They had not met for a year but ‘Black Bear’ still recognised Shao Xuan. Plus, Maoda had already sent people to enter the city and report to him before they arrived.
“Hahaha, long time no see, Brother Shao Xuan.” Black Bear took huge steps forward and slapped Shao Xuan’s shoulder with his fan-like hand. This was a habit of their tribe to express passion and welcome.
A regular person would’ve broken a bone or winced in pain.
Shao Xuan’s expression did not change, returning the favour.
When Shao Xuan’s palm landed on Black Bear, his expression hardened but he quickly recovered. However, the ‘passion’ was no longer there as he brought Shao Xuan and Guang Yi back into the house and arranged for rooms for them. They often had guests so they had specialised guest rooms.
Maoda told Black Bear about Shao Xuan’s reason for coming to King City.
“You’re looking for Golden Grain, Ji Ju?” Black Bear thought for a moment. “Ji Ju hasn’t appeared in King City in a while but according to my sources, Ji Ju seems to be planting something good again. He has spent a long time on it since last year, living in the shed he has outside the city. No one could visit him. Shao Xuan, it might be difficult for you to meet Ji Ju.”
“I’ll have to try,” said Shao Xuan. These days, he had already learned a lot about the old man Ji Ju from Maoda and his brother. In the past, he just thought Ji Ju was not an ordinary man in King City but so far, it looked like he had underestimated the old man.
However, he had the Thousand Grain Gold with him and still needed to talk to Ji Ju.
Seeing as Shao Xuan was determined, Black Bear did not offer any more advice. Like the brothers, he knew that if Shao Xuan really had a connection with Ji Ju, they might be able to gain some benefit from this relationship. Ji Ju was not an easy man to talk to, if you had no contacts, there would not even be a door.
Thinking, he said, “What about this. I’m available tomorrow. I’ll bring you to Ji Ju’s shed outside the city and we can try our luck to see if we can meet him.
“Thank you so much.”
“Hahaha, you’re welcome. If I really get to meet Ji Ju, it would be my turn to thank you!” Black Bear instructed his people to prepare food and sent someone to retrieve news about Ji Ju’s latest activities.
The next day, Black Bear brought Shao Xuan and Guang Yi out of the city.
A seven-meter tall mammoth was slowly walking within the city, stomping its feet as thick as stone pillars. This mammoth was brought by another trading group, it was carrying some goods. There was a loud thud where it stepped, clouds of dust flew. When it passed Shao Xuan and the rest, it kicked up a cloud of dust.
Large animals like this were not rare in the city. The people of King City did not find this odd so they did not stare.
The city let them in but that did not mean the animals could roam free. After entering the city, under the control of the trading groups, they would bring the animals to their own base.
Different trading parties from different tribes came. Other than groups of different sizes, there were people clad in fine clothing sat on carriages. This was a luxury only aristocrats could afford, other people would not sit in carriages. Even the wagons led by animals to transport goods must not have people sitting inside. This was a rule in King City.
Since it was Shao Xuan’s first time here, and he had arrived late last night, Maoda did not talk much. Black Bear gave them a brief introduction to the city.
Shao Xuan listened to Black Bear’s tone. He was a lot more polite here but as the leader of a trading party, he did not fear any of the aristocrats or thought of himself as beneath them. When he talked about the snobbish aristocrats in the city, his tone would be filled with obvious contempt.
King City was bustling with people and animal sounds along the wide streets.
There was always the sound of clinking money. The currency here was coppers shaped in a narrow leaf and about half the size of a thumb. It looked like the leaf of the Thousand Grain Gold plant so it was termed ‘Golden Leaf’.
They did not linger in the streets. Black Bear directly brought them out of the city and left through a ten-meter wide path to the left of the city fates.
“Ji Ju’s shed is over there. I once went with the previous chief but it was a pity we did not see Ji Ju.” Black Bear told Shao Xuan about his experience as they walked.
“At the time, many tribes had heard of the Golden Grain, even the tribes staying far away knew of Ji Ju. Every year, many people would come to see him. Since they could not see his famous golden grains in the city, they would go to his shed outside. Who knew that they were eventually all stopped outside the shed. No one was even allowed in.”
