A Small Obstacle
“Brother Zhan Yu, I’ve gathered all the elites in the guild here, do you think we have a shot at the Fastest Hardcore Clearance Ranking?” Crimson Fire sent a private message to Zhang Yang.
Zhang Yang could not help but laugh, “Aren’t you being a little greedy? Just 1 thousand gold coins and you want me to help you get on the ranking?”
Crimson Fire smiled awkwardly, “If we really did get on the ranking, I’ll add on another ten thousand gold coins!”
How could a mere ten thousand gold coins be compared to a server announcement spam?!
Zhang Yang shook his head and said, “You have no idea how it works to be on the speed ranking, right?”
“Eh? Isn’t it just breaking the previous record?” Crimson Fire replied earnestly.
“It’s divided into two conditions. First, like you’ve said, if the ranking already has records, you would only have to break the previous ones. Second, if the ranking is empty, like it currently is, then you would have to fulfill two conditions in order to be ranked.”
Zhang Yang continued, “The first condition is to beat the record time taken by the first clearance, and the second is to beat the system’s own alloted time!”
“What? There’s a system alloted time?” Crimson Fire really did not know.
“Of course! Otherwise you could spend the whole day for your first clearance then beat the record by improving just one minute each time, and that would have let you spam your name all over the ranking! You must know, each record breaker of Fastest Hardcore Clearance Ranking will be rewarded with items like Runes, Gems and so on. Do you think that the system would really be this easy and nice?”
“Oh!” Crimson Fire finally understood.
“That’s why the system has to set such a high bar. You need to fulfill these conditions before the system recognizes your result to qualify you for the ranking! As for Bangar Crypt, the speed limit set to be ranked is 30 minutes!”
“Sh*t! That fast?” Even if Crimson Fire bore the title of guildmaster, he still could not help but cursed.
Zhang Yang laughed, “That’s the case, so it’d be better to just raid for the equipment. When everyone has reached Level 15 and has mostly Green-Copper equipment on, you might be able to consider trying to do a speedrun1!”
With Zhang Yang’s explanation, Crimson Fire abandoned his idea, giving up on his hope to rank on the Fastest Hardcore Clearance Ranking anytime soon.
“Guildmaster, can we start now?” Absolute Defense said smugly, taking off the shield from his back and the hammer from his waist, his gaze on Zhang Yang filled with hostility.
Zhang Yang was puzzled. When did he ever offend this man?! However, he was not the kind of man to be afraid of rocking the boat. He did not have to endure this so he had immediately rolled his eyes back at Absolute Defense.
Absolute Defense felt so wronged!
He was Lost Paradise’s MT (main tank), there was not a single person in the guild who had not politely addressed him “Brother Absolute”! No one could match his monster pulling skills nor his reaction rate! He had received many poaching attempts with high salaries from large guilds when he was still in other games to sway him to switch guilds. If it had not been for him liking Silky Snow, he would have left this tiny Lost Paradise!
However, he felt that he had been humiliated yesterday!
Their guildmaster had actually abandoned him to join a pub party for a dungeon raid, saying things about discovering a powerful tank and wanting to check him out!
What was that? Lost Paradise already had him, the universe’s strongest tank, so why would they need another tank?
Furthermore, what happened in the end had angered him even more! Not only had the pub party cleared Hard Mode, they had also managed to take down Hardcore Mode!
Absolute Defense was furious! How could he not be involved in such a valiant event! He would never acknowledge that his standard was lower than that pub tank’s. He felt that luck was merely on his side and that was all!
Last night, Crimson Fire gave him a shield and had insisted that he raided Hardcore Mode the next day together with the party.
Absolute Defense was completely dumbfounded once he had inspected the shield. It was a Green-Copper equipment! The best shield in the game so far! He did not have to put much thought into it to know that the shield must have been obtained from Hardcore Mode Bangar Crypt!
Why did that pub party’s Guardian, this Zhan Yu guy, not claim the shield? As a tank, shields would have been the most valuable defense equipment. He could not have let this go!
The only reason he could think of was that Zhan Yu must have been an additional supporting cast in the party and not worthy of the shield. That would explain why the guildmaster had held on to the shield and gave it to him!
The more Absolute Defense thought of it, the more sense it made for him. When Crimson Fire had said to raid Hardcore Mode together with Zhan Yu, he had personally decided to properly humiliate that lucky bastard! To think that the brat had managed to tag along with his guildmaster and obtain the first clearance of Hardcore Mode which even he did not get!
Absolute Defense equipped and unequipped his [Earthen Round Shield] repeatedly to try and provoke Zhang Yang as if he was saying, “Look here, this shield belongs to me! Who do you think you are huh? Take a look, take a good look and be envious!”
Zhang Yang could not comprehend one bit. Why on earth was this guy showing off the shield he had crafted? What could it mean? Hmm, he definitely had a loose screw! Never mind, no use wasting time on a dimwit!
“I’m going now, keep those heals on me Silky!” Absolute Defense dashed towards the mobs with flair, not forgetting to give another despising look at Zhang Yang before he left.
“Your guild’s tank, this one. Is his brain still working properly?” Zhang Yang could not help but send a private message to Crimson Fire.
