Chapter 449 – Disregard
When the carriage came to a stop, Zhao Hai took a deep breath before going out. He was someone who didn't like to evade. When he encounters something, he would think of ways to deal with it. It was the same this time.
Zhao Hai looked around and saw that they were currently inside a courtyard. This was the inner courtyard where only the people closest to the family were allowed to enter. And all of them would need to ride the family's carriage, even Randolph, the family's patriarch, needed to do it.
Zhao Hai followed behind Gansu and walked to the front courtyard. The place looked very simple and in the middle was a single statue. The statue was of a Dark Mage, and under it was a carved name. It seems like this statue was of the first Generation patriarch of the Calci Family, the person responsible of building and sustaining the earlier period of the family.
Megan told Zhao Hai that no matter who they are, everyone who came here must give a bow to the statue first. Only then can they enter the main fort, this was also a custom of the family.
When Zhao Hai heard this, he immediately thought about how much customs a Great Family had. With this much rules, it’s a wonder why people can still listen and remember them.
After giving respects to the statue, Zhao Hai entered the main palace lobby. When he entered the lobby, Zhao Hai couldn't help but stare. The inside was filled by people and the youngest seemed to be Juwan. The others were middle-aged and elderly.
Randolph was sitting in the Patriarch's seat with a flat expression. Smith sat beside him but not too close. With Randolph were a few old people, they looked like they held great power inside the Calci Family.
Zhao Hai looked at their arrangement and gave it a small glimpse. After that, he went forward calmly and first gave Randolph and Smith greetings before giving respects to the other people in the room.
Then Zhao Hai just stood there without making any noise, only staring at the people inside, looking as though he was watching a play. Randolph looks at Zhao Hai and can't help but laugh inside. He had been dealt with this move from Zhao Hai before. Even if he already made a decision regarding Zhao Hai, the family's elders were still unconvinced. Randolph had accepted Zhao Hai, but it was not the same for the others. This was the reason for today's arrangement, they wanted to place Zhao Hai in a position where he would get pressured by the family.
At this time, Juwan was sitting not far from Smith and was staring viciously at Zhao Hai as if he had just killed his father.
Zhao Hai also noted Juwan's stare, but he didn't care. At present, his strength was something that Juwan cannot touch. And also, Zhao Hai just didn't have much interest in people like Juwan.
Megan, Laura and the others weren't allowed to enter the lobby, and were instead lead to rest on the backyard. Because of this, they didn’t know about any of these.
The people in the room also stared at Zhao Hai but they felt uncomfortable. They thought that Zhao Hai would budge under the gazes of so many people. If Zhao Hai says even a single line, these people would make use of it to judge his character. However, Zhao Hai didn't say a single word, his expression was also quite calm. He just stood there quietly, as though he didn't care about anything around him. This left the family members with no idea about what they needed to do next.
Randolph came to appreciate Zhao Hai more and more. In truth, he was also very sick about the attitudes of family. But he had no choice, in the end, they were all on the same side. They were all of his loved ones, he didn't want to go too far. This current situation was good, seeing Zhao Hai give those people zero face gave Randolph a feeling of satisfaction, instead of being angry, he was instead quite glad.
Both sides didn't speak, they continued on with this stalemate. The people of the Calci Family began to feel unease, they didn't want to speak first and give Zhao Hai the upper hand. They wanted to overwhelm Zhao Hai with pressure. And if they talked first, this was the same as losing to Zhao Hai. But they had no choice but to continue on, it really gave them the feeling of riding a tiger and unable to get off.
Zhao Hai didn't care about any of these, while the other people in the room weren't feeling well, he was communicating with Cai'er about how Laura and others were treated. He found out that they were doing well, they were currently inside a room in Smith's courtyard.
For a Great Clan like the Calci Family, the number of their branches were quite plenty. This was the Patriarch's dwelling place, as well as the place he does all his work. Since the other branches are not from the capital, they naturally have their own courtyards inside the fort. Naturally, Smith also had one.
Zhao Hai was technically part of Smith's branch, that's why his fiance’s were sent there.
