Chapter 1423: Revealing the Final Card
When Aragon died, his flesh and soul were immediately sacrificed to Sauron, leaving behind only his head that had been chopped off to be used as a warning for the enemy troops and storyline characters. After that, even his head was greedily taken away by Sauron.
Although Aragorn had disappeared from this world, he had left behind four pieces of shiny equipment within the Source of Darkness hall. The glow emitted by the equipment was gentle and bright, giving them an exquisite feel.
Only legendary equipment would have this kind of glow!!
Under the influence of Sauron’s power of darkness, and because the Source of Darkness hall had severed all external connections, Aragorn had actually left behind all the legendary equipment he had on him!
All four legendary equipment had been converted into equipment suitable for contestants. Skull and his two remaining subordinates looked on enviously, but they had no intention of fighting for them.
First, they knew that even if they tried to take the equipment by force, they might not have the right to the loot, so they may not even be able to touch the equipment. More importantly, even if they did, they knew that they would never win!
In truth, if they were that greedy, they would not have lived up to this point; they would have followed in the footsteps of their companions and be killed by Aragorn earlier.
The four legendary equipment were:
[ The Sword of the King of Gondor: ‘Andúril’ – When attacking, there is a certain probability of causing instant death (against contestants, the effect becomes a reduction of maximum HP by 50%, which can only be removed after returning to the Realm). ]
[ The wielder can summon twelve powerful ghost guards. ]
[ When the conditions are met, the sword can transform into the broken sacred sword, Narsil. ]
[ A symbol of royal status. ]
[ ‘Ring of Barahir’ – A token of the King of Gondor. In a crisis, the wearer can use the power left on the ring by previous kings to form a powerful Divine Shield, resisting an attack and rebounding it back. Cooldown: 30 seconds. ]
[ The royal authority of the ring will increase your attack power on humanoid creatures by 10%, and reduce the attack power of humanoid creatures on you by 10% (humanoid creatures include, but are not limited to, contestants, Trolls, Giants, etc.). ]
[ ‘Elessar’ – An exquisite accessory made by the Lady of Light. Every hour, it will automatically cast the level 7 spell ‘Blade of Light’ on the wearer’s weapon, changing its damage type to holy damage (only holy resistance can resist holy damage), lasting for 60 minutes. ]
[ When the wearer fights under the sun, attack power is increased by 25%. ]
[ Create a 5x5x5 mobile domain of light. When the wearer fights in the domain, all negative conditions on the wearer will be frozen in time (including the duration), and the owner will gain a temporary 10% buff to all attributes which will disappear upon leaving the domain. ]
[ The domain of light can be destroyed by attacks. It inherits the wearer’s defence, and its HP is ten times the HP of the wearer (it will not protect the wearer like a shield). ]
[ ‘Evenstar’ – A necklace containing the soul of Aragorn’s lover, Arwen. It contains mysterious Elven power. The wearer can augur once every 48 hours to pray for good fortune for the next 24 hours. ]
[ When the augury result is bad, the wearer’s chance of suffering explosive strike will increase by 5%, but movement speed will also increase by 15%. When the augury result is average, the wearer’s movement speed and attack speed will both increase by 10%. When the augury result is good, the wearer’s explosive strike rate and hit rate will both increase by 3%. When the augury result is excellent, the wearer will be buffed by Arwen’s hymn. The wearer’s movement speed and attack speed will both increase by 25%. In addition, the wearer’s attacks will sometimes contain Arwen’s hymn, causing triple damage to the enemy. The damage will be true damage and will be converted into a healing effect which heals the wearer. ]
[ This necklace contains a trace of Arwen’s soul, so whenever you are in combat, Arwen will be watching over you. Whenever you take damage, the merciful Arwen will take pity on you and produce a piece of Compassion Fragment. When six pieces of Compassion Fragments are generated, Arwen will appear to treat your injuries, healing you by X amount of HP, X = 50% of the damage taken previously. This effect will activate once every 15 seconds. ]
Like other legendary equipment, others could only see the basic information of these four legendary equipment. Only the owner could see their specific details and attributes. However, it did not take a genius to know that these legendary equipment would surely strengthen a person by a great amount.
Only now did Sheyan have the time to take a breather and check the notifications he received previously.
