RDE Chapter 324: Official From the Chamberlain of Dependencies
Clamping his horses chest slightly, Little Shadow immediately leaped into the sky and landed a distance of five zhang away, leaving behind a blanket of dust.
Neighhhh! With a long call, Shadow dashed down the mountain.
After several months of growth, Little Shadow's physique was even sturdier and fitter than before. Even though he hadn't reached adulthood yet, he already possessed strength comparable to, or even slightly exceeding that of most mature steeds.
A tall figure stood at the edge of Kunwu Training Camp. He seemed to have been waiting there for some time already. Upon seeing Wang Chong's figure, he threw an item over with a smile. "Brat, catch it!"
Wang Chong tilted his body slightly and caught it. Taking a look at the item in his hand, he realized that it was a thumb-wide bamboo tube.
"... Brat, if you find yourself facing some kind of difficult problem, open it and take a look. It might just prove to be of some help to you."
"Hahaha! Thank you, Instructor Zhao."
Wang Chong waved his hand before stowing the bamboo tube into his bosom. Under the furious galloping of Shadow, he soon disappeared into the mountain forest.
The autumn breeze blew across a barren mountainous slope in the depths of the range. Three figures with powerful dispositions were seated on top of tall and stationary steeds.
There were both men and women in the group, and they were mainly in their twenties. Their gestures carried an authoritative power which hinted at their extraordinary identities. Beautiful thorn-shaped halos shone beneath the hooves of the steeds, further accentuating the valiant demeanor of the group.
True Martial realm!
They were all True Martial realm experts!
"Is he going to arrive soon?"
"We have been waiting for some time already, but he still isn't here yet?"
"To make so many of us wait for him, who does he think he is?"
"Does the concept of time not apply to those from Kunwu Training Camp?"
On the barren brown slope, the war steeds were looking around leisurely, and the riders atop them looked extremely impatient.
At that moment, the loud neighing of a steed sounded. A small silhouette appeared at the other end of the valley, but it was increasing in size at a rapid pace.
"I have kept all of you waiting."
Riding Shadow, Wang Chong dove through a lush forest before leaping onto the barren brown ground of the mountain slope.
Glancing at the trio ahead of him and the tall crimson flame flag, Zhang Xuan thought, This should be the place.
There were three fixed meeting points for recruits of the three training camps participating in a mission to assemble at. The meeting point chosen would depend on the tier and the nature of the mission.
The place where Wang Chong was gathered was the highest tier, the Dragon Tiger Blazing Flag.
This was the first time Wang Chong had taken on a mission. He got lost in the mountain for a short moment, but it was fortunate that he set off earlier, so he wasn't too late.
All of them are True Martial realm martial artists, Wang Chong noted as he glanced at the Halo of Thorns beneath the trio. He didn't expect to be paired with True Martial realm experts for this mission.
"What in the world happened for you to arrive only now?"
"To make all of us wait for you, aren't you being a little too conceited?"
"Is this how the recruits of Kunwu Training Camp behave? As expected, commoners really don't have any propriety at all!"
Wang Chong was just about to introduce himself when jarring criticisms sounded in his ear. The trio was staring at him with hostile gazes.
With a casual smile, Wang Chong retracted his outstretched hand. Clearly, these three regarded him as a person of humble birth, as were most recruits in Kunwu.
Indeed, among the three training camps, the background of recruits from Kunwu was the humblest. Take Chen Burang for example; he was the son of an ordinary family of hunters.
On this aspect, there was indeed a huge disparity in the standings of those from different camps.
"I apologize, I was late," Wang Chong smiled nonchalantly, paying no heed to their rudeness.
"What the hell? Kunwu Training Camp actually sent out such a young fellow?"
The young man at the center of the group, Xu Gan, assessed Wang Chong from head to toe, and upon realizing something, he cursed furiously.
At this point, the others also realized something as well. Wang Chong's appearance was reminiscent of a fifteen-year-old child.
Those who were usually dispatched for missions were at least in their twenties, in the same class as Wang Zhu Yan and Marquess Yi.
The trio was rather famous in their respective camps as well, so Wang Chong's presence was indeed a little jarring in contrast.
Not only so, the square-faced young man on the right, Huang Yongtu, also noticed something as well.
"You don't have a True Martial halo either? Did Kunwu Training Camp send you out to weigh us down?"
Not only was Wang Chong young, he was weak, as well! To think that he didn't even possess a True Martial halo!
On top of that, the horse he was riding on was still a young colt!
It was simply too difficult for them to accept such a companion. One of the worst things that could happen in a mission was to have a companion weighing one down, so the trio was particularly displeased with Wang Chong.
In the first place, there was already a huge disparity in the standing of between Shenwei and Longwei against Kunwu. The gap between nobility and commoners couldn't be bridged that easily, and Wang Chong's seeming weakness only served to further deepen the discord.
