Chapter 353 – Sky Water City
Zhao Hai looked at these docks and turned his head to Stack, "Brother Stack, what are these docks? Do these also belong to Sky Water City?"
Stack nodded, "Yes. Even though Sky Water City has a very good harbor, there are a lot of ships passing through. River ships, sea ships, all kinds of vessels come here everyday and all of them wouldn't be able to fit inside the city. Although these small piers were still quite a ways from Sky Water City, they could still transport the goods by land. This method beats just waiting for a free space to dock on."
Zhao Hai nodded, "Yeah, it's really quite far away. Can we get to Sky Water City this evening?"
Stack shook his head, "We can't get there tonight. We'll find a pier to dock on and then rest. Tomorrow we'll arrive at Sky Water City. The Shelley Family has a private dock inside so we can go there and disembark, we don't need to wait for another ship to free up some space."
Zhao Hai nodded and simultaneously developed an understanding of Shelley Family's forces inside Sky Water City. According to everything he has heard of until now, Sky Water City was a place of wealth and prosperity. For the Shelley Family to have their own private port there meant that they had quite some standing inside Sky Water City.
Evening came and Stack docked their ship at something called the mercenary's pier. From the name, there were a lot of mercenaries present everywhere in the pier. Some mercenaries acted as guards for the ships while some carried cargo between the ships and the docks.
A mercenary as a coolie? This may sound absurd, but its not. What were mercenaries? They were only ordinary civilians in the first place. Most of them lost their home because of various reasons. In order to survive and not become slaves, they could only be mercenaries.
Because their fighting power was very weak and the fact that they have families to feed. They wouldn't dare take very dangerous tasks. They can only take jobs like being a courier for letters. These tasks weren't dangerous but their remuneration weren't high, only enough to live by.
But since these jobs weren't available everyday, what other thing could they do? They could only do manual labor, so generally one couldn't distinguish between coolies and mercenaries.
Piers like these that were outside Sky Water City and wasn't managed properly by the Calci Family were very unregulated. With mercenaries from different backgrounds mingling with each other, there was only one word to describe these docks, chaos, they were very chaotic.
When their ship stopped at the pier, Stack told Zhao Hai that it was best for them to not disembark at this pier. Although Zhao Hai was strong, there's no benefit in provoking another group.
Zhao Hai didn't want to go to the pier either. Such small pier couldn't catch his attention. Like what Stack implied, these mercenaries were quite rough people; who knows what they'll do when they see beautiful women like Laura and the others? Zhao Hai didn't want to know the answer.
They didn't have to worry about mercenaries while being onboard a ship. For the mercenaries, the people onboard were their providers for food and clothing. No one would intentionally go inside a ship just to look for trouble.
They rested inside the ship that night and when morning came, Zhao Hai finally moved closer towards Sky Water City. After another two hours of sailing, they could already see Sky Water City's wall vaguely.
The nearer they are from Sky Water City, the more surprised Zhao Hai became. His expectation for how big Sky Water City was blown away. The city was much much bigger than River Law City. River Law city has about 1 million citizens, but looking at how Sky Water City was three times bigger than River Law City, its population could possibly be 3 million!
There weren't many large cities such as this in the continent. And for the Calci Family to be able to control all of such a city was a very amazing feat. One should know that even the emperor of Rosen Empire couldn't touch this city, this showed Zhao Hai how much power and influence Calci Family held.
Zhao Hai didn't believe that the Radiant Church didn't know that Calci Family was a family of Dark Mages. The Radiant Church certainly knew, but they couldn't do anything about it. This made Calci Family look even more formidable. No wonder the family was the major pillar within the League of Dark Mages, only they have this kind of strength.
Soon, the ship slowly entered a small dock right next to Sky Water City. The dock wasn't big, maybe it could fit five or six ships like theirs. It was a small pier, but Might told Zhao Hai that even though it was Shelley Family who constructed this, they still needed to pay a million gold coins as fee every year. If they don't, the Calci family would confiscate this pier.
For a pier of this size costing 1 million gold coins per year explains how large of a treasure trove Sky Water City was. For the Calci Family to have complete hegemony of this city, they surely did have formidable strength.
When the ship docked at the pier, Zhao Hai noticed that there were already people waiting there. Most of these people wore silken clothes mostly used by merchants, they looked very conspicuous.
Looking at these people, Might turned his head to Zhao Hai and said, "They came to meet us. The family already sent me a message to treat mister and his group with utmost courtesy."
Zhao Hai froze for a moment then shook his head, "This is too much. I may not be worth it."
Might smiled faintly, "It's absolutely worth it. Mister suffered because of your milk wine cooperation with the family. Mister is certainly worth it. Let's head down."
Zhao Hai didn't say anything, he just followed Might in disembarking from the ship. Their carriage was also naturally unloaded, as well as their bulls.
Just as the two men arrived at the pier, the merchant dressed men immediately welcomed them. The one at the front was a fat man that looked to be 40 something years old. He laughed and said to Zhao Hai and Might, "The head of Sky Water City's Shelley Hotel, Marriott, has met Mister Wales and Captain Might."
Might also gave Marriott a salute and said, "I won't dare, Manager Marriott is too polite."
Zhao Hai laughed and said "For this one to make Manager Marriott come, this one is certainly humbled."
Marriott laughed and said, "Mister is too polite, putting your life on the line to help Shelley Family, Mister is very well worth it. Sir, please get on the carriage, the hotel has prepared a meal and is only waiting for mister to come."
Upon hearing Marriott, Zhao Hai smiled and said, "Then I'll be impolite. Then, Manager, please." Then the group got onto their respective carriages and headed towards Sky Water City.
While entering the city, Zhao Hai sized Sky Water City up. The city certainly deserved to be called Sky Water City, inside the city were numerous small creeks as well as bridges. Taking this as a whole, the entire city looked very unusual.
The city was bustling with people, pedestrians weaving through the traffic. Although there were a lot of creeks inside the city, the streets were extremely spacious. There were also a lot of shops along the street. Various carriages and people could be seen entering and exiting these shops. Businesses on these stores were very good.
From time to time, Zhao Hai could see people wearing standard issue leather armor, they were carrying a two-handed sword and were walking on the street. These people were looking around the place as though monitoring for something. On the leather armor of these people, the insignia of the Calci Family was printed, it seems like they were people from the Calci Family.
Looking at these people, Zhao Hai turned to Laura and asked, "Laura, who are these people? Are they the City Garrison? Does the Calci Family send them to maintain public security?"
Laura smiles and answered, "From what I heard, Sky Water City has a unique organization called the Urban Administrative and Law Enforcement Bureau. They were tasked specifically to handle public security. They were also responsible for cleaning the streets and other miscellaneous work. Their influence inside Sky Water City is quite big." 
Zhao Hai was stunned. He didn't think that he would hear the words Urban Administrative and Law Enforcement Bureau again after coming to Ark Continent. Isn't it too weird? Did the Calci Family also cross over? Otherwise how could such a specific name arise?
Gently shook his head and threw out these useless ideas, Zhao Hai continued to observe everything inside the city. It must be said that Sky Water City was the most prosperous city Zhao Hai has ever seen. But such city was actually placed second next to Carson City, it made it difficult to imagine what Carson City looked like.
After travelling or about an hour, their carriage stopped. Zhao Hai looked outside and saw that they had reached a tall multi-story building. This was the highest building Zhao Hai has seen after arriving at Ark Continent.
In front of the building was a big square with a flower bed in the middle. Inscribed on the flower bed was Shelly Family's insignia composed of flowers of different colors.
Zhao Hai got down from his carriage as Might and Marriott came to greet him. Marriott bowed to Zhao Hai and said, "Mister, the food and wine are ready. Today, the hotel will treat mister with our hospitality."
Zhao Hai laughed and said, "Then, Manager, let'g go. I'm famished." Marriott replied, "Then, Mister, this way please." Then the group entered the hotel together.
Zhao Hai didn't know if he was under an illusion or something. He felt that Manager Marriott was extremely enthusiastic about him. He had an overwhelming amount of energy in him.
What he didn't actually know was that when they travelled towards the city, Might already told Marriott that Zhao Hai was a Space Mage. To any power, grabbing a Space Mage to their side was top level priority. When Marriott knew that Zhao Hai was a Space Mage, naturally he would get extremely passionate; he's afraid of showing a low amount of hospitality to Zhao Hai.
Sky Water City's Shelley Hotel was very luxurious, it was full of high quality services. The people coming in and out of it were all well dressed and looked well educated. One only needed a glance to know that the business was doing very well. All of the guests they met greeted Marriott, it can be seen that these people see some importance in the hotel's manager.
