Bam!Ye Rong slammed his wine cup down viciously. “The Azure Heaven Northern Palace? I’ve long since heard that they behave incredibly atrociously. Supposedly, the disciples beneath their banner often commit acts like killing people and looting them. I’d always thought that the rumors were a bit of an exaggeration, but it seems like not only were the rumors not exaggerations, but they were actually quite conservative.”
“Younger brother, don’t be mad. These iniquities are all adding up and I’ve already noted these fellows. There will be a day in which I will make them pay a price with interest.”
Jiang Chen smiled, “They’re all a bunch of minor characters and clowns, unable to make it onto the main stage. Brother Ye, you don’t need to worry about this. I can handle a small thing like this.”
“Haha, that’s right! Younger brother, with your potential, if you can enter the Precious Tree Sect, then you’ll be able to stomp on these bastards however you’d like in the future.”
Jiang Chen nodded noncommittally, raising his glass to say, “Come, Brother Ye, let’s drink.”
After drinking and eating their fill, Ye Rong said, “Brother, since you’ve just arrived at the capital, there are many things that I must now detail clearly to you.”
“First, you are my guest and not my follower. Because of this, you can’t live within the manor. In order to live within the manor, you must be someone in the manor’s household or a servant. At the heart of it all, guests are still outsiders and thus you must arrange for accommodations elsewhere.”
Jiang Chen truly hadn’t thought of staying at the manor. With so many in his party, it was obviously an inconvenience, and there wasn’t much point in seeking shelter underneath someone else’s roof.
“That’s easy, I’ll go arrange for a house and a yard in someplace quiet.” Jiang Chen’s monetary ability was astonishing, and although this was the Skylaurel Kingdom, he didn’t think that he would be unable to purchase a house.
Ye Rong rubbed his nose and smiled ruefully, “It’s actually not that simple. You can’t buy a house just because you want to buy one.”
“Oh? Can it be that an inch of land within the Skylaurel Kingdom is equal to an ounce of gold? The land is so valuable that even houses are selling at astronomical prices?”
“It’s not that the land is at an astronomical price. I believe that wouldn’t be a problem with your financial capability. It’s more that you can’t buy a house or manor within the Skylaurel Kingdom just because you want to. A certain level of status is needed for certain levels of houses. Your status was vaunted in the Eastern Kingdom, but here, within the Skylaurel Kingdom, you’re still a blank piece of paper .”
Jiang Chen finally understood after Ye Rong’s explanations.
There was a clear hierarchy of status and rank when doing business within the Skylaurel Kingdom. One wouldn’t be able to buy a luxurious house without a corresponding status.
Jiang Chen understood matters when put this way.
This was actually similar to the Eastern Kingdom. Ordinary people wouldn’t be able to take up residence within luxurious locales. Even movers and shakers within business were absolutely barred from entering the areas reserved for nobles unless they had a corresponding status or awe inspiring achievements.
This wasn’t a defined rule within the Eastern Kingdom, but cliques were formed on the basis of these unspoken rules.
The Skylaurel Kingdom had taken things one step further than the Eastern Kingdom had and had written it clearly into law.
Your status dictated what kind of house you could live in in, with no way for anyone to overstep this boundary. You wouldn’t be able to buy another house with all the money in the world.
At the heart of it, the Skylaurel Kingdom was indeed different from ordinary, common kingdoms. With Jiang Chen’s reputation, the Darkmoon Kingdom had directly promised a position of duke of first rank to him.
After arriving at the Skylaurel Kingdom, not even a prince could help him cheat.
It seemed like the operating machine of the Skylaurel Kingdom was much more rational than that of the Eastern Kingdom and the Darkmoon Kingdom. The rules here were also much more cruel.
“Brother Ye, then what avenues exist to obtain status?”
“There are quite a few ways. Holding civil or military office goes without saying. It’s faster to advance through these two methods, but the level of competition there is also the fiercest.”
