The Human Emperor - Chapter 205: True Enemy Invasion!
In the end, the assault of the tigers was more of a test than a murder attempt. Zhao Qianqiu had distributed the tigers according to the prowess of the individuals in each room.
As such, Zhao Jingdian’s room was distributed the least tigers, allowing him to be the first one to end the battle.
Fresh blood was dripping from Zhao Jingdian’s body. It was impossible to distinguish whether it was human blood or tiger blood. As soon as the battle ended, Zhao Jingdian immediately rushed out of his room and darted for Wang Chong’s.
Halfway through, ‘ROAR!’, a death throe sounded from Zhuang Zhengping and Chi Weisi’s room, and a massive tiger was jolted out forcefully. Crashing heavily onto the floor, it twitched for a moment before falling completely motionless.
“Go! Let’s take a look!”
Zhuang Zhengping and Chi Weisi’s voices sounded. The two of them immediately dashed out of the room and followed behind Zhao Jingdian.
Even though the entire area was shrouded in the shadows of the night, beneath the lush Chinese scholar tree, Zhao Qianqiu still clearly saw the unkempt state of the duo. Their faces were ghastly pale, and there were many claws marks on their clothes, arms, chests, abdomens… In fact, their bones could even vaguely be seen if one focused their sight.
——Zhao Qianqiu had specially prepared a sizeable gift for them, even though it wasn’t as generous as what he had prepared for Wang Chong and Su Hanshan.
“Not bad. As expected of members of prestigious clans, their martial arts are indeed incredible.”
Zhao Qianqiu nodded in satisfaction.
The injuries of the duo were lighter than he expected. He thought that at least one of the two would be severely injured from this encounter, but their injuries ended up to be mainly superficial. Zhao Qianqiu was rather contented with this result.
Even though he had recruited more people than he had expected, every single one of them was extraordinary.
“Now, only the two of them are left!”
Zhao Qianqiu turned his sight toward Wang Chong and Su Hanshan’s room. To the two students whom he had the highest evaluations of, he made sure to express his ‘affection’ thoroughly, providing them with ‘additional service’.
In fact, in order to deal with Wang Chong, he even obtained three tigers who, enlightened by a martial art expert, were capable of utilizing martial arts and equipped them with heavy armor.
——Good students do deserve to be ‘taken care’ of after all!
When he discovered his top students, Su Hanshan and Wang Chong, were in the same room he couldn’t help but have a huge headache initially. If these two experts were to work together, his ploy could be discounted.
However, Zhao Qianqiu soon realized that he was worried for nothing.
It was impossible for the duo to work together. It wasn’t that Wang Chong was unwilling but given Su Hanshan’s character, even when facing death, he would very much rather die alone than to be helped by another.
The current circumstances proved to be a much greater challenge as the nine tigers could switch targets whenever they pleased, thus increasing the effectiveness of the test.
“Now, let’s see which of them is able to ward off more damage.”
Zhao Qianqiu pricked his ears up to listen closely, and he noticed that the sounds within Wang Chong and Su Hanshan’s room was slowly getting sparser. It seemed like fight was reaching its conclusion already.
“That should be about it!”
Thinking so, Zhao Qianqiu began walking over to Wang Chong and Su Hanshan’s room. Roar! A ferocious roar of a tiger suddenly echoed, causing the air to tremor. The room shook for an instant before everything calmed down.
Amidst the darkness, a dim light suddenly appeared, tracing the outlines of the window and the young silhouettes within.
Zhao Qianqiu hastened his footsteps and hurried over.
By the time Zhao Qianqiu walked in, the battle inside had already ended. The wretched state of the room was particularly striking. Tables, chairs, beds, blinds, door; nothing was intact. Even the walls and floors were pocked with holes all over. The various marks from swords and the tiger claws filled the area, presenting a terrifying sight.
Blood was splattered throughout, and the ground was dyed red. More than ten massive tigers, each reminiscent of a small hill, were piled up within the room. Every single one of these tigers had the size equivalent to around four grown men so the sight of it was particularly stunning.
