Seven days later, the carriage finally reached its destination which was the capital.
The capitals of the three empires were directly named after the country. The prosperity of Dark Shadow’s capital was far beyond what Chen Rui expected. The carriage stopped at a station outskirts, but he could already see the residents walking in-and-out and the scattered houses. The roads were paved with high-quality white stone mixed with corresponding materials. It was even flatter and stronger than the cemented road in another world which looked majestic.
Long-distance carriages at the station were not allowed to enter the city gate. There was another lighter camel-drawn carriage that could roam freely in the capital.
Fini stretched out, “I’m exhausted these days. I’ll have a good night’s sleep when I get home.”
Chen Rui smiled, “Sir Rummenigge, thank you for your gift and guidance along the way. I have to go to a relative’s house first, so I’ll be leaving.”
Rummenigge nodded, “I hope you can pass the mechanic certification as soon as possible. Here is a badge. Take it. If you want to participate in the mechanics contest, you can participate directly without registering in advance. Take it as an appreciation for letting us take a ride and drink your delicious wine.”
Chen Rui took the badge and bowed at Rummenigge to show appreciation. As he was practicing the mechanics in the refinery the last few days, his chats with Fini were obviously reduced. Fini just waved at Chen Rui and said goodbye. Monroe remained indifferent. He asked for a chaise and left with Rummenigge and Fini.
Chen Rui wanted to take a tour of the Dark Shadow’s capital, so he walked. The more he moved forward, the more bustling the capital he felt. The Dark Shadow’s capital was on flat ground. Based on the scale, even if Dark Moon City was once popular in the Fallen Angel Empire during its heyday, it was still inferior. As for the level of prosperity, the current Dark Moon could only be regarded as a desolate small town when facing the Dark Shadow’s capital.
The tall, sturdy walls seemed magnificent and the black phoenix flag representing the Asmodeus Royal Family was waving in the wind. Garrisons with spears were neatly lined up on the city wall and all of them were equipped with silver armor. The check at the gate of the city was very standard and rigorous. Incidents like blackmailing and bribing were rarely seen. Due to the approaching mechanics contest, there was constant traffic of mechanics to the capital from various places. Chen Rui easily passed the check as a mechanic apprentice.
Due to the vast area, other than the main road, the large and small streets in the capital were as intricate as spider webs. The numerous shops and houses were dazzling. Chen Rui had to take his magic compass as support. When some locals saw that behavior, they inevitably showed a scornful smile of “look at that rural guy” and the sense of superiority from the metropolis was shown unconcealed.
However, it was the same everywhere. Freshness and rots came hand in hand. Prosperity couldn’t cover the darkness and danger. Chen Rui knew that very clearly.
The capital city was divided into the inner city and the outer city. The shops and residential areas were located in the outer city. The inner city was mainly the residence of the nobles and riches. On the mountain in the center that overlooked every direction, it was whether the tallest building, the palace, was located.
The Custer Family was hailed as the top business family of the Dark Shadow Empire. Their base was in the inner city, but according to the information sent back by Kia, the young master, Dior rescued by General George didn’t like the “old house” in the inner city. He was now living in an alternative residence in the busiest southern part of the outer city.
After finally finding that alternative residence, he saw a large number of guards by the door. It seemed that after Master Dior almost lost his life, he became a lot more cautious.
The moment Chen Rui entered the gate, he was stopped by the guards.
“Please tell Mr. Dior that Kia’s friend has come to see him.”
The guard looked at him for a while and sneered, “You? An insignificant apprentice wants to see Mr. Dior?”
Another guard laughed and said, “He also said that he knew the beautiful Ms. Kia!”
“I’m indeed a friend of Ms. Kia, why not…” Chen Rui took out a handful of black crystal coins, “Whoever summons Ms. Kia here to meet me will get these black crystal coins.”
The guards’ eyes were all lit up. There were about ten black crystal coins, which was definitely a fortune. Besides, it was just to summon Kia to the door. With so many guards here, they wouldn’t be afraid that this man would try any tricks.
Soon, Kia’s figure appeared at the gate. Chen Rui kept his promise and gave the black crystal coins to the fastest responding guard, John, which made others envious.
