Chapter 47: The Ten-Day Agreement
“In ten days, I will defeat you.”
The young boy spoke with a resolute tone, a radiant smile on his face, and the sunlight reflected in his eyes like sparkling gems.
For a moment, Wang Ba even doubted himself.
The next moment, he was startled by his momentary doubt and cursed himself in his mind, shocked that he was actually scared by a greenhorn. He had lived for most of his life, was he really inferior to such a weak and inexperienced youngster? A mere little kid, with no filter on his words, so arrogant, not knowing his own limits!
He coldly snorted, ” He Yan, do you know what you’re talking about?”
“Do you want me to repeat it?” The young boy smiled mischievously, “Since your ears seem to be failing you, I’ll say it again. In ten days, I will defeat you.”
“You!” Wang Ba clenched his fists.
“Is He Yan crazy…” Hong Shan mumbled. Everyone had witnessed Wang Ba’s archery skills, and although He Yan had made some progress since yesterday, could he really hit the bull’s-eye with one arrow in just ten days of practice?
The young boy had a lot of confidence, and it was understandable to make bold statements in the heat of the moment, but what if he couldn’t deliver later?
“What will you do if you can’t defeat me in ten days?” Wang Ba gritted his teeth. He decided not to argue with the young boy anymore. He Yan had thick skin; if he mocked him, he would just pretend it didn’t bother him.
“If I can’t defeat you, I’ll become a support soldier,” He Yan replied straightforwardly, “But if you can’t defeat me…”
“I’ll become a support soldier!” Wang Ba declared loudly.
“I didn’t say that,” He Yan shook her head, “Even if I asked you to become a support soldier, Instructor Liang wouldn’t agree.” She gave a meaningful glance towards Liang Ping.
Liang Ping, who was contemplating in his heart, thought, “…”
Curses, how does this kid know what I’m thinking? With Wang Ba’s talent, if he’s used as a support soldier, the head instructor will surely discipline him!
“In that case, what do you propose?” Wang Ba impatiently asked.
In He Yan’s mind, a memory suddenly emerged from her younger days at Xianchang Academy, when young boys loved to make agreements and bet on games. Xiao Jue, as the top student of Xianchang Academy, had been challenged many times when he was young. What did he say back then? She remembered the young boy sitting behind the rockery in the study hall, half asleep, being awakened by someone and irritably sitting up. He lazily said to the peer who came to challenge him in archery and horsemanship, “Fine, if I lose, you can do whatever you want. But if you lose,” he smirked, “you have to call me ‘Father.'”
As He Yan recalled that, she felt that the current situation was somewhat similar.
But she couldn’t let Wang Ba call her “Father.”
“How about this, I heard you are the leader of the mountain bandits, the big boss. If I defeat you, it will prove my ability surpasses yours, and in the future, you will have to call me ‘Boss.’ How about that?” she suggested.
This request was truly unheard of.
Everyone looked at the small and thin He Yan, whose arms were as thin as firewood, and then at the tall and strong Wang Ba, whose fists were bigger than her face. They fell into silence.
“Your ambition is not small,” Wang Ba stared at He Yan intensely, his smile becoming cold.
“To be honest, before I joined the military, I also considered becoming an outlaw.” He Yan’s face was filled with emotion.
When she ran away from the He family, she carried her baggage at night and hesitated several times at the city gate, unable to decide between two paths. One path led south to become an outlaw, which was free and unrestrained, with no one to control you. But the downside was that if the harvest was poor, you would have nothing to eat, and you might starve. Moreover, the government would come to suppress the bandits, and you would have to hide constantly, which was not very dignified.
Joining the military might be a bit harder, but it was after all eating the emperor’s food, and it was more respectable to say that.
But both options did not welcome women. She had to disguise herself, and it was fortunate that she was adept at pretending to be a young master from a young age, which led to her rising through the ranks later.
Now looking back, she couldn’t help but sigh with emotion.
