Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
“There are three different factions to choose from. Apparently, there are a lot of processes in this dungeon. The missions are different for different sides too, so will it only count as officially completed after completing the dungeon for all three factions?”
“Stop talking about these useless things. Which one do we choose?” Twinkle Fried Rice said.
“This is a level 90 dungeon; we probably won’t be able to complete it,” Hao Tian said with a low voice. “Since it’s pioneering, let’s first familiarize ourselves with the dungeon. It’s best to choose a faction we’re familiar with, the escaping mercenaries.”
“Ah, escaping again.” The others complained—running away was not as fun as chasing people at all.
Nonetheless, most of these players were pro players. Even though they clearly knew that it was very difficult to clear a level 90 dungeon, they would not back away. Although they were escaping underground, it was very likely that they would not be able to see Dragon Emperor’s attack, just like before. Bun-Hit-Dog did not know the details of this dungeon, so he did not say anything.
Hao Tian chose the escaping mercenaries faction. White starlight appeared at the edge of the players’ vision. Their vision was dragged by an unknown force and ‘fell down’ into the planet. The fleets of different colors, the clouds, the sky, and the environment around them flashed past. They moved right toward the stone ground, and their vision passed through it the next moment, entering the dark underground and regaining their vision.
In front of them was the dark underground filled with twists and turns. Their bodies shook as they recovered control of their movement. Looking down, their bodies were complete, and nothing was missing.
This time, a small virtual column appeared in the vision of these ten people; it was the mission list. The players could customize and have some of the information in their interface always shown before them. Currently, the dungeon missions were shown and could not be hidden. They hovered at the top right of their vision.
You are an escaping mercenary. The underground is filled with DarkStar hover ships and groups of warriors. You know very well that if you are caught, you will face torture worse than death. Enemies are everywhere, and there is almost no chance to escape. However, the reinforcements ignited your will to live.
Dungeon Target: Escape from the pursuit until the Dragon Emperor arrives.
Countdown: 12 hours.
Completion Reward: 6,000,000 Experience
Failure Condition: Everyone being caught
Punishment: 10% decrease in total reward for every player caught
Optional Mission I: Kill 100 DarkStar troops. Reward: 400,000 Experience
Optional Mission II: Destroy 10 hovering ships. Reward: 700,000 Experience
Optional Mission III: Protect 6 mercenaries who are being chased. Reward: 1,000,000 Experience
Challenge Mission I: Not triggering any alarms. Reward: 2,000,000 Experience
Challenge Mission II: Get rid of pursuers 5 times without any deaths. Reward: 3,500,000 Experience
Random Events: In the process of escaping, you have a chance to meet random events. Complete two random events. Reward: 3,000,000 Experience
The number of side missions completed affects the dungeon completion rating.
Remarks: When coming into contact with the main characters of the event, the dungeon target and difficulty will change. When a main character is within the range of one kilometer from you, you will receive a notification. Please select carefully whether to change the route.
After the mission appeared, a twelve-hour countdown clock appeared in the top left corner of their vision.
“So much information.” Frenzied Sword looked at them carefully and said, “The final target of the escaping mercenaries is to not be caught. If we want to raise the reward, we have to act dangerously yet not get caught…”
They looked at the mission carefully. Hao Tian frowned and shared what he had analyzed from it.
“Twelve hours, which is shorter than our actual experience. Also, if one member fails, the total reward will decrease. Therefore, in order to get a high rating, all members must be alive and not captured till the end, ideally by working together. Furthermore, with this kind of system, it should mean we can betray our teammates… ahem, but there’s a price to pay.
“The optional missions are only useful when we meet enemies, which conflicts with the challenge mission. In the two challenge missions, one is to be stealthy, and the other is to find trouble, so it means that we have to choose one of them? Hmm, seeing the difference in reward, finding trouble will be much more difficult. The random events should be the accidental element… This dungeon is very complex. Also, the main character is mentioned at the end, which means we will not follow Black Phantom as we did before; we will be alone instead. I…”
Before he finished analyzing, the sound of hovering ship flying appeared in front of them, and an anxious voice came from their headsets.
“Attention all mercenaries, four hovering ships are searching the area. Don’t stay in one place, leave right now!”
As soon as the sentence ended, the light of a searchlight appeared at the tunnel ahead. Their face changed. There was no time to discuss, so they hastily turned around and sprinted away.
“The start of this dungeon is so quick. It’s only been two to three minutes, and the enemies are already here!” Sleepy Winter was worried. “The dungeon pace is too fast. If the enemies are too close to each other, it will be very difficult to last twelve hours!”
They ran for a while, and the hovering ship behind them moved forward like they had yet to be discovered. Nonetheless, they were not slow at all… They ran till their Stamina fell very quickly, but still, they could not increase their distance with the hovering ship behind. Most importantly, there was only one route in this tunnel—they had yet to find a different path.
This was a level 90 dungeon. Its difficulty could be seen everywhere. They were just level 60 and could not even get rid of these enemies.
