The Empress's Gigolo Chapter 281
Chapter 281: Before The Contest
Chapter 281: Before The Contest
Translator: TYZ Editor: X_X
The lantern-grabbing contest had a very long history in Dayao. In the past, a few strongholds in the Sixty Thousand Mountains would hold it together.
After Dayao was established, many aboriginals left the mountains and lived in the cities. As the population of the cities grew, the scale of the lantern-grabbing contest in each city grew as well.
In Lan City, the capital of Dayao, the lantern-grabbing contest on the first day of New Year would be the most eye-grabbing, distinguished event in the entire country.
Starting from noontime, aboriginals living in the mountains would enter Lan City in an endless stream. They would set off in the morning and stay a night in the city just to witness this epic event.
The citizens of Lan City would definitely not miss this grand occasion that occurred once every year.
Even the merchants and diplomats from other nations staying in Lan City would attend and spectate the event.
Of course, they would not have any seats, so they had to squeeze together with the commoners.
Neither the empress nor the court officials cared about the diplomats from the other nations.
Actually, out of all the diplomats, only Great Xia's Gu Zicheng was treated with some importance.
This was not because Great Xia was the most powerful nation out of the three nations, but rather, Gu Zicheng had lived the longest in Dayao out of all the diplomats.
For more than 10 years, Gu Zicheng had been safe and sound in Dayao. This was not solely because he was low-profile.
Even the people that sent him here had not expected him to live so long.
One had to know that the diplomats did not just stay in Lan City and do nothing. They had to step up whenever the trade caravans from their nations encountered troubles in Lan City. When their countries had issues with Dayao, they needed to step up as well. A moment of carelessness would cause their heads to fall. Their nations couldn't do much about it and the empress could easily find an excuse for their death.
If they did not do a good job and embarrassed their nations, they would suffer and their families back at home would be affected.
Basically, going on a diplomatic mission to Dayao was equivalent to having one foot in hell.
Previously, the Yun Nation's diplomat that was beheaded stayed in Dayao for only a year.
The new diplomat that replaced him had already been here for a month.
Therefore, the fact that Gu Zicheng could survive in Dayao for over 10 years was admirable.
Gu Zicheng had great talent and finesse in diplomatic skills.
Even Shi Qing was puzzled about why Great Xia had placed such a talent in Dayao without utilizing him for more than 10 years. Was it possible that Great Xia had a multitude of talents?
At this moment, Gu Zicheng was sitting on the carriage. Whenever the carriage ran over the flagstones, it would jolt slightly.
Hearing the commotion from outside, Gu Zicheng had a solemn look on his face.
He already knew about the death of the Seventh Prince. Through some channels, he also knew about Great Xia's preparations. He did not know whether or not would he be buried here.
Over 10 years had passed, and his hometown had already changed completely. It seemed that dying here wasn't as bad as he thought.
Or should he pledge allegiance to Dayao?
This thought flashed across Gu Zicheng's mind, and he immediately suppressed it.
This was because he still had his family in Great Xia.
When he arrived at the event site, it was still early. A guard had come here early to secure a spot for him. Beside him were the new diplomat from Yun Nation and a diplomat from Chen Nation. The three of them could be considered brothers in this situation.
At this moment, Gu Zicheng had regained his usual calm-looking smile on his face. He greeted the other two diplomats by nodding his head at them.
Their spots weren't too bad. On one side, there seats of the court officials. On the other side, there was a sea of people.
In front of them, there was an enormous and spacious field that was enclosed by grass ropes.
The field was 400 feet long and 70 feet wide. In its center, there was a gigantic wooden frame which was 20 feet wide and 8 feet tall. The wooden frame was separated into 7 levels. The size of each level got smaller toward the top of the wooden frame. The highest level was only 2 feet wide.
This wooden frame was called the lantern platform.
On the topmost level, there was a square dais that had a red lantern placed on it. Whichever team got ahold of this lantern within a specified period of time would be the winner.
For the lantern-grabbing contest, only one team would be the winner. There was no second place or third place.
On the two sides of the lantern platform, there were a total of 26 teams, 13 teams on each side. The distance between each side and the lantern platform was similar, approximately 200 feet.
Out of the 26 teams, 18 were formed by descendants of the court officials. The remaining 8 teams were formed by commoners.
