As Yu Runkai turned around, Li Yiming put Shao Xian down slowly. It took a bit for time for her to recover from everything that has happened thus far.
“How’s the situation?” Li Yiming turned toward Chen Quan.
“I don’t know. When I came here with her, the fat guy was already here.” Chen Quan shrugged his shoulder and retained his composure. He was able to keep calm despite all the supernatural happenings, owing to his many years of experience in dealing with the dead and the extraordinary.
“You? Fang Shui’er was your princess?” Li Yiming looked at Fang Shui’er with wide eyes, reminiscing the hot kiss between him and Shao Xian. ‘Don’t tell me the same happened between Fang Shui’er and…’
“I don’t know. Fang Shui’er fell from the window of the castle when I cleared the level. Yu Runkai was already here when we arrived, but he was alone…” Chen Quan whispered into Li Yiming’s ear.
‘Alone…’ Li Yiming frowned.
“Did you really think that this was a playground? The more people, the more burdening the task…” Yu Runkai said while staring at Chen Quan and Shao Xian as their whispering did not escape his attention.
‘Burden… Then his princess…’ A shiver ran down Li Yiming’s spine as he surmised what happened to the unfortunate person that Yu Runkai was supposed to rescue. He stepped forward and interposed himself between Yu Runkai and his two friends.
“Whether he wants to bring people along is entirely up to him. If you have the energy to spare, why don’t you help us find a way out of here?” Fang Shui’er emptied her drink and put the bottle back into her storage ring.
“You mean, we can’t just walk out of here?” Li Yiming asked Fang Shui’er while keeping his attention on Yu Runkai for precautionary measures.
“There’s some kind of invisible barrier up in the front.” Chen Quan pointed ahead.
Li Yiming looked in the direction Chen Quan pointed at and found an endless range of mountains and cliffs. Not too far away was a spherical building made of blue, semi-transparent glass, along with two giant stone sculptures.
“A boundary, no doubt.” Fang Shui’er wiped her hands as she flashed a gentle smile.
“Alright. Well, it seems like we’ll just have to clear this level like the previous ones. Shit, who would have thought that the wok cap was a key…” Yu Runkai spat on the ground.
“No threats so far, but we should be careful…” Fang Shui’er concealed her emotions.
“Regardless, we fight together for now…” Li Yiming looked back at Yu Runkai. He had the strange feeling that the latter harbored hostile feelings toward him ever since seeing him for the first time aboard the cruise ship.
“Of course, our interests are aligned, for now. But don’t expect me to take care of those two…” Yu Runkai looked at Chen Quan and Shao Xian with disdain.
“You won’t need to.” Li Yiming frowned, the remark having once again worsened his impression of Yu Runkai.
“The boundary is gone…” Fang Shui’er suddenly said.
“Oh? So we can get out of here?” Chen Quan was brave enough to be the first one to walk out, and the others followed suit. The group stopped right next to the crystal structure, taking some time to examine it closely.
“There are three more over there, but they’re smaller…” Fang Shui’er was perceptive as always.
“What the hell is this?” Yu Runkai struck the glass structure, which was surrounded by metallic fences that glowed with a blue light.
“Maybe we should go have a look further ahead.” Yu Runkai looked ahead as a few birds flew past them.
“We should wait and gather more information. We’re not pressed on time right now.” Fang Shui’er said with a severe countenance as she scrutinized the two stone statues right next to the glass structure.
Li Yiming was also looking at one of the statues, and his bafflement grew as he looked at the crystals which were mounted on a stone staff the statues held.
“Thirty seconds until minions spawn…” A voice devoid of any emotion was heard.
‘Holy crap, it really is…’ Li Yiming was now certain of his conjecture.
“What is this? Is this some kind of battlefield?” Yu Runkai frowned. The voice sounded like it came from afar, and yet everyone could hear it very clearly.
“Do you know anything about this?” Fang Shui’er, who had been paying attention to Li Yiming the entire time, asked.
“You mean, you don’t know?” Fang Shui’er’s ignorance caught Li Yiming off guard.
“Know what?” Everyone turned toward Li Yiming.