Zhao Hai saw that these people must be small nobles and didn’t have that high of an identity. Although they were inside the Shelley Hotel as guests, that didn't dare offend Marriott. They also flatter the manager from time to time, which was good for their families and businesses.
But Marriott didn't look down on them just because of their status. He also greeted the people who approached him with a warm reception. There wasn't an ounce of disrespect given to them, elevating Zhao Hai's evaluation of Marriott. The hotel's manager looked like a well-mannered gentleman.
Before long, the group entered the hotel's elevator and went up ten floors. While heading up, Marriott turned to Zhao Hai, "We have two dining halls in the hotel, one at the first floor while the other one is at the tenth floor. The restaurants on the first floor are open to everyone to dine in. But the one on the tenth floor is different, not even guests on the hotel can just get access to that dining hall. Only a few people are able to dine there, namely, the hotel's VIPs. The chef on the 10th floor dining hall is one of the pinnacle chefs inside Rosen Empire. Even if you compare him to the Imperial Chef, he wouldn't lose."
Zhao Hai smiled, "The Shelley Hotel is already extraordinary just by seeing that they managed to build their business throughout the continent. Now, seeing people like manager, no wonder the business is doing very well."
Marriott looked proud, "Mister overpraised me. Inside Shelley Family, there are a lot of people like me, as numerous as the hairs on an ox. I'm just a small hotel manager."
Might actually laughed and said, "Manager Marriott is too modest. There are around 11,200 Shelley hotels in the continent. And if we just base on income generated, Sky Water City branch could rank in the top ten. This shows how formidable Manager Marriott is."
Upon hearing this, Zhao Hai looked at Marriott under a new light. He didn't expect that this fat man could be so formidable that among the 11,200 hotels, he would actually rank in the top ten. Wasn't this extremely amazing?
Although the hotels have the same reputation, the cities that they were located in were different. It was not easy to rank in the top ten among this number of hotels. Even if you're placed on a favorable location, there was still a lot to do regarding relationships, staff management, guest management and more. When you look at it in this perspective, you could see how a formidable of a businessman Marriott was.
When Marriot heard what Might said, his smile became even more radiant. Then the turned to Might and said, "I couldn't compare to Captain Might. Captain Might is a captain of the family headquarters' garrison force. He couldn't be dispatched easily, the power he wields is much bigger than us small officials."
Might stiffly smiled, "I'm just a little captain, not that powerful. Manager is too polite." Then the group laughed as they headed towards the 10th floor dining hall.
When the elevator’s door opened, Zhao Hai and Might became surprised. They didn't expect that someone else would be present at the dining hall. And the person was already eating and drinking inside.Coolie, 苦力(Kǔlì) n. an unskilled native laborer in India, China, and some other Asian countries. The Urban Administrative and Law Enforcement Bureau, commonly shortened to Chengguan (Chinese: 城管; pinyin: Chéngguǎn), is a local government agency that has been established in every city in Mainland China.
Chapter 354 – 13th Young Master
Zhao Hai noticed that Marriott already had cleared the place earlier. Inside the dining hall, there was only one table with something in it, the other tables were empty. There were well-dressed waiters present on the vicinity, and all of them were staring at the young man eating the food and drinking the wine on the table.
Upon analyzing the situation, Zhao Hai reckoned that the young man must be a member of Shelley Family. Moreover, his status couldn't be that low, otherwise the waiters wouldn't have left him alone.
When Marriott saw the young man, his complexion changed and looked at the young man with a stiff smile, "13th young master, you came."
The young man didn't care about Marriott. He just continued to eat and drink. At this time Might came forward and greeted, "Might has seen 13th young master."
Thirteenth young master's attitude to Might was much better. He looked up at Might and said, "Might, how come you're here?'
Might smiled and said, "This time, I was sent by the family to escort Mister Wales." Then Might introduced the 13th young master to Zhao Hai, "This is Mister Wales, a distinguished guest of the family, they instructed to provide him with the highest level of hospitality."
Might's words actually warned the young master to mind his attitude towards Zhao Hai. To Great Nobles such as Shelley Family, their system of education had already been ironed out. All family descendants would be educated from a very early age, something most noble families do.
Naturally, it was impossible for them to learn by just going to regular classes. So to merchant family such as Shelley Family, they would also teach their children merchant training from their early years. But to be a successful merchant, one should have good people skills, so they would generally bring their descendants to social events to hone their skills. The Shelley Family was good at this aspect, their descendants were already very prepared.
But there would always be one or two black sheep inside a Family, and this 13th young master was Shelley Family's black sheep. Even though the education that he received from childhood was the same as his elder brothers, the 13th young master still turned out different, giving the family a huge headache.
Although this 13th young master had learned a lot of things, he didn't use it at the appropriate places. In the entire Shelley Family, he was the only one who acted like a spoiled brat. Apart from some high ranking elders in the family, he didn't give anybody any face. Some time ago, he actually had a fight with the son of Grand Duke Lionheart. Later on, the Grand Duke went on to suppress Shelley Family's business, the business matter and the earlier scuffle weren't completely unrelated with each other.
But the mother of this 13th young master also belonged to a Great Family that was also very influential. This made his mother have a high standing within the family. It may be because of this reason that the 13th young master was very arrogant. He even looked down on his elder brothers.
This character of his was what made the Shelley Family's head hurt. He didn't give anyone face, he even treated Marriott like trash. He even made huge troubles for the family, this made the Shelley Family come up of ways in dealing with the troubles he caused.
But in the end, he was a member of the Shelley family and had an influential mother so nobody inside the family dared to be impolite to him. Even for someone like Marriott, he still needed to show respect.
This made him even more lawless. In the past few days, it wasn't known how many businesses of Shelley Family he managed to destroy. The number of people he offended wasn't low either. Fortunately, they took into account Shelley Family's face, so they only regarded him as a child who never properly grew up.
Marriott had received prior information that the young master would arrive at Sky Water City in three days. He thought that there wouldn't be an accident this time, but he didn't expect the young master to appear today. Moreover, he actually went to the dining hall and rudely ate and drank the food that wasn't meant for him.
Marriott turned to look at Zhao Hai, Zhai Hai seems to not be angry. He just looked at the young master, furthermore an amused expression could be seen from his eyes.
Hearing what Might said earlier, Marriott couldn't help but be thankful to him. He was very clear on the importance of Zhao Hai to the family. Now he only hoped that the young master would give Zhao Hai face and not act too rowdy. Otherwise, if Zhao Hai gets offended, it would be a huge loss for the family.
After listening to Might's introduction of Zhao Hai, 13th young master didn't say anything but the contempt inside his eyes could be clearly seen. In fact, he didn't even try to conceal it. He ignored all of Might's warnings and looked at Zhao Hai contemptuously, "Boy, did you come here thinking that the family will give you free food and drinks? Do you think my Shelley Family are fools?"
Zhao Hai looked at the young master and smiled faintly, "The Shelley Family certainly aren't fools since they wanted to partner with me. But a fool is definitely one who offends someone without any knowledge of what's going on."
13th young master complexion changed, even Might and Marriott's face changed. The two of them understood the young master's temperament, 13th young master absolutely wouldn't allow anyone to give his face a slap. The two naturally heard Zhao Hai's irony that was directed at the young master. Zhao Hai basically said that he was not the fool but the young master was.
Sure enough, the young master's face immediately worsened. He looked at Zhao Hai and sneered, "Boy, I don't care who you are but do you believe that the Shelley Family will still keep on cooperating with you? Do you want to get chased down by the Family?"
Zhao Hai just smiled faintly and responded, "I don't believe, are you Shelley Family's patriarch? Do you have the authority? If the Shelley Family did stop their partnership with me because of your order, then it has nothing to do with me. The Shelley Family doesn't have anything worth for me anyway."
13th young master's face turned ugly, he didn't think that Zhao Hai would actually face him. He coldly looked at Zhao Hai, "Boy, do you understand what you're saying? From what you just said, it seems like it was my Shelley Family who actually reached out to make a partnership with you. Is this what you're implying?"
Zhao Hai smiled, "That is exactly what I am implying. It wasn't my intention to cooperate with the family anyway, it was them who reached out to me first. So I could say that I can stop cooperating with them at any time and look for another partner. Did I explain myself properly?"
13th young master's face was pale, he turned to Might and Marriott and furiously roared, "Did you hear what he said? Immediately kick him out of here!"
Might and Marriott could only share a stiff smile, they didn't make a move. Zhao Hai looked at this scene and found it funny. He turned to the young master and didn't say anything, he only wore an amused smile on his face clearly taunting the 13th young master.
