Rowing Without Paddles
In the afternoon, just as the sun was rising, Chen Xiaolian suddenly heard a burst of loud noise originating from the ground below his feet!
After that, the entirety of the ground started shaking with severity, as though an earthquake had occurred.
Just as quickly as it arrived, it was gone the next. The encampment suddenly bustled with activity – not due to panic, but excitement!
No small number of them was cheering happily while some others were whistling loudly.
It was at this moment that Newton vaulted up onto a rock and shouted in a loud voice that spread out through the entire valley.
“The opening time for the Instance Dungeon has arrived! Everyone get ready!”
At the same time, a very conspicuous message prompt suddenly appeared before the system interface for Chen Xiaolian to ‘see’.
[Prompt 1: Instance Dungeon ‘King Solomon’s 72 Demons Series has opened. Objective, kill the defenders, acquire King Solomon’s 72 Demons Pillar Fragment. This instance dungeon is a B Class Resource Type Instance Dungeon. Note that this instance dungeon produces various types of resources for collection, good luck to all players.]
[Prompt 2: This Instance Dungeon is a Magic Type Instance Dungeon. Restriction Conditions will be placed upon Science and Technological equipment, skill and usage.]
[Prompt 3: This instance prohibits personal feuds between players; players are not allowed to kill other players. Once such a violation occurs, the system will dispense punishment.]
Chen Xiaolian carefully read the prompt and heard cursing sounds from Newton who was far away.
“Son of a bitch! Restrictions on technological types? Why didn’t it say so earlier?”
Newton angrily took out his rage on a lone soldier equipped in an exaggerated interstellar sci-fi gear, throwing him fiercely down on the ground.
It was very obvious… this restriction of technological types has a terrible effect on this Team Leader.
Similar shouts of discontent could be heard issuing out from other team camps.
Chen Xiaolian turned to look at Han Bi, only to find Han Bi wearing a strange expression. Han Bi’s thick brush like eyebrows were tightly screwed together.
“What is going on? Is there a problem?” Chen Xiaolian went up by himself.
“Hmph, don’t talk to me,” Han Bi turned his head away.
“I am sorry,” Chen Xiaolian quickly said. “It is my fault for hiding some stuff from you. But… I have my own difficulties. I do not know how to explain it to you, but… for now, we can only depend on each other.”
“… would I still dare to trust you?” Han Bi hesitated.
“If I am still lying to you, then when you return you can just go to my novel review section to curse me. After that, just expose that I am actually not a thirty-year-old fatty but an immature smelly brat, how about that?”
“Pei!” Han Bi finally could not hold it in anymore and his mouth began forming traces of a smile. He then sighed. “Forget it, you were right about one thing. Under such circumstances, we could only rely on one another.”
He turned to Chen Xiaolian. “The King Solomon’s 72 Demons … what does it mean, do you know? I have only heard of King Solomon, but am unaware of the rest.”
Chen Xiaolian was in the midst of being worried about how to ease up the tension between the two of them. Once he heard Han Bi seeking his help, he immediately replied without any reservation. “I really do know about it. Last year, while I was writing a novel, I had checked out some foreign myths and legends. I had wanted to check on some related setti
“Oh? Do tell.”
Chen Xiaolian pondered. “You know of King Solomon, right?”
“I have heard of the name, but I do not know what is it he did.”
“…” Chen Xiaolian thought on. “Very well, I won’t describe it in too much detail. All you need to know is that King Solomon is a Western Jewish legend, the most powerful king. Legend has it that he was a very powerful master of magic, and possesses a very powerful magic ring. Using his all-powerful magic ring, he subjugated 72 highly capable demons who fell under his control. These 72 demons each have their own mystical skills, each with their own overwhelming legend.”
“Why does it seem to resemble the Lord of The Rings?”
“En, there are some similarities,” Chen Xiaolian laughed. “The Lord of The Rings author, JRR Tolkien had indeed referred to many of the legends and myths of King Solomon.”
Seeing the silent Han Bi, Chen Xiaolian chose to not hold back and spoke out the thoughts and speculations within his mind:
“This instance dungeon is called ‘King Solomon’s 72 Demons Series and the final quest is the retrieval of a ‘Demon Pillar Fragment’. Legend has it that these Demon Pillars were used to seal the demons. If I have to guess, this item is probably similar to stone columns. Note the words ‘series’ and ‘fragment’. These two words signify that not all of the 72 demons would appear here. Likely, it would only be one of the 72.
As for the defenders, they should be the ones who watch over and protect the BOSS.”
Han Bi nodded his head. “There is the prompt stating something about it being B Class Resource Type Instance Dungeon. I am unclear about the Class, but the meaning of Resource Type should be literal…”
“Indeed! If I am not mistaken, the ‘72 Demon Pillar Fragment’ also acts as this instance dungeon’s ‘first prize’. Besides that though, there should also be many other resources and good items that can be attained from this instance dungeon – if there is only one first prize in an instance dungeon, then there would not have been so many teams running over to participate.
