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Chapter 224 – Upcoming Storm

    Chapter 224 - Upcoming Storm

    Even Nie Yan was surprised at the veritable sea of talents within Asskickers United. The names that he could remember from the previous timeline probably numbered around six or seven hundred. Since most of those players had not been recruited into major organizations yet, Nie Yan had Guo Huai send out invitations to them. After seeing the generous terms offered by Asskickers United, these players were one by one lured into the guild. This situation was the source of their complete victory.

    Guo Huai thought these were all people who Nie Yan had interacted with before deciding to have him to recruit them. He hadn't expected so many of them to be so talented. He could only sigh at Nie Yan's amazing vision. He had no way of knowing about Nie Yan's reincarnation. Of course, there were also those who seemed rather mediocre. Guo Huai suggested kicking these people out, but Nie Yan decided to allow them to stay.

    Most of the talented players right now had played virtual reality games before to some degree. After starting Conviction, they showed high levels of skill right from the onset. Undying Scoundrel, Blowhard Summer Bug, and many of the other skilled elites were in this camp. Then there was another set of players, late bloomers, who only showed extreme talent in later stages of the game. For now, players like the Fighter Aristocratic Shadow, the beautiful Priestess Twinkling Snowfall, and many like them had not shown anything spectacular in the guild. Later on in the game, they would prove themselves to be capable players, rising up and bursting out with terrifying ferocity. For the time being, they were still learning more about the game one step at a time. Aware of the situation, it was only natural that Nie Yan did not dismiss them and instead provided them with excellent conditions to grow in. If they developed into powerhouses in the future, he would've made an amazing profit. If not, then at least he deprived a rival guild of a potential elite. Guo Huai would never be able to understand Nie Yan's train of thought.

    In the battles against each other, Asskickers United achieved many more victories than Holy Empire. Sleepy Fox eventually came to realize that Nie Yan's words from earlier were not spoken in vain. If these players assisted in the upcoming battle for the Stronghold, they could take out at least five or six hundred players from Radiant Sacred Flame, if not many more. If that occurred, then Holy Empire would come out on top and win the battle for the Stronghold.

    After thinking about it for a while, Sleepy Fox realized that giving up 30% of the stronghold's profits in exchange for a much greater chance of winning the other 70% was a worthwhile tradeoff. After all, if they lost the entire stronghold to Radiant Sacred Flame, they would have nothing at all.

    "Let's sign the contract then!" Sleepy Fox decided, clenching his teeth.

    Nie Yan smirked at this. If we win, we'd get a share in a stronghold's profits even though we're not a Level 5 guild. What could be better?

    The two of them signed the contract, which went into effect and was enforced by the game's system.

    "I don't think it's necessary to let them continue with these battles any longer," Nie Yan said, glancing at the guild members fighting below. It was clear that the players from Holy Empire were beaten, and unable to endure any longer. In all the battles that had occurred until now, the losses far outweighed their handful of victories.

    Sleepy Fox was slightly embarrassed as he replied, "I think it's best if we stop now."

    Nie Yan commanded all of the players from Asskickers United to end their battles and withdraw from the arena.

    Since Sleepy Fox had agreed to purchase the Everlasting Silver Set, he felt there was no harm in continuing to bring guild members to Everlasting City to level. By allowing his guild members to gain a few more levels right before the battle for the Stronghold, they would have a better chance of victory. Nie Yan's gaze fell on Resplendent Bladelight. He intended to fully socket every piece of Bladelight's Everlasting Silver Set with Evasion Gems. After that, he was going to add a couple of Stat Amplification Gems to the Level 30 Gold one-handed sword. If he managed to find a powerful Enchanter, his plan for Bladelight would become that much better.

    In addition to this, Nie Yan planned on raising Bladelight several levels higher. Once the battle for the Stronghold erupted and Resplendent Bladelight led the charge with his formidable defense, was there an enemy that could endure?

    Powerful Fighters and Berserkers belonged in the heart of the battlefield, where the innate advantages of their class shined. Their role was to charge and break through the enemy line.

    There was also Yi Yan to consider. He could have Yi Yan wear the Everlasting Silver Set before it was handed over to Holy Empire, if he managed to raise Yi Yan to level 30.

    Nie Yan had an important task to complete before the battle for the Stronghold started, and that was to obtain the Chapter of Virtue. Once this was done, he wouldn't be anxious about someone else obtaining it during the battle for the Stronghold.

    Once the six Chapters were combined into the First Volume of the Book of Order, he had no idea what the properties would be for this Legendary item. No one in the previous timeline collected all of the Chapters, so Nie Yan couldn't help but anticipate getting his hands on the treasured First Volume of the Book of Order. In this lifetime, Nie Yan put blood, sweat, and tears to finally seize five Chapters from the Book of Order. Now the final chapter was within his sights, off in the distant horizon.

    Nie Yan and Sleepy Fox were chatting and planning out their next move, when suddenly, a series of notices started popping up in the guild window.

    Guild: Aqua Smoke Stub has left the guild!

    Guild: Cold Peak Absolute Blade has left the guild!

    Guild: Wood Grace has left the guild!

    Guild: Samsara Lord has left the guild!

    ...

    Nie Yan's face turned dark. It's all players from the Withered Leaf gaming organization! Have they decided to renege on our contract with them? Do they not have any fear of us seeking reparations from them?