The three armored tigers that Zhao Qianqiu specially prepared for Wang Chong lay amidst the pile. The armor and body of those tigers had been sliced in two. Taking a closer look at where the metal was divided, it was as smooth as a mirror, indicating that it was all done in a single cut.
Zhao Qianqiu blinked in shock. He realized that he had underestimated the weapon in Wang Chong’s hands. The Wootz steel sword seemed to be much sharper than he had expected.
The armor he had prepared for these tigers were crafted of Xuan metal, which was known for its sturdiness. On the battlefield, only the most elite of troops were equipped with it. Yet, it was still unable to withstand the weapon in Wang Chong’s hand.
Scanning the room, Zhao Qianqiu soon realized that even though he had ‘specially taken care’ of Wang Chong and Su Hanshan, the two of them were still the least injured of the group.
Or to be more exact, other than their pale faces and significant depletion of their Origin Energy, they weren’t injured at all.
This wasn’t what Zhao Qianqiu expected to see.
“Ten ferocious tigers in such a confined space… and yet, they aren’t injured at all!”
His eyebrows shot up in surprise.
Wang Chong and Su Hanshan fared way better than his estimates. It seemed like brute strength and mere quantity didn’t have a decisive effect on them.
Just as Zhao Qianqiu was scanning the room, a voice broke the silence. The recuperating Wang Chong was the first to notice Zhao Qianqiu standing by the door, and soon, everyone turned to look at the latter with malicious intent in their gazes.
The air in the room seemed to have suddenly frozen.
Even Su Hanshan lifted his head to look at Zhao Qianqiu. His face was still impassive, but it could be seen that he wasn’t in a good mood.
To send tigers over in the middle of the night was going way beyond the boundary of a mere test. Just the death of Zhao Jingdian’s roommate reflected much about tonight’s matter.
The death quota that Zhao Qianqiu mentioned previously didn’t seem like a joke. If they failed to survive this ordeal, they would have truly died for nothing.
Wang Chong, Su Hanshan, Zhuang Zhengping, Chi Weisi, and Zhao Jingdian glared at Zhao Qianqiu furiously but no one said a single word.
The entire room was bizarrely silent for a moment. Pressure gathered in the air.
“Why? Do you all intend to rebel?”
Zhao Qianqiu could see the rage seething in the eyes of the crowd, but he was indifferent to it.
“If you find this intolerable, it’s not too late to quit now!”
Wang Chong wiped his sword silently, not saying a word.
Of the group, Wang Chong could be considered to be the one who knew the most about Zhao Qianqiu’s background. He knew that the other party was imparting the ‘Art of Commanding’ and thus, was very different from other instructors.
Even so, Wang Chong didn’t expect Zhao Qianqiu’s teaching style to be like that.
Throwing more than a dozen ferocious tigers into their room in the middle of a night, if not for Wang Chong’s fast reaction and his Wootz steel sword, it was uncertain whether he could have survived the encounter.
The resilience, strength, endurance, and burst power of those massive tigers were above his own. There were many times that Wang Chong barely escaped with his life.
If he had failed to dodge for even a single time, it would have been the end.
On top of that, Zhao Qianqiu chose to release them at night. A martial artist’s vision would be impaired under such circumstances whereas the tigers, as crepuscular creatures, weren’t affected at all. As if that wasn’t enough, three armored tigers were even specially prepared for one Wang Chong.
This was far beyond the limits of a test. This could almost be considered as murder!
He could really die from such a teaching method!
“Hehe, do you all feel that I’ve gone overboard?”
Zhao Qianqiu sneered coldly as his complexion darkened.
“Let me tell you all, I’m already treating you kindly! If I were to go by my original intentions, not even three of you would be standing before me now!”
“What do you all take Kunwu Training Camp for? Do you think that it’s a place for you all to frolick around? Do you think it’s where you cultivate friendship and make buddies? Or do you think it’s a charity organization where you can pick and study all the high-tier martial arts you desire?”
