With team activities like these, Swift Maple would definitely be invited to participate. That was why he knew where they were going.
According to the intel provided by Swift Maple, the team running the Baleful Beast Basin dungeon consisted of 20 top elites from Angel Corps. Leading the team was Stone Splitter. Even without Soaring Angel, the line-up was still pretty powerful. There were two Masters, Stone Splitter and a fire Elementalist called Drifting.
As time went on, more large guilds placed greater importance on Masters. The number of Masters was steadily increasing. Asskickers United’s Wood Grace and Natural Fiend as well as Angel Corps’ Stone Splitter and Drifting were the most recent Masters.
At present, there were 26 Masters in the entire server, of which 18 belonged to Asskickers United.
This Angel Corps team led by two Masters was worth taking action against.
By killing several of Angel Corps’ elites, Nie Yan would be declaring to Soaring Angel that he, the Mad Rogue, had arrived in the Satreen Empire!
As Nie Yan walked through the streets, he occasionally brushed past players from Angel Corps. However, none of them recognized him.
Looking around, almost a third of the shops in Orc King City carried the insignia of Angel Corps. One could imagine how deep their influence ran here. Ordinary shops couldn’t operate here without their permission. Of course, this didn’t apply to the Starry Night Potion Shop.
Nie Yan was a Great Prophet. This title was highly revered and recognized in both the Viridian Empire and Satreen Empire. His businesses were under the protection of both nations. If Angel Corps were to try and stir up trouble for the Starry Night Potion Shop, the guards would throw them in jail.
Even though Soaring Angel had acquired the title of Marquis in the Satreen Empire, the Great Prophet title made Nie Yan equivalent to a Duke. At any given time, there were no more than 10 dukes in a nation. This was a status almost no one would ever achieve.
Soaring Angel would be seeking his own doom if he tried to mess with the Starry Night Potion Shop.
Not to mention Angel Corps gained nothing from the Starry Night Potion Shop closing down. They couldn’t possibly go without their potions. The Starry Night Potion Shop was operating a monopoly. If it disappeared, where would they go to get potions?
Nie Yan felt pleased. Though he spotted many Angel Corps shops, none of them were as eye catching as his Starry Night Potion Shop. Perhaps its location was a little remote, but business was still booming. It was packed with customers. When others passed by this area, they would mistake it for the city center. The Tier 16 Starry Night Potion Shop became a landmark of this area. Its 16 floors were a grand sight, rivalling that of the large auction houses.
Nie Yan passed by the entrance of the Starry Night Potion Shop. Seeing how busy it was, he was extremely pleased.
Slowly but surely, Nie Yan familiarized himself with the layout of Orc King City. After passing several more streets, he entered the transfer area.
With a flash of light, the scenery before Nie Yan blurred. When he opened his eyes again, he was no longer in the bustling Orc King City but in a small town located in the barrens. There were only a few shabby houses in the surroundings, and sand was blowing everywhere. Looking out in the distance, he was greeted by a vast expanse of yellow sand. No plants grew here.
Nie Yan looked toward the town center, where he quickly spotted his targets. Stone Splitter, Swift Maple, and the rest of their team were gathered together discussing something. Likely, they were still making some preparations.
The town center was a square occupied by a few NPC vendors. This was a Level 150 map. At this stage of the game, few players came here. Angel Corps’ elite team could be counted as the pioneers of this place. They sought to explore untrekked land.
Nie Yan immediately singled out Stone Splitter. His big burly body was hard to miss. He didn’t know who the other Master was. Scanning the group, his eyes landed on a Mage standing beside Stone Splitter. It was a youth in his mid twenties. He wore crimson robes which radiated a flame aura and wielded a redwood staff with a fist-sized, dazzling red gem affixed to the tip. This player was probably Drifting. Judging from his attire, he clearly specialized in fire magic.
Nie Yan approached one of the NPC vendors at the edge of the square and pretended he was buying goods.
As Swift Maple chatted with the players around him, he caught sight of Nie Yan from the corner of his eye. He’s here!
Even though this elite team of Angels Corps comprised 20 players, Swift Maple had a strong feeling that they still weren’t Nie Yan’s match. Thinking about how he was going to see Nie Yan take action personally, his heart raced with excitement.
Apart from Swift Maple, the others also noticed Nie Yan.
“Who cares? Probably just a passing solo player.”
They were completely unconcerned. From their point of view, this was Angel Corps’ territory. Who would dare to act against them? Even if several hundred or even up to a thousand enemies surrounded them, they wouldn’t be the least bit afraid, let alone a single player. They didn’t spare Nie Yan a second thought and continued on with their conversation.
“No one forgot anything?” Stone Splitter asked.