13th young master looked at Might and Marriott and shouted, "You won't listen to me? Don't forget that I'm a foreign affairs elder, I have the authority to command you. Do you dare defy the clan's orders?"
A family didn't necessarily have a foreign affairs elder, the matter of foreign affairs could be handed to any other member of a family. So this foreign affairs elder title of 13th young master was nothing but an empty title. However, just like what he said, he still has enough authority to command the two.
At this time, Might smiled bitterly and took a step, "!3th young master, you haven't contacted the family recently have you? The patriarch already removed your foreign affairs elder status. He also spread out the message that as long as someone see you, they should immediately take you home. Thus, you don't have any authority to command us right now. Moreover, the family's cooperation with mister Wales is of utmost importance. You won't be able to destroy it."
13th young master froze, then his face changed for the worse, he looked at Might and said, "Did father really revoke my position as foreign affairs elder? Mother didn't prevent it?"
Might looked at 13th young master with a hint of pity on his eyes, Might was very clear that this young master in front of him hadn't been in contact with the family these past few days. He has hidden himself, possibly because he knew that he was the cause of the feud with Grand Duke Lionheart, and his father would certainly not let him off. He tried as much as possible to not come in contact with people from the family, he only appeared recently because he may have ran out of money to spend.
When he hid before, the clan didn't know of his whereabouts, but now that he has recently appeared, the clan had some people follow and secretly protect him. This was also the reason why Marriott knew that he would arrive at Sky Water City in three days. He just didn't think that the young master would arrive early and was very eager to sabotage the family's cooperation with Zhao Hai.
It was precisely because of this hiding that the young master didn't know the happenings back in the family. Might originally wanted to wait for the 13th young master to arrive before telling him about what happened. But there was no need for it now, with the young master's temperament, if Might didn't interject now, it would really be possible for Zhao Hai and the family's cooperation to disintegrate, this would further add to their headache.
Might sighed and said, "13th young master, you should go home, you will know everything by then." Might naturally didn't want the internal matters of the family to spread. He wanted the young master to be rid off first to reduce having more problems. It would be better to inform him when they are alone.
However, the young master wasn't in such a mood, he yelled at Might and said, "Know what!? Now that I'm not a foreign affairs elder, you're not gonna listen to me anymore? Don't forget that you're a slave, a mutt that my Shelley Family raised."
Might's complexion changed, although he was a servant of Shelley Family, even the Family's Patriarch did not say such words to him. With an ugly face Might looked at the 13th young master and said, "Young master, the family has found out that your mother was sent to the family to destroy it from the inside. The businesses that you destroyed had some traces of you mother's hands in them. This time, your feud with Lionheart was found out to be instigated by your mother as well. In fact, your mother's clan and Lionheart’s clan actually formed an alliance years ago to deal with my Shelley Family. Now, your mother's clan is already exterminated along with your mother. The reason why the family took a long time to deal with Grand Duke Lionheart is because they were already dealing with your mother's clan. The family had already removed your name from the registry and ordered for your capture so that you would get imprisoned back at the headquarters."
Chapter 355 – City Lord's Mansion
13th young master's face looked like an extinguished ember as he stared at blankly Might, then he said, "Impossible, how could the clan already know? I've been very successful these past few years. Why did this happen?"
Hearing the young master's words, Might couldn't help but sneer, "It seems like 13th young master already knew about his crimes, good, I'll report this to the family to save the young master from being interrogated. Maybe the family might even be more lenient to you."
The scene right now could only be described as a rollercoaster. Zhao Hai thought that the few words he said would really make his cooperation with Shelley Family collapse. He didn't think that the situation would actually take a dramatic turn, this was beyond his imaginations.
Marriott looked at Zhao Hai who was still smiling and apologized with a slight smile, "I really apologize for this situation, mister. Please wait for a moment while we prepare." Then he waved his hand as some people immediately came to take the 13th young master. The waiters at the side also cleaned the table and prepared the meals and drinks again.
Right behind Zhao Hai was Laura and the others who were very stunned. They didn't think that something like this would happen today. Like Zhao Hai, this was beyond their imagination.
While Zhao Hat sat down, Laura could only stand behind. Zhao Hai looked at Laura and the others then turned to Marriott, "Manager, can you arrange a meal for my people? No need to keep them here, just have them retreat; I know it must have been very hard for them these past days."
Marriott was already used to this situation so he didn't disagree. He smiled and said, "I've been very rude to mister's people, forgive me." Then he waved his hand as a waiter led Laura and the others to eat and rest.
Zhao Hai really disliked eating while Laura and the others just watch. This made his heart uneasy and apologetic, so he had them go to another place and rest.
Inside the dining hall, only Zhao Hai, Might, and Marriott were left. Might looked at Zhao Hai and smiled, "Mister isn't angry?"
Zhao Hai smiled, "This matter isn't worthy for me to get angry."
Marriott smiled, "Mister is really good-natured. Mister might have not known, but you have greatly helped the family this time. Because Grand Duke Lionheart was very preoccupied in dealing with you, the family had the chance to take care of its other enemy. Now that the clan will start dealing with Grand Duke Luyen, I believe he wouldn't be able to last much long."
Zhao Hai smiled faintly, "As long as someone isn't an absolute idiot, they wouldn't dare move against a family like Shelley family. Seeing how deep you family's reserves were, how could the Grand Duke survive?"
Hearing this, Marriott appeared proud but quickly hid his expression. With a stiff smile he said, "To be honest, this time was actually quite dangerous for the family. We didn't think that someone would send a woman to destroy us from the inside. Marrying a woman to our family, waiting for her to bear a child, then have the child destroy partnerships and businesses. This plot went on for decades undetected, it was very embarrassing."
It was not only Marriott who felt it, when Zhao Hai heard Might's words he couldn't help but shiver. In order to destroy Shelley Family, 13th young master's mother's clan actually went to such degree. This was a very ridiculous amount effort put into such a plot.
Might turned to Zhao Hai and said, "Mister, didn't you come this time to seek cooperation with the Calci Family? Mister Wales, since you are a friend of mine, allow me to say something you might not want to hear. Your present strength isn't enough for the Calci Family to consider you for a cooperation, the qualifications that family needed is very high."
Zhao Hai showed a faint smiled, "Don't worry, this time I came to Sky Water City to visit Calci Family with a letter from a mutual friend, they should at least consider me. I offended some people back at Aksu Empire, there's nowhere I could go but here."
Might and Marriott didn't say anything since this situation was too common. Offending a person of power in their country but not having the strength to fight back, so they plan to seek refuge at other countries. This scene wasn't rare in the continent, so the two people wasn't very surprised.
Might can only look at Zhao Hai and ask, "Mister Wales, can I know who you managed to offend? If it's possible, the Shelley Family might be willing to solve this matter."
Zhao Hai looked at Might with a profound gaze, he faintly smiled and said, "Since we are partners, I don't want to hide the truth from you for a long time. The person I managed to offend back in Aksu Empire is Southern King."
Might and Marriott looked at each other and saw a trace of understanding from each other's eyes. The couldn't find any previous information about 'Wales' before. What they only knew was that he suddenly appeared and had gotten a title form Grand Duke Evan. Anything before that, they couldn't find anything which made them very confused.
However, after further monitoring, they couldn't help but associate Wales with the Dark Mage Zhao Hai from Purcell Duchy. Although Wales didn't use Dark element magic in front of people, some clues still gave it away. Adding all of these observations, they managed to finally get a concrete clue.
This time, Might asked Zhao Hai who his enemy was not only to inquire additional information about him but also to see whether he was really sincere in cooperating with the family.
For Great Families like them, forming partnerships couldn't just be casual. They must understand their collaborator, otherwise they might enter into unnecessary troubles.
This was also the reason why Shelley Family's inquiries about Zhao Hai's identity didn't stop, and it was only until now that they were fully convinced that Wales was the Dark Mage Zhao Hai.
Zhao Hai's reply clearly made his identity known to the family. The two were also aware that Zhao Hai knew that they were testing him but still told them his identity, showing his trust in the family. However, they also heard that Zhao Hai not only offended Southern King but also the Radiant Church. Now wonder he wanted to seek refuge inside Sky Water City. This was because there was zero presence of the Radiant Church inside the city.
Marriott looked at Zhao Hai and said, "Please be assured, mister Wales. You will always be known as mister Wales."
Zhao Hai smiled and didn't say anything. He knew that Might and Marriott understood what he wants. At this time, the food and wine finally arrived and were served to the their table.
The guest was eating very happily with the hosts. Nobody was asking any further questions. Zhao Hai didn't ask about 13th young master's matters since it was Shelley Family's internal matter. At the same time, Might also didn't inquire about Dark Mage Zhao Hai anymore, Zhao Hai had already shown them enough sincerity. If they continue, then they would be acting in bad faith.
