Chapter 897 - 897: Leaving
" Even the high rankings nobles aren't sitting with us. Do you think we can have a Prince of some lowly Kingdom sit with us?" Meng Qian said to Meng Huling.
"Now stop trying to make things difficult for us and tell your so-called friend to sit in the back," He continued.
Long Chen was simply looking at Meng Qian without saying anything. He did find it offensive, but he couldn't express his displeasure. His eyes were subtly glancing at the necklace in the man's neck.
'Well, this start is worse than I thought. I guess it's impossible to get the necklace from him using honest methods. I would need to use my old methods,' Long Chen thought.
Meng Huling seemed annoyed for a few seconds before a smile returned to his face.
He started chuckling as he said, "Sure. The seat in the back seems pretty good."
He positioned the chair like it was before he turned back and started walking towards the empty table in the end.
"Little Brother, wait!" The Crown Prince called out as he saw Meng Huling leaving.
"Yes, First Brother?" Meng Huling asked as he turned back.
"Where are you going? You should sit with us today," Meng Luqi said softly. Keeping the tone of his voice uniform, so others didn't hear him.
"But Second Brother doesn't wish for me to sit on the same table as him. It's his birthday. How can I refuse his wishes?" Meng Huling asked innocently.
"Stop being clever. I never said anything about you. Of course, you can sit with us. I only talked about your friend," Ming Qian chimed in.
Ming Luqi nodded his head as he continued. "You're one of us. Of Course, you can sit with us."
"I apologize, brother. But I already promised to accompany him today. As a Prince, my promise is my life. I can't break it," Meng Huling answered as he shook his head. "Saying that he can't sit with me is the same as saying that I can't sit with you."
In the back and forth of the princes, Long Chen didn't interfere. He kept standing in the end, waiting for the conclusion.
The Crown Prince fell in deep thought after hearing the words of the third Prince. He ultimately nodded his head as he spoke, " Since you have already promised, we can do nothing. Let him sit with us."
"But First Brother, if he sat with us, what would happen to our reputation? What will nobles think when they realize that we shared a table with a measly Prince of a kingdom?" The Second Prince Meng Qian protested.
"They'll think what they have to think, but you're forgetting something. What do you think they will think if they see third brother sitting separately from us? The family is our strength. We can't let nobles make assumptions, or there would be rumors like the princes are fighting. I don't want false rumors to spread," Meng Luqi answered.
The Princess also decided to chime in as she finally spoke her first words, "First brother is right."
Her voice had a low pitch and sounded sweet to the ears. Even Long Chen found it soothing.
Meng Qian saw the others agreeing. And their words also held merit. He finally agreed.
"Fine. He can sit with us."
Meng Huling grinned as he walked back and took his seat.
"What are you waiting for? Sit down. Their greetings to my father are about to finish." He said to Long Chen, who was still standing.
Long Chen nodded his head as he sat down beside Meng Huling.
"So, little guy. What brought you to our Empire? If we're not wrong, the Fengshu Kingdom is pretty far from here. Did you have some business?" The First Prince asked casually as he gazed at Long Chen.
"Not really," Long Chen answered as he shook his head. "I have left the house to roam the continent and gain some experience about various places. It seems to be a good trip for me as a Prince. The Empire is where I happen to be right now."
"Ah, gaining experience, huh. I believe people used to do it in the old times. You must like following old traditions. Nowadays we only send our Envoys to get all the information we need. It was in old times that princes themselves went, that too very rarely," the Crown Prince nodded his head as he smiled.
Ming Qian didn't speak as the Crown prince was talking. He sat, looking annoyed.
After the initial interaction, everyone went silent, and no one talked.
Long Chen kept his head down as he wondered, 'I can try to ask him for his necklace in exchange for a treasure.'
'But the chances of him giving me are close to none. He already has all the treasures that I can possibly offer him. I can use tricks, but if they fail, I would have no choice but to steal, which I am going to do anyway. The problem is that if I ask him for a necklace now and steal at night, he would certainly know that I did it.'
'On the other hand, if I stole in the night and don't show any interest in the necklace now, I won't be under suspicion. I need to stay here to investigate about portals. I can't bring suspicions to me,' he decides.
He kept a neutral smile on his face as if he found this whole place intriguing. Not even once did he glance at the necklace.
"That's the last guy—the Patriarch of Qin Clan. After him, the greeting ceremony will be over. We can finally start," The Crown Prince muttered as he gazed towards the Emperor.
A white-haired old man was standing before the Emperor with a small box in his hand.
"Greetings to the Great Emperor. This poor man wasn't able to find the gift he wished for, but I still managed to get the next best thing. Even though it's nothing for Your Majesty, please accept this Dragon Blood Crystal as a small gift for this happy occasion," the white-haired man said with a fawning smile on his face.
"Hmm," the Emperor nodded his head as he gazed at the Eunuch who was standing near the throne.
The Eunuch stepped forward and took the small box from the white-haired old man.
Even though the white-haired man wished to give the gift to the Emperor himself, he knew that it was unlikely since the previous gifts were taken by the Eunuch as well. He didn't act displeased as he left.