“We’re all good to go. We’re just waiting for Brilliant to bring over some potions.”
“The Starry Night Potion Shop really are black-hearted. A single Fire Resistance Potion costs 2,000 gold a bottle. It’s pretty much highway robbery. That’s close to a third of the profits from a single run of Baleful Beast Basin!” Drifting gloomily complained.
“Nothing we can do. Only the Starry Night Potion Shop sells it. They control the prices. No reason for them to sell rare items for cheap. I heard it can only be crafted by Grandmaster Alchemists. All of the Grandmaster Alchemists in both the Viridian Empire and Satreen Empire belong to the Starry Night Potion Shop,” Stone Splitter said helplessly.
“That’s just the way the world works. Men seek higher lands while the waters flow downstream. An Advanced Alchemist can make about 20–30 gold a day working freelance. If they join a guild, they might get lucky and make 50–60 gold a day. But if they join the Starry Night Potion Shop, their base salary is 100 gold a day. If I were in their shoes, I’d go work there too,” a Mage said. Seeing the expressions of his teammates, he immediately knew he said something he shouldn’t have. He hurriedly explained himself. “I-i-i’m just saying. Not like I would really go work for them, you know?”
“Alright, alright. Guys, don’t mind Black Bull. It was an ill-timed joke, nothing more. We might not be as rich as Asskickers United, but since we’re all here together, let’s do our best to support Soaring Angel. When the guild expands, we’ll naturally be rewarded for our efforts,” Stone Splitter said. He understood Angel Corps’ current situation. Asskickers United was constantly trying to poach their players away, so the atmosphere in the guild grew a little restless.
They no longer lingered on this topic. After a while, a Warrior stepped out of the Branston Town transfer point. He rushed over to Stone Splitter and the others.
“I’ve got the potions!”
“Good. We’re all set to go then,” Stone Splitter said.
The team departed from Branston Town.
Following after his teammates, Swift Maple glanced back at Nie Yan and sent him a message.
「Boss, when are you planning to take action?」
「When you guys are some distance away from Branston Town,」Nie Yan replied. He didn’t want to follow them all the way to the dungeon. That would be a waste of time. But he couldn’t act too quickly either, lest his targets ran back to the safety of Branston Town.
「When you ambush us, don’t hold back. Kill me first. That way, I’ll avoid attracting suspicion,」Swift Maple said. He was prepared to die.
「I can’t kill all 20 of you, it’s too much. A few of you are bound to escape. You can flee along with them,」Nie Yan said.
「No one outside of Soaring Angel and the 20 of us know about this dungeon run. If we end up getting ambushed, they’ll definitely suspect a mole. Those who are killed will likely get eliminated off the list of suspects. Also, when you take action, make sure to leave Horny Black Bull alive,」Swift Maple said.
Nie Yan understood Swift Maple’s plan. This fellow was pretty crafty and meticulous. He’d avoid attracting suspicion to himself because he would be one of the victims of the ambush, while simultaneously framing Horny Black Bull by having Nie Yan spare him. Like this, Horny Black Bull would quickly become the prime suspect, causing internal strife to erupt among them.
Swift Maple was an excellent spy.
Swift Maple’s plan was perfect. Nie Yan couldn’t find any reason to refuse it. After killing Swift Maple, he could only figure out a way to compensate him. A person like this was definitely worthy of nurturing.
Swift Maple was like a ticking time bomb by the side of Soaring Angel. Nie Yan rubbed his chin. Should he try making plans to have Swift Maple earn Soaring Angel’s trust? Like this, as his position rose higher, he would know more about Angel Corps’ secrets.
Thinking to this point, Nie Yan faintly smiled. He looked toward the town’s entrance. Stone Splitter’s team had already left, their silhouettes getting farther and farther away.
Seeing their receding backs, Nie Yan activated stealth and disappeared into the background.
「Take out the compass. Let’s confirm we’re going in the right direction,」Stone Splitter said. The wind blew the sand into the air, making it hard to tell right from left. Without something to check their direction, they would easily lose their way.
Drifting took out a small circular wooden object. After checking where the needle was pointing, he pointed toward the distance and said, “We have to walk in that direction.”
The team braved through the sandstorm. Little did they know that hidden behind these sandy winds, danger was slowly approaching them.
Nie Yan was hidden in stealth and only 20 or so meters behind them. He was silently tailing them, waiting for the perfect opportunity to strike.
The sandstorm greatly reduced visibility, giving Nie Yan a huge advantage when launching an ambush.
They were still within 100 meters from Branston Town. Nie Yan wouldn’t take action until they were a little farther away. Like this, Stone Splitter’s team couldn’t flee back to town.
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