The Human Emperor - Chapter 392: Subduing Xu Qiqin, Part Two
Chapter 392: Subduing Xu Qiqin, Part Two
Facing things that they had never heard of, it was natural for humans to feel less confident. Despite Xu Qiqin’s pride and talents, she still wasn’t beyond this convention.
“Some of the recruits here have aptitude for conventional warfare, while others have aptitude for novel warfare. Thus, what I am aiming to do is to uncover what is suitable for them and groom them to maximize their strength. Every man has his own strengths and shortcomings, surely you do understand this logic? Furthermore, I am interested not in what they are now, but what they can become. If they can show sufficient potential, they will pass my examination too!” Wang Chong said with a chuckle.
“Thank you, gongzi!”
“Everyone, let’s hurry up and set up the chessboards!”
Before Xu Qiqin could say a word, the examinees in the Chess Hall were already pumped up once more. Even though they didn’t understand whatever Wang Chong was saying about “conventional warfare” and “novel warfare” either, it didn’t stop them from realizing a certain fact… they still had an opportunity to pass the examination!
Previously, when they had clashed with Xu Qiqin and were utterly crushed, they had lost all of their confidence.
However, Wang Chong’s words had relit their motivation and drive.
“Hmph, I don’t know what nonsense about conventional warfare and novel warfare you are talking about, but if you are that intent on giving them a chance, go ahead. Hurry up, let’s begin!” Xu Qiqin didn’t have the confidence to win a verbal argument against Wang Chong in a field she was unfamiliar with, so she chose to sit down and pull the chessboard towards Wang Chong instead.
As long as I defeat you, you won’t be able to act that arrogantly around me anymore!, Xu Qiqin thought indignantly inside.
In the month that Wang Chong had been out carrying out his mission, rage and frustration had been bubbling up inside of her as she prepared her ultimate move.
With the advancement in her skills, she would like to see how the other party could keep his head up before her once he fell in defeat to her!
Looking at Xu Qiqin’s furious expression, Wang Chong couldn’t help but chuckle within. Flinging his sleeves, he leisurely took a seat before her.
“I will go first this time!” Xu Qiqin said decisively.
“Oh, why?” Wang Chong asked casually.
“Of course it’s because I am a lady!” Xu Qiqin was about to say those words when she suddenly realized that she was currently disguised as a man. Naturally, she couldn’t say these words or she would be exposed in an instant.
“Hmph, can’t you just let me this once?” Xu Qiqin frowned in displeasure.
“Sure, go ahead.” Wang Chong replied calmly, but on the inside, he was nearly laughing his guts out.
He had noticed that Xu Qiqin had nearly said something out of reflex, and he could roughly guess what she was intending to say as well.
She probably couldn’t imagine that her identity had been exposed long ago.
At the same time, there was some commotion around the room as everyone pushed the tables and chairs around and prepared the chessboards. Just like that, the examination began.
To an ordinary person, facing twenty people simultaneously was something impossible for a single reason; it was simply too exhausting to keep track of everything!
However, to those in the Chess Hall, they were already accustomed to Wang Chong’s fearsome capability on the chessboard, and they already thought of it as something natural.
This examination started with Wang Chong and Xu Qiqin’s game, just like the previous time.
Wang Chong took the white stones and Xu Qiqin took the black.
A black stone fell heavily on the corner of the chessboard.
When this stone fell, Wang Chong couldn’t help but frown. This first move was completely unlike Xu Qiqin’s style the previous time he played with her, or any formations that he knew of at that.
With just this single move, an eerie atmosphere seemed to emerge from the chessboard.
Vaguely, Wang Chong seemed to feel the other party’s hostility towards him through this move.
Raising his gaze subconsciously, he met with Xu Qiqin’s eyes, only to see a hint of glee in the other party’s gaze.
Hmph, looking down on me? This time, I came prepared!
Xu Qiqin’s lips curled up slightly. She could already tell what Wang Chong was thinking of. Over the previous month, she had been spending day after day studying the game she had with Wang Chong.
She scrutinized Wang Chong’s playing style, formations, and even the underlying intention behind every single move he made so as to corner him perfectly this time around.
She had the absolute confidence that if Wang Chong still played as he did the previous time, she would definitely be able to have him cornered from the start to the end.
If she didn’t have such confidence, she wouldn’t have come to challenge Wang Chong!
Oh? It seems like she had put in quite a bit of effort. A smile emerged on Wang Chong’s lips. How could Xu Qiqin’s little ploy escape his gaze?
…But a pity it is that it is useless!
Xu Qiqin had underestimated him too much. If that was the limit to his capability, he might very well make a fool out of himself today.
However, from the start to the end, he had never shown his true strength either. Besides, that wasn’t the only playing style and formation that he knew.
“Adapting to changes with the versatility of a water.” His playing had already transcended mere styles and formations. He had reached a level where he was not limited by conventional playing styles, and he could easily cope with whatever that came his way.
