The second male lead of the novel makes his first appearance in this part. Enjoy reading!
Chapter 4: Surrender of the army, Part 7 of 7
The seventh day of training.
In the ever verdant and lush forest, during the day the dense foliage blocks the scorching sunshine, at night, the big branches and thick leaves equally keep the soft moonlight outside. Tonight although there’s a full moon up in the sky, the moonlight can only spill through slits in the branches reflecting on the ground a motley of innumerable shadows.
Inside the huge forest, shadows in the vast expanse, a tall shadow and a dense mass of shadows heaving up and down, it looked a bit strange. In addition to the sound of wind rustling through the leaves, the sound of rapid, rough gasps of breathing can be heard.
“One hundred and eighty, twenty more, persevere!” Clear and chilly, a stern female voice suddenly resounded in the forest.
In the dim light of the night, Gu Yun opened her eyes wide, intensely watching this group of soldiers she had trained for seven days, five hundred people were doing push-ups together, the people behind almost completely sunk into the darkness, if it were not for her excellent night vision, their every move is impossible to see clearly, conscientiously and persevering, fortunately they did not let her down.
The soldiers one after the other completed the task of two hundred push-ups. Gu Yun did not give them time to rest, immediately she yelled: “Line up.”
The soldiers were still quick to move, just because it was not daytime did not mean they could go easy, from time to time came the sound of bodies colliding with each other, it seemed that they were not very much suited to this mode of nighttime training.
Waiting until everyone had stood up, only then Gu Yun’s clear voice rang out: “Today is the seventh day of the training, you’re already more than halfway into the entire period, starting tonight, you have a new training content. It is to learn how to execute and complete the entire daytime training programs at night, at the same time making night operations into your expertise.”
Although one cannot say outright the surroundings was pitch-black, but to see things was basically difficult, to complete the day’s training programs at night was already very challenging, let alone to make them their expertise. Each person’s heart was beating wildly, in the darkness, many people could not see the expression on Gu Yun’s face, but their guess was, right now across her face must be cold indifference.
“Before you start training, first you have to undergo a test.”
Their hearts were now filled with uncertainties, in this pitch darkness a test? What test?
Gu Yun suddenly walked into the middle of the ranks, everyone stood up perfectly straight, however she only stopped at the boy’s side, and asked: “What’s your name?”
“Liu Xing.” Liu Xing immediately winced in fear, ever since that question about roudao the last time, Boss afterwards was constantly singling him out to do demonstrations, although ultimately he accomplished each demonstration, however each time it awfully terrified him! Tonight it is so dark, she should not see him! Before Liu Xing could finish reassuring himself, Gu Yun already exclaimed, “step out of the ranks,” the command knocked him into despair. With a pained expression on his face, Liu Xing as if venting out his anger, bellowed loud, “Yes.”
Gu Yun laughed in spite of herself, asking him to step forward drove him behaving like he has to face death with equanimity? Pointing to a brawny lad two rows behind, Gu Yun said: “You, step forward.”
The brawny lad immediately stepped forward, yelled back: “Yes.”
Gu Yun was quite pleased making the two of them come forward, she observed tonight the two of them have very strong night vision capability. They were very far away from her yet they frequently looked to her in the eye, while a lot of the men when she watched them their faces looked so vacant and at a loss.
In this era there are no infrared night-vision goggles, one has to totally rely on the eyes to see things. She must test their night vision capability to decide well concerning the deployment during the night raid battle. But judging from their performance tonight, she decided to use the most simple eye test, after all not all men can meet the requirements for selection to join the elite forces.
Calling the two aside, Gu Yun whispered a few words in their ears, at first they were somewhat confused, afterwards they gradually understood, striding and running forward they stopped at a spot about hundred feet away from Gu Yun, two people stood apart on each side, one on the right, the other on the left.
Gu Yun stood in front of the troops, loudly commanded: “The first row attention, watch carefully their hand signals.”
Hand signals? The soldiers in the first row were all simultaneously struck dumb, a hundred of feet away, they can see well the two men, but also to watch their hand signals? Not only that, but there are two of them, whose hand signals to watch then? No chance to lament, no chance to quibble, they can only listen to Gu Yun’s yell, “Start.”
Upon hearing the order the two soldiers tacitly raised their hands, made a hand signal, doing this very briefly, after completing the task immediately they put down their hands. After a while, they performed the second hand signal, and the next doing this repeatedly for six times, and finally they stopped.
After the hand signals stopped, Gu Yun immediately raised her voice and said: “Just now they acted out six hand signals in succession, of these six, both gave the same signal five times, only one time it was different, I will count to three, afterwards simultaneously aloud tell me which was that in the sequence which you saw was different?”
