Chapter 57 - Banquet
Chem Au picked up the brick. Well, it was more like a black, metal ingot. Although its color was dull, the surface was very smooth. It didn’t look like anything special. In fact, the only strange thing about it was that it was a little too heavy for its size.
“I want this.” For some reason, this brick called out to him.
“Uhh….” The City Lord didn’t know what to say. This brick had been discovered by his people a couple of years ago. They couldn’t figure out anything about it. The only reason they kept it was because of its weird weight and the fact that it couldn’t be melted down, so on the off chance that it could be some kind of mysterious treasure, they decided to keep it. “Are you sure you want that? It’s not exactly a weapon.”
“Even though this isn’t a weapon, maybe I can use it to forge one,” Chem Au said.
The City Lord wondered if he should tell him that his castle’s personal blacksmith had tried that as well, but whatever material that brick was made of, it was too tough to forge.
Still, Chem Au looked happy with his choice, so the City Lord let it go.
At that moment, Chem Au looked over at his little brother, who nodded in return. Chem Au smiled, feeling even more sure that he had made the right choice.
And it was.
Chem Al was the only one that knew of what this choice would lead to. That brick would eventually become a legendary weapon. It might just be a brick now, but someday….
Having gotten what they wanted, the Chem brothers followed the City Lord out of the treasury. The City Lord couldn’t help but to look back at the brothers and think of how weird their choices were. A room full of treasure and one of them picked a blue rock while the other picked a black brick.
Those brothers…. The City Lord could only shake his head at them.
Suddenly, Chem Au’s stomach growled. He grew embarrassed, mostly because he had made that sound in front of the City Lord. “Ah, sorry.”
“Oh, where are my manners?” the City Lord said. “You haven’t eaten since before the tournament. Come, let me get you something to eat....” But then he got a better idea. “Wait, as a celebration for our new alliance, how about I hold a banquet for your village. Come, bring them to the castle.”
“Really?” Chem Au said.
The City Lord answered by getting them a carriage and a contingent of guards to escort the Chem brothers to the market to meet up with their fellow villagers.
Some distance away, the people of Chem Village were celebrating their new found wealth. Whether it was from the money from selling pills or their village chief's gambling money, they were having fun with it. They were even sharing it with some other villages who had come by to congratulate their cultivator winning the tournament.
However, a few people weren't into the celebration, such as Chem Mai who was speaking worriedly with her husband. "It's getting really late. Why aren't they back yet?"
"Don't worry, our sons are definitely safe. The City Lord just needs them for something. Those pills our son made are something special," Chem Feng said.
"But what if he's planning to take them away from us?"
At that moment, a fancy gilded carriage arrived, surrounded by over a dozen guards. The people of Chem Village stopped celebrating and gathered together, curious about who this important person was.
The door to the carriage opened.
"Mom! Dad! I'm back!" Chem Al jumped out with a shout.
Chem Au followed behind him, although he was having a little trouble due to his not yet completely healed injuries.
"My boys!" Chem Mai rushed forward and hugged them.
From then on, a barrage of questions hit the Chem brothers, asking them what had happened after the City Lord took them away. However, Chem Al bypassed their questions so that he could announce, "The City lord has invited our entire village to a banquet at his castle.”
Everyone from Chem Village widened their eyes in shock.
A banquet? That thought went through everyone’s minds. Why would the City Lord invite all of them to a banquet?
Suddenly, everyone looked down at their ragged clothes, which normally didn’t bother them before, but now looked too ugly. Wearing such clothes to the castle could be seen as a sign of disrespect to the City Lord.
The villagers became nervous, then started telling their village chief that they weren’t ready for such an occasion. However, Chem Al ignored all of their complaints.
“Listen,” Chem Al said. “Out of all the people that could meet with the City Lord, why do you think he invited us? It’s because we deserve it! Think of all those years of working in the dirt until our fingers bled. Those days are gone. This is a sign that we’ve crawled out of that hole. We can now be considered as important guests that are worthy of being in the City Lord’s presence.”
