Jiang Chen truly wasn't planning on currying favor with Emperor Peerless. However, he was very interested in the emperor, just like the latter was very interested in him. Jiang Chen didn't rush to recruit his assistants. He was a principled person, and he wished recruit his assistants to his banner as well. That was why he set a very high bar of entry.
His first requirement was that all who wished to become his assistant must be wandering cultivators. Wandering cultivators had no other ties, so they would be easier to recruit than ones supported by various sects and powers. Although most wandering cultivators preferred to be free and had unrestrained personalities, Jiang Chen still preferred to interact with them compared to the cultivators of big powers.
He wasn't worried if some cultivators might fake their abilities in attempt to get in. To begin with, those with true power and influence would never disguise themselves as a wandering cultivator just to be an assistant. They would think the act beneath them. This was just one example of how much more complicated Jiang Chen's assistant selection process was compared to the other arena lords.
Jiang Chen preferred to recruit only the best of the best, so he never lowered his bar even if it made the selection process difficult. He would rather send most away than accept anyone who didn't meet his requirements. Although Emperor Peerless didn't understand why Jiang Chen was being so selective with his assistants, he didn't go back on his promise to protect the lad.
Lin Yanyu used the opportunity to meet up with Jiang Chen and join him as a wandering cultivator. Lin Zhirong hadn't made arena lord, but for some reason he just wouldn't stop pestering Jiang Chen to make him a assistant. In the end, Jiang Chen gave him a slot on the basis of their brief friendship.
Three days later, Jiang Chen had filled only twelve out of the eighteen slots that were allocated to him. He decided to gift the remaining six slots to Emperor Peerless as a favor since he wasn't going to use them anyway. "Senior Peerless, I don't plan to use the six remaining slots I have. If you have any suitable candidates in mind, please use them as you see fit."
Emperor Peerless was a little astonished. A assistant slot was in high demand. There were countless people who couldn't get one even if they wanted to. But this young man had just given him six of them! This generosity alone was worth Emperor Peerless' approval. He found it very hard to dislike a young man like him. However, the emperor wasn't a greedy person. He smiled at Jiang Chen. "In that case, I shall find two more candidates for you. As for the remaining four, why don't you check with Pill King Blue Phoenix and Formation Master Wang Xuetong to see if they have anyone in mind?"
Emperor Peerless knew that Jiang Chen was doing him a favor, but he couldn't possibly accept all six slots from him. He thought that Jiang Chen should share some of them with Pill Master Blue Phoenix and Formation Master Wang Xuetong. This way, he would be doing everyone a favor. Jiang Chen knew that Emperor Peerless was thinking on his behalf, so he immediately nodded. "Of course. You are much more attentive than I am, Senior Peerless."
Pill King Blue Phoenix was a top thirty six quasi-pill emperor within the Pillfire Hall of Fame. Naturally, his network was widespread. Jiang Chen knew that Pill King Blue Phoenix had no problems fulfilling those two slots, and he would be giving the pill king a favor too. The pill king was naturally delighted and admired Jiang Chen even more.
Formation Master Wang Xuetong was of the same opinion. When he heard that Jiang Chen wanted to gift him two assistant slots, he was very pleased and honored by the gift. If two assistant slots was enough for Jiang Chen to gain favor with Formation Master Wang Xuetong, whyever not?
With the aid of his three seniors, Jiang Chen finally filled the eighteen assistant slots. The Temple of Cleansing Fire was more or less done with their preparations as well when he was done. And so, the Bounty Arena began.
Nine main arenas were aligned around the enormous public square at the Temple of Cleansing Fire's entrance in order of seniority. Emperor Peerless was given the first main arena, followed by Pill King Blue Phoenix and Formation Maser Wang Xuetong. Jiang Chen was given the fourth main arena, second only to the three seniors, because he hailed from Myriad Abyss Island.
The arenas for martial dao, pill dao and the general zone were all different from each other. This made it very easy for those with bounty missions to locate their intended zones. The Bounty Arena lasted for a short fifteen days, therefore, it bustled with activity the moment it started. Not everyone could just walk up to an arena lord and offer their mission however. Every participant was required to draw lots first and see if they obtained the right to post a bounty. If they didn't, they could only wait for the next chance.
The atmosphere livened up in no time. That Jiang Chen took two arena lord seats for himself made him a center of attention of the Bounty Arena. However, there were many people who didn't seek him out because he was too young. The three great seniors were most people's first choice.
The first choice of the martial dao zone was of course Emperor Peerless. The first choice of the pill dao zone was Pill King Blue Zone. Finally, the first choice of the general zone was Formation Master Wang Xuetong. This was only normal. After all, seniority and prestige was important in all domains of study, and these three experts were representatives of the highest authority in their respective domains.
