Kangho was warmly heated by the news that was brought by the early autumn wind.
-The Worldly Murim Competition is on!
It was even being hosted by the Shaolin Sect.
And what was the Shaolin Sect?
Wasn’t it a place that had been called the peak of martial arts for a long time?
There were many sects in the world. But none of them dared to compare their influence with the Shaolin Sect.
The Shaolin Sect, which had been a benefactor of Kangho even before the Demonic Sect’s incident that had happened 100 years ago, finally broke their silence and began to take giant steps again.
Naturally, the attention of many strong people, who hadn’t heard of any recent groundbreaking incident for conducting the tournament, was now focused on Mount Song.
When two or more powerful people gathered, stories would be shared, and if there were three or more gathering, there would be all kinds of things happening that a single night couldn’t cover.
The story was in full swing during the Lunar New Year in Luoyang.
“Of course, it is important!”
A rat-faced man said.
“But it isn’t really important! Didn’t they say that there was a spar competition that would happen as well? This is the most important thing.”
Hearing those words, the man frowned.
“Isn’t that supposed to be a place where the possible masters fight?”
“Tch tch, it seems like you don’t know. Have you ever heard of a sect’s elders coming to fight or spar in a tournament?”
The man with the horse face frowned. As he thought more about it, he realized that he had never heard anything about elders coming out to fight.
The rat-faced man arrogantly leaned back in his chair.
“Normally, that is what a spar means. Those who risk their lives for the sake of face and pride just so that they compete in front of others who might be stronger! That is why the Sects raise their disciples.”
“Is that the reason?”
At the question, he raised his voice.
“It isn’t about which Sect is strongest right now in this spar, but rather, who will take the lead in the next ten years.”
“The people participating in the spar right now are all people who will be the foundations of their Sects in the future. These people are probably around thirty years old right now, but wouldn’t they be close to forty in ten years?”
“That is obvious, right?”
“By the time they are forty, they would have turned into the backbones of the Sect. In other words, the people who are competing now will become the center of a Sect’s strength in ten years. So, this spar can be considered to be a loose prediction of the future of a Sect. This is a very important thing.”
The horse-faced man nodded his head. He had finally understood. It meant that even if the current best Sect wasn’t known, one would be able to guess which sects would become the best in the future through this tournament.
And even if they didn’t necessarily win, the reputation of the Sect would still rise, and good results would only increase.
“So, who do you think will win this competition?”
“Hmm. That is a difficult question.”
The rat-faced man gently grabbed his bottle. He then frowned as he shook it, noticing that it had become lighter than before.
“Kuk. I want to talk, but I am so thirsty for this…”
“Ah! Man! Bring me a bottle here!”
“Alcohol! Alcohol is good! And… if I take strong alcohol, it helps my throat to speak properly.”
“Server! We don’t want a flower extract! Get us a bamboo leaf one!”
When the bamboo leaf alcohol, which was three times more expensive than the normal one, was ordered, the rat-faced man smiled and said.
“Who do you think will win? Of course, we are talking about the outcome of the competition, right?”
“You are just speaking nonsense.”
“It is because it is difficult. Is it even possible to find one or two outstanding people with the current situation of the Sects?”
At the ambiguous words, the man with the horse-face twitched.
“I gave you alcohol, but you are saying such absurd things! This is something that even I could answer.”
“Ho? Then tell me.”
“Aren’t there already people who have the attention of Kangho on them? The Five Dragons?”
The rat-faced man laughed.
“This is why you know nothing.”
“What about the Five Dragons? Do you mean that the five who have achieved the most outstanding achievements will be good?”
“Right! Aren’t they going to be everyone’s favorites?”
“Such ignorant words. What are the criteria for evaluating someone who is strong?”
The man couldn’t answer and hesitated, making the other chuckle.
“This is how the evaluation in Kangho happens. It strictly depends on what an individual has done within Kangho. In other words, the Five Dragons were just people who stood out until now.”
