Chapter 195 – Hundred Thief Task Force
Nie Yan swept his eyes over the fired up crowd. They were the cream of the crop, the best of the best, and suited with the best gear the guild had available. Even when compared to the top-elites of Victorious Return, they wouldn’t be found lacking in any respect. They were some of the most highly-skilled players in Calore!
A group like this was enough to execute his plan!
Nie Yan turned to Guo Huai and said, “Beside the Anti-Paralysis Potions, tell Bird hand over anything else, Intermediate Health Potions, Intermediate Mana Potions, Intermediate Invisibility Potions…” He continued, “Today, we’re going to spill a river of blood!”
Guo Huai nodded. “Alright, I’ve informed the subordinates making the errands.”
“What exactly are you planning to do?” Zhao Li asked.
“We’ll be throwing ourselves into a quagmire by sending too many people. We’re better off with a select few,” Nie Yan replied. There were certain advantages to smaller numbers, particularly in the aspect of mobility. He was going to oppose Unhindered by employing guerrilla tactics, which would allow him to properly teach them a lesson.
“With just you guys?” Zhao Li stared at Nie Yan in shock.
“Yep, just us is enough,” Nie Yan said. Instead, too many people would make them larger targets.
“A lot of guild members are still levelling outside. Do you want me to call them back?” Guo Huai asked, slightly worried the number of people in Nie Yan’s group wasn’t enough.
Nie Yan shook his head. “No need. Let them continue.”
Seeing that Nie Yan had made his decision, Guo Huai knew any further attempts at dissuading him would prove fruitless. He helplessly sighed, “Alright, just be careful. Please. I still think that it’s extremely dangerous for you to go with such a small group.”
Nie Yan turned around and said in a strict tone, “There won’t be many of us on this operation, and it’ll be dangerous. Those of you who don’t want to take part can leave now. Those who are willing to stay, state your names!”
“Blowhard Summer Bug!”
“Leader Young Seven!”
“Young Sparrow Hawk!”
“Blue Yarn Thread!”
Nie Yan looked over the crowd. None of them shrunk away from the task. He gave a satisfied nod. “Good! I’m glad to know that we don’t have cowards in my guild!”
“Boss, what are we going to do?” Undying Scoundrel asked.
“Go prepare first. We’ll be getting a delivery of potions soon. I’ll explain my plan then. Make sure you get some extra supplies. We’re going to have a very long and hard battle ahead of us!” Nie Yan said. He wanted to stock up on Intermediate Flash Powder and some other items that might be of use as well. On a different note, he could now wear the set of Level 25 Gold equipment he’d gotten from Withered Leaf. Its stat bonuses would give him enough Dexterity to finally equip the Scarlet Poison Ring.
“Young Sparrow Hawk, stay here. You don’t have to take part in this operation,” Nie Yan said to Tang Yao.
“What! Why?” Tang Yao asked, unwilling to be left behind.
“We can’t afford to have you dying and dropping levels,” Nie Yan replied. He was a Thief. Under normal circumstances, he felt confident in his ability to survive. He couldn’t say the same for the players in the group, especially the Mages. The difference was that if the other members died, their equipment could be replaced, and their levels could be grinded back without suffering many repercussions. However, if Tang Yao died, it would shake the entire guild!
Tang Yao was silent for a moment, then let out a reluctant sigh. “Fine, I understand…”
Nie Yan did a headcount of the people present: Resplendent Bladelight, Leader Young Seven, Undying Scoundrel, Monochrome, Blue Yarn Thread, Blowhard Summer Bug, Miracle Dancer, and Edgeless. Including himself, there were nine members altogether. Bladelight was a Fighter; Young Seven, a Priest; the Elementalist, Undying Scoundrel; Blue Yarn Thread, a Paladin; Blowhard Summer Bug, an Arcane Mage; Miracle Dancer, a Holy Mage; and finally the two Berserkers, Monochrome and Edgeless.
Guo Huai, Zhao Li, and Hao Cheng definitely couldn’t take part. They were too far behind the others in level. Even if they did tag along, they’d only be throwing their lives away.
Nine people were enough.
In the previous timeline, they were all players who received the penultimate titles for their respective classes!
Just as Nie Yan finalized all of the members of the strike force, someone burst through the doors of the meeting hall.
“Big Brother! I heard we’re going to duke it out with Unhindered!” Sun exclaimed, panting for breath.
“Right, we’re going to give them a taste of their own medicine!” Nie Yan said with a smirk.
“A taste of their own medicine? Are all of the guild members going?” Sun asked in surprise.
“Nope, just us few.”
“Let me go too! I promise I won’t drag you down!” Sun begged.
Although Sun couldn’t yet compare to his peak self of the previous timeline, he was already displaying astonishing skill. After receiving Nie Yan’s personal guidance for so many days, he had shown remarkable improvement. Previously, he was able to take on three equal-levelled players from Victorious Return before dying. Now, he could manage that without even breaking a sweat. On top of that, he was a Thief, so his self-preservation abilities were definitely a step above the rest. Nie Yan nodded his head. “Alright, you can come.”
“Is there anything else you need me to do?” Guo Huai asked. Asskickers United was constantly forced on the defensive. The players of the guild had been bullied for far too long. Nie Yan’s group had no choice but to dive into danger and settle the matter.
