Chapter 165: Banquet
“He must have gotten himself into trouble.”
After ensuring that there were no guards nearby, Zhu Xianyao began to contemplate aloud while making sure not to mention Su Chen by name.
Beside her, a cloud of smoke floated around aimlessly. It was Su Chen’s Demonic Lord subordinate, Death’s Shadow of a Youth.
This Demonic Lord had been assigned to follow Zhu Xianyao and keep her safe while Su Chen was exploring Harpy territory.
“I wouldn’t be surprised at all if that were the case, given how Master usually does things,” Death’s Shadow replied.
“The problem is, we don’t actually know what he’s done, or how much the Harpies know about our relationship,” Zhu Xianyao said as she paced back and forth a few times through the room, attempting to recall the consort’s expression when she had asked the Zhu Clan to remain for some extra days.
“But no matter what he did, it seems that they’ve managed to uncover at least some of our relationship with him. That’s the only reason why we’d be held here,” Death’s Shadow replied.
“But they also haven’t used any forceful methods against us yet. Is that because they’re not sure?” Zhu Xianyao asked.
“Or it might be because they don’t have full control of the situation yet,” Death’s Shadow replied.
Then Death’s Shadow shook its head and said, “I don’t know. We have no way of finding out what exactly happened in Sky City.”
This was just a limitation of the time period. They lacked the ability to communicate over long distances, and the various races had set up barriers to prevent each other from sending information through each others’ territory. As such, it was difficult for any news to spread beyond any singular nation’s borders. Even the Desolate Beast’s assault on Sky City was not widely known yet.
“Regardless, our being invited here tonight probably has something to do with him. It seems that the Harpies are ultimately planning on using us to deal with him.” Zhu Xianyao could already tell that this was a trap that the Harpies had set for Su Chen.
But it seemed like this trap hadn’t been activated just yet.
This had somewhat confused her. Since they had managed to trick her into coming, then why not just seize her openly? What was the point of hiding things and going about it so discreetly?
Of course, she had no way of knowing that Sky City was crawling with people searching for Su Chen. Their hostages had finally arrived, but their extortion target had suddenly disappeared, giving everyone in Sky City a huge headache.
Zhu Xianyao couldn’t possibly come up with that kind of answer on her own, but that didn’t stop her from realizing what kind of situation she was in. As such, she very quickly said, “No matter what, we must first find a way to escape from this situation. I refuse to let the Harpies use me like a pawn in their scheme to deal with Su…… to deal with him.”
“So what are you planning on doing then, Young Miss?” Death’s Shadow asked.
Zhu Xianyao paced back and forth a few more times. “We can’t directly contact with him. That’s probably exactly what the Harpies are hoping will happen.”
Su Chen had indeed left Zhu Xianyao some ways for her to get into contact with him. However, Zhu Xianyao was certain that the Harpies would most likely sense these methods, and that it might even be an outcome that they were hoping would happen.
“That is indeed the case,” Death’s Shadow agreed.
“The problem right now is that we don’t know exactly what transpired between him and the Harpies, or how much their relationship has broken down. Our first priority should be to figure that out. Only after determining that will we be able to plan our next actions,” Zhu Xianyao said. She was quite smart in her decision to not move too quickly and in her immediate prioritization of gathering information.
Only by confirming the situation would she be able to determine a direction to head in. Otherwise, responding in a disarrayed manner would most likely be counterproductive.
“But we’re in Origin Light Castle. That makes it quite hard for us to determine what is going on in Sky City,” Death’s Shadow pointed out.
Zhu Xianyao chuckled coldly as she replied, “If they don’t dare let us into Sky City, then he has most likely stirred up quite a bit of trouble. I’ve always felt like something was off about this place as soon as I arrived, since even the price of basic materials has gone up significantly. Thus, I would bet that there are many Harpies currently in Origin Light Castle who know about what happened in Sky City.”
“But they won’t tell us.”
Zhu Xianyao raised an eyebrow. “Have you forgotten about my skills?”
Her Slyheart Demonic Fox Bloodline gave her the ability to bewitch others, even if they were Harpies. The eastern region of the city demarcated by the owner of the Heavenly Fragrance Pavilion was a perfect place for Zhu Xianyao to hunt for a target.
Whenever subordinates attempted to adapt to the situation, there was always a possibility that the situation would begin to develop in unexpected ways.
Back in Sky City, at the upper-class area.
The area’s security had tightened considerably after Su Chen’s string of robberies. Flying guards scoured this area of the city, among whom were a few sharpshooters and Arcana Masters.
They carefully scrutinized every person who entered and exited the area.
“These guys are just being paranoid,” Old Mair complained to one of the Harpy guards responsible for this area as he stepped out of his shop.
“I’m sorry, Mr. Mair. This is something decreed by the higher-ups. Even though I know that you aren’t the criminal, I still need to do my job. I hope that you understand,” the Harpy guard replied tactfully.
After the tragedy that had happened in the past, all of the races responsible for craftsmanship and industrial art were treated by the Harpies with immense respect.
Essentially, every Craftsman had the status of a mafia boss.
“I understand. But please, make your inspections quick. I have family members back at home waiting for me to bring food to them.”
“Of course.” The guard quickly glanced over Mair’s goods, which were just a bunch of common foodstuffs. After confirming that there was nothing out of the ordinary, the guard quickly let him pass.
