Chapter 156 – Sapphire Shrine
Nie Yan didn’t expect Kill Love to appear here. Was it possible that Holy Empire and Battle Crazed Alliance were working together? As he searched through his memories, he recalled that Victorious Return, Radiant Sacred Flame, and the rest of Cao Xu’s guilds did indeed clash with Battle Crazed Alliance, Holy Empire, and other guilds on numerous occasions. While facing the pressure of their superior might, it was quite feasible for Battle Crazed Alliance and Holy Empire to have forged a secret alliance. Honestly, he hadn’t acquired much knowledge regarding these matters in his past life. Back then, he was simply a player who minded his own business. Even during the War God Tribe’s most flourishing period, he was merely enjoying the life of a young master and had never once even so much as thought of leading his father’s guild to contend for rule over the empire.
He was suddenly snapped out of his daydreaming when a fifty-something-year-old man in white robes strolled toward Sleepy Fox and Kill Love. If not for the fact that they were nowhere near a town or city, and that he was dressed like a player, some people might even mistake him for an NPC.
His cheeks were somewhat thin and dry, almost sunken in like a skeleton’s, but his expression was lively as he radiated a healthy glow. Overall, he perfectly suited the description of a kindly old man.
Nie Yan had a vague impression of this person. If he wasn’t wrong, then he should be the guild leader of Sapphire Shrine. Although not as large as Holy Empire or Victorious Return, Sapphire Shrine was still a well-known guild, and their combat strength wasn’t lagging that far behind them. In the previous timeline, Sapphire Shrine, which primarily focused on nurturing Mages, had produced three Magisters among their ranks. One had to know, during a conflict even a single Magister was a strategic resource. Having three represented a force that could intimidate any other power. Therefore, even when Victorious Return was at the peak of their influence, they still didn’t dare to rashly declare war against Sapphire Shrine, and the origin for this lay in their Magisters that possessed the power to heavily influence the outcome of a battle.
He seemed to remember this old man’s name as well. If he recalled correctly, it was Fa Lan (Blue Mage). In spite of his old age, it would be a grave mistake to underestimate him. In his past life, this old man had managed to advance into a Great Mage, becoming a formidable player to be reckoned.
“You came as well?” Sleepy Fox asked. Agewise, Fa Lan was old enough to be in his father’s generation, so proper manners dictated that he ought to address him as senior. However, seeing as both of them led a major guild, making them equals, he wasn’t willing to lower his standing. As such, this was a source of endless headache for him. Why was a man in his fifties so insistent on mingling with youths several decades younger than him? What a crazy old coot!
“Oh, don’t mind little old me. I’m just passing by.” Fa Lan chuckled, then said, “What? Am I not welcome here? You should be thanking me. If I didn’t come, Holy Empire and Victorious Return would have really fought today.”
Sleepy Fox thought for a bit before coming to a realization. Sapphire Shrine was also a formidable entity. So long as Fa Lan was present here, Victorious Return probably wouldn’t dare to take any action. If that was the case, then naturally, no battle would occur.
“Why are you helping me? If Holy Empire and Victorious Return go at it, then wouldn’t Sapphire Shrine benefit from the fallout?”
“Nonsense, if you guys really went at it, then Radiant Sacred Flame will also step into the fray. At that point, you’re guaranteed to get the worse of it,” Fa Lan replied. There was an old saying, “United we stand, divided we fall.” He wasn’t just being considerate, he was also thinking of what’s best for his own guild.
“Is your information reliable?” Sleepy Fox asked in shock. Did Victorious Return really form an alliance with Radiant Sacred Flame? How is this possible? When did this happen? Several questions ran through his mind. Why was Victorious Return always so overbearing to the extent that they seemed to be willing to go to war with anyone…? He finally came to the conclusion. It was precisely because they had the support of Radiant Sacred Flame!
“If the information was unreliable, do you think this old man would still bother coming here?”
Even Nie Yan showed a hint of surprise. He hadn’t expected Victorious Return and Radiant Sacred Flame to already be cooperating so early on.
Sleepy Fox was quite alarmed after listening to Fa Lan’s words. If Radiant Sacred Flame truly intervened in this conflict, then the situation would turn more serious than he initially thought.
At this time, Nie Yan spotted yet another acquaintance walking toward them. It was Splendid Star.
“How’s it going, Fox? Do you need a hand?” Splendid Star asked. After the incident with the Guardian of Order, he had already become rather familiar with Sleepy Fox. He was a person who valued loyalty and didn’t fear danger which was why he came here to support him.
In the previous timeline, these people were figures that could topple mountains and overturn the seas. Who would think they’d all gather here in the same place today? This was truly an unprecedented event.
As they witnessed Holy Empire’s forces growing ever larger, the Victorious Return players anxiously awaited Heaven Breaker’s orders. However, their guild leader was focused on the several players chatting by Sleepy Fox’s side. Although he wasn’t too familiar with them, he had still encountered them several times in the past. Then, he finally recognized their faces: the guild leader of Sapphire Shrine, Fa Lan; the guild leader of Battle Crazed Alliance, Kill Love; and lastly, the guild leader of Splendid Temple, Splendid Star. It seemed he had underestimated Sleepy Fox’s capabilities.
Battle Crazed Alliance’s forces weren’t based in Calore, so he could safely ignore them. Sapphire Shrine, however, wasn’t an existence he could simply overlook.
“Guild Leader, we should attack.”
“I agree. Guild Leader, they’ll have even more reinforcements rushing over soon. Should we also call more of our guys over?”
Heaven Breaker shook his head before saying in a gloomy tone, “We’re withdrawing!”
“P-pulling back? Why?”
“What!? Guild Leader, why are we retreating?”
