Chapter 39: Survival of the Fittest
“I said, the bun in your hand is mine,” she said.
Before the words could settle, the man burst into a sinister laugh and said, “Kid, don’t stir up trouble.”
“I just want to take back what’s mine.”
The man looked at her. She appeared very weak, wearing the standard red military uniform that looked oversized on her small frame. Standing there, she looked like an undeveloped child.
A child shouting at him was like an ignorant puppy barking at a wolf. It was laughable and nothing more.
“Mine?” The scar-faced man sneered and grabbed the bun, not waiting for He Yan to react. He quickly tossed it into his mouth. The small bun, already not very big, disappeared into his stomach as if a wild beast had found its prey and couldn’t wait to devour it. After finishing it, he looked provocatively at He Yan and said with a wicked smile, “Yours? Who can vouch for that? What can you do about it?”
The food had already entered his stomachs, and there was no way for He Yan to cut open his stomach and grab the meat bun from inside. After the other person finished speaking, he looked very pleased as he watched He Yan’s helpless expression. He walked forward with the bowl of porridge in his hand, neither too fast nor too slow.
“What can I do to you?” He Yan muttered to herself. In a moment, a faint smile appeared on her face. She turned around and took three or four steps towards the scar-faced man who was bending down to drink from his bowl of porridge. With a swift kick, she aimed at his bent knees. The man’s legs went weak, almost causing him to kneel down, but he stumbled a few steps and managed to stay upright. However, the porridge in his hand spilled all over the ground, not a drop left. Seeing this scene, his anger flared, and he turned his head to see He Yan, grinding his teeth as he said, “You!”
“Me?” He Yan chuckled. “Can anyone testify to what I did? What can you do to me?”
Her eyes were full of cunning and a hint of provocation, making people feel infuriated. The scar-faced man raised his fist and was about to approach.
“Hey, what are you doing?”
Just at this moment, a voice came from the side, and Hong Shan and Shitou rushed over. Xiao Mai saw that He Yan had been talking to the scar-faced man for a long time without moving, and guessed that something might be wrong, so he brought his big brother and Hong Shan over.
Hong Shan and Shitou were not easy to bully, unlike He Yan’s seemingly weak appearance. The scar-faced man didn’t act recklessly. He just snorted coldly, glared at He Yan, and said, “You just wait!” Then he turned and left.
The tone was full of venom and threatening intent.
“What happened to you?” Hong Shan asked, “What’s going on?”
“He took my meat bun, so I poured his porridge. It’s fair,” He Yan said as simply as possible. Hong Shan immediately understood after hearing this and sighed, “Ah, you and him, why are you causing trouble? You should have just endured it.”
“Why should I endure it?” He Yan asked.
When she first joined the military, she often encountered such situations. In the military camp, there were often instances of the strong bullying the weak and taking advantage of those who were smaller and weaker. When she first entered the military camp, being robbed of food was a common occurrence. If it weren’t for her comrades in the same tent who pitied her and shared their food with her, she might have starved to death.
The instructors in the military camp could prevent open conflicts, but they couldn’t stop this kind of secret theft. Besides, she was too weak at that time. She was so weak that even the instructors couldn’t be bothered to pay attention to her, let alone seek justice for her. It was only after she became stronger that no one dared to rob her of her food. Later on, when she became a general, she ordered her own troops that this kind of behavior, robbing others of their food and bullying the weak, must not be tolerated. Once discovered, it would be punished according to military law.
Who would have thought that after being reborn, she would encounter the exact same situation again? But this time, she was no longer the pitiful new soldier who had just entered the military, trembling with fear and unable to speak up when wronged. Even if Hong Shan and Shitou hadn’t appeared just now, she would have had more than enough confidence to teach this scar-faced man a lesson.
“That person is called Wang Ba,” Hong Shan said. “He used to be a mountain bandit. I don’t know how he ended up joining the army. Under Instructor Liang, he’s the most ruthless. I heard it from others. This kind of person is a killer. Today, you’ve offended him, and he will hold a grudge. He will definitely try to trip you up in the future. Brother Shitou and I can’t be with you every day. If he takes advantage of the opportunity… your life will be difficult.”
“I can’t just let him take what’s mine. Brother Shan, you have to believe that if he robbed me once, he will do it again. If he comes to rob me every day, how can I live?” He Yan said, “There is no such thing as fairness in this world.”
“Things in this world were never fair.” The usually reticent Shitou spoke up. He looked at He Yan and shook his head gently, seeming to disapprove of her actions just now. “You were too impulsive.”
“There’s no fairness, so you have to fight for it yourself. If you can’t achieve fairness because you’re weak, then you have to work hard to become stronger,” He Yan said with a slight smile. “If here, the fist is the rule, then let him come to me. I promise… to show him what fairness means.”
The young man spoke lightly, his expression calm, and there seemed to be a faint smile in his clear and bright pupils. The wind blew, making his hairband flutter, making him look less like a soldier and more like a young master strolling the streets of the capital. It should have been a teasing remark about the proverb “A newborn calf is not afraid of tigers,” but when faced with those eyes, they couldn’t say it out loud.
Is it true that a newborn calf isn’t afraid of tigers?
He was confident, not reckless.
Hong Shan and Shitou didn’t say anything more. They accompanied He Yan to the shade of the tree. Xiao Mai knew that He Yan’s meat bun had been snatched, and he felt sorry for her for a while. Finally, he awkwardly tried to console her, “It’s okay, Brother Ah He, we’ll be able to go up the mountain in a few days. I’ll make some slingshots to shoot birds or set some traps to catch rabbits. We can eat wild game then, which is much better than the meat in those buns!”
He Yan laughed and readily agreed. After finishing the porridge, she rested her hands behind her head, leaning against the tree trunk as if dozing off.
The lazy sun shone down, and there was a rare moment of coolness under the tree. She closed her eyes, her mind wandering.
Although losing a meat bun was a bit regrettable, it wasn’t something she would dwell on and calculate. During actual military marches and battles, sometimes the military pay couldn’t keep up, and they were forced to defend the city. Not to mention meat buns, even porridge was sometimes a luxury. Sometimes, they had to eat tree bark and roots. At the most extreme times, she even ate clay to fill her stomach, feeling uncomfortable and bloated, fighting to defend the city at all costs.
Compared to those times, this was already a kind of happiness.
However… the wind brushed her cheek, and He Yan smirked. If her guess was correct, in at most five days, the skill training would begin. Some people would be assigned to be cooks, and with her current physical fitness, she would probably qualify to participate in the skill training. But how could she demonstrate her value and prove herself capable of going to the vanguard camp in the shortest possible time?
That was the question.