Although it had been many years since he’d seen Mu Gaoqi, Jiang Chen still hadn’t forgotten his brother’s unique aura. Mu Gaoqi was born with the natural aura befitting that of a graceful immortal, and his pills also accordingly possessed this unique quality. During his baptism in the wood spirit spring, Mu Gaoqi absorbed some of the spring’s intrinsic qualities as well. Naturally, having spent so much time with him, Jiang Chen was quite familiar with his aura.
Therefore, Jiang Chen immediately recognized the pills when he saw them. There was no mistake. These pills had been refined by Mu Gaoqi. They possessed a certain quality that no one else could imitate, not even Jiang Chen himself. He might be able to imitate the wood spring’s aura, but he doubted that he could imitate Mu Gaoqi’s unique, graceful aura.
What surprised him was that he discovered Mu Gaoqi’s pill dao level had improved tremendously. Although these pills weren’t considered first rate in Jiang Chen’s eyes, they would still be deemed amongst the finest of other similarly-ranked pills. These pills possessed a unique quality that clearly distinguished them from the products of other pill masters in that there was a distinctive, personal label accompanying each of them. This particular discovery gladdened Jiang Chen. Although Mu Gaoqi’s recent fate was terrible considering that he had been turned into a slave, at least his cultivation hadn’t stagnated.
An innate wood constitution of high order… maybe this trial served as a catalyst, allowing him to tap into the greater potential hidden inside his body and, in doing so, fully unlocked his talents? Jiang Chen had to hide his astonishment at the speed of Mu Gaoqi’s improvement as he continued to observe his products. Although he hadn’t quite yet reached the level of advanced pill king, he was unquestionably at the level of intermediate pill king This rank didn’t imply a lack of strength on Mu Gaoqi’s part, however. On the contrary, it was proof of his talent and skill. He was about four years younger than Jiang Chen. It was immensely impressive for someone so young to have already attained intermediate pill king level.
Even the pride and invincible legend of Pillfire City, Pill King Ji Lang, couldn’t possibly have surpassed Mu Gaoqi by much when he was his age. In fact, Pill King Ji Lang might not have even been an intermediate pill king when he was in his twenties. Even if he had been, it was unlikely that he’d been as distinguished as Mu Gaoqi currently was.
Mu Gaoqi was literally born for pill dao, having been born with a unique quality that gave him a distinct advantage no one else possessed. Considering how cautious and timid he used to be, the fact that he had been able to become a core disciple solely because of his pill dao merits left no question that he was extraordinarily talented.
Jiang Chen wondered if Mu Gaoqi had managed to free himself now that he had arrived at the Star Harvesters. Despite sensing the familiar presence, his excitement lasted for only an instant, and he quickly regained his calm. He guessed that Mu Gaoqi was likely currently still a slave. After all, the Star Harvesters were clearly trying to put him on the shelf for display and sell him off at a high price. If this truly was the case, there was no way they would allow Mu Gaoqi to free himself.
“Sir, are there any pills that you find to your liking?” Keke suddenly asked after noticing that Jiang Chen had fallen into a daze.
Jiang Chen shook his head with a smile. “These pills are pretty good, but they don’t look like the work of a first-rate pill king. So, why is the admission fee ten thousand saint spirit stones?”
He purposely asked a question to which he already knew the answer to.
Keke smiled slightly and politely replied, “You’ve only mentioned these things because you aren’t aware of Master Mu’s background. You are right in that his pills aren’t the best products out there, but Master Mu is only in his twenties. There are only so many twenty-year-old pill kings in the entire human domain, and you won’t find a single person who dares to claim that their level is higher than Master Mu’s. Don’t you think that the creations of a future master in his youth are worth collecting?”
This marketing was extremely well done. Not only did they neatly package Mu Gaoqi as a future first-rate pill dao master of note, but they even topped this assertion off with a nicely-wrapped bow, highlighting the pills he created during his youth. These promotional skills were truly impressive. Jiang Chen smiled. “These products aren’t bad, but they aren’t entirely flawless either. Personally, I don’t think that they’re worth collecting.”
Keke’s brilliant smile immediately turned into one of slight embarrassment. With reddened cheeks, she rebutted, “Well, even so, many people have purchased Master Mu’s products for their personal collection.”
“Wealth makes people foolish,” Jiang Chen said with a faint smile on his face.
“Sir, you may be a customer of the Star Mill, but please don’t insult the products we make, especially Master Mu’s,” Keke protested in a very serious tone. Even she maintained her professionalism as a store assistant, she still felt a little unhappy when she heard Jiang Chen’s comments.
Jiang Chen shrugged. “I’m just telling the truth. Even Master Mu wouldn’t dare claim that these pills of his are perfect. If I were to take a guess, these products are only as perfect as the Star Mill’s packaging.”
“Sir!” Miss Keke’s appearance was like that of an angry lamb. Lambs were born docile, so whenever she grew angry, she looked unusually attractive.
“Fine, fine. If you won’t accept the truth, then just pretend like I didn’t say anything.”