The man with the rat-face paused for a moment and snatched the bamboo leaf alcohol from the server before it had even reached their table and started drinking from the bottle.
After about half the bottle was emptied, the rat-faced man continued.
“Among those who are flocking to Mount Song right now… It heard that even the shining jewels who haven’t stepped out of their Sects will be coming.”
“But didn’t you say it? If they are good, then rumors about them will spread.”
“Right, right. For example, the Broken Mountain Sword of the Southern Island sect, who is known to be the best in the last hundred years, and the Qingcheng sect’s Neung Haun, who is loved by the Sect Leader.”
“That is exactly what I am saying. Taking all those things into consideration, you can predict a winner, right?”
“Huh. This guy is good at scratching the pride of others. Fine. If you come out like that, I have nothing to say.”
The man slammed his hand on the table.
“If I have to bet, it will be on the Wudang Sect.”
“Right. Even if the force of the Wudang Sect has decreased a little bit now, it doesn’t have the title of ‘prestigious’ behind it for nothing. Maybe we will see the Wudang Sect rise again this time.”
“Um, Wudang Sect. The Wudang Sect, huh… well, does the Wudang Sect even have the power to do that? Weren’t they humiliated by Mount Hua just recently?”
“What? You believe the rumor that Mu Jin of the Wudang Sect was defeated by Mount Hua’s Divine Dragon?”
“It is a rumor…”
“Why do I have such a stupid friend?”
The rat-faced man’s eyes narrowed.
“Still, do you mean that someone who just said he has a strong sense for things believes such rumors? What is this? A rumor about a young boy taking down a full-grown man is something you want to believe?”
Saying that, he drank from the bottle again.
“Martial arts is like good alcohol; the longer it stays, the better its flavor becomes. How often does a freshly brewed one taste good? Besides, a good environment is also necessary for the alcohol to ripen properly. Divine Dragon? It is too early to call him that.”
However, the expression on his face was still incomprehensible.
“But didn’t Mount Hua win over the Southern Edge Sect as well?”
“I heard that only the third-class disciples were defeated there! You must know that the second-class disciples are the ones who have the most solid foundation, right?”
“Isn’t that enough proof that the third-class disciples will lose to the second-class disciples of the Southern Edge Sect who had won all their matches? If the fight happens again, will Mount Hua win? Huh!”
“No… still, Mount Hua’s Divine Dragon…”
“Know this! People without fundamentals have their limits! I guarantee this! I don’t know if Mount Hua will even participate in this competition or not, but if they do, it will be a disgrace for them!”
“Yah, aren’t you being too harsh?”
“Hehe! Harsh? Let’s see! If there is someone who will be the most disgraced in this competition, it will be the Mount Hua Sect. Well, I wonder if a Sect with no roots and one that is facing decline will even show its face here. Haha!”
Even when the man burst into laughter, the horse-faced man said nothing.
It was then.
The door of the guest house opened like it was being broken, and a man walked in.
The two of them turned their heads in shock and went silent as they saw the customer.
A black uniform.
And there was a plum pattern on the chest.
It was a dress they had heard about a lot.
So that is…
Step step step.
The disciple of Mount Hua, who almost broke open the door, walked forward.
He looked skinny, but anyone could see that he had a solid body. And seeing his face made everyone feel like respecting him.
But what was most impressionable was the irritation on the man’s face.
The man, waiting, ran to him.
“Ah, yes! What kind of food would you like?”
“A hundred and twenty servings of meat!”
“It is for 40 people! Hurry up!”
There were only forty people, but they wanted a hundred and twenty servings? What was this calculation?
“Uh? Ye… yes! I understand!”
The man from Mount Hua grabbed the server’s shoulder and said.
“Alcohol! Anything works, so bring me whatever is the best here.”
“Yes! I will bring it right now!”
The server ran into the kitchen, and he shook his head to get rid of his thoughts. The man from Mount Hua sat down on the table next to the two men who were talking.
