"It’s been nearly five years. I’ve been watching your microarray technology for almost five years. Half of the credit for this success should belong to me. Are you really trying to send me packing with just 80 billion star essence, Director Zhi?" Lu Yin replied.
Director Zhi’s voice dropped low. "Alliance Leader Lu, you should be aware of just how much 80 billion star essence is. Not even the Mavis Bank would casually lend out 80 billion to someone. Paying this much will severely hurt my Aurora Enterprises, which just goes to show how much we’ve built up over the years. This can also be seen as us compensating you for your help and paying for the materials that you’ve provided us."
Lu Yin found this so amusing that he laughed out loud.
"What are you laughing at?" Director Zhi's voice dropped lower and lower as the conversation continued.
Lu Yin rubbed his head. "Director Zhi, do you think that I’m an idiot?"
Director Zhi’s eyes flickered, and his eye twitched became much worse.
"Microarray technology will usher in a new era. The more it’s researched, the more it will be able to change human life and this entire era. Do you really think that 80 billion star essence is enough to buy the rights to an entire era?" Lu Yin smiled at Director Zhi.
Director Zhi took a deep breath. "It seems that there’s nothing for us to talk about."
The smile lingered on Lu Yin's face. "Your Aurora Fortress isn’t able to deal with me. I might as well tell you that there’s a Semi-Progenitor supporting me, Director Zhi."
Director Zhi closed his eyes and dropped his head as his mind started racing.
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Lu Yin was unconcerned. Given his current status, he really had nothing to fear from Aurora Enterprises. In fact, forget Aurora Enterprises—even if Gods’ Origin was added into the mix, it still would not matter. As long as a Semi-Progenitor did not get involved, Lu Yin would not be worried.
"I’ll let you talk to someone else." Director Zhi suddenly stood up, turned around, and left.
Lu Yin was stunned; was Director Zhi that decisive? Was Lu Yin going to talk to someone else now? Who else in Aurora Enterprises held a higher authority than Director Zhi? Could it be Master Xuan?
At this moment, Lu Yin felt a familiar aura approach. He looked up, his eyes flickering. Was that Elder Jiu Shen?
Simultaneously, in a place close to the waterfall on Aurora Fortress, the Second Nightking also noticed Elder Jiu Shen, and he was quite surprised. Why would someone from the Cosmic Sect suddenly show up here?
Elder Jiu Shen appeared out of nowhere, only to vanish an instant later. When he reappeared, he was already in the gazebo, looking at Lu Yin with a sour expression. The old man looked thoroughly upset.
Lu Yin remembered what Wan Gong had mentioned about Yuan Qiong’s visit. Just what was the connection between Aurora Enterprises and the Cosmic Sect?
"Boy, you really are my Cosmic Sect’s greatest annoyance," Elder Jiu Shen spat out through gritted teeth while looking quite constipated.
A corner of Lu Yin's mouth twitched. "Elder, what are you saying? This disciple doesn't understand."
Elder Jiu Shen snorted. "Let's talk."
"What are you talking about?" Lu Yin felt completely confused.
"The microarray technology,” Elder Jiu Shen spat out.
Lu Yin blinked. "You also know about that?"
"Boy, stop acting dumb! Do you really not know?" Elder Jiu Shen glared at Lu Yin.
Lu Yin grimaced. "I’ve got a few guesses, but I really don’t know any of the details. What’s the connection between Aurora Enterprises and the Cosmic Sect? Can you tell me, Elder?"
Elder Jiu Shen let out a long breath. "Aurora Enterprises is a property of our Cosmic Sect."
Lu Yin's expression changed. This was highly unexpected. "It’s your company?"
Elder Jiu Shen lifted his head high. It was highly unusual for him to hold the advantage in a conversation with Lu Yin. "What? You don’t understand?"
Lu Yin had considered many possibilities, such as an alliance or a marriage. He had even thought that Aurora Enterprises might be paying a yearly fee to the Cosmic Sect for protection, but he had never thought that the Cosmic Sect would actually own Aurora Enterprises outright. One was an ancient monster that stood head and shoulders above almost every other power in the Neoverse while the other stood at the forefront of technological development. Why could the two not be united?
