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44 Port City of Cerulis

    Challenging the slow yet constant action of the waves, was a long beach made entirely of fine white sand.

    In the middle of this beach, a young man was standing silently. His feet were burrowed deeply into the sand, and with them, he felt the typical freshness of the grains that rested right underneath the warm surface.

    His clothes didn't appear to be suitable for a trip to the beach, as they covered his body completely, almost as if he just came from a place with a much colder climate.

    This young man's handsome face was contorted in shock and confused expression, as he seemed to be out of place there.

    This young man was, of course, Daniel.

    He had just been pushed through a spatial portal, in order to avoid capture from invaders of other kingdoms, and now, he didn't know where was nor how to get home. His first reaction was to stand right where he was, and lose himself in his thoughts.

    Fortunately for him, his negative train of thoughts was interrupted by the not-so-appreciated voice of his karmic system, Sewah.

    "Oh! Magnificent! I like this place much more than the last one.. All trees and rocks!" Said Sewah within Daniel's mind.

    Daniel, suddenly pulled out of his shocked state, couldn't help but bark out loud "And where the hell is this place?!?"

    "So sensitive.. You are not completely lost.. Look, there is a harbor right there!" Sewah responded.

    Daniel's anxiousness turned into frustration, as he turned around, and noticed the harbor he had previously seen through the portal's opening.

    One step after the other, he walked above the warm sand in the direction of the port city. "You know I can't see where you point, right?.." He couldn't help but to remind Sewah.

    -----

    After half an hour of walking, Daniel had finally managed to make his way into the port city.

    Aside from a few weird looks, nobody had asked him anything, as barely any guard were controlling the gates.

    While he was walking towards the port city, he had formulated a clear plan within his head. He intended on reaching the city, find the local branch of the Huntsmen Guild, and then ask for informations, and a map of his surroundings.

    The port city was not too large, only about a square kilometer. Which made Daniel worry that this city was, in fact, too small to house a branch of the Huntsmen Guild.

    What left Daniel confused, was the large amount of nicely dressed cultivators which moved one way towards the harbor.

    After a slight change of plan, Daniel decided to find a restaurant to eat in, and ask for informations.

    It didn't take long for him to find a decent place.

    The restaurant was erected on three floors, and it was entirely made out of thick tree trunks. Each wooden part, whose source had most definitely been a massive tree, had been assembled into this restaurant.

    Each of this wooden pieces had been carved elegantly, and gave a good impression to the passersby. Above the large entrance, was an iron sign, on which a writing that spelled 'A Cultivator's Palate' in dark gold could be seen.

    When Daniel entered the restaurant, he immediately understood one thing. The place was much more refined than the ones he had been briefly used to, since when he had stopped having money problems.

    The various table were elegantly prepared with silverware, and clean white table cloth.

    A well dressed man approached Daniel with a displeased expression and said "I am afraid the kitchen is closed.. may the young man kindly leave and come back another time?"

    The very next moment, a well dressed couple entered the restaurant and stood behind Daniel, waiting for their turn.

    Daniel's mouth curved into a slight smirk, and said "I understand." He then turned around, and said to the elegant couple "What a bummer.. The kitchen is closed..".

    The woman of the couple looked at her date, and with annoyed eyes said "Let's go someplace else then.." Displeasure was clear in her voice.

    After watching the couple leave, Daniel turned towards the host, and said "Don't worry, on my way out, I won't forget to tell your customers that the kitchen has closed. In fact, I may spend a few minutes outside, since you've been so nice to me." He then turned around, but as he was about to leave, a voice coming from behind stopped him.

    "One moment please.. I'm terribly sorry for the mistake, it seems that it isn't time for the kitchen to stop serving yet. Please, take a seat." Said the host rather unwillingly while pointing at the hall.

    After hearing the man's words, Daniel entered the restaurant and sat at one of the few empty tables, a large round one which could fit five to six people. He then ordered a few dishes and waited for them to be prepared.

    It was currently lunch time, and more were the people who entered the restaurant than those who left it. Soon, before Daniel's dishes could even arrive, the restaurant had reached its full capacity.

    The moment Daniel's first dish arrived, a group of differently dressed cultivators entered the restaurant and asked for a table. One amongst these group's members was a man, while the remaining four, were women.

    Each of these cultivators had an aloof behaviour, and their faces were held up high by an unbreakable pride which only a rich and powerful young master should possess.

    The host promptly bowed towards them, and after apologizing, he said "I'm desolated, we are at full capacity. Please, come again later."

    The only man amongst the group showed a shocked expression, but he couldn't simply behave like a rogue in front of everybody. So he decided to turn around instead, and look for another restaurant.

