Chapter 550 - Targets Sighted
The Thief Nie Yan had set his sights on happened to pass closeby on his way into the wilderness.
Seeing the Thief's figure fading in the distance, Nie Yan activated the Doppelganger Necklace. His appearance started rapidly changing, his nose becoming flatter, pockmarks appearing on his face, and his cheeks caving in somewhat. He looked almost exactly like the Thief, save for some minor details.
The Doppelganger Ring had a fatal flaw. If you encountered someone familiar with the target, chances were high the ruse would be seen though.
Nie Yan planned to use the Doppelganger necklace to sneak in. As for how King of the World and the others would get in, he didn't know. But this kind of problem shouldn't be too difficult for them. If worst came to worst, they could just wait until the number of people around the gate decreased somewhat.
After stealing the appearance of that Thief, Nie Yan put on a black cloak to hide his equipment.
Finished with his preparations, Nie Yan stepped out into the open and headed for the gate.
Players were coming and going from the entrance. They simply gave Nie Yan a glance before continuing on with their business. No one went up to greet him.
It appeared that Thief's social status wasn't that great. However, this worked out in Nie Yan's favour. It was best if everybody ignored him.
Nie Yan passed by a group of players. Noticing their conversation was about Asskickers United, he halted his steps and eavesdropped.
"Asskickers United is right at our doorstep. Who do you think will win, us or them?"
"I think we'll win. We have close to 800,000 players in total. Asskickers United only has about 400,000, right? Not to mention Moonlight City is our territory," an Elementalist said. He was a faithful supporter of Alliance of Mages.
"I'm afraid we'll lose. Just look back at the siege of the Cripps Stronghold. Asskickers United was still pretty weak at that time. Bloodlust Blades, Alliance of Mages, Divine Protectors, and Angel Corps all brought out their elites. We even had catapults while Asskickers United didn't. Everyone said Bloodlust Blades was going to win. Yet what was the result? We don't even have to look that far back into the past. How about more recently with the battle in the Realm of Death? How much did we spend to hire all those experts? Yet we barely managed to take out a tenth of the enemy's forces while our side was completely wiped out. I'm sure we aren't any weaker. I really don't know what those higher-ups are thinking," a Warrior said. He seemed somewhat dissatisfied with the leadership of the guild.
"Hush, I think it's best not to talk about this in the open. Let's hurry up and leave."
The group of players departed.
Nie Yan passed by many players from Alliance of Mages. Looking on the other side of the gate, he was greeted by a flourishing city. Both sides of the street were lined with shops. It was even more bustling than the Cripps Stronghold. He had no choice but to recognize Crazy Magic's skills at enriching this place's economy.
"I wonder how Crazy Magic would react if he found out that I was here...?" Nie Yan muttered to himself.
Suddenly, a voice came from behind. "Pockmark, wait up!"
Nie Yan's heart trembled.
"Pockmark, didn't you just leave with the team? Why did you come back?" a sturdy looking Warrior asked.
Nie Yan gazed at the Warrior's puzzled expression, then calmly replied, "I forgot to get some consumables, so I rushed back to pick them up."
Afterterwards, Nie Yan no longer paid any heed to the Warrior and continued walking on inside.
Gazing at Nie Yan's back, the Warrior suspiciously muttered to himself, "Strange, he usually gets pretty pissed off whenever I call him Pockmark. Plus, why is he acting so cold, like we're strangers? What's up with him today?"
The Warrior was just about to call for Nie Yan. But when he raised his head, Nie Yan was nowhere to be found.
"What the hell...? Did I just see a ghost?" the Warrior muttered in a daze. "Forget it, I'll just ask him about it next time I see him." He turned around and headed out the gate.
Besides their exchange being brief, the Warrior also wasn't looking carefully. So, he failed to see through Nie Yan's disguise.
Nie Yan ducked into a dark corner. Seeing the Warrior leave, he breathed a sigh of relief. He wasn't sure of the effectiveness of the Doppelganger Necklace. Thankfully, he wasn't recognized, or this operation would've been a failure.
Arriving in an alley, Nie Yan entered stealth and started making his way toward the center of the Edgarton Stronghold. His first objective was to find out the location of Alliance of Mages' headquarters!
Though the Edgarton Stronghold appeared flourishing on the surface, a sense of bleakness pervaded the atmosphere. Some shops posted up for sale signs on their windows, for quite low prices too. With war looming over the horizon, many business owners were worried about the stronghold's future. If the fighting reached inside the stronghold, their shops would almost certainly go up in flames. This uncertainty made them impatient to sell their shops. Often times the more anxious someone was to sell, the less inclined people were to buy. No one was willing to purchase a shop in the face of war and risk their investment going down the drain. It was better to wait a few days and see how the situation developed.
