Dragon’s Soul Chapter 41: Banquet

The day after the Zhang arrived at the capital of the Heilong kingdom the king held an extravagant banquet and invited all of the dignitaries from the various forces. The king had waited for everyone who had replied to the invitation saying that they would participate in the tournament to arrive in the capital before holding the banquet.

He did not wish for anyone to feel that someone else was getting treated better or worse than anyone else. The king even had the banquet tables be arranged in a large circle to symbolize every force attending stood as equals.

Three years ago the kingdom had been on the brink of collapse due to the invasion. Most if not all of its western border cities were lost to the Siwang Empire. Hundreds of thousands of people had lost their lives in the mindless slaughter. From all of this Heilong kingdom’s economy took a huge hit, the loss of resources and man power had nearly drove them bankrupt.

If a kingdom did not have resources or man power to produce revenue, then it would not be able to maintain an army and without an army it would not be able to protect its domain nor maintain its rule over the people. Had it not been for the current minister of finance and minister of war then the kingdom would have most likely collapsed.

It took them nearly three years to stabilize the kingdom and to prevent such a catastrophe from happening again the Heilong kingdom needed allies. The more they could get the better. Thus the king was extra courteous to his guests that were attending the banquet.  King Huang He was a king for the people so for the people he would treat every representative at the banquet with uttermost care.

Today the banquet would be taking place in the main hall of grand arena that was built for the tournament. The first person to arrive was the minister of finance then after him many princes, princesses, and other people of high statues showed up. Everyone used the time before the king arrived to converse and make connections.

Princes would walk up to princesses and try their luck at snagging a beautiful bride. Ministers would try to for diplomatic relations with other ministers. The entire hall was full of important people trying to get closer to other important people.

However, this all changed when a group of guards walked into the hall and formed two lines starting at the door. From the other side of the door a man dressed in full black armor walked in and beside him were three out of this world beauties. One of the beauties was recognized by some as minister Wu’s daughter Wu Ling. There was no doubt about this because minister Wu himself was walking behind the four young people.

The three girls looked extremely beautiful to the point that many princes began fantasizing about going up to them and asking them out. Many princesses were ashamed at thinking they were pretty after seeing these three young women enter the room.

“Ah minister Wu, how are you.” A voice rang out as a chubby looking man in minister clothing walked toward the new arrivals.

“Minister Jia Su! It has been a long time since we last met. Last time you visit was around a year ago.” Ling’s father Wu Tong said.

“Might I ask who these people are.” Jia Su asked.

“Ah this is my future son in law the next Zhang lord of Aurora and his two wives.” Wu Tong replied.

“Future son in law? I heard that the young lord of Aurora had just arrived in the city yesterday.” Jia Su said with a hint of confusion on his face.

“Ah yes you know how kids are they fall in love after just talking for a bit. As a father as long as my daughter is happy how could I object when this young man came and asked for her hand.” Wu Tong said with a grin on his face.

As the other ministers saw it he had traded his daughter to form a connection with this young man. They thought it was also somewhat dumb of Wu Tong because there were many princes from powerful kingdoms to pick from rather than a future lord of a province. But all they could do was smile and congratulate Wu Tong because of course Ling was Wu Tong’s daughter and he could betroth her to whoever he wants.

“Nice to meet you, my name is Jia Su and I’m a minister from the kingdom of Yan.” He said to Zhang while trying to shake Zhang’s hand.

“It’s a pleasure to meet you also minister Jia.” Zhang replied as he extended his hand to shake Jia Su’s hand.

“What a lucky man you are to have such beautiful wives.” Jia Su added.

“Thank you.” Zhang said as he pulled Yuying, Ai, and Ling toward him by the waist.

Although Zhang was somewhat afraid that Ling’s father would not be happy that his daughter is being embraced in public like this Zhang wanted to show everyone present she was his.

“Also don’t forgot about her, I have a beautiful fiancée also.” Zhang said with a grin.

Being embraced and hearing those words made Ling’s face somewhat blush.

While embracing the three beauties Zhang noticed many envious gazed placed on him. He figured most of the people here represented kingdoms while he represented a province thus they believed that he would be of lower social standing. And since he was of lower social standing he was not fit to have wives as pretty as Yuying and Ai nor a fiancée as pretty as Ling.

In this world there were only a few things that mattered to people. These things being women, wealth, power, and fame. And those who have these things often want more of it.

That’s when Zhang noticed a small group of young men wearing golden robs walk toward him. These were all most likely princes of various kingdoms.

