Lin Yanyu was quite competent. Although he had only returned to Pillfire City for half a month, the intelligence he’d gathered was extremely detailed. After a brief overview, Jiang Chen gained a rough understanding of the situation.
“Young Lord, the Star Harvesters know that a lot of factions are keeping an eye on their slave with the innate wood constitution, so they’ve made sure to obfuscate their activities and keep a tight ring of protection around him. Not many people have even seen this slave in Pillfire City. Therefore, I believe it is very difficult to snatch him by force. As for buying him outright, that seems unlikely as well. They seem to be holding on for a greater profit.”
“Hold onto him for greater profit, you say?” Jiang Chen smiled. “If that’s the case, then that means buying the slave isn’t completely out of the question. In their eyes, a genius with an innate wood constitution is only a product. They’re just waiting for a good offer.”
The Star Harvesters was ultimately a gang, not a sect. A gang cared most for profit. The reason they were boosting interest this way was simply to raise the price and get a better offer. They wanted to wait until their slave had an astronomical price tag before selling him.
Jiang Chen might not know the Star Harvesters, but what Lin Yanyu had found from his investigation proved that they were boosting interest and hyping up Mu Gaoqi’s value. Jiang Chen also realized that Star Harvesters had been very successful in their endeavor. Once the price had gone beyond a certain bar, and Mu Gaoqi became a hot topic, the factions that truly appreciated real talents would fight for him. The greater the competition, the bigger the profit the Star Harvesters would earn.
“Young Lord, are you saying that… we can buy him?” Lin Yanyu asked in surprise.
But Jiang Chen smiled and shook his head. “We’re not going to buy him. I’m confident in my wealth, but this is Pillfire City, so doing something like that would be a risk. Plus, even if I did win the bid, I don’t know if I can leave with him.”
A giant like Pillfire City wouldn’t allow an outsider to take their pill dao genius away. Even if the buyer was wealthy beyond measure, Pillfire City wouldn’t allow him to take a genius away unruffled. Although Mu Gaoqi didn’t have any relation with Pillfire City, since the gang had bought him, the city would tyrannically think that he belonged to it without a second’s thought. They wouldn’t allow an outsider to touch a genius even if he was a slave.
That was Pillfire City’s modus operandi. They wouldn’t allow any element that might affect their monopoly to exist, and if it did, they would do their best to obstruct or destroy it.
It was similar to how they’d tried to monopolize the Longevity Pill for themselves. After their scheme failed, they’d even visited Veluriyam Capital and challenged the Sacred Peafowl Mountain for the right to the pill. Lin Yanyu’s family was another example. After their accidental discovery of their family’s ancient pill recipe was exposed, it didn’t bring them any glory. On the contrary, it’d pushed them completely into the abyss. There was only one reason behind those unfortunate events. Someone in Pillfire City who was stronger than the Lins had set their sights on that ancient pill recipe.
There was only one rule of survival in Pillfire City. All interests must serve the best interests of Pillfire City. Naturally, the powers who represented Pillfire City’s best interests were first rate powers or top rank great emperors, like Pill Emperor Pillzenith.
“Yanyu, is there any way to approach the Star Harvesters?” Jiang Chen asked after pondering for a moment.
“That’s easy. The Star Harvesters have a lot of pill stores in Pillfire City, and their biggest is the Star Mill. This store only trades in high-rank pills, so it’s quite the high-end shop even in Pillfire City. Recently, many of the pills created by this pill dao genius have appeared in the Star Mill. If I have to guess, the Star Harvesters probably put them on display on purpose.”
“Oh? Where is this Star Mill?” Jiang Chen asked curiously.
Lin Yanyu took out a map. “Young Lord, this is a map of Pillfire City. Star Mill’s location is well known and very easy to find. The Star Harvesters’ headquarters is nearby too. The Star Harvesters has a lot of say in this region. They’re also different from other factions. While the other factions focus on conducting business with great families, they focus on conducting business with wandering cultivators and other gangs. Therefore, their business is quite extensive.”
The Star Harvesters’ status was slightly higher than that of House Wei’s in Veluriyam Capital. However, it was at most a standard great clan in Veluriyam Capital. It was absolutely a first rate faction, but it definitely didn’t belong among best of the best either.
Just like Veluriyam Capital, Pillfire City’s great emperor factions seldom participated in the power struggles of the secular world. However, the ones in Pillfire City tended to interfere more. Most importantly, they held a stricter leash over the secular world.
Jiang Chen took the map from Lin Yanyu, “Keep up your investigation, Yanyu. I’ll be making a trip to the Star Mill.”
Jiang Chen had memorized the map of Pillfire City. Once he acquired his bearings, he pinpointed the Star Harvesters’ headquarters.
Thirty minutes later, he’d found the Star Mill. When he entered the establishment, Jiang Chen immediately felt the thick fragrance of spirit medicine wafting over his face. The unusually rich scent of spirit medicine was immediately indicative of the exceptional quality of their products.
