Back when Izroth's party first arrived at the Settlement of Clearwater, they had a meeting with the members of Blue Oasis before the raid began. During this meeting, Guan Yu and one of the Captains of Blue Oasis, Minus, exchanged some unfriendly words with one another.
In order to save face for Blue Oasis, as well as the guild leader Asgard without offending Izroth and his party before the raid even started, Niflheim sent Izroth a private message. In return for dismissing the matter, Niflheim offered to give Izroth the method of acquiring territory in RML!
Of course, Niflheim never expected that things would end the way they did in the Great Sea Palace—especially with Sleeping Gardenia walking away as the ultimate victors. Nevertheless, a promise was a promise.
Several days had passed by, and yet Izroth never bothered to contact Niflheim regarding the territory situation. Therefore, Niflheim decided to message him just in case he had forgotten. After all, there had been too many shocking events going on this week.
In truth, Niflheim wanted to contact Izroth earlier; however, it would be a lie if he said that he did not hold any lingering resent towards Izroth following what happened with Blue Oasis. Even though he understood that it was Blue Oasis who was at fault, he believed that Izroth deliberately manufactured the circumstances. Though after a couple of days to himself to organize his thoughts, Niflheim's resentment towards Izroth had vanished entirely. He found that it was not Izroth that he resented the past few days, but himself. As Blue Oasis' strategist at the time, he should have been more aware of Izroth's original intent to test them. However, he realized what was going on far too late. When Niflheim uncovered this truth, he understood that Izroth's character was not something unreasonably complex. In fact, there was a simplistic nature to it. It was just that being so simplistic, it becomes easy for others to overlook it and miss the surface to keep digging for something that was never there all along.
In the end, Niflheim discovered two things about Izroth. The first was that, above all else, he seemed to place tremendous value on trust. As for the second, he would never tolerate dishonesty!
'Territory... I set this to the back of my mind since it was not a top priority.'
Izroth had not forgotten; it was just that there were more pressing matters to attend to over these last several days. Not to mention, there was still much that he had to take care of to prepare for the impending war. That being said, knowing how to acquire territory was something that could not be ignored.
[Voice Chat] Izroth, "Naturally, I am still interested."
[Voice Chat] Niflheim, "I figured that would be the case. As far as I know, there are two methods of acquiring territory in RML. Though If I'm being straight-forward, only one of the methods is feasible at this point. The method that my Bl-... that Blue Oasis is using is called Territory Missions. By completing a series of missions for the territory, you gain the right to own it. The missions will probably vary depending on what territory one wishes to get their hands on, but the overall concept remains unchanged. Of course, gaining the right to own it and owning it are two different things. To actually own the territory, you have to pay an astronomical price. If not for Blue Oasis' strong connections with some private investors, it would have been impossible to pay for the territory—even if Blue Oasis saved up all of their annual guild budgets for the next four years. Fortunately, there are those who see the limitless benefits a territory provides."
Even four years of a top guild's annual budget was unable to purchase a territory?! There was also the fact that Blue Oasis needed to complete tasks such as being the first to clear a new raid that had to be on the Hardcore difficulty. Just what kind of territory was Blue Oasis after that such a ridiculous price tag and requirements were attached to it?!
[Voice Chat] Izroth, "And the other method?"
[Voice Chat] Niflheim, "Simple, Territory Subjugation. Just as the name sounds, you take over a territory by force. I'm sure you can understand now why I said this isn't feasible."
Indeed, it was just as Niflheim stated. Right now, just about all the territory players had explored belonged to one of the kingdoms in RML. These kingdoms all had several powerful existences backing them; otherwise, how could they maintain their power and influence for so long? If a guild tried to take over a portion of their land by force, they would be crushed with a single finger before the might of an entire kingdom's military strength!
Forget one guild; even if by some miracle all ten top guilds worked together side by side, with their current strength, it would still be a laughable attempt.
'Territory Subjugation—I'm afraid this is out of reach, for now. For the time being, I will have to rely on Territory Missions to gain access to territories. I thought my present funding would be enough, but it seems I am still lacking. Should I pay a visit to Danaharpe city?'
Danaharpe was a city located in the Amaharpe kingdom where craftsmen gathered. Blacksmiths, Alchemists, Apothecaries—if anyone in Amaharpe wanted to learn more about crafting, visiting Danaharpe was an absolute must! It was also in this place that Amaharpe's main Apothecary building was settled. This meant that if Izroth wanted to become a 4th rank Apothecary, he would have no choice but to travel to Danaharpe to participate in the test.
