Chapter 557 - The First Batch To Leave
The campaign in Moonlight City was advancing smoothly. Meanwhile, Nie Yan used all sorts of methods to amass more wealth. He wanted to ensure the guild wouldn't run short on funds while at war.
During this time, Guo Hua sent word that several members wanted to leave the guild. The withdrawal form required Nie Yan to sign off on, so Guo Huai contacted him.
「Who wants to leave the guild?」Nie Yan asked in alarm. This was the first time Asskickers United players had requested to withdraw from the guild. The previous time with Smoke Stub didn't count since something had come up.
「Sesame Cake and five others,」Guo Huai replied with a heavy heart. Among the second-rate players in Asskickers United, they ranked among the top. They had been with the guild since the beginning and were slowly nurtured up. So, their request to leave was especially hard to swallow.
Nie Yan was familiar with Sesame Cake, a long standing member of the guild. He had once asked Sesame Cake to help him take care of Zhai Hao and his other friends from school.「Where are they right now?」He had already guessed what was going on. Likely, Sesame Cake and the others had been approached by the Century Financial Group with an offer they couldn't resist. Under the allure of money and other benefits, those blinded by greed would naturally gravitate toward leaving.
If Nie Yan agreed to sign the form, they could leave the guild without any burden. If Nie Yan refused to sign the form, they would leave anyway. As for the penalty, with a behemoth like the Century Financial Group backing them, they wouldn't care about such a little amount of money.
「The Cripps Stronghold guild headquarters,」Guo Huai replied. He was still trying to convince them to reconsider.
「I'll be right there.」Nie Yan dropped everything he was doing and headed for the Cripps Stronghold.
About 10 minutes later, Nie Yan arrived outside of the guild headquarters. As he headed inside, he could hear people chattering up ahead. About 30 or so players were gathered in the lobby. Guo Huai was talking with Sesame Cake and several others.
"Sesame Cake, tell me. Ever since you've joined the guild, have we ever done you wrong? If we have, please tell me, so I can make it right," Guo Huai said.
"Executive Guild Leader, after following you and Nirvana Flame for so long, we've never once felt we've been mistreated. However, everyone has their own ambitions. I hope we part amicably today," Sesame Cake said in a somewhat ashamed tone.
"Sesame Cake, when I first joined Asskickers United, it was you who helped guide me. If it wasn't for you, I wouldn't be where I am today. All of us brothers want you to stay," Zhai Hao chimed in from the side.
Sesame Cake let out a deep sigh. "Brother, I've carved your feelings deep into my heart. I've let you all down. But we simply can't stay in Asskickers United. Nothing lasts forever. Even if we part ways, we'll still be brothers in the future…" Speaking to this point, he felt a pang of guilt in his heart. He had already signed the contract with the Century Financial Group. They had offered him sixfold what he was earning at Asskickers United. Even though he also didn't wish to leave, for the sake of securing a better future for himself and his family, he had to make this choice. This money was extremely important to him.
The other five players beside Sesame Cake also had looks of shame on their faces. They couldn't even look their comrades in the eyes.
"Think about how much the boss and Bladelight helped you in the past. Now that you can stand on your own and made a bit of a name for yourself, the first thing you do is leave the guild? This is how you're going to repay them!? Old Yu, you ungrateful bastard!" A Warrior rushed up to a Thief in Sesame Cake's group and grabbed him by the collar before being pulled away by his companions.
"Luo Fei, forget it. Everyone has their own path!" a player comforted.
Having stayed silent with his head lowered this whole time, Old Yu shook his head and finally opened his mouth, "No, he's right. I've let both the boss and Bladelight down."
"If you turn back now, I, Luo Fei, will still call you a brother. If you leave the guild today, don't blame me for killing you on sight the next time we meet!"
Hearing Luo Fei's cursing, Old Yu kept his head down without speaking. His heart was filled with guilt and shame.
Seeing Old Yu still not saying anything, Luo Fei continued, "I see, you have your eyes set on leaving the guild. Fine! Don't blame for being blunt in the future!"
A ruckus broke out in the lobby. Nie Yan understood that Sesame Cake and the others were only the first batch of people to leave the guild. They definitely wouldn't be the last. In the future, even more people would be poached away. If he didn't handle this matter appropriately, it would have a negative impact on the future of Asskickers United.
"The boss is here!" a player shouted.
Seeing Nie Yan arrive, the players stepped aside.
Nie Yan walked over to Sesame Cake's group.
After seeing Nie Yan, Sesame Cake lowered his head. He still held Nie Yan in high regard. He didn't dare to show the slightest disprect. At this moment, he didn't have the courage to look Nie Yan in the eyes. He was a traitor to the guild.
