Chapter 72: Imperial Family
The Cloud-Piercing Shuttles stopped and parked in place once they reached Origin Light Castle. All of the humans and the Harpy diplomatic envoys were carefully inspected as they disembarked. Su Chen’s identity was that of a member of the diplomatic envoy, so he was no exception to these procedures.
This was a rare opportunity for Su Chen to investigate the secrets the Origin Energy Castle, so he didn’t want to waste any time idling around here. He immediately asked Zhu Yunyan if he could go out for a stroll.
Zhu Yunyan easily understood his intentions. After thinking it over for a moment, he said, “As long as you promise not to stir up trouble.”
“Of course,” Su Chen answered confidently.
Zhu Yunyan nodded in agreement.
Origin Light Castle was both a fort and a city. During their visit, the Zhu Clan had the right to walk around the castle as they pleased as well as buy and sell resources due to the agreement that they had signed with the diplomatic envoy.
Of course, Origin Light Castle was split up into different regions between residences, military affairs, commerce, etc. The Zhu Clan only had permission to wander freely around in the residential and commercial areas, and they also had to be supervised by Harpy guards at all times.
The Zhu Clan’s diplomatic envoy walked out of the consulate, followed by two Harpies, and arrived at the commerce district.
This was everyone’s first time visiting a different race’s market, so they were all incredibly curious about what it would hold.
Zhu Xianyao, in particular, was dragging Su Chen along by the hand animatedly. It reached the point where Su Chen was forced to shove her hand away over and over again as he whispered in a low tone, “Please, my name right now is Chen Shu, one of the Zhu Clan’s subordinates. In what kind of world would I hold hands with you?”
Zhu Xianyao glared at Su Chen before loudly saying, “Chen Shu, I want to buy some things. You will carry my bags for me.”
“......Yes, Young Miss.” Su Chen helplessly lowered his head.
“I like it when you listen to me.” Zhu Xianyao arched an eyebrow in delight and flicked Su Chen’s forehead playfully before skipping away, giggling. Su Chen could only follow behind, his hands tied.
The Harpies’ commercial district was quite unique. As a race that held elegance and grace in high esteem, most of their items were exquisitely constructed. Even the simplest bowls and plates were covered in ornate engravings.
The Harpies themselves also had quite a few rare products available for sale.
For instance, there was something called a “Celestial Knitting Cloud” that was sold here. It looked exactly like a normal cloud and likewise floated in the sky. Any clothing knit from it would be incredibly soft and even buoyant to some degree. If a human were to wear clothing knit from this material, their weight would change. With it, a normal person would be able to jump around three hundred feet high, while Light Shaking Realm cultivators would be able to use much less Origin Energy to fly. Humans viewed this item as a unique clothing material, while Harpies viewed it as a cloud that was only produced in special airspaces. Specifically, large numbers of female Harpies needed to fly to high altitudes in order to harvest these clouds. Because harvesting it was an extremely delicate and fine process, it required the effort of many common laborers, and even powerful individuals couldn’t skip any steps. Only the Harpies, who could all fly, were suited to harvest this material.
There was also a special floating cactus that grew in the air. It needed neither soil nor water to grow, but it could only grow at extremely high altitudes, making it an incredibly rare plant. Again, only the Harpies were suited to harvesting these plants. These special cacti could be used as ingredients in all kinds of high-tier medicines, so they were worth quite a lot, especially in human territory. Here, however, they were being sold in a common marketplace, and the price was at least twenty times lower.
Zhu Xianyao and Su Chen browsed the Harpy products one by one, amazed at the selection of products available. They sighed and gasped in admiration at the products that they had never even seen before, and were giddy with excitement at the high quantities and low prices of the items that they had seen before.
Zhu Xianyao began to go on a crazy shopping spree.
Sorry, Su Chen — oh, your name is now Chen Shu, so your fate is to carry bags for the Young Miss.
Zhu Xianyao would point at anything that she liked, and another servant behind her paid for everything. At this point, Su Chen was basically completely buried underneath a mountain of bags.
He was the Boundless Sect’s Sect Master, humanity’s Worldly Sage. But now, he was responsible for carrying his woman’s bags. He could only sigh to himself in self-pity.
Thankfully, he was not the only one doomed to such a fate. Patelocke’s puppet, which was walking beside him, was also commissioned into carrying Zhu Xianyao’s bags.
Just as they were about to leave the marketplace, they saw another group of people walking in their direction, all human.
The person at the very front was a young prince. He appeared quite stately, and when he saw Zhu Xianyao, his eyes lit up, and he walked over.
When Zhu Xianyao saw the other party, she frowned and turned around to leave, but the other person had already caught up to them. “Xianyao? Why are you here?”
He actually recognized Zhu Xianyao.
Zhu Xianyao unhappily replied, “Li Daohong, what does it matter to you where I go?”
His surname was Li?
Su Chen immediately understood
Throughout Liaoye Country, the number of people surnamed Li who could travel into Harpy territory and were this familiar with Zhu Xianyao was probably very few in number. More specifically, this person was most likely from the imperial family.
However, it seemed like this prince’s relationship with Zhu Xianyao was not as simple as one of friends. His gaze was lascivious, and even though it was Su Chen’s first time meeting this person, he immediately recognized the licentious tendency deep in this person’s bones.
Su Chen had met quite a few imperial princes by now, such as Jiang Xishui and Chu Jiangyu. These princes kept their emotions in check and were capable of acting quite sophisticatedly, and they carried themselves with proper decorum in daily circumstances because of the upbringing they had received. Li Daohong, however, was an exception to this rule. His gaze at Zhu Xianyao showed an unrestrained desire to gobble her up, and even the way he spoke was extremely frank and brusque . He lacked the attitude and aura of someone from a family of that status.
