Chapter 164: First Clash

“It’s you?!”

Spring Mud’s eyes turned cold before he turned toward He Yi with a frown. “Boss, why have you brought back Bloody Mercenaries?”

He Yi said calmly, “We posted a thread in the forums about our merger last night. Didn’t you see it?”

“We did not!”

Spring Mud declared loudly before saying, “Boss, I feel you didn’t think this through properly…”

“What do you mean?”

“I don’t see a reason why Ancient Sword Dreaming Souls can’t be independent and grow strong on our own, so why must we invite a hot potato like Bloody Mercenaries into our midst? Let’s not forget that they’ve made enemies out of Mad Dragon, Gods of Destruction, and who knows how many more guilds in Floating Ice City. It just doesn’t make sense to let them join us!”

Spring Mud spoke as if agreeing with him was the only right way. “Boss, please reconsider this decision!”

But before anyone could say anything, Xu Yang raised his eyebrows and yelled at him angrily, “Shut your pie hole! Lu Chen is one of the guild’s four founding elders and a core member from the very beginning! How dare you talk such nonsense in front of us!”

Angered, Spring Mud shouted right back, “You have no right to say anything, Xu Yang! Not only are you trash in the game, you’re a parasite who only knows how to feed and give nothing in return! If you weren’t a founding elder you would’ve been kicked out the guild a long time ago! Don’t even try to lord over me just because you have seniority, I’m sure the boss knows better than anyone who here has the real power to carry the guild to the top!”

“You’re the one who should shut up, you dog!”

I took a step forward and defended Xu Yang. “Who the fuck do you think you are, Spring Mud? You think you have the right to slander Xu Yang? In case you didn’t know, morals are the foremost quality we judge before we accept anyone into the guild! If I was in charge, I would’ve kicked a piece of shit who slanders his own teammate like you out of our doorstep already!”

Xu Yang shot me a grateful look before staring at Spring Mud angrily again.

Behind Spring Mud, Moon Shadow said angrily through gritted teeth, “What do you think you’re doing, Broken Halberd Sinks Into Sand? You standing up for Xu Yang? Why don’t you look at yourself in the mirror again before deciding if you have any right to stand up for anyone?”

Behind me, Gui Guzi finally lost his cool and let out a cold cackle. “Excuse me? Bloody Mercenaries have defeated Mad Dragon, took down Gods of Destruction, destroyed Peach Garden in the Who Will Fight Me tournament, and no later than yesterday slaughtered thousand-man army of Mad Dragon in Greedy Wolf Forest under boss’s leadership! We are the ones who wiped your asses after you left behind a shitty mess you couldn’t clean up yourselves! And you think we don’t have the right to stand up for Xu Yang?”

Moon Shadow retorted, “So what? The Ego workshop was paid good money to support Ancient Sword Dreaming Souls, and we came first before you lot. You latecomers should know your place!”

Gui Guzi laughed loudly before pointing straight at Moon Shadow. “I dare you to 1v1 me then, here or inside the game! The loser will shut the fuck up and obey the winner! So? What are you waiting for? Make your pick!”

Gui Guzi’s challenge caught Moon Shadow off-guard. For starters, Gui Guzi had both the psychological and physical advantage over Moon Shadow. He wasn’t a tall guy, but he had well-trained muscles and he could hit a switch and turn into a ferocious wolf if the situation called for it. People like him were the kind of enemies you didn’t want to make if at all possible. In game, the difference between Moon Shadow and Gui Guzi was even bigger. Moon Shadow was a warrior that dealt physical attacks, while Gui Guzi was a knight whose Defense and HP completely countered melee classes. There wasn’t even a shred of chance Moon Shadow could defeat the legendary Undead Knight at all.

“Gulp…”

In the end, Moon Shadow swallowed and stopped talking.

…...

He Yi didn’t say a thing throughout the verbal exchange. At the end of it, He Yi said calmly, “Shut up and get back to leveling, all of you.”

“Yes ma’am!” Gui Guzi nodded.

Spring Mud, Moon Shadow and Night Sorrow also nodded reluctantly. “We’re leaving then!”

When the crowd dispersed, a trace of disappointment flashed across He Yi’s eyes before she smiled at me. “Too bad the argument didn’t escalate to boiling point…”

I was surprised. “What do you mean? What would you have done if it did reach boiling point?”

“I would’ve gotten all the justification I need to kick them out of the guild, of course.”

He Yi smiled one last time at me before going away to the reception desk.

I sucked in a deep breath as I watched He Yi’s back. I had predicted this before we came, but it seemed like the path ahead of Bloody Mercenaries was full of thorns. Our first step was to silence all dissenting forces within the guild peacefully, but that no longer seemed possible with the three heads of the Ego workshop. Their arrogance was so blinding that it was unlikely that we would ever be able to convince them to work with us and build Ancient Sword Dreaming Souls together. Heck, they don’t even respect the strong, or they wouldn’t have been foolish enough to provoke Gui Guzi.

…...

Someone knocked on my door after I returned to my room. It was Murong Mingyue and Xu Yang.

“Hmph, I’m so pissed!”

Murong Mingyue sat down angrily on my bed.

Xu Yang also took a seat on a nearby chair and said, “Those three really are too proud for their own good. They’re literally the living stereotype of arrogant bastards!”

I gave him a smile as I leaned against the window. “Xu Yang, you must’ve suffered a lot while they were here, didn’t you?”

