Jiang Chen didn't chase Keke away because she had been sent by the gang. That was proof that they were still interested in him as a potential buyer. He paid no heed to whatever ulterior motive they had. As long as they continued showing interest in him, there was still a possibility that the deal could happen.
He didn't fret after sending Miss Keke off, because he knew that Mu Gaoqi was simply too important to the Star Harvesters. He had to construct a meticulous plan before making his next move. He would have to succeed in his first try. If any mistakes were made, his previous efforts would have all been for naught. Moreover, it would make the Star Harvesters more vigilant as well. This was also the reason why he hadn't refused to talk with Miss Keke. The gang's stance was unclear, as they hadn't fully refused the trade. Things were at a standstill.
He made his decision, choosing to follow Lin Yanyu's suggestion and tackle the problem from within. It wasn't easy to infiltrate a gang like the Star Harvesters. However, there were no unlockable doors and unbreakable forts in the world. One could find spies in even the strictest of clans, with the six great sects of the Myriad Domain being a perfect example of this concept. Almost every single clan had been infiltrated by spies. The Tristar Sect was practically a puppet of the Ninesuns Sky Sect.
Hence, infiltrating the gang was still within the realm of possibility. Jiang Chen decided to make full use of Lin Yanyu's capacity as a local and tasked him with collecting all sorts of information about the Star Harvesters.
However, four days days later, he received another bit of news.
"Master, I've just received inside information that the Star Harvesters is planning to auction off Master Mu after the Bounty Arena."
Jiang Chen was extremely surprised by the news. Was the clan finally revealing their true greedy selves? Auctioning a pill dao genius like any ordinary product was actually incredibly shameful for a gang of their stature.
"Tsk tsk. It seems they really do prefer money over face." There was some contempt within Jiang Chen's comment.
However, Lin Yanyu had a different view of this matter. "Master, based on my observations, I can say for certain that the Star Harvesters are no admirers of talent. However, from a long term perspective, they would almost certainly gain more value if they foster and nurture Master Mu."
These words made sense. Auctioning off Mu Gaoqi at this stage isn't the best deal as his value was yet to reach its peak. It was definitely not a smart business decision by the Star Harvesters. Jiang Chen had thought that they were doing this because they'd run out of patience and instead preferred to make some quick money.
"Yanyu, are you saying that there's more that meets the eye here?"
"Master, the power struggle here is a little different from what you're used to in Veluriyam Capital. The Capital is a little more orderly compared to this place. There is competition between factions and also all kinds of disputes, but overall it is a place where laws are abided by and rules are obeyed. The same can't be said for Pillfire City. The laws here are slightly more primitive. Rules of the jungle and the survival of the fittest is taken as gospel." Lin Yanyu gritted his teeth upon reaching this point. "After what happened to my family, I've realized that owning something precious might not actually be a good thing. One's fortune will arouse the envy of others. If my family hadn't found the ancient pill formula, and that certain someone hadn't envied my father's pill dao talent, they would never have been annihilated for no particular reason!"
A deep hatred suffused his voice. It was evident that he felt a lot of contempt for the laws of Pilflire City.
"You mean that the Star Harvesters has begun to feel pressure from owning Master Mu?" Jiang Chen seemed a little intrigued.
"Your disciple cannot offer you confirmation, but based on my knowledge on the current state of affairs in the city, I have confidence that it is likely the case." Lin Yanyu theorized calmly. "The Star Harvesters is one of the strongest factions in Pillfire City, but they are not the cream of the crop, and nowhere close to being the strongest. Master Mu's talent in pill dao has probably exceeded what they can manage. The consensus in the city is that the Star Harvesters is not worthy of Master Mu."
Stories of trouble stemming from fortune was a daily occurence here. The same also happened in the Myriad Domain. The Eternal Celestial Capital and the Ninesuns Sky Sect believed that Emperor Featherflight and an empyrean heritage was lost in the domain, which was why they plotted and invaded the entire region, causing chaos and destruction. A weak and puny faction possessing a treasure greatly beyond their abilities was recipe for disaster.
