Along this journey, Gu Zuo saw just how popular the Gongyi Clan was in the imperial capital.
When a troop of men and horses pa.s.sed through the streets, the people on the road naturally withdrew to the sides one after the other, all still spiritedly talking. The commoners and martial artists paused, everyone had their eyes and mouths br.i.m.m.i.n.g with envy and admiration.
“That's the Gongyi Clan's war chariot! Quick, look! So powerful!”
“Wu'Er , if you can attain Houtian third stage before you're thirty years old, papa will pay a big sum to send you off to the Gongyi Clan to work as a guard!”
“Look at the side of that banner; there's the word “Heng” written on it. Could it be that this is the Gongyi Clan's young master?”
“It's gotta be the young master. Don't just look at the fact that he can't cultivate. Actually, his Lordship  is a truly commendable person!”
“Even with his body, he can still stand side by side with the four great young masters. Seriously outstanding!”
Right now, Gu Zuo's five senses were much sharper than before. It was like the relatively cacophonous voices all flowed together, and he clearly heard them one after another. His heart was already filled with awe and admiration.
Surprisingly, not a single person ridiculed his patron who couldn't practice martial arts. Truly, his patron was totally awesome!
Thinking about this, when he looked at Tianheng, his view grew even more dazzling.
Gongyi Tianheng's expression was calm as he had tea and refreshments at a pace that was neither fast nor slow. 
He detected Gu Zuo's eyes on him and turned his head to meet his gaze — those two eyes were glistening. Gu Zuo's way of thinking was practically written all over his face. It would make people laugh in spite of themselves.
Truly, simple and pure.
Martial artists were keen and alert. He had the Tianlong Guard open up a path ahead. Naturally, it was unlikely for anyone here at this time to shout anything derogatory. Moreover, because his ident.i.ty was susceptible to slander, being incapable of practicing martial arts was another place to be criticized. Dealing with information and rumors pertaining to him also required promoters and advocates.
The imperial capital had many people of all walks of life. The Five Great Clans arranged countless chess pieces within the city. Once he had a single stain, he would be denounced by word and pen , which would also negatively influence the Gongyi Clan.
It was such a pity that he would never let those people s.n.a.t.c.h such an opportunity.
Despite not being able to practice martial arts, those old fools actually thought they could use him as a breaking point to suppress the Gongyi Clan. Wouldn't he just slap them back to square one?
This was nothing but a game.
The dragon-scaled horse's imposing manner was swift and fierce. The power of its trot contained roaring tigers and galloping dragons . Its speed was certainly not slow.
Not long after, they promptly reached their destination along a bustling street. It was the main Gongyi Household, whose defense was presided over by numerous Tianlong guards.
To a certain extent, the residents or shop owners here all had some kind of relationship with the Gongyi Clan. When they saw these Tianlong guards, they didn't kick up as much of a fuss as other people just pa.s.sing through.
They'd arrived at the Gongyi Mansion .
The mansion's gateway was very tall and s.p.a.ciously wide. It could even accommodate the entrance of the troop of dragon-scaled horses.
At either side of the gateway respectfully stood a row of armored martial artists. Each and every one had a crimson complexion; one could see that their cultivation levels were at least Houtian stage three. That crimson color was due to their successful blood refining, which invigorated their qi and blood.
Among the insider information of the imperial capital's Five Great Clans, from this it could be seen that it was but one small item in a bigger scheme .
At this time, the mansion's gates opened wide; obviously to welcome them in.
After seeing the high flying “Heng” banner, the two rows of armored martial artists simultaneously saluted, and called out with sonorous voices: “Respectful greetings to the great young master's return!”
Dragon One lifted his hand, and all members of the troop halted.
Gongyi Tianheng said: “Enter.”
In a split second, numerous armored martial artists completed their salutes and made way for the procession.
The dragon-scaled horse troop immediately followed Dragon One, and paraded through the gateway in an orderly advancement.
It was silent, without a single sound.
Gu Zuo watched this spectacle from the ancient, bronze chariot and felt it was a bit stifling.
This Great Clan was too prestigious, right? The gravity of entering this gateway seemed like marching onto a battlefield. He sincerely felt that this was a bit difficult to digest.
Then, he further determined that the patron he relied on definitely wasn't an ordinary patron.
