Chapter 120 Duelling Corner (1)
Looking at the sea of army camps in the distance, Shangguan Fei’er looked at Zhou Weiqing and said: “Zhou Little Fatty, which Regiment should we join?”
Zhou Weiqing said: “It doesn’t matter which one we join, let’s just go to the closest one.”
The pair placed their Ghost Demon Horses back into their Spatial Rings, before walking towards the nearest army camp.
As they got closer, they realised that in the outskirts of each of the five hundred metre sized camp, there was a unique structure. It was round in shape, and was pretty large, almost a hundred metre in diametre, though it was extremely simple in design; just almost like a large circular rock, without even a cover. They could not see what was going on inside, but there were many soldiers entering and exiting the structure.
Instantly, Zhou Weiqing thought to himself. This should be the so called Duelling Corner!
As they got closer to the army camp, all of a sudden, a unit consisting of ten light cavalry soldiers came charging forth, stopping right in front of them.
These light cavalry soldiers were garbed in light leather armour, with a sabre sheathed at their waist and long bow on their backs. On the sides of their horses hung two quivers each, and the heads of their mounts were protected by leather armour. Coupled with the blue army uniform of the ZhongTian Empire Army, they looked valiant, with a ferocious aura.
“Halt!” The leader of the unit shouted towards Zhou Weiqing and Shangguan Fei’er. “This is a restricted military zone, do not enter.”
Zhou Weiqing quickly put forth his signature honest smile, saying: “This big bro, we are here to join the army.”
“Join the army?” The cavalry unit leader gave them a long measuring look before nodding, saying: “From the looks of your stature, you should be fine. As for him… he might be slightly lacking.” Naturally, the one who was ‘lacking’ was the slender Shangguan Fei’er.
Shangguan Fei’er had never been criticized to the face all her life, and instantly she was angered. However, before she could lose her temper, Zhou Weiqing hastily grabbed onto her hands and pressed on them as a signal.
Shangguan Fei’er knew that he was signalling her not to lose her temper, but having her hand grabbed by him so suddenly, she suddenly felt her heart race a little. Zhou Weiqing’s hands were very hot, his large hands stable and thick, and being held by him, she did not know why but feel a sense of safety. At that moment, she somehow swallowed the angry words on her lips.
“Come with me then.” Under the leadership of the unit leader, the cavalry unit wheeled around and headed towards the army camp. Zhou Weiqing quickly pulled Shangguan Fei’er along, following behind the unit.
With the escort of the cavalry unit, they quickly reached the abovementioned round structure, and the cavalry unit leader dismounted.
“Sixteenth Regiment Brothers, anyone around?” He yelled out loud towards the round building.
Almost immediately, three men headed out from within. They were infantry soldiers, also dressed in leather armour, but much thicker and covering more. Their weapon was also a long spear, not the sabre that the light cavalry units had.
“What is it?” One of the tallest, stoutest infantry soldiers stepped forward and asked.
The cavalry unit leader pointed towards Zhou Weiqing and Shangguan Fei’er before saying: “These two young men want to join the army, I’ll leave them to you then.”
The tall infantry soldier laughed heartily and said: “Thanks a lot. Alright, you two come with me.” As he said that, he beckoned towards Zhou Weiqing and Shangguan Fei’er.
At this point, Zhou Weiqing had let go of Shangguan Fei’er’s hands. After all, in others’ eyes, they were both men, and if they continued holding hands, that would be extremely strange.
The registration process was actually held in this round building, and Zhou Weiqing’s interest was immediately sparked, quickly following. He also noticed that the other infantry soldiers had naturally taken positions around them, clearly they were not too trusted right away.
As soon as they entered the round building, the pair of them instantly felt a searing hot aura emanate from within.
The inside of the round building was extremely simple, perhaps more so than even its exterior. In the circular interior were lined with metal stands of different size and height. It was clear that they were very well built and stable, just very simple. At that moment, they were all seated full of people. Right in the center was a large empty patch of land; besides the central area of about thirty square metres which was a circular stage fully carved out of stone, the other areas were split into ten different zones, and there were different fights going on in all zones.
The area was a cacophony of noise, cheers, joyous cries, angry cries and even some unknown yells.
Just entering the area, even Zhou Weiqing and Shangguan Fei’er felt their emotions sparked, their blood boiling along with the crowd.
The tall infantry who had led them in smiled and said: “How is it? Our Duelling Corner isn’t too bad right? Come on, let me help you register first; later on if you are interested, you can come and play in the Duelling Corner. We of the Sixteenth Regiment respect the strong and brave!”
As he said that, he brought the pair to the corner at the deeper end of the building, where there were several tables lined up. Stepping behind the tables, he brought out a huge book from under the table.
“One by one, your names.”
“Zhou Little Fatty.” Once again, Zhou Weiqing used his familiar alias. What followed next was a simple registration process. Zhou Little Fatty and Shangguan Fei, both citizens of the ZhongTian Empire.