Seeing that Laura and the others were settled down, Zhao Hai felt relieved. However, he still didn't take note of the expressions of everyone in the room as he continued on and switched to looking at Dark Soldier Fort.
Zhao Hai can see that the fort had underwent extension and reconstruction several times, but he also noted that the main fort remained just the way it was before. Moreover, he can also see the defensive strength of this place, so long as they had enough defenders, this castle can withstand an attack from an army containing 150 thousand soldiers.
Zhao Hai studied the castle to use it as reference when he expands Iron Mountain Fort. He also wants to make other castles in other places in his territory to form a defensive system. He wants to futureproof the Black Wasteland, otherwise, if they get attacked in the future, the commoners would surely suffer heavily. The villages alone cannot stop an army from advancing.
While Zhao Hai was looking all around, the other people in the room couldn’t' remain sitting still anymore. From the peaceful setting in the beginning, there was now sounds of whispered discussion in the room. In the lobby, a small humming sound of collective discussions echoes. Although nobody said anything, they already knew that they lost this battle.
Randolph also thought the same, he gently coughed twice and said, "Alright, this is Little Hai's first time in coming to the family. He's already engaged to Megan, later on, he would be one of us. I think it would be better if we let him go back and take a rest."
Zhao Hai also raised his eyes and looked at the others. But he still didn't say anything, he believes that these people wouldn't just let him off easily.
And just as Randolph voice fell, an old man sitting beside him opened his mouth, "No need to be anxious. Since Zhao Hai is a newcomer, then we must ask him some questions. I believe Big Brother won't oppose?"
Randolph looked at the man, this was his third brother who struggles for the position of Patriarch with him in the past. In the end, Randolph won. But this brother has always opposed him. This time, he would surely give Zhao Hai a hard time. Randolph didn't stop him, he just gave a nod and didn't say anything.
Seeing Randolph agree, the elder's eyes couldn't help but reveal a smug look. Then he turned to Zhao Hai and said, "Zhao Hai, I'm Megan's third grandfather, why didn't you give me any respects?"
Zhao Hai looked at this third grandfather's eyes and faintly smiled, "Third Grandfather, this is the first time that I came to the family, so I'm not very clear about everybody's status. But I'm quite sure that I gave my respects to Third Grandfather earlier. Did Third Grandfather not see it?'
Third Grandfather's face sank upon hearing Zhao Hai, "Do you talk to your elders this way? You dare be disrespectful? Do you think that the Calci Family didn't have rules?"
Zhao Hai looked at Third Grandfather with a faint smile as he replied, "I don't know if the Calci Family has rules, but I'm quite sure that my Buda Clan has. My family's first rule was : whoever dares slander our reputation will become the clan's enemy. Punish according to the severity of the offense. But I think that my clan's rules doesn't apply to the Calci Family. Is Third Grandfather satisfied with my reply?"
Third Grandfather stared, he was speechless. He knew that Megan was engaged to Zhao Hai. And according to the rules in the continent, she was already part of the Buda Clan. And since Zhao Hai was the patriarch of the Buda Clan, the rules of the Calci Family naturally didn't apply to him. Third Grandfather only used this move to put pressure on Zhao Hai.
What Zhao Hai said made the other people from the family uncomfortable, they now looked more displeased with him. But they also have the feeling like when a dog bites into a porcupine, dealing harm only to be harmed itself. What Zhao Hai implied was basically, since he was still engaged to Megan, and were still not married, he didn't have much of a connection to the Calci Family. And since he is the Patriarch of the Buda Clan, the Calci Family should receive him according to him status, and should have not treated him in such a manner.
Juwan wanted to watch Zhao Hai's face turn ugly. But he didn't expect him to not only act calm in face of pressure, he also made Third Grandfather speechless. This made Juwan mad, he stood up and looked at Zhao Hai, "Zhao Hai, you don't get it do you? You're just relying on Megan, what is there to be proud of? Do you think that we can't end your engagement?"
