Chapter 321: Xu Qiqin!
Thus, Princess Ni Huang theorized that the Wang Clan was in possession of an extremely secretive but powerful intelligence network.
Her goal was simple, she wanted Wang Chong to hand over that network. The value of such a swift network could be considered to surpass even that of the spirit vein.
As such, she decided to cloister herself in Wang Chong's Deflecting Blade Manor to see if she could find any traces of that secret intelligence network. In any case, Wang Chong wouldn't be able to chase her away, either.
"Hahaha. Your Highness, there is nothing I can do if you don't believe me. I have already said the truth, and it is up to you to believe me or not." Wang Chong shrugged with a smile.
It was indeed true that he didn't possess such an intelligence network, so Princess Ni Huang's efforts were doomed to end in futility.
"Hmph, it's a matter of time before I catch you by your tail." Seeing how Wang Chong was adamantly denying the matter, Princess Ni Huang furiously threw out these words before stomping back to the shed where Marquess Yi was seated.
"Your Highness, calm down. Here, drink a cup of pomegranate juice."
Marquess Yi passed a cup of juice by her side to Princess Ni Huang, and surprisingly, Princess Ni Huang took the cup and replied with a rare expression of gratitude.
"Sister Yi, thank you."
One of the main reasons why Wang Chong had invited Marquess Yi over was to have her help mediate the relationship with Princess Ni Huang. But one thing Wang Chong could have never imagined was that the two ladies would actually become good friends instead.
Passing by the bamboo shed which Marquess Yi had privately constructed, Wang Chong arrived at a huge hall. This was the most important location of the Deflecting Blade Manor, the Chess Hall.
The Chess Hall was the largest building in the Deflecting Blade Manor, as well as the place where an important chain to Wang Chong's plans would unfold.
Upon seeing Wang Chong, the guards in the Chess Hall hurriedly bowed respectfully. In response, Wang Chong did a downward movement with his hands to gesture for them to remain silent.
Unlike the bustle outside, the interior of the massive Chess Hall was extremely silent.
Around thirty examinees had their eyebrows knitted together, deep in thought. Sitting opposite to them was a corresponding 'examiner', and placed between each examiner-examinee pair was a chessboard each, where black stones and white stones were clashing with one another.
Strength is just one of the many factors required for a general, a strong understanding of warfare and wisdom are important as well.
This was also the reason why Wang Chong arranged this to be the first round of tests.
All examinees who wished to join the Deflecting Blade Manor would have to clear this test and enter the Chess Hall first.
And the examinees who were accepted into the Chess Hall would, in turn, serve as examiners for the next batch of examinees.
This was a system which Wang Chong had slowly developed over this period of time.
Through this system, he could save valuable manpower while cultivating some fondness for the Chess Hall amongst the new members. At the same time, it would reinforce the importance of warfare as well.
And more importantly, it would temper the players' thoughts to be more flexible to various situations!
Without alarming anyone, Wang Chong walked up a spiral staircase from the first floor to the second floor.
Around a dozen students turned to Wang Chong and bowed respectfully. Their eyes were filled with admiration and anticipation, a gaze which one wouldn't direct to a fellow peer.
With his outstanding birth and the immense prestige of the Deflecting Blade Manor, Wang Chong had gradually become an idol in everyone's hearts.
However, this wasn't the reason behind their anticipation and tension. More importantly, the event today would determine their qualification to enter the spirit vein to cultivate.
There were two different examinations conducted in the Chess Hall.
The first examination determined whether one possessed the capability to join the Chess Hall or not. Due to the lower importance of this matter, Wang Chong entrusted this responsibility to all members of the Deflecting Blade Manor.
On the other hand, the second examination was one conducted by Wang Chong himself, and it was directed toward all members of the Deflecting Blade Manor.
Anyone who could pass Wang Chong's test would be given the qualification to cultivate in the spirit vein.
This was the most effective way to reinforce the importance of warfare and the Way of Chess in everyone's mind. This would subconsciously shape the members' attitudes toward this matter.
With this strong motivating factor, the members of the Deflecting Blade Manor would put their heart and soul into studying warfare
A man who was both strong and adept in warfare; this was the type of general and comrade that Wang Chong wanted to fight alongside with.
"There's no need to stand on ceremony."
Wang Chong waved his hands before gesturing to Wei Anfang behind him.
"The examination shall begin. Everyone, please take a seat," Wei Anfang walked up and announced.
With the official commencement of the examination, the group of people immediately sat down with tensed faces.
Half of the men who chose to enter Deflecting Blade Manor had come for the spirit vein. Thus, it was easy to imagine how much they desired to pass this examination.
There were more than a dozen examinees, but there was only one examiner. Nevertheless, this didn't stump Wang Chong.
Everyone hurriedly began preparing the chessboard before them neatly. Following which, Wang Chong began walking from the first table to the last one, putting down a single stone as he passed.
Wang Chong's attitude was extremely casual, and he was able to make his moves without much thought.
After all, he was a man who could even defeat War God Su Zhengchen. Dealing with his fellow peers who had a far weaker foundation in Go was a walk in the park.
Soon, the second floor of the Chess Hall grew silent. Everyone's expressions gradually tightened. Even the feared examiners on the first floor could only be considered as examinees here.
