The Empress's Gigolo Chapter 225
Chapter 225: The Four Great Courtyards
Chapter 225: The Four Great Courtyards
Translator: TYZ Editor: Book_Hoarder
"How dare Tong Zhenye, that old bast*rd invite me to a brothel?" Ren Baqian almost dropped to his knees.
Ren Baqian's heart raced.
Does the empress know what kind of place is it? She shouldn't know, right? Who will tell her anything about a brothel?
Should I go?
Is there even a need to ask this question?
Of course I'm going!
Hmmm, I wonder how the brothels in this world are like? Is it true that the prostitutes in ancient times are proficient in all four arts? Let me go and take a look then! Are Tong Zhenye and those bast*rds daring enough to arrange a prostitute for me?
[The four arts are zither, Go, calligraphy, and painting.]
Ren Baqian turned around with a look of doubt on his face and asked, "What is a brothel?"
Since I don't know anything about it, I'm innocent. Furthermore, I don't even know House Yunyan is a brothel. Your Majesty, blame those old bast*rds if you want.
"Let's go, we shouldn't be late for Sir's banquet," Ren Baqian said to everyone. Taking the lead, he walked off in a rush.
Looking at the fervent gaze in Ren Baqian's eyes, everyone quickly followed behind him. Why are you in a rush when you don't even know what a brothel is?
Ren Baqian did not care what anyone thought about him. In any case, he already had an excuse for himself.
Even though he knew he couldn't do anything there, the girls that he would be able to see there were still a treat for his eyes.
However, Ren Baqian had forgotten an important verse that was applicable to his situation: If you ask me how melancholy I am now, I feel like a eunuch going to a brothel.
[This is an altered version of a line from Li Yu's poem in the Song Dynasty. Basically, this line means that it's pointless for a eunuch to go to a brothel as he can't physically enjoy the experience there.]
Even though he wasn't a eunuch, he felt worse than a eunuch. A eunuch could still go around touching girls, but he wasn't free to even do so.
In between Wudaogou District and Shihu District, there was a street called Jing Street. However, most people would call it the Alley of the Four Great Courts.
During the day, this area was quiet and sparsely populated. During the night, it would be brightly lit and bustling with activity. Carriages and mounts could be seen everywhere. Especially those foreigners that were staying in Lan City, they would come here whenever they were free. An ambassador from Great Xia, Gu Zicheng, would spent twenty out of thirty days a month here.
The main reason why this street was called the Alley of the Four Great Courtyards was that there were four famous courtyards here. They were called Baihua Courtyard, Qinghua Courtyard, Duiye Courtyard, and Jinyu Courtyard.
The prostitutes in these four courtyards were sweet and gentle girls from Great Xia,the Yun Nation, and the Chen Nation. Therefore, they were completely different from aboriginal girls. Other than foreign merchants, there were also many aboriginals frequenting these four courtyards.
Aboriginal girls were shrewish in nature and they knew nothing about the four arts. Those who visited a brothel definitely weren't looking for tigresses? Furthermore, many aboriginal girls were stronger than men. Even if they were weaker than men, they were still proficient in hunting and fighting, allowing them to find someone to settle down with. Therefore, one wouldn't be able to see any aboriginal girl in this kind of place.
House Yunyun was the most famous brothel in Baihua Courtyard. Those who visited this place were powerful and influential individuals. This brothel wouldn't allow people below a certain standard to enter. Furthermore, most of the prostitutes in this hotel were proficient in the four arts. Not only were there girls from Great Xia, the Yun Nation, and the Chen Nation, there were also sweet-tempered girls from the remnant citizens of the Hao Nation.
Ordinary people couldn't enter this brothel at all. Therefore, there were many rumors surrounding it. This was also why its fame was spread far and wide.
Ren Baqian was whipping his mount furiously as he rode forward with urgency. Guided by the imperial guards, Ren Baqian and his counterparts arrived at the Alley of the Four Great Courtyards after half an hour. By now, the sky had already darkened. The buildings on both sides of the street were lit up. Bright and gorgeous lanterns were also hanging on the walls surrounding the four courtyards, looking extremely beautiful.
Ren Baqian could already see many people walking on the street. Most of them were foreigners that had brought bodyguards with them. Most of these people were very low-profiled. There were also some people that arrogantly strode through the street. These people were the children of those powerful imperial officials. A formidable aura exuded from their bodies. They did not even bother to cast a single glance at those foreigners, simply bumping into them as they walked. It's your fault if you bump into me.
