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Chapter 363 - Contempt

During his conversation with Yao Yao, Nie Yan recalled the items he had obtained in his recent adventures. He decided to gift her Akeph's Hand of Knowledge, sending it to her through the mail. He deposited the other piece of Sub Legendary-grade equipment, Ina's Prayer Gloves, into his personal storage. 

He knew this gesture was only a pittance compared to everything she had done for him in his past life—and this one if his suspicions about her being Xie Yao were confirmed true. 

Yao Yao's voice was like a clear running stream, washing away all the worries in Nie Yan's mind.

She felt relieved after learning that Asskickers United's troubles were resolved while she was stuck in the sealed map.

The Dragonsoar Financial Group could match the Century Financial Group's gold gathering speed for a day or two without any issue. But any longer and they would almost certainly burn out.

Including himself and Yao Yao, Nie Yan counted more than 60 players who were currently eligble to class advance in Asskickers United. He believed these players had a high chance of advancing even further in the future. This kind of growth potential could only be matched by a handful of guilds in Conviction, such as Angel Corps in the Satreen Empire and Fallen Angel in the Undead Empire.

Nie Yan teleported to Ishberg, a peaceful town near the Ishberg Mountains. There were newly built homes with well-kept lawns and flourishing flower beds everywhere. One could imagine how wealthy the residents of this place were. 

The NPC residents on the streets walked with hurried footsteps, the expressions on their faces filled with worry.

Nie Yan recalled visiting Ishberg at Level 60 during his past life. Any NPC resident you randomly encountered would give you a quest to hunt Evil Faction Thieves after chatting with them for a bit. The reward was quite generous, so many players would come here in teams to farm gold. 

Nie Yan was surprised he had received this hostage rescue mission as a class advancement quest. He walked out of town and summoned his Faulkner Warhorse before galloping away towards the northern part of the Ishberg Mountains.

Nie Yan encountered Level 60 Thorny Treants in his path. They were covered in ash gray bark, resembling giant stumps with sharp thorns growing out of them. Their attack power and defense were formidable.

Advancing through the rugged mountain path on horseback, Nie Yan heard the intense crackling of magic in a ravine off in the distance. This is a Level 60 map. I wonder which guild sent a team here to level?

Nie Yan recalled that a Level 60 Lord spawned in that specific ravine. Any group of players that could hunt such a powerful monster definitely wasn't simple. He pondered for a moment before ultimately deciding to head over there to investigate.

Standing above a steep cliff, Nie Yan looked down and spotted a coal-black Thorny Treant in a heated battle against a group of 70 players. The Fighters were at the front while the Mages were raining down magic from the back.

Only a few guilds in Calore were capable of taking on a Level 60 Lord: Asskickers United, Holy Empire, Sapphire Shrine, Radiant Sacred Flame, and Victorious Return. The rest were all too weak.

Nie Yan discovered this group of players was an expedition team from Victorious Return. They were quite powerful, with all of them around Level 45.

They were battling the Thorny Treant Lord in a half-moon formation. A squad of Thieves relentlessly assaulted the monster from behind.

The Mages were scattered further in the back, perched on top of boulders, trees, and ledges; any place that gave a suitable vantage point.

Victorious Return... Eh? Nie Yan's lips parted into a devious smile. He didn't have the time to tangle with these players. But it wasn't his style to just leave quietly, not to mention he was the guild leader of Asskickers United. People would laugh at him!

At minimum Nie Yan had to let these players know he was here!

Nie Yan jumped off the cliff and started descending down to the ravine below. His fingers danced around in the air, and he mumbled a series of incantations. A moment later, Lil' Gold appeared in front of him. Man and dragon walked side by side. 

"Worldly, the Thorny Treant Lord will summon vines soon. Make sure you're prepared after it howls. You have to guard your position no matter what!" a Holy Mage calmly instructed. He was called Fresh Fish, the top Holy Mage in Victorious Return. He was in charge of leading this expedition team in taking down the Thorny Treant Lord.

"Sky Piercer, Magic Booster!"

"Alright!" Liu Rui answered. He buffed Fresh Fish with Magic Booster, which increased casting speed.

Liu Rui's character was called Sky Piercer. He was currently Level 44 and ranked among the top 50 in Victorious Return. He used to be proud of this achievement, but now it was just a constant reminder of his humiliation. He had just received word from Feiyun that Xie Yao had already reached Level 52. This was simply too shocking. What's more, she wore at least 3 pieces of Sub Legendary-grade equipment, which was viewed as godly equipment by players!

