Ren Baqian stayed continually for two days in the Honglu Bureau to learn and better understand the people and their rules.
During this period, he discovered Xiong Pi lived in a house in a row of courtyards not too far away from the Honglu Bureau. Those foreigners who needed accommodations would also stay there.
Xiong Pi had nothing to do and was wandering around. He could definitely be of use in the town market.
During this period, Ren Baqian made a trip back to Earth and then came back with Three Hundred Song Poems. Whenever he was free, he would go to the Honglu Bureau and memorize Song poetry.
At the very least, he was free of problems and still idling around.
Xiong Pi just followed Ren Baqian around. When Ren Baqian was memorizing Song poetry, he would just sit on the ground and snore. The noise that came from him could spread out a mile away, and Ren Baqian was dying to stuff his mouth with some socks.
"Deputy, deputy, there's a visitor." On the first afternoon after he returned from Earth, while Ren Baqian was wondering what could be used to stuff the mouth of Xiong Pi, there was a loud voice outside.
"Who is he?" Ren Baqian did not react for a moment.
"He's called something empty, empty, Mister Emptiness." One of the guards at the gate, Qi Sheng entered. He and the original Deputy, Qi Zhi, were from the same stronghold and there was another one called Qi Heng who was also a guard.
"Mister Emptiness?" Ren Baqian realized that he had come to celebrate the empress's birthday and wanted to deliver a present as well.
"Xiong Pi, get up and follow me to take a look." Ren Baqian kicked Xiong Pi's waist, and it felt similar to kicking a rock.
Xiong Pi went outside the door with bleary eyes. He saw four young, delicate and pretty women who wore colorful dresses and were carrying a sedan chair. The moment they saw him, they scattered a bunch of petals from their waist pocket into the air.
"Who is this visitor?" Ren Baqian stationed himself at the doorway to observe the ostentatious show and he developed an ominous feeling.
"Mister Emptiness has arrived," a young lady called out delicately while sprinkling some petals around.
"Visitor, please come in to register and leave the sedan chair outside." Ren Baqian expressed a look of awkwardness and wondered whether this group of people were here to make trouble.
"Cough, cough." A sound came from inside the sedan chair, followed by the parting of the curtain to reveal a young man wearing a silver satin robe. His face was powdered and his lips were deathly pale. His look was passable, but he looked so sick and gave the impression that a blow of the wind would knock him out. Not only did he look sickly, his kidneys were obviously weak too.
"Mister Kidney Deficiency? Please follow after me." Ren Baqian put his hands behind his back and without any expression, turned and walked inside.
"Cough, cough. It's Mister Emptiness, Mister Emptiness." he quickly corrected Ren Baqian.
"Just joking, Mister Emptiness," Ren Baqian said without facing him.
"Cough, cough, cough, cough." Mister Emptiness coughed continuously as his eyes flashed different colors. When he saw Xiong Pi staring at him without any expression, the colors in his eyes started to fade, and he coughed with each step as he followed him.
"Do you have the travel permit?" Ren Baqian asked.
"I have lost it."
Whenever foreigners came to Dayao, they definitely had to submit their travel permit at the border. Needless to say, he simply did not have it.
Upon further reflection, he realized that the people who came to participate in the empress's birthday celebration were of different origins. There would definitely be some who simply did not abide by the rules. Dayao had encountered many cases the previous years and Ren Baqian only heard about it a few days ago.
Ren Baqian led Mister Emptiness to the deputy's room and immediately took out pen and paper from the shelf and put it on the table.
"Name, country of residence, place of birth, occupation, whether accommodation has been arranged, reason for coming, and other details are to be written down. If you are celebrating the birthday for the empress, your gifts shall be sent directly to her." Ren Baqian finished speaking and sat behind the table.
"Cough, cough, how do I address you?" Mister Emptiness covered his mouth and asked.
"Honglu Deputy, my surname is Ren," Ren Baqian replied dully.
Mister Emptiness stood in front of the desk, wrote a few words on the paper with the pen and then shook his wrist. That piece of paper turned into a white shadow and headed towards Ren Baqian's chest.
Before the paper flew across the table, it was pressed on to the table by a big hand. The next moment, the whole table was smashed into smithereens by the hand and scattered all over the room.
