The disciples of Mount Hua and the Southern Island Sect stopped fighting as soon as they saw a Shaolin monk approaching them.
The Shaolin monk who stood at the front shouted with an angry expression.
“How dare you fight within the sacred grounds of Shaolin! How can you do such a thing that is tantamount to ignoring the Shaolin Sect!? Stop this right now. If not, we will have to take down whatever Sect you’re part of!”
The disciples of Mount Hua pushed away the disciples of the Southern Island Sect and moved back. Seeing this, the Shaolin monk shouted,
“Declare your affiliation!”
The disciples of Mount Hua were hesitant and looked around. So Baek Cheon, who was there, stepped forward and said,
“We are Mount Hua’s disciples. It was…”
Before Baek Cheon could even finish his words, the monk shouted,
“Where is the Sect Leader of Mount Hua? I will hold him accountable for this!”
Baek Cheon’s face went stiff.
There was no way they could say that they didn’t do this, but this reaction was much more intense than he had thought,
“There is no need to talk further! Where is your Sect Leader!”
The old man’s face was turning red.
“How has he brought up his disciples for the other Sect’s disciples to turn out like this? Does this mean Mount Hua doesn’t even know what to do? How dare a martial arts sect bully a weaker…”
The old man who was speaking stopped,
And his eyes widened.
Looking at those who had been beaten once again, he couldn’t hold back his anger and said,
“N-No. The Southern Island… is weak? Huh?”
He looked shocked as he glanced between the disciples of the Southern Island and Mount Hua Sects.
All the disciples bowed their heads. All of the disciples bowed, yet the feelings of the disciples from the two sects were completely different.
While the disciples of Mount Hua had faces that screamed that they had been caught red-handed…
‘This is insane.’
‘Now, how do we carry ourselves?’
The faces of the Southern Island Sect disciples were filled with shame.
The situation was so obvious that they couldn’t even say anything. At this point, they would’ve rather gotten beaten without anyone seeing it.
‘The Shaolin Sect witnessed it as well? Soon everyone will know about this.’
“…the Southern Island… was defeated by Mount Hua? The Southern Island Sect?”
The monk looked confused. It was as if this situation couldn’t be processed by his brain.
What was the Southern Island Sect?
It was one of the most prestigious sects and was part of the Nine Great Sects.
Of course, it had made its way into the Nine Great Sects in a weird way… it had obtained its position after one of the original Nine Great Sects had begun to fade away to irrelevancy.
One could tell just by looking at the sect that it was trying maybe a little too hard to get results.
But even so, the Southern Island…
‘Lost to Mount Hua?’
‘No, this wasn’t a loss.’
The eyes of the disciples of the Southern Island Sect looked devoid of life. No matter how much they were beaten, they weren’t people who would remain this silent… at least they would grunt and complain and try to get up.
‘And on the contrary, the disciples of Mount Hua do not have a single scar on them.’
‘Normally, a fight between these two Sects should have had opposite results.’
A battle between one of the Nine Great Sects and a fallen sect that only had its past glory to stand on.
If the people of Kangho were asked to make a bet between these two Sects, almost everyone would say Mount Hua would get defeated.
So what were these results?
“Uh? Um? Ah, right.”
The monk was startled.
‘Now isn’t the time to think about this.’
What was important now wasn’t who had won but that they had fought on the grounds of the Shaolin Sect.
The monk, who was confused by this, coughed and looked at Baek Ceon with a stiff face.
“I will ask you once again. Where is the Sect Leader of Mount Hua?”
The moment Baek Cheon was about to answer, they heard a voice from behind them.
“I am here.”
The eyes of everyone turned at once.
Hyun Jong stood there with a stiff face.
Hyun Young and Hyun Sang were following him. And Hyun Young looked very confused.
As soon as the monk saw Hyun Jong, he put his hands together,
“I greet the Sect Leader of Mount Hua. I am Gong Hwa, a monk of the Shaolin Sect.”
“Great monk Gong Hwa. I am the Sect Leader of Mount Hua, Hyun Jong.”
“Your words give me too much praise. Just call me Gong Hwa.”
Hyun Jong nodded his head.