Zhao Hai saw Juwan as though he was a mad dog, he only showed a faint smile and said, "I don't" He said that with a calm manner while not even turning his face towards Juwan. This made Juwan quite irritated.
Seeing Zhao Hai's actions, the people in the room became angry, the humming sound became louder. They were the elder of the Calci Family, Great Nobles of the Rosen Empire. When did someone have the guts to act like this in front of them?
Randolph looked at Zhao Hai and cannot help but smile. When he came to Sky Water City and met Zhao Hai, it made him reflect on the family's situation. Currently, Randolph held negative feelings about the elders of the family.
The people in the room spent a long time speaking with each other but still didn't come up with how to deal with Zhao Hai. Zhao Hai's current status was something they cannot easily snuff out, he had the strength to resist. Even if they are dissatisfied with Zhao Hai, they actually wouldn’t dare to go too far. After all, this young man in front of them can cause the family great trouble if they ever go into conflict. Ultimately, this man was able to kill several 9th rank experts.
When the others still couldn't find out what to do next, Randolph coughed twice and said, "Do you people still have any questions for Little Hai? If not, we can let him take his rest."
Gansu issued a sound at Zhao Hai. Zhao Hai smiled faintly and gave Randolph and Smith a bow each while giving the other people in the room another one. Then he turned away, with how courteous he was, nobody could find fault with him.
After leaving the lobby, Gansu suddenly laughed and said, "RIght, Zhao Hai, what you did was very good, hahaha. You've really showed those guys some character, hahaha, good job."
Zhao Hai was sure that Gansu voice can be heard by the people inside. But Gansu still dared to say it, this made Zhao Hai more curious about this old Gan's identity. He wore a housekeeper's clothes, but not acting like one, this was really very strange.
Gansu looked at Zhao Hai and smiled, "Do you want to know why I can dare to not give them face and still come out alive?
Zhao Hai gave an honest nod. Gansu laughed and said, "Boy, if you shook your head, I will not tell you. You nodding showed that you have real courage. Well then, let me tell you how I came to the Calci Family. I was adopted by the Calci Family's precious generation. At that time, the family had no single heir. From the rules of the continent, I have the right of inheritance. Moreover, my military exploits in the army were quite high. If we really did calculate everything, then I should be having the position of Patriarch. Foster father also liked me very much and was prepared to let me take charge of the family since he needed to concentrate on breaking through to 9th rank. However, I know that I have a worse temperament than Randolph, I'm too easily angered, too stubborn, not really suitable to become a Patriarch. Because of this, I took initiative to tell Foster Father that I'll become a housekeeper and have Randolph become the Patriarch, father agreed. In the end, father broke through to 9th rank. Since I have father's greatest favor as well as having the most ability to reach 9th rank, none of those guys dared offend me. Don't think that this place is Randolph's home, in front of father, he still needs to act accordingly."
Zhao Hai nodded, he now understood why Gansu could be impolite. He actually had that identity, his foster father was the former generation's Patriarch, and was a 9th rank expert, only a crazy person would dare offend him.
Before long, Zhao Hai arrived at Smith's courtyard. The courtyard was very big, it was also named Rustling Tree Courtyard. There was an ancient tree towering inside, it had a very elegant atmosphere, Zhao Hai liked it very much.
Gansu led Zhao Hai to the door and told the servants about who Zhao Hai was. Then he tapped Zhao Hai's shoulder and said, "Young man, I'll leave you here. I'll find you in the evening and drink a couple cups with you, I'm quite busy right now."
Zhao Hai respected this frank old man, he gave him a bow to Gansu and said, "Alright, when you're done, I'll pay respects to you with Megan."
Gansu laughed and then waved as he walked away.riding a tiger and it being hard to get off of (qí hǔ nán xià – ) – used to describe a situation in which one is stuck in a difficult position with no way out.
Chapter 450 – Banquet
When Zhao Hai entered the courtyard, a servant immediately came and guided him towards the place that Smith prepared. Smith's place was very large. Inside were a lot of small courtyards intended for resting.
The servant left after leading Zhao Hai to his courtyard. Zhao Hai pushed the gate open and saw Shue. When Shue noticed who entered, he immediately announced, "The young master is back."