Liu Rui felt a deep sense of inferiority when he compared himself to Xie Yao. Were she only one or two levels ahead of him, perhaps he still stood a chance of catching up. However, the current eight-level gap was like an uncrossable chasm.

Liu Rui knew he could never catch up to Xie Yao, no matter how hard he tried. This held doubly true for that man behind Xie Yao the other day—Nirvana Flame, an immortal legend. How could he possibly contend against such an existence? He was having nightmares of Xie Yao nestled in that man's embrace every time he closed his eyes, which caused him to boil with rage. You're supposed to be mine, Xie Yao! If I can't have you, no one will!

Everything was going smoothly under Fresh Fish's command. The Fighters had firmly locked down the Thorny Treant Lord.

"Keep at it, everyone! The Thorny Treant Lord is almost dead! Priests, pick up the pace. Heal faster!" Fresh Fish tensely shouted. The Thorny Treant Lord had fallen to only 2% health.

Just at this moment, a huge commotion erupted.

"Boss, someone's coming!"

"It's Nirvana Flame. He's with his Golden Dragon!"

Fresh Fish looked at where his players were frantically pointing. He saw a player leisurely descending the slope with a Golden Dragon. His heart shook. Nie Yan's appearance was like a proclamation from the reaper.

Seeing Nie Yan unhurriedly walking towards them, the players from Victorious Return held their breaths.

"What the hell are you guys doing! Kill the Thorny Treant Lord, quickly!" Fresh Fish hollered. Even if Nie Yan took action, they had to secure the drops no matter what!

Nie Yan indifferently glanced at the Thorny Treant Lord. Its drops were of little interest to him. He was simply passing by. Taking action against these players would be a bit beneath him.

Nie Yan was only 50 meters away. The players from Victorious Return nervously glanced at him while trying to focus on the battle. As they ruthlessly bombarded the Thorny Treant Lord with spells, its skin started turning red.

"Be careful, the Thorny Treant Lord is summoning vines! Protect against it!"

"Hurry up!"

The Thorny Treant Lord let out a deep roar as giant vines erupted out of the ground, ensnaring the players from Victorious Return. Only a few Fighters who were protected by spell shields escaped unscathed.

「Bang! Bang! Bang!」A dense shower of spells rained down on the Thorny Treant Lord. It let out a mournful howl before collapsing on the ground.

Two Fighters rushed forward and secured the loot that dropped.

Fresh Fish breathed a sigh of relief, feeling as if a heavy weight was lifted from his shoulders. He glanced back at Nie Yan, who was slowly walking towards them. What happened next was out of their control. 

The players from Victorious Return were bound by the vines of the Thorny Treant Lord. They gazed at Nie Yan slowly approaching them. He was only 10 meters away. Lil' Gold, whose immense size caused them to shiver in fear, snorted out a few flames from his snout. When his bell-sized eyes swept over the crowd, they felt their hearts tighten in their chests.

In stark contrast, Nie Yan was completely carefree. He arrogantly gazed at them before continuing on his way.

"Heed my order! No one is allowed to attack first!" Fresh Fish feared Nie Yan was baiting them, trying to get them to make the first move so the game would think he was acting in self-defense. He refused to bite, deathly afraid of being hooked by Nie Yan's lure.

However, Nie Yan's presence gave them a lot of pressure. Was he planning to slaughter them?

These 70 players were all staring at Nie Yan. The vines ensnaring them slowly unraveled. As he arrived in front of them, like a prophet parting the sea, the members of Victorious Return stepped off to the side one after another to let him pass.

Nie Yan's indifference weighed heavily on their minds. He was but one man surrounded by 70, yet they were too scared to make a move. They could only nervously form a loose circle around him.

This was a type of undisguised contempt!

Even if all of them attacked, Nie Yan wouldn't fear them in the slightest.

Nie Yan along with Lil' Gold walked through them, as if he was enjoying a casual stroll.

Fresh Fish raised his staff before lowering it back down. With a single word, he could order all 70 or so players under his command to simultaneously attack Nie Yan. However, the scene of Nie Yan slaughtering dozens of players from Bloodlust Blades flashed through his mind. He trembled. If they really took the initiative to attack, the only corpses on the ground would be theirs!

Nie Yan swept his eyes over the crowd. No one dared to meet his gaze. He was practically a god in the flesh in Conviction. His gaze suddenly fell on on a certain player, Sky Piercer!

Nie Yan never expected to see Liu Rui here as well. It appeared enemies were destined to cross paths!

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