The Forkingham Stronghold of the Century Financial Group. This was their most flourishing stronghold. The main road was bustling with people and rows of shops stretched down both sides.
Along the sides of the walls players had set up stalls and booths, where they sold their loot from the wilderness.
However, this lively metropolis concealed many hidden dangers.
Ever since Angel Corps and the Century Financial Group suffered defeat at the hands of Asskickers United above the City of Sin, the goods for sale here had their prices increased by double.
If the Century Financial Group kept this tactic up after every defeat, even the thriving commerce of the Forkingham Stronghold would go up in smoke.
A group of 13 players were walking down the street. They belonged to Mad Devil, a subordinate guild under the Century Financial Group. They were in charge of overseeing this stronghold. They used to walk around like they owned the place. Now, however, their pride appeared to have taken a huge blow.
When the Century Financial Group had put Mad Devil in charge of the Forkingham Stronghold, they’d given them free reign. So, the merchants seeking to do business here would fawn over the players from Mad Devil, for fear of offending them. Now, however, the Century Financial group started meddling in how to run this stronghold. Mad Devil were to do their best to appease the merchants. If they failed to do so and the entire market in the stronghold were to crash, the guild would suffer extremely severe losses.
Unfortunately, appeasing alone wasn’t enough to keep the merchants around any longer. Many of them closed down their shops and left the Forkingham Stronghold. Their destination was the Abernathy Great Grasslands. Asskickers United had drawn up many attractive policies to help businesses flourish. Not to mention its great location between the two great empires. Competitors of every market were selling their goods and services here. Security wasn’t a concern for the merchants either. Since Asskickers United had won the last several battles, with most competition taken out, they felt that the Abernathy Great Grasslands was absolutely a safe place to set up a business.
Mad Devil’s income plummeted as a small exodus took place in the Forkingham Stronghold. With trade dying in their stronghold, they could only rely on the welfare provided by the Century Financial Group.
“God dammit! Another six shops announced they’re closing down and selling their property. Their listed price is even 30% less than what they originally paid for it! To think these penny-pinching money-grubbers are actually willing to take a loss!” a Warrior from Mad Devil grumbled.
“Nothing we can do about it. It’s not like we can stop them from selling their shops. It would only cause more businesses to start fleeing the city,” an elven Mage in azure robes said. He was the leader of this group.
“Gale, is there nothing we can do?”
The elven Mage called Gale shook his head with a bitter smile. “What could we possibly do? We can only hope that Angel Corps and the Century Financial Group win some of their next battles. That might pacify some of these businesses. We will probably lose everything otherwise. They’re all aware that if Asskickers United’s troops arrive at the gates of this stronghold, their shops will be worth even less money.”
Previously, whenever they strolled through the streets, many people would approach them to try and curry favour. Now, whenever people saw the Mad Devil guild emblem on their chests, they would duck their heads and quickly walk past.
Gale was Mad Devil’s number one expert and also one of Cao Xu’s direct subordinates. Even he didn’t have much faith in the Century Financial Group and Angel Corps turning this around. Glancing at the Chapter of Silvermoon in his bag, he started dreaming of completing the volume. It would give him the strength to stand on his own two feet, instead of leaning on the Century Financial Group for support.
Even a direct subordinate of Cao Xu’s like Gale was filled with disloyal thoughts, to say nothing of lower rung members.
“Let’s head to the auction house and see if they have anything good for sale,” Gale said. He took a step, when his body suddenly turned rigid. His skills were all grayed out too! What was going on? A single thought flashed through his mind. An enemy attack!
If it were the wilderness, Gale definitely wouldn’t so carelessly walk into an ambush. However, this was the Forkingham Stronghold, his territory! Here, he had completely lowered his guard. Never in his wildest dreams did he expect to meet with an enemy attack here of all places!
The sharp blade of a dagger flashed before Gale’s eyes. His pupils constricted. PSFHT! PSFHT! Before he could even react, two daggers stabbed into his body. So quick! Definitely Shadow Dancers! This was his last thought before his vision went black.
At the same time Gale was killed, the 12 other players from Mad Devil also dropped dead on the ground. The Chapter of Silvermoon that dropped from his bag was picked up before it even fell on the ground.
These Thieves were gone before the bodies even hit the ground. It was almost as if they were never here in the first place.
The hundreds of players in the surroundings all witnessed this scene. They were slack-jawed. Within the short span of a few seconds, those Thieves had cleanly dealt with Gale’s group! What ruthless efficiency!
“Who were those Thieves?”
“No idea, but you can only find Thieves like that in Asskickers United!”
“Look, that’s Gale, the number one expert in Mad Devil! He’s a Magister. Yet even he didn’t stand a chance. Those Thieves are terrifying!”
