That man slammed into the ground at an alarming speed. Despite having a respectable cultivation, the impact was so strong that the wind was knocked out of him, almost joined by the contents of his stomach. He wanted to crawl away, but Emperor Wellspring was quick to respond.
With a swipe of the great emperor's sleeves, a flash of light flew across the man's face. As though drawn across by a sharp knife, the outer layer of the man's face peeled away, revealing his true identity.
The crowd's gaze fell upon his face. The man quickly covered his face with his hands, worried that someone might recognize him.
Emperor Wellspring picked him up. "Look closely everyone. Does anyone recognize him? Is there really such a person in our community?"
The man was ashen with fear when he was rendered immobile.
"No we don't!"
"It's obvious he isn't one of us just judging by his presence!"
"Young lord Zhen, that man isn't a wandering cultivator!"
"Even if he was, he'd be the scum of our world for disrupting the wandering cultivator gathering!"
"Agreed! He's liar and a cheat! If it wasn't for young lord Zhen's keen eyes, we would've been played for a fool!"
"He should be diced into a million pieces!"
"Yeah! If everyone follows his footsteps, the entire spirit herb market will be in shambles! At the end of the day, the ones who will suffer the most are laymen like us!"
"Young lord Zhen, what do you plan on doing with him?"
The truth held the most weight in the end. Even though the man was extremely cunning and eloquent with words, there was little he could do against the incontestable truth. The wandering cultivators who'd believed his words and grew suspicious of young lord Zhen felt like utter fools. Enraged, they yelled for blood and wanted to rip the fellow apart.
"This man's sins are unforgivable. He attempted to disrupt the wanderer gathering. Killing him would be as easy as slaying a dog, but spilling his blood might bring bad luck to the ongoing event. However, this evil-doer cannot be let off with a slap on the wrist, for he will definitely cause harm to others in the future. He shall be spared from death, but his sins cannot go unpunished." Jiang Chen announced blandly.
"Young lord Zhen! Let us kill him instead if you won't do it!"
"Agreed! This man deserves a million deaths for impersonating a wandering cultivator!"
"Emperor Wellspring, please help us administer justice!"
Emperor Wellspring flashed a tranquil smile. "Young lord Zhen, I trust that you already have a hunch about his identity. Let me slay him instead if you're worried about offending the other party."
"No need. I can't bear to implicate anyone else in Veluriyam Capital's matters." Jiang Chen answered blandly. While talking, he suddenly struck the man in the dantian.
A great force came bursting out, trashing the sea of qi in the man's dantian. He sagged to the ground like a pile of mud. Even an immortal would find it hard to stand after his cultivation had been completely destroyed.
"Men, throw him out of Veluriyam Capital!"
The wandering cultivators below cheered thunderously after seeing how Jiang Chen had handled the situation.
"Young lord Zhen, we apologize the misunderstanding earlier."
"Yeah! We all understand now that you're an honorable and upright person. If anyone else tries to defame or slander you, I won't believe a word of it!"
"That's right! We'd sooner die than believe a word of it! Young lord Zhen isn't a deceitful and unscrupulous man!" The crowd's trust in Jiang Chen had deepened by a quite a bit after that enormous commotion.
Steel doesn't fear the test of fire. Jiang Chen smiled faintly. "Everyone, I've made a fool of myself. I hope that I didn't dampen your spirits. The event will continue. Just in case anyone else tries to throw dirt at me again, Sacred Peafowl Mountain's trading district will from henceforth be revealed to the public."
"That's great! Young lord Zhen, you are truly the beacon of honor and trust!" Jiang Chen's actions had only made the crowd love him even more.
"Master Dong Ye, you've made a huge error this time." Emperor Peerless' voice was filled with a hint of frost as well as mockery. He could tell that that the Buddhist master was a co-conspirator.
Master Dong Ye didn't pay the words any heed and approached Jiang Chen with a righteous expression, his palms pressed together. "Young lord Zhen, I've erred. My Warrior Buddha's Eye still requires tempering. I apologize."
The monk was admitting to a mistake in appraisal only, and not that he'd been colluding with the imposter. Jiang Chen smiled blandly and chose not to expose the monk. It was better to take things one step at a time. Having a fall out with the Sublime Chord Temple right now would lead to nowhere.
"Master Dong Ye, there's nothing wrong with making mistakes, but you should really improve your Warrior Buddha's Eye, or unscrupulous people might take advantage of your sect's sacred grounds." It was obvious what he was insinuating.
