Seeing Emperor Peerless's normally radiant and graceful visage so sad filled Jiang Chen with compassion. He felt that he had to do something for the emperor.
"Senior, where is your dao partner presently?" he suddenly asked.
Emperor Peerless blinked. He blurted out the answer subconsciously. "I have her somewhere secret and safe. Not in Pillfire City itself, but not far from here."
Jiang Chen nodded. "My cultivation is rudimentary, and I therefore have no grounds for self-recommendation. That aside, though I might not be able to heal your partner's injury, I might yet be able to extend her life via a means or two."
"What?" Hearing this made the emperor jump up like a spring. The emperor's gaze on him was almost searing, but Jiang Chen kept his cool. He inclined his head once, twice, in the affirmative.
"You… you really have a way?" Emperor Peerless's voice trembled. It was a far cry from his typical refinement.
Indeed, Jiang Chen had a way to extend the emperor's partner's life. In fact, he thought himself quite capable of taking care of a supposed 'internal injury' as well. It was simply better to keep his mouth shut about it before seeing the woman in person. Whether she had an injury or not was irrelevant to his ability to lengthen her life, however. Jiang Chen had the Pinecrane Pill on his side.
So what if Emperor Peerless's partner didn't have a constitution befitting an average emperor realm cultivator? The Pinecrane Pill didn't ask for that. As long as she could consume it, and the pill's medicinal effects took, then the effect on her lifespan was the same. Moreover, the Pinecrane Pill intrinsically had the extraordinary ability to repair bodily functions. Though it couldn't single-handedly cause an internal injury to heal, it would at least partially help. Emperor Peerless's partner wasn't being threatened by her natural end, but a kind of accelerated aging inflicted by her injury. Because of this, the Pinecrane Pill might be even more beneficial than advertised.
"Speaking of increasing lifespans, I've heard of a kind of pill called the Pinecrane Pill. It increases the life of an emperor realm cultivator by a thousand years or so." Jiang Chen immediately spilled the beans - er, pills.
"Pinecrane Pill?" Emperor Peerless was inspired. "I've heard of a certain Longevity Pill. What difference is there between them?"
"The Longevity Pill? That's just an earth rank pill. The Pinecrane Pill is sky rank! I'm sure you can agree that that's enough of a defining difference. Plus, the Pinecrane Pill is even harder than normal sky rank pills to refine." Jiang Chen was entirely truthful.
"Is there such a miracle pill in the world?" The emperor was overjoyed. He rubbed his palms together incessantly, pacing back and forth in place.
Jiang Chen smiled and nodded.
"Where can I find this Pinecrane Pill?" His expression cheered up, Emperor Peerless looked towards Jiang Chen expectantly.
"One of my seniors has refined it in the past. I remember that he has some on his person still." Jiang Chen wanted to take the pill out on the spot, but he managed to repress the impulse.
Emperor Peerless appeared to be an honorable enough man, but the time they had known each other was too short. Jiang Chen wanted to repay the favor the emperor had given him, but all could come in due time.
Emperor Peerless wasn't privy to Jiang Chen's thoughts. The joy in his face still apparent, he prodded at the youth earnestly. "Where is this senior nowadays? Is he willing to sell this pill of his? I am not a wealthy man, but I am willing to give all that I own for but a single one."
His tone was resolute. In his eyes, a million million spirit stones could not compare to a single life-saving pill. Anything he owned was a worthy enough sacrifice.
"I cannot promise anything, sir, but I don't think it's much of a problem to ask for a Pinecrane Pill. My senior is not within the human domain at the moment, but you needn't worry. He will come find me for sure in the next three to five years." Jiang Chen surmised the emperor probably had enough time to wait just a little longer.
Emperor Peerless was really excited now. He clenched both fists with great determination, knuckles white at the sheer force. His back-and-forth pacing increased in frequency. "Good, good! If you do manage to get your hands on the pill, young man, I'll give you anything you ask for. Even if it's something I don't have, I'll wade through fire and brimstone to bring it to you."
There was no piece of news that could be as exhilarating as this for the old man. He had traveled over a thousand mountains and ten thousand rivers, but always, always met disappointment. And yet, the Bounty Arena he'd decided to attend on a whim had been a stroke of serendipitous fortune. His partner had a small chance at life again! It was riddled with uncertainty, but the emperor was overjoyed nevertheless.
"Can the Pinecrane Pill really extend an emperor realm cultivator's life by a thousand years, my little friend?" Still, he wanted to hear repeated verification after coming out of his emotional high.
"Yes, Your Majesty. You may be completely sure on that front. If you've investigated the effects of the Longevity Pill, then the Pinecrane Pill is like an upgraded version of that pill. A single rank's difference means a hundredfold the technical complexity, however."
It was as Jiang Chen had guessed. Emperor Peerless had explored and studied the Longevity Pill. In particular, he knew that the Longevity Pill was definitely off-limits to emperor realm cultivators. That was why he'd held back on having his partner try it.
Jiang Chen's confident and faithful tone alleviated the majority of his doubts.
