“Boy, boyfriend?” Grover was startled and had an exceedingly odd expression as he looked at Phoebe. His gaze at Han Shuo afterwards was even more odd, and confirmed again as if he didn’t believe what he had just heard. “Is he really your boyfriend?”
“Of course.” Phoebe nodded affirmatively, and stretched out her arm with a red face and held Han Shuo’s left hand, like she wanted to prove the relationship between the two.
Han Shuo’s mouth was open as if someone had shoved an egg into his mouth, an expression of dumbfoundedness appearing on his face. He didn’t react until he felt Phoebe secretly apply pressure to his arm with her small hand, laughing dryly and nodded without explaining anything.
One of the Guild elders talking jovially with Grover said doubtfully to Grover in a low voice, “What’s this kid’s background?”
Grover didn’t say much, only throwing a look at this person and turned his body to the side. He smiled, “Since he’s your boyfriend Phoebe, then there’s no problem. Hurry and come on in.”
Dragging Han Shuo, Phoebe’s facial expression was as usual as she walked into the hall. She greeted a few founding members with a smile and continued to drag Han Shuo to a place with fewer people.
Waiters held platters filled with fruit and fine wine throughout the hall, placing them on square tables located in a spacious area. A large chandelier overhead sent bright light into every cranny of the room. The decorations, that littered the entire hall, were incredibly luxurious, giving a rustic countryman, such as Han Shuo, quite a shock.
But, what shocked Han Shuo the most was Phoebe’s words just now. When he saw that there was no one around, he immediately smiled wryly at Phoebe, “Miss Phoebe, what did you mean to do by doing all of this?”
Conveniently snatching a wine glass, Phoebe poured a glass of delicious red wine for herself, gracefully raising it to her lips for a light taste, finally speaking afterwards, “Don’t think too much, I’m just finding a cover for your presence and don’t mean anything else by it. If I didn’t say such things, you probably wouldn’t even be able to make it inside.”
Nodding, Han Shuo sighed resignedly and said, “I knew that nothing good would result from me following you here.”
“You have to act more natural, I’ll cover things for you. This is the annual gathering of the Guild and all the founding elders will attend. As bold as Grover is, he wouldn’t dare to make a move at this time, so we don’t have to worry.” Phoebe spoke softly to Han Shuo as her eyes continuously scanned his surroundings.
Also grabbing a wine glass to pour himself half a glass, Han Shuo took a sip and found it tartly delicious. He observed his surroundings once more with keen interest, finding that many of the Guild members had also brought their other halves. There were twenty or thirty people in the entire hall. There were some elderly members and some handsome youths. There were also some beautiful married women with the graceful bearing and demure of noble ladies.
Without an exception, all of these people were dressed richly and their motions urbanely polite. It looked like this was the so-called style of the upper class. Grover held a wine glass in hand and threaded through all the people, amiably greeting everyone and looking quite friendly.
“The Boozt Merchant Guild has always been controlled by the Boozt family. My family had always been the Guildmaster before, but because I was always traveling outside, that old thing temporarily took the position of Guildmaster after my father passed away, but don’t think that he has good relations with many of the elders. No one really knows what goes on in the dark, otherwise there’d be no point in me coming back.”
As Han Shuo silently observed the surroundings, Phoebe gave her explanations in a low voice. When Phoebe was finished, a thought struck Han Shuo as he suddenly asked, “How did your father die? Did you know nothing beforehand?”
When he said this, a trace of killing intent instantly blossomed in Phoebe’s eyes. She suppressed her voice and said with a cold expression, “I’m still investigating how my father died. I haven’t found any evidence yet because I’m usually not in the Guild and thus am not too certain of many things. The founding elders probably don’t really trust my abilities and thus their attitudes are all vague and indefinite. My current task at hand is to win over the support of the founding elders, otherwise I’ll be unable to shake that old thing from his position with my power alone.”