    This was the first group ever to betray Asskickers United. If Nie Yan found out that they had sided with some other guild, he would definitely make them pay a heavy price! This matter concerned the dignity of Asskickers United, after all. With just the clauses from the contract, he could already make them suffer a severe consequence.

    Puzzled by Nie Yan's gloomy expression, Sleepy Fox asked, "What's happened?"

    Nie Yan said calmly, "Some things have happened within the guild. One moment please."

    Sleepy Fox nodded. He could somewhat guess what had happened within Asskickers United.

    「Guo Huai, what's going on?」Nie Yan messaged.

    Guo Huai could feel the angry undercurrents in Nie Yan's question, like thunder rumbling before a storm.「It's very complicated. I'm still trying to pacify the rest of the guild right now. Withered Leaf's withdrawal has a reason behind it. Don't worry about it. I'll tell you the whole story later.」He was evidently exhausted from trying to deal with the guild.

    Nie Yan looked at the guild chat and was puzzled by what he saw. It was filled with members voicing their fervent support for Withered Leaf and Aqua Smoke Stub.

    "Executive Guild Leader, we can't ignore Withered Leaf's plight! They're our brothers too!"

    "Yeah! Withered Leaf is full of our good brothers! They've brought us levelling with them so many times! People cannot repay kindness with evil. Even if I lose my equipment and drop a bunch of levels, we can't stay out of this!

    "Executive Guild Leader, you have to talk to the boss!"

    Guo Huai posted in the guild chat, "Everyone, please, calm down. We're still looking into what exactly happened. Don't do anything rash! The guild will definitely not just let this matter go. I'm going to talk with Nirvana Flame. He will have the final say. Before then, anyone who quits the guild shouldn't even think about coming back!"

    Left with no other options, Guo Huai dropped the twin bombs of Nie Yan's name and banishment from the guild. Only then did the guild members calm down enough to stop spamming the guild chat and wait for Nie Yan's verdict.

    「Guo Huai, tell me, what actually happened?」Nie Yan whispered. He still wasn't sure about what was actually going on.

    Guo Huai was already soaked with sweat. The mobbing guild members were really too hard to deal with.

    「It's like this. Withered Leaf and Azure Falling Sky had a conflict as a result of a previous grudge. Since they're both major gaming organizations, they're naturally rival competitors. This time, Azure Falling Sky killed over fifty Withered Leaf players outside of Bovine Prairie all at once, completely pissing off Aqua Smoke Stub. As you know, because the Azure Falling Sky guild was established by their parent gaming organization, they started off with over twenty thousand players. That could already be considered a formidable force in the game. Since Withered Leaf was temporarily part of Asskickers United, their status was rather sensitive. Aqua Smoke Stub was worried that if they got into a conflict with Azure Falling Sky, that would drag us into the mess and provoke an enemy we didn't want. Part of their modus operandi is to not create any inconveniences for their customers, so Aqua Smoke Stub asked me to pass on a message to you. He said that this is Withered Leaf's conflict and has nothing to do with Asskickers United. He also promised to pay us back for any losses that this event might cause. After this battle, they will rejoin our guild and continue the previous agreement. Before I had a chance to say anything, he'd already left the guild. I hear he's already brought his people to attack Azure Falling Sky," Guo Huai explained in a single breath. He was fully aware of how difficult it would be to resolve this matter, especially with the guild members' attitudes. At Nie Yan's request, Withered Leaf had brought Asskickers United players with them on levelling parties many times, so the guild thinks of them as extremely generous. With Withered Leaf headed off to battle against Azure Falling Sky, many of them are so frenzied that they're spamming about leaving the guild instead of staying out of the fight.」

    Having explained the situation, Guo Huai asked,「So what do we do?」

    「What else do we do? Gather the people! We're going to eliminate Azure Falling Sky.」After hearing the entire story, Nie Yan didn't hesitate as all.

    Guo Huai was startled by Nie Yan's lightning-fast reply. He hadn't expected Nie Yan to come to a conclusion so quickly.「Azure Falling Sky has been neutral this whole time. With over twenty thousand players in their ranks, they count amongst the strongest of the second-tier guilds. Azure Falling Sky is one of the top gaming organizations in the country, and is in no way inferior to Withered Leaf. It might even be stronger than Withered Leaf! Is it worth it for us to become enemies with such a powerful organization just for a single Withered Leaf?」

    As the leaders of the guild, they had no choice but to consider things from the guild's perspective and make cost-benefit analyses. If Asskickers United meddled in this fight between Withered Leaf and Azure Falling Sky, that would be the same as pushing the latter into the enemy camp.

    Withered Leaf withdrew from the guild, thereby severing the relationship of both parties, so Asskickers United wouldn't get embroiled in this matter. This was part of their ethics as professionals.

    「This isn't about whether it's worth it or not. Before Withered Leaf joined Asskickers United, they could've been beaten like dogs by Azure Falling Sky, and I wouldn't have batted an eyelid. But after Withered Leaf joined us, even if it was just a temporary contractual relationship, they became sworn brothers of our guild. They were attacked while part of our guild. Anyone who attacks the members of our Asskickers United, be it Azure Falling Sky, Radiant Sacred Flame, Victorious Return, or even our allies like Holy Empire, Sapphire Shrine, or Battle Crazed Alliance, we'll retaliate in full force! Make no mistake! 」Nie Yan's said in an unyielding tone.
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