Chapter 194 – Decision!
Nie Yan and Tang Yao took out Return Scrolls and returned to Calore. Stepping out of the transfer point, they hurried to the Asskickers United guild headquarters.
Guo Huai and many other important members of the guild were gathered in the meeting hall. They all stood up when the two arrived.
Nie Yan and Tang Yao were greeted by a dozen or so members, including Resplendent Bladelight, Leader Young Seven, Undying Scoundrel, and Azure Yarn Thread. All of them wore grave expressions. It was clear they had been discussing something grim beforehand.
“You guys are back!” Guo Huai stepped forward to greet them.
“What happened?” Nie Yan asked. Guo Huai would’ve never called them back so anxiously were it not something urgent.
“It’s Unhindered. I don’t know how, but they discovered the whereabouts of our main team and sent a force of over a thousand players to surround them. We suffered eighteen casualties. Luckily, Bladelight and Young Seven were on guard. They managed to escape, thanks to the rest of the members shielding them,” Guo Huai explained. As soon as he found out that the main team had been ambushed, he hurriedly notified Nie Yan and Tang Yao. On top of that, he sent out a large number of guild members to rescue Bladelight’s group, but it was already too late. A team of twenty players surrounded by over a thousand enemies never stood a chance. The battle ended quickly and without any fanfare. Bladelight and Young Seven surviving was purely a fluke of luck.
Nie Yan’s expression turned gloomy. Losing ninety percent of the main team was a devastating blow. Every single member was a precious treasure to the guild! They had splendid achievements under the leadership of Bladelight and Young Seven. However, this incident would set them behind by at least half a week.
“Were any of the members killed branded with red names?” Nie Yan asked. If one of them died while under the PKer status, consequently dropping all their gear, then that would be even more depressing. It would basically be the same as losing a member of the main team!
“No. Luckily, Bladelight and Young Seven showed restraint. They didn’t let the other team members attack first.”
It was good that no moles had snuck their way into the main team. Otherwise, if a situation like what happened outside of Blackflame recurred, they would’ve taken an even heavier hit. But even so, the losses were still considerable.
Nie Yan was fuming with anger. He hadn’t gone to Unhindered looking for trouble, but they had come banging on his door. He would not let them off lightly!
“It’s our fault. This wouldn’t have happened had we noticed the signs earlier,” Young Seven said, referring to himself and Bladelight, the two leaders of the team. As he recalled the teammates who had died for his sake, he couldn’t help but feel a twinge of pain in his chest. They had put in great effort to suit each member up with the best gear available. Who could’ve known that it would end up falling into the hands of Unhindered? He couldn’t help but blame himself.
“This matter arose because of me. I didn’t expect Hei Zhuo (Black Amazing) to act against us,” Bladelight said. He should’ve anticipated such an outcome sooner. He had taken away so many people from Unhindered. How did he think the other side was going to react? It would be strange if Hei Zhuo didn’t already hate him to the bone. However, because Asskickers United was far stronger than Unhindered, he mistakenly believed that Hei Zuo’s common sense would prevent him from doing something extreme like ambushing them. So he had never considered him a serious threat.
“What’s happened has happened. Nothing will come out of blaming yourself. However, this matter isn’t as simple as it seems!” Nie Yan’s eyes flashed with a cold light. Whoever acted against his people shouldn’t expect to keep their heads! As the boss of the guild, it was imperative that he settle this grievance.
“I’ve just received word that Unhindered has joined Victorious Return as a branch guild!” Guo Huai announced to everyone.
“No wonder they acted so arrogantly!” No longer able to hold himself back, Undying Scoundrel blurted out, “Boss, we should go after those bastards!”
He was good friends with several members of the main team. All of them were killed in the ambush!
“Calm down. Let’s hear what the boss has to say,” Azure Yarn Thread, sitting beside him, placated in a cool voice.
Nie Yan wrinkled his brows at the new revelation. Even at a conservative estimate, Unhindered had at least 20,000 members. Although they weren’t very powerful, in part because Bladelight had taken away almost all of the guild’s top rankers with him, a force of 20,000–30,000 players couldn’t be looked down on. If all of them joined under the wing of Victorious Return, it would definitely have an impact on the future.
Guo Huai and the others stared at Nie Yan, waiting for his decision.
Only now did Azure Yarn Thread and Undying Scoundrel sense the change in the atmosphere of the meeting hall. It seemed that the person who called the shots in the guild was Nie Yan all along.
“What are we going to do? Should we declare war on Unhindered?” Guo Huai asked. The guild’s main team had been essentially wiped out. If they didn’t respond, it would be seen as a sign of weakness to the outside world. However, declaring a full-on war meant they would have to invest a significant amount of resources and manpower to deal with the forces of Unhindered. Moreover, he felt with utmost certainty that Victorious Return would take part as well. In such a scenario, the growth of the entire guild would slow to a complete halt.
Even Victorious Return didn’t dare to rashly war with another guild, to say nothing of Asskickers United. Now was the time for rapid expansion. By starting a war, they would be crippling the future of the guild! Besides, even if they won, they still wouldn’t be able to eliminate Unhindered.
