1091 Making It Clear
Inside the large conference room of the army’s headquarters, Sylvia sat in the top seat. Countless remote projections of representatives sat below and chatted nonstop. The room was noisy.
Sylvia knocked on the table, and the entire place did indeed become silent. Everyone turned to look at her.
As the Chief Administrative Official of the army, Sylvia was also in charge of communicating with the outside. In the eyes of many organizations, she was no doubt someone who held a high position and a lot of power. Even though all the people sitting there were upper echelons of their own media and financial groups, they were still very obedient in front of Sylvia.
Sylvia looked around and said with a serious tone, “You’re all here for the same purpose. About the Black Star Cup Army Tournament, the Army Commander intends to develop it into an integrated sports event for Supers. The first season will temporarily be limited only to the army itself, but in the future, people from other forces might participate too. The details are in the introduction of the rules and regulations of the competition, which I believe you have all already read.
“The army hopes to broadcast the event to the entire universe, so the broadcasting rights will be sold by areas. Planet-level broadcasting rights will not be sold alone. The lowest will be at the Star Zone level, which costs 15 million Enas. The broadcasting rights for a Star System costs 120 million Enas, and the Star Cluster broadcasting rights costs 980 million Enas. It can be paid in one go or up to five terms. This is only the initial price for reference. If any of you want to be the only one broadcasting it in the area, the sale will be done in the form of bidding.”
Hearing this, a commotion began under the stage. Many people exchanged looks and saw the surprise in each other’s eyes.
Given the Black Star Army’s position and the popularity of this competition, this price was more than just generous. It was much lower than they expected.
Usually, there would only be two ways to sell the broadcasting rights of this kind of event. The most common one would be selling it to the media, not restricting the areas where the said media would play it in. Another would be to sell it by areas, which was usually used for large-scale broadcasting. Very few could do the latter, or the media would not allow it. Of course, the Black Star Army had the right to.
The basic unit was Star Zone, which meant that if bought, it would only be allowed to be broadcast in one Star Zone. Although the current quantum network was extremely developed and connected the entire galactic society, most viewers still had area-based preferences. It was basically like the local channel.
Indeed, the price of 15 million Enas was not low, but any media or financial group that dared to come to make deals with the army had no shortage of that much money.
If the broadcasting areas overlapped, the event would then be broadcast together unless an auction was held for the exclusive rights. If different levels of broadcasting areas were to overlap—for example, if one media bought the Star System broadcasting rights while the other brought the Star Zone broadcasting rights that included this Star System—the issue would either be left undealt with or they could request to negotiate with the army. The army would then either refund the broadcasting rights or have the two media groups work together. However, any media purchasing a large area broadcasting right, selling it themselves was absolutely forbidden.
Sylvia called out Phillip’s doppelgangers, which appeared beside every representative, to record the prices they were willing to pay.
The media representatives contemplated for a while and wrote down their requests and prices.
They could all see the business potential of the Black Star Cup. Lately, the Black Star Army had done a lot of shocking things and attracted a lot of attention, especially Black Star’s Godlike Battle and the Holy Light Particle incidents. The army had welcomed a lot of traffic. In fact, in every ten galactic residents, at least four would pay attention to news about the army.
Furthermore, the Black Star Cup itself was also very appealing. Although there were many Supers in the universe and battles between them were anything but rare, a competition where countless Supers of different Grades all participated together was extremely rare. Plus, there were even things like selections and drafting events, which would make things much more interesting for the audience.
Also, the competition had way too many items. Where else could anyone see such an interesting sports entertainment event with so many Supers attending?
According to the blueprint of the Black Star Cup, there was a chance this would turn into a league festival in the future that more organizations would take part in. With the Black Star Army’s position, anyone copying the idea was nothing to be worried about. From a long-term perspective, this competition had a lot of growth potential. The representatives present not only wanted to sign this competition, but some even wanted to immediately sign the next few seasons too as a long-term investment.
“That’s a win-win for us.” Sylvia continued speaking while they were considering the prices to pay. “The army wants to make the Black Star Cup big, so we need more media groups to broadcast it and increase the event’s popularity, while you guys need people to watch your channel. I’m sure I don’t have to emphasize the scale of the Black Star Cup. It’s a festival that…”
At this time, a financial group representative raised his hand and said, “I heard that the army is opening up bets internally. Do you accept exterior bets?”