Jiang Chen didn't envy them. He wasn't interested in small bounties. He found the small bounties that kept landing in his arenas to be utterly beneath his attention. So he allowed his assistants to resolve all of the missions. This was especially true when it came to pill dao. In this regard, Jiang Chen delegated practically all of his work to Lin Yanyu. As a result, Lin Yanyu became the busiest assistant in both arenas. As for Lin Zhirong, Jiang Chen secretly observed him for a moment and discovered that he was surprisingly talented. His had a wide assortment of knowledge and was able to provide some unique opinions no matter what kind of missions he was dealing with.
Most of the people who attended the Bounty Arena were focused on martial dao and pill dao. Although there were plenty of people who visited the general zone, the number of visitors were lesser compared to the other two. The busiest arena was Emperor Peerless' arena.
Although Jiang Chen's arena was slightly far away from the emperor's arena, he could still see that it was filled with people. It was clear that a great emperor held unparalleled attractiveness.
Even Pill King Blue Phoenix and Formation Master Wang Xuetong's arenas weren't nearly as busy as Emperor Peerless'. Jiang Chen suspected that supplicants weren't here to post bounties, but to form ties with the emperor. However, Emperor Peerless was very patient. He didn't lose his temper because of this.
The emperor aside, Pill King Blue Phoenix was probably the second busiest person of the Bounty Arena. However, the pill king seemed intent on helping out Jiang Chen as he kept pushing people to Jiang Chen's side whenever he got a little too busy. He kept introducing people to Jiang Chen's main arena, telling them that Jiang Chen was a young man of extraordinary talent who impressed even him. Thanks to Pill King Blue Phoenix's recommendation, people tentatively visited Jiang Chen's arena in hopes of getting their bounties resolved. That was how Jiang Chen's arenas slowly grew in numbers.
"Arena Lord, I'm not very confident that I can solve this friend's problem. Can you check this?" Lin Yanyu led a supplicant in front of Jiang Chen.
Lin Yanyu knew that his master found the average bounties to be beneath his attention. That was he did his best to solve all these questions on his own. Even when he really couldn't answer them, he would turn the question to other pill dao assistants first. This time however, he couldn't find anyone who could solve this question confidently even though he had checked with every pill dao assistant. This was why he'd finally turned to his master.
Jiang Chen glanced at the bounty. The mission rank was high enough. It was a rank seven bounty with a reward of two million saint spirit stones. It was also the highest rank bounty he had received in both arenas thus far. The mission was about the cultivation of spirit herbs. After a moment of reading, he had a rough idea of how to resolve the mission.
"I can solve this bounty, but your reward isn't high enough." The cultivation of a spirit herb involved a great deal of technical knowledge. This was a rank seven bounty worth two million saint spirit stones, but Jiang Chen thought that it should be a rank eight bounty at least. He didn't think that it was worth solving at the price he was offered.
"Arena Lord Shao, I'm only here because Pill King Blue Phoenix says that you're a genius, you know. That's why I gave him face and came here to boost your business." The poster felt a little disgruntled when he heard that Jiang Chen wanted to up the price of his bounty. His tone and expression was very displeased too.
Jiang Chen smiled calmly. "Pill King Blue Phoenix sent you to me because he trusted me. If you don't believe that I'm a suitable candidate, you may go to other main arenas and try your luck there. Perhaps one of them is willing to accept a lower price."
Annoyed, the man retorted angrily, "Then there is nothing else to say. Even if the butcher is gone, that doesn't mean I can't find pork meat elsewhere."
Jiang Chen watched the angry man leave and didn't urge him to stay.
"Master, can you claim that bounty?" Lin Yanyu thought that it was a pity to let the man go just like this.
Jiang Chen nodded. "His mission isn't a simple one, but his reward doesn't match its difficulty. We are the arena lords of this arena, so we don't need to yield too much to these supplicants and lower our status as a result."
Such were his principles.
In his opinion, the bounty should've been a rank eight, worth five million saint spirit stones at minimum. Does that guy really think that he could get away with just two million saint spirit stones? Jiang Chen didn't feel that his skills came that cheaply. Moreover, he was sure that there were very few people who could resolve that mission. Even if there was, their price would not go lower than five million saint spirit stones.
Lin Yanyu had unwavering faith in his master. Although he thought that it was a great shame to miss out on two million saint spirit stones, he was sure his master had his own reasons for doing so. They didn't lack bounties anyway. There were plenty of people who were still queuing outside and waiting to get in. They didn't lack customers at all.
And how long had it been since the Bounty Arena began? In less than four hours, their two arenas had welcomed at least thirty supplicants. They had accumulated more than ten million saint spirit stones up to this point. At this rate, he was sure their income for the next half a month's time could only be described as handsome...