There ought to be a fighting machine  within Tianheng!
Thinking about these things once again left Gu Zuo with a lingering fear.
At the time, if his patron wasn't at the other courtyard and was instead here in the mansion, then he thought it was absolutely impossible to sneak in — he would've been stabbed by these armored martial artists and turned into a sieve. One hundred percent!
Alright. So, they quickly entered without any ha.s.sle. Once the ancient, bronze chariot halted, the Tianlong guards dismounted one after another, and took their dragon-scaled horse's reigns to lead them off to the side.
The leading horse in front was in fine mettle with its head held high and its chest out, which was followed by the sharp sounds of its arrogant and despotic clopping trot.
After Dragon One dismounted, he handed over the dragon-scaled horse to the apparent stewards. He arrived at the front of the chariot, and respectfully announced: “May the young master disembark.”
Tianheng hummed in agreement and looked towards Gu Zuo.
Gu Zuo belatedly reacted. He was the attendant! He should get off first!
He didn't say much before he just jumped off…jolting both his legs and making them numb.
After that, he got into proper position, thought it over, and said: “May the young master disembark!”
Gongyi Tianheng immediately moved.
He supported himself against the chariot's rail with one hand and swung his long legs in an arc. His entire body effortlessly leaped down.
Gu Zuo was struck dumb.
Beyond his expectations, his frail-bodied patron endured the pain of getting off the chariot, all the while making it appear beautifully ch.o.r.eographed!
…This made him feel like he lost a bit of face.
But at this moment, Gu Zuo didn't have any spare time to foolishly mull over it. Tianheng was already striding over to a flight of stairs with Dragon One following him. He didn't want to be regarded as a suspicious person here, so he couldn't fall behind.
Thus, a party of three walked through the outer courtyard and finally entered the Gongyi Household's central zone — the inner courtyard.
There were already many people waiting in front of the double doors. When they heard footsteps, they all turned around to look at them.
Those eyes were like torches…
Gu Zuo shrunk back and hid behind Tianheng, trying to reduce his existence as much as possible.
There were a dozen or so people waiting by the entrance. At the head of the line was a married couple. The man appeared to be middle-aged and very dignified; the woman's appearances were in good taste and she was a true belle. However, this beauty had some wrinkles around her eyes and her age wasn't low. Around them was a fourteen to fifteen year old boy, an eleven to twelve year old girl, and a three to four year old boy. Each of these people's looks more or less resembled Gongyi Tianheng.
The emotions in these people's eyes were genuine happiness, along with a worry that was buried extremely deep. As for the other people, they were roughly fifty to sixty years old. For the most part, they were relatively amiable, but they also took extreme efforts to hide their distain.
Tianheng's line of sight fell upon the couple in front and the youngsters surrounding them. His complexion became soft: “Father, mother, Yang'Er, Mingxia, Teng'Er.” 
Then, the three kids all shouted out in chorus: “Big brother!”
The middle aged man was twirling his mustache and smiling: “Tianheng has returned. This makes father very happy. Your mother has been worried about you for a long time. Do you know if your health has recently improved or not?”
The beautiful woman's eyes were welling up with tears and glistening in the light: “Heng'Er, you, are you feeling unwell anywhere?”
Tianheng's gaze warmed a bit: “This Tianheng has no issues. My parents need not worry.”
After he finished speaking, he looked to the others and faintly acknowledged them with a nod: “Distinguished elders, this Tianheng extends his courtesies.”
Regardless of what beliefs they held in their hearts, at this time those elders all stated: “The great young master has extended his courtesies.”
After everyone exchanged greetings, the middle aged man took the first step and strode through the double doors. In a loud voice, he said: “Tianheng, you've returned. Your grandfather hasn't gotten too old and he also wants to meet with you. My son should be filially pious. Go quickly and pay your respects to him!”
Gongyi Tianheng leisurely moved forward, and kept following: “This Tianheng also misses grandfather. It's as it should be.”
And thus, this grandiose group of people all went in.
Gu Zuo, who was next to Dragon One, lagged to the back of the line. Just a moment ago, this mood…seemed a little weird? Those elders were also very weird. There were some who appeared to harbor malicious intentions. Could it be that they came over just to mock his patron?
He sighed. The life of his patron didn't seem to have such easy times as he imagined.