“You guys can set up bets yourselves, but the army’s pot doesn’t accept bets from the outside.” Sylvia waved her hand.
“And why is that? If you guys open up the bet, the commission you can earn from it will be countless times greater.” Someone questioned.
“This is the highest order from the Army Commander.”
Sylvia did not explain it to them. Actually, when she came to know that Han Xiao had made this decision, she was confused too. This was an opportunity to make a lot of money, and from what she knew about Han Xiao, he would not let this opportunity slip past. However, to her surprise, it was like her teacher’s personality changed on this matter.
Afterward, Han Xiao explained it to her. He said that although the army was quite wealthy, the bets from the outside world were still way too large. There were risks to opening the betting to the outside world, and some fool—Sorokin—might cause problems in the dark. Comparatively, if the bets were only open to the internal members, it was basically equivalent to cycling the funds within the army. No matter who won or lost, the money was still in the hands of the army’s members.
On the other hand, the people participating in the competition were their own army members, and if the army opened the bets to the outside world, the army members might have some disgruntled guesses about why it was the case. This was not beneficial to building their mindsets. If the bets were only limited to within the army, the image it gave would be much better. It would feel like a family betting with each other within the family.
We ain’t gonna earn this dirty money!
After retrieving all the price quotes, Iapetus brought his business team along and came in for negotiations, while Sylvia left the conference room and headed for the next meeting.
Other than the selling of broadcasting rights, the army also planned to find a lot of sponsors for the Black Star Cup. The partners of the army would provide some form of sponsorship, be it for the sake of profit or face, and all of that added together was quite a large amount of money.
Sorokin had approached Han Xiao for this purpose, too.
“You want to sponsor the Black Star Cup?”
Han Xiao sized up Sorokin’s remote projection.
“That’s right. You’re a shareholder of the Limitless Financial Group. Of course, I have to show my support for your projects.” Sorokin had his signature fake smile on his face.
“How much do you plan to sponsor?”
Sorokin gave a number, smiled, and said, “This number represents my sincerity.”
Han Xiao’s heart skipped a beat. This amount was quite outrageous.
Your sincerity is overflowing…
“Are you sure?”
“Yes, the Black Star Cup has a lot of potential. I have very high hopes in this investment.” Sorokin smiled and slowly said, “Plus, we’re partners now. Due to some reasons in the past, some cracks were made in our relationship, so I’m hoping to fix our relationship…”
Han Xiao understood.
Right, so you’re here to give me ‘protection fees’, hoping to compensate for the loss you’ve caused me before.
He had essentially threatened Sorokin to obtain the position of shareholder, which could not be changed. Sorokin had already accepted that, so he mainly wanted to fix their relationship. He had to say, this guy really knew when to compromise and take a step back.
Han Xiao suddenly thought of something.
This guy probably was not only there to make up for what he had done but also for Traveler.
Dark Lord had caught Traveler, and the dynasty had already announced that he would be openly executed. Han Xiao had gone to the secondary dimensions some time ago, so Sorokin might think that he had found something out. Thus, he had come to test Han Xiao.
After all, Sorokin meddled in the attack on Hila, and Traveler was one of the very few people who knew about it, so it was natural that he was worried.
“Alright then. About before, I shall hold you less responsible.” Han Xiao smiled, dragged his words, and said, “About Heber…”
Sorokin’s eyelid trembled. “This…”
Before he answered, Han Xiao laughed and said, “Don’t worry, I’m kidding. How can I let you void your agreement with him, use the methods you used on me on him, and take away all the developments you’ve helped him make? He and I are so very close.”
As if I’d believe you…
Sorokin adjusted his emotions and tested Han Xiao by saying, “I heard you went to the secondary dimensions recently. How was it?”
“Not bad. I went to quite a few places…”
Han Xiao chattered about everything but what he knew Sorokin really wanted to know about.
After patiently listening for a while, Sorokin realized that Han Xiao was deliberately avoiding the topic, so he had no choice but to cough and say, “I heard that Dark Lord caught Traveler in the secondary dimensions. Did you meet him?’
“Yes.” Han Xiao nodded.
Sorokin was glad. Just as he was about to listen to what Han Xiao was going to say next, he suddenly realized that Han Xiao had stopped and did not seem like he was going to continue at all.
