The wandering cultivators couldn't help but agree with Emperor Peerless. His words had a lot of merit. If a treasure didn't distinguish itself in an auction and was let go without any bids, its value would be diminished. For the owner, that would be thoroughly counterproductive.
"We know you have a track record of fairness, young lord Zhen. It's rare for someone to be so considerate of wandering cultivators like you. We would like to humbly ask for any ideas you might have."
"That's right. Anywhere else would try to undervalue our assets. There's no one fair beneath the sun. Young lord Zhen, you're the only one we trust. Why not buy everything off our hands?"
These words won a sympathetic response from the rest.
"We can't trust anyone else, young lord Zhen. We will only sell these treasures to you. It's fine if we lose out a bit for your benefit!"
"Exactly. As long as the deals aren't too unfavorable, we'll take whatever you can give."
"You guys are fools. When has young lord Zhen given a wandering cultivator an unfavorable deal?"
These wandering cultivators were highly calculative men. Everything they said was out of hopes that Jiang Chen would buy the treasures off them for a reasonable price.
The young man looked at the list of items again. All of them were decent enough finds. Since there was only forty, he saw no reason he couldn't buy out the whole batch.
Unfortunately, he clearly didn't have enough spirit stones on hand. Plus, many of these items were far from necessary. A glance reminded him that these treasures were all sky rank. A normal sky rank spirit herb was valued minimally at thirty million.
Jiang Chen had named the exorbitant price of a hundred million for the Eight Treasure Cordyceps because that particular spirit herb could generate profit many times that. The most he could do with these treasures was wait for them to naturally appreciate in value. Unfortunately, there really wasn't much room for them to grow. And in fact, many were consumables. To buy all of them here would cost a billion and some change.
The wandering cultivators' bright eyes told him that these treasures were their most important asset. These valuable items constituted their owners' entire livelihoods. Most of them here were sage realm, though there were a few emperor realm experts as well. The emperor realm cultivators were comparatively more relaxed. The sage realm cultivators didn't have very much that was worth anything at all. Their single possession was also their most prized. All of their hopes were wrapped up in it.
"My friends, I know what these treasures mean to you. I must make it clear that I don't particularly need any of them. Honestly, they don't mean very much to someone like me. However, each of these treasures represents your fate and future."
Jiang Chen's touching words sent a warm current through the wandering cultivators' hearts. As wandering cultivators adrift in the world, they lived on a knife's edge. Their environment was totally incomparable to that of a large sect's disciples. A treasure was more than enough to change their entire fortunes for the better.
"How about this. I'll give you a price according to what I feel is right. Each estimate will be accompanied with a promise of integrity. As for whether you'll sell, well, that's entirely up to you. I can only guarantee that I won't intentionally name a lower price than appropriate. I'm not here to exploit you by any means. I'll actually give you a slightly higher price than is typical." Jiang Chen picked up the list once more as he said this, looking down it carefully.
It took a few more moments before he was done labeling each of the excluded treasures with a price. "Here are my quotes. Take a look. There's no need to haggle. Every quote here has been evaluated partially to your advantage."
Jiang Chen spoke in a sincere tone. "Also, there's another caveat. I can only buy the treasures off your hands at some point in the near future."
At this time, Cloudsoar Monarch walked up. "May I have a moment, young lord?"
Jiang Chen followed his trusted subordinate. "What is it, Cloudsoar?"
"You're the young lord of Sacred Peafowl Mountain now. The riches and vaults of the mountain are yours to command. His Majesty put you into your current position with full acknowledgment of your right to use our resources, there's no doubt about that at all." Cloudsoar Monarch had noticed by now that Jiang Chen was having some problems with wealth liquidity.
The young man had been continually making contributions since the day he'd been made young lord. He had never taken anything from Sacred Peafowl Mountain in return.
Jiang Chen was stunned at the monarch's suggestion. He hadn't considered that possibility at all. Sacred Peafowl Mountain's vaults?
"Don't worry, young lord. The four monarchs unconditionally respect your leadership, and so does the entirety of Sacred Peafowl Mountain. Please, make use of the vault as you see fit. We four monarchs once followed His Majesty. From now on, we do the same for you. Don't forget, you're the lord of Sacred Peafowl Mountain. There's no need to seek our permission for any edicts or expenditures." The monarch's position was quite clear.
"Cloudsoar, how much is there in the vaults?" Jiang Chen had no idea at all.
"We hold allegiance from countless factions and own innumerable businesses. Our profits are high, and we take a cut of all of the vassals' annual profits. There's also large income from taxes. Plus, we're also the foremost faction in Veluriyam Capital, so our wealth is naturally quite stunning."
