Chapter 42: The Weakest in the Army
“This bow, I can’t pull it.”
The surrounding recruits looked dumbfounded at He Yan, and even Liang Ping couldn’t believe his ears, thinking he must have misheard.
What did he mean by “This bow, I can’t pull it”? And he said it so confidently, as if it were perfectly normal. Liang Ping had trained many soldiers, but He Yan was undoubtedly the worst he had ever encountered.
He was infuriated!
“What nonsense are you talking about?” Wang Ba chimed in, not expecting He Yan to be so honest. He had assumed that He Yan was showing off the last time they met, thinking he must have some hidden talent in archery. But this result was beyond acceptance.
“I don’t have enough strength in my hands right now to draw this bow. There’s no need to waste time; let the other brothers who need practice have a chance. In a few days, I’ll have enough strength to draw it,” He Yan calmly explained.
“He Yan, the military camp is not a place for you to play around,” Liang Ping said with a stern expression. He had thought that He Yan, being hardworking and determined, would surely achieve something. But he never expected He Yan to take his incompetence so matter-of-factly.
“I didn’t treat it as a place to play,” He Yan replied innocently. After a moment’s thought, he made a concession, “Then how about tomorrow? I should be able to draw the bow tomorrow.”
Liang Ping’s nose almost went crooked with anger. “He Yan!”
How dare He Yan negotiate with him! Was the military camp a marketplace for haggling? Earlier, He Yan’s performance in the weight-bearing run had satisfied him, and his progress seemed promising day by day. But archery was not something that could be improved overnight, and he couldn’t fathom where He Yan got the confidence that he could draw the bow tomorrow.
At this moment, Liang Ping began to regret not heeding Du Mao’s advice earlier. He should have sent He Yan to be a support soldier so he wouldn’t be so infuriated now. At his age, getting so angry could be harmful to his health.
Not wanting to look at He Yan’s innocent face any longer, Liang Ping waved his hand. “Stop trying. Go get a sandbag and run five laps!”
He Yan mumbled an “okay” and obediently moved to the side, picking up the sandbag and heading for the long track.
He was quite obedient, but the feeling of punching a bag of cotton made Liang Ping even more annoyed. He turned his head away, deciding not to look at the infuriating youth anymore.
He Yan ran slowly, and suddenly, someone appeared beside him – it was Wang Ba.
“Kid, you’re so weak, yet you dare to come to the military camp?” Wang Ba taunted, full of arrogance. “You can’t even draw a bow, yet you still speak so boldly?”
“This friend,” He Yan said as she ran, “you’ve been staring at me all the time. Are you really that afraid of me?”
“Afraid of you?” Wang Ba was taken aback.
“If you’re not afraid of me, there’s really no need to follow me all the time, as if you’re worried that I’ll steal your limelight.”
“Who’s afraid of you?” Wang Ba was on the verge of swearing. What kind of person was this? Impervious to weapons and impervious to reasoning, he had his own way of doing things.
“Let me tell you, fighting privately is prohibited in the military,” He Yan made a hushing gesture, “if caught, you’ll be punished with a military stick. There are supervisors all around in the mountains, even if you want to cause trouble for me, now is not a good time.”
That was indeed true.
Wang Ba stared at her, putting on a fake smile, “I want to cause trouble for you? No need to do it in private. You can’t even pull a bow… On the training field, I’ll make you kneel and beg for mercy.”
“Oh,” He Yan replied casually, “Sure, let’s meet on the training field then, rain or shine.” With that, she picked up her pace as if in a hurry, carrying the sandbag and leaving Wang Ba far behind as she ran.
Watching her agile figure, Wang Ba felt a twinge of irritation, muttered a curse, and turned to walk away.
The day’s archery training finally came to an end after the sun had set beyond the western hills.
The new recruits rushed to get their meals, eager to fill their stomachs. The instructors gathered together, eating their separate dinners while discussing the day’s events in their respective squads. If there were some outstanding recruits, they would boast about them even more.
Liang Ping had wanted to praise Wang Ba and Shitou, but the thought of He Yan made him feel disheartened. He was afraid someone would bring him up, so he simply kept his head down and ate in silence.
Unexpectedly, Du Mao asked with concern, “Old Liang, how did He Yan perform in your squad today?”
Liang Ping was speechless.
Beside him, one instructor laughed and said, “Him! Haha, today he gave up before even trying to draw the bow. He said, ‘I can’t draw this bow’”. He said it with the same calm tone as He Yan, but with his face, it was as if he was ridiculing him, “At that time, it made Old Liang so angry that his face turned green.”
“He couldn’t even draw the bow?” Du Mao was also surprised. “That’s too much.”
“That kid didn’t seem like someone who could survive in the military camp. You know what? He even said to give him a day, and he’ll be able to draw the bow tomorrow. I wondered where Old Liang found this little treasure; I really am suspicious of him,” the instructor pointed at his temple with his hand, “Something’s not right here.”
As they were talking, someone came in. The instructors turned their heads to see Xiao Jue and Cheng Lisu walking in. Immediately, they put down their chopsticks and stood up to salute, “Commander, Young Master Cheng.”
“We could hear you guys having a lively conversation inside, what’s so funny?” Cheng Lisu asked with a smile.
This young man always had a cheerful appearance and had been enjoying himself in Liangzhou garrison these few days, eating and drinking as he pleased. Although they didn’t know why this pampered young master from the capital didn’t stay at home to enjoy the luxury, they couldn’t dare to slight him as he came with Xiao Jue. They had to show him some respect.
The instructor who had been teasing Liang Ping earlier couldn’t wait to speak up, “We were talking about the new recruits’ training today. Old Liang has a recruit who couldn’t even draw the bow, but he claimed he could do it tomorrow. Young Master Cheng, do you find it laughable or not?”
“Huh, he couldn’t even draw the bow? Does that mean he’s worse than me?” Cheng Lisu was greatly surprised. He was already considered the weakest among the young masters of prominent families, but at least he could handle a bow. He didn’t expect to find someone even weaker here, which piqued his interest. He turned to Xiao Jue and said, “Uncle, did you hear that? At least in Liangzhou garrison, I’m not the worst.”
Xiao Jue glanced at him, seemingly unwilling to pay him much attention. Cheng Lisu’s enthusiasm was met with a cold response, but he didn’t mind and turned to the instructors with great enthusiasm, asking, “What’s the name of that heroic man who is so like-minded as I? I must meet him and become sworn brothers.”
Liang Ping: “…”
“Ah, Old Liang, what’s the name of that new recruit?” the instructor tried to recall, “He… He something?”
What had he done wrong? Why was fate treating him like this? He had embarrassed himself in front of the commander, and now, under the watchful eyes of everyone, Lian Ping reluctantly continued, “He Yan.”
The young man, who had maintained a cold demeanor all along, suddenly looked up.
Uncle didn’t know that Yan Yan was a girl before, and he didn’t have any feelings for Yan Yan back then, nor did he recognize Yan Yan now.
Let’s not add any unnecessary drama to their story. How could “Qian Shan Cha Ke” have a romantic development this early? (Insert indifferent expression.jpg)