In some ways, Jiang Chen understood what sort of pressure the Star Harvesters was facing. Mu Gaoqi wasn't the only pill dao genius with a wood constitution in the world, but he was definitely a phoenix to be found only once every few thousand years. An innate constitution was rare in the Upper Eight Regions, but it was still possible to locate some. Almost every single sect would have a few members with an innate constitution. However, an innate wood constitution was fewer in numbers compared to other elements. That made one of high order was as rare as a phoenix or a dragon.
An innate wood constitution genius was basically a body built for the pursuit of pill dao. An innate wood constitution of high order however, was a genius beyond that of common geniuses. The Star Harvesters realized that they couldn't hold onto Mu Gaoqi for too long, which was why they made so many high profile promotions. Since they couldn't hang onto him for the long term, they might as well sell him off for a high price. It would bring them a sizable profit and create a good relationship with the buyer.
Their issue was that they'd been waiting far too long for the right price. They'd shown too much ambiguity and given no definite answer. Many leading factions were incredibly dissatisfied. They believed that the gang had gone overboard. Therefore, it was natural that they would exert some pressure to the gang, instantly making life harder.
The Star Harvesters realized that they could delay the matter no longer after receiving all kinds of pressure, overt and below the table. Time was of the essence. If they continue to delay, the masses might lose all of their patience. They would become a public enemy if the leading factions flew into rage. They would have to live the rest of their lives like rats, a target of scorn.
They were smart enough to realize that they couldn't delay matters any longer. It was the reason why they announced that they would auction Master Mu after the Bounty Arena.
It was the smartest choice they could make. If they ever conducted a deal in private, they would offend other factions. By having an auction, they could protect themselves from this problem. They would offend nobody if they left the final decision to the auction house. Everyone was clamoring after Pill Master Mu, was it? Then name a price. An auction was a free-for-all. The highest bidder would win the item. If one couldn't manage to win the bid, it meant that one wasn't wealthy or powerful enough. There was no one but themselves to blame. The Star Harvesters were sheltered from any fallout. One had to praise them for making such a smart move. Jiang Chen understood their train of thought after Lin Yanyu explained the current situation.
"Yanyu, what exactly is the Bounty Arena?" Jiang Chen asked. He knew nothing of the customs and practices in Pillfire City, so the Bounty Arena was also foreign to him.
"Honored master, the Bounty Arena is one of Pillfire City's traditions. Actually, it's a tradition also found in many other places in the Upper Eight Regions," Lin Yanyu explained.
"Oh? Is it similar to the gathering we just had in Veluriyam Capital?" Jiang Chen asked curiously.
"Not quite. Pillfire City indeed has a similar event to Veluriyam Capital's recent gathering, but the Bounty Arena is an entirely different kind of event."
"The Bounty Arena is a yearly event, with it sometimes being held at the change of every season. There is no regularity to the event. However, it seems that the coming one will be one of the largest they've held in the recent decade. I heard that there will be nine full arenas in total, with each full arena housing nine sub-arenas."
"Is there a specific meaning behind this particular arrangement of arenas?"
"The main motive behind this event lies not within the arenas, but rather within the bounty. There will be numerous bounties in each arena that come in the shape of all kinds of forms and requests. Some might come as questions about martial dao, issues regarding cultivation, inquiries in pill dao, and many other fields. One might even have to expect issues regarding talismans, formations, and perhaps even beast taming. It's a good platform for someone to earn fame with the common people and build connections. Sometimes, you might even come across an exorbitant bounty for an extremely difficult question!"
Jiang Chen was slowly realizing the purpose of the Bounty Arena. Simply put, it was a platform for solving problems. If someone had questions that they couldn't solve, they could issue a bounty and collect help from the masses.
"If that's the case, it's likely very difficult to become the lord of a full arena." Jiang Chen immediately noticed the crux of the matter.
"That is correct. The lord of an arena is handpicked after a series of filtering. However, one stands to gain a lot of wealth if a position in the full arena is acquired. Past Bounty Arenas had three full arenas, or maybe even six at the most. Nine full arenas makes it the largest Bounty Arena in the recent decade." The more Lin Yanyu spoke, the more excited he became. "Honored master, I'm certain that you'll gain a position if you join the arena lord tryouts!"
"Me?" Jiang Chen laughed but was actually considering the same thing.
"The Star Harvesters are going to auction Master Mu off after the Bounty Arena. People will no longer doubt your abilities if you join the auction as an arena lord."
Jiang Chen pondered deeply after hearing these words.