Master Dong Ye's roar attracted gazes from all direction. The wandering cultivator took advantage of this to shout, "What a nice scheme you're hatching here, young lord Zhen! You built an open and fair image for yourself with yesterday's treasure identification segment, but you actually trying to keep prices low in private! Is this your so-called open fairness?? I say this Dragon and Tiger Meet is just a conspiracy for you to use your public office for private gain!"
The Jiao brothers were highly put out with these words. "You're just here to cause trouble, aren't you??"
The wandering cultivator didn't wilt in the face of aggression. "You're putting on some strong airs, Jiao brothers of Mt. Huai. What, do you use fists to do the talking when you're in the wrong, young lord Zhen? You might be able to threaten me, but can you threaten the millions of wandering cultivators in the world?" He struck a lofty, defiant pose.
The looks focused on them started filling with suspicion and doubt.
Jiang Chen waved a hand to have the Jiao brothers stop. Various Veluriyam great emperors flew over as well, sensing that something undesirable was going on. The young lord was scrambling for a response to this sudden development, but quickly calmed himself.
"What a grandiose reference to all the wandering cultivators in the world." His tone was detached. "Friend, I don't care where you're from and what motives you have. If you'd behaved yourself in the Dragon and Tiger Meet, my capital would've treated you as a guest. But I won't have any of it if you're here to cause trouble and throw mud. You keep mentioning wandering cultivators, so I'd like to ask you, what's your name? Who amongst the crowd here knows you?"
The wandering cultivator was unruffled. "Young lord Zhen, you keep making a big deal of wanting to know my background and name. Are you making your plans for revenge after the fact?
"Am I the only person here who's hiding my name and origin? It's not an easy world out there, so it's common for cultivators to conceal their names. You keep wanting to find out who I am. What for, hmm?" The man was quite glib and delivered an inciting, aggressive response. Each word targeted Jiang Chen, making the young lord out to be a gangster and a thug.
Jiang Chen smiled faintly in return. "You cower and hide but still pretend to such a self-righteous reason. Whatever then. You're going to all this effort so you can throw mud onto me. I'll let you throw to your heart's content today! Go on then, out with everything you want."
"What else is there to say? You're turning my six thousand year old spirit herb into a thousand year old one, nothing's more obvious than that! If I keep talking, who knows if the blood will rush to your head and you'll just kill me where I stand?
"I'm an honest, upright individual and Master Dong Ye verified my spirit herb with his Warrior Buddha's Eye. Even a blind man can see the difference between a six thousand and one thousand year old spirit herb! Young lord Zhen, I can only say that you're such an incredible hypocrite! It only took a day for you to rip off your mask of objectivity!"
One had to give it to him, the wandering cultivator had a way with words. He was so smooth that it surprised even Jiang Chen. The lines seemed well rehearsed. They were delivered with familiarity and each built off the one before. Not only did they throw mud onto Jiang Chen, but very rational mud at that. The sentiments within were highly inflammatory.
Han Qianzhan could finally bear it no longer and stepped in. "Friend, justice isn't necessarily on the side of whoever speaks the loudest. I trust young lord Zhen's character, and we're just taking your word for it for now. If you think you're right, why don't we lay everything out and made a thorough accounting of the facts?"
The sect head's words were a club of clarity to many wandering cultivators. They'd been leaning to their peer's side, but calmed down after hearing this rebuttal. When it came to conflict between wandering cultivators and sects, they'd naturally side with their own and subconsciously feel that a large faction's words couldn't be trusted.
But they agreed with Han Qianzhan's input. It'd been all talk so far. It was best not to jump to conclusions on basis on feeling closer to one side alone. Besides, given young lord Zhen's performance yesterday, he really didn't seem as bad as the other guy was making him out to be. If the young lord really was so rotten, then his acting skills were simply too good! He'd fooled all wandering cultivators in the world!
But again, it really hadn't seemed like an act yesterday. This gathering of his really had proven beneficial to many. Thus, the scales of people's hearts slowly settled back into a neutral position.
"That's right, back up those words! We can look at who's right together."
"Yep. Popular figures draw controversy. Young lord Zhen has such a great name now that it's possible someone's just trying to drag him down."
But the wandering cultivator had latched on and wasn't letting go. He smirked coldly at Jiang Chen, his eyes full of provocation and seemed to be spoiling for a fight. "Young lord Zhen, dare you testify against me in front of everyone?"
Jiang Chen snorted dismissively. "Prancing little clown." He ignored the other and strode onto the stage. "Get up here if you want to confront me. Master Dong Ye, please bestow us with your wisdom since you're a witness as well."