Nie Yan’s eyes filled with a frigid coldness. He originally wanted to avoid directly coming to blows with Victorious Return, to wait until the guild had grown enough to deal a decisive strike. However, since they kept finding ways to move against him, he had no qualms about executing his plans ahead of schedule. Otherwise, people really would start to believe that his guild was easy to bully.
He turned to Guo Huai and said, “I want you to monitor Victorious Return and Unhindered’s forces closely. So long as you discover any movement, immediately report it back to me. Other than that, I want you to pick a hundred of the most skilled Thieves in the guild. They have to be completely reliable. Assign them the best equipment, and order them to repeatedly launch ambushes on the players from Victorious Return!”
Nie Yan had a special purpose for setting up such a task force. Thieves held an absolute advantage when mounting sneak attacks, engaging and retreating as they pleased. Even if there were many of them, they were still extremely adaptable. They could be split up into smaller group to take on multiple operations at once, as well as be gathered back together to deliver a frontal assault on the teams of Victorious Return and Unhindered. It would be perfect if they could locate the main team of Victorious Return. More often than not, you didn’t need thousands of players to annihilate a rival guild’s elite team. A hundred Thieves could do the same job!
Guo Huai’s eyes lit up. “We can turn this Hundred Thief Task Force into the ultimate weapon of the guild! By providing them with the best skill books, equipment, and other resources and benefits, the players will treat joining the task force as an honour!” He really was worthy of his family’s business background. Despite Nie Yan only briefly touching on the subject, he immediately realized the benefits of this proposal.
“I’ll let you handle the arrangements. Give them priority on all the Thief equipment in the guild. If they end up dying during an operation, make sure to properly compensate them,” Nie Yan said. He fully trusted Guo Huai’s ability to handle the tasks given to him.
“Don’t worry. I know what has to be done. I’ll make sure that other guilds will cower in fear whenever the Hundred Thief Task Force is mentioned!” Guo Huai confidently declared. Asskickers United might not rival the other major guilds in the number of members, but they weren’t inferior in the number of experts. Even if other guilds followed suit and created similar task forces later on, he’d make Asskicker United’s the most famous, the most renowned!
Nie Yan made his decision. Asskickers United wouldn’t become the largest guild, but it would definitely become the guild with the most top players! It was only because they had focused their efforts on recruiting talented individuals into the guild that they were now able to form the formidable Hundred Thief Task Force and still have manpower to spare.
The group went about preparing for the operation ahead. Nie Yan travelled to Tasoyi Village to buy several batches of Flash Powder. He gave at least five pouches to each member. Furthermore, the potions from the Starry Night Potion Shop had arrived; Intermediate Health Potions, Intermediate Mana Potions, Junior Magic Amplification Potions, Anti-Paralysis Potions, and more. There were six to seven hundred bottles in total! The sheer number of expensive potions was enough to dazzle everyone in the room. Nie Yan divided the potions equally among the group, with everyone receiving almost seventy bottles each.
Every member of the group was ready to go; they’d stocked up an excess of consumables. Nie Yan got Guo Huai to give skill books to those that could use them, the two Mages in particular. They received a few long-range spells that would definitely prove useful.
Nie Yan also put on the set of Gold equipment. It was an ability-based set that consisted of gloves, leg guards, cloak, and leather chest armour. It boosted his speed considerably and added 37 points to Dexterity, allowing him to equip the Scarlet Poison Ring without a hitch. His attack power soared to 502 points. It had reached such a terrifying degree that he could deal almost 400 damage against cloth-armoured classes. Even against thick plate-armoured Warriors, he could still deal 200–300 damage.
He also received a set bonus—Erase Presence +10%, Movement Speed +20%, Critical +12. It could be considered very formidable.
Even the members of the guild were unaware that Nie Yan had quietly set off with his special strike force. They all moved separately. Twenty minutes later, they converged just outside of Link Town.
The party of ten quietly advanced towards Kiln Fire Woods, staying completely out of sight of other players.
Kiln Fire Woods was unusually lively. Around eight thousand players from Unhindered had set up camp here, driving away all other players. Their members could be seen leveling everywhere in groups of fifty to sixty or a hundred.
Back in Calore, everyone was paying close attention to the movements in Kiln Fire Woods to see the response of Asskickers United. After all, Unhindered had struck a nerve with this newly-arisen superpower by ambushing their main team!
With them being so arrogant, would Asskickers United finally retaliate?
Everyone was watching intently, but there were no movements from the other side. The players from Asskickers United were still levelling outside. None of them had been summoned to the guild headquarters.
If Asskickers United truly did turn out to be cowardly, all of its members would suffer the disdain of the playerbase; and in the future, not a single person would want to join the guild.
There was a lava cavern just outside of Kiln Fire Woods. Its entrance was shrouded in pitch-black darkness, allowing no one a glimpse inside. It emanated a sinister feeling.
As of late, no players dared to enter this cavern. It was labeled a region of death because of the players that had ventured inside, not a single one made it out alive.
Nie Yan’s group entered the lava cavern. They travelled further along the tunnel, occasionally hearing odd noises echoing out from deeper within.
“Boss, are you sure we can get to Kiln Fire Woods from here?” Amidst the darkness, a hesitant voice rang out.