Chapter 115: The Entrance Exam (2) (Part One)
The Martial Arts Academy was in the center of Xuanwu Street. On the street right to the gate, many participants were waiting to enter. On the street left to the gate, it was much quieter since it was the path for officials and aristocrats who were here to watch this event.
Fang Jie pulled his red horse and walked with Zhang Kuang and Mo Xidao, and many people rolled their eyes at him.
The tall red horse pushed many people to the side, especially those gongzi in fancy clothes; they were worried that the horse would make them dirty.
These members of big families all came here riding on their horse-drawn carriages, but the carriages were all parked on the side of the street before getting to Xuanwu Street.
Fang Jie was the only person who walked toward the Martial Arts Academy with a horse.
When Fang Jie was close to the gate of the academy, he suddenly heard noises upfront. He looked in the direction of the noises and realized that he was targeted. He thought, “These people are trying to cause trouble before I get through the gate.
A young gongzi in fancy clothes found a professor who was greeting guests at the gate and complained while pointing at Fang Jie, “How come there is someone who doesn’t know the rules? Everyone walks here to show respect toward the Martial Arts Academy, but that guy is bringing a beast with him, occupying the path for participants. How can this be allowed? Sir, I ask you to punish him!”
Although there were many people, Fang Jie clearly heard this. Zhang Kuang looked at him and said worryingly, “When we just reached this street, I tried to convince you to leave the horse there and ask someone to watch it for you, but you didn’t listen. Now, if that professor comes over to reprimand you, you couldn’t explain yourself. The worst thing is that you might leave a bad impression. If he remembers you and evaluates you during the…”
“Don’t worry,” Fang Jie said with a smile before walking forward with his red horse.
Hundreds of pairs of eyes looked over. Most young men in fancy clothes looked at Fang Jie with anger and disdain, but the participants from the military didn’t react this way. The noises caught their attention, and they all looked this way and saw Fang Jie. Then, they greeted him warmly.
Fang Jie cupped his hands and greeted all these participants as well, addressing them as his brothers intimately. Most of the soldiers were rough on the outside and cursed when they talked, making members of big families show more disdain toward them.
With all the soldiers walking over, Fang Jie was clearly becoming the leader.
The professor at the gate of the Martial Arts Academy squinted and looked this way, and his expression didn’t change. He nodded at the gongzi in fancy clothes who complained to him, and he told him to authenticate his identity first as a participant.
That gongzi in fancy clothes sneered at Fang Jie and didn’t leave; he stood on the side as if he wanted to see a show.
The professor in the moon-white long robe walked to Fang Jie and looked at him before asking, “I’m Professor Yan Ji of the Martial Arts Academy. Why did you come here with your horse? Someone made a complaint, saying that a beast occupied the space meant for participants of the entrance exam.”
Fang Jie stood still and bowed. “Greetings, professor.”
“Eh.” Yan Ji returned the greeting as a senior and waited for Fang Jie’s explanation.
Fang Jie straightened his body, pointed at his red horse, and said earnestly, “I will answer your second question first. If the beast you mentioned is this horse, I don’t dare to agree. I don’t know how others treat horses, but in my border city, my warhorse is like my brother. Warhorses are required for soldiers to inspect a region, chase after enemies, scout information, and pass military intelligence. Not only me, but all border soldiers see warhorses as their peers. When in battle, we would split our food into two potions, one of us and one of the horses.”
Fang Jie stared at Yan Ji and said seriously, “Perhaps warhorses are beasts in the eyes of the person who complained as they are lower than people on several levels. However, in the eyes of border soldiers, every warhorse is our brother that supports us through flames and chaos. Without this warhorse, I would have died in a battle. If someone is angry that my brother occupied the path, I will apologize on its behalf. On the battlefield, my brother and I walked on the same path to fight for glory. It doesn’t know the rules of Chang’an; it doesn’t know that after leaving the battlefield, it is only a beast and isn’t qualified to walk on the same path as people.”