Chapter 464: The Beginning
Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
All construction work on the archery academy was completed on the first day of the seventh lunar month. On the tenth day of the seventh lunar month, Yan Liqiang brought a few people from Liuhe Town to stay at the archery academy and they began their work.
A few days before returning to the archery academy, Yan Liqiang brought Shi Dafeng and Shen Teng to Pingxi Prefecture’s Yingwei County to finalize the matter of the border trading post.
The border trading post was actually a commodity trading market approved by the government officials. The conflict within the Gulang Plains had escalated and there was already a trend of it expanding. For the past few months, there were visibly less Shatu caravans coming into Gan Province from the Gulang Plains. This caused an increase in the price of imported wood material, medicine, leather, and other similar products. After the discussion of salt pans with Lei Sitong, official approval was granted when Lei Sitong returned to Gan Province on setting up the border trading post at Yingwei County to start trading with the Great Moon Tribe, Wusu Tribe, and Piyue Tribe of Mount Jade Dragon.
When Yan Liqiang arrived in Yingwei Country, it was only then that he learned that besides the ‘influential tribes’ such as the Great Moon Tribe, Wusu Tribe, Piyue Tribe, there were also some Han Chinese and smaller tribes who lived in the mountains too. Those Han Chinese were war refugees who fled to the mountains a long time ago. They then settled down in the mountain and formed numerous independent and ungoverned small villages. Those villages were small scale villages with around ten to a few hundred villagers and scattered with a bit of distance from each other. Due to that, they hardly communicated with each other. Influential tribes such as the Great Moon Tribe, Wusu Tribe, and Piyue Tribe had low populations and thus they were not of high importance. This was the same for all the other smaller tribes and villages on Mount Jade Dragon as they also needed to leave the mountain to trade for salt and ironware. Since there was a demand for trading, a border trading post would bring convenience for many people.
Yingwei County was the most impoverished county in Pingxi Prefecture, so it was only natural that they didn’t have any funds to build a border trading post. The county’s warehouse could not even come up with a few thousand taels of silver, so the cost for construction of the border trading post eventually fell on Yan Liqiang’s shoulders.
Yan Liqiang went to Yingwei County to meet the County Magistrate and the Barrack General of the Yingwei County garrison to discuss the location, investment, and agreement on how the three parties could split the profits and benefits from the border trading post.
By right with Lei Sitong and Wang Jianbei’s support, Yan Liqiang could have monopolized the border trading post when he was setting it up with his position as the Qiyun Protectorate General. He could have safely ousted characters such as the County Magistrate and the Barrack General of Yingwei County. Due to the consideration of a long term situation, Yan Liqiang chose to give up a few of his benefits and share them with Yingwei County’s local authorities.
By the time Yan Liqiang left Yingwei County, all three parties were delighted and satisfied. The County Magistrate and Barrack General of Yingwei Country escorted Yan Liqiang for about ten li before parting reluctantly.
This trip to Yingwei County made Shi Dafeng and Shen Teng reach a resolution to stay beside Yan Liqiang.
To Yan Liqiang, this trip to Yingwei Country had once again exposed his shortcoming of not having trustworthy, competent people beside him. In the end, Yan Liqiang could only select a steward who was considered bright among the others from the Yan Residence to lead a few servants to Yingwei County to follow up on the progress of the border trading post.
Upon his return from Yingwei County, Yan Liqiang focused on the matter of the archery academy.
He was fortunate that he was no longer a lone commander as this time he had Shi Changfeng, Shen Teng, and Shi Dafeng assisting him. Yan Liqiang had also temporarily transferred a group of people and two capable stewards from the manufacturing bureau so that the preparation work of the archery academy could progress smoothly.
On the 28th day of the seventh lunar month, Yan Liqiang woke up before daybreak. As usual, he completed his routine morning tasks, cultivated three rounds of Muscle Tendon Changing and Marrow Cleansing, and ate breakfast that was served by Yu Qing before walking out from his courtyard.
Yan Liqiang stayed in a quiet and beautiful courtyard which was located at the back of the Justice Hall, halfway up Mount Hundred Zhang. There was a fragrant peach forest outside his residence. When he walked out from the courtyard, he could oversee the whole archery academy.
