Chapter 17: Borrowing Troops
At Thousand Illusions Island.
An unprecedented celebration was taking place.
Black Flame was welcoming guests who had come to visit them from afar.
“The King of Chaos, Lin Zuiliu? You’re interested in him, Sir Su?” Zhong Zhenjun asked these questions in a seemingly indifferently tone, as if he wasn’t involved with him at all, as if he weren’t the one who had personally defeated Lin Zuiliu and exiled him.
“Lin Zuiliu’s bloodline research is very important to me. The Deep Sea Sorrow’s power is likely derived from bloodline manipulation, after all.”
“What a pity,” Cavill said. “After Lin Zuiliu was exiled, no one knows where he went.”
“So that’s how it is,” Su Chen muttered before sighing. “Well, that’s all right as well. I suppose that our meeting will be up to fate. But how many people is Black Flame planning on sending to help me?”
The five heads all glanced at each other. In the end, it was Zhong Zhenjun who spoke first. “The Sea Beasts’ attacks have grown more and more violent over these past few years. Thousand Illusions Island is within the Abyss’s radius of influence, so we have always been under tremendous pressure. Even though we would still like to help you, our current strength is limited. We can most likely only provide you with a battalion’s worth of soldiers.”
A battalion was roughly equivalent to about a thousand soldiers. Zhong Zhenjun also knew that this number was quite low, which was why he had started by explaining their circumstances.
Did Black Flame not know how important Su Chen’s mission was?
Of course not.
They knew how important Su Chen’s success would be to Black Flame.
However, they still needed to place some thought on the long-term consequences.
Once the Deep Sea Sorrow was dealt with, would that really be a good thing for Black Flame?
Without a constant threat, the Oceanids’ attitude towards the Black Flame might change. There were many small problems and misunderstandings that had been ignored or overlooked because of this constant shared danger.
After this threat began to lessen, all of those small problems would most likely still remain. What would Black Flame do then?
On the other hand, if Black Flame tried to preserve their own strength and continue to fight against the Sea Beasts with the aid of the Oceanids, then who would rule the seas in the future?
In any case, there were many different reasons for Black Flame to be extremely cautious with Su Chen’s request.
If at all possible, they wanted to have the Oceanids fight hard while they watched on from the sidelines.
Perhaps this was only natural.
Them offering merely a single battalion was essentially them making their stance on the matter clear.
Frostpoint and Westminster were both clearly a bit disgruntled by their stance, but Su Chen wasn’t surprised in the slightest.
It was impossible for him to not notice the game that they were trying to play given his intellect and experience.
After calmly taking a sip of tea, Su Chen said, “Many people know that doing research requires a lot of time and energy. Sometimes, the price needed to accomplish something great is almost inconceivable. But very few people realize the vast benefits that successful research results can bring about...... You all know that I am Cloud Bat, so you should also clearly know how much money I’ve made from selling my cultivation techniques, medicines, and Origin Skills.”
When Zhong Zhenjun and the others heard this, their hearts couldn’t help but tremble.
They were naturally all too familiar with Cloud Bat’s glorious accomplishments.
They had caused a veritable sea of wealth to rush into Cloud Bat’s possession, and at this point, he was worth hundreds of millions of Origin Stones alone. Even though Su Chen was no longer publicly selling his bloodline-less cultivation techniques, he was still putting some of his other small inventions on the market along with records of his own cultivation experiences and improved Origin Skills.
During the past few years, Cloud Bat had managed to earn nearly three billion Origin Stones.
Because Su Chen’s primary intention was simply to distribute these inventions as widely as possible, he had sold them at an extremely low price. If Su Chen had wanted to earn money with his inventions, then he probably could have earned at least twenty billion by now.
In this day and age, inflation didn’t yet exist. Countless people would murder for hundreds of millions of Origin Stones, while a few tens of billions were more than enough to entirely buy out a small country.
Su Chen’s wealth was enough to render many people speechless.
Once Su Chen brought this up, Zhong Zhenjun knew what he was going to say next.
As expected, Su Chen said, “The Deep Sea Sorrow is an incredible item...... Anything that can stimulate a target’s bloodline and use it to accelerate growth is basically a cultivation-improving machine. It would be an incredible treasure to any cultivator!”
Everyone present was stunned when they heard this.
This whole time, they had all treated the Deep Sea Sorrow as a source of calamity. No one had ever thought of it as a cultivation treasure.
Westminster couldn’t resist making a counterpoint. “The Deep Sea Sorrow’s accelerant properties are dependent on consuming the target’s vitality and latent potential as its fuel.”
Actually, she knew that now was not a good time to play devil’s advocate, but she had an almost instinctual aversion to the notion that the Deep Sea Sorrow possessed any kind of significant value.
In her eyes, this demonic instrument had caused the members of her race an untold amount of suffering. Destroying it was the best choice, not prolonging its existence in any form or manner.
Su Chen calmly replied, “Latent potential? It doesn’t sound like those matured Sovereigns are particularly lacking in strength anyways, are they not?”
That was true. If you were a Beast Sovereign, then why would you even care about running out of potential?
Were they so greedy as to want to become Desolate Beasts?
“Vitality is indeed a problem, but there are probably quite a few people who would be willing to exchange their lifespan for great power, right? And isn’t research meant to resolve these kinds of problems in the first place? Perhaps someday, I will figure out a way to nullify its vitality draining effect,” Su Chen continued.
