"This is surprising. I never expected that guild leader Ewan would be one to believe in baseless rumors." Asgard responded.
"Baseless? Blue Oasis has been quite reserved in their actions as of late. However, if Blue Oasis wishes to feign ignorance and takes my Cross Haven to be a group of fools, then so be it." Wang Qiang stated in response to Asgard's reply.
He then faced towards Ewan and continued, "Since Blue Oasis wishes to meet our sincerity with deceit, we should proceed with the raid as planned. I doubt they have truly started the raid without their own guild leader present. Not to mention, raids are unpredictable. Therefore, our Cross Haven still has the chance to clear it first."
"Is a fight about to break out?" Zi Yi said as she furrowed her brows and observed the tense atmosphere between both sides.
"Considering a territory is involved, I'd say it's certainly a possibility. What will we do if Blue Oasis ends up getting into a fight with them?" Valentine questioned.
"We'll obviously fight back!" Guan Yu stated.
"This battle isn't ours to fight. Not to mention, if they wanted our help in the first place, they would have asked. Plus, if we take Blue Oasis' side here and fight along side them, then others will think that we are undoubtedly tied to them. If that happens, if these two sides were to clash and become enemies, we'd be blacklisted by Cross Haven. I don't know about the rest of you, but I'd rather not waste my time interfering in a matter that has nothing to do with us." Zi Yi explained.
She then continued, "As for the raid... It's just one raid. Regardless of what happens, we'll still be able to attempt it eventually. It would not be a big loss for us."
Halls frowned and said, "Then, are we supposed to just sit back and do nothing? It feels a little wrong to just completely wash our hands of things and pretend to look the other way. I think if it comes to it, we should fight."
"Aren't you two just eager to test your new skills? What fight? Can't the two of you understand the current situation?" Valentine said in a serious tone to Guan Yu and Halls as his gaze was locked onto Cross Haven in the distance.
Everyone was somewhat surprised by Valentine's serious behavior. Usually, he would not chime in on these types of events. To think he would take this particular situation so seriously - At least that's what everyone originally believed. However, when everyone saw the look on Valentine's face, they almost wanted to strangle him.
At the moment, Valentine had an overly excited facial expression and large grin formed on his face as he drooled uncontrollably. Although he said one thing, his facial expression completely betrayed him!
"You- Aren't you actually the one who's eager to test your skills the most?" Guan Yu commented.
Once things calmed down, everyone in Izroth's party turned their attention towards him. They had long since accepted Izroth as the leader of the party, therefore, the final decision would rest in his hands. Whether he wanted to fight with Blue Oasis or sit out, they would follow him in his choice.
"There's no need to concern ourselves with this. After all, the guild leader of Cross Haven has no intention of starting a battle with Blue Oasis. He's after something else and with that goal in mind... It looks like Blue Oasis will end up making a few concessions." Izroth said in a carefree manner.
He added, "Though if by some small chance a fight does break out, I see no reason to interfere without there being any benefit to gain from it. But, if either side dares to drag us into the battle or attacks us then, of course, we'll fight."
Niflheim had only asked Izroth to accompany him to meet the guild leader of Cross Haven. As for having an obligation to fight Blue Oasis' battles... Obviously, this was something Izroth did not believe in.
As Izroth and his party spoke, Asgard, Niflheim, Abstract, and Nidavellir gathered together to discuss the present circumstances.
"We cannot afford to wait any longer. It's obvious that Cross Haven came prepared. For their guild leader to arrive at this exact moment... I find it hard to believe that it was just a coincidence. It's possible that Ewan already has proof of the territory's existence. But, even if he doesn't, something tells me that they aren't going to back down without a proper explanation." Niflheim said quietly to Asgard, Abstract, and Nidavellir.
"The question is... How will Cross Haven react to this information? Also, just how far of a line are they willing to cross to obtain it? Those two sure know how to be annoying." Nidavellir commented with a light sigh.
"The 5th squad is in place and ready to take action at any time. Though to be blunt, direct combat against multiple enemies isn't the 5th squad's specialty by any means. Unless the others that have already gone to the true Settlement of Clearwater returns to the surface, we don't stand a chance against their current line-up." Abstract stated.
Asgard shook his head as he said, "No, I'd rather take a path that doesn't involve engaging in direct combat with Cross Haven. If things get too out of hand, we may end up starting a war between our guilds. With the world event coming up and guilds like the Headhunter Syndicate growing in power with each passing day, we cannot afford to weaken our strength. Captain Niflheim, how do you suggest we handle this matter?"
Asgard placed a great amount of trust in Niflheim when it came to these types of situations. One of the most important things about Asgard that earned him his position as the guild leader of a top guild like Blue Oasis was not his combat prowess or amazing strategic abilities. Instead, Asgard was chosen because of his ability to recruit and build talent, as well as, delegate.
