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Chapter 532 - What It Means To Be Brothers

    The start of the semester was still a week away. Nie Yan and Xie Yao strolled around the campus before grabbing a bite to eat. They spent the rest of the afternoon working out in the gem, then returned to their villa at around five o'clock.

    After arriving back home, Nie Yan prepared a simple meal for dinner. Though Xie Yao also knew how to cook, his culinary skills were a notch better. When he had to live alone in his past life, he had no choice but to prepare his own meals. So, he became a pretty good cook.

    Three dishes and soup, though a bit light, the food was delicious. Xie Yao's evaluation of Nie Yan went up yet again. She couldn't help but wonder how he made these simple dishes so delicious.

    As the two cleared away the plates, a homely atmosphere sprouted between them.

    In the blink of an eye, the clock struck six.

    "We should log back into the game," Nie Yan said, looking at the time. His expression turned serious. He knew the outcome of today's battle would play a crucial role in the future of Asskickers United.

    "Yeah!" Xie Yao nodded. Seeing Nie Yan turn serious, she was a bit dazed. She inwardly gloated at the fact Jiang Yingyu would never know that he was the coolest when he was serious. She was his closest friend and lover. This was a position Jiang Yingyu could never take. She had no need to feel uneasy.

    Two game capsules were set up in their bedroom. They were far more advanced than the ones back in Huahai.

    The two stepped into their game capsules and entered Conviction.

    Nie Yan and Xie Yao walked out of the villa in the Hilton Stronghold and gazed at the plaza outside. They were greeted by the sight of a large crowd of Asskickers United players. They were fully equipped and ready to set out. The other players walking by had expressions of awe on their faces. They were simply observers.

    Seeing the players of Asskickers United in high spirits, Nie Yan also got fired up.

    "Boss, you're here!"

    The players from Asskickers United erupted with thunderous cheers which shook the whole plaza. The passersby were completely flabbergasted. What a frightening display of morale!

    Black Hell turned to Nie Yan with a look of shock on his face. Seeing the passionate gazes of these players, he was puzzled. Just how did Nie Yan accomplish this? Even Dark Hero at its peak couldn't compare! This went beyond simple admiration and bordered on fanatical! A single zealot wasn't that frightening. However, when they gathered together in large droves, they would transform into an unstoppable war machine, they would crush everything in their path! Even an enemy many times their size would collapse and crumble!

    "Heh, what do you think? The morale isn't bad. We've finished all preparations. You should say a few words," Bladelight said.

    Everyone looked at Nie Yan with anticipation in their eyes. The upcoming battle in the Realm of Death was extremely important to Asskickers United. All players would be watching. It didn't matter how much outside help Alliance of Mages brought. Losing was not an option.

    Seeing all these familiar faces before him, Nie Yan's heart was filled with emotion.

    Nie Yan suddenly had a lot of things he wanted to say. Calming his mind, he faced the crowd. "Do any of you know how many battles we've fought since Asskickers United was established...? Heh. I doubt many people still remember. Even I've lost track myself. But I still remember our first battle. Sparrow Hawk, I, and the rest of our group were ambushed and surrounded by Victorious Return. In the end, only a handful of us survived, and even Sparrow Hawk's Arcane Fairy was killed. We had to search high and low to find an Energized Crystal to revive it. At that time, the guild was still pretty weak, and we only had a thousand or so members. Who among you have been with me since the start?"

    "Me!"

    "Me too!"

    "Also me!"

    Ten or so voices erupted from the crowd. The faces of these players flushed with excitement. They didn't expect Nie Yan to mention them. Seeing their peers gazing at them, they puffed up their chests and held their heads up high!

    "So many of you are still around. That fills me with joy. You guys are the oldest members in the guild. You've stuck with the guild through thick and thin to arrive at where we are now. I still remember something my old man once told me. In the battlefield, it's not about stepping over others to survive, but preventing others from stepping over you. The world is just that cruel. On more than one occasion. our guild was on the brink of collapse, but we always tenaciously bounced back. Take a look at where our old enemies are now. Unhindered, Victorious Return, Bloodlust Blades... all of them fell to us and crumbled into nothingness. As long as we still stand tall, we'll continue growing ever stronger! From a single guild to a powerful alliance consisting of many guilds, we unified Calore. However, everyone knows we still have many enemies, like Alliance of Mages, Divine Protectors, and Angel Corps. They've been trying to think of ways to destroy us. They never leave us alone. If we don't want to be destroyed, we can only raise our weapons! Our foundation has been built up brick by brick. The glory of our guild has already been recorded in the annals of Conviction's history, as well as engraved in our hearts. It's an unforgettable memory. Some day in the future, you'll think back on this band of brothers and proudly say you were part of it, you fought shoulder to shoulder with them!" Nie Yan gazed at the crowd, his heart filled with emotion. In the previous timeline, he also had many cherished friends that fought alongside him!

