Chapter 451 – Story
After Megan's introduction, Zhao Hai now had a general idea of the several heirs of the Calci Family. It should be said that there heirs were very good since they had their own special talents. With the exception of Juwan, each one of them are definitely capable of acting alone.
The eldest child Peter always stayed in the clan and acted as the head of the League of Dark Mages, his status within the league was quite high.
The second child was Smith, the one who held the family's purse. Although the Calci Family also had fiefs on other places, it was without a doubt that the one who made the most money was Sky Water City. Because of how much money he made for the family, his status within was also quite high.
The third child Dillan was a cultivation freak, he was the one with the least interest in becoming the Patriarch. In his opinion, the position of Patriarch was just something that would impede his progress. He practiced since he was at a young age, he was now an 8th rank expert and may even break through to 9th rank one day.
The fourth child Mike was the diplomat of the Calci Family. He was a smooth talker, the help he provided for the family wasn’t small either. Without his help in making connections here and there, the Calci Family might not have retained its current status with the suppression of the Radiant Church.
They were all very important for the Calci Family. Although Dillan didn't serve the family, he was the person that was closest to becoming a 9th rank expert. As long as his strength becomes 9th rank, Randolph can just sit comfortably in the position of Patriarch, nobody would dare oppose him then.
Just as Megan finished talking to Zhao Hai, a servant came with a message from Smith saying that everything was ready. Zhao Hai nodded and was followed by Megan to the meal. Laura and the others didn't come with them, but Laura and the others didn’t seem to be excited. They knew that Zhao Hai really didn't want to go, but he had no other choice.
Zhao Hai and Megan went to the main area of Rustling Tree Courtyard and headed to the living room where Smith and his wife are waiting. He didn't see any other person, so Zhao Hai can only greet Smith and the madam this time. Smith asked Zhao Hai to sit on the opposite end of the table and said, "This can be considered as a family banquet. I've already asked Kristen and Diya to invite their uncles. They should arrive soon. Since you are from the younger generation, I had to call you ahead of time."
Zhao Hai didn't object since he was truly a younger generation with regards to Peter and the others. So in today's banquet, it was right for him to arrive earlier than the older generation.
He can now be regarded as from Randolph's line, so there should be rules that need to be followed, especially during meals. Although he doesn't need to follow the customs strictly like Kristen, he should still respect their rules from time to time.
Naturally, this also comes with exceptions. If he faces Juwan, then he certainly wouldn't be following the family's custom. If he gives me a foot of respect, the he'll return it with a zhang(~10ft) of regard, this was Zhao Hai's principle.
Before long, a servant's voice announced, "The First, Third, and Fourth Young Master has arrived." When his voice finished, three people entered the courtyard.
Zhao Hai and Smith immediately stood up to give their greetings. Zhao Hai looked at the appearances of the three people in front of him. The middle one was a person who had a normal noble's appearance. There wasn't any special feature to him aside from looking like an older version of Smith. This should be Peter.
The one on the left of Peter wore a Magic Robe. This magic robe was a traditional garment worn by Dark Mages. It looked very secretive. The person was very thin, but one could still see some fat here and there. He had a pale skin and looked very much like a sick scholar. This should be Dillan.
On the right of Peter was a person who wore magnificent noble clothing. Even if he looks a bit fat, he wasn't very big. But if you compare him to both Peter and Dillan, then you could clearly see how much fatter he was. But even though he had more weight, he wasn't unsightly at all. He had a fair complexion and wore a smile on his face, looking very approachable. This should be Mike.
Smith immediately went forward and gave salute to the middle person first, "Elder Brother". Then he turned his head to the two other people and said, "Third Brother, Fourth Brother, you came."
Zhao Hai also went forward this time and gave the newcomers his greetings. When Zhao Hai was in the lobby, he also saw the three of them. But since they didn't speak and just sat the entire time, Zhao Hai didn't know their identity.
Peter also took notice of Zhao Hai's presence, seeing Zhao Hai give his greetings, Peter couldn't help but smile and said, "Zhao Hai? Hahahaha, I already heard of you, very good. You actually have some spine, not bad."
