Chapter 129: Difference (Part One)
Since there were so many participants, the mounted archery test wasn’t done one person at a time. Instead, there were 200 targets on one side of the field, and the participants were divided into groups of 200, and they went up to show their skills.
Mounted archery test was comprised of three parts. There was horseback riding, archery, and mounted archery.
However, the test this year was special. Principal Zhou removed the horse-back riding, and he said that Great Sui only had two cavalry legions after trying to train more cavalrymen for many years, so these participants might not use their horse-back riding skills ever.
The generals who led those two legions were hand-picked by the Emperor. Even if a student of the Martial Arts Academy was extremely talented, it would take three years before this student could enter the military, and the chance of entering one of those two cavalry legions would be close to zero.
Without the horse-back riding test, the participants were tested on archery and mounted archery.
Every turn, 200 participants would each shoot out an arrow at the same time. Each of them would get ten arrows; five for shooting while standing still and five for shooting while moving.
Fang Jie was in the third group of participants. When others shot their arrows, he waited on the side and observed carefully; it looked like he wanted to remember every detail.
On the other side of the targets, soldiers from Right Reverent Guard were recording the results.
Professor Qiu Yu who was supervising the test stood behind the targets. It seemed like she wasn’t worried about arrows harming her by accident. With hands behind her back, she walked back and forth calmly.
Seeing that he was about to go up, Fang Jie squatted down and straightened his attire. He found a few ropes and tied the top of his boots onto his lower legs. Then, he stuck the hem of his robe into his belt and tied his sleeves with ropes as well. After he did that, he heard the examiner’s voice.
Fang Jie took a few deep breaths and looked at the ten arrows and the bow.
On the other side of the targets, the soldiers who were responsible for recording the results took off the arrows on the targets and backed out into the hideout.
With the sound of a bronze gong, Fang Jie and the other 199 participants stood in a row behind the white line.
There were five parts. The participants needed to first go to the white line that was 70 meters away from the targets. After shooting one arrow, they needed to quickly move back and shoot one arrow at the same time. After they were 80 meters away from the targets, they needed to stand still and shoot the third arrow before moving back and shooting another.
There were five white lines, and they needed to move back four times, shooting nine arrows in total. The last arrow required the participants to change positions when they were 120 meters away from the targets and shoot while moving.
The overall rating would consider the time used, the movements, and the accuracy.
Although the rules were simple, it wasn’t easy to shoot these ten arrows well.
The arrows that the participants used were made by Great Sui’s weaponry workshops, and it was easy to shoot these arrows more than 200 meters away. However, the participants would need to calculate the landing spot of the arrows when they were 70 meters away from the targets. When they were about 110 meters away, the arrows would need to travel much further in the air, and even a sliver of wind might change the trajectory of the arrows.
On top of that, they needed to hit the bull’s eye while moving. It was easy to imagine how hard it was.
Fang Jie tied the quiver to his back so that he could pull out arrows by raising his hand. Then, he pulled on the bowstring a few times, getting used to the power of this bow.
Before the test started, he found a small rock on the ground and shot it out with the bow.
Then, he memorized the trajectory of the rock and the hand-feel of the bow.
When the bronze gong sounded again, Fang Jie instantly raised his hand and pulled out the first arrow from the quiver.
Without aiming, he pulled the bow open and shot the arrow in one go. He was 70 meters away from the target; this wasn’t hard for Fang Jie since he was standing still.
After shooting the first arrow, Fang Jie didn’t wait to see if the arrow was accurate. Also, he didn’t copy others who were looking back to aim while running back.
Instead, he kicked the ground and dashed backward like a kite. While dashing into the air with one kick, Fang Jie pulled the second arrow out of the quiver. When he landed, the bow was already loaded and pulled. When he leaped again, the arrow shot out rapidly.