Chapter 16 Fresh Recruit Tournament (1)
The reason why Xiao Se did not favor the 3rd Battalion’s fresh recruit Company was mainly because she had been watching critically during the recruit training, and had found that the First and Second Battalions both had many talented recruits. Although they may not be very accurate in shooting at a 200 yards distance, but they were at least able to shoot that far, and with an acceptable control. In comparison, the Third and Fourth Battalions’ recruits were obviously not as good, although Mao Li Company Leader was quite good at leading, but it would be difficult to just fight against greater talents. With just a short training of a few months, it was not sufficient for hard work to make up for the lack of natural talent.
Zhou Weiqing was standing right beside Mao Li Company Leader, and said in a low voice: “Company Leader, can you point out all the skilled recruits on the opposing side to me.”
Mao Li looked at him questioningly, saying: “What are you planning?”
Zhou Weiqing grinned and took off the Purple Dawn Bow he was shouldering on his back, saying quietly: “I’ll make a roll call!”
Mao Li’s eyes brightened. He was originally very worried in his heart for this fight, and had not thought much about Zhou Weiqing participating in the Fresh Recruit Tournament. In his eyes, Zhou Weiqing had only practiced a little Heavenly Energy and might have slightly greater strength, but archery was skill dependant, and it was not just a matter of having some extra strength. However, when he heard Zhou Weiqing mentioning ‘Roll Call’, he was actually pleasantly surprised; that was because this terminology was only used amongst archers, and meant killing/sniping a target. It was generally only used by archers who had proper training from a master, to know such a term. Obviously, this Battalion Commander’s Personal Aide recruit, who had also ‘touched’ the Battalion Commander’s chest* was no mere simple recruit.
“Alright, that’s good. I’ll tell you now and you try to memorise it. On the opposite side, from the left, the fifth, ninth ……”
Shang Gong Bing Er was standing at the side watching the Fresh Recruit Tournament with a critical eye. Of course, she was paying most attention to Zhou Little Fatty naturally, and looking at him and Company Leader Mao Li talking in whispers, she was rather curious to what they were discussing.
“Battalion Commander, which side do you think will win at the end?” Xiao Se’s resounded out unharmoniously in Shang Gong Bing Er’s ear.
Shang Gong Bing Er turned her head and said: “Naturally it is our Third Battalion, I have confidence in Company Leader Mao Li’s leadership abilities.”
Xiao Se curled her lip, saying mockingly: “This is only the fresh recruit company, they are a crowd who have not gone to the battlefield, nor have they seen bloodshed, how can a simple few month training be of much use? Talent is the most important at this stage. Certainly, since Battalion Commander did not look in on the recruit training, you are naturally unclear on which side has the more talented recruits.”
Shang Gong Bing Er’s delicate eyebrows furrowed again, and she decided to no longer pay attention to Xiao Se, instead taking a step forward, shouting out loud: “The Fresh Recruit Tournament, Begin.”
The recruits in all three regions were covering a large and broad area of land, but with Shang Gong Bing Er’s shout, her clean delightful voice was clearly heard throughout the battlefield, her eighth level Heavenly Jing Energy giving her a very strong foundation in her Heavenly Energy.
On hearing Shang Gong Bing Er’s voice, Xiao Se gripped her fist. In truth, the greatest disappointment of her life was that she did not manage to Awaken her Power Jewels to becomes a Jewel Master. Although she had put in so much effort on other fronts and had some achievements, but she still could not change that fact.
As Shang Gong Bing Er issued the order, the Fresh Recruit Tournament formally started. The light infantry and Heavy Infantry sides both started their charge, while the four archery Companies also launched their first round salvo.
The recruits had after all gone through three months of recruit training, and this first round salvo was pretty decent, with both sides having 200 arrows directly soared towards the opposite line.
