Elder Lu had still been lingering at the bargaining stage when realization struck. I can refine a finished pill for you if you're willing to add another billion to your bounty. The revelation was like a sudden clap of thunder that reverberated throughout his mind. When he recovered from the shock, he stared at Jiang Chen as if he had turned into an imbecile. All kinds of conflicting emotions appeared in his eyes: shock, hope, doubt, worry…
Jiang Chen was secretly amused when he saw his reaction. He understood why Elder Lu wore the expression he did. The elder had pursued this relentlessly despite failing to find an answer for eight hundred years. Thus, it must be very important to him.
The Great Yu Skysword Sect never discarded the bounty for the Ancient Reformation Pill even thought it had been hung for eight hundred years. In fact, they even left some men in Pillfire City just in case someone had picked up the bounty. This showed just how important the Ancient Reformation Pill was to Great Yu Skysword Sect. That was why Jiang Chen boldly requested Elder Lu to increase the reward by a full billion. Of course, he wasn't making an empty claim.
As expected, Elder Lu's conflicted expression turned into one of deep expectation. When Elder Lu saw that Jiang Chen was smiling wordlessly, he lost his patience first and asked, "Arena Lord Shao, are you sure you aren't joking?"
Jiang Chen smiled calmly. "Do I look like I'm making a joke?"
Elder Lu had been staring and probing Jiang Chen all this time. It definitely didn't look like the latter was joking with him. Can this young man really refine the Ancient Reformation Pill? But… isn't this a little too good to be true?
The elder hesitated greatly for a moment, his heart full of doubt. He didn't think that Jiang Chen's demand was overly ridiculous, but he did wonder if the young man truly had the skill to fulfill the task. If he truly could restore the pill recipe and refine the Ancient Reformation Pill, then Great Yu Skysword Sect was willing to pay even if his demand went higher than a billion. The question was, was it a scam or not?
"Arena Lord Shao," Elder said in a very serious tone, "I sincerely wish to work with you. Right now, I only have one question to ask: can you really refine this Ancient Reformation Pill?"
Jiang Chen frowned. "Seeing is believing. Show me one point five billion saint spirit stones, and I will exchange it with the pill."
Elder Lu was overjoyed. "Alright. Let us summon someone from the Temple to serve as the notary!"
"Please summon Emperor Peerless too." Jiang Chen wasn't completely sure about the Temple's integrity, so he wished to involve Emperor Peerless in this affair. He was now in the same boat as the emperor anyways. If the great emperor truly desired the Pinecrane Pill, he would stand by Jiang Chen's side.
Elder Lu had no problems with this demand. He nodded. "No problem. As long as this is a fair trade, Great Yu Skysword Sect will treat this with absolute sincerity!"
Jiang Chen answered indifferently, "The same goes here."
Elder Lu cupped his heads. "In that case, allow me to head back and prepare the saint spirit stones. I'm not authorized to carry one point five billion spirit stones, so I need to head back and report to the higher up first. It should be a simple matter, and I can be the decision maker if necessary, but even then I need some time to gather all the money."
"Do as you please, but I'm still going to repeat what I said earlier. The bounty is complete, so you must pay five hundred million to me first. Otherwise, I will take this as a breach of the agreement." Jiang Chen had no intention of letting Elder Lu go without payment. If the old man decided to renege on the debt, then his efforts would become wasted.
Elder Lu reluctantly agreed. "Alright, please accept five hundred million saint spirit stones. In return, please give me the complete pill recipe."
This was the content of the initial agreement. The pill refinement was something that was added later on, so it would be dealt as such. The trade was completed on the spot. Once the trade was complete, Elder Lu hurriedly left the Temple in an obvious hurry to prepare the money and report to his higher-ups. Since he had obtained his reward, Jiang Chen didn't care if the elder showed up later or not.
Surprisingly, Assistant Temple Master Gao walked over to Jiang Chen with a smile after witnessing Elder Lu's departure. "Elder Lu looks to be in a hurry. Is there something urgent?"
Jiang Chen smiled faintly. "He needs me for something else, but that is a matter for another time. Oh right, please invite the third bounty poster over to my arena too."
Jiang Chen had a total of three sovereign rank bounties in his hands. Elder Lu's bounty was just the second. The third sovereign rank bounty was about a formation. Truthfully speaking, Jiang Chen was far more interested in this bounty than the one regarding the Ancient Reformation Pill.
Although the reward of this bounty was incomparable to the Ancient Reformation Pill, it was intricately tied to Jiang Chen's person. He had obtained the Ancient Crimson Heavens Sect's inheritance, so he possessed both the sect's keepsake and medallion. That was why he was so curious about Celestial Cicada Court's formation. Where the Celestial Cicada Court and Ancient Crimson Heavens Sect connected to each other?
