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Chapter 218 – Vying for the Stronghold

Super Variant Lords are too powerful. I’m not sure if Bladelight can hold up against one… Nie Yan weighed the matter seriously. It’s better not to bite off more than we can chew for now. He filed away the dangerous thought at the back of his mind. A Sub Legendary item wasn’t something a person could just obtain on a whim. He didn’t want his own reckless nature to cause the death of countless guild members. Regular Lords for now… After everyone has risen in level and gotten better equipment, I’ll consider whether or not we should take on a Super Variant then.

Nie Yan checked his status bar. He was now Level 33. The group members left the party upon reaching Level 30. Undying Scoundrel, Monochrome, Edgeless, and three others were the first to leave. Although they left the party, they still stuck around to help round up the mobs. Resplendent Bladelight was the most recent player that hit level 30. He also left the party, leaving more experience for the others. There were still four more members at Level 29, but it wouldn’t be long before they gained that last level.

Another wave of mobs was aggroed over. Seeing the hordes of Mechanical Golems surge into the square from every street, Nie Yan was taken aback. How are there are still so many left? Did they aggro all the Mechanical Golems in the outer district? Because of his repeated warnings, none of the group members dared to venture into the central region of Everlasting City.

An endless shower of Magic Bombs rained down from the sky.「Bang! Bang! Bang!」Mechanical Golems collapsed to the ground, several dozen at a time.

Before long, the square was covered with mounds of scrap metal.

The group members began picking up the loot.

“Did the greaves and shoulder guards drop?” Nie Yan asked. The most pressing matter right now was helping Bladelight complete the Everlasting Silver Set.

“Found the shoulder guards!” Summer Bug exclaimed after picking up a piece of equipment.

“The leg armour dropped over here.”

“We already have the leg armour!”

“Let’s try a few more waves. The greaves should drop.”

Nie Yan checked his bag. He only had a little over 300 Magic Bombs remaining. Nearly 700 Magic Bombs disappeared in the blink of the eye. This expenditure was truly staggering!

After doing some calculations, the group realized Nie Yan spent 500 gold to help them on this trip to Everlasting City, and this fact struck all of them with guilt. They never expected the cost of power levelling to be so steep. In retrospect, the request they made back at Kiln Fire Woods was more than a little excessive.

“Boss, we’ve let you down by squandering so much of the guild’s wealth,” Undying Scoundrel said apologetically. After all, he was one of the main culprits who pestered Nie Yan to take them levelling.

“I wouldn’t really call getting you all to Level 30 squandering, but if we can collect the entire Everlasting Silver Set then this trip will have been well worth it. It’s only 500 gold. Money spent can be still earned back later,” Nie Yan said with a smile. Even though 500 gold was a great sum, a significant boost in the strength of the guild’s core elites wasn’t a bad trade-off.

“Boss, you really know how to touch a person’s heart. From now on, I’ll follow you no matter what the future holds. Just say the word, and I’ll definitely be at your beck and call!” Undying Scoundrel half-jokingly declared.

Nie Yan chuckled. “Alright, enough with the flattery. You guys can equip the sets of Level 30 Gold equipment in the guild treasury now. Just give Guo Huai a holler when you get back, and he’ll let you withdraw them.”

“How is that fine? We can’t keep freely taking stuff from the guild. That won’t be fair to the other guild members! I already have over 6,000 merit points. If I donate a few more pieces of equipment, I’ll have enough for a full set of Level 30 Gold equipment. I’ll just exchange the set I have equipped right now,” Summer Bug said. He understood that the guild was still in the initial stage of its development. Every player had to contribute their fair share. A rising tide would lift the boat. Only then could the entire guild grow stronger together.

The rest of the group nodded in agreement with Summer Bug. They would be reimbursed with merit points for donating their old equipment anyway. The guild treasury existed to benefit everyone in Asskickers United, not just the top ranking members.

If every member only thought for their own interests, the guild would never grow.

Three more members levelled up. Only Young Seven still hadn’t reached Level 30. As a Priest, he had the most difficult time levelling, so he always lagged behind the others by a bit.

Nie Yan thought for a moment, then turned to Young Seven and said, “I still have some Magic Bombs left. Let’s get you to Level 32, alright?”

Since Priests were the slowest class at levelling, Young Seven would inevitably be overtaken by the others. By helping him get in a few more levels now, he wouldn’t fall as far behind.

“That’s a little wasteful, isn’t it…?” Young Seven asked, sounding a little hesitant.

“It doesn’t matter. Levelling will be super fast with just the two of us,” Nie Yan replied. Without having to share the experience among all the other members, he would be able to get Young Seven to Level 32 in no time.  

“I guess it’s fine.” Young Seven shrugged after thinking for a moment. As a Priest, he knew how important he was to the main team, so he didn’t decline the offer.

Another wave was aggroed over to the public square. A series of blasts buffeted the Mechanical Golems, decimating sections of the crowd at a time as they exploded into scrap metal.

「Ding dong!」A crisp system jingle rang out as Nie Yan hit Level 34. He didn’t expect to be approaching Level 35 so soon. The Skywalker Set was still sitting in his bag. Who knew before he could even find a suitable opportunity to equip this defensive Thief set, he would already have to start searching for Level 35 and Level 40 equipment? However, with the stats of the Skywalker Set, he would be fine wearing it all the way to Level 40. At worst, he would have to socket it with gems. Even then, since it was Dark Gold-grade, upgrading it was pretty cost effective.

