“I SAID you’ve got the wrong tent!” Yue snapped.
The intruding man simply turned his back against her. Fuming, Yue took several breaths to calm herself down – to no avail; how dare he shooed her. Striding forward - her fingers closed around the collar of the man’s top -, Yue yanked hard.
The man choked out a scream as the front of his top pulled hard against his throat. Ignoring the man’s obvious cry of discomfort, Yue continued to pull on the collar until the sound of fabric tearing echoed within the walls of the tent and Yue flew backwards, landing on her butt outside the tent.
“ARE YOU TRYING TO KILL ME?!”
Groaning slightly, Yue looked up just as the intruding male rushed out from within the tent. His already dishevelled look, looked even worse with the torn collar; tearing eyes; and him coughing violently.
“I told you you were in the wrong tent.” Yue retorted as she stood up facing the man.
Face to face, the man was about two heads taller than Yue, but that didn’t mean anything. The larger they are, the harder they fall.
“And no; I was not trying to kill you. I was merely trying to get the trash out of my tent.”
Sorry Wei. Seems like Lady Luck isn’t on my side today. Yue thought as the man before her stepped forward grasping her own collar. Yue stared up defiantly into the black pupils of the man before her, willing herself not to step down from this fight. Although Yue was well-versed in several forms of martial arts, she never had the opportunity to test it out in a real situation.
Perhaps, today’s the lucky day!
Remembering what she had learnt before, Yue quickly reached upward to grab the wrist of the hand holding onto her collar. With a twist, Yue should be able to attack the wrist joint, freeing herself and taking down her opponent at the same time. Without further ado, Yue grasped the hand holding her collar and twisted it as she did in her mind – it worked; the man had anticipated it; he had tightened his grip so that when Yue twisted his wrist, her collar was twisted along with her, tightening the gap against her throat.
The sudden force against her trachea caused a momentary jerk throughout her body. Yue choked against the sudden pressure causing a moment’s hesitation allowing the man to control the situation; his other arm swung round fast – his balled fist collided against the side of Yue’s face. A dull thud sounded loudly as Yue felt the pain seared from the point of impact. Her vision blacked out for a second before the hand that had been grasped onto her collar came crashing from the other side.
Without the fulcrum that had held her in place, Yue was thrown towards the earth. Her face was throbbing painfully as blood pulsated rapidly through her body with the aid of adrenaline. Stunned, Yue remained against the ground as her sense of equilibrium begun to swim on circles in front of her eyes. The taste of iron invaded her senses as soon as her body started to overcome the initial shock; followed by the dull ache of being punched twice, in the face - hard.
Groaning in pain, Yue blinked back the tears that had surfaced and looked toward her attacker. The man was standing with his arms crossed before his chest, with a smirk followed by deep laugh.
“Now this is how men get along in the army.”
A chorus of agreements rang out in the form of gruff YEAHs and rambunctious laughter from the crowd that had gathered to watch their only source of entertainment within the camp; fights.
“What the hell do you think you are doing?” A voice roared from within the spectators.
The arrival of the owner of the voice seemed to be someone of high authority as the spectating crowd hurried to let him through and the noise level dropped so quickly as though someone had pressed the mute button of the area. Still on the ground, Yue hastened to sit up as she observed the new arrival. The new male was an obvious alpha; his presence alone commanded authority and respect. His cold eyes scanned through the crowd before they reached the two in the middle; cold dark irises met Yue’s hazel ones and she couldn’t stop the shivers erupting from the back of her neck.
“This is my camp. You are my soldiers,” his dark eyes glaring as they moved across the crowd. “If you think that this training camp is going to be child’s play, need I remind you men once again what your purpose is here? We are at WAR.”
Although he was addressing the entire crowd, Yue felt her body jump slightly at the last word. A cold chill was emitting from her heart, spreading slowly throughout her entire body. The thought of having to go through a war was horrifying; history had shown men that in wars, there are no victors; any participating parties are losers the moment they sent their men to the battlefront. Death and destruction are the currencies of war – regardless of how powerful a country is, the battles are won through the trading of lives for blood laden territories.
“From now on, I will not tolerate any more idiots like these two here. You there, as victor, your prize is to run around the premise of the camp until sundown. If you stop, you shall continue running again until all the new recruits have arrived,” the commander announced with a smug smile as he continued his stare down with the other male.
“Zhao, see to it that he is treated.” Turning away, the commander indicated towards Yue before striding off.
“Running - my favourite.” The other male rejoiced; his words dripping with sarcasm.
“Lei, shut your hole and go run now,” Zhao roared angrily as he kneeled down beside Yue. “Do you not understand the meaning of NOW?”
Glaring at Yue, Lei gave a huff before he turned and started his run toward the camp’s gates.
“Come on, let’s get those cheeks of yours cooled down. Are you injured anywhere else?” Zhao asked as he helped Yue to her feet.
“Other than the face - perhaps my ego?”
Yue laughed as she accompanied Zhao into the treatment tent. Zhao settled Yue into the treatment chair before grabbing a cloth off the shelf and soaking it into recently well-drawn water. Yue watched in amusement as Zhao kept stealing fugitive looks at her and every time she caught him staring, he would inadvertently jump a little before looking back down at the cloth in his hands in a hurry.
“Your name was Fang Yue wasn’t it?” Zhao asked quietly as he handed the soaked cloth to Yue.
“Yes it is. Is something the matter?” Yue wondered as she held the cold cloth against her throbbing cheek.
Was she going to get into trouble as well because of the stupid fight she had with Lei? Yue silently cursed the man who was at that point in time running casually around the outskirts of the camp. Zhao looked slightly uncomfortable as he looked down at her again – his eyes full of confusion as he scanned her features once through.
“Yes, wait here.” Zhao said before he exited the tent swiftly.
Yue swallowed her saliva nervously as she stared at the exit where Zhao had just left from. What was he doing? Was he calling the guards or something? Yue removed the cloth she had been holding against her face and pinched at it anxiously as all kinds of punishments materialized in her head.
“All because of that god damned Lei asshole! Why did he have to occupy my tent? Arghh!!” Yue fumed angrily as she stood up and made for the exit.
Before she reached the exit though, she turned around and paced back to the seat she had been in before. Back and forth, repeatedly, Yue wondered why Zhao was gone for so long – it felt as though an hour was about to pass when in actual fact, it had only been merely eight minutes. Just as she was about to reach the exit again, Zhao suddenly reappeared from the outside.
“What are you doing?” he laughed as soon as he spotted Yue’s expression.
Yue had jumped at the sudden reappearance of Zhao and rammed straight into a table that had been placed nearby. Her elbow had been the first point of contact and sharp pain was pulsating from it. Yue grabbed at her elbow and pulled it closer to her body as though the closer it is, the less pain it would emit.
“Come here.” Zhao laughed as he grabbed the injured arm and directed Yue back into the seat she had vacated before.
After settling her back down into the chair, Zhao sat down onto the ground before her. He looked at her directly into the eyes and remained this way for a few moments. Finally, he diverted his gaze away, exhaling slowly as he cupped his face into the palm of his hands.
“Alright then. Yue, why are you here and where is Wei?”