At this moment, Li Daohong said, “I understand now. A few days ago, the imperial palace received word that Flat Sky City obtained a license of passage and was asking for my father’s permission. There were even a few high-ranking officials who interceded on its behalf. Originally, my father felt that this deal had been negotiated apart from the imperial family’s authority and wanted to sit on it for a few days. However, I spoke up and said that the relationship between the Harpies and us humans does not belong to the imperial family alone. Since the Zhu Clan had the ability to reach such an agreement, and the imperial family had been saved the trouble of needing to mediate, my father decided to allow it.”
Zhu Xianyao harrumphed. “So what, are you saying that the Zhu Clan needs to thank you? Is that right?”
Li Daohong patted his chest and said, “Xianyao, there’s no need to be courteous. After all, we already know each other so well.”
Su Chen laughed condescendingly in his heart.
The Zhu Clan’s business agreement with Sky City had received Li Wuyi’s blessings a long time ago, and they had also bribed quite a few officials to get their support, or at the very least, to convince them not to spoil the Zhu Clan’s plans. To secure these proceedings, the Zhu Clan would also give up three-tenths of any profits they made from these trade relations. Otherwise, how else would they be allowed to directly do business with the Harpies?
Now, however, Li Daohong was basically claiming that the price the Zhu Clan had paid was actually a result of his contributions. That was really quite shameless.
Li Daohong was quite pleased with himself. He grabbed Zhu Xianyao and refused to let go, blabbering on all the while.
Su Chen understood Zhu Xianyao quite well. He fully expected Zhu Xianyao to slap him across the face at any moment.
Strangely, even though Zhu Xianyao didn’t like Li Daohong, she didn’t do anything aggressive either. Instead, she suppressed her emotions and coldly shut down all of his advances.
Li Daohong didn’t mind Zhu Xianyao’s frigidness at all. He continued to converse animatedly with her. Zhu Xianyao was obviously becoming impatient, but she forcefully suppressed her anger and didn’t act on it at all.
That was quite a rare occurrence.
At this moment, Li Daohong was still spouting out a steady stream of words. After thinking for a moment, Su Chen spoke up and said, “Young Miss, we’re running out of time. We should leave.”
When Zhu Xianyao heard this, she treated it like an imperial edict. “Yes, I suppose that we are out of time. It appears that I cannot keep you company for any longer, Your Highness. Please, continue to enjoy yourself. I will take my leave first.”
Li Daohong’s expression sank.
His expression when he had been gazing at Zhu Xianyao was one way, while his expression when he looked at Su Chen was the complete opposite. His change in expression was so sudden yet natural that even Su Chen couldn’t help but sigh in amazement.
Li Daohong said, “A mere house servant dares to interrupt our conversation? How impetuous!”
Zhu Xianyao glared at him. “Are you planning on teaching my house servant a lesson?”
Li Daohong immediately chuckled amiably and responded, “You’re right, Xianyao. Since you are planning on personally instructing your servant, I will not be impolite.”
Zhu Xianyao didn’t want to talk with him any longer, so she bid him goodbye and left.
Li Daohong had failed to get her to stay, so he could only watch her leave. His gaze grew cold as he said, “Sili!”
“Here!” a warrior standing next to Li Daohong saluted.
“Kill that servant who interrupted our conversation.”
Li Daohong turned to leave.
To him, this was an insignificant matter, not worth another thought from him.
On his way back, Su Chen talked quietly with Zhu Xianyao.
Zhu Xianyao said, “Don’t you think that it’s strange that I didn’t give in and vent my emotions?”
Su Chen faintly replied, “You always need to be courteous to disciples of the imperial family.”
Zhu Xianyao laughed bitterly. “You’re right, but also wrong at the same time. I wouldn’t care about offending a normal disciple of an imperial family, but I do need to be careful around him.”
“Oh?” Su Chen was interested. “I don’t think he’s Liaoye’s Crown Prince, right?”
Zhu Xianyao harrumphed. “If the Crown Prince acted like he did, the country’s subjects probably would have reported him and stripped him of his rank by now. How could he possibly be allowed to act so arrogantly for so long?”
These words seemed overbearing, but they rightly represented how most people viewed the imperial family. The nobles had quite a bit of authority themselves — the imperial family did not have absolute authority. This was why Zhu Xianyao could say that she could indeed ignore most imperial disciples.
However, that only applied to most normal disciples. Of course, the Crown Prince was not included in this list of disciples, and neither was Li Daohong.
When he heard Zhu Xianyao put it like that, Su Chen fell into deep thought.
He realized that he seemed to have made a mistake.
He then asked, “Anyone who can appear in Harpy territory and become a member of the imperial family’s commerce group, even if they have a greedy, lascivious temperament, must be quite an extraordinary individual, even this Li Daohong.”
“Now you understand,” Zhu Xianyao confirmed.
Su Chen was naturally not an idiot, but he had instinctively overlooked Li Daohong’s abilities. It wasn’t until Zhu Xianyao reminded him that he realized something about his analysis had been off.
If he was a part of the imperial family’s commerce group, then that meant that his status within the country wasn’t low either. It seemed from Li Daohong’s earlier demeanor that even his status amongst the commerce group was not low.
“Does this guy have some powerful backer?” Su Chen still didn’t understand.
Zhu Xianyao sighed. “He does have a powerful backer. His father, Li Wuyi, is the current emperor. Is that powerful enough for you?”
It went without saying that he had a powerful backer, but his status was not only due to his powerful backer.
That meant there was only one other explanation.
Zhu Xianyao finally explicitly spelled it out. “He relied on his own abilities...... Whether you want to admit it or not, whether you like it or not, Li Daohong is a genius. A true genius that the Li Clan only sees perhaps once every few thousand years!”