“The giant crystal, the defensive towers… This is Summoner’s Rift…” Li Yiming pointed at the buildings around them.
“What?’ Fang Shui’er and Yu Runkai asked almost simultaneously.
“You guys really don’t know?” Li Yiming looked back at everyone except Shao Xian, who was the only one that did not seem confused.
“We don’t have much time, so explain to us quickly! We need to strategize accordingly…” Yu Runkai said with irritation. Without the power of his talents, his only way through this level would be to beat the game, and any information about the rules was crucial to it.
“It’s the hottest game right now, and you…? What do you even do with your lives?”
“Does it look like we’re the type of people who have time for games?” Fang Shui’er asked back.
Fang Shui’er’s words stopped Li Yiming short — he realized that she was right. ‘One is a superstar, the other a CEO… and the last one just… hangs around graveyards for a living…’
“Just tell us the rules!” Yu Runkai was rapidly growing impatient.
“Okay. Well, these crystals are called nexuses. We have one, the enemy has one. We win if we destroy the enemy’s nexus.” Li Yiming pointed at the giant, half-spherical structure right beside them.
“It’s that simple?” Chen Quan tapped.
“Not quite. There’s a river halfway to the enemy’s nexus, and three paths that lead to it. You’ll find giant stone sculptures, just like this one, which act as defensive towers for the enemy. We need to start by destroying the outer towers.”
“Can’t we just go to the nexus directly?”
“No, we'll have to start with the towers. It’s the rules. We won’t be able to destroy the towers by ourselves, either.”
“So what should we do?”
“Uh…” Li Yiming turned his head, only to see a line of people appear. Li Yiming recognized some of them as being the guests of the Pandaria, only they had expressionless faces and walked forward stiffly, just like zombies.
‘So that’s where they ended up being…’ Li Yiming’s heart sank.
“They’ll be our minions… They’ll appear periodically and start proceeding toward the enemy’s base. We’ll simply need to get rid of the enemy minions first and then destroy the towers with our own minions’ help.”
“That doesn’t seem too hard…” Yu Runkai frowned.
“Well, it shouldn’t be if we’re only facing minions, but since we’re five here, I suppose that we’ll find five enemies…”
“You mean, we’ll be fighting against five people?” ”
“That’s how the game is played…”
Yu Runkai suddenly snorted in discontentment; If it was going to be a team game, then Shao Xian and Chen Quan undoubtedly made it harder for them to win.
Li Yiming pursed his lips; he would die before giving up on his two friends, but he did feel a little sorry for Fang Shui’er.
“How are we going to fight with our talents sealed? With our bare fists?” Even Yu Runkai was fully aware that in-fighting was not going to help in any way.
“You can use those weapons…” Li Yiming pointed at where they stood moments ago. A rack containing all sorts of weapons appeared: axes, swords, maces...
Yu Runkai reached for a giant two-handed axe, only to find himself unable to lift the weapon.
“We’ll need gold to buy those…”
“Fight the monsters, level up, get gold, and buy equipment…”
“Alright. How are we going to split the teams…” Fang Shui’er picked up a wooden bow from the ground and said in a discouraged voice as she looked at Shao Xian and Chen Quan.
It would make sense to split the guardians evenly into the three paths that led to the enemy’s nexus, but that would mean two of them would need to face two foes, which was no easy task. Even Li Yiming found it quite hard to devise a plan that could satisfy everyone, seeing that he was the one who brought two dead weights along.
“I can… I can go alone…” Shao Xian volunteered upon noticing that Li Yiming did not quite know how to break it to them.
Yu Runkai grunted again and picked up a small, wooden shield.
“You…” Li Yiming hesitated.
“You know, if it really is Summoner’s Rift, I might be more useful than you’d think.”
“What? You’ve played this game before?” Li Yiming was surprised.
“Yes…” Shao Xian averted Li Yiming’s gaze.
“What rank…?” Li Yiming’s first reaction was to ask for Shao Xian’s proficiency level.
“Challenger…” Shao Xian answered shyly. Challenger is the highest rank in the game in question, League of Legends
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