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Chapter 250 – Return of Aqua Smoke Stub

    Chapter 250 - Return of Aqua Smoke Stub

    Even after they were gone, Nie Yan and Tang Yao were the subjects of fervent discussion for Zhai Hao, Li Rui, and the rest of their group. Those two truly played the game at the highest level!

    "Xia Ling, do you think Nie Yan is really going after Xie Yao?" Zhai Hao questioned thoughtfully.

    "Could that be fake? They even know each other from outside of school!" As Xie Yao's best friend, Xia Ling naturally had to insist on her preferred outcome.

    "Looks like everyone else is out of luck!" Zhai Hao laughed. None of their classmates could even compare with Nie Yan in terms of qualifications.

    "Nie Yan's so awesome! He can casually give out 500 merit points to all of us. That's enough to obtain several pieces of good equipment!" Li Rui exclaimed. The best equipment they owned was only worth around 200 merit points at most.

    But the gear was secondary. The fact that they got to meet two legendary figures, their idols, was the best thing to come out of this get together. If not for Nie Yan swearing them to secrecy, they would've definitely blabbed about today's events to all their friends.

    "That bastard Liu Rui is only Level 28, and he thinks he's such hot **. Now that I'm Level 30, I think it's a good time to step on his ego. There's always a sky above the sky! If we compare him to Nie Yan, he won't even amount to dregs!" Zhai Hao said, as he recalled how he lost miserably to Liu Rui in their previous duel. He definitely wanted a rematch, so he could get back some face!

    Zhai Hao recalled the scene of Nie Yan sending Liu Rui flying with a kick. It was simply amazing! No wonder he was so good at the game. On top of this, his personality made people very convinced. Even though he was in such a high position, he didn't behave ostentatiously in the slightest. He was actually quite modest, low-key, and easy-going, albeit a bit devious at times.

    The group continued to chat in high spirits.

    At this moment, Nie Yan and Tang Yao rushed back to the guild headquarters. A large crowd had assembled around the plaza in front of the Asskickers United guild headquarters. These players were all the elites of the guild, and they all wore equipment of at least Gold-grade, with practically nobody sporting around Silver-grade equipment any more. They discussed fervently.

    "Say, what do you think the boss gathered all of us here for?"

    "No one knows yet. Let's just wait for him to arrive."

    The best players of the guild were all gathered in one place. This kind of manpower could accomplish almost anything!

    "The guild leader is here!"

    The crowd grew excited, as they parted to two sides, opening up a path in the middle.

    "Greetings to the guild leader!"

    "Welcome back, boss!"

    Everyone greeted in unison. Any bystander would be able to tell the sincere respect they held for Nie Yan.

    The name Nirvana Flame carried the glory of Asskickers United, a moral pillar responsible for creating the legend of the guild and guiding them to a momentous rise. From having nothing to owning everything. From being small and fragile to becoming the most powerful behemoth. From less than 500 members to over 50,000. From being viewed as an ant in the eyes of the player base to being the hot topic through all corners of the game. He swept through all obstacles to make them the strongest guild in Calore! In return, they were filled with devotion and reverence toward their guild leader.

    Nie Yan acknowledged the greetings of the guild members.

    Nie Yan spotted Yao Yao, Moon Child, Yu Lan, Plain Boiled Water, and the rest. He walked up to greet them.

    "Good to see you guys again."

    "Hello, guild leader!" Plain Boiled Water and the rest hurriedly responded.

    Yao Yao appeared to be a bit off as she met eyes with Nie Yan. Her heart raced as the two figures in her mind merged together.

    Nie Yan smiled at Yao Yao.

    It was worth noting that Yao Yao, who was dressed in pure-white robes, put in a considerate amount of effort into her appearance-her long hair tied in a ponytail behind her back, her pure and innocent expression which evoked urges in the hearts of all men, and a pair of limpid eyes that sparkled with intelligence. She pursed her lips into a smile, shallow dimples exposed on on her fair cheeks. Her beauty was simply too dazzling.

    Moon Child and Yu Lan stood off to the side and quietly gossipped about how Yao Yao was different from her usual self today.

    Nie Yan quickly averted his gaze, afraid that he would be ensnared if he looked directly into her eyes any longer

    Nie Yan turned to Moon Child and Yu Lan with a smile before moving on.

    Yao Yao felt a sense of emptiness in her heart as she gazed at Nie Yan's back. In the game, he received the admiration of tens of thousands of players. Standing high above the clouds, how would he ever take notice of an insignificant person like her? However, she could still take solace in the fact that she would get to see him every day since they were deskmates.

    "Everyone is here," Guo Huai reported. He didn't know what Nie Yan had planned next.

    Nie Yan took a headcount. Including him, there were 600 players altogether. Split into groups of 20, that was 30 teams. This was quite an imposing force.

    Guo Hai returned with the potions that Nie Yan requested from the Starry Night Potion Shop and began distributing them. Everyone received at least two Intermediate Health Potions. The Fighters and Berserkers at the front all received at least five in addition to a ton of other potions, in case something happened.

    They also restocked on some general items.

