Volume 32, Chapter 421.1: Rumbles from Afar

Today’s training was on fighting together as a team.

The recruits were separated into several rows, and some held up shields, while others grasped spears. The shields were placed in front, while the spears were held in preparation behind the shields. The recruits were required to do everything neatly and in synchronicity with every step they took.

The equipment they were using for training had been specially enhanced – It was twice as heavy as their regular equipment, and was used to train the recruits’ bodies and stability.

“Go!” Zhuang Tian hollered at the recruits.

The soldiers holding shields took a step forward in unison and raised their shields. They were adjusted to uniformity after today’s training. Formations were very effective in a war, and an army which had gone through disciplined training could rely on formations to fight against scattered soldiers with numbers multiple times their own.

The recruits holding spears quickly stepped after the recruits holding shields and pointed their spears forwards as they aimed at the cracks between the shields. They moved as if they were about to lash out at any moment.

Every time Zhuang Tian shouted loudly, the formation shifted one step forward as a whole. The formation followed his various commands, and different recruits moved at different speeds and with different footwork.

Small Team One’s movements were the neatest amongst the teams. Small Team One’s leader, Tang Dong, was holding a spear, while vice-team leader Dai Luoli was holding a shield. They lead their entire small team, and they made sure that every action was done properly.

After today’s observation, Zhuang Tian was sure that he would make sure that these two people were promoted to actual small team leaders after their basic military training was over. Soldiers of such quality were few and far between!

At this moment, a horseman came riding towards them from a distance. Dai Luoli was fully concentrated on completing his training when his frame suddenly froze as he saw this rider’s figure. He subconsciously glanced at Huo Yuhao behind him.

This rider moved very quickly, and arrived in the blink of an eye.

“Attention!” Zhuang Tian hollered at everyone.

The recruits holding shields withdrew their shields in front of their chests, while the soldiers holding spears planted their spears vertically on the ground as they stood up straight.

“Battalion commander, ma’am!” Zhuang Tian saluted the rider. The little princess, Xu Yun, was the one who had ridden here.

Xu Yun could see Dai Luoli and Huo Yuhao with one look because they were standing in front of their group. She had just woken up after she had fainted, and she realized that the sky was already bright when she woke up, while she was back in her own tent. If waves of pain hadn’t been coming from her abdomen, she would have actually thought what happened yesterday was all just a dream. However, that dream was just too real.

When she saw with her own eyes that Dai Luoli was standing in formation in perfect condition, she heaved a big sigh of relief. However, her eyebrows went vertical when she saw Huo Yuhao.

Of course, what happened last night couldn’t possibly be a dream. Up until now, her abdomen was still throbbing agonizingly after being kicked twice last night.

Xu Yun was instantly infuriated when she saw Tang Dong standing solemnly within the formation. This bastard really knows how to pretend! Shall I expose him?

Xu Yun immediately extinguished this thought as soon as it appeared in her head. The reason for that was simple; both Dai Luoli and Tang Dong were both standing in formation perfectly. She thought back to everything that had happened last night, and she really wasn’t sure why Tang Dong had joined the military. If he was a spy, he would have killed Dai Luoli and her a long time ago. If that was the case, how could Dai Luoli continue his military training with his body in perfect condition!

Xu Yun nodded in Zhuang Tian’s direction as thoughts spun in her head. “Large Team Leader Zhuang, how is the recruits’ training going?”

Zhuang Tian answered respectfully, “The recruits’ performance is alright. Small Team One’s performance is especially outstanding among them. They all have good potential.” Zhuang Tian was never stingy with compliments about his outstanding subordinates.

“Oh? They’ve only been training for one month, and you’re describing them as outstanding? Seems like they’re quite impressive, after all. Soldiers can improve best when they are in actual combat. Why don’t we do this... let my personal bodyguards accompany them for a practice battle. Shi Shuo, call my bodyguards.”

Shi Shuo hesitated for a moment, and glanced at Zhuang Tian. Even though they didn’t know where Xu Yun was from, they could faintly guess that this beautiful battalion commander came from an aristocratic family, and she was likely here to gilt her family. Therefore, the few of them were only respectful on the surface this entire time. 

Letting her personal bodyguards have a practice battle with recruits... did the battalion commander actually think of that?

Battalion commanders had their own personal bodyguards. One medium team was assigned as a battalion commander’s bodyguard, and they usually comprised the most outstanding soldiers in the battalion.

“What? Were my words not clear enough?” Xu Yun frowned deeply, and a formless pressure was unleashed from her body.

Zhuang Tian glared at Shi Shuo, and Shi Shuo hurriedly answered respectfully before jogging away.

Only then did Zhuang Tian turn towards Xu Yun with some hesitation in his expression. “Battalion commander… your personal bodyguards are all the best of the best. Don’t you think they’re a little overqualified for combat practice with these recruits? Why don’t we let these recruits spar amongst themselves?”

Xu Yun waved her hand and said, “I want to show them how big the gap is between them and real soldiers. Don’t worry, my bodyguards know their limits.”

In the military, even a difference of one rank meant the lower-ranked officer would have to listen to orders. Zhuang Tian was feeling a little dispirited inside, but he couldn’t say anything against her wishes.

