"Of course, we will not reveal the treasures' owners for the sake of secrecy and protection. There is no need to associate a treasure shown here with someone's name, lest there be problems down the line. I swear on my internal demons that nothing will be revealed. If anyone is still concerned with their personal safety, they can also submit the treasure to us for immediate auction or transaction afterward."
This was a necessary measure. If a low-level cultivator had the misfortune to own some high-rank treasure, he was basically a three-year-old openly carrying gold in the street. There was no guarantee he'd keep his life, much less treasure.
This 'Perceptive Eye' segment didn't sound very entertaining at first. Jiang Chen had actually spent a lot of effort coming up with the idea. If he could find one or two particularly valuable items in this segment, he would build up plenty of hype.
His purpose wasn't actually to dig up anything obscure, but to promote the legitimacy of the Dragon and Tiger Meet brand. Only then would Veluriyam Capital become attractive to wandering cultivators over the longer term.
Compared to Pillfire City, Veluriyam Capital didn't lack in just pill dao prowess. They also had insufficient draw for the public. Their largest festival was the Veluriyam Pagoda Meeting, but that was something only the city's various vassals were eligible to attend. For wandering cultivators, Veluriyam Capital wasn't much more than a passing topic of conversation.
Jiang Chen had designed multiple segments ahead of time to make the Dragon and Tiger Meet more attractive. Only then would it bring in crowd after crowd on a consistent basis. Only then would wandering cultivators have a habit of coming to the city.
When every wandering cultivator in the world developed that habit, Veluriyam Capital would be as good as the Upper Eight Regions' hub of activity. Wherever that hub was, so would the human domain's core be as well.
This incarnation of the Meet gathered not only wandering cultivator greats, but attendees from various sects and geographical factions as well. The world-famous first rank sects of the Upper Eight Regions were most prominent among the invitees.
The Upper Eight Regions had a sect corresponding to each region. Aside from Eternal Celestial Capital, the others were all honored guests. The first rank sects had all sent big-shot representatives to the Meet. As prominent members of their sects, they all had a degree of foresight and vision. Some immediately realized Jiang Chen's goal after hearing the plan. Those who did drew in sharp breaths.
"Young lord Zhen is both youthful and ambitious. Either Veluriyam Capital will be destroyed in his hands, or it will rise to truly great heights!"
"A man so young is able to carry out such great feats. Young lord Zhen must have a powerful backer. How could he be capable of so much otherwise?" Some harbored a very real suspicion that Myriad Abyss Island was secretly backing the capital.
Veluriyam's own Emperor Petalpluck was just as astounded as the rest. "Young lord Zhen's presence and ambition has surpassed even the young Emperor Peafowl's. Is Veluriyam Capital headed towards great prosperity?"
Jiang Chen knew that his audience needed time to digest what he'd said. He paused a moment before smiling and continuing.
"We have so many friends with us today. There are heavyweights from the various sects, regional moguls and greats, and wandering cultivator titans. As the host, it would be remiss for me to be the only man in the spotlight. I would like to invite a few honorable and upstanding seniors in the cultivation community to participate in this segment with me. We hold transparency in our proceedings as one of our paramount values. Any worries that I am doing this for private gain may be dismissed."
The speech was generous and straightforward. The wandering cultivators were won over immediately, offering up thunderous applause to the youth. However, though the wandering cultivators were pleased at Jiang Chen's announcement, they were also a little concerned deep down.
They didn't suspect young lord Zhen's vision or ability, but any selfishness on the young man's part could lead to purposeful downplaying of their valuable treasures. If other giants were thrown into the mix, there was that much more guarantee to the fairness of the proceedings.
As Jiang Chen had guessed, the wandering cultivator world had its fair share of successful treasure hunters, too. They didn't necessarily know what all of their spoils were all the time; but many of them didn't dare go to larger factions to identify their goods, lest they lose both life and prize.
The opportunity they were being offered today was very rare indeed. A great part of the wandering cultivators were severely tempted by the offer.
"There are many esteemed characters here from all over the Upper Eight Regions. I wonder if any of them might grace us with their assistance?" Jiang Chen's eyes swept over the giants' faces, a smile hanging upon his own.
Participation in such an event was good for the judges' reputations as well. The youth's gaze enticed some interested to come forward, but they held their tongue out of momentary restraint.
Amongst the wandering cultivator experts, Emperor Wellspring was the first to laugh. "Count me in. I respect you a lot, young lord Zhen. Will you have me join you?"
