Jiang Chen didn't put on airs after Tan Zhilian chose him. In actuality, no one would've believed him even if he'd spoken the truth that he wasn't much interested in the token. He'd only listed it as number one of the paramount rank treasures out of fairness. But, since Tan Zhi wasn't about to choose anyone else, there was no reason for him to draw the wandering cultivator's ire by refusing.
The young lord nodded. "Since you trust me, Tan Zhi, I will give you the entire price of the jade token. May the heavens smite me if I fail to do so!"
His straightforwardness won the wandering cultivators' respect. There was applause all around.
Jiang Chen himself remained impassive, pushing both hands downward. "I'd like to offer some advice to the wandering cultivator friends that exposed Tan Zhi, here. It's not a good habit to kick someone when he's down."
The culprits felt their faces redden. They couldn't refute the accusation at all.
The young lord saluted with cupped fist. "This is it for the first day's treasure identification segment. The next three days will be free time to trade or transact. I'll still be present during this time and I invite the seniors here to do the same. If you have something you'd like a second opinion on, feel free to find me. I will consult to the best of my ability.
"After those three days is the auction segment, which will only last one day. If you have something you'd like to put up for auction, you can leave it with Veluriyam Capital. We will auction the Pinecrane Pill at that time as well, as a token of thanks for everyone's kind attendance.
"After that, I will host a three day open lecture on pill dao. After the lectures, you'll have a chance to ask a senior from Myriad Abyss Island your questions about martial dao. Unfortunately, experts from there prefer mystery and secrecy, so there won't be the chance for too many questions. Still, anyone who does have the right to ask will receive an answer they'll be satisfied with."
Jiang Chen meticulously planned out the entire Dragon and Tiger Meet. Each segment linked to the last, and each was equally stimulating to the people's interests.
He firmly believed that Veluriyam Capital's appeal and reputation would enjoy a significant increase after the Meet concluded. It would become a real hub of activity for the Upper Eight Regions. It wouldn't necessarily beat Pillfire City straight away, but the gap would be considerably narrowed.
"Finally, after all those events have concluded, we will come to the Dragon and Tiger Meet's closing ceremonies. At that time, I'd like to reveal a few more details about my plans for the pill dao academy here in Veluriyam. I recommend you act sooner rather than later if you'd like to auction something or get a treasure privately identified. The auction process needs prep time. If you're late, you'll miss the registration." Having completed his speech, he looked toward Emperor Wellspring and the others. "Would anyone like to add anything?"
"Our job here is already done," chuckled Emperor Wellspring. "We eagerly await the more exciting segments that are to come. It seems that you've devoted a lot of effort to sprucing up the Dragon and Tiger Meet, young lord Zhen. Other factions have done similar things to each segment in the past, but you've gathered them up all into one event. Plus, there's more than enough excitement to match. The treasure identification segment alone has been a real eye-opener for me. If I may, how often do you plan on holding this Meet?"
"Daoist Hui," smiled Han Qianzhan, "are you impatient for the next one already?"
"I approve a great deal of these high quality events," replied the emperor seriously. "More importantly, young lord Zhen is a principled man who is willing to protect the wandering cultivators' bottom line. That makes him very different in this regard from some factions, who are interested only in ripping them off." Emperor Wellspring was speaking nothing but the truth.
Wandering cultivators were generally at a disadvantage all over the world of martial dao, whether at an exhibition, auction, or open marketplaces. They had very little bargaining power and clout almost everywhere. Even if they weren't outright robbed of their treasures, they would often still suffer oppression and maltreatment. That was why Emperor Wellspring lamented.
Young lord Zhen's actions at the Dragon and Tiger Meet protected wandering cultivators' interests. The treasure identification segment alone was enough to see that.
The emperor knew that young lord Zhen wanted to improve his impression and reputation with this demographic, but the youth's abilities and respect for wandering cultivators were both undeniable. At least there were no concerns about suffering a loss from transacting with a party like him.
In fact, Emperor Wellspring felt like he was the one taking advantage of the young man. The Pinecrane Pill presently in his possession felt especially undeserving; he didn't believe he'd done a tenth of what such a miraculous pill deserved. Young lord Zhen is an honest man. Or at least, he doesn't care for taking advantage of wandering cultivators for personal gain.
And just like that, the first day was over. All of the wandering cultivators were left wanting for more. The things they'd witnessed today informed them more fully of young lord Zhen's strength and bearing.
Many thought that he was trying to buy their goodwill and praise, but other factions didn't do even that much. Instead, their blood was openly feasted upon. Young lord Zhen was the image of compassion in comparison, even if he was just trying to build a good name for himself.
"Old Brother Mo, I must trouble you to take care of Tan Zhi. Take him back to the young lord residence. I'm worried that there will be people after him." Jiang Chen instructed his old friend.
"Alright." Mo Wushuang's response was to the point.
Knowing who the old great emperor was, Tan Zhi was very grateful. "I cannot thank you enough for your kindness, young lord Zhen."
"Let's go. You've joined up with young lord Zhen, so you're with us now. No need for excessive courtesy." Mo Wushuang chuckled, taking a slight interest in the younger man.
The wandering cultivator had been extremely decisive after being put under pressure, which was a mark of remarkable character. His current level as a half-step emperor realm cultivator belied his future achievements. Given time, greatness was assured.
After the event was wrapped and cleaned up, all of Veluriyam's great emperors rushed up to Jiang Chen, saluting him with cupped fists. "Young lord Zhen, today's event was really successful. The treasure identification segment was marvelous to watch. There were a lot of treasures. I guess wandering cultivators aren't as poor as we thought they were after all, eh?"
"There have been countless treasures lost since the ancient times," Jiang Chen smiled. "It's natural for far more treasures to exist beyond our imagination."
"Ah, that's right. I forgot to congratulate you, young lord Zhen," Emperor Coiling Dragon laughed. "Our friend Tan Zhi's jade token has a method stronger than first rank sects' signature method? That's pretty amazing."
"Fortune has smiled upon us today," Emperor Mountaincrush laughed as well. There was a wave of compliments offered to the youth.
Jiang Chen maintained a constant faint smile throughout. "The method belongs to Tan Zhi, everyone. You should congratulate him instead."
"Haha, Tan Zhi is part of Sacred Peafowl Mountain now. We're all family." Everyone chuckled this time. The first rank sects' representatives came over one by one as well.
"Could we borrow you for a moment, young lord Zhen?" The man at the very front was the Heavenly Dragon Sect's third in command. His name was Long Baxiang, also known as Emperor Dragontyrant.
"Emperor Dragontyrant, is there anything you need?" Jiang Chen's smile was unchanged from earlier.
"I hear you have a contracted spirit beast, correct? A true dragon?" Long Baxiang asked with a smile.
"Yes." Jiang Chen immediately knew what the other person wanted.
"Young lord Zhen, I'm a straightforward man, so I'll get straight to the point. Are you willing to trade your true dragon over to the Heavenly Dragon Sect?" Long Baxiang's eyes lit up.
Jiang Chen shook his head. "Unfortunately not. My apologies."
Are you kidding? Trade away a true dragon to them? Even if he was willing, was the Heavenly Dragon Sect even capable of controlling the dragon? Was Long Xiaoxuan willing to accept his new associates? The Heavenly Dragon Sect styled itself as a sect with a dragon bloodline from ancient times, but that was a thing of the past.
They wanted to take Long Xiaoxuan to increase the strength of their bloodline? A nice enough plan, but Jiang Chen wasn't going to accept such a proposition.
"Why not discuss it a bit further with us, young lord Zhen? I doubt you'll be able to bring the full power of the true dragon to bear. Name any price you like. We will seriously consider it, no matter how exorbitant you think it may be." Long Baxiang wasn't going to give up so easily. He knew very well what a true dragon meant to the Heavenly Dragon Sect.
It wasn't an exaggeration to say that a true dragon would allow the sect to leap above all its current peers. After the hypothetical boost, it could likely rival Veluriyam Capital in strength. The Heavenly Dragon Sect prided itself upon being a sect of dragon bloodline cultivators. A true dragon would certainly intensify the object of their pride.
"There is nothing to discuss," Jiang Chen smiled faintly. "There's no need to mention it further, Emperor Dragontyrant."
"Don't be so brusque, young lord Zhen! We have many secret methods to quicken a true dragon's bloodline, allowing its cultivation to increase at top speed. You can't possibly offer the same opportunity. How about joint possession? It'll be a win-win situation, yes?" Long Baxiang tried to motivate the stubborn youth.
"I have other matters to attend to, Emperor Dragontyrant. Please excuse me." Jiang Chen didn't want to be badgered about the topic anymore. Sell Long Xiaoxuan? He'd never considered such a thing.
Long Xiaoxuan was like a brother to him. He couldn't just trade a brother away, or somehow 'share' his 'possession.' Jiang Chen would be mad to give such ideas serious contemplation.
Long Baxiang was a little upset at being refused by the young man. He glared at Jiang Chen's departing figure, anger burning within his heart. "So what if he has a few skills? He's not showing me any respect! Does he think he'll be able to shoulder the burden of the entire Veluriyam Capital? Emperor Peafowl isn't around any more. I suppose he likes it the hard way, hmm?!"
The emperor hadn't given up, and neither would his sect. A true dragon was of paramount importance to his sect. It would be the key to the sect's future dominance over the Upper Eight Regions. With enough time, every faction in the eight territories could be swept with ease. The sect would be able to command universal tribute.
"Still, the fact that he admitted to having a true dragon so quickly was surprising. I thought he would outright deny that he had one. I'm glad he did though. As long as it exists, we'll have plenty of opportunities to get our hands on it in the future." Long Baxiang thought viciously. Dastardly plans had already begun to form in his mind.