Those guards stopped in front of the five hundred strong horsemen and lined up into two columns.
Coming out from the palace gate was the kirin whom Ren Baqian had seen once before. It was pulling the large royal carriage which was covered all around by cotton curtains.
After the kirin and the empress carriage came to a stop, all the horsemen and the guards were on their mounts with one hand on the sword and bowed slightly. "Welcome Your Majesty."
Those children of powerful court officials were also on their mounts displaying the same action. However, their weapons were not as uniform as the horsemen. They could be described as varied as there were big swords, long halberds, different types of hammers, and so on hanging by the sides of their mounts.
Only those from other countries remained quiet.
"Let's set off." The empress coolly gave the order.
Following the imperial order, the five-hundred strong horsemen and guards split into two columns. The group of horsemen in front cleared the way and were followed by some guarda behind while the empress carriage slowly moved forward.
The other group of horsemen and guards automatically followed behind the royal carriage.
This was followed by the younger generation of the imperial officials on their respective mounts. After they left, Ren Baqian rode his mountain-gazing bird and caught up with them.
Further behind, were the people from those three countries. Many saw Ren Baqian, who was a short distance in front, laughed contemptuously and loudly on purpose so that the sound would reach his ears.
The head of the mountain-gazing bird was 2.5 meters high while its back was 1.4 meters off the ground. Ren Baqian could ride the bird, but compared to other people's mounts, he looked like a small chicken at the back and was way out of place.
Looking at Ren Baqian, these nobles who had been tortured by him suddenly found a sense of superiority over him and made him the butt of their jokes.
On one hand, Ren Baqian riding on the mountain-gazing bird was really the limit in incongruity. It was like a rusty iron bar in a pile of treasure and was really an eyesore, or it could be described as sneaking Huang Bo into a group of handsome men and pretty ladies.
[Huang Bo - a Chinese actor and singer.]
On the other hand, it was due to the impression of solitariness given off by Ren Baqian.
Even though this was Dayao, he was still considered an outsider here.
Ren Baqian absolutely could not be bothered with that bunch of people. To him, face was not a big deal especially when compared to survival.
On the road out of the city, Ren Baqian passed his time by observing the people in front of him and speculating about them.
For example, the tall and burly guy in front could not sit stably on his mount as his body was always leaning forward with his buttocks raised high. Ren Baqian negatively inferred that this person most probably had piles.
As for whether it was true or not, it did not matter. In any case, Ren Baqian did not dare to ask.
Ren Baqian estimated that If he were to ask the guy "Brother, do you have piles!", he would be met with a glare on Earth. What more, not to mention over in this world, he would most probably grab any available weapons and assault him.
As they got further out of the city, the laughter from behind had already long since disappeared.After all, they were not a bunch of disabled children. Even though they mocked him, they lost interest after not getting any response from Ren Baqian along the way.
Not too far out of the city, he saw a touch of the sun rising from afar.
Ren Baqian hadn't seen many sunrises on Earth, and it seemed that everyone was accustomed to this natural phenomenon. Few people would focus on this unless they were in some particular locations.
But looking at this massive fireball here, which was one size bigger than the sun he saw on Earth, Ren Baqian thought it was somewhat interesting. He had to look away after a while as it was too glaring.
The walking speed of the group of people wasn't slow. Even though they weren't as fast as a carriage, one could always feel the strong wind blowing in their face regardless of whether it was a cow or goat running in this world. Furthermore, the dust trampled up by them would hit straight into their faces.
This was the most significant reason why Ren Baqian kept on turning his face sideway to look at the sun.
This road was a flattened road made out of dirt. The dust got stirred up as the horsemen passed by, and the people behind were literally eating dust. Ren Baqian felt as if he was passing through a sandstorm.
Ren Baqian buried his face on the back of the mountain-gazing bird. Unknowingly, a guard suddenly appeared alongside him, kept up with his pace and announced, "Ren Baqian, Your Majesty summons you."
Ren Baqian turned his head to look, and sure enough, it was Shi Hu.
The general population thought of his position as a deputy, but, it was only a temporary one which the empress would retract after her birthday celebration is over. His position would revert to the same as before, the Storyteller of Qingxin Palace.
"I will be going right away," Ren Baqian shouted. Shi Hu turned the mountain-gazing bird to his side, accelerated towards the children of powerful court officials, overtook them from the side and left behind a fragrant wind.
As Ren Baqian passed by, he turned to take a look at everyone. Their faces were covered with dirt, as if they just came out from a coal mine. Whatever demeanor they had earlier had evaporated like the clouds.
As for some of the ladies, they had covered their face with a piece of cloth. Women were the same everywhere and they certainly valued their face more than men.
Heads could be broken, but hair could never be messy. It might not be logical, but one could get the gist of this statement.
Those people looked curiously at Ren Baqian who was riding a little chick and moving forward.
Imperial guards were stationed in front to guide him and anyone could guess it was due to imperial orders. It could be clearly seen that he had recently found favor with the empress.
The aroma from the mountain-gazing bird was indeed too pungent. As the mountain-gazing bird passed by, the fragrance would penetrate into the noses of the people around.
When Ren Baqian reached the empress's carriage, the curtain was pulled aside by Qing Yuan, who waved at him.
Ren Baqian saw that the carriage was still moving and wondered how should he get on board.
Fortunately, he had no time to think deeply, Shi Hu stretched out his arm, plucked him from his seat, and threw him over. Ren Baqian felt as if he was riding on a cloud, and Qing Yuan smiled as she caught the flying Ren Baqian with one hand in mid-air, pulling him into the carriage. Both Shi Hu and Qing Yuan seemed as though they were passing a ball around.
Ren Baqian tried to alleviate his anxiety as he was a little nervous after flying through the air. He cupped his hands and said, "Thank you very much, Lady Qing Yuan." Then, he stepped into the middle of the royal carriage to pay his respects.
The empress only seemed to like the color red, and at most would occasionally reveal a white undergarment beneath. This was her dressing style, and her hair was simply adorned with a hairpin.
The empress looked carefully at Ren Baqian, and indeed, the Seventh Prince and him were identical. If she did not know that Ren Baqian's origin was even more mysterious than the Seventh Prince, she would have thought he was one of the Great Xia's illegitimate descendants.
"Have you prepared for the Great Hunt?" The empress asked.
"I have done a little preparation, but I am not good at martial arts and things like hunting. As such, it may be hard to produce good result in the mountains. Why don't you let me stay below to tell stories and I can still be of use in relieving your boredom," Ren Baqian quickly suggested and thought it would be great if he could stay in the valleys below.
The empress replied nonchalantly, "I think highly of you, even if you cannot be the champion, at least produce some results. I have selected you, and if you cannot even hunt a single animal down, wouldn't you make me lose face?"
Ren Baqian was speechless, where was the logic? He had never heard that a teacher must possess fighting skills and a chef must be born a soldier.
But, then again, this was Dayao's kind of logic which was very ridiculous. However, it fitted others' impression of what the aboriginals were like all along.