    "How many Priests in our guild have Junior Revive?" Nie Yan asked. This spell was extremely important. It would help them avoid significant losses.

    "We have four in total. Leader Young Seven, Black Heaven, Ten Li Painted Muslin, and Moon Child. I've assigned all of them to different teams," Guo Huai said. They were currently the four best Priests in Asskickers United. Priests with Junior Revive were truly too hard to come by.

    Nie Ya was startled at the name Ten Li Painted Muslin. Guo Huai also managed to recruit her?

    As one of the Seven Archbishops in the previous timeline, Ten Li Painted Muslin had been one of the most famous professional players in the game. However, she operated differently from most professionals. She sold her services to various guilds, temporarily joining their elite teams in exchange for a hefty price. Rumour had it that she would charge anywhere between tens to thousands of gold for a single dungeon run. Plus, she got first pick on any Priest equipment that dropped. Although her prices were exorbitant, many guilds were still willing to pay the price to invite one of the Seven Archbishops.

    Nie Yan was elated at the fact that three of the Seven Archbishops belonged to Asskickers United! They would definitely be unrivalled in the future!

    Thanks to Asskickers United growing increasingly more powerful, becoming a place where elites converged, Guo Huai was finding it easier and easier to recruit people, bringing more elites into the guild. This effectively created a positive feedback loop of skilled recruits.

    Even Guo Huai was deeply moved by how things had developed. When he went to recruit players in the past, people wouldn't necessarily pay attention to him even if he whispered. But now, people were willing to consider an offer as long as the terms were reasonable. On average, most players were willing to accept the offer and join. Some even abandoned their previous guild without a second thought.

    The bar to join was incredibly high. Those the guild went out of its way to recruit were elites amongst elites, and any player that received an invitation would instantly skyrocket in value. Many guilds would descend on them and try to snatch them away with generous offers. But of course, Asskickers United was still the first choice for anyone with half a brain, even if there were slightly better offers from other guilds.

    As such, Guo Huai could now stand proudly with his back straight when he was out recruiting.

    These six hundred players could be considered the cream of the crop. No other guild could field such a lineup!

    Nie Yan took a final look at the team compositions. Since the Priest's Revive skill was only effective within the same team, he decided to do a bit of rearranging.

    "We're going to make some adjustments to the teams. Those who I call up, withdraw from your current team, then create a new one!" Nie Yan issued out order after order as the ranks started being reshuffled.

    After taking on the role of guild leader in Asskickers United, Nie Yan noticed a few subtle changes in his temperament, such as subconsciously speaking in an imposing tone. If he wanted the brothers under him to listen to his commands, a figure of authority was needed.

    Nie Yan had the 600 players under him remake their teams. Young Seven, Black Heaven, Ten Li Painted Muslin, and Moon Child's team especially underwent great changes. Each of them now had at least 10 Warriors-most of them being Fighters, along with one or two Berserkers-5 Paladins, and the rest were Priests.

    Although this sort of composition had very weak attack power, a team filled with tanks and support classes possessed incredible resilience and sustainability. It was practically an impregnable steel fortress. Nie Yan planned to have these four teams escort the Mages in the center. If they encountered a boss, he would naturally have them go up to tank!

    Nie Yan lightly nodded his head. Everything was more or less settled. He also joined one of the teams.

    "Our expedition today is to clear the entirety of Everlasting City!" Nie Yan announced. They had previously only levelled in the outer district of the map. But now, they were going to kill their way to the very core! They would have to face countless Level 40 Elites and even some Lords.

    As long as they could obtain the Energy Core of the Everlasting City, it would be worth it no matter how many losses they suffered!

    Undying Scoundrel and the rest couldn't help but get excited. This time, the boss decided to clear a Level 40 map! Almost all the elite members of the guild were only around Level 27 or 28. That was more than a 10 level difference. Would their attacks even deal any damage to the Mechanical Golems?

    Nie Yan had already included this level disparity in his calculations. In the past, these players had no hope of clearing the map of Mechanical Golems at their current level. However, after the recent level suppression changes from the expansion, this map was no longer a problem.

    The equipment that came out of Everlasting City was extremely enticing, to stay nothing of the fact that the drop rate was increased manyfold when exploring the map for the first time! Gearing up the guild members with a few pieces of Dark Gold-grade equipment would absolutely be no problem. On top of all this, the map still held an extremely precious item that would move the hearts of any player, and that was the Energy Core of the Everlasting City! Something like this would be very helpful to the guild's growth!

    With this expedition, Nie Yan would improve the teamwork of his top players while also helping them level. This would prove vital in helping them conquer strongholds. After helping out Holy Empire, Asskickers United would be about ready to capture a Basic Stronghold for themselves.

    Right at that moment, Guo Huai turned to tell Nie Yan, "Smoke Stub is back. According to reports, Withered Leaf has split up, with only 200 leaving with him."

    Nie Yan furrowed his brows as he asked, "What happened to them?"

    Guo Huai could only shake his head. "It's still unclear. Let's wait until Smoke Stub returns, and we can ask him then."
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