Chapter 391: Provocation
Jian Chen hadn’t any desire to decline Qin Ji’s request, so he agreed to it quite enthusiastically.
As a result, Jian Chen came to live within the Qinhuang Palace with the lifestyle of an Immortal, but this was not the lifestyle that Jian Chen was accustomed to. At night, he would sleep within one of the guest rooms with several armored guards and even some maids waiting outside. The first were to guard Jian Chen while the latter were to serve him. Even when he walked around the palace, several guards and maids would follow from behind.
If it weren’t for the fact that Jian Chen knew that all wealthy men had such a privileged life like this, he would have assumed that they were here to supervise him for any dangerous activity toward the palace.
On the second day, Qin Ji had woken up Jian Chen early in the morning before taking him on a stroll around the palace. On the stroll, he pointed out many of the different types of scenery within the place. Jian Chen never brought the tiger cub with him since he didn’t wish for the cub to be subjected to the eyes of a lord. So, to ensure that the cub was safe, he would feed it a large amount of heavenly resources and would wait for it to fall into a deep sleep before walking out.
The palace was extraordinarily large, and even after walking for almost the entire day, they had only managed to travel two thirds of it. Some of the remaining areas were forbidden to outsiders however. In the meanwhile, Qin Ji had introduced Jian Chen to many different lords and the daughters of the nobles. Their ages weren’t all that too far away from the two, but whenever Qin Ji introduced Jian Chen, he only said that Jian Chen was a friend made from a personal friendship. Thus, the lords gave Jian Chen contemptuous looks. Maintaining a look of resoluteness, Jian Chen said nothing. However, the illustrious daughters of the nobles often times gave him strange looks; some of them even spoke to Jian Chen with a friendly manner and exposed their intent to be friends clearly.
However this newfound popularity of Jian Chen had earned the ire of even more nobles. The majority of them had already started to give Jian Chen envious and heated looks.
Straight after Qin Ji and Jian Chen had split ways, many of the nobles had already ordered for someone to inquire about Jian Chen’s identity and background. In the end, many of them couldn’t help but sigh in relief as they heard that Jian Chen wasn’t a part of any political power and was an unknown entity. In accordance to their guesses, even if Jian Chen had some type of background, the party behind him was far too inferior to be talked about in public.
In the evening, Jian Chen had finished the daytime activities and returned to Qin Ji’s palace to eat a meal. This was his personal abode and was suited with many different facilities for his every need.
Just as Qin Ji and Jian Chen were enjoying their meal, an armored soldier suddenly came into the palace and knelt to the ground respectfully. “A report for the third prince! Princess Qin Shuang, princess Qin Yubing and the princess of Funan have arrived at the Flowing Clouds Palace!” The Flowing Clouds Palace was the name of Qin Ji’s palace.
Hearing this, Qin Ji’s eyebrows furrowed together as he muttered, “Strange, what are they up to?” Then, as if coming to a realization, he gave a meaningful look to Jian Chen and laughed, “Then, let them in!”
“Yes, third prince!” The guard spoke before retreating outside.
After the guard had left, Qin Ji toasted a cup with Jian Chen, “Brother Jian Chen, the relationship between the three of them and me is not anything significant. This is the first time they’ve come to my palace, it seems that it’s because of you.”
Jian Chen cleaned off the wine cup with a bitter smile, “Brother Qin Ji, you speak so sarcastically.”
Widening his eyes, Qin Ji spoke sternly, “Sarcasm? I am not. Jian Chen, if you don’t believe me, then just wait and see.”
Very soon, three beautiful flower like women walked into the palace. These three young princesses were the three princesses he had met in the imperial palace during the day.
Princess Qin Shuang gave an unruly wink toward Qin Ji as she spoke, “Elder brother, Qin Shuang has grown so much, and yet you’re not welcoming me into your palace for the first time?”
Laughing, Qin Ji spoke, “Welcome, welcome. How could I not welcome you? Sisters, princess of Funan, please come sit and eat. Maid! Another three sets of dinnerware!”
The two princesses and the princess of Funan were all outspoken women, but their words were filled with noble auras and they spoke of their thanks to Qin Ji.
As the three sat down, Qin Yubing cast a glance toward Jian Chen before speaking to Qin Ji, “Ah, elder brother, you haven’t introduced your sister to your friend here. Your sister is very curious, just how did you two meet?”