Very soon, the registration process was complete, and the tall soldier passed them each a simple metal plaque, saying: “Alright, from now on, you are a part of our Sixteenth Regiment, and this is your identification plaque. Firstly, there are a few things to note that I’ll inform you about now. Our Sixteenth Regiment is part of the Empire’s Seventh Legion, which consists of Ten Regiments in total. Although you have already been conscripted, you will still need to be given your assignments depending on your abilities. After all, if your abilities aren’t up to speed, you will be assigned to the logistics or cooking division, so you all must work hard.”
The entrance exam is actually very easy; later on you will each join a beginner’s competition in the Duelling Corner. If you win, that means you have passed the exam. Of course, you can continue fighting as long as you win, and the more rounds you win, the better the assignment and service arm. Naturally, if you do well, you do not even need to join the recruit training, otherwise you will need to go through that. Amongst our service arms, the best is of course our heavy cavalry team, but in order to enter that, you will also have to go through specialised training.”
Zhou Weiqing said curiously: “Big bro, can you please tell us about the rules of the Duelling Corner? In the Tian Bei City, I heard that if we do well here, we can even be promoted to be an officer.”
The tall soldier smiled a little disdainfully, saying: “Little bro, it isn’t that easy to become an army officer. In every Duelling Corner, there are countless of soldiers hoping to take this shortcut to reach the heavens at a single bound, to make a name for themselves at once. Alas, the success stories are far and few between. Well, since you are interested in knowing, I will tell you anyway; it is pretty much the same for all Regiments.”
“You should have seen for yourself, our Duelling Corner is made up of the ten smaller zones and the central stage zone. For the ten outer zones, anyone can join in, and they are also what I referred to earlier as the beginner’s competition. All the fights are carried out without the use of any weapons, and only if one wins ten rounds consecutively in the beginner’s competition do they have the qualification to enter the intermediate competition. At the same time, in doing so, they can get a direct promotion to become a Squad Leader. After which, there are a total of twenty intermediate ringmasters in charge of the intermediate competitions, and they will draw lots to compete with the one who has won ten rounds consecutively in the beginner’s competition. Similarly, if that person wins five of these intermediate ringmasters consecutively, he will be directly promoted to being a Company Leader, leading a hundred men! At the same time, he will also be given the opportunity to challenge our Regiment’s overall arena ringmaster. Do you understand?”
Zhou Weiqing said: “What if I defeat the overall arena ringmaster? Do I become a Battalion Leader?”
The tall soldier laughed heartily, saying: “Young lad, don’t try to run before you learn how to walk, lest you bite off more than you can chew. Just with you, you are dreaming of defeating the overall arena ringmaster? Stop dreaming. Alright, come on, I’ll bring you to the beginner’s competition area.”
Led by the tall soldier, Zhou Weiqing and Shangguan Fei’er followed him to one of the ten beginner zones. Stopping in his tracks, the tall soldier explained: “In the beginner’s competition zone, every victory will have a reward of a silver coin. At the same time, the competitor can also bet on themselves, but each time only one silver coin. Audience members are not allowed to bet. Do you understand?”
Zhou Weiqing nodded and said: “I understand.”
The tall soldier continued: “Very well, you just wait here for now, I will arrange for you to get a fight as soon as possible, so you just stay here and prepare yourselves. Let me warn you first, all of our brothers here have been through the fires of war, have bled and killed in real combat, so they aren’t as easy to deal with.”
At the side of each beginner’s competition zone, there were a few men in charge of the zone. For the one that they were at, there were two men fully dressed in ring mail and wearing helmets, tipped with a red feather.
In the ZhongTian Army, an officer’s ranking could be differentiated from the feather in their helmet, according to the colours of the rainbow. From low to high, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. However, for an officer to have the feather in their helmet, they had to be at least a Company Leader or higher. That was to say, these two men were Company Leaders, relatively low ranked officers in the army.
The tall soldier stepped forward to report to the two Company Leaders respectfully, and one of them nodded to him, saying something softly.
After a while, the tall soldier returned to Zhou Weiqing and Shangguan Fei’er’s side, saying: “Come, follow me.”
It just happened to be a break between fights, as the previous fight in this zone had just ended, and the zone was quickly cleared out.
The tall soldier led Zhou Weiqing and Shangguan Fei’er to the two Company Leaders, both of whom looked to be about thirty years of age, large and robust in stature. Although they were not as large and overstated as Lin TianAo, Crow or Ma Qun, in terms of figure they were pretty much the same as Zhou Weiqing.
Looking at Zhou Weiqing’s healthy, robust body, the two Company Leaders nodded satisfactorily, and one of them said: “Alright, send two brothers to play with the newbies next round, let’s see how they do. Be cautious, don’t use too much force and injure our fresh recruits.”
Zhou Weiqing signalled to Shangguan Fei’er with his eyes, and she understood his meaning. Naturally, he was reminding her not to reveal too much of her power, especially her Heavenly Jewels. After glaring at him for a split second, she strode ahead into the fighting zone.
Looking at the slender, almost delicate, frame of Shangguan Fei’er, who would be fighting first, the Company Leader on the left nodded his head and said: “Not bad, not bad, you are brave indeed. Give him a set of protective gear.”