However, although the recruits had trained for three months, but it was still their first time facing off in combat like this, and their mood appeared to be very excited, causing many of the arrows to miss, and after they had taken their shot, they were standing around looking silly, watching their arrows fly.
Zhou Weiqing was mixed in the midst of a mass of recruits, and as he shot out an arrow, while the other recruits were still standing around gawking, he quickly retreated backwards, hiding behind the other recruits and squatting down to reduce the probability that the enemy arrows would hit him.
“Ahh, ahhh……” Screams resounded continuously, as recruit after recruit were hit by the the lime arrows, and under each Company Leader’s direction, they had to withdraw from the battlefield after being hit, and could no longer participate in the Fresh Recruit Tournament.
Zhou Weiqing listened the cries resounding out, and then he quickly stood up, his Purple Dawn Bow drawn in a full crescent, and while the other recruits were still looking at their first arrows, his second arrow was already in the air at lightning speed. With the power of the Purple Dawn Bow, how could those recruits dodge it? .
“Little Fatty, good archery.” Mao Li called out in pleasant surprise. Just like Zhou Weiqing had said earlier, as soon as his first arrow had shot out, he had successfully ‘Roll Called’ one of the outstanding recruits from the opposing Battalion pointed out by Mao Li.
However, compared with the pleasant surprise that Mao Li was showing, Shang Gong Bing Er’s expression was actually pretty ugly. As a Heavenly Jewel Master, her eyesight was naturally astonishing, and after this first round salvo, she saw clearly that the Third and Fourth Battalions had lost around 40 soldiers as compared to the First and Second Battalions only losing about 10 soldiers. Without a doubt, this really showed the huge disparity in the quality and talent of the recruits on both sides. No wonder Xiao Se had such a confident appearance.
After the first salvo was launched, Zhou Weiqing seemed to be a changed man, just like a swift and flexible leopard, the strength Purple Dawn Bow in his hands firing unceasingly like lightning, and every time he shot out an arrow, he always managed to use another recruit as cover, and only in that instance when he shot out an arrow would he appear in a quick flash.
At the beginning, the opposing First and Second Battalion did not really notice him, but after four to five rounds of salvos, as the Third and Fourth Battalions lost more than half of their recruits, Zhou Weiqing’s impressive rate of fire and accuracy immediately drew the attention of the opposing side’s Company Leaders.
In just that short amount of time, Zhou Weiqing had already “Roll Called” 11 people, causing them to leave the field. The Purple Dawn Bow was indeed an extremely strong bow, even though the arrowhead had been removed, the targets that he hit were unable to recover in a short period of time. Furthermore, his rate of fire was a lot higher than an ordinary longbow, and the opposing recruits did not have any way to dodge his arrows. Furthermore, Zhou Weiqing’s arrows were all quite accurate, almost always hitting his target’s chest area. With such a precision, to describe it as ‘Hundred Step Hit*’ was not overrating him.
*TL – 百步穿杨 A Chinese idiom denoting superb accuracy from archers. Arose from the Warring States Period where a Chu General was able to hit the leaves of trees from a hundred steps away.
“Focus fire on that sly little rascal.” One of the Company Leaders from the Second Battalions shouted out loud.
As soon as Zhou Weiqing shot forth his 12th, he immediately sensed that something was not right. Ever since his Heavenly Jewels had Awakened, he had found that his sensitivity and detection capabilities had increased manifold, and the sudden attention from the opposing Battalions sudden caused him to be alarmed immediately*. This fellow did not even hesitate for half a second, and immediately turned around and ran.
At this point, there were still more than 70 recruits remaining for the Third and Fourth Battalions, and from such a crowd having one recruit suddenly leap up, turn around and run off naturally caught the attention of all the observing military officers in the audience. At least two Company Leaders had attended the tournament from each of the Battalions, and with one directing the recruits, the remaining officers were gathered around Shang Gong Bing Er’s side. Since the archery Battalion’s tournament usually ended much faster, they were watching it first.