Dayao had been founded for 70 years, and the commoners only won the lantern-grabbing contest 10 times. Out of these 10 times, there were three times that both sides suffered heavy casualties.
The remaining seven times had been won by dark horses.
The most recent victory by the commoners was six years ago. In that team of dark horses, there was someone that Ren Baqian knew. It was the simple-minded Xiong Pi. He and his team members were almost recruited by the army.
In every year's lantern-grabbing contest, the dark horses would be the ones getting the most attention and people would discuss them enthusiastically for a very long period of time after the contest.
Many people wanted to see if there were any dark horses this year.
Even if these dark horses did not win the contest, they would still garner respect if they put up a good performance. Furthermore, the empress and the court officials would be present to spectate the contest as well.
Due to these reasons, the lantern-grabbing contest was the biggest stage for young aboriginals. This applied to both the commoners and the descendants of the court officials. They wanted to put up a good performance to impress their elders and bring honor to their families.
The holding area for the participants was very quiet. Even the ambitious participants were conserving their energy.
After all, even Hong Xian and Xi Yueya, who were the most outstanding individuals among these youngsters, could not easily suppress everyone else. There were several opponents that were somewhat on a par with them.
Most people were feeling anxious.
However, there were also some people that were an exception. For example, the group of people that formed a circle while yelling, "I jump! I jump! I jump again!"
Those who did not know what was going on stretched their necks to see what this group of people was doing.
"Childish!" Tong Lan had a contemptful look on her face. "You're already so old, yet you still play this kind of childish game. Good-for-nothing!"
After finishing her sentence, she walked away with her nose arrogantly in the air.
Ren Baqian looked at the squares and small wooden blocks on the ground and sighed. It was getting harder for him to trick Tong Lan. She quit after losing 10 rounds of Five In A Row in the afternoon, but only after nine rounds of Chinese checkers just now.
Beside him, Du Changkong had a cheerful look on his face. He did not care if he lost the game whatsoever. What mattered the most was that he participated in it.
Ren Baqian threw aside the wooden blocks in his hand. Then, he stood up and looked into the distance. Behind the line of torches, there was a sea of people producing a thunderous clamor. Ren Baqian wondered whether or not half of the population of Dayao was attending this event.
The holding area wasn't partitioned. Actually, it was just a huge plot of vacant land that was enclosed by ropes, and the surrounding onlookers could see them clearly. The ropes could also be easily broken by other teams.
The team next to his team was completely made up of girls, and their leader was Hong Xian. There was also a girl that kept on sneering at him.
Eh? Wasn't she that girl he had chided last time? Liu Ruoyao?
Was this encounter inevitable or purposely arranged by someone? It spelled trouble for him.
He couldn't possibly beat up girls, right? Even though aboriginal girls were very powerful, they were still girls after all.
After thinking about it, Ren Baqian felt that he shouldn't lay a finger on them. He couldn't bring himself to hit a girl. At most, he would only push them away.
Other than Hong Xian and Liu Ruoyao, there were eight other girls. All of them had a unique look and their bodies were exceptionally hot. They were sizing up Ren Baqian.
How dare this man participate in the lantern-grabbing event?
Even though he was much stronger than they expected, they could still disregard him. They did not know whether he was bold or naive.
Liu Ruoyao would be teaching a good lesson later.
Ren Baqian did not know anyone on the other side of the field. He heard from Du Changkong that they were rather easy to deal with. Still, there were two individuals that were slightly weaker than Hong Xian. The first person was called Qin Haoyong and the second person was called Qin Kun. The former was Qin Chuan's youngest son while the latter was his grandson.
Ren Baqian had no choice but to admit that Qin Chuan was a talent.
The rest of his teammates felt nothing special about this. After all, aboriginals had long lifespans, especially experts.
It was not unusual to see a family of different generations living under the same roof.
Both of them looked somewhat similar in age.
Qin Haoyong sensed that Ren Baqian was looking at him. He turned around and gave Ren Baqian a nod of goodwill. He felt slightly surprised that Ren Baqian was here.
After all, Ren Baqian was considered the weakest participant in this contest.
Ren Baqian nodded his head at Qin Haoyong as well. Then, he turned around and asked Du Changkong, "How much longer until the start of the contest?"
"Less than the time needed for an incense stick to finish burning," Du Changkong replied after taking a look in another direction.
That would be around 20 minutes. Ren Baqian felt he should start preparing since it would take him some time to put his armor on.
Ren Baqian placed the two boxes that he had brought along next to each other. Then, he said to everyone, "Form a circle around me."
He felt that he should give everyone a surprise after preparing for so long. As a result, he could only display it at the last moment.
Filled with doubt, everyone encircled him. With eight burly men surrounding him, no one outside of the circle could see what was going on inside.
Ren Baqia chuckled and took off his robe, revealing the skin-tight clothing. Then, he opened up the boxes beneath his legs.
His group members had been curious about what the boxes contained and reckoned that they must have contained something that emboldened him to be a tooth gate.
However, even after they racked their brains, they still did not know what the boxes contained.
One had to know that weapons were prohibited in this contest. Whatever was kept in these two boxes wouldn't be too useful for him.
However, when everyone saw what Ren Baqian took out of the boxes, they gasped in surprise. It was at this moment that they realized how naive and innocent they were.
All of them had a stunned look on their faces. "Sir Ren, is this alright? Will it break the rules?"
"It's definitely alright!" Ren Baqian replied with confidence.
This was a set of armor, right? Since this was armor, it would not break the rules. After all, the rules did not say anything about this.
It's none of my business whether or not the rules in the future would prohibit it.
"What is it? I want to see! I want to see!" When the sulking lolita saw everyone behaving mysteriously and letting out gasps of surprise, she could not help but squeeze herself into the circle.
"Good-for-nothing, what is this?" With her eyes wide from shock, Tong Lan stared at the thing that Ren Baqian was wearing.
Tong Lan's voice captured the attention of the two other teams, but with eight burly men forming a circle around Ren Baqian, they could not see anything.
"Hmph, no matter what trick they have up their sleeves, they still no chance of winning the contest," Liu Ruoyao sneered.
Strength was the key to winning the lantern-grabbing contest. Trickery would only provoke mockery.
Even though Liu Ruoyao's parents had already warned her not to do anything stupid, she had already decided to teach Ren Baqian a lesson later. At most, she would try not to do it in an obvious way.
Hong Xian was sitting quietly on one side. She paused on her gaze on Liu Ruoyao for a while, thinking about whether or not she should take back the words she said just now.
"Quiet!" Ren Baqian put his index finger to his lips, warning Tong Lan. Following which, he continued to put on the armor.
Seeing that Ren Baqian looked like a hedgehog, Tong Lan's eyes widened. Following which, they curled as she covered her mouth to hide her snickering.
This was extremely amusing to her. She couldn't wait to see everyone's facial expressions later.
She had no care about whether they were breaking the rules or not. As long as it was amusing, she was fine with it.
Far away from the lantern platform, the empress was sitting in a chair. Standing behind her were Xin Zhe, Qing Yuan, and Hong Luan.
This was the best seat because she could see both sides of the field clearly.
Sitting on both sides of her were the court officials. All of their department members were sitting behind them.
"Your Majesty, will Deputy Prefect Ren be alright?" Shi Qing asked with concern.
If anything was to happen to Ren Baqian, Her Majesty might fly into an uncontrollable rage. This was likely to happen.
However, if Her Majesty really flew into a rage, the lantern-grabbing contest this year would be in a mess.
"We will see later," the empress replied casually. Deep down, she was feeling slightly uncertain.
Previously, she had just wanted Ren Baqian to participate in the lantern-grabbing contest for her, and she had not thought too much about it. However, as the day of the contest drew closer and closer, she became slightly worried.
However, when she thought about how confident Ren Baqian was, she felt slightly at ease. She wished Ren Baqian was really as confident as he said he was.
At this point in time, the empress had mixed feelings. On one hand, Ren Baqian was really too weak. On the other hand, he possessed marvellous gadgets from Earth that could do almost anything. She hoped Ren Baqian had something that could stun everyone.
Not far away, Tong Zhenye was feeling calm and composed. Previously, he had reminded Tong Lan to protect Ren Baqian no matter what happened. Therefore, he wasn't worried at all.
Similarly, Qin Chuan was also very calm. He had already reminded Qin Kun and Qin Haoyong not to touch Ren Baqian. If anything happened to Ren Baqian, it would have nothing to do with him.