Han Shuo understood that Phoebe was also suspecting the reasons behind her father’s death with these words. He didn’t say much more and held his wine glass, observing those in the hall and privately considering a few things.
A few more people entered after a while. An elder with grizzled sideburns walked in last into the hall with the support of a butler.
When this person appeared, many people in the hall made their way over to make their greetings. Phoebe immediately pulled Han Shuo in this direction as well when she saw him, quickly explaining in a low voice, “He’s Andrew. He founded the Boozt Merchant Guild along with my grandfather and is currently the founding elder with the longest record of service within the Guild. Even Grover doesn’t dare to act too wildly in front of him. We won’t be as passive if he helps us.”
Arriving in front of Andrew, Phoebe made a restrained bow and said with a smile of joy on her face. “Grandpa Andrew, you’ve come as well!”
“Eh, it’s our beautiful little Phoebe. Grandpa hasn’t seen you in quite a while heh heh, you’ve grown so tall.” Andrew’s left hand grasped his cane, while his right hand was being supported by a butler as he chuckled at Phoebe.
“Good niece, don’t just stand around talking, hurry and let the elderly sit down. When one is at that age, it must be very tiring to take a carriage the whole way here. He mustn’t be kept standing.” Grover said to Phoebe as he walked over in Andrew’s direction, seeming to want to lead Andrew in a seat on his side.
“Heh heh, no worries. I’m having a delightful conversation with little Phoebe. I haven’t seen our little Phoebe in quite a while.” Andrew evaded Grover’s support and actually raised his cane to walk in Han Shuo and Phoebe’s direction.
Grover’s brows involuntarily knit into a frown as he saw Phoebe lead Andrew to the other side with a look of surprise on her face. His gaze patrolled over Andrew’s body, seeming to be contemplating something.
When Phoebe, Andrew, and Han Shuo had all sat down in a corner on the other end of the hall, Phoebe and Andrew hadn’t even had a chance to speak before Grover had raised a glass and said with a chuckle, “Founding elders of the Boozt Merchant Guild, today is the annual gathering of our Guild. It’s a pleasure to see everyone again this year. It’s a pity that because of health reasons, my dear brother has passed away from an illness. This is quite a tragic event.”
“Don’t worry Grover, everything is orderly under your management. I think if the Guildmaster knew, he would be touched and gratified.” One of the founding elders suddenly spoke up at this time with two others by his side chiming in.
Han Shuo watched their performance with a cold eye, having a clear understanding of things in his heart. He knew that these people were sure to have close relations with Grover, and were merely declaring their stance with these words.
At this moment, Han Shuo, seated next to Phoebe, could clearly hear Andrew snort in a very low tone. Phoebe was even closer to Andrew and naturally heard things clearly. She glanced involuntarily with surprise at Andrew, and exchanged a look with Han Shuo.
“The Guildmaster has already passed away, but our Boozt Merchant Guild cannot be without a Guildmaster forever. I think we should take advantage of this opportunity to thoroughly discuss the particulars of a new Guildmaster. What does everyone think?” The same person called out in a carrying voice, and the two founding elders, who had chimed in before, once again assented. Grover’s face was calm, only sitting there and continuously looking around the four corners of the room, with his gaze pausing a bit longer on Phoebe and Andrew.
“Of course, the position of Guildmaster cannot be empty for too long, but who will be the Guildmaster? This is an important question.” A stocky founding elder said in a seat not too far away with a low, muffled voice.
“What else is there to discuss, Grover should be the new Guildmaster of course. Since the Guildmaster’s passing, Grover has been the one to manage the Guild’s affairs. Everyone has also seen that the Guild has been stable and orderly in his hands. I don’t think anyone else is qualified to sit in this seat other than Grover.” The Grover supporter abruptly stood up and called out, winning the other two people’s assent.
Grover stood up with a smile, his face full of hypocritical humility as he spoke words that his abilities were limited or that he was embarrassed by undeserved praise. The three were resolute in that it must be him, and the merry band demonstrated quite outstanding partnership.
