Chapter 53: Raven King
The process of procuring the captives went extremely smoothly. They got a large number of captives for quite cheap, and there were even quite a few high-tier Arcana Masters.
This time, they were good both in terms of quality and quantity.
Both Su Chen and Zhu Chenhuan were delighted by this outcome.
It wasn’t because they managed to save some money, but because they knew that the Harpies had made a move.
Since they had managed to predict the Harpies’ movements, then they had control of the tempo. This was like two players facing off in mahjong, with one player believing that they were doing a good job of hiding their tiles without realizing that there was a mirror right behind him.
“We got sixty captives this time, including three Harpy nobles. It’s quite apparent that the Harpies are going for broke for the sake of this broodmother and have added fuel to the flames of their own volition. The benefit of buying such a large group of captives for such a cheap price is that we can also interrogate them and find any human spies who have sold themselves over to the Harpies,” Zhu Chenhuan said.
Su Chen nodded. “This is indeed a very good thing, but we can’t deal with those spies yet in case they go on alert.”
“Of course. These people are now under the Zhu Clan’s control,” Zhu Chenhuan said with a smile.
“Then good. Once the captives arrive, notify me.”
“Of course. However, Su Chen, I would still prefer for you to leave the transmission of information to those Harpy prisoners.”
“I understand what you are thinking, but it’s better to be too prepared, right?” Su Chen chuckled.
Even if the diplomatic party was able to make it to Flat Sky City, they might not be able to find the location of the broodmother. After all, the matter had been decided with Flowing Flame Oriole on the spot. The Harpies had not decided in advance where to hide the broodmother, after all.
Now, Flowing Flame Oriole was dead, and no one knew exactly where the broodmother was being kept. The diplomatic party at most knew that the broodmother was below Flat Sky City near the Moonstone Mine, but what part of the mine or what realm it was in was totally unknown.
If they found it, then everything was fine, but if they couldn’t, someone would need to point out the right direction to them.
That was what these Harpy captives were for.
What kind of reminders or pointers would they give? That depended on Su Chen.
There were probably many Harpies who would be easily able to identify Su Chen, but Harpy captives wouldn’t have that ability. Even if they did have the ability to do so, their treatment as prisoners would make it impossible for them to identify him.
Zhu Chenhuan’s plan posed the least amount of risk to Su Chen. If everything went as planned, Su Chen wouldn’t even need to go to the Sky Country to resolve the situation.
However, Zhu Chenhuan had managed to anticipate the Harpies’ moves, but not Su Chen’s.
Yes, this plan was very safe, but it also greatly decreased the need to improve Su Chen’s camouflage ability.
Please, this is to improve my strength, okay?
You might be able to settle everything with a good plan and even avoid having to improve my disguise abilities, saving yourself from money. But what you are trying to save on is exactly what I want!
The side making the investment would always do everything in their power to lower the cost of their investment, while they side being invested in would always do everything in their power to raise it, regardless of whether it was necessary or not.
This was always the case, no matter how good the relations were between the two parties.
This was called selfishness.
In a broader sense, Su Chen did have the need to participate on his own.
It had to be said that arming and housing an individual differed from race to race. What was suitable for the Harpies was not always suitable for humans.
For instance, Harpies had wings, so they could all fly. As a result, even though the Harpies possessed the floating palaces, they basically had no small-scale flight objects. Cloud-Piercing Shuttles were incredibly rare amongst the Harpies because there was no need for them. The floating forts were entirely built to live in and to serve as weapons. There was no need for them to have small flying weapons either. As a result, there was no place to dock a Cloud-Piercing Shuttle, and many other amenities would be lacking as well. On the other hand, a Cloud-Piercing Shuttle dock was an absolute necessity for any larger human fort.
In addition, because Harpies were the inheritors of Ancient Arcana Techniques, their weapons and equipment were often activated through the use of these Arcana Techniques.
Once the floating fort reached the specifications required by the Harpies, even if Su Chen was able to take control of it and use it, it would likely feel quite foreign to him. If he was able to utilize even eighty percent of its strength, that would already be quite impressive.
For this reason, Su Chen hoped to be able to redirect the development of the floating fort to some degree, at least so that he could make it easier to renovate in the future.
Zhu Chenhuan preferred for the captives to be the ones to deliver news of the broodmother, but Su Chen insisted on making the decision himself.
If the circumstances allowed it, he would do his best to assimilate with the Harpies.
Zhu Chenhuan could only say, “My good friend has already agreed to my request and is on his way. Actually, I am not unwilling to promise him some benefits, but Su Chen, you should understand how humans are. The more ability they have, the more they want to flaunt it and show it off, especially if it is extremely powerful. He can indeed improve your camouflage abilities so that you can trick even the eyes of the Harpies’ Arcana Masters, but that doesn’t mean you will never be discovered. There will always be some methods that surpass your predictions, and there will always be some mishaps that you cannot anticipate. If you are eager to give your new abilities a try, you will be more inclined to take risks and put yourself in danger. That’s what I’m the most worried about.”
The old man’s thought process was obviously more mature than Su Chen’s.
He really cared for Su Chen’s safety, not the small benefits he would need to pay.
And his words did carry some truth to them.
If a person obtained some ability, getting him to keep it a secret was indeed quite difficult. As soon as Su Chen disguised himself, he would be entering a world full of hidden danger.
