The news that Mount Hua and the Southern Island Sect were at odds with one another had spread throughout Shaolin.
“The Southern Island Sect did something?”
“Mount Hua? Who is Mount Hua?”
“You know, the sect that used to be in the Nine Great Sects One Union.”
“Ah! The Plum Blossom Sword sect! That Mount Hua to the Southern Island? That is quite sly.”
Those who knew about Mount Hua couldn’t help but pay attention to this news. Mount Hua had been expelled from the Nine Great Sects, and at the same time, the Southern Island Sect had joined.
Wasn’t this an interesting relationship to see? Even if there weren’t any feelings of resentment left, once they had met, they were bound to have clenched fists.
And sure enough, the first time they had met, they had used their fists.
“So what happened?”
“What do you think happened?”
“Of course, the Southern Island must have crushed Mount Hua, right?”
“This man. Would I make a fuss then? It was the opposite! It was Mount Hua who crushed them!”
“What? Where did this nonsense come from?”
“Tch tch. There were a hundred people who witnessed that fight. Why would they all lie? It is true that the disciples of Mount Hua beat the Southern Island disciples!”
“Huh. Oh my!”
It was surprising.
Did this mean that one of the Nine Great Sects had been struck down by Mount Hua, whose name was rarely even heard these days?
“Is Mount Hua that strong?”
There was no way the Southern Island Sect was weak, so they needed to clarify.
“Well, it was quite vague.”
“Huh? What is that supposed to mean?”
“It is true that the disciples of Mount Hua did win, but apparently neither side used swords in their fight. Well, of course, that is only natural. No matter how bloodthirsty they felt, how could they draw their swords on the sacred land of Shaolin?”
“Both sword sects were fighting without swords? So, what were they fighting with?”
“With fists. And in that, Mount Hua defeated them.”
“Tch. What else can I say? Then, that isn’t such a huge thing, right?”
“Whether they are great or not, we can only wait and see. Even if they didn’t draw their swords, the Southern Island Sect is still strong. If they didn’t fight each other with moderation, and Mount Hua pushed around the other, wouldn’t it be ok to look forward to Mount Hua?”
“Right. That is something we will have to check during their spars.”
Everyone who heard about this news discussed it.
Some criticized Mount Hua and the Southern Island Sect, who fought on Shaolin territory, and others were interested in the outcome.
Some even hoped for Mount Hua to grow, as it was now considered a sect that had failed to regain power, but now with another chance; while others frowned at the actions of Mount Hua that shook Shaolin.
There were various opinions, and yet all agreed on one point.
“Certainly, this competition is bound to be unpredictable.”
“Since the havoc raged by the Demonic Sect, isn’t this the first time that all the sects were brought together to show off their power? One hundred years is a long time, and it wouldn’t be shocking if the results were unexpected.”
However, so far, most people have only evaluated Mount Hua as a passing typhoon.
Well, only so far.
“This is unfair.”
Of course, it was true that the guilty one was Chung Myung.
Although he spoke in sophistry, on the first day they arrived in Shaolin, he made sure that the other sect’s disciples were given a beating.
Of course, even if all this wasn’t simply done to vent anger, being unable to give a proper reason for why they didn’t hold back or speak to solve these problems was the issue.
Up to that, he could understand.
He deserves to be punished for those sins.
“It is unfair.”
If the punishment is more severe than the crime committed and the accomplices aren’t convicted, wouldn’t anyone feel injustice?
Chung Myung got up and opened the door.
He could see Baek Cheon and a party guarding the front of his door.
As he watched them with their swords, guarding his room, he felt something scorching hot rise from within,
Baek Cheon spoke with a shaky expression,
“We cannot help it. The sect leader has commanded us to not let you take even a single step out and we have to obey.”
“What did I do?! That trouble happened because of Sasuk!”
Baek Cheon coughed.
Actually, heaven and earth knew that Baek Cheon was the one who caused this.
Of course, Chung Myung happily added to it, but it was horrible for him alone to be treated as the culprit.
But his heart would not weaken!
“It is no use telling me. It is the order of the Sect Leader….”
“The sect leader told you to not let me go? Why?”
“That is because you cause trouble.”
“Trouble? Should I show you what real trouble looks like?”
When Chung Myung asked, Baek Cheon coughed.
“Anyway! You cannot go out! Be patient! We are spending all our day here just watching you! You aren’t the only one who is being punished.”
“Right. Sure, say that.”
Chung Myung smiled,
“So, you are saying that Sect Leader told sasuk to stop me?”
Baek Cheon looked at Chung Myung and closed his eyes.
‘I only need to do what I am ordered. I am someone who was only following orders!’
Even if you have to break his bones, he will have to pay for his sins, make sure he is tied in there!
“Go back inside, Chung Myung!”
“Don’t want to!”
Baek Cheon rolled his eyes,
“Then we have no choice but to make blood spill!”
“Ohh? Want to see my blood?”
“No. My blood.”
“So, please head back in.”
With an absurd face, Chung Myung frowned, and then Baek Sang jumped up.
“What is it?”
“Sect Leader asked you to bring in Chung Myung.”
Baek Cheon frowned slightly.
‘Didn’t he tell me not to let Chung Myung out of the room no matter what happens? And now he wants Chung Myung to be brought?’
“Is that true?”
“Would I use the name of the Sect Leader to lie?”
Baek Cheon glanced back at Chung Myung.
