Chapter 622: Fig Corporation’s Compass
Aside from seeing the Lionheart warrior wearing a mask standing beyond Black Lion City’s gates, rarely did Xia Fei catch a glimpse of this species’ big and tall figure around the city. More often than not, he would come across other species which looked shifty.
It was exactly as what Lionheart Emperor Oro said; no one stopped Xia Fei from entering Black Lion City despite only donning a black cloak and keeping his head down. The most he got were eyerolls from people, which showed that humans were hardly a rare sight in this city, nothing beyond his lower standing anyway.
“For such a city out here by the border, few, if any, serious businessmen come by. People who are here are more often than not dealing in shady transactions, whether they are thieves, murderers, drug traffickers, slave traders or other such jobs. Illicit goods was the principal trading that border cities deal in.”
“Here in the Black Lion City, even forgotten tribes are about. As long as they do not interfere with the law and order, the city defense force won’t meddle in their businesses. Overall, this acts like a free trade zone,” Oro explained.
Xia Fei nodded. He did not have a fond impression toward the forgotten tribes, and those Shepherdians, who had created a mess during the Dragon Ascension Martial Hall’s initial assessment, had caused quite a lot of trouble for Xia Fei; in fact, he still could not forget their insidious and cruel methods of hunting.
Black Lion City was fairly impressively built, and it was quite luxurious for a city in the borders. The wide roads allowed pedestrians to move along without much hindrance, and even though it was daytime, the bars were as rowdy as if it were nighttime, bustling with sounds of people patronizing the establishments.
A proud warrior came walking right across Xia Fei, his head filled with tentacles, which had plenty of suction pads. His mouth was small like a nectarine, while his face was in a shade of deep red, looking like a squid that learned how to walk.
“Yuma, one of the major civilian species by the border region. It is said that their ancestors were a result of genetic mutations from a certain type of mollusc. They have fairly short tempers and dislike talking.”
Lionheart Emperor Oro would give Xia Fei a brief introduction to the various highly intelligent lifeforms their group came across as they ventured onward. Xia Fei was basically overwhelmed by the variety of species and the myriad of things that could be found here. It seemed like the prosperity of the Demon Race was nothing too far off from the God Race, and their ethnic composition was even more peculiar, with plenty of strange and rare sapient lifeforms roaming around.
Xia Fei followed Oro’s directions and made his way down a cramped alley, taking several steps before promptly realizing that he was facing a dead end! There was no way for him to continue forward!
“That’s not right. This ought to be where the largest trading firm in Black Lion City is situated. Why isn’t it here?” Oro somewhat disappointedly grumbled.
Xia Fei sighed. “When’s the last time you’ve been to Black Lion City?”
“When I was younger, I spent several days as the chief of city defense…” Oro realized that something was off the moment he spoke those words. He was an immortal capable of living who knew how many years. His youth was several tens of thousand years ago!
Xia Fei shrugged as he retraced his steps out the alley. Oro muttered, “The things remain the same, but the people are gone…”
There was a large restaurant by the street; it was a beautifully built structure about five stories high. Xia Fei turned and made his way toward it.
“Are you hungry?”
“Then why are you going into this restaurant? You should be searching for a store where you can purchase a spatial compass,” Oro groused.
Xia Fei smiled. “What we want isn’t some ordinary compass, but an untraceable, super-high-grade spatial compass capable of travelling across ten billion lightyears! I’m not expecting that any random store can produce such stuff which is valued in the tens of thousands of grade 4 Origin Crystals. That is why the first step for us is to investigate, and since I’m in a foregin city, there’s no better place to gather information than a restaurant.”
Lionheart Emperor Oro was ultimately a person of the past, and while he did manage to lead Xia Fei into Black Lion City, he was unable to help him locate a spatial compass that the latter sorely needed. As such, Xia Fei decided to do it his own way.
A restaurant existed not just for customers to eat food but also as a place for swapping information. Schemes where a gentleman never needed to see the killers he hired were often concocted in small shady restaurants. Now that Xia Fei was searching for high-grade goods, he of course needed to begin his investigation in the most luxurious restaurant in town.
Dozens of staff were standing by the entrance, but not a single one of them came forward to receive Xia Fei because he was a human. There were even some who raised their heads as if to scorn Xia Fei.
Xia Fei felt a wave of dejection deep down. This restaurant must be fairly influential for even the staff to ignore him after judging the way he dressed. It was truly a case of snobbery at its finest.
There were four seater long tables on the first floor, while the more lavish private rooms and lounges were all on the second floor and above. Xia Fei picked a seat by the window and swept his gaze across the restaurant.
The restaurant was doing quite well, business-wise, with plenty of customers entering from time to time. Several minutes had passed and no one came to attend to Xia Fei; it became evident the disparity between how the staff treated Xia Fei and the other customers whom they received.
“A human? Should we go serve him?”
“Just look at how poorly he dresses, just what sort of our services can he afford? We work on sales commission, and if we have the time, won’t we wait on the wealthier VIPs, instead?”
The conversation between two of the staff was overheard by Xia Fei. Being a wait staff in a restaurant meant low wage; all they could hope for was to encounter customers who ordered some pricier dishes in order to supplement their income accordingly or patrons who would give tips generously in return for their services rendered. This was why someone who did not appear to have any money like Xia Fei would naturally be ignored by the staff, and those potbellied customers would see several staff coming to escort them into the restaurant respectfully.
Just as Xia Fei was caught in this space of awkwardness, a chubby waiter came rushing from the second floor, a hand wiping the sweat off his brows. His blustering red cheeks made him look extra honest.