In the evening, Zhao Hai and his group rested inside the hotel. Although Ruyen was higher than Zhao Hai in terms of status, Ruyen didn't exist in the eyes of Might; to him, Zhao Hai was much more important. This also made Ruyen know that her status of Purcell Duchy's young lady meant absolutely nothing inside Rosen Empire.
The next morning after Zhao Hai took his breakfast, he asked Might about the directions towards the City Lord's Mansion. He was planning on giving his respects to the City Lord today as well as deliver Bell's letter to him. Zhao Hai wanted to see how Sky Water City's city lord will receive him.
Sitting inside his bull-pulled carriage, Zhao Hai slowly travelled towards the center of the city. Zhao Hai calmly looked outside as shops and people passed by, but his heart wasn't as calm as his expression; he was thinking about what attitude the City Lord will use to meet him.
One must know that Zhao Hai wasn't a very influential person, so to the eyes of Calci Family, he may only be an ordinary member of the League of Dark Mages. Calci Family's influence inside the league was very enormous, the two's status was miles away from each other.
Laura also shared Zhao Hai's concerns and was also very nervous. This time they would meet the Calci Family, one of the pinnacle families inside the Continent. It was understandable for their hearts to feel uneasy.
It took more than an hour before their carriage reached the central part of the city. This time, along with Zhao Hai and Laura, there was also a person sent by Shelley Hotel to provide directions.
In front of the City Lord's Mansion, there was a large square paved with flat blue stones. The area was about a few thousand square meters and was very lively. There were pedestrians passing through as well as peddlers setting up their stalls. This scene made Zhao Hai anticipate his meeting with the Calci Family. He thought that the Calci family was really a good family to have the magnanimity to allow stalls to be erected here.
There were no people in the place several hundred square meters in front of the City Lord Mansion's front gate. And it could also be seen that there were no stalls there.
The carriage slowly parked in front the the City Lord's Mansion. The front gate was very tall, more than five meters high. There was also a giant piece of horizontal tablet about that had the letters "City Lord's Mansion" written on it. In the place above , the Calci Family's insignia was carved. The family's insignia was a magic staff surrounded by mists.
The insignia was very simple, but this symbol was very famous all throughout the continent. It was because the magic staff shown was the Calci Family's heirloom treasure passed down from generation to generation, the Dark Scepter.
Just by listening to its name one would feel like it is very imposing, and it is indeed very formidable. This staff was a treasure for Dark Mages, it was said that it could amplify Dark element spells by about 50 percent as well as reduce the amount of time needed to cast it by also 50 percent. Seeing these two functions, one couldn't help but feel that this magic staff is very fierce.
In the midst of a Mage battle, these advantages were very important. If your magic was a second faster than the enemy, this meant that you can attack the other party first which gave you initiative. This made the Dark Scepter a very famous treasure in the continent. At the same time, it was because of this scepter that the ancestors of Calci Family were able to rack up huge contributions to the Rosen Empire and lay the foundation for the entire family.
Chapter 356 – Smith
After the carriage stopped, Zhao Hai and the others got off from the vehicle. There were two guards standing right by the mansion's front gate. The two wore chainmail armor and wore stiff faces as they just stood there motionless. They looked just like sets of armors placed there.
From the square towards the front gate of mansion, there were a total of 20 steps. Zhao Hai slowly walked toward the front gate attracting attention from both pedestrians and peddlers.
Zhao Hai didn't care about the gazes of these people and continued towards the mansion's front gate. The two guards didn't move as though they didn't notice Zhao Hai. This made Zhao Hai a bit confused, but he still went forward and used the knocker on the mansion's gate.
After two knocks, Zhao Hai stopped, then the gate opened as a young male servant came from inside. He looked at Zhao Hai and gave him a salute, "What does Mister need?"
Zhao Hai smiled faintly, "A friend had me send this letter to the City Lord. I'll have to trouble you to hand this to him." Then he handed the letter that Bell wrote.
The young man received the letter, and when he looked at it his expression changed. He immediately opened the gate and said, "Mister, please let me welcome you to the reception hall. This one will immediately deliver your letter." Then the servant left Zhao Hai at the mansion's reception room.
Upon entering the mansion's premises, only then did Zhao Hai understand how huge the City Lord's mansion was. After entering the gate, you will see a separate house which acted as a reception area for people who'll come and visit. Behind the row of houses was a courtyard, but there was nobody there right now. Right after the field was the main house. There was a sign hung outside but he couldn't read it at this time. What he knew, however, was how big the mansion was, the land it was on was almost as large as the square outside.
Zhao Hai entered the reception room, the room was actually very good. Inside was a complete tea set, while the walls were decorated with various calligraphies as well as paintings. After he came inside, the man immediately had someone serve Zhao Hai the tea, then immediately withdrew back, everything seem to be going along the proper customs.
When Zhao Hai saw this scene, he couldn't help but nod secretly. Looking at the servants' performance, as well as the customs of Calci Family, he knew how educated the people inside the mansion were. Quite fitting for a Family placed at the pinnacle among others in the continent.
Zhao Hai calmed down and sat quietly inside the reception room while drinking tea. He didn't become uneasy regarding the City Lord's Mansion. He already did what he could, all that happens later on will depend on the Calci Family.
When Zhao Hai was about to start drinking his second cup of tea, footsteps could be heard outside the room. Then the male servant who received Zhao Hai appeared after opening the door. At the side of this servant was an old man that looked to be between 60 to 70 years old. The silk clothing that the man wore was very well managed, it didn't have any creases in it, his hair was combed very well, he seemed to be very meticulous.
He wore a very serious face that looked like he was in total concentration. His face was full of wrinkles and he had some amount of gray hair. Despite these, his eyes were full of vitality and seemed to be shining.
Zhao Hai quickly stood up as the old man looked towards Zhao Hai and said, "Greetings Mister. I am the city lord's assistant, the City Lord asked me to invite mister over."
Zhao Hai bowed as well and said, "I'll have to trouble mister." Then he followed the old man.
As the two of them went out of the reception room, Zhao Hai spotted the male servant heading outside the mansion. This made Zhao Hai relieved, it seemed like the servant would arrange somewhere for Laura and the others to stay.
The assistant was a very serious person, he didn't say a word to Zhao Hai as they walked towards the main mansion.
Zhao Hai also took the time to evaluate the City Lord's Mansion. The building closest to the gate was the reception hall, it was right next to the courtyard. After walking further, there was a martial art arena and there were people currently practicing inside. After passing the arena, there was another building with a sign on it that said "Steward's Hall."
Crossing the steward's hall, there was another gate towards the interior part of the City Lord's Mansion. After entering the gate, you were again met with another training field where warriors could be seen training. Behind the field was a building with a sign that said, "Secretariat". After passing that building, there was a small courtyard, but this time there was nobody practicing here. Inside, there was a fountain pond with flowers nearby; the place looked very silent and tranquil.
Behind the small square was a small building. The building looked like a villa, it was very beautiful.
The old man didn't stop and immediately took Zhao Hai towards the small building. The first floor of the building was huge office, it was divided into two sections; one is for proper office use while the other on was used for receiving guests. Inside the reception area, there was a middle aged man standing there.
The figure of the middle-aged man wasn't tall, he looked very thin and weak. But this person was very stylish, he dressed very well.
The person had black hair, white skin, a square but small face. His features were very pronounced and gave anyone a sense of authority whenever they look at him. It was impossible for any other person to not see the feeling of imposingness just by looking at this man.
The old man walked towards the middle-aged person and said, "City Lord, this is Mister Zhao Hai."
The man was looking at Zhao Hai while he listened to the old man's words. He nodded his head and said to Zhao Hai, "Welcome to Sky Water City, Mister Zhao Hai has tired himself by coming here, please sit down."
Zhao Hai hastily bowed and said, "Zhao Hai sees the City Lord, the City Lord is too polite." Then he took a seat.
The City Lord also sat down, he sized up Zhao Hai and said, "I have already read Bell's letter. And since mister is someone from our own side, I won't be polite and ask why did mister come here? Tell me anything that you need. Also, don't call me City Lord, I'm Smith Calci, just call me Brother Smith."
Zhao Hai didn't think that Smith would be very polite, he quickly replied, "Of course, Brother Smith, also you don't need to call me mister any more, just call me Zhao Hai, little Hai is also good. Brother Smith should know of my present situation, I don't have any means to stay inside Aksu Empire anymore. Even other countries are not safe because of the Radiant Church, I feel that they would go to all ends just to chase after me. Therefore I can only go to Brother Smith and hope that Brother would provide me refuge."
