Chapter 316 – Seen Through
Zhao Hai was sitting on the living room of his hotel accommodation, Shue was before him conveying his report, "Young Master, from my inquiries, because of Ruyen's recent scandals in the city, Grand Duke Evan has just recently decreed to have her study in Rosen Empire's Carson City. Because of this, Ruyen is very frustrated these past few days. I heard that in the Grand Duke's mansion, many servants had already suffered under her whip."
Zhao Hai was shocked, he didn't think that Ruyen would be sent that far. Moreover, she had the same destination as him, Rosen Empire's Carson City.
Laura who was at his side smiled, "This must be heaven's will, ah, I didn't expect that the young lady would have the same destination as us. If we let her know that we are also headed for Carson City, she may even travel with us."
Zhao Hai forced a smile as he replied, "Don't talk nonsense, I don't have that kind of charm. Look, we want to head towards Iksa City, she's headed towards Carson City. The roads don't go the same way, so she should not be going along with us."
Laura just nodded and she said, "I hope so, it would be very troublesome if the young miss would really join us. Right, Brother Hai, Shue's identity was exposed today. Uncle would certainly know, what do you think his response will be? Shouldn't we be prepared in advance?"
Zhao Hai agreed, "Shue's identity would be exposed sooner or later anyway. I had long since prepared, not many knew that we had captured Shue back then. We can just say that Shue had a serious injury and we just happened to save him. And due to his gratitude, he decided to serve me. Shue, you should remember this, if someone asks you later, tell them this."
Shue complied, "Yes, Young Master."
At this time, a knock could be heard. Zhao Hai knitted his brows, it was already late, who would look for him at this time?
Shue immediately arrived at the door then he asked, "Who is it?"
Outside, a voice could be heard, "Mister Wales, hello, I am an attendant of the hotel. I'm here to tell mister that Grand Duke Evan wishes to invite you over to his mansion."
Zhao Hai was stunned, he didn't expect Evan to ask them to visit his mansion. Zhao Hai cannot help but scratch his head and said, "Really troublesome, it seems that you are right, The young lady is really a headache. I just came in contact with her and now trouble came."
Laura laughed, she knew that Zhao Hai disliked Ruyen. But this time, Evan's invitation made Laura wary, he turned his head to Zhao Hai and said, "Brother Hai, why did you think Grand Duke Evan invited you over? Is it because of the matter of our meeting with Ruyen?"
Zhao Hai frowned, from what Laura said, he couldn't think of this matter as anything simple. It was impossible for Evan to invite them just because they got in touch with Ruyen, this matter isn't something that a Grand Duke would trouble himself with. So what was the reason?
Looking at Zhao Hai frowning, Laura made Shue notify the attendant. Then she turned to Zhao Hai and said, "Elder Brother, we'll accompany you to see the Grand Duke. It was the Grand Duke who invited you, it wouldn't be proper to ignore his invitation."
Zhao Hai nodded, "Let's go and see Uncle Evan." He said as he led the group outside. Shue was a step ahead since he needed to prepare Zhao Hai's carriage.
While Zhao Hai and others were waiting, Shue rushed their carriage to the hotel's entrance. Then, Zhao Hai and the others proceeded to head towards the Grand Duke's mansion along with another person. This person was a steward of the Grand Duke, he was the one who delivered Evan's message.
The steward rode his horse and lead Zhao Hai's carriage. He was afraid that Zhao Hai didn't know the way to the mansion.
The carriage quickly arrived at the Grand Duke's mansion. Shue immediately led the carriage inside the mansion, then had a house steward arrange the carriage's parking. Zhao Hai led Laura and Meg inside while the other three people followed another steward. Then the three went inside and were lead towards Evan's study.
Compared to before, Evan has already consolidated his power so he had less matters that needed his attention. When he just took over the power center of the Duchy, he needed to know about a lot of the family's matters, making him extremely busy. Now, however, he already had complete control of the family's resources. He had arranged his trusted subordinates to important positions, therefore he could trust them to do his job, he didn't need to deal with every small problem anymore.
