Translator Notes: Opps, Sorry for the chapter delay due to the bug. Thanks for commenting and letting me know.
Annan fell asleep soon after returning.
He couldn’t feel the exhaustion of staying up late, and his body would be resting during nightmares.
But Annan’s common sense told him that proper sleep time was necessary.
He was still a mortal, after all.
Annan, for some reason, couldn’t wake up from a nightmare at 6 a.m. like the dwellers or players in this world.
He had to clear the nightmare before he could wake up.
So for Annan, there was no need to enter a nightmare in the wee hours.
With great self-control, Annan woke up on time at 8 a.m.
After eating breakfast and equipping Don Juan’s sword, Annan proceeded to practice his swordsmanship. Then, Annan checked on his backend interface.
“Well, 80% of players went up by 1 level last night.”
Annan murmured, “It seems that either Jiu Er or Old Goose has found a stable way to defeat the dungeon and summarize a strategy about it. Otherwise, with the players’ uneven capabilities, it is impossible to have most of the players succeed in the dungeon in just a couple of hours.”
While Annan commented on the situation, he realized something.
“…Hey, the four of them are already at Level 9.”
After the players completed the main mission — “The Disaster of Roseburg,” all the players had reached Level 7. Several more active players, such as Yiyi, Jiu Er, Delicious Wind Goose, and Wandering Child, had a separate mission and contributed a lot more. They had been promoted to Level 8 after killing Gerald. Then, they reached Level 9 after clearing the nightmare at least once.
The players who died once when besieging Gerald were at Level 7 as well. Their level dropped from 6 to 5 as a result of their death. However, Annan compensated these players with experience in the disguise of a mission reward.
Annan had calculated and planned the amount of experience already.
The purpose was to unify the players’ level.
With that, he would avoid having Level 6 players while having the majority in Level 7.
Annan would be concerned if the Level 6 players would be dissatisfied.
This dissatisfaction would persist and snowball no matter how Annan compensated them with affection rating.
It stood out a lot for having their level lags behind the others. Every time they noticed this, they would harbor some bitter feelings. Eventually, the bitter feelings would accumulate in the long run and turn into resentment.
Besides the noticeable “level difference,” there would be a couple of problems just because the level threshold to ascend to the next level would have a significant difference.
Annan implemented a “unified level across players” with “a couple of special individuals having elevated levels” to combat disputes between players. At the same time, it allowed several capable and manageable high-level players to have more say in the player group.
This effect of this technique would become more evident after the four elites had advanced to become Transcendeds.
Suddenly, Annan was startled.
“Wait, since the four of them were already Level 9.”
He and Salvatore still had four days left for preparations. Four days later, they would return to Roseburg to wait in advance for the birth of the baby suspected to be Michelangelo’s reincarnation.
After clearing the nightmare, the cooldown time to enter would be precisely 72 hours. In other words, three days.
That was to say… For these four players, if they only utilized “Nightmare: Gallery” to grow, they could only reach swordsman Level 10 (Max) after ten days. They would not be able to advance further. The most critical advancement dungeon was missing.
But what if they could ascend to the next level? Did they earn their rights to enter the advancement dungeon at that time?
Annan was lost in thought.
Should I give them some experience?
Or give the players a batch of experience so that they can do what they want after they advance?
Hmph! That won’t end up well!
Annan quickly denied this idea.
If fewer players joined together as one squad, Annan could control their actions as a captain.
But once the players formed an army group, they would be wild dogs escaping from the leash, uncontrollable, unpredictable, and unstoppable.
They were like swarms of pests.
Annan still wasn’t sure whether Michelangelo was an ally or an enemy and what kind of people he would encounter this time. But, compared to robust and uncontrollable power, Annan was more inclined only to let elite players compliment his plan.
Oh ya, elite players.
“It’s time to arrange a trial for them.”
Annan murmured, “If they can pass the trial, I will find a way to get them into advancement.”
Annan recalled that he had an examination paper in his hand.
A dungeon instance enough to test their resilience—
Indeed, it was the nightmare created after the death of the hunter “Justin” at Viscount Barber’s side!