When they heard Shue, Laura and the others went out. At this point, they were already wearing their home clothes, they looked very casual. Zhao Hai was surprised when he saw Megan.
Zhao Hai gave the group a greeting before entering the living room. When Megan saw that Zhao Hai had sat down, she immediately said, "Big Brother Hai, did the family embarrass you?"
Zhao Hai smiled and said, "It’s alright, I'm fine, they didn't manage to embarrass me. Right, if you have time, lead me to see Grandpa Gan. I have some seafood from the Space, I'll go give some to him as our gift."
Megan nodded and said, "Right, we'll go to Grandpa Gan later. Big Brother Hai, what did you experience in the lobby today?"
Zhao looked at Megan and knew that if she didn't get to know what happened today, then she would be uneasy. So Zhao Hai had no choice but to tell Megan and the others about what happened earlier.
When Megan heard Zhao Hai, she said, "Third Grandfather has always been like that. In the past, he already wants me to marry. Thankfully, Father and Grandpa managed to stop him, but it was not without pressure. Third Grandfather has strong relationship with a lot of elders, so they pressured Father and Grandpa all the time. The reason why Grandpa didn't oppose to our engagement that much was precisely because of this matter."
Zhao Hai nodded, he knew that these things tend to happen in Great Clans. Because of a human's greed, people will always want more. They would resort to doing various things in order to sate their thirst.
Then Megan said, "With Fifth Uncle being on bad terms with you, he already lost Grandpa's favor. At this point, he should be holding a huge grudge with you. But since he doesn't have Grandpa's support, you don't really need to worry."
Zhao Hai smiled faintly, "I have nothing to worry about. With my current strength, even if the whole Rosen Empire deals with me, it would be impossible. There's no need to worry about."
Megan sighed and said, "I'm not worried about your safety, I'm worried that Fifth Uncle would annoy you to the point that the Calci Family would pay for it. The Calci Family wouldn't be able to resist your attacks."
As soon as Zhao Hai and Laura heard Megan, they couldn't help but laugh. Megan also chuckled, but what she said wasn't a joke. The people from the Calci Family didn't know how strong Zhao Hai was. But Megan knew that if Zhao Hai would seriously deal with the Calci Family, then the family would certainly cease to exist.
After laughing, Laura turned her head to Zhao Hai and said, "Brother Hai, you should still prepare yourself for the following days. I think you would be invited to several banquets."
Zhao Hai stared, then he frowned and said, "Banquets? Can I not participate?"
Megan forced a smile and said, "That would be difficult, the Calci Family aren't the only ones who would hold a banquet, other nobles would do so as well. The Princes will also hold a banquet. Even if you don't participate in the other noble's banquet as well as the Calci Family's, would you dare decline Charlie's invitation? Also, I think you should attend several banquets since it would benefit the Buda Clan. Establishing personal connections is extremely important for the clan right now."
Zhao Hai nodded, then he sighed. This was a nerd's nightmare, they really didn't want to socialize. For Zhao Hai, these banquets were surely a pain in the ass.
But what Megan said was also true. For a noble, banquets were a normal occurrence, which were also the bane of Zhao Hai.
Laura looked at Zhao Hai's appearance and smiled faintly, "Elder Brother Hai, don't worry, if you really don't like participating on those banquets, then you can choose to not go. After all, the Buda Clan's strength is already quite high. Even if you don't go to those gatherings, other nobles would still take the initiative to approach you."
Megan didn't oppose, but she still said, "With the current strength of the Buda Clan, we can surely opt not to attend those banquets. But the problem with this is that our current strength is still not clearly known to other people. We may have killed 9th rank experts in Purcell Duchy, but the majority of the continent gave most of the credit to Origin Sword Saint. If that wasn't the case, people would have already reached out to the Buda Clan. Therefore, I think that we should attend some of the banquets."
Zhao Hai turned his head to Laura who nodded. At its current state, the Buda Clan really did need visibility in the banquets of other nobles, especially in those hosted by Great Clans. This would slowly make the Buda Clan known to the higher ranked nobles, which may lead to partnerships in the future.