The two of them looked at each other in silence for close to half a minute.
Finally, Sorokin could not take it anymore and asked with resignation, “What happened?”
“Back then, Dark Da… ahem, Traveler almost escaped from Dark Lord, but he ran into me, so I captured him.” Han Xiao tutted. “Speaking of which, that guy hardly had a backbone. I only tortured him a little bit, and he gave up the identity of who was behind all this.”
Sorokin’s heart tightened. “Who?”
Han Xiao glanced at him and slowly said, “He said he isn’t really a neutral mercenary but a secret direct member of a Super Star Cluster civilization. He was ordered by his superiors to disrupt me when Hila was attacked.”
“Direct member?” Sorokin was curious. “Of whom?”
Han Xiao said with a grave ton, “None of us expected him to actually be a member of the Modo Civilization.”
Suddenly, realizing something, he became alarmed.
Wait a minute. There’s no way Traveler would have covered the truth for me. He’d definitely expose the fact that I was the reason the Star Cluster sent him on this mission.
This meant that the dynasty knew he was involved.
“Then you…” Sorokin stared at Han Xiao but did not know what to say.
“What do you want to say?” Han Xiao raised his brows.
“What else did Traveler say?”
“Are you asking whether Traveler ratted you out?” Han Xiao said with a smile.
Sorokin’s expression tightened. Since Black Star had said that, he was sure he was exposed.
This time, Han Xiao stopped smiling and coldly said, “What you’ve done behind my back isn’t very nice.”
He had planned to hide this, but when Sorokin came to find him, he understood that his initial plan of staying in the dark was not so realistic.
The dynasty was going to publicly execute Traveler, so Sorokin definitely had no room to daydream. He knew that there was a very high chance Traveler would throw the blame to him, nor did Traveler have any reason to cover up for him. Therefore, the dynasty most likely would know about what he did, and Black Star certainly was notified about him plotting against the Black Star Army.
This way, even if Han Xiao acted like he did not know it, Sorokin would only be more alarmed. Therefore, he might as well make it clear. According to what he knew about Sorokin, this guy definitely would not want to make things ugly but would instead try to compensate for it.
After all, even if Sorokin gave him compensation, it did not mean that he would stop targeting him.
Sorokin paused, sighed, and said, “Alright, got it. The motive behind what I did was just to maintain balance; it’s not personal. Nonetheless, I owe you for this incident. Since we’re now partners, I’ll give you an appropriate answer.”
Han Xiao carefully observed his expression and narrowed his eyes.
As he expected, given how thick-skinned Sorokin was, him panicking after being exposed was not likely. He would have instead confessed and apologized on the spot, then looked for compensation measures.
Furthermore, Sorokin was very cheeky and actually prepared for this—he deliberately told Traveler about ‘how he really felt’ and gave his actions the excuse of maintaining unity and disrupting the Beyond Grade A shared battlefront. This way, it would not seem personal.
With this mindset as the reason, even if he was exposed, he would not be targeted too much. This was because the stand he had displayed on this matter was actually the same as the three Universal Civilizations’ stand.
The only difference was the methods he used. Even so, he had hardly offended the dynasty. After all, his method was just indirect disruption, not direct interference.
In the current complex universe structure, the three Universal Civilizations had conflicts of interest with the development union. As a member of the association that also had the same mindset as the three Universal Civilizations, Sorokin might become one of the people they might want to draw to their side.
Although having his stance exposed would lead to those Beyond Grade As who supported the shared battlefront such as Mechanic Emperor and Black Star distancing themselves from him, this also became an opportunity for him to get closer to the three Universal Civilizations. This way, his losses would be minimized.
Han Xiao could only praise Sorokin’s intelligence. Relying on his resources, this guy could always deal with the negative side effects very well.
The biggest problem was that he had worked with the Super Star Cluster Alliance on this, so the three Universal Civilizations would definitely not be happy about it. Sorokin had no way of washing that off, so he had to pay a price.
The second problem was Han Xiao’s attitude on this. Black Star was insulted, and no one could shake his position in the association now. Sorokin had no choice but to prepare for Han Xiao to make an outrageous demand.
Many thoughts flashed through Han Xiao’s mind. He blinked and said coldly, “Let me hear how you’re planning to express your apology to me.”