Soft sunlight was coming through the window.
And there was a pleasant sound of birds chirping.
Hyun Jong slowly opened his eyes and stared out the window from where the light was pouring in.
After a while, he took off the white blanket on him and sat comfortably as he looked around.
‘It is today.’
Finally, the morning of their departure to Mount Song had arrived.
After washing his face lightly, Hyun Jong looked at the clothes placed in front of him.
A black robe with the symbol of the plum blossom. The color of the clothes reflected by the light made them look luxurious.
It was done by Hyun Young, who insisted on bringing in new clothes.
Hyun Jong smiled a little.
‘He must consider this such an important event.’
A place where the Mount Hua Sect would appear in front of others for the first time in several decades. He didn’t know why, but no one in Mount Hua wanted to be underestimated.
Dressed in the robe, he fastened his girdle several times. And then he closed his eyes.
‘Are any more preparations needed?’
‘All the preparations are done.’
He let out a small sigh.
For the past half year, Hyun Jong and the elders have been very busy. In fact, they were literally sleeping with their eyes open sometimes.
Just so that they could be confident in participating in this competition.
Hyun Jong looked at the door with dull eyes. Then he sighed as he took a trembling step.
The door opened slowly, and he sighed as he looked at the clear sky.
“Sect Leader, are you ready?”
Un Am was standing there and greeted him.
“The disciples are ready and waiting for the Sect Leader.”
“Today is the day; I can’t imagine everyone would have slept that well.”
“Haha. It is such a long way, though.”
It would be best to rest well before their long journey, but he couldn’t blame his disciples.
Even Hyun Jong couldn’t sleep because of his excitement and nervousness.
Hyun Jong, who wore his emotions on his sleeve, could understand what the young disciples were going through.
“Yes, Sect Leader.”
Un Am took the lead, and Hyun Jong quietly followed him by looking at the sky.
‘The weather is great.’
‘Clear… no, I should avoid that expression… it is a bright sky that seems to be blessing us on our way.’
‘To make our steps feel lighter…’
“No. It is nothing.”
Hyun Jong groaned unknowingly.
And when he finally reached the place, he took a deep breath and climbed up the podium.
The Elders were all waiting.
It was all good so far.
Good so far…
In front of the podium, the second and third-class disciples who had been working very hard were present.
They had worked hard and had trained without a single groan…
No, actually, there were a lot of complaints, but seeing how they didn’t give up and followed the training, he was proud…
Without strength, he walked to the front of the podium and looked at the disciples, and then closed his eyes.
‘Where do they even look like the disciples of a Taoist Sect?’
When he opened his eyes, he looked at the disciples again.
They had wide shoulders.
They had clenched hands and tough muscles, which could be seen through their clothes.
It was good till now.
Those bulging chest and the copper skin and the face that looked grim at first…
‘But why do I get the feeling that they think life is so precious from their eyes?’
‘Who would think they are Taoists?’
If someone who knew nothing entered Mount Hua now, they would throw down their precious things and beg for their lives.
‘If not, there will be a sound of how Mount Hua had changed… no!’
Hyun Jong looked at the person who caused all this.
Behind the disciples who had lined up, the feeling that something he had built had collapsed would come as he looked at Chung Myung.
Chung Myung, who was just sitting there, looked around normally.
“What is with the Sect Leader’s face? Why have that expression on such a good day?”
‘You are the problem, you brat!’
Seeing Hyun Young smile proudly at Chung Myung made Hyun Jong’s stomach hurt.
“Kuak. Are you all ready?”
“Yes, Sect Leader. Please say one word.”
‘What word do I say?’
‘Let’s have some meat and drinks tonight because we are sure to do a good job? Catch every opponent?’
Hyun Jong looked at the proud but ignorant disciples of Mount Hua, shedding tears while looking at the sky.
‘Is this fine?’
‘Is this really okay?’
‘Ahh, My Mount Hua…’
Hyun Jong coughed loudly and said.
Whatever the circumstances were, they would depart today. Even if it was just a few words, for all the children who had worked hard, he had to inspire them.
“Everyone has gone through so much.”
‘They must have suffered a lot, and those bastards must have made you feel like you were on some battlefield to turn your faces into this.’
“Not at all, Sect Leader!”
“We did not suffer.”
“We will break the heads of those old bastards!”
The sad thing was that the person who said those words wasn’t Chung Myung.
‘This isn’t Mount Hua.’
‘This is the Chung Myung Sect’
If these people were sent to Luoyang or anywhere else, it would take less than a month for them to get their hands on the entire place.
“…this competition is to strengthen our friendship with other Sects. First, the idea of meeting…”
And Hyun Young smiled.
“Don’t say such things. The kids will laugh.”
‘You are a Taoist. How can you say that!’
“Let’s end it quickly. Anyway, if someone else sees this, they would think that the Sect Leader doesn’t want to go.”
“Ah, is that so?”
Hyun Young stepped ahead and said.
“Today, we move to Mount Song. Is everyone confident?”
“Don’t worry, Elder!”
Hyun Young nodded.
“Everyone check if you have everything you need! All disciples, check your luggage too.”
With those words, the Un disciples, who were standing on one side, began to move.
Hyun Young, who got a glimpse of it, spoke with strong eyes.
“The place we are going now is a place where all Sects will gather. Every action you take and every look you make, it will all be a factor that Mount Hua gets evaluated on. So, everyone’s appearance… all of you…”
Everyone turned around and at the end of all their gazes was Chung Myung.
“Uh? Why me?”
“…no, no reason.”
