Chapter 295: Wang Chong's Followers!
Kunwu Training Camp was surrounded by towering mountains. Along the perimeter of the training camp, on a path where all who wished to enter it would have to pass by, a tall figure with the air of a recluse stood.
From afar, he looked like a mountain erected on the spot. Neither speaking nor moving, he seemed to be waiting for someone.
This was the first sight Wang Chong saw when he reached the foot of the mountain. Su Hanshan seemed to have been waiting there for him for quite a long time already.
Ignoring the greeting, Su Hanshan glanced at Wang Chong and uttered two words, "Thank you!"
"Is your little sister fine?" Wang Chong was taken aback for a moment, but he soon realized that Su Hanshan was here to thank him for his little sister. A small hint of a smile crept onto Wang Chong's lips.
It was probably impossible to change Su Hanshan's personality. It didn't matter whom he was standing before, he would always keep others at a distance. But even so, Wang Chong realized that Su Hanshan's face wasn't as cold as before.
"I owe you a debt of life" Su Hanshan said seriously. "If you have any request, tell me. Even if I have to climb up a mountain or blades or descend into a sea of flames, I'll do whatever you request of me."
This was the longest sentence that Su Hanshan had said to Wang Chong in the past three or four months. It seemed like Su Hanshan had to prepare quite a bit before he could say these words.
A person of Su Hanshan's character would never easily make promises, but if he did, he would surely fulfill his end of the promise.
Clearly, he had to think for a very long time before coming to this decision. Su Hanshan hated the idea of owing anything to anyone.
But he couldn't turn down Wang Chong's help. He could be callous to himself, but he couldn't ignore the plight of his little sister.
She was his only remaining kin in this world.
"You need not go that far!" Wang Chong was taken aback for a moment before chuckling. Su Hanshan seemed to have only come to this decision after a long period of contemplation, but he seemed to be overthinking his intentions. Wang Chong didn't have anything to request of him.
But after thinking about it for a moment, Wang Chong suddenly thought of something.
"If you wish to repay me, you just need to promise me something. To the west of Longxi, there's a place called Mountain Jiji. Promise me that you won't approach that area regardless of whatever happens!"
"Ridiculous!" Stunned by Wang Chong's request, Su Hanshan flung his sleeves, turned around, and left.
He never made promises easily, but Wang Chong's request sounded completely meaningless to him. Since Wang Chong was unwilling to say anything, he wouldn't force the other party either.
Su Hanshan quickly disappeared in the direction of Kunwu Training Camp.
Watching as Su Hanshan's back slowly disappeared in the distance, the smile lingering on his lips slowly faded, replaced with a frown.
Su Hanshan could have never imagined that Wang Chong was serious about this matter.
Naturally, Wang Chong couldn't have told him that the remote Mountain Jiji would be where he would meet his demise in the future.
After Su Hanshan's death, that mountain was renamed as Great General Mountain!
Of the innumerable battlefields across the entire Central Plains, few could compare in fame with that humble little mountain.
Exhaling deeply, Wang Chong tossed aside the miscellaneous thoughts in his mind and continued proceeding up the mountain.
It was extremely lively inside Kunwu Training Camp. After an absence of ten days or so, the interior of the camp felt much more lively than before. Row after row of examinees queued up to shoot a target at the opposite end of the field.
They were even equipped with chainmail that soldiers would wear on the battlefield.
Some of the examinees even covered one of their eyes so that they could practice shooting even when their vision was impaired.
However, in terms of numbers, the archer examinees could hardly compare with the footsoldier examinees. On a field roughly the same size as the archery field, there were around thirty to forty times for examinees fighting against one another.
Some of the more proficient examinees were even dealing with two, three, or even five opponents at once.
There was also a clear difference in the material of the weapons used in each sparbamboo, wooden, blunt metal, copper, and last but not least, steel.
The stronger the material of the weapon, the greater the danger that the recruit would be putting himself in during training.
After three to four months, the training camp is starting to take shape!, Wang Chong thought as he walked across the bustling training camp.
The initial Kunwu Training Camp was nothing more than a few buildings on top of a mountain, but it was slowly developing to the greatness Wang Chong has seen in his previous life.
Instead of returning back to his dormitory, Wang Chong turned around and walked down the other end of White Tiger Peak.
His primary preparations within Kunwu Training Camp was roughly ready. It was time to move on to the next step.
At the midway of the mountain, a group of men had long been waiting for Wang Chong's arrival. Upon seeing him, they immediately greeted him respectfully.
They were Zhao Jingdian, Zhuang Zhengping, Chi Weisi, Chen Burang, Sun Zhiming, Gao Feng, Nie Yan, Xu Qi, and a few others.
After receiving a letter from Wang Chong's pigeons, they had been waiting here for some time.
Every single one of them had a grim expression on their face.
The atmosphere also felt graver than usual.
They had noticed the residence which Wang Chong built from the very first day of its construction. Even though Wang Chong didn't say anything, they instinctively knew that Wang Chong intended to build his power in Kunwu Training Camp.
From this moment forth, everyone here would be on the same ship as Wang Chong.
