Chapter 520: Demanding A High Price
“Can I really propose any condition?” Jiang Chen chuckled, an utterly innocent and harmless expression on his face.
Palace Head Dan Chi smiled. “Jiang Chen, if you take down the ring, it’ll be you who’s making a sacrifice. It’s fine for you to have some conditions. The sect clearly delineates between punishment and reward. Of course we can’t sacrifice your benefits for the sake of others.”
“Alright then, a poor person like me has bigger priorities than fighting over pride. Solid, tangible benefits are much more important.” Jiang Chen spoke in an accommodating tone. “Then this disciple will be so bold as to make his requests. Ten thousand upper rank origin spirit stones, fifty kilograms of aubergine gold1, fifty kilograms of starcloud dust, and fifty kilograms of vermillion cinnabar. Mm, if Elder Lian Cheng has any upper rank Origin Fostering Pills, please bestow a couple thousand of them as well. This junior won’t mind at all.”
To any of the younger generation, this kind of price would’ve absolutely been a heavy fleecing. But to the three heavyweights, even though the amount wasn’t that little, it wouldn’t stretch their coffers too much either. After all, at Elder Lian Cheng’s age, his accumulated wealth was astonishing, and this little bit of items were just like the hairs on an oxen.
Elder Lian Cheng blanked momentarily, then burst out into a hearty laugh. “Good, good! A young man who doesn’t hide and conceal his thoughts, cutting straight to the point and voicing his mind. That’s how it should be! I’ll take care of these for you. They will arrive in your residence in three day’s time.”
Jiang Chen laughed. “Elder Lian Cheng is indeed decisive. Alright! I’ll take down the ring whenever the three elders wish me to.”
Elder Yun Nie suddenly spoke up. “I rather think the ring should remain.”
“Hmm?” The other three looked at Elder Yun Nie in puzzlement. Wasn’t everything settled already?
Elder Yun Nie nodded. “Since this match-up was going to happen, removing the ring now will not dissolve their internal demons. I rather think that this is a chance that we should capitalize on.”
“A chance? What do you mean?” Elder Lian Cheng asked solemnly.
“Shen Qinghong aims too high and has no shortage of arrogance. If Jiang Chen takes down the ring, he is certain to continue making trouble and spread rumours of Jiang Chen’s cowardice. While this isn’t good for Jiang Chen, it also doesn’t address the underlying problem of Shen Qinghong’s personality and the need for him to face some setbacks. Without appropriate tempering, his internal demons will continue to remain as they are. If we want to address everything, I think the match should continue, but it should end in a tie. The battle between the two divine cauldrons will be a wondrous tale told through the ages, and the battle between two geniuses will certainly elicit curiosity throughout the Regal Pill Palace. The other disciples will yearn after the geniuses even more, and this will also serve as an equal source of motivation for them. It will enhance their sense of belonging in the sect.”
“End in a tie?” Palace Head Dan Chi and Elder Lian Cheng looked at each other, vaguely feeling that Elder Yun Nie’s words made sense.
“Indeed, a tie. This will make Shen Qinghong retreat in the face of difficulties and will retain face for him as well. This maintains both his and Jiang Chen’s face, and make him understand in his heart of hearts that there is always a higher peak, a stronger expert. This is equally advantageous for his development.” Elder Yun Nie continued.
Shen Qinghong’s greatest problem to this day was his overconfidence, and that no one within the sect had truly made him experience the feeling of defeat. No one could give him the feeling of an insurmountable obstacle. Speaking positively, this meant that he was confident. On the flip side, it had also bred his blindly arrogant personality.
Palace Head Dan Chi relaxed and smiled, seeming to understand something. “Yun Nie, your suggestion is nice. But how difficult is it to ensure that the match ends in a tie?”
Elder Lian Cheng also nodded. “Indeed, a tie would be perfect, but a victor will be determined easily if this isn’t managed well.”
Elder Yun Nie cast a profound look at Jiang Chen, a hint of a smile playing about his face. “We’ll have to ask the person in question whether this can be done.”
Jiang Chen rubbed his nose, smiling ruefully. “Elder Yun Nie, this is too much of a test for me, isn’t it?”
“Heh heh, Jiang Chen, I know that you’ll have the ability to do this.”
Jiang Chen sighed. “Why do I feel like I’ve wandered unsuspectingly into a trap?”
Palace Head Dan Chi laughed heartily. “Jiang Chen, be more decisive and just tell us yes or no.”
“Can I say no?” Jiang Chen asked dejectedly.
Elder Lian Cheng smiled. “If this match can end in a tie, I’ll still pay the conditions we settled on.”
“I’ll add on another five thousand upper rank origin spirit stones.” Palace Head Dan Chi chuckled.
Elder Yun Nie also smiled when he saw this. “Then I can’t be miserly either; I’ll throw in another five thousand stones.”
Palace Head Dan Chi smiled. “Jiang Chen, can you do it now?”
Jiang Chen beamed in satisfaction. “I think that’ll be enough? I’ll be blunt first, none of you can dodge your debts after the fact, hmm!”
Palace Head Dan Chi also purposefully kept a stern look on his face. “Remember, it has to be a tie! I’m not paying up if it’s not a tie!”
Jiang Chen chuckled. “Don’t worry, don’t worry. I’ll make it a tie for the clink of wealth.”