Mair took his common supplies back home with him.
“Gigi, Lexi, are you guys alright?”
Two Craftsmen children ran out the front door, one boy and one girl. Both of their statures were short, their skin relatively dark, but their eyes were full of intelligence and liveliness.
When they saw Mair, they rushed into his embrace and cried out, “Father, father!”
“Father, did you bring me some Lulu Berries?”
“And me, me……”
The two children made quite a commotion upon seeing their father.
“Of course, of course.” As he gazed at his children, Mair’s expression was as if he were looking at his most perfect creation, and a satisfied smile appeared on his face.
He glanced inside the house. Inside, his wife, Lily, was talking with two other young Craftsmen. They sat at the table, conversing with her as they helped her peel some beans.
“Mair was even simpler back then. He was full of conviction in the future, and he did everything with a fiery passion. But now, our family has become a barrier to his advance……”
“Sir Mair just made the decision that he felt was right. Actually, you are quite happy about his choice as well, right? You just don’t want to become a burden for him, which is why your heart is filled with guilt.”
“Especially now; you feel like you are becoming a burden for Sir Mair yet again.”
“But you actually don’t need to feel that way. A man’s sacrifices for his family are a glory to him. A family is the source of all happiness, and Sir Mair is truly wise to have perceived this.”
“Thank you. Hearing you say this makes me feel much better,” Lily said with gratitude.
She didn’t know the identity of these visitors and believed that they were relatives of her husband, so she conversed quite naturally with them.
When Mair saw her delighted appearance, he sighed and walked over. “It seems that you all are getting along quite well.”
“Of course, Sir Mair. Miss Lily is a very outstanding woman. You are very lucky to be her husband,” the slightly taller Craftsmen said to Mair with a friendly smile.
“Of course.” Mair handed over the food he had brought over to his wife. Lily took the food and kissed her husband tenderly before going into the kitchen.
“You guys, go play over there.” Mair sent his children away as well.
Then, Mair leaned in and with a serious expression, said to his two guests, “The guards outside are on high-alert and are searching for you two everywhere.”
The slightly taller Craftsman replied, seemingly without a care, “I know.”
Naturally, this was Su Chen.
The Harpies were searching diligently for Su Chen and his new accomplice, but none of them could have possibly predicted that they would assume the forms of two Craftsmen and hide inside a real one’s home.
Mair said with some agitation in his voice, “Please don’t hurt them. As long as you don’t hurt them, you can do anything you want.”
“Don’t be so nervous, Mair. I already told you that we are just going to stay here for a few days, and perhaps also learn some puppet construction-related skills in the meantime,” Su Chen replied with a chuckle. As he spoke, he continued to peel the beans in his hand, giving off a natural and complete air of nonchalance. Anyone who didn’t know his true identity might actually believe that he was just a normal Craftsman.
When Old Mair heard Su Chen’s words, he sighed in defeat.
He could only agree to Su Chen’s terms.
Old Mair had brought back quite a bit of food with him, which Lily used to cook a delightful dinner.
Over dinner, Su Chen conversed happily with Mair’s family. His studies were quite broad and he was well-traveled, so Lily and her children quickly became enamored with him.
“Torbe, do humans really believe in their ancestors more than gods?” the little Lexi asked. Torbe was the name that Su Chen had chosen to use while masquerading as a Craftsmen.
“More specifically, humans have a different attitude towards gods than you…… I mean, than we do. They believe in the existence of gods, but also believe that gods cannot control how they live. If gods make them unhappy, then gods are no longer seen as gods but as demons that should be fought against. On the other hand, their ancestors are the ones who gave them existence and established their clan. They are to be studied and emulated. And also, their bloodlines are passed on by their ancestors,” Su Chen explained patiently.
“Mother Goddess above. This is truly a blasphemous line of thought,” Lily muttered as she gently bit her lip in discomfort.
“You’re right,” Su Chen agreed as he smiled respectfully. “But there are also a few humans who believe in gods more than they believe in their ancestors. They just aren’t particularly common is all.”
“The problem is that the power of the humans’ bloodlines comes from Beasts, so in some sense, their ancestors also worship the Beasts, right?” Golden Blaze, who had been standing to the side, suddenly made this remark.
When Su Chen, Mair, and Lily heard this, they all turned to stare at Golden Blaze in surprise.
Su Chen asked, “Did your father teach you that?”
“Yes. Do you not feel like it’s quite logical?” Golden Blaze said delightedly.
He was taking advantage of this opportunity to provoke Su Chen.
This guy really didn’t fear death.
However, Su Chen didn’t grow angry. Instead, he smiled slightly before saying, “The human bloodline does indeed derive from the Beasts. However, over the course of tens of thousands of years of history, the human race’s strength has developed to a point that surpasses anything that a pure bloodline-based system could provide. The bloodline power has only ever served as a foundation. The various extensions and adaptations derived from it belong solely to the humans. The power of the Beasts has only been borrowed temporarily; it is not something worth mentioning. Haven’t you heard that there are humans now who can use bloodline techniques without any Beast-derived bloodline? Also, not only does the humans’ faith in their ancestors give them strength, but it also creates certain rites and ceremonies that restricts their actions. This is the difference between humans and Beasts. Beasts may have gained intelligence, but they will never form a foundation that can surpass the Intelligent Races.”