Frostpoint couldn’t resist speaking up either. “Sir Su, your mission is to figure out how to stop the Deep Sea Sorrow from accelerating the growth of these Sea Beasts, not to reverse engineer its ability or to improve its effects.”
Su Chen replied, “You only say that because you don’t understand the nature of research. When you do everything in your power to resolve a problem, you will eventually realize that you have resolved not one but many problems all at once.”
Anyone who wasn’t a researcher would never understand the joys and sorrows of researching.
The greatest pleasure of research was that you never knew what kind of outcome you would find.
Sometimes, you might get a red peach when you wanted a red pomegranate.
And by the time you managed to pick the fruits of your labor that you were looking for, it was possible that you would have already picked the entire field clean.
This was the reality of conducting research.
Su Chen never said that he would definitely be able to derive a satisfactory answer. However, he knew that as long as he attempted to do so, there was bound to be some unexpected discovery waiting to be made.
The value of these discoveries was unknown, but they were typically quite valuable.
What Su Chen had mentioned was merely a possibility.
He then moved onto the next subject. “Actually, besides the possibility of a tool that accelerates one’s growth and the bloodlines of those Beast Sovereigns, the raw resources within the Abyss might be a bit more tangible in terms of value.”
Camilla said, “You will not be able to make any profit from the Abyss of the Sea.”
“Perhaps. I don’t know what I will find in the future, but I do know that as long as my research bears some kind of fruit, the benefits will definitely come.” Su Chen raised his cup and toasted the other people sitting at the table before downing it all in one gulp.
He then continued to say, “These benefits will be divided according to the contribution of the participants.”
As expected, he was still attempting to use benefits to entice them.
The five heads of Black Flame simultaneously felt a sense of derision arise in their hearts.
However, their selfishness and greed eventually won out.
Zhong Zhenjun spoke after some time. “ Black Flame can contribute a garrison.”
That was three thousand soldiers.
Su Chen chuckled. “Once we reach the Abyss, I will use some bait-and-switch tactics to draw those Beast Sovereigns out. Once they leave the Abyss, I will attempt to confuse them and prevent them from returning to the Abyss. That should throw their ranks into chaos.”
The other five people instantly understood what Su Chen was getting at and frowned simultaneously.
Su Chen continued speaking. “We will do our best to control the direction that the Beast Sovereigns leave in so that they don’t head for human territory, Oceanid territory, or Thousand Illusions Island. But no one knows if or when the situation will spiral out of control. If it does happen, then I can only ask for forgiveness from Neptune’s Fort and Thousand Illusions Island. This is a necessary price to pay in order to secure our long-term peace.”
In that moment, the heads of Black Flame’s expression drastically shifted.
Camilla immediately stood up. “Are you threatening us?”
“Threaten?” Su Chen glanced at Camilla innocently. “I’m just describing what might happen. How can you say that I’m threatening you? Also, Thousand Illusions Island has been fighting against the Sea Beasts for so long that you all would surely be able to handle one or two of them coming your way, right?”
Camilla was virtually heaving with anger at this point.
Thousand Illusions Island was indeed capable of withstanding the attacks of a Sea Beast Sovereign. However, saying that they could “handle” it was a wild exaggeration.
All of their campaigns against Sea Beast Sovereigns had required for them to pay a tremendous price.
Also, the Sea Beasts only attacked out at designated timings. Even with the assistance of the Deep Sea Sorrow, it still took a while for a Sea Beast to reach the Sovereign level. As such, the Oceanids and Black Flame only needed to withstand an attack once every five years.
Otherwise, it would have been impossible for them to have held on for so long.
But if Su Chen purposefully stirred up trouble, then it was entirely possible that they would need to defend themselves every five days!
Who could withstand that kind of pressure?
No wonder Camilla was accusing Su Chen of threatening them.
Su Chen calmly replied, “Sea Beast Sovereigns are not the same as a Beast Wave. As long as it only lasts for a short period of time, they won’t be able to cause as much of a storm as you expect. You won’t need to pay as much of a price as you would against a typical Beast Wave.”
“But what if their attacks are too frequent? What if we have to fight more than one at once? What if the Beast Sovereigns only attack after gathering their forces? You haven’t gone through something like this before, but we have!” Camilla questioned sincerely.
“What does that have to do with me?” Su Chen replied, bluntly rebutting her.
If you want to watch on as I attempt to destroy the Deep Sea Sorrow, then you deserve to deal with the consequences of your inaction.
There was no need for reasonableness with vile criminals.
If Su Chen hadn’t threatened them, then this group of people, who wanted to reap what they had not sown, would probably have felt like Su Chen owed them something.
Zhong Zhenjun’s face twitched as he said, “An army.”
Su Chen shook his head. “I want the Blackwater Corps.”
Zhong Zhenjun’s expression shifted again.
Black Flame possessed two major corps — the Blackwater Corps, and the Violetflame Corps.
The Blackwater Corps were primarily responsible for external offensive maneuvers while the Violetflame Corps were primarily responsible for internal defense of the island.
And now, Su Chen was demanding the entire Blackwater Corps.
That was an army nearly eighty thousand strong.
“Absolutely not!” Zhong Zhenjun said through gritted teeth.
“I’ll leave you a battalion,” Su Chen said calmly.
“Then what about a garrison?”
“There’s no way that we would agree!”
“Fine, an army. I’ll leave you ten thousand people, and the rest will go with me. Also......” Su Chen paused for a moment before suddenly pointing at the silent Fourth Head.
“I want him!”