Seeing that Xia Fei was in a corner with no one serving him, this chubster very casually walked over and brought along a teapot, hot towels, and menu from the counter.
“It’s that fool again. Several days ago, he even treated a beggar as a customer and invited him in, angering the boss greatly.”
“What else? People in our line of work need to have a discerning eye for things, and we must be able to tell which customers are generous with their spending and who are too poor to part with much. Someone like him will never earn enough money his entire life to marry.”
The chubster’s actions drew the mockery of his colleagues, but he just indifferently smiled as he respectfully poured tea for Xia Fei and handed him a hot towel for the latter to wipe his face.
Xia Fei raised an eyebrow and pushed the menu back to the chubster. “No need for me to see the menu. I’m not too hungry, so get me the local specialty dish as well as a bowl of rice.”
The staff behind snickered. “Told you! He’s poor.”
The chubster thought for a moment before saying, “The local sand bamboo shoot is very fresh, and it takes a long time to blossom in the desert, requiring ten years before they sprout; it takes ten of these bamboo shoots to be served as a dish. This is the best time to eat the sand bamboo shoots. Why don’t you get the dish? It’s delicious and reasonably priced, too.”
Most waiters would attempt to promote something a bit more expensive to the customers as they would then earn more commissions from it. This chubster, on the other hand, decided to recommend a dish that was both delicious and inexpensive, showing how honest and good his character was.
Xia Fei nodded. “Then get me a dish of these sand bamboo shoots. Also, I’d like to obtain some information from you.”
“I made a trip out here in order to buy a spatial compass, the very best kind. Do you have any idea where I should go?” Xia Fei asked.
The chubster took a good time to think before giving his answer. “Three of the largest trading firms in Black Lion City are Crane’s Tail, Goldenrock and Solomon’s. These are the established names in this city, but I heard customers commenting that Crane’s Tail and Goldenrock sell really expensive goods, so I suggest that you give Solomon’s a look first. You can check the other two afterward if you can’t find what you need there.”
The chubster did not stop there. Worried that Xia Fei might not find the location, he gave detailed directions to all three trading firms from this restaurant before he drew a simple map for more clarity.
He spent quite some time doing this, missing out on plenty of opportunities to make money. However, the chubster did not say a word of complaint, and Xia Fei was very grateful because of this.
Just as the chubster said, the sand bamboo shoots were delicious; the dish had a faint lily-like fragrance and was crystal-clear and translucent. Xia Fei was originally not hungry, but seeing this dish, his appetite could not help but improve. He ate three bowls of rice in one go, cleaning out the plate of bamboo shoots as well. Though Xia Fei did not have a lack of money, it was still not his habit to waste, either.
Seeing Xia Fei’s clean plate, the other staff despised him even more, believing it to be the trait of a miser.
Lighting a cigarette, Xia Fei called the chubster to his side and handed over three grade 3 Origin Crystals from his spatial ring.
“For the bill.”
Dozens of fiery stares came over. Everyone could not believe that the plain-looking Xia Fei would actually be so generous!
“There’s no need for so much. In fact, one is too much; the bill is just two grade 2 crystals. The bamboo shoots are very cheap, after all,” the chubster said, tongue-tied.
Smiling, Xia Fei said, “I know. Take the rest as your tip.”
The staff worked so hard to earn so much in a year, yet a single tip from Xia Fei covered what they would have earned in a year!
Jealous. Envy. Hatred.
All the staff members who were gloating moments ago nearly felt their eyeballs roll out of their sockets!
They had finally experienced what it meant by the saying that a true master would not show off.
Making his way to Solomon’s following the map he had been given, it was not too difficult to find this famous trading firm in Black Lion City. It occupied a floor space spanning eight shops and used the local produce of sand willow wood to create a huge plaque, which could be seen from two miles out.
Xia Fei entered the store and casually browsed through the items on display. Just as the chubster told him, there was a great variety of goods in this shop, and there were many high-grade items for sale as well. The prices were not too outrageous, either, so it ought to be the most influential business in the city.
There was furniture in the store, which made it convenient for clients to take a seat and discuss business.
“Shopkeeper, please call your boss over.” Xia Fei sat down and firmly requested.
This shop was evidently better at doing business. Though the staff found Xia Fei to be somewhat suspicious, they nevertheless respectfully called a big and tall elder. This elder was a Lionheart, and though his size was nothing as exaggerated as Oro’s, he did stand 2.5 meters tall, and the golden fur all over his face made it difficult to determine his age.
This was not at all what Xia Fei had expected. He very cautiously stated his purpose of making the trip out here; after all, purchasing a spatial compass without registration was something illegal and illicit. Furthermore, what he was looking for happened to be a high-grade product and could be considered a super illegal good forbidden to be sold throughout the Law Realm.
However, this boss, who went by the name of Ricky, was not in the least bit perturbed. It seemed like Black Lion City was truly the perfect place for one to procure such goods.
A holographic projection appeared in front of Xia Fei, and it showed a black spatial compass.
“This compass you’re looking for is very expensive, and it is stored in our vault and won’t easily be shown to others. Forgive us, but bear with first looking at this hologram. If you decide to proceed with this purchase, I’ll then send someone to the vault and retrieve it for you,” Ricky courteously explained.
The holographic projection had an extremely high resolution, and from feeling the material used for the item and holding it in hand through this hologram, it was practically no different from seeing and touching the actual thing. He could manipulate the hologram freely, so as to examine every detail of the compass.
Xia Fei was more and more puzzled as he viewed it before finally asking in a grave voice, “Why is this compass from the God Race and it’s even a product of Fig Corporation?”