Chapter 866: Wealth Breeds Arrogance
“I like Patriarch Joseph’s suggestion,” said Lin Li as he and Hoffman exchanged glances. They took their seats in the marquee again.
Peace returned after the people from the Tower of Dusk and the Glittergold Trade Union returned to their seats.
“Since we have decided that Hoffman from the Glittergold Trade Union is going to be our leader, should we let Hoffman conduct the rest of the discussion?” asked Joseph as he glanced at Hoffman and Lin Li, fiddling with his mustache.
Hoffman naturally accepted that suggestion without any reservation. His slits of eyes swept across the men in the marquee. “Well, then let’s start with the delegation of responsibilities.”
It would be impossible for one to suggest the perfect strategy if he did not have the best knowledge of the mausoleum. Yet, it was of utmost importance for them to have clear plans of dealing with times of crisis. If not, there would certainly be chaos in time to come.
The most important thing to do in almost all missions was to survey the environment. This made the job of the pathfinders extremely crucial. However, while pathfinders were crucial members of the team, they were the ones who would face the greatest danger. Hence, though everyone knew how important pathfinders were, none of them would want to be that pathfinder.
Hoffman was extremely straight forward. He looked at Joseph, and said, “Since the Mithril Alliance has gone into the mausoleum before, they would have to have the best knowledge of the place than anyone else. I feel that the Mithril Alliance is the most qualified to be our pathfinder.”
Joseph and the patriarchs of the Mithril Alliance looked at Hoffman awkwardly. Some of them who had worse temper even smacked their palms against the table. They looked as though they were going to burst any time soon. That had to be the most blatant threat. They had lost a dozen elites who were above level-15 in their previous attempt, and they had had to escape. If we were to be the pathfinders of this mission, wouldn’t we be digging their own graves? What type of collaboration is this?
Joseph managed to suppress the rage within him, and waved his arms to call for silence. “President Hoffman, we don’t agree to such a delegation. You’re right, we have experience entering the mausoleum. But, frankly speaking, we lost a dozen lives before we managed to survey the grounds. If we want to nominate the group who has the most experience in exploring mausoleums, it has to be the Glittergold Trade Union, the most renowned organization in this field of work.”
“Hehe, Patriarch Joseph, it seems like you have forgotten that I am the person overseeing this mission,” said Hoffman smilingly as he shook his head. “Furthermore, how could the exploration conducted by the Glittergold Trade Union in other ruins be comparable to the mausoleum of Prince Brahere? I’m sure you are aware that in the entire history of the High Elves Dynasty, Prince Brahere was the only one with such an incredible status. I hope you do not reject this nomination with such humbleness. How could you not gain any knowledge after losing a dozen men?”
Hoffman had to be the most blatant person ever. His words nearly burst Joseph’s boiling blood vessels. Humbleness? My foot! If you don’t mind losing a dozen elites above level-15 in the blink of an eye, why don’t you go and try it yourself? You’ll know if I’m really being humble here!
“According to what I know, President Felic has experience exploring the Sky Castle and the mausoleum of Highlord Osric. I bet these two spots are comparable to the mausoleum of Prince Brahere. It is a miracle that President Felic not only did not suffer any losses, but also made the greatest benefits out of those missions. I believe he has to have great talent in this,” chimed in Charles despite the warning his grandfather had given him. He directed the pressure and everyone’s attention onto Lin Li.
Charles’s words drew a few stern and angry glances from Joseph and a few of the patriarchs onto him. Of course, that was including his grandfather, the patriarch of the Caesar Family, Claus.
Although their reaction created fear in Charles, his words did the job by reminding Joseph and the others of the asset in their team. Joseph took a deep breath as he gazed upon Hoffman and Lin Li.
“That’s right, we have all heard of President Felic’s successes. I guess no one would be more worthy to be a pathfinder than President Felic,” said Joseph as he laughed coldly.
Lin Li yawned lazily upon hearing his words. “Patriarch Joseph, I hope you can understand something. You are the one who invited us into this collaboration. We did not beg you to do that. You’d better show some sincerity in your words and actions.”
Lin Li was not trying to threaten that he would withdraw from the group. He understood that everyone had their reservations with regard to Prince Brahere’s mausoleum. If everyone were to hold themselves back like that, not only might they not get to the treasure, they might also perish together. The role of the pathfinders was the most arduous and tedious thing to do in any adventure. They were akin to the cannon fodder of the mission. Lin Li was not keen to be a cannon fodder. As he was also not a person who would sacrifice himself for the benefit of others, he would only consider such dangerous tasks if he could be given enough benefits.
“What do you want?” Joseph asked defensively. He naturally knew what Lin Li was implying in his speech. Although he was not comfortable with it, he could not help but continue the conversation.
In fact, Joseph and the others were determined to let the Tower of Dusk be their cannon fodder. It would be a really safe and advantageous task to follow after other people. However, he knew that Lin Li’s experience was an extremely valuable asset in this mission. Hence, he did not dare to be too forceful facing Lin Li. He knew that if he were to agitate the man and make him leave the team, it would be a loss to the mission.
“Felic, you...” Hoffman wanted to stop Lin Li. He thought Lin Li was seriously considering to be the cannon fodder.
Lin Li smiled at the people in the marquee before he turned to look at Joseph. “Actually, my conditions are very simple. Firstly, I will not let my men be the pathfinders, but I can myself join the team of pathfinders. As for how many men or whether I bring anyone along, it wouldn’t be my decision. So, the rest of you can decide who else to join the team of pathfinders. On top of that, as my reward for joining the team of pathfinders, I want the two mines in Khangarcia from the Mithril Alliance, and the priority to choose the prize from the mausoleum.”