If Miss Keke hadn’t previously accepted his admission fee, she might have kicked him off this floor already. Jiang Chen circled around the area another two times.
“Miss Keke, is Master Mu in at the moment?” Jiang Chen asked in a seemingly casual tone.
However, Miss Keke still gave off the impression that she was angry with him. She cast him a slightly resentful glance but didn’t give him an answer.
“Well, I guess he’d be ashamed of showing his face around here. After all, his pills are being blown way over the top even though they’re obviously imperfect. Not even he could be that thick-faced.”
This time Miss Keke was truly angry at him. She protested loudly, “Please conduct yourself with dignity, sir. If Master Mu’s products are not up to your liking, you can always choose to return to a lower floor!”
Her raised voice immediately drew everyone’s attention. They couldn’t help but stare at Jiang Chen with a bit of hostility when they saw that such a sweet-tempered girl had lost her cool because of him. They obviously thought that he lacked tact, having incited such a sweet and charming girl into angrily raising her voice. What kind of an outrageous person was he?
Jiang Chen was obviously doing this on purpose. Him beating around the bush and criticizing Mu Gaoqi’s products non-stop was to see if Mu Gaoqi himself would show up. Unfortunately, his attempts didn’t yield any results. In fact, he had irritated Miss Keke instead. Jiang Chen hadn’t intended to butt heads with her.
A well-dressed middle-aged man, giving off the appearance of the person in charge, walked over with a frown. He looked at Jiang Chen and asked, “What’s wrong, my friend?”
The middle-aged man appeared a bit impressive. Jiang Chen guessed that he probably held a higher position in the Star Mill. He smiled and glanced at the pills. “Oh, it’s nothing. I simply thought that Master Mu’s products aren’t as good as you promoted. I’m just a little surprised that you would charge ten thousand saint spirit stones for this.”
“My friend, anyone can make baseless accusations, can’t they?” The middle-aged man frowned slightly. “Master Mu’s products may not be considered to be at the zenith in terms of their quality, but he’s only in his twenties right now. These products are impressive enough considering how young he is. If you still wish to nitpick his work, then maybe you shouldn’t come to the Star Mill.”
His words made sense. The other customers also echoed, “We are here to gauge Master Mu’s potential.”
“Yeah, Master Mu is incredibly young. We can’t evaluate him by the standards of a ninth-rank pill king. After all, every ninth-rank pill king out there is at least hundreds or thousand of years old.”
“Exactly. That a pill king in his twenties could create pills of such high quality is already an incredibly impressive feat. He’s absolutely a pill dao genius, the likes of which appears only once every five millennia.”
“Five millennia? I doubt you could find someone like this even in the span of ten millennia.” The crowd shot out their individual opinions, but they all praised Mu Gaoqi’s products unanimously. Jiang Chen hid his amusement. If he didn’t know any better, he would have suspected that these people were supporters hired by the gang.
Even Jiang Chen himself admitted that Mu Gaoqi’s work was incomparable to most for his age. However, he also wasn’t lying when he said that these products were imperfect. When he’d made those remarks, he wasn’t referring to the creator’s expertise in pill dao, but rather, the mental knot that existed within the pills themselves. It was almost as if the creator of the pills had been shackled and unable to work freely.
Only sophisticated pill masters could have noticed this. Jiang Chen knew very well that this strange mental entanglement hidden within the pills was related to Mu Gaoqi’s current circumstances. From examining these pills, he deduced that Mu Gaoqi was still a slave, and because of this, his creations lacked a certain sense of freedom and fulfillment.
Although Mu Gaoqi’s graceful qualities were extremely distinct in his pill products, so too was a lack of freedom. Jiang Chen ignored their comments. He said indifferently, “It seems that the Star Mill only intends to receive praise but not criticism. I suppose I have said too much if that is the case. How unfortunate. If the creator of this pill were here, I’d shut him up so thoroughly that he wouldn’t even be able to respond.”
The person in charge sneered. “Are you trying to say that you wish to challenge our Master Mu to a pill battle? Am I correct to interpret your words as a challenge to the Star Mill?”
Jiang Chen smiled. “Challenge the Star Mill? Have you ever seen someone challenging a pill store alone?”
“Then what exactly do you mean?”
Jiang Chen said indifferently, “What I’m trying to say is that the Star Harvesters currently own an exceptional genius, a treasure trove, yet you’ve only dug out a portion of his potential. Worse, you’re satisfied with keeping it this way and plan to sell him once his value reaches a certain threshold. This is truly amusing.”
Suddenly, Jiang Chen was praising Mu Gaoqi but belittling the Star Harvesters. This change in stance confused the person in charge as to Jiang Chen’s true motives.
“Who are you really, friend? You’ve come here to cause trouble, haven’t you?” The middle-aged man’s face turned chilly as his tone turned unfriendly. It was clear that he thought that Jiang Chen was a hooligan trying to stir up trouble.
Mu Gaoqi! Mu Gaoqi! Whoo~ I love it when old characters come back. :D