Chapter 874 – Commerce Empire
With Xie Yao completing the set, Nie Yan had one less worry on his mind. She was like him now; standing high atop a peak far out of reach of any of her rivals. Including Nie Yan, there were at most 10 who could match her in the entire Righteous Faction.
Angels Corps and Asskickers United had both accumulated continuous losses over the last couple of days. Most players were on the battlefield. Only a few had the time to get some levelling done. As a result, there was practically no change in the strength of both armies. This was the reality of war, where both sides simply threw bodies at each other.
Under Nie Yan’s command, Asskickers United was also fighting on the economic front against Angel Corps, leveraging their enormous capital to buy up all the medicinal plants and many other raw materials required for war, including those required for making siege machines. The prices were driven up higher and higher. For the sake of replenishing their resources, Angel Corps had no choice but to pay up to five times more than before. This simply wasn’t sustainable. Both Angel Corps and the Century Financial Group would have no choice but to invest even more real-world capital into the game in order to buy enough gold to sustain their heavy war spendings.
This was precisely what Nie Yan was aiming for. By doing this, he would at least put some sort of pressure on the Century Financial Group’s financial state. With them suffering defeats on all sides, their pockets would eventually become strapped.
The Thieves Nie Yan dispatched to the Fate River reported back. They had discovered the location of the dragon’s den. However, after spotting eight adult dragons closely guarding the place, they didn’t dare to get a closer look.
Knowing the exact location of the dragon’s den was good enough. The rest Nie Yan could do himself. Though eight dragons protecting the place far exceeded his expectations. It seemed this easy task wasn’t as easy as he’d hoped.
Looking at his experience bar, Nie Yan was disappointed to find it had only risen by 5% over the past several days. This levelling speed was truly too slow.
Nie Yan headed toward the Starry Night Potion Shop. He rarely had the spare time to visit, so he hadn’t been here for quite some time already.
After walking for 10 minutes, a large 16-storey building appeared in his view. The Starry Night Potion Shop had undergone a complete renovation. It looked nothing like the building in his memory. The white walls were solemn and stately. It was the tallest building in all of Calore. Many players visiting the city for the first time would make a point to stop by here and take a few pictures. It had become a local landmark.
In front of the Starry Night Potion Shop was a large, 30 by 30-meter square with a fountain in the middle. The statue of a Thief in black cloak stood in the center of the fountain. His features were hidden by the cloak, no matter from which direction you looked at it. Waist bent, he held a dagger in each hand, looking like a cheetah ready to pounce on its prey—the typical form of a Thief. The only things that stood out were the two daggers; the Bloody Dagger and Slaughter Edge. Their ominously curved blades gave off a dense killing intent.
Everyone who played the game could tell who this was a statue of.
Orc King City had 10 statues of Soaring Angel. Meanwhile, Calore only had one statue of Nie Yan. Still, it had 10 times the fame any one of Soaring Angel’s statues had.
Because it was placed in front of the Starry Night Potion Shop, it was more than just a statue of a legendary existence. It was the statue of their founder!
Nie Yan had built up Asskickers United from nothing to the leviathan of the Viridian Empire it was today. In terms of businesses, he had the Starry Night Potion Shop which enjoyed a monopoly on the potion market. Beyond the position he had in his guild, or the many businesses he owned, most people knew him for his personal strength. The man who has never suffered defeat!
Nie Yan’s name represented an undying legend. Many people chatted about his exploits enthusiastically every opportunity they got.
Seeing the statue, Nie Yan couldn’t help but wryly smile. At the time when Guo Huai and the others suggested they build him a statue, he initially refused; only caving to their collective insistence later on. They had their own reasons. Angel Corps had statues of Soaring Angel all over Orc King City. How could Asskickers United lose out? Building this kind of statue held great meaning. The number of people who were qualified to have their own statues in a city was only a handful. This was a special type of honour.
What was unexpected to Nie Yan was that this statue had increased the traffic of people coming to the Starry Night Potion Shop. He was pleasantly surprised by this.
Walking past his statue, Nie Yan entered the Starry Night Potion Shop. The interior could only be described as magnificent. The floor was paved with a special type of white stone. If you were to look down at it, you could even see your own reflection.