Hearing what Zhao Hai said, Smith couldn't help but laugh, "Brother is too polite, you're with the league so naturally i'll treat you like a true brother. You shouldn't be very polite with me. Right, are you staying at Shelley Hotel? If you're asking me for help, then how could I make you stay at Shelley Hotel? How about this, you and your people stay here in the mansion, what do you think?"
Zhao Hai didn't think that Smith would actually have him stay inside the City Lord's Mansion. To be honest, he felt that he couldn't bear Smith's enthusiasm, he quickly said, "It's too much trouble. I think I'm better staying outside, I'll just find a place to stay. How could I trouble Brother Smith?"
Smith showed a faint smile and said, "You're being too polite, how could a big house such as this not have some place for you? Listen to me, go back and pack your things to move in right away. Ah, you don't need to do that, Uncle Phil, go send someone to do that. To be more convenient, tell the people from the hotel that Little Hai is my brother, so I had him move inside the mansion."
The old man who led Zhao Hai was apparently named Phil. He gave a nod then turned to exit the office. Zhao Hai didn't think Smith would be very swift, he didn't even have an opportunity to refuse.
Zhao Hai could only force a smile. Smith turned to Zhao Hai and said, "Little Hai, didn't you also come here to do business? Bell said that you have good products in your hand? What are they?"
Zhao Hai stared, then he smiled, "I have a lot of products on hand, but if we're talking about good products, then I only have a few. One of them are my Haven products. I think Brother Smiled should have heard of them?" Although Haven products hadn't reached Rosen Empire and only existed inside Aksu Empire's Purcell Duchy, Zhao Hai thought that with Calci Family's information network, it would be impossible for them to not know of it.
Smith smiled and replied, "I have, but just those couldn't be considered as a good business. What else do you have?"
Zhao Hai smiled, "There is also the milk wine that I'm supplying Shelley Hotel, its high quality milk wine." As he said that, he turned his hand as he placed a couple of liquor bags on the table. Then he continued, "This milk wine used the beastmen's method to ferment but I added my own methods to improve it. This is much better than the Fruit Wine the people in the continent consumes. Also, this is a strong liquor, it only takes a small cup to make any average person drunk. From what I know, this is the only liquor of its type in the entire continent; it's a unique product. Currently, I have a partnership with Bell and Shelley Hotel for this product. I supply Bell with 1,000 jin per month while Shelley Hotel gets 10,000 jin. Does Brother Smith want to taste?"
Smith looked at the liquor bags on the table. He saw they were the most common liquor bags used by the beastmen. Calci Family controls the entire Sky Water City. This was the most famous port inside Rosen Empire, so it was natural that there were also a lot of ships that sail from here to the Beastman Prairie and vice versa. At the same time, Calci Family also had a lot of ships sailing to and from the prairie, so Smith naturally had seen this kind of liquor bag a lot.
Zhao Hai looked at Smith calmly. He took out some Milk Wine to test Smith. He wanted to see whether Smith would dare drink the wine that he brought.
From the moment he met Smith, Smith was very enthusiastic. Although his enthusiasm was great, Zhao Hai couldn't help but be a bit skeptical. Smith allowed him to stay inside the City Lord's Mansion which was also Smith's place. Zhao Hai thought that making him stay inside the mansion was not only for protecting him, but also for monitoring him.
If Smith was not suspicious of him, then he would certainly drink Zhao Hai's liquor. If he was, then he wouldn't drink the liquor.
Smith took the liquor bag and carefully looked at it, he nodded and said, "This is certainly beastman craftsmanship. Little Hai, do you have business with some beastmen back in the prairie?" At the same time, Smith opened the lid and directly poured the drink into his mouth.
Seeing Smith drink the wine, Zhao Hai's heart couldn’t' help but loosen. It seems that Smith really believes him. But as soon as he saw the liquor bag that Smith was holding, he knew that something bad was going to happen.
Fortunately, his movement was quick enough. When Smith poured the liquor in his mouth, he felt his mouth were on fire so he immediately spat out the liquor. If Zhao Hai was slow, he will certainly meet the spit at face value. This was the main reason why Zhao Hai decided to get out of the way, he saw from the liquor bag that the milk wine that Smith took was the one with the highest degree of alcohol.
While holding the liquor bag, Smith was coughing again and again. He didn't imagine that this wine would be strong to such a degree that as soon as it reached his mouth, it seemed like he was swallowing charcoal, it was too fierce.
Zhao Hai immediately picked up a tea pot and poured Smith a cup of tea and at the same time taking the liquor bag from Smith's hands. Smith wasn't polite and immediately drank the tea to make himself feel better
When he finally managed to somewhat recover, he looked at the liquor bag in Zhao Hai's hand in fear and turned to Zhao Hai, "I must say, Little Hai, are you sure that's alcohol? Isn't that poison?"
Zhao Hai laughed and said, "Brother Smith, I wouldn't drink this wine like that. This wine is very strong. Even the Beastmen who were famous for their alcohol tolerance can't drink that much. This wine had to be drank slowly. And also, the bag you drank contained the strongest liquor of the batch. The other bags aren't as strong as this one. Want to give them another try?"
Zhao Hai usually didn't talk like this to people he met for the first time. But it was surprising that Smith and him didn't have any sense of being strangers with each other. The two seem to know each other for a long time. After seeing Smith drink his liquor, Zhao Hai wholeheartedly took Smith as a friend.
Shaking his head, Smith replied, "Forget it, it is too strong. I can't stand it. But this wine is truly very unique, its very great business. Good, I will support you. If you need a store, or some business connections, just tell me and I'll help you."
Zhao Hai couldn't help but get moved as he listened to Smith. He currently didn't have any connections as well as a place to sell his products, but Smith actually helped him solve these two problems. Who wouldn't be moved with such gesture?
However, Zhao Hai also knew the quantity he had on his hands. He shook his head regretfully and said, "Unfortunately we don't have enough to sell massively. Although this liquor is good, the amount I could produce wouldn't be able to meet the demand. We still need for quite some time before we could provide massive supply"
Smith nodded and said, "Do you have anything else? Show me and maybe I can help you."
Zhao Hai also nodded, "There is, this one is rations. These rations were something meat that the beastmen air dried and seasoned to be used in times of battle. I'm going to have these rations sent to the continent and sell it to mercenaries. Brother Smith, do you think that this is feasible?"
Chapter 357 – Sweet Plum Courtyard
Smith was stunned. He knew about rations since the Calci Family would frequently come in contact with Beastmen. He knew that beastmen would get into wars very often, and while they do so they would also make rations; so Smith was very familiar with them.
He actually didn't think that Zhao Hai would want to sell these rations in the continent. However, his idea was worth trying. Mercenary food was quite monotonous, so if they were served rations, they might take a liking to it.
But Smith still frowned and said, "Little Hai, these rations are made of argali and those are also very valuable in the continent. Making them into rations seems to be quite wasteful."
Zhao Hai smiled and said, "Actually, my rations aren't all made from Argali. Although I have some business inside the prairie, the amount of argali I have isn't that much. Aside from argali, my rations are also made from Blue Eyed Rabbit meat. You should know that Blue Eyed Rabbit meat don't sell very well in the continent, so I made them into rations."
Smith replied, "Blue Eyed Rabbit? This is new to me, aren't Blue Eyed rabbits generally used to make canned food? Did you try doing that?"
Zhao Hai smiled, "I did, but the amount of blue eyed rabbits that I have is quite a lot. They wouldn't be able to be made into canned food, so I made them into rations. Also, I don't want to sell entire blue eyed rabbits since I need their skin for myself."
Smith smiled and said, "Let's go along your plan. Selling thess rations can make those mercenaries remember us, whether it was you or my Calci Family."
Zhao Hai nodded, "But this way, there is another problem. We need to deal with those rabbit skins and I also need to sell some wool products. What do you think about this Brother Smith?"
Smith waved his hand and said, "You don't need to worry about these things. I'll take care of it. You still need to spend some time to get used to the statistics of your business and also see who you can sell your stuff to. If you have any problems, don't hesitate to approach me."
Zhao Hai smiled, "I will, but Brother Smith, I'm very curious, why are you treating me this well when we only had met for the first time?"
Smith looked at Zhao Hai and sighed, "For you, it's because you deserve it. We, the League of Dark Mages, have always been at a disadvantage in our confrontations with the Radiant Church. Especially in the recent years, we always had come with losses with our bouts with them. We think that it is because of our lack of information about the church. The intel you provided some time ago was very important to the league, it made us vent out and feel better."
