Chapter 40: No Problem, Promises are to be Kept
“Miss Gu, General Bai calls for you.” A voice of a soldier came from outside.
It was inappropriate for ordinary soldiers to enter her tent, so guards were stationed outside to relay messages. Hearing the voice, Gu Nan placed down the bronze sword that she was in the midst of wiping. “Got it.”
As Gu Nan spoke, she sheathed the sword back into her scabbard and stood up. Why does Master need me for this time?
Gu Nan felt puzzled but she didn’t care much anyways.
She left the sword on the table and straightened out her armor.
“Master.” Gu Nan wore her military uniform and bowed to Bai Qi. Her face showed a slight but noticeable impatience. “Shouldn’t it be around the time that you discuss military matters with Senior Wang? What would you need me for…”
“Hmph.” Bai Qi snorted, obviously disgruntled by her attitude. “Why can’t I, your master call for you whenever? For instance, if I asked you to come to this battlefield, could you say no?”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah.” Gu Nan said unenthusiastically. This old man’s stinky temper isn’t something she could contend with.
” Look at your expression, you’re probably saying things behind my back.” Bai Qi’s beard shook, but he decided not to care further.
He stood up from his seat and took a cloak from the wall, draping it over his shoulders.
“Let’s go then.” Bai Qi folded his hands behind him and walked out of the tent. “Today, it’s a lesson for you.”
Gu Nan stood behind and barred her teeth angrily. She has assumed Changping would at least be an escape from lessons for several months. But never would she have thought that Bai Qi would bring the classroom to the battlefield.
It’s really so much work, ugh…
Gu Nan slouched her shoulders. Without realizing Bai Qi was already quite a bit ahead, and she hurriedly jolted forward to catch up.
Army training fields.
The unblocked sun made it feel hot, yet the cold winds chilled relentlessly. Such was the harsh environment of this landscape.
Another gust slipped through the neckline, making Gu Nan shiver slightly, pulling her cloak closer.
She was still perplexed. It’s the training fields, but why does she need to learn martial arts right now?
Thinking of this, Gu Nan’s face turned blue. When his hand falls, he’s neither light nor heavy, but she knows fully that she’ll be beaten up multiple times.
But then, she looked to see about ten of the Iron Cavalry guard push forward a depressive looking man.
The distinctive black armor of the Iron Cavalry gleamed in the sunlight. Their helmets were decorated with fangs and were frightening like demons. The rippleless eyes, exposed from the masks, made the soldiers seem dead.
The ten soldiers were covered in an oppressive feeling, just glancing at them, an imaginary chill could form.
But Gu Nan didn’t feel any of that. She was busy admiring their cool-looking armor, which she felt was magnitudes better than what she was wearing.
Looking down at her own flimsy armor, she sighed and shook her head.
As the dilapidated man being escorted took a look at Gu Nan, his brows furrowed to inspect her.
The middle-aged man wore the armor of Zhao, and there were multiple wounds on his body, although none were life-threatening. From the man’s pale lips and face, his blood loss was grave. Even if he wasn’t fatally wounded, he’s unlikely to survive much longer.
There was a rope tightly tied to his neck, reddening his thin collar area.
Step by step, he was pulled along by the Iron Cavalry guards.
As the soldiers moved forward, they slowly stopped before Bai Qi. Bowing and stepping back, their actions were swift and tidy.
The leader of the group stepped forward and slightly bowed as well. “General, the Zhao spy has been brought.”
Behind him, two guards flanked the prisoner and pressed their hands down on his shoulders, sending a kick to his legs.
The prisoner’s knees buckled and he slammed onto the dirt.
Spies? Scouts? Gu Nan stood behind Bai Qi and took a look at this man, only to lock eyes with the prisoner.
It was a pair of eyes that held deep resentment and malice. Just from a glimpse, Gu Nan felt her heart become cold.
Bai Qi tilted his head down, asking the Zhao spy with a plain tone, “Do you have anything you would like to say?”
The prisoner raised his head and quietly looked back with a sneer.
Bai Qi nodded undisturbed as if this was just another useless procedure.
He was silent for a while and looked back at Gu Nan.
“Nan’er, kill him.”
The sun was shining in full and the field felt hot. Yet this sentence made her feel cold.
Gu Nan stood still for a couple moments. Looking at Bai Qi, she gave a strange smile. “Master…”
“Kill him first.”
Bai Qi didn’t allow her to finish her words, then walking away to stand at the side and looking on.
The surrounding ten Iron Cavalry guards retreated a few steps, leaving Gu Nan and the Zhao spy in the center.
The leader of the group drew a sword from his waist and presented it to her with both hands.
Looking at the girl still somewhat dazed, his eyes flashed some helplessness and frustration, his voice unconsciously became a lowered a bit. “Miss Gu.”
“Nothing.” Her face was a tiny bit pale, but she still reached out and slowly gripped the sword. “Many thanks, Brother.”
“No matter.” The captain nodded slightly and retreated.
It became only Gu Nan and the kneeling Zhao prisoner.
“Cough, cough.” The prisoner coughed several times, speckling the ground with bits of blood. He spoke to Gu Nan with a hoarse voice. “Move your hand, Qin dog. Make it a quick death.”
Gu Nan didn’t know how, but she raised the sword.
She knew that once the sword fell, she would embark on a new path, unable to return. But her sword did not hesitate. Under the reflection of the sun, the pale blade descended straight down.
Some warm blood splashed onto her hands, feeling a bit sticky.
A thin stream of blood dripped down from the sword and fell onto the sandy dirt.
The head landed, followed quickly by the dull thud of the body falling to the side.
It was all over in an instant.
The Iron Cavalry guards stepped forward and lifted away the corpse.
Gu Nan stood as this happened, retaining a grip on the sword.
Bai Qi looked at her, seeming like he turned several years older.
He’s truly not a teacher for pushing their disciple down this path of ruin. But it’s not like there’s a choice.
Bai Qi seems to remember, what Ghost Valley said that day.
“Bai Qi, do you know what I once asked Nan’er?”
“What did you ask?”
“I asked her what she thought of you as her master. Care to guess what she said?”
“She said because you saved her life.”
Gu Nan held her sword and strangely, there was no nausea from her first kill, no rueful feeling of sin. It was just an empty feeling as if she wasn’t very clear what she even did.
But she understood that it marked a path down a new road.
This was itself her own choice.
Gu Nan stood on the grounds, her face didn’t show any changes besides some paleness.
With an orderly smile, she bowed to Bai Qi, although her stained hands were faintly shaking. “Master, if there is nothing, I will be going back to rest.”
She announced her leave.
Bai Qi was unable to stop her.
“Teacher has wronged you.” His voice was still calm, but it lacked its usual steadiness.
Gu Nan paused for a while and shrugged her shoulders. With a light voice, she said, “If it were not for Master’s meal, I would be starving on the streets. This disciple once said that the grace from life must be remembered.”
Gu Nan paused and smiled. “Hey, old man, once words are spoken, even a cart driven by four horses can’t chase it back. Isn’t it right? You just wait until this debt has been paid back when I help bury you.”
Bai Qi folded his arms and after a long time, snorted.
“What a muddled girl.”