“Apart from civil and military office, the next fastest way would be organizations associated with sects. Pill medicine for instance, or forging weapons. Any topic having to do with training have large amounts of quotas for nobles. The Precious Tree Sect has the four great sites within the Skylaurel Kingdom and thus also holds a large numbers of quotas for nobles.”
“The four great sites?”
“Yes, you’ve already met the Azure Heaven Northern Palace, they’re one of the four. There’s also the Azure Heaven Southern Palace, the Qingyang Palace, and the Myriad Treasures Palace that make up the four great sites.”
“The Azure Heaven Northern Palace, and there’s also the Azure Heaven Southern Palace?”
“Yes, the Northern Palace controls the western region, the Southern Palace controls the southern region. The Qingyang Valley exercises control over the central region of the kingdom and the Myriad Treasures Palace directly set up shop within the capital.”
Ye Rong explained patiently, “How about this, I have some personal connections within the Azure Heaven Southern Palace and can get a noble’s position for you. However, I can, at most, obtain one of the eighth rank for you through personal connections. It’ll be harder to obtain any rank higher than that.”
The nobles of the Skylaurel Kingdom were divided into nine ranks.
The ninth rank was the lowest and the first rank the highest.
A prince like Ye Rong was naturally at the level of first rank. If he could become the crown prince, then he would break free from the hierarchy of ranks and would instead become of the royal rank.
“The Azure Heaven Southern Palace?” Although Jiang Chen knew that the Azure Heaven Southern Palace and the Azure Heaven Northern Palace were two different forces, he still felt slightly ticked off when he heard this name.
“Let’s forget about using your connections. I’ll talk a walk in the capital tomorrow and understand the situation. In the meantime, I’ll take some time to familiarize myself with this new area and find a tavern for lodgings.”
Ye Rong was a bit shamefaced. He was a prince, but in many matters, there was no room for the princes of Skylaurel Kingdom to play favorites and commit irregularities.
In addition, the most important thing was that the king had also included this in his observation of all his sons. If a prince often used the banner of the royal family to demand special treatment and play favorites, then his standing would surely be greatly decreased within the king’s heart.
Jiang Chen was rather opened-minded about all this.
Although his treatment since arriving in the Skylaurel Kingdom had been rather ordinary and had been worlds apart from the position at the apex of all other nobles that had been promised by the Darkmoon Kingdom and the Eastern Kingdom, Jiang Chen rather liked this feeling more.
This kind of new challenge gave him more drive and motivation. Besides, he didn’t think that he’d been unable to obtain even a noble’s status within the capital.
Under Ye Rong’s arrangements that night, their group checked into a hotel with wonderful surroundings. After settling down comfortably after the hardships of the road, the night passed peacefully.
The next morning, Jiang Chen summoned his eight personal guards and delegated some missions to them. He had them collect all sorts of intelligence regarding the sect organizations and what qualifications were needed to gain which particular noble status.
He naturally didn’t want to undertake such trivial matters himself.
Sending his subordinates to do this was also a test of their competence and a form of training.
Jiang Chen himself brought Gouyu and Qiao Baishi along with him as he followed the address that Tang Long had given, planning on making a trip to Tang Long’s family.
Although Jiang Chen didn’t know what it was that Tang Long had asked them to courier, he could judge from Tang Long’s tone that these items were very important to Tang Long’s family.
Tang Long’s house was located in the slums of the northwestern part of the capital. Jiang Chen finally found this small alley after threading through many side streets and alleyways.
The dirty alley made Gouyu, a girl born in a royal family, feel a bit uncomfortable.
However, when she saw Jiang Chen’s cool and composed face, she took a few steps forward and let go of her inhibitions. When she stepped down, she didn’t find the dirty alleyway that dirty anymore.
Tang Long’s family lived in a one story house that appeared quite run down, but was neatly cleaned up both inside and out.
Jiang Chen’s group of three knocked on the door, which was answered by a seventeen or eighteen-year old girl. The young girl’s dainty face blushed faintly red when she saw the strangers.
