Chapter 51: Alliance (2)
Su Chen had thought out the problem of how to assign benefits a long time ago. He was planning on using the broodmother fort’s future distribution of land as a bargaining chip.
This was a very good decision.
The broodmother would eventually develop into a fort, allowing it to carry large numbers of people at once. It would easily fit hundreds of Boundless Sects all at once, let alone one.
Dividing out a portion for the Zhu Clan would not only satisfy the Zhu Clan’s need for appropriate compensation but would also drag them onto the same boat.
Actually, the Zhu Clan’s thought process was quite similar. Under Su Chen’s conditions, the Zhu Clan would not only need to hand over the Stargold Mine but would also need to find even more Harpy captives for Su Chen and solve a problem for him that he had now ay of solving himself. Why would they pay such a large price? It was because of the immense value the broodmother fort would possess. If Su Chen had tried to hand them some of his research outcomes as a reward, they probably wouldn’t have accepted his deal.
In other words, the broodmother fort was like a business. The Zhu Clan was taking a risk by investing in it in the hopes of obtaining recompensation in the future.
Since the direction of the investment had been settled on, what remained was to discuss the exact valuation of what both parties were bringing to the table.
This was the major point of contention for the two parties.
The Zhu Clan reckoned that they should have possessed a portion of the broodmother’s territory in the first place. Su Chen was merely the early bird catching the worm. Since the Zhu Clan would be making them pay an even higher price at this point, the Zhu Clan wanted half of the broodmother fort all to themselves.
Su Chen naturally reckoned that the broodmother bug belonged to himself. The plan was proposed by him, and he was the one to carry it out as well, so the Zhu Clan would at most receive two-tenths of the territory.
This even included the gift he would need to pay to take Zhu Xianyao as his wife.
The two parties bickered ceaselessly.
Neither the old man nor the youth were easy to deal with. They argued for so long that both of them were beginning to become angry. Zhu Chenhuan ignored his status and smacked the table as he yelled, “The Zhu Clan already controls the secret of the broodmother, and no one will benefit if we keep fighting like this since we will just notify the Harpies.” Su Chen didn’t back down and replied loudly, “Leak it if you want. In any case the broodmother is mine, and I’ll just give up on that fort. The broodmother is at least at the Demonic Lord level anyways, and obtaining a Demonic Emperor level pet is not bad either.”
The two of them yelled and glared at each other, neither of them backing down a step. If it weren’t for Zhu Yunyan and Zhu Xianyao holding them back, they might have started brawling. Even though the old man was a Thought Manifestation cultivator, Su Chen didn’t seem to be losing to him in terms of imposing presence in the slightest.
“You…… you brat! You’re pissing me off!” Zhu Chenhuan yelled as he pointed at Su Chen. “If it weren’t for Little Yao, I’d blast you to shreds with my palm right now.”
Su Chen harrumphed. “How can you act so uncivilized if you’re so great? All I did was rebut a few times and you get so angry with me? This cultivation path of yours is too far off. I’ll give you a cultivation technique later for you to study. I promise you that you will be able to remain calm even if others curse at you.”
“Do you hear this?” Zhu Chenhuan yelled at Zhu Xianyao as he pointed at Su Chen. “This is the kind of man you find for yourself?”
Zhu Xianyao pouted and didn’t say anything
Zhu Yunyan chuckled as she attempted to ease the situation. “Alright, alright. You can talk things over nicely. What’s the point in yelling at each other like this? If any outsiders were to catch wind of this, we would become a laughingstock.”
This matter was so secretive that no outsiders would even be able to get close enough to listen in. Zhu Yunyan’s words were merely meant to give Zhu Chenhuan a way to back down.
Zhu Chenhuan borrowed the opportunity to reign in his temper as he said, still seething, “This is my last offer. Forty percent, and no lower."
"I already said that I won't go any higher than thirty percent," Su Chen replied.
"Aiya, can't you both just compromise a bit? Why won't thirty-five percent work?" Zhu Yunyan tried to smooth things over.
“Absolutely not!” the two of them simultaneously yelled.
The broodmother fort was incredibly important. Ten percent was roughly equivalent to billions of Origin Stones in terms of resources. How could either side be willing to back down?
Su Chen said, "Most of the investment that will go into the broodmother fort depends on the Harpies. The Zhu Clan is being too greedy if they think they can claim forty percent just because they are investing a single Stargold Mine."
"Nonsense! Do you think you have the ability to deceive the Harpies? Without my help, you will only die if you go. I know that you were able to do as you pleased on Ravager territory because of your camouflage technique, but let me tell you that this trick won't work on the Harpies!"
"That's precisely the reason I was willing to give up thirty percent. That's already a lot!"
"And what about those Harpy captives?"
"How little are they worth? Can't I just buy them with my own money?"
"Hmph, if it was that easy, then why would you need the Zhu Clan at all? Also, do you really think you're home free if we handle these two problems for you? This is not a small matter, and you will need a foolproof plan. That's not something that you can do on your own. You need the cooperation of a large group of people."
"The Boundless Sect has people too."
"They won't be better than the Zhu Clan's subordinates."
"That might not be true. After all, deception doesn't depend on strength necessarily."
"It sounds like you have already come up with a plan?"
“And why wouldn’t I have one, Ancestor?”
The two of them glanced at each other before suddenly bursting into laughter at the same time.
The two of them had seemingly just been at each other's throats, but now they actually began to laugh with each other in but the blink of an eye.
Zhu Chenhuan guffawed, "Good! Well done, kid. You have both courage and wits. No wonder our Little Yao has fallen for you. Since that's the case, then let's settle for thirty percent."
They had fought each other so fiercely, but now Zhu Chenhuan was backing down so easily.
Su Chen chuckled. "That's more like it. Old man, if you had done this earlier, you would have saved us all a lot of trouble."
