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Chapter 492 - Challenge

"What, would I lie to you?" Nie Yan laughed. He knew just how skilled Zhai Hao, Li Rui, and Liu Xuchen were. Although they weren't amazing, they were still decent enough. After a few dungeon runs with Bladelight, Smoke Stub, and the others—to raise the quality of their gear and levels—even if they couldn't become top experts, they could still at least mingle with the likes of Sesame Cake.

Asskickers United didn't lack experts, but a few crucial leadership roles still remained vacant. The loyalty of the people below wasn't a sure thing. It was important for Nie Yan to have confidantes he could put his absolute trust in. If a spy from a rival guild ended up in a position of power, things would become troublesome.

It would be unfair to the other members of Asskickers United if Nie Yan allowed Zhai Hao, Li Rui, and Liu Xuchen to enter through the backdoor. Whereas if they didn't rely on anyone to get in, it proved they had some ability.

"Sure, as long as you have a use for us, we'll do our best to help. Just take good care of us!" Zhai Hao said. Sitting close by, Li Rui and Liu Xuchen also nodded.

"I can't play favourites and ignore Asskickers United's rules. At most I can ask some friends to help carry you guys through a few more dungeons. As for equipment, feel free to ask, the items in the treasury should fulfill your needs. Whether or not you can rise in ranks will depend on your own abilities. It won't help if I artificially boost you guys up. You'll have to prove your own worth," Nie Yan said. Everything in the treasury belonged to him. He was free to give the items inside to whoever he pleased. However, that was the limit. Some rules had to be followed. If he showed blatant disregard to his own rules, what kind of message would that send to those below?

"Of course I understand." Zhai Hao nodded.

"It's good enough that you understand. If you guys can climb up the ranks in the guild, I'll be even happier," Nie Yan said. He was looking forward to Zhai Hao, Li Rui, and Liu Xuchen's growth. After all, they were his sworn brothers!

Nie Yan planned to put Zhai Hao, Li Rui, and Liu Xuchen under the care of Bladelight, Smoke Stub, and the others for a while. As for how far they could climb in the end, that depended on themselves.

After the performance came to an end, Nie Yan and Xie Yao headed to their homeroom with Zhai Hao, Xia Ling, and the others. Everyone in Class 3 was gathering back there for one last time.

As the group entered the classroom, Nie Yan looked around. He spotted Jiang Yingyu at the far end of the room. She still hadn't gotten a chance to change out of her leotard. Liu Rui and his lackeys were also gathered in a corner. Upon seeing him, they immediately revealed hostile expressions.

Liu Rui had also managed to get into the Top Military Academy. It seemed like the future wouldn't be lonely. Nie Yan doubted Liu Rui would be so foolish as to try anything in the open, but it was still better to watch his back. Small characters like Liu Rui were always up to something.

"My grandfather and Liu Rui's family had a falling out," Xie Yao whispered.

Nie Yan's heart trembled. He turned to Xie Yao with slight concern on his face.

"It's nothing to worry about. The Liu Family has always been a thorn in my grandfather's side. However, the investment into Conviction reaped an unexpectedly great harvest. No one in the Dragonsoar Financial Group expected it to be so profitable. Many people became greedy and tried to demand a share of the pie. Little did they know that during this time my grandfather used the opportunity to do some restructuring, booting out several people from the financial group." Xie Yao gave Nie Yan a grateful look. Not only did Asskickers United's rapid rise allow Xie Yao's grandfather to recoup his initial investment, but he had also profited immensely. This even helped prevent the Dragonsoar Financial Group's situation from turning dire. They faced threats both internally and externally, with the Liu Family stirring trouble on the inside and the Century Financial Group glaring covetously on the outside. With the huge success in the virtual reality game industry, Xie Yao's grandfather once more solidified his position in the Dragonsoar Financial Group. He was basically untouchable now.

Nie Yan quickly connected the dots. It appeared Xie Yao's marriage with Liu Rui in the previous timeline was most likely related to the internal struggles of the Dragonsoar Financial Group. Their marriage only looked happy on the outside, but in truth it was anything but perfect. Liu Rui regularly went drinking and slept with a new woman every night. When that incident occurred between Nie Yan and Yao Yao in the underground secret chamber, it was after Xie Yao and Liu Rui got married. At that time, Xie Yao was still untouched.

As the puzzle pieces started falling in place, certain things started making sense. Given the influence of Xie Yao's parents, there was nothing Liu Rui could do if she didn't like him. Even if they were married, it was a loveless one. It was no wonder Liu Rui spent all his time drinking and whoring.