Dan Chi and Yun Nie smiled at each other to see Jiang Chen act this way. Although Elder Lian Cheng was also smiling happily, he was secretly shocked. Just how great is this disciple’s pill potential that he dares agree to this? His potential and cultivation in pills must be overwhelmingly higher than Qinghong’s. Otherwise, where would he have the confidence to accept? A tie can’t be had just because one wants one. How would he be able to maintain a fine control over this if he lacked extreme potential and strength?
Although he was stunned, Elder Lian Cheng spoke, “Good! Then I’ll await the good news of this match from my residence.” Even he had to admit that Elder Yun Nie’s proposal was the best. It was more preferable to have the match than to take down the ring, and a tie was the best outcome. This would allow Shen Qinghong to retreat in the face of difficulties and not have him lose face, resulting in a shadow over his heart.
Jiang Chen was absolutely delighted when the three heavyweights left. What a haul! The three heavyweights had offered twenty thousand stones in total. When added to his original pile, it was enough to have his Nine Gates Incineration Formation operate at half power. His original hopes had only been for thirty percent, but if he could power it at half of its full power, it would be enough to withstand a sky sage realm expert. This was an unexpected surprise for Jiang Chen!
Palace Head Dan Chi and Elder Yun Nie both sent over the promised five thousand stones not long after they went back. It was obvious that they were very confident in Jiang Chen and had sent over the stones early.
They wouldn’t ask for the stones back even if he didn’t manage a tie. This was their encouragement for Jiang Chen. They knew him very well by now. He would only use spirit stones as the stakes only if he was in urgent need of them. Therefore, this was their way of helping Jiang Chen, using a method that couldn’t be traced, to support him. Jiang Chen naturally knew this as well.
“Palace Head Dan Chi and Elder Yun Nie are wise men who are open and aboveboard. I am not so heartless to ignore how well they’re treating me; I must help them realize their great wishes.” Jiang Chen knew that whether it was Palace Head Dan Chi or Elder Yun Nie, they both wished for the Regal Pill Palace to flourish vigorously and develop into a third rank sect; rebuild the Myriad Empire; and unite the Myriad Domain.
“If I am to leave the Regal Pill Palace in the future, I must first help them attain this long cherished wish!” Jiang Chen made a private vow. “Elder Lian Cheng doesn’t seem like a villainous person either, just one who sides with his young more. Since he’s Shen Qinghong’s martial dao teacher, he won’t treat me as candidly as Palace Head Dan Chi and Elder Yun Nie. He will send over the promised payout only after my match concludes with Shen Qinghong.”
One had to say, this was a type of bet that Jiang Chen had never encountered before. It would certainly be a challenge to accomplish, but he was confident. Since he’d made an agreement, he was even more motivated. This was a match of pill dao that had twenty thousand spirit stones and a bunch of other materials at stake! At the same time, he also felt pity for Shen Qinghong. A Sovereign Area genius had sunk so far that his master had to secretly buy off his opponents. Was it because Shen Qinghong had led too good a life? He really was overdue for a lesson about pride.
Shen Qinghong made a proclamation the next day— he would personally come to Jiang Chen’s residence on the morrow and engage in a tremendous battle with him.
The entirety of Rosy Valley boiled over when this news hit the streets. Shen Qinghong’s existence in Rosy Valley was a vaunted existence, almost at the level of myth. If the youngsters in Rosy Valley were to pick someone they admired and envied, eight out of ten would choose Shen Qinghong. The remainder might choose Jun Mobai or the recently hot Jiang Chen.
However, when looking at the length of time Shen Qinghong had held his position as first ranked, his impressive background and his untouchable backer, the vast majority of the younger generation guessed that he was most likely the next palace head.
Even if he wasn’t, he was likely one of the most favored candidates. Such a unique genius wanted to compete with Jiang Chen, a newly ascended genius, in pills? Emotions of all sorts, from surprise and speculation to shock and enthusiasm suffused the Rosy Valley.
“Is that Jiang Chen really that impressive that even senior brother Shen needs to make a move himself?”
“Senior brother Shen’s potential has always been a mystery. Is he finally going to show himself?”
“I really envy Jiang Chen! Even if he loses, there is great honor in his defeat.”
“Indeed, Jiang Chen is really something. His rise is explosively meteoric!”
“He has the skills to his name as well, otherwise he wouldn’t have moved into the Sovereign Area. I’ve also heard that those who have challenged him lately have all failed, even Shen Trifire!”
“Those are just rumors; how many of you saw that with your own eyes? I just refuse to accept this Jiang Chen!”
“Me too! What right does a foreign disciple have to bask in the limelight of our sect?”
“That Mu Gaoqi is suspicious as well. How come he suddenly has an innate wood constitution of high order?”
“Has someone really helped Jiang Chen cheat? Let’s see how senior brother Shen tramples him!”
Some Rosy Valley core disciples still found it hard to accept Jiang Chen. They didn’t have any grudges with Jiang Chen; they just couldn’t accept a new person suddenly becoming so strong and overtaking all of them. It was a purely emotional reaction of envy, admiration or just simple greed. However, there were also those who retained their senses. Through their coolly logical assessment, they were certain that Jiang Chen wasn’t a product of cheating, but the genuine article. But of course, they naturally wouldn’t step out to defend him.
Jiang Chen didn’t care about the rumors and discourse that swept the Rosy Valley up in a storm. Words were no more tangible than the floating clouds in his eyes. Only that twenty thousand stones were real, tangible benefits in his eyes.
He couldn’t wait for Shen Qinghong to come knocking.