Chapter 50: Golden Chambers
When Xue Wei only bowed fractionally to the man in the middle, one of the guys on the man’s side took a step forward and harrumphed. His voice was so loud that many people present in the restaurant started feeling uncomfortable.
Shen Mu and Luo Zhirou, who were right next to Xue Wei, both felt like an explosion had ensued in their minds; blood leaked from their ears, and they were dizzy. None of them dared to speak, but Xue Wei's eyes turned serious, and a deadly gleam appeared deep within.
These men had not even introduced themselves. They had been rude, and considering their rudeness Xue Wei had still responded politely.
They had even gone as far as to wound his comrades. As to why he was not injured, he did not know, but he felt a tremor in his soul when the expert harrumphed.
"Shao Qiang!" The middle man looked displeased as he glanced at the man who had acted, but although he seemed unhappy, he did nothing more. Following that, he once more turned to Xue Wei, his face filled with a smile.
"I am here on behalf of Crown Prince Dong Jie. He is holding a banquet tomorrow evening and would love for you and a few of your friends to participate."
"Crown Prince Dong Jie is a good friend of your uncle, and he wishes to extend this friendship to cover you as well. He also wishes to get to know the rising genius who has appeared out of nowhere. It is not every day one is fortunate enough to encounter a genius with a special physique."
Xue Wei was stumped when he heard that what these men were here for was to offer him an invitation to a banquet with the most prominent person in the entire Heping Kingdom.
Right now, the Crown Prince was rather steady in his position, and the only one who could threaten him even slightly was the Third Prince.
However, because of several factors, the Crown Prince had gained his position, and the King favored him heavily.
The Crown Prince was born from the Queen, whereas the Third Prince was born from a less popular concubine.
The Crown Prince was older than the Third Prince, and he had cultivated for a longer period of time. Hence his strength was superior.
Although the Third Prince had more talent than the Crown Prince, and even though he was much more ruthless, everyone flocked to the Crown Prince's banner, and only a few experts and politicians decided to support the Third Prince.
Even though Xue Wei was an upcoming genius, he was the nephew of Xiao Lei. Anyone who reeled him in had gained a significant backing.
Xue Wei was perfectly well aware of this. What they wanted was not him, and although his talent was extraordinary and making them interested in taking him in, they would never go as far as to hold a banquet for him.
"Seems like uncle has a great influence still," Xue Wei smiled to himself, but he quickly nodded his head in response to the invitation. "I would be happy to partake in the banquet," he said.
Although he was aware that they did not want him at the banquet but his uncle, he was also aware that life would become very troublesome if he insulted the future ruler of the kingdom.
"Your lordship mentioned that I could bring some friends," Xue Wei continued and looked at Luo Zhirou and Shen Mu by his sides and smiled. "I will be bringing two. They both know how to behave," Xue Wei promised, and both Luo Zhirou and Shen Mu felt warmth in their hearts knowing that they were the ones he wanted to bring along.
Although they were aware that this was a great opportunity for them, they could not help but feel slightly scared and nervous. They had always thought they came from a major city and that they were in the upper echelons of society, but now they understood that although they were nobles where they came from, they were nothing more than country bumpkins to these people in the capital.
"Well, we have delivered the message from His Highness in that case," the person in the middle said and gave a slight nod to Xue Wei before he turned around and left.
As soon as he left, the previously quiet restaurant exploded in an uproar. "To think that Duke Zhang made a personal visit to see this person! He is much more formidable than what I expected at first – perhaps all those rumors are true!" someone exclaimed, and Xue Wei was surprised when he heard that the person in question was a duke.
One has to know that reaching the rank of a duke was very difficult. For the nobility, only one rank was above the duke rank, apart from the Royal family, and that was the marquis.
Becoming a marquis was near impossible. They were considered royal highnesses and only the most heroic figures of a generation were given this rank. Not even Xiao Lei had been allowed to become a marquis.
Although becoming a marquis was possible, there were currently no one who had been bequeathed this rank in the entire Kingdom, but there were a full five dukes. Three of these dukes supported the Crown Prince, while the other two were neutral.
Duke Zhang was a duke that Xue Wei had read about before. He used to be a Primordial Beast Hunter as well, but he had only killed two Primordial Beasts when he was still active. Now he was an official at the royal court and held a high position as the Grand Chancellor, the highest-ranking executive official of the Heping Kingdom.
"I guess it makes sense that his guards thought I acted imperiously," Xue Wei sighed, "but how was I to know who he was when he did not introduce himself?"
