On that night, not even an hour into the event, a completely unforeseen server-wide announcement rang out.
“Congratulations, Guild I Die For Riches, on conquering Sakura-3.”
“Guild I Die For Riches has been awarded an additional reward: Guild Reputation +5,000.”
“One of the Four Great Seals of the battlefield has been unsealed. Keep it up, brave players!”
I Die For Riches was one of the rising stars among the many guilds in Asgard Online. One look at their name would tell all they’re related to money. Thus, most of the players within that guild were paying players, especially since there were no conversion restrictions after Level 100. The amount of cash they sunk into the game per month was a very substantial number.
The medium- and small-sized guilds instantly turned their attentions to the remaining “3” fortresses. The reward for participating in Guild Wars was 100 Reputation per event. The reward to having a fortress to the end of the event was 1,000 Reputation. The additional reward announced was so much more enticing. It’d dramatically reduce the gap between them and the big guilds. The battlefield was also a large-scale battle. They could throw out their skills and attacks however they pleased and their guildmates won’t be hurt. It wasn’t completely impossible for them to sneakily conquer a fortress among the confusion. Otherwise, just being able to cause more trouble for the big guilds was better than anything else.
The guild chat of Suicide Squad, a subsidiary of the Heretic Demons, was silent. During the event, only the guild leaders and urgent messages could go through the guild chat. No one was allowed to just chat on it. Each party had their own party chat anyway. There was also a special channel between the party leaders that they had applied for in the game. Any orders could be swiftly sent and received. (It’s akin to a temporary party. Anyone could join, enabling communication between different parties and guilds. The game would charge the players according to the amount of time the channel was used and the number of members in it.)
As the piloting healers were only responsible for opening portals to their destinations at their designated spots, a major Teleport shift notice was done through the Acolyte Squad Leader’s private messages. Hence, they didn’t need to take up a spot in a party. There were only so many that could fit in one party. And so, XiaoYu was unable to know the details of the battlefield even after officially joining Heretic Demons. However, he could still feel that their plan for conquering Prole-3 wasn’t going as smoothly as they wished.
Because XiaoYu had just joined the guild during the day, a lot of Suicide Squad members still remembered him. At the start of the event, they would wave at him and said hi before running through his Portal. A few of the female players even blew kisses at him. XiaoYu felt so awkward. But ever since the announcement about the fall of Sakura-3, all of them would rush into his Portal with serious faces. They had no mood to even say hi. (A black triangle would float above the heads of guildmates. A red triangle above fellow party members. Gold triangles for friends. It was so players could easily find their own people in a crowd. Players could also choose to hide them.)
All XiaoYu could do was pray for everyone in his heart.
“Xiao-Yu, open up 30 Portals now and hurry over through the back door of the NPC Item Shop.” Out of the blue, XiaoYu heard I_Am_A_Poor_Man’s voice. He didn’t ask any questions. Soon, a series of portals were opened up and squished together in a tiny space. Then, XiaoYu ran straight into the back of the Item Shop as ordered. The NPC shopkeeper who was sleeping on the counter was frightened out of his wits.
Through the back door was a dark, dank alley. This time, XiaoYu was the one being scared out of his wits. HereticKing, Poor_Man, Below_The_Moon and Egg_Tart were all there.
“Here.” I_Am_A_Poor_Man was too lazy to bother with the transaction interface. He dropped five dictionary-thick books into XiaoYu’s arms. Those were the Bibles he’d found in an entire afternoon. For now, this little thing was seriously hard to get.
“Use them now?” asked XiaoYu.
“Yes, for all four of us. Eggy is one of us. He won’t spill. Don’t worry.” It wasn’t in the plan to get XiaoYu to use the special Bishop skills, but there were nearly double the number of players in Prole-3 after that public announcement. The rather messy battlefield had turned into a free-for-all.
No matter what, the Heretic Demons can’t let any other guilds, much less some unknown little guild, take down Prole-3 before they could. Thus, they decided the Guild Leader would head into the battle with a few elites. The elites HereticKing was bringing along weren’t just the people in here, but there weren’t enough Bibles. So, he only chose four to go with him to be buffed up. One was left behind for emergencies.
As for why they were in such an eerie corner, XiaoYu’s level was so low that he had no way to protect himself at the moment. Because of that, HereticKing requested Poor_Man to ensure XiaoYu’s safety at all times. They must not risk exposing him. If not, HereticKing would rather go without those buffs.
“Come, eat this pill.” Below_The_Moon shoved a blue pill into XiaoYu’s mouth. This was a rare recipe he got during a special mission. This pill would grant a buff that’ll decrease chant times by 5% for 5 minutes. It’s not very useful and he didn’t make a lot. But when faced against Obsecro that had require a whole minute of chanting, it’s kind of helpful.
The pill didn’t taste like anything. XiaoYu swallowed it down, opened up a Bible from the pile in his arms and began chanting. One after another, he chanted nonstop. Four players, four minutes. Minus 5%, it was twelve seconds less. Just the three-plus minutes of chanting had him panting in exhaustion. Admiration rose for the wizards who had to chant for those top-tier spells. Chanting for over ten minutes would be enough to split one’s mouth sideways.
“Be careful.” Before stepping into the portal I_Am_A_Poor_Man opened up for him, HereticKing patted XiaoYu’s head. Then, as if he suddenly realised that there was no one safer in the event than a piloting healer, his hand froze.
“Good luck.” XiaoYu didn’t notice the frozen hand. The only thing that filled his mind was hoping everyone would be safe and that the Heretic Demons would win. Also known as he was filled to the brim with team spirit.