"So how much is there in total?" Jiang Chen couldn't help but ask.
"We have a few dozen billion spirit stones in storage alone. Our vault holds countless other resources, treasures, and other assets. I can say with confidence that 'far more than a hundred billion' is a conservative estimate."
"What?" Jiang Chen was shocked.
"Young lord, Veluriyam Capital is one of the strongest factions in the Upper Eight Regions. Our riches are a result of accumulation since the ancient times. If not for Emperor Peafowl's dislike for money-making, we would own several times this wealth. Our assets were largely gathered through mundane channels! This is just normal income." Cloudsoar Monarch's explanation sent the young man reeling.
He knew that large sects and factions tended to hoard astonishing wealth. However, the abundant Sacred Peafowl Mountain vaults stupefied him.
And these were only the vaults. What did the vaults hold? Public funds!
Private wealth was intentionally excluded. Experts like Emperor Peafowl were sure to be disturbingly wealthy. The comparison gave Jiang Chen some perspective about just how damn poor the wandering cultivator emperors were - Emperor Peerless among them, of course.
Suddenly remembering something, the youth slapped his thigh. "I hear that Emperor Shura was very good at making money. Doesn't that mean he must've been absurdly affluent?"
"Hmph! No question about it. Shura's faction was tremendously well-off. I suspect that his faction's fortune far surpassed ours. After all, the emperor was shrewd beyond comprehension! What a shame that he took all of that money with him. His hoarding benefited others in the end."
Cloudsoar Monarch's words upset Jiang Chen a great deal.
"Blast Pillfire City! They've gotten away with it again!" Without needing to think about it, he knew that Pillfire City had to have taken the money already. Emperor Shura had died with no valuables left on him, not even a single storage ring.
That wouldn't do. His money belonged to Veluriyam Capital. Jiang Chen wasn't going to let Pillfire City snap it up so easily without a fight! Just the thought of it incensed him.
If Shura's wealth outstripped Emperor Peafowl's, then Pillfire had received a real windfall.
"Go, seek out Emperor Vastsea. Tell him not to leave yet. I want to talk to him!" Jiang Chen instructed.
"Yes, young lord," replied Cloudsoar Monarch.
"Mm. Cloudsoar, could you go retrieve three billion spirit stones from the vault for me? As I'm sure you've heard already, I have an important use for them," the young man added.
"As you wish."
Jiang Chen returned to the forty wandering cultivators. "So, gentlemen, have you come to a decision?"
"Indeed we have, young lord Zhen." There was a mass of unified shouts. "Your price quotes are very fair. We've decided to sell to you!"
Of course Jiang Chen's quotes were fair. He wanted reputation above all, not fleecing unwitting idiots for a quick buck.
"We can wait a few days. For this price, a decade or more is more than worthwhile!"
"Quite so! Waiting isn't a problem for any of us."
"Actually, I managed to get my hands on sufficient capital. There's no longer a need to wait. I do have a separate request for you, however. If you hear any news about a Goldencrown Cloudcrane anywhere, or know anyone who has one of these spirit beasts, then please let me know. I'm willing to pay a high price for one."
"A Goldencrown Cloudcrane? Alright, Zhang Ole Seventh will remember this."
"Deng's got it as well. I'll certainly keep an eye out for you, young lord Zhen."
These people were tremendously pleased to have received such offers from Jiang Chen. They felt that the young lord was a bit different from others from large factions. He was cordial, obliging, and genuine. Someone like that was able to win their affection quite easily.
Cloudsoar Monarch gathered up the necessary three billion in no time at all. The sum was rather insignificant to collect from Sacred Peafowl Mountain's vault.
The forty treasures cost sixteen hundred million spirit stones in all. It wasn't an enormous amount, but every wandering cultivator was satisfied.
To these drifters, a few dozen million was already nothing short of astronomical. The sage realm wandering cultivators were especially appreciative of the scale of their payout. It was a staggering sum of stones! It couldn't compare to what the Four Elites of Peach Mountain had, but not everyone could enjoy that kind of serendipity.
In the wandering cultivator world, true treasures were possessed only by the very few. Hundreds of thousands of them had come to the event - perhaps one million or more - but only a handful had actually been fortunate.
Emperor Peerless sighed at the wandering cultivators' satisfaction. "Young lord Zhen, the wandering cultivator world is a cruel place. A few dozen million spirit stones… that's probably nothing in the eyes of sect disciples."