Zhao Hai quickly replied, "I don't dare, how can I accept Uncle's praise when I've been impolite."
Peter laughed, then he patted Zhao Hai's shoulder and didn't talk anymore. At this time, Dillan suddenly said, "Zhao Hai, do you really have 10 thousand undead Beastman Cavalry?"
Zhao Hai already know that Dillan was a cultivation maniac, so he wasn't actually surprised for his first words to be like this, so he immediately replied, "Answering to Third Uncle, I do. In the past on the Beastman Prairie, I got to help the Cow-headed Race's Herculean Bull tribe in their matters. These undead Beastmen that I have are Fighting Bull Tribe's cavalry."
Dillan quickly replied, "Release one for me to see."
Zhao Hai stared, then with an awkward face he turned to Smith. Smith smiled and said, "Go on and let Third Brother have a look, he likes to look at these things." Zhao Hai nodded, then with a wave of his hand, an Undead Fighting Bull Cavalry appeared.
Dillan stood before the undead and carefully inspected it. At this moment, the undead had the appearance of a skeleton. After Dillan fully looked at the skeleton, he knocked a bone with his hand. And then with a shocked face, he turned to Zhao Hai and said, "This is an Advanced Level Undead?"
Zhao Hai knew that he cannot hide the truth from an expert like Dillan, so he didn't hide it as he nodded and said, "They can also transform into Zombie form." Then he wielded his magic staff at the undead Beastman before it turned into a Zombie Cavalry. Not only was Dillan intrigued with this, Peter and the others were also surprised.
What they were seeing was really different from a normal Zombie, it was no mystery why Peter and the others looked surprised. They had studied and researched Dark Magic ever since they were young, so they were extremely familiar with Dark Magic. However, they had not heard nor read about a Dark Magic spell that can transform an undead between a Skeleton and a Zombie.
One must know that in the system of Dark Magic, the branches of skeletons and zombies are different. When a Skeleton progresses, it would go from Iron Skeleton, Bronze Skeleton, Silver Skeleton and then Gold Skeleton. This progression was the same for Zombies, Iron Zombie, Bronze Zombie, Silver Zombie, and Gold Zombie. They had not heard of a Skeleton turning into a Zombie, as well as a Zombie turning into a Skeleton.
Dillan had also studied for a long time and even he had not heard of such scenario. Smith was the first to recover, he knew that he cannot make Dillan continue to inspect the undead, or else there would be no dinner that will happen.
Smith turned to Zhao Hai and said, "Little Hai, store it first, then we'll head inside to talk." Zhao Hai nodded, and then received the Undead. Dillan actually wanted to inspect Zhao Hai's undead more, but he was blocked by Smith. Then the group entered the room and sat down.
After they sat down, Smith turned to Zhao Hai and said, "Little Hai, what was that? Why is your undead different?"
Zhao Hai forced a smile and said, "This I don't know. This may have something to do with my Magic Staff." Then he showed his Ghost Staff. At this point the staff reverted to its original form, with the Skull and the gloomy atmosphere surrounding it.
Zhao Hai handed his staff over to Dillan while he said, "I got this Magic Staff from the Black Wasteland. Back when I drank the Water of Nothingness, I was totally depressed. I wanted to run to the Carrion Swarm and kill myself. I didn't expect that when I entered the swamp, this staff suddenly appeared. I became curious and took it to see what it was. And then I was surprised when the skull's mouth opened and nipped my finger, taking along a drop of my blood with it. After that, I fainted and was ultimately saved by Grandpa Green. At that point, the Magic Staff had always followed me, there was no way to discard it. It also surprisingly cured me of the toxin from the Water of Nothingness. Most importantly, it was also a very good conductor for casting Magic. When I cast Dark Magic using this staff, it would also increase its potency. The undead created with the staff would have upgraded abilities, the lowest undead that it could make was Advanced Level Undead. It also had the ability to convert the undead from one form to another. Another good thing about this staff is that it can't be stolen from me. If I get too far from it, it would just directly fly towards my direction. This staff is truly mysterious, even I don't know its origin."
