Han Chong had been the student leader of Astral-2, as well as a Realm Master when he and Lu Yin had both been part of the Astral Combat Academy. Han Chong had stood head and shoulders above his peers. However, after just a few years passing, he had been nothing more than a mere Cruiser. Such cultivators meant nothing to Lu Yin anymore.
Han Chong’s death only served to remind Lu Yin of his memories from the Astral Combat Academy, but he did not give them much thought. After all, this was the Wen family’s business.
“Please rest assured that I’ll give you Wen Diyi as soon as I can,” Lu Yin said.
Wen Sansi and Wen Yao were left with no choice but to silently agree. No matter what, they were unable to take Wen Diyi away so long as Lu Yin did not give his conditions.
“Thank you then, Alliance Leader Lu.” Wen Yao was not in a very good mood at the moment. This was his first time needing to thank someone for waiting for them to list their conditions for a deal. For heaven’s sake, Wen Yao was a powerhouse from the Wen family!
Lu Yin noticed that Kayze was missing from his post while watching Wen Yao and Wen Sansi leave. Kayze was the guard for King Zishan’s palace, so he should have been right at the gate.
Lu Yin quickly found Kayze after releasing his domain; the doorman was speaking with an exceptionally ugly man.
“I’m not going back,” Kayze stated in a low, stubborn tone.
“You’re a member of the Dire Barbarian Clan. When the Innerverse and Outerverse were separated, you were forced to become a guard for Lu Yin, but it has been years since the two were reconnected. We’ve come to see you many times since then, so why won’t you return to the clan? You’re one of us, be it past, present, or future. You can’t escape this fact. Do you really want to remain Lu Yin’s doorman forever?” The man was shouting, and yet he managed to keep his volume rather low. It was clear he did not want to draw attention to himself.
Kayze replied in a solemn manner, “I’ve had enough of my days in the Dire Barbarian Clan. I was a completely different person there. Now, I’m living in comfort. So what if I’m just a guard? I enjoy this life.”
“The Great Eastern Alliance doesn’t even have a place to call home! Just what exactly do you plan to keep guarding?”
“That’s none of your business.”
“You-” The man was enraged. He wanted to forcibly take Kayze back, but did not dare attempt such a thing while on Zenyu Star. If not for where Kayze stayed, the older man would have taken the youth back shortly after the Innerverse and Outerverse had been reconnected. There were a number of powerhouses residing within the Great Eastern Alliance, and the number had only been increasing recently. The man had become much more cautious about attracting unwanted attention.
“You should leave, and don’t come find me again,” Kayze stated as he turned around and walked away.
The man would not give up. “Kayze, with your strength, if you are willing to return, you’ll be treated almost the same as Avery! If he becomes the clan chief, you will become the grand elder! The two of you together will decide the fate of our clan in the future. Are you really willing to be nothing more than a guard for your entire life?”
Kayze did not even respond as he left.
Lu Yin retracted his domain. This was clearly not the first time that the Dire Barbarian Clan had come to find Kayze, but that made sense. When Lu Yin had first met Kayze, he had already been strong enough to enter the top eighty of the Top 100 Rankings, and he had stood second only to Avery within their generation in the Dire Barbarian Clan. There was no way the Dire Barbarian Clan would allow such a talent to walk away from them.
Kayze returned to the gate of King Zishan’s palace and took his post in a natural manner. He had already been doing this job for about ten years.
“Are you lacking resources? For your cultivation?” Lu Yin spoke up from behind Kayze.
The voice startled Kayze, and he quickly bowed. “Your Highness.”
Lu Yin asked a second time, “Do you need any resources?”
Kayze shook his head. “No.”
Lu Yin looked in the direction of the ugly man who had just been speaking to Kayze. “Why don’t you want to go back?”
The color drained from Kayze’s face. He had not thought that Lu Yin would have noticed his conversation. “I wish to climb to even greater heights with Your Highness. The Dire Barbarian Clan is too small.”
