“Elder, will Sahyung win?”
Seeing the elder tightly biting his lips, the disciple asked cautiously. Sama Seung parted his lips to answer as a stream of blood trickled down his chin.
“Will he win?”
It was an absurd question.
“He has to win, no matter what.”
If that monster’s wings aren’t broken today, then he would continue to soar further into the sky.
Once that monster ascends, no one will ever be able to catch up. From that moment on, that monster would become a dragon.
This might be the last chance.
It might be the worst-case scenario, but Sama Seung hadn’t given up hope.
‘It’ll be possible for Jin Geum-Ryong.’
Although he was also a second-class disciple, Sama Seung had faith in him. Jin Geum-Ryong’s abilities stood far above the others. Although Sama Seung had spoken harshly to him, he firmly believed that Jin Geum-Ryong could stand among the best in the world with enough luck.
In other words?
If Jin Geum-Ryong cannot defeat that child, then no one in this world within that age range will be able to stop Chung Myung. In other words, if Chung Myung defeats Jin Geum-Ryong today, then Chung Myung will naturally take his place as the strongest in his generation.
That outcome was unacceptable.
‘We should have stopped him sooner.’
Even if they had been criticized, Mount Hua should have been exterminated before it came to this. This was the result of them not destroying Mount Hua properly.
‘Damn those Mount Hua bastards!’
Sama Seung glared at them.
He could not allow history to remember this day as the Southern Edge Sect’s disgrace.
At that moment, Jin Geum-Ryong’s sword began to bloom like a fantasy. Sama Seung clenched his fists as he watched the Twelve Movement Snow Flower Sword technique unfold perfectly.
‘This sword will take your breath away!’
Chung Myung looked at the sword.
The movement was copied really well.
The beauty of a single flower, as if it was alive and breathing. And a keen, fatal blow hidden behind the beauty.
Truly, the Twenty-Four Movement Plum Blossom Sword technique.
It is different from what Lee Song-Baek performed. If Lee Song-Baek’s sword was merely an imitation of Mount Hua’s technique, then Jin Geum-Ryong’s sword had an elegance that even Chung Myung might admire.
Anyone bearing witness to such a fantastic sword would end up praising it.
The person in front of Jin Geum-Ryong was Chung Myung.
And he avoided the sword.
Jin Geum-Ryong’s sword cut the hem of Chung Myung’s robe.
The tip of his hair was also cut.
Soon, it brushed past Chung Myung’s cheek. A red line appeared, and a drop of blood trickled down.
Chung Myung easily stepped back and raised a finger to wipe away the flowing blood before licking his finger. Bittersweet.
“You won’t be able to defeat me by running away like that.”
Hearing Jin Geum-Ryong’s provocation, Chung Myung simply looked back at him in silence.
Jin Geum-Ryong’s eyes revealed a sense of peace, and he appeared relaxed.
“Once upon a time, Mount Hua made a name for itself with a sword resembling a flower, right?”
“But that’s a story of the past. Now even those legends will be buried beneath the Southern Edge Sect’s new sword. The world will remember the tales of my sect and forget the sword of Mount Hua.”
Chung Myung quietly listened without responding.
“The ancestors of my sect created this technique to show the world that the Southern Edge Sect’s swordsmanship will always be superior to Mount Hua’s. I honestly believe that it was a meaningless act. What’s the point in proving our superiority over a dying sect? However!”
Jin Geum-Ryong spoke in a cold voice.
“There is meaning in this sword technique being the one that severs the last breath from Mount Hua. Come! I will end this dying legacy!”
Arrogant words, but it was a poignant talk.
However, Chung Myung’s reaction to this was different from what Jin Geum-Ryong expected.
Chung Myung covered his mouth and then began to lose himself in laughter.
“… what are you doing?”
Chung Myung, who struggled to hold back his laughter, shook his hand with his head down.
“No. No. I am trying, but I just can’t hold it back anymore.”
Chung Myung smiled, revealed his teeth, and raised his sword at Jin Geum-Ryong.
“I enjoyed the show. That act… well, it is more like a clown.”
“Right. I enjoyed that clumsy impersonation. Even I can do it if it’s only at that level.”
Jin Geum-Ryong’s face was distorted. He gnashed his teeth, and his forehead crumpled.
“How dare you… compare my sword to a mimicry?”
“Ah, don’t get me wrong. It isn’t like I am looking down on you. Rather, it’s the sword technique or… perhaps, it’s the Southern Edge Sect, who invented the technique, that I’m looking down on?”
Jin Geum-Ryong glared at Chung Myung. Yet, Chung Myung didn’t back down.
“You don’t need to glare at me like that. I am going to give you a gift. I’ll fill the void in that sword technique.’
“… it would be better for you to think about how you can escape with your body intact.”
“I don’t think that’s something that a person who could barely touch their opponent should say.”
Jin Geum-Ryong flinched.
The Twelve Movement Snow Flower Sword technique. The opponent shouldn’t be able to distinguish between genuine strikes and illusory falsehoods. So, wouldn’t it be impossible for Chung Myung to avoid it?
Jin Geum-Ryong’s knuckles turned white as he clenched his sword.
