Gods were more brain than brawn, while yao were the exact opposite. That’s why, in the eyes of much of the god race, yao were barbarians.
When it came to food, their bias was even more obvious. Many gods said eating yao food was like chewing a candle.
Now that Ye Zichen was experiencing it for himself, he didn’t dare agree. Perhaps it was just because this was the Northern Kingdom, or perhaps it was because this was a particularly fine establishment. Either way, all the restaurant’s signature dishes were so delicious, he couldn’t help but sing their praises.
The Great Sage, however, barely touched any of the delicacies before him. He didn’t even sip at his rose wine. “Ye-zi.”
Ye Zichen arched his brows, still savoring his delicious food. He took another sip of rose wine, then watched as the Great Sage tried and failed to speak. He clearly had something to say, but eventually, he gave up and hung his head.
Ye Zichen didn’t dare guess exactly what he was thinking, but he could guess roughly eighty-ninety percent of it.
“Food is of the utmost importance. We’ve been running too and fro, unable to rest for even a moment. We’ve come here from far away. Can’t we at least take a moment to refresh ourselves?”
When the Great Sage heard that, he didn’t know what to say.
“Don’t worry so much. Here, I won’t try and trick you. Bars and taverns have always been the fastest, simplest way of obtaining information. Here, dragons swim amongst the fishes; we can meet all sorts of people. Who knows? We might learn something unexpected.”
“Do you still need information? Didn’t the Hermit Emperor share it all with you before we left?” asked the Great age.
“You really saw right through me, huh.” Ye Zichen looked at his friend, eyes wide with surprise. “The Hermit Emperor did speak with me, but not very clearly. He just pointed me in the right direction, then said I’d naturally find out the rest for myself after arriving in the Northern Kingdom.”
The Great Sage furrowed his brows. “So why come here in the first place?”
“Shhh! This is no place to talk about that!’ Ye Zichen glanced furtively at the other diners. The Great Sage nodded and said no more. However, sitting here, he felt deeply uncomfortable...
“Take your time and savor your meal. I’m going to go look around,” said the Great Sage. Then, without leaving Ye Zichen any room to argue, he rose to his feet. However, before he’d taken more than a few steps, he stopped.
Ye Zichen, still clutching his chopsticks, froze unwittingly as well, as did all the rest of the diners. For a few breaths of time, everyone froze.
“What a strong sense of oppression.” Ye Zichen narrowed his eyes and glanced through the windows. There was a carriage passing by, complete with an entourage, and the pedestrians and street vendors all instinctively gathered at the sides of the road to make way.
The carriage was pulled by a blazing horse. It left a trail of fiery footprints in its wake.
The carriage was decorated with red ribbons, and there were musicians traveling alongside it playing the drums and hitting gongs. The air was rife with celebration.
“Do yao still celebrate their weddings in such an old-fashioned way?” Ye Zichen couldn’t help but press his lips into a grin. “They even have an honor guard. But their ranks include a few peak diviners or rulers. Isn’t this a little much?”
This was clearly a wedding procession, yet they insisted on steering their blazing horse directly down a crowded city street.
The peddlers and pedestrians had clustered around the side of the streets, looking rather ragged. Some of the vendors hadn’t retreated in time, and their wares - herbs, medicines, and other assorted goods - were crushed beneath the grand procession.
“Scram, the lot of you!” a member of the procession roared. Although the horse had a saddle and a rider, it seemed to go out of control. It galloped down the street, leaving a long line of fire behind it.
The people on the streets scampered out of the way, but one of them, a small child, fell on the ground.
The blazing horse was as fast as a half-step diviner, while the child was but a human immortal. At this rate, the horse would trample him to death.
A silvery longsword sliced through the air, cleaving a hole in the stone streets. The air buzzed, and the galloping horse let out a startled cry, bringing the whole procession to a halt.
“Little friend, are you alright?” Ye Zichen, who mere moments ago had been enjoying his meal in the restaurant, appeared right in front of the kid. He smiled and patted the boy’s head. At the same time, a woman cried out in alarm and rushed over.
“Little Yu!” The woman called out her son’s name. After confirming that he was unharmed, she looked up at Ye Zichen and thanked him wholeheartedly.
Then she turned to her son. “Thank your benefactor,” said the woman gruffly.
“Thank you, benefactor.” The boy’s voice was childish as he clumsily bowed.
