Lin Yanyu harbored great hatred towards Pillfire City. His family had been annihilated simply because they had accidentally obtained an ancient sky rank pill recipe that was passed down in the family. It was only natural that he couldn't forget this deep-seated grudge. His anger and desire for revenge burned fiercely after the seed of hatred had been planted and nurtured since young.
"How do you think we should proceed?" Jiang Chen asked smilingly. His question was intended as a test.
Lin Yanyu thought for a moment before sighing. "Of course, the most delightful way is for master to publicize your identity and challenge Pillfire City directly on their own grounds. This is also the most direct and domineering method. However, the risk is too high, even though it is a very flashy way that is certainly going to soothe some of my hatred. Pillfire City doesn't hesitate to act by fair means or foul, so it will be very hard for you to extricate yourself after the deed is over. Unless…"
"Unless?" Jiang Chen asked smilingly.
"Unless Emperor Peafowl accompanies you on your journey. With Emperor Peafowl by your side, there is nothing Pillfire City can do against you two."
Jiang Chen shook his head. "His Majesty has many things that are more important than this to deal with every day. He can't accompany me on such a childish expedition."
There was nothing more delightful than kicking down an enemy's door and beating them on their home turf, but it was also the easiest way to incur someone's hatred. Had Jiang Chen been alone, it would have been a negligible consequence, but since he was there to rescue Mu Gaoqi, this method would only bring trouble to the both of them. Therefore, this method was out of the question.
"I believe that method is unsuitable as well." Lin Yanyu nodded and continued, "If we cannot take by force, then we must take by ruse. If that is the method that you're going to take, I believe that your chances of success are quite good if you head to Pillfire City first and then play it by ear. After all, master has plenty of tricks up his sleeves."
"Correct. Play it by ear. That's precisely the approach we'll take. But before this, I would like to ask some questions about Pillfire City."
"You can ask me anything."
In this regard, Jiang Chen didn't suspect that Lin Yanyu was either lying or boasting. Setting aside the fact that Lin Yanyu was originally a noble disciple in Pillfire City, his hatred for Pillfire City would have driven him to gather as much information about the city as he could.
As expected, Lin Yanyu's understanding of Pillfire City was extremely rich and detailed. He knew all about its power structure, key figures, and its few powerful noble families. Back then, Lin Yanyu's family had also been an incredible power in Pillfire City. It was the equivalent of a ninth-rank aristocratic family, similar to House Wei. His family had been at the top of the pyramid. The great emperor factions aside, there were only a few great clans that were stronger than House Lin. Furthermore, the great clans of Pillfire City were more scattered than the great clans of Veluriyam Capital. That was why it could be said that House Lin had a better reputation and foundation in Pillfire City than House Wei in Veluriyam Capital.
"Tell me this first—what level is the faction that bought the cultivator with an innate wood constitution of high order?" Jiang Chen was more concerned about this detail.
"That faction... is called the Star Harvesters. In Pillfire City, they definitely count as a first-rate power. Even when House Lin was still around, the Star Harvesters were not a power that we would offend carelessly. Although the Star Harvesters' foundation may not have necessarily exceeded ours, their strength and influence in Pillfire City probably did."
"Oh? Can you tell me about the Star Harvesters in more detail?"
"The Star Harvesters are a gang. They're like a sect except they're less organized and have lousier manpower. However, their morals are far lower than a sect's too. It's rumored that the Star Harvesters have committed plenty of atrocities."
Characteristics wise, a gang was almost identical to a sect. However, the organization of a gang was not as tight knit as a sect's. Normally, a sect had a core inheritance, and most sect members were tied together by this core inheritance. A gang, on the other hand, wasn't necessarily tied together by a bond of inheritance. Their relationship was a more worldly kind that emphasized a code of brotherhood and maintenance of profits.
Most gangs existed by raising a flag of brotherhood while sharing profits with each other. Generally speaking, everyone in a gang had a shared interest. It was this bond of interest that tied a gang together tightly. Oftentimes, a gang displayed greater fighting strength than a sect for the sake of their shared interest. Of course, internal strife existed in both sects and gangs. Generally speaking however, interacting with a gang was easier than with a sect. A sect member's eyes were normally located on top of their heads, and they were so removed from the world that some of them didn't even know how to interact with those around them. They were also incredibly difficult to get into contact with.
Gang members, however, were brought up in a secular world and were well versed in the ways of the world and doing business. It might be possible to speak freely with a gang member. In fact, it might even be possible to buy a genius from a gang member if the buyer had enough money. But if someone tried to buy a genius from a sect with money, they would think that that person had gone insane.
A gang didn't mind haggling openly over a price. A sect cared more about face. If he had to choose between the two, Jiang Chen was more willing to deal with a gang. Therefore, after hearing Lin Yanyu's introduction of the Star Harvesters, Jiang Chen had some inklings on how he wanted to proceed.