Sesame Cake was already waiting for Nie Yan to rain down a barrage of curses on him. Only like this would he feel a little less guilty about leaving. The other five players were also thinking roughly along the same lines.
However, contrary to their expectations, Nie Yan didn't curse at them. Instead, he broke out into a faint smile.
"Sesame Cake, I remember when you first entered Asskickers United, you were scolded by me quite a few times. Today, you're leaving. You won't resent me for those times, will you?" Nie Yan chuckled.
Sesame Cake vigorously shook his head. "Of course not!"
"Old Yu, you're one of the few people that has been with the guild since the very beginning. I still remember when we were surrounded by Victorious Return. You died more than 10 times, but you also took out out more than 20 enemies," Nie Yan said, reminiscing the past.
Old Yu's eye brimmed with tears as he nodded.
Nie Yan turned to the remaining four. "Melon Seed, Dime, Old Lin, Old Liu, you guys have also been with me for quite some time. It seems I've let you all down. There's nothing this useless leader of yours can do to repent." He deeply sighed. These words came from his heart. He understood these guild members also weren't having it easy.
"No, Boss! You're wrong! It's us who've let you—no, the entire guild!"
"You guys surely have compelling reasons for leaving the guild, that much I can understand. People seek out higher lands while water flows downstream. I won't make things difficult for you. As members of Asskickers United, I've always treated you as my brothers. If you want to leave, I won't stop you. It's a pity I don't have farewell gifts prepared. You guys can head to the guild treasury and pick a few pieces of equipment. From now on, we'll be going our separate ways. We can no longer be brothers. The six of you, take care." Nie Yan patted Sesame Cake's shoulder.
Hearing Nie Yan's words. Sesame Cake and the other five were choking with tears.
"Boss, I'm sorry!" Sesame Cake wiped his tears before bowing deeply to Nie Yan.
"Sesame Cake, Old Yu, take care," a Warrior in the crowd shouted.
"Take care!" the other Asskickers United players shouted one after another. Some of their voices were filled with helplessness while others deeply sighed.
After all, these were guildmates they had run dungeons and fought together on the battlefield with. Everyone was sad to see them go.
Sesame Cake deeply bowed to the other Asskickers United players. His vision was already blurred with tears. "All of you, take care!"
Only now did Sesame Cake become aware of the deep sense of comradery he shared with the players of Asskickers United. He felt like he had made a dreadful mistake. However, it was already too late to take it back. The other five felt the same.
Nie Yan signed off on the withdrawal forms of Sesame Cake and the other five. With that, their departures from the guild was official.
As Sesame Cake and the others handed over their guild emblems, which had stuck with them ever since they joined Asskickers United, they were struck with a deep sense of loss, though a large hole was carved out of their hearts.
Sesame Cake, Old Yu, Melon Seed… All six of them were no longer affiliated to Asskickers United.
They recalled Nie Yan's previous words. Only now did they understand the old adage, "As anxious as a stray dog." After leaving Asskickers United, they had lost both a patron and the trust they'd built up.
They could never return to Asskickers United. Sesame Cake wanted to find a corner to hide in and bawl his eyes out. The cheeks of the other five were also streaming with tears.
Nie Yan endured the sorrow in his heart. He turned to Zhai Hao and said, "You escort them out. If they want, head to the guild treasury and pick out a few pieces of good equipment for them."
"Alright." Zhai Hao nodded. "Sesame Cake, I'll send you guys out."
"Brother, I…" Sesame Cake wanted to say something, but the words wouldn't come out of his mouth.
Zhai Hao shook his head. "That's enough, let's go. In the future, don't address me like that."
Sesame Cake felt a sharp pain in his heart. From this day forward, the word "brother" would forever ring hollow. Thinking of the contract he signed with the Century Financial Group, he was filled with a deep sense of shame and regret. He had really been a fool. Asskickers United's salary was already quite generous, even if it couldn't compete with the Century Financial Group's. Nie Yan had never mistreated them.
Watching Zhai Hao send Sesame Cake and the others off, everyone was in low spirits.
Nie Yan turned to the crowd. "If they want to leave, let them. Our guild still has many brothers. All of you, cheer up! After defeating Alliance of Mages and Divine Protectors, we'll take down Angel Corps and the Century Financial Group too! Our journey is only just beginning! I don't recall Asskickers United being filled with a bunch of sad mopes!"
"The boss is right! We still have many brothers!"
The players felt their spirits lifted back up.
Nie Yan turned to Guo Huai. "We'll have to hurry up. Our opponent this time isn't so easy to deal with." The Century FInancial Group was already at their doorsteps. It was crucial for them to come up with countermeasures.
Guo Huai nodded with a solemn expression. Just how many Asskickers United players had already made contact with the Century Financial Group. Would similar events soon become the norm?