Chapter 458 - Gambler
The imminent release of flying mounts turned into a hot topic of discussion. Naturally as the culprit behind this event, Nie Yan's name was usually mentioned in the same breath. His fame quickly spread beyond the borders of the Viridian Empire, and by association so too did the reputation of Asskickers United.
Nie Yan's actions this time really shook the entire playerbase. As for the flying mount system, the official website had long since created an associated information page, with players having waited in anticipation for it to open. No one expected it would be unlocked in such a way.
The Satreen Empire, Sanguine Stronghold, an imposing fortress with over 20-meter high walls covered in menacing black spikes.
At the heart of this stronghold stood a towering building, the main headquarters of Angel Corps.
Angel Corps at present controlled 3 cities and 51 strongholds. They were a colossus and the undisputed hegemon in the Satreen Empire.
The top members of the guild anxiously gathered for an emergency meeting. The conference hall was filled with chattering voices.
Standing at the front in stylish white robes was Soaring Angel. Since he was inside the stronghold, he wasn't wearing his combat equipment, instead opting for something a little more comfortable. He glanced around the room before asking, "Stone Splitter and Reaper still haven't arrived yet?"
"They're running a dungeon with Buck, Patterson, and Quicksand right now, Boss."
Soaring Angel nodded. Looking around, roughly 100 people were present in the conference hall.
"Alright, I suppose we have enough people here. Let's start the meeting. As you all know, the release of the flying mount system was announced earlier today. The future of the skies is uncertain, but we can be sure that air warfare will play an important role. Every flying mount is a powerful strategic resource. They're frighteningly fast and can easily cross over borders. In great numbers, you can even launch a surprise assault on a stronghold with great ease. I'm sure you've all heard Nirvana Flame is the first to obtain a flying mount. We cannot fall behind any further. Starting from today, I want everyone to put their full effort into searching for any and all quest clues related to flying mounts and report back. Leave no stone unturned!" Soaring Angel declared. Although flying mounts wouldn't become widespread any time soon, it was imperative Angel Corps began their preparations as soon as possible. The fact that Nirvana Flame was the first to obtain a flying mount posed an enormous threat to them.
Soaring Angel's orders were quickly passed down the chain of command. Separated into different divisions, each with its own respective supervisor, the administrative layer of Angel Corps was quite efficient.
"Warn Alliance of Mages and Divine Protectors to be vigilant of Asskickers United." Soaring Angel turned to a slim-looking Shaman. "What's the situation with Fallen Angel?"
"Fallen Angel is currently in a heated war against several guilds, so their growth has stalled for the time being. There's only one strange thing. They've recently come upon a large amount of gold, and it's making their enemies panic," the Shaman reported.
"A large amount of gold?" Soaring Angel knitted his brows. He suddenly recalled Nie Yan auctioning off a large quantity of equipment from the Underworld. Did Asskickers United have some sort of relationship with Fallen Angel? "I want you to get to the bottom of this!"
"What about Mad God and Depraved?" Soaring Angel asked. He knew Mad God and Depraved were no match for Nirvana Flame, but they should at least be able to force him out and get a good gauge of his strength. Angel Corps simply had too little intel on him. Before sending those two out to test the waters, they had made ample preparations.
"Nirvana Flame is busy with a quest. But with everyone talking about the flying mount system, discussion about the challenge has died down."
"Have them keep waiting. Asskickers United's people will show up soon enough," Soaring Angel said. He refused to believe Asskickers United could ignore their provocations forever.
Soaring Angel concluded the meeting after listing out all the things Angel Corps needed to do in preparation for what was to come. He also had to start looking for a flying mount himself. He refused to lose out to Nirvana Flame!
Alliance of Mages, Divine Protectors, and the other major guilds were also making their own preparations. Every player was starting to look for flying mounts. Who knew how many would be born in the near future?
Nie Yan had triggered a huge change. At this moment, he was trying to think of a way to hatch his Darkwing Dragon. Only then would he truly have a flying mount.
After bidding farewell to Breakspear, Nie Yan led his three slaves with him back to Calore.
When Nie Yan planned to go out from now on, he could just have the kids deal with certain matters in his place.
Back in the downtown square of Calore, Mad God and Depraved were still accepting challenges with few players lasting more than several exchanges against them. Even though Nie Yan still hadn't come out, no one blamed him. They knew he was too busy questing.
"Seems like we've been forgotten. Asskickers United is showing no signs of appearing." Depraved chuckled bitterly.
