Chapter 10

Chapter 10: The Gentleman’s Six Arts are Meaningless for the Rough


“This is the horse you bought?” Although maybe not as strong as a warhorse, its muscles were well-developed. Bai Qi patted the horse as he gave his evaluation. “For ten gold, it can be counted as a good deal.”

His heart hid a feeling of shame.

He may be the dignified and respected Lord Wu’an, and he may hold the highest military title in Qin. But now his own poverty was acknowledged.

The household money is all managed by Wei Lan, and his own private stash wasn’t much. Twenty gold is already a painful amount to take out.

Granted, if he asked Wei Lan for money she’d certainly agree. But he only planned for it to be a temporary horse to Gu Nan to train on. Then he could gradually acclimate her to riding a proper warhorse.

But Gu Nan’s relatively dirt-cheap horse exceeded his expectations.

This horses didn’t seem as uncoordinated as most second-rate Mongolian horses. It looks fit and with sharp muscles. It doesn’t look very healthy, but that’s from an improper diet and can be gradually fixed.

But in his view, although this horse is good, that’s about it. It’s not a mighty warhorse and his disciple could soon find herself hindered by it.

Gu Nan leaned on the tree in the courtyard. “Oh, and Master, you said for me to buy a sword, so I got one on the way back. But… do I really need to learn swordsmanship? How about we just skip that, and I’ll stick with my spear?”

She took out the bronze sword and began to play with it. In all aspects, it’s just an ordinary Jian (Sword). What slightly shocked her were the advanced sword-forging techniques in Qin compared to the other states.

The bronze swords from other countries were only 50-60 cm (20-24in) and maybe the longest of 70 cm (27.5in). Comparatively, Qin could regularly produce swords 80 cm (31.5in) long, and it could even reach 90 or 95 cm (35/37in).

This way, when the Qin army fought, they could have another step of reach, greatly improving their combat effectiveness.

“Ah!”

Bai Qi stepped forward and flicked his disciple’s forehead. “What are you talking about? The sword is a weapon for close-combat. Your spear may be strong but it’ll be different in battle.”

“Yes, Master. I know, I know, ‘One inch long is one inch strong. One inch short is one is inch wrong.’ See, Master, I already know about this. Hehe.”

[Meaning: A long weapon is more powerful than a short one. But if they get close, a long weapon is less flexible and is at a disadvantage.]

“One inch long is one inch strong…” Bai Qi muttered as his eyes lit up and smiled. “Not bad, these two sentences are simple but convey the meaning of hundreds of weapons. A brilliant insight.”

But his gaze hardened at his disciple’s smug expression. “But it’s a shame you’re so lazy, squandering this talent. It really incites the wrath of heaven.”

“Yes, yes, Master, you’re right.” She knew Bai Qi’s character and her attempt only further ensured that she couldn’t get out of swordsmanship training. “So, when does Master want to begin horse-riding and swordsmanship?”

“Tomorrow.” Looking at Gu Nan’s carefree look, Bai Qi helplessly snorted. “I lost some significant face just so I could find two suitable teachers for you. Ah, never mind. Anyhow, you should go and name your horse already.”

Gu Nan’s and the horse’s eyes collided together.

After a while, Gu Nan’s expression brightened, and it seemed that she had come up with a particularly good name. She said seriously… “It will be Gou-Dan (Dogshit).”

‧‧‧

“Plop.” The horse’s legs went soft and fell on the ground.

Bai Qi’s face was also full of mixed emotions. Although he didn’t want to damage her enthusiasm, if word gets out that his disciple has a horse named dogshit, it would be the end of his reputation.

The black horse looked angrily at Gu Nan’s triumphant face, kicked up mud and dirt in her direction.

“Hm!? You’re such a disobedient horse. I’ll return you!”

Bai Qi looked puzzledly and thought, This horse has good intelligence, I’ve perhaps looked down on it.

“Nan’er, even the horse doesn’t like your name. Change it to something else. Anyhow, you can’t call it Gou-Dan.

The next day.

“Lord Wu’An.” In the manor lobby, a young man recently walked in and bowed.

In the lobby sat two older men chatting with each other, one of them was Bai Qi. The other wore pale-white robes and an ancient sword laid next to him. A dangerous feeling assaulted the young man when he looked at the old man’s figure.

The young man stumbled and asked. “Is this?”

“Oh, you’re here early, I had thought you would be a bit late.”Bai Qi said before presenting the old man next to him. “This is an old friend of mine, you call him Old Ghost.”

Nowadays, there are only two young people in Qin that could make Bai Qi like this. One of them is the disciple he recently took in, and the other is the young man in front of him.

Old Ghost…

Wang Jian wiped the sweat accumulating on his forehead and forced a smile. “Mr. Ghost.”

“En.” The old man nodded slightly and acknowledged Wang Jian’s greeting.

If Gu Nan was in the area, she’d probably be depressed in her luck.

She wanted to be as far away from Wang Jian as possible, but she just can’t seem to shake the will of heaven!

“Sit.” Bai Qi pointed to a position in front of him.

There were various customs present in this era, but Bai Qi didn’t like the complexity of them. Hence, Wang Jian was still given an equal spot, even though he was much younger.

“It’s really not a big deal, sit.” Bai Qi insisted. “Wang Jian, I recently took in a disciple. I assume you’ve heard?”

“Ah, yes, I think I heard the court officials were talking about it. They all said that Lord Wu’An has been more lively than usual and that his disciple must be a person of great talent.”

“Haha, okay.” Bai Qi laughed as waved his hand. “This old man doesn’t wish to brag, but when my disciple grows up and becomes a general, their ability won’t be any worse than me. Haha.”

Wang Jian was surprised by Bai Qi’s sudden laugh. It’s been a long time since he saw this stoic general smile.

Bai Qi isn’t one to exaggerate his claims. Since he’s said this much, this disciple must really be a monster talent.

Wang Jian was still young and retained a firey spirit. And he suddenly developed the urge to compete with this disciple.

The old man in the white robes sat quietly, gently sipping tea. Then he finally spoke up, “For you to say such praises, it’s interesting. If your disciple can give me enough surprises, I can teach a bit of my swordsmanship.”

Bai Qi’s eyes shone for a moment. If Old Ghost can take train his disciple, it would be a phenomenal chance. In order to even bring him to Xianyang, it required a lot of pleading letters. “Old friend, I hope that this trip is worthwhile. It was hard bringing you here today.”

“Humph.” The old man snorted. “You think I’m as unscrupulous as you?”

After another cup of tea, Bai Qi said, “Alright, let’s talk about why I called for you. Wang Jian, I want you to help me teach the child some horse-riding skills. And this old gentleman is here to teach swordsmanship.”

“I was going to teach all of it myself, but my riding skills have fallen the past decades. So, how about you help this old man out?”

Wang Jian, who began to vaguely regard this disciple as his future opponent, said with some expectation, “If the general wishes it, I would be happy to oblige.”

“Good! Let’s go then. The child should still be practicing martial arts in the courtyard. Old Ghost, Wang Jian, please this way.”

“En, lead the way then.”
“Thank you, General, lead the way please.”

 


Translator’s Note

On Horses
Chinese horses are trash. Quite honestly, Chinese breeds are not as strong, fast, or as brave as their European equivalents, and especially their Middle Eastern/Central Asian ones. Because of this, the Chinese had to import and then breed most of their own warhorses, either from the Mongolian Steppes or further West.

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