Chapter 102: The City Lord
“The City Lord would like to welcome you to our humble city,” the red dressed guard said with a humble bow. “Please follow me to the City Lord’s mansion where you may take up residency for as long as you wish.”
Hui Yue nodded in reply and slowly followed the guards. Everyone who previously followed closely behind them now spread out to allow them easy passage. None of them could forget how the snake-woman had just killed at least three men with one swipe of her tail.
Hui Yue once more walked at a leisurely pace through the town, observing everything around him. He quickly noticed that they had taken a roundabout way to reach the City Lord’s mansion. Despite this, Hui Yue understood the layout of the streets nonetheless.
The City Lord’s mansion was small in comparison to the one from Riluo City, yet the size was still quite large, definitely larger than the mansion that Hui Yue had bought.
Walking out of the mansion, more red uniformed guards appeared, all of which were at the Practitioner rank, and they showed the utmost respect towards Hui Yue and his followers. The leader, who was walking in front, seemed to be proud of leading the way.
Walking past several residences, they finally arrived at a city hall where they were led inside. This open hall had no separations, only elaborately carved wooden pillars. At the end of the hall five seats were placed, and in the center was a middle-aged man seated with two grey-haired men on either side of him.
Black shining hair and a beard adorned the middle-aged man’s face, framing his intelligent but haughty eyes as he looked at Hui Yue with great interest.
The robe he wore was clearly made from material much more luxurious than that of any of the citizens, even the red uniforms seemed somewhat lacklustre next to him. Golden threads had been used to make an embroidery of the four divine beasts.Two were on front of his garments while the other two on his back.
Looking at this man, Hui Yue estimated him to be around the same rank as himself, and each of the elders were a slightly higher rank.
It had to be said that although the elders were of higher rank, they had clearly seen days where they were stronger, making it impossible for any of them to fully utilize their cultivation base. None of them were Grandmaster ranked or above; at most they were nine-star Masters, much like Deng Wu.
These five men observed Hui Yue and his entourage with mixed expressions. One with arrogance, one with veneration, and the other with surprise.
It was obvious that youths were never so highly ranked in cultivation here, and while some were surprised and awed by this, others felt arrogance as they too had reached the same level, showing that they were in no way inferior. Especially considering that these elders had life experiences, giving them much more wisdom than such youths, it made them feel superior.
It was evident that the City Lord himself felt that he was much more astonishing than Hui Yue and his group, causing Hui Yue to inwardly laugh with disdain.
Although the City Lord was higher ranked than Hui Yue, his life experience was far from Hui Yue’s. It was obvious that this city was isolated from the rest of the Dungeons of the Divine, but how or why was something that Hui Yue knew nothing about.
Looking at Hui Yue with arrogance shining from his eyes, the City Lord slightly nodded his head in greeting, which Hui Yue mirrored, deciding to show only as much courtesy to this man as he himself got.
Seeing that Hui Yue had neither clasped his hands nor bowed to the City Lord made the City Lord’s brows furrow in annoyance, yet he said nothing. Not even when he noticed that the white-haired young man’s entourage was even less polite, not even greeting him with the slightest look. They were, all three, busy observing the surroundings preparing to escape, should the need arrive.
“Young master.” The City Lord finally opened his mouth; his face was forced into a welcoming and polite expression, but Hui Yue could tell that he was not very used to greeting guests. This city truly seemed to be isolated from the rest of the underground world.
“It would be our pleasure to allow for you and your…. friends…. to stay with us for as long as you wish. We are setting up a banquet tonight, perhaps you would like to join us?”
Seeing as though he was contemplating, Hui Yue paused for a slight moment before a smile spread on his face. “That would be my honour, but for me to join, I wish to bring my friends with me. Being in a new place, they would never allow for me to go alone.”
Such a request was only natural, and the City Lord had already guessed that he would have no way of inviting this boy with a decent cultivation technique, so he nodded his head in confirmation. Every time his eyes landed on Sha Yun, complicated emotions were visible on his face.
There was a gleam of lust mixed with arrogance and curiosity. Sha Yun was clearly not your average human, but it seemed as though the City Lord did not think that she was a magical beast. It is possible she could be a human from another tribe where they had changed throughout the years.
Wresting himself from his deep thoughts, the City Lord stood up and walked towards Hui Yue. His eyes glanced towards Sha Yun multiple times as though he could never get enough of seeing her, yet at the same time knew it was inappropriate.
The snake-woman’s eyes were narrowed in displeasure, and her usually beautiful lips were curled up into a sneer.She felt deep enmity towards this City Lord who showed only the minimum amount of respect towards Hui Yue, but Sha Yun did nothing apart from sneering and glaring at the black-haired City Lord who was now advancing, soon to be standing next to Hui Yue.
