Shen Mu and Luo Zhirou were rather befuddled as they followed behind Xue Wei.
Everything had happened so fast that they had not seen exactly what had happened, and they were in a trance-like state, trying their best to make heads and tails of what they had seen.
The horse had suddenly gone insane. There had been nothing to warrant this madness; it had happened out of the blue.
Luo Zhirou and Shen Mu both looked curiously at Xue Wei. Had he done something to be able to control the thoughts of a mortal beast, which seemed to be an impossibility?
Together the three made their way to the palace gates. Here, the guards were looking fierce and strong. Each and every one of them was of the Sky Warrior rank, and their strength was magnificent in comparison to simple Ordinary Warriors like Xue Wei, Luo Zhirou, and Shen Mu.
"Halt," one of the guards called out as he saw Xue Wei and his friends. He frowned. He knew that the Crown Prince was hosting a banquet tonight, but the usual guests were all Earth Warriors. To see three Ordinary Warriors meant that their background was formidable or they had some other redeeming qualities.
"Please announce your name," the guard said. He was neither hostile nor polite, but he was very straightforward.
His strength allowed for him to be smug, but he also understood that these children were the next generation's Primordial Beast Hunters. They would become amazing figures, and insulting them would be pointless for him.
"Xue Wei. I brought two friends with me," Xue Wei introduced himself. The moment he mentioned his name, an eyebrow on the guard’s face shot into the air.
He too had heard about the new unique genius that had appeared in the city from out of nowhere. He had stunned all the upper echelons of the capital with his brazen behavior, his shocking background, and his special physique.
Everyone knew that he was only an Ordinary Warrior, but they were also aware that he had not cultivated for more than half a year. When taking that into consideration, his talent for cultivation was simply so outstanding that no one was able to catch up with him at the rate he was going. Even if he were an Ordinary Warrior now, it was highly likely that he would be an Earth Warrior in a month at most.
"This way please," The guard bowed slightly and gestured with an arm, leading the three into the palace grounds.
The guard led them all the way through the many gardens scattered across the grounds. There were stone gardens, bamboo gardens, flower gardens, and even lakes and streams. It continued on for a long time, and they walked past many mansions, palaces, pagodas, and pavilions on their way towards a beautiful palace in the distance.
"This is the Green Jade Palace," the guard introduced. "It is the place where His Highness the Crown Prince usually hosts his banquets. It belongs to His Highness the King, but he often lends it out to his sons when they have special events ongoing."
The guard provided a quick introduction of the building where the banquet would be held, and he smiled with good will towards Xue Wei.
"His Highness, the Crown Prince, values talent a great deal. It is your honor to be invited to his banquet like this, but be careful. Not all of the King's children look at the Crown Prince favorably, and those who flock to his side might encounter unknown danger."
The guard decided to warn him. He had a good impression of this young man who was neither too humble nor too arrogant.
"Thank you for your warning," Xue Wei said with genuine gratitude. Few people had shown concern for Xue Wei in his life, and those who did were in his opinion worthy of him treating them with respect.
Truthfully, Xue Wei had already spoken with Luo Zhirou and Shen Mu about joining a faction. He was not eager to join one, but he knew that they wanted to as soon as possible.
Xue Wei, Luo Zhirou, and Shen Mu walked the final part of the way on their own. There was a beautiful trail leading in and out through the environment of a stunning stone garden.
The trail led through the many beautiful corners of the garden so that one would see the wonders of the place before reaching a building made solely from green jade and gold.
This was the Green Jade Palace, and it was outstandingly beautiful as it towered in front of them, sparkling in the light of the setting sun.
Bustling noises came out from the open gate, and another two Sky Warrior guards were keeping a watch at the entrance.
There were no one else on the way towards the banquet, as it seemed that all of them had arrived already, but Xue Wei did not feel any pressure. Instead, he leisurely strolled in and smiled at the two guards whose faces twitched a little from the carefreeness that Xue Wei displayed.
Shen Mu and Luo Zhirou were feeling uncomfortable showing up late, but they knew that they would be in the shadows of Xue Wei, and could not help but heave a sigh of relief. Xue Wei had become a towering person to them. Someone who would protect them from the rain and the wind, someone who would take all the troubles they might encounter and dispel them.
As they reached the entrance, the two Sky Warrior guards looked at them, but they did not stop them. Instead, they just observed them as the three of them entered the palace itself.
The moment they entered, a herald was waiting, and he looked at them with a dismayed expression on his face. "Follow me," he said grumpily, "you are late," he continued to complain. However, since he was showing no respect to Xue Wei, Xue Wei on the other hand did not display any respect to him either.