Seeing that He Yan was still reminiscing about the past, Wang Ba became even more furious. This brat seemed to be only fifteen or sixteen years old now, why did he have such a mature appearance? Reminiscing about the past, did he even have a past to remember?
“Fine.” He struggled to restrain himself from beheading this young boy in a fit of rage. From between his clenched teeth, he squeezed out a few words, “If you want to be the boss, then it depends on whether you have the ability.”
“Good!” He Yan clasped her hands towards the new recruits around her, “I ask all of you to be witnesses to this bet. Since that’s the case, let’s meet here again in ten days! I wish myself good luck!” She snapped her fingers, appearing carefree, as if she had a surefire technique up her sleeve and was certain of her victory.
Wang Ba stormed off in anger.
Xiao Mai and Hong Shan rushed to He Yan’s side, and as the crowd watching the commotion gradually dispersed, a few onlookers remained with complex expressions of admiration and sympathy for He Yan.
They all seemed to have accepted that He Yan would inevitably become a support soldier.
Liang Ping glanced at He Yan, shook his head, and left with his hands behind his back. As he walked away, he couldn’t help but sigh. Young people were impulsive and often acted without considering the consequences. However… why did he feel a slight sense of excitement as he thought about this?
The bet between He Yan and Wang Ba spread throughout the entire Liangzhou Garrison within half a day.
Secret gambling activities started in the camp, as people, though poor, couldn’t resist the temptation of making a bet. They used the dry bread from the mess hall as the stakes. Those who bet on Wang Ba losing would win ten times their bet, while those who bet on He Yan losing would only win twice their bet.
In just a few days, many soldiers had less dry bread to eat. Training all day long, they cherished any opportunity to find amusement.
In a room, Cheng Lisu walked in. He wore a brand-new yellow robe with a red embroidered carp swimming at the hem, making it look lively and cute. As soon as he entered, he shouted to the young man sitting at the table, “Uncle, do you know that everyone in the camp is talking about the archery challenge in ten days?”
Xiao Jue didn’t take his eyes off the book, “I know.”
The whole camp knew about it—a young boy who wanted to be the leader of mountain bandits versus an archery expert who wanted to make him a support soldier. It was indeed an odd pair.
“Now, even gambling is taking place. I’m planning to place a bet. Are you coming?” Cheng Lisu squeezed next to Xiao Jue and asked enthusiastically.
“Cheng Lisu,” Xiao Jue put down the book and looked at him calmly, “Are you organizing gambling in the camp?”
His tone was calm, but Cheng Lisu shivered. He quickly raised his hands, “It’s not me, it’s not me. Someone else organized it, and it’s not real money, just some dry bread. It’s just for fun to pass the time. Uncle, I’m just a kid, playing around is normal!”
Xiao Jue snorted, “Frivolous behavior leads to the loss of ambition.”
“I never had any ambition in the first place, how can I lose it?” Cheng Lisu replied with confidence.
Xiao Jue had no response to that.
“Uncle, if you don’t want to go, I’ll go and place my bet. I won’t bet with dry bread; I’ll use my jerky as stakes. It’s not real money.” He happily declared, about to leave.
“Who are you betting on?” As Cheng Lisu reached the door, he heard Xiao Jue’s voice.
Xiao Jue was usually disinterested in these matters, so Cheng Lisu was surprised for a moment, but he obediently answered, “Of course, I’m betting on Wang Ba! Isn’t that Brother He Yan as useless as me?”
Xiao Jue tugged at the corner of his mouth, “I advise you to change your stakes.”
“Don’t underestimate a diligent fool,” the young man lowered his eyes, seemingly recalling another figure, and his autumn-like eyes rippled with a moving light, “The last fool I saw like this is now a third-ranked general.”
Uncle: I advise you to quickly vote for my wife.
ps: From ancient times to the present, which young boy wouldn’t want to be the other person’s father?