Yan Qingsang handled payment. He hadn’t interfered at all while Jiang Chen was selecting the ores. Once they left the shop, he asked calmly, “Do you think there’s any ancient jade among these ores?”
“The possibility is very high,” Jiang Chen answered with a smile. “If you don’t believe me, we can go have them appraised.”
He’d picked the ores with great care. There might not be a hidden treasure of the kind he’d discovered in Oriole Valley, but he believed there was at least one ancient jade with heritage in the batch.
“Come then.” Yan Qingsang wasn’t one to waste time on talking.
They entered another shop. It took many steps to appraise an ore, which wasn’t something they could do manually.
A formation designed to process the ores was needed to peel away the surface. It required a professional’s delicate approach throughout. One mistake was all it took to compromise the ore’s structure and destroy the ancient jade. Therefore, not everyone could process an ore on their own. Thankfully, the processing fee wasn’t that expensive.
The two of them paid the fee and followed the processing expert into the workshop. The expert fired up the formation and got to work. When he got to the sixteenth ore, he breathed lowly, “There’s something here!”
The surface of the ore was gradually ground down to reveal the glow of an ancient jade. In no time at all, the entire ancient jade was on display for all to see.
The expert sucked in a breath. “Hot damn, this sure is something. I can say for sure it’s of premium quality. Are you willing to sell it, my friend?”
“How much will you pay for it?” Yan Qingsang asked nonchalantly.
“This peasant can’t afford it! But I can contact a buyer. According to my estimation, this is worth at least a couple millions!”
Jiang Chen smiled. “We’re not selling for anything less than three million!”
The expert simpered. “You know the business alright. You might be able to get three million If you auction the jade, but stores will only pay about one and a half million to one million eight hundred thousand! If you’re going to auction it, the price will be affected by the market, and there’ll be a processing fee.”
“Alright, there are still some ores left. I’ll keep going.” The expert calmed himself and continued to process the ores. There were no other surprises. The rest of the ores yielded nothing. But the one hunk of jade alone was good enough.
Yan Qingsang still hadn’t recovered after they left the shop. He held up the ancient jade and considered it. It was a fine piece of wild ancient jade. A mild cooling presence brimmed inside. It was likely to be a treasure that imparted calm and serenity.
What was special about Bluesmoke Jade was that every piece of wild jade contained a different heritage and served a different purpose.
Some were ingredients for medicine. Some could be used to refine other treasures. Some could be worn as personal items. Some recorded ancient cultivation methods. Others held great energy. There was even jade that contained ancient bloodlines.
One could say that Bluesmoke Jade contained the most fascinating ancient jades in Myriad Abyss Island. That was why it was so popular, and why people from the Ten Divine Nations were willing to come all the way for it.
The prospect of high return made it an attractive investment. Buying a random piece of jade could give one ten, a hundred, or even a thousand times the value back.
Yan Qingsang couldn’t be more excited. It took some time for him to calm down. He stared at Jiang Chen. “I still haven’t asked your name, my friend.”
“I am Shao Yuan.”
The alias Jiang Huang could no longer be used after what’d happened in WInterdraw, so Jiang Chen picked the old name he had used in the human domain.
The human domain was worlds apart from this place, and Shao Yuan had never been that well known. Even in the human domain, only a handful of people knew of it. More importantly, Huang’er knew the name Shao Yuan.
If one day the alias was burned as well, Jiang Chen planned to use the identity Zhen Shi the pill king, which Huang’er knew as well.
However, Pill King Zhen was too famous. Jiang Chen worried that Elder Xi might have heard of it. That was why Jiang Chen chose to call himself Shao Yuan rather than Pill King Zhen.
“Very good. I’m curious, Shao Yuan,” said Yan Qingsang. “Do you know me?”
Jiang Chen shook his head. “We’ve never met.”
“Then why did you pick me?” Yan Qingsang remained cautious even though a great opportunity was waving at him.
“It was just good timing. I’ve been looking for geniuses from the Ten Divine Nations to find myself a reliable partner, but you know how geniuses from big factions are. Many of them aren’t necessarily dependable. I won’t settle for anyone but the trustworthy sort.”
Yan Qingsang smiled slightly. “Oh? You think I’m trustworthy?”
“You were the most upstanding one from the group at your table. That Jinnan from your family? Not so much.”
Yan Qingsang sighed. “Don’t say that. He holds a higher status in the family than I do.”
“He might not in the future.” Jiang Chen smiled faintly.