Still, Absolute Defense must be of a certain level to be Lost Paradise’s MT. Defenders were a natural at pulling groups of mobs and those 6 monsters had completely locked onto Absolute Defense’s aggro with no signs of swaying to other targets. Even then, Absolute Defense was no Zhang Yang. He had fully depended on his defense and skills to absorb the damage. Hardcore Mode monsters were expected to be ferocious and Absolute Defense’s HP shot up and down like a rollercoaster ride, putting a load on the healers.
Zhang Yang stood by one side and watched. They were only minions. There was no need to put up such a big fight.
Elites were indeed elites, the monster killing rate was completely incomparable to the pub party yesterday. The minions were quickly killed without Zhang Yang moving an inch. However, the healers had completely drained their MP and had to rest and consume some food to recover their MP.
“Zhan Yu, can you complete a quest together with me later?” Silky Snow had quickly refilled her MP and skipped over to Zhang Yang to ask him sweetly.
“Silky, what quest is it? I can go with you!” Absolute Defense jumped to his feet immediately. His feelings for Silky Snow was not something recent.
Zhang Yang shrugged, trying to indicate that since there was someone for you, we should not waste more time. Although there was such a saying “you are only young once”, Zhang Yang had experienced the uncertainties of life and was now fully determined to strengthen his own capabilities in order to be Lin Yu’s dependable rock. There was simply no time for flings!
Silky Snow felt agitated, turning to glare at Absolute Defense.
Absolute Defense had no idea of her hidden agenda and had gotten angrier instead, “Not only is that little rascal a bastard, he dares to flirt with my girl! Unforgivable!”
With totally no intention to, Zhang Yang had leapt from being a bastard to someone’s love rival.
“Moving on!” Crimson Fire led the party forward without realizing the conflict that had occurred between Zhang Yang and Absolute Defense.
“Zhan Yu, you and Absolute Defense take one each!” Even though Crimson Fire knew perfectly well that Zhang Yang alone could tank the entire Hardcore Mode but since he had already brought along his guild’s tank, it would be a humiliation to Lost Paradise if he had just sat aside.
“Hmph. Guildmaster, I can do this alone!” Absolute Defense was utterly confident ever since he had equipped the shield, and mere mortals would not be able to stop his panache.
Zhang Yang only gestured for Absolute Defense to welcome him to give the fight a try.
Absolute Defense scoffed again and went ahead with his hammer.
“Pa! Pa! Pa!” After a moment of chaos, Crimson Fire hurriedly asked for help, “Zhan Yu! Go quick! Absolute is gonna fall! Hurry, healers increase the healing speed!”
Fatty Han laughed watching the scene.
Zhang Yang unsheathed his sword and used <Charge>, stunning one of the monsters and began dealing damage. After the monster had recovered, Zhang Yang used <Provoke> and had stabilized the aggro once the 2-second provoke effect wore off.
When Absolute Defense had noticed the same shield on Zhang Yang’s left hand, he was befuddled. How could he have one too?
To save time, Zhang Yang refrained from quibbling with Absolute Defense and cleared all the minions along the way so they had arrived at the entrance of the first boss quickly. Having witnessed Zhang Yang’s capabilities and his astounding ability to pull aggro, it had made Absolute Defense felt like a total extra.
When Black Claw had been defeated, he was even more surprised! Stacking over 10 stacks of <Death Stare>, Zhang Yang was not hit even once by the boss. His manipulation of movement and timing had opened Absolute Defense’s eyes, he had not known that a tank could actually reach this level! From then on, he was completely listless, attacking monsters without making a sound.
Since the party was stronger than yesterday’s and Zhang Yang’s equipment had a major upgrade, the party had not been wiped even after defeating the hidden boss, though some deaths were inevitable.
According to the deal made, Zhang Yang would be prioritized for any equipment that would be of use to him. Zhang Yang had then accepted 4 Green-Copper equipment without hesitation.
[Lord’s Helm] (Green-Copper, Heavy Armor)
Level Requirement: 10
[Bloodied Cape] (Green-Copper, Cape)
Level Requirement: 10
[Warrior’s Chest Plate] (Green-Copper, Heavy Armor)
Level Requirement: 10
[Amber Ring] (Green-Copper, Ring)
Equipped Effect: Each successful evasion has a fixed rate of increasing 20 points Strength for 10 seconds. Effect cannot be stacked.
Level Requirement: 10
“47 minutes!” Crimson Fire had timed their progress. “Zhan Yu, do you think we could get the time down to within 30 minutes if we upgrade our equipment and master our battle strategy a little better?”
“Mm, there’s hope for it.” said Zhang Yang as he equipped his new gears.
“Hehe. We’ll continue to raid Hard Mode and not take any more of a professional’s time!” said Crimson Fire. With equipment obtained from Hardcore Mode, it would be a humiliation to not pass Hard Mode.
“Okay. Bye bye then!” Both Zhang Yang and Fatty Han quit the party.
1 Speedrun is a style/strategy for running a dungeon/instance/raid in games where the highest priority of every member should be the completion of the run in the shortest duration possible. This strategy generally forgoes item loots, experience, hidden bosses, etc and the party composition would generally try to include as many DPS-ers as possible. Common tactics used in speedruns include a full DPS party, or kiting many monsters together for AoE classes to nuke at once.