Zhao Hai brought Laura and Meg together with him. Shue, Blockhead, and Nier were left to care for the carriage inside a small courtyard. Since Zhao Hai's current status can't be compared to the original Laura, Shue and the others cannot be arranged to a better place.
When Zhao Hai arrived outside Evan's study, the steward leading them went towards the study's door and told the servant inside to notify the Grand Duke that Mister Wales had arrived.
The servant looked at Wales and gave him a bow, then he said, "I ask mister to wait a moment". It was obvious that the servant had received proper training and was very polite. Zhao Hai nodded then just calmly stood there.
Up until now, Zhao Hai still didn't understand why Evan wanted to see him. To call him just for Ruyen is a bit improper. The reason shouldn't just this small thing. But no matter how he racked his head, he was still confused.
The servant who entered the study returned then said to Zhao Hai, "Mister Wales, please, the Grand Duke is waiting inside." Zhao Hai nodded then led Laura and Meg inside.
There were no changes inside Evan's study, it was still like its original appearance. Evan was sitting inside waiting for Zhao Hai and the others. Then Zhao Hai was lead inside by the servant, when the three arrived in front of evan, they gave a salute, "Has met his Excellency Grand Duke Evan."
Evan looked at Zhao Hai and cannot help but knit his brows. It was obvious that Zhao Hai was disguised, but he still nodded, "Mister Wales, please sit down."
After expressing his gratitude, Zhao Hai sat opposite Evan, while Laura and Meg stood behind him. The two were wearing veils, Evan just looked at the two then didn't care about them anymore, but his impression of Zhai Hai had already dropped by a few points.
The servant gave Zhao Hai a cup of tea, then Evan talked, "I was presumptuous this time for inviting mister, I just have a few inquiries to ask mister."
Zhao Hai quickly replied, "Please, Grand Duke, I'll aid you as long as its within my capabilities."
Evan smiled faintly, then he continued, "I heard that Mister has friends in the Beastman Prairie?"
Zhao Hai stared for a moment, then quickly thought about what Evan said, then he realized that he told Ruyen this fact. Zhao Hai immediately replied, "That's right, I'll let the Grand Duke know that I have some few commercial relations with beastmen, they are my friends."
Evan nodded, "I don't know if Mister has heard some recent news in the prairie about a Dark Mage?"
Zhao Hai and Laura sa stunned, then they immediately understood that Evan didn't call them because of Ruyen, but instead because of this.
When they retreated from Casa City, the bought a lot of supplies needed to survive in the prairie, making known that they planned to head towards the prairie. Now that Evan has heard that Zhao Hai had friends in the prairie, he immediately invited him to ask for information.
However, Zhao Hai just knit his brows and said, "Dark Mage? I don't know if the Grand Duke knows, but the prairie is very large, the area that I had explored is very small. Therefore I didn't hear of any Dark Mage moving about in the prairie."
Evan was somewhat disappointed, but he still nodded and said, "Forget it, I want to ask mister for help, if mister returns to the prairie later, I'll ask mister to pay attention to information about a Dark Mage and a young lady named Laura."
Zhao Hai nodded, "This isn't an issue, by the way, can I ask the Grand Duke why you are asking information about these two people? If they offended the Grand Duke, I can discuss with my friend to issue a bounty for the arrest of these two."
Zhao Hai intentionally said this to look at Evan's response. Evan was stunned, then he smiled, "Mister has misunderstood, these two has not offended me. It's quite the opposite, they are friends of mine. But because of a previous matter, they went to the Beastman Prairie to conduct business, then we lost all contact, I wanted to know their situation."
Zhao Hai was suddenly enlightened, he responded embarrassingly, "I had misunderstood the Grand DUke, so they are the Grand Duke's friends. The Grand Duke can feel relieved, I will help you pay attention to them. Can I ask for their names?"
Evam smiled, "Right, the Dark Mage is called Zhao Hai, the other was Laura, Laura was originally from the Markey Family. I hope mister can pay attention to them."