Asgard knew his own strengths and weaknesses, but more than that he accepted them. Although this sounded simple, it was incredibly challenging for a person to know, let alone accept their weaknesses. To Asgard, a leader was not someone who was omnipotent or omniscient, but rather, someone who understood how to use the abilities and skills of those around them to their fullest extent. They were also someone who knew their own limits clearly, as well as, the limits of those around them.
Since Niflheim had a talent for handling situations like this, then naturally, Asgard would not ignore his counsel, otherwise, what kind of leader would he be?
"If it were any other guild, I would not suggest this, but since Cross Haven has a well-known reputation for being reasonable and honorable... I believe there's no harm in letting them know about the territory and our reason for being here." Niflheim stated.
Just when the others looked as if they wanted to object, Niflheim cut in and continued, "Before you oppose this decision, think for a second. If we continue to feign ignorance with Cross Haven when they clearly have some type of solid evidence, then it would be taking them for fools. I'm sure Wang Qiang has already planned this entire scenario. What they want is not a fight, but something else altogether. Let's try asking them to take a step back first and if that fails, then it's best that we prepare to make some concessions."
Although Asgard was hesitant, he understood that Niflheim's words were correct. Who knew the next time they would discover a raid first? Also, not only would they have to go through a new set of preparations, but it was possible that others may find out about the territory they wanted to acquire. Or to be more specific, the top guilds might find out.
Would Ewan, or Cross Haven for that matter, act this rashly based solely on a baseless rumor? The answer was clear when Asgard calmed down and truly thought it over. Asgard stepped forward and turned his attention towards Ewan.
"Alright, guild leader Ewan is correct. Indeed, my Blue Oasis has discovered a territory and we're currently in the process of acquiring it. This raid is the final step. That's why, I hope guild leader Ewan and Cross Haven can give us some face and not enter, at the very least, until the others arrive." Asgard stated. By others, of course, Asgard meant the other top guilds.
"Asgard wouldn't dare think to disclose this matter so openly. This must be Niflheim's idea." Wang Qiang quietly commented to Ewan.
"You're correct. However, this does save us some trouble." Ewan responded.
Everyone present was shocked by Asgard's words. On Blue Oasis' side, the players hidden in stealth were shocked because they too had heard rumors about their guild locating a territory. However, it was only rumors as the real information was kept to those higher up on the ladder.
But, with this and the recent announcement, they finally pieced everything together. Though most of all, they were baffled as to why their guild leader would give away this information to Cross Haven so easily. Wasn't he afraid that they would do everything in their power to stop Blue Oasis from completing the raid?
"Guild leader Asgard, I am glad to see that you do not think so little of my Cross Haven. Alright, you can take this as a small favor from Cross Haven to Blue Oasis. I give you my word as the guild leader of Cross Haven that we will not attempt to enter the raid until the others arrive." Ewan stated in a calm tone.
Asgard released a deep sigh of relief inwardly. Even though he would owe Cross Haven a favor in the future, this was nothing if they could accomplish their goals.
"Then-" Asgard was about to speak, however, he was interrupted by Ewan.
"However... I have a proposal to make. If you accept, then not only will my Cross Haven not enter the raid, but we will also prevent anyone else from stepping a foot in until Blue Oasis completes its task." Ewan said.
But, Ewan's words came as a shock. Not just to Asgard, but even Niflheim did not predict this kind of move by Cross Haven. Even if Cross Haven was strong, they knew the consequences of turning multiple top guilds against them by blocking their path. Naturally, Ewan and Wang Qiang were not ignorant of this fact. Therefore, why would Cross Haven make such a self-harming offer? From the kindness of their heart? If only this were the case...
Of course, Asgard wanted to immediately accept his offer. With Cross Haven here along with the other members of Blue Oasis that were standing guard, it should be enough to deter any of the top guilds for at least half a day. With that kind of safety net, their chances of success would rise by leaps and bound!
Though Asgard was not naive. To be willing to potentially offend multiple top guilds... The asking price could not be cheap.
"There's no free meal in this world - May I ask what the guild leader of Cross Haven wants in return for this grand favor?" Asgard asked.
Ewan held up five fingers as he said, "Five parts of ten. My Cross Haven will own half of the territory once Blue Oasis acquires it."
"Guild leader Ewan, you spoke a few moments ago about us not being sincere... Isn't this just Cross Haven being a hypocrite?" Asgard stated with a cold look in his eyes.
Asgard was not the only one with this cold look in his eyes. It was also shared by Abstract and the other present members of Blue Oasis. They wanted Blue Oasis to hand over half of their territory after going through so much effort to acquire it? What kind of nonsense was he speaking?!
Niflheim and Nidavellir, on the other hand, had troubled yet thoughtful expressions on their faces as the two glanced at one another.
Izroth watched the events that unfolded before his eyes and could not help but become amused by the sight. But, a part of him was also curious... Just what kind of territory did Blue Oasis want to acquire?