Thus, in addition to the biggest reward, there must also be many valuable commemoration reward, participation reward. That is why so many teams would choose to participate.”
Hearing all that, Han Bi nodded his head and looked at Chen Xiaolian. “Is there anything else you are not telling me?”
“… yes,” Chen Xiaolian hesitated for a moment and decided to tell the truth. “However, due to the fact that I have yet to figure out what the problem is… I am sorry, I am temporarily unable to tell you.”
“… I will grudgingly accept this explanation,” Han Bi smiled bitterly. “All is good as long as you can admit it. At least this shows your sincerity. If you cannot even admit, then I will not cooperate with you anymore. Even if the both of us are unauthorized entrants.”
“In that case… cooperation?” Chen Xiaolian stared at Han Bi’s eyes.
“…cooperation!” Han Bi directed a heavy look at Chen Xiaolian.
At this moment, Newton’s commanding voice sounded out. “The instance dungeon’s door has opened! Prepare to enter!”
At an unknown moment, a cavern hole had appeared on the walls under the tallest peak situated at the side of the valley. It was as though the stone there had oddly ‘dissolved’ away, revealing a hole of stone that resembled a city gate.
Above the cavern hole was a layer of green screen.
“Move move move! Move in!”
The teams gathered at the entrance of the stone cave. There was no occurrence of fights as they orderly entered the cave.
Newton himself was standing before the entrance towards the stone cave while the other members of the Wind Slasher Guild entered the stone cave under his watch.
Chen Xiaolian realized that whenever someone entered the stone cave, they will need to pass through the layer of green screen. The surface of the green screen will produce a layer of light that would quickly scan the person below it from top to bottom.
The only exception was when Sara was bringing Takashimoto Shizuka and Soo Soo in.
As the two females were made to move through the screen of light, the screen suddenly changed its colour into that of yellowish orange.
It seemed to be a recognition of identity?
The difference in colour is the difference in identity between ‘player’ and ‘NPC’?
As the time came for Chen Xiaolian to enter, his heart became anxious. He could even hear the racing sound of his beating heart.
Newton stood to the side, seemingly narrowing his eyes as he looked at Chen Xiaolian.
Chen Xiaolian braced himself and moved forward…
Thankfully, after the green light had scanned through his entire body – the screen remained green, not showing any change at all.
Chen Xiaolian gave a sigh of relief. As for Newton who was standing off to the side, his gaze eased up and he casually looked away.
The interior of the cave was simply astonishing.
It appeared as though the mountain itself had been hollowed out as there were traces indicating that the walls within the stone cave were cut. The ground below their feet was level. Moving forward, they found that a flight of stairs leading downwards had been prepared.
However, all of it was clearly reeking of a stench of decay and staleness.
A member of the Wind Slasher Guild started drawing patterns that appeared similar to flame totems. Chen Xiaolian did not know this person’s name, only that he had his face smeared with a great deal of paint.
The Pattern Man stood inside the cave. Every member of the Wind Slasher Team who walked pass him would receive a bottle of something from him.
When Chen Xiaolian and Han Bi accepted the item, Pattern Man recognized that they were newbies and indifferently spoke out a sentence. “Secretion from Firefly Frog, take it! You will be using it later.”
There were 10 members within the Wind Slasher Team. For the newbie group, there were 5, including Chen Xiaolian.
As for the veteran members, there was the Team Leader Newton, Sara, Damon, Du Ya, Pattern Man – It was then that Chen Xiaolian suddenly realized that among the veteran members of the Wind Slasher Guild, Sara was the only female.
This was very different compared to the other teams. In the other teams, the ratio between males and females was not that big.
To Chen Xiaolian’s surprise, he noticed that as Sara was retrieving the bottle of Firefly Frog secretion from Pattern Man’s hands, she had thrown him a charming glance. With a face filled with a flirtatious smile, she extended her hand out to pinch the robust arms of Pattern Man…
This woman. Why does it look as though she has a relationship going on with every male member of the team?
Seemingly aware of Chen Xiaolian’s suspicions, Han Bi moved close beside him and chuckled in a low tone. “That Sara is not a simple person. She fawns left and right within this guild, skilfully currying favours with her assets, she must certainly be a top grade socialite.”
Chen Xiaolian recalled how abnormal this woman was when she was dealing with Takashimoto Shizuka and the remarks of how she would like to put Soo Soo in a cage as a pet…
He gave a light sigh and muttered a phrase.
Han Bi asked. “What is it that you were muttering to yourself?”
“A veteran whore can row the boat without paddles…” 
“Eh? What does that mean? What will she use then?”
“The waves of course.”
“…” Han Bi rolled his eyes. “You really are a writer!”