"This- how is this possible?" Lu Yin stared at Elder Jiu Shen. The old man most likely was not simply toying with Lu Yin.
Elder Jiu Shen rolled his eyes. "Is this something impossible? Of course, we’re not the only investors. It’s a joint venture between my Cosmic Sect and Eversky Island."
"Does Eversky Island own a share as well?" Each sentence surprised Lu Yin more and more.
Elder Jiu Shen glanced at Lu Yin. Both suspicion and contempt filled the old man’s eyes. "Where do you think Eversky Island’s resources have come from over all these years? Did you really think that they’ve only been supplied by Highsage Leon’s plundering and the few floating cities they’re tied to them? Don’t be absurd."
Only now did Lu Yin realize that while Eversky Island had a Semi-Progenitor, he had never heard of the place having any businesses or income at all. The most that he had heard about was their support for a few floating cities, but that could not possibly be enough to supply all the necessary cultivation resources for a place like Eversky Island.
In contrast, the Cosmic Sect had countless disciples, and they occupied a massive region of the Neoverse. This was not only because they needed the space to cultivate, but also to harvest various resources. Certain disciples were tasked with gathering more resources for the sect, just like the Innerverse’s Sword Sect and Wen family. Both of those two Innerverse powers occupied a major flowzone and harvested resources from that particular flowzone.
The most famous example was the contest between the Sword Sect and the Daynight clan where they had fought for control over the resources of the minor flowzone that lay between them. Lu Yin had even taken advantage of their fighting there at one point.
However, Eversky Island only had a few people, and regardless of how powerful Highsage Wudi and Highsage Shenwei might be, they would never earn enough money if they simply worked as hired protectors. Despite that, Eversky Island had never seemed to lack resources.
Only at this moment did Lu Yin understand that they received those resources from Aurora Enterprises.
Who in the entire universe would believe that a colossus of the Neoverse, Aurora Enterprises, was actually the pocketbook for both the Cosmic Sect and Eversky Island?
"What's the deal here?" Lu Yin could not help himself from asking this question.
Elder Jiu Shen replied, "It's not complicated. Highsage Grandmaster coincidentally obtained an incomplete version of microarray technology after opening a sourcebox one time. After studying it with my senior brother Elder Gong, they realized that the technology possessed the potential to usher in a new era, so they wanted to study it. However, it was too expensive for them to research microarray technology on their own. Still, they had acquired a great deal of ancient technology through unlocking numerous sourceboxes, such as the energy conversion devices that can be incorporated into spacecraft. Thus, the two joined forces and established Aurora Enterprises."
"No one else knows about this?" Lu Yin was surprised.
Elder Jiu Shen answered, "Back then, they also found a man named Zhi Xing, who was working for the Hall of Honor at the time. He was the brightest and most famous scientist in the universe at the time, and Aurora Enterprises was established under his name. My Cosmic Sect provided the initial investment and secretly protected the company, and Eversky Island provided some protection as well. This was how Aurora Enterprises was established.”
"You can even say that the company was founded by these three different groups solely to research microarray technology."
Lu Yin nodded. It was only at this moment that he realized just how big of a secret this entire thing was. Now it made sense for the sect master of the Cosmic Sect to personally visit Aurora Fortress to check on the progress of the microarray technology research, as the Cosmic Sect and Eversky Island were the ones who initially desired to research the technology.
"Now that you know everything you need to, let's talk, boy." Elder Jiu Shen stared at Lu Yin, still clearly unhappy with the young man.
Lu Yin pursed his lips. "Talk? What are you talking about? We’re all part of the same family here. There’s nothing to talk about."
Elder Jiu Shen’s brows climbed high up his forehead. "We need to talk. There’s almost nothing between us. I don’t care about your relationship with Eversky Island, but as far as my Cosmic Sect is concerned, while you are a disciple, you’re merely an outer disciple."
Lu Yin became upset when he heard this. "Elder, outer disciples are still disciples! Why do you want to treat me differently because of this?"