Master Dong Ye answered emotionlessly. "Young lord Zhen's words are difficult to fathom. This monk will ruminate upon it when I return home."
The monk's face was thick beyond measure. Jiang Chen couldn't help but be impressed by how well the Buddhist master was maintaining his facade.
Long Baxiang burst into an odd cackle. "To think that there's such an advanced counterfeiting technique in this world! Young lord Zhen, you've truly widened my horizons! I sure hope that Sacred Peafowl Mountain will avoid using it on us!"
Jiang Chen's expression sank. "Emperor Dragontyrant, you're shown respect because you're a guest from far away. However, you're sorely mistaken if you think that this gives you the right to run your mouth and engage in meaningless slander."
Emperor Dragontyrant burst into laughter. "Relax! I'm just joking!"
This group of people had incredibly thick skin. They were capable of saying anything as long as it fit their narrative. They had been incredibly fierce and condescending at beginning, but they quickly put on a smile as soon as the situation soured. Who'd harassed the young lord just now? Surely not them!
"Alright, let's return to our stations and continue with the event. I'm sure there are some of you out there who still harbor malicious intent. I don't care what plans or schemes you have in store. If you continue to test my patience, be prepared to taste my wrath. Don't think for a second that I'm not capable of killing!"
"Agreed! Anyone who tries to stir up trouble will be going up against millions of us! We'll drown him in our spit!"
"We'll attack the next troublemaker together!" The wandering cultivators were furious as rabble rousers would disrupt the proceedings.
After order was restored, Jiang Chen opened his trading district to all wandering cultivators. Unfortunately, this made the Jiao brothers' job much harder.
Emperor Coiling Dragon and Emperor Void left their own trading districts to help the young lord as they realized that their business wouldn't be as great. Young lord Zhen was now the core figure of Veluriyam Capital.
What Jiang Chen hadn't counted on was that the prior commotion resulted in many unexpected benefits. The public's perception of him had improved immensely and trust in him had grown by a marked magnitude. Wandering cultivators visited him in endless waves, bringing forth all kinds of great treasures. Three treasures of equal worth to the Heavencloud Ganoderma appeared in just one day.
However, Jiang Chen didn't buy a single one as he didn't need any of them. He had a fair amount of wealth, but it wasn't unlimited. Good steel should only be used on a sword's edge.
He turned them down, but he gave the wandering cultivators a measure of reassurance and encouraged them to participate in the auction later. These items would be worth more for those that actually need them. The wandering cultivators agreed with his analysis.
On the second day, a significant transaction knocked on Jiang Chen's door.
A small party of four, consisting of one half-step emperor and three sage realm cultivators, came to him with a careful air. Their cultivation actually counted as top tier in the wandering world. The leader of the group was a middle-aged man with a blind eye. His pupil had been clouded over by a white substance. However, he seemed to prefer flaunting it instead of hiding it with an eye-patch. It gave him an eccentric air.
"The Four Elites of Peach Mountain greets the young lord." The leader bowed respectfully.
Jiao Yun murmured words of introduction by Jiang Chen's ears. "Young lord, the Four Elites of Peach Mountain are seasoned veterans of the wandering world. They're an upright group, but they are very wary of strangers and prefer solidarity."
Jiang Chen had a rough understanding after Jiao Yun's introduction. "Please, there's no need to be ceremonious. Are you looking to trade or do you seek an appraisal?"
The white-eyed leader nodded gently. "We look to trade with the young lord."
"Oh? What is it that you wish to trade?" Jiang Chen asked with a smile.
"Eight Treasure Cordyceps," the leader answered.
"Mm? May I please have a look?" Jiang Chen's heart skipped a beat when he heard their goods.
"Be my guest." The herb-like parasite appeared in front of Jiang Chen with a fling of his sleeves.
Jiang Chen furrowed his brows and looked at it in detail. "Mm! A fine treasure indeed! It has aged very well!"
"Friend, please state your asking price." Jiang Chen could immediately tell that it was of good quality.
"Young lord Zhen, we have more than just one."
"Oh? How many?" Jiang Chen was elated. The Eight Treasure Cordyceps was extremely useful to him. To think that the seller had more than one!
Twenty-six?! The young lord almost spat out his tea. "Are you certain?"
"Extremely." The white-eyed leader was an interesting character. He took out all of them to show Jiang Chen.