“Somehow, I just thought I should look at you.”
Chung Myung smiled.
“W-why are you doing this? There is no one as gentle as me in this Sect.”
‘Check this brat out!’
‘I really want to bury him.’
Perhaps it was because they were tormented by Chung Myung for 6 months, but the eyes of the disciples who were now glaring at him looked venomous.
Even Tang Soso, who had just entered Mount Hua, was glaring at him.
Hyun Young looked at this horrifying scene with warm eyes.
“Once you are ready, let’s go.”
As the disciple standing in front stepped forward, the disciples in the back cheered for them.
“Don’t even think about coming back if you lose!”
“Crawl back from Mount Song if you lose!”
“Try losing, and I will show you hell. I will pick a branch and hang you from there!”
The representatives of Mount Hua smiled warmly at those words.
“What was that, you weak bastard?”
“Sweep the yard well.”
At such a heartwarming sight, Hyun Jong smiled warmly.
‘Mount Hua is ruined.’
‘Now I am sure of it.’
‘How did this happen in just 6 months?’
“How am I supposed to face my ancestors once I die?”
“What are you thinking? Everyone will praise you.”
“Look at them.”
Hyun Jong looked at the disciples.
“Isn’t this the momentum of a prestigious sect?”
‘I think the prestigious sects I know and the ones you know are quite different…’
Hyun Jong took a deep breath.
However, there was one reason he could be confident.
‘Certainly, we walk out with great force behind us.’
He felt confident enough to walk with his shoulders wide. And this wasn’t baseless confidence.
Now, they moved with knife-like force.
A force that was ready to fight anywhere and anyone.
It was something that couldn’t be imagined in the past.
“Even the Nine Great Sects will have to admit it once they see these kids. Mount Hua is no longer a declining sect.”
Hyun Jong nodded his head.
“Everyone, let’s move.”
The gold letter they received from the Shaolin Sect.
Forty people could accompany them with the gold letter. Everyone couldn’t obviously go, so they took only a few of them.
Although there were concerns, Hyun Jong chose to take more children from the Baek and Chung disciples in the end.
For Mount Hua, this competition wasn’t just to show off their skills.
This was a chance for the children of Mount Hua to experience a wider world.
So, Hyun Jong wanted more disciples and fewer elders and Un disciples with him.
“I am sorry.”
“Not at all, Sect Leader.”
Un Am smiled.
“Going to Mount Song and making a name for Mount Hua is important, but protecting Mount Hua here is equally important. Don’t worry, and move ahead.”
“Yes. I trust you.”
Hyun Jong smiled warmly as if he felt at ease.
“…you, deal only with what you can in your old age.”
“Why are you leaving me here!”
And he shook his head.
Hyun Young, who was supposed to remain in Mount Hua and take care of the Sect in place of Hyun Young, said he would follow them. So Un Am turned into the temporary Sect Leader.
Now, there were a total of 4 elders going to the Shaolin Sect, including three Hyun disciples, and apart from them, there was also Un Gam to take care of the children.
“Aren’t there too few people to manage the disciples?”
“Will that be fine?”
Hyun Jong smiled, looking at the children carrying all their bags.
Baek Cheon was standing in the front.
It warmed his heart to see Baek Cheon newly dressed in the plum blossom robe. Wasn’t this the image of a Mount Hua swordsman he had always dreamed of?
The appearance of Yoon Jong and Jo Gul standing next to him also showed stability.
‘Right. It isn’t all a bad thing.’
If one was a Sect Leader, they needed to look at their disciples with a good eye.
First of all, he had to trust the children…
‘Should we go?’
‘…I cannot do this.’
‘I cannot stand Chung Myung constantly poking his head from behind and bringing down the pride I have in Mount Hua.’
“Why didn’t you change your clothes?”
“They are new ones.”
“Right, so why haven’t you worn them yet?”
Chung Myung smiled.
“It will be dusty on the way. I will get there and then wear the new clothes.”
‘Right, Chung Myung is really smart. Right.’
‘He is smart, and he knows how things work.’
But Hyun Jong just closed his eyes tightly and turned his head since he knew that expecting such a thing from Chung Myung was futile.
“Ahem. Let’s go!”
He turned and stepped in front of the gate of Mount Hua. Behind him, the Elders and Un disciples followed and behind them were the other disciples.
Hyun Jong, who was advancing with decisive steps, stopped in front of the gate and then looked at it.
Hyun Sang and Hyun Young were silent.
It was because they knew why the Sect Leader had stopped.
It has been decades since he became the Sect Leader of Mount Hua. However, he had never once left the Sect during all this time for a proper cause.
Until now, he had only left Mount Hua to beg for money and to plead with their debtors.
So this feeling was bound to be new for him. This step was equivalent to the first step he was taking outside Mount Hua in so long.
Knowing this, no one urged him.
A little time passed.
Hyun Jong, who had been looking at the gate, heard a voice.
Hyun Jong didn’t even look back as he knew who the owner of this voice was.
“This will be a historic step for Mount Hua.”
Hyun Jong smiled.
Hyun Jong finally took a step without any regrets. Cheers came out from the other excited disciples.
“Win and come back!”
“Sect Leader! Elders! Come back in good health!”
“Come back after making a name for Mount Hua in the world!”
“Chung Myung! Let’s party when you come back!”
“Which bastard was that?”
The disciples and others all proudly descended amidst the cheers.
It was a very little thing.
But for Kangho, this would be the starting point of a big change.
The place the small crowd headed to was Mount Song, where the Shaolin Sect was located.
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