“Let’s stop running—we should turn back and see how strong the enemies are,” Frenzied Sword suggested.
“That works as well. Adjust your position. Mechanics, stand at the backline to do damage output. Espers, lure and divert attention. Pugilists, go aggressive directly.”
Hao Tian was very decisive. He commanded the others and formed a simple cooperative formation. The searchlight approached quickly, and a hovering ship just a few meters long appeared, noticed them, then immediately flew toward them at a high speed. The mini laser cannon shot out a long, green laser.
Boom boom boom!
Laser cannon explosions did not create smoke, but pebbles splashed from the wall and the floor where it hit.
They charged forward with wide strides and surrounded the hovering ship, and the battle broke out immediately.
At the same time, the frame of the countdown clock in everyone’s vision suddenly turned red as a notification popped up.
You have triggered a level one alarm. The enemy’s reinforcements will arrive in ten minutes!
“Quick, finish the battle within ten minutes!”
With the time limit, their faces changed a little. Their eyes became more serious. They increased their attack speed and strength.
Boom boom boom!
All kinds of high-power attacks were thrown at the hovering ship, but the hovering ship’s shield was not just for decoration; it blocked a large number of attacks. The power of the mini lasers was not small—one shot would take away 200 to 300 HP from them. Although it looked like its damage was not high, its attack speed was fast!
For a grade B Super, dealing with a hovering ship would be much easier, but they were just level 60 grade C Supers. Plus, the players had very few talents and did not have Molding Talents at all, so they were not at an advantage in terms of attributes. Level 60 players were at the bottom of grade C Supers. Furthermore, even when the players reached level 90 in Version 2.0, they would only be grade C+. The level difference between grades increased from lower grades to higher grades. To them, the hovering ship that was supposed to be an elite monster was basically a BOSS.
As time passed, their attacks became more urgent, and it was easier to make mistakes. Finally, after paying a price of three deaths, they were able to destroy this hovering ship, and it exploded with a bang.
The rest of the people were breathing heavily, their HP decreased by more than half.
“It’s too difficult! The side mission requires us to destroy ten hovering ships, but just one is already this hard to deal with. Three of us even died. The level difference is too huge!” Twinkle Fried Rice said.
Three people died, so the total reward was decreased by thirty percent directly. This was just around ten minutes into the dungeon, and they had already suffered such a high loss. They realized that with their current level, they were looking for a beating by entering. Plus, the monsters in the dungeons were all adjusted and enhanced. Earlier, when the hovering ship exploded, the DarkStar soldiers inside used energy escape. These people were supposed to be ordinary people or low-grade Supers, but their levels were all question marks, which meant that they were above level 60. Luckily, the hovering ship’s explosion made the DarkStar soldiers lose more than half of their health, or the players would have failed the dungeon already.
The alarm was still on, so they started running immediately. However, the reinforcements came too quickly. The players were exhausted from running away and had no choice but to sell out teammates to make sure the rest lived. However, that was just a desperate measure. Not long after, the last player, Hao Tian, was attacked by two hovering ships, beaten to the brink of death, and captured.
Everyone failed, and the countdown clock froze. From start till now, only thirty minutes had passed.
With a flash before their eyes, they were kicked out of the dungeon and returned to the stronghold.
“Half an hour, and we’ve already failed. How do we even play it?” Sleepy Winter was speechless.
This time, the other teamed up players were all kicked out and wailing. They were all beaten up. They exchanged experiences and asked around; everyone had chosen the escaping mercenaries faction, all looking to go the steady way. King Admiral’s team had the best results—they had lasted fifty minutes.
The most tragic was Fried Eggplants with Fish’s team. They met the first hovering ship and were not able to finish the enemy within ten minutes. Then they were surrounded by the two hovering ships that came as reinforcements, failing straightaway.
However, no one was frustrated. After all, the dungeon introduction was very clear; they were jumping levels to challenge it, so they had been very mentally prepared. Furthermore, if they did not fail a few times, how could it be called pioneering?
Top-tier, professional players always liked a difficult challenge, and these players were never beaten down by obstacles. They excitedly entered the dungeon again. The same dungeon had a limit to how many times one could enter, which would refresh every six days in-game time. The players also had some Germinal Organization Warfare dungeons that they had gotten from Han Xiao, but they decided to use up the number of times for [Warfare: Power of the Dragon Emperor] first.
Hao Tian and the others entered the dungeon again. It was the same cutscene, then the faction selection interface. Now, Bun-Hit-Dog could not hold it in anymore and said, “The escaping mercenaries faction is too difficult; it’s almost impossible to clear. The other factions should be easier—staying alive while chasing is easier than running. Also, there’s the reinforcements faction. We should try changing the faction.”
The first time that they entered, Bun-Hit-Dog had recorded the process, which could be used as material for his videos. However, he was most concerned about the scene where the Dragon Emperor showed her power. It would be good enough even if it was just a cutscene. Clearing the dungeon was not his target, recording was. His only target was waiting for the countdown to end and watching the cutscene.