[ You have killed the protagonist, Aragorn. ]
[ Your action will cause a series of far-reaching consequences on the entire Middle Earth. ]
[ Aragorn’s demise brought an end to Isildur’s lineage among the Gondorians. The related responsibilities, karma, and protagonist’s luck will be transferred over to Boromir, the eldest son of the Steward of Gondor. ]
[ Your action has gained the approval of Sauron, so you have been rewarded with 2000 additional contribution points and a silver storyline Sauron Badge. This badge can replace the common Sauron badges and give you a 30% discount off your redemption item. ]
[ The morale of all soldiers and storyline characters outside Minas Tirith decreases by 2 points (20% drop in attack power and defence). ]
[ Upon hearing the news, Gandalf has used a divine spell to hasten the recovery of his injuries. He is expected to make a complete recovery in three hours and will be healthy for a week, but for overdrawing his vitality, he will be in a weakened state for the next 48 months. ]
[ If you can hold out for a week, the elite Uruk-hai army from Isengard will arrive. ]
At this time, the human side had launched another attack, driven by anger. Because the four legendary equipment would all be bound to the soul after they were equipped, Sheyan did not dare take them lightly. He only put on the Ring of Barahir that he wanted. With the “all attributes + 15” effect on the ring, his HP would reach a new height, and the Divine Shield which could be used every 30 seconds was also very practical.
The one leading the charge was Gimli. However, he was in for a surprise. Aragorn’s last attack, ‘The Fury of the King’, had unexpectedly caused Sheyan’s HP to recover to maximum value. What’s more, Gimli’s thigh was injured, having been stabbed several times by Ronnie’s blade, so his balance and movement speed were greatly affected. He was actually blocked at the entrance by Sheyan, unable to advance.
At this time, the formidable ‘Hedgehog’ title was showing its amazingness. Legolas may be powerful, but thanks to the terrifying 90% reduction in long range damage, the Elven Prince’s attacks on Sheyan became negligible.
Fortunately, Legolas could do more than shoot arrows. He could easily kill even a Troll with his dagger dance! It would not be an exaggeration to call him a top-class assassin.
However, right when Legolas was about to pull out his dagger to rush to the frontline, Gimli raised his axe high and unleashed a powerful Dwarven combat skill. His axe chopped down with a fierce swing.
Seeing this, Sheyan rubbed a finger across the dual-snake ring on his hand, and a glowing shield appeared in front of him. The shield contained the patterns of the Gondorian royal family. When Gimli’s axe collided with the shield, it bounced back as if it had struck something highly elastic and ended up hacking into Gimli’s chest instead!
With his freshly-acquired equipment, Sheyan performed a critical counterattack against Gimli! Gimli staggered back unsteadily, blood spurting out of his chest, but he instantly tried to rush forward again. However, he suddenly felt the blood all over his body boil. The HIV virus had breached his immune system and was beginning to flare up. Sensing the anomaly, and fearing that Gimli would follow in Aragorn’s footsteps, Legolas immediately pulled the Dwarf back.
Now that the human alliance had lost the arrowhead of their charging formation, their charge abruptly went cold.
The furious storyline characters wished to keep storming the hall, but they did not have the capability, while the contestants led by Knight were just waiting for the six hour time limit to arrive. They were all in agreement that individual combat power, no matter how strong, was limited. When the tortoise shell unraveled by itself, they could then launch a full assault. Even the redeemed troops would be enough to take down the enemies down.
Therefore, Sheyan was now enjoying a period of relative peace. Soon, Reef, Zi, Aziz, Ronnie, and Sanzi all recovered to full HP and left the protective state of ‘The Magma of Mount Doom (Ice-Cold Version)’.
Sheyan had already posted the brief properties of the four legendary equipment in the party communication channel. As soon as Aziz recovered, he told Sheyan curtly, “I want the Elessar accessory, Seaman. It’s very useful for me.”
Aziz was an eccentric loner, so he was very direct when he spoke. Luckily, everyone knew of his personality, so nobody took it to heart.
The Elessar was not that useful to Sheyan, because the ‘Extinction’ ability unleashed by Apophis was already unimaginably powerful. If it was converted into holy damage, it would actually result in a bit of a loss. But for Aziz, if the damage done by his legendary weapon became holy damage, each bullet would be as powerful as a ‘Light Sphere’ spell! It would be an amazing enhancement for him. Furthermore, the domain of light was also very valuable for a sniper whose survivability was relatively weak.
But Sheyan was the party leader, so he had to be fair to the whole party, and Aziz was not the only top-class attacker in the team. Yes, Aldaris and Zi leaned more towards mages, and Sanzi was a summoner, but Ronnie was a strong physical damage dealer too.
Sheyan thought about it for a while before he said, “Ronnie will find this useful too….”