All members of Asskickers United were anxiously awaiting the decision of the higher-ups. After being bullied to such an extent, they were no longer willing to suffer in silence. This matter could not simply be ignored!
If the person that moved against them was Heaven Breaker, they would still be somewhat able to endure. After all, Victorious Return was the top guild in Calore. They had great influence. Everyone was in collective agreement that by showing restraint now, there’d inevitably be a day when they would take them down. However, what was Unhindered? It was nothing more than some small guild! If even small fry like them could wantonly shit and piss on their heads without fear of retaliation, then what reason would they have left to stay in the guild!?
Nie Yan’s decision would directly influence the future direction of the entire guild.
“We were infiltrated by moles from Unhindered. It’s because we didn’t take enough precautions to guard against something like this that they were able to lock down on our positions. Should we give that explanation to the guild members?” Young Seven asked. He understood that going to war with Unhindered was a fruitless endeavor. It would only drag them into a deeper hole. A group had already left to surround Unhindered’s forces. The situation could take a turn for the worse at any moment.
“No need!” Nie Yan shook his head. This wasn’t the best solution. Victorious Return was monitoring the situation closely. If Asskickers United tried to weather out the storm, they would go on the offensive, making sure that their cowardice was known to all corners of the community. There would only be one conclusion: the low-ranking members of the guild would lose all respect for the higher-ups.
“Everyone, look at the forums!” Guo Huai said. Following the incident, he had been paying close attention to the forums. A new thread had popped up with a video of Unhindered’s forces surrounding and killing the members from the main team of Asskickers United. There was even a caption under the video with the following words of provocation:
「Asskickers United, do you have the balls to fight us? 」
“Fuck! Nirvana Flame, let’s destroy them!” Tang Yao could no longer hold himself back.
“Where’s Unhindered right now?” Nie Yan inquired.
“According to the information I received, Unhindered’s forces are at Kiln Fire Woods doing a group clear to level up. They’re likely waiting for us to arrive! Our members won’t be able to endure any longer, especially those who were previously a part of Unhindered. They’re hollering for us to let them go over there and settle the score. I’ve told every group captain to pacify the members under them, settle down for now, and await your orders,” Guo Huai replied.
“Take note of the people who are trying to stir the pot. When all of this is over, boot them from the guild,” Nie Yan said. They were definitely sent over by Hei Zhuo to incite the guild members into taking action. However, it wasn’t suitable to deal with them at such a sensitive time. That would have to wait until the matter was settled.
“This is probably one of Heaven Breaker’s schemes,” Bladelight said. He understood Hei Zuo’s personality well. He wasn’t the type to do something unless there was something in it for him. If Victorious Return hadn’t promised him some sort of benefit, he definitely wouldn’t have gone out of his way to offend Asskickers United.
“If Victorious Return is pulling the strings from behind the scenes, it’ll be useless no matter how much of our forces we send. Instead, we might actually end up falling into a trap,” Guo Huai expressed his concerns. However, if they didn’t respond to the provocations, with Unhindered making such a scene at Kiln Fire Woods, it was a clear indiciator that Asskickers United had chosen to submit to humiliation. From then on, the members of Asskickers United would never be able to lift their heads in public again.
This was a naked insult!
Nie Yan coldly smiled. Heaven Breaker was truly deserving of his reputation for coming up with such a heinous plot. However, Asskickers United wouldn’t stand idly by, waiting to be plucked off like sitting ducks.
Nie Yan analyzed the situation. As it currently stood, Asskickers United was stuck between a rock and a hard place. If they declared war, the forces they mobilized were guaranteed to be eaten by Victorious Return in one gulp. But how could they not fight? With Unhindered getting so cocky at Kiln Fire Woods, all eyes were on them.
Maybe Holy Empire, Sapphire Shrine, and Battle Crazed Alliance were also watching how Asskickers United was going to handle this matter. Asking them to join the fray was definitely impossible. Their relationship with Nie Yan wasn’t at that level yet.
Asskickers United didn’t have any outside support!
“Kiln Fire Woods, let me think…” Nie Yan muttered. He couldn’t be any more familiar with that map. It had karst topography, rock formations everywhere. It was a forested region full of iron trees, which was inhabited by Level 25 Rock Monsters. Below the ground was a huge underground world known as a region of death. It spawned Level 25 Viper Flies that hid in dark crevices and corners. They often attacked in groups, appearing when least expected. If you were bitten, your whole body would become paralyzed. As a result, very few players dared to go there to level. The underground world had a total of seven entrances, all of which were well-hidden.
Nie Yan suddenly had a very dangerous thought.
Kiln Fire Woods!
Nie Yan turned to Guo Huai, and said, “Have some people go to the Starry Night Potion Shop to retrieve some Anti-Paralysis Potions. Tell them to hurry!”
“How many do we need?”
“A hundred bottles should do.”
“Is that really enough?” Guo Huai asked in surprise.
Nie Yan nodded. “It’s enough.” He turned to the rest of the people in the room and asked, “Any of you interested in massacring Unhindered with me?”
“Me!” Tang Yao shouted.
“Yes!” Undying Scoundrel also joined in.
Many of the members in the room volunteered enthusiastically.