As Lu Yin spoke, he lifted a leg and wiggled his foot.
Elder Jiu Shen's mouth twitched, and he wanted to lash out to release his anger. However, he could not do so due to what was on the bottom of this little bastard’s foot.
"The Zhi family has spent multiple generations studying microarray technology. Zhi Xing died before he even became an Enlighter. If not for his time spent researching microarray technology, he could easily have lived for at least a few thousand years. While my Cosmic Sect has secretly protected Aurora Enterprises, the Zhi family’s contributions make our own negligible. As for Eversky Island, they only helped with the initial startup, and they barely invested anything at all. Microarray technology is everything to the Zhi family. Boy, you can’t mess around with this," Elder Jiu Shen said in a deep voice.
Lu Yin replied, "Elder, are you misunderstanding this disciple? This disciple has never once thought of taking the microarray technology away."
"In that case…?" Elder Jiu Shen gave Lu Yin a sideways glance. He was too familiar with Lu Yin, and it was impossible for this person to willingly let go of something valuable.
Lu Yin grew solemn. "This technology can create an entirely new era. If used properly, it can transform all of human society. If we were in a time of peace, I would definitely find a way to monopolize microarray technology to personally achieve incredible things, but the situation is different right now. We’re dealing with the Sixth Mainland, and the Astral Beast Domain is a constant enemy, not to mention how Aeternus is always watching us. Given our circumstances, the best option for humanity is to utilize microarray technology as best as possible.
"If this disciple wanted to both monopolize microarray technology and change our entire civilization, it’s impossible to even guess how long that would take. It’s possible that we’d face defeat and annihilation at the hands of the Aeternals before I ever succeeded, in which case, the Aeternals would be the only ones to benefit from the development of microarray technology."
Elder Jiu Shen was caught off guard. "So you can still consider a bit of the big picture."
Lu Yin earnestly replied, "This junior won’t try to steal or monopolize microarray technology, but I want to receive preferential treatment. Besides, the Great Eastern Alliance will provide the greatest assistance in further research of microarray technology, which would greatly benefit from additional development and promotional efforts. I think that this should align with the desires of Highsage Grandmaster and Elder Gong.”
Elder Jiu Shen nodded. "That's true. From the very beginning, both my senior brother and Highsage Grandmaster intended to make microarray technology commonplace rather than monopolize it, but sharing is different from giving it away. Anyone who wants to use this technology needs to pay for it, which is not too much to ask for."
"This disciple understands the concept of a patent," Lu Yin answered with a smile.
Elder Jiu Shen replied, "It’s important for you to understand the overall concept."
As he spoke, Jiu Shen waved for the distant Director Zhi to approach.
The director’s expression was still quite sour when he returned to the gazebo.
Elder Jiu Shen said, "This child has no intention of stealing the microarray technology from us, but he will need to be given priority access to it, and…"
Elder Jiu Shen suddenly fell silent as he thought for a bit. "It’s true that the research was only successful because of his assistance. Once microarray technology is spread out and used by all of humanity, he can be given 20% of the profits.”
Director Zhi frowned. He stared at Elder Jiu Shen before looking back at Lu Yin, but then he finally nodded helplessly. "I understand."
Lu Yin laughed. "Director Zhi, did you think that I wanted to steal the microarray technology from you?"
Director Zhi felt offended. "Everyone knows your character, Alliance Leader Lu. You can’t blame me for harboring such thoughts."
A glint flashed across Lu Yin's eyes. "What of my character? Tell me."
Director Zhi wanted to answer, but he said nothing after thinking for a moment. While Aurora Enterprises was backed by both the Cosmic Sect and Eversky Island, each of them had experts with power levels of over a million. Thus, something about the situation felt off to the man.
In particular, he was uncertain about the Cosmic Sect's attitude towards Lu Yin, but they seemed to be very close. If Director Zhi offended Lu Yin, he suspected that he would have a difficult life in the future.
Elder Jiu Shen grew impatient. "Alright, quite messing around. Boy, you’ve been toying with him for five years! You can’t blame him for being a bit resentful!"