The mood instantly turned tense when Heathcliff resolutely stated his stand on the matter.
Wu Yan and Heathcliff stared at each other without saying anything. The heavy mood made people feel like a storm is coming. Asuna got anxious as a result.
Regardless of her relationship with the two persons in front of her, the two players who looked like they are about to square off are players standing at the apex of this world. If they appear in public, each and every action they took would become an instant hit-news.
The strongest player versus the guild leader of the strongest guild…
If the relationship between the two soured, it would not bode well for all the players of SAO.
Asuna is between a rock and a hard place right now. She’s not sure who she should support, her superior or her husband-to-be. Asuna doesn’t want to see them fighting ever.
Wu Yan suddenly spoke out when Asuna wanted to say something.
“Guild master Heathcliff, remember the wager we placed during the duel last time?”
Heathcliff’s eyes wavered and his expression turned grim. He knew what Wu Yan is going to say so he took the initiative as he continued.
“Of course, I promised that if you lost the duel, you would join the guild. If I lost, I promised to fulfill one wish with all the power invested in me as the Guild leader of Knight of the Blood Oath…”
Wu Yan grinned.
“It’s time to fulfill your end of the deal.”
Wu Yan looked at Heathcliff with firm eyes.
“I want you to allow Asuna’s resignation from KoB.”
Heathcliff’s eyes glimmered with intense thoughts. Meanwhile, Asuna’s expression lit up with joy. She forgot about the wager between them, it was a while back after all.
Wu Yan also almost forgot about this. That duel happened about a year ago, he also couldn’t care less how the duel turned out.
What KoB could do for him, he could do better. He reckons the KoBs won’t be able to do anything he couldn’t so he just let the wager stay unclaimed. He’s not going to expose himself just to get Heathcliff to do something game-breaking.
Barring exceptional circumstances, an event like the one here is the perfect chance to use this wager. It’s also Heathcliff’s fault for forcing his hand.
Heathcliff didn’t think Wu Yan would pull the wager promise on him. Wu Yan’s move pushed him into a corner.
Heathcliff helplessly sighed.
“Your ask is a bit too high to be met. I know I promised you but Asuna is too valuable to KoB, use the promise on another request…”
Asuna couldn’t believe her ears, her guild master actually reneged on his promise.
Wu Yan continued in a low tone.
“Am I correct to take this as a break in the deal?”
Heathcliff stood up and he replied in a grave tone.
“Yan-kun, change your request…”
Wu Yan felt helpless inside.
To think Heathcliff would be this adamant on keeping Asuna in his guild.
I thought he treated this world as a massive game?
Wait… not letting her go because it would adversely affect the clearing progress?
Wu Yan would believe it if it weren’t for the fact that Wu Yan knew about Heathcliff’s true identity.
The KoB, the clearing raids, Heathcliff just watched while eating popcorn. He just wanted to watch players strive for survival in an environment designed by him. He didn’t think a guy like that would care if the clearing progress slowed or anything.
Who is this guy trying to fool?
Wu Yan lifted his head.
“Fine, I will change my request!”
Wu Yan proposed a deal which he reinforced with a firm tone.
“Let Asuna go, in turn, I promise to assist in the clearing of floor bosses after boss room discovery.”
Heathcliff and Asuna were stupefied.
Heathcliff’s eyes shone with a sharp glint.
“You’re going to join the clearing group?”
“Only when you guys are taking down bosses yeah…”
Wu Yan glanced at Heathcliff.
“Other than that, I won’t meddle much in clearing efforts…”
Heathcliff was tempted.
Heathcliff was insistent on keeping Asuna because he wanted to keep tabs on Wu Yan through Asuna.
Wu Yan is infamously renowned for being a solo player. Almost nobody aside from the core members of the Black Cats can contact him. Even less are on good enough terms for him to reply.
Asuna is, without a doubt, the closest person to Wu Yan in this game.
In essence, Heathcliff wanted a degree of visibility on Wu Yan who fell far out of his estimates.
When Wu Yan willingly exposed himself like this, he can do away with using Asuna as the mediator. Now, he’s presented with the chance of direct observance.
Heathcliff immediately made up his mind.
“Okay, I will take you up on that offer!”
Asuna almost cheered out loud while Wu Yan smiled with a helpless look on his face.
I compromised a bit too much this time…
Exiting the guild HQ, Asuna felt like a bird freed from her cage. She was walking with such a happy stride that she almost started skipping down the road.
“I didn’t think you would propose cooperation with the clearing group. Where did the almighty solo player Yan go?”
Wu Yan shook his head.
“You didn’t stop to think who I did that for? Moreover, I thought you insisted on my participation in the clearing group.
Asuna’s eyes brightened up.
“You did all that because I asked?”
Wu Yan pursed his lips and he turned his head the other way.
“Don’t misunderstand, this is all so we can live a peaceful life together. Plus, I can get easy kill steals on the bosses, Heathcliff is going to be so mad if I get all the bonus drop!”
Asuna chortled out loud. She ran over to Wu Yan’s side and she rubbed her head up against his arm.
“Oh, my, Yan is embarrassed…”
Wu Yan 囧-ed, and he came up with a desperate retort.
“You’re obviously embarrassed!”
“No, I am not!”
“Yeah, well, you’re unexpectedly cute when you’re bashful…”
“I said I am not!”
The two stuck to each other as they walked into the distance.