She stuttered, “Who… who… are you… looking for?”
“Is this Tang Long’s house?” Jiang Chen smiled.
“Y… yes? You are?” The young girl was a bit wary.
A voice traveled out from within, “Sister-in-law, is it my brother? Has my brother come back with that item?”
The owner of the voice didn’t sound too old, he seemed to be roughly the same age as Jiang Chen.
“Tang Long asked us to come by with this package. Please take an inventory.” Jiang Chen handed the package to the young girl.
The young girl wiped her hands a few times on her clothing with a reddened face before reaching out with her hands and blushing, walked back into the house.
After a while, an excited voice came from within, “Haha, it really is the Black Spirit Wood! Sister-in-law, it’s Black Spirit Wood! Haha, this means I am qualified to sign up for the free clinic that the Azure Heaven Southern Palace is holding a few days later. Sister-in-law, I… I can walk on my two feet in the future! Brother, you really are my big brother!”
The young man within the house seemed to be quite agitated as he kept pounding the boards of the bed and crowing. He seemed to have been repressing himself for quite some time and finally unleashed his steam at this time.
The young girl in the rough hemp walked out again and asked in a timid voice, “You’re friends of Tang Long? Would you like to come inside for some water?”
Jiang Chen looked around the house and saw that this family’s life was quite simple. It looked that their life wasn’t that easy.
Jiang Chen didn’t want to be a burden to them. Since he had delivered the items, he’d completed Tang Long’s request.
“We’ll forgo the water. We’ll be taking our leave now that the item has been delivered.”
The young girl also heaved a sigh of relief when she heard that they wouldn’t be coming inside. It was obvious that she didn’t know how to treat these guests since her house was in such shambles and these people should be quite noble based off their outfits.
“Uh… um, how is Tang Long?” The young girl gathered up her courage to ask.
“Heh heh, he’s doing quite well, but he’s been a bit busy lately. It seems that it’ll be a while before he can come home. You’re his wife right? I hadn’t thought that this fellow would have a wife, haha!” Jiang Chen laughed, waved his hands, and left.
After departing from Tang Long’s house, Jiang Chen was in no hurry to go back to the hotel. He took a spin around the capital. The capital was quite large, one wouldn’t cover it fully without ten days or half a month.
The three of them were walking when they suddenly saw two people hurriedly turn into another alley in front of them.
“Heh heh, hurry up, hurry up. Apparently the Wishing Tower has been opened. This time, up to the eleventh layer of the Wishing Tower has been opened, with only the last couple still sealed. Let’s go try our luck.”
“Cut your blather and let’s go!”
“Damn it, I’m going all out this time. I must pull out a wish above the ninth level. I’ve heard that if you help manifest the wishes above that, you can at least obtain the status of a sixth rank noble!”
“Pfft. Stop dreaming! Would someone put such a wish into the Wishing Tower if you can manifest such a wish? Stop dreaming in broad daylight!”
“That’s not necessarily the case. Have you forgotten what happened two years ago? A wandering practitioner from a small kingdom came to our Skylaurel Kingdom to broaden his worldview and happened to bump into the day of the Wishing Tower opening. He came from some remote backwater land and didn’t know the rules of the Wishing Tower, pulling out a wish of the eleventh level. By some stroke of luck, he could resolve that wish and had his fortunes changed immediately. I think he’s a noble of the fifth rank now! This really was an example of accomplishing an astonishing feat in one night and changing his destiny instantaneously, walking amongst the clouds!”
“That sort of thing only happens once in a hundred years. I’ll be a bit more practical and wish for pulling out a wish that lets me make a bit of money.”
Once Jiang Chen and the others heard the words “Wishing Tower” and the conversation of the two people their interested was stoked..
“Wishing Tower eh? This Skylaurel Kingdom has a lot of curious aspects. How about we go have some fun too?” They had nothing to do anyways. Jiang Chen wanted to take a look at this Wishing Tower and see just what it was all about. It seemed quite interesting.