Assistant Temple Master Gao quickly brought the bounty poster to him. To his surprise, the bounty poster was a woman. It was only after Assistant Temple Master Gao had introduced her that he learned that she was of deep background. She was a newly appointed keeper who was ranked last among all other keepers of Celestial Cicada Court.
But despite her ranking, she was without a doubt a person who wielded great authority. After all, there were only a few keepers in the Celestial Cicada Court. Jiang Chen examined this woman of unknown age and felt a little curious.
Assistant Temple Master Gao introduced Jiang Chen. "Keeper Xia, this is Arena Lord Shao and has already resolved the most difficult bounty of the event before you. Do not underestimate him because of his youth, his talent is in no way inferior to the three great seniors."
"If that is true, then I am the ignorant one here." Keeper Xia's voice was rougher and louder than an average woman's.
Assistant Temple Master Gao smiled slightly. "Enjoy your talk. Please summon me for anything you need."
It was inevitable that the two parties would talk about the heart of the matter, so he would do well to stay away from it. After Assistant Temple Master Gao had left, a bit of judgment immediately entered Keeper Xia's eyes. She immediately cut to the heart of the matter. "Arena Lord Shao, can you complete this formation?"
Jiang Chen smiled but didn't give her a direct answer. Instead, he asked, "Keeper Xia, I will like to ask you a question before answering yours. Where did you get this formation? Judging from its patterns and characteristics, I believe this is an ancient formation."
His words caught Keeper Xia off guard.
"Does this have anything to do with our trade?" Keeper Xia sounded a little displeased.
"Very." Jiang Chen smiled. "If you won't tell me how you come by this formation or its origin, then I won't complete this formation for you."
He didn't beat around the bush either and spoke candidly.
"Arena Lord Shao, please don't forget that you'll have to pay us the compensation fee if you renege on your promise." Keeper Xia obviously didn't expect this young man to be such a character.
But Jiang Chen didn't care about her threat. He smiled indifferently. "It's not like your reward is anything generous, so I'm able to pay it in full. In case you didn't know, that Elder Lu who left earlier already gave me five hundred million."
He had money, and he could do whatever he wanted. That was the impression Jiang Chen gave Keeper Xia right now.
Keeper Xia inhaled deeply before frowning. "Are you sure you can complete this formation?"
"In the past, I coincidentally came by some text about ancient formation models and read about them. Not only have I seen this model before, I've even studied it intensely for a while. It is truly an impressive ancient formation." Jiang Chen's tone was filled with implied meaning.
Keeper Xia was speechless. The arena lord's intentions were as clear as day.
"Arena Lord Shao, what is the point of you knowing its origin? This formation is something our Celestial Cicada Court inherited since ancient times. That is why it means next to nothing to an outsider."
"It's an inheritance of Celestial Cicada Court?" Jiang Chen looked a little doubtful.
"That's right. This formation is something we inherited since ancient times. Unfortunately, much about this formation has been lost today." Keeper Xia let out a quiet sigh before casting Jiang Chen a doubtful glance. "You said that you've seen this formation model before, but I must say that I seriously doubt your claim."
But Jiang Chen didn't follow her line of thought. Instead, he changed tack. "You say that this is an inheritance of Celestial Cicada Court, but to my knowledge it belongs to a great formation sect of ancient times. Unfortunately, that ancient sect fought to the last and perished in a blaze of glory during the war against the demon race."
Keeper Xia looked incredibly surprised when she heard this. "What? When you say a great ancient formation sect of ancient times, do you mean… Ancient Crimson Heavens Sect?"
Jiang Chen was surprised by her answer, but maintained a confident smile on his face. Ancient Crimson Heavens Sect? Perhaps Celestial Cicada Court really was related to Ancient Crimson Heavens Sect. How else could she have uttered their title otherwise? After all, the sect had sealed its headquarters and ceased passing down their inheritance.
"Is it truly Ancient Crimson Heavens Sect?" Keeper Xia stared stupidly at Jiang Chen. Her aged but still beautiful eyes shone with deep desire as she asked excitedly, "If I may be so bold, may I know where have you seen this formation model?"
It was obvious that Jiang Chen's discovery was terribly shocking news for Keeper Xia. It might involve the very fate of Celestial Cicada Court.
"It is in a place that you can never reach." Jiang Chen smiled calmly.
"A place we can never reach?" Keeper Xia whispered to herself. "But where? Arena Lord Shao, this matter is of the utmost importance to Celestial Cicada Court. Please tell me."
By now, Jiang Chen had confirmed that Celestial Cicada Court and Ancient Crimson Heavens Sect had no direct ties with each other given the keeper's attitude.
"I saw this formation in Myriad Abyss Island." For now, there was no way Jiang Chen was going to tell Celestial Cicada Court about the secret realm in Mt. Rippling Mirage.