised how mistaken they were.
This was not a forest but a grove of huge trees, full of light!
The trees grew out of ash-black ground and each tree had a diameter of four to five metres and measured over 100 metres high!
These trees were astoundingly huge and their roots coiled and intersected with each other, forming arches and bridges. In contrast, the leaves on the trees were pitiably little and only small scattered patches of green showed against the trunk of the huge trees.
If the human city were not at his back, Chen Mo would have thought that he’d come to a land of giants.
There were large spaces between trees but huge roots poked from the ground, intertwining on the ash-black ground, covering up the spaces and making the trees seem closer than they were.
Sunlight passed through these roots, and formed a halo of colour.
Monsters spawned around the roots and many players took advantage of the cover of the roots to kill monsters more easily. However, this only worked well for Level 11 to 13 monsters. After Level 14 and up, it was difficult to use the roots to block monster attacks.
Player levels were still low and it was very crowded around Shadow City, making it seem like another beginner village where many were going about kill-stealing. What was different was that PK (Player Kill) was now allowed. Chen Mo did not go far before spotting two or three teams fighting each other.
There were more people than monsters in the Level 11 to 13 range so no monster slowed Chen Mo’s movements. Elena lived not far from Shadow City and he found a wooden hut under the arch of a giant tree root after about ten minutes of walking.
The wooden hut stood out. Even from afar, Chen Mo could see a group of players loitering in front of the hut.
Many players on the forums had unlocked hidden quests, and Elena’s special abode looked like a place from which the players could not help but try their luck in getting a hidden quest.
“Get lost, all of you! I won’t hold back if you keep bothering me!”
Elena’s temper was as Boboa had said – bad. She had been harassed by the Adventurer newcomers these past few days and she was at her limit.
“Master Elena, we are deeply sincere in wanting to learn from you. We will help you wholeheartedly – we will do anything you ask of us!”
The group pleaded earnestly.
Elena was dressed in black magic robes trimmed with silver, lending her the mysterious air of someone with hidden depths.
“Shoo, or I’ll kill you in three seconds!” Elena shouted, her face a cold mask.
“Master Elena, please trust our sincerity…” The group did not give up easily but some quietly backed away after hearing her words.
“Pah! I’ve warned you! I’ll grant you your death wish!”
Elena lost her temper and released a cloud of blood-red powder at the players with a wave of her hand.
“Shit! I’ve been poisoned! This NPC can actually kill people!”
The expressions of the players who’d been hit by the blood-red powder turned sour.
-500 damage points floated above the 10+ players’ heads one after another, forming a small cloud of -500 numbers. It was a sight to behold, indeed.
The players were only around Level 12 or so and their HP were in the 1000 range. The high poison damage felled them all in two or three seconds and they died.
“Holy shit. Good thing I moved away quickly.”
“Forget it, let’s go grind levels. Approaching that NPC is a waste of time.”
The surviving players’ expressions changed and they stayed away, glad to be alive.
The players quickly departed and soon, only Chen Mo was left.
It was only then that Chen Mo had a good look at Elena.
Then, he was struck dumb.
From Boboa’s description, he’d thought Elena to be an old woman of 70 but he had to toss out that notion after seeing her with his own eyes.
The Elena he saw had no trace of advanced aging – she was a mature red-haired lady in her thirties.
Looked like Elena was not a normal NPC!
Elena was harder to deal with than Boboa had said. If it were anyone else, the five gold coins invested in Boboa would have gone to waste but Chen Mo had dealt with people like this before!
Chen Mo equipped his Hoodlum title in one quick move!