This was Jiang Chen's foremost goal for the Dragon and Tiger Meet. He wanted to build up interest in Veluriyam Capital as well as increase the Meet's attractiveness and influence in the process. How, exactly? Through the contents of the gathering, of course. Sifting treasure from trash was a great segment.
Curiosity was one of the most abundant emotions in the world of martial dao. The pursuit of treasure was one of the strongest desires that martial cultivators could harbor.
"We all trust you, young lord Zhen. Announce the results!"
"Who can dispute your integrity, young lord Zhen?"
"Veluriyam Capital is a gold standard. If we didn't have faith in it, we wouldn't have come here." The wandering cultivators below all started shouting. They were chomping at their bits with impatience.
Jiang Chen smiled cheerfully back at them. "It's hard to show three thousand treasures one by one. We'll put all the fifth grade treasures together. If it belongs to you, you'll be able to easily feel it. The same will be done for the fourth grade treasures.
"There'll be simple explanations for third grade treasures. We'll do fifteen waves of ten. You'll see pretty clearly if your treasure is among these. Much more weight will be given to the second and first grade treasures. Oh, and the supreme ones too. There are fifty-two second grade treasures here with us, which isn't a small number.
"As for first grade treasures, we have twenty-one of them. A little surprising to be sure, but not unwelcome. The three supreme rank treasures, on the other hand, are truly lucky finds. We will introduce second grade treasures and above one by one, which should make it even more evident where your treasure lies… in both senses of the word."
Jiang Chen went on with his exposition. "Alright, it's time to show which treasures are fifth and fourth grade. This'll be very quick, so keep your eyes sharp. Well, I suppose it's fine even if you miss it. If your treasure isn't in any of the higher grades, then it must have been fourth or fifth, right?"
There were loud guffaws from the wandering cultivators all around. The interest of the giants in the guest area had been piqued as well. Three supreme rank treasures? This was a tremendous source of attraction for them.
"Third Sectmaster, how come it feels like those four seniors are all willing to let young lord Zhen have the spotlight?" Over at the Moon God Sect, Holy Maiden Xu Shan couldn't help but ask her master.
The third sect head looked thoughtful. "Xu Shan, the main sect head allowed me to bring you here to fulfill your wish. You shouldn't sink deeper into an unrealistic daydream."
Xu Shan's face reddened. "Please don't make fun of me, master."
"I'm not making fun of you. I'm just worried that you'll chase after a waterside reflection and waste your Reverse Yin Yang Bloodline."
The girl sighed softly but uttered no reply. She felt something inexplicable in her heart. She'd been telling herself all this time that she cared about young lord Zhen's affairs because she was grateful to him. That was the only reason, and nothing else.
But was that really true? That was something she often asked herself, late at night. She didn't dare ponder it further though. Fear and indecision plagued her heart whenever she tried.
The representative from the Ninesuns Sky Sect had feelings that were just as mixed about the animated young lord on stage. "We should be thankful that our grudge isn't too serious with that young man," he sighed internally. "Though we're eating a loss by pursuing diplomacy, it may be a blessing for us. A legendary youth like him will unquestionably take the entire human domain by storm when he grows up. A hundred thousand years might go by without a character such as him being born. It would be exceedingly unwise for us to maintain hostilities, given everything we've seen. And will see, I'll bet."
Thinking this, he looked around the guest area. Out of the eight first grade sects, Eternal Celestial Capital was the only one absent. What did that signify?
Young lord Zhen was baring his fangs. He had fully broken with Eternal Celestial Capital, exiling its entire entourage from the city.
The twelfth grade inspector from the Ninesuns Sky Sect, Shangguan Yanqing, was honestly relieved. "When I go back," he decided, "I have to strongly urge the sect head to reprimand any would-be troublemakers against the young lord here. The venerated elder Chen Lei especially. I know he was Cao Jing's master, but it would be absolutely unwise. Angering Veluriyam's new leader will only lead the Ninesuns Sky Sect to certain destruction."
A strong feeling about the veracity of that last sentiment intensified in his heart. Shangguan Yanqing's opinion of the youth rose higher and higher.
The Empyrean River Palace's representative was both envious and annoyed at young lord Zhen's popularity. Amongst the eight first grade sects, it was the only one that was absolutely intimate with Pillfire City. In fact, it wasn't entirely wrong to call it a subordinate faction.
The Palace was the weakest amongst its peers. In a sense, it was a faction that had been forcibly elevated to its current position through Pillfire City's efforts alone. Therefore, its loyalty to its superior city was unshakable.
