Chapter 2039: Jiang Chen’s Counter-Strike

Some were astonished by Jiang Chen’s reappearance, but most were quite pleased. His Crowning Empyrean Pills were still yet to be sold, after all.

According to the prior agreement, the Eternal genius was to auction them after the conclusion of the competition. However, he felt it was best to wait until after the formation of the alliance.

To do so right now would strain relations between Eternal and at least some of the sacred lands. This would be highly disadvantageous. Prime Gao, of the Flora Sacred Land, knew this as well. 

“Young Jiang Chen.” He breathed out through a skin-deep smile. “You are blessed to have survived a near-death experience. We all know how exceptional of a genius you are now, and a veritable guru of pill dao to boot. I imagine that all of Myriad Abyss and the ten sacred lands will bow down to you someday. The auction of the Crowning Empyrean Pills we talked about earlier… we can do that now, yes?”

Though every sentence seemed to praise Jiang Chen, their intention was uniformly to draw enmity and trouble for him.

If the auction was conducted now, those who didn’t benefit would likely end up opposing Eternal and supporting Flora. Therefore, it was in the Flora primes’ best interests to have the auction commence immediately.  

“Daoist Gao, that is entirely the Eternal Sacred Land’s decision. We thank you for your extraneous concern,” interjected Eternal’s first prime. She needed to earn back the forefather’s trust after that last debacle.

“Haha, we all have ears here. We heard what he said before. You were the ones who promised to auction the Crowning Empyrean Pills after the competition, weren’t you? Surely you weren’t toying with our feelings?” Prime Gao was an expert at inciting negativity from the crowd.

All eyes rested on Jiang Chen.

“Young friend Jiang Chen, please don’t keep back the Crowning Empyrean Pills any longer. These treasures are meant to be shared. Why disappoint us so? The ten sacred lands should stand united. We have plenty of future opportunities to cooperate.”

“Exactly. There’s not much point hoarding your pills.”

“Eternal wants to use these pills to strike it rich, eh?”

When others came out of the woodworks to light a fire under Eternal’s feet, the atmosphere became a little tense.

Eternal’s first prime darkened. Flora is at it again!

Jiang Chen was entirely at ease. He raised his hands a little, then pushed downward. “There’s no need to argue, my friends. Please, hear me out.”

The crowd instantly became calm.

He cleared his throat before continuing. “I know you are all discerning and wise individuals here. Why then, should we act or speak foolishly? There’s no need to judge what kind of person I am from the few words of another. Daoist Gao is clever as well. Think closely as to what he intends by his words just now.

“To put it nicely, he’s rabble-rousing. To put it bluntly, he is using your emotions for his own ends.”

Villains such as these didn’t need to be shown any face.

“There’s no reason I would bring the Crowning Empyrean Pills if not to auction them. I guarantee I will do my best to ensure every sacred land gets at least one. Of course, because Flora has singled me and the Eternal Sacred Land out numerous times, I am heavily considering excluding them. Anyone who follows in their footsteps will receive similar treatment. 

“I would rather keep the pills unsold than have them fall into ill-meaning hands. I need to make a profit, but I have my principles. I have ever been a forthright and conscientious man. If you want to buy a Crowning Empyrean Pill from me, I ask you to wait until more important matters are dealt with. Moreover, I swear that I will refine these pills for any sacred land that doesn’t manage to get hold of one today, charging only a nominal twenty percent fee. If the cauldron contains ten pills, I ask only two. Is that satisfactory?”

Jiang Chen’s quick reaction rebuffed all of Prime Gao’s trickery, smacking down the latter’s reputation in the process.

His audience was impressed. The young man had just demonstrated remarkable skill at verbal fencing in parrying and riposting with one fluid motion.

The ones who’d been riled up instantly calmed down. It was obvious after a little thought that Flora was taking advantage of them.

Many specifically noted to themselves to be wary of the Flora Sacred Land in the near future because of this.

Eternal’s forefather found it quite remarkable. Even he couldn’t think of a solution that was much better than what Jiang Chen had done here. As expected of a genius who was skilled in every field!

The ten sacred lands seemed largely accepting of this compromise. Moreover, they were quite excited. Usually, the best pill masters took half of the cauldron as the fee for refining pills. Some particularly harsh ones took even more.

For Jiang Chen to take only a fifth was beyond kind. His incredible skill meant that his services were being rendered nearly free of charge.

Everyone nodded in acceptance of his terms.

“A straightforward settlement, young friend Jiang Chen. Impressive.”

“Impressive indeed. You deserve the attention you have, and more.”

“I’ve always said that young friend Jiang Chen has more heart and magnanimity than any of his generation. He would do well even compared to us old-timers.”

“Quite so. He’s the only one to ever return from the tenth island, no? I’ve always disagreed with the fact that he’s been deemed chosen by heaven, but reality has proven me otherwise.”

“Young friend Jiang Chen, I daresay you’re the only candidate for the man at the forefront of Myriad Abyss in the future. Other geniuses are good, but you’re the best.”

“Or they might catch up after a very long time. Still, you’re far ahead of them right now!”

Flattery overwhelmed the young man. Some were sincere, but others were hot air.

Jiang Chen wasn’t the type to let any of it get to his head. “Thank you for the undeserved compliments, seniors.” He smiled. “Let us get down to more formal business.”

“He’s right. Back to the main topic at hand. Aren’t we here to form an alliance?” Prime Puresmoke took the initiative.

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etvolare's Thoughts

Ummm. Anyone else feeling like the sacred lands are filled with empty-headed ditzes...

And for some reason, Prime Gao feels like a mix between Snape and Umbridge. O_O

Quick update about my laptop going kaput as the repair center finally got back to me. Good news: repairs cost several hundred less than previously anticipated. Bad news, repair time is twice as long as originally quoted! @@ My fingers will just burn for a bit longer until my work laptop is back... but thank you all so much for supporting me on KoFi. 

All the support that came in was for an etvo pin, so I'd like to extend the offer and say that anyone who buys me 5+ coffees in the month of October will receive a sleepy etvo pin, previously showcased here: https://twitter.com/etvofluff/status/1163278347373170691 Thank you all again so much! *cupped fist salute*