Xiong Pi smashed the table with one hand and stared intently at Mister Emptiness. His whole body gave the impression of an animal postured to pounce. Mister Emptiness knew without the slightest doubt that if Ren Baqian were to give an order, this beastlike human would immediately pounce on him.
This big guy gave him the sensation of extreme danger.
Ren Baqian did not reveal how he actually felt. But, his palm was perspiring and his chest was heaving with rising anger. In this world, some people were really too much and raised their hand to strike when they did not agree with each other.
He thought only the aboriginals behaved this way, but, the people from the rest of the countries were no better.
Of course, this Mister Emptiness was certainly not an ordinary person.
"Springing a surprise attack on the deputy. Should I execute you or dig a hole and bury you?" Ren Baqian sneered.
"My apologies. I just happened to fling my hand. If Xiong Pi did not intercept, the paper would have slowed down in front of you and even an ordinary person would be able to block it. I did not expect it would cause such a misunderstanding, cough, cough." Mister Emptiness gave an apologetic smile.
"If anything happens again, you will be buried under Gang City," Ren Baqian coldly stated. "For damaging one table and one piece of special paper used by Honglu Bureau, you need to compensate one hundred taels of silver."
Mister Emptiness took out some gold leaves from his waist and they fluttered as he threw them towards Xiong Pi. Maybe they should be called Golden Pages, like a book with ten pages and could be taken apart to use.
"I do not have a place to stay, and I'm afraid that I'll have to trouble you to arrange something for me," Mister Emptiness said.
Ren Baqian picked up the paper from the ground, but there were only fragments of the paper left.
"Before I do that, you have to fill out the paper again." Ren Baqian stood up to get another piece of paper from the shelf beside him.
This time, Mister Emptiness could only put the paper on the wall to write and he coughed from time to time as he wrote.
Ren Baqian felt there was some problem with his lungs. He did not know whether it was inherent since young or caused by some practices.
"I have finished filling it out." Mister Emptiness passed the paper to Ren Baqian. Ren Baqian gave it a glance and noted the surname was Zhao. He could recognize two words, but did not know one word in the name itself. This guy hailed from some Zhao family, somewhere in Great Xia.
Ren Baqian did not know the name of the place either.
He put the paper on the shelf and placed a piece of wood on top of it.
"I will bring you to the place you are staying." Ren Baqian, with Xiong Pi in front, went out of Honglu Bureau followed by Mister Emptiness in his sedan chair.
After walking for a short distance, they came across a row of courtyards which further consisted of small individual courtyards. Each courtyard had four rooms, one of which was the kitchen, one was the master bedroom; the other two rooms were for the attendants accompanying the guest.
The courtyards were arranged in three rows, and the first overlooked the main street. Ren Baqian arranged for Mister Emptiness to stay there. He was the earliest there and naturally got the best location.
Mister Emptiness was satisfied with the location and clasped his hands to thank Ren Baqian. after coming down from the sedan chair.
"In a while, someone will send the token over which will authorize your stay in the courtyard," Ren Baqian told him. "As for other matters, please make arrangements yourself. Bedding materials are all provided as well."
"Cough, cough, thank you very much Deputy Ren." Mister Emptiness coughed violently after speaking and the handkerchief covering his mouth had a red stain.
"I better not disturb you anymore." Ren Baqian saw him coughing out blood and wanted to leave quickly. Could it be tuberculosis? It was better to keep a distance.
After leaving the courtyard, Ren Baqian turned back to take a look.
Was there a need for a sick man to travel thousands of miles to celebrate the empress's birthday?
However, these people could be quite ruthless. If he did not have Xiong Pi at his side protecting him, he would be in deep trouble. What rubbish was he talking about, claiming that the paper would slow down by itself. Who was he trying to bluff? To be able to turn a piece of soft paper into a flying dart was no mean trick.
The first person he met was already like that. It was hard to imagine what the rest of the people would be like.
This mission seemed to be more troublesome than expected.
Many people of this type abounded and would be very hard to handle without resorting to physical force.
It's no wonder Qizhi had to break the legs of four people last year and Ren Baqian agreed it was the right thing to do.
If we did not break their legs, we would not know for sure what kind of tricks would they resort to.