Chem Al just bullshited through that speech, but it seemed to rile up the villagers.
The people from Chem Village followed the carriage back to the castle, leaving behind a sea of envious eyes in their wake.
Soon they ended up at the castle.
All of the villagers’ eyes widened. The castle was so much bigger up close and a lot more intimidating, especially with all those guards standing around everywhere watching them. They hesitated to walk in.
However, their village chief simply got out of the carriage and simply strolled into the castle like he owned the place. The villagers merely followed him in with slow steps, eyes cast down in case they offended anyone here.
With a few twists and turns down some halls, they ended up in the dining hall; a large room easily big enough to hold the over five hundred villagers. The villagers felt even more uneasy walking into this room. It was filled with several decorated long tables, and what seemed like over a hundred lanterns lit up the room, shining on the finely made tapestries and the polished stone floors.
The room itself wasn't the only thing that made the villagers nervous. There was the City Lord sitting at the head of the main table, and by him were important looking people in expensive looking clothes. The villagers didn't know who they were exactly, but they could guess that these people were the strongest powers of Vera City.
The villagers gulped, not daring to say a word.
With an order, the servants came in and seated the villagers. This was a first for them, having servants waiting on them. Then rows and rows of servants, one after the other, started placing dishes and alcohol in front of their eyes. The villagers started to salivate. This food…were they really allowed to eat it?
A few hours earlier, they had used their village’s newly gained money to eat more extravagantly than they ever did before, but the castle’s banquet in front of them put all of that to shame. This feast almost looked like it was glittering.
Once everything was presented, the City Lord stood up with a smile. "Welcome! It is my honor to have all of you join me."
"N-No, C-City Lord. T-The honor is ours." Sorka Jiu was sweating.
“Please lift your head. You don’t have to be so nervous. Your village bringing up this genius doctor, or alchemist, of yours is truly a praiseworthy merit.”
“Yes, we are proud of our son, right husband?” Chem Mai said.
Chem Feng nodded.
The City Lord noticed the couple. “So you’re his parents! For you to give birth to, not one, but two genius sons speaks a lot about you. One son who has won the City Tournament and the other is a medical genius!”
“T-Thank you, City Lord.” They bowed.
“City Lord? Call me Lord Ba Shen, no, call me Brother Ba.” The City Lord smiled.
The villagers were shocked, and even some of the Patriarchs held some surprise. To allow some no name villagers to refer to you as “brother” showed how highly the City Lord thought of them.
However, despite how closely the City Lord was treating them, the villagers remained stiff in their seats. In fact, the only one from their village who started eating was Chem Al, who was seated near the head of the table right by the City Lord and his son. “What are you all waiting for? This banquet is for our village to celebrate our alliance with Vera City,” Chem Al admonished his fellow villagers.
"Alliance?" Sorka Jiu said.
"Yes. The City lord was interested in our village's pills, so he agreed to form an alliance with us.”
Sorka Jiu couldn’t believe it, and neither could the other villagers who heard Chem Al’s words. To have the City Lord himself as a backer, do you know what this means? With his help, their village will now surely rise to the top.
The mood in the dining hall soon became brighter as the villagers heard more and more about the deal that was made. They couldn't help but heap praises for their village chief. To be able to arrange such an alliance was unheard of. Normally, a stronger power would merely crush and take from those lower than them, much less getting into a partnership with them.
Yet, now Vera City will ally themselves with their tiny village. Heavens, were they dreaming?
As the evening passed, the villagers slowly let loose and stuffed themselves with the food, revealing how uncouth their dining manners were. A lot of the Patriarchs tried to hide their slightly disgusted faces at such a scene, reminding themselves that these villagers would give them a lot of benefits soon.
Anyway, they kind of expected to see such a sight. The only thing that surprised them was Chem Al, who for some reason was eating eloquently like he already understood noble etiquette and table manners. What a strange child....
Enjoying the banquet, happiness washed over the villagers. The future looked brighter than ever. But among the villagers was one person who saw all of this like some kind of bad dream that darkened everything he could see.
That person was Sorka Bo.