Zhao Hai already had this excuse prepared. Nobody can also debunk his story since it was impossible for Green and the others to betray him. He went all out on this story with his novel writing skills, one could say this reason was very airtight.
When he heard Zhao Hai, Dillan couldn't help but try using it to replicate its effects. But unfortunately, nothing happened. The staff seemed just like a piece of useless wood in Dillan's hands.
Zhao Hai's excuse was also believed by Smith and the others because the Carrion Swamp was truly mysterious. All these years, the number of 9th ranks who lost their lives inside were numerous. Nobody can survive in that place but who knew that Zhao Hai would actually find such a treasure there. All of them sighed when thinking about Zhao Hai's good luck. They didn't suspect Zhao Hai even for a bit, they knew that the Buda Clan had been transferred to the Black Wasteland, everybody knew it. Other than the Black Wasteland, Smith and the others cannot think of any other place where Zhao Hai could have acquired his current strength.
Chapter 452 – Homely
Dillan played around with the Ghost Staff for a while, when he finally got tired of it, he turned to Zhao Hai and said, "Little Hai, didn't you say that no matter where this Magic Staff is, it will always return to your hand? Go try and let me take a look."
Zhao Hai smiled and nodded. When he saw Dillan gripping the staff tightly, he faintly smiled and with an intention Dillan's hand suddenly felt light. Then the staff disappeared from Dillan's hand as it appeared on Zhao Hai's.
Smith and the other two who were observing couldn't help but stare. They just saw the staff vanish from Dillan's hand and then suddenly appearing on Zhao Hai. They had seen a lot of things, but this was something that they had seen for the first time.
After some time, Smith and the others recovered at looked at one another. Then with a surprised expression, they turned to Zhao Hai. Seeing their faces, Zhao Hai faintly smiled and said, "How this thing happens is a mystery, even I don't know what's going on. I still haven't seen the full capability of this staff, but I'm slowly exploring it."
Smith nodded and said, "So this is it. No wonder your strength rose in such a small period of time. It was actually because of this Magic Staff."
Zhao Hai nodded, Mike, who sat next to him, turned to Zhao Hai and said, "Little Hai, what level of strength have you reached right now?"
Zhao Hai smiled, "I should be 8th rank, I can cast 8th rank magic spells."
Smith and the other's eyes went bright, an 8th rank expert can already do whatever they want in the continent. Smith was amused even more, "No wonder the Third Prince is very polite to you, so it was this."
Zhao Hai nodded, "The Third Prince knows my strength, that is why he wanted to win me over. Although I agreed, I am actually not his subordinate. What he have is a simple partnership, he helps me, I help him, you could say that I'm more like his adviser than anything else."
Advisers were also quite common among Noble Clans. These people were like Foreign Elders, but they are more free. They and the host Noble would only have an employment relationship, if a disagreement occurs, the two could just go on their own separate ways.
Advisers in the Continent were typically well-known people. Not only do they need to be strong, they should also be quite talented enough to give ideas and advice to the Nobles. Advisers receive very high respects inside a Noble Clan.
Smith nodded, "Right, it's good that Little Hai chose to not sell himself off to the Third Prince, otherwise, matters would get troublesome. Alright, no need to talk about this anymore, let's go have some drinks."
Then the group headed to the dining room. When they arrived, Smith invited them to sit down. The madam and Megan actually drew back, leaving the dining room to the men.
After the servants provided the food and wine, Smith, who sat in the seat of honor, smiled and held his wine glass, "God's Grace Day is near, we brothers rarely have the time to eat a meal together. I actually invited Fifth Brother, but he has a grudge with Little Hai, so he refused. I cannot do anything about that. My invitation this time doesn't have any other purpose. I just want you to meet Little Hai and also introduce you to him. This way, we might avoid offending each other in the future."
Zhao Hai also held his wine glass up, he looked awkwardly at the other people. When Peter and the others looked at Zhao Hai, they couldn't help but laugh. Although they struggle with each other for the seat of Patriarch, they were smart people and knew that they cannot harm the Calci Family, unlike Juwan. This was also the reason why Juwan was quite distant with his brothers. Juwan rarely came to gatherings with his other brothers.
