Chapter 15: Combat
The skill he had auto-learned did not bring him any substantial benefits whatsoever. Yue Qiang glanced at it in a hurry – ‘Pure Heart’ – He didn’t need to read the description to guess that it was a base level skill that had nothing to do with actual combat.
Worse, he was just a fresh character without combat skills at all.
That isn’t right. I do have a skill!
That ‘Run LVL 1’ skill that he found incredibly misleading upon learning what it was.
Yue Qiang had tested out this skill before and it did have quite the movement speed. However, it also expended his stamina points really quickly. At the time he felt that it was useless beyond saving some travel time on occasion, but right now he was literally on his last ropes.
But it was still a skill after all. What if he could use it in combat?
Thinking to give it a try, he pressed down on the Run skill’s hotkey.
I run, I run, I run run run!
The moment the skill was activated, he immediately felt that his controls became a lot more agile. Coincidentally the injured soldier had smashed his halberd at his direction, and Yue Qiang quickly pressed Space Bar + Right and Down arrow key to dodge out of the way. Again it was different from the narrow escapes from before, and he actually put up a large distance between them.
Hey, my mobility has increased by leaps and bounds! I can’t believe this running skill’s title and description is this misleading; it is actually a lifesaving skill in battle! However, when he looked down again at the stamina gauge beside his avatar, he could see that his stamina was decreasing at an obvious rate.
A persistent type skill would continuously deplete stamina points. Moreover, when used in combat the rate of depletion would multiply!
Yue Qiang quickly tapped the hotkey again to turn the skill off temporarily.
Now he could settle down for the moment. If he could dodge an attack he would dodge it straight away, and if he could not then he would turn on the Run skill temporarily and increase his mobility.
From the beginning of the encounter he had been put in an extremely passive position. First a quarter of his health was taken away by a surprise attack, then an AOE (T/N: Area of Effect) Knockback skill plus a slowdown effect had beaten him to the point where he had only a sliver of health left. He had only survived through a series of calm and precise micro controls, years of gaming experience and improvisation.
Moreover, the threat wasn’t gone yet. Although he had been managing the usage of the ‘Run’ skill strictly, the stamina gauge was still decreasing at a slow rate. Once his stamina points had depleted and he could not increase his mobility at a critical time, he would still be dead at the end of things.
Yue Qiang dodged another one of the enemy’s attacks, but an idea had suddenly flashed across his brain.
Don’t I have a weapon still?
A blackish iron rod.
Because the iron rod had no attack power at all and it was just way too dangerous previously, he did not have a chance to counter attack with a weapon. But now that the situation had eased up a little, he could give it a little try.
Parrying was of course impossible. When the injured whirled his halberd the wind itself was stirred; so it was obviously very heavy. His iron rod would definitely be useless considering how thin it was. As for hacking; even if he did hack it on the enemy’s face, what could this blackish iron rod do other than leaving a black mark and spoiling his face value a little?
Therefore, thinking to give it a try Yue Qiang clicked his mouse and poked it into the soldier’s injured shoulder.
‘Poke’ was but a single word, and yet it had contained a series of Yue Qiang’s micros. He had to avoid the soldier’s halberd attacks at all times, and aim at the soldier’s injured shoulder while he was moving. He also had to control the attacking point of the iron rod at the same time he was clicking the mouse!
He had never experienced such a way of control.
This method of weapon manipulation in combat required incredible hand speed, and yet it was completely different from the way ‘Meteor, Butterfly And a Sword’ and ‘King of Fighters’ emphasized on complex combo chaining and rhythmic hand speed. It gave Yue Qiang a strange feeling.
It was as if he was really controlling that iron rod himself!
The only difference was that it wasn’t his own muscles that controlled the attack point and angle, but the mouse in his hands.
It looked like a perfectly ordinary poke, but it was a control far more gripping than the countless evasive actions Yue Qiang had pulled before.
A big number explocded from the soldier’s injured shoulder:
There was even a line of explanation from the system at the back:
[Wound Attack! Ignores defense and deals double damage!]
The soldier’s health was at 114 / 150 at the first place, and after his attack had succeeded it had dropped by a massive quarter. Upon seeing this, Yue Qiang grew even more confident. Now, other than evading and dodging, he also had to use the ‘Run’ skill intermittently and most importantly control his weapon with care so he could score a ‘Wound Attack’ on the soldier’s body.
This was because the iron rod had no attack power on its own. When it struck any other parts of the soldier’s body it could only deal basic damage based on his strength value; which was almost nothing.
They had fought yet again for a little while, and the injured soldier’s health had steadily declined. However, the halberd in his hands was swung even greater than ever. It was probably the effects of the skill ‘Fighting Spirit’. Yue Qiang carefully dealt with it, and at last with much difficulty killed the soldier.
“You will die; you will all die!” The Injured Zhao Soldier spoke his lines before falling heavily into a pool of blood.
“Phew…” Yue Qiang let out a long breath.
System Message: Quest ‘Assist in the Defense of Yue Village’ is complete!
Despite having made a full preparation, Yue Qiang had severely underestimated the difficulty of this game’s combat quest. In just a short few minutes, he had walked the fine line between life and death at every moment.
This won’t work. I need to find out for sure what the game’s death penalty is. He thought to himself. The difficulty was way too high, and there was no telling when he might fall dead. He did not want to think that the ‘horrifying’ possibility he imagined might actually happen.
From the looks of it, the fitness club’s Luqiu Duanyi seemed to know something about the game, and yet neither side had acknowledged it openly. Maybe he should just get straight to the point the next time he went back there.
While planning, Yue Qiang walked to the Zhao soldier’s side and prepared to loot the body. Common sense dictated that the dropped equipment of a high difficulty quest and powerful opponent was also pretty good.
A looting window appeared on the screen. Other than a few Knife Money (T/N: Actual knife-shaped money that existed in China 2500 years ago), there was a blood stained letter and just a single weapon.
Yue Qiang checked the weapon’s status without a second thought. After all that blackish iron rod of his was just way too embarrassing.
Weapon Name: Zhao Army’s Standard Halberd
Attack: 4 – 7
Damage per Second: 2.2
Equippable Weapon Requirement: 13 Strength, 13 Stamina.
Note: Zhao soldier standard weapon. ‘Well Trained’ Skill Level + 1
Although it was a far cry compared to the blacksmith’s war hammer, it was still much stronger than his ‘blackish iron rod’. Just when Yue Qiang was about to equip the weapon onto himself, the system sent him a message and said that the weapon was categorized under military standard weapons, and those who had not been trained under the Zhao State’s system could not equip it.
He thought that the quest was going to be concluded with such a dismal reward, but to his surprise the system sent out a very long message:
System Message [Green]: You have acquired combat experience! Verifying difficulty level… the difficulty of the quest you have completed is Dark Red. Difficulty classified as Very Hard; acquire 40% additional combat experience. Verifying risk level… You have reached a state of near death in combat; acquire 30% additional combat experience. Acquired 170% combat experience. Total combat experience is…
Combat experience? What’s that?
Yue Qiang already knew that there was no experience system in this game – that was to say that characters could not level up by killing mobs. So what would combat experience be used for?
He instinctively felt that, since the system had given him such a long message, it was likely that this combat experience would be extremely useful.