It didn’t take long before a squad of fifty soldiers jogged over neatly. These soldiers all seemed like they had wide waists and large arms, and everyone had a shield in their left hand, a long knife strapped to their waist, and was wearing leather armor. They were all Privates First Class, and in addition to the fact that their rows were very neat, they seemed very intimidating.

“Reporting, ma’am. Your personal bodyguards are all in position.” The medium team leader of Xu Yun’s bodyguards was a youth that looked especially tough and muscular. His eyes sparkled, and there were clearly some other things besides respect in his eyes as he stared at Xu Yun.

Xu Yun nodded and said, “The recruits that Zhuang Tian is responsible for have performed excellently. Wang Yue, pick thirty people and have a practice fight with Small Team One from the recruits. Your knives cannot leave their sheaths, and nobody can get hurt. Do you understand?”

Wang Yue’s eyes sparkled as he shouted, “Understood!” He didn’t need Xu Yun to instruct him. The battalion commander’s decision to allow her bodyguards to have a practice fight against these recruits means one of two things: either she wants to teach the large team leader a lesson, or there are some troublemakers among the recruits who have made her angry. We’ll just teach them a lesson.

“Small Team One, Two, and Three! Step out!” Wang Yue hollered at the top of his voice, and thirty guards swiftly jogged out and arranged themselves in one line.

Zhuang Tian came up beside Huo Yuhao and whispered, “Tang Dong, I’m not sure why the battalion commander wants to have a practice fight like this, but you have to be careful, and focus on defense. These fellows from her team of bodyguards are very rough and violent. Make sure you keep your formation in order. I’ll ask the battalion commander to stop after you guys have held on for a little while.”

“Yes, sir,” Huo Yuhao acknowledged, but he was a little amused. This little princess is so childish! She wants to target me, but too bad for her, I am Small Team One’s team leader. But is there any meaning to this? Does she think that her personal bodyguards can force me to release my martial soul?

“Listen up, Small Team One. Take three steps forward together and separate into two rows. Prepare for battle!” Huo Yuhao shouted at his team.

Small Team One’s recruits stared at those bodyguards who had backs like tigers and waists like bears, and their faces turned yellow with fear. But strangely, after Huo Yuhao shouted at them, they all felt galvanized and invigorated, as if they had been injected with stimulants. They didn’t seem afraid of the opponents in front of them anymore, and everyone took three broad steps forward with their chins raised. Those who were holding spears turned their spears around at the same time. They were having a practice fight after all, and using their spears’ handles prevented anyone from getting hurt.

Xu Yun waved her hand and said, “Begin!”

Wang Yue personally joined the formation, and eyed the recruits in front him mockingly as he shouted, “Shields, up!”

The guards raised the shields in their left hands, their right hands grasping long knives that were still sheathed. These long knives were different from those of normal foot soldiers. Foot soldiers’ knives didn’t have sheaths, but these bodyguards had long knives that came with sheaths, and their blades were made of steel. The sheaths made them more than twice as heavy as normal knives, and one needed a certain standard of strength to wield one.

“Charge!” Wang Yue shouted at the top of his voice, and the thirty bodyguards charged furiously and in unison at the recruits.

There were only thirty soldiers, but these bodyguards had been through much training and were cherry-picked. Their fighting strength was far superior to normal soldiers, and they pushed forward with large strides at incredible speed while maintaining their formation at the same time.

“Shields, bow stance; spears, barricade stance!” Huo Yuhao hollered. He didn’t intend to use his abilities to affect this practice combat. Instead, he wanted to use the things he had learned today in his training. After his shout reignited the other recruits’ will to fight, he didn’t intend to use any soul power or spiritual power.

The recruits in the front row held their shields with both hands as they took a bow stance and placed their shields in front of them. They used a stance that was meant to barricade against a charge, and spears protruded through the gaps between two shields. The spears’ tips were planted diagonally onto the ground, as if they were repelling cavalry. The shields in a bow stance, in addition to the spears in a barricade stance, were normally used against cavalry, but Huo Yuhao still commanded them to use this tactic against the bodyguards who were rushing at them. Of course, the spear tips were supposed to be pointing forward in normal situations.

Wang Yue was a little stunned, but immediately recovered and ordered, “Slow down, draw your blades and slash them!”

The bodyguards instantly slowed down when they were less than ten meters from the recruits. They raised their knives with their right hands and prepared to attack. Right at that moment, Huo Yuhao suddenly shouted, “Charge at full speed!”

The recruits holding shields in a bow stance instantly charged forward at full speed, while those who were holding spears followed closely behind. Huo Yuhao himself was holding a spear, and rushed right towards Wang Yue. Furthermore, he deliberately made sure that he was moving a little faster than his comrades, and he ran forward shoulder-to-shoulder with Dai Luoli. He whispered something in Dai Luoli’s ear there.

Dai Luoli didn’t really feel much about this contest, but his eyes instantly became sharp when he heard Huo Yuhao’s words. Dai Luoli suddenly erupted with speed as he bolted forward and went straight for Wang Yue.

Wang Yue swung his long blade disdainfully against his sudden burst of speed, and sliced down with his sheathed blade at Dai Luoli.

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Translated by: cy
Edited by: GNE and RED

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