Lin Li’s conditions stunned everyone in the marquee. What a big appetite! Two mines and the privilege to choose his prize just for his participation as one of the pathfinders? What about the other pathfinders in the team?
“President Felic, your request is too absurd. If every pathfinder were to have such a request, I guess we should withdraw this mission,” said Joseph as he tried to suppress his rage. He was also incredibly furious about how Lin Li targeted his mines instead of possessions of the other three forces. Of course, if he were to mention that, he would definitely offend the rest of them. Hence, he held back on this.
“I don’t care about the rest. If anyone thinks they have the ability to do it, I don’t mind withdrawing. I don’t have to be a pathfinder anyway,” said Lin Li as he waved his arms. He leaned back indifferently.
The marquee that was still hustling when they heard Lin Li’s conditions earlier turned silent immediately after seeing Lin Li’s attitude. They knew that Lin Li was right. That man certainly did not beg to join the team of pathfinders. If they felt that his appetite was too big, they had the power not to let him join the team. However, the problem was that no one from the group had the experience of braving places like the Sky Castle and Osric’s mausoleum.
“I think this can work,” said Elvis all of a sudden. He broke the silence in the marquee.
That’s definitely fine with you when the two mines in Khangarcia aren’t yours! Joseph screamed internally as he glared at Elvis. He was so remorseful about his decision to have invited this blind old man.
“Master Elvis, I don’t mind the two mines, but as for the privilege to choose the treasures from this mausoleum...” As the leader of the Mithril Alliance, Joseph was pressured to appear generous. Hence, he could only raise a condition that concerned individual privileges.
“It is just the privilege to be the first to choose the treasures. I bet there will not only be one or two treasures in Prince Brahere’s mausoleum. Are you scared that he’s going to ransack everything? However, this condition has to be discussed further,” said Elvis. Elvis definitely did not want to lose out on the valuable treasures. The quality of the treasures would still play a great role in any mission. If the others were to claim all the rare magical equipment, it would be of no use to leave behind a mountain of gold.
“What do you think, then?” Joseph asked excitedly. He drew everyone’s attention to Elvis.
Elvis coughed softly and he rolled his eyes as he turned towards Lin Li. “President Felic, I am sure no one would be agreeable if you were to have the priority to choose from all of the prizes. Why don’t we set a limit? We can give you one opportunity to be the first to decide your rewards. After that, we would adhere to the rules that have been agreed upon by everyone.”
“One? Sure, I will settle for one then. But, since the two mines in the Khangarcia are the only valuable things in the land, I want to have the territory of Khangarcia as well.” Lin Li agreed to his suggestion immediately. He did not fuss about the privilege. He just asked for an additional territory.
Mines were mines. Territories were territories. Lin Li had been waiting for this moment for a very long time. He would not like it if his mines had to be in a foreign territory. That meant that he would not have the right to exploit the mines as freely. In fact, he requested the right to have the priority to choose his treasures as he thought that that would allow him to bargain for Khangarcia’s territory. He did not expect that he would still have the privilege.
“Alright, I promise you!” Joseph replied in submission. He believed that the benefits he could gain from the mausoleum would outweigh his territory and two mines. Besides, he did not have confidence that Lin Li would definitely survive being a pathfinder.
Lin Li received a handwritten contract from Joseph, and let Joseph and the rest discuss whom they wanted to engage as the other pathfinders. They then decided that the team would be made of people from the Mithril Alliance and the Caesar Family. The solving of this issue naturally made things easier. They delegated the remaining tasks, and everyone started to prepare their teams for the expedition into Brahere’s mausoleum.
The two adventure teams came together, and the four major forces formed the greatest partnership in the Breezy Plains. They had over 30 Legendary powerhouses and 600-700 elites from different occupations who were above level-15. Such a force would definitely have the capacity to destroy an entire kingdom. It was fortunate that this huge canyon of Gargas was a site that humans rarely visited. If not, they would definitely create chaos and cause the kingdoms around them to prepare for a war.
When the team got to the entrance of the mausoleum, everybody was very cautious, yet at the same time, some of them lost their focus. The people who lost their focus had something in common—their gazes were all fixed on the mages from the Tower of Dusk.
Many knew that the Tower of Dusk was a relatively new establishment with only two or three years of history. It was not easy for them to gather enough men to form a team of mages. As such, no one had high expectations on their level of combat ability. However, after they got ready for battle, the power displayed by the mages from the Tower of Dusk stunned the people from the Mithril Alliance and the Caesar Family.
The team of 100 men were all Archmages above level-15. That was including 30 of them who were already at the peak of level-19. Each of them had a staff with a fist-sized high-level magical gemstone, and was clad in robes that had been inscribed with mageweaths with defensive, enhancing, and recovery properties. The most absurd was that each of them was wearing a complete set of high-level magical accessories, rings, necklaces, and badges. The effects from that magical equipment alone were sufficient to boost their combat ability by more than a fold.
It was already difficult to find a real jewelry master in the mainland of Anril. The lack of supply made the cost of any magical accessory ridiculously high. For instance, the value of one magic ring would be that of 10 magic staffs, even though they had the same magical capabilities. Hence, many felt that having a magic ring would be an add-on if one already had a magic staff. But, the mages from the Tower of Dusk were different. Each of them had a set of high-entry magical accessories that emitted a tremendous magical wave. Seeing that they had these accessories that covered them from head to toe was sufficient to generate fear in anybody.
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