A bright radiance descended on Young Seven as he reached Level 30, with his experience bar filling up until it stopped at 86%. Since the experience was shared with two instead of twelve, his levelling speed increased by sixfold.

After the last Mechanical Golem fell, the group scattered around the square in search for drops.

“I found another Everlasting Chestplate,” Summer Bug said with pleasant surprise. It was the most important piece of the set, allowing the player to equip all the other pieces at Level 30 instead of Level 40.

“Not bad.” Nie Yan was pleased. Even if they couldn’t complete the Everlasting Silver Set, the properties of the individual pieces weren’t bad. Especially when worn at Level 30, it would bolster the player’s defensive capabilities by a significant degree. With another chestplate, the other spare pieces could be more easily equipped.

“The greaves dropped!” Edgeless cried out as he held up a piece of equipment. At last, the Everlasting Silver Set was complete.

The last two parts were traded to Bladelight. After equipping the Everlasting Silver Set, Bladelight’s entire body was clad in solid, metal armour. This set was not one bit inferior to a full set of Level 30 Dark Gold equipment. Its formidable defensive capabilities allowed a Fighter to look down on any Level 30 Lord. Even going up against a Level 30 Super Variant Lord was possible.

With Young Seven reaching Level 30 too, we’re almost set for the guild expedition, Nie Yan thought.

As everyone helped Young Seven power level to Level 32, Nie Yan’s chat rang. He checked the caller ID; it was Sleepy Fox. You couldn’t resist any longer, huh? Let’s see what you have to say, he mused before answering the call.

「You guys sure are impressive. The entire top of the leaderboards is filled with players from your guild!」Sleepy Fox praised, unable to hold back his envy. It would be great if he could have so many experts under him.

The current situation was that Victorious Return and Radiant Sacred Flame were the strongest, while Asskickers United had the greatest number of experts. As for Holy Empire, the only thing they could do was to place all of their hopes on the stronghold. If they successfully occupied it, they would undergo a meteoric rise. If it was snatched away by Radiant Sacred Flame, they would have no choice but to lay low for a while because Radiant Sacred Flame would definitely try to beat them further while they were down.

「You wouldn’t be contacting me just to talk about the leaderboards, right?」Nie Yan chuckled. He was much more relaxed and carefree than Sleepy Fox.

「How about you send that group of experts in your guild to help me capture the stronghold?」Sleepy Fox finally cut straight to the chase. The upcoming battle for the small stronghold would be conducted under the supervision of the Viridian Empire. Both sides would have a maximum of 2,000 players. Whichever side captured the stronghold would have ownership of it for five months, after which it could be freely fought over again. Even if Holy Empire could only control the stronghold for five months, the amount of gold they would gain from collecting taxes during that time was extremely enticing. It was enough to allow them to flourish.

No other guild came close to having as many experts as Asskickers United did.

「We only signed a defense pact. Asskickers United is under no obligation to help you seize that stronghold, right?」Nie Yan asked. Dispatching his own experts to help Holy Empire win the stronghold battle entailed a huge risk. If the compensation wasn’t satisfactory, he wouldn’t act. As a guild leader, it was necessary for him to consider the guild’s interests first.

「I want to employ the services of just the ten of you. 200 gold, are you interested?」Sleepy Fox said. What he meant by just the ten of you was precisely Nie Yan and the other nine who had massacred over 500 players from Unhindered in Kiln Fire Woods. A 200 gold commission fee was an exorbitant amount. It was truly enough to leave people speechless.

「Wow, you really are putting us on a pedestal,」Nie Yan replied. He estimated 200 gold was enough for Sleepy Fox to hire a top-notch 200-player gaming organization to throw their lives away for him, while the same amount was offered just to hire the ten of them. Truthfully speaking, however, 200 gold was nothing to Nie Yan. He was simply too rich, to the extent that he wasn’t even the slightest bit swayed by the amount Sleepy Fox offered.

「You guys are worth the price,」Sleepy Fox said. He believed that with the current working relationship between both guilds, his offer should be enough to get Nie Yan to act.

Unfortunately, Nie Yan had something different in mind.

「I can dispatch 100 players that will boost your chances of capturing the stronghold to 80% or higher. However, 200 gold won’t cut it. If I help your guild in the upcoming siege battle, I want a 30% ownership stake in the stronghold,」Nie Yan said. It seemed he wanted a much bigger piece of the pie.

「How are you so sure of the outcome?」Sleepy Fox asked. He had hired experts from everywhere, but he still didn’t feel assured about seizing the stronghold. Why was Nie Yan so confident?

「Just think it over by yourself.」 Nie Yan was still calm after Sleepy Fox called him into question. The number of experts in Asskickers United was beyond Sleepy Fox’s imagination. It was far greater than all the several major guilds combined. If Sleepy Fox had asked him to participate in a larger scale battle in the tens of thousands, he wouldn’t be able to guarantee anything. However, since it was only a 2,000 player battle, Asskickers United dispatching 100 players to join forces with Holy Empire should be enough to wipe the floor with Radiant Sacred Flame.

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