    Nie Yan's words touched the hearts of the players from Asskickers United. They looked around them. Front and back, left and right were all brothers-in-arms. This was the only reason they needed to fight. For the sake of a shared goal and a future full of glory, they would stand together. Trusting their backs to each other, supporting each other with their lives, this was what it meant to be brothers.

    Hearing Nie Yan's speech, Black Hell felt a sense of loss wash over him. Where were all those brothers who had followed him in Dark Hero now? Back then, when he deleted his character and quit, Dark Hero started on a path of ruin. Everyone went their separate ways and ultimately dispersed. Thinking back now, he couldn't help but regret the mistake he made at that time. He couldn't help but feel jealous of Nie Yan.

    Black Heaven walked up to Black Hell's side. Looking at the players from Asskickers United, he turned to his big brother. "You know, Old Six, No Eyes, and the others are still asking about you. Even though you've changed your name, you're still the same Invincible in our hearts. It's funny. I still remember that time when Smirk and those bastards killed No Eyes. You dared to storm into their guild headquarters all by yourself, killing more than 100 of their players. I told myself back then that you were my big brother, and the only one I would ever recognize."

    Black Hell wanted to say something, but he was interrupted by Black Heaven. "When you deleted your character, we searched everywhere for you. You entered Conviction and changed your name to Black Hell, so I named myself Black Heaven. I didn't say a word when you decided to return to Dark Hero in secret, I knew it was for the sake of that woman. In the end, you had me leave and join Asskickers United. When I first arrived here, I didn't fit in and looked down on everyone. But then I lost to Scoundrel in a one-on-one duel. It was then that I began to respect them. When I started running dungeons with them, Bladelight and Smoke Stub taught me many things. I learned the meaning of being in a team and gradually blended in. My views gradually changed. Then, I asked myself, if one day you were to come here and ask me to leave with you, would I accept? I thought it over countless times before finally coming up with an answer. Forgive your little brother, but I'd still choose to stay behind."

    Black Hell had a complicated look on his face. At that time, it was him who pushed Black Heaven away and made him join Asskickers United. The fact that Black Heaven found a place he belonged should make him happy. Yet why did his heart ache so much, almost as if someone was plunging a dagger into it? He suddenly understood. It was him who had let down his brothers, allowing them to drift apart from one after another!

    "I'm sorry. After you left, South Mountain was poached by an enemy guild, and Magic that bastard became the new guild leader. Old Six left, and No Eyes also left. I gradually realized that even if you came back, it would be impossible for things to return to the way they used to be. I know you slaughtered Magic and his lackeys. Before, I really admired you, that you didn't change and were still the same Invincible. However, I've changed. I'm no longer that silly little kid who would only follow you around. I've found my own path. Big Brother, are you happy for me?" Black Heaven gazed at Black Hell, his face streaming with ugly tears.

    Black Heaven's words stabbed deeply at Black Hell's heart. He was at a huge loss. When he stood at the very apex as Invincible, did he ever once think of the feelings of the brothers beside him? It was him who single-handedly led the Dark Hero to greatness and plunged it into ruin.

    Even Black Heaven was leaving him. Everything was his own doing.

    "I got in touch with Old Six, No Eyes, and the others. They're willing to join Asskickers United. Big Brother, what do you plan to do next?" Black Heaven asked. He knew Black Hell's personality the best. He probably wasn't planning to stay for long. He would eventually go off on his own as a solo player again.

    "You know. Previously, I planned on staying for a while, then taking you away with me. I thought you would leave with me. I was wrong." Black Hell bitterly smiled.

    "I'm sorry."

    "No, don't apologize. I'm the one who should be apologizing to you." Black Hell patted Black Heaven's shoulders.

    "Wherever you go, I'll always be your brother!" Black heaven said firmly.

    "I don't know why, but I've suddenly given up on leaving. Maybe I'm getting old. I'll stay here and wait for Old Six, No Eyes, and the others to come," Black Hell laughed brightly, as if a burden was lifted from his shoulders. What harm was there in staying for a while? He wanted to see just what kind of guild Asskickers United was for it to influence Black Heaven so deeply.
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