“Uncle Andrew, who do you think is more suitable to be the new Guildmaster?” At this moment, the founding elder, who had previously spoken in a low, muffled voice, looked at Andrew from afar and asked.
All the looks from the surrounding founding elders focused on Andrew, as if waiting for him to express his decision.
Andrew looked in Phoebe’s direction, the latter pretending to be calm and composed. He slightly stood up and chuckled lightly, “It’s not me at any case, I don’t have that many days left to live, heh heh.”
Everyone displayed friendly smiles after his words. Grover also smiled and laughed softly, like he was heaving a sigh of relief because he was truly afraid that Andrew would step forward and seize the position of Guildmaster from him.
“However,” Andrew’s gaze swept over the assembled and he continued, “I think that little Phoebe has grown up. Since she is the daughter of the Guildmaster and a member of the Boozt family clan, logically speaking, she is the most qualified person to be the new Guildmaster. Why has no one mentioned this?”
“No, absolutely not. Miss Phoebe is too young and has always been traveling outside. She doesn’t even know of all the matters within the Guild. If she were to become the Guildmaster, she may ruin the business of the Guild.” The founding elder, who’d been upholding Grover, immediately protested violently.
“Kiro, that may not be the case. Although Miss Phoebe is young, I see that she’s quite knowledgeable and mature, she also knows the proper limits for speech and action when doing something. Perhaps with her at the helm, she’ll even be able to bring further development to the Guild.” A founding elder suddenly opened his mouth. All the other elders who had been staying silent without a word suddenly chimed in upon seeing Andrew express his support for Phoebe. Three or four other elders still remained quiet, as if expressing their neutrality.
“How, how will this do? We can’t take the future of the Guild as an experiment for her competency.” The loyal Grover supporter called Kiro immediately complained.
“How can we not? If I recall correctly, when the old Guildmaster first took over the Guild, he was only twenty three himself, but under the guidance of Andrew and a few others, the old Guildmaster quickly grew up and helped the Guild become more prosperous with every passing day. I believe that Miss Phoebe will also be able to do so. Not to mention with us aiding her, no major problems will develop as well.” The person continued to say.
Grover’s face had darkened and he’d stopped speaking after Andrew had spoken out. Finally standing up at this time, he said to Phoebe, “Good niece, your boyfriend was once an errand boy for the Babylon Academy of Magic and Force, and had the status of a slave. Don’t think that I’m poking my nose in too many places, but if people found out that the two of you were together, it would affect the reputation of our Guild.”
Several of the founding elders shifted their focus towards Han Shuo after these words, unable to conceal the contempt and disdain on their faces.
Han Shuo gave a horrified startled look, finally understanding that Phoebe’s worries weren’t without reason. It looked like he had underestimated the power of Grover and Shadow Ghost. Who would’ve thought that they’d be able to investigate his background with only his first name? It was a good thing that he had spent most of his time in the cemetery of death lately. Otherwise if he’d stayed at the school, he may have long since been assassinated by highly trained killers.
“Uncle, what do you mean by this?” At this moment, Phoebe suddenly stood up, her charming face cold as she stared at Grover angrily, wanting to throw all decorum to the side.
“Don’t get angry dear niece. I just wanted to say that your judgment doesn’t seem too good. In order to manage the Guild, a daring, wise, and far sighted judgment is most important. If you choose even your future husband from the slaves, then I don’t think I’m content to let you be Guildmaster.” A peaceful smile was still on Grover’s face, but the words he said were quite vicious.
“I think a person who can murder his own brother for profit and continuously send out killers to attempt to harm his own niece is even less worth of the position of Guildmaster.” Han Shuo also stood up and watched Grover with a cold smile, completely fearless and seemingly unaware of how shocking his words were. Pausing in the astonished gaze of the entire hall, Han Shuo said again, “Please remember that I am a student of the Academy now. I no longer have the status of a slave and never will again.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter