Amelia and Maling were not looking too happy at the moment, when the trunk arrived Amelia was rather please, Maling on the other hand was excited at the value of it.
However something dawned on them, and both felt guilty about it and had no one to blame but themselves.
They had forgotten to give the spatial medication to Xiaoxia.
“Whoosh!” a child arrived in a blink on one of the designated spots in the spatial transportation hub.
He look a little disorientated, and he had the looks of a lost puppy when he finally got his bearings.
“Master Chen!” a middle age looking man approached.
“Welcome to MeisterSchloss, I am Captian Jongbae of the houseguards, please follow me,” Captain Jongbae bowed once before moving off to his left.
Xiaoxia did not follow him, looking a little weird. Suddenly he let out a huge “BURRRRP!!”
After that he let out a big sigh of relief, as Captain Jongbae was looking rather surprisingly at him.
“Sorry Captain Jongbae, I think I ate too fast for breakfast today,” Xiaoxia replied, he did not puke but there was too much air in his belly.
(Back at the palace Amelia and Maling were still worried.)
“Ah its ok Master Chen, many people still feel the effects of spatial travel even though they had taken the medication,” Captain Jongbae replied.
“Oh I was not given any,” Xiaoxia answer honestly, a little disappointed this time both Amelia and Maling had forgotten.
Captain Jongbae looked even more surprised but managed to retain his composure quickly, “Ah, my apologies Master Chen, please kindly accept this and follow me.”
Captain Jongbae gave him something that looked like a large cookie.
“Oh thank you Captain,” Xiaoxia accepted it happily, once he bit down onto it, a rich sweet flavor exploded into his mouth.
“It will help you settle the feeling,” Captain Jongbae spoke as he led the way.
“Mmmphrghh,” Xiaoxia acknowledged with his mouth full, he wasn’t going to say he didn’t need it since it was really delicious.
They approached a platform to the west of the arrival spot, passed a checkpoint and boarded what seem like a floating carriage. It was not a small craft, and had plenty of space to fit two dozen easily.
“What is this thing?” Xiaoxia asked curiously.
“Master Chen this is called a gondola, it uses our reverse gravity technology,” Captain Jongbae replied.
Xiaoxia felt rather excited, he had wondered about flying after seeing the sole plate.
“Please put on this harness, it’s to prevent you from falling out of the gondola in case the weather suddenly changes,” Captain Jongbae indicated to a leather strap with a metal clip.
Soon they floated above the hub and at once Xiaoxia was in thrall of his surroundings.
MeisterSchloss was really a city of skyscrapers. Crescent Lake had its fair share, but it could not compare to the amount and scope of those he is seeing right now.
“Master Chen, do you like the view?” Captain Jongbae smiled while asking Xiaoxia.
Xiaoxia nodded and looked around. They continued to gain altitude and quickly moved off. Then a muffled boom could be heard and he immediately felt a force pushing him back, but it disappeared as soon as it came.
Soon Xiaoxia could see further into the horizon, even then there was no end to the city. They continued to gain speed even as the buildings and landscape sped past.
“We will be heading towards the Elder’s compound,” Captain Jonbae informed him.
“How far is that?” Xiaoxia asked, they were moving really fast, and he could hear the tiny sound of wind behind the transparent shimmering protective shield.
“We will be there in a few minutes, it will be a few portals away,” Captain Jongbae announced.
Xiaoxia wanted to ask what he meant, but it was not necessary. Their gondola was approaching something that looked like a floating spatial transportation device.
He could see a few others below that had people appearing every now and then, flying through the air.
“Below us is the public access hub for individuals without personal crafts, the one in front of us is for small crafts, there are others for bigger crafts in other areas,” Captain Jongbae informed Xiaoxia, seeing the excited looks on his face as he looked all around.
“I have a sole plate, given to me by Arch Duchess Amelia,” Xiaoxia informed him, gesturing at his quantum bag and the sole plate materialized.
“Ah Master Chen that is a very high quality sole plate, the Arch Duchess must really like you,” Captain Jongbae smile while giving his compliments.
“I would like to try it sometime,” Xiaoxia said in anticipation.
“It would be my pleasure to introduce you to some of our younglings here, they are very proficient in using them,” Captain Jongbae promised.
In a short time, as they conversed, they had passed a few portals and soon arrived at the Elder’s compound.
“Master Chen we have arrived,” Captain Jongbae informed Xiaoxia.
“That was a very good trip,” Xiaoxia was gushing as he said that, he was really excited.
“I am glad you enjoyed it, if you may, the Elder Menon is waiting for us,” Captain Jongbae replied and quickly led the way.
They arrived in short notice at a decrepit looking compound with heaps of materials and other knick knacks that overflowed the pile they were in. There were many things that looked like incomplete contraptions as well as bodies of flying crafts that definitely have seen better days.
It looked really bad, and Xiaoxia wondered if they have gone to the wrong place.
“Ah Welcome Young Master Chen,” a voice welcomed him from behind.
Xiaoxia turned around and found Menon peeking out from a pile. He looked even older in person than over the hologram.
“Your eminence, thank you, it was a real pleasure being here,” Xiaoxia replied while bowing.
“Teeheeeheee .. cough .. cough .. please call me Menon, I remember telling you before,” Menon wheezed a little before he replied.
“Sorry Your Eminence, I meant Menon,” Xiaoxia immediately apologize.
“Haha, good boy, so how was your trip?” Menon asked.
“It was amazing and exhilarating!”
“Well I am glad you like it, much better than traversing around on spatial portals and missing the beauty of your surroundings, something those empires would never understand,” Menon replied.
“You may leave us,” he told Captain Jonbae and some guards who had followed.
“Yes Your Eminence,” Captain Jongbae bowed once and left the compound.
“Now my dear boy, what shall I call you?” Menon looked at Xiaoxia and asked.
“My family calls me Xiaoxia, so does my cousin,” Xiaoxia replied.
“Good, now Xiaoxia, can you please follow me,” Menon asked as he plucked out something from the pile he was rummaging through and walked towards an archway behind Xiaoxia.
“Yes sir,” Xiaoxia replied.
As they entered the archway, a haphazard scene was spread out in front of Xiaoxia, it was even more chaotic then where they had been.
“Come come, stand over here,” Menon motioned for him.
The moment Xiaoxia stood where Menon indicated, he suddenly appeared in a large room that was extremely neat and had a few large contraptions and devices placed in an orderly fashion.
In a moment he was joined by Menon.
“Hah, surprised?” Menon immediately ask, seeing Xiaoxia was looking at some of the contraptions in the room.
“Yes Sir, this place is different from what I expected” Xiaoxia honestly replied.
“Teeheehee, cough cough, everyone feels the same, this is my glory room, and those are a few of the stuff I have invented with the help of some of my fellow Artisans,” Menon replied and continued, “and some of these are going to help you today.”
“Help me?” Xiaoxia asked, he did not see any device here resembling the one at the Palace.
“Yes, help you. First come over here and give me your hand,” Menon instructed.
Xiaoxia walked over and stretched out his hand. Menon took it while closing his eyes, in a moment he opened it with a look of respect.
“My my, just what I thought,” he said himself.
“Is there anything wrong?” Xiaoxia asked.
“No nothing is wrong, in fact everything is very good,” Menon replied.
Sitting down at a desk tucked away in a corner of a room, Menon took out a device and did something to it, then Xiaoxia heard a voice coming from it.
“Yes sir what would ya like?” the voice asked.
“Yralim, please bring food and drinks for two and my favorite malt beverage, oh and one of us is a kid .. cough cough,” Menon replied.
“Yes sir, we know ya a kid,” was the raspy reply and there was a click and the sound stopped.
