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Chapter 168 – Entering the City With a Red Name

Nie Yan arrived at the hollow tree where he first discovered the dark golden chest. He dropped down to one knee. Absolutely giddy with anticipation, he inserted the key into the chest.

It fit perfectly. As he turned the key, he could feel the complexity of the lock’s internal mechanisms. He feared even a Specialist Key might not be able to open it.

Opening… Estimated Completion: 1%… 10%…

A moment later, the chest opened with a light click.

After rummaging through, he noticed there were quite a few things inside. Indeed, it certainly deserved to be called a treasure chest. He took the items out to examine.

Fire Essence Extract x3

Enchanted Runestones x6

The three were materials for the Dullahan Cavalry Crossbow which would have taken him ages to gather by himself. He didn’t expect to have them handed to him right after leaving the quest map. As for the two other materials required to craft the crossbow, Fire Source Crystals and Magic Redwood Logs… though they were expensive, they weren’t particularly hard to find, appearing every now and then in the auction house.

Excluding the materials, he also obtained a gem and a skill book.

Gem of Darkness (9): Socketable Item
Properties: Convert 10% of Attack to Piercing Dark Damage, 1% Defense Ignore, −10% Equipment Requirements

It actually had a quality rating of 9! In the entire game, it was one of the highest quality gems! Nie Yan bitterly chuckled. Although he obtained an incredible gem, he didn’t have any pieces of equipment worthy of pairing it with. Socketing it into a low-quality piece was tantamount to throwing a beautiful bouquet of flowers into a pile of cow manure, so only something Sub-Legendary or above was suitable. It seemed he would have to wait until the Dullahan Cavalry Crossbow was successfully crafted.

He examined the skill book. His mind trembled when he read the name. It was actually a Lockpicking skill book, moreover, the best kind—Lockpicking Specialist! It had two special properties: every time he opened a chest, he had a 10% chance of receiving an additional point of proficiency and Ignore Treasure Chest Level +1.

Although Lockpicking Specialist was only at Junior-rank right now, he felt improving its proficiency wouldn’t pose a problem. After all, he knew plenty of locations with hidden chests. At worst, he would have to set aside some time for ranking up the skill to ensure that he’d be able to access some of the higher grade chests he wished to open later on.

Nie Yan was finally ready to return to Calore after another search around the isle failed to turn up anything new. His bag was nearly filled to the brim. Were it not for him finding a second Magic Rune Bag, he would have run out of inventory space long ago.

Well, it’s time to go back. I should be fine for now… considering my Influence there is over 30.

From his bag, he took out a black garb to hide his appearance. As for his red name… he could only let it be since he had no way of veiling it.

After channeling a Return Scroll, he teleported back to Calore as a flash of light enveloped him.

Back in Calore, the area around the transfer point was full of players setting out to train, waiting for others, or looking to form groups. When Nie Yan stepped out, they all looked at him with sluggish expressions.

“What the hell? Returning with a red name…? Does this guy not want to live anymore? Hey, buddy, if you wanna die just say the word! I’ll gladly send you to the graveyard!”

“Just how many players did he kill? His name’s already so red…”

“Is he not afraid of the guards attacking him?”

Everyone cleared a path for him as he passed by, discussing in hushed tones. With his black garb and deep crimson name, he was shrouded in mystery. Though no one could make out his appearance, their first impression of him was that he was extremely dangerous!

When he swept his gaze over the crowd, they felt their hearts tighten and hastily retreated several steps further.

Even though player killing was prohibited in the city, they still felt an oppressive pressure from Nie Yan’s red name.

As a squadron of fully equipped city guards in silver armour approached, the players quickly made way for them.

“Look, they’ve come! That guy’s dead for sure…”

The crowd all wore expressions of schadenfreude. They didn’t believe for a second that he would be capable of putting up a fight. The city guards were all Level 100 Elites at least. Even the standard equipment assigned to them radiated a frightening aura.

However, what happened next shook the minds of everyone present. Their jaws dropped as they reeled back in shock.

Not only did the guards not attack, their captain even walked forward to greet him quite respectfully.

“Greetings, Sir Demon Hunter,” the guard captain said in a deferential manner.

After nodding his head, Nie Yan no longer paid attention to them. The guards were tasked with maintaining law and order. They had no real influence in Calore, so it was fine to just ignore them.

Brushing past them, he headed directly for the Asskickers United guild headquarters.

Nothing had happened. Surprisingly, the city guards didn’t dare to lay a hand on that red name player. Such a scene practically defied common sense!

“Holy crap… Amazing! Even the guards don’t dare to touch him!”

“He even ignored them! What a god!”

“Look, he’s leaving! Let’s see where he goes!”

“He just entered the Asskickers United guild headquarters! Do you think he’s a member?

“Wow… their guild was only established recently, but I heard their elite team cleared over ten dungeons on Specialist or Expert in only two days. Their guild leader is the top asskicker, first place on the leaderboards, Young Sparrow Hawk! He’s even better than Heaven Breaker. Dammit, if I knew earlier, I would have joined their guild when I still had the chance.”