Thus, young lord Zhen's tremendous gain in publicity greatly bothered the Empyrean River Palace's representative. The Dragon and Tiger Meet was attracting more and more people and activity! Alas, he had to keep his negativity all to himself.
Four out of six wandering cultivator titans had appeared at the Meet. There were another additional twenty to thirty wandering cultivator great emperors in general. These were definitely much larger numbers than Pillfire City's Pill-Martial Summit! This fact brought deep shame to the established pill superpower.
Before now, Veluriyam Capital's influence couldn't even begin to compare to Pillfire City's. It was also supposed to be worse without Emperor Peafowl. And yet, young lord Zhen had caused such a large ruckus that Pillfire City was being overwhelmed.
The Heavenly Dragon Sect's representative was stoic throughout. He seemed to look at the stage with the attitude of a cold-eyed observer. The sect prided itself upon its purity of bloodline, and maintained a front of aloofness everywhere. Its members trusted in the strength of their blood alone. External treasures interested them very little.
That was how they presented themselves to the outside world anyways. No sect or faction could ever be indifferent toward truly priceless treasures. That rang as true for the Heavenly Dragon Sect as it did for everyone else.
The fifth and fourth grade treasures were presented very swiftly.
"For the sake of privacy, we will return all your treasures according to your registrations," said Jiang Chen. "No need to panic or rush. Next, the third grade treasures."
The third grade treasures were a bit weightier. Well, for the wandering cultivators that owned them.
The treasures were rapidly displayed in batches of ten. Some were pleased with their treasure being classified as third grade, while others were the opposite. After the entire grade finished, the wandering cultivators that hadn't had their treasures displayed yet became inwardly ecstatic. If their treasure hadn't showed up yet, that meant that it was at least second grade, perhaps higher!
A few began to anticipate a first grade announcement. Supreme rank wasn't out of the realm of possibility, either!
Most wandering cultivators didn't excel at cultivation and lacked even a rudimentary ability to identify their treasures. They usually weren't brave enough to venture using an identification service either, lest they lose their life. Most didn't have a clue how good their own treasures were. They suffered in ambiguity and ignorance, having little recourse otherwise.
Second grade treasures numbered fifty-two in total. Each announced treasure was accompanied with a reasonably detailed description of its effects, explaining to the audience why it was second grade.
After some time spent reciting the list, the second grade treasures came to an end as well.
"A round of compliments to the owners of second grade treasures. They're certainly worth more than a pretty stone. I must offer even greater congratulations to the owners of the treasures to come. Each and every one of the following treasures has tremendous value. Anyone who owns one should consider himself lucky!"
The cultivators who hadn't seen their treasures on display yet were elated. They made sure to keep their expressions as blank as possible though. They were understandably concerned that unwanted attention from nearby onlookers would put them into danger. No matter how much their hearts burst with joy, they had to feign nonchalance. Thankfully, this amount of self-restraint came to cultivators naturally, whether they were wandering cultivators or not.
"Next, we will present the twenty-one first grade treasures. Each treasure may be considered equivalent to sky rank and holds enormous monetary worth.
"Number one, the Violetcloud Windcloak. Its wearer enjoys a speed increase of sixty to seventy percent. Astute usage allows doubling of speed. More than sufficient to enjoy a first grade classification.
"Number two, redsage gold. A precious metal used in refining other treasures…
Jiang Chen went into excruciating detail about each and every treasure's origins, usage, and name. His explanations sounded well-researched, reasonable, and convincing.
The treasure owners were euphoric with each word they heard. Some were secretly relieved that they hadn't just thoughtlessly parted with their treasure beforehand. If they had, they would've lost out big time. They were grateful for coming to Veluriyam Capital. For coming to the Dragon and Tiger Meet. And, of course, for the smart and charitable young lord Zhen. Their goodwill toward the youth and his city shot way up.
Even the wandering cultivators that hadn't submitted any treasures felt educated by the proceedings. They'd learned something today, and that was more than worth their while.
Jiang Chen was patient with all twenty-one treasures, showing them all off to the crowd to see.
"As you've seen, all twenty-one of the first grade treasures have been displayed. Again, congratulations to the lucky owners. Oh, and one more thing to put your minds at ease: we five judges came to a consensus about all of the treasures just now. You have our assurance that the identification is completely accurate." The youth's last statement stroked the already-excited treasure owners to new heights.