Black Bear said all of this to mentally prepare Shao Xuan. If they could not meet Ji Ju, he should not feel sad because it was the same for everyone.
Just as he said, Ji ‘Golden Grain’ Ju was very famous. A random weed growing in his field could sell for a very high price.
There were people selling fakes far from King City too. They would sell grains claiming that they were produced at his place but the truth was that demand far exceeded supply. Even the ones who travelled far to King City might not be able to get it. Even if they begged at his door, they might not get it.
Black Bear told Shao Xuan about which pieces of land belonged to whom, and how many slaves lived there. Usually, the larger the land, the more slaves lived there and the more powerful the slave master was. That was why the size of their land was enough for a general impression of the owner.
Around the piece of land was a tall fence, stopping people from entering. From the gaps between the wood, they could barely see dispersed wooden sheds around the piece of land. Those housed the slaves who helped on the land.
“These belong to aristocrats who don’t even do much with their lives. The land is passed down generations. Some people are capable enough to expand their land but others who commit crimes would get their land confiscated… There, that piece. Two years ago, I heard the slave master committed a crime so his land was confiscated. There’s a new owner now.”
As he spoke, the three of them heard wheels from behind.
“Go away! Go away! Stop blocking the road!” someone yelled.
It was a carriage pulled by two horses. The horses were three meters tall with chestnut hair plus a long horn on their heads. They had powerful hooves, pebbles crumbling under each step. A veil covered the carriage and there were patterns on it. Shao Xuan recognised them to be the royal Ji family’s emblem.
The people of King City would instinctively get out of the way when they saw the pattern but some people would not.
Black Bear didn’t want trouble but after the guy yelled ‘get the hell out’, he was a little upset.
Although the road was uneven, the horses did not seem to slow down. They galloped, rushing forward.
There were eight guards around the carriage, they recognised Black Bear too. When they saw this, they could not help but secretly curse to themselves, “Ah shit.”
The carriage was approaching but the three people did not move. The person driving the carriage glared at them and waved his whip, urging his horses to hit them.
When the guards running next to the carriage saw this, they secretly cursed at the driver for being an absolute idiot. But it was too late.
These horses were not new to this either. They galloped even harder and lowered their heads so their horns were pointing directly ahead.
When he saw this, Black Bear huffed mockingly. He didn’t retreat, instead taking a huge step forward and unsheathed a one-meter long bronze knife from his back.
The thick and wide blade was threatening, bringing with it wild, killing aura.
Black Bear held the large knife in his hand and waved his arm. There was an arc of cold glint in the air like a fierce beast had just waved its claws.
A cut, half a meter wide, opened on the ground in front of him. Dust flew like a sandstorm, exploding in all directions. Solid pieces of soil rained like hail on the two horses.
Although they were just soil, at such speed and numbers, they could do great damage.
The two horses shrieked under the attack of the soil hail, lifting their front limbs. They must have felt the aura radiating from Black Bear. They stopped abruptly.
So abruptly that the person in the carriage almost fell out.
Shao Xuan saw the curtain on the carriage move and a feminine voice rang, “What happened?!”
The tone was piercing. The curtain was pulled open and a young lady clad in a pure white dress hopped out. Perhaps due to the incident, her hair was a little messy.
This lady eyed Shao Xuan and the other two and spat with hatred, “How brave of you!”
Black Bear blew the dust off his knife, almost laughing at this. He never offended people for no reason- unless they insulted him first. He was the mighty leader of the Black Bears, the chief of a tribe. If someone yelled ‘get the hell out of the way’, and he obeyed, how would anyone respect the Black Bears in the future? ‘Face’ was a two-way trade. If you didn’t give me face, why should I?
The royal family of the great six? I don’t care! A mistake? I don’t care! Brave? I have always been brave!
Black Bear had no intentions to move. He stood his ground.
The guards around the lady wanted to say something several times but this was not their place to speak. Then again, with her temperament, she wouldn’t listen.