Normally, such introductions that should have been done in a good atmosphere were now being done with stiff faces.
Hyun Jong turned his head to the disciples of Mount Hua.
Seeing that action, the disciples were lightning fast as they bowed to him.
Seeing them desperately trying to not look into his eyes, he groaned in pain.
‘Your necks will break if you bow down so fast, you idiots!’
‘It hasn’t even been a day… no, it hasn’t even been half a day… no, not even half an hour. How could you make such trouble!’
‘Dust hasn’t even settled on the pots we placed inside.’
Hyun Jong was a man of conscience.
He hadn’t expected anything to happen after getting them into the Shaolin Sect.
In just half an hour, they had made trouble. That, too, so swiftly and clearly!
‘What should I do? This is the karma a Sect Leader has to face.’
Hyun Jong took a deep breath and looked at Gong Hwa,
“I am sorry. What my children did was wrong.”
“A simple sorry doesn’t cut it, Sect Leader,” Gong Hwa said coldly.
“This is Shaolin, and they have sinned within the Shaolin Sect. This cannot end in mere words. They need to be sent to the Disciplinary Hall and be condemned.”
These unexpected words made Hyun Jong go stiff.
“Isn’t that the place where the Shaolin Sect’s punishments are imposed? So why should the disciples of Mount Hua go there?”
“The law isn’t selective like that.”
Hyun Jong clenched his teeth,
“As the Sect Leader of Mount Hua, I will not allow it.”
Gong Hwa was shocked at those words.
“Are you really going to do this?”
“It doesn’t matter what you say. I will not send my children there.”
Gong Hwa’s beard trembled.
“Are you ignoring the Shaolin Sect?”
“I don’t know why you take it like that, but if you think of this as me ignoring the Shaolin Sect, then sure.”
Gong Hwa exclaimed unknowingly.
This was something that couldn’t happen in the Shaolin Sect.
Gong Hwa was shocked by the words of Hyun Jong.
“…how can you go that far? It is obviously their fault!”
“If my children did something wrong, then punishing them is natural.”
“However, it isn’t the Shaolin Sect who decides what kind of sin they have committed and what punishment they deserve… it is me. I am the Sect Leader of Mount Hua! I will not hand over my position to the disciples of the Shaolin Sect!”
It was a firm answer.
The disciples of Mount Hua looked at Hyun Jong with trembling eyes.
Looking at that dignified back, pride filled them.
At the same time, they realized what they had done.
‘We should have stayed quiet.’
‘Why the hell did I have to feel angry!’
While the rest of the disciples’ faces were laden with guilt, Baek Cheon, who stood at the forefront, felt even more horrible. He, who should have stopped them, had allowed this to happen.
‘I am solely responsible for this.’
Baek Cheon, who decided that, lifted his head.
And he waited for the conversation of the adults to stop.
“Are you determined to handle what comes next? If Mount Hua protects them as a sect, then the Shaolin Sect will have to blame Mount Hua.”
“The fault of the child is the fault of the parent! Just like that, the fault of my disciples is the fault of Mount Hua. Of course, we are determined!”
“Ugh, Amitabha Buddha! If that is the case…!”
It was the moment when Gong Hwa, who had just chanted, was about to speak.
Gong Hwa and Hyun Jong turned their heads in one direction, and they saw a person squatting and looking to the side.
Hyun Jong’s eyes widened.
Chung Myung had a sly smile on his face.
He was really finding it fun.
Anxiety was creeping into him. Hyun Jong figured that he had to run and shut that mouth right away, so he…
When he turned, Hyun Young shook his head and mouthed,
‘Leave him alone.’
‘Isn’t he definitely going to fix it?’
Right. Even though Chung Myung made trouble, he always fixes it…
‘Has he done some kind of training for that?’
Hyun Jong looked at Chung Myung, but it was too late to shut his mouth.
“After hearing this, I cannot understand something, so I’ll just ask. Bald… ah, monk.”
Gong Hwa’s eyes twitched.
“Who are you?”
“My name is Chung Myung.”
“Chung Myung? A third-class disciple of Mount Hua?”
Gong Hwa’s eyes frowned.