Objects can be classified by their type, whereas humans are divided into groups.
At birth, a person is automatically included into a clan on the basis that he shares the same ancestor with a group of people. Those are called kindred.
As they grow up, they come under a common teacher and study together. These are called schoolmates.
Venturing into a foreign land, fellow peers from the same place of origin will tend to take care of one another. This is called ethnicity.
And when one enters the royal court as an official or a noble, they meet peers who share the same scope of work. These are called colleagues.
Everyone has their own group, and this group provides them with protection.
That was how most sons of prestigious clans grew up. Scions like Zhuang Zhengping and Chi Weisi were exposed to such a system from birth, and they couldn't be any more familiar with it.
The both of them had initially intended to persuade Wang Chong to create a group within Kunwu Training Camp, but Wang Chong had moved way faster than them.
Wang Chong glanced at Zhao Jingdian. "Are the preparations ready?"
The reason why he didn't bring Zhao Jingdian down the mountain with him was because he had another job for him.
In his previous life, Zhao Jingdian was his ally, as well as his trusty subordinate. It was better to allow him to get used to these types of matters first.
"Everything is in place. Lieutenant Li has come by several times, and he even dispatched some guards over. The construction and renovation are already complete, and all we are waiting for now is your word," Zhao Jingdian answered.
Wang Chong nodded.
The Lieutenant Li whom Zhao Jingdian spoke of referred to Uncle Li Lin, and the latter had been helping him deal with various miscellaneous matters here.
After greeting one another, Wang Chong marched up to the top of the mountain with the others following behind him. It was already nearing evening, and the sun was slowly setting on the horizon. In the distance, a resplendent courtyard could be seen at the top of another mountain.
Under the warm glow of the sun, every single tile on the roof was imbued with a golden gleam, creating a breathtaking sight.
After three to four months of construction and renovation, the residence constructed on the mountain opposite to White Tiger Peak was finally complete. With beautifully-arched roofs and serene gardens, the residence looked both majestic and luxurious.
"It is finally complete!" Looking at the beautiful residence basked under the golden setting sun, Wang Chong heaved a long sigh of relief.
He could finally begin on his next course of action. This Kunwu Training Camp was located to the east of the capital, and boasted the highest number of military talents.
These people were a precious asset to the empire.
Given Wang Chong's capability as a commander, if he could place these rising generals under his command, he was confident that he could prop up the entire empire!
Kunwu Training Camp was the basis of his dream, as well as the foundation he was going to utilize to change destiny.
A building of a hundred chi is built upon a sturdy foundation. Everyone would remember this place!
As Wang Chong proceeded up to the peak of the mountain, a few guards rushed up to greet him.
Even though it had been a few months since construction had started, this was the first time Wang Chong had been here. Along with the entire group, he walked through the purple gates and into a vast courtyard.
It felt like an entirely different world inside.
There was a vast garden with a beautiful pond at the center. There were a few fake hills placed here and there, and a majestic gazebo stood at the center of the pond. Exquisite wooden sculptures crafted by the greatest of craftsmen could be seen throughout the entire garden, and elegant inscriptions filled the doors, windows, corridor pillars, and roof.
Even the paint was carefully chosen to fit the grand demeanor of the residence.
"Tsk tsk, these corridor pillars are no joke. I remember seeing them before. If I'm not mistaken, they are made of Jinsi Nan wood, and cost around seven hundred gold taels each!"
"The clouds crafted at the small gap in the roof... If I remember correctly, they cost around fifty silver taels each."
"This sure is beautiful! Our training camp can hardly compare to this!"
"Incredible. I don't think that I can even afford a single pillar here!"...
Except for Zhao Jingdian, Zhuang Weisi, and Chi Weisi, this was the first time the others had visited here.
The interior of the courtyard was far more beautiful than its exterior.
Xu Qi, Gao Feng, and Nie Yan came from official clans, and even though their family background was not bad, they were still a far shot away from affording something like this.
While everyone knew that Wang Chong was wealthy, this was the first time they got a clear glimpse of his financial prowess.
Every single thing here screamed of extravagance, be it the Jinsi Nan wood used to craft the gazebo or the jadeite used to craft the tables and chairs in the garden.
But most importantly of all, while the residence was extravagant, it didn't lack class.
The design was elegant and traditional, a fitting match for a residence hidden deep in the mountains. Serene and classy, everyone fell in love with this place at first sight.
Wang Chong chuckled as he saw the group getting enchanted by the residence. They immediately scattered to look around the grounds and touch the various objects in the courtyard.
Even though Wang Chong didn't participate in the construction, he was the one who provided the blueprint for the design.
He had infused many architectural designs from the other era he had originated from into this residence.
But even though two styles from different eras were mixed together, there wasn't the slightest incongruence. On the contrary, they only served to accentuate the uniqueness of the other.
For example, the rattan chairs were woven using wooden strips around the thickness of a finger. It felt comfortable to the touch and equally comfortable to lay on as well.
As an individual, it was unique. But even so, its uniqueness seemed to perfectly complement the environment here.
Small details, but they did add up.