That was exactly what Zhu Chenhuan feared.
Su Chen understood what he was saying and nodded. “I understand. I will do my best to be careful.”
“I hope so,” Zhu Chenhuan sighed.
He knew that Su Chen was only responding perfunctorily, but there was nothing he could do about it.
A young man’s desire to take risks always made older people worried. Zhu Chenhuan thought to himself that he was probably like this when he was younger as well.
The Harpies’ diplomatic party arrived at Flat Sky City seven days later.
Their first day there, they immediately sent the Zhu Clan a greeting.
Neither Zhu Chenhuan nor Su Chen appeared. Zhu Yunyan was the one sent to greet them.
After sending away the guests, Zhu Yunyan came back to see Zhu Chenhuan and found Su Chen sitting there, talking with the old Ancestor.
Zhu Yunyan chuckled, “You two seem pretty relaxed. I had to pretend to take them seriously out there.”
“How did it go?” Zhu Chenhuan asked.
“As expected. They came supposedly to apologize for what happened before and claimed that Flowing Flame Oriole was acting on her own. At the same time, they hoped that we would be generous enough to spare some of the Harpy captives...... but they’re actually looking for the broodmother.”
Su Chen said, “I’d imagine they didn’t offer much of a price.”
Zhu Yunyan chuckled. “You’re right.”
Saving the captives was just a pretense, an excuse they had come prepared with. Before they found the broodmother, negotiations would definitely continue. As such, there was no way Purple Forest Stream would start with a high price. Otherwise, once the Zhu Clan agreed, what reason would they have to remain? Then they would just take a shower and go home to sleep.
Strictly speaking, there wasn’t actually a flaw with the Harpies’ plan. Their only mistake was that the broodmother’s existence had already been revealed, so no matter how secretive they tried to make their movements, it was impossible for them to trick the other party.
Sometimes, even the best plan couldn’t beat something already being leaked. The situation wasn’t fair in the beginning, and the Harpies’ failure was, in some sense, inevitable.
To Su Chen and Zhu Chenhuan, the real battle came after.
But before then, the moment Su Chen had been waiting for for a long time had arrived.
Zhu Chenhuan had sent Zhu Xianyao to call him.
As soon as he came to Zhu Chenhuan’s room, he saw a bald old man sitting inside the room with Zhu Chenhuan. That old man was quite short, and his beard was exceptionally long. Surprisingly, his left hand was extremely small despite the fact that his left arm was normal-sized. The hand looked like that of a child’s, tender and delicate.
Su Chen was stunned when he saw this hand.
Once a person reached the Light Shaking Realm, almost every kind of deformity could be cured. As a result, for such a strong individual to possess this kind of deformity meant that there was some kind of inconceivable strength hidden behind it.
This was not a possibility - it was a certainty!
When he saw Su Chen appear, Zhu Chenhuan didn’t waste time talking. He said, “This is Old Feng, the person I invited. You still haven’t greeted him yet?”
Su Chen hurriedly bowed in greeting. “Su Chen greets Old Feng!”
Then, as he glanced at Feng Anya, he said, “Your surname is Feng. Do you have a relationship with Box Canyon City?”
Feng Anya replied calmly, “Feng Zhuying is my nephew, if he still considers me his Second Uncle.”
Su Chen immediately understood.
Feng Zhuying was the current emperor of Great Wind Country.
Su Chen had heard before that a coup had taken place in Great Wind Country. The Feng Clan’s Second Elder tried to seize the crown but failed. However, he did not die and escaped to some other country. It seemed that this was the Feng Anya before him.
When he realized this, Su Chen hurriedly said, “Greetings, Raven King!”
Feng Anya was named Raven King not merely because there was a character for “Raven” in his name but also because of his innate skill. His bloodline was the Violent Raven, after all.
The Desolate Beast Bloodline of Great Wind Country was Windbite. Like Luo You and its control of water, Windbite possessed an innate control of wind. Once a person cultivated the bloodline to its fullest extent, they could form an image of the Desolate Beast, which possessed incredible might and power.
Su Chen had specifically brought up this name in order to flatter Feng Anya a bit.
Unexpectedly, Feng Anya shook his head and said, “You don’t need to mention the name Raven King. Once I managed to cultivate to the point where I could form the Violent Raven, I thought I was invincible and challenged Feng Zhuying. I never expected that he had managed to form the Violent Giant and smashed my Violent Raven to pieces. He didn’t kill me, but only chased me out of the country. From that point onwards, the name ‘Raven King’ would no longer apply to me.”
Su Chen was stunned. “Could it be.....”
“Yes. Up until now, I have never been able to reform my Violent Raven. Feng Zhuying placed a bloodline seal in my body so that I will never be able to reawaken the power hidden in my bloodline. This is also the reason I have come all this way...... Su Chen, you are the Worldly Sage and the person responsible for developing the bloodline-less cultivation techniques. You are very proficient in medicines and curses. If you can help me nullify this seal, I will solve your problem for you to the full extent of my ability.”
When he heard this, Su Chen’s initial thought was, Damn, seems like I’m going to have to foot the bill for this one.
Zhu Chenhuan seemed similarly surprised.
Obviously, he was unaware of Feng Anya’s thoughts as well.
No wonder the brat had agreed so readily and hadn’t even asked for a price. He had been waiting to make a request of Su Chen all along!