“The total value of all the assets I can give up plus the sum of my contribution points is close to the redeeming price of the legendary weapon in the hall, the ‘Sword of Western Royalty’. I should be able to redeem it before leaving this world. That weapon can absorb a great amount of magic damage. Ronnie can wield his Blood Weapon in one hand and the ‘Sword of Western Royalty’ in the other. It will be no inferior to wearing the Elessar.”
Sheyan stared at Ronnie. Ronnie nodded, approving the proposal. A legendary weapon was very tempting to him. Since that was the case, Sheyan hesitated no longer; he distributed to Aziz the Elessar and 400 contribution points to let him redeem the ‘Sword of Western Royalty’.
Following the addition of two legendary equipment to the party, the strength of Party Ace instantly rose again. The Evenstar necklace required Intelligence, because the auguries required a great amount of MP to perform. Aldaris would never squabble with Zi for an equipment, so the necklace naturally went to Zi.
The equipment that gave Sheyan a headache was the sword of the Gondorian King, Andúril. The high Strength requirement of the weapon eliminated Aldaris and Ronnie from contention right away. The two of them would probably still not be able to use the sword five or six worlds later. In fact, Sheyan was the only one in their party who could equip the sword in the foreseeable future, but it was such a waste to let G-Spot devour a weapon like this.
Andúril may be powerful, but it was no match for the Apophis in Sheyan’s mind. The Apophis was an evil, tyrannical weapon, a weapon of the devil! In terms of power, it was much stronger than Andúril.
A large part of Andúril’s value came from its symbol of authority as the sword of the king. It was more important than a divine weapon for a party wishing to focus their development on the world of the LOTR! However, this value would be wasted on Party Ace.
In Sheyan’s opinion, only weapons with special properties and functions like the miner’s gloves were worth devouring. If a weapon could not fill a certain role, Sheyan was honestly unwilling to let G-Spot devour it. The transaction price of a legendary equipment was beyond imagination. Although dark gold equipment were only one grade lower than legendary equipment, the difference was huge, like the difference between Colonel and Major General!
After giving it some thought, Sheyan suddenly turned to Skull. “Do you have a way to contact the Maritime Alliance or the Blu-ray Party?”
Skull had honestly reaped quite a bit of benefits after entering the Source of Darkness hall together with Party Ace. After all, when Party Ace ate the meat, they had left the crumbs for him. All the soldiers attacking the hall together with the Fellowship trio were elite troops that had very high drop rates. Skull’s party had been lucky enough to loot three pieces of dark gold equipment from them. Hearing Sheyan’s question, Skull turned to one of his surviving subordinates, his deputy, with an inquiring glance.
The deputy was a unique-looking fellow. Half his body was mechanical, and the other half human. The weapons he used included spanners, screwdrivers, nuts and so on. He carried a big backpack which made a lot of noise when he moved. Who knew what mechanical parts he kept inside.
He told Sheyan in a synthetic electronic voice, “I have ways to contact them. The Maritime Alliance has sent out a Beholder to monitor the situation. I can connect to it by making a device that will release a signal that has the same frequency as the Beholder. Contacting the Blue-ray Party is even easier. They’ve launched two satellites to monitor the ground. I can just go to their communication channel and apply for a call.”
“Thanks to the dark gold necklace I just got, I can even assemble a temporary video call system for you. It won’t last longer than 30 minutes though – the interference in this damn place is just too damn strong.”
And that was how Percival and Jax soon both saw the same person – Reef – through different means. The moment the communications were established, the two of them were understandably shocked.
Reef was very direct. “Hi. You two didn’t expect me to survive, did you?”
Percival and Jax could only laugh awkwardly, because the latest intel they received on Party Ace was that they had retreated into the Source of Darkness hall, a place which appeared safe but was actually a dead end. From that moment on, both of them had believed that Party Ace was doomed for sure. However, it now appeared as if they were alive and well. How could the two of them not feel surprised?
“But I have an even more surprising news. We’ve killed Aragorn,” said Reef sincerely while staring straight at them.
The news was like a stone thrown into a calm lake, arousing a thousand ripples!
“I don’t believe it.”
“Check the line. Oh, and check my nervous system too. I’m probably under the enemy’s illusion. Get ready to return to the Realm at a moment’s notice!”
Reef looked at the two like they were idiots. He sighed, then showed them the legendary sword Andúril. He let the sword shine with the soft, unique glow of legendary equipment, then displayed Andúril’s brief properties one by one.
The noise on the opposite ends instantly died down, as if the two had suddenly been gripped at the throat at the same time!