Xu Yang nodded. “Yeah… screw them!”

I held up a tea cup and added, “Do you know why they attacked you and only you before we came? Do you know why they didn’t attack Mingyue, for example?”

“Wait, really? I thought…” Xu Yang looked a bit confused.

Murong Mingyue chuckled. “It’s quite simple, really. Before today, you were the only man in the senior management of Ancient Sword Dreaming Souls. That’s why Spring Mud tried everything he could to drive you away…”

“But why? Wait, is it because he sees me as a threat?”

“Heh. Of course not, not in the sense you think anyway…” Murong Mingyue glanced at me intently before saying, “Did you know that Spring Mud placed a bouquet of roses on Eve’s office table a couple of days ago? Surely you understand why he did it.”

I frowned unconsciously. “Spring Mud is interested in boss?”

“Yep!” Murong Mingyue giggled. “Xu Yang is a guy, and he’s very close to Eve. If Spring Mud wants to isolate Eve and win her heart, the first thing he must do is drive Xu Yang out of the picture. Unfortunately Xu Yang is an idiot, and he fell for even the smallest attempt at provocation. Not even Eve can do much about this.”

“Oh, I see…” I said, but I wasn’t sure what to say about this.

Again, Murong Mingyue shot me a meaningful glance before smiling. “Say, do you think Spring Mud would target you now that you’ve returned in style as ‘Broken Halberd Sinks Into Sand’, leader of the fearsome Bloody Mercenaries?”

Xu Yang looked shocked. “Mingyue, are you implying that Spring Mud and those bastards would attack Lu Chen and Bloody Mercenaries now?”

She laughed. “Who knows? When jealousy strikes, nothing is impossible!”

I spent a few seconds with my thoughts before asking, “Sis, how many third-promotion players do we have right now?”

“Hmm, about fifty or so? What’s wrong? What are you planning?”

“Make a table of their data—contact number, address, class, level etc—and send it to us. Each one of us should then take 9 members each on a leveling trip tonight. Besides that, we should add them to our friend list and really socialize with them. Do you understand? If we can’t hold onto 9 members each at the minimum, I’m worried that we’ll lose them in the future!”

Murong Mingyue’s mouth fell open. “Lu Chen, are you thinking that…”

I nodded and confirmed her suspicions. “That’s right. I’m worried that the Ego workshop might try to instigate our players to leave us. If they succeed, all your efforts will be for naught!”

Murong Mingyue bit her lips and nodded strongly. “You’re right! It’s about time we plan ahead and avoid the worst. But what if Xu Yang and I can’t convince them to listen?”

I smiled. “Don’t worry, Beiming Xue, Gui Guzi and I will be taking on 10 members ourselves. Bloody Mercenaries are the champion of the “Who Will Fight Me” tournament. I’m sure we’ll be able to win their hearts over and hold onto 30 elite players at the minimum. Idol worship is incredibly common in games after all!”

Murong Mingyue smiled sweetly at me. “It feels so good to have you here~~”

I smiled back. “And I will never leave again.”

Xu Yang glanced back and forth between the two of us before asking, “Are you two confessing to each other?”

“Don’t you have something to do?” Murong Mingyue and I said in unison.

Xu Yang: “Fuck, fine, I’ll go make some instant noodles, geez…”

…...

After dinner, I set up my game equipment and went online!

Swhoosh!

I appeared inside an inn and brought up the guild page. Most of our players had already learned about the merger, and everyone looked pretty excited.

“Leader, I heard that Gui Guzi, Beiming Xue and you are already leaving for Ancient Sword Dreaming Souls. Is that true?”

“I heard that the leader of Ancient Sword Dreaming Souls is an incredible beauty. Please tell me that’s true!”

“Leader, please come visit us whenever you can!”

It was a situation that needed to be dealt with swiftly and decisively, or it might cause a lot of problems down the line.

So, I cleared my throat and said, “Brothers and sisters, we aren’t departing to Ningguta to work as slave miners, so you don’t have to worry about us. We’re joining them to hold up the banner and provide them with our support, that’s all. The three of us will always be members of Bloody Mercenaries, and again, there’s nothing to worry about. While we’re gone, please work together with the new leader, Amazing Expert, and grind that guild EXP. Let’s increase our Guild Rank to 5 as soon as possible so we can finally recruit ten thousand people and take a piece of the world for ourselves!”

My speech got a hearty laugh out of everyone. After that, I appointed Du Thirteen as the guild leader of Bloody Mercenaries and left the management of the guild to him and Mamate completely. This was a test of Du Thirteen’s mettle. A man who relied on flowery words and a handsome face to worm his way through life forever would never be respected.

Beep!

I received a message from my beautiful leader, From Water. He Yi had gone online as well. “Lu Chen, please lead Beiming Xue and Gui Guzi to the eastern square so I can add them, thank you~~”

“Got it!”

I sent a message to Beiming Xue and Gui Guzi before running to the eastern gate’s plaza myself. Soon, the strongest trio of Bloody Mercenaries appeared together and drew the gazes of countless admirers. “Holy shit, do you see that? That’s the team that won the ‘Who Will Fight Me’ tournament, the ‘Invincible Black Army’! The Undead Swordsman Broken Halberd Sinks Into Sand, the Undead Knight Gui Guzi, and the Dark Archer Beiming Xue! Damn, they’re all so amazing!”

Not long after we arrived at the square, a beautiful female magic knight appeared next to a medicine shop. It was He Yi!

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