Star Mill’s standards were quite high. Their counters were arranged to give a feeling of picturesque disorder, and the front desk itself was made of high quality transparent crystals. It looked incredibly high class. The spirit medicines were also organized based on various specifications. Many assistants in unified attire were leading around groups of customers within the store. They looked very patient and professional, and it was evident that they were well trained.
This scene surprised Jiang Chen a little. The Star Harvesters was nominally known as a gang, so he thought that their stores would have a similar air and be roughly handled. However, seeing was indeed believing. He realized after he entered the store that the Star Harvesters was far from the disgusting bunch he’d initially imagined.
“What can I do for you, sir?” A pretty girl with a very sunny appearance beamed warmly at Jiang Chen when she arrived at his side.
Although Jiang Chen wasn’t a lecher, he couldn’t help but feel cheerful to meet a girl as sunny as her. He smiled. “I’m just looking around.”
The girl smiled brightly. “My name is Keke. Let me know if there’s anything you need.”
Jiang Chen nodded before he swept a gaze across the entire store. Then, he casually asked, “I hear that the gang has recently taken in a genius pill master with an innate wood constitution of high order, and that he has released several products.”
“You wish to see Master Mu’s pill products?” The girl looked a little surprised.
“Master Mu?” Jiang Chen stared blankly at her.
“The genius pill master we recently recruited is Master Mu. His creations are on the second floor, but…” Keke looked a little hesitant.
“But what?” Jiang Chen asked curiously.
“Master Mu’s creations are extremely precious. Therefore, not only do you need to be a pill king to see Master Mu’s products, you must also pay an entry fee.” She responded seriously.
“How much do I need to pay?” Although Jiang Chen was shocked by the Star Harvesters’ ability to fleece customers, he wasn’t so poor that he couldn’t afford an entry fee.
“You must first show your pill king medallion. Then, you will need to pay ten thousand saint spirit stones.”
It costs ten thousand saint spirit stones for one visit!? Although Jiang Chen didn’t mind paying the fee, he was still stunned by the Star Harvesters’ money grubbing methods. He had never seen such overt highway robbery until today.
Even if Mu Gaoqi was a very impressive pill dao genius, he was at best still an unpolished jade. He was far from reaching the level of a top rate pill master. If he was touring a pill emperor’s products, then the admission fee would cost more than a thousand spirit stones. But Mu Gaoqi was at most a novice level pill king currently, wasn’t he? Even if Mu Gaoqi had improved so rapidly that he was now an intermediate level pill king, it still shouldn’t cost ten thousand saint spirit stones to tour his products, should it?
Jiang Chen arrived at an answer after thinking for a moment. I guess the Star Harvesters really is planning to raise Mu Gaoqi’s value as high as possible before selling him. They aren’t beneath charging their customers ten thousand saint spirit stones for admission, and customers are willing to pay the price. The gang really is doing their best to squeeze every bit of money and value they can get out of Mu Gaoqi.
Jiang Chen hadn’t actually gotten his pill king medallion yet. However, he did still have Shi Zhen’s pill king medallion. It was this medallion that’d enabled him to slip into Veluriyam Capital. He waved the pill king medallion before Keke before producing ten thousand saint spirit stones. “Miss Keke, please lead the way.”
Jiang Chen stared at Keke smilingly, so much so that the charming, sunny girl turned slightly red. For some reason, this man’s eyes made her heart flutter a little. It was exactly because she was distracted that she didn’t even catch the name that was written on the pill king medallion. However, she was too embarrassed to ask Jiang Chen to show it again while he was staring at her like this. Left with no choice, she accepted the ten thousand saint spirit stones and said softly.
“Please wait here for a moment, sir. I’ll grab an admission medallion for you immediately.”
Jiang Chen relaxed minutely after seeing that Keke hadn’t told him to produce his pill king medallion again. He had no intention of parading his fake pill king medallion around if he could help it. If someone happened to know that Shi Zhen was a member of Ninesuns Sky Sect, he would only be creating more issues for himself.
Miss Keke was a quick worker. It wasn’t long before she’d obtained an admission medallion and passed it to Jiang Chen with a red face. “Please come with me, sir. This is a reminder, but the second floor of the Star Mill is a VIP area. Therefore, please obey the rules and maintain your decorum once you’ve entered the second floor.”
Jiang Chen smiled and accepted the medallion. He then headed up to the second floor behind Miss Keke. The second floor of the Star Mill was just as wide as the first floor, but its arrangements were also clearly of much higher class. It was also slightly busier. Keke led the way and brought Jiang Chen to a rather crowded region.
“These are some of Master Mu’s recent pill products,” Miss Keke introduced.
Jiang Chen’s eyes scanned the area thoroughly. Although there weren’t many pills in this area, every one of them was put on display in an extremely eye-catching way. When he scanned the pills with his consciousness, his heart immediately skipped a beat. As he had expected, the pills gave off a familiar feeling that was unique to Mu Gaoqi.