The Empress's Gigolo Chapter 720
The next day, everyone set off to continue the journey once more, but they left the empress's carriage and all the other carriages in Ya City.
Their fork-horned cows stayed in Ya City as well.
Other than the empress, who was riding on Qi Shui the kirin, the others were all riding on jumping goats.
Many of the goats had large sacks tied across their bodies.
In fact, these sacks were made from the stomachs of beasts. They were extremely tough and expandable. They were merely the size of a fist when shrunken and could contain a few people when expanded.
Ren Baqian had seen these sacks before in Lan City, but they were very few in quantity.
Sacks such as these had always been very welcomed by merchants. Now that all the merchants had already returned to their own nations, these sacks had grown in numbers in the markets of Lan City, and there were over 300 of them. Ren Baqian bought all of them for the winged cavalry to use to carry their supplies.
It took them half a day to travel from Ya City to the entrance of the Sixty Thousand Mountains. The hundreds of towering mountain peaks that they previously saw had finally been revealed in their entirety. These mountains stood erect like pillars and seemingly had no incline. They also looked as if they were planted into the ground.
The mountains were entirely covered with trees and vegetation that grew from rock crevices. Birds flew and soared around the mountain peaks in circles, and the people could occasionally hear the cries of apes from above.
The overlapping mountain ranges that they previously saw between the mountain peaks were all located right behind.
The mountain peaks stood in great numbers outside the Sixty Thousand Mountains and formed a circle around it, acting like a barrier layer.
Ren Baqian had previously asked around in the city and learned that there were a total of 108 mountain peaks. They were known as the Forest Pillar Barriers.
He felt that this number was very meaningful.Find authorized novels in Webnovel，faster updates, better experience，Please click wuxianovelonline.com for visiting.
The number 108 represented many things in China.
In Chinese culture, 108 represented perfection and many buildings were constructed around this number.
For instance, the lowest level of the Temple of Heaven[1.Temple of Heaven: Imperial complex of religious buildings situated in the southeastern part of central Beijing] had 108 pieces of flagstone and the Qi Nian Dian[2.Qi Nian Dian: a structure in the Temple of Heaven] had 108 stone barriers on every level.
In Buddhism, the number 108 represented the 108 different types of worries, which were known as the 108 worries.
In Daoism, this number represented the Big Dipper and the evil stars.
The 108 heroes in the Water Margin[1.Water Margin: one of the four classic novels in Chinese Literature], who opposed the evil of Heaven and Earth, were one of the most famous references to this number.
Coincidentally, there were 108 Forest Pillar Barriers here as well.
Ren Baqian found it hard to believe that these Forest Pillar Barriers weren't man-made. Otherwise, why were there exactly 108 mountain peaks? Why wasn't it 107 or 118?
However, how could these peaks that towered above the clouds be man-made?
If anybody could create these, they had to be the gods in Heaven.
If these peaks were the creation of nature, they must be the work of the gods and were extremely remarkable.
Besides, there was also another strange thing about these Forest Pillar Barriers.
The Forest Pillar Barriers occupied an enormous amount of land that was at least several thousand mu. The entire place was a jungle that was rich in flora and fauna. It was also situated quite close to the outside world and was a reasonably good place for a mountain village.
On the contrary, there wasn't a single village among these Forest Pillar Barriers.
Reportedly, there used to be a village that moved here, but it was destroyed after just three years due to various reasons. There were all sorts of calamities and the last group of people either fled or died. Since then, nobody dared to set up a village here.
This bizarre number and these rumors made Ren Baqian extremely curious, but he also revered the Forest Pillar Barriers.
Surrounding the Forest Pillar Barriers was dense vegetation. There were trees that grew over ten meters tall and shrubs that covered the entire area. They couldn't see anything more than five meters away.
The only paths in the jungle were narrow trails.
The vegetation here grew rapidly. A newly created trail would be covered in vegetation again after just a few days. Paths would only be gradually formed in places where people frequently walked through.
By the look of it, plants also knew how to reap benefits and avoid harm.
If the branches and leaves in a particular area were chopped down repeatedly, they wouldn't grow there anymore after some time.
A party of people took a rest outside the jungle. Ren Baqian occasionally tried to touch Qi Shui's belly. It disliked this wretched act of his and immediately laid down on its belly whenever it saw him.
Yeah, he wouldn't be able to touch it that way…
Qi Shui was indeed good-tempered.
If it were a cat, it would definitely have scratched him.
After the break, the party went straight into the jungle and drew close to one of the peaks after a short while. Ren Baqian intentionally called out to the empress and leaped on a tree branch in an attempt to have a look at the peak.
He accidentally stepped on a snake's tail, and it immediately bit him!
At that moment, Ren Baqian had a wretched look on his face. It was as if he were having sex with an animal.
He flung that snake away, turned around with a helpless look on his face, and asked, "What should I do? I got bitten by a snake."
"Sir Ren, it's a kingsnake—it's not poisonous." The winged cavalry warriors that followed him burst out in laughter.
"Its name sounds pretty impressive!" Ren Baqian smacked his lips and felt at ease after hearing that the snake wasn't poisonous.
"This species of snake preys on other snakes, no matter how poisonous they are. Snakes are their main source of food, which is why they are called kingsnakes." One of the winged cavalry warriors laughed.
"Do you want to have a look at the peak, Sir Ren? I'll go pave the way for you." Another winged cavalry warrior drew his blade and leaped toward the branch ahead. Streaks of light reflected off the face of the blade in midair, and the branch immediately fell to the ground.
Somehow, the branch wiggled in midair.
