The Human Emperor - Chapter 194: Challenge
In the Kunwu Training Camp, several hundred zhang away from the peak of the mountain, a middle-aged instructor stood on top of a stone with his hands behind his back.
Unlike other instructors, there were very few people around him. Most simply walked past him, headed straight for the other instructors.
However, that instructor seemed to pay this sight no heed. He simply smiled faintly as he looked on.
“Instructor, I would like to take your test.”
After an unknown period of time, an examinee suddenly walked down the mountain, up toward the instructor, and bowed respectfully.
“Heh, you should reconsider the matter. My test will be much harder than the other instructors. You would only have to face other examinees elsewhere, but here, you’ll have to battle with me.”
The instructor smiled lightly with his hands behind his back.
“Battle with… an instructor?”
The slightly lean examinee was taken aback. At the other instructors, the examinees only had to cross blows with their peers. This was the first time he was hearing that one would need to fight with an instructor.
How could an examinee be a match for an instructor? Wasn’t this test impossible to pass?
“That’s right. Not only do you have to face me, the slots I have is also much fewer than the others. If you waste time with me, you might miss out on your chance with the other instructors. Are you certain?”
The instructor said with smiling eyes.
The lean examinee was taken aback. This was the first time he had seen such a thoughtful instructor who would turn away an examinee for the examinee’s welfare.
“Tha-that.. I-I’m sorry! I’ll try somewhere else.”
With a reddened face, the examinee lowered his head and uttered a few apologies before rushing off to somewhere else.
The instructor didn’t fly into a rage either. He simply watched the departing back of the examinee with a smile.
Following which, a few other examinees also approached him and asked about the matter but all of them were persuaded into retreating eventually. Occasionally, there were a few who wanted to try their luck but they were sent flying right after the first blow. Who else would dare to approach him under such circumstances?
In the end, a long time passed but there wasn’t a single successful examinee around the instructor.
“Young Master Chong, the person you’re referring to is him?”
Around several dozen footsteps away, Zhao Jingdian glanced at the instructor and frowned.
Wang Chong nodded his head seriously as he stared at the instructor fixedly.
“We have been standing here for so long but I still cannot tell what he’s trying to do. This examiner is too strong, and from the looks at it, he doesn’t seem to be in a hurry to accept any students at all.”
Zhao Jingdian said. The more he looked at this instructor, the more suspicious he found the other party. All of the instructors within Kunwu Training Camp, with the exception of this middle-aged man, had a few successful examinees around them, and yet, this instructor didn’t seem to be anxious at all.
“Of course he’s in no hurry. The one who should be anxious is us. Once we pass this mountain, we will miss the temple. The greatest resource that Kunwu Training Camp has to offer is him.”
Wang Chong said.
Zhao Jingdian was taken aback. Wang Chong’s words were very fresh and he had trouble understanding it.
(Referring to the idiom on the mountain and temple)
“In any case, you just have to know that the benefits you’ll derive from coming under this instructor is much greater than the others.”
Wang Chong said.
Zhao Jingdian nodded. These words were much easier to understand.
Wang Chong didn’t continue speaking. Initially, Wang Chong was worried that he might have already finished his recruitment and left.
But after seeing the situation with his own eyes, Wang Chong realized that he was worrying over nothing.
The difficulty in being accepted by this unique instructor who imparted the ‘Art of Commanding’ was far greater than any other instructors. It was clear that there was a problem especially since the person himself was advising the other examinees to not take his test.
Based on what Wang Chong deduced based on the information he gathered from his previous life, this instructor probably had far less slots than the others. While other instructors were accepting twenty to thirty recruits each, this instructor was probably only recruiting four to five.
However, seeing how relaxed this instructor was, Wang Chong realized that he might be mistaken. Perhaps, the concept of ‘slots’ didn’t apply to this instructor at all. He might just be trying his luck here; if he failed to see anyone who meets his standards, he could simply walk away.
“In the end, I still have to try him out myself!”
Wang Chong’s eyebrows leaped in frustration.
In truth, he had been watching from afar in hopes of uncovering the other party’s strength through the other examinees.
However, Wang Chong realized that his action was futile.
That instructor was simply too strong. The examinees who came at him didn’t even manage to get him off the rock he was sitting on.
With just a palm, the battle would end.
Overwhelming strength that was precise, accurate, and deadly!
Wang Chong realized that even if he were to continue watching on, he would be unable to uncover anything at all.
“Jingdian, watch by the side. I’ll go and give it a try.”
Wang Chong rolled up his sleeves.
“Young Master Chong, let me go first. I’ll try him out for you.”
Zhao Jingdian said.
“There’s no need for that, I’ll go first. If you fail, I’m afraid that you might not get a second chance.”
Wang Chong replied calmly.
In truth, Wang Chong didn’t know much about this instructor. After all, not all news within the Kunwu Training Camp would reach the outside world.
On top of that, the future had already changed; there wasn’t a single successful recruit beside the legendary instructor at all.
This was completely different from what Wang Chong remembered.
Based on what he knew, all examinees should be granted multiple attempts. However, if the instructor were to decide on a whim that each examinee would only be given one try each, that might turn out to be problematic.
This could mean that Zhao Jingdian would have lost his chance after trying the instructor out.
In terms of experience, skills, and discernment, the current Zhao Jingdian was far beneath him. If he wasn’t a match, Zhao Jingdian would stand even less of a chance.
This was the reason why Wang Chong insisted on going first.
“I wonder if that person would appear.”
A thought flashed across Wang Chong’s mind.