She was still the familiar, charming seductress. The usual maid dress had been replaced with a long dress made of expensive materials. The tight-fitting clothes made her curvaceous body even more obvious. Although she naturally swayed her waist slightly, her movements were filled with seduction, as if a gaze could make any man blood boil. When Kia appeared, she immediately attracted the attention of the surrounding guards, and they got even more jealous for John who rushed to pass the message. He was able to talk to Ms. Kia and got black crystal coins. He was really lucky.
Kia looked at the Great Demon, who claimed to be a friend and looked suspicious. When she was about to ask, the guy had already said, “Ms. Kia, don’t you remember me? I’m Arthur, a friend of Old Gauss.”
When Kia heard Old Gauss’s name, she looked like she had a sudden realization. Then, she took a few looks at Chen Rui again and nodded, “Yes, come with me.
Chen Rui followed Kia into the alternative residence. Although it was called an alternative residence, the degree of luxury was far better than the Dark Moon’s palace. Kia took him to a relatively quiet corner and said, “Who the hell are you? Why haven’t I seen you before?”
“You don’t need to care about who I am. My current name is Arthur. I’ve been ordered by Princess Royal to take over Old Gauss’s duty and investigate the whereabouts of Old Gauss.” Chen Rui gave Kia a signed magic letter by Shea which ordered Kia to obey all arrangements by “Arthur”.
After Kia read it, she passed the magic letter back with both hands and bowed respectfully to Chen Rui, “Sir Arthur.”
Chen Rui nodded, took the magic letter, exerted his strength a little and the letter turned into flying ash that dissipated. Kia’s eyes moved slightly aside. Although her strength was confined by the anti-magic shackles, her eyesight still remained. This seemingly casual power wasn’t something a Higher Demon could do.
Demon Realm has many people with the same name. Those who are named Arthur are countless. The question is, when did Princess Royal have someone like this?
“I got some information from Princess Royal, but I want to hear your report first.” Chen Rui frowned, “Also, how did Old Gauss disappear?”
Kia settled her mind and spoke.
The founder of the Custer Family, Sacramen Custer, was a celebrity in the Dark Shadow Empire. He was an ordinary mechanic, but with his flexible mind and bold strategy, he started from a small magic store and developed into the huge Custer Family. Croz, the current patriarch, was also an amazing individual. During “royal wars” in the Dark Shadow Empire, he decisively chose Princess Catherine, who wasn’t thought highly of at that time, and provided a lot of money and resources. Eventually, Catherine settled the rebellion and ascended the throne. The Custer Family who made “contribution” had a more stable position and had firmly occupied the position as the top business family.
Croz was seriously injured in his early years. Now, he was in his twilight years; he was frail and ill. So, he naturally had the idea of handing over the family’s responsibility to the next generation. Croz had three sons and a daughter. His eldest son died early during the civil war in the capital. His second son Dior became the eldest son. His third son was called Falamo. His youngest daughter was Celine.
According to age, Dior was the first-in-line, Falamo was the second and Celine was the third. Actually, Croz was dissatisfied with these children. Dior was mediocre, obsessed over women and rash. In the past, he almost turned his back with his family for a political marriage. For many years, he had had a bad relationship with Anna, the financial minister’s daughter; Falamo was weak and had married Marianne, the sister of Dark Shadow’s second general, Valen. Marianne was the royal family of the Dark Shadow’s empire, and she was more superior over her husband; he only got the remaining young daughter, Celine, at his older years. Although she was clever and lovable, she was yet 20 years old, and she had too little experience to inherit the family business.
Dior went out to play under the name of inspection. As a result, he disappeared for a few months. Croz had been worried. After this return, he explained the assassination process. Croz suspected Falamo the most because if Dior died, the biggest beneficiary would be Falamo.
Croz himself also came through a fierce family struggle. He didn’t expect these children to love each other and live in peace. The Demon Realm advocated the survival of the fittest. It was just that Falamo had been controlled by his wife, Marianne and behind Marianne was the second general representing the royal family. If he really inherited the family, the huge family business would likely fall into the hands of “foreign relatives”. Therefore, Croz had a thorn in his heart.
Old Gauss, who saw through all that, used pertinent measures to make Croz even more careful of Falamo. The balance gradually fell to Dior. Certainly, the pressure from General Valen was still too great to ignore.
The Custer Family started as a magic store. They were currently the official designated supplier of firearms and magic items. For many years, it had maintained a good relationship with the capital’s Mechanics Association for mutual benefit. This mechanics contest was also hugely sponsored by the Custer Family.