Their misunderstanding is getting larger and larger!, Wang Chong chuckled inwardly. From the attire of the trio, Wang Chong could roughly guess their background, and they were indeed from distinguished clans.
However, none of their backgrounds could compare to his.
Nevertheless, Wang Chong couldn't be bothered to explain, and he didn't see a need to, either. He believed that actions would speak louder than words.
"Don't worry, I won't drag you down. If we are to run into any kind of danger, feel free to abandon me, Wang Chong smiled calmly.
"Hmph! That will be for the best!" Xu Gan harrumphed coldly. Pulling his reins, his steed neighed, and the duo began charging down the slope, headed straight north.
The others followed suit, and Wang Chong's Shadow was the third to depart.
The young lady at the very back, Bai Siling, was slightly astonished to see Wang Chong's skillful horsemanship, but she quickly recovered and turned her attention back to riding her horse.
The forest on both sides swiftly flew past the riders. It was in this kind of difficult terrain that the true capability of a war steed would shine through. With the uneven footing, thorn-filled shrubs, and countless rocks with jagged edges, an untrained steed could be easily injured.
The trio thought that Wang Chong would have difficulty catching up, but they soon realized that Wang Chong had no trouble following them in terms of speed.
"Hmph, at least he isn't that weak," the trio harrumphed before turning their attention away from Wang Chong.
This... we aren't heading to the capital! Following behind the group, Wang Chong swiftly noticed that something was amiss. Even though it wasn't apparent due to the complex terrain of the mountain range, if one were to pay careful attention, it was still possible to tell that the group was currently moving in a huge arc that would bypass the capital.
In other words, their mission wouldn't be in the capital.
I wonder what kind of mission it will be. A seed of curiosity sprouted in Wang Chong's mind.
Around two hours later, the group finally traversed the forest and returned back to the main trails. After heading northward for another forty li, at the northwest of the capital, they spotted a figure dressed in the robe of an official. He had an austere face, and standing behind him were several Imperial Army soldiers from the royal court.
He is an official from the Chamberlain of Dependencies!, Wang Chong thought. Of the officials in the royal court, the ones which Wang Chong would want to avoid meeting the most were the ones from the Chamberlain of Dependencies. This sentiment was shared by most of those in the capital as well.
This was because the Chamberlain of Dependencies were extremely protective of foreigners, whether one was from the Abbasid Caliphate, Charax Spasinu, -Tsang, or Goguryeo. As long as a conflict involving foreigners occurred, the officials from the Chamberlain of Dependencies would surely arrive at first notice.
The most common and hated words the officials from the Chamberlain of Dependencies would say was "We of the Central Plains are cultured people, we must have the magnanimity to tolerate others...". It was due to such a belief that the citizens of Great Tang were the ones who were usually at a disadvantage in a conflict against foreigners.
This also led to a widespread discontentment with the Chamberlain of Dependencies within Great Tang.
But it just had to happen that the Chamberlain of Dependencies was in charge of diplomacy, so they were granted great authority. The annual reception of the envoys of surrounding states in the capital was organized by them, as well.
The Sage Emperor also rarely interfered in this matter, and this had led to a great accumulation of power in the hands of the Chamberlain of Dependencies.
As such, even the scions of prestigious clans would think twice before provoking them. Otherwise, if the Chamberlain of Dependencies were to send a memo in to complain, and the censors were to speak up, they might bring trouble upon their clan.
The Chamberlain of Dependencies only involves itself with diplomatic affairs. This means that this mission is likely to be related to the Western Regions, Wang Chong theorized.
The northern Beiting Protectorate Manor was currently in a tense state with the Eastern and Western Turkic Khaganate, so it was impossible for the Chamberlain of Dependencies to be here for the Turks. With this out of the way, it wasn't too difficult to guess the rest of the story.
Of the surrounding states, the ones which the Chamberlain of Dependencies were most concerned about were those from the Abbasid Caliphate, Charax Spasinu, and Sindhu.
For one, not only was the journey from the Western Regions to the Central Plains long, it was also fraught with dangers. On top of that, the route wasn't well-paved, resulting in a great deal of safety issues.
The Silk Road!
As for the other reason, this name came into Wang Chong's mind.
This term hadn't come into usage in Great Tang yet, but Wang Chong had an inkling as to what the mission would be about.
Since Wang Chong came from the commoners Kunwu Training Camp, he wasn't qualified to liaise with the official. As such, it was the young man from Longwei Training Camp who stepped up to communicate with the man.
The official from the Chamberlain of Dependencies nodded before turning to the group.
"You shall head west to the first gathering point. We have already planned everything out, so you only need to follow instructions. Allow me to warn you first, even if you encounter a life-threatening situation in the midst of the mission, you aren't allowed to back out. Orders are absolute, and you will be severely punished for defiance!" he instructed them sharply.