Yan Qingsang perked up. It was obvious that he was seriously considering the possibility as well.
“I still don’t know your name after all this time, my friend.” Jiang Chen knew the answer already but just wanted to get more information.
“I’m Yan Qingsang from House Yan of the Eternal Divine Nation.”
“House Yan?” Jiang Chen affected a surprised look. “So you are from the famous House Yan. I thought it was different Yan character and was wondering who you were.”
Since he had assumed the role of a wandering cultivator, he shouldn’t appear to be too knowledgeable, or his cover might be blown.
“Do you know House Yan?”
“I’ve heard of it.” Jiang Chen nodded. “Before you entered the brothel, the men from Polylore Divine Nation were talking about House Yan.”
“Oh?” Yan Qingsang blinked. “What did they say?”
“They mentioned a woman from your family and a House Xiahou. Oh, and they talked about the sixteen golden hairpins.”
Yan Qingsang scoffed. “How ridiculous. They waste all their time talking about women.”
Jiang Chen knew when to stop and turned to Yan Qingsang. “The jade festival is coming in a few days, Brother Yan. Please tell me if you’d like to take my offer. If you don’t, I’ll look for another partner. I’m going big or going home.”
Determination flashed through Yan Qingsang’s eyes. “I’ll do it. There’s no reason for me to turn you down. But what can I do for you?”
“You don’t have to do anything but to lend me your identity as a member of House Yan. I’ll give you half of the ancient jade I acquire in the festival.”
Yan Qingsang hummed. “You’re taking only ores from the mines. Why would anyone give you trouble even if you take a great amount with you?”
Jiang Chen smiled. “You’re underestimated those of the world. I have a secret method. Who knows if anyone else of higher power in the Bluesmoke Isles won’t be able to sense what I can do?
“If there’s someone like that, you know better than I do what will happen to a wandering cultivator in possession of great treasure.”
Yan Qinsang found no flaws in Jiang Chen’s explanation after a once-over. He made up his mind. “Alright. We have a deal.”
Jiang Chen mentally celebrated his success, but kept a calm expression. “Then we should find a place to go over the details.”
Yan Qingsang checked the sky. “It’s getting late. How about another day?”
“Time is precious. If we don’t talk about the details, all our work may turn out to be for nothing. Besides, I have to get to know Brother Yan as well. I don’t want my efforts to be in vain. How about we talk in the inn I’m staying at?” Jiang Chen played a masterful game of cat and mouse.
“I...” Yang Qingsang hesitated before shaking his head. “My family has strict rules. What’s more, I got into an argument with Yan Jinnan today. If I don’t return tonight, he’s going to talk me down in front of the elders again.”
“Well… that’s a problem.” Jiang Chen put on a hesitant look.
Yan Qingsang gave it a moment. “How about you come back to where I live, and we’ll talk there?”
He was a cautious man. He didn’t think anyone would dare take advantage of House Yan, but there were precautions he had to take. It was safer to invite Jiang Chen back to the manor than to go to this stranger’s inn. Yan Qingsang had nothing to worry about in his own territory.
Besides, he wanted to keep Jiang Chen in his pocket and prevent him from going to other people. He wouldn’t let the others acquire the help of someone with such a unique skill. The opportunity to profit was his and his alone.
It was undeniable that Yan Qingsang had a quick mind. Nonetheless, he would never fathom that his offer was exactly what Jiang Chen had been angling for from the beginning. He wanted to get closer to the manor the Yan families were staying in. His heart pounded at Yan Qingsang’s invitation.
Jiang Chen almost blurted out his agreement, but he managed to stop himself. In a hesitant tone, he said, “Is that appropriate? I’ve heard that the biggest factions in the Ten Divine Nations are staying in the most obscure regions in Miracle City. No one knows where to find you. If wandering cultivators like me barge into your manor unnoticed, won’t the elders in your family disapprove of me, or even threaten me?”
“Relax. I’m not a complete nobody in the family. Who’s going to criticize my friend? The family didn’t ban us from making friends in the Bluesmoke Isles!”
Jiang Chen sighed. “Alright, I hope Brother Yan is telling the truth. I did come to you because I trusted you.”
“It’s fate that you came to me. As long as you don’t betray me, I promise that I won’t betray you.”
“Then here’s to a happy partnership.”
The two of them high-fived to seal the deal and broke into laughter.
Yan Qingsang led Jiang Chen back to the family manor. They arrived at their destination after roughly an hour.