Now Zhao Hai knew why. No wonder Smith was extremely polite to him. The reason was actually this.
From what he understood from Smith's words, the Calci Family considers the League of Dark Mage as their own family. They cherish the league, therefore they can feel this much gratitude to him.
Zhao Hai thought that there was nothing wrong with this. Calci Family could be said to be the strongest dark mage family in the entire continent. The rise and fall of their family was interlinked with the fate of Dark element magic. Therefore, they couldn't bear see the profession of Dark Mage die down, for this reason they set-up the League of Dark Mages.
However, since they were also Dark Mages, they knew that Dark Mages don't like someone being their superiors. So they set the league up to be a loose alliance and gave it a very relaxed atmosphere. Sure enough, they managed to succeed with this model, they managed to have Dark Mages and other people join to help each other. As to dealing with the Radiant Church? There was no need for them to deliberately take action, after all, Dark Mages already consider the Radiant church as their number 1 enemy.
Zhao Hai looked at Smith and showed a faint smile, "My enmity with the Radiant Church is very deep. This time, on the prairie, I managed to slay a 9th level expert of the church. The intel I got was from that 9th rank."
Smith stared blankly, he didn't know that Zhao Hai had managed to kill a 9th rank expert of the Radiant Church. This information gave him a shock, he looked at Zhao Hai and said, "Did you really kill a church's 9th rank expert?"
Zhao Hai nodded, "Yes, a 9th rank Fire element Mage, one of the successful products of their Ultimate Weapon program. This time, the church extended their hand towards the Cow-headed race and cooperated with the Fighting Bull clan to defeat the Herculean Bull clan. I gave the Herculean Bulls a helping hand, not only did we manage to extinguish the Fighting Bulls, we also killed the church's 9th rank expert as well as a Herculean Bull spy working for the church. Now, I'm currently the Cow-headed race's crown prince."
Smith was once again stunned, the Calci Family had already been doing business with the beastmen for many years. But being a prince of a beastman race? How could human get that status?
Smith was initially hospitable to Zhao Hai since the latter helped the League of Dark Mages solve a few matters and also because of Bell's letter. Bell praised Zhao Hai very much in his letter, so Smith decided to treat Zhao Hai well.
But Smith didn't imagine that Zhao Hai would continually give him surprises. First was his business, his views and ideas were very good for business. This was especially true when he heard that there are only two other parties that supplied the milk wine. At this time, Smith felt his blood pumping and his body turning warm.
Smith was very clear about the proportion of profits unique businesses could bring in, and it was very high. Moreover, he was also a person who looked at the bigger picture, therefore he accepted this business but asked if Zhao Hai had any other products. He want to see whether there was avenue for another good business, he wanted to see what other ideas Zhao Hai might have.
Soon after, the business idea came about. When he heard the proposal, Smith felt puzzled because the business sounded very common and too ordinary that it looked like there was no special characteristics to it at all.
However, after Zhao Hai talked about the mercenaries as customers, Smith knew what Zhao Hai's business target was. The mercenaries in the continent, as a whole, represented a force that couldn't be underestimated.
Although the strength of mercenaries were commonly very small. Smith couldn't just underestimate their capabilities. These great families have information networks among those mercenaries; they knew how terrifying mercenaries could be when they group up.
But although they are quite terrifying, they have low level of efficacy. So if they provide them with rations, which could be considered as a special type of food, it would be a great help to the mercenaries. No other business could provide this much help to the mercenaries.
And lastly, Zhao Hai revealed that he was also a Crown Prince of the Herculean Bull clan. This was the information that hit Smith the hardest. A Beastman race's Crown Prince held a very high status inside the Prairie. No matter what race you are, as long as you are a race's crown prince, even a Warring Clan would accept you with courteous hospitality, this was what this status represented.
But not to even say being a prince, even being a clan member of a Beastman race was a very difficult thing to do. This was because beastmen generally didn't trust humans, so it was close to impossible for a human to be a beastman's clan member.
And a Crown Prince, how difficult would it be for a human to become one? Smith almost didn't want to think about it, he looked at Zhao Hai and didn't know what to say.
Seeing Smith's appearance, Zhao Hai knew what the other was thinking. He just smiled and continued, "Brother Smith, to tell you the truth, I'm not only the Crown Prince of the Herculean Bull Clan, I also hold friendship flags from the Big-bellied Pig Clan as well as the Giant-horned Bull Clan. You see that magic beast pulling my carriage? That is the Giant-Horned Bull's relative beast, I also have the Fighting Bull's relative beast as well as the Herculean Bull's. On the beastman prairie, I can confidently say that I won't be attacked by other beastmen. Hehe."
Smith stared blankly at Zhao Hai, this news was very big. They didn't think that Zhao Hai had such capabilities and wouldn't be attacked by the Beastmen at all. This was a dream for every Human merchant.
Smith recovered after some time, then the turned to Zhao Hai and ask, "Brother, can I know what these friendship flags that you were talking about?"
Hearing Smith ask him, Zhao Hai knew that Smith didn't have any idea what a friendship flag was. After all, Beastmen wouldn't give humans their friendship flags. But he didn't want to hide the truth from Smith, so he immediately explained to Smith what a friendship flag was.
Smith understood that the flag that their clan acquired before was just an ordinary flag, it was no use at all.
The two chatted for a while, Smith got a new understanding of the matters between Beastmen. At this time, Phil came in and said to Smith and Zhao Hai, "Master, Mister Wales, the food is ready. Please take a seat at the dining hall."
Smith stood up hastily along with Zhao Hai, "Little Hai, let's go, come taste the food of my mansion's chefs. Uncle Phil, are Little Hai's baggages taken care of?'
Phil bowed and said, "It has been brought in and placed inside Sweet Plum Courtyard. Mister's servants were also sent to the courtyard."
Smith nodded, then turned to Zhao Hai and said, "You'll be staying inside Sweet Plum Courtyard from now on. Your people have also been sent there. That is an independent courtyard and is the farthest from the main house. That courtyard will be for your use and yours alone. If you need me for something go tell me or Uncle Phil. Uncle Phil watched me grow up, he has my utmost trust. If you need anything just tell him and he'll help you."
Zhao Hai smiled faintly and said, "Good, I'll remember it. Brother doesn't need to worry about it anymore." After talking, they headed towards the mansion's dining hall. The dining hall of the City Lord's mansion was placed in the middle of all the courtyards. The hall was very large, there was a place for ordinary people to eat, a place for the family to eat, a place for elders to eat, and lastly also a place for guests to eat.
Chapter 358 – Megan
The room that they were in right now was the place where guests would dine in. Here, there were individual compartments to eat your meals, one could also order their own dishes, in contrast to ordinary people where their meals were always set.
After eating in the dining hall, Phil took Zhao Hai directly towards Sweet Plum Courtyard where he was going to stay in. Sweet Plum Courtyard was named after its famous Sweet Plum garden, which houses all kinds of sweet plums. At this time, it was the season for the plums to bloom, filling the entire courtyard with a pleasant fragrance.
Although Zhao Hai was admitted to Sweet Plum Courtyard, Ruyen wasn't invited and she just stayed inside Shelley Hotel. However, Zhao Hai still took measures for her to be taken care of.
When Zhao Hai had finished eating his meal and headed to Sweet Plum Courtyard, Laura and the others were already waiting for him inside a room of their new residence. In addition to the sweet plum garden, the courtyard also had a small area in in front of the main house. The entire yard could fit about 100 people, it was not a small courtyard.
After entering the room, Zhao Hai saw Laura and the others sitting inside. Their expression were full of worries when they saw Zhao Hai enter. Laura and the others immediately stood up as Laura asked, "Brother Hai, what's all this about? Why did they send us here?"
Zhao Hai looked at Laura's worried face, he smiled and answered, "No need to be worried, we'll start living here from now on. This is something Brother Smith prepared for us." Then he told Laura and the others about his meeting with Smith today.
Listening to Zhao Hai's story, Laura and the others were stunned. But Laura immediately wore a happy expression, she turned to Zhao Hai and said, "Brother Hai, aren't you worried that Smith arranged for us to stay here so that he could monitor our movements?"
Zhao hai showed a faint smiled and said, "Isn't it good if he watched over us? This way, we can make him more willing to cooperate with us. He will not doubt us, which would be very beneficial for our cause."
Laura and the others stared blankly, but they immediately understood what Zhao Hai meant. Laura embarrassingly said, "So Brother Hai meant that initially, hehe, now I understand."
Zhao Hai smiled, "Good, in the following two days, we should see the statistics of our products, how much grain we can make, as well as the production for our milk wine and rations. Then we'll inform Grandpa Green to ramp up our productions. I'll go and see Ruyen's situation, as soon as Uncle Evan arrives here, Ruyen could immediately board their ship."
Laura smiled, "Making Ruyen go home is also one of our worries. Right, Brother Hai, it's currently early winter, there's little business in the prairie. How about we go see the other nations?"
Zhao Hai smiled faintly and said, "I also think so, but now is not good. It's best if we stabilize our business here. We need to get our shop outside set up as soon as possible."
Laura nodded, "That's also good. In the next two days, we'll see our inventory and have our productions set-up."
Zhao Hai also nodded, "I didn't think that it would be this smooth. With Brother Smith's help, we now have a lot of things on our hand that we can work on. Also, it's the best time to visit the slave market, want to come and see?"
Laura agreed, "That's a great idea, what we lack the most are skilled people. Although we brought a lot of beastmen slaves, those slaves have zero experience in planting crops. This matter is a very big problem, so it's best if we go find additional human slaves, especially those who have skills and are literate."
Zhao Hai nodded, "Right, we have too low of a population in our territory. Our territory isn't that much smaller than the entire Aksu Empire, but the amount of people inside are really too few. Even if we improve the land now, there would be no people to work on it."
These days, Zhao Hai had always been thinking about his territory. In addition to the Black Wasteland, there was still the Carrion Fog which Cai'er could use to expand their territory. But currently, even if he improves all of this land, the hands that could work on it were really too few.
Presently, the amount of people he had was enough to farm the existing fields. But with the increasing amount of factories that they would build, the amount of people who could plant crops would get lesser and lesser. It was very fortunate that it's currently winter, so there was no need to plants crops outside.
At this time, there was a sudden burst of noise coming from outside. This made Zhao Hai and the others stare, this courtyard was arranged for them by Smith. It was very strange for someone to come in. What is this all about?
Zhao Hai's expression changed, he turned to Shun and said, "Shun take a look and see what's happening, and make sure to don't offend anyone." Shun nodded and opened the door to head outside.
Megan liked the plum blossoms since she was a child, so Sweet Plum courtyard became her most favorite place to visit. If it wasn't for Sweet Plum courtyard being too far, she would have already moved in here.
Since it's the beginning beginning parts of winter, the sweet plums were on their full blossom inside the garden. Megan got a few friends together and visited the garden. Along the way, they were drinking a few cups of warmed up wine as they were chatting about matters in the continent.
The City Lord's Mansion's Sweet Plum Courtyard was very famous inside Sky Water City. This courtyard had the largest Plum Garden in the entire city. When it is early winter, it was the best time to come and see the scenery. Many noble young ladies and young gentlemen would come visit Sweet Plum courtyard to appreciate the garden throughout the year, but it was always better with a little snow on the ground.
Megan had two servants by her side. In order to not disturb the front yard, they came in to the courtyard via the backdoor. This was not only to minimize the disturbance, but this was also the closest way towards the plum garden.
Megan's servant opened the door to the courtyard and the group went in and headed towards the plum garden. But at this moment, Megan felt that something was different about the courtyard.
Before this day, Megan didn't have anyone clean the courtyard, so the place should look quite messy. But now, the yard was very clean, it seems like it had been cleaned by someone, she just didn't know why.
One could say that Megan's itinerary became quite soured. In her mind, sugar plum courtyard with a bit of dead leaves and twigs contrasting with the elegant garden, two different facades, was very beautiful.
But now, the courtyard has been tidied up, the ground was swept and the waters were cleaned, Meg felt very confused.
At this time, the door to the courtyard's main house opened, then a shadow of a small and thin warrior wearing leather armor suddenly appeared and stared at them with his naturally cold eyes.
The young ladies and young gentlemen who came with Meg quietly stood in place. They all looked at the thin figure, everybody was very silent.
The person who came out was naturally Shun. Shun understood what Zhao Hai meant, he doesn't want to stir up unnecessary trouble, so he told Shun to not offend anyone when he comes out.
Shun looked at the young gentlemen and ladies and groaned a bit inside. Then he looked at Megan who didn't understand what was going on.
Shun saw that Megan and the other ladies were mostly carrying hand warmers while the young men were wearing thick soft beastkin clothes. Each and every one of them were dressed beautifully. At their back were a lot of servants, some servants were carrying food boxes while the others were carrying some charcoal stoves, the group looked very lively.
After taking a look at them, Shun understood that Megan should be the daughter of the city lord and had her other friends come over and visit the sweet plum garden. He wasn't surprised about any of this, after all, when they arrived here, he went around and performed some scouting all around the courtyard. Right nearby the back door, there was a small area that was very near to the garden where people could go and enjoy the scenery. Looking at Megan's entourage, Shun immediately understood what they were doing.
Shun bowed towards the group and said, "This one has seen young lady Megan. This one is my young master Wales' servant. Today, the young master came to visit the City Lord and came to be bestowed this Sweet Plum Courtyard to settle in. I have to ask the young lady to forgive me."
Shun's words were very attractive, but it also went straight to the point. It was informing Megan that Zhao Hai's group were invited by the city lord and did not break in. He also politely asked Megan and his group that they could leave.
Megan stared, then with a confused look she asked Shun, "Are you really father's guests?"
Shun quickly replied, "I'll have to be honest to the young lady. The only guest of the city lord is my young master, I'm just the young master's servant."
When he had just finished speaking, Zhao Hai's voice could be heard, "Alright Shun, no need to say these. We were the one who originally disturbed the young lady, the young lady can come visit anytime she wants."
Shun nodded and turned to Megan and said, "I apologize to the young lady. Please continue on, we'll just have to rest inside the house."
Shun's lowered attitude made Megan embarrassed. The young men and ladies who came with her also felt embarrassed, Megan hurriedly said, "Since that is so, I and the others won't disturb mister's rest. We'll be excusing ourselves."
As she was about to leave, a female voice came, "Miss, please stay." Then Laura came out of the door, Shun bowed to Laura and then went behind her.
Laura bowed and said, "The young lady doesn't need to leave. Just like the young master said, we were the ones who intruded inside the City Lord's Mansion, so how could we let the young lady leave? I invite the young lady and her friends to the plum gardens, we won't be disturbing your visit."
Hearing Laura's words, Megan became even more embarrassed, she quickly responded, "Then wouldn't we be disturbing your group's rest?"
Laura smiled and said, "It was my young master who disturbed the lady's visit to the plum garden, and he also asked me to invite you. Right, this is some strong liquor that the young master wanted to gift the young miss. It's quite fierce but I guarantee that it is very pleasant."
Then she gave the liquor bag to Shun as the latter handed off the bag towards Megan's servant, then he turned back.
Chapter 359 – Plum Blossom Princess
After handing off the liquor to Megan's servant, Shun returned to Laura's side. Laura bowed towards Megan and said, "This one wouldn’t bother the young lady and her friends anymore." Then she smiled towards Megan and headed back towards the house, Shun naturally followed her back.
Megan was surprised to see what just happened. They were some of the less influential children of their families, or those who were not that valued by the direct line, thus they didn't have much experience. They hadn't experienced this kind of situation before so it's good that they now knew what they should do.
It took long for Megan to respond, she glanced at the closed door then bit her teeth as she turned to the group and said, "Let'go, we'll head to sweet plum garden."
The people looked at Megan as if they didn't understand what she just said. In their opinion, they should just leave the courtyard, this was basic courtesy of a noble.
Megan glanced at her friends and said, "The gentleman had already given us a bag of wine. We don't want to disappoint the mister's good graces either right? So let's go, let's head to sweet plum garden."
When the group heard what Ruyen said, they all thought for a moment then they cheered up and followed Megan towards the garden. They couldn't wait to enjoy the scenery of the garden.
Hearing Megan's group cheering, Zhao Hai smiled and didn't say anything. He held his cup and took a sip of his tea. Zhao Hai really liked the taste of milk tea, it tastes like Zhao Hai's most favorite tea. It tastes lighter than dark tea, but since there was milk inside, it feels very good in the mouth. Zhao Hai loved it very much.
Laura looked at Zhao Hai and couldn't help but smile, "Brother Hai, is it really okay to give those wine to them? Those are 10 jins of strong liquor."
Zhao Hai showed a faint smiled and said, "Wouldn't it be better if they drank it? They could advertise it for us."
Laura's smile became brighter, this was because she knew that this wasn't good advertisement, she clearly knew that Zhao Hai was just pranking them.
Megan and her group arrived at the plum garden and they immediately had their servants prepare the cloth to spread around the small square. Then the charcoal stove was lit and the servants prepared the kettle to warm some wine on the stove. At the same time, the table was also filled with several small dishes, but it was clear to those in attendance that these dishes were only meant for decoration, nobody will eat these.