“Here it is! Customer!”
The disciple of Mount Hua snatched the bottle and began to drink from the bottle.
“I live for this taste!”
At that moment, the man, whose expression had been relaxed, seemed to have thought of something and turned his head.
As soon as their eyes met, the two men flinched in surprise.
Even as they waited, the unknown man didn’t divert his gaze, and the rat-faced man said.
“…what about it?”
The man from Mount Hua tilted his head to the side and grinned.
“I think you were talking about a very interesting story. What about Mount Hua?”
The rat-faced man let out a cough.
“Ahem. Are you a disciple of Mount Hua?”
“Yes, coincidentally, I am a disciple of Mount Hua.”
With a slightly bewildered face, the rat-faced man tried to stay calm. However, perhaps because he had some experience, he managed to calm himself quickly and spoke in a serene tone.
“Um, I think there was some misunderstanding. I didn’t mean to talk bad about you. I was just trying to say that Mount Hua’s Divine Dragon is a little overrated…”
“Ah, is that so?’
“Right. A misunderstanding…”
Mount Hua’s man got up with the bottle of man.
“…why are you getting up?”
“Ah, you misunderstood, so I want to explain it properly.”
“What do you mean?”
The man smiled brightly.
“Do you know my name?”
“…how can I know?”
“Then I will let you know. My name is Chung Myung.”
“Ah- Chung Myung. A good name….”
The man was shocked
“Yes. I am the overrated one.”
His eyes trembled.
Cold sweat broke out from his back, and his legs were shaking even though he was sitting. But instead of backing down, he was still trying to stay calm.
To get caught while speaking badly about a strong person… he had put himself in the line of death. Any man who honored his own name wouldn’t tolerate this.
“Ha… haha. I met the famous Mount Hua’s Divine Dragon…”
“Why are you shaking like that? Actually, you are right. I haven’t done anything yet, and it is a bit overrated. I haven’t really shown anything, either. Hehehe.”
The rat-faced man narrowed his eyes at the reasonable words of the man in front of him.
‘Is this sarcasm?’
‘It doesn’t seem like it.’
‘Is he a true Taoist?’
He looked at Chung Myung again.
‘How many people would be this humble?’
The man, with a slightly red face, spoke again.
“I had no intention to shame Mount Hua’s Divine Dragon. Living in Kangho has turned me into this. I am called Quick Rat, but my real name is Cho Mal-Saeng. Please accept my apology.”
“Ah, it is fine. It is true, so what is the problem with it? There is no need to apologize or anything. Don worry about it.”
Chung Myung smiled brightly, and Cho Mal-Saeng became shocked.
‘Is Mount Hua really resurrecting?’
As a disciple of a dignified Taoist Sect, there was no shame in his words or deeds.
Cho Mal-Saeng admired him and was about to speak…
“Even if I am so-so.”
Chung Myung tilted his head and looked at Cho Mal-Saeng.
“What was that about Mount Hua not having roots?”
At that moment, the man noticed it.
The eyes of Chung Myung, which were gentle, started glistening in an instant.
“M-Mount Hua’s Divine…”
But he couldn’t finish his words because Chung Myung swung the alcohol bottle at his forehead.
Cho Mal-Saeng grabbed his head and almost fell. The strange thing was that the bottle didn’t break, let alone crack, but the man who had been hit almost fell over.
And the horse-faced man, who saw all this, had a gaping mouth.
‘No, even if he said that, do people get hit for this?’
‘That too by a Taoist?’
Chung Myung drank the liquor and held the bottle upside down, and groaned.
“You jerks are cursing Mount Hua in front of me?”
Cho Mal-Saeng’s legs started trembling for real this time.
“You don’t seem to know what a rootless place is like. Well! I will show you how far a person in a sect without roots can go. Take a look.”
“Roots? Root? This is the root of Mount Hua.”
It was Cho Mal-Saeng’s greatest misfortune to meet the most un-Taoist-like man from a Taoist Sect!
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