Chapter 208 – Mutual Defense Pact
Nie Yan needed to find some reliable allies, and the interests of Asskickers United and Holy Empire were already intertwined due to the existence of the Union of Assassins. On top of that, both guilds had faced pressure from Victorious Return and Radiant Sacred Flame in the past. He had similar thoughts. In order to stand a chance against Victorious Return and Radiant Sacred Flame, Asskickers United and Holy Empire would inevitably have to form an alliance. The crucial point was what kind?
「There’s many ways we can cooperate in, and we can form mutual trust by exchanging shares in our guilds,」Sleepy Fox suggested. He was probing Nie Yan’s attitude toward an alliance.
An exchange of shares? When Cao Xu started investing in Conviction during the previous timeline, he was able to seize control of Victorious Return, Radiant Sacred Flame, Alliance of Mages, Divine Protectors, and Bloodlust Blades in a short time specifically because he owned a stake in all of them. This brought the five major guilds all under the umbrella of the Cao Xu Century Financial Group, giving birth to an unparalleled colossus. Because Holy Empire, Sapphire Shrine, and the other major guilds weren’t willing to become Cao Xu’s puppets, they were forced to take a passive stance.
Owning a stake in each other’s guilds really was the best way to establish trust!
Feeling that Nie Yan was taking his time to reply, Sleepy Fox continued,「The Victorious Return you’ve encountered so far is merely the tip of the iceberg, nothing more. They aren’t isolated to Calore. They have many other branches in other cities. It’s just that it isn’t feasible to mobilize those forces from so far away. However, when everyone gets mounts later on, they’ll be able to quickly reinforce each other from various locations. At that time, the strength of Victorious Return will increase by several-fold. The same also holds true for Radiant Sacred Flame. As for how many members they really have spread over the Viridian Empire, even I can’t say for sure. It isn’t simply because of luck that these large guilds can exist for so long without being toppled by others.」
Sleepy Fox’s words contained an element of warning. No doubt, Asskickers United had become an almost unrivalled existence in Calore by defeating Victorious Return at Kiln Fire Woods. However, if Nie Yan believed Asskickers Uniteed could suppress Victorious Return right now, then his way of thinking was too naive, and he would bring about the destruction of his own guild.
Nie Yan naturally understood the point Sleepy Fox was trying to get across. He had experienced for himself just how overbearingly arrogant Victorious Return could get during the previous timeline. However, he was confident that Asskickers United would surpass them in the future.
「How do you propose we form this alliance?」Nie Yan asked. He wanted to listen to what Sleepy Fox had to say.
「I’m willing to exchange a 10% stake in Holy Empire for a 30% stake in Asskickers United,」Sleepy Fox replied, pausing slightly before continuing,「When I say a 10% stake in Holy Empire, I don’t just mean the main branch in Calore but rather the entire guild spread out across the Viridian Empire.」He was reminding Nie Yan that Holy Empire possessed a deep foundation in the game. Taking a 30% share of Asskickers United wasn’t him trying to short-end Nie Yan.
Nie Yan faintly smiled.「How many branches does Holy Empire have? How many members?」
「33 branches. Altogether there are over 300,000 members scattered throughout various cities; they won’t be mobilized until some time in the future,」Sleepy Fox replied. These branches were the reserve forces of Holy Empire, and he could call on them when the scope of conflict inevitably expanded later on. Then there was Asskickers United. Aside from their dominance in Calore, they didn’t have a presence anywhere else.
Nie Yan naturally had his own considerations. Calore was the capital of the Viridian Empire, the focal point of most conflicts. Over 90% of the elites were gathered here. What he wanted for Asskickers United wasn’t frantic expansion like Victorious Return or Holy Empire. So what if the other side had more people?
On the path to dominance, what was it that ultimately mattered? It was which side had the greater number of elites! How else could 50,000 members of Battle Crazed Alliance have resisted the onslaught of 600,000 players from Victorious Return and Bloodlust Blades during the previous timeline? In the future, 100,000 members were enough for Asskickers United to contend against all the other guilds.
Nie Yan didn’t express any opinion on the information Sleepy Fox provided. Instead, he smiled, changing the subject yet again,「You don’t feel like you’re losing out? Asskickers United only has 50,000 members while Holy Empire has over 300,000. Even down the road, we’ll have 100,000 members at most, but I assume Holy Empire’s force will surpass 1,000,000.」
Victorious Return, Radiant Sacred Flame, Holy Empire, Sapphire Shrine, and the rest would all eventually become massive guilds with over 1,000,000 members. However, Nie Yan’s end goal was to temper 100,000 players into a mighty elite force that could rival a million players! This was what he wanted to accomplish!
「Asskickers United isn’t planning to absorb a large number of players?」Sleepy Fox asked in shock. Based on the current development speed of Asskickers United, he believed they would soon break through the 70,000 member threshold. Amassing 1,000,000 players a few years from now would be no problem for them at all.
「The future Asskickers United absolutely won’t surpass 100,000 members. In fact, it might even have fewer. Guild size doesn’t necessarily equate to strength,」Nie Yan replied. Fewer members meant everyone could enjoy more of the guild’s resources. And fueled by his strong financial backing, every member would become elites among elites.
Sleepy Fox paused for a moment to gather his thoughts. Asskickers United had the perfect opportunity to greatly expand, but why were they not taking it? Just what was Nie Yan planning? He had a hard time understanding what was going through Nie Yan’s mind.