'No, I should focus on mastering the remaining sword forms before the war. By that time, my Boundless Emperor Void Perfection should no longer be incomplete. As for whether or not I will be able to make any noticeable progress in time without the Law of Void, it will depend on my luck.'
As Izroth and Niflheim continued their conversation, an interesting topic that caught Izroth's attention surfaced.
[Voice Chat] Niflheim, "Ah, are you aware of the demands going around that the recording of the raid run you have with Sleeping Gardenia be publicized?"
[Voice Chat] Izroth, "Oh? I have no intention of doing something so unnecessary. As for the guild leader of Sleeping Gardenia, I cannot speak for her."
In RML, players could record their gameplay. However, most players did not have this enabled all the time because they had to pay a fee for the storage of the recordings if it exceeded a certain amount. Of course, the story was different for top guilds, especially when running a raid. In order to make sure they could be as efficient as possible and avoid repeating mistakes, top guilds made sure to record every last one of their dungeon and raid runs. This was no different for a top guild like Sleeping Gardenia.
Niflheim went on to explain the situation to Izroth, and he was somewhat surprised by how it had unknowingly spiraled out of control.
Apparently, after the world announcement regarding the clear of a hardcore raid in record time, a swarm of players took to the RML forums to gather information. A feat of that degree should not have been possible through conventional means, and so, a popular thread on the RML forum was started called "Bug Abusers Should Not Be Rewarded!". It was on this thread that players began to demand that Sleeping Gardenia or the company release the video recording of Izroth and Sleeping Gardenia's raid run. They did not believe that players were capable of what was announced via the system.
Of course, this "movement" so to speak, did not gain momentum on its own. There were plenty of top guilds secretly supporting it and pushing for answers. After all, they could not allow Sleeping Gardenia to monopolize such an incredible process all to themselves!
Although the company behind RML reassured players that there was no bug abuse present in the completion of the raid, the individuals and companies that backed the top guilds were not people that could be brushed aside. Therefore, the company behind RML was placed in an awkward position. As for Mariposa, the guild leader of Sleeping Gardenia, she had already decided the bug abusing allegations and stood her ground firmly when it came to not releasing the recordings. After all, Mariposa was no fool. She knew that there were those out there with ulterior motives.
[Voice Chat] Niflheim, "I see, I suppose that makes sense. No one would be willing to disclose their secrets voluntarily. It's unclear what move the company will make, but you should be prepared. Whatever happened in that raid, this is just my guess, but it will inevitably be revealed. When that time comes, you will be on the radar of some very powerful individuals, Izroth. Ah, the dungeon is starting. I'll take my leave here. Stay well, Izroth."
〈System Alert: Player Niflheim has terminated the voice chat!〉
Once Niflheim terminated the call, Izroth thought about his last words. In the end, RML and the real world were like two separate entities that were ultimately tied to each other. While his influence in RML was not small among players, it was not the greatest. As for the real world, Izroth knew that his influence was virtually zero! In the long run, he understood that this could turn into a problem.
'My attention has been solely on RML as of late. But, I am unable to overlook my absence of influence in the real world. To ensure that my foundation is unbreakable, I will have to find a solution to resolve this matter. However, my capital is still not enough.'
After adding three floors to the Mystical Realm Palace, paying personal shop taxes, handling some matters in the real world, and giving Sleeping Gardenia their 10% cut for providing the resources, Izroth was left with 541,500 gold coins or 121,837,500 RMB. While this was a lot to the average person, compared to those with actual power and influence, it was a minuscule amount not worth mentioning.
As Izroth was rooted in his thoughts, he heard rushed footsteps heading up the stairs, which caused him to frown inwardly. The footsteps sounded as if the individual was flustered and panicked.
"S-sir! Handler Izroth, sir! T-there is an esteemed guest waiting for you downstairs!" One of the young male NPC clerks, Agate, said. However, instead of a look of panic on his face that Izroth assumed would be present, Agate displayed excitement, and an expression Izroth had seen in countless men—infatuation.
Izroth was not expecting guests today besides Worldly Skies and the Fireheart Apothecary Society.
"Did they give you their name?" Izroth questioned.
"A-ah, yes, sir! That beaut- That esteemed guest called herself the Wiseman of Everpeak!" Agate said.
The Wiseman of Everpeak? From what Izroth knew about Kryxelsia, she was a reclusive individual. What brought her here to Amaharpe? Better yet, why was she at his Mystical Realm Palace?