Chapter 50 – Treant Caretaker
“I handed in a quest before I got off last night. It gave some fairly decent experience, so my level rose by quite a bit.”
“What kind of quest gives so much experience at once? Tell me, where is it? I want to try it too!”
“It was a unique quest.”
“Ah, so it was a unique quest. Oh well, forget it then,” Tang Yao replied in a disappointed manner. Unique quests were generally quite hard to trigger. Though their difficulties varied, the rewards for these quests were always extremely generous.
“Nie Yan, you’re already Level 4?” Yao Yao exclaimed in shock. Nie Yan was only Level 2 when she first encountered him, yet he reached Level 4 after only two days? Wasn’t this levelling speed a bit too monstrous?
“Mhmm.” Nie Yan nodded.
Even more shocked to hear this news was Dusk. He had heard from Flying Stone three days prior that Nie Yan had only been Level 0 when they first met. Barely several days have passed and he’s already Level 4. No wonder he dared to start all over again… It’s because he had the confidence to rise up. That’s why he dared to delete his old Warrior character!
This guy is impressive! And not the average kind of impressive either! Dusk said to himself.
Several days ago, Nie Yan didn’t put much thought into his explanation for Stone. He made up a story by telling Stone he simply deleted his old account and was restarting. After all, it was an easy explanation for why he knew so much about the dungeons.
Finally… Level 4. Nie Yan glanced at his experience bar. Currently, the highest level player in the game had only reached Level 6. Even groups like Sleepy Fox and his team averaged around Level 5. If he kept going at his current pace, he was certain to overtake them; it was only a matter of time.
As the team neared the edge of the forest, the members could see a distant cliff face ahead. Trees, shrubs, and flowers, along with other various plants flourished and grew vigorously on its near vertical incline. Presumably, this steep rock face was the end of the west path.
In addition to the cliff face, the team caught sight of a lone NPC at the edge of the forest—an elderly man in a shabby looking cap. He sat beside a nearby tree with his back supported by the trunk, absorbed in playing the flute he held in his hands. The song was dreary and distant, as if its melody had drifted through the forest since antiquity.
Nie Yan examined the old man. The name displayed above his head read “Nameless Old Man,” but Nie Yan knew this NPC’s actual name: Einpat the Treant Caretaker. He was this forest’s protector. Under his supervision, humans and Treants coexisted peacefully. However, around a month ago, the Treants suddenly went out of control and began slaughtering any humans that entered the forest. When traces of Dark Elf activity were discovered in the area, the Viridian Empire’s council of elders issued a statement. They called for the brave adventurers of the empire to enter the forest and kill the most dangerous being inside—the Treant King. This was where the main storyline of the Treant Forest dungeon begun.
“Adventurers, you have travelled a long way but please turn back now. This area is very dangerous. The Treants will kill anyone who enters the forest, so please hurriedly depart. When night descends, beneath the light of the moon, they gain a strange demonic power that increases their strength immensely.” The Nameless Old Man stopped playing his flute upon seeing Nie Yan approach and advised him to turn back.
“Respected Caretaker Einpat, it’s an honour to grace your presence. We’ve come here in order to exterminate the evil Treant King. While these Treants have gone berserk, it is my hope that God will allow them to be saved,” Nie Yan replied in a sincere and righteous manner.
“Damn those wretched beings from the underground! They should receive divine judgement! They stole my flute and hid it somewhere while snickering in the shadows!” Caretaker Einpat furiously exclaimed.
「This! Right here! It’s clearly a prompt for a quest but this old guy never gave it to us. No matter how we talked to him after, the old coot would only tell us to hurriedly leave. After that, we didn’t bother with him anymore and went straight to killing the Treant King,」Dusk said in the team chat.