Mike looked at Zhao Hai and smiled, "Even if I only met Little Hai today, I've already heard a thing or two about him. I'm very sure that if younger brother didn't provoke Little Hai before, then there would be no conflict that would happen. And if Third Uncle didn't send those ships off to Little Hai, then the family wouldn't have lost all those ships."
Zhao Hai showed a faint smile and said to Mike, "Fourth Uncle overpraises me. This one is just an inexperienced junior, I don't deserve your praise."
Mike smiled faintly, "Little Hai, no need to be too polite. You're quite commendable, otherwise the Buda Clan wouldn't have reached its height in such a short time. And even if you don't use your strength, oh well, no need to talk about that, come, come, let's drink."
Smith and the others held their wine glasses and drank the wine. It was good wine since what they were drinking was Zhao Hai's Milk Wine. This Milk Wine was roughly manufactured, so it wasn't that strong, therefore they can down an entire glass in one go.
Peter and the others didn't discuss the matters of the clan too much, they just idly talked about their daily lives, like how brothers did. This made Zhao Hai confused, he didn't understand the purpose of this gathering, are they just here to discuss their feelings?
Only after a while of talking about their daily activities did Zhao Hai slowly understand. Even if these brother were very polite to each other, in the end, they were still fighting with each other for the seat of Patriarch. So naturally, they wouldn't go deep into their matters and risk giving the others a chance to get ahead. This would affect their relationship, so this shallow conversation was the best thing that they could do.
While sitting there, Zhao Hai looked at the Smith and the other who were calmly chatting away. He couldn't help but sigh, these people acted very kind to each other right now, but he knew that when this ends, they would go back to contesting with each other. This made Zhao Hai think of hypocrisy.
After having eaten their meal, Zhao Hai and Smith lead the three others to the exit. After which they returned to the living room along with Kristen and the others. When the group sat down, Smith looked at Zhao Hai and said, "Little Hai, what do you think?"
Zhao Hai smiled faintly and said, "From what I've seen, it's been very good. Everyone fights with each other, but it must be based of ability other than outside intervention. This is the essence of healthy competition. I think this is very good, only with such talents can the Calci Family become better in the future."
Smith looked at Zhao Hai and nodded, "You've observed well, Little Hai. Actually, in addition to the family's elders, there is also the family's law enforcement group. This group is directly controlled by the family's 9th ranks, the Patriarch held no power over them. Because of this, even if the core of the family's functions are in a fight over the seat, they couldn't go far in the face of the law enforcement group. Little Hai, your Buda Clan is still struggling despite its strength. Emerging Clans perish in the continent every day. You have a lot to learn in our Calci Family, this way, in the future, you won't be going blind when going forward, understand?"
Zhao Hai nodded, "I understand, Uncle, rest assured I will study hard."
Smith looked at Zhao Hai and sighed, "Your Buda clan is connected to the Aksu Empire in the past, if you continue on this way, your clan won't become great. But because of your disaster this time, an opportunity to cut your ties with the Aksu Empire has arrived. Then your family can survive for a thousand years."
Zhao Hai stared, he really didn't think about this, he also felt that he lacked confidence. He was only a nerd, now someone told him to build a Thousand-year Great Clan. Although he had the Space, he still wasn't convinced.
Smith saw Zhao Hai's hesitation and said seriously, "Little Hai, don't blame me If I lecture you too much. You're very talented, a capable leader, competent, and also a good natured person. The only problem with you is that you don't have a lot of confidence. You always make the worst moves and just fix the consequences afterwards. Although you can fix them later, you will still lose opportunities, and that is not right."
Zhao Hai looked at Smith and forced a smile, "I know that, but I have no other choice, that's just my character. You may not know this, but the Buda Clan doesn't really have much right now. We don't have that much people to farm. Outside the 100 Human slaves that we bought and the 1000 Giant Horned Bulls we got from the Cow-headed race, we really have too few people in the Clan. Moreover, these few people cannot walk the continent openly. Otherwise, I wouldn't be running around right now."
