Chapter 553 - Existential Threat
Aside from Bladelight, no one else had informed Nie Yan of anything. Who else in Asskickers United was approached by the Century Financial Group? How many accepted or were considering accepting their offer?
It didn't make sense for the Century Financial Group to have have only approached Bladelight and no one else.
The Century Financial Group had likely already bought off many members from Asskickers United.
Nie Yan had no idea how deep the Century Financial Group's influence had spread.
Something going wrong during a crucial moment in the war against Alliance of Mages would likely spell disaster for Asskickers United. All their previous hard work would go down the drain.
「Did anyone else contact you about the Century Financial Group approaching them?」Nie Yan asked.
「Smoke Stub did, Sun too. Besides them, no one else,」Guo Huai replied, sympathizing with what Nie Yan was feeling right now. Who wouldn't have doubts in this situation? Nie Yan worried there were others who had had made contact with the Century FInancial Group but chose not to disclose it—either because they were weighing their options or already operating as moles.
Even Smoke Stub and Sun were approached. Just how many people did the Century Financial Group offer contracts to? Nie Yan felt a headache coming on.
Nie Yan couldn't prevent this matter from gnawing away at the back of his mind. Just how glorious was the War God Tribe of the previous timeline, having at one point even surpassed Victorious Return? Yet they were still entombed by the Century Financial Group's immeasurable wealth. He feared history would end up repeating itself.
Thinking to this point, Nie Yan grew restless and jittery. He couldn't stop himself from suspecting certain people. This was simply human nature. He was confident the names floating in his mind also received offers from the Century Financial Group.
「Nothing can be done about it. The Century Financial Group won't stop. The best we can do right now is place our unconditional faith in our fellow guildmates,」Guo Huai comforted. He knew getting paranoid would only drive more people away, including those who were initially on their side, and lead to further alienation.
Nie Yan pondered for a moment. Guo Huai was right. With the Century Financial Group offering such lucrative and attractive contracts, some players were bound to leave. This was unpreventable. So, what could he do? That was to make sure no one in the guild felt alienated or pushed aside, placing his utmost trust in them. Only then would they feel a sense of belonging.
In the previous timeline, the War God Tribe's self-governance was always an issue. As more and more people left, the amount of internal disputes only increased. With distrust ever present between members, this wedge only further sped up the collapse of the guild. Founded on a mishmash of different gaming organisations, the War God Tribe was never that united to start with, and certain factions frequently stirred up conflict. Not to mention all gaming organisations operated on the model of profit first. Defection was only to be expected. However, Asskickers United was far more united. Even if some people left, as long as Nie Yan didn't make any mistakes, it would be incredibly difficult for the Century Financial Group to destroy them from within.
Nie Yan came up with some countermeasures, such as raising the benefits of all the players in Asskickers United. This would secure the hearts of the players. At the same time, those who were thinking about defecting would have no choice but to reconsider, unless the Century Financial Group increased their offer by a corresponding amount. After looking over the guild's finances, Nie Yan raised everyone's benefits by 30%. Like this, the Century Financial Group would have to at least triple that amount. For some Asskickers United players to even consider transferring, the Century Financial Group would have to offer a lot more.
Give it your best, and leave the rest up to fate. Anything that could be done, Nie Yan would do. He knew this day was inevitable. The Century Financial Group previously only relied on their underlings. Now that they were taking direct action, they would employ all means by foul or fair. He had no choice but to raise his vigilance.
「Pay close attention to the Century Financial Group's movements. If anything comes up, report it to me immediately,」Nie Yan said. He treated this matter with the utmost seriousness. Keeping up to date at every moment was crucial. The slightest misstep could lead to destruction!
「Don't worry, if the Century Financial Group makes the slightest movements, I'll report it to you immediately!」Guo Huai replied.
After hanging up the call with Guo Huai, Nie Yan entered the main lobby.
A group of people was gathered in the main lobby. Looking around, Nie Yan counted a total of 26. Besides Crazy Magic and Divine Flame, there were six Thieves, five Paladins, seven Mages, three Priests, and three Warriors. Their equipment was all excellent. With an average level of 70, they were undoubtedly Alliance of Mages' top elites.
"The Century FInancial Group has made a move on Asskickers United. I trust we'll be hearing some good news soon," Crazy Magic said. He had just received this information.
"Five Armoured Ice Catapults have already crossed the borders of Blaze City and will be arriving in Moonlight City in eight hours. I suggest you think of a way to deal with them first," Divine Flame said, dropping a bucket of cold water on Crazy Magic's enthusiasm. The effectiveness of the Century Financial Group's methods still remained to be seen.
"What, how!?" Crazy Magic knitted his brows. The speed of Asskickers United's advance exceeded his expectations.
