“You must be the representatives of the tiger and fox tribes. Welcome. You are our guests, the empress has commanded for us to welcome you into the city. Her Majesty sends her regards..” The group of soldiers approached and greeted the group. The soldiers had surrounded the beastmen!
“Thank you, please send our regards to Her Majesty too,” replied one of the older foxes.
Athena wasn’t in charge this time, she wasn’t qualified! Ye Lang and her were considered ‘special guests’ in their group too who only joined very recently. And even if she was, Athena would still have to let the elders do their job.
“Thank you, I will! The guest quarters have been prepared for your arrival, please come with us!” replied the soldier, preparing to bring their group to their accommodations.
“Apologies, we already have a place to stay. We’ll be staying with other beastmen, our men will be more comfortable there too,” said the fox elder, rejecting their offer.
“... That’s… That won’t do, if you stay there, it would seem like our empire does not treat our guests well!” replied the person after a moment of thought.
The fox elder was talking about a district at the Imperial City called the Hundred Beast District. Its residents were all beastmen, and beastmen who visited all chose to settle down there.
“We’ll be fine! We’ve always stayed there anyway, we’re used to it. Us beastmen do not like to stay in fancy palace rooms, we’ll be alright there!” the fox elder rejected the offer once again.
Other than their own comfort, they chose to stay away from the palace so they would not be as closely monitored by the authorities. This meant Ye Lang could move as he pleased and no one would be suspicious.
There were many fox tribe members at Hundred Beast District anyway!
“If you insist, then we shall not intervene. Remember that you may come to us anytime if you have any problems and we’ll help the best we can!” said the other party politely.
The soldier understood that the beastmen did not like troubling humans too, they liked to solve problems on their own.
The group of soldiers sent by Soaring Sky was just a regular welcoming party anyway hence they were much more flexible with their rules. If they knew Ye Lang was one of the guests, they would not agree to conditions this quickly.
“Bring our guests to the Hundred Beast District!”
The leaders did not escort the tribe members, returning to convey updates to the empress. The lower-ranked soldiers were put in charge of escorting them out of courtesy and to create a good impression.
Athena and the rest did not refuse this, for there was no reason to and there shouldn’t be a problem.
And just like that, Ye Lang, the empire’s most wanted criminal, was escorted by their own soldiers in the Imperial City of the Soaring Sky Empire into the Hundred Beast District.
“Sigh, I wonder how the thirteenth prince is doing…”
A low-ranked soldier wondered aloud as they approached the Hundred Beast District. Everyone else was jolted by this sudden remark, especially Ye Lang and Athena.
“Shhh! Do you want to die?! If Her Majesty knew you were talking about the thirteenth prince, you would be sentenced to death!” shushed another soldier immediately while the rested pretended not to hear him.
“I don’t even know why she’s doing this. Now the Ye family is forced into two sides, and most importantly the thirteenth prince has left our empire…” the first soldier was still rambling on idiotically.
“Well, the former emperor and Ye Chengtian were very close and the thirteenth prince was going to marry the seventh princess. If she wanted to take the throne, she had to wipe them out! I think it isn’t too bad she only chased them out of the empire!”
What the people of the empire knew seemed to differ from the truth. Although they knew the empress had murdered the emperor and his other children, as for the Ye family, they thought the empress only chased them out instead of chasing them with the intention to kill.
Well, no one would admit that they had sent hundreds of thousands of soldiers on a mission only to come back empty-handed!
“Sigh, I miss the thirteenth prince. Unfortunately, he’s now the enemy of the empire. As long as Her Majesty’s here, we’ll have to catch him if we see him.
“Shut up, any more talking and we’ll get into trouble!” reminded another soldier.
“...” the first soldier fell silent.
Athena was surprised. She didn’t expect Ye Lang to have such a good reputation here. He’d been gone for years and yet people still missed him.
Ye Lang, on the other hand, found it very odd someone would mention his name out of the blue. Without warning too!
Once they entered the district, the soldiers left- not before staring at the buildings in fascination for a few moments.
“Hey, this place looks like the tribal lands…” gasped Athena, full of emotion because she realised all its buildings mimicked the architectural style of her home.
Not just the architecture, its interior designs were all similar to their tribal lands!
Athena now understood why the fox tribe wanted to stay here. It felt like coming home, she felt very happy inside.
“Guests, your quarters have been prepared. Come with me!” a very similar sentence was spoken once again. This time, it was a fox tribe member speaking, here to receive the guests.
“The same place?” asked one of them, it was obvious it was not their first time here.
“Yep!” the fox nodded.
“Uh… How did you all think of building a place like this?” Athena was curious, for a district of this scale should not appear in a human city.
Perhaps it wouldn’t have been so peculiar if it was just a small neighbourhood but this Hundred Beast District covered a huge area.
If they did not benefit the humans, a district of this scale should not appear within a human territory, especially not Soaring Sky.
“We didn’t think of it either but we had some help from someone. It was because of him that we have a district like this!” answered the fox, his eyes full of respect.
“Who?” asked Athena.
The fox fell silent, then said mysteriously, “The people of this empire aren’t allowed to speak of him, but I guess it’s not a problem to us. He’s the thirteenth prince of the Ye family--- Ye Lang!”