“We thank the City Lord for his generosity,” Hui Yue said with a clear voice, in no way intimidated by the taller and much more sturdy man.
“Please, call me Liu Wei.” The voice was filled with friendliness and flattery, so much that Hui Yue fought hard not to roll his eyes at the older man. Instead, he clasped his hands and made a slight bow towards the City Lord, introducing himself, “I am Zhang Xiao.”
Hui Yue did not have any positive feelings about these elders nor the City Lord, making him come up with the most generic name he had in mind. A sigh of relief was breathed internally as Hui Yue noticed how the others showed no surprise on hearing the name. Although these elders were no longer in their prime, they were still able to look through even small lies by observing the facial expressions of the ones in question.
Hearing the name, Lord Liu Wei once more nodded his head as he spread his arms open in an attempt to seem even friendlier. “As long as you stay in my mansion, you are welcome anywhere you wish to go. The servants will help you find your housing.” He gestured to some of the servants. Hui Yue nodded as he got ready to follow them.
“We’ll see you at the banquet tonight.” Hui Yue smiled as he turned around and moved away together with his friends.
As soon as Hui Yue’s shadow vanished and he was out of sight, the smile vanished from the City Lord’s face, replaced by annoyance.
“Why would so many high ranked experts appear here?” he asked with furrowed brows.
“They must have come from beyond the tunnels,” another elder said, his face twisted in displeasure.
“Beyond the tunnels?” Lord Liu Wei’s face turned ashen as he said the question, yet before any of the elders had time to answer, he shook his head, a determined expression appearing on his face.
“They cannot have come from beyond the tunnels,” he said with a steady expression. “His group appeared from the forest side of our land. It would not have been possible for them to sneak across our entire city without attracting attention, so they must be from the forest. Could there be a village left within the forest that managed to salvage some cultivation techniques?”
Hearing the suggestion, all the elders eye’s opened wide and one of them started panting slightly in greed. All of them knew how hard it was to cultivate with no techniques. Each person had to find their own way of cultivation, specialized for themselves, but their way was nowhere near efficient enough to allow for youngsters like Zhang Xiao.
Finally, the elder seated right next to Lord Liu Wei sighed deeply as he said, “Let us see what they have to say during the banquet.” Hearing his voice, everyone present in the room nodded their heads in unison before they split up, deciding to get themselves, and the mansion, ready for the banquet they had promised the newly arrived guests.
While the elders were discussing the newly arrived guests, the group of youngsters had followed the servant tasked to show them their courtyard. Looking around, Hui Yue had to admit that although this place was underground and a lot smaller than Riluo City, it was far from a small place and mapping out the area took him much longer than expected.
The young people finally arrived at a courtyard where they all sat down quietly. The rooms were filled with memory stones which recorded anything that happened, yet fortunately enough these memory stones were not able to record audio, and they slowly started discussing their further plans now that they had finally found a place to stay.
On the surface world a frenzied search had been going on for the better of four months, trying to locate one youngster who had disappeared from the face of the earth.
This youngster was obviously Hui Yue, and the search was started by the royal family who wished to discuss which methods the white-haired youngster had been practicing, so that they, themselves, could hope to reach Saint rank at such a young age.
At first the royal family assumed that the experts within Riluo City lied, as they felt embarrassed by having a King ranked expert killed by a mere Master ranked expert; however, as soon as they used the truth potions on these experts, they found that it was in fact a Saint who had appeared that fateful day. Unfortunately, this expert disappeared as quickly as he appeared.
The royal family ordered everyone within Riluo City to keep quiet about Hui Yue and his rank; however, some rumours had already left the city, causing ripples to appear within the usually silent Taiyang Kingdom.
Fortunately, these rumours ended as just that. Everyone heard about this amazing youth who had reached the Saint rank before he had been twenty years of age, yet no one knew where he was now nor if in fact this was true or not.
Everyone quickly agreed that it was started by the experts of Riluo City for the sake of fame or to explain the disaster of a Great Hundred Names King ranked expert being killed by his son.
The royal kingdom had sent a handful of their silent ravens to every corner of the kingdom, yet not one had emerged with even the slightest trace of the genius youth and his friends.
“What do you mean he disappeared?” Zhong Fai’s voice was raised much more than usual; his handsome youthful face twisted in annoyance as the frozen man was standing in front of him, shrugging his shoulders.
“We lost track of him after the battle for City Lord of Riluo City,” the frozen man explained once more. Although it was obvious that Zhong Fai was his superior, he showed no signs of fear upon seeing the agitated young man.
“Good. Very good,” Zong Fai said while leaning back against his icy throne. His face was straight as he pondered slightly, and suddenly, a brilliant smile lit up the room.
“Let us see how long he can stay hidden. Send the seven crusaders out to find him!”