「In my opinion, you alone are worth a 5% share of Holy Empire. I’m willing to take a step back. A 10% stake in Holy Empire for a 20% stake in Asskickers United. What do you think?」Sleepy Fox didn’t know why, but he got the feeling Nie Yan was confident in defeating Victorious Return. Although he didn’t know where this confidence originated from, he was willing to make a gamble on Nie Yan.
Nie Yan shook his head.「You still don’t get what I’m trying to say. In the future, Asskickers United will be an unrivalled and unique existence among the major guilds. I’m not willing to sell a large number of the guild’s share. Even if you offered me a 30% stake in Holy Empire for a 10% stake in Asskickers United, I still wouldn’t agree. As for the topic of exchanging shares, I’m willing to transfer over a 3% stake in my guild to you at most, nothing more. We can still discuss an alliance. After all, our guilds already share numerous interests. We go through adversity and prosperity in tandem.」
Sleepy Fox didn’t expect his offer to be turned down. Did Nie Yan really have that much confidence in his guild? He began reexamning the worth of Asskickers United. After a while, he finally made a decision.「Since you’re not willing to transfer over too many shares of your guild, I can offer a 5% share of Holy Empire for a 3% share of your guild. Other than that, you’ll have to take an honorary executive position in Holy Empire. How does that sound? 」An exchange of 5% and 3% shares in each other’s guilds was merely a token gesture. What would take place next was the most important. Sleepy Fox wanted to borrow the name of the Mad Rogue to give a boost to Holy Empire’s prestige. He felt Nie Yan’s reputation was worth more than a 5% share of his guild.
Nie Yan considered the offer for a moment. Since he wouldn’t have to assume any responsibility, he didn’t mind accepting the position of an honorary executive.
「Alright, I agree.」Nie Yan nodded. They ironed out the details for the proposed cooperation of the two guilds, including things like a mutual defense pact: If one side suffered an attack from an enemy, the other side had to intervene.
In order to avoid provoking a response from Victorious Return and Radiant Sacred Flame, they didn’t reveal the alliance to the public for the time being. However, news of Nie Yan holding an honorary executive position in Holy Empire would definitely spread rapidly.
On a different note, Nie Yan also exchanged some information with Fa Lan and Kill Love, the respective leaders of Sapphire Shrine and Battle Crazed Alliance. However, no substantial talks toward cooperation were made.
Nie Yan took a quick look at the Union of Assassins chat server. It had grown quite large with over 5,000 members—of whom more than 3,000 were barons and over 20 were viscounts—generating over 100 gold a day! He, Sleepy Fox, Fa Lan, and Kill Love all received a decent profit. His own earnings already surpassed 300 gold in total. He had withdrawn 200 gold for himself. The rest was given to Guo Huai to develop the guild.
Guo Huai got started on the relevant arrangements after being informed of the alliance with Holy Empire.
Nie Yan arrived at the Scaled Frog spawn area where he met up with Yao Yao, Yu Lan, Undying Scoundrel, and the others.
“Boss, you’ve finally come. We were all waiting for you to take us levelling!” Undying Scoundrel said after spotting Nie Yan.
“Nirvana Flame, you’re here.” Yao Yao’s mood brightened. She didn’t know why she felt so happy when Nie Yan was around.
Yao Yao’s rosy cheeks were bright like red clouds at sunrise. For some inexplicable reason, whenever Nie Yan saw Yao Yao’s brilliant smile, he couldn’t help but think of Xie Yao. He fell into an absentminded daze. It was almost as though Xie Yao were standing in front of him right now. Shaking his head, he dispelled his mind of such strange thoughts. Recalling that he would be able to see Xie Yao again in a few days, his heart was steeped with longing and anticipation.
“I watched the video of you guys in Kiln Fire Woods. You were really amazing! Moon Child even told me that you’re her new idol. Many of my classmates also recognize you. You’re famous!” Yao Yao exclaimed. She couldn’t help but feel proud of Nie Yan. The Mad Rogue was renowned in the Viridian Empire!
Nie Yan felt a tinge of warmth at seeing Yao Yao’s enthusiasm.
“What level are you now?”
“I’m Level 25 now. The experience here is really great!” She raised an eyebrow in surprise after noticing Nie Yan’s calm expression, and exclaimed “Hey! Now that you’re so popular, aren’t you even a little proud?
“What’s there to be proud about?” Nie Yan smiled.
Yao Yao immediately pouted. “Bah! You’re just as boring as an old uncle!” she berated him in a dissatisfied tone.
What Yao Yao didn’t know was that while Nie Yan had the appearance of an immature adult, he really did have the mind of an old uncle nearing his thirties! He truly didn’t feel this matter was worth getting excited about.
Blowhard Summer Bug and the rest arrived. They had dropped what they were doing after hearing Nie Yan was in the area. One by one, they came up to greet him.
“Good to see you guys,” Nie Yan greeted back with a smile.
With her limpid eyes, Yao Yao stared at these players, then back at Nie Yan in surprise. When she first met up with Blowhard Summer Bug, Undying Scoundrel, and the others, she could tell that they were competitive individuals who weren’t willing to submit to others. After seeing Nie Yan, each one of them had a sparkle in their eyes; clearly they respected him deeply. How else could Nie Yan have taken in such a group of unyielding characters as subordinates? He was truly a mystifying person. She felt another twinge of curiosity toward him in her heart, as well as a growing admiration.
Chapter 208 Teaser