Chapter 6 – Stunning Skills
The instant the countdown ended…
Shi Feng’s body leaned forward and his legs bent. Just like a leopard, he dashed away from the starting line with explosive force.
By the time the muskets had started ringing and shooting towards the starting line, Shi Feng was already three yards away.
Subsequently, another volley of musket shots rang out; a total of six bullets shot towards Shi Feng’s path. Several green lines indicating the trajectory of the bullets covered Shi Feng’s body. Shi Feng would become a sieve if his reactions were not keen.
Just as the bullets were about to hit, Shi Feng dodged to the right with a sidestep. He rushed forward once more, after avoiding the second volley of shots.
Bullet casings fell to the ground consistently as the three Gnomes continued to aim and shoot. However, Shi Feng avoided them with the vigor of a leopard, every single time. The way he stayed a step ahead of the bullets made it seem as if he had control over them.
“It can’t be. He’s already at the 10-yard-mark.” Seeing Shi Feng taking less than five seconds to reach the 10-yard-mark, the male Cleric couldn’t help but be shocked; it was only a half of Stabbing Heart’s time.
Stabbing Heart became speechless by the side. He silently watched Shi Feng’s advance.
He had originally thought of Shi Feng as a fresh noob; someone that he didn’t know of and someone that came to the Challenge Race for fun. Yet, the speed and accuracy Shi Feng just displayed were like a veteran who had tempered himself for countless years on the Challenge Race. Every move of his was straightforward and efficient, something a rookie definitely couldn’t pull off. Even Stabbing Heart himself, after going through the challenge several times, felt he couldn’t do any better.
Stabbing Heart had the pride of an expert. He did not think that Shi Feng could be stronger than he was. He explained, “With such nimbleness, maybe this rookie is an athlete or someone who trained in martial arts. However, the Gnomes will change their attack patterns after he goes past 15 yards. He won’t be able to hold it, by that time.”
“You’re right, boss. If it’s someone that isn’t known to our Assassin’s Alliance, he definitely isn’t an expert. He’ll surely be shocked once he reaches 15 yards. Then, he’ll turn into a beehive.”
“Right. After 15 yards, the number of bullets fired will be twelve. The target would also no longer be focused on the player, himself. Instead, it’ll cover a wide area. Dodging to either side won’t be an option.”
The other members of Assassin’s Alliance voiced their agreements. They, too, had already witnessed such a scene before, seven to eight times, at that.
Stabbing Heart passed 15 yards on his first challenge. In the subsequent challenges, however, his furthest distance was 20 yards. The difficulty after 15 yards was clear to behold.
“He went past 15 yards,” an Assassin’s Alliance member commented.
Stabbing Heart and the others quickly focused their sights on Shi Feng, wanting to see Shi Feng’s performance.
On the field, the three Gnomes became enraged once Shi Feng stepped past the 15-yard-line. They no longer aimed as they fired their muskets with wild abandon.
Suddenly, the bullet trajectory-indicators within Shi Feng’s sight covered a large area. There were only three bullets that would hit Shi Feng. However, it was game over if even a single bullet hit its mark.
“Finally, showing your shameless behavior, eh?” Shi Feng revealed an indifferent smile. Unsheathing his Novice Sword, Shi Feng used it to greet the bullets.
In his previous life, Shi Feng was always busy with work and leveling up as the captain of Shadow; he had no time to play the Challenge Race. However, he had seen it quite a few times, so he still had a clear understanding of the Challenge Race. He knew the Gnomes would change their attack patterns after the 15-yard-line.
The fifteen-yard distance of the Black Market’s Challenge Race was a bar that tested a player’s operating skills. Only those who passed it could be considered to have entry-level operating skills. However, a majority of the players required two or three months before being able to reach this level; a minority took a month. There were only a scant few experts capable of passing it in one try. Stabbing Heart was one of those few experts.
Three bullets were about to hit Shi Feng’s head, chest, and arm, three locations.
“As expected, this kid’s no good. The bullets are too numerous and too spread out. He’s already forgotten to dodge them. He’s even dashing ahead like an idiot.” Stabbing Heart knew it was foolishness when he saw Shi Feng rushing towards the bullets. Did he think the challenge would continue if he were just shot by one or two bullets?
Right this moment, Shi Feng’s head shifted. He waved his Novice Sword, creating a white streak of light.
A spark was created. Shi Feng had waved the Novice Sword just at the right spot, effortlessly hitting the bullet that aimed at his chest.
The threat of the three bullets was simply resolved by Shi Feng. He had, once more, advanced another section of the distance.
Yet, the three Gnomes did not stop firing. The muskets in their hands were like machine guns, firing volley after volley of bullets. Within an instant, Shi Feng faced off with another five bullets. There were also bullets all around that prevented him from dodging.
Dang! Dang! Dang!
Shi Feng swiftly moved his body while waving his sword to deflect the unavoidable bullets. As the bullets passed by his body, his ears could even hear the air being split.
Only three seconds went by and Shi Feng had passed through the 20-yard-mark. He was only 10 yards away from the finishing point.
“Crap. Boss, who is this kid? He actually used his sword to block the bullets.” The male Cleric widened his eyes in surprise. Shi Feng had given him an indescribable sense of shock.
Although the bullet trajectories were indicated, accurately blocking them was easier said than done. Such an action required extreme precision and skill to carry out. Not to mention, the margin of error allowed was a damnable one.
Stabbing Heart suddenly became speechless. Deflecting bullets with a weapon was like walking on a thread of wire high up in the sky; a single misstep would send you plunging into the abyss. As if he was enjoying it, Shi Feng blocked the oncoming bullets over and over. Whereas, the bullets seemed to have a life of their own, intentionally avoiding Shi Feng’s body as they flew past.
