The man pondered for a moment. “Now that you mention it, I do have an impression of him. He doesn’t seem to be in our zone.”
Gu Xintang was overjoyed. “Think harder and tell us everything you know. Remember, don’t lie.”
“You’ll be rewarded generously if you lead us to him.” Jiang Chen nodded.
The man noticed the hostile glares being cast at him and instantly knew that there would be enormous repercussions if he said any more. Plenty were willing to do anything for a chance to get out of the Sable Cells. And now, a glimmer of hope was within reach. If envious glances could kill, he’d be dead at least a dozen times by now. He’d also be dead within an hour if he remained here any longer.
The fighter mused deeply and glanced at Gu Xintang. “Captain Gu, I need you to make me a promise.”
“What is it?” Gu Xintang was unhappy that the man was trying to haggle.
“If the information I provide is useful, promise me that you’ll grant my freedom even if the person you seek isn’t found. If my information is useless, you still have to transfer me to another zone.” The man knew that he’d angered the masses here. Even if he couldn’t leave the Sable Cells, he would at least require a zone transfer.
Tens of thousands of prisoners were held in the cells. Its population was that of a city. Naturally, the place was segregated into multiple zones. There was a different ruler in each of the zones. The Sable Cells was said to be a lawless place, but everyone abided by a set of rules that no outsider would ever know about. If it truly were a place without rules, the occupants would all be dead within a month. It was impossible for tens of thousands to coexist in a place like this.
The fact that the population maintained in the tens of thousands meant that there was actually an ecosystem down here. New prisoners were constantly coming in to replace the dead. This cycle was essential for the Sable Cells’ existence.
Gu Xintang glanced at Jiang Chen and nodded without hesitation. “I can give you what you ask, provided that your information is useful.”
The shrewd man was elated. “Deal! Follow me. Let’s talk elsewhere.”
Jiang Chen exchanged glances with Gu Xintang. They nodded and followed the man to a slightly more secluded corner to talk. “Captain Gu, I’ve heard about the man which you seek.”
“Oh? Where is he?” Gu Xintang was paying undivided attention.
“I cannot tell you where he is for now.” The shrewd man was quite sharp. “I need you to make me a promise.”
“Didn’t I do that earlier?” Gu Xintang frowned.
“Nonono. A verbal promise is useless. What am I to do if you break your promise?” The shrewd man had survived in this prison for a very long time. He wasn’t the kind to trust others easily.
“What do you want us to do then?” Gu Xintang was very annoyed by his haggling.
“Very simple. Just solemnly swear to the heavens and earth that you’ll fulfill your end of the deal if my information is useful. I guarantee that you’ll be very satisfied with what I can offer. Moreover, the information that I have is very obscure. Not many know about it in this zone.”
Jiang Chen activated his God’s Eyes and stared at the shrewd man as though he was trying to peer into the very depths of the man’s soul. The cultivator quivered when he met Jiang Chen’s gaze, but he peered back without any fear. He was scared, but he was equally as determined. He made it obvious that he’d not keel under pressure.
Gu Xintang nodded after thinking about it for a moment. “Fine. I shall do as you say. If your information is genuinely useful to us, I swear to the heavens that I shall grant you freedom. However, if your information is useless, I’ll make sure that you’ll rot in this prison for the rest of your life!”
The shrewd man smiled when he heard Gu Xintang’s vow. “Rest assured. I’ll commit suicide if it really is useless. The man that you seek is a very unimpressive earth origin cultivator that also seems to be incredibly infatuated with someone. Ever since he’s arrived, all he’s done is mumble ‘Meng’er... Meng’er...’ all day long. Everyone believed that he wouldn’t even last three days, but…” The man suddenly stopped.
“But what?” A light flared in Jiang Chen’s as he stared at the man anxiously.
“It really does seem very odd now that I think about it. When that man arrived, he immediately caught the attention of a few bosses here.” The man chuckled. “Actually, many have seen the man you’re looking for. However, nobody paid close attention to him except for me. He kept mumbling ‘Meng’er… Meng’er…’ all day long. The guards who brought him here said something about how merciful they were for not killing him on the spot for trying to uncover the sect’s secrets…”
Opportunities were for those prepared. There had been many witnesses, but few paid close attention to the details. Everyone was only concerned with their own survival in the Sable Cells. Nobody would ever pay attention to such trifling matters, especially when the person in question was merely an origin realm cultivator. Nobody was interested in an origin realm cultivator’s gossip. Of course, that wouldn’t be the case if he was an emperor. Everyone would surely pay attention then.
