Just as Jiang Chen expected, the battle for the Seven Star Convergence Talisman was exceedingly fierce. Surprisingly, the elder from Empyrean River Palace was the one to win out in the end. A stupendously wild result, to be sure.
The elder was the lowest ranked of all the first rank representatives present today. He persisted in the end against so many of his betters and spent the exorbitant sum of six hundred million to wrest the talisman from the auction.
"They're all fabulously rich without question." Jiang Chen sighed. First rank sects controlled entire upper regions, after all. It was obvious they would accumulate a king's ransom in the process.
A fourth rank sect like Regal Pill Palace wouldn't come close to being worth six hundred million even if every member's wealth was added together. It was a perfect illustration of the gap between rich and poor. Of course, Jiang Chen was all but numb by now with regards to these fellows' purchasing powers.
"The third supreme rank treasure…"
"The fourth supreme rank treasure…"
The auction went on, and the third and fourth supreme rank treasures were fought and spoken for. In the end, the winning bids were as jaw-dropping as the others.
The fourth supreme rank treasure was a mysterious image meant for meditation. It contained a method for cultivating one's consciousness, and its owner ended up being a rather forceful Emperor Petalpluck.
The four supreme rank treasures' auctions were finally complete. Rather than the winning bidders, the wandering cultivators behind these treasures were the happiest ones today. They were overjoyed from the bottom of their hearts as the price of their treasures had soared into the stratosphere.
They'd attempted to appraise their treasures elsewhere before now, but some had been completely unidentifiable while others were intentionally vastly undervalued. At the Dragon and Tiger Meet, young lord Zhen hadn't only determined the treasures' true prices; he'd maximized their values for the owners as well. How could they not be thankful and elated in light of this?
The sum their treasures had fetched was beyond their wildest dreams. The frenetic bidding of the well-to-do taught them what a large sect's affluence and style really meant. It was a kind of magnificence that even the wandering cultivator great emperors were depressed by. Compared to sect giants, they barely broke the poverty line.
The conclusion of the fourth supreme rank treasure's bid marked an emotional lull for the attendees. After a brief reprieve however, their nerves snapped taut once more. There was something exciting that was soon to come!
The Pinecrane Pill!
With a collected look, Jiang Chen swept the whole crowd. "My honored guests. After an intense series of auctions, this is the moment you've all been waiting for. May I present: the Pinecrane Pill!
"I do have one comment. The Pinecrane Pill can't be mass-produced. Sacred Peafowl Mountain will not sell it to the outside world. Only those on good relations with myself are eligible to seek me out for its purchase. Therefore, the opportunity you have before you is a rare one indeed."
As he said this, Jiang Chen produced a jade box. Within was a single Pinecrane Pill, exuding an alluring scent and hue. As soon as the box was opened, a vigorous aura burst forth from within. It was as if time had been stopped right at this moment, and it was even being turned backward somewhat.
"The Pinecrane Pill is able to extend the lives of emperor and great emperor realm cultivators for eight hundred to a thousand years. The starting bid is five hundred million saint spirit stones!" Jiang Chen's voice was as clanging steel. He lifted up the box with the pill high into the air.
Five hundred million saint spirit stones was the highest starting bid among all auction items today. Every wandering cultivator great emperor that had participated in the hunting down of Emperor Shura beforehand was both amazed and relieved.
They were truly grateful for having been smart enough to agree to Jiang Chen's trade. They didn't have nearly enough stones to spend on something like this otherwise!
Even though the Pinecrane Pill wasn't necessarily worth this much, its scarcity meant that its price would be artificially inflated. And no one save for Sacred Peafowl Mountain knew how to refine the pill in the first place.
Even Emperor Wellspring was surprised by the price. Hindsight told him exactly how advantageous the earlier deal had been.
Emperors Inferno and Reliance traded a look, grateful relief evident in their eyes. They could afford five hundred million, but that was the starting bid. The pill was liable to end at a price of a billion or more. A sect giant wouldn't bat an eyelash at spending that much, but wandering cultivator great emperors would be heartbroken at the expense.
"I will pay six hundred million!"
"Six hundred fifty million."
"Eight hundred for me!"
The auction became a pot of boiling oil with the introduction of the Pinecrane Pill. There were clamoring voices everywhere, each desperate to make a higher bid than the last. The first rank sect heavyweights were especially enthusiastic.
"Eight hundred sixty million."
"Nine hundred million."
Remarkably, there were some wandering great emperors among the bidders. They were the ones that hadn't participated in the hunt against Emperor Shura, and they desired the pill just as much as everyone else.
Alas, a wandering great emperor's purchasing power could not compare to a first rank sect's. They were forced out of the bidding wars extremely quickly.
The bidding war between first rank sects waged ever on. The Great Yu Skysword Sect's Han Qianzhan and the Celestial Cicada Court's Su Huanzhen had also joined the increasingly fierce conflict.
