Jiang Chen's words were exceedingly inflammatory and lit the atmosphere on fire. A signature method that surpassed even that of a first rank sect's! This would absolutely cause a furious storm of blood and gore if word got out.
The lucky owner had a completely blank mind at the moment. He'd never thought that a random jade token, one in which he'd thought was trash, would have this kind of value! He almost fainted dead away. Managing to stay on his feet, he flushed beet red instead. This bizarre reaction drew the attention of the wandering cultivators around him.
One of the cultivators next to him couldn't resist. "Old Tan, what's with you?"
Many knew the lucky owner. He was Tan Zhi, a wandering cultivator who'd grown in prominence in recent years. He was only half step emperor realm, but that actually placed him amongst the upper echelon of wandering cultivators. However, his cultivation level was still wholly unfit for this treasure.
"Old Tan, look at how worked up you are! Is that token yours?"
"N-no… it's not mine." Tan Zhi denied with a reddened face.
"Hahaha, come off of it. Look at how nervous you are, you're definitely guilty!"
"Tan Zhi, not bad huh! You stuck with a damn low profile and kept this treasure to yourself!" The other wandering cultivators around them started up good-natured jibing. Everyone who knew Tan Zhilan raised their voices in loud comments and jokes, craving nothing short of the good show of complete chaos.
Jiang Chen didn't pay attention to the limited area of disturbance and continued. "We'd previously said that the transaction of the Seven Star Convergence Talisman would enable its owner to ascend to the emperor realm. Well, if whoever possesses the token uses it well, he can absolutely use it to found a new sect or faction. The fortunes he possesses isn't limited to just him alone. Immense congratulations to its holder!"
The cultivators around Tan Zhi were becoming rowdier and rowdier.
"Tan Zhi, just admit it! It's yours isn't it!"
"Why would you be so worked up if it's not yours? Hahaha, Tan Zhi you showed yourself up!"
"Tan Zhi, let's make a deal. Give me the token. The price is totally negotiable."
The disturbance started growing in scale as the knot of wandering cultivators grew increasingly forceful, sending more eyeballs Tan Zhi's way. Everyone in the area now had heard that the owner of the talisman had been revealed and all wanted to see just who the lucky bastard was.
The wandering cultivator in question had frozen where he was. The overwhelming clamor around him was drowning him and his brain was seizing up. He flailed valiantly to save himself. "Everyone, please don't pressure me like this. This token has nothing to do with me. You're putting my life in danger like this!"
"Heh heh, alright. Are you prepared to swear that it's not yours? If you dare, we'll believe you. If you don't dare to, then it's obviously yours."
"Yeah Tan Zhi, finders keepers. Don't forget us old friends now that you've made it rich!"
"That's right, Tan Zhi, that's how it should be!"
The intrusion spread and grew, reaching the stage. Jiang Chen frowned and called upon his dragon roar art. "Order!"
The art thundered through the wandering cultivators, making their blood forth and boil. Stunned senseless, they looked fearfully at the young lord on the stage.
"For what do you make disorder for?" Jiang Chen snorted coldly. "My Veluriyam Capital is holding the Dragon and Tiger Meet and is honored by the presence of all of these honored guests. Yet there you are, creating a ruckus. Are you purposefully trying to disturb the proceedings?"
"Not at all, we wouldn't dare!"
"Please quell your anger, young lord Zhen. We're agitated because we think that we've found the owner of the jade token."
"That's right, young lord Zhen! Please don't be angry. We didn't mean to give offense." The wandering cultivators were worried they'd be thrown out after angering the young lord. They quickly hunkered down on themselves, presenting a small and inoffensive front.
"Blasphemy! We've kept the owner of the token completely confidential, how would their name link? Don't you try to sway the crowd with your heresy!" Jiang Chen was quite displeased.
"It's not a speculation, young lord Zhen. He… he revealed it himself." Everyone's eyes shot towards Tan Zhi.
Tan Zhi had recovered by now and raised a cupped fist salute to the stage. "Young lord Zhen, please look into this deeply. These fellows are slandering me and dumped this on me."
Jiang Chen nodded. "All of you, don't guess randomly like this. This has to do with someone's life and shouldn't be treated frivolously."
"But we're not making things up, we have a real basis for what we say! He doesn't dare swear an oath and he was very worked up just now when you said the token was better than the signature move of a first rank sect."
"Yeah, he did it himself. It's nothing to do with us!" The wandering cultivators were all wily fellows and completely shifted the blame away from themselves.
Tan Zhi had an exceedingly ugly expression on his face. As he noted the countless gazes locked onto him, he knew that he'd never be able to wash himself clean of this, no matter what he did.
The world of wandering cultivators was an exceedingly cruel one. Even if he really wasn't the owner of the token, he would be the target of many once he left the gathering. He suddenly felt an upwelling of harsh ruefulness. He truly regretted that one moment of emotional outburst. Just a single moment had been enough to out him.