Zhao Hai responded, "The Grand Duke is too polite, this is just a small matter to me. I can just ask my beastmen friends for help gathering information."
Evan nodded, "Then I apologize for troubling mister, when mister arrives to the Duchy next time, please come visit me in the mansion. I would appreciate meeting an outstanding young man such as you."
Zhao Hai chuckled, "Grand Duke overpraises, this one just manages a small business, just enough to live by, nothing more. Not that outstanding at all."
Then Zhao Hai pretended to look at the weather, he said to Evan, "The sky is already late, I need to say my farewells, I still have to leave early tomorrow. I ask the Grand Duke to excuse me." Then he stood up.
Evan smiled faintly and responded, "I have tired mister with my invitation." Then Evan stood up and was ready to lead Zhao Hai out, but suddenly his eyes fell on Laura and Meg. Although the two of them were wearing veils, their faces were only covered by a thin gauze, if you look close enough, you could see their faces. The two's appearance made Evan stare.
Then, his two eyes lit up. He carefully looked at Laura, then he carefully sized Meg up. Seeing Evan's expression, Zhao Hai didn't feel well, it seems that Evan has noticed something.
He immediately said, "Grand Duke, please don't bother seeing me off, I'll excuse myself." Then he led Meg and Laura outside the study. At this point, Evan was staring at him, Evan couldn't help but be surprised as he immediately shouted, "Mister, please stay."
Zhao Hai stopped then turned his head to Evan. Evan carefully sized him up. A happy expression flashed within his eyes, then he commanded the servant, "You go out first, make sure nobody approaches my study."
The servant complied, then turned around to go outside and guard the door. Zhao Hai couldn't help but complain in his heart, he was sure that Evan had found something out.
When the servant exited, Evan immediately arrived at the door, he carefully looked outside. Then he turned his head to Zhao Hai and looked at him with a strange expression. Zhao Hai looked at Evan, confused, "Can I know what the Grand Duke needed me for?"
Evan looked at Zhao Hai's appearance then sighed, "Boy, no need to pretend anymore. You really think that since I have not seen you for many years, I wouldn't recognize you? Even if I don't recognize you, you really think I wouldn't know Meg? You still don't know, but your father gave me your portrait, I can already identify your appearance."
Zhao Hai stared blankly, when Evan said Meg's name, he knew that their secret had already been revealed. He didn't think that Evan's vision was that sharp.
Evan looked strangely at Zhao Hai, "I don't understand, why are you and Laura together? Laura, what's happening?"
Laura was also stunned, she didn't imagine that Evan would recognize her. Since their cover was already blown, there wasn't any point in wearing her veil anymore, so she removed it and looked at Evan, "How did Uncle Evan recognize me?"
Meg also took off her veil, although Zhao Hai didn't do any action, he observed Evan, Evan didn't answer Laura's question but instead looked at Zhao Hai, "Adam, why are you with Laura? What's going on?"
Upon hearing Evan, Zhao Hai finally lost heart since he was recognized by Evan, he sighed and responded, "Nephew has seen Uncle Evan, your nephew has already changed his name, I'm now called Zhao Hai Buda, you can call me Zhao Hai."
Evan stared at Zhao Hai, "Zhao Hai, you said you're Zhao Hai? The Dark Mage Zhao Hai?"
Zhao Hai nodded, "I am, nephew has appeared in the Duchy in the past as the Dark Mage Zhao Hai."
Hearing what Zhao Hai said, Evan couldn't believe it, "How is this possible? This is impossible! Didn't you drink the Water of Nothingness? How can you use Dark Element Magic?"
Zhao Hai looked at Evan and said, "Uncle Evan, I did drink Water of Nothingness. Although the Water can make a person unable to learn magic nor battle qi, they could still use their Divergent Abilities. When nephew drank the Water of Nothingness, I got a Divergent Ability, thus I can pretend being a Dark Mage."
Note: I liked this chapter. I think this was the first time that Zhao Hai’s identities converged in front of someone not involved first-hand.