Chapter 625 - A Rift
After the events of the school-wide gathering in Conviction, Zhao Shiyu and her clique managed to gather enough people to form a team. Of course, she was the leader. They ran dungeons regularly and obtained quite a bit of decent equipment. However, as time went by, small annoyances turned into internal conflicts until no day went by without heated arguments. The main issue was that the loot was not being divided up fairly. Zhao Shiyu believed as the ones who created the team, she and a few others deserved a larger portion of the spoils. This, of course, didn’t sit well with the other members. It was the topic of numerous arguments. Before long, mutual distrust built up and a clear rift formed within the team.
Zhao Shiyu had personally spoken to a few of the disgruntled members and temporarily quelled the discourse. Since those ill-treated had nowhere better to turn to, they could only swallow their grievances and stay in the team. However, a deep seed of resentment had long since taken root in their hearts.
Zhao Shiyu, for all her arrogance, had little to no self-awareness. She, Fu Guangtao, and Bai Jun thought they were being smart by pulling small tricks and secretly hogging the good equipment for themselves. However, no secret could be kept forever. Several members of the team were actively looking for a way out.
Zhao Shiyu and the 17 other members in her clique were discussing strategy for their next dungeon run at the back of the classroom. The desk was piled high with sheets of paper. The dungeon they wanted to run had long since been fully explored, cleared countless times over by the elites of the various major guilds. So, there were many tips and tricks floating around on the internet, which they had compiled together in one place. After making some more preparations inside the game, they would be ready to set out.
Even though Zhao Shiyu and her team weren’t good enough to be considered top elites, they were still fairly strong among second-rate players. In addition, they didn’t blindly run into harder content, instead making comprehensive preparations for every next dungeon run. At this moment, however, there were a few voices of dissent.
“I still don’t think we’re ready to run Arachnid Abyss. That dungeon is clearly too difficult for us to clear. We don’t have the DPS! I say we need to run Mysterious Cavern at least 20 more times to better equip our Mages. Only then do I think we’ll be ready to challenge such a high level dungeon!” a somewhat chubby male student said. His face and ears were somewhat flushed from arguing back and forth. His name was Chu Chenghao. He played a Paladin and was only slightly behind Zhao Shiyu, Fu Guangtao, and Bai Jun in level. Since he was generally amiable and did things fairly and openly, many students had a good impression of him.
“No need! Our damage is already good enough. As long as we can clear Arachnid Abyss, our gear will rise to another level. Continuing to run Mysterious Cavern is only a stupid waste of time!” Fu Guangtao fired back.
“You guys are really full of yourselves. It’s pretty obvious we’ll wipe if we run Arachnid Abyss in our current state. A team that only goes at the pace of its few strongest members won’t last long. Have you ever heard of something called teamwork? If we go to Arachnid Abyss now, what will we need just to survive? Hmm, let see—Poisonbite Necklaces, Ivory Life Rings, Flame Gems… need I go on? Do you think anyone in our team but yourselves could possibly afford these things? Why risk our lives in Arachnid Abyss for so little gains? We should grind in Mysterious Cavern for a bit longer, so that our weaker members can replace their current shabby weapons and armour with better ones. Like this, the entire team will grow stronger, not just you few.”
Many of the weaker members sunk into deep thought. Items like Poisonbite Necklaces and Ivory Life Rings were all fairly precious. They definitely couldn’t afford the burden. In the end, all the benefits would go to the stronger members like Zhao Shiyu, Fu Guangtao, and Bai Jun anyway. Meanwhile, they would be lucky to get table scraps even after overworking themselves to death. Realizing Chu Chenghao was standing up for their interests, they were deeply moved.
Seeing that Chu Chenghao’s words were effective, Fu Guangtao inwardly cursed. He then tried to tempt the weaker members. “All the drops in Mysterious Cavern are dog crap. You can find them for sale everywhere in the marketplace. If we can clear Arachnid Abyss, we can get even better stuff!”
“True. You certainly can find weapon and armour drops from Mysterious Cavern available for sale in the auction house. But who’s going to pay for it? You? Because we certainly can’t afford to. Since you want us to run Arachnid Abyss so badly, maybe next time a Poisonbite Necklace drops, we can sell it and use the gold to buy new equipment for our weaker members. How about it? It’s starting to get pretty clear that you guys only care about getting good equipment for yourselves. I’m not willing to needlessly risk my life just to satisfy your selfish whims. Anyone that wants to go can go, but I’m out.” Chu Chenghao was fed up.
“Tsk, it’s always you saying no to this and no to that. Last time, it was because of you that we wiped on an easy dungeon like White Bird Gorge. We’ve already wasted too much time in Mysterious Cavern. If we had moved on to Arachnid Abyss earlier like I said we should, my equipment would be a million times better than it is now. Who the hell do you think you are!? I’ve been getting real tired of your shit lately! Do you think I won’t smash your face in!?” Fu Guangtao glared.
“I’d like to see you try! You think I’m afraid of you?” Chu Chenghao hardly batted an eye at Fu Guangtao’s provocation.
Fu Guangtao didn’t dare to actually try anything in the Top Military Academy.
“Don’t think of yourself too highly. Do you think I need someone like you in my team? I know a bunch of people in the management faculty. I can easily find a Paladin twice as good to replace you at any time. Leave if you want. No one will miss you.” Zhao Shiyu coldly snorted, shooting Chu Chenghao a look of disdain.