He called Zhu Chenyuan "old man", but Zhu Chenyuan actually didn't grow angry. The two of them actually appeared to be on good terms all of a sudden.
Both Zhu Yunyan and Zhu Xianyao were rendered speechless by their exchange.
Zhu Chenhuan possessed an exalted status amongst the Zhu Clan. No one dared to talk to him like this most of the time.
If anyone did in fact piss him off, they would quickly find themselves staring down a powerful palm strike.
However, Su Chen didn’t fear him, and not only did Zhu Chenhuan not seem angry, he even seemed quite happy. Zhu Yunyan felt like the sun was rising from the west.
Next, Zhu Chenhuan said, “You really are quite impressive. I like that a lot. Right, kid, do you know how to play chess?”
Su Chen said, “I know a little, but I’m not an expert.”
“Hey, if you’re going to be the master of a fort, you need to become an experienced chess player. Come, Yunyan, set the chessboard for us. I will be giving him pointers!”
Zhu Yunyan froze.
Zhu Chenhuan glared at her. “What are you still standing around for?”
“Oh, of course!” Zhu Yunyan seemed to have been awakened from a dream and hurried to set the place for the two of them.
Zhu Chenhuan waved his hands. “Alright, you all may leave. Little Chen and I are going to play a few games of chess.
Zhu Yunyan could only helplessly lead Zhu Xianyao away.
Zhu Xianyao didn’t understand. “Mother, what is going on? How come the Ancestor suddenly agreed to Su Chen’s conditions?”
Zhu Yunyan chuckled and affectionately rubbed Zhu Xianyao’s nose. “You’re just too pure. Did you really think the Ancestor and Su Chen were fighting over profits?”
“Are they not?” Zhu Xianyao didn’t understand.
“They are, but they also are not,” Zhu Yunyan sighed.
Zhu Xianyao didn’t understand what that meant.
Zhu Yunyan said, “That’s why I said you were still a bit too naive. Have you ever wondered why Su Chen has the confidence to return the broodmother to the Harpies?”
“Because he’s put a Soul Stamp on the broodmother, so it will only listen to him.”
“That’s right! Since the broodmother is the core of the fort, its will is the most important. As such, ever since Su Chen branded the broodmother, the floating fort could only ever belong to him, not to anyone else. Do you think there’s any point in negotiating with Su Chen over how to split up the broodmother fort?”
Zhu Xianyao was taken aback.
The entire broodmother fort belonged to Su Chen because the broodmother itself belonged to Su Chen.
Even though Su Chen had agreed to give the Zhu Clan thirty percent of the territory, since the Zhu Clan couldn’t control the broodmother’s will, this thirty percent wasn’t really much. So what if Su Chen gave them all of the territory?
Su Chen could chase them out and reclaim the territory with a single sentence.
Wasn’t that what was going to happen to the Harpies anyways?
Zhu Xianyao hadn’t thought of this point, but how could Zhu Chenhuan, who had been alive for hundreds of years, possibly overlook this point?
“But the Ancestor still insisted on fighting with him?” Zhu Xianyao couldn’t understand.
“Of course they needed to fight! Otherwise, who could say how sincere Su Chen’s intentions were?” Zhu Yunyan said.
The more fake a promise was, the better it sounded.
Zhu Chenhuan argued with Su Chen because he wanted to see if Su Chen had any intention of following through with his promise.
Only someone who was intent on fulfilling their promise would fight so hard and with such great difficulty.
If Su Chen wasn’t willing to uphold his end of the bargain, then it didn’t matter what he was promising to give to the Zhu Clan.
In addition, even though thirty percent of the territory was merely for them to live on and wasn’t too valuable, the benefits they could obtain from the fort itself were much greater.
Floating forts were tools of war and would always be used on a battlefield. As such, spoils from battle would naturally be split based on how much territory they owned. It was only natural that Zhu Chenhuan would fight hard for that portion.
As such, his argument with Su Chen was both to probe him out and also to obtain more benefits for his clan.
Only by determining what the other party’s bottom line was would Zhu Chenyuan feel comfortable making such a large investment.
Behind this conflict and conversation hid a mutual sizing up of the other party’s courage, wits, personality, and many other important factors.
Zhu Chenyuan’s appraisal of Su Chen was that he was fearless and argued strongly for what was right. He had both courage and wisdom in equal measure.
Since that was his impression of Su Chen, he was able to laugh and acquiesce, satisfied with what he had obtained.
He had already reached his goal.
This probing and dispute finally reached its conclusion.
Of course, there were always one or two things that wouldn't necessarily go according to plan.
That was the case now with this game of chess.
The old man’s expression grew more and more sour.
He had lost!
The old Ancestor had been one of Liaoye Country’s most prominent generals in the past, with many soldiers under his command. Later on, he picked up the hobby of playing chess in addition to his cultivation, so he considered himself to be quite a skilled chess player. If chess skill was also split into tiers, he was probably equivalent to a Thought Manifestation cultivator. There were very few people who could match him in skill when it came to the game of chess.
However, after from the two games he had won against Su Chen at the beginning, Zhu Chenyuan had lost three games in a row.
He had lost to someone who claimed they didn’t play much chess and had even forgotten how to play. Zhu Chenyuan had been forced to teach him the rules again before they started to play.
You brat, you weren’t purposefully pretending to not know anything so you could make fun of me, were you?
You might be even more skilled than an Ultimate Emperor Realm chess player! We should create a new realm for you and call it the Omniscient Realm!
Su Chen was being falsely accused.
He had indeed forgotten how to play. The only reason he could beat the old man was because his consciousness crystal was much quicker than the Ancestor’s brain. There was no way the two of them could compete.
A massacre of a Thought Manifestation Realm expert!