Xu Qiqin might have studied his playing style in the previous game thoroughly, but ultimately, all she had come into contact with was just the tip of the glacier.
A white stone fell without any hesitation. A single move, but it left Xu Qiqin’s face pale. She realized that Wang Chong had moved in a style contrary to how he had previously.
If Wang Chong previous style was illusory and brilliant, his current style could be stable and consistent. It didn’t feel like something that had come from someone of his age, rather like another soul had taken control of that young body.
“Heh, weren’t you curious to know what conventional warfare and novel warfare is? Today, let me show you the simplest version of conventional warfare! I shall use the simplest conventional warfare to crush you!” Wang Chong declared majestically, with an aura reminiscent of a powerful general.
“Stop bragging over there. If you wish to boast, do it only after you have beat me!” Unable to withstand Wang Chong’s provocations, her face reddened in agitation.
The appearance could be easily altered, but the temperament couldn’t. Xu Qiqin was trying to play an elegant young master, but at this moment, she had neglected that her face had reddened far too often for a man.
Wang Chong glanced at her nonchalantly, choosing not to point that out as he continued the game with Xu Qiqin.
Pah! Pah! Pah!
One by one, black stones and white stones fell on the chessboard. By the fifth move, Xu Qiqin’s face had already gone completely pale.
In this moment, she had realized that the month she had spent carefully deciphering Wang Chong’s moves was in vain. The latter’s current playing style was completely different from the one he had used before. It was stable and consistent, but extremely aggressive at that.
“The edgeless greatsword doesn’t require meticulous forging”, this was exactly the feeling which Wang Chong was giving her at this very moment. His moves were dull and unimpressive, but it carried a powerful momentum that left an immense pressure on her.
(TL Note: This saying means that true swordsmanship lies in one’s skill and not the edge of the sword.)
In fact, she felt even more stressed than she was when she faced him the first time.
“The greatest of sound is soundless, and the greatest of form is formless. The crux of conventional warfare is to crush one’s enemies with incredible momentum through outmaneuvering them. If the enemy moves not, I will move not. If the enemy moves, I will outmove him. It seems like you don’t even comprehend the simplest logic behind conventional warfare!” Wang Chong looked at Xu Qiqin and shook his head before standing up and heading to the other examinees.
There were a total of twenty men attending the examination. Even though they had their confidence shattered by Xu Qiqin just a moment ago, there were still a few who were worth grooming.
“Hmph, what are you getting gleeful about? I don’t believe that I will lose to you!” Xu Qiqin glared at Wang Chong’s back viciously as she grit her teeth, determined to defeat Wang Chong.
“Hehe!” Wang Chong could guess what she was doing without even turning around, but he paid her no heed and walked straight to the other examinees.
A white stone fell on the chessboard. From the first examinee to the last one, Wang Chong would only halt for a brief instant before making his move and moving on. There were more than twenty examinees, but he could make a round through them in just a few moments.
As the game progressed, Xu Qiqin’s pace gradually slowed down. In the time which Wang Chong and the examinees had already placed five stones each, she could have only placed one, and that was already one of the shorter durations she had taken to make a move.
Time slowly ticked by, and soon, the other twenty examinees had already caught up with Xu Qiqin’s progress. On the other hand, Xu Qiqin’s face was turning paler by the moment, and sweat began to drench her back.
The more she contemplated Wang Chong’s moves, the more vividly she felt the edge contained in Wang Chong’s playing style. Every time Wang Chong placed a stone, she would feel her heart beating furiously in apprehension.
Xu Qiqin was still able to cope in the earlier stages, but as Wang Chong built up his momentum and swept through the chessboard, she swiftly found her stones being conquered, and eventually, she could only tussle with Wang Chong by the corners.
“I won’t lose. I definitely won’t lose!” Xu Qiqin clenched her fists so tightly that her fingernails were digging deep into her flesh. A person as proud as her could never accept losing to the same person twice.
Not to mention a lad who was younger than her!
While Xu Qiqin was still struggling with her nigh defeated army, ‘pah!’, with a resounding smack from Wang Chong’s white stone, the first examinee to clear had emerged.
“Congratulations, you have passed the examination!”
“This is wonderful! ——”
Excited, the examinee leapt up and cheered in delight.
“You must be joking! Even that fellow is qualified to pass the examination?”
Xu Qiqin had been feeling stifled all this while, and upon seeing Wang Chong passing one of those whom she had defeated just a moment ago, she finally came to the limits of her tolerance.
“Do you know how weak that fellow is? He could only withstand forty moves from me before falling in defeat, and yet, you actually passed him? If even someone of his ability can pass, what would be the point of this examination?” Xu Qiqin complained in dissatisfaction.
“Then, how many moves did you use?” Wang Chong asked calmly.
“… 46.” Surprised by Wang Chong’s question, Xu Qiqin answered blankly.
“There, you have your answer. That is the reason why he cleared the examination. He has already surpassed his limit,” Wang Chong replied calmly before moving on to the next examinee.