Currently, nobody present was in the mood to enjoy the plum garden. Their interest was preoccupied by the liquor bag on the servant’s hand.
These people weren't in contact with their clan's businesses, therefore, most of them simply haven't seen a beastman liquor bag before. So when the servant presented the leather-made bag, the group became very curious.
Megan knew what they were thinking, She looked at the liquor bag in her servant's hand and nodded, "This should be a beastman's milk wine. In seems like we are going to taste a fresh one today, go warm the wine up."
The servant immediately complied, then carefully poured the wine to the kettle then placed it on the charcoal stove. Megan looked at the liquor bag surprised as she said, "That's not right. I remember that milk wine should have a creamy color. How can this wine be transparent?"
A young lady at her side also nodded, "Yeah, I used to drink milk wine back at home. The liquor was milky and looked like goat's milk. But this one looks like water, are you sure this isn't water?"
However, it was clear that nobody believed it to be so because soon enough the scent of wine came out from the kettle. There were several young men who couldn't help but sniff the wine, one of them said, "This wine is very fragrant, this is the first time I smelled such pleasant fragrance. Now I'm curious as to how it tastes."
Several people nodded. They also smelled the wine and the wine was indeed very fragrant. Currently, there was a strange scene inside the garden's square, everyone was looking at the kettle and not even sparing attention to the blooming plums around.
Before long, the kettle had warmed, then the servant immediately served each person a cup. The group impatiently drank the liquor, and no matter whether they were men or women, they immediately coughed continuously, their faces were extremely red.
When the group recovered, the young ladies couldn't help but placed their wine cups down. They looked at the wine with a bit of fear. However, the young men didn't let go of their wine, they relished the experience and took small sips of the liquor.
It didn't matter whether it was strong or not; they couldn't stop drinking. The taste of the wine was really good. Especially during this wintertime where this fragrant warm glass of wine was a very welcome beverage.
The young men couldn't help but drink a couple more cups. When the young ladies saw the men, they eventually overcame their hesitation and learned to take sips like the young men. Soon they managed to place a cup of wine on their stomachs.
High alcohol content wines have their own characteristic. After drinking it, the person would feel heat all over their body. After taking her sip, Megan could feel her body heating up. Although the weather was cold, the group was already currently sweating.
Another characteristic of wine was that the more you drink, the more you feel like drinking more. The feeling of faintness and dizziness was really amazing.
The servants felt that something was wrong. Their young masters and ladies seemed to turn into drunkards and kept pouring liquor to their mouths. Soon afterwards, the 10 jins of liquor that Zhao Hai gave eventually ran out. Looking at these young men and women, their faces were very red and their had a very dizzied expressions.
The servants immediately escorted them home. When they reached the courtyard's door, Shun was already there who just silently looked at them while smiling.
Shun was very clear to the strength of their wine. Not to mention these young nobles who didn't drink wine on their own, even old drunkards in the continent probably would also get drunk from drinking this much wine. The degree of that wine isn't something to joke about.
At this time, Shue arrived and looked at Shun, "What's this?"
Shun smiled, "They're drunk, it's young master's advertising plan. When these people come home, they should become the best type of advertisement for the wine." Then the two of them revealed a sly grin.
Early next morning, Megan opened her eyes and looked around for a while and saw that she was in her room. She stood up but couldn't help but stagger. She sat up and was puzzled, worn in her body were her sleeping clothes, this was normal but she felt that something was wrong.
While she was puzzled, she suddenly saw a person lying underneath her bed. This was her own maid. The maid wore a neat dress and had also fallen asleep.
Megan suddenly felt her mouth turn dry, she nudged her maid and said, "Little May, Little May. Give me water."
Little May was naturally the girl who was sleeping just below her bed. When the girl heard Megan's calls, she immediately woke up. She happily looked at Megan and said, "Miss, you're awake! Great! Wait a moment, I'll go bring you some water immediately."
The Little May ran up to a table and poured Megan a glass of water from a canteen. The canteen was wrapped with leather, so the water inside wasn't too cold and was very suitable for drinking.
Megan drank the water and felt a bit better. She turned to May, "Little May, what happened to me? When did I fall asleep? How come I can't remember?"
May looked at Megan's appearance, she knew why Megan couldn't remember anything. She quickly responded, "Miss, you really can't remember? Yesterday, you and Miss Holly along with the others went to plum garden to enjoy yourselves. Then you drank the liquor that Mister Wales gave and got drunk off of it. yesterday , you didn't eat dinner and immediately went to sleep."
Megan stared and frowned, she thought for a moment and saw that the memories only looked like an impression. She couldn't help but nod and say, "The events look very vague, the wine was very strong. I remember Holly drinking a lot along with me. I didn't expect to get drunk. Did father know?"
Megan's father was naturally Smith, Megan somewhat feared that the matter was made known to Smith. Although Smith didn't prevent her from playing with her friends, she didn't know how he'll react when he finds out that she got drunk. After all, the teachings of the family were very strict.
Little May didn't think anything of it and nodded," He knows. Last night, the Lord was informed. But when he learned that Miss got drunk off the liquor that Mister Wales provided, he didn't say anything but made you take a good rest."
Megan sa stunned, then she immediately said, "Come help me change clothes, I want to see father." May complied, then helped Megan dress herself up.
At this time, the family was eating their breakfast, so Megan went towards the dining hall. She naturally went to the section where the members of the family ate. That was where Smith usually ate.
Calci family had a definite order of rules, if there were no special situations, all of the family members should dine inside the dining hall. If someone dared to make false excuses just to avoid having a meal with the family, they would be heavily punished.
This rule was to make everyone in the family understand that you are on the same level when they ate. If you want to eat at a more advanced place, then you'll have to work hard and provide huge contributions to the family.
Megan arrived at the dining hall where they usually ate their meals. But when she entered the room, she froze. She didn't expect to see that her father wasn't there. Not even a single one of her family was present.
At this time, a servant could be seen walking towards Megan, he immediately bowed and said, "Young lady, you came. The Lord said that today the family will be dining at hall number three."
The servant immediately continued, "Even though Mister Wales came yesterday, the lord still wanted to introduce him to the family. Therefore, the Lord invited the family to dine inside dining hall 3."
Megan understood, she nodded and walked towards dining hall 3. Before long, Megan arrived outside the dining hall. Outside the hall was a servant, and inside the hall was the sound of people chatting.
When the servant saw Megan, he hastily said, "Miss Megan!" Then while the servant was opening the door, Megan immediately went inside.
Upon entering the hall, Megan saw that his father, mother, and two brothers have already arrived. There was a large table inside the hall, but the group surprisingly sat on the side table commonly used for resting.
Megan was City Lord Smith's only daughter. It was a strict rule in Calci Family that men can only have one wife. And that daughters cannot be used to marry outside for benefit.
This rule ensures the prosperity of the Calci Family. Each adult male inside the family is only allowed to have single wife, so the children will have only a single pair of parents. This made it very unlikely for the family to fragment.
Moreover, it was also an ironclad rule for the Calci Family that daughters couldn't be used to marry for benefits. There was a saying inside Calci Family that basically means, if a family sold their women for benefits, then that family will be deemed to fall, this was because if you are forced to marry your family's women for benefits, then that meant that the men were incompetent.
Under these rules, the male descendants of the Calci family' became very outstanding. They took complete obedience to their ancestor's words, so each of them only took a single wife. Because of this, the family showed its solidarity, it didn't show any signs of splitting.
Even though City Lord Smith was only a third-in-line successor of the family, he also respected the words of their ancestors. He only married a single wife and had three children, Chris, Diya, and Megan.
Since Megan was his only daughter, Smith loved her very much. And because of the Calci family's strict standard of education, Megan didn't turn out to be like Ruyen. In contrast, she was a very gentle and well-mannered young lady. The friends that she had were also very simple friends, this was because all of them knew that she had no influence back at her home. If you ask her to go back to her family to do something, she certainly wouldn't have any power to do it. So those who came in contact with Megan were also like her, children who didn't have any influence back at home. In some sense, they were just people who live there to eat and live simply.
Although the household knew about this, they didn't give Megan a hard time. Instead, they ensured that Megan grew up in a safe environment.
Additionally, Megan's fame was also very good inside Sky Water City. One couldn't count the number of poor people inside the City who have received her good graces. This made her have a nickname inside the city, Plum Blossom Princess.
The nickname had two meanings. The first was that Megan liked plum blossoms, and the other was that she was as pure as a plum, and during the cold winter, she would be there and open up beautifully.