JOINING THE ARMY
Editor: SilverAnd Gold
“He went in this direction. Chase him!” The leader of the guards pointed to a direction and instructed the approaching unit of guards.
The guards were fully equipped and had numerous horses so they started to chase the person in the direction he pointed to. Fan Cheng’s other guards looked at the leader, and someone asked in a trembling voice, “What should we do if the young master is dead?”
As Fan Cheng’s bodyguard, they failed to protect him well. The Fan family would definitely hold them accountable, and subject them to punishments ranging from light to heavy. If they were mad, they might lose their lives, too.
“Who on earth killed the Young Master?” Someone asked.
“I’ve fought that man, and he has good skills,” the leader clenched his fist, “I’m no match for him.”
“Was he here for the young master? God, who the hell he is?”
Who knows? Fan Cheng had done many evil deeds. Since the man wanted Fan Cheng’s life, he obviously had hated him for a long time. The girls who were abused by Fan Cheng also had parents and brothers. Maybe he took revenge for his relatives or a lover. The man was dead and everything would come to light once the murderer was caught.
“Miss He…,” Someone finally remembered He Yan.
If a person with no strength falls in such a deep and cold river, it would be fatal. So what? No one cared. If He Yan was alive, maybe she would be targeted by the Fan family. It was still better to die. At least the business of the He family would end here.
“If you die, you die.” The leader said nonchalantly, “It’s better to be dead.”
In a word, He Yan’s life was already doomed.
The sound of horses’ hoofs resounded in the depths of the street, and the people in the city were in a panic.
There was a young man, dressed in green, who walked quietly through the shattered temple where the beggars lived in a group and threw his wet old clothes into the abandoned well.
Her clothes had already been changed during the escape, she wore her spring tunics inside so all she had to do was throw off the clothes she wore on the outside. There was no need to wear a turban, so as not to attract attention. She touched the wall and got a layer of dust on her hands. She patted and smeared the black and gray dust and soot on her face. Her face which was white and clean, immediately turned black, giving her an appearance like… A teenager from an ordinary family who often worked outside.
But she still looked like a handsome teenage boy.
She walked forward without panic, as the city guards behind her arrested people everywhere, but He Yan’s heart was not as calm as it appeared.
Fan Cheng’s guards had fought with her. If they were being careful, they would recognize her. Appearances could be disguised, but size could not be deceived. The guards of the capital city were not trash eaters, and it was not easy to hide from them either. Moreover, if they interrogated the beggars at the temple, they would find out that they had seen a stranger. The gates of this city must have been sealed off by now, and until the next month, the city would be strictly investigated. If they searched people one by one, she would be discovered sooner or later.
It was a headache.
The Fan family was even more prosperous than she had imagined, and they called so many people to chase after her alone. He Yan didn’t want to give up her life in vain.
Units of guards were closing in from every direction, and He Yan was in a precarious position.
Suddenly, she remembered something and stretched out her hand to pull out something from her sleeve.
The paper was crumpled and drenched in the rain. It was almost impossible to make out the words written on it. This was the conscription notice that He Yun Sheng had torn off the wall that day.
The recruitment office was in an open field outside the stables at the west of the city, where tents were set up, and many people filled out paperwork, underwent a simple inspection, and set off together when the time came. The recruitment of soldiers in Liang Zhou had always been in a rush, and she was sure that it would not be strict because even if the person was underage, it wouldn’t matter. People weren’t willing to go unless their family was extremely poor, otherwise, who does not like to live in peace and prosperity? There was no one who would be willing to suffer for nothing.
But this recruitment notice came exactly at the right time.
Now that she had become a wanted criminal, staying in the capital would do no good to her, and if she was found out, it would be even worse if the He Family got implicated because of her. Besides, it was of no use to stay in the capital. The He family was too far away from her, and the Xu family was even more of a high gate that she couldn’t reach, so she had to stand at the same level as them to claim what she wanted.
It was better to go to the barracks. She could go out of the city with the recruited team. At least there would be a place where she could stay.
There were no other options, and she had her own arrangements too. She was thinking about how to find a reasonable reason to explain to the He family about her departure, but now she didn’t have to think of any other reason, because this was the only way left for her. The draft would close tomorrow and it was the night before the deadline, so she was right on time.
He Yan smiled and felt relaxed so she no longer hesitated and walked towards the direction of the west barracks.
The west barrack was originally a horse farm, but horses had been evacuated since the draft tent was set up there. In front of the long tent, a red-faced man sat with a long knife at his waist. Because of the rain, he was wearing a felt hat on his head, and his eyes were like copper bells. He looked neither grumpy nor pretentious and dozed off without a hitch.
Since recruitment was almost over, as soon as the next day passed, the new recruits would go to Liang Zhou with them. At this time, those who were willing to go would have already come to cast their names, and there should be no new recruits at this time.
When He Yan walked forward, the big man didn’t even lift his eyelids, so He Yan had no choice but to say, “This big brother, is recruitment over?”
The big man sized her up and said slowly, “No.”
“That’s good.” He Yan smiled with delight and said, “I want to join the army.”
“You?” The red-faced man gave a sarcastic smile and said, “Brother, how old are you this year?”
“Sixteen,” the man pondered for a while and said, “You don’t look like sixteen with this body. You haven’t done any heavy work at home on weekdays, right? Joining the army is no joke, if you’re making a joke, go back before it’s too late, don’t waste my time.”
“Big Brother, I really want to join the army.” He Yan thought about the brothers who came out of the barracks and imitated their mournful expression. “There is no one at home. I can’t live. If I don’t join the army, I would have to sell myself as a servant. It would be better to go to war, either die on the battlefield or do some meritorious service. I could live differently. Besides, Big Brother,” she leaned closer and whispered, “I’m afraid there are not enough men, so it’s better to have one more than one less, so we could make up a whole number.”
The big man was moved by what she said. He just wanted to get people together and finish his work as soon as possible so he said, “All right, if you want to die, I won’t stop you. The barracks are just right in front of you, it’s not a place for pleasure, and if you can’t make it and want to be a deserter, you’ll be punished by military laws.”
“I won’t be a deserter.” He Yan vowed.
The red-faced man sneered. He had seen many such teenagers, and they were all confident when they came but when the time came to battle, they were the ones who peed their pants in fear.
“Then you fill out this form.” He handed the paper to He Yan.
Meanwhile, on the outskirts of the barracks in the city’s west, the garrison of the guards turned their horses around when they reached there as in front of them was the tent for recruitment in Liang Zhou and there was no need to rush in there.
He Yan wrote two words sloppily. This time, she used her own name.