“I’m a bit busy tonight, so I won’t be running Arachnid Abyss with you guys. Sorry,” a slim male student suddenly said. He played an Arcane Mage. He didn’t have the courage to burn all bridges with Zhao Shiyu, Fu Guangtao, and them. So, he used this excuse to tactfully withdraw.
“Me too. I can’t make it either. My parents need my help.”
The people backing out were the low level members who had frequently been subjected to unfair treatment since joining the team. Naturally, they sided with Chu Chenghao.
Seeing the support he was getting, Chu Chenghao was deeply moved. He couldn’t help but let out a deep sigh. So goes the adage, an unjust cause will find little support, while a just cause will enjoy support from all around. Zhao Shiyu, Fu Guangtao, Bai Jun, and their lot had crossed the line. They had turned the team into a tool to only benefit themselves, never once thinking about helping the other weaker members.
All of a sudden, half the members in the team sided with Chu Chenghao in protest. Zhao Shiyu became anxious. She stared at one of the male students with puppy eyes and asked, “Chen Mo, you’re not coming either?”
Zhao Shiyu wanted to persuade a few people to change their minds. One of her targets was Chen Mo, whom she knew was secretly in love with her.
Chen Mo simply remained silent.
Seeing that the team was close to not having enough members to run Arachnid Abyss, Bai Jun immediately stepped in to intervene. He said with a kind smile, “Let’s not get hasty here guys. I’m sure we can all sit down and talk it out. If we really can’t come to an agreement, we’ll switch to another plan.”
Chu Chenghao coldly snorted. “Don’t bother trying to play mediator. I already know you three are all in cahoots. You never cared about helping anyone but yourselves. We’ll obviously never see eye to eye. I’m leaving. Good luck finding someone else.”
At this moment, Xu Yan, Xia Tianyu, and Fei Zhe walked over.
“Chu Chenghao, we’re planning to make our own team. Do you want to join?” Xu Yan asked.
“How many people do you already have?” Chu Chenghao asked. Though they didn’t interact much, he knew at least Xu Yan wouldn’t behave the same way as Fu Guangtao and their lot did.
“Right now it’s just me, Xia Tianyu, and Fei Zhe, but we’ll be recruiting more people really soon. Nie Yan said he would join when he has the time. Also, a few of my friends from Azure Windchime agreed to join. I think it won’t take more than two days for us to build up a full team.”
The surrounding students all raised an eyebrow. Xu Yan managed to recruit people from Azure Windchime? Though they knew he had joined them right at the start of the school year, they previously weren’t aware of Azure Windchime’s strength. However, after seeing their performance during the last school-wide gathering in Conviction, everyone finally understood what kind of club Azure Windchime was.
Chu Chenghao though it over for a moment, then nodded. “Sure, why not? I have nowhere better to go anyway. But I’d like to reserve my right to withdraw without warning if I’m feeling dissatisfied with the team.”
“Naturally, that’s a given. Welcome to the team!” Xu Yan said with a bright smile.
“Xu Yan, can I join your team too?” Chen Mo asked.
“Oh, what about me? I want to join too!”
All of a sudden, more than 10 people withdrew from Zhao Shiyu, Fu Guangtao, and Bai Jun’s team. They had long since been fed up with those three. When presented with the opportunity to leave, they took it without the slightest hesitation, even if they weren’t all that familiar with Xu Yan, Xia Tianyu, and Fei Zhe.
Seeing all these people wanting to leave, Zhao Shiyu and the others immediately became anxious.
“Xu Yan, you fucker! What do you think you’re doing, coming over here to poach people from our team!? You think trash like you can form your own team? Even if you do, what are you going to run, Goblin Marsh!?” Fu Guangtao cursed.
“Sure, we can start with Goblin Marsh. At least we’d be better than some people who only think of hogging all the good drops for themselves. Besides, who’s the real trash between us still hasn’t been decided yet,” Xu Yan fired back.
Chu Chenghao interjected, “I have no problem with us starting over from the easiest dungeon. From now on, you guys can go your way, we’ll go ours, even if it might be more difficult.”
The command faculty had been divided into two.
“Fine, scram! Who needs you all anyway? You trash belong together! You better make sure I don’t catch you in the game!” Fu Guangtao growled.
Xu Yan, Xia Tianyu, and Fei Zhe were instantly incensed. Fu Guangtao was really too full of himself! They weren’t even afraid of him back when they didn’t have their new equipment. Now, they were confident in crushing him.
Fu Guangtao had shed all pretenses of cordiality, causing the faces of Chu Chenghao and the others to warp with disgust and loathing.
“Do you dare to fight us tonight?” Xia Tianyu glared.
“Why wouldn’t I? The issue is… I’m afraid you’ll run away.” Fu Guangtao harrumphed.
The tension was palpable. Both sides glared daggers at each other, neither willing to back down. Xu Yan did a headcount. 13 people had come to their side. Including him, Xia Tianyu, and Fei Zhe, they had 16 members in total. If he called over four more from Azure Windchime, they would have a full team. The others were all die-hard followers of Zhao Shiyu, Fu Guangtao, and Bai Jun. Even if they came, Xu Yan and the others wouldn’t want them anyway.
In order to completely win over Chu Chenghao and the others, treating them with fairness and generosity was a must. Xu Yan recalled the way Nie Yan governed Asskickers United. If he wanted the team to be a cohesive unit, he still had a lot of work ahead of him.
Xu Yan and the others headed back to the front of the classroom and started introducing themselves to each other, talking about their levels, stats, and so on. Zhao Shiyu, Fu Guangtao, and the others repeatedly shot venomous glares at them.