The layout of the archery academy adapted the chinese character, ‘zhong’ (中). The east side of the academy was a huge leveled-off horse ranch which took up one-third of the area of the archery academy. The horse ranch was surrounded by the Pine Forest and across the horse ranch, on the west side of the archery academy, there were the archery range and training grounds. Other facilities such as the student hostel, library, dining hall, meeting rooms, and administration buildings were located at both sides of the middle of the archery academy, all the way up along Mount Hundred Zhang.
The air quality on top of Mount Hundred Zhang was good, especially at the place where Yan Liqiang stayed. Even without going outdoors, one could already smell the fragrance from the peach forest. In the third and fourth lunar months of the year, romantic peach blossoms would fill the forest. In the seventh and eighth lunar months of the year, which was now, the forest was filled with ripe peaches hanging from the trees, releasing a tempting scent.
It was such a coincidence that this peach forest in the archery academy of Mount Hundred Zhang was the exact forest where Yan Liqiang had killed Hong An. This was also the place where Yan Liqiang began to gradually transform from an inexperienced youth to a decisive man. Every time he saw this peach forest, he would recall the crisis that his clan was in two years ago. In his mind, he wondered if people from the Hong Clan ever regretted their insolence back then if they saw the archery academy today.
It was a special day today, so Yan Liqiang donned a new black brocade gown set which made him look handsome and heroic.
“Good morning Liqiang…” With flushed complexions, Shi Dafeng and Shen Teng came from a courtyard not far away and greeted Yan Liqiang as he walked out from his courtyard.
“Good morning!” Yan Liqiang smiled, “You guys are quite early!”
“Hahaha, today is a big day for the archery academy. Of course we cannot be slacking off!” Shi Dafeng chuckled mischievously. He walked toward Yan Liqiang and winked at him, after making sure that there were no other people around, he said, “Your Five Animal Frolics technique was awesome. Shen Teng and I have just practiced it for a few days and we can already feel the powerful effects in our bodies. I guess we will pass the Stretching Tendon and Extending Bone stage soon; the days to progressing into Martial Warrior are not too far!”
“Mmm, as long as it’s useful!”
“Liqiang, you mentioned that the archery academy will only accept two thousand students for the first intake. How many people do you think will be coming today?” Shen Teng asked as he stared into the distance, “I heard from Teacher Shi that people have been waiting outside the archery academy since yesterday morning!”
“We’ll know how many people are coming in a short while!”
“Ah, Teacher Shi is here too!” Shi Dafeng shouted.
As the three of them were talking, they saw Shi Changfeng emerge from a bamboo forest not far away. Shi Changfeng also looked fresh today — he wore a long white robe which gave off his unusual aura, and made him look as though he was treading on air. He walked toward them and greeted them, staring deeply at Yan Liqiang before speaking with a serious tone, “Liqiang, once the archery academy opens its doors today, you are the leader and headmaster of this archery academy. You will be responsible for the future of the thousands of students of this academy as their destinies will be strongly connected to you. Are you ready for this?”
“Don’t worry Teacher Shi, I am already well-prepared!” Yan Liqiang took a deep breath, “There’ll be many matters in the archery academy which will require your help in the future!”
“From today onward, you do not need to address me as ‘Teacher’, just address me by my name or my job title. Everyone in this archery academy sees you as a leading figure!”
“In that case, I shall address you as Deputy Headmaster!”
“Haha, that sounds much more noble!” Shi Changfeng laughed, “Let’s get ready and go, I guess people have waited long outside to register for the academy!”
Ten minutes later, when the first ray of sunlight touched the tip of the drum tower of the archery academy, Yan Liqiang instructed someone to open the doors of the archery academy. He was shocked by the sight of the large crowds at the plaza outside the entrance.
Yan Liqiang had only prepared to accept two thousand students for the archery academy’s first intake, but there was definitely more than ten thousand people outside the academy right now. This scenario immediately reminded Yan Liqiang of the bustling scene of registering as a civil servant in his previous life…