Bread Daryl  probably hadn’t purified the nightmare yet. How many entries are left?
If Annan asked for it, he should be able to get the key.
By that time, he would have these four players enter the dungeon instance.
Annan remembered that the death count of a simple dungeon instance should not be much. As long as the death count reached a threshold, the dungeon challenger would be kicked out, rendering the nightmare dungeon into a cooldown. This would be different from the gallery dungeon instance that could be tackled with many restarts and lives through brute force.
As a matter of fact, the players had been grinding “Nightmare: Gallery,” which was at “distorted” difficulty.
A difficulty in which Gold Rank professionals might suffer casualties in it.
In other words, even though the players were only level five, they had challenged the dungeon instance 30 levels ahead for several days under Annan’s malice.
On the contrary, the nightmare gave birth after Bronze Rank – Justin’s death must be easy.
It was like the “find the betrayer” nightmare that Annan entered at the beginning of entering this world. As long as he collected the clues, he would overcome the level in one shot.
With this simple dungeon instance, Annan could test the four elites’ cautiousness, how much they cherished their lives, and their ability to gather information.
If they could overcome this dungeon instance, Annan would bring them over to the Freezing Water Port. With the dungeon cooldown ended, Annan could let them all complete the bronze advancement dungeon instance immediately.
By then, Annan would have a group consisting of six Bronze Rank at his disposal.
With that, Annan’s team lineup would have four fearless frontiers with unlimited respawn. More importantly, Salvatore could efficiently provide logistics and serve as the damage output for the team, while Annan would bring control to the battlefield. It would be a stable lineup that brought Annan a sense of security.
In the previous battle, there had been no reliable front liners, forcing Annan to participate as well with a kitchen knife. This time, Annan had the Elves’ Hand. This plug-and-play dual-core CPU allowed Annan to guide two spells at the same time. With that, Annan could switch his role into Karthus, the deathsinger. First, he would erect a deceleration wall. Then, he would blast frost nova over—what an incredible scene.
But, there was still one problem.
Annan didn’t know what profession a swordsman could advance into in the Bronze Rank, the advancement conditions, and how to advance.
After all, his swordsman profession hadn’t advanced yet.
He couldn’t just reset his attribute points in this world.
Even if Annan needed the players’ immediate help now, he didn’t want the players to adopt professions with a bleak future.
After all, everything was just at the beginning.
Annan thought he shouldn’t disturb Salvatore, so he decided to visit Bread Daryl at Roseburg… No, Grandpa Daryl.
Of course, before that, Annan wanted to speed run the gallery dungeon. Since the cooldown was done for him, he didn’t want to waste the opportunity.
Isn’t it nice to level up by one consistently every three days?
If it weren’t for Roseburg’s mess and the Royal Capital’s imminent Rotten Man problem, the safest way was to ignore everything. Then, Annan would have the players grind in the Freezing Water Port for fifty days and wait for everyone to average at the Level 20 Bronze Rank before embarking on his adventure in this world.
The players had to reach the pinnacle of Bronze Rank because players still lacked the technology to clear the nightmare level above Level 3 stably.
“This time, I will tackle the second level.”
Annan murmured, “If I guess correctly, it should be able to speed-run through it in half an hour.”
With that, Annan removed his extra clothing, closed the door, and lay on the bed.
Annan whispered, “The Venerated Skeleton…”
At the next moment, something unexpected happened to Annan.
A low, hoarse, echoing voice sounded in Annan’s heart.
But Annan didn’t immediately fall into a nightmare.
He was stunned for a moment but quickly reacted.
So Annan added, “Let me enter the gallery nightmare.”
For the first time, the Venerated Skeleton finally came up with a second sentence.
“As you wish—”
At the next moment, rows of data streams began to emerge in front of Annan:
[Detected unpurified Nightmare Fragment.]
[Rank requirement: Below Gold Rank]
[Profession requirement: None]
[Special requirement: None]
But suddenly, Annan saw a line that had never appeared before:
[This dungeon instance has 6 checkpoints and the erosion rate increases by 2% per death.]
[Checkpoint has been obtained: Elle Morrison (Level 3)]
[Please select the nightmare entrance—]
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