The marriage to Liu Rui was probably a temporary expedient measure. When Xie Yao's grandfather got everything back in control, Liu Rui's family was probably in for a world of pain. Her grandfather had climbed his way to the top step by step, having encountered all sorts of predicaments. How could he allow someone else to sleep in his bed? When the Dragon Financial Group was stable, he definitely wouldn't let the Liu Rui's family off lightly. If Nie Yan were in the same situation, he would definitely expunge Liu Rui's family from the Dragonsoar Financial Group, especially because his precious granddaughter had suffered a great injustice in the process!

Realizing this, Nie Yan faintly chuckled.

"Why are you laughing? What's making you so happy?" Xie Yao asked. Nie Yan's change in mood was a little strange.

"It's nothing. I'm sure your grandfather will handle the situation. You don't have to worry about him."

"Mhm." Xie Yao nodded.

"Remember your promise. When we get back, you'll show me your dance," Nie Yan whispered in Xie Yao's ear.

Xie Yao immediately turned bright red.

The male students interested in Xie Yao were left stunned by the sight and let out sighs of regret. It was a pity that the goddess in their hearts was already taken. Furthermore, the person who had taken her, Nie Yan, was too amazing. They could never hope of competing with him.

Everyone started moving the seats to the sides of the room in preparation for a class party.

Many people approached Nie Yan in an attempt to befriend him. Even those who were normally quite arrogant had no choice but to lower themselves. His future prospects were unlimited. Each of them wanted to build a good relationship with him early.

Even the students who rarely ever showed their faces in class also came.

Nie Yan was naturally warm and affable as he mingled with everyone.

An impressive and handsome looking male student approached Nie Yan.

Nie Yan heard the murmurs of those around him. This person was called Qin Han. He was of Chinese descent and the young heir to the Monet Financial Group, a banking oligarch all the way in South America. In terms of influence, they far surpassed the Dragonsoar Financial Group and were in no way weaker than the Century Financial Group, even surpassing them in some aspects. Most terrifying was that the Monet Financial Group controlled the finances and military power of several countries in that region. Their strength had already grown beyond the scope of normal comprehension.

For a corporation to have enough power to influence a country's politics and military power in this day and age wasn't strange at all.

From the start of the school year to now, this was the first time Qin Han had appeared. In the previous timeline, Nie Yan had only heard of him. They had met a few times, but Nie Yan only learned of it after the fact. He was an elusive fellow, and It wasn't easy for ordinary people to meet him. Some people said he only entered Huahai High for Xie Yao, but those were only rumours. 

Qin Han gestured toward Nie Yan with his wine glass.

"A toast to you, Mad Rogue Nirvana Flame," Qin Han smiled.

The entire class suddenly fell silent. Everyone turned to look at Nie Yan with inconceivable expressions on their faces. Conviction was extremely popular. Regardless of whether you played the game or not, many people knew the significance the name Mad Rogue Nirvana Flame held.

Although a few people knew Nie Yan was Nirvana Flame, they were only an extremely small minority and belonged to his close circle of friends. Many people were still in the dark.

No one doubted Qin Han's words. Given his status, there was no reason to make things up.

This was a startling revelation.

"Thanks." Nie Yan raised his glass before taking a sip. He closely observed the person in front of him. Qin Han carried himself with grace. His face was full of smiles. However, Nie Yan felt a faint sense of danger from him.

Qin Han turned to Xie Yao and said with a graceful smile, "When I first entered this school and saw Xie Yao, I thought I had met an angel. I chased her for a year and a half, but she didn't pay attention to me in the slightest. Because of business I saw myself forced to travel to Europe and North America, and have been there since. Hearing that it was graduation today, I hurried back. To my surprise, I learned Xie Yao has already found someone. Brother Nie, you truly are blessed."

"Everything happens for a reason. Those who are fated to be together will inevitably meet no matter the distance," Nie Yan replied. This Qin Han fellow had only appeared a couple of times, so Nie Yan's impression of him wasn't that deep. In the past, when he heard of people talking about Qin Han, he felt this person was mysterious. Nie Yan had almost zero interactions with him.

"Yes, true indeed. Mad Rogue Nirvana Flame, I find you quite interesting. Not long ago Conviction released in South America. I originally had no interest in playing, but after meeting you, I've changed my mind. I want to see what's so captivating about this game," Qin Han laughed.

It took around five days for Conviction to spread from China to Europe, then to North America. It was still expanding further outward, the number of people who could access the game increasing by the day. More people meant more opportunities for profit. Many financial groups were starting to establish a presence in the game, causing it to grow even more.

Nie Yan's mind trembled. Although Qin Han's words were pretty carefree, this was basically a declaration of war.

"That's great to hear. I'm sure you'll fall in love with the game immediately," Nie Yan faintly smiled. He wasn't the slightest bit afraid.

Qin Han was surprised. He didn't expect Nie Yan to respond in such a way. He laughed, "I'll trust your word then. This makes me want to play even more. However, once I start something, I always follow through with it till the end."

Qin Han's self confidence bordered on conceit.

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