"Asskickers United attached horse carts to some of their Armoured Ice Catapults."
"Horse carts?" Crazy Magic suddenly recalled such a thing. It was true that horse carts could raise the speed of war engines. However, researching this technology cost upwards of 600,000 gold. The production costs were also considerable. Asskickers United really had too much gold on their hands. He couldn't help but wonder where it was all coming from. Nie Yan's assets were something he could never imagine in his wildest dreams.
With Asskickers United right at his doorstep, Crazy Magic was feeling the pressure.
Little did Crazy Magic and company know that several pairs of eyes were watching them while they were having this discussion.
「Report your coordinates.」
「I'm at 23.85.28,」King of the World replied.
Nie Yan glanced at a corner to the east of him. King of the World was hiding behind a pillar over there.
「I'm at 32.28.29,」Sun replied.
Before long, Nie Yan confirmed the positions of the other four. Sizing up the 26 people in the main lobby, he spotted many familiar faces, three of whom were quite famous in his past life. They were called Soda Water, Sour Cheese, and Maple Sky. They played a Warrior, Paladin, and Priest respectively. All three were top master class players in the previous timeline and held influential positions in Alliance of Mages.
Facing so many players with just the five of them posed some challenge.
「Big Bro, are we going in?」Sun asked.
If the five of them worked together to kill Crazy Magic and Divine Flame, they would definitely succeed. Even without Nie Yan taking action, the four of them could still pull it off. However, this was all predicated on them having a foolproof plan first.
Nie Yan pondered for a long while before finally replying in a chilling tone,「We're going to kill every last one of them!」
Hmph, isn't it only just 26 players!?
Nie Yan's killing intent shook the hearts of Sun, King of the World, and the other two. They were going to slaughter every last person in this room?
Sun thought for a moment.「I'll follow your lead, Big Bro.」
「What's your plan?」King of the World asked.
「Sun and One Strike Vow will deal with Crazy Magic. You and Hapless Figure will deal with Divine Flame. Leave the rest to me. I'll make the first move and create an opening for you guys,」Nie Yan said. He planned on using Lil' Gold!
After Nie Yan explained his plan, Sun and the others all felt that it was feasible. Of course, it was based on the premise that he could distract everyone for long enough. However, with Lil' Gold, that wouldn't be a problem.
「Alright, I'm going in,」Nie Yan said before sneaking over to a corner in the lobby and hiding behind a pillar.
At this moment, Sun, King of the World, and the others gradually approached Crazy Magic and Divine Flame. If this was the wilderness, they could easily dispatch Crazy Magic and Divine Flame. With two on each person, this would be extremely simple. As long as others didn't interfere, it would be over in an instant.
After Sun, King of the World, One Strike Vow, and Hapless Frog were in position, Nie Yan shouted,「Time to kill!」
Sun, King of the World, and the other two arched their bodies, ready to pounce forward at any moment.
Nie Yan chanted out an incantation. With a flash of golden light, Lil' Gold's massive frame emerged in the lobby.
Crazy Magic, Divine Flame, and the others were chatting, when a light flashed behind them. One of their subordinates shouted, "It's Nirvana Flame's Golden Dragon! Careful!"
Crazy Magic and Divine Flame looked behind them in shock. A giant golden dragon entered their vision.
Why would Nirvana Flame come here of all places!?
"Watch out for Nirvana Flame's ambush!" Crazy Magic warned in a deep tone. The first thought that came to mind was that Nirvana Flame was here for him.
Just as his warning rang out, Lil' Gold opened his maw and spewed out scorching hot flames.
These top players from Alliance of Mages immediately scattered to avoid the Dragon Breath.
With a loud bang, the Dragon Breath struck the ground, causing flames to splash everywhere.
"Charge!" The Warrior called Soda Water rushed toward Lil' Gold. With a loud klang, he rammed into Lil' Gold, forcing the golden dragon back a step. At the same time, he also triggered Lil' Gold's Explosive Counter!
Two damage values floated up above Soda Water's head, leaving him with only a sliver of health.
A gentle radiance enveloped Soda Water, restoring his health back to stable levels.
As everyone in the room focused their attention on Lil' Gold, Nie Yan emerged out of stealth. With a flash of cold light, he killed a Mage with one hit, then disappeared again with Gale Step.
"It's Nirvana Flame! He's over there!"
"Don't let him escape!"
Maple Sky raised his staff. An orb of light flew up into the air.
All the Alliance of Mages' players shifted their focus to Nie Yan. For the sake of safety, Crazy Magic and Divine FLame were located in the far back of the group. At this moment, in a corner just a few meters away, four silhouettes leaped out of the shadows and pounced toward them.