Chapter 200 - The Master Emerges
Nie Yan thought highly of everyone he recruited, but he still underestimated the skills of the players under him. Leader Young Seven, for example, was normally consigned to the role of a support and rarely ever seen engaging in direct combat. Nie Yan was never clear on how good Young Seven was at PvP. Today, however, he witnessed Young Seven’s prowess first-hand.
In the face of imminent death from an ambush by four Thieves, Young Seven hadn’t shown the slightest trace of panic. He feared the closest Thief, crippled the second with curses, and resisted being incapacitated by the third with a shield and a blessing. Relying on skill alone, he had effortlessly dealt with three Thieves.
Nie Yan felt Young Seven even rivalled some Mages who were experts at PvP. He previously hoped that Young Seven could hold out for at least ten seconds, so he could take out the Thieves and rescue him. However, Young Seven showed that he was perfectly capable of taking care of himself. Only now did Nie Yan gain a better understanding of what Young Seven could truly do. He was one of the Seven Archbishops in the previous timeline after all. It would be strange if he didn’t have the ability to protect himself.
Only when a Priest reached the same stage as Young Seven, where they were not afraid of engaging in PvP, would they start to truly grow. If they had to rely on others to save them whenever they encountered danger, they would forever linger in mediocrity.
“There’ll be more of them arriving soon. Let’s get out of here while we still can,” Nie Yan said. There was no time to pick up the equipment from the ground. The players from Unhindered weren’t likely to drop anything good anyway.
Relying on his understanding of the terrain, Ne Yan guided the group through the underground lava caverns, periodically popping out of the woods to launch ambushes on the forces of Unhindered. They were playing a game of cat and mouse, and Unhindered was helpless to stop them.
Nie Yan and the others were in a murderous frenzy, slaughtering countless players from Unhindered.
The post on the official forums was constantly seeing updates:
「10:29, Players Killed: 278」
「10:58, Players Killed: 308」
「11:27, Players Killed: 323」
Although the number of players dying in recent updates wasn’t as terrifying as the first two, it was still extremely astonishing. While the kill count was steadily rising, Nie Yan’s group had yet to lose a single member. If the players on the forums only felt slight admiration for them before, then most now came to genuinely revere Nie Yan and the other members of the group. Ten people were actually able to force an entire guild into such a powerless situation. Asskickers United truly struck dread into the hearts of all.
The players of Unhindered grew more and more paranoid after every successive ambush. They were filled with fear and trepidation, not knowing when or where the enemy would strike next.
Nie Yan and the others were like specters, taking out anywhere from ten to twenty plus players every time they appeared. When more forces arrived to surround them, all traces of them would disappear.
“Shit! How do they keep escaping?!” Hei Zhuo cursed. He was consumed by unending fury, while also feeling utterly helpless as he watched the number of casualties continue to rise.
Yu Long calmly pondered over the question. What Nie Yan’s group was doing couldn’t simply be accomplished with Invisibility Potions. The answer probably laid beneath the ground. Could they have found some method to safely pass through the lava caverns?
The forces of Unhindered were too weak and spread too thin, leaving them incapable of controlling the entire map. From the start, they had no way to resist the ambushes. Unhindered was in a precarious position, unable to retreat or advance. If they withdrew from the Kiln Fire Woods, they would become even more of a laughingstock.
Since this matter was plotted by Victorious Return, they would undoubtedly be humiliated as well. Even a blind person could tell they were pulling the strings from behind the scenes. After this was all over, the reputation of Victorious Return would reach an all time low, while their enemy would benefit greatly. If enough time was given to Asskickers United, then Victorious Return really might be forced to abdicate their throne as the top guild in Calore.
Yu Long thought for a moment. If he continued to allow Unhindered to be tormented like this, the number of people killed by Nie Yan's group would only rise higher and higher. Once the total casualties surpassed a thousand, it could undoubtedly be considered a victory for Asskickers United! A thousand players dead! He could scarcely imagine what sort of reaction the players on the forums would have.
Yu Long consulted with Heaven Breaker. When the time came for Victorious Return to act, even if Nie Yan’s group couldn’t be surrounded, they would at least have to be driven away. They couldn’t be allowed to run rampant in Kiln Fire Woods any longer!
Nie Yan and the others killed around ten more players before withdrawing. The safety of every member of the group took the highest precedence. They never lingered around for long, leaving shortly after scavenging the loot.
After yet another successful ambush, Nie Yan received a message notification.
「You guys need to get out of Kiln Fire Woods, quickly!」Guo Huai warned.
「What’s wrong?」Nie Yan asked. Unless something big happened, Guo Huai would never sound so anxious.
「A large force of players from Victorious Return is mobilizing in Kiln Fire Woods. They’re moving in your direction!」Guo Huai sounded flustered. Right now, he couldn’t help but be anxious about the safety of Nie Yan’s group. Whatever happened to them would affect the entire guild.
Nie Yan’s eyes flashed with a desire to commit murder. It wasn’t easy for him to create such a large stir, but he finally forced Victorious Return to act. Unhindered was nothing more than a lackey, merely an appetizer before the main course. No matter how many of them he killed, it would never deal a serious blow to Victorious Return. Now that the dog was beaten, the master had emerged.