“One, two, three.”
“Five.” Twenty-five men in the row, the outcome surprisingly less than ten called out the correct number, most people remained silent or were staring vacantly.
Gu Yun was very disappointed, this is only a test in the static state, according to this ratio, she would not be able to yield the estimated fifty people from this crop of young recruits for her elite forces. Secretly sighing, Gu Yun said in a low voice: “All who have not said five and those who did not speak, line up in formation to the right.”
“Yes.” Although they knew they failed the test, but they still straightened up their bodies and went to line up in rows to the far right.
“The second row attention …”
Soon, all the soldiers were tested, fortunately the soldiers in the rear performed well, eventually half of them passed the test of static night vision capability.
Leading them to circumvent the forest to go to the cliff where they had been drilling exercises for the past few days, the faint moonlight illuminated the rock wall, however the mountaintop above could hardly be seen. Gu Yun, pointing to the rock wall, her voice surprisingly colder than the moonlight, “tonight you start doing night climbing training. Although it’s the same rock wall, climbing it at night is treacherous a hundred times more than during the day. The soldiers on the right are in charge of pulling the ropes below. The soldiers on the left divide and form teams of fifty people. Three teams each of fifty men will climb together every time. I want to see, not the individual who reaches the cliff top first, but which team is the fastest in completing the entire team summit mission. Do you understand?”
“Yes!” The simultaneous and resonant response appeared to indicate a high morale. But this loud chant not only pleased Gu Yun very well, it also jolted and awakened someone who was sleeping in the darkness on top of a century-old parasol tree behind the mountain.
Dark eyes swiftly opened, a pair of cold eyes as cold as a deep pool and an aura of indifference within, the tall, well-built figure leaned over and jumped, graceful and quick as a leopard the man’s silhouette has already leaped to the highest bough of the tree, his silver hair beneath the moonlight like a reflection of light across the night sky.
Ao Tian leaned against the tree trunk, coldly watching, he saw a group of hundreds of soldiers not far away gathering in the side of the cliff wall beneath the mountain’s peak, he could not figure out what they want to do there. The reason why he recognized these people to be soldiers was because this place is a part of the territory of the General Manor, such a large group of people, if they’re not soldiers, it is impossible to show up here. Across his dark eyes flitted a trace of impatience and disgust, Ao Tian was just about to leave, when not far away he heard a clear, resonant and fierce female voice commanding, “start training.”
A woman in the army? Such a curiosity rarely roused in his lifetime made Ao Tian halt his footsteps, squinting his eyes, he saw just after this command was issued out, hundreds of soldiers immediately lined up in rows, moving quickly they rushed to the wall, each seemed like a gecko, their motion smooth and easy. Ao Tian’s dark eyes gleamed in amazement. This altitude is certainly nothing for people with superior qing gong skills, but for the average person, this indeed is impossible. Training all these soldiers to be good in climbing, turning them to be experts is not an easy feat to accomplish at all, let alone a woman doing it, how could this be possible? As a bounty hunter, he ought not miss this kind of information.
A solitary shadow leaped down and went towards the cliff wall.
“People above pay attention in seeking the climbing path, sharpen your eyes, be accurate, your swift moves must be precise!” Gu Yun clasped her arms around her chest, her brows wrinkled more and more tightly, she anticipated already that on the first night climbing will be relatively more difficult, but it had not occurred to her that they unexpectedly will not even be able to find the paths!
And there were even people falling!
Gu Yun angrily hollered: “People who fell down, listen to me, line up last in the queue, do not obstruct the people behind you climbing up. Quick! Quick! Quick! Moving this slow, you fell asleep ah!”
Ao Tian came to the cliff wall behind the forest, half leaning against a tree trunk, he secretly watched the team of people not far away from him, his dark eyes slightly narrowed, staring coldly his smile disbelieving, the voice of this bizarre woman was too loud, who is she? In the Su family army, when is there a woman involved in their affairs?
Although not far away, but in the midst of the dark forest, it was practically pitch-dark, he believed that no one would discover him. Unfortunately, just when he came out to watch, unexpectedly the woman suddenly turned her head around and stared straight towards his direction. Ao Tian was a bit startled, retreated his body, and stealthily hid himself behind the stout trunk.
Keen eyes scanned the forest thoroughly, not finding any suspicious spot, just a moment ago she undoubtedly had an uncanny feeling of being watched, but she could not be sure, was it just figment of her imagination? Unless … the person left already?
After repeatedly sweeping her eyes and not finding anything, Gu Yun eventually took her eyes off. Ao Tian continued to lean back against the tree trunk, remaining motionless the whole time, taking precautions against a quite suspicious mind of a prey, he did not hurry to leave. It bothered him a bit because actually very few people can track his whereabouts, she’s extremely sharp, unless today he was not up to his own standards?