“Hmph, let me tell you all. If these are the thoughts you have, you better leave right now. This is a military barrack, a battlefield. This is where the empire trains its strongest warriors.”
“On the battlefield, do you think that I’ll be the only one sneaking into your barracks in the middle of the night? Do you think that the ones barging in would just be a few tigers who only knew how to charge on their instincts?”
“On the battlefield, you won’t be given a choice at all. Your enemies will not be just a handful of tigers, and their strength will not necessarily be at the same level as you either. When True Martial realm, Profound Martial realm, or even Emperor Martial realm warriors appear before you to strike you down, do you think there’ll be an instructor standing before you that you can berate?”
Zhao Qianqiu uttered coldly as his gaze slowly fell on each and everyone in the room.
The sudden assault from the tigers wasn’t done on a whim or out of boredom, and neither was it to toy with the lives of these students. Rather, he was trying to teach them how to preserve their lives in future battlefields.
“The battlefield isn’t a game. In a battlefield, anyone could die at any moment—and that includes me as well. If you don’t have such a realization, you’ll never be able to survive there!”
The room fell silent.
The group was initially infuriated by Zhao Qianqiu’s doing, but after hearing the latter’s words, they found themselves at a loss. Their rage flowed out as though a leaking tap and vanished altogether.
Zhao Qianqiu was right!
What they would face on the battlefield would be more than just a handful of tigers, and it would not always be at a level they withstand. Compared to the coming battlefields they would be treading on, Zhao Qianqiu’s trial was indeed nothing at all.
“Instructor Zhao! …”
Wang Chong had just barely started speaking when an abrupt change occurred.
A sharp sound tore through the night sky. It seemed to be at a long distance away, but in the next instant, everyone realized that they were gravely mistaken.
A cry of agony sounded as a cruel-looking arrow pierced through Chi Weisi’s shoulder. The immense force of the arrow sent him flying backward, pinning him on the opposite wall seven to eight zhang away.
Blood trickled down his shoulder, and Chi Weisi’s face turned ghastly pale. His hands slumped to his sides, and in an instant, he lost all fighting will.
Almost instantaneously, another sharp arrow flew into the room. This time, it wasn’t aimed at Chi Weisi’s shoulder—it was aimed at his heart.
Everyone’s face immediately turned pale.
A steel fist abruptly shot out as swift as a bolt of lightning, knocking this deadly arrow away.
Zhao Qianqiu bellowed loudly. After knocking away the second arrow, he immediately dashed toward Chi Weisi who was still pinned to the wall.
“Enemy attack! ——”
At the instant when Zhao Qianqiu leaped out, a loud cry echoed across the night. It came from the Imperial Army guards at the sentry post. However, the warning terminated abruptly halfway through, as though someone had crushed the throat of the one yelling.
Vaguely, one could hear the sound of bodies tumbling down the mountain.
In an instant, everyone’s face distorted in astonishment.
A fearful threat suddenly loomed across the entire mountain peak, leaving those in the area with a suffocating sensation.
Alright I see many people disagreeing with Zhao Qianqiu’s doing so let me say a word or two in his defense.
His students will be lieutenants as soon as they graduate, so I think it is only right for his training to be even more difficult. At the very least, other soldiers would have braved through several wars before being promoted but his students will go out with nearly no true battlefield experience. Besides, if they, as lieutenants, die on the field easily, their soldiers would fall into panic. All in all, while it’s cruel, I feel that one effective leader is better than ten average leaders. If a lieutenant doesn’t possess the qualities to survive on a battlefield, it might be better to sieve him out as soon as possible. And that is the purpose of Kunwu Training Camp anyway, not to mention, Zhao Qianqiu is aiming to cultivate a new generation of marshals.
Besides, he did moderate the test so as to put it at a level that was ‘immensely difficult but possible to survive’, so while his doing is extreme, it is still within acceptable limits.
Well I don’t want to be put in that position still.