The same general took a step forward wanting to force Zhao Shu to kneel down in salute. Duan Wuhen raised a hand to block him, “Leave it.”
Duan Wuhen’s taciturn manner made it hard to tell if he was upset regarding the matter.
“Yes, Second Imperial Highness!” The general respectfully answered and retreated to one side.
Watching this scene, Yanggang was secretly pleased. Although Duan Wuhen did not say anything, Yanggang was certain that inwardly, the Second Prince must have felt a tad upset with Huang Xiaolong
This Huang Xiaolong doesn’t even know how to educate a lowly servant properly, he’s really running out of luck!
Pang Yu and those jealous of Huang Xiaolong were also elated at Huang Xiaolong’s impending predicament.
Duan Wuhen came to the front of the group. Taking a look at the present crowd, he let out a placid laugh, “Congratulations to everyone here for winning the top one hundred places in this year’s Imperial City Battle. From now on, each and every one of you are a student of Duanren Institute!”
Duan Wuhen’s words incited different reactions from different people, but the majority of the geniuses had excitement written over their faces.
Duanren Institute, the most prominent academy in the entire Duanren Empire!
Entering Duanren Institute was the highest glory one could receive in the hearts of the Duanren Empire’s people.
Next, Duan Wuhen signaled Cheng Jian to start giving out the prizes without wasting any more time on nonsense.
The prize giving was divided into three sections:
The first section was for numbers eleven to one hundred.
The second section was for second to tenth place.
And the third section was the prize for first place!
There were ninety people in the first section, taking the longest time. It wasn’t until one hour later when the first section of prize giving ended. The next section consisted of Xie Puti, Yanggang, Pang Yu, and the rest.
After the second to tenth place was done, it was finally Huang Xiaolong’s turn. And Huang Xiaolong’s rewards were personally handed over by Duan Wuhen himself whereas Xie Puti and the rest of the ninety-eight people were all handled by Cheng Jian. Huang Xiaolong’s prize was solely given out by Duan Wuhen.
In the eyes of people like Yanggang, being presented with the rewards by Duan Wuhen was a great honor.
Duan Wuhen passed a spatial ring that contained twenty pieces of grade one spirit stones and two high Grade Six Spirit Dans to Huang Xiaolong.
In Luo Tong Kingdom, the King was probably the only person who had the capability to own a spatial ring, but here in Duanren Empire it was not that extraordinary or rare.
Most of the large families’ core members in Duanren Empire usually had a spatial ring.
When Huang Xiaolong received the spatial ring containing twenty pieces of grade one spirit stones and two high Grade Six Spirit Dans, Duan Wuhen smiled, “Huang Xiaolong, I hope you will be able to break into Saint realm one day and become our Duanren Empire’s Protector!”
Huang Xiaolong was taken aback but nodded just the same.
Duanren Empire’s Protector!
Huang Xiaolong knew these were perfunctory words, but Huang Xiaolong was sanguine of his chances to break into the Saint realm and this day was not too far away!
At this point, Cheng Jian came to the front and announced the ceremonies conclusion, leaving them to disperse from the palace square.
Everyone acceded respectfully and made their exit.
But just as Huang Xiaolong was about to leave, Duan Wuhen spoke up, “Huang Xiaolong, stay back for a while, my Imperial Father wants to see you.”
This stunned everyone present.
Duanren Emperor actually wanted to see Huang Xiaolong!
By this point, even Xie Puti could not help feeling a tinge of envy burgeoning into slight jealousy. Duanren Emperor was the person who founded Duanren Empire, the paramount existence in the hearts of Duanren Empire’s subjects. This eminent figure had summoned Huang Xiaolong!
None of the previous Imperial City Battle champions had such honor and glory!
A tumult of emotions swirled within Yanggang and the rest.
Before leaving, Cui Li’s eyes took a final look at Huang Xiaolong’s silhouette.
Duan Wuhen waited until Xie Puti, Cui Li, and the others disappeared from view before speaking again: “Huang Xiaolong, come with me.” Without waiting for a reply, Duan Wuhen and Cheng Jian turned around and led in the front, leaving Huang Xiaolong and Zhao Shu to follow on their own accord out of Righteous Square.
The Duanren Imperial Palace covered a huge area. They passed by many great halls, big and small squares, and corridors the entire way before Duan Wuhen and Cheng Jian stopped in front of a cavernous palace structure.