The bunch of them were rather close to each other, and seeing that he had made the suggestion, Frenzied Sword and Hao Tian agreed. The others did not have any objections either. The faction that they chose this time was the DarkStar pursuers. After getting beaten up so badly the last time, they felt that choosing the DarkStar faction would be better.
This time, after entering the dungeon, they realized that they had become a group of ground troops following a hovering ship. There was also a countdown, but the DarkStar faction’s countdown was only three hours. The mission, of course, was different from the escaping mercenaries’. This time, it was to capture a certain number of mercenaries within the time limit. The optional missions included protecting the hovering ship that they were following and helping other DarkStar allies surround targets. The challenge missions were to capture a certain target.
DarkStar’s faction had a specialty—they were the ground troops and had to follow the hovering ship. They could not leave freely, or the dungeon would be determined as failed. So, combat would definitely happen.
“It should be safe now.”
Turning from prey to hunter, they felt relieved. They followed the hovering ship and very soon discovered a group of mercenaries. The attack order was given, and they charged forward immediately.
Then, they noticed a tragic truth…
The mercenaries were fighting back, and they were damn strong!
The hovering ship that they had spent so much effort to defend was destroyed by these mercenaries with question mark levels in no time. Then, these mercenaries chased to kill them so that the alarm would be canceled. They were in dire danger once again, and their mindset fell from the sky right into hell.
Who is actually the hunter‽
If you people can fight so well, why did you even run?
The reminder appeared, saying that the reinforcements would arrive if they could last ten minutes. They became the ones running away instead of chasing. There was danger in both factions. The DarkStar had a lot of reinforcements, and the mercenaries had very strong individual fighting capabilities. No matter which one they chose, they had to face the advantages of the other side. However, there was one good thing about choosing the DarkStar faction—as long as they ran away a certain distance, the mercenaries would not dare follow anymore.
Bun-Hit-Dog ran immediately at an extremely high speed, decisively selling out his teammates. The others had no choice but to follow after him and run for their lives.
After running for a while and leaving two people behind, the mercenaries finally retreated. The survivors placed their hands on their hips and breathed heavily. Bun-Hit-Dog ran the fastest, yet he was in the best state. He had no strengths other than being fast when running away.
“I—I feel that, since the hovering ship exploded, we should wait here and wait for the dungeon to end…”
Before he even finished the sentence, a new order came from their headsets, deploying them to follow another hovering ship. As always, not following the order would be deemed as a mission failure, so there were no shortcuts.
Frustration appeared on their faces. Just as they wanted to start moving, a new notification appeared.
Ding ding ding!
The notification sound echoes in their ears. The border of their vision flashed continuously in red light, and it seemed to be very urgent.
Attention! You have reached within one kilometer of a main character. Please carefully select whether to change route!
Hao Tian’s pupils constricted, and he said in a low voice, “It’s impossible for us to complete the mission through normal methods. How about we try to make contact with a main character? I’m guessing that the main characters will also be from different factions. If we can meet one from the same faction, the dungeon difficulty should decrease. If we meet one from the enemy side, then it might be a sure death scenario. This is a gamble…”
He was experienced and gave a very sensible analysis.
The others thought that it made sense, so they exchanged looks. “Then let’s wait.”
The red light flashed more rapidly, meaning that the main character was getting closer. Their hearts were in their throats.
A vague sound of trembling came out of the wall. It became louder and louder, conveying that the target was approaching.
“This sound…” Frenzied Sword suddenly opened his eyes wide as he realized something. He panicked and yelled, “Run!”
But it was too late.
The next moment, the wall beside them collapsed! A round Car Ball broke through the wall and rolled over. They happened to be standing in the way. It was an instant teamkill!
Inside the stronghold, Hao Tian and the others’ bodies appeared again. They were all dazed as if they had yet to recover from the instant kill. They looked at Frenzied Sword.
Frustration appeared on Frenzied Sword’s face.
“That’s Black Phantom’s transportation tool. I sat inside that ball and escaped together with them. We have no chance to survive if we meet him. This… we were unlucky.”
Bun-Hit-Dog’s face twitched, and his mindset completely collapsed. “I just want to record some materials! Why are you doing this to me!”
The players of Black Star started their journey of suffering. They were beaten up badly again and again, yet they did not grow tired of it. They were feeling pain and happiness together.
Bun-Hit-Dog was the most upset. He did not have the spirit of facing obstacles like pro players; he was getting beaten up so badly that his mind was almost breaking.
However, for the sake of video materials, he had to force himself to continue suffering. It was very tragic and courageous.
The dungeon that Han Xiao gave out was to keep the players busy for a while. The materials that he had ordered would all arrive the next day. He locked himself in the machinery modification room and spent his time accompanied by metal and the workbench, building up his new combat style.
Time passed day by day. In the neighboring Fawn Galaxy, a stealthy mini spaceship visited Fawn-122 Planet.