The only one who was relaxed in the room at this moment was Wang Chong. After going a cycle across the chessboards, he even had some additional time to glance out of the window and gaze at the construction work taking place not too far away.
After deciding to take in recruits from Longwei and Shenwei as well, Wang Chong knew that space would surely be an issue in his Deflecting Blade Manor. Thus, he decided to embark on expansion works.
On top of that, he also constructed several additional facilities around the Deflecting Blade Manor for leisure purposes.
Other than the recruits from the three training camps, the scions from the capital also visited this area frequently.
Their purpose here was to play about. In the first place, Wang Chong had never intended the Deflecting Blade Manor to be a military camp. He felt that some space for leisure was necessary as well.
Just as Wang Chong was making a round across the various chessboards once more, his eyebrows suddenly shot up.
"There is something peculiar about this person!"
Wang Chong thought as he assessed the second person on the third row intently. He was a fair-skinned young man with sharp eyebrows and a beautiful jawline that seemed to have been depicted with a paintbrush.
His gestures, be it slight frown or the pressing of his lips together, were extremely graceful and aesthetically pleasing to view. Despite his appearance, there was an air of femininity around him.
And most importantly of all, Wang Chong realized that he didn't have an Adam's apple.
Even though he had been trying to lower his head to conceal this fact, his efforts were futile before Wang Chong's sharp eyes.
Wang Chong's fell into thought. Without an Adam's apple, there was a very high chance that the other party was a lady. However, what was bizarre was that the ladies of the Deflecting Blade Manor should have all gathered around Marquess Yi. Why would there be another one here?
Furthermore, even in menswear, this person was extremely beautiful. If she were to revert back to her original appearance, she would definitely be a ravishing beauty.
"Anfang, who is that young man?" Wang Chong beckoned Wei Anfang over and asked.
"Xu Chong!" Wei Anfang replied without any hesitation. He had perfect grasp over the details of the matters he had taken charge of, and this was one of the main reasons why Wang Chong admired his capability.
"Which training camp did he come from?"
"Longwei. Gongzi, is there a matter with his identity?" Wei Anfang asked doubtfully, as he measured the black-haired youth before him.
"It's nothing," Wang Chong waved his hands with a smile. Even though Wei Anfang was a capable worker, it seemed like he was still a little lacking in worldly experience.
Xu Chong... it seems like that fellow is here for me!, Wang Chong chuckled internally as he glanced at the black-haired youth before him once more. Coincidentally, the cross-dressing youth also raised her head at the same moment, and Wang Chong could see indignation in the other party's eyes.
However, the youth swiftly lowered her head, revealing her smooth and elegant neck.
"Xu Clan... A member of the Longwei Training Camp, and proficient at Go at that..."
Wang Chong rummaged through his mind as he gazed at the black-haired youth before him. Suddenly, a thought struck his head, and a certain figure came to mind.
The daughter of the prestigious Xu Clan, one of the top noble families in the capital. Even in Longwei Training Camp, this lady possessed an incredible reputation.
In terms of standing, she was on par with Second Sister Wang Zhu Yan.
On top of that, Wang Chong seemed to have an inkling impression that the latter possessed exceptional talent in the Way of Chess.
Most probably, it is her, Wang Chong thought with a smile.
Other than a small handful which Wang Chong had personally picked out from the name lists compiled at the very start, the remaining members of the Deflecting Blade Manor had entered the organization through clearing the test at the Chess Hall.
As such, there was a significant proportion of people who had names and backgrounds that Wang Chong was unaware of.
Most likely, the name Xu Chong was a fake. Perhaps out of arrogance, she didn't change her surname, thus leaving some traces of her true identity behind.
Was she indignant at my reputation? That's why she came to challenge me in the Way of Chess?, Wang Chong pondered.
He vaguely remembered that Xu Qiqin was a capable and proud individual. Perhaps she had come after hearing that the Deflecting Blade Manor was accepting new members, and chess skill was the grading criterion, so she came over in hopes of challenging him.
Xu Qiqin did possess the rights to be proud. Her chess skill was clearly far higher than the examinees, outclassing them greatly.
Furthermore, she carried an air of hostility around her, seemingly trying to taunt Wang Chong. Most likely, her goal here wasn't the spirit vein at all.
... If I recall correctly, Xu Qiqin possesses formidable talent in handling logistics, Wang Chong thought.
The current customs in Great Tang made it extremely difficult for women to make a name for themselves. But even so, Xu Qiqin was still able to build an astounding reputation for herself amidst the men in Longwei Training Camp, and this spoke a lot about her capabilities.
However, what Wang Chong was interested in was her logistical ability. She seemed to have a unique way of dealing with logistical problems, allowing her to organize everything efficiently.
In his previous life, the Xu Clan ended up allying themselves with King Qi, and following her clan's footsteps, Xu Qiqin also became King Qi's subordinates. With her help, King Qi was relieved of many of his burdens.
At the very least, in terms of the logistical aspect of war, there was no need for him to worry about anything.
It would be great if I could bring the Xu Clan or Xu Qiqin to my side!
Wang Chong's mind began whirling into action.