Smith nodded then looked at Zhao Hai and said, "Your assembly line method is very good. Father is preparing to use it in the family. Your factory should be using them, yes?"
Zhao Hai smiled, "I won't hold anything from you. Although the assembly line method gives efficiency in production, the products made are all of standard quality. There are some things that doesn't need assembly line production, and are much better produced the old way. Although they are produced slowly, the quality is better and are generally more durable, giving you the leverage to charge a higher price for them. People may not feel it, but they will slowly understand, they might even prefer those produced in the old method. It was only because I have no other choice that I had to resort to the assembly line method."
Smith smiled, "That's quite a good method. But you're right, there's no way for our Calci Family to produce high quality goods like you because of the numerous products we make. This made it even more applicable to use the assembly line method for our factories."
Zhao Hai nodded, "It's because of that point why our Buda Clan cannot have the same arrangement as you have right here. I can say that the advantage of our Buda Clan is that point, thus I don't dare take any risks."
Smith nodded, "What you said is also right, don't worry, you can work on it slowly. After all, you're now 8th rank, you still have a lot of years left in you. As long as you make the right moves, the Buda Clan would do well."
Zhao Hai nodded, but he sighed, "I really didn't dare think of these things before. I don't know for how long I can live with the Water of Nothingness. Now that the toxin has been cured, I can now feel relief."
Smith naturally knew how fierce the Water of Nothingness was. How its effects trickle down even to your descendants, thus he didn't feel any wrongs from Zhao Hai's words.
Zhao Hai then shook his head and said, "Uncle, after celebrating the new years, I'm preparing to head back to sea and get some more products for Charlie. After that, I'll be heading to the Prairie, I still have a lot to do there.
Smith nodded and then said, "I don't mind, but if you have any good business, you shouldn't forget about Sky Water City."
Zhao Hai smiled and said, "Right, we were thinking about opening a shop at the city after the new years as well. I'll have Megan handle this matter, I'll make her discuss it with you later."
When he heard Zhao Hai, Smith couldn't help but stare, he looked at Zhao Hai and said, "You really want Megan to handle your shop in Sky Water City? She has no prior experience in this matter."
Kristen and Diya were also giving Zhao Hai a surprised expression, they didn't expect Zhao Hai to give any responsibilities to Megan. In the past, Megan was a tender young lady, the family just let her go eat, play and wander around. But now, Zhao Hai actually wanted to have her handle a business? Is this okay?
Zhao Hai looked at the surprised faces and smiled, "It's fine, I've already talked about this with Megan. She had grown up in Sky Water City since childhood, she was the most familiar with the place. Therefore I decided to let her handle the business, moreover, I think she would love doing it."
Smith smiled bitterly, he didn't expect Megan to develop such a personality. Her tender young lady who only knew how to look good was now going to handle such a heavy responsibility.
Zhao Hai looked at the time and turned to Smith, "Uncle, it's already quite late, I must go back."
Smith nodded, then Zhao Hai gave him a bow before leaving. Seeing Zhao Hai leave, Kristen looked at Smith and said, "Father, Zhao Hai didn't seem to trust us. Why didn't he tell us their location?"
Smiled bitterly, "Just like what he said, the Buda Clan is still relatively weak. Because of this, he just can't take any risks, otherwise their location would be compromised, resulting in their end. However, I think their location shouldn't be very far from the Prairie, otherwise he wouldn't just run to the Prairie by coincidence and acquire a lot of Beastman slaves."
Kristen nodded, "Zhao Hai offended the Radiant Church before, one of the most powerful forces in the continent. There are no other places to relocate his family other than somewhere close to the Beastman Prairie."
Smith nodded and said, "You pay attention to the Noble banquets happening in the capital. Find one where we have a good relationship with. Little Hai needs to attend a lot of banquets in order to establish himself. No matter what, Little Hai is now engaged to Megan. For the good of Megan, we must help the Buda Clan prosper. If the Buda Clan is doing well, Megan would get to live a happy life."
The two nodded, then turned around to leave.