Chapter 736: Ten Sage Realm Cultivators Submit
His mind made up, Jiang Chen messed around a little in each consciousness before unsealing their senses.
"Who … who are you?"
"Where am I?"
"Am I dead?" Awakening one by one, the dazed people blurted out questions in rapid succession. Jiang Chen had already sent his fellow sect members to another floor of the hideout. Besides the yet sealed slaves beneath them, only he and these ten remained. A faint smile on his face, he waited for them to sort out their thoughts rather than answering straightaway. Though he didn't know their pasts, it was unrealistic to expect instant submission from sage realm cultivators.
However, he did not plan to actively persuade them either. It was better for them to come to their own conclusions about the situation rather than expending needless effort. A few more moments passed before the ten sorted out their thoughts. When they looked at Jiang Chen again, their gazes were filled with animosity, some almost bordering on malice.
"Excuse me, where are we?"
"Hmph, it’s just a kid. Don't try to scare us!"
"Where are we, cough it up! Who sent you, kid?!" Upon discovering that the brat before them was below them in cultivation, they shed any pretense of self-restraint and let their emotions run free.
"It looks like your heads have cleared, but you still don't know what kind of state you're in, huh? I’ve only heard of the fable of the farmer and the viper where kindness is met by betrayal. I guess you're the kind of people it describes?" Jiang Chen sneered.
"Kid, what are you talking about?"
"Speak clearly?" Jiang Chen's expression darkened. "Need I remind you of your capture and enslavement? Or maybe you already remember, and you're feigning forgetfulness?"
Of course these people were aware of their situation. But when they only saw a youth before them, they merely saw him as an opportunity to exploit. Faced with Jiang Chen's plain speech, their affectations of arrogance were instantly cut short.
"Little brother, please give us a clear explanation. I am an old man of several hundred years, and it has been a shameful experience to be ambushed and sold into slavery. If you're looking to subjugate this old pile of bones, I would rather die."
"Yes, that's right. You will enslave us only in death!" Shouts of agreement echoed around the room.
"You have hands and feet, and you're free to move about. I won’t stop you if you want to die. Would someone take the lead? After all, leading by example is a fine trait" Die? Who didn't know how to speak in hyperbole? These people would actually be quite reluctant to really die. As expected, the expressions of those present grew a little unnatural, even awkward. They had no resolution to instantaneously commit to death.
"I don’t know who sold you, neither do I know who you were going to be sold to. I can only tell you this: we are in Veluriyam Capital, and you were held captive at the Myriad Puppets Pavilion, priced and ready for sale. If I hadn't rescued you, perhaps you would already have been sold to some family to be their servant, doomed to eternal servitude as a slave of the lowest class." Jiang Chen's explanation was lengthy but measured, with no hint of disdain. He smiled as he finished. “If anyone here thinks that I've made a mistake, I can take you back to Myriad Puppets Pavilion right now. As for where you'll be headed after that, or whose slave you'll become… that will no longer be my concern."
He really had nothing to ask of these people. He only wanted them to understand the situation they’d found themselves in. "Look, down there… that mass of unsold slaves was also part of the group that I rescued. It was but mere convenience to rescue. But take a good hard look. Compare their state to yours, and you'll see how lucky you are." Jiang Chen pointed downwards, guiding their gazes. "Why don't we go down and take a closer look," Jiang Chen smiled faintly.
Though their bodies were not fully recovered still, they’d just regained consciousness after all, the ten had no problems taking a few steps. They were all completely shocked after probing the larger group below them. It wasn’t only the slaves’ senses that had been sealed, but also their qi oceans as well. Moreover, the seal on the latter had clear indications of its destructive nature. The sealer only needed to destroy the corresponding tokens to destroy the slaves utterly. Adopting complicated expressions, the ten ascended slowly. Their prior arrogance had all but disappeared.
"Well?" Jiang Chen smiled. "You were actually in the same state as they are a little while ago. If I hadn't spent some of my consciousness in order to remove the seals on your qi oceans, your lives would still be subject to the whims of House Sikou."
"Who are you?"
"Why did you rescue us?" Having no basis for further arrogance, the ten adjusted their attitudes. They knew as well as Jiang Chen did that if they didn't cooperate, they could simply be sent back to the Pavilion.
"As I said, your rescue was merely a matter of convenience. The only reason I removed your seals because I thought you had some use," Jiang Chen spoke slowly.
"So you mean, you're going to enslave us as well?" Their expressions changed in unison.
"What difference is there between this and being sold at the Pavilion?!"
"Hmph, aren't we still slaves in the end? Huh, I suspect that you're from House Sikou yourself. This is just a type of brainwashing, isn’t it?"
Well, their imaginations were certainly vivid. Jiang Chen was expressionless, but his gaze gradually cooled. "My plans for you aside, what kind of attitude is this? DId you somehow pick up the mistaken notion that you're irreplaceable? There are still a thousand-odd people over there, do you think I won't be able to find substitutes from them?" His tone was ice, and his demeanor no longer as polite. These people had no previous relationship with him, nor were they members of his sect, so it was difficult for them to conjure up feelings of unity.
A red-haired man spoke up, "Sir, to me at least, you do not appear to me to be a malicious man. I am personally quite thankful that you came to our rescue. If I may ask, what are your exact plans for us?"
"Yes, tell us the truth. If it's not too difficult, then of course we will do our best to repay this debt." One person's surrender led to the softening of others. After all, this was the way of human nature. Besides the debt they owed to the young man for his rescue, they could also sense the subterfuge within their consciousnesses, though neither party alluded to this fact a single time. They understood better than anyone that the young man could destroy them with a single thought.
Jiang Chen's face softened slightly, declining further pursuit of their concessions. "Like I said, I rescued you because I thought you of some use to me. If you're not willing to accept that, say so now. I can take you back to the Myriad Puppets Pavilion at the next opportunity."
Back to the Pavilion? Back to being a slave with a price tag? Their faces all changed. A fate like that would really be worse than death. Though the young man before them wasn’t easy to deal with, at least he didn't look like the vicious sort.
"Let's cut to the chase. I need some subordinates who can help me with various things. Though I can't say that you're amazingly superb, you're at least sufficient for my purposes. Here, you can count yourselves as employees or subordinates. If you treat yourselves with respect, I will do the same. Furthermore, I have no desire to take away your permanent freedom. The longest I'll need you for is a decade or two, though you yourself might not be willing to leave when the time comes."
Truthfully, Jiang Chen hadn't actually come up with the proper arrangements for these people just yet. But if he wanted to make a name for himself at the Veluriyam Capital, he needed a group of his own men. His fellow sect members from Regal Pill Palace lacked both the strength and the ability to share his burdens. He didn’t know the origins of these people, but at least they were all sage realm cultivators, with even the least amongst them in the earth sage realm. Although this kind of strength was insufficient to vie for hegemony in the Capital—truthfully they weren’t even third-rate, really—it was still better than the origin realm guys from the Regal Pill Palace.
The most important factor was Jiang Chen's inability to heavily use and yell at his comrades, but these people were free from that worry. Having saved their lives, Jiang Chen felt he had every right to command them for a mere decade or two. By the time he was set up at the Capital, they probably wouldn't want to leave any more.
"You have fifteen minutes to consider it. Remember, I don't need an insincere answer, only a choice made from the heart. If you think my conditions are unacceptable, there is no problem in bringing it up with me. On the other hand, feigning compliance while secretly acting in opposition will bear grave consequences," Jiang Chen said quite seriously.
The fifteen minutes passed by very quickly; the ten of them embroiled in their own thoughts. Evidently, the choice wasn’t easy to make.
"I've thought it through. Ten or twenty years is nothing. I, Meng Redhair, am willing to follow you for even thirty or fifty years. The time spent is worth it in repaying your kindness." The red-haired man was first to reply.
"I, too, am willing," an old man of the sky sage realm also responded. In the world of martial dao, ten or twenty years would pass by with the flick of a finger. The lifespan of sage realm cultivators numbered in the thousands, often longer than two thousand years. Twenty years was really nothing. Furthermore, their rescue was now an established fact. If they took a step back and contemplated their return for eventual sale as a slave, that sort of horrible fate was easily visualized.
"Ah, well, let's be done with it. I suppose it is a kind of silver lining to have this as the conclusion to a calamity in life."
"Twenty years it is? I too wholeheartedly entrust myself to you." With the first capitulation, a second soon followed. No one here was a fool. It was better to take the lighter consequence than the heavier. Twenty years of subordination versus a lifetime of servitude—it was a simple choice between the two.
Click through to the official announcement post for pictures of volare staff, WW staff, and yours truly! I did a heart pounding live reading of those battle scenes! The new novel will launch this weekend!