“Does the young disciple of Mount Hua not know how to show manners? Why is a third-class disciple stepping forward while the Sect Leader is talking?”
“A first-class disciple of the Shaolin Sect is talking to our Sect Leader, so what if a third-class disciple of Mount Hua talks? What is the problem? Can a third-class disciple of Mount Hua not talk with a first-class disciple of the Shaolin Sect?”
Gong Hwa’s cheeks trembled.
‘How dare this young man act so recklessly.’
“You aren’t in a position to talk with the Sect Leader either. What about that?”
‘What was he was asking…’
Anger rose to the top of his head, but this wasn’t something he should get angry about. The moment he got angry, Hyun Jong would throw in more harsh words at him.
“…right. So, what do you want to say?”
“So again, I am asking this because I don’t understand what I heard.”
“What do you not understand?”
Chung Myung tilted his head.
“You keep talking about our sin from the start.”
“What wrong did we commit?”
Gong Hwa’s eyes looked absurd.
“…what was that?”
“What wrong did we do?”
Chung Myung had really asked that as if he was really curious. Seeing that pure, innocent face without any sarcasm…
‘I am so sorry, monk.’
Again, the disciples of Mount Hua who heard it felt bad for the man.
‘That, that guy is up to something.’
Hyun Jong was also embarrassed and tried to speak so that he could handle the situation, but Chung Myung was faster.
“You said you would punish us in the Disciplinary Hall, but in order to do that, you need to tell us what sins we have committed. Shouldn’t there be a reason to send us there?”
Gong Hwa groaned,
“Are you not guilty of fighting on the grounds of the Shaolin Sect?”
“What is so different about the ground or land of the Shaolin Sect?”
Chung Myung yawned and then said,
“You have constantly been saying Shaolin this and Shaolin that since a while ago. So, what is so special about this place? What is different about fighting outside and inside the Shaolin Sect?”
Gong Hwa was silent.
It was different. It was definitely different. But this wasn’t a question that could be answered like that.
Especially right now…
He glanced around him.
People were all looking for him to answer. Right, in this place.
‘Of course, the grounds of the Shaolin Sect are sacred compared to other places.’
What should he answer?
No, a Buddhist could never answer like that.
“Of course, the grounds of Shaolin are no different from any other! But did you not fight here without permission?”
“Yes. And why is that a problem?”
“…what are you talking about?”
“Tch. You really don’t get it.”
Chung Myung groaned as he got up and stretched.
“The Shaolin Sect called us here.”
“Right. If you are an invited guest, you need to…”
“Why did you call us?”
“Why did you call us? Didn’t you call us here to make us fight?”
Gong Hwa’s mouth widened,
“Ah, no, that…”
‘What nonsense is this?’
“The reason we invited the Sects is for the sparring competition…”
“Right, the spar. Isn’t that fighting?”
Chung Myung smiled,
“The Martial Arts Competition is something that only the Sect Leaders could have participated in, and yet we came to fight. So, we fought. I don’t know why you are making such a big fuss about it.”
“How is that and this the same? An official spar and this is not the same!”
“What is different?”
Chung Myung kept pushing him with his words,
“A spar usually means to fight with swords, and it is fine because the Shaolin Sect allows it. And since the Shaolin Sect didn’t allow it now, we even put down our swords and used our fists! Isn’t that fine? Are you really saying that it isn’t now?”
Gong Hwa went silent.
‘What is this?’
‘This was all bullshit being spewed.’
But the bigger problem was that not a single thing about it was false.
A spar was a battle fought with the preparedness to take casualties. In a way, the result of a spar could be worse than this fight.
In what words should the organizers of this competition criticize the current fight?
Gong Hwa chanted, feeling frustrated.
“The disciples of Mount Hua…”
“Ah. One minute.”
Chung Myung cut off the words of Gong Hwa and turned around.
“What do you think?”
All their eyes focused on the new individual Chung Myung had asked the question to.
As soon as they saw the Abbot of the Shaolin Sect standing there, everyone exclaimed,
The Abbot smiled,
“There is nothing wrong with what the young disciple has said.”
Everyone was shocked by the fast judgment and had their mouths wide open in shock as they came to terms with what had just happened.
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