'I doubt Blue Oasis would have to go through the trouble of clearing a raid to acquire a small village in the middle of nowhere. It's possible that they've managed to find a town... Maybe even a small city.'
Either way, whether it was a town or a small city, the potential for economic growth was astronomical! For Cross Haven to ask for half ownership was, in fact, a bit much even if they were offering their assistance. At most, one or two parts of ten should be the highest offer they made. At least, this should have been the case.
"My Cross Haven is willing to keep the top guilds at bay until Blue Oasis is successful. Who knows what kind of losses we may suffer in the process for upsetting so many top guilds at once? Surely, guild leader Asgard doesn't value the losses of my Cross Haven so lightly, right?" Ewan said without the slightest bit of hesitation present in his voice.
He then continued, "That's my offer. Of course, you're more than welcome to decline it. However... I have a feeling that the others are already moving as we speak. Who's to say if you can accomplish what you need to in time? Regardless of your decision, Cross Haven will keep its promise and not attempt to enter until the others arrive at this location. But, I suggest you ponder your answer carefully, guild leader Asgard. The clock has already begun ticking."
Asgard calmed himself down before speaking as he said, "The value of the territory we're acquiring is high. To ask for half of that... Guild leader Ewan, this is a bit much. I can do one part of ten. This is the highest price I can offer."
Although Asgard was reluctant to hand over any parts of the territory, if it meant having Cross Haven's assistance, then one part of ten was not too heavy a price. However, anything higher would be Cross Haven daydreaming.
"Then, there's nothing more to say. I wish you the best of luck in your raid, guild leader Asgard." Ewan stated in a nonchalant manner.
"We should meet up with the others while there's still some breathing room. We still have one major advantage in that we've been preparing for this for weeks. It's not a hopeless situation just yet." Asgard said to the three captains of his Blue Oasis.
"Before we leave, I'd like you to hear us out for a moment..." Niflheim said as he then went on to discuss a few things with Asgard. However, by the time he finished speaking, Asgard had a troubled expression on his face.
Asgard massaged his temples from the headache he was receiving after hearing Niflheim's and Nidavellir's suggestion.
"So just to clarify, you two are saying that I should accept this offer, correct?" Asgard asked as he released a deep sigh of frustration.
"Yes." Niflheim and Nidavellir answered at the same time.
"Are you two thinking straight? If we promise to hand over half of our territory, not only will Cross Haven reap the benefits with little to no effort, but we'll be situated right next to them for who knows how long? If that happens, won't we have to compete with another top guild right away? We'll lose the biggest advantage of owning a territory right from the start. I can't believe I'm the one saying this to the two of you of all people." Abstract commented.
"You're only looking at it from a single viewpoint. Tell me, what happens after we acquire the territory and the other top guilds discover this? Do you think they'll allow our Blue Oasis to move too far ahead of them?" Niflheim questioned.
"This..." Abstract fell silent as they knew the answer to that question. The fact that Cross Haven knew about the territory meant that it would not be strange if other top guilds did as well. Even if they did not, it was only a matter of time until they discovered it before Blue Oasis had time to prepare any solid defenses.
Obviously, the other top guilds would covet their territory and they would stop at nothing to make sure Blue Oasis failed where possible. In that type of situation where one was surrounded by strong enemies from all sides, it would result in Blue Oasis facing heavy losses and pressure from all angles.
"I know it isn't ideal, but this isn't necessarily a bad thing for us. If we do, in fact, give half over to Cross Haven, not only will we create a solid alliance, but our interest will also start to align. In other words, if the other top guilds do decide to make a move, they'll have to worry about facing two, not one top guild. Not to mention, Hypers Symphony is also on extremely good terms with Cross Haven. So in a way, we'll be getting two of the top ten guilds for the price of one." Nidavellir stated.
He added, "I also heard that Hollow Tempo owes Cross Haven a favor after what took place during the Protectors of Amaharpe event, therefore, we can probably count them out of this matter if Cross Haven says the word. To be honest, the guilds I'm most worried about are the Headhunter Syndicate, Mist Palace, and Broken Exile."
Mist Palace was led by Simplicity and she could be quite resourceful when it came to getting what she wanted. Mist Palace was also the top guild who acted as the main provider of the current high quality Realm Charts being produced and owned numerous resource areas thanks to this. With these two cards in their hand, no one wanted to willingly become their enemy since there were benefits to be had.
As for the Headhunter Syndicate, even though they were a recent addition to the top ten guilds, their power was not to be underestimated. They had risen to fame rapidly and had the most members out of any guild within the top ten. They were also well known for being ruthless and underhanded in their actions. Naturally, this would be troublesome to deal with in the long run.
But, when it came to Broken Exile... This top guild was the biggest of their worries. In terms of the quality of their members, they were on par with Cross Haven. There were even some who argued that the quality of their members may even be slightly higher! Though the main problem lied in their arrogance. Unlike Cross Haven who was honorable and understandable, Broken Exile was not known for their patience and understanding. They offered the biggest threat.