Giving a quick wink to Jian Chen, he laughed and explained, “There’s no harm in telling you. Brother Jian Chen and I actually met at the Gathering of the Mercenaries. The two of us became close friends straight away. Furthermore, this brother of mine is actually the King of Mercenaries!”
“Ah, so he is the Jian Chen who won first place at the Gathering of the Mercenaries…” The three princesses looked on in shock. Their opinion of Jian Chen had changed drastically, their eyes shining strangely bright.
Seeing how the princess’s eyes were starting to sparkle, Jian Chen couldn’t help but give a small smile before glaring at Qin Ji. Pretending to not have seen it, Qin Ji’s lips curled into a small smile as he continued to eat the meal on the table with a relished gusto.
“Wah, so you’re really strong, Jian Chen! If you were able to become the first place ranker at the Gathering of the Mercenaries, then that means you’re stronger than our elder brother! Come, I, Situ Yan, toast you!” The princess of Funan immediately raised a glass as she spoke to Jian Chen with a chivalrous tone.
Following Situ Yan’s example, Qin Shuang and Qin Yubing both raised their glasses as well as they toasted Jian Chen.
Unwilling to shirk away from this, Jian Chen stood up and held up his own glass in response to the three princess’ kind words. Touching cups with the there, he was just about to bring it up to his own math before a loud cry came out from outside.
“Lord Xiao Han, you can’t go in! Without the permission of the third prince, no one can enter the Flowing Clouds Palace…”
“Lord Xiao Han, please don’t make things difficult for us. Without the third prince’s permission, you cannot enter this place…”
“Step aside! Who do you think I am? Visiting the third prince should warrant no notice!”
All of a sudden, a twenty-five year old youth came bursting into the palace in a grandiose manner. He wore a magnificent cyan robe and his eyebrows were creased into a fierce state, giving everyone the idea that he was the type to treat all those under the heavens as someone to be scorned.
As he entered, two more armored soldiers came running in as an attempt to block him. But because of the high status of the youth, the two soldiers didn’t dare use violence in order to stop him.
“Third prince, please forgive us!” The two soldiers cried out helplessly in forgiveness.
Looking expressionlessly at the youth that had just ran in, he waved his hand at the two guards, “You two may leave!”
“Yes, third prince!” The two cried out graciously before retreating away.
Qin Ji looked at the youth hard and spoke, “What business do you have for you to just barge into my Flowing Clouds Palace?”
Laughing, Xiao Han cupped his hands in greeting, “Third prince, tomorrow is His Majesty’s 50th birthday. I came here today to discuss of tomorrow’s gift to him, if I have disturbed you, then please forgive me for my transgressions.” Looking to the side at Qin Shuang, Qin Yubing, and the princess of Funan, his expression grew flabbergasted as he cried, “Ah, the two princesses and the princess of Funan are here too? How coincidental! Dear princesses, what might you three be doing here?” Xiao Han looked at the four cups being raised in the air, but a sight like this didn’t require an idiot to figure out the situation.
Xiao Han’s eyes held an undisguised amount of envy, but he managed to let out a smile, “Dear princesses, could it be that you three are giving a toast to the third prince’s friend?”
Qin Shuang, Qin Yubing, and the princess of Funan looked at him with a look of utter loathing as if they were all equally disgusted by him.
Qin Yubing didn’t even spare him another glance and turned back to Jian Chen with the cup raised, “Let us toast!” Her voice was exceedingly gentle and would cause any male to feel happy to hear it.
After her suggestion, Qin Shuang and the princess of Funan raised their glasses up with a smile.
At this sight, Xiao Han’s fury burst with envy as he promptly shouted, “This cannot do! Three princesses worth their weight of gold and all of illustrious backgrounds drinking wine with a stranger? Have you lost your identity?”
Straight away, Qin Ji exploded with anger as well. His previously expressionless eyes grew icy cold as he thundered, “Xiao Han, what is the meaning of your words? Could it be that a friend of I, Qin Ji, is not worthy of drinking with these three princesses?”
Giving an apologetic smile, he spoke with a moderate tone, “Third prince, please quell your anger. What I said is nothing but the truth. These three princesses have such an illustrious background, and while the friend of the third prince is no ordinary status, he is neither anyone with any special relations. Thus, it is inappropriate for them to drink with him.”