Chapter 853: Banquet

Translator: StarveCleric Editor: Millman97
She was Luo Qiqi.

Upon seeing her, Zhang Xuan's eyes lit up. He quickly sent a telepathic message to her. "You came at a good time! I have found Elder Wu Yangzi's treasure!"

Flicking his wrist, he took out the metal box and the three artifacts.

Since he had received Wu Yangzi's heritage along with Luo Qiqi, and the latter was Wu Yangzi's direct disciple at that, she had the right to know what the treasures were and share possession of them as well.

"You've found it?" Stunned, Luo Qiqi turned her sight to the items in Zhang Xuan's hands.

Luo Qiqi widened her eyes in disbelief. "This is… Black Goldcrystal Ore?"

"You recognize it?" Zhang Xuan asked.

Due to the sheer rarity of Black Goldcrystal Ore, he had never seen it in person before, only learning of its existence from the books. It was due to Wu Yangzi's explanation that he was able to confirm its identity before using the Library of Heaven's Path, and yet, Luo Qiqi actually recognized it with a single glance. Could it be that her eye of discernment was beyond his?

One must know that even though he might not be the most capable blacksmith in Hongyuan Empire, he was definitely the most knowledgeable one. Even Zhao Bingxu, the head of the Blacksmith School, was far from a match for him in terms of knowledge.

"I have seen some before. However, the piece I saw was only the size of a walnut, and the price was already astronomical. Considering the size of this one, I can hardly even imagine how much it is worth," Luo Qiqi exclaimed.

"You have seen Black Goldcrystal Ore before?" Zhang Xuan was taken aback.

Even if the piece she had seen was just the size of a walnut, it was sufficient to show that her background was anything but ordinary.

"Un!" Luo Qiqi nodded. After which, she turned her sights to the other two objects, and upon seeing the Quintuple Incandescence Golden Body, she nodded in realization.

"You should take the authentic manual for now. I will help to alter it to suit your constitution better when I have the time!"

After passing the correct Quintuple Incandescence Golden Body over to the other party, Zhang Xuan turned his gaze to the map and asked, "Do you happen to recognize the words on this map?"

Luo Qiqi shook her head. "I have never seen such words before."

"I see… Allow me to keep the map for the time being then. Once I figure out what the map means, I will get back to you and bring you there," Zhang Xuan said.

"As for the Black Goldcrystal Ore, I will try to find a way to melt it to forge a weapon for you."

"Thank you, teacher!" Luo Qiqi nodded in gratitude.

Each of the three items was incredibly valuable, but her teacher didn't hide them from her and take them for himself. That said a great amount about his character.

At this moment, Luo Qiqi finally recalled her aim for coming over, and she hurriedly said, "Oh right, teacher, I am here to invite you to the banquet at the royal palace…"

Yu Fei-er had invited her, Zhang Xuan, Xing Yuan, and the others to the banquet in the royal palace. Knowing Zhang Xuan's personality, she knew that he might attempt to skip the banquet, and she had also heard the news about his manor collapsing as well, so she specially made the journey here to take a look.

Knowing that he had to make the trip to the royal palace to take a look at the Bodhi Saint Tree, Zhang Xuan nodded. "Let's go."

Leaving the rubble of the manor, the duo got onto a carriage that Luo Qiqi had prepared beforehand and headed to the royal palace.

It didn't take them too long to arrive at their destination.

Befitting of its status as the center of authority of a Tier-1 Empire, Hongyuan Empire's royal palace was enormous. Before the towering gates stood two rows of guards, every single one of them possessing the cultivation of Transcendent Mortal 6-dan Cosmos Bridge realm. With several hundreds of them gathered in a spot, their presence exerted a huge pressure on those walking between them.

Stepping through the palace gates, Zhang Xuan noticed all kinds of formations in the area, and even the weakest of them was a grade-6 primary formation. Those who were unfamiliar with the layout of the royal palace would swiftly find themselves trapped within a labyrinth, unable to escape.

With traps potentially springing on one with each step, not even a Saint realm 1-dan expert would dare to casually step into the royal palace.

Handing over their invitation letters, a guard led them around the royal palace, and soon, they were standing before a huge palace.