    As he was about to suggest the four women to leave, the youngest looking girl amongst the four indicated Daniel's table, and then said "That kid is eating alone.. And he seems to be done, why not ask him to leave?" Her words were sweet, but her expression was vicious. From it, one could clearly see that the meaning of her words didn't match her intentions, and that she mostly enjoyed them as well.

    The only man in the group turned to look toward Daniel, who had just started to eat, and after smirking, he looked toward the host and said "I see a free table, why don't you escort us there?"

    The host didn't refuse, as he didn't mind a fight which could entertain his guest, and of which people would talk about all around the city, to break out in his restaurant. What he couldn't stand, was a commoner occupying an entire table by himself during the rush hour.

    After a polite bow, the host said "Of course, if the sir and misses would kindly follow.." He then started walking in the direction of Daniel's table.

    Daniel's reason for entering this restaurant, was to gather informations. He wanted to know where he was, and what the reason for so many well dressed cultivators to be gathered here was.

    Unfortunately, aside form the port city's name, which was Cerulis, he hadn't been able to gather any other information. When he was about to focus his hearing on another table, the first dish he had ordered arrived.

    He had just managed to take a couple of bites of his delicious meal, when a voice arrived from behind him.

    With extreme politeness, the host said "Excuse me sir, new guests are arriving, and we need the seats. Would you be kind enough to vacate your table?"

    While still chewing, Daniel turned around and saw the host, along with the group of five which accompanied him.

    "I just got here." Responded Daniel, before turning back towards his food and resuming eating.

    The host looked at the group, and after a deep bow, he said "I apologize young sir, young misses, unfortunately.. I.. am not allowed to force a customer to vacate a table.." He made sure to put as much emphasis on "i" as he could, making it clear that, if the group wanted the table, they had to force the young man out of the restaurant  themselves.

    The only man within the group got the hint right away, but before he could intervene, the girl which had spoken before approached Daniel, and  while literally looking down on him, she said "It's time you leave kid."

    Once again, Daniel turned around, and while fearlessly looking at the girl, he said "You know, this isn't the first time i've met somebody like you.. Unfortunately, this time there is no one who can prevent your humiliation.. So think it through."

    "How dare you!" Said the girl, before unwrapping the long whip she had wrapped around her arm, and sending it cracking towards Daniel.

    Completely against her expectation, the scene of Daniel ending up on the ground in tears, didn't happen.

    The moment the girl's whip approached Daniel, he simply raised his arm and allowed the whip to wrap around his wrist. Then, with the whip still wrapped around his wrist, he went back to eating as if nothing had happened.

    The girl tried to pull the whip back over and over, but Daniel's strength was too far above hers. With an indignated expression, she looked at the indifferent Daniel and started shouting "WHAT A RUDE PERSON! YOU'LL PAY FOR THIS!!" She then gave up on retrieving the whip, and stormed out of the restaurant.

    The remaining four members of the group were less than indifferent to the spoiled behaviour of the girl, they instead looked at Daniel with slightly more interest than before.

    As the sole man amongst the group was about to say something, Daniel put a few silver coins on the table, and after taking the last bite of the single dish he had managed to try, he said "I'm done eating here, you can have the table." He then calmly walked out of the restaurant.

    Daniel had recognized the strength of the girl at the peak of the third rank of martial cultivation, and even though he didn't fear her, nor any other of the young masters and young mistresses within the restaurant, he didn't feel like making enemies with their backers.

    He needed to find out where he was, and how to get back to Phyrri. Or at the very least, find out how to reach the main branch of the Golden Cauldron.

    With nothing but time on his hands, Daniel followed the crowd of well dressed cultivators, which lead him to the harbor.

    After he got there, he noticed a small miscellaneous shop which faced the sea. He entered it and walked towards the counter, behind which, an old man in fisherman's clothes was waiting quietly.

    "Anything I can help you with, youngster?" Said the old man.

    Daniel gently put his hands on the counter, and while glancing around the shop, he responded "Yes, I would like a map.. The bigger one you have."

    "Right on." Said the old man, before walking to the back of his shop, and starting to rummage between his items.

    A couple of minutes later, the old man walked back with a large rolled up scroll in his hands. He cleared the counter, and unrolled it while saying "This is the largest map I have."

    Daniel looked at the content of the map for a good minute, but even though this map contained many informations of his surroundings, of the words 'Karalis' and 'Phyrri', there was no trace. "I must have ended up pretty far.." Muttered Daniel to himself. He then rolled up the scroll, and asked to the old man "How much is it?"

    "1 gold coin" The old man responded.

    For a moment, Daniel was shocked. "Expensive!" He couldn't help but exclaim.

    "I'm sorry, all the prices have been temporarily increased due to tournament" Said the old man with a matter of fact tone.

    At the mention of a 'Tournament', Daniel's attention had been piqued. He looked at the old man with his beautiful eyes wide open, and asked "What tournament?"
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