Chapter 371 Heart of Darkness
Ye Ci peered into the hole, and saw a faint glint of light. What is that? Her curiosity was aroused. She had been playing Fate for more than twenty years, but the many secrets hidden in the game by the developers never failed to intrigue her. But experience meant that she was a calm veteran in situations like this.
A newbie might have stared mouth agape at the hole, but Ye Ci was already analyzing the situation. There were several possibilities that await players in a place like this. The developers might place a huge number of mobs at the bottom of the hole, or there could always be a very tough BOSS. It was very rare for scenarios other than the two to happen in Fate.
Ye Ci studied the hole carefully. She made the decision to enter the hole after some hesitation. Am I a masochist? Why am I heading in there when I know that there will be trouble waiting for me?
But it did not weaken her resolve. She jumped into the hole, and Ol’ Six followed suit. But the Dragon was stuck as its frame was simply too big. Ye Ci decided to turn a deaf ear to its grunts of protests as she knew that the system would spawn Ol’ Six nearby when she was a distance away.
Ye Ci’s expectations, however, were not met. She did not run into a large number of mobs, nor did she run into a BOSS. She landed in a cave. An endless cave that was devoid of any life forms.
She quickened her pace, and even started sprinting ahead at full speed. She wanted to know what awaited her at the end of the cave.
The cave grew darker and colder as she proceeded further and further. It was so cold that she could feel the chills in her bones, and she could barely even see her fingers when she held them in front of her due to the darkness.
There must be something ahead!
She had a nagging feeling that something was hidden deep within the cave, and it was growing stronger by the minute. A cold surface awaited her at the end of the tunnel. It was a door. She was certain that it was a door that stood in her way.
The door swung open with a push from Ye Ci, and her eyes were immediately blinded by the light flowing from within. But she was able to quickly force her eyes open, as she ran the risk of being overrun by a swarm of monsters if her eyes remained shut.
But her expectation continued to be proven wrong, for there were no monsters behind the door.
The room was on fire. But despite the raging flames, Ye Ci felt not even a shred of heat. It was as if the flames before her did not even exist. Ye Ci studied the room, and found smoke rising from a large crater at the middle of the room.
What’s in there?
Well, since I’m here, I might as well get in there. Thought Ye Ci. Her inquisitive nature dictates that she find out the truth. Any potential danger was something that she could disregard.
She walked up to the edge of the hole. There were no monsters, and she did not take any damage from the flames. She peered into the hole and saw a fist sized black rock that was billowing smoke from the bottom.
The black rock was plain and simple. It was something that would go unnoticed by passerbys if placed at the side of the road.
But its position signified that it was something very important. Ye Ci studied the hole, and found that she could easily reach the rock. She jumped into the hole and made her way to the rock.
That’s strange, why is something like this not guarded by monsters? Ye Ci did not have much time to ponder the question, as her attention was focused wholly on the rock.
She walked up to the rock, and picked it up.
And was immediately flung out of the hole by an unseen force the moment her fingers made contact with the rock, slamming her onto a wall. Her health immediately plunged after the jarring impact.
Ye Ci ignored her pain and gulped down a Large Health Potion to recover half her health. She was not the only one who was affected by the force, as Ol’ Six was also slammed against the wall. The impact was enough to disorient the Dragon, which stood back up on unsteady feet.
Once she made sure that Ol’ Six was safe, Ye Ci returned her attention to herself. The pain was so great that she felt as if her bones were at the verge of falling apart. But the black stone was still clutched tightly in her hand.
I’m such a greedy person. Ye Ci laughed at herself. I’m still holding on to this thing even at the verge of death. Just as Ye Ci was about to have a look at the rock’s stats, an invisible hand grabbed hold of her neck and lifted her up.
“An Elf? An Elf again!? Why is your kind still not extinct yet?!”
A horrible screeching sound immediately followed. Ye Ci saw a puff of black smoke in humanoid shape hovering in front of her near the hole, “Give whatever you’re holding back to me!” The smoke extended something that looked like its arm towards Ye Ci as the force on her neck intensified.
Ye Ci was gasping for air, but she had no intention of handing the rock back to the black smoke, “Let go of me.”
“I’ll release you once you give it to me.” said the black smoke.
“You let go first.” it was conventional wisdom that a person saying that would always kill the other party once they received what they wanted. This had been something of a cliche in movies and novels. Ye Ci would never fall for this old trick. But the force on her throat intensified. She was barely able to breath.
“I’m not here to negotiate, Elf. I’ll snap your neck if you do not give me what I want!” Ye Ci could feel her blood vessels bulging with exertion, but she continued her struggle, “You know that you won’t be able to get it once I place it into my inventory even if you kill me!”
Items that were placed into a player’s inventory could not be accessed by NPCs unless through certain special means.
“Are you threatening me, Elf?!” Ye Ci’s words had apparently angered the puff of smoke, as its hold on Ye Ci’s throat grew even stronger.
As her health continued to fall, Ye Ci used the last of her strength to place the rock into her inventory, “NO! You filthy Elf! I’ll kill y- Ack! Damned Holy Dragon!” the hand on Ye Ci’s throat threw her aside like a ragdoll, reducing her already much depleted health even more. Am I going to die like this?
But Ye Ci’s luck held, and the drain on her health stopped when she had 4 HP left. The owner of the hand was engaging Ol’ Six in combat, and the Dragon was at a clear disadvantage. Ye Ci gulped down a few bottles of Large Health Potion and stood up on unsteady feet. She attempted to use a teleportation stone to retreat to Red Lake City, but a system notification reminded her that the action was not allowed.
The door of the entrance was already slammed shut. It was apparent that she could not leave if she did not defeat the smoke.
A quick glance at the stats of her known assailant showed nothing but “?” signs on all its stats and even its name. It was apparent that her opponent was at a level way higher than hers. She could simply not win.
And that was why Ye Ci resorted to a final desperate measure. She took a quick glance at the rock and was shocked when she saw its name “Heart of Darkness”.
The Heart of Darkness? Wasn’t it used by Dau’er to create the Dark Arrow?
Are you serious?
Of course, there was a more pressing matter at hand. Ye Ci needed to go to Ol’ Six’s rescue, as a Holy Dragon could not be revived like any other normal pet upon its death. Even a reincarnator like Ye Ci did not know of a way to revive a Dragon. “Stop!” she shouted at the puff of smoke.
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