Chapter 854: Shen Jun
Translator: StarveCleric Editor: Millman97
"Itâ€™s Young Master Shen Jun, I seeâ€¦"
Upon seeing the other party, Xing Yuanâ€™s face darkened in displeasure. Nevertheless, he still made the introduction. "They are students from the Master Teacher Academy as well, the schoolmates of Princess Yu Fei-er. He is Zhang shi, and she is Luo shi!"
"So, itâ€™s Zhang shi and Luo shi! Pleased to meet you, I am Shen Jun!" The young man clasped his fist and greeted them before raising his wine glass to offer a toast and drinking it in advance.
Zhang Xuan and Luo Qiqi also raised their wine glasses and drank in reciprocation.
"That young man is Shen Jun, the young master of the Shen Clan, one of the Four Great Clans of Hongyuan Empire. Young and talented, he has contributed greatly to the royal court and was conferred the position of a general of the empire. He is currently Xing Yuanâ€™s greatest rival, and in their past clashes, Xing Yuan has suffered a fair bit due to him," Wu Zhen discreetly informed Zhang Xuan after noticing the confused look on his face.
"Four Great Clans?" Zhang Xuan replied.
"Un. Other than the royal family, the strongest powers in Hongyuan Empire are the Four Great Clans. Those clans either possess great influence in the royal court or command numerous experts, so even the royal family has to tread carefully around them. Other than the Shen Clan, there is also the Xing Clan, which Xing Yuan is from, my Wu Clan, and the Liu Clan. In terms of standing, the Shen Clan is first, and following closely behind is the Xing Clan, and finally the Liu Clan and the Wu Clan," Wu Zhen said.
Hearing that Wu Zhen was from the Four Great Clans too, Zhang Xuan was astonished. "So, you are an offspring of the Four Great Clans?"
There was a huge difference between Xing Yuan and Wu Zhen in terms of their disposition and the artifacts they had, so he had always thought that Wu Zhen had come from a humble background.
"I am an offspring from the branch family of the clan, so naturally, my standing is different from an offspring of the main family like Xing Yuan," Wu Zhen explained awkwardly.
Bloodline was viewed to be of the utmost importance in the succession of large clans, resulting in a vast difference in the standing between that of the main family and the branch family.
For one, just because Xing Yuan was from the main family, he had a high standing in the clan, and the clan devoted many resources to grooming him.
As Wu Zhen and Zhang Xuan had communicated telepathically, their exchange might seem long, but it had occurred in just a brief moment.
After Shen Jun put down his wine glass, he turned to Xing Yuan and smiled. "I have a request to ask of you all, but I am not sure if it is appropriate to raise it."
"Since you arenâ€™t sure whether it is appropriate to speak of it or not, you might as well keep quiet."
Seemingly aware of what Shen Jun was going to say, Xing Yuan rejected him flatly.
Disregarding Xing Yuan as if he was only throwing a tantrum, Shen Jun began to speak elegantly. "From the moment I met the Sixth Princess when I was twelve, I knew that she would become my life goal. So that I can be worthy of her, I have worked hard to achieve the standing and strength I possess today. As master teachers, you should be able to tell how much effort I have put in over the years. Even so, the thought of giving up has never crossed my mind. I knew that this was all necessary if I wanted to be qualified to stand beside her one dayâ€¦"
The topic of his speech was his past history with Yu Fei-er, and the feelings he harbored for her.
Upon hearing those words, Xing Yuanâ€™s face turned livid.
Even though he had made up his mind to give up on courting Yu Fei-er, how could he let go of those emotions that he had held dearly for many years? To confess his love to Yu Fei-er before him, it was clear that Shen Jun was trying to humiliate him.
After introducing his history, Shen Jun requested with a smile, "â€¦ Thus, I intend to propose to take the Sixth Princessâ€™s hand before His Majesty later on, so I would be honored if you can speak on my behalf when that time comes."
"Speak on your behalf? Dream on!" With his teeth clenched tight, Xing Yuan looked as if he was going to explode at any moment.
"Now now, there is no need for you to get mad. I didnâ€™t expect to count on you in the first place!" Shen Jun chuckled lightly in response to Xing Yuanâ€™s rage.
Turning his gaze to Zhang Xuan and Luo Qiqi, he continued, "I hope that the both of you can help me with this matterâ€¦ Putting aside that, I do hope to become friends with you two. Here is a token of sincerity from me, I hope that you can accept it!"
After saying those words, Shen Jun raised his hand and beckoned, and a young man walked up from behind. With a flick of his wrist, he took out two jade boxes and placed them on the table.