"Yanyu, I plan to send you back to Pillfire City first to act as a spy. Use your social network, open the channels, and try to gather as much information as you can. It'd be best if the information is the most current. If you succeed, I will count it as a great merit on your record." Jiang Chen might dislike ordering others around, but he also knew very well that he was unfamiliar with Pillfire City. He would definitely stir up a lot of trouble if he went there right now. Lin Yanyu was a local and would have his own network. Although House Lin had fallen, Lin Yanyu must have had his ways to survive on his own. Therefore, it would be a wise decision to send him forward as a scout.
Besides formally becoming Jiang Chen's disciple, Lin Yanyu had also received many favors from Jiang Chen. He had always want to find an opportunity to repay his master for the kindness and prove his own worth. Therefore, when he was given this mission, not only did Lin Yanyu not look unhappy, but he was also filled with fighting spirit. "Master, knowing how much you trust in me, I will absolutely accomplish this mission without fail. House Lin may be gone, but some of our network is still there. The reason I was able to stay hidden in Pillfire City for a long time was because I had my own ways for survival. Your disciple shall do his best to accomplish this mission, master. I will do it no matter what the cost."
Lin Yanyu was a man who knew gratitude. His words came from the heart.
"Good, I am very happy to see so much confidence in you. If you accomplish this, I will reward you with a great boon in pill dao. It is a boon that will deliver you to such heights that even that Pill King Ji Lang can only prostrate himself before you in worship."
If Jiang Chen had been anyone else, Lin Yanyu would have snorted with disdain. Pillfire City was the most powerful pill dao power in the entire Upper Eight Regions! Pill King Ji Lang himself was the most outstanding successor of the faction, so who could make Pill King Ji Lang prostrate himself before him in worship? What else could the claim be but a joke? However, these words had come from his own master. Therefore, Lin Yanyu didn't suspect them in the slightest.
During these years, Lin Yanyu had a good grasp on just how deep his master's foundation in pill dao was. No matter how carefully he looked at the pill recipes his master had passed down to him, he couldn't find any fault in them. They were all pill recipes that had greatly opened his eyes. Jiang Chen tossed a storage bag at Lin Yanyu. "There are some spirit stones and spirit herbs in this bag. Spend them on your own volition. Don't worry about spending these worldly possessions as long as they're worth it. If you run out, I have more that I can spare."
An emperor cannot command a starved army. If he wished to use someone, it was only natural to reward and encourage them. This bag of items was a down payment for Jiang Chen's future reward.
"Alright, ready yourself, Yanyu. I would like you to depart in a few days' time. Remember, don't force yourself, and don't forget that nothing is more important than your own well-being. If you fail to protect your own life, then this mission will become completely meaningless. I hope that you'll avoid taking risks and put your own safety above all else."
Jiang Chen might miss Mu Gaoqi a lot, but he couldn't treat other people's lives like nothing just because of Mu Gaoqi. Lin Yanyu was his disciple, and Mu Gaoqi was his junior brother. There was no such thing as preferential treatment here. To lose one to save another was a trade that Jiang Chen would never make.
After bidding Jiang Chen goodbye, Lin Yanyu opened up the storage bag and was immediately stunned by its contents. There were two hundred million saint spirit stones in this bag alone! Besides that, there were all sorts of top-rated pills from Taiyuan Tower—ven the Longevity Pill was among them! Moreover, there were roughly thirty earth rank spirit herbs and five sky rank spirit herbs inside the bag. The sheer value of the contents of this storage bag felt so heavy to Lin Yanyu that he nearly dropped it on the floor. It was also the moment he realized that his master's efforts were never miserly.
His eyeballs had nearly fallen out of their sockets. This sum of wealth was shocking to say the least. Lin Yanyu even suspected that he could bring this bag of goods directly to the Star Harvesters for Mu Gaoqi, and the latter might just make the trade directly. While a slave with an innate wood constitution of high order was admittedly good, there were also plenty of items in the bag that many people could never touch in their lifetime.
The sky rank spirit herbs, for example. These sky rank spirit herbs were supposed to be spirit herbs that only great emperors were qualified to use. Not even emperor realm cultivators could afford to be this wasteful. He might not know how crazy a great emperor would become over a sky rank spirit herb, but he was sure that it was at least enough to make them owe a favor. Five sky rank spirit herbs were enough to make a great emperor owe their gifter an enormous favor. It was entirely possible to command a great emperor to do any one thing with such a present!
After all, sky rank spirit herbs were just too precious. Even a great emperor couldn't always find them. Moreover, this storage bag didn't contain solely sky rank spirit herbs. There were plenty of earth rank spirit herbs, finished pills, and spirit stones in the bag too. Lin Yanyu had never seen so much wealth in his entire life. His family had already been destroyed when he was young, and he had made a living for himself the moment he could. This amount of wealth would have been a huge boon to House Lin, much less to Lin Yanyu alone.