“How about you ladies leave this peasant and come with me. I’m the prince of the Ming Kingdom Ming Jiang.” People of his status aren’t meant to be at such gatherings. The young man in golden said as he walked up right in front of the group.

Ming Jiang had heard about how Zhang had entered the city with twenty thousand soldiers as escorts which made him somewhat envy Zhang. Even as the crown prince of his kingdom he did not have that many soldiers at his command. One could say that the more soldiers and power given to a prince meant the more capable the prince was.

Then when he saw Zhang walk in with the three beauties he turned green from envy. As said before most people strives for power, wealth, women and fame. And from the looks of it Zhang already had two of these things being women and power.

The fact that the lord of Aurora let Zhang command so many soldiers personally meant that he had lots of trust in him and his position as the next lord was secure. Whereas in Ming Jiang’s case even if he was the crown prince his father could easily replace him with one of his brothers.

So as to mock Zhang he had to make fun of Aurora’s status as a province. Being a province meant that the rulers of it were socially beneath the other dignitaries at the gathering. Even a minister of a kingdom has more power than a province was what he thought.

“Peasant?” Zhang murmured while still embracing the three beauties. Then with a kick Zhang smashed Ming Jiang’s knee making him fall to the ground and painfully scream. The majority of people only had the essence of a 5th rank so Zhang was easily able to overpower most since he was at the 6th rank of cultivation with his body being trained to the equivalent of the 4th level.

Rarely did anyone train physically like Zhang did but with the combination of the two he would be able to hold his own against a level 7 cultivator.   This would put him amongst the ranks of geniuses.

“If I’m the peasant then why are you the one kneeling.” Zhang said with a grin.

Although it could be seen as Zhang overacting over the words of prince Ming Jiang it was not. Zhang intentionally made it seem that he had an overbearing personality.

He could tell that unlike Huang Zu who was sort of a hard headed simpleton these people here were schemers. They were the sort to give you smiles and gifts but stab you in the back when they had the chance.

So as a warning Zhang had to make an example out of Ming Jiang. He had to show that if people crossed him they wouldn’t get away with a pat on the back.

Everyone looked toward Zhang’s direction with shocked eyes. They did not think that the successor to a mere province had the nerve to attack a prince and a prince of the Ming kingdom at that. Amongst the alliance the Ming kingdom was one of the middle sized kingdoms that was at the borderline of being acknowledged as a large kingdom.

Ling’s father stood to the side and did not intervene. He had faith that Zhang knew what he was doing and was more worried about other things. Now that Zhang was back the plans that he and Zhang’s father had laid out would be somewhat pointless.

Getting revenge for someone who wasn’t dead and involving millions of people seemed somewhat pointless since the person was not dead. Although they would have to call off the plan now Wu Tong was actually happy. Happy that his future son in law was alive.

“You damn peasant how dare you do this to him.” Another prince yelled as he walked up and helped Ming Jiang up.

“Hmph peasant?  Perhaps you wish to kneel before me also.” Zhang sneered.

“Brother you shouldn’t lower yourself to converse with such people.” Yuying said while still being embraced by Zhang. As a princess of the underworld in terms of status, power and influence Yuying vastly outstripped any prince or princess of some kingdom. Even the ruler of an empire in terms of status was beneath her. Although she did not give airs up being royalty when people acted arrogant in front of her due to their status she looked down on them.

Because who was she? She was the 99th Princess of the underworld. Daughter of the ruler of the afterlife.

Ai simply snorted and did not pay attention to anyone. The only people she cares for in the world was Zhang and Yuying and by association Ling. Even Ling’s did not register as someone important in her eyes.

Unlike the Yuying and Ai, Ling actually was very distressed from Zhang’s actions. She clearly knew the influence the Ming Kingdom and the rest of the people present had in the continent. Compared to Yuying she was only the daughter of a minister and compared to Ai she did not filter out the world. So of course she was worried when Zhang offended people of such high social standing.

She was more worried for Zhang ten anything else. She knew that he had power but it was best to have more friends than enemies.

Then suddenly a voice rang out from the entrance.

“His royal highness king Huang He has arrived.” The voice rang out.

Once everyone looked to the entrance a middle aged man could be seen walking in. Beside him Huang Zu was present and the minister of finances.

Although Zhang still had his helmet on anyone could see the twinkle in his eyes when the king walked in. Zhang’s gaze was fixated on the group walking in. Mostly on the minister of finances, his father. It has been almost three years since they left met and every fiber of his soul screamed for him to run up and hug his father.