Dong Ye intoned Buddha's name. "I only strive for a clear conscience in my actions. I naturally must bear witness. Young lord Zhen, you are very mistaken in this matter."
Jiang Chen really wanted to leap into a flying kick with how prim and proper the Buddhist master was presenting himself. This bald donkey is damn good at putting on fronts!
The other wandering cultivator joined the young lord on the stage. "Words need to be backed up by facts. I seek justice today and welcome all friends to join me on the stage to impart their wisdom."
Jiang Chen looked coolly at the other man, not doing anything to stop him. Han Qianzhan however, again couldn't help himself. "The seats are full today and there are many experts present. No one can make you suffer an injustice if you're truly in the right. But no one can save you either if you're trying to sow confusion and drag the young lord down."
The man chuckled coldly. "Sect Head Han, we all know that young lord Zhen is a guest pill emperor of your Great Yu Skysword Sect. It's only natural that you'd speak up on his behalf."
Su Huanzhen had wanted to jump in as well, but she was stopped in her tracks when she heard this rejoinder.
Meanwhile, Emperor Dragontyrant of the Heavenly Dragon Sect was sniggering quietly. He was greatly hostile to Sacred Peafowl Mountain given Jiang Chen's earlier rejection and delighted to see someone making trouble for the faction. Jumping out to help was the last thing he'd do. In fact, he wanted to hop in on the action and get a few kicks in as well.
Surprisingly, Shangguan Yanqing of the Ninesuns Sky Sect stood up. "Friend, you don't need to be this worked up if logic really does stand on your side. The more you are like this, the more I suspect that something's afoot. How about this, although I'm no great shakes at appraising things, I can still tell the difference between a thousand year old and six thousand year old spirit herb. Count me in?"
"The Moon God Sect will participate as well." The third sectmaster had finally spoken.
"Heh heh, the Empyrean River Palace would never miss out on such fun." This sect was a diehard Pillfire supporter. They'd only sent an elder to the Dragon and Tiger Meet. He hadn't participated much all along, but that didn't mean he was going to sit out on everything.
"Haha, although my Heavenly Dragon Sect can't be bothered with these trivial things, we've always advocated justice and fairness. Count us in too!"
Su Huanzhen of the Celestial Cicada Court naturally wouldn't shrink away in moments like these. "My Celestial Cicada Court will participate as well!"
Over on the wandering cultivator side, Emperor Wellspring smiled. "I've always trusted young lord Zhen's character and am willing to stand forth on his behalf."
Emperor Inferno agreed. "I too trust young lord Zhen, count me in."
"Hehe, I quite admire young lord Zhen's youthful charisma. I'll partake as well." That was Emperor Reliance.
A bizarre situation had developed. The person facing off with Jiang Chen claimed to be a wandering cultivator, but the three wandering titans had chosen to side with the young lord instead of one of their own. Instead, the ones supporting the wandering cultivator were all sect representatives. It really was very strange.
Sharper wandering cultivators had already picked up on things. This wasn't a random occurrence at all, but a facing off between sides. Was this really premeditated?
However, most weren't thinking that deeply. They were incredibly excited. Having almost all the large factions and personages being dragged into this unexpected development was more exciting than any transaction. These kinds of conflicts were what they wanted to see the most!
There were seven representatives from various first rank sects and three wandering cultivator titans. That made for a total of ten, those of whom were the highest level of existences at this time's gathering. It was more than reasonable for them to appraise the spirit herb.
"Friend, bring out your spirit herb." Emperor Wellspring smiled faintly at the man. "Let me remind you that if you really are a wandering cultivator, I can promise that no one will harm you today whether or not your spirit herb is real. But if you're just making trouble using the wandering cultivator name, then I will spill your blood no matter where you're from, even if the young lord doesn't wish to pursue things further."
His words cast a deathly silence on the premises, making the atmosphere take a very weird turn. That had been an unabashed declaration of support for Jiang Chen.
Emperor Peerless also quietly marveled at the allure of the Pinecrane Pill. Having received the pill, Emperor Wellspring's favorable disposition extended to its creator, hence his great demonstration of support for the young lord.
"Emperor Wellspring's sentiments are mine as well." Emperor Inferno looked on coldly.
Emperor Reliance smiled easily. "Me, Old Brother Hui, and Old Brother Inferno are friends of the wandering cultivators. We'll seek justice on your behalf. But if you're an imposter… that would really be too wicked."
The man had never thought that three wandering titans would be so firmly in Jiang Chen's court. Even though he knew he wouldn't lose, he felt uneasy in that moment.
What if he was exposed? Even if the young lord didn't do anything to himself out of consideration of reputation, the three titans were equally personages that he couldn't afford to offend!