Hu Yu quickly became frustrated. He cried out in frustration, "Ah!"
He vigorously broke away from Yang Baoshu. His movements became erratic, and so did his fist punches.
"Hmph!" Yang Baoshu yelped and then shrunk behind him in an effort to dodge.
Hu Yu seemed to have a third eye at the back of him as his fist was about to collide with Yang Baoshu.
However, Yang Baoshu lost his footing and slipped backward before their two fists could collide. His punch landed awkwardly against Hu Yu's back.
Hu Yu's punch completely missed but he quickly followed it up with another. Yang Baoshu saw this and pulled back his body to dodge.
Hu Yu let out a flurry of punches. He let loose one punch after another, showering them down on Yang Baoshu like heavy rain.
Yang Baoshu dodged Hu Yu's punches like a monkey. At times, he would take a blow, but he was always able to land two in return. Although he suffered terrible pain, Yang Baoshu knew that his opponent had likewise taken quite the beating.
It wasn't long before Hu Yu's face was starting to show signs of major damage. The edge of his eyes and mouth were cut, swollen and bleeding.
"Hold your horses!" Zheng Jin shouted out.
"Fight!" Yang Baoshu cried out as he retreated back beside Zheng Xia.
Zheng Xia sized up his friend with astonishment. What was this Agile Monkey Fist!?
Hu Yu's face darkened a few shades as he forcefully smiled at Zheng Jin. "Commander, I have lost!"
Zheng Jin nodded with satisfaction. "Your fist technique is still quite good! Come tomorrow. From today onwards, you will lead five of your own men!"
Hu Yu was dumbfounded but cheerfully accepted the responsibility. "Thank you, commander. I would die the harshest death just to repay you!"
Zheng Jin waved him off. "It's quite alright. Hard work is retribution enough. Hu Yu, what do you think of Yang Baoshu's fist technique?"
"It's an impressive fist technique!" Hu Yu complimented. He was too happy to talk bad about his opponent. "He initially wasn't that good, and this was really an eye-opener. However, his inner energy is lacking, and it would be great if he could improve on that."
Hu Yu's inner energy was still a notch above Yang Baoshu.
"Uh huh, not bad." Zheng Jin softly nodded.
"Haha... how lively!" A thunderous laughter was heard from the area near the door.
A buff and tough-looking middle-aged man strolled in with big strides. He swiftly walked over to look at Yang Baoshu and Hu Yu. He then saluted Zheng Jin with a closed fist before smiling. "Old Zheng, I heard there was a fight going on?"
Zheng Jin nonchalantly smiled. "Old Hu, you have yet another talent from your Green Wood Clan. What do you think? Could you allow Baoshu to join up with the Keen Metal Clan?"
"I can't give Baoshu to you." Hu Zhongping was cheerful but firm. He waved his arms while laughing jollily. "This young one has natural talent. I was looking for an opportunity to give him pointers, so don't you dare snatch him away now!"
"Alright then." Zheng Jin said no more. He turned to walk away.
Seeing him take his leave, Hu Zhongping looked at Yang Baoshu to size him up.
Yang Baoshu unperturbedly looked back at Hu Zhongping. "Commander, I took Hu Yu for a ride."
Hu Yu who was with Zheng Jin, still had not walked far away. He stopped in his tracks and then turned around. "Just you wait, Yang Baoshu, I'll get my revenge tomorrow!"
Yang Baoshu answered with his chest swelling with pride, "I'll be waiting. I'll take you out!"
Hu Yu smirked coldly before turning to catch up with Zheng Jin.
Hu Zhongping smiled. "Come, Baoshu, show me your Agile Monkey First."
"Yes!" Yang Baoshu nodded before quickly demonstrating.
"It's quite remarkable. My boy, how did you train to this level?"
"Commander, let me tell you. It's a miracle!" Yang Baoshu's eyes instantly lit up. He was thrilled to be getting direct interest from such a senior figure. "Two nights ago, I had a dream where I met with an old white-bearded man. He talked to me about the Agile Monkey Fist. I don't recall what he said but once I woke up, I had a eureka moment!"