Though they were on good terms with Jiang Chen and therefore didn't need the pill right then, they'd done so in order to drive up demand and price. In other words, they were doing Jiang Chen and Sacred Peafowl Mountain an indirect favor.
Jiang Chen noted their intentions and was pleased with the rapid uptick in bid prices. Both the Empyrean River Palace and the Sublime Chord Temple were relentless bidders, despite their relative allegiances to Pillfire City. They also selectively ignored their recent animosity with the pill's owner.
Over at Veluriyam Capital's side, the city's other great emperors had received notice from Jiang Chen not to participate. There was no reason to offer their opponents any ammunition. Their absence didn't lessen the crazed atmosphere around the Pinecrane Pill one bit.
The price of the pill shot past a billion in the blink of an eye.
Once it did so, several factions slowly retreated from the fray. A price as lofty as that was beyond the reasonable grasp of many. The factions that remained went at it with renewed intensity.
The Empyrean River Palace, Sublime Chord Temple, Heavenly Dragon Sect, Skysword Sect, Celestial Cicada Court, and Moon God Sect… These were the factions that remained.
Jiang Chen knew what these people were thinking. They wanted to take the pill home with them to research it. If the research was successful, there was the potential to refine reasonably good imitations. However, the Pinecrane Pill wouldn't deserve its name and reputation if it was easy to duplicate.
Even if the winning sect did successfully analyze its components, the pill was impossible to refine without Jiang Chen's personal recipe and tips.
The art of refining pills wasn't a textbook process. Each step required meticulous care. One error at any point would result in thorough failure. A hair's difference meant total divergence. If this weren't so, there wouldn't be so many exclusive pills in the marketplace today.
Why the exclusivity? Because most technically intensive pills couldn't be replicated through simple analysis alone.
The bidding continued until the price reached twelve hundred million, at which point several factions were driven out of the match. The factions that remained were the Heavenly Dragon Sect, Sublime Chord Temple, Empyrean River Palace, and Moon God Sect, who still bid against each other incessantly.
The margin increase in their bids was much smaller, however.
"Twelve hundred eighty million!" Long Baxiang punched out a crazy price viciously.
Master Dong Ye of the Sublime Chord Temple didn't move an eyelid. "Thirteen hundred million."
"Does the Sublime Chord Temple have to foil us at every turn, Master Dong Ye?" An agitated Long Baxiang affixed Master Dong Ye with a savage stare.
The Buddhist master closed his eyes. He didn't want to bother with a retort.
Emperor Peerless, who'd been tasked with keeping order at the scene, intervened in his stead. "Emperor Dragontyrant, each and every party has the right to bid here at the auction. Please maintain some decorum."
Long Baxiang exhaled angrily, but uttered no comeback. He poured all of his fury into the ensuing bidding. "Thirteen hundred twenty million."
Master Dong Ye remained impassive. "Thirteen hundred thirty million."
"Fourteen hundred million!"
"Fourteen hundred ten million."
"You…" Long Baxiang was getting starting to lose his temper now. "Fourteen hundred, sixty million."
"Fourteen hundred seventy million."
"Fifteen hundred million!"
"Fifteen hundred ten million." Master Dong Ye had a strong grasp on the rhythm of the auction. He only ever added ten million at a time, no matter how much Long Baxiang pushed the price up.
Moreover, he did so with a blank face the entire time. It was as if he was buying a head of cabbage in a common marketplace, so deadpan was his manner. No hint of emotion was visible on his face whatsoever.
In terms of self-restraint, Long Baxiang was solidly at a disadvantage. He glared at Master Dong Ye in a deadlock stare. He almost wanted to pierce his opponent with his look alone. Master Dong Ye's face, on the other hand, was as inscrutable as ever.
"You win!" Long Baxiang slammed a fist into his chair. "I'll remember you, Sublime Chord Temple!"
It seemed that the expert from the Heavenly Dragon Sect was giving up at last. Master Dong Ye was uncontested.
"Fifteen hundred ten million, going once. Is there any higher price?"
"The Celestial Cicada Court bids sixteen hundred million," Su Huanzhen suddenly interjected from the side.
The woman hadn't bid for a long time now. Her abrupt assertion made Master Dong Ye blink. The Buddhist master's droopy eyelids flipped upward, his eyes glancing toward the head of the Celestial Cicada Court. He glared with his Buddha Warrior's Eye, attempting to judge Su Huanzhen's true intentions.
Su Huanzhen disregarded him entirely, a faint smile hanging upon her lips.
Having read absolutely nothing from the sect head, Master Dong Ye emotionlessly intoned, "Sixteen hundred ten million."
Su Huanzhen giggled. "Young lord Zhen, I owed Emperor Peafowl a favor from long ago. I think this hundred million windfall should be enough to barely cover it, hmm?"
The entire audience burst into laughter, looking at Master Dong Ye with eyes that considered him a fool.