"The relationship of the top guilds are complicated. If it was just our Blue Oasis, then it would be simple. However, if we add in Cross Haven and Hypers Symphony, the other top guild won't be able to make a move." Niflheim explained.
Asgard understood Niflheim's intentions. He wanted to use the rivalry between the top guilds to keep them in check! For example, Sleeping Gardenia would never work together with Mist Palace. Also, Hollow Tempo would never work together with the Headhunter Syndicate after a recent discovery they made about something that occurred during the Protectors of Amaharpe event. If they played this out right, then perhaps this may be worth the large investment after all.
Though even with this information, it was still not easy for Asgard to agree to half ownership. But, in the end, Asgard knew what he had to do. For the sake of Blue Oasis, he could not allow this chance to slip away!
Asgard faced Ewan with a look of clarity in his eyes as he said, "Guild leader Ewan, let's talk. Are you willing?"
A light smile found its way onto Ewan's face as he replied, "As long as guild leader Asgard is not against the idea, I am willing."
A few moments later...
"My Blue Oasis and your Cross Haven will be depending on one another in the future. Since we've come to an agreement, we should do our best to progress along this path together." Niflheim stated as he cupped his fist into the palm of his hand and made a respectful gesture towards Ewan.
Ewan returned this respectful gesture as he replied, "I am looking forward to our cooperation. As promised, I will make sure that no one else sets foot inside until Blue Oasis finishes their matters."
After ironing out some key details and creating a basic contract on the spot so that both sides kept their promises, it was personally signed by Asgard and Ewan. With this, Blue Oasis and Cross Haven had fused their paths together. If one fell during this critical time, then the other would soon follow! Of course, both sides were confident in their ability to prevent this.
"Who would have thought that Blue Oasis and Cross Haven would form a serious alliance? With this, the other top guilds will start to feel pressured." Zi Yi said after she witnessed everything that just took place.
"Tch, here I was hoping a fight broke out... What a shame." Guan Yu muttered to himself.
"No need to worry, brother. There will be plenty of fighting in the raid, right? We can fight until our hearts are content!" Halls said with a grin on his face.
Luna looked over at Izroth who currently had a carefree smile on his face and she could not help but ask, "Is there something that caught your attention?"
"Hm? I suppose you could look at it that way. However... No, forget it. I'm sure they'll realize it sooner or later." Izroth responded.
Once Asgard and Ewan exchange proper farewells he, along with Niflheim, Nidavellir, Abstract, and Izroth's party, made their way back towards the room with the sapphire gemstone inside of the rainbow-colored coral.
After Izroth and the others left, Zhang Jie approached Ewan as he said, "Shouldn't we have taken this chance to talk to Izroth?"
"There are too many eyes and ears present. It won't be too late to contact him once these matters are concluded. Besides... We have to properly prepare to receive the company we'll soon be having." Ewan said.
He then ordered, "Wang Qiang, have the members on standby meet up with us at this location. The Bridging Disk can only be used to transport 50 players and since it only has two charges remaining, we can't use it recklessly."
"Understood. I'll send the orders at once." Wang Qiang responded as he executed Ewan's orders.
"Now, who will be our first guest?" Ewan said to himself as he looked off into the distance. Although there was no one there now, he knew that soon many players and guilds would be rushing to this location. Whether it was to scout or attempt the raid, or even out of just pure curiosity, this place would soon be flooded with players!
Izroth and his party had arrived at the tube along with the other members of Blue Oasis. The tube had already been reopened by Niflheim as Asgard, Nidavellir, and Abstract went down first.
"Once you enter the tube, it'll take you directly to the true Settlement of Clearwater. We'll see you on the other side, Izroth, everyone." Niflheim said as he entered the tube. Although it was called a tube, it resembled that of a waterslide.
"I wonder if all Seafolk have an obsession with wateslides." Halls said jokingly. Even back in the Sea Palace Graveyard dungeon, there were these "waterslides" that took them from one place to another.
"I'll head down first." Izroth said as he approached the tube with water traveling down it. The moment he set his foot on the tube, it was as if he was being pulled in by a strong force of attraction. There were no twist or turns as the tube traveled in a straight line and Izroth moved at incredible speeds!
'This is many times more powerful than the ones back in the Sea Palace Graveyard.'
In the blink of an eye, Izroth had come to a sudden halt as he was now in a transparent bubble floating about in an underwater paradise surrounded by gorgeous underwater corals, plants, sea life, and crystal clear water.
'So this is the true Settlement of Clearwater. It's larger than I expected.'
〈System Alert: You have entered the region «True Settlement of Clearwater»!〉
〈System Alert: You have been affected by the environmental skill «Bearing of an Oversider»!〉