Li Chengfeng’s words scared Zhang Jinbao, who quickly shook his hands. “No way, no way! If the Martial Uncles know about this, we will be dead!”
Chengfeng grinned. “I’m just joking, don’t worry. If he really dies, it’ll just trouble you and I don’t want that.”
Zhang Jinbao heaved a sigh of relief. “Don’t worry, Junior Brother. A Senior Brother will soon check on the triggered trap. He’ll likely suffer a few days and be released.
Even better if he’s never released.
Chengfeng intended to go check out the forbidden area but did not know where it was. If Zhang Jinbao wasn’t going to tell him, asking more would just arouse suspicion so he gave up.
That night, Li Chengfeng arrived at the feast on time. He was slightly regretting his actions how: how far did he have to take this?
However, it was a hole he dug for himself. He had to stick through no matter what.
In addition, he did not think this was all for nothing.
He had planned to go alone but when he was about to leave, he saw Su Yuehan coming out, all dressed and dolled up. She giggled, “I’ll go with you.”
He patted her head with a grin. “You’re just going for the food! You must’ve heard our conversation, right?!”
She clutched her head with a grin but wrinkled her nose. She didn’t want to go at all! But if she didn’t go, those people might do something to him!
Li Chengfeng and Su Yuehan passed through a long corridor of Hidden Brocade Court, admiring their surroundings as he walked through.
He stood at the entrance of the group of buildings of Hidden Brocade Court’s Jinxiu Brocade Valley, looking at the sea of stars that dotted the sky. He saw the two major stars--Tau Ceti and Luoqiong. They were huge planets and this had shocked Li Chengfeng when he first arrived in this world. These planets were very close to this world, their sizes in the sky larger than the sun by at least twenty times. Dense craters could be seen with the naked eye, each as large as a coin while others as large as an orange.
Legend has it that they were ancient ruins from an ancient war between gods, a legend much more ancient than the one Sun Heluo fought in. Chengfeng sometimes wondered on what scale the war was to have caused such terrifying damage to a planet.
Beneath the two gigantic moons was the buildings of Brocade Valley hidden in the darkness of the night. Multicoloured arrays glowed softly, light rippling off the peculiar patterns creating a magnificent view.
“While this is a nice place, it’s too bad I cannot stay…” Chengfeng suddenly heaved a huge sigh.
Su Yuehan did not understand his sudden lament. “Young Master, what do you mean?”
He shook his head. “It’s not as simple as I thought it was…”
She was even more confused but he said, “You’ll understand when the feast begins. I hope I’m wrong.”
During this long period of peace, Daqi had already taken on a culture of luxury, especially during banquets like this. The people of Daqi loved to organise drinking parties, tea parties, theatre parties etc just to have an excuse to party. This banquet of Hidden Brocade Court was especially extravagant tonight. Even from so far away, Chengfeng could hear hints of music. Many lanterns lit up the front hall of Huangfu Song’s residence, where a servant stood to welcome every guest.
When he entered, he saw a banquet hall large enough to fit a thousand guests. Forty to fifty long tables sat in the middle with cushions for guests to sit in. All types of dishes were served during this continuous feast.
Chengfeng was directed to a seat on the right at one of the VIP seats while Su Yuehan was directed to the back with the rest of the servants.
The hall was filled with many guests as Senior Brothers and Sisters all came forward to talk to Chengfeng. However, as the number of people coming to talk to him increased, his heart sank further. The Zhan family’s influence far exceeded his expectations.
Initially, he thought he had space to hide from Zhan Qisheng even if they were in the same court. However, he’d only just realised that every senior wanted to come suck up to Zhan Qisheng. So how would he live on in Hidden Brocade Court for the years to come? Even if Zhan Qisheng did not trouble him every day, all these seniors could take turns troubling him and make his life hell.
His mind raced. At this moment, Huangfu Song brought a cup of wine over, asking for a drink, while he introduced a few seniors from Hidden Brocade and Hidden Beauty Courts.
Hidden Modesty Court cultivators would never come because Hidden Brocade Court looked down on those poor people, just like how the Hidden Modesty people looked down on these good-for-nothing rich boys.
Chengfeng handled it all politely, his mind racing to think. An idea came to him when he saw Ji Chunhua as he smiled. “Senior Sister Ji, you look radiant.”
She smiled like a blooming flower, and covered her mouth as she thanked him, “I heard the Zhan family was a solemn, arrogant bunch but I guess those were mere rumours. You’re so smooth with your words, I think many girls will surely like you.”