The passerby felt their scalps turn numb. Asskickers United was too overbearing, actually daring to kill someone in their own territory.
The people who witnessed this scene felt an even deeper reverence for Asskickers United.
The merchants felt their trust for Mad Devil sink even lower, many of them opting to put up their shops for sale.
Cao Xu was taking a tour of the munitions factory in the Croft Stronghold. Relying on the people below him to help him win the war simply wasn’t realistic. He could only rely on his research of advanced arms. With all sorts of methods and the money to support it all, he’d acquired many advanced weapons blueprints, all in preparation for the final showdown. The sound of a voice message interrupted him.
「What’s going on?」Cao Xu asked, his deep voice carrying an unquestionable authority.
「Boss, it’s bad! Gale, Bright Night, Amber, and all of them were ambushed!」
Cao Xu’s heart sank. He recalled a certain matter. Previously, for the sake of maximizing the benefits of the chapters from the Book of Order, he’d distributed several to these subordinates. Even though he wanted to complete a volume, he didn’t have the opportunity. He instantly sensed something was wrong.「How are they?」
「They all died. The enemy was too quick. They were completely caught off guard. Asskickers United dispatched pretty much all their Shadow Dancers.」
「What about the chapters?」
「They’re all gone.」
「WHAT!? WHAT DO YOU MEAN, THEY’RE ALL GONE!?」Cao Xu’s voice rang out like thunder as he smashed his fist down on a table. The chapters he had worked so hard to get were all stolen. He was enraged! However, Gale and the others couldn’t be blamed. With Asskickers United mobilizing all their Shadow Dancers, there was no way to guard against their ambushes.
Cao Xu knitted his brows. For Asskickers United to dispatch so many Shadow Dancers to snatch the chapters, there had to be more to it. Likely, they weren’t after just these few chapters. Could it be that they already had a method to gather a volume, or maybe the entire book…?
If it were the complete Book of Order, Cao Xu didn’t dare to imagine the consequences. If Nirvana Flame were to become the Supreme Pontiff, the Century Financial Group and Angel Corps were done for.
According to the intel he gathered, several chapters were in the hands of Level 200 Demonified Lords. If Asskickers United wanted to complete the Book of Order, it wouldn’t be that simple. At best, they could maybe complete two or three volumes.
However, Cao Xu still couldn’t relax. Nirvana Flame wasn’t someone who could be judged with common sense.
Cao Xu knew he was already at the end of his road. He could only do his best to accumulate strength for the final battle with Asskickers United. The longer he delayed, the more grim his chances.
「Boss, we’re out of gold. What do we do?」
「The funds I transferred over from our gold farmers are already all spent?」
「Yes, it’s all spent, and we still need more. These past few days, our munitions factories have been burning through money like crazy. We’re spending upwards of 5,000,000 gold a day.」
Cao Xu pondered for a moment before gritting his teeth.「Go back to the real-world trading platform and buy more gold!」
「Yes, sir!」Cao Xu’s subordinate immediately got to work. He didn’t know who, but someone had listed up another 30,000,000 gold on the real-world trading platform. This would help sustain them a little bit longer.
Given Cao Xu’s personality, he wouldn’t so easily give up the business empire he’d worked so hard to build up and withdraw from Conviction. No matter how much money he would have to pour in, he would fight until the bitter end. His businesses in the game were being squeezed tight by Asskickers United. So, he could only rely on his funds from the outside.
Asskickers United was also heavily investing in the development of their war arms.
「Nie Yan, I just received an update. The Century Financial Group bought another 30,000,000 gold from the real-world trading platform. Should we continue listing up more gold? How about we stop for a bit?」Guo Huai said. He really felt apprehensive about this matter. After all, every piece of gold they listed would help their enemy grow stronger. This was playing with fire.
「It’s fine. Put up another 30,000,000 gold for sale. What’s the progress on acquiring the materials to build the Kamikaze Drakes?」Nie Yan asked. Apart from the siege weapons, he was also investing heavily into building more Kamikaze Drakes. The firepower of a single one was six times greater than that of six catapults.
「We got enough resources to build 100 more. However, the manufacturing process is still expensive,」Guo Huai said. The might of the Kamikaze Drakes was astonishing. They were also very effective against ground troops.
「Have Violet Mist pick up the pace,」Nie Yan said. The final battle could break out at any time. They had to gather as much strength as possible before then.
「Also, Sun sent back word. They’ve already collected eight chapters. All the chapters from Angel Corps and the Century Financial Group are in our hands.」
「Great work!」Nie Yan exclaimed. He knew he could count on Sun and the others.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Translator: LittleShanks (Follow me on Twitter)