"This is the place where the banquet is held," Luo Qiqi said.

At this moment, Zhang Xuan suddenly recalled this matter and asked, "Right, I forgot to ask. What is the occasion today? Why are we invited to the banquet?"

Even the royal family couldn't possibly hold such a grand banquet for no good reason.

"You don't know?" Seeing how her teacher came here without even knowing anything at all, Luo Qiqi was rendered speechless.

"You were also there when Yu Fei-er handed me the invitation letter. She didn't tell me anything, so how could I possibly know?" Zhang Xuan replied in bewilderment.

"…" Luo Qiqi slapped her forehead and shook her head.

Her teacher was a person of great capability, but his emotional quotient was truly lacking.

An esteemed princess of the empire invited you to a banquet; the least you could do was to ask around, find out what the occasion is beforehand, and make preparations accordingly! After all, this is the monarchy of an empire we are talking about! But this… if I hadn't gone to the manor to bring you over, would you still be loitering around the rubble, at a loss of what to do?

"Today is Yu Fei-er's… birthday banquet!" Luo Qiqi said. "His Majesty has invited the young talents from all over the empire along with her good friends to celebrate this occasion!"

"Birthday banquet?" Hearing those words, Zhang Xuan's eyelids began twitching.

"That's right. Don't tell me that you didn't even prepare a present?" Luo Qiqi stared at her teacher with a frustrated look.

"Am I supposed to prepare one?" Zhang Xuan returned her a blank stare.

None of you told me that it would be a birthday banquet, how was I supposed to know that I had to prepare a present?

I don't even know what an appropriate gift for a lady would be; how am I supposed to pick one out for her? Besides, I have been busy the entire day, so I wouldn't have had the time to find one either.

"You…" Luo Qiqi shook her head, not knowing what she could say to enlighten that blockhead of a teacher she had.

Even if you didn't know that it is Yu Fei-er's birthday, that is a personal invitation from the emperor that you have over there. Shouldn't you prepare some gifts to at least avoid leaving an unfavorable impression? To arrive empty-handed… you are probably the only one who dares do such a thing!

"Forget it. I have some items here; you can make do with them for the moment…"

Flicking her wrist, Luo Qiqi took out a few items that most ladies would fancy.

There was a massive pearl, a hair ornament embedded with precious gems, a fragrance pouch with a unique aroma… They were all fairly expensive accessories.

"It's fine! If it comes down to it, I will just leave the banquet. Don't worry about it!" Zhang Xuan shook his head.

In the first place, he wasn't really interested in the banquet. The main reason he wanted to come to the royal palace was to take a look at the Bodhi Saint Tree and see if it could be used to save Wei Ruyan. If he was going to be snubbed for not bringing a present, there didn't seem much point remaining at the banquet then.

"Leave the banquet?" Luo Qiqi frowned, but seeing the serious look on her teacher's face, she could only give up on persuading him otherwise. "Alright then…"

As close friends, she knew Yu Fei-er's personality and temper very well. The latter wasn't one to care about gifts. As long as Zhang shi was present at her birthday banquet, she would be satisfied.

Thus, the both of them stepped into the palace and began making their way over to the main hall.

The corridor linking the entrance of the palace to the main hall had a particularly tall ceiling that made one feel minuscule in comparison. There were various extravagant ornaments placed along the corridor, which gave it a dignified and regal air. A thick red mat of around half a chi wide stretched from the entrance of the palace all the way to the main hall. There was a pleasantly soft and springy sensation stepping on it.

Activating his Eye of Insight discreetly, Zhang Xuan took a brief look into the main hall. To his astonishment, he saw countless formations laid out inside the main hall. Some were for defensive purposes and some were for offensive purposes, but most of them were for the sole purpose of fortifying the room.

Grade-6 pinnacle Stabilization Formation, grade-6 pinnacle Grand Monolith Formation, grade-6 pinnacle Castle Fortification Formation… Why would the main hall of the royal palace require so many Fortification Formations? Zhang Xuan wondered in bewilderment.