With the situation now, all of his protestations were useless. When it came to the experts, they'd rather kill a thousand in error than let one target off the hook. Tan Zhi suddenly made up his mind and called out loudly, "Young lord Zhen, this jade token's mine!"
He actually leapt out of the crowd with his declaration. He knew that he'd been exposed and that there was no further use in hiding. He'd be targeted no matter what.
Jiang Chen blinked and then frowned. "Don't worry, I'll have my men escort you out later. Change your name and identity after you leave." He too could tell that this wandering cultivator was likely the token's owner.
Tan Zhi smiled wryly, an utterly bleak look in his eyes. He shook his head. "Young lord Zhen, I've heard much about your person. I travelled all the way to Veluriyam Capital this time also because I admire your reputation. Even if I do change my name and identity, I still won't be able to vie with all of the wandering cultivators in the world. Therefore, I have a favor to ask."
Jiang Chen was moved by this response. "Please, go ahead." For some inexplicable reason, the young lord empathized with the wandering cultivator's circumstances. There's something about his tone and eyes…
"I'm not afraid, but there is still much I can do and so my journey can't end here. Therefore, I'm willing to offer this token to the young lord in return for protection and the teachings of what's within."
The crowd burst into a clamorous uproar at this. This was wholly unexpected even for Jiang Chen. But upon more careful thought, this was indeed the smartest decision that Tan Zhi could make now.
If the wandering cultivator left under these circumstances, he'd be doing so with a bright-red bullseye painted on his back. Throwing himself on the mercy of Veluriyam Capital was actually a very smart decision. It would ensure his own safety and make certain that he'd learn whatever's inside.
As Jiang Chen pondered, someone called out from the guest area. "Young lord Zhen, how about giving him to my Heavenly Dragon Sect if you don't take him in?"
"Haha, if he's being given away to anyone, it'd be our Great Yu Skysword Sect first! When would it be your turn first?" Han Qianzhan laughed loudly next to Jiang Chen.
"Friend, the Empyrean River Palace is willing to give you an elder seat," came a stunning pronouncement.
"Tan Zhi, consider our Celestial Cicada Court." Su Huanzhen smiled as well.
The Sublime Chord Temple didn't like to play things that blatantly. Master Dong Yue resisted his impulse and didn't say a word. Meanwhile, the third sectmaster of the Moon God Sect also refrained due to owing Veluriyam Capital a favor to being with. The Ninesuns Sky Sect kept mum out of wariness that they'd anger Jiang Chen.
The young lord smiled easily when he saw how enthusiastic everyone was headhunting the wandering cultivator. "Everyone, you're all guests here and I won't claim everything for myself. You'll all have your fair chances as well. I won't object to whatever sect he wishes to join. However, the caveat is that you must be able to guarantee his safety and can't burn the bridge after crossing it. Don't offer to recruit him if you can't meet these two conditions. Also, you must be able to swear to these points as well. I won't agree otherwise. After all, I validated the value of this token and so I have a certain degree of responsibility for his safety."
These words were responsible and rational. There wasn't anything that anyone could say against them. It was just like he'd said, but what was young lord Zhen playing at, trying to act all dapper with his youth? Still, his bearing evoked respect and admiration. At the end of the day, he was still being fair, even if it was possibly an act.
Jiang Chen looked at the wandering cultivator. "Tan Zhi, don't be in a rush to make a decision. Think carefully on it. There are many first rank sects apart from Veluriyam Capital here. Join whichever one you think suits you most. I promise that they'll make good on their word."
Tan Zhi showed no hesitation. "I've already made up my mind to join Veluriyam Capital. I only trust you, young lord Zhen. You also said that it's ancient text on the token, so the other sects may not have people who recognize it. You recognize it, so you're my only choice."
The sect representatives were depressed by the wandering cultivator's attitude, but there was nothing much they could do about it. It was true, who would be able to distill the method from the token if they couldn't even recognize the writing?
Neither Master Dong Yue of the Sublime Chord Temple, Han Qianzhan of the Great Yu Skysword Sect, Su Huanzhen of the Celestial Cicada Court, nor Emperor Wellspring of the six great wandering titans had been able to recognize the token. It was easy enough to extrapolate that the other sect representatives would fail as well. Thus is made sense that Tan Zhi had chosen young lord Zhen.
Han Qianzhan smiled ruefully. "Young lord Zhen, I really do envy you. The strong fail at nothing. This is personal charisma and something that can't the wished for!"
"I too am a bit envious. Ai!" Su Huanzhen shook her head.
The other sects sighed and moped. The young lord may be young and appeared genteel, but he was something else when he actually took action. He hadn't done much to make Tan Zhi completely loyal to him. Not only was this charisma, but even more so ability!