A troop of imperial palace guards were lined along the front perimeter.
Duan Wuhen, Cheng Jian, Huang Xiaolong, and Zhao Shu entered.
They continued onward, passing through four other smaller courtyards before coming to an enormous grand hall.
On the other far end of the grand hall sat a middle-aged man wearing a brilliant yellow dragon robe. In the center of this middle-aged man’s eyebrows was an imprint of a broken blade talismanic pattern. He was none other than Duanren Emperor!
Entering the grand hall, Cheng Jiang and Duan Wuhen hastened forward to pay their respects but they suddenly saw Duanren Emperor shoot onto his feet with unseen joy on his face, hopping off the throne and coming down in just a few quick steps.
Duan Wuhen and Cheng Jian were stupefied.
Duanren Emperor walked towards Duan Wuhen’s group instead?
“Imperial Father!” Duan Wuhen walked up and called out. But, it was as if Duanren Emperor did not see him at all. Before the shocked eyes of Duan Wuhen and Cheng Jian, Duanren Emperor walked passed them as he headed straight to Zhao Shu who was standing behind Huang Xiaolong. In the throes of excitement, he ventured courteously, “Is it Mister Zhao?”
Both Duan Wuhen and Cheng Jian’s eyeballs nearly fell out of their sockets, looks of indescribable disbelief evident on their faces.
What did Duanren Emperor refer to the guard behind Huang Xiaolong as? Mister Zhao?
This time, even Huang Xiaolong was greatly stunned and surprised.
A thought flashed like lightning in Huang Xiaolong’s brain. Could the old acquaintance Zhao Shu mentioned earlier be Duanren Emperor?!
It was the Duanren Emperor himself!
Things moved so quickly that Duan Wuhen and Cheng Jian were still struggling to register what had just happened. Zhao Shu smiled at Duanren Emperor, “Not bad, the little monkey that year has finally grown up. One thousand years has passed and not only have you broken through to the Saint realm, but you also built a big empire!”
Finally grew up?!
Listening to Zhao Shu’s pet name for Duanren Emperor, Duan Wuhen and Cheng Jian nearly stumbled on the spot with their knees barely supporting them.
Whereas Duanren Emperor had an embarrassed expression as he said, “Just a small Duanren Empire, Mister Zhao is joking.”
Zhao Shu nodded and then he stated, “This is my Young Lord.” His thumb pointed at Huang Xiaolong.
“Young Lord?!” Duanren Emperor appeared dazed and confused as he stared at Huang Xiaolong. Then, astonishment sprung forth in his heart for he clearly knew Zhao Shu’s identity. More than one thousand years ago, and before he broke into the Saint realm, Zhao Shu had already been a warrior in the Saint realm.
“Imperial Father, this is Young Bro Huang Xiaolong!” At this juncture, Duan Wuhen swiftly stepped up. Suppressing the waves of shock in his heart, he gave a brief introduction to Duanren Emperor.
Duan Wuhen’s way of referring to Huang Xiaolong took an upturn.
But in the next moment, Duanren Emperor looked at Huang Xiaolong and laughed amiably, “So, it’s this year’s Imperial City Battle champion, Young Noble Huang.”
Young Noble Huang! Duanren Emperor used honorifics!
Drops of cold sweat appeared on Dun Wuhen’s forehead. Was he too rude in referring to Huang Xiaolong as ‘Young Bro’? As for Cheng Jian, he had already turned into a wooden statue carving, unable to process anything at all.
“Duanren Emperor is too polite.” Huang Xiaolong quickly replied.
“No, no, no, Young Noble Huang can call me by my given name in the future. Just call me Duan Ren.” Duanren Emperor insisted.
Cold sweat burst forth from Duan Wuhen and Cheng Jian’s body like a gurgling spring.
“This…!” Huang Xiaolong looked over at Zhao Shu, this series of changes happened too quickly, and truth be told, Huang Xiaolong was feeling a little too dumbfounded to react with his usual nonchalance. It had not occurred to him that Zhao Shu’s ‘old acquaintance’ could possibly be Duanren Emperor himself, and that the big man would treat him so respectfully!
It was Duanren Emperor who summoned Huang Xiaolong, yet why did the situation seem reversed?