No longer feeling the sense of being spied, Gu Yun’s mind focused once more to the soldiers. After a while, several groups have already completed their tasks. Perhaps they knew they haven’t performed well, perhaps because of the disapproving look in Gu Yun’s face, the group of strong young men cautiously stood, lined up in formation, the atmosphere was tense with everyone holding his breath.
Silence reigned for a long time, everyone’s heart began to panic when Gu Yun’s cold voice declared: “Today the fastest was the third group led by Leng Xiao, but it was Ge Jing Yun’s team which delivered the best performance.”
Turning towards the perpetually wooden face of Leng Xiao, Gu Yun’s raised voice rang out: “Leng Xiao out of the line.”
“Yes.” Leng Xiao immediately stepped forward.
Gu Yun asked nonchalantly: “Do you know why your team did not perform the best?”
“I don’t know.” Indifferent and a tad rebellious saying the words, “I don’t know”, revealing nothing at all.
He doesn’t know? Very well! What she most can do without in her team is someone defiant! Slowly advancing forward, she stopped directly before Leng Xiao, Gu Yun slowly and emphatically said: “each one scrambled to be first, completely lacking method and order, let alone a good spirit of teamwork, you failed to lead this group of men, the biggest fault lies in your dereliction of duty! Now do you understand?”
This woman barely reaching his chest, yet she’s able to compel him with such a strong sense of pressure, Leng Xiao inwardly took a deep breath, and replied: “Yes.”
“Good that you understand! Tomorrow you lead your tonight’s team of people, leapfrog from the camp to the assembly point in the forest, whoever refuses to leap or arrives late, immediately get lost before me!”
Leng Xiao’s face immediately blackened, within the formation the sound of appalled people sucking cold lumps of air was heard. This isn’t just a question of being exhausting, but it’s very humiliating ah!
After uttering such words Gu Yun dismissed Leng Xiao and went over to Ge Jing Yun, retaining her nonchalant tone she asked: “Do you know why your group was not fast enough?”
The hairs of everyone in Ge Jing Yun’s team all stood on end, extremely fearful that he will also display some temperament and yell back he does not know, if he’ll do so they are sure to suffer!
Fortunately unflustered Ge Jing Yun kept silent for a moment, before he replied: “We didn’t move quickly enough.”
Hah! He wants the easy way out! Gu Yun unceremoniously roared: “Poor judgment! Wrong choice of path, slow movement, coordination and flexibility both poor. Tomorrow with your team members do three hundred chin-ups.”
Many people heaved a sigh of relief, although chin-ups are equally tiring, but fortunately they will not lose face.
Utterly baffled, tonight for some reason she had an odd, uncanny feeling, as if behind her back there was always someone watching closely, such a very weird feeling indeed. Taking a look at the height of the moon, it was around two o’clock, Gu Yun decided to end the evening’s training, “Today is the first time to train climbing in the night, in the following days there will be a second time, a third time. The training content will constantly change, I will not allow the same mistake a second time! Tomorrow assembly time is still at mao shi, return to the camp.”
The soldiers in formation remained rooted to the spot for a long time, Gu Yun looked to a soldier who started to speak yet hesitated to continue, she inquired: “What’s the matter?”
Taking deep breaths several times and feeling a bit nervous and somewhat dejected he asked: “Boss, we, who didn’t pass the test, we’re not qualified anymore to participate in the night raid battle? We want to take part in it!” They could not see people far away and see them clearly, but they still want the chance to compete, because they are soldiers!
So, they were worrying about this! The unwavering dedication brilliantly reflected in the eyes of the young man moved Gu Yun, Gu Yun smiled, patting firmly his shoulder she replied: “Who says you all cannot participate? The test a while ago was merely for me to be able to determine the division of tasks, everyone will have his place, so train hard!” Even if they cannot qualify to join the elite forces, nothing hinders them from becoming outstanding soldiers.
Within the formation cries of delight echoed. Gu Yun could not help but laugh, scolding them, she barked: “still not hurrying up to head back to the camp? Don’t you want to sleep?!”
“Yes.” A group of overjoyed men went back to the camp.
Following behind them, Gu Yun now and then turned her head around, looking at the patch of the lush deep forest, was it really just her imagination?
The troops walked away farther and farther, until they almost disappeared in sight, Ao Tian slowly came out from behind the tree trunk. Deep dark eyes stared intensely at the lean petite woman who had been constantly yelling, his mind increasingly puzzled over, among those tough and stocky soldiers surprisingly not even one dared to yell back at her? Just who exactly is she?