"This is a leaf-nosed snake, and it's pretty poisonous. If bitten, you will have to immediately look for eagle ferns to detoxify. Otherwise, the wound will swell to the size of a balloon." Another one of the winged cavalry warriors voiced out.
Ren Baqian nodded. It seemed that there were quite a number of poisonous snakes in this forest, and he felt that he should probably behave himself and follow the winged cavalry.
Leaping around the forest along the path that the winged cavalry created, they arrived in front of a mountain peak 30 minutes later, allowing Ren Baqian to take a close look at it.
This pillar mountain was mainly composed of a type of gray rock. It had a very slight inclination with a rugged and undulating surface. From afar, it looked just like a straight pillar that towered into the sky.
The interesting thing was that there was an oval-shaped terrace at the bottom of the pillar that was composed of the exact same material as the pillar. There were all sorts of plants that grew on top of it.
"The Forest Pillar Barriers are also known as the Forest Sword Barriers for this reason. The flat terrace at the foot of the pillar resembles the guard of a sword, and every pillar mountain has it," one of the winged cavalry warriors explained to Ren Baqian.
"The aboriginals don't use swords, right? How did this name come about?" Ren Baqian asked. The more the winged cavalry shared about the peaks, the greater his interest grew.
"Indeed, we don't use swords. This name was said to have been passed down a long time ago. There used to be people from various tribes who came to the Sixty Thousand Mountains to gather herbs. This name could have been passed down since then," surmised that winged cavalry warrior.
"Nobody else comes here nowadays?"
"There still are, but they have all been killed. We aboriginals ignored them back then, and they poisoned the salt mountains. If the natives come across outsiders now, all the villages will send experts to kill them!" that winged cavalry warrior explained with resentment.
This happened before the revolt of the late emperor. The Hao Nation's emperor ordered people to poison the salt mountains, which killed many aboriginals from various villages. The majority of those villages died from this, and in their rage, the aboriginals eventually overthrew the Hao Nation.
This was a typical case of reaping what you sow.
Ren Baqian waved his hand and caused a golden spear to appear. He held it with one hand and swung it across the pillar. He was eager to see whether this pillar mountain contained any secrets within.
"Sir Ren, you can't touch the pillar!" The two winged cavalry warriors were shocked by his actions and hurriedly stopped him.
"Sir, mishaps will happen if you touch the rock of this pillar!" one of them immediately said.
"What god is this?"
"It's very powerful! In the past, someone took away part of the rock and died not long after. He even implicated his entire village, and hundreds of people died within half a year. Many people were frightened. Afterward, someone found that piece of rock and brought it back, and the remaining people managed to come out unscathed," one of the winged cavalry warriors promptly explained. He was so worried that he was perspiring all over.
One could tell from his expression that he had received a shock. Even though the aboriginals were boorish, they still strongly revered certain matters. This was especially so in the Sixty Thousand Mountains as their ancestors had lived here and they knew of many things that mustn't be messed with.
Ren Baqian was also shocked by his reaction. If it truly was this untouchable, then there would be more strange things in this world than it first seemed.
Things such as the bichi.
Things such as this pillar mountain in front of him.
He immediately retracted the spear, cupped his hands toward the pillar, and said, "If I have offended you, please pardon my ignorance as it's my first time here!"
After cupping his hands, Ren Baqian felt a gust of air above his head and immediately stepped back.
A rock that was half the size of a man fell from the peak of the mountain and smashed against the ground.
"We are done for! The pillar is enraged!" The two winged cavalry warriors turned pale. It seemed like this pillar indeed held a strong place in their hearts.
Looking helpless, Ren Baqian said, "It made the first move… This doesn't concern me, right?"
The winged cavalry warriors quickly responded, "It's best that we return and inform the empress."
Ren Baqian felt apprehensive after seeing their reaction. He stopped exploring the pillar and followed them back to see the empress.
What the trio didn't see was that somewhere on the peak of the mountain, a red fox with wings was touching its chest.
It was climbing up the pillar when that piece of rock suddenly fell, giving it a shock as well.
The trio returned to the empress and explained the situation.
She immediately frowned when she heard the news. She pondered for a moment and said, "You should probably be fine since you didn't bring that rock back with you. For safety purposes, I will come with you to take a look. Someone hunt some animals as an offering for the pillar."
Some time later, the people brought along an eagle, a black master, and an ape to the pillar.
The empress ordered them to offer the prey. After speaking to the winged cavalry, she said a few sincere words to the pillar and left after seeing that nothing was happening.
After this incident, Ren Baqian dropped the idea of going sightseeing and followed the empress wherever she went.
Fortunately, nothing happened to them for the rest of the day, and everyone eventually put their worried minds at ease.
During this journey, everyone had already been faced with many twists and turns because of the bichi. Problems like a broken carriage axle weren't a big problem, but mishaps did happen quite frequently. Thankfully, everyone was strong, so there hadn't been any major problems yet. However, there were still a few winged cavalry warriors who were recuperating at the moment due to injuries.
At present, the party had arrived at their first rest stop, a plain village atop Mount Pingliang.
At this moment, the bichi arched its body and bared its teeth as it stared at a golden-feathered eagle that was flying in circles above it.
Over the past two days, this eagle had appeared whenever they were at high altitudes. The bichi was unable to put up with it any further and wished that it could kill and eat it.
Even though the bichi had wings, it couldn't fly. It was feeling rather helpless after being harassed by the eagle for multiple days.
As such, it simply waited there for the eagle to descend so that it could pounce over and bite its neck.
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