Chapter 872: The Wandering Cultivator Selling Pills
The Ghost Cave Five had a thuggish reputation, making the typical wandering cultivator give them a wide berth. Jiang Chen was even fiercer and more domineering in this respect, exerting a suffocating pressure on everyone in sight. Many wandering cultivators became fearful of his gaze. They no longer dared look at him directly, examining him with only sneaky sidelong glances and ensuring that no unfriendliness could be deciphered from their actions.
Jiang Chen didn't let taking care of the Ghost Cave Five get to his head, though. He calmly beckoned to Huang’er, and they sat down in the area that had belonged to the recently evicted group. The Ghost Cave Five had occupied a sizable territory. He thought it was nice that he had enough space to be undisturbed by others. The entrance to the seal was only roughly two kilometers away from where he was seated. From this distance, Jiang Chen could use his consciousness to carefully inspect the opening in the seal
Jiang Chen examined it for a brief moment to discover where exactly the gap was. At first glance, it appeared to be no different than the rest of the seal. But closer inspection revealed that the spirit energy flowing past the opening was slightly slower than that of everywhere else. It was like a chain that contained a misshapen ring within. When the spirit energy within the seal came to this ring, it skipped half a beat.
After looking at the seal a bit longer, Jiang Chen was able to glean some of the principles behind its operation. According to his calculations, the seal still needed another day or two for a man-sized opening to appear. After analyzing the seal, Jiang Chen calmed himself and began to observe his surroundings. He had originally thought that the Ghost Cave Five had a piece of prime real estate, but upon closer examination, that wasn't really true. Though the spot appeared to be close to the entrance, it was actually a crossroads at a high risk of being contested. When the seal erupted, the spot that the Ghost Cave Five formerly occupied would bear the brunt of activity.
Of the other wandering cultivators scattered around, some had spots that seemed far but were actually more effective. When the opening arose, the front entrance would be quite crowded. The places nearer the wings were probably much better in terms of geography.
Jiang Chen made a note of this mentally after a rough look. "The Ghost Cave Five had a loud bark, but they're not very smart. The cleverer ones have hidden themselves, ready to pounce at the first sign of weakness or opportunity."
This was the frightening conclusion that Jiang Chen came to after his investigation. Perhaps the Ghost Cave Five did have an advantage when compared to some of the wandering cultivators on the outskirts. But, against the ones who'd concealed their strength to the degree of being overlooked, they didn't have a chance at all. They seemed almost fools.
"I guess that explains why no one's contested their territory. It directly faces the seal and will definitely face heavy traffic. It's both dangerous and will be contested. I'm surprised that the Five are still alive, considering their brain power… they must lead a hard life." Despite his thoughts, Jiang Chen wasn't planning on changing spots. Now that he'd so openly kicked out the five from their spot, perhaps others viewed him as a slightly stronger brute. He wasn't willing to correct their mistaken preconception. If others overlooked or underestimated him on this journey, then all the better.
There would be no cause for concern if everyone present was like them. But those who were conserving their strength were clearly different. Some were terrifyingly, even absurdly, strong. For people with even that level of strength to hide their power, the situation must be very delicate. Nobody wanted to stand out. Keeping a low profile was surely the mantra of many people here on this journey. But Jiang Chen didn't want to show off a different side of himself. He intentionally put on a façade of "I'm very strong, so nobody should offend me".
Huang’er was an understanding girl. She could tell from the quickest of glances and the slightest of movements what Jiang Chen was thinking, and vice versa. She knew that Jiang Chen was feigning incompetence. After they sat cross-legged for a while, there was a voice from the left. "Friend, can I have a few moments of your time?"
Jiang Chen wiggled his ears, already locking on to the sound's origin. Looking in that direction, he saw a comparatively young wandering cultivator. The young cultivator smiled at him, his eyes belying a strong desire for social interaction. Seeing Jiang Chen's attentive gaze, the youth messaged again. "I swear to the heavens that I mean no harm."
Jiang Chen squinted at the youth, looking him over a few times to make sure there was nothing unspeakable hidden in his eyes. "Come, then," he nodded. The youth raised both hands horizontally, careful not to disturb anyone else, even the ants on the ground. His cautious behavior indicated his nature as a cultivator.
Concerned about any possible misunderstandings, the youth had both arms raised as he walked into Jiang Chen's territory. He flashed a slightly guarded smile. "Hello friend, a little introduction first. I'm Lin Yanyu."
"Hmm, I see. Have a seat." Jiang Chen nodded nonchalantly, then glanced at the youth again. "Don't act so suspicious. If you have something to say, then spit it out."
Lin Yanyu couldn't help but keep nodding. His expression was apologetic. "May I ask your surname?"
Jiang Chen tilted his head at Huang’er. "Huang," he said casually.