Lu Yin was surprised, though Kayze’s words were not wrong. The Dire Barbarian Clan was nothing compared to what the Great Eastern Alliance had already become. Even if Kayze was a mere doorman, he still enjoyed a high status due to guarding Lu Yin’s door. No one dared belittle such a person.
“Even though the Great Eastern Alliance managed to take over the entire Outerverse, we still lack support from the Innerverse powers. If they’re willing, the Dire Barbarian Clan is welcome to join as our soldiers, though any joining will need to at least be an Explorer,” Lu Yin said before returning inside the palace.
While the Dire Barbarian Clan could not compare to the Great Eastern Alliance, they were still perfectly capable of providing some Explorers. Lu Yin was not content with an army of less than ten thousand Explorers, and he actually wanted more.
Kayze understood that Lu Yin wanted him to persuade the Dire Barbarian Clan to eventually submit, but that would be a tricky task. While the clan was not the leader of one of the eight great flowzones, they were far from weak; how could they easily to the Great Eastern Alliance?
“There’s no rush. I’ll also provide you with enough resources to ensure that you defeat Avery.” Lu Yin’s voice carried out from within the palace. Kayze grew ecstatic. He had long dreamed of defeating Avery, but could he really do so?
“Yes, Your Highness.” Kayze quickly responded.
Two days later, Lu Yin met with Leng Yan. She had previously worked for Iltoco, and that company had provided Astral-10 with the first mission that Lu Yin had accepted. She had later moved to Brightstar Corp. and had even managed to earn an office on the busiest street of Zenyu Star.
Lu Yin had met her several times before, and each time he saw her, she had gained a higher status. This time, Leng Yan was representing the Giant Consortium.
Brightstar Corp. had originally belonged to the Giant Consortium, and was also part of the founders of Continental Shipping. Most of the conglomerate’s routes through the Innerverse had come from the Brightstar Corp.
The biggest difference between the Innerverse and the Outerverse was that Outerverse companies were autonomous and able to protect themselves, whereas corporations in the Innerverse were all subsidiaries of the various major powers. Even a huge conglomerate like Giant Consortium was not exempt from offering up massive amounts of resources to the leaders of the eight great flowzones. Also, the company had to be careful not to recruit too many powerhouses.
This was the tragic fate of companies in the Innerverse.
Giant Consortium’s situation had only started to improve after they had started collaborating with the Great Eastern Alliance, as the latter had also taken on full responsibility for protection.
“Leng Yan greets the Alliance Leader.”
Lu Yin gestured for her to stand up. “Qiong Xi’er is overseeing Continental Shipping, so I shouldn’t be looking for you, but Cong Ying, one of the Hall of Honor’s nine overseers, has been making problems for Continental Shipping. Do you know why?”
Leng Yan looked puzzled. “I am not sure.”
She had joined Continental Shipping as a representative of the Brightstar Corp., which had made her be regarded as Lu Yin’s subordinate.
Lu Yin’s voice grew hard, “Cong Ying’s ancestors were radicals and participated in the plan to annihilate the giants. Cong Ying believes that Giant Consortium possesses technology from the giants and that the company was even established by giants.”
There was a slight change in Leng Yan’s expression, but she did not deny anything and merely stayed quiet.
Lu Yin’s eyes flashed. “Are there really giants behind the company?”
Leng Yan replied, “Giant Consortium really was indeed started by a tribe of giants using the remnants of their technology. Many years ago, the giants’ technology could be found throughout the universe. However, at their peak, they became greatly feared by certain people. In particular, the Hall of Honor’s overseers thought that the more advanced the giants’ technology became, the more humanity would be threatened. That fear led the nine overseers to being determined to destroy the giants’ technology. That was all there was to it at first, and exterminating the giants themselves was not part of the plan.
“Giants can be considered a branch of humanity. Overseer Cong Ying’s ancestors were probably the ones who wanted to eliminate the giants, but they failed since the nine overseers decided to only destroy the giants’ technology. Giant Consortium that we know was established thanks to that ancient giant technology.