“I’m just telling the truth.”
Ji Chunhua giggled. She wore Hidden Beauty Court’s standard cultivator robes but had modified it so that the collar was wider to expose more of her chest and shoulders. She smelled seductively good, and the way she giggled with her shoulders shaking up and down made Huangfu Song miserable.
Huangfu Song quickly interrupted, “Junior, have you forgotten Senior Sister Gu and Senior Sister Feng? You can’t be that rude!”
Chengfeng quickly complimented and greeted Gu Yuelian and Feng Wenjuan generously. In just a few sentences, their gloomy faces turned into beaming smiles.
After a round of drinks, even with his high alcohol tolerance, Chengfeng felt his face heating up. He looked around to see that Huangfu Song basically only invited people he had good relationships with. Most of them were sons of palace officials, even the ones with weakest backgrounds were at least the descendants of their local politicians. Feng Wenjuan and Gu Yuelian were Yuan’an Prefecture Chief’s third daughter and a garrison general’s youngest daughter - a fourth-level official- respectively.
Any crowd had its own cliques that determined the power dynamics of the region.
This clique was a concentration of the most powerful people in Hidden Brocade Court. They were all descendants of aristocratic lords. Descendants of mere rich businessmen or lower-ranked officials were excluded.
When the atmosphere had reached its climax, Chengfeng spoke in a mysterious tone, “I’ve just arrived and I don’t know many people but I’ve intended to start a business. I just don’t know where to start.”
Huangfu Song and the rest were surprised. A Zhan family member starting a business? Aren’t they all warriors who just fought all day?
Surprised, Ji Chunhua said, “Junior, why are you more interested in business than cultivation?’
He sighed. “You might not know that, as the youngest child of my family, I am also the least talented. I really want to start a business that will impress my parents. But you know how it is, the real world is very different from my life at home! Although my family is powerful, this is Spiritual Mountain and far away from my home.”
Huangfu Song asked carefully, “Junior Brother, are you… lacking funds?”
Everyone’s stares turned odd. A son of the Zhan family lacking funds? That must be a joke.
Chengfeng smiled. “You must be joking, Senior Brother. But, I was just wondering if the Martial Uncles of the sect would mind if outsiders start a business here?”
Ji Chunhua laughed. “Junior, are there really any ‘natives’ who were born here? Everyone in the sect comes from all over the world.”
Huangfu Song finally understood and probed, “Junior Brother, do you mean that the Zhan family is planning to expand their business to Spiritual Mountain Sect?”
Chengfeng clapped. “Indeed! You’re smart, Senior Huangfu! You got it so quickly!”
Gu Yuelian was more straightforward. “But the sect has always been self-sufficient.”
“Are you sure you have enough magical items and armour to go around?”
Everyone fell silent. Of course it wasn’t enough. No cultivator would ever pass an opportunity to get more magical items. Ji Chunhua lowered her voice. “What magical items are the Zhan family willing to sell?”
Every cultivation sect or powerful family would have their own store of magical items. The four courts of Spiritual Mountain Sect had immensely powerful items but they were priceless artefacts that would never be traded. However, the ones that cultivators eyed for were short-ranged items and weapons. Those were the ones frequently traded.
Some of the Zhan family’s famous treasures included the Flowing Sand Armour and Blood Blade. The Flowing Sand Armour was a much coveted item every cultivator dreamt of. It did not only possess shocking defensive properties, it could be layered on.
Many magical armours could only be worn alone. Wearing another armour on it would cause a repulsion effect and hurt the wearer. The Flowing Sand Armour did not cause repulsion effects when layered with almost any other magical item in the world. That was why it was a powerful defensive item to own.
The Blood Blade was not a magical item nor weapon but it was even more coveted because it was a whetstone. It could be used once on a weapon, making any weapon sharp enough to pierce through armours.
If they were up for trade at Spiritual Mountain, it would make them rich! Even if they weren’t going to use all of it, they could use it to trade for treasures that could not be bought with money.
Everyone’s breaths quickened, their pupils dilating as their faces turned red.
However, Li Chengfeng was not too familiar with swindling cultivators so he did not know what treasures the Zhan family had. He smiled nonchalantly, “I’ll give you anything you want that is available for trade.”
Huangfu Song’s voice trembled. “Junior, are you serious?”
Some people whispered, afraid their conversations would be overheard. They did not see Chengfeng as a junior with potential anymore, but a huge source of support they could suck-up to.
Everyone had the same thought: Junior, no, Father…. Do you want to adopt me? I’ll do anything you want!