Chapter 590: Persuasion via Empathy

"Alright, less looking, more fighting!"

I turned back toward the guild players and said, "This canyon is overflowing with very high-level Night Creatures, so I would advise all of you to exercise caution. Anyone who isn’t playing a metal-armor class should not ,under any circumstances, get close to a mob, because they’ll one-shot you. To be honest, I would even suggest you move to a different leveling map, Freezing Point. You may lose a lot of people if you stay here."

Freezing Point nodded but said, "I want to give it a try. Please believe in our abilities."

I didn’t say anything else and returned to Lin Yixin’s side.

……

"A shame that that pretty little loli slipped through your hands, eh?" Lin Yixin said cheekily while looking at the direction Cute Little Naughty vanished to.

I pursed my lips and defended myself. "Yiyi, I must inform you that I haven’t saved Naughty because she’s pretty. I just don’t want a subguild of Ancient Sword Dreaming Souls to lose their morals. Also, I was thinking of recruiting her to our guild. You saw her technique just now, didn’t you? What do you think?"

Lin Yixin blinked once before answering, "Oh, there are a lot of good assassins in China. Assuming that Paralyzing Wind of Sorrow is the bar for perfect performance, then Farewell Song’s score is between 95 to 100, Moonkiss’s is between 90 to 95, and this Cute Little Naughty is between 80 to 85. Unfortunately, her equipment doesn’t match her skill at all. It’s so bad that she can’t even beat this Freezing Point."

I nodded and sucked in a deep breath. "Yes, her biggest weakness right now is her terrible equipment. If we can recruit her to the guild and provide her with what she needs, she could probably become an excellent assassin. Ancient Sword Dreaming Souls had never had a good assassin, so I’ve been hoping to find someone who can hold our banner for that class. Since Moonkiss doesn’t want to join us, this Cute Little Naughty is a pretty good alternative. She’s responsible, she has principles, she’s innocent…"

Lin Yixin cocked her head at me. "I knew it! The real reason you want her is because she exudes an aura of innocence! Hmph hmph, I’ve finally figured you out!"

"What are you talking about? I’m just stating facts here…"

"Tch, stop lying and admit to the truth already!"

"Let’s get back to the quest, please…"

"Mn."

……

At the distance, Freezing Point was fighting the Night Creatures with the subguild. However, things weren’t going well for them, and they lost almost a hundred players in less than ten minutes. Even then, they refused to back down and doggedly tried to do the impossible. Instead of interfering, I simply watched from afar with a frown on my face.

Lin Yixin also noticed this, and she said softly, "Little Cheat, do you really can’t see that this eighth subguild is very averse toward you? And even if that’s not the case, why would you choose a bastard like him to be the guild leader of your subguild? If it was me, I would’ve kicked him out of my guild a long time ago, that immoral bastard…"

I let out a bitter chuckle. "Well, it’s necessary to recruit a subordinate of his."

"Who’s that?"

"Lu Buyi!"

"Oh, that guy with the Miraculous Tactician class? I’ve actually heard about him before; he’s a pretty famous guy among tacticians. I had no idea he was a subordinate of Freezing Point though, what a shame. Well, I understand your conundrum now. If you don’t deal with Freezing Point carefully, Lu Buyi may reject you altogether."

I nodded. "Exactly. It’s the only reason I was extra polite with Freezing Point despite everything. You know me, I would’ve kicked him from the guild and turned most of his players against him on the spot if this wasn’t the case. There would be people that wouldn’t listen to me, but I estimate their number to be a thousand at most. After all, the majority of the players there wanted to join Ancient Sword Dreaming Souls, not his guild."

"Yeah!"

Lin Yixin gave me a smile, and we went back to the grind.

We grinded until nighttime, and finally a column of golden light surrounded me and raised me to Level 143. It was a slog, but considering my level, it was very good already.

A thousand thoughts raced in my mind as I grinded with Lin Yixin. However, I ultimately decided to search Cute Little Naughty’s name and sent her a friend request.

It took almost two minutes, but in the end I received a system notice: Player "Cute Little Naughty" has accepted your friend request!

"Are you… that big brother who saved me earlier?" Cute Little Naughty sent me a message.

"Yes, it’s me," I replied.

"What is your business? Do you have something you want to say to me?" she asked.

"Naughty, I sincerely apologize for what happened earlier again. Are you really not willing to accept my offer for compensation earlier?"

"I…"

Cute Little Naughty’s voice sounded soft and gentle. "Brother Broken Halberd, I am aware of a weakling’s responsibility. We died, so we lost our equipment. That is all there is to it…"

"Naughty, that doesn’t change the fact that I have a responsibility to fix this."

"Of course you do!" Cute Little Naughty murmured, "You are the vice leader of the legendary Ancient Sword Dreaming Souls, and you failed to educate your subordinates properly. Who else is responsible if not you…? Because of you, big bro Cyan Hill and big bro Coming Wind lost their equipment. Do you know that it took Cyan Hill two months of salary to buy that 2-star Outstanding weapon? I… I need to work harder so I can make him a weapon that’s as good…"

Speechlessness took hold of me for a moment. "How many of you are together, by the way? Why don’t you have your own guild?"