「Don’t worry. We won’t be caught so easily.」Nie Yan coldly chuckled. He casually glanced at the guild chat. It was filled with the messages of countless members showing their support for him and the others, as well as telling them to all come back.
「Boss! Please, all of you should return! To everyone in the guild, the safety of you and the others is the most important thing. You’ve already killed over 500 of those bastards from Unhindered. You guys are the glory of our guild!」- Paladin of the Elegy
「Boss, please come back soon. We miss you...」- Sugar Cane
Although the guild members no longer had any thoughts of charging into Kiln Fire Woods thanks to the repeated reminders from Guo Huai, they were still extremely concerned about the safety of Nie Yan’s group.
As Nie Yan looked through all these messages, the corners of his mouth curved into a smile.
“Victorious Return’s forces are coming?” Young Seven asked.
Nie Yan nodded.
“How many?” Bladelight asked. He didn’t expect them to arrive so soon.
“Around 20,000 to 30,000,” Nie Yan replied. With such a large force arriving, he estimated they would be able to cover all of Kiln Fire Woods. It would basically become impossible for his group to launch any more sneak attacks.
There were just too many enemy players securing the map. If they dared to mount another ambush, the nearby forces would quickly arrive to surround them. Where could they possibly run off to then?
He wasn’t foolish enough to use a chicken’s egg to crack a stone.
“Should we go back now?” Young Seven asked. Taking a step back was also a type of strategy. They had already achieved great results. Withdrawing now would still be a win for them. However, if all ten of them were wiped out, then the outside world would view it as Victorious Return turning the tables on them.
Each of them killed at least 50 players, some even over 100. If they died now, they would drop at least five or even six levels. It was a loss they couldn’t afford to take.
“I’ll send you guys back,” Nie Yan said with a smile. They were the top elites of the guild. Asskickers United would suffer a tremendous blow if they died.
Young Seven and the others wrinkled their brows at the meaning behind those words. Nie Yan wouldn’t be going back with them? He was planning on staying behind?
“What are you going to do?” Bladelight asked. Nie Yan wasn’t planning on dealing with Victorious Return all by himself, right?
“Don’t worry about me. I won’t treat my level and equipment as a joke,” Nie Yan reassured. He had long since formulated a plan. His previous actions were merely a precursor to the main event.
Victorious Return would truly feel the wrath of Asskickers United!
「Nie Yan, we’ve located their main team! They’re doing the Shadow Marsh dungeon right now!」Guo Huai said in an excited tone. It wasn’t easy for him to grasp ahold the movements of Victorious Return’s main team, but he had discovered them just as they were about to run Shadow Marsh.
「Has the task force been formed yet?」Nie Yan asked. He doubted Guo Huai would be able to work so quickly.
「No, not yet. But I’ve already gathered over fifty players. They’re all Thieves who’ve shown decent skill in the past. Although the task force still isn’t fully formed yet, I think they should be more than enough to deal with Victorious Return’s main team. Even if we can’t completely annihilate them, we can still peel off a layer of skin. That’ll let them know that we aren’t so easy to bully!」Guo Huai said, brimming with confidence. Every single one of these fifty-some-odd Thieves was a top ranking player. All of them signed contracts with the guild, and were already outfitted with the very best equipment the guild had to offer. Their PvP abilities absolutely were by no means weak either.
「Don’t be rash. If you can’t find a suitable opportunity, then so be it. We don’t want to alert the enemy too early,」Nie Yan reminded him. Since Victorious Return dared to move against them, it was safe to assume that the main team of Victorious Return was already on high alert for any counter-offensives. They wouldn’t be an easy target to surround, let alone annihilate. If Asskickers United was going to deal a blow to Victorious Return, it needed to be decisive!
「Alright, I understand,」Guo Huai replied.
Nie Yan’s group entered the lava caverns, then headed toward an exit outside of Kiln Fire Woods.
“You guys have to be careful. You’ll probably encounter Victorious Return players on the road. It’s best if you guys found a safe spot to hide first,” Nie Yan cautioned Young Seven and the others. He turned to Sun and said, “You have to pay extra attention to your surroundings. You’re the only Thief in the group now, so it’s your job to guide them safely. Be extra cautious when you scout ahead!”
Sun nodded, a resolute expression on his face. “Big Brother, you can put your faith in me!”
“If all of us get out alive, I bet the people from Victorious Return will be fuming so much that smoke will come out of their heads!” Blowhard Summer Bug said with a smile. The atmosphere around them lightened significantly.
“We did great on this operation. We killed 567 enemies without a single casualty!” Undying Scoundrel exclaimed.
As the group travelled through the dark tunnels of the lava caverns, the heat from the churning magma below the ground boiled the very air around them.
“This place is too damn hot!” Monochrome and the others grumbled.
“It’s a great spot.” Nie Yan smiled mysteriously but didn’t explain any further.
The many Viper Flies backed away as Nie Yan’s group passed through. Soon, they left the vicinity of Kiln Fire Woods and arrived near the exit just outside of the map.