Chung Myung wouldn’t be able to survive once this technique was displayed, and Mount Hua wouldn’t dare to ask Jin Geum-Ryong to pay for his actions either. If they pressed charges, they would have to deal with the entire Southern Edge Sect.
In the end, the strong dominate the weak.
The weak may complain about injustice, but they can never punish the strong. An absolute law that can never be changed.
However, Chung Myung brutally interrupted Jin Geum-Ryong.
“I will ask you one thing.”
It was an unfamiliar tone.
“Just what is that sword?”
“… what do you mean?”
“No, don’t bother. That’s enough.”
Chung Myung shook his head.
It meant that he meant nothing.
Chung Myung suppressed his true intention and spoke with a smirk in a voice loud enough for everyone to hear.
“That’s a pretty good imitation, but it won’t be enough. Mount Hua’s sword is faster, sharper, and more dazzling.”
Everyone certainly heard that declaration.
The Southern Edge Sect would be unable to escape from the curse.
“Even now, you’ve got a big mouth.”
“If you find a way to kill my mouth, let me know. Anyway, you’re the one that’s been doing all the talking for a while.”
Jin Geum-Ryong moved his sword, deciding not to exchange words anymore. He was going to fight it out and not talk.
Just one win.
His sword was splendid and swiftly traversed through the air. The qi emanating from the sword began to form vivid flower patterns.
And another win in a different aspect.
Soon, the flowers created by Jin Geum-Ryong began to cover the area.
As beautiful as can be, yet equally as dangerous.
‘You will die by this sword!’
Twelve Movement Snow Flower Sword technique.
Jin Geum-Ryong displayed the perfect version of this technique, the Snow Flower Full Heaven.
The flower that dyed the world in white began to wrap around Chung Myung as if wanting to tear his body to shreds.
Screams erupted from all around.
The disciples of Mount Hua, who were silently watching as if possessed, jumped up from their seats at once.
How dangerous that sword could be.
They didn’t have to be there to know. Just looking at it from afar was enough to make goosebumps rise and their hearts skip a beat.
Chung Myung, whose strength always instilled confidence and faith in them, suddenly seemed to have fallen into a dangerous situation where his survival was uncertain.
Yoon Jong clasped his hands in front of his chest without realizing it.
Jin Geum-Ryong’s sword was so fierce that they worried for the safety of the monster-like Chung Myung. It seemed like no one could survive in that storm of snow flowers.
Even Baek Cheon was screaming for Chung Myung.
But just one.
Yu Yiseol, bit her lip as she looked at the scene without much agitation. However, a single question crossed her mind.
A sight she had seen before. Perhaps it was something familiar too? Something she’d seen recently, but…
Something felt different.
This sword wasn’t too different from what she knew. However, it didn’t give that same feeling of her soul being sucked in, like Chung Myung’s sword.
What was different?
Yu Yiseol turned her sights on Chung Myung.
He would be the one to tell them what was different.
Chung Myung had a subtle expression as he looked at the waves of flowers around.
‘This is another kind of experience.’
It was different from when he was with his Sahyungs. It was rare to feel true killing intent from his Sahyungs.
‘This must be how those demonic bastards felt when they faced the Twenty-Four Movement Plum Blossom Sword technique.’
Maybe a little different.
Chung Myung felt no threat, no pressure at all, from this technique.
‘This is just a shell.’
Exactly, the shell of a failed sword.
A technique begins with an idea, then a vision for how it would be displayed. Once the vision is formed, it must be granted substance. A sword that’s given substance can be taught and learned. A sword that goes further than that can finally be called one with the Tao.
But this sword was empty.
The idea and vision form the shell of the sword, but there was no substance or deeper meaning. It could never be a true sword technique.
This sword was nothing but a copy of Mount Hua’s sword. A shell with no opportunity for growth.
This all happened because of a long-time misunderstanding.
‘The Plum Blossom Sword technique makes flowers bloom?’
That is wrong in two ways.
Chung Myung began to move his sword slowly. The disciples of Mount Hua recognized it right away.
‘The Seven Sages Sword?’
The disciples all knew that this technique was recently brought back to the sect. But it seemed like a weak choice against the Southern Edge Sect’s technique.
At that time, Chung Myung mumbled to himself.
“It isn’t the Plum Blossom Sword technique that makes the flowers bloom.”
Flowers don’t just bloom in dense forests.
Even a single plum tree on a cliff can make flowers bloom.
Whether it was the Plum Blossom or the Seven Sages Sword technique, it wasn’t the technique that made the flowers bloom but the disciple who held the sword.
Made a faint flower bloom at the tip of Chung Myung’s sword.
A single red flower bloomed amidst the myriad flowers that colored the world white.
It looked like a single Plum Blossom on a snowy mountain.
Snow Plum blossoms bloom alone in the winter when the flowers turn dry and give off a stronger fragrance than others.
Chung Myung’s single plum blossom gradually multiplied and soon covered the white world with red plum blossoms, like snow plums blossoming on a snow-capped Mount Hua.
Everyone witnessing this event was mesmerized.
It was too beautiful to be swordsmanship and too majestic to be a man-made scene.
‘This is fantasy.’
In that frozen time, only the plum blossoms that bloomed at that moment continued to release a scent so strong that they captivated the audience’s senses.
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