As they walked up a set of stairs, they finally reached a large hall that was filled with young men and women that were mingling with one another. A few were of the ninth layer Ordinary Warrior rank, but the majority were first layer Earth Warriors.
Some beautiful women looked like otherworldly fairies; there were young men who looked as if they cared as much about their appearance as these women, and there were men as burly as a bear.
Everyone was wearing their most outstanding outfits, and the majority wore outfits made from Fierce Beast materials. Some of the outfits were made with leather, others had fabric made from silk, and a third group was wearing fur.
The experts were mingling together in groups. Some of them were standing at a table with drinks, sipping some wine, and others were at a table with food while nibbling on some snacks.
There were also groups all over the floor chatting merrily with one another, a cup of traditional wine in one hand.
Almost everyone present had weapons draped around their bodies, either swords hanging from their waists or on their backs, spears on their backs, whips hanging around their waist, and so on.
It was clear that all of them were cultivators, their senses were heightened, and their eyes gleamed with competitive spirit. Xue Wei looked out over the entire hall with his eyes, and they narrowed as they landed on someone who stood at a podium while talking with a small group of experts where there were even some second layer and third layer Earth Warriors amongst them.
This young man seemed to be between twenty and thirty years old. He was wearing the most exquisite clothes made from silk that was harvested from a Primordial Beast, and with a fur lining of Primordial Beast fur.
This young man was not very old, yet when Xue Wei looked at him, he felt an acute sense of crisis that he had only met when encountering Shen Bingwen, Li Fang, Manager Su, and the mysterious female Primordial Beast.
It was clear that if he was not already a Heavenly Warrior at such a young age, then he was not far from becoming one.
It was clear that he was the Crown Prince. He was an incredibly attractive young man. His skin was white as porcelain, his eyes dark and deep like a fathomless deep. His eyebrows were slanted upwards like a sharp sword and his features were like the finest carving of a heavenly ruler.
The moment Xue Wei's eyes landed on him, the man stopped talking and lifted his head, looking straight at Xue Wei. A smile then blossomed on his handsome face, and he said a few words to the ones surrounding him before he made his way towards Xue Wei and his friends.
Everyone had noticed what was going on. The moment Xue Wei entered the hall, they noticed him, yet many of the ones present deigned him unworthy of paying their attention to and thus they continued their conversations.
It was not before the Crown Prince himself began moving towards Xue Wei that people started wondering who exactly this unknown figure was.
The ones who were smarter amongst the group of nobles instantly guessed his identity and smiled as they too tried to get a good first-hand impression from this young man.
There were also those who disliked Xue Wei from the rumors, but although they disliked him, they would not mention it when seeing the smile that had blossomed on the Crown Prince's face.
"You must be Xue Wei!" The Crown Prince said as he lifted his hand and gestured for Xue Wei and his friends to follow.
"I was starting to get worried that you would not join us." He laughed, and Xue Wei politely smiled.
"It is my honor to be invited to such an event, so of course we will show up," Xue Wei said as he cupped his hands to the Crown Prince, showing proper etiquette.
Everyone held their breath as they observed how the interaction between Xue Wei and the Crown Prince transpired.
Many were secretly wishing for Xue Wei to insult the prince somehow, but so far that was not happening. On the other hand, others had a favorable impression of him and were almost nervous about their interaction, hoping that he would behave correctly so that he could become another pillar of support for the Crown Prince's side in the fight for the throne.
"Come with me," The Crown Prince said, and from his tone, Xue Wei could instantly tell that he was used to issuing orders and that he was used to them being obliged.
Although there was a slight hint of an order behind this sentence too, Xue Wei did not mind and followed behind the Crown Prince through the entire hall. He ensured to look around at the same time and saw that there was a massive platform just next to the podium he had been standing on before, and he instantly knew what this was for.
Xue Wei had read many books about the Kingdom of Heping. In the Kingdom of Heping's capital, it was usual to hold banquets amongst the younger generation. Furthermore, when they held these banquets, they also reserved time to exchange pointers.
Thinking of this, Xue Wei's face sank a little. He had faith in towering over any other ninth layer Ordinary Warrior with no issue. He was even confident in his chances against an average one layer Earth Warrior, but when it came to the two and three layer Earth Warriors, his biggest chance was to escape.
It would have been possible for him to kill them using Sacrificial Stab and also taking advantage should they underestimate their opponent, but in the long run he could only run away. A sparring match where one party constantly ran away was not worth watching.
"Oh well, maybe no one will challenge me," he muttered to himself with a self-mocking smile. As always, he understood that personal strength was all that mattered and if he wanted to do good in this life, then he needed to stand above all others.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
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Betareader: Soultorrent & Norwegian Viking