As the center of Hongyuan Empire, the royal palace was constructed by the most capable of craftsmen, so there was little to question about its stability. It wouldn't collapse even in the face of a massive earthquake, so it was baffling to see so many Fortification Formations in the room.

Forget it, it's not like it's any of my business anyway… Zhang Xuan shook the thought out of his head, deciding not to think deeper into it.

He was only there to attend the banquet, so the formations in the area shouldn't matter to him.

"Qiqi, Zhang shi, you are here!" Just as they were standing before the entrance of the main hall, they suddenly saw Xing Yuan and Wu Zhen walking over.

They were dressed in brand-new master teacher robes, and it seemed like they had specially dressed themselves up for the occasion. There was an air of nobility around them, and they seemed extraordinarily spirited.

"Has the banquet begun yet?" Luo Qiqi asked.

"Not yet. Not all of the guests have arrived yet," Xing Yuan said with a smile.

Hearing that, Luo Qiqi heaved a sigh of relief. "That's good!"

As an entire group, the four of them stepped into the main hall.

The main hall was around eight hundred square meters large, and it was supported only by the four pillars at the corners. There were countless Night Illumination Pearls embedded in the tall ceiling, making the hall brightly lit as if it was day.

After taking a seat, Zhang Xuan took another look around the room and noticed that there were eight elegantly-dressed young men in their twenties already in the hall.

Judging from their movements and gestures, they seemed to be from the upper society.

"These are the offspring of the empire's nobility," Xing Yuan informed Zhang Xuan through zhenqi telepathy.

Zhang Xuan nodded in response.

He had expected such a sight when he learned that it was a birthday banquet earlier on.

Most likely, the emperor had invited those young men in order to pick out a suitable husband for Yu Fei-er.

With the extended lifespan that Transcendent Mortal cultivators possessed, it was uncommon for cultivators to marry in their twenties. However, Yu Fei-er's marriage had political implications. If she could bring in a powerful ally to the royal family earlier on, it could help to further affirm the royal authority.

Even though most of these youths weren't students of the Master Teacher Academy, they possessed extraordinary strength. The strongest of them had a cultivation equaling Hu Yaoyao and the others', Chrysalis realm pinnacle, a single step away from reaching Half-Saint.

To possess such capability in their twenties, they could be considered top-notch geniuses even when placed against the students of the Master Teacher Academy.

"Xing Yuan, you seem to have quite a few competitors here?" Luo Qiqi teased.

As his good friend, she knew that Xing Yuan was interested in Yu Fei-er and had been courting her for some time. However, it was a pity that the latter didn't reciprocate his feelings.


Xing Yuan's face reddened as he subconsciously shot a glance toward Zhang Xuan. With an awkward smile, he said, "I know that I am not good enough for Yu Fei-er, so I have already given up those thoughts…"

He did like Yu Fei-er, but the latter was uninterested in him. On the other hand, she seemed to possess some inexplicable feelings for Zhang shi. After some consideration, he felt that it would be better for him to give up on this futile pursuit.

Putting aside the fact that Zhang Xuan had saved all of them, his accomplishments in the Master Teacher Academy were also not something he could ever hope to match.

On top of that, the other party was also the respected leader of the powerful Xuanxuan Faction.

If he really were to attempt to compete with the other party, he just might end up making enemies out of several tens of thousands of students in the Master Teacher Academy as well. How could he possibly match that?

"I advised you to give up long ago, but you just wouldn't listen. Well, it's still good to see you getting over it," Luo Qiqi replied.

She knew very well how her close friend viewed Xing Yuan, so she had tried to advise him on the matter several times privately, but the latter had refused to listen.

He might have already spent many years courting Yu Fei-er, but it wasn't necessarily a bad thing for him to give up on it now.

"Xing Yuan, the two people beside you look unfamiliar. Why don't you introduce them to me?"

Just as they were speaking, they were interrupted by a masculine voice. Following which, a smiling young man in his mid-twenties walked over with a wine glass in his hands.

That young man had eyes as sharp as lightning, and he carried a dignified disposition fitting of nobility, which seemed to further accentuate his good looks.

Of the youths gathered at the banquet, he was the strongest of them all, possessing a cultivation of Chrysalis realm pinnacle.



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