“The first prince?!” Bai Yunfei exclaimed. “The first prince wants to see me? What for?”
Zheng Kai shrugged his shoulders, “How should I know? I’d guess he wants to get to know you? Or else he’s trying to recruit you.”
“Recruit me?” Bai Yunfei was even more mystified, “What value do I even have for that?”
The first prince--the future sovereign of the empire--wanted to meet with him? And recruit him?
“You’re really too modest, Yunfei,” Zheng Kai quirked an eyebrow, “do you really think you don’t have any ‘value’? You’re an outstanding student from the Crafting School, instructor for the crafting class in Tianhun Academy, and a man capable of crafting a heaven-tier soul armament….with ‘value’ like that, anyone would be more than willing to recruit you.”
“Really?” Bai Yunfei stroked his chin--had he really become a hot commodity to go after?
“What time did the prince want to meet? And where?”
“Today at high noon. He requested the meeting to take place at the Hundred Aliments.”
“The Hundred Aliments? Isn’t that brother Jin’s establishment?”
“That’s the place.”
“I see. We should go together then….” Bai Yunfei dipped his head, “What...kind of person is the first prince?”
He had seen the fourth and second prince already, and there was a huge difference in personality between the two. If he were to use those two princes as a measuring stick, how would the first prince differ?
Zheng Kai thought for a moment on how to phrase his words, “The first prince Wu Ren, he’s going to be the next ruler of our empire. He’s a sensible person and has the best training and education. He’s always done what his Majesty Wu Hong has asked and has never failed at it. In terms of strength, his genius is something incredibly rare. In terms of him as a person, he’s very kind hearted. Whether it’s for the empire or for the people, he’s served faithfully for them both. He once governed a province for a while and did extremely well. The people in that province loved him greatly. All in all, I believe the first prince will be a great ruler.”
“Is that so?” Bai Yunfei spoke. From what Zheng Kai was saying, this first prince was an incredible person.
Zheng Kai nodded, “Yes. Aside from him governing the commoners, he’s very careful about all matters relating to the soul cultivator world. He’s friends with people from every school, house, or clan. He also has a good eye for the strong and pays strict attention to those that he might need.
“He’s actually quite similar to brother Huang Bin,” Zheng Kai chuckled, “though brother Huang’s nickname being the ‘Temper Lord’ isn’t very comparable to the first prince, obviously. The first prince has countless guests at his door, many of them more likely to be Soul Exalts than not. The people the first prince tries to recruit have always been either insanely strong or fellow geniuses, meaning there’s several Soul Kings in his circle….”
“And how strong is the first prince….?” Bai Yunfei just had to ask.
“He’s thirty-seven right now, but he’s a….mid-stage Soul King!!”
“Mid-stage Soul King at the age of thirty-seven!!” Bai Yunfei gasped--that was a terrifying amount of talent the first prince had!
The average soul cultivator would only be a Soul Ancestor by the age of thirty-seven! Being a Soul Exalt was more than enough to be considered strong, but becoming a Soul King--and mid-stage no less--was a rare feat to be seen in a single generation.
“That’s exactly how terrifying the first prince’s talent is,” Zheng Kai agreed, “there’s a few other reasons for that level of strength though. He’s the first prince after all, the resources he has available for him doesn’t even need to be said. I heard that he was bathed in medicines over a thousand years old when he was born, and that he’s been using high-grade primal stones to train. Whether it’s in soul skill or personal skill, the first prince is by all rights where he should be.”
Admiration filled Bai Yunfei’s eyes. Even though he had never met the prince, the man had his respect and Bai Yunfei could not wait to meet him.
Bai Yunfei asked Zheng Kai for a few things more relating to the first prince to pass the time. And when it was nearly the designated time, the two departed from Zheng manor to reach the Hundred Aliments.
He didn’t bring the blue-eyes wyrm or the permafrost mastiff with him. He was seeing the first prince after all; so it stood to reason that there’d be plenty of powerful people hidden there just in case anyone would dare try to hurt their charge. And with so many of those said people there, Bai Yunfei didn’t want to worry about anyone figuring out the circumstances behind the permafrost mastiff. So he only took Xiao Qi with him.