「That’s because you guys ran this dungeon on Hard difficulty. If we don’t trigger this NPC’s dialogue in Specialist difficulty, we’d have no way to beat the Treant King. The boss on Specialist is much more difficult than its counterpart on Hard,」Nie Yan replied. He then glanced at the shadows in the distance before turning his head and continuing his conversation with Einpat. “It is them. I immediately discovered their presence the moment I entered the forest. May the radiance of light purify these wretched demons.”
“Adventurer, you can actually detect their presence? Good! If not for those two damned Dark Elves snatching my flute, the Treants wouldn’t have gone berserk. Here, I personally created this Disillusioning Powder. It can reveal their true appearances and prevent them from escaping into the shadows again. Please, kill them and retrieve my flute, then you’ll be able to defeat the Treant King.” Caretaker Einpat rejoiced in surprise.
「System: You’ve obtained Disillusioning Powder. Quantity: 3」
Disillusioning Powder: Reveals all hidden players and monsters within a thirty meter radius for twenty seconds.
After receiving the powder, Nie Yan glanced at the distant shadows once more. Along with Transcendent Insight, his Awareness far exceeded other Thieves of the same level. Therefore, he was able to keenly sense the malicious entities stalking the shadows ever since he and his team entered the dungeon.
Out of everyone in the team, only Nie Yan had managed to notice the presence of those two Dark Elves.
“You… received the quest?” Dusk asked blankly. Prior to this, he, Sleepy Fox, and their team had tried numerous methods but were unable to retrieve even a single clue from this old man. He never expected it would be so simple to receive the quest while under Nie Yan’s lead.
“Yeah, let’s keep moving. We’ve still got a lot of work to do,” Nie Yan replied.
“Really? Was there really something following us?” Yao Yao followed Nie Yan’s gaze. Besides the shadows, there was absolutely nothing there. She suddenly felt a deep chill run down her spine.
“Just a bunch of frail Dark Elves. There’s nothing to worry about.”
Nie Yan then began strutting towards the darker areas in the forest.
With eighteen others following from behind, Nie Yan led the team out of the opening where the elderly NPC resided. He took them through a long and narrow path between the trees and brought them to the cliff face. At the base of the cliff, everyone could see a dense blanket of green covering the entire rock face where all sorts of vegetation grew.
“Why did we come here?” Tang Yao asked.
It wasn’t just Tang Yao, everyone else also felt puzzled as to why Nie Yan led them here.
Nie Yan glanced upward at the cliff face above them and said, “We came here to look for an opportunity to catch those two Dark Elves… Hold on, I think I saw something over on that side.” Nie Yan walked alongside the wall and jumped. He leapt three meters into the air before clinging onto the vegetation on the cliff face. He then shot a web line at a shrub three meters above him. Resembling a nimble monkey, he climbed higher and higher by grabbing onto nearby protruding rocks.
“Guys, look over there!” Yao Yao pointed above.
Everyone looked in the direction Yao Yao pointed. Only then did they discover a faintly shimmering object slightly sticking out on the cliff face. From its appearance, it was likely a treasure chest and a silver one at that. There was actually a chest so well hidden in this area. If it weren’t for Nie Yan, they would have never discovered it!
The real reason Nie Yan brought everyone here was solely for the sake of this chest as it only appeared in the Specialist version of this dungeon. Thus, in order not to arouse the team’s suspicions, he acted as if he were looking for the Dark Elves.
Nie Yan reached over and found the chest embedded deeply inside the crack on the cliff face. He didn’t know who discovered this chest first, but the person who discovered it was surely an expert. After all, it was nearly impossible to notice such a well-hidden chest unless the player possessed exceptional observational ability. Even without his exceptional eyesight, this location could be found on the guides in his past life. Be it hidden chests, items, or information regarding their respective dungeons, they were all written down. The knowledge came from the experiences of the high-level experts before him. When these experts reached a higher level, they would write down this information and sell it to online publications for a hefty sum. Nie Yan had always looked at these guides and thoroughly researched them before actually entering a dungeon with a team. This aided him greatly in avoiding disastrous mistakes and taking the wrong paths.