“This is no secret, and all of the leaders of the eight great flowzones are aware of it. They are also aware of the whereabouts of various giant tribes in different parts of the universe and yet they never did anything much about it.”
Lu Yin tapped a finger on the table. “Just how advanced is the giants’ technology at this point?”
Leng Yan replied, “Far from the level it reached in the past. The company now mostly caters to ordinary humans, which is why major powers remain unconcerned.”
Lu Yin looked at her. “You’re a human yourself. You should be aware that there are blood-thirsty, savage monsters among the various giants.”
Leng Yan stared back at Lu Yin, her lips pursed. “Does Your Highness harbor hatred towards giants?”
Lu Yin considered the question. “I’ve never seen any giants show any hint of friendliness towards humans.”
The giants he had seen in Butterfly Weave or Progenitor Chen’s Mausoleum had all been complete brutes.
Leng Yan said, “Your Highness could visit Giant Consortium for an inspection, if you like. The giants there would be more than happy to welcome you. If Your Highness doesn’t think that these giants can be safe to be around, you should cancel any collaboration with them. However, before doing so, I beg Your Highness to not trust in rumors. There are good people among giants, too.”
Lu Yin waved a hand to dismiss Leng Yan.
Giants were not a homogenous group, and there were different types. In general, there were the giants who focused on technological development, while others relied on their physical prowess. The fact that giants were able to develop technology showed that they were extremely intelligent, and Lu Yin did not believe that there should not be any major issues given that Giant Consortium had managed to survive for so long. Still, it was necessary for someone to keep an eye on them.
Just because Cong Ying’s ancestors had been prejudiced against giants did not mean that the other overseers shared the same feelings. Still, there had to have been a reason behind their decision to destroy the giants’ technology. Also, there had been Progenitor Chen.
One of Progenitor Chen’s clones had been a giant, and it had caused him to be pursued by the Daosource Sect. There had been conflicting opinions regarding giants within the Daosource Sect, but the fact that Progenitor Chen had been willing to choose to have one of his clones become a giant proved that the ancient Progenitor had not been biased.
There were good and bad individuals among the giants, but it was still important to remain cautious.
Who should be assigned to keep watch on the giants? Lu Yin felt a headache coming on, and he wanted to reach out to Wei Rong or Qiong Xi’er to gain their opinions.
At this moment, he heard Kayze’s voice, “Your Highness, Ku Wei is asking to see you.”
Lu Yin arched a brow. “Let him in.”
“Master! It’s so good to see you, Master! Master, please take me with you wherever you go; I don’t want to be separated from you again.” Ku Wei could not restrain his loyal dog act after seeing Lu Yin.
Lu Yin visibly started sizing Ku Wei up. Ku Wei was just about to continue his typical flattery, but he suddenly got chills from Lu Yin’s star. He blinked. “Master?”
Lu Yin laughed. “Ku Wei, why’d you come here to Zenyu Star? Was there nothing to do in Fennel Flowzone?”
Ku Wei got a strong feeling that something was wrong from Lu Yin’s gaze. “N- Nothing much.”
“Oh.” Lu Yin continued to stare at Ku Wei. “In that case, how ‘bout a mission? You handle it well, and you’ll have a bright future ahead of you.”
Ku Wei gulped. He was starting to grow nervous for some reason. “Of course, Master.”
“Go to Giant Consortium and keep an eye on them,” Lu Yin stated bluntly. Though his voice sounded calm, the words he spoke sounded truly perilous to Ku Wei. Keep an eye on giants? Keep an eye on giants? What does this mean? Why does he want me to watch giants? Did he figure something out? Does he know that I can transform into a giant? If not, why would he choose me for this?
Ku Wei stared blankly at Lu Yin. He looked like he was trying to gain further understanding from Lu Yin’s face.
Lu Yin’s face was perfectly calm as he looked up. Hm? What’s up with Ku Wei’s expression? He looks like he’s staring at the devil.