Jiang Chen's eyes were calm and forthright. The confidence he exuded made him that much more convincing. Meanwhile, his counterparty was sweating buckets. The latter's eyes darted around, as if looking for an escape.
But the young lord didn't even bother looking at him. He raised a cupped fist salute to the countless wandering cultivators below. "Dear wandering friends, you've traveled far and wide to attend our event for various reasons. As the host, I'm committed to giving you the best possible experience, but sometimes petty thugs can't help but want to ruin this for us.
"My conscience is clear. I determined from the very beginning that the Heavencloud Ganoderma is merely one thousand years old and didn't threaten or coerce anyone into selling it. May the heavens smite me if I lie!
"This man has repeatedly accused me of depressing prices and pressuring him into selling. If he dares to swear a vow to the heavens and profess his innocence, I'll distribute all of my wealth to everyone present as an apology."
It was a candid speech paired with a clear conscience.
The wandering cultivators below pondered deeply. It was true, it'd been only talk all along. Young lord Zhen didn't seem like the type of person that would coerce anyone into buying or selling things. Was that other fellow really just a troublemaker?
"Emperor Wellspring, that man claims to be a wandering cultivator. I request the three great titans' assistance in verifying his identity. I truly hope that he isn't an imposter trying to mislead the public. Just because I avoid trouble doesn't mean that I'm afraid of it!"
Emperor Wellspring nodded and glanced at the man. "Friend, cough out your name. If you're truly a fellow wandering cultivator, someone will definitely know you."
The man started to panic. He was no wandering cultivator!
He laughed coldly in order to change the topic. "Emperor Wellspring, who knows for sure that you've not been bought out by young lord Zhen? As a leading figure in the wandering world, how can you bend your knees to Veluriyam Capital? You're nothing but a disgrace!"
As a seasoned cultivator, Emperor Wellspring had faced all kinds of situations. He'd never fall for such elementary aggravation. He smirked coldly. "There's no use in trying to drive wedges between folks. I promise that as long as you're a fellow wandering cultivator, I'll not kill you even if you're in the wrong. But if you're an imposter, I'll have no choice but to slaughter scum like you to clear our name!"
"That's right! The wandering world runs by a rigid set of rules! There will be no mercy for imposters!" Emperor Inferno glared at the man intensely. "Remove your disguise and reveal yourself!"
Emperor Reliance smiled gently. "Looks like he really is an imposter!"
That man grew even more flustered. "Is there no more justice under the heavens? How can Veluriyam Capital be allowed to do whatever they please? My fellow wanderers, even the three great titans of the wandering world have sold their souls! How can they still be allowed to shoulder the fates of the wandering world?
"Master Dong Ye and Emperor Dragontyrant, are you going to sit idle and let Zhen do whatever he pleases?"
Master Dong Ye glanced at Jiang Chen. "Young lord Zhen, from the very start, you've only sung your side of the story. Unless you can show us a six thousand year old Heavencloud Ganoderma, I'll never be convinced."
Jiang Chen smiled out of complete rage. "Master Dong Ye, your opinion no longer matters after I've found out that you two are colluding. I won't kick you out as you're a guest from far away, but I truly hope that your actions don't represent the Sublime Chord Temple, or your sect will regret their decision one day."
"Young lord Zhen, is that a threat?" Master Dong Ye's voice was laden with frost.
"Threat?" Jiang Chen laughed coldly. "You must be mistaken. You aren't worthy of one."
He stepped forward and fixed a scornful smile on the wandering cultivator. "You want proof? Sure. Your counterfeit is far from excellent. You've merely applied a simple trick. It may seem perfect on the surface, but it's actually filled with flaws. Let me turn your so called 'six thousand year old' herb back to its original state."
This counterfeit technique was quite common in the heavenly planes. Jiang Chen was very skilled and knowledgeable in the art of pill making, so it came as no surprise that he was very familiar with such things. Moreover, the technique was extremely inferior to the ones he'd seen before.
A simple but clever formation had been used to switch up the Heavencloud Ganoderma's appearance, but to the layman, it was practically indistinguishable. Such petty tricks would never work on Jiang Chen. He wouldn't have minded it if that man had only tried to scam him, but that wasn't the case.
That man had gone to the depths of defamation out of evil intentions. Jiang Chen would never let this matter rest easily.
"Young lord Zhen, don't be rash." Master Dong Ye stepped forward in an attempt to stop Jiang Chen.