About ten minutes later, a magnificent building appeared before Nie Yan's eyes.
This was without a doubt the most conspicuous building in the entire Edgarton Stronghold. It was like a grand cathedral, with four towering pillars that stood over 20 meters tall and all sorts of statues erected on the other side. The corridors and walkways were decorated lavishly with vibrant flowers. A large red carpet was laid out in front of the entrance.
Nie Yan couldn't help but let out an emotional sigh. Alliance of Mages were truly willing to part with their money. This kind of building probably cost at least 1,000,000 gold to construct. Asskickers United was nowhere as ostentatious.
Many players believed the headquarters was the face of the guild, and so spared no effort in making it as grand as possible. However, Nie Yan thought differently. Instead of spending all this gold on the headquarters, it would be better to use it to reinforce the walls. This was why Asskickers United's headquarters was rather plain-looking.
Nie Yan received confirmation from Guo Huai. Crazy Magic and Divine Flame were inside the guild headquarters. They were currently in a meeting with Shadow Killer and a few others.
Nie Yan roamed around the perimeter of Alliance of Mages' guild headquarters for about 20 minutes, memorizing all the paths in his surroundings. He made a rough mental map of the area.
「Big Bro, I'm inside,」Sun reported. He had used the Crawler Ring to scale the top of the walls.
Before long, Nie Yan also received word from King of the World, One Strike Vow, and Hapless Frog. Some used their Special Items to get in. Others waited until there were fewer people around the main entrance to sneak in. They all took a bit of time, but all four infiltrated the Edgarton Stronghold without a hitch.
「Gather at Alliance of Mages' guild headquarters. Keep in touch!」Nie Yan ordered. He gazed up at the guild headquarters. This building constructed out of white stone was three stories tall. A window was left open on the second floor.
Nie Yan equipped his Crawler Ring. Activating its ability, he stuck to the wall and started scaling the building.
No one could've imagined that someone would be reckless enough to directly infiltrate an enemy's guild headquarters. This was completely unheard of. As such, the Edgarton Stronghold's security was tight on the outside but lax on the inside. The outside walls were filled with lookouts while the stronghold interior's defenses were fairly minimal.
Nie Yan easily climbed up to the second story. He jumped through the open window and lightly landed on the floor.
Inside was a long winding corridor, with bronze warrior statues spaced five meters apart lining both sides. It was almost as if they were guards posted here. Many old, classical paintings hung on the walls.
"I wonder where the central conference hall is…" Nie Yan entered stealth and started walking through the corridor.
The corridor was tranquil, with few people passing through. From time to time, he heard the sound of people chatting in the distance.
After advancing another 200 meters, Nie Yan finally encountered signs of another player.
Nie Yan's heart tightened. The sound of footsteps came from the distance, appearing to get closer and closer. Someone was walking over. He quickly ducked behind a statue and held his breath.
A Warrior clad in dark gold armour appeared around the corner and was walking over in Nie Yan's direction.
Seeing this person's face, Nie Yan's eyes widened in surprise. He didn't expect to encounter such a familiar face here. This person was the former guild leader of the now disbanded Bloodlust Blades, Bloodlust Mad Blade!
After Bloodlust Blades dissolved, did Mad Blade bring his people to join Alliance of Mages?
It was definitely a possibility. Even though Mad Blade wasn't wearing the guild emblem of Alliance of Mages right now, once the war began, Nie Yan had no doubt he would be meeting these old rivals on the battlefield. He buffed himself with a skill that increased his stealth. If he fought with Mad Blade now, the fact he had snuck in here would be exposed!
A jittery feeling arose in Mad Blade's heart. Based on his experience, this meant a Thief was nearby. As he gazed at his surroundings, the feeling disappeared. He chuckled to himself. It was probably just his imagination running wild. This was Alliance of Mages' headquarters. No one would be stupid enough to sneak in here!
Mad Blade continued on his way, disappearing behind a corner.
Nie Yan breathed a sigh of relief. Mad Blade approached as close as three meters to him. However, he still wasn't discovered.
Nie Yan pondered for a moment. He feared not only Mad Blade, but players from other guilds Asskickers United defeated in the past such as Victorious Return and Unhindered had also joined Alliance of Mages. The enemy couldn't be underestimated!
After this brief encounter with Mad Blade, Nie Yan continued along the corridor. Passing through two halls, he arrived at the main lobby.
Several people were sitting in the lobby chatting about something. Nie Yan's gaze instantly locked onto two of them, Crazy Magic and Shadow Killer!
"I've finally found you two…" Nie Yan muttered as he subconsciously started playing with the handle of Zennarde's Sword sheathed on his waist. This was his ritual before assassinating someone.
The game was about to commence!