“Boss, that Swordsman has run past 25 yards. He’ll definitely pass the finish line at this rate.” The male Cleric’s heart became a chaotic mess as he watched Shi Feng danced forward, sparks occasionally flashing in front of his body.
“I have eyes. I don’t need you to remind me.” Stabbing Heart said in annoyance. He was deeply drawn in by Shi Feng’s actions.
The moment Shi Feng went past 25 yards…
“Die, challenger.” One of the Gnomes at the finish line laughed. The Gnome took out an automatic musket, sending a wave of bullets towards Shi Feng.
Suddenly, the number of bullets increased to twenty-four. Not only that, their distance from Shi Feng was a mere 5 yards. It was an unavoidable distance for players.
“Hell! This is cheating!” Stabbing Heart unwillingly shouted.
The other players became extremely nervous when they saw the scene and they couldn’t help but curse at the shamelessness of the Gnomes.
Facing the hail of bullets, Shi Feng quickly turned grave. Although he had known about the second change at the 25-yard-mark, even he would panic in the face of so many bullets.
Shi Feng bent his knees, leaping forward like a leopard. He darted headfirst towards the area with the least amount of bullets, reducing the surface area of his body that would come into contact with the bullets. Following which, he madly waved the Novice Sword, simultaneously creating four streaks of white light.
Peng! Peng! Peng! Peng!
After a series of sparks, Shi Feng’s body passed through the storm of bullets.
The moment his body was about to make contact with the ground, his free arm pressed downwards. Shi Feng quickly stood up with all his might, rushing past the finish line like a bolt of lightning.
Total time spent: 14 seconds. Estimated record time of 18 seconds for Copper Prize broken.
“Ng… I’m really not used to this soft and weak body,” Shi Feng slightly lamented after passing through the finish line. If he was over Level 100, with his body’s constitution, he could easily carry out the four simultaneous sword slashes with great ease.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, a round of applause! This Swordsman has passed the challenge!” The Gnome administrator announced loudly.
System: Player was the First to pass the Copper Challenge and break the record. Rewarding player with 1 Silver Coin and Swordsman Skill [Thundering Flash].
“It can’t be. It actually gave out the super-rare skill, Thundering Flash. This is a skill that even a Swordsman over Level 100 can’t get.” Shi Feng thought he was hallucinating. However, he was shocked when he saw the Thundering Flash skill book inside his bag.
[Thundering Flash] (Action-type)
Rapidly send out three sword lights to 10- x 2-yards forward. Each hit will cause 130% damage and also give a Damage Amplification effect, amplifying the damage of your following attacks by 20% for 15 seconds.
Cooldown: 30 seconds
Without a second thought, Shi Feng clicked and learned the skill.
Swordsman was a Job that mainly focused on dealing damage to single targets; it didn’t have many powerful AOE skills. Thundering Flash was one of the few powerful AOE skills a Swordsman possessed. If it were learned during the early periods, it would definitely create a huge gap from the other Swordsman.
After learning Thundering Flash, Shi Feng started to feel himself gaining the makings of a Swordsman.
“You guys continue playing; I’ll be leaving first. Don’t forget my 50 Coppers.” Shi Feng looked towards the dumbfounded Stabbing Heart, leaving the Black Market after calling out to them.
Stabbing Heart indifferently nodded his head.
“Boss, he’s gone. He took away the prize, as well. Should we chase after him?” the male Cleric asked.
Stabbing Heart’s shock gradually faded after Shi Feng left. He stared at the male Cleric, scolding, “Are you an idiot? We’ll be lucky if we have time to even curry up to such an expert Swordsman. Making enemies of him? Are you courting death?”
“Not good. I have to tell this to Guild Leader. Luckily, I added him as a friend. Is he called Ye Feng? I can’t believe I’ve never heard of such an expert. Could he be some sword expert in disguise?” Stabbing Heart acknowledged that he could not pass the challenge in such a magnificent way. Especially the last bout after the 25-yard-mark; that was just cheating. It was impossible for players to block or dodge. Yet, Shi Feng had done it.
At the Trade Area, Shi Feng met with Potion Master Kevin. He spent 120 Coppers purchasing 20 [Exploding Berry], instantly shrinking his wealth down to 30 Coppers.
However, he still spent it, all to level at the speed of a rocket.
Shi Feng took the Exploding Berries and left Red Leaf Town, running westward.
At that moment, all players were at Level 0, and all of them were killing Level 0 monsters around Red Leaf Town. There were also a few with good techniques killing Level 1 Baby Wolves in a party. A Warrior tanking at the front and a damage dealer and healer behind, fighting together in an orderly manner. Although the EXP was shared between several people, the efficiency was a lot higher and there were fewer competitors.
However, Shi Feng did not plan to compete with these people. Passing through the Level 1 monster area, followed by the Level 3 monster area, Shi Feng headed straight towards Red Leaf Forest, a Level 5 monster area. There were no players who would go there.
There were still no players who dared to challenge Level 5 monsters at this stage of the game. Not only was there the suppression due to the difference in levels but there was also the significant disparity in HP and Attack Power. A Level 5 monster could easily steamroll over a Level 1 player. Even a 6-man-party was no match for a Level 5 monster.
There was a heavy penalty whenever a player died. Not only would they lose an entire Level’s worth of EXP but their Skill Proficiency would also be decreased. There were simply no players who would take the risk. Otherwise, hours of their hard earned EXP and Proficiency would become pointless.