“Father just you wait I’ll find an opportunity to have a long chat with you soon and introduce to you your two future daughter in laws.” Zhang thought.

Everyone did a courtesy bow with third hands clasped in front of them toward the king.

The king proceeded to walk to a banquet table.

“Welcome everyone to today’s event. I hope that everything is to everyone’s liking. If not, then please inform one of the servants and they will do their best to make it to your liking.” King Huang He said as he proceeded to site down.

He had arranged it so every rectangular table was the same symbolizing that everyone was equal. Normally as the king of the host kingdom he would have a more extravagant table set up for himself but he opted not to.

Zhang had a fairly good impression of Huang He for doing this. It showed that he was not a man full of vanity and was not filled with pride. Realistically speaking everyone present was beneath him in status besides Yuying. But no one knew Yuying’s status. Hence Huang He was sitting amongst people who were socially beneath him which rarely happened.

The king sat at one table with Huang Zu, to his right sat Zhang’s father and l his left. Then everyone was free to choose where they sat. Ling of course sat with her father. Zhang had chosen to sit at a table next to his father along with Yuying and Ai.

This seemed odd to most people because they were expecting him to sit beside Ling and her father.

Thus the banquet began. Many delicacies were brought out on trays by hundreds of beautiful maids. Food from many different places were selected to fit the appetite of every dignitary that attended. After the food was served dancers entered the hall and began dancing uniformly.

Music was being played to lighten the mood and create a festive atmosphere.

Throughout a part of the festivities Zhang noticed that Ming Jiang was glaring at him however with a sharp gaze from Zhang this stopped. Zhang’s kick had shattered his knee which caused him immense pain to the point where he had to use a bottle of phoenix blood to heal it.

Most of the other people who saw what had happened did not even dare to look in Zhang’s direction.

As the festivities continued king Huang He along with his son Huang Zu walked from table to table greeting the guests. He had started counter clock wise and Zhang’s table would be his last stop. The king had treated everyone in a friendly manner as he went from table to table.

As he walked from table to table many of the dignitaries presented Huang He with gifts. These things ranged from extravagant swords, armor, jewels and some even offered him women. Huang He accepted all of the gifts besides the women with the excuse of being too old to be with such young women.

“Good he is not one of those lecherous old men.” Zhang thought. Although it wasn’t uncommon many old man of high standing often married women many many years younger than them. Which Zhang thought was not right. So this earned another point in Zhang’s eyes.

Once king Huang He got to Zhang’s table he was amazed at the beauty Yuying and Ai possessed. Although Ling is no less beautiful then Yuying and Ai he had seen her many times. Which made him becomes affect by her. But this was the first time he saw Yuying and Ai.

“Lord Jian Wei sends greetings to your majesty from Aurora. Sadly, he is currently occupied so he could not personally attend. So I have come instead.” Zhang said as he got up and bowed to the Huang He along with Yuying and Ai.

Sitting a bit away from the trio the minister of finances had a strange look on his face. The voice of this young man sounded much like the voice of his descended son.

“It couldn’t be, must be a coincidence.” He thought.

“I would like to welcome you to my kingdom and might I add your one lucky young man to have two such beauties by your side.” Huang He added.

“Thank you, your majesty but I would like to correct you. I’ve been blessed with three beauties. The minister of war had agreed to give me his daughters hand in marriage also.” Zhang said.

A hint of surprise could be seen on Huang Zu’s eyes who was standing just behind Huang He. He looked toward where Wu Tong was and saw that Wu Tong did not deny this meaning that Zhang was not lying. Which meant that Ling had picked Zhang as the winner. He felt somewhat dejected but as a man of his word he would not go against the promise of the loser giving up of Ling.

Someone more surprised however was the minister of Finance. Being as close to Ling’s father as he was this was the first time he heard of this. Although he did not object since his son was dead and there was no point in preventing Ling from marrying someone else he was caught by surprise.

“Ah it was discourteous of me not to remove my helmet in the pretense of his majesty.” Zhang said as he took of his helmet.

Once Zhang’s helmet came off Zhou Cheng’s face was filled with utter astonishment.

“It can’t be! But their voice is so similar and that face is definitely my son’s face.” He thought but he quickly brushed away because how could his son survive an explosion that made a huge part of Blue Tear city disappear.

“There is no way that he is my son how could he end up in Aurora? How could he become the successor of Aurora? I must have become delusion since they happen to look alike.” Zhou Cheng thought.

“That must be the reason why Ling agreed to marry this young man because they look so much alike.”

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