"Ah, so Daoist Huang then."
"You came over to make small talk?" Jiang Chen frowned.
Lin Yanyu offered a conciliatory smile. "No, no, not at all. Sorry if it's a little sudden, but I came over here to, ah, market a few products I have."
"Market… products?" Jiang Chen couldn't understand why the youth had come to such a serious place in order to sell things. That didn't quite fit in.
"The desolate wildlands haven't been opened since ancient times. Many Miasmas must have built up without human activity. I am not a man of many talents, but I do take modest pride in my pill refining skills. I came to offer you some antidote pills for your travels."
Jiang Chen exchanged a look with Huang’er, privately amused by the prospect. Someone was marketing pills to him?
Lin Yanyu took his expression as one of dismissal, hastening an explanation. "Friend daoist, I'm a wandering cultivator from Pillfire City. My recipe is exclusive. I just haven't been able to make a name for myself because of the fierce competition there. This is an opportunity for me to prove the quality of my pills. You can put your mind at ease, I only intend to get some testimonials rather than make money. As long as my material and traveling costs are covered, that's enough."
The youth's eyes exuded sincere honesty, mixed with a dash of appeasement. He'd clearly been here for a while, but the results of his marketing bore little fruit. From the faint palm-shaped bruise on his left cheek, he'd even been slapped by someone. Jiang Chen didn't quite know why, but he suddenly felt a little compassion for Lin Yanyu. For a wandering cultivator from a grassroots background, there was the risk of being insulted and beaten even amongst other wandering cultivators, much less when competing with Pillfire City. There were countless people like this in the world of martial dao, Jiang Chen couldn't help but be moved by the look in Lin Yanyu's eyes.
"Let's buy a few, then," Huang’er suddenly spoke up to the side. "Take out your pills. Let's have a look."
Overjoyed by Huang’er's words, Lin Yanyu nevertheless looked to Jiang Chen for further guidance. He knew that this mighty male cultivator was the one who had the final say. Jiang Chen nodded. "Yes, let's see the quality of your pills."
Lin Yanyu took out a pill bottle hurriedly, pouring out aquamarine pills from the vessel. "This pill is called the Eight Treasures Antidote. It can defend against most common poisons and Miasmas you encounter." Lin Yanyu was very proud of his own pills.
Jiang Chen turned the pill over in the palm of his hand. Wandering cultivators from Pillfire City were truly a cut above the rest. This Eight Treasures Antidote was upper rank in both design and quality. It was almost worthy of being called an earth rank pill.
"This pill is pretty good. How much are you selling it for?"Jiang Chen asked smoothly.
"For one pill? Only two hundred thousand saint spirit stones," Lin Yanyu answered quickly.
Even something like the Longevity Pill could be sold for ten million or more. A pill like this for two hundred thousand was actually quite cheap. Jiang Chen smiled a little. "Give me ten, then."
"Ten pills?" Lin Yanyu blinked. "You want that many? Friend, there's no benefit to using several of this pill. The effect is the same whether you consume one or five. I wouldn't buy so many at once." Though Lin Yanyu desperately wanted to sell his pills, he was still a very honest merchant. He was willing to inform Jiang Chen of the disadvantages of his product.
Jiang Chen smiled again. "You don't want to sell? Then never mind, you can leave."
Lin Yanyu looked as bitter. "Fellow, I'm… I'm just saving money for you."
"What's the point in buying just one or two of a pill worth only two hundred thousand?" Jiang Chen said squarely. "Ten or nothing."
Lin Yanyu could only laugh with helplessness before nodding. "Fine, ten it is. If you feel that you've bought too many, you can find me for a refund."
"You talk too much." Twisting a corner of his mouth, Jiang Chen tossed the other man a storage ring. "Here's the money for the pills. Stop nagging and get out of my sight."
Huang’er knew by now that Jiang Chen was putting on an aggressive appearance. He wanted to trick those observing into thinking he was a mere brute.
Taking the storage ring, Lin Yanyu scanned its contents. He was stunned. The ring held a full five million saint spirit stones. However, Jiang Chen's hawkish appearance and the prior warning made him swallow the words on the edge of his lips. He did a cupped fist salute instead. "Thank you for your patronage."
Jiang Chen waved a hand impatiently. "What’s there to be thankful for? It’s a fair transaction."
Bowing, Lin Yanyu changed from speech to message. "Daoist, you've given me more than I am owed. My heart obliges me to tell you a few extra things, and I hope they're of help to you.
"Firstly, the territory you have now is intentionally overlooked by many experts. Secondly, there are many very strong experts hidden in the people about you. Thirdly, these strong experts seem to have formed a hidden alliance, in order to set down some new rules about this specific expedition into the wildlands…"