The following matter made Gu Zuo's eyes widen again.
After going through the double doors, directly in front of him was a huge building. Contained within were two rows of large chairs, which already seated many people. There were men and women, and the old and young. Basically all the middle aged men here shared similar looks.
These people watched them enter, and their facial expressions weren't too different. However, roughly speaking, their gazes were basically sweeping over Tianheng's body.
Gu Zuo looked at his patron and felt that if he was in his position, he'd be terrified. His patron, however, seemed to ignore them. He was tranquil and composed as he moved to the very front and sat down on one of the seats.
Following that was a series of questions about his body's health. There were some that were sincere and some that were hypocritical. Truly, their appearances had nothing in common with each other.
And his patron? When he answered these questions, he was very moderate and had a scholarly bearing. In its entirety, he didn't appear fl.u.s.tered once. Gradually, those questions came and went, and there wasn't a good question that he couldn't answer.
Gu Zuo slowly came to realize…
Among these people here, at the minimum, eighty percent were those who were probing for weaknesses, and only twenty percent genuinely cared about Tianheng. As for the deeper things, he couldn't understand.
He could roughly distinguish if a person had evil intent or not. If they were the more complicated type, then it was out of the question.
Listening on and on, Gu Zuo began to ignore their dialogue.
He might as well start studying the things in his three prop books, which were numerous and profound. He felt that his fundamental memorization was pretty good, but it still wasn't to the point where he knew it inside and out . He'd take advantage of this opportunity right now to consolidate his knowledge. He'd strive to achieve this now, and in the future, regardless of the time, he would be able to promptly respond and successfully retrieve the right answer.
Practice makes perfect. Furthermore, what stupid bird flies early ? In short, this is to make people work hard… Pharmacists had it harder than modern physicians. How can one resent hard work so much?
Thus, within the building resounded the noise of a verbal battle of mutual deception. In Gu Zuo's ears, it completely changed into a buzzing mess. Until finally, the buzzing ended.
Someone lightly tapped him, and only then did Gu Zuo return to a lively appearance: “Eh?”
There weren't any people in the building?
He turned around to check. It couldn't have been his big bro, the loyal hound, Dragon One to pat him, right?
There was a question mark on Gu Zuo's whole face.
Dragon One: “We should go with the young master and head into the main hall.”
Gu Zuo lifted his head. Sure enough, the view of his patron's back was about to disappear. He hurriedly joined Dragon One and gave a sound of thanks; all the way there, his scampering kept pace as they walked on.
 儿 - Er, a diminutive suffix attached to a (male) person's name indicating that this person is a child, or that the relationship between him and the speaker is familial or closely connected.
 陛下 - Bi xia, His Highness (in capitals). Doesn't make sense since there's an actual royal family, so I modified it to a lower appellation.
 It seems that this is an enclosed chariot, large enough to have a table for a meal! Don't think about Roman chariots; this chariot is basically the equivalent of a carriage.
 口诛笔伐 - Kou zhu bi fa, to condemn in speech and in writing, an idiom.
 虎啸龙腾 - Hu xiao long teng, probably derived from 虎啸龙吟, which is the cries of tigers and dragons.
 The author changed the vocabulary here to 府 - Fu, seat of government, official residence, mansion, presidential palace. From this point, if the location is mentioned, I'll use household or main household. However, if the actual building is mentioned, I'll use mansion.
 一斑 - Yi ban, literally one spot (on a leopard), or a piece of a greater whole.
 战斗机 - Zhan dou ji, a fighter (aircraft).
 14-15 year old boy: 阳, Yang (from Taoism, the male principle). 11-12 year old girl: 明霞, Ming (bright, clear) Xia (red clouds). 3-4 year old boy: 腾, Teng (to soar or gallop).
 滚瓜烂熟 - Gun gua lan shu, ripe as a melon that rolls off its vine, an idiom that means to know something fluently.
 笨鸟先飞 - Ben niao xian fei, an idiom meaning to work hard to compensate for one's limited abilities. In other words, a stupid bird must work harder and longer to catch a worm.
T/N: Ah, yes. Everyone knows that the young master is Heng.
On a more important note, there were some Chinese characters my computer couldn't recognize again, so I had to make some logical subst.i.tutions. Hope it still reads well.
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