The emperor did not have the All-Seeing Eyes that Emperor Peafowl did, but his status as a great emperor was still quite respectable. His experience meant that he had some degree of discernment when it came to people. Typically, the emperor had zero likelihood of believing tall tales from the average youth. No, youngsters in general were too flighty and impulsive.
But this youth in particular had a certain bearing to him, a manner of behavior that made Emperor Peerless want to trust him implicitly. He had the perpetual feeling that the young man before him was unfathomably powerful, worthy of sitting on the same level as he. Any lingering remnant of suspicion about whether Jiang Chen came from Myriad Abyss Island or not was dispelled. Even on the very slight chance that the young man wasn't from the Island, his origins were surely extraordinary in some other way.
"Excellent, excellent. Young man, there's no need to call me senior any more. My name is Mo Wushuang, the same 'wushuang' as peerless. You can call me Old Brother Mo."
"I don't think it is proper for me to call you that, senior."
"Why wouldn't it be proper? I don't see a problem." Emperor Peerless coughed. "If you can bequeath Ah Yun with a lifeline, then you are my savior as well. How can I maintain my seniority in front of someone worthy of my thanks and respect?"
Jiang Chen smiled. "That's something to think about in the future. Actually, er, where is your partner located exactly, senior? If I can take a look at her, the additional information might help me out. I can explain things better to my own senior, right? Better knowledge means better ideas."
"Is this senior of yours also your master?" Emperor Peerless couldn't help but ask.
"I guess you can say that." Jiang Chen grinned. He'd begun weaving this elaborate lie about his tutelage ever since Skylaurel Kingdom. Whether it was around there, Regal Pill Palace, or even Veluriyam Capital, the fact that he had a reclusive but sage teacher was common knowledge. He'd come this far with the story. What harm was there in continuing with it?
"His cultivation level must be above great emperor realm, no?" Emperor Peerless's eyes were filled with fascination.
"Mhm. In addition, his pill dao cultivation is also one of the best on Myriad Abyss Island." Jiang Chen kept his face completely straight. His feigned stoicism made it hard for others to doubt him.
"Perfect!" Emperor Peerless slapped his thigh. "A senior expert like him will have a solution without fail. Hard to imagine that I, Mo Wushuang, had to travel the entire world before meeting my lucky star here. Haha, do feel free to call me Old Brother Mo from now on. I won't answer to 'senior' after this."
As a great emperor who was also a wandering cultivator, Emperor Peerless lacked the hauteur that his fellows often possessed. Noting his insistence, Jiang Chen finally acquiesced, nodding. "Then I will respectfully call you Old Brother Mo."
"Exactly as you should." The emperor brightened up instantly. "Come, the Bounty Arena is about to start." He wasn't even two steps out before he put a hand to his head. "Look at my memory. I almost forgot. I've settled Ah Yun down in the Tilted Moon Region."
"The Tilted Moon Region?" Hearing that gave Jiang Chen sudden pause.
"Hmm?" His reaction surprised Emperor Peerless somewhat. "Have you gone there, my young friend?"
"I haven't, but I've heard of it for sure. It is located in the northwest of the Upper Eight Regions, adjacent to Pillfire City… certainly not far. I hear that the Moon God Sect rules there?"
"That's absolutely right." Emperor Peerless inclined his head.
Jiang Chen didn't prod the subject further. His next stop was the Tilted Moon Region, so it was a pleasant coincidence that the emperor's partner was there as well. What a happy coincidence, hmm?
"Little brother, do you hold a grudge against that sect?" Emperor Peerless was astute enough to detect the disturbance in Jiang Chen's tone.
"No, not at all. I just happened to want to gather some information there." The emperor's guess had been patently true, but Jiang Chen wasn't stupid enough to admit to it outright.
Emperor Peerless chuckled. "Perfect. Two birds with one stone, then. If you need my help once we're there, don't hesitate to say so. I shall move on your every whim."
The two of them walked out to where the Bounty Arena was actually taking place. The sight of them talking and laughing as they did so was mouth-opening for all of their observers. The other arena lords were especially envious. They had attempted to win over their imperial fellow with flattery as well. Though Emperor Peerless didn't quite give them the cold shoulder, neither did he treat them with any semblance of warmth.
How could this young man be so cozy with the emperor? Was it just because he was from Myriad Abyss Island? In their heart of hearts, the others doubted Jiang Chen's claim to varying degrees. Some thought that the boy was a common fraudster.
Pill King Blue Phoenix and Wang Xuetong were also secretly astonished. The emperor was being friendlier to the young man than he had been with them! This only piqued their interest in Jiang Chen further. How many secrets did the youth have hidden away? What moved Emperor Peerless's interest in him so?
Given the Nangong clan's prior example, the Bounty Arena proceeded with remarkable smoothness. No one was brave enough to stir up further trouble, lest they be exposed to Emperor Peerless's fury. As such, business in the next three or four days boomed. Twelve days passed in the blink of an eye. It was time for the last three days of the Bounty Arena, heralding an oncoming climax.