Ren Baqian looked around and found two rather familiar persons. He seemed to have seen them before during the Great Hunt. If Ren Baqian could recognize familiar faces, other people could definitely recognize him as well. After all, his followers were wearing the imperial guard uniforms. Those who saw them were scared out of their skins as they thought the empress was here.
These people immediately extended their heads to take a closer look.
When they saw the person whom they were protecting was Ren Baqian, a look of realization dawned upon their faces.
Ahh, it's this fellow...
Following which, they widened their eyes with shock.
How dare this fellow come to this place?
Ren Baqian's boldness alone won many people's approval.
A carriage that had two men sitting opposite each other was moving forward slowly. Both of them looked handsome and refined.
They were Zhang Heqi and Zhang Heju. They followed their Fifth Uncle to Lan City.
"That's the guy?" The pair exclaimed in astonishment as they looked at Ren Baqian through the curtain gap.
"How dare he visit a brothel? Do you think Qi Zixiao knows?" Zhang Heqi had a look of incredulity on his face.
"Third Brother, don't address her directly by name here, someone might hear you." Even though Zhang Heju was surprised, he still gave Zhang Heqi a warning. There were many Dayao officials here and most of them were quite powerful. If someone heard them addressing the empress directly by her name, they might get into trouble.
Zhang Heqi immediately shut up. Then, he said again, "Do you think the empress of Dayao knows he is here?"
"So what if she knows? It is none of our business," Zhang Heju said softly as he continued to look at Ren Baqian.
At this moment, an imperial guard that stood near them sensed something and turned around to look at their carriage.
Zhang Heju immediately put down the curtain for the fear of the guard noticing him.
"His status skyrocketed and ours remains stagnant even though we have already stayed here for two months," Zhang Heqi said with jealousy. If Ren Baqian was an aboriginal, he wouldn't feel so bad. After all, it was natural for an aboriginal to be favored in Dayao. However, Ren Baqian was a foreigner, but Qi Zixiao still chose him to be her husband.
Zhang Heqi and Zhang Heju had stayed in Dayao for two months, but they had yet to make any progress.
He was smarter and more handsome than Ren Baqian. In which aspect did he lose out to him? But Qi Zixiao still chose Ren Baqian to be her husband.
This was why Zhang Heqi was so jealous of Ren Baqian.
He wasn't the only one, even Zhang Heju felt the same way too. However, Zhang Heju was slightly more cunning and prudent than Zhang Heqi. He seldom revealed his true thoughts or emotions.
"I heard that the empress of Dayao went to the Nine Pavilions recently because of him. She killed Hua Sanliu and destroyed the entire Nine Pavilions. She's truly terrifying But I can tell that Qi Zixiao indeed cares about him, so much so that she is willing to take such a risk"
Stopping in front of a courtyard, Ren Baqian looked left and right and asked, "Is this the place?"
"Sir, this is the place," Xu Wei nodded his head and replied.
Ren Baqian looked at the entrance and realized that there wasn't any signboard. Furthermore, there were two aboriginals holding a saber each standing guard at the entrance.
How does this look like a brothel? It looks more like a prison!
However, when he looked through the entrance, he could see a building across the courtyard. He could hear coquettish female laughter coming from within the building. However, there was a rock garden in the center of the courtyard which blocked more than half of his sight of the building. He could hear their laughter, but he couldn't see anything. This made him even more anxious to enter the building.
Getting off his mount, Ren Baqian strode into the courtyard with Xu Wei and the imperial guards following behind him.
"Sir," two burly aboriginals standing at the entrance cupped their fists and greeted Ren Baqian
Ren Baqian reckoned that this place was operated by a powerful Dayao official. Otherwise, the aboriginals working here wouldn't be willing to work under foreigners, let alone standing guard at the entrance.
Even though his conjecture wasn't exactly right, it wasn't exactly wrong as well.
Baihua Courtyard wasn't the only one that was opened by an influential aboriginal, the remaining three courtyards were as well.
Their backers weren't imperial officials, but rather, four protectorates in Dayao.
The powerful backers of the four great courtyards were the North, Northeast, Southeast, and South protectorates. A portion of the profits they made through the four great courtyards was directed to the army, allowing them to buy resources from other nations.
The governors of the protectorates weren't the backers of these four great courtyards, but rather, the protectorates themselves were their backers.
Therefore, Lan City only had these four courtyards all these years.
"House Yunyan? I think I heard of it before" The empress rubbed her chin dazedly.