When Heaven Breaker swept his gaze over his dissatisfied guild members, they immediately shut up. His orders were absolute. Once he decided on something, no one could disobey.
Victorious Return’s troops gradually retreated, and under Sleepy Fox’s instructions, Holy Empire didn’t try to pursue them. Due to Fa Lan’s presence, an explosive standoff that was about to erupt into violence at any moment dissolved without a trace.
“I’ll assign some people to escort you guys out of here,” Sleepy Fox said after turning back to Nie Yan, Tang Yao, and Yao Yao.
“Sure, sorry for the trouble.” Nie Yan nodded his head. With their safe exit, the pressure on Sleepy Fox would lessen significantly.
Just to be on the cautious side, Sleepy Fox ordered his subordinates to bring over two hundred black garbs from Calore that could hide their appearance. After having Nie Yan and his group, as well as a portion of his own troops, wear the garbs, he divided them into several dozen groups and made each one set out in different directions.
And so, two hundred players enshrouded in black garbs scattered in every direction.
“Fox, why did you insist on saving them?” gazing at the backs of their fading silhouettes, Kill Love asked in a doubtful tone.
“I made a deal with them,” Sleepy Fox answered briskly. “Now, tell me how exactly you and Nirvana Flame met. What was he doing in Hilderlocke? Don’t tell me he was there to do a quest too.”
“I met him there at the administrator’s office. Just moments before, he managed to snag away the best plot of land in the city,” Kill Love replied in a dejected tone. He had been eyeing that property for quite awhile.
“He went to Hilderlocke to purchase property? But, why…? It doesn’t make sense. Aside from the properties in the eastern district, with all of them already being bought up because they were relatively cheap, the western and southern parts of the city still have quite a few places open for sale. There’s no reason for him to waste so much money to go all the way to Hilderlocke just to purchase a single property. With just the 2 gold he spent on the round trip alone, he’d be able to buy a small plot in Calore, even if the location is slightly unfavourable.”
“Not necessarily, I can guarantee you the properties in Calore won’t be as valuable as the properties in Hilderlocke in the future. How many plots are listed for purchase in Calore? Adding them all together, Hilderlocke only has about a dozen or so,” Kill Love rebuked. From his perspective, if Nie Yan’s sense for real-estate was anything like his own, then the properties he purchased would absolutely spike in value in the coming months.
With Conviction’s real-world currency exchange slowly approaching, snagging up plots of land became an increasing concern for many guilds. However, setting up the treasury and the expenses needed just to keep the guild running on a day-to-day basis left many guild leaders with almost nothing to spare. Even if they could scrape up enough gold to buy some land, they wouldn’t be able to acquire much. Take Holy Empire for example, in the last few days they bought up six plots in Calore, but all of them were relatively cheap and in unfavourable locations. On the other hand, Victorious Return was slightly better off as they had managed to snatch up the largest piece of land in the southern district for over 30 gold. At the same time, the eastern district had also become a hotly-eyed area as of late due to the Starry Night Potion Shop’s popularity. However, by the time many guild leaders had arrived at the administrator’s office, they discovered all of the plots there had already been mysteriously sold. Such a strange matter left them all bewildered.
Yet Nie Yan actually had enough money to burn to run off all the way to Hilderlocke to purchase properties. Whatever entity was backing him, their financial resources were truly astonishing.
Sleepy Fox pondered for a moment. All signs pointed to the Starry Night Potion Shop. From his estimates, it probably made at least 20 gold or more a day. Even for the major guilds, such an income would leave them far behind with no hope of competing. In Calore, only this entity had enough financial capital to be eating up land all over the place. Could Nie Yan really be the owner of this shop? Thinking back to what he knew of Nie Yan’s tendencies, the notion didn’t seem all that farfetched. He always acted in a very low-key manner. Even when he was high enough to place at the front of the leaderboards, he still chose to maintain his anonymity. As for his background that was shrouded in mystery, still no one had uncovered what it was. He really could be the owner of the Starry Night Potion Shop!
With this realization, Sleepy Fox felt a chill run down his back. If Nie Yan was the owner of the Starry Night Potion Shop, then just how much capital did he control? Perhaps the number of plots he already owned far outstripped that of any major guild’s. It seemed from now on, not only did he have to work together with Nie Yan, it was also best that he deepened their relations! Because from Sleepy Fox’s point of view, he was really too deep and unfathomable.
With Victorious Return’s forces retreating, after receiving Sleepy Fox’s commands, Holy Empire’s troops also scattered. They all felt a deep sense of regret that they didn’t get to battle, but they were merely ordinary members, unaware of the implications of such a conflict. If they had really clashed, then a huge calamity would have befallen their guild.
Nie Yan, Tang Yao, and Yao Yao along with a group of escorts arrived just outside of the entrance of some woods. It was a Level 13 monster zone, making it impossible for Victorious Return to mobilize a large force to pursue them. So, now, they were finally safe.
“You guys can go back now. Thanks again,” Nie Yan said to the few Holy Empire players that had escorted them here.
“No need for thanks. You’re our guild leader’s friend, so it’s only natural that we spare no effort,” the Holy Empire players replied.
Looking at the expressions in their eyes, Nie Yan could tell that they all held immense respect for Sleepy Fox.
After saying their goodbyes, the Holy Empire players teleported away with Return Scrolls.
“Nie Yan, where are we going now?” Yao Yao asked. They weren’t safe hunting mobs in low-level zones because it would be fairly easy for others to spot them. Thus, they could only head to high-level zones, but hunting high-level monsters also held its own risks.
“We’ll grind on high-level mobs to get rid of our red names, but wait a bit first… I’m going to have a few things brought over to us,” Nie Yan answered after thinking for a moment.