Croz knew he didn’t have much time left and he must be decisive. In the end, he made a decision, which was that each of the three children had to select one of the contesting mechanics as a supporter. Whoever’s chosen mechanic had a better position in the contest would become the true first-in-line successor. If anyone won the ultimate victory in the contest, then he or she would occupy the position of true heir without any dispute!
This support was two-sided and the mechanic must agree personally. It was not only to test the heirs’ ability to spot talents, but also the comprehensive abilities of strategies and schemes.
As soon as Croz’s decision was announced, Dior and Falamo immediately began preparations in full swing. On the other hand, Celine, who was least likely to inherit the family business, seemed unhurried.
Old Gauss knew the importance of knowing his opponents. Under his suggestion, Dior used the internal relationship in the Mechanics Association to obtain the first-hand information of the registered mechanics. After screening and evaluation, he finally narrowed the candidates to two.
One was a disciple of Master Leo from the capital’s Mechanics Association; another was a rising genius mechanic, Savice.
The other was a senior mechanic, the previous champion of mechanics contest, Robert, who was most likely to be promoted to master.
Certainly, this mechanics contest would also attract the mechanics from the Fallen Angel Empire and Bloody Empire. Other than these two, there were also great and possibly unknown individuals. However, as they could only select one supporter, they must choose the candidate who could get the best chance of winning. At the least, the rank must be at least over the other two competitors.
Old Gauss was optimistic for last year’s champion, Robert. So, he tried to fancy him and started a series of strategies to build rapport. It had to be said that Old Gauss, as Shea’s most trusted aide for many years, did have considerably good measures. At that time, when it was almost successful, Old Gauss suddenly disappeared. After that incident, Robert suddenly changed his original plan and switched to Falamo’s side. It could be seen that the biggest suspect who “vaporized” Old Gauss was Falamo.
Dior had sent several searches and sent people to track and monitor Falamo, but he found nothing at all.
At present, the mechanics contest was imminent. According to the original analysis of Old Gauss, Dior targeted Savice. Savice became famous when he was young, and he even had a senior master like Leo behind him. Therefore, he had always been arrogant and acted rashly. Dior tried many ways and finally got closer to Savice after much effort. He planned to set up a feast tonight in the alternative courtyard to entertain Savice and discuss the formal cooperation.
After learning about these situations from Kia, Chen Rui pondered for a while and asked Kia to take him to Dior.
Diou was a thin, tall, mutated Great Demon, whose strength was at Higher Demon. He looked like he was in his 20s, but he was actually over 200 years old. He seemed quite exhausted, but Chen Rui wasn’t sure if it was too much pressure recently or if it was his wallow in beauties and alcohol.
Without Old Gauss’s planning, Dior felt that everything was difficult. Now that he heard Kia said that a new assistance came from the Dark Moon, he was very excited. When he saw Chen Rui wearing the attire of a mechanic apprentice, he frowned inexplicably.
However, Dior still had certain senses in his mind and he knew that the person sent by Princess Royal from the Dark Moon to support was definitely not mediocre. The attire must just be a cover-up. He immediately laughed, “Sir Arthur came from afar, must be tired!”
Chen Rui nodded. After both of them exchanged conventional greetings, Dior ordered the maid to retire.
“I’ve heard from Kia about your family and the mechanics contest.” Chen Rui said solemnly, “Do you plan to invite Savice tonight? What’s your odds?”
“I don’t know either. The benefits sent are all taken by Savice, but he refused to formally agree. He is much harder to deal with as compared to Robert.” When he mentioned Robert, Dior clenched his teeth, “Robert isn’t any good either. He actually defected to Falamo’s side!”
“It was just everyone playing their cards.” Chen Rui shook his head. If this was Croz’s test for his three children, then it had just begun. “However, Old Gauss’s vision has always been good. Robert’s hope should be slightly greater than Savice. Even if you successfully invite Savice, you may not surely win.”
“What should we do then?” Dior looked anxious. In fact, whoever won the mechanics contest didn’t matter. As long as the contestants he supported could overwhelm his brother and sister. Certainly, it’d be better if it could make him the heir directly.
Chen Rui smiled slightly, “Don’t worry, I have my own way.”
The reward for this mechanics contest was great, especially the rare materials which were the key to making “Thunderous Sound”. For him who had reached master-level, he would obviously not give up on such a great opportunity.
If he participates in the contest, no reason he would lose it with his current experience..
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