Ye Zichen couldn’t help but smile. “No harm done. Looks like you’re members of the god race? By coincidence, I am too.” With one last look at the still-confused child, he added, “You’d best take him and go. Be more careful next time.”
The woman led her son away, crying tears of gratitude. Then, Ye Zichen twisted his neck and plucked his sword from the ground. Finally, he glanced coolly at the horse-drawn carriage, but he said nothing.
He’d left just to save that god-race child’s life. As for the rest, well, these weren’t gods, and it was none of his business.
He put his sword away and turned to leave, only for a member of the procession to bark, “Stay where you are!”
Ye Zichen glanced at him indifferently and saw a steely-eyed youth walking right towards him. Before long, Ye Zichen recognized him; he was the one who’d urged on the blazing horse’s vicious charge.
The youth’s cotton cloves were luxurious, and there were faint undulations of formations stamped on their surfaces. It was obvious at a glance that he was the son of a nobleman.
As he shouted, several others gathered around him. Based on their auras, it was clear that the oppressive aura Ye Zichen first sense didn’t belong to any of this bunch.
“What is it?” asked Ye Zichen flatly.
“You dare ask? Do you know whose wedding procession you’ve disrupted?” asked the youth wantonly.
“I have no idea, and I don’t care,” said Ye Zichen with a shrug. “If you want to blame me for what just happened, I can’t help but feel wronged. Just now, I reached out to save you from calamity. If not, your blazing horse would have trampled that child to death. You ought to be thanking me, so why does it feel like you’re blaming me instead?”
“Saved me from calamity?” The youth laughed boisterously. “You really don’t know who I am, do you? You don’t even know that you’re disrupting my older brother’s wedding procession.”
“In that case, you’d best hurry up and leave. Why waste time here?” said Ye Zichen as he cleared their way ahead.
“Leave? You spooked my prized horse. You think I can just leave it like that?” asked the youth.
“......” When Ye Zichen heard that, he froze, then sighed in exasperation. “Honestly…. Rich kids are the same everywhere. Are you fancy little noblemen all so… domineering? You’re really going to stand here demanding compensation instead of celebrating your brother’s marriage?”
When he saw the noble youth beginning to scowl, Ye Zichen hurriedly caved. “Okay, okay, fine. Don’t be mad sir, I’ll compensate you… Isn’t it just a little compensation? Just don’t get mad, okay? But before I compensate you, let me see your horse, okay? Otherwise, who knows if it’s the real thing or just some cross-breed?”
“Don’t be angry, sir,” said Ye Zichen with an obsequious smile. “Blazing horses are expensive, and if you want me to pay you directly, there’s no way I’d agree to that. I have to verify the animal’s value first.”
“Hmph, fine. Go.” The youth’s eyes flashed with disdain. He watched as Ye Zichen approached his horse, all the while muttering to himself, “You want to play hero? You ought to consider your place first.”
Ye Zichen heard him, but didn’t get angry. Instead, he walked chipperly up to the horse, then gave it a good look. “It really is a blazing horse!”
“Of course it is!” the youth sneered. “Know that you know, pay up!”
“Of course I’ll pay up, but you say that I spooked your horse. How do you calculate psychological damages? This is no good; there’s no fair way to evaluate that.” Ye Zichen smiled and shook his head.
“Are you saying you won’t pay?” the youth’s gaze frosted over. “You’d best think things over carefully.”
With that, the youth’s followers stepped forth. Ye Zichen hurriedly stretched out his hand and said, “Ai, don’t…. It’s not that I don’t want to pay you, or that I can’t. I have money! I’m just saying that there are no clear rules for determining psychological damages. I… It’s just not in my nature to take advantage of others. But it seems that you don’t have time to find someone who knows more to make a fair evaluation. After all, you’re in a hurry to collect your brother’s fiancee for his upcoming wedding, right?”
“What exactly are you saying?”
“I just want to make sure things are fair.” Ye Zichen smiled, his eyes narrowing into slits, as he patted the horse’s side.
The proud, upright horse suddenly sprawled against the ground with a thud, stirring up a cloud of dust. The youth stared at it intently, as did the passersby.
Then, Ye Zichen laughed. “Here, now it’s simple. The horse is dead, so I’ll just pay you the full asking price for another. How’s that?Previous Chapter Next Chapter