There was another person whose name was ‘bound’ to this instructor in his previous life. However, as the happenings in the two timelines had already deviated from one another, Wang Chong couldn’t guarantee whether that person would appear here or not.
While contemplating over these matters in his mind, it didn’t take long for Wang Chong to reach the instructor.
“My greetings to instructor.”
Wang Chong bowed deeply.
“After watching from above for so long, you’re finally willing to come down?”
The instructor spared Wang Chong an additional glance as compared to the others.
Hearing those words, Wang Chong chuckled. This instructor seemed to be much more interesting than he had thought.
“Hehe, I’ve no choice but to come down. If this goes on, I’ll probably make no progress even after the sun has set.”
Wang Chong smiled. He wasn’t surprised that this person had already long noticed him.
“Then are you confident now?”
That instructor asked once more.
Wang Chong shook his head honestly.
“But you still came?”
That instructor assessed Wang Chong curiously.
“Hehe, I’ve at least give a try before I know whether I can make it or not. However, I would like to ask a question. How many tries do I get?”
“Interesting. I’ve been sitting here for so long but you’re the first one to ask me this question. Since the result is the same—entering Kunwu Training Camp—why don’t you just choose an easier instructor? I’m sure that you can tell that I won’t be an easy opponent.”
The instructor became more and more interested in the examinee before him. This youth felt very much different from others.
Some of the examinees listened to his advice and backed down while some of them tried out his strength for themselves. But in the end, all of them still chose to retreat after realizing the immense difficulty of his test. However, even though this lad had watched him from afar for so long—the other party should know that his walls were high—he still seemed to be adamant to take down his slot.
“Hehe, the heaven rewards the diligent. With difficulty comes great rewards. I don’t believe that there is no reason behind why the differing strength, standards, and difficulty of the instructors.”
Wang Chong replied earnestly.
“Hahaha, interesting. You’re truly interesting.”
The instructor burst into laughter. He assessed Wang Chong with a peculiar glint in his eyes.
“I would never tell any other examinees about this, but just on how interesting you are, I’ll make an exception. With me, you have three tries. As long as you can defeat me or withstand three of my moves, I’ll take you in.”
“Three tries? Will it still count if I were to evade your attacks?”
Wang Chong asked in interest.
“Those count too!”
The instructor replied firmly with smiling eyes.
Hearing the candid reply, Wang Chong didn’t get excited. On the contrary, he became warier.
Sometimes, the easier something appeared to be, the greater likelihood that it would be difficult.
Given how candidly the other party replied to his query, it could only mean two things. Firstly, the other party possessed absolute confidence in his strength. Secondly, the other party’s agility was top-notch, and he didn’t think that anyone could dodge his attacks.
This wasn’t good news for Wang Chong.
Even so, Wang Chong had no intentions of backing out. Rather, his fighting will was piqued.
“Instructor, I would like to give it a try.”
Wang Chong suddenly said.
“Hehe, feel free. However, don’t blame me for not reminding you. It has already been quite awhile since Kunwu Training Camp’s examination started, and the more time you waste with me, the less likely you are to clear the tests with the other instructors. Once their slots are full, no matter how powerful you are, you will only end up being eliminated.”
The instructor said.
“Since you insist on it, let’s start then!”
The instructor smiled as he did an invitation gesture. Confidence shone through his expression and movements.
Wang Chong didn’t stand on ceremonies and he immediately drew his sword. A crisp metallic sound attracted the attention of all of the examinees in the area.
Wang Chong stared at the instructor before him with a grim expression. He would never underestimate his opponent, lest to say, a legendary instructor.
Hands, shoulders, crotch, knees, legs… Wang Chong’s eyes swiftly scanned through the other party’s body parts.
Even though the instructor had hidden his strength well, Wang Chong’s hour-long observation wasn’t completely futile.
As an ex-Grand Marshal of the Central Plains, Wang Chong retained his experience and discernment capability. By noticing the slightest details, he could deduce many things.
“His palms have a thick layer of callus so he must be skilled in palm techniques. Often, such people will lack talent in swordsmanship. Also, even though he rarely strikes, when he does, the veins on his left shoulder would constrict, his right knee would tremble, and his left toe would subconsciously point outward… This is a habit cultivated over time.”
“Even though I’ve no idea what secret art he cultivates, there aren’t too many techniques that would result in simultaneous movement in these regions…”
Wang Chong played back the few times that the instructor made a move. If the instructor were to know what was going through Wang Chong’s mind, he would definitely be astonished.
The ability to determine the larger picture from small details was a skill way beyond Wang Chong’s age. Perhaps, even old generals who had faced countless enemies in the battlefield would be incapable of such a feat.
This ability of Wang Chong was simply too astounding.
The sword buzzed. Wang Chong opened his eyes and moved. Before the crowd could react, he had already disappeared from everyone’s view.
‘Once we pass this mountain, we will miss the temple.’
Simply means that the opportunity only comes once.
Sorry, I know that this term is a little vague but what I mean is something like this: (Google image)
And just to be exact, the literal translation for ‘Art of Commanding’ is the ‘Art of Marshal’. In other words, they are training people to become future marshals. Now that I think about it, ‘Art of Marshalling’ will probably be better?
Just to clarify, three moves =/= three actions. Not sure if you have read wuxia novels before but a swordsmanship move consists of multiple sets of actions.
If you have watched ‘Return of the Condor Heroes’ or ‘Legend of the Condor Heroes’, there is this skill called ‘Eighteen Dragon Subduing Palm’’ that is passed down through the successors of the Beggars’ Sect. This technique consists of eighteen moves, and each move consists of a set of actions.
And a side note, I don’t encourage animal cruelty (even to mythological creatures).