“That was the Elders’ mess hall,” Menon told Xiaoxia without being asked, looking a little crestfallen after what the voice known as Yralim said.
“Thank you Sir, I haven’t eaten lunch yet” Xiaoxia replied, it was already eight hours since he had his last meal.
“Ah just as well, come let us proceed while waiting,” Menon said.
Soon various contraptions and devices gathered in an endless stream on one of the desks.
When Menon was done, a knock was heard on the door.
“Ah that must be lunch,” Menon turned towards the door and opened it.
Xiaoxia was a little surprised at what he saw at the doorway.
The figure standing at the door way was shorter than him, but had a full grown beard and a large bulbous nose. His arms and legs were short but powerfully built.
Otherwise he looked just like a Fan Ren who had been squashed vertically.
“What ya look’n at?” the person asked, noticing Xiaoxia looking at him.
“Uh nothing sorry,” Xiaoxia quickly replied, immediately looking away.
“Ah Yralim! Don’t be rude to our guest,” Menon reprimanded Yralim.
“We can’t be have’n nobody stare’n at us like freaks ya know,” Yralim said as he started removing food from the trolley he was pushing onto an empty desk in the middle of the room.
As soon as Yralim left the room Xiaoxia asked Menon, “Who is he and what is he?”
“Oh he is our chef, I think an Artisan, but that was a long time ago, may be a Master now,” Menon replied.
“Uh huh, I mean what is his race,” Xiaoxia nodded again and asked.
“Oh one of the Zhu Ru Ren, they are mostly mountain dwellers, their cousins are the Shan Dong Ren who mostly live in caves,” Menon replied and added, “A rather durable and sturdy race, their constitution is very high as well.”
Xiaoxia did not pursue the matter and instead quickly joined Menon who was already seated at the table where the food was.
“Nothing too fancy, and it pales in comparison to what you have at the palace, but it tastes of home, help yourself,” Menon smiled helping himself to the food.
Xiaoxia looked at the food, they look normal enough, not as aesthetically pleasing as those he had at the Palace, but he didn’t care, as he was hungry.
When he took his first bite, he was amazed, the looks of it totally belied its taste. There was also a refreshing spiciness to it, and he was perspiring a little from it as he ate.
Very soon they were almost finished with their food and Menon summoned a maid to clear up the table.
Once they were alone, he started arranging the contraptions and devices he took out.
“Xiaoxia, I have felt a very intense flow of Ki coming from you earlier when I measured your pulse, there are a few things I need to confirm with these,” Menon informed him as he pointed to about 6 items he had chosen from the earlier pile.
“Will they be able to finally let me know what I need?” Xiaoxia asked with a worried look at some of them, they looked like tools of torture to him.
“Oh yes they will and more,” Menon replied.
As they start with the first device, it took almost an hour to complete the whole process. A couple just needed Xiaoxia to place his palm on it, the rest required sticking nodules to parts of his limbs. The most horrifying one was where it involved plenty of needles that had to be inserted into various points of his body.
He was breaking out in cold sweat when the first needle was inserted, but strangely enough, he did not feel any pain.
Menon was muttering happily to himself as he finished and let out a wheeze (he tried to whistle but failed) as he saw the results.
Xiaoxia was curious about the results as well, but did not try to move and remained totally still. With so many needles sticking out of his body, he was afraid any movement will bring intense pain.
In less than the time it took for Menon to insert the needles, they were all removed quickly when the test was done.
“Good ..aaghh … cough .. cough… very good,” Menon replied.
“Come Xiaoxia sit over here,” he motioned.
“Xiaoxia, first I have to say thank you for your patience. Not many have the patience to go through such a long process … aaggh .. ahemm,” Menon told him, while clearing his throat.
“Thank you as well Menon, I will do anything just to know my Ki talent,” Xiaoxia replied.
“Ok, I will let you know, but first let me ask you something,” Menon said with a serious expression.