“Mn.” HereticKing felt so honoured by XiaoYu’s words. He could tell that XiaoYu was sincerely wishing them luck from the bottom of his heart. As he vanished into the light of the portal, he was determined to work harder. He didn’t want to let the boy worry.
“Relax. Chief’s current motivation level is at 200%.” Last to disappear into the portal, I_Am_A_Poor_Man flashed a wink at XiaoYu.
XiaoYu didn’t really get what the other meant. All he could think of was how he must hurry back to maintain his Portals. If the flight he was in charge of stopped, he’d be committing a major offence.
A rush of wind blast past the store counter and the NPC shopkeeper was once again stunned awake. He really felt like flipping a table then. Will these players just let a guy nap?
XiaoYu was back at his position the instant he left the shop. No one really paid attention to XiaoYu’s disappearance for five minutes. All they cared about was whether there were enough portals left behind.
XiaoYu really hoped the Heretic Demons could conquer Prole-3, but the gods can’t always be on his side. All the way through to the end of the announcement, he never heard any indications of their victory.
He was rather disappointed. His fellow guild members around him looked disappointed too. Still, he knew the most disappointed of them all would be HereticKing and the gang. Fortunately, Prole-3 didn’t fall into the hands of other guilds either. They could continue the fight next week.
“Xiao-Yu, come to the Storage in the North-West District of the Town of QingHe.” A message from I_Am_A_Poor_Man reached XiaoYu, who was packed up and ready to head back to the capital. Wasn’t it time for the higher-ups’ meeting? Why was he being called over? Despite the strangeness he felt, his feet had already begun their trek to his new destination.
“Is there something you need, Big Brother Poor?” he asked.
“These are for you. I’ll be on a four-days trip to Japan tomorrow. I’m scared I’d forget about it all due to all that work.” As I_Am_A_Poor_Man said so, he transferred an array of flowery items to XiaoYu: Teleport Vouchers, Tasting Coupons, Tier-1 Fire Arrow Scrolls, Tier-1 Ice Arrow Scrolls, etc. XiaoYu was shocked at the sight of the Transfer tab. (Magic Scrolls: The player could use the spell engraved once. The attack power will vary according to the user’s stats.)
“T-There’s so many.”
“They’re just some toys. Once my Storage Box is full, I’ll be throwing them out anyway. Might as well let you use them,” came the reply.
“Thank you. Don’t you need to go for a meeting?”
“No. Chief’s going off on the trip tomorrow too. We’ll do a debrief after we’re back from Japan.”
“The battle just now…Is Yao okay?”
“You’re so biased, Xiao-Yu. You’re not even worried about weak little me. I’m of a lower level.”
“My bad. I’m sorry.” A sweat drop formed on XiaoYu’s forehead.
“Chief didn’t die, but he was stabbed a few times by GloryOfTheWorld.”
“The Wings?” XiaoYu was shocked. Yao got hurt?
“Yup. Who knows what’s wrong with them? They actually came over to Prole-3 to cause trouble. Looks like they think the Serica region’s too boring for them.” They were finally able to take control of the situation. They were slowly making their way to the Crystal Room. In the end, they bumped into the elite team from the Angel Wings led by GloryOfTheWorld. Thus, a grand battle was had between the two troupes of top-tier players.
Glory must’ve had some special buff or equipment. In the duel between the two leaders, I_Am_A_Poor_Man only saw sparks of metal clashing and debuff after debuff on HereticKing. While they didn’t affect HereticKing much, randomly getting slowed down and silenced time after time would’ve thrown anyone off their beat. Hence, an accidental step meant he was stabbed by GloryOfTheWorld’s spear. Of course, HereticKing’s stats were rather insane. Glory was slashed a couple of times. No one had the clear upper hand.
After such a long struggle, all the way until just before they were all ejected from Prole-3 at the end of the event, the two parties were duking it out. Slashing, stabbing, dodging. All tangled together and unwilling to stop.
I_Am_A_Poor_Man’s description was enough to fuel XiaoYu’s imagination. He could see the chaos that happened. If he had been there, he might be panicking and lost.
“XiaoYu?” When HereticKing reunited with I_Am_A_Poor_Man after repairing his equipment, he saw a familiar figure. It was getting dark though, so he wasn’t certain.
As soon as XiaoYu turned around, he spotted HereticKing walking over. It was probably due to the chilling and chaotic description before; XiaoYu sprinted over to HereticKing and inspected the other from head to toe. Occasionally, he brushed his hands against the other man’s chest and shoulders as if trying to confirm any injuries.
HereticKing was stiff with shock at XiaoYu’s actions. Then, he saw I_Am_A_Poor_Man’s goofy smile and the hand guiltily scratching at his cheek. A blabbermouth had told XiaoYu about what happened in the battlefield.
He looked down at XiaoYu’s worried face. Suddenly, he felt a strong urge to hug this silly billy. Could the other have forgotten this was all a game? Once his health recovered and his armour repaired, he’d be all fine?
HereticKing had always been more about actions than talking. The moment he pondered about all that, his arms were in the middle of circling around that lanky body and pulling it against his. He leaned low and whispered into XiaoYu’s ear, “I’m fine. I’m all healed up.”
XiaoYu stood there and allowed HereticKing to embrace him for as long as the other wanted to. He wasn’t scared or shocked. He just thought the other might need some comfort after all that disappointment. He closed his eyes. Just fill in as a plush toy for now.
Down by the feet of the two men was a tiny cat, circling round and round. Despicable humans. It wants a hug too >o<.