It might be easy to make a fake Reef with illusions, but it was almost impossible to fake a legendary equipment, especially a sensational weapon like the Andúril that had such a special significance, for it was not only a weapon, but also a symbol of royal authority!
Percival asked with difficulty while panting heavily, “I…I believe you, but, you…Why are you showing this to us? Surely the famous Reef won’t contact us just to show off, right? I don’t believe you’re such a superficial person.”
Jax, on the other hand, immediately caught on to Reef’s intention. “You want to trade? No problem!! Do you want the legendary shield ‘Grond’s Tenacity’?”
“This sword isn’t just a tool for combat,” remarked Reef flatly. “It’s also a symbol of authority, the authority of the king! If you take it with you the next time you enter the LOTR world, the benefits you gain will be unimaginable. If, in that world, Aragorn has yet to get his hands on this weapon, you can even scheme for the throne of Gondor with this sword! You want to trade for Andúril with a mere shield? Please stop insulting my intelligence.”
“Do you know how much the thing you call “a mere shield” cost, Mr. Reef?” replied Jax with a wry smile. “Our party will barely have enough to pay for it if we gather the contribution points of the entire party. Actually, no, we’ll still be one Sauron Badge short!”
“The Source of Darkness hall is surrounded by enemies right now, and it’ll collapse when the time limit is up. How do you even plan to redeem the shield?” asked Reef.
“Gothmog has left behind four Quartermasters, all hidden in secret places. We can redeem items from them,” answered Jax with a sly gleam in his eyes.
Reef smiled and said, “In that case, I’m in no hurry. I can tell you plainly that this war isn’t over yet. In any case, know that Andúril is unlikely to appear in a contestant’s possession ever again. First, other contestants may not necessarily be able to kill Aragon. Second, even if they manage to, they won’t get the sword. Andúril was reforged by Elrond, so when Aragon dies, the sword would fly back to Elrond. If Aragorn wasn’t in the Source of Darkness hall this time and had been cursed by Sauron, Andúril would never have dropped! If you want it, state your price. The sword will go to the highest bidder.”
“You’ve redeemed the ‘Sword of Western Royalty’?” Percival suddenly asked.
“We have. Sauron is a very generous leader,” answered Reef. “To tell you the truth, if I take Andúril to the auction, I can get even more for it. But considering that we all belong to Noah Realm C, I’m giving you guys priority. Although we fight and scheme against each other, at least if I sell it to either of you, it won’t be used against us. Otherwise, I would never have disclosed such a vital piece of information.”
The Beastmaser MT, Rak’shiri, had been heavily wounded, and his reputation within his party had gone down the drain, so the Maritime Alliance was now actually being led by Percival. The powerful sword had really moved Percival’s heart.
Even if he understood very clearly that the other side was asking for an exorbitant price, he could only clench his teeth and bear with it because indeed, as Reef said, the sword would only drop in extremely unlikely circumstances! If it was taken back to the Realm, it was bound to sell for an astronomical price.
It was now the time to judge the decision-making capability of a leader. Percival gritted his teeth and said, “I’ll trade two for one! When Éomer died, he dropped a legendary combat cloak! And I’m only short on contribution points to redeem ‘Grond’s Tenacity’, while Jax is short on a Sauron Badge! The Sauron Badge will only drop when a heroic character is killed, so I’ll definitely get the shield first. ‘Grond’s Tenacity’ and the combat cloak, two pieces of legendary equipment for your legendary sword, Andúril. That’s my bottom line!”
Reef stole a glance at Sheyan, and the latter nodded slightly. Reef then said the word that made Jax feel like he had been struck by lightning.
Many things in the world are contrasting. For example, Jax’s disappointment was destined to be Percival’s triumph. And, for example, Sheyan’s triumph would signify Knight’s disappointment!
The death of Aragorn was no doubt a great blow to the opposing side.
As time went by, no one attempted to storm the Source of Darkness hall any more. One of the reasons was because Aziz’s attack power had soared. After he killed several people in succession under Sheyan’s protection, the area hundreds of metres around the hall had become a forbidden zone. However, outside those hundreds of metres, the hall was still completely surrounded by contestants and storyline characters who were waiting to launch a fierce assault the moment the time limit was up.
But as time went on, the uneasiness in Knight’s heart became more and more intense, and he was not the only one feeling this way. The reason for this was very simple. In fact, it did not take a genius to figure it out.
How could a team like Party Ace, who could lay out such a complicated and delicate scheme and possessed such oppressive power, be willing to let themselves be trapped in and wait for their deaths obediently?