"Not to mention that his actions were overbearing to the limit of what even I can accept. Although neither Luo Zhirou nor Shen Mu encountered great trouble or experienced any serious wounds, they were still bleeding, and it has made my first impression of them poor."
Xue Wei looked at Luo Zhirou and Shen Mu, expecting to see anger on their faces after having been treated the way they had. But instead, they were expressing excitement
"You will bring us to the banquet?" Luo Zhirou asked with a voice trembling with excitement. Her eyes were glistening and a smile that she could not control spread on her face.
"Of course." Xue Wei smiled and nodded his head. "I have to bring my friends, and you two are my friends," he said cheerfully, hiding the feelings of injustice he held within, but he had not forgotten it. He was very curious about how the Crown Prince would treat him and his friends.
"We have to go shopping!" Luo Zhirou exclaimed. "We need to get our hands on a present for our host tomorrow, and I need to purchase a dress. I did not pack any pretty dresses since we were heading for the army and I doubted that there would be any big banquets at the army camp."
Luo Zhirou blushed slightly, but both Shen Mu and Xue Wei laughed at her.
"This is the capital; the shops are open far into the night, so let us go and find something. But do we need to bring some sort of present to the Crown Prince? Will we be able to provide him anything he could be interested in?"
Hearing that, the two others became quiet for some time before they gave Xue Wei a wry smile. It was indeed impolite to show up at a banquet without a present, but at the same time, their gift would just embarrass them.
"We can always give him some beast cores," Shen Mu attempted to find something they had that they could give but Xue Wei shook his head. "We only have beast cores of Fierce Beast equivalent to Ordinary Warriors. Although it might be of use to us, the fact is that he is the Crown Prince. He has available to him the best resources our kingdom has to offer. He would not even pick up such a beast core if it was in front of him."
Shen Mu hung his head, but Xue Wei just shrugged his shoulders. "Well, we can go to the Golden Chambers. It is an auction house that spans the entire continent, and it is also the only auction house in the entire city. It has two branches in the capital, one in the outer city and one in the inner city."
"This auction house might have something valuable. They don't only do auctions, as you can also buy a lot of things in their stores, while it is all the rarer materials that are being auctioned off."
Xue Wei smiled as he spoke. "The Golden Chambers are never closed. They are open throughout the entire day – including the night – never missing business; and as the years have gone by, more and more of the shops in the inner city have matched their style and are open nearly all hours of the day."
"The inner city is mainly inhabited by cultivators. And as you know, although we are still considered mortals we do not need to sleep any longer. Cultivation can change our need for sleep, and thus we never know when we need to go out buying things."
"Okay, okay!" Shen Mu laughed. "You have convinced us, let us grab our bags from the rooms upstairs and go to the shopping streets to see what exactly we need. If we fall over something outstanding, we can buy it for the Crown Prince. If we can't find anything, then we still ought to at least get a dress for little Zhirou. Although we are considered country bumpkins here, we can at least look the part as nobles!"
Shen Mu and Luo Zhirou had been given a fair amount of money by their individual families, just like Xue Wei, but Xue Wei had at least ten times their amount of money as he was the sole heir of Xiao Lei. Meanwhile, the Luo and Shen families had other youngsters. Both Shen Mu and Luo Zhirou had other siblings, cousins, uncles, nephews and so on.
Together, the group went to their rooms, grabbed their bags, and got ready to stroll into the bustling city.
Although the sky was dark, the city streets were lit by street lamps, and every shop had torches and other lamps to light them up.
Many of the local inhabitants were on their way home after playing outside the entire day, but others were on their way out after having practiced all day. Restaurants and drinking dens were filled to the brim; all of them had experts walking in and out, and some were sober while others were drunk.
"Well, where should we go first?" Shen Mu asked as they entered the busy streets. Both Shen Mu and Luo Zhirou were looking around with big eyes filled with the wonders of the capital.
Although Tiankong City was a major city within the Kingdom of Heping, it was nothing compared to the capital. The capital was at least ten times bigger. It had so many people living here, and the whole feel was different. It felt so much more luxurious and had a feeling of being from another world.
Xue Wei was leading his two friends. "We will go to the Golden Chambers first." he said, having made his decision early on. "I want to see if they have any interesting things, and at the same time we will be able to get rid of all our beast cores."
Their bags were still filled to the brim with beast cores. It was natural for them to have acquired as many as they had after the fight with the beast horde, and now it was time for them to truly profit.
"Although it is dangerous to sell all at once, that only matters in normal shops. Doing business with the Golden Chambers will be safe."
"In that case, we know where to go!" Shen Mu decided, and Luo Zhirou nodded her head. She truly did not care where they went as long as she was capable of experiencing this wonderful city's nightlife.