The great emperor was the first to volunteer. His words were even-handed and smart, giving full respect to the host.
Jiang Chen was quite pleased. "You're one of the six titans in the wandering cultivator world, Emperor Wellspring," he chuckled. "I'm sure our wandering cultivator friends will rest easier with you around."
Many of the wandering cultivators in the audience nodded in agreement. Emperor Wellspring was definitely in the top three among the six titans, perhaps even second or first place.
If he were to judge in this event, the participants would have a hefty guarantee. Very often, wandering cultivators tended to trust each other more than outsiders. It contented many that Emperor Wellspring would represent their interests by partaking in the event as a judge.
"Haha, young lord Zhen, the Great Yu Skysword Sect and Sacred Peafowl Mountain are old friends. May I have a seat by your side?" Han Qianzhan of the Great Yu Skysword Sect was the one to speak up second. In terms of martial prowess, the Skysword Sect was among the eight first rank sects' betters. As the sect head, Han Qianzhan's presence was relatively unopposed.
"Excuse my lack of courtesy, young lord Zhen. Can I have a spot as well?" The Celestial Cicada Court's head, Su Huanzhen, followed closely behind.
"Of course, of course. Both of you are among the most prominent people in the Upper Eight Regions. You're more than sufficiently qualified, and I would be glad to have you." Jiang Chen cheerfully granted their requests.
He looked toward the other first rank sect representatives as well. The only leaders from among the first rank sects here were the Han brothers and Su Huanzhen. The other representatives were mostly third-ranked personnel, or even fourth- or fifth-ranked ones. They lacked both in strength and importance to all three of the current judges. Therefore, most felt doubtful at their chances for a request.
Veluriyam's young lord smiled. "I hear that the Sublime Chord Temple has a method called the Warrior Buddha's Eye. It can see through a great many things in the cosmos, heavenly truths and mortal matters. An ability like that would be a tremendous asset in identifying treasure. Is there an expert from the Temple who would like to participate?"
He was openly courting the Sublime Chord Temple.
The Sublime Chord Temple was one of the first rank sects in the Upper Eight Regions. They cultivated through the Buddhist dao of sentience and existence. Its representative today was one of its high-ranking masters, one Master Dong Ye. Incanting a Buddhist mantra, the master smiled. "How can I turn down such a kind offer, young lord Zhen?"
He was certainly self-aware. He'd accepted the invitation with no ceremony whatsoever.
Jiang Chen flashed a smile in return. "Is there anyone else willing to participate?"
The Moon God Sect lacked anyone with much ability on the subject. Its third-ranking sectmaster had no plans to participate.
The Empyrean River Palace had very close ties to Pillfire City. Their retinue had only come to participate for the sake of saving face. It was actually a question whether they'd come to spy or gather information. Its main representative was only an elder, definitely not on the level of the other sects' representatives.
There was no reason for the man to volunteer. Being refused would result in a massive loss of face. In any case, it would be a joke if a lowly elder volunteered when many other important people did not.
Because the Ninesuns Sky Sect had made peace with Jiang Chen only recently, their main objective here was already mostly accomplished. They hadn't prepared enough for the rest of the Meet, and didn't quite dare to participate in light of that.
The Heavenly Dragon Sect was the only one left.
The sect was a rather mysterious one. It declared itself the heirs of an ancient dragon heritage. In terms of strength, it was the strongest among its peers… or tied for it, at least. However, as haughty as the sect was, its representatives didn't seem particularly interested in adjudicating the proceedings. No one else came forward to volunteer.
Jiang Chen didn't push for anything. "With four giants beside me," he laughed, "I'm sure everyone will have much more faith in the proceedings to come.
"I'll repeat what I said: treasure identification is entirely voluntary. If anyone is doubtful about Veluriyam Capital's honor, I am not going to force their hand. On the other hand, everyone who trusts us is welcome to come forward."
He waved a hand. "A moment of consideration, if you'd like. Any willing participants can sign up over there. Emperor Peerless and the Jiao brothers will oversee the registration. No risk of having your treasure swapped for someone else's, guaranteed." Jiang Chen had thought out every step.
Mo Wushuang and the Jiao brothers oversaw registration because they were wandering cultivators, and thus more easily won the trust of their fellows. This alleviated suspicions to a degree, permitting increased participation from the audience.
There were many wandering cultivators attending the Meet, but few of them had noteworthy treasures. However, Jiang Chen was certain that true treasures did exist. If he could dig some out, the impression of the segment would be much improved.