Opening the box, spiritual energy immediately gushed into the air, bringing a refreshing breeze to everyoneâ€™s face. Astonishingly, there were two high-tier spirit stones in each box.
To gift them two high-tier spirit stones each on their first meeting, Shen Jun sure was generous.
However, this also reflected how extreme his means were. There were no cultivators who could possibly reject high-tier spirit stones, but if they were to accept them, they would no longer be in a good position to voice their objections to Shen Junâ€™s proposal.
As expected of the young master of the Shen Clan, he sure knew how to deal with people.
"You are giving us four high-tier spirit stones to speak up on your behalf? Young Master Shen sure is generous! Qiqi, since he has offered them to us, it would be impolite for us to turn him down. Take them!" Zhang Xuan replied enthusiastically with a smile.
Four high-tier spirit stone was a huge sum of money. It would be a huge waste not to take them, especially since the other party was giving them to him for free.
"Yes!" Luo Qiqi, of course, knew that her teacher was not one to fall for such cheap trickery like that. The chances were that he already had an idea in mind. Thus, she stepped forward without any hesitation and stowed the high-tier spirit stones into her storage ring.
Shen Junâ€™s mouth twitched for an instant before he swiftly covered it up naturally with a chuckle. "Haha, Brother Zhang sure is a straightforward man. We will definitely get along well!"
His address toward Zhang Xuan had changed from â€˜Zhang shiâ€™ to â€˜Brother Zhangâ€™, as if to symbolize how close they were, and he shot a provocative glance toward Xing Yuan before returning to his seat.
Truthfully, Shen Jun also didnâ€™t expect that Zhang Xuan would actually accept the four high-tier spirit stones. After all, his loyalty to Xing Yuan was on the line here.
"Zhang shiâ€¦" Xing Yuan panicked after watching Zhang shi actually accept Shen Junâ€™s high-tier spirit stones despite the latterâ€™s provocation.
Seeing that Xing Yuan had lost his composure over this matter, Zhang Xuan calmly pointed out, "There is no need to worry. After all the time you have spent with Yu Fei-er, do you think that she is the sort of person to bend to mere words?"
"Thisâ€¦" Those words washed away Xing Yuanâ€™s doubts in an instant.
If the lady he was interested in could be moved easily with words, he wouldnâ€™t have been unsuccessful despite years of effort.
Yu Fei-er was a person with her own thoughts, and she was extremely obstinate about them. Once she had made a decision, even a hundred bulls couldnâ€™t hope to reverse it.
It was also due to this obstinacy that she would rather serve as Zhang shiâ€™s maid than accept Xing Yuanâ€™s goodwill.
How could a person with such a personality be moved by mere words?
"Since our words wonâ€™t sway Yu Fei-erâ€™s decision, why should we reject a free gift that he offered us?" Zhang Xuan flashed him a meaningful smile. "Even to an offspring of the Shen Clanâ€™s main family, four high-tier spirit stones should still a huge sum."
"Thisâ€¦" Xing Yuanâ€™s eyes widened as realization struck him.
His Xing Clan didnâ€™t pale too much compared to the Shen Clan, and his standing in the Xing Clan was also nearly equivalent to Shen Junâ€™s.
Considering how it was difficult for Xing Yuan to access the high-tier spirit stones of the clan with his current standing, even with Shen Junâ€™s higher cultivation realm, it was unlikely that his plight would be much better than his ownâ€¦
Thus, despite the generous exterior that Shen Jun had put up, his heart was probably bleeding when Luo Qiqi stowed the four high-tier spirit stones into her storage ring.
Most likely, Shen Jun was just making use of this opportunity to humiliate Xing Yuan and sow discord among them, but who could have known that Zhang Xuan would shamelessly accept his spirit stonesâ€¦
Shen Jun had already said that those spirit stones were for them, and as the young master of the Shen Clan, he would be a laughingstock of the city if he were to go back on his wordâ€¦
Most likely, his heart must be filled with regret and remorse at this very instant.
Having understood all of this, Xing Yuanâ€™s eyes lit up, and the negative emotions he had accumulated from the encounter with Shen Jun earlier dissipated without a trace.
Turning his eyes to Zhang shi once more, he couldnâ€™t help but feel deep respect and admiration for the other party.
And the truth was that Zhang Xuan was right. Young Master Shenâ€™s heart was indeed bleeding at this very instant.
He had taken out those four high-tier spirit stones to oppress Xing Yuan, but who would have thought that the other party would be so shameless as to accept themâ€¦
Furthermore, the other party accepted them so candidly, without the slightest hint of hesitation at all.