This would be Bai Yunfei’s second time coming to the Hundred Aliments. Before they arrived, Bai Yunfei had thought that the entire building would be reserved for the prince today, but when they got there, Bai Yunfei saw the entire place filled with people; and even the second floor was booming with noise just like normal. He stepped inside with Zheng Kai and was prompted by the greeters there by the door to follow them up to one of the private rooms on the second floor where the prince was waiting.
Bai Yunfei felt himself rather humbled by the fact that the first prince was such a ‘casual’ person. But the fact that he didn’t really feel like a prince due to that factor gave Bai Yunfei the impression that it’d be pretty easy to get along with the man.
He and Zheng Kai had only just arrived outside the room when the doors opened--the people inside had clearly felt their presence. Two beautiful maids held the door open and escorted Bai Yunfei and Zheng Kai inside.
The room was spacious and exquisite, the table inside already filled with plenty of fine delicacies and drink. A man with extraordinary aura sat at the middle, smiling as he watched Bai Yunfei and Zheng Kai entered.
The young man looked to be in his thirties and wore a simple white robe. While not exceedingly handsome, he held with him a aura of dignity (‘kingly air’ as the rumors might say), and the smile on his face didn’t diminish that dignity in the slightest. His aura commandeered respect from people, though at the same time, he felt easy to approach and seemed quite kindly.
This was without a doubt the main character of the room, the first prince of the empire, Wu Ren.
Behind him stood a white-haired elder in purple and also a rather lazy looking young man in gray.
Aside from those three, there was no one else in the room.
Flashing Wu Ren a respectful smile, Zheng Kai bowed to the prince, “Zheng Kai pays his respects to His Highness the First Prince.”
Wu Ren didn’t rise from his seat, but he acknowledged Zheng Kai’s bow with a nod of his head. “Haha, you’re too kind, lord Zheng. Please, come and sit, you two.”
He turned to Bai Yunfei next, “And you must be Bai Yunfei? Your name precedes you. If today’s invitation was a little presumptuous of me, please forgive me for that.”
Bai Yunfei felt even more humbled by the absolute politeness of the first prince’s words considering his relative station and strength. Bowing and cupping his hands to Wu Ren, Bai Yunfei replied, “Bai Yunfei pays his respects to His Highness the First Prince. It is truly an honor to receive an invitation from the First Prince.”
Once Bai Yunfei sat down with Zheng Kai, Wu Ren waved his hand for one of the maids to come. Ordering a few more dishes, he sent her off before smiling at his guests. “I’ve actually been wanting to meet with the esteemed genius of the Crafting School, but with so many incidents happening since your arrival in the Capital, those plans had to be put aside. Your acts in the past few weeks have been extraordinary, brother Bai. Haha, you set quite an example as a genius for all the others in your generation.”
Just like his conversation with the second prince, Bai Yunfei was being deemed as a ‘brother’. Not like a blood brother, but one of equal station almost. It felt weird to be called such by the first prince, and so Bai Yunfei couldn’t help but respond meekly, “The First Prince overestimates this one. In front of the First Prince, I am but nothing and not worthy of being called a ‘genius’. Not worthy at all…”
Wu Ren laughed, “A mid-stage Soul Exalt at your age, strong enough to defeat a peak late-stage Soul Exalt, and capable of crafting a heaven-tier soul armament. What other word could describe you but ‘genius’? If that cannot, there are truly no such things as ‘geniuses’ in this world then….Furthermore, you managed to kill a Soul King when heavily injured in an ambush. Even I wasn’t capable of doing such a thing when I was your age….”
Bai Yunfei quirked an eyebrow. He knew that being the first prince, all happenings in the Capital would be known to him, but for him to know something like that was a little surprising.
Wu Ren continued to speak before Bai Yunfei could say anything, “Brother Bai. I actually invited you today so that I give you a welcoming gift of sorts.”
“Eh?” Bai Yunfei didn’t know what to say--a welcoming gift before a proper conversation could even be had? Wasn’t that a little too polite?
Having not heard any complaints, Wu Ren spoke up rather carefreely, “While I say it’s a gift, it’s more like some piece of information of sorts. That ice-type Soul King who ambushed you and Zheng Kai. I’ve found him for you.”
This time, both Zheng Kai and Bai Yunfei cried out at the same time.