An origin realm cultivator was simply too insignificant. Almost nobody cared or asked about him. The only reason the shrewd man knew so much was because he was a very meticulous person. He paid extra attention to this matter when he heard that it was related to a certain ‘holy maiden’. He was finally able to put his attention to detail to good use.
Jiang Chen was incredibly moved. The shrewd man clearly knew what he was talking about as he’d included many details that couldn’t be fabricated. He reached into his sleeves and took out ten Heroic Sage Pills. These were very beneficial to one’s cultivation in the sage realm. It replenished one’s energy and was a great source of internal energy. Its effects wasn’t as overwhelming as the Sage Smile Pill and didn’t offer an unconditional breakthrough in the sage realm, but it was more useful in the long term. The Sage Smile Pill allowed for an unconditional breakthrough, but it could only be used once. The Heroic Sage Pill however, could be used throughout the entire sage realm.
“Stop trying to haggle and tell me where he is right now. All you need to do is tell me where he is and these pills will be yours.” Jiang Chen was very generous.
It had been years since the shrewd man last saw cultivation resources. He gulped audibly upon seeing those shiny new pills. A gleam appeared in his eyes. “T-these… these are Heroic Sage Pills? Upper rank ones at that too?”
“You have an eye for quality goods.” Jiang Chen replied blandly.
“They’re all mine if I tell you where he is?” The shrewd man gulped audibly for the second time. Greed was written all over his face. He was a voracious wolf that had just discovered prey.
Gu Xintang gave the man a kick in the butt. “Stop talking nonsense and just tell us where he is!”
The man finally realized the nuances within the situation and began to see Jiang Chen in a new light. He’d originally thought that Jiang Chen and Emperor Peerless were Gu Xintang’s subordinates, but he suddenly noticed how respectful Gu Xintang was towards them. They were clearly not subordinates. However, being the shrewd person that he was, he definitely wouldn’t say that out loud. He very much preferred to keep his head attached to his neck. He nodded without any more delay. “I made some inquiries on his whereabouts soon after that. If I’m not mistaken, he should be in the Ten Ultimates.”
Gu Xintang was aghast. “What did you just say?!”
The shrewd man nodded reassuringly. “That man is definitely in the Ten Ultimates. If he’s still alive that is.”
Gu Xintang flashed a complicated look at him. “Are you sure you’re not dreaming?”
“Captain Gu, why would I lie when my freedom is at stake? It might sound unbelievable, but it’s completely true,” the man replied resolutely.
“What kind of place is the Ten Ultimates?” Jiang Chen asked Gu Xintang.
Gu Xintang smiled wryly. “The Ten Ultimates is the scariest and also highest rank zone in the Sable Cells. The residents there are the strongest of all. Only ten are allowed to live in that zone at any given time. This is a silent rule which everyone acknowledges. If one wishes to enter the Ten Ultimates, one must challenge the powerful experts there. Thus, it’s an extremely frightening place to be in. Most captains wouldn’t even dare approach that zone. Only the hallmaster of the Bleakmoon Hall can come and go as he wish.”
There were multiple powerful experts in each of the Sable Cells zones. They were subdued and imprisoned in the Sable Cells for a multitude of reasons. Even though they’d lost their freedom, they were still more than capable of holding their own in the Cells and had climbed to the very top of the local food chain. In fact, they were all frighteningly powerful talents that could climb to the top of any food chain. In other words, they were all very ambitious and ruthless characters.
“Are the prisoners in that zone the strongest in this prison?” Jiang Chen asked.
“Definitely. The Sable Cells are a very primitive place where wits can never overcome brawn. One’s cultivation level speaks the loudest here. Every single prisoner living in the Ten Ultimates is a high level emperor. In fact, the weakest among them is actually an eighth level emperor.” Gu Xintang sighed gently. He genuinely feared the Ten Ultimates.
The Sable Cells was a very hostile place that brought out every drop of potential from within the occupants. An eighth level emperor in these cells might not be any weaker than a ninth level emperor in the outside world. There was no place to hide or find solace in a place like this. Everyday was a new struggle. To survive, one had to squeeze every drop of potential from oneself and display one’s power and ferocity at every given moment.
Emperor Peerless finally broke the silence. “Who cares what zone he’s in. Let’s go and have a look. Time is of the essence.”
Jiang Chen nodded. “Let’s go.”
Gu Xintang grit his teeth and nodded reluctantly. Their informant immediately turned pale. “W-wait! Are… are you really certain that you want to enter to the Ten Ultimates?”