Are you sure you are Xing Yuanâ€™s friends?
Where did your loyalty to your friends go?
Just as Shen Jun returned to his seat, a young man before him secretly sent a telepathic message to ask, "Brother Shen, who is that fellow?"
The young man was an offspring of the Liu Clan, one of the Four Great Clans as well.
Shen Jun harrumphed coldly. "A greedy fellow!"
"Greedy?" Liu gongzi was baffled by Shen Junâ€™s response.
Judging from the â€˜greedy fellowâ€™sâ€™ clothes, he seemed to be a master teacher.
Arenâ€™t master teachers upright and incorruptible? How can he be greedy then?
The encounter with Shen Jun was only a small matter, so Zhang Xuan didnâ€™t pay much heed to it. At this moment, his attention was focused on uncovering the details of the Bodhi Saint Tree and determining if it would be effective at healing Wei Ruyanâ€™s soul.
Thus, he turned to Xing Yuan and asked, "I heard that there is a Bodhi Saint Tree in the royal palace that has the effect of nourishing oneâ€™s soul. Is that true?"
"Bodhi Saint Tree? Now you mention it, I think I have heard of such a matter before!" Xing Yuan nodded.
As the offspring of the Four Great Clans, he was privy to some of the deep secrets in the royal palace.
Hearing that Xing Yuan knew of its existence, Zhang Xuanâ€™s eyes lit up as he continued his questioning. "Then, do you know where in the royal palace it is located?"
"If I recall correctly, it should be in the emperorâ€™s sleeping chamber," Xing Yuan said. "This is a secret of the royal family, so I am not really sure about it either."
If it had been someone else, there was no way Xing Yuan would have revealed these secrets so easily. However, he was indebted to Zhang Xuan for saving his life, and he believed in the latterâ€™s integrity as well.
"Sleeping chamber?" Zhang Xuan frowned.
He wasnâ€™t too sure where the emperorâ€™s sleeping chamber was, but it shouldnâ€™t be too difficult for him to find it if he were to search thoroughly.
The emperorâ€™s sleeping chamber must be in the location filled with powerful defensive formations and patrols in order to ward away assassins. As long as he moved in that direction, he should have no problem finding it.
I have to find an opportunity for my soul to slip away and take a look around, Zhang Xuan thought.
Given his current cultivation, it would be impossible for him to slip under the radar of the experts in the royal palace and find the emperorâ€™s sleeping chamber, unless he were to move as a soul.
With the intangible property of a soul, as long as he didnâ€™t encounter any Saint realm experts specializing in the study of souls, he should be able to avoid detection.
With this thought in mind, Zhang Xuan turned to ask the young lady seated beside him, "Qiqi, when does the banquet start?"
Luo Qiqi took a look around the surroundings before replying. "Not all of the guests have gathered yet, so I would estimateâ€¦ around an hour!"
"Thatâ€™s plenty of time. I just had a sudden spurt of inspiration, so I would like to cultivate for a moment. Stand guard for me, donâ€™t let anyone interrupt me!" Zhang Xuan instructed.
"You want to cultivate here?" Luo Qiqi widened her eyes in shock.
We are at a banquet, a place where people drink, sing, and make merryâ€¦ and you want to cultivate?
"Un." Zhang Xuan nodded.
"Alright thenâ€¦" Hearing those words, Luo Qiqi couldnâ€™t help but feel awed by her teacher.
With his diligence, it was no wonder her teacher was able to improve so swiftly. There were very few who could go to this extent.
Closing his eyes, Zhang Xuan slipped his soul out of his body.
Having studied both demonic tunes and terpsichorean arts, his understanding of souls had deepened. This had granted him the ability to better conceal the presence of his own soul, allowing him to slip away from the main hall without catching anyoneâ€™s attention.
After slipping out of the main hall, he didnâ€™t dart around randomly to search aimlessly. Instead, he flew to a greater altitude and activated his Eye of Insight.
In an instant, the many formations set up throughout the royal palace appeared right before his eyes.
The place with the highest concentration of formations is thereâ€¦
Soon, he narrowed down his search to a certain residence.
If it had been before, even in his soul state, he wouldnâ€™t have dared to venture into an area filled with grade-6 formations. However, after going through the books in the Formation Master School, there was currently no one in the territory of Hongyuan Empire who could match him in the field of formations. No matter how powerful or profound the formations in the royal palace might be, they were no different from unclothed ladies, their secrets lying bare for him to see.
After maneuvering skillfully around numerous sentries, mechanisms, and formations, he soon arrived at the residence.