"Eight of us are friends in real life. We didn’t make a guild because a Guild Token is super expensive. It costs over 4000 gold to buy one, and our numbers are few. The benefits just don't justify the cost."

I smiled. "Your party must’ve been bullied a lot because of this."

"Yeah!" Cute Little Naughty nodded strongly as she replied in an aggrieved tone, "We’ve all been camped several times in the game, and the worst one was Flower Room camping our bodies for a whole day and night at a Bear Canyon at Sky Forest. Almost all of us lost at least five levels that day, it was terrible…"

I agreed. "Yeah, campers are the worst. I had experienced that myself, and I was so angry that I honed my skills everyday. Today, I’m the one who camps their bodies…"

"Hehe…" Cute Little Naughty finally broke into a smile. "Is that true? You’re a legendary CGL Hall of Famer though."

"Not only that, I’ve dropped all the way down to Level 0 before. CGL Hall of Famers are human too, you know. But despite the setback, I was able to level myself up again. After all, the strongest person in the world is the one who keeps getting back up no matter how many times they are beaten, am I right?"

"Yeah." Cute Little Naughty agreed with a smile before saying in a regretful tone, "It’s too bad I don’t have your talent, Brother Broken Halberd. I was always the slow one. It’s why I always do my best to protect my friends. I always fail though. Ahhh. If only I was strong, I could save my friends instead of watching them get camped from afar..."

I inhaled deeply. "I understand your feelings."

Then, I changed my tone. "If I say I can give you a chance to become strong enough to protect your friends, will you accept it, Naughty?"

"Mn, of course!"

After that long talk, we had finally gotten down to business. I said in a very serious tone, "On behalf of all the executives of Ancient Sword Dreaming Souls, I would like to extend a guild invitation to you and your friends. Trust me, Naughty, my judgment of people is never wrong. Once you’ve joined us, I promise you will become one of the best assassins in all of China. When that day comes, you will have more than enough strength to protect your friends…"

Cute Little Naughty exclaimed in shock, "Am I hearing this right? Are you inviting me to join Ancient Sword Dreaming Souls, Brother Broken Halberd?"

"Mn. Do you accept?"

"I…"

Hesitation, hope, worry. I could clearly see a mix of emotions fleeting across Naughty’s face through the interface. She murmured, "Please allow me to discuss this with my friends first."

"Okay."

Cute Little Naughty cut off the connection for a moment. Less than two minutes later, she called me back and said helplessly, "I’m sorry, big bro Cyan Hill and big bro Coming Wind both refuse to join your guild. They say they’ll never join you for as long as Freezing Point is in your guild…"

I felt a bit deflated. "What about you, Naughty? Will you join us?"

"I…"

Cute Little Naughty was hesitating when her expression changed all of a sudden. I saw her looking in a certain direction before whispering to me, "Oh no, I can’t talk to you anymore, Brother Broken Halberd. Someone just killed Cyan Hill… it’s Flower Room! Oh no, we’re going to get camped again, and there are so many people…"

"Tell me your coordinates now!"

"Dragonbone Mountain Range (12874, 0929). Are you coming, Brother Broken Halberd?"

"Yeah, just hang on until I arrive!"

"Oh…"

……

I turned off the communicator and turned to Lin Yixin. "Yiyi, Cute Little Naughty and her party just got attacked by Flower Room. I need to help them!"

"Oh oh, are you trying to play the hero and win the princess’s heart?"

"What the fuck, I’m just trying to recruit her to the guild, okay?” I sighed. “I want this assassin so bad…"

Lin Yixin smiled sweetly. "Okay, okay. I’ll come with you. I have nothing to do right now, and there’s no point fighting these mobs on my own. Did you know that this idiot Li Le leaves a love letter in my mailbox everyday? After a while, he got so lazy that he started printing the letters instead of writing them! Have you ever seen such a shameless bastard in your life? Let’s beat him up together, okay?"

"Sure. That is shameless…"

"Yeah, yeah!"

……

We gave up the low-health Corrosive Worms we were fighting, swept the battlefield for a bit and left immediately. After the Ice Fox cleared out a group of Corrosive Worms with Ice Rain, we successfully broke out of the valley and ran toward the coordinates Cute Little Naughty had left me.

A large party appeared in front of us in less than five minutes. They all belonged to Flower Room, and their levels were very high. However, I didn’t recognize anyone in the party. They were players of Flower Room’s first subguild, and their levels ranged between 128 and 135. There were about 80 of them, and Cute Little Naughty’s party was forced back into a corner of the map.

A body was lying flat on the ground. It was Cute Little Naughty’s big brother, the elf warrior named Cyan Hill.

A Level 129 Flower Room assassin was sitting on top of Cyan Hill’s body eating bread. He abruptly spat a mouthful of saliva and bread crumbs on the elf warrior’s face before chuckling, "How dare these trash come this far to grind. Don’t break formation, and make sure you kill that Cute Little Naughty, brothers. Young Master Le wants to have a go at her, hahahaha…"

The Flower Room players gave each other a knowing and excited smile. Then, they moved toward Cute Little Naughty and her party.

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