Seeing Laura agree, Zhao Hai nodded and said, "Alright, I'll go participate. But we should choose which ones to go to. I don't want to spend all of my time attending banquets."
Laura smiled and said, "Don't worry, you won't waste much time on those banquets. When God's Grace Day passes by, it won't take too long for us to become busy. There's a lot of things waiting for us back at the Beastman Prairie. Even if you want to participate in a banquet, it would be impossible."
At this time, Shue sound was heard, "Grand Duke Smith."
Zhao Hai stared, he didn't know what Smith came for at this time. But he still stood up and walked outside along with Laura and the others. Seeing Smith and the madam enter the courtyard, Zhao Hai immediately welcomed them inside the living room. After having sat down, Laura and the others served them some tea.
Smith took a sip of tea and looked at Zhao Hai, "Little Hai, you really performed well today. Not only did you not smear the face of your Buda Clan, you've made father proud as well. I'll be having a family dinner this evening. I will be inviting eldest brother, third brother and fourth brother along. You should also come, they really want to meet you."
Zhao Hai nodded, "Alright, I will go when the time comes."
Smith nodded, then he sighed, "You going against Third Uncle earlier isn't a big deal. In the past, when you are still in conflict with the family, Father went to Sky Water City to confront your engagement with Megan. But in the end, he came back to the headquarters with a positive impression of you, which made the family elders dissatisfied. Today, I want my brothers to go meet you. We brothers can now be considered to be the core of the family. If all of us were to agree with each other, the family would be able to do anything. Otherwise, the family may keep on giving you weird looks in the future.'
Zhao Hai smiled faintly and said, "You don't have to worry about that, I won't be staying here for long. After God's Grace Day passes, I would have to leave. But in these days, there should be no problems, I could just leave the fort for the time being."
Smith sighed, he didn't know what else to say. He knew that the people of the family had a general dislike for Zhao Hai because of the good he has. Almost everyone wanted to offend him, but they didn't want to be the first since they didn't want to suffer consequences.
Smith was afraid of this matter, although he didn't know Zhao Hai's true strength, he was sure that it wasn't very weak. If those people from the family really did offend Zhao Hai, then the family would surely find themselves in a bit of trouble.
When Megan saw Smith's expression, she couldn't help but smile, "Father, there won't be a problem. In the fort, Grandpa Gan will look after us. Outside, there's no need to worry about it as well. Right, Father, can you pay attention to the banquets happening in the capital and see which ones suit the attendance of Big Brother Hai?"
Smith stared for a moment, then he immediately understood what Megan meant, he turned to Zhao Hai and sadi, "You plan to attend banquets? Considering my reputation, no noble would dare not send me an invitation."
Zhao Hai forced a smile and said, "If I could choose, then I'd rather not attend any of them. But Uncle knows that with my Clan's current status, we really need to make a few more connections. Therefore, I have no choice but attend those gatherings."
Smith smiled and said, "Right, it's as you said, not participating in any of them is not good. Alright, I'll pay attention to some nobles who have good relations with our Calci Family and see which ones can provide you with benefits."
Zhao Hai nodded and didn't talk anymore. He knew that with the Buda Clan's status, not many people would go and take initiative to invite him to a banquet. For Smith to seek those who are close to the Calci Family is also good, at the very least, for those people would have some sense of familiarity with him. If he went to those where he was relatively unknown, some ugly scenes may occur.
Smith looked at Zhao Hai and smiled, "Alright, let's stop here, I'll go back and get ready. When everything is prepared, I'll have someone come and fetch you." Zhao Hai nodded, then Smith, along with the Madam who was talking with Laura, left.
Looking at the departing Smith, Zhao Hai then turned his head to Megan, "Megan, what kind of persons are your eldest, second and third uncles? Are they like Juwan?"
Megan smiled and said, "They're not, rest assured, my other uncles are really easy to get along with. Especially my third uncle, he doesn't think of anything aside from cultivation."