Sovereign of the Three Realms - Chapter 1922: One’s Only Crime Was Their Wealth
Once the Goldbiter Rats were deployed, efficiency was boosted significantly. No one, not even Jiang Chen, had anticipated this result. They’d thought it’d take the rats three months to completely excavate the large mine, but it ended up being depleted in one and a half months.
Mountains of spirit stones shone with a seductive sheen, taking all bystander breath away.
Even though Master Han was no more than a miner now, envy couldn’t help but creep in when he looked at the stones. Unfortunately, Heavenlight was fated to have absolutely nothing to do with them.
Jiang Chen could barely contain himself. The yield was about as big as he’d expected. Half of it would account for thirty percent of the stones he needed for the Great Formation of Heavenly Soul Confinement! Added to that the stones he’d collected before, that meant he was forty percent done!
He looked at the cultivators from Heavenlight. “All of you should be glad that you only had to be miners for one and a half months and barely did any hard work.”
Master Han smiled awkwardly and nodded. “It’s all thanks to the young lord’s clever plan and fine execution.”
“Alright, there’s no need for flattery. Count your men and think about paying the ransom. You either serve me as slaves from now on or buy your freedom. Your choice.”
“I’m willing to pay,” the middle-aged man rushed out. “But how much is the ransom?”
“How much do you think you’re worth?”
The middle-aged man’s face fell. “Unlike the sacred land, Heavenlight doesn’t have any large mines. It’s difficult for us to bring froth that many spirit stones.”
Jiang Chen pointed at the mountainous piles of stones. “I’m not asking for much. I’ll let you go as long as you pay a tenth of the stones here.”
The middle-aged man paled and pleaded, “Young lord Jiang Chen, it’ll be impossible for us to buy our freedom if that’s the case. There might be less than ten mines as big as this one in the entirety of Myriad Abyss, and this is the only one we’ve ever excavated. The others have either been claimed, depleted, or haven’t been discovered yet. Heavenlight will never be able to gather that many stones. Even if we can, our peers will never agree to pay all of our reserves for our freedom.”
Jiang Chen knew it was going to be difficult, but he wasn’t going to listen to their whining.
With a slight smile, he remarked, “So you prefer being my slaves. That works too. Atoning for your crimes by serving me isn’t too bad a bargain, is it?”
Han pulled a long face and begged, “Is there room for negotiation, young lord? Please allow us some leeway in the payment. We’ll try our best to satisfy your needs.”
“Alright, one twentieth of the stones extracted then. That’s my bottom line. If you can’t pay up, prepare to serve me as a slave.”
One twentieth of the stones was still a large number, but Heavenlight could afford it, albeit with great difficulty. The fellows here were pretty important back home. Without them, Heavenlight would suffer a great loss in manpower.
And so, an agreement was reached. Jiang Chen let two minor characters go back and report to Heavenlight, telling them to collect the stones and find him on Winterdraw Island.
He wasn’t going to take everyone back to Rejuvenation. Neither did Imperial Prince Huo want him to do that. Rejuvenation had no desire to become Heavenlight’s enemy.
The imperial prince was grateful. He knew Jiang Chen could’ve completed the trade in Rejuvenation, but had instead picked Winterdraw. The young lord was being rather reasonable and considerate.
“We’ll split the spirit stones here, Imperial Prince Huo. You witnessed the extraction of the stones. You should be able to tell that I haven’t hidden anything for myself.”
“Oh, you’re a man of integrity, young lord Jiang Chen,” Imperial Prince Huo responded hurriedly. “I’m very grateful and thoroughly impressed.”
This was the honest truth. Imperial Prince Huo wouldn’t be able to oppose Jiang Chen at all if the young lord forcefully claimed a bigger portion of the stones, or even all of them.
When it came down to things, Jiang Chen hadn’t taken the islands from the imperial prince, but from Heavenlight. Rejuvenation had long lost their ownership over the islands.
Jiang Chen peered at Imperial Prince Huo, then at those from Heavenlight. An idea came to mind. He smiled. “There’s something I hesitate to tell you, Imperial Prince Huo.”
“Please do,” the imperial prince replied earnestly.
“I’ll be frank then, I’m fine with you taking half of the stones, but it may not end well for Rejuvenation. A great fortune can be its owner’s death sentence. Have you considered that yet?”
That was right. Was Rejuvenation powerful enough to keep and protect the large number of stones?
If there hadn’t been any witnesses from Heavenlight, they might be able to quietly ferry the stones back to their territory with no one the wiser. As it was now, the news would get out sooner or later. How many potential enemies would be coveting the stones then?
The sum was large enough to make even the first rate factions lose control. Not even the ten sacred lands could resist the temptation of such a great fortune.
The imperial prince threw the middle-aged Han a glance, who gave him a half smile.
Clearly, Heavenlight wouldn’t be bold enough to rob them of the stones, but they had no qualms about spreading the word of Rejuvenation’s recent acquisition.
The stones could very well be their downfall.
They had thrown themselves under Jiang Chen’s banner and acquired his support, but that didn’t mean the young lord was going to be their bodyguard and keep them safe at all times.
Other factions could easily take all the stones from them when the young lord wasn’t around. There wouldn’t be much he could do from the Eternal Sacred Land. The robbers would be long gone when he arrived.
Imperial Prince Huo’s good mood evaporated. He was smart enough to recognize the truth to Jiang Chen’s words. It was a problem they had to face seriously, and if they failed to solve it, great trouble would soon follow.