Looking further in, there were rows upon rows of counters and numerous shelves in the back. The shelves were neatly stocked with all sorts of different goods. It was a feast for the eyes.
There were 60 sales clerks manning the counters. Most were players while a dozen or so were NPCs. They wore tidy work uniforms and were attending a line of customers.
Spread throughout the main hall were six rest areas with about a thousand seats, most of them completely filled.
At the edge of the hall were two flights of stairs leading up. An endless stream of players was going up and down. There was a staff exclusive passage at the back of the hall. Nie Yan could go through there. However, a sudden urge compelled him to take the public stairs. Even though it was spacious, wide enough to fit a dozen people side by side, there was simply too much traffic. Another flight of stairs wouldn’t hurt.
The first floor was the shopping area which exclusively sold potions. The second floor was for trading raw materials. Like a market, all sorts of players came here to sell their medicinal plants, haggling over prices. It created a messy atmosphere. 600 staff members were appraising medicinal plants. After purchasing the medicinal plants, they would be sent up two levels for sorting, from where they were sent to one of the many warehouses for storage.
More than 60% of the medicinal plants acquired by the Starry Night Potion Shop came from the main branch in Calore. It was always bustling with activity here.
Going up another level to the third floor, it was much less crowded. There were only a few dozen or so people. The environment was fairly calm. This floor was a lot more luxurious than previous ones. Some staff members were quietly talking to customers. These people were the big clients of the Starry Night Potion Shop. Many represented large guilds. They tended to buy in large batches, something they wished to keep from hostile powers, so the Starry Night Potion Shop offered a place for this.
The identities of these big clients were verified by staff in order to prevent goods from falling into the hands of Angel Corps and the Century Financial Group. Since they bought in bulk, they were usually given a good deal. Most transactions ranged anywhere from hundreds to thousands of gold. Occasionally, they even made million gold deals. Every transaction brought in a ton of profit.
The fourth floors and up were off-limits for customers. Rather, they were work spaces for Asskickers United’s Alchemists. The main branch had over 800 workshops with several thousand alchemists working for Nie Yan around the clock. The amount of potions they produced every single day was nothing short of astonishing. Of course, if you included the other branches, the number of Alchemists would rise to 60,000 plus. However, only the best of them were invited to work in the main branch. If they were to join another guild, any one of them would be treated as a precious treasure. They earned more than generous rewards, so much so that most people would go green with envy, but they were worth it.
Nie Yan strolled from floor to floor. On the higher floors, he sometimes walked down the corridors, looking at the workshops on both sides. Some of them were left open, letting him get a glimpse of Alchemists hard at work. The Starry Night Potion Shop paid wages based on performance. The more potions that were made, the higher the pay. This encouraged the Alchemists to work as hard as possible. Many were professional players. The wages they earned here were more than enough to support a comfortable life for themselves and their families in the real world. Many even had salaries equivalent to high level executives.
Conviction and the real world melded quite well together. The production ability of the real world was already highly developed. There was already no longer a need for many manual labour workers. However, how were so many people supposed to make a living? Without set work, they would become leeches on society. Conviction had created a whole new sector of jobs, and that was professional players. Income earned from the game provided for tens of millions of players and helped the federation resolve the unemployment crisis. It was no wonder they invested so heavily in the game.
With the support of the federation, Conviction also provided banking services. So, the gold trade was fairly lively. If players had a large amount of gold, they could easily exchange it for real world credits. Conviction became inextricably linked with the real world.
It was precisely because of the emergence of this new profession that so many people entered Conviction. Of course, the number who could earn the big bucks made up a small minority. Most could only make enough to barely sustain themselves. Just like in the real world, it took skill and hard work to make a killing. Many ordinary players would have no choice but to invest money into the game if they wanted to improve their situation.
According to the data released by the federation, Conviction accounted for roughly 20% of the country’s GDP. This was an extremely shocking number. It was no wonder all the large financial groups were entering Convictions, wanting to get a share of the pie. Many invested shocking amounts of money into the game, such as the Century Financial Group. Roughly 25% of all their investments were in the game. With recent events, that number had even increased to 40%.