Very soon, a few videos appeared on the official forums with eye-catching titles such as…

「A Red Name Player Enters Calore!」

「Godly Red Name Player Intimidates the City Guards!」

Nie Yan gave players a big shock as he passed through the streets. Without fail, all of them retreated a few steps to let him by.

His red name was a powerful deterrent. Only after stepping back did they recall they were in the city! A player like that shouldn’t be able to wander freely around here! Logically speaking, they should be dead shortly after stepping out of the transfer point. It never took the city guards more than one hit to slay a red name player!

A while later, he finally arrived at the entrance of the guild headquarters.

“Hey, who’s that guy!? What a badass! He actually has the guts to walk around the city with a red name!”

“Didn’t you see the emblem on his chest? He’s one of us. I think he’s one of our guild heads.”

The nearby guild members conversed quietly, their minds filled with amazement as they followed after him into the building.

Nie Yan’s first stop was the guild treasury. He dumped all the equipment he had obtained from the quest map inside. As for the recipes, he planned to deliver them to the Starry Night Potion Shop.

“You’re finally back… but damn, you nearly gave me a heart attack. How come your red name still isn’t cleared?” Guo Huai exclaimed in amazement.

“Don’t worry. As long as my Influence in Calore is over 30, I’ll be able to freely enter and leave the city,” Nie Yan replied. Seeing a red name player freely walking around blew everyone’s minds. It wouldn’t be until later on, when more players with high Influence emerged, especially after the release of strongholds, that such a sight would become fairly commonplace.

“No wonder you dared to return…” Guo Huai said, suddenly understanding.

“How are things right now?”

“It’s going good. We’re already 30,000 strong. The largest guild in Calore, Victorious Return, only has 80,000 members, so we’re quickly catching up. Of course, their requirements for joining are a lot more stringent, so the quality of their players is much higher than ours.”

Every guild had certain size limits. A Level 2 guild had a limit of 50,000 members. A Level 3 guild had a limit of 100,000 members. As a guild grewer larger, the requirements for joining rose accordingly. Recruiting too many low-level members wasn’t an efficient use of the guild’s open spaces. It would place too heavy of a burden on the guild’s resources… to the extent that it would even eat away at the benefits of the stronger members.

“I see, we should probably raise our recruitment criteria…”

“Yes, we’re in the middle of discussing that right now. It won’t do if we let people in solely based on their level.” Guo Huai nodded. The recruitment standards definitely needed to be raised. As for the members who barely participated and constantly skipped out on guild activities, they would certainly be given the boot. With this, the overall quality of the guild would improve.

“What about acquiring the properties I asked for?”

“I’ve already helped you purchase thirty-six properties from eleven different cities. All of them are under your name. Really though… if this information ever gets out, I bet it’ll shake the entire empire. A single person owns more properties than several major guilds combined… even I still have a hard time believing it, and I bought them for you!” Guo Huai said. If those properties were turned into businesses, even if they were merely being rented out, the amount of gold generated would be enough to develop another Holy Empire or Victorious Return.

“Mhm…” Nie Yan didn’t seem all that enthused. “Right now, we’re riding on some good momentum, but we still have to take things a step at a time, and when we do, it’s best they’re planted firmly. So, I hear Victorious Return has been stirring up quite a bit of trouble, huh?”

“In the last week, over three hundred of our members have been killed by those goons at least once. They’re paying pretty close attention to us. Some of our players are being surrounded as soon as they leave the city walls, even if their guild emblems are concealed. That means moles from Victorious Return have infiltrated our ranks. A few days ago, I managed to weed some out, but who knows how many more are still hiding,” Guo Huai explained, sounding incredibly aggrieved. The matter was giving him a huge headache. If it wasn’t sorted out properly, he feared it would lead to members leaving.

Right now, everyone was optimistic about the guild’s future. So even when hundreds of players were being harassed and killed, they were still willing to stay. But that might not always be the case. If they didn’t deal with the problem soon, it would grow into something much more serious.

“If they want to suppress us, we won’t simply have to grin and bear it! If they kill our people, then we’ll just have to return the favour. At the very least, we can’t make them think that we’re pushovers. We also have to enact some countermeasures. Tell our members not to let others know where they’re levelling. That way, with the map being so big, Victorious Return won’t necessarily be able to find them,” Nie Yan replied. This was the only way. Otherwise, if they continued to let Victorious Return walk all over them, sooner or later, Asskickers United would be harassed into the ground.

“But they’re too big. I’m afraid we won’t outlast them!”

“I’ve already thought of a plan,” Nie Yan said. He recalled a certain famous player organization in the previous timeline, the Union of Assassins. It probably wasn’t established yet. With such an organization acting in the shadows, if he made a name there, so long as he was willing to spend a little money, he’d be able to give Victorious Return’s players a huge headache.

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