Yang Baoshu grew more excited. "Commander, could this be martial arts inheritance through dreams? Perhaps some master would like to take me as his disciple!"
Hu Zhongping smiled while patting his shoulder. "Baoshu, you should always remember to be grounded and to refrain from wandering thoughts. But seeing you enlightened is a very just reward. I know how hard you've been working."
"Commander, Hu Yu is beaten. Yet, Zheng commander has promoted him to lead five men." Yang Baoshu smiled.
"You wish to be a headman as well?"
"Commander, do you think I can?"
"... Sure, but you'll need to listen to Zheng Xia for every little thing." Hu Zhongping sighed.
Yang Baoshu looked at Zheng Xia. "He's a headman, I am also a headman, why would I need to listen to him anymore?"
Zheng Xia gave the commander a helpless shrug.
Hu Zhongping smiled in response. "That's because you aren't as smart as Zheng Xia."
"... Sounds about right. Okay, I'll listen to Zheng Xia." Yang Baoshu thought about it and then sighed in agreement before growing excited again.
Being a headman of five men would increase his wages by almost two-fold. That would mean a tael of silver every month!
With this, his family would be well off. Mother would no longer have to weave and sew garments for people. She could live comfortably with him.
When Yang Baoshu returned home, the evening lights were already lit. He had bought some meat as well as some tidbits.
Once he got home, he told the good news to Madam Zhou who was waiting anxiously for him.
Mother Zhou was overjoyed about the news and eagerly hugged Yang Baoshu. Her son was finally showing some promise. She briefly thought about her husband. If he had not passed, he too would be enjoying life with their son.
It did not matter to her that the sky was already dark. She started to prepare the meat before stir-frying a big plate of food. She also had Yang Baoshu invite Chu Li over.
Yang Baoshu fixed the ladder to scale the wall. However, just as he was about to say something, his jaw dropped.
Why was there a woman in Mr. Chu's yard?
Her back was facing him, and he could not see how she looked. However, just a glance at her figure made him feel that she must have been a beauty.
Three lanterns were lit up in the yard. Chu Li was sitting by the stone table playing chess with Xiao Shi while Yang Xu was tidying up his house.
Chu Li had not visited in two days which was why Xiao Shi had personally come over. Chu Li couldn't just refuse her entry.
Xiao Shi had dragged Chu Li to play chess, saying it was too boring inside and there was fresh air in the yard.
Seeing Yang Baoshu standing at the edge of the wall, Chu Li waved him over.
Yang Baoshu quickly hopped over while carrying a plate of meat and a plate of rice. "Sir, I'm not bothering you, am I?"
"Not at all, your mother must have made something yummy. Bring it over!" Chu Li laughed.
Yang Baoshu carried the plates to the table.
Xiao Shi had her head down deep in thought. However, she lifted her head to look over as Yang Baoshu approached.
"Boom..." The moment Yang Baoshu laid his eyes on her porcelain face, his mind went blank. It was as if he was struck by lightning.
His body went stiff and he loosened his grip on the plates.
Chu Li quickly grabbed them before placing them on the table.
Xiao Shi pursed her lips into a smile and then stared at Chu Li who had just picked up the chopsticks for a bite. "Didn't you already have your meal?"
"I'm not that full, a little bit more wouldn't hurt."
"It looks great."
"Indeed." Chu Li hastily began eating.
Although the fragrance was alluring, Xiao Shi ignored it. She was petite, and she didn't have a good appetite.
Once Chu Li was done with his plate of meat and rice, he let out a satisfying sigh. Yang Baoshu remained there the whole time, and he was completely starstruck over Xiao Shi.
Xiao Shi paid him no heed and acted as though he was transparent. She continued to stay deep in thought. She was at a significant disadvantage in the game of chess but refused to admit defeat.
Yang Xu smiled as she came out of the house. "Chief, who might this be?"
Chu Li pointed to the east.
Yang Xu understood, and she pursed her lips to smile at Yang Baoshu. She took the two plates for cleaning before placing them back on the table.
Chu Li coughed lightly, making Yang Baoshu snap back to his senses. His cheeks instantly turned red with embarrassment.