Jiang Chen laughed coldly. "Dong Ye, are you worried that I might reveal your little ruse and hypocrisy?"
"Young lord, I'm only worried that you might ruin the Heavencloud Ganoderma with your heretical techniques." Master Dong Ye answered coldly.
The young lord burst into laughter. "Are you telling me that there's a technique that can transform an herb from six thousand to one thousand years old? Master Dong Ye, listen to yourself!"
"Master Dong Ye, your reasoning doesn't make sense. With so many people watching, we'll surely notice if the young lord is up to something." Emperor Wellspring added.
"That's right. Master Dong Ye, you should stop interfering if you have no ulterior motives."
"Or perhaps you actually do?" Emperor Reliance laughed mischievously.
Master Dong Ye was humiliated. His composure was shattering.
Jiang Chen smiled blandly. He flicked a beam of energy onto the formation. A layman wouldn't notice as it was extremely well concealed, but it was as clear as day to him. The formation shattered upon coming into contact with his finger. It didn't take much effort to break through it as it was only a misdirecting formation.
A flash of light exploded for a moment, then slowly dimmed into a dark glow.
The Heavencloud Ganoderma seemed to have shrunk. Its aura and spirit energy was still there, but its appearance no longer seemed different from Jiang Chen's previous one. The crowd was rendered speechless by the abrupt change.
"Young lord Zhen! What evil method did you use to ruin my Heavencloud Ganoderma?" The wandering cultivator shrieked. "The heavens are watching, young lord Zhen! Aren't you afraid of retribution?!"
Jiang Chen snorted coldly at the man's shameless antics.
"Everyone, I've merely removed the facade on the herb. You must wonder how I've managed to make its quality decline so rapidly." Jiang Chen's eyes were filled with sincerity. "Instead of explaining it to you, why don't I keep the show going and show you something interesting instead?" He smiled nonchalantly.
"I'll make the six thousand years old Heavencloud Ganoderma reappear in front you." Jiang Chen's voice was filled with mockery, but his eyes were cold and sharp. "I once saw this forgery technique in an ancient text. However, it's evil and vile, so I've never once bothered to use it. Unfortunately, there are others who don't share the same sentiment and tried to trick me with that technique. Due to the circumstances, I've no choice but to perform it in front of everyone."
He walked up to the Heavencloud Ganoderma. Like an illusionist, he began to deploy the method. One had to use high quality spirit stones for the technique to work. He took one out, refined it, then executed the technique and applied it to the Heavencloud Ganoderma.
One had to be very meticulous when creating the formation as carelessness would lead to undesired results. One tiny mistake was all it took to ruin the entire herb. However, Jiang Chen wasn't bothered with such concerns at all.
His technique was immaculate. It only took a few back and forth motions to complete the formation. He infused the energy from the spirit stone into the formation and fully activated it.
The one-thousand years old herb was instantly filled with spirit energy. It seemed to have grown a lot bigger as well and had reverted to its previous state.
"Jiao Yun, let our fellow daoists have a look at it." Jiang Chen smiled faintly.
Jiao Yun was completely enthralled by Jiang Chen's skills. He offered up the Heavencloud Ganoderma excitedly.
"Everyone, this is a six thousand years old Heavencloud Ganoderma! Our young lord has made it five thousand years older in just a few breath's time!" He yelled with an eccentric cackle.
The crowd was flabbergasted by Jiang Chen's insane feat. Their gaze grew increasingly complicated. Admiration, wariness, and even fear could be seen within their eyes.
"What do you have to say for yourself?" Emperor Wellspring asked with a glare at the wandering cultivator.
"The victor is king. I have nothing else to say." He answered with an odd cackle. In the middle of his sentence, he snapped an escape glyph in half and shot towards the sky.
He was trying to escape!
Nobody had expected that he would have such a trick up his sleeves. Without adequate preparation, not even a great emperor could stop him after a powerful glyph had been activated.
"Not good! This bastard is trying to escape!"
"Ah! He's a troublemaker after all! He's even prepared an escape route!"
"Stop him!" The situation was incredibly chaotic.
Jiang Chen was the only one who remained nonchalant. A cold and sinister smile played on his lips. Want to escape? Never in a million years!
An loud and bizarre shriek suddenly echoed through the air. In the next instant, the man fell from the heights. It was as though an invisible wall had suddenly appeared in his path.