Their impressive momentum and indomitable spirit, dealing with the crisis as unflinchingly as a rock, were not something that could be displayed by people who have fallen into a desperate situation!
They looked like they were in a dire situation, but they did not give off that kind of feeling at all. In that case, there could only be two possibilities: either their situation was not as desperate as others thought, or their willpower was so abnormally strong that they did not seem to care that they had fallen into dire straits.
Originally, Jax and the Minas Tirith contestants were leaning more towards the second hypothesis, but as the storyline characters were beaten back again and again, and following the death of Aragorn, their belief was rapidly waning.
More and more among them started to ponder whether there were any loopholes in the encirclement they had formed. In order to prevent Party Ace from using an item to return to the Realm, they were continuously creating dimensional turbulences and dimensional vortexes without any regard for the cost. The earth elemental mages were almost exhausted to the point of throwing up just to continuously verify that no underground escape tunnels had been made out of the Source of Darkness hall. Every possible loophole had been identified and sealed off.
Until one thing came to Knight’s mind.
Something that gave him chills all over.
He grabbed the collar of the man next to him and snarled, “Did Aragorn arrive here on horses?”
“I think so…?” The man answered in shock and confusion.
“I don’t want to know what you think! I want a definite answer!” Knight roared madly, “Levin!! Don’t you have a friendly relationship with Gimli? Ask him how he got here.”
Levin immediately carried out the order in a hurry. He soon reported back.
“Boss, he arrived on foot.”
Knight was obviously relieved, but the words from the man next to him immediately drove him crazy again.
“But boss, I remember Dwarves don’t ride horses. Their legs are too short to keep their balance on a horse. Dwarves usually ride on animals like large anteaters or giant pangolins when they need a mount.”
“Ask Legolas, then! No, wait, make sure you ask him if they arrived here on ships,” bellowed Knight as he paced back and forth uneasily like an ant on a hot pan.
The reply that came back a short while later froze him like he had fallen into an ice cellar.
“Legolas said the three of them came on horseback with the Army of the Dead. They initially wanted to sail here by ship, but no one was willing to let them board.”
“I see…” Knight murmured to himself with great fear in his eyes! “So that’s where they’re laying down the trap! At the least visible place, with the weakest combat force! Habitual thinking! We’ve fallen for our own habitual thinking!”
“Retreat at once! Inform the core members, as well as Bill the bear-man and Lafarge! This whole thing is a giant, elaborate trap!” yelled Knight. “Order everyone to retreat back into Minas Tirith immediately. That way, we still have a chance!”
While everyone around was looking at Knight with surprise, doubt and incomprehension, a white line had suddenly appeared in the distant horizon.
In the beginning, the white line looked just like the cavalry of Rohan did when they spread out to charge down the slope, but both its momentum and its energy were ten times, no, a hundred times higher than the cavalry of Rohan!
It was a flood crest; an amazing flood crest formed after the mighty Anduin river had been blocked off for several hours and was suddenly let loose!
How did the Gondorians rise to power on Middle Earth?
Why did they waste so much effort to build a precipitous city on the mountains like Minas Tirith?
It all comes down to occupying the fertile lands of the Pelennor Fields!
Not much fertilizers were used in this era. In other places, the lands would become more barren the more they were farmed, until they were eventually unable to provide sufficient nutrients to the crops anymore. But the Pelennor Fields could maintain a good harvest every year without ever needing to worry about a lack of nutrients in the soil. Why was that?
It was because for thousands of years, the Anduin river would regularly overflow from June to October every year. When the river level reached its peak in August, most of the Pelennor Fields would be submerged in water. The population would temporarily move to higher places during this period.
After the month of October, when the flood subsided, the mud and deposits brought by the flood would act as free fertilizers for the Pelennor Fields. This, of course, made the Pelennor Fields an excellent place for farming, but it also meant one other thing: the terrain here was naturally suited to being flooded!
Everyone Sheyan left on the Dingyuan grew up in and around the sea. While Sheyan was stalling for time here, they had bombarded and sank five warships at a certain key point in the Anduin river to form obstacles, and with the combined effort of thousands of pirates, they managed to temporarily block off the flow of the Anduin river. That way, the water level downstream would not fall too obviously.
And because every year, the Anduin river had a habit of overflowing onto the Pelennor Fields, once the water level upstream reached a certain height, everything else would happen naturally. Sheyan’s request was simple. He had no intention to let the water wash away all the troubles. He only wanted to make the Pelennor Fields a temporary swamp. This way, the opponents would find themselves in an unfavourable environment, while the pirates could display maximum combat power!