"This is the life," Sophie sighed lazily as she leaned back on the wooden chair.
The plates that were originally stacked with a variety of different cuisines were now completely spotless as not a single crumb remained.
Rokan gazed at his daughter who was now closing her eyes and basking in the afterglow of the meal.
She was lucky that her father was a rich man!
The duke reckoned that even a middle-class family would have long gone bankrupt under the enormous pressure of feeding this bottomless black hole.
Well it was alright…. Rokan didn't even mind if his little glutton simply wanted to spend the rest of her life eating the most expensive food.
What was the point of having money if not to use it?
"Alright let's head out," the duke got up and beckoned to his daughter.
"There is one more place that I would like you to visit with me."
Sophie could tell that her father's tone seemed to be unusually solemn, so she obediently got up to follow him outside.
The duke passed one of the serving robots on the way and casually swiped a black card to pay for the meal.
Apparently, the robots were programmed to enthusiastically see off the guests as a line of mechanical servers cheerfully escorted them to the exit.
[Please come again!]
Sophie waved back and soon the magnificent Crystal Palace restaurant faded away in the distance.
Night had now fallen, and a slight rain was plummeting down which made the streets of the city unusually gloomy.
It was simple for a god stage cultivator to project their domain outwards so the area around the duke and his daughter was completely dry.
"Dad are we going to get the hovercar?" Sophie asked curiously.
"No…I want you to experience this from outside of a glass window," the duke replied.
They were currently in the nearest city to the capitol which was called Vermillion City. It had a population of around two hundred million citizens and was divided into two distinct districts.
The wealthy lived in mansions and vast estates on the north side of the city while the slums were located on the south side.
Sophie figured that her father wanted to show her one of his villas in the northern side but as they walked further and further amidst the towering skyscrapers, she could not help but think that something was wrong.
Why were they heading in the opposite direction?
The northern part of Vermillion City looked like the typical high-tech city of the future.
Hovercars flowed gently through the air, beautiful gardens were located at regular intervals and Sophie saw well-lit shops advertising various merchandises.
But as Sophie silently walked around while holding her father's hand… the landscape started to change.
The well-lit streets became darker as the streetlights were more and more infrequent along the pavement.
The buildings were no longer towering structures but were now concrete apartments with graffiti splattered on their exterior.
The smiles and laughter were nowhere to be found as Sophie observed that the residents wore tattered clothing and had tired expressions on their faces.
One could hear the sounds of children crying, animals shrieking and the brutal sounds of fighting interrupting the quiet night.
Strangely enough, no one seemed to notice Sophie or her father's presence as they walked through the slums.
Sophie figured that it must be due to one of her father's cultivation techniques.
Her father walked deeper and deeper into the impoverished area of the city while remaining oddly silent.
The buildings had now gone from concrete apartments to shaky wooden shacks.
Sophie could tell that this area was extremely dangerous as she saw men and women of various ages shaking violently from drug overdoses.
The Earth Federation had banned the sale of non- medical drugs for several years now, but some provinces enforced the law more strictly than others.
It was clear that the local law enforcement department was not doing their job in this community as crime appeared to be rampant.
"This is where I grew up," Rokan had a nostalgic look on his face as he whispered.
He stopped in his tracks and turned slightly to examine a run-down apartment building with a broken door barely hanging on its hinges.
"Sophie…what is the difference between nobles and commoners?" he suddenly asked his daughter an unexpected question.
"Bloodline or heritage I think that's what my teachers said in school," Sophie ventured a guess.
The duke shook his head and laughed bitterly,
He could still vividly recall the day a strange man in a black uniform knocked down his apartment door and claimed that he was a potential heir to a dukedom.
For the young orphan struggling to survive on the streets, it seemed like the fairy tale ending that he had only dreamed about.
But what the once innocent child got was a bloody fight for succession that ended with his entire new-found family either dead or missing.
Rokan was afraid that his daughter would get complacent after passing the entrance exam and would begin to act like the other waste second generation children.
Maybe it was his upbringing, but the duke never once thought that his blood was superior to others.
There was no difference between high level cultivators and the noble class.
In fact, nobles without a powerful warrior of their own would have fewer speaking rights in the emperor's court.
Not like that drunken fool would ever listen to any meaningful advice.
"Wealth, connections, family ties….is all meaningless under a heavy fist," Rokan explained patiently.
"Nobility is tied deeply to cultivation."
Sophie gazed at her father who had surging emotions in his eyes and nodded her head in acknowledgement.
She would train harder than any of her peers in order to preserve the safety of the Peterlor House.
"So, Dad…why does the Royal Academy teach us that we are naturally superior to the commoners if cultivation as all that matters?"
Sophie clenched her fist as she recalled several of her teachers bringing up the topic throughout the years.
"I will never understand those ridiculous nobles who see themselves as gods who rule over the lost sheep that is humanity," the duke hummed in rage.
"Teaching children those ridiculous ideas will just inflate their confidence and turn it into unfounded arrogance!"
Rokan took out a small blade and sliced open the palm of his hand with a knife technique. The attack barely made a dent in his skin, but two small droplets of blood ran down the sides of his hand.
"I bleed the same colour as any other man."