Finishing up another match, Mad God let out a deep sigh. Even for a battle maniac like him, he was past his breaking point.
"Fuck that bastard Nirvana Flame! What a cowardly son of a bitch! Why has he still not come out yet?! I swear I'll…" Mad God started cursing up a storm.
They were using all sorts of taunts and insults to provoke a reaction. However, Asskickers United showed no sign of taking action.
The arena was constantly surrounded by a large crowd. They were confident Asskickers United would turn up, and create a grand spectacle. This was something they definitely didn't want to miss out on, so they patiently waited in anticipation.
Mad God was getting somewhat annoyed by the constant chatter. Suddenly, the crowd broke out in excited cheer.
"Asskickers United has come!"
"That's Smoke Stub! I heard during the siege at the Cripps Stronghold he charged deep into enemy lines and single handedly slaughtered more than 30 players, two of which were Great Mages!
"That's Bladelight, the main tank of Asskickers United. I heard his defense is over 1,800!"
The crowd quickly parted ways as eight players came into view.
Smoke Stub, Bladelight, Lustboy, Natural Fiend, Painted Muslin, Young Seven, Monochrome, and Edgeless… This group wasn't the full line up of Asskickers United's elites. Some other notable names like Sun, One Strike Vow, and the others were busy questing.
The eight arrived in front of the makeshift arena.
"How about upping the bet? 200 gold is a bit too paltry, don't you think? It's not worth our time to move for so little," Smoke Stub said in a derisive tone.
"You guys are finally here. I was getting really tired of waiting! Sure, why not? How high do you want to go?" Mad God replied with just as much bravado, having recognized Smoke Stub. He lifted up his greatsword and rested it over his shoulders.
Given the recent clashes between Angel Corps and Asskickers United, the elites all knew each other by now.
The top players of Asskickers United and Angel Corps had finally met. This was only the first of what would become many clashes.
"I'll go up first," Smoke Stub declared. Without further ado, he leaped up onto the arena stage.
The crowd cheered in excitement.
"I didn't think the first to go up would be Smoke Stub!"
"Yeah, I know right? So exciting!"
Asskickers United had quite a few famous players. Needless to say, Nie Yan was the most well known, with Smoke Stub, Bladelight, and Sun coming up next. The rest weren't as famous, but they were still existences to be revered by ordinary players.
"Whoever wins gets to take a piece of equipment from the loser," Smoke Stub said. He had to admit the equipment of Mad God and Depraved was of quite high quality. Angel Corps rarely participated in wars. Even in the siege of the Cripps Stronghold, they didn't suffer any serious losses. This was in stark contrast to Asskickers United, where every member had at least fought in several wars. The quality of their equipment naturally couldn't compare to that of Angel Corps.
For example, Smoke Stub had previously lost a piece of equipment to Bloodlust Mad Blade who killed him during the siege of the Cripps Stronghold. However, Smoke Stub and the others had their own advantage. They were tempered through the flames of battle and frequently danced on the edge between life and death. When it came to PvP, they were much better than their counterparts' at Angel Corps in both skill and gamesense.
The crowd gasped in shock after hearing Smoke Stub's outrageous proposal. Every piece of equipment on an expert's body was obtained through blood, sweat, and tears. They couldn't be easily replaced since they were impossible to find in the marketplace. Even the loss of a single one would heavily impact the player's strength.
Mad God's heart trembled. Smoke Stub was just like a gambling addict, always testing the boundaries and flirting around with death. On the other side, Mad God enjoyed crushing others with his superior gear. This sort of risky bet wasn't something he would usually partake in.
However, if Mad God refused right now, he would be seen as a weakling.
"Alright, fine. We'll put our equipment on the line," Mad God replied. He walked to the center of the stage and locked eyes with Smoke Stub.
Depraved glanced at Bladelight and the others below the stage. Smoke Stub's risky gamble didn't seem to faze them at all, as though it was nothing out of the ordinary. Nor did they show any intention of stopping him. A feeling of apprehension arose in Depraved's heart. He suddenly understood why Asskickers United could sweep away Victorious Return and Bloodlust Blades. It wasn't that these two were any weaker than Asskickers United, but simply that they lacked the resolve to stake everything on the line!
Experts like Smoke Stub could bring out astonishing strength when they threw caution to the wind and went all out.
Smoke Stub and Mad God's battle was about to begin.
"Bladelight, when's the boss coming?" Lustboy asked.
"He's already on the road. He'll be here soon," Bladelight replied. When Nie Yan arrived, things would get even livelier.