“Ha. He must be having a hard time down there. Ugh, why would he call for me if not that?”
This madman’s mouth was really!
Baek Cheon took a deep breath and stepped out of the way,
Chung Myung took light footsteps and moved. Baek Cheon shook his head and followed him. Hyun Jong was sitting downstairs.
And on the other side was a familiar person.
Chung Myung rushed forward and grabbed their hand,
It was Lord Tang Gunak of the Sichuan Tang family who was smiling brightly,
“Long time no see.”
“What are you doing so far from Sichuan?”
“… of course we are here to participate.”
“Hehe. Right? You couldn’t have come all the way just to see me, right?”
“Well, that isn’t so wrong either.”
Tang Gunak smiled,
“You haven’t changed.”
“Only a few days have passed.”
Hyun Jong let out a loud cough,
“Don’t make a mess and sit there.”
Chung Myung took a chair and sat down.
And Hyun Jong smiled softly as he said to Tang Gunak.
“You arrived safe, Lord. This time, I should have come over to greet you, but I couldn’t, I apologize for that.”
“Don’t say that, Sect Leader. It is natural for the latecomers to come and find the others.”
Hyun Jong smiled.
Every time Tang Gunak said such things he couldn’t help but feel so delighted. They had thousands of years of name and pride, so how could he not be happy when the head of the Sichuan Tang family was so humble and called Mount Hua his friend?
“You must have gone through a lot of hardships on the way here. It must have taken a lot of strength from the children too.”
“If we felt that this trip was difficult, then we don’t have the right to use the name of Tang.”
Hyun Jong was moved by that resolute voice.
Here, he only showed them a gentle and polite appearance, but in other places, Lord Tang had to be a strict person. It wasn’t for nothing that he was the lord of the Tang family.
Tang Gunak tilted his head,
“What the hell happened in this short amount of time?”
Hyun Jong gasped. Tang Gunak was seeing him after he had taken the Heavenly Violet Pill, so it was surprising.
“Something good has happened.”
Tang Gunak gave a modest compliment without asking further.
“But the reason for your visit. If you had just arrived today, it must be because you have work to do?”
“Um. It is for no particular reason. It is just…”
Tang Gunak frowned, and then with an awkward expression, he glanced around.
Chung Myung smiled.
And he said to the disciple next to him,
“Someone go and get Soso.”
One of the disciples nodded and ran up.
Tang Gunak let out a low and empty cough, making Hyun Jong smile,
“You must want to see your daughter. Isn’t that only a natural feeling for a father?”
“I am sorry. Sect leader. I know that I shouldn’t be doing this, but she…”
“Even if Mount Hua is a Taoist sect, we do not speak about severing ties with family. It is very unnatural to ask for that. The ties with one’s family need to be cherished.”
Tang Gunak bowed his head and expressed his thanks.
Hearing a loud voice from around the corner, Tang Gunak raised his head.
His daughter he hadn’t seen for almost a year now.
How many times did he have to go against people to send his precious daughter, whom he raised in his arms, to Mount Hua?
As the head of the Sichuan Tang family, he looked at the stairs with hopeful eyes and emotions he couldn’t express.
“Right, Soso… Soso? Soso?”
Tang Gunak’s eyes trembled.
The one who could have flown away with a gust of wind? Wasn’t she the daughter he raised beautifully and gracefully?
Weren’t there more than just one or two people who admired the appearance of his beautiful daughter in Sichuan?
Seeing Tang Soso running down the stairs, he flinched. The dark uniform. The hair tied up in a ponytail. Her skin which once was as white as jade was now tanned as if she had been working in the paddy fields. Her eyes which once had beauty, were now filled with poison.
‘Was she taken to a battlefield?’
How did his daughter become like this?
When Hyun Jong blinked, Tang Soso went right up to Tang Gunak.
“Soso greets her father!”
His daughter, who was like a pear flower, appeared to be a thistle in a pond.
Tang Gunak was startled at this change,
“H-How… no… Soso…?”
“How have you been!”
A greeting full of energy. Tang Gunak looked at Chung Myung who had laughed,
“She grew up well, right?”
How well did she grow up that she was now full of energy…
Tang Gunak looked at his daughter with blank eyes.
How should he deal with this change? He thought and then opened his mouth,
“Are you happy?”
Tang Soso shut her lips and looked at her father before smiling brightly,
“Yes. I am happy, father.”
And he smiled,
“Then everything is good.”
So what if she didn’t look like the past? What could be the reason for the change in appearance?
The fact that Tang Soso was his daughter, one who he would never tire of, was a simple truth. His beloved daughter looked more comfortable now than when she looked like a flower.
Then it was all good.
“Right. Did you learn a lot from Mount Hua?”
“Yes Father! In this spar, we will break the heads of the other sects and show everyone the name of Mount Hua and the Tang family!”
“… wait. Break what?”
Yu Yiseol, who came late, shut the mouth of Tang Soso and dragged her away.
Tang Gunak looked at Hyun Jong with shaky eyes. Then, as if it wasn’t his fault, Hyun Jong pointed to Chung Myung, making Tang Gunak turn to him.
“What are you looking at?”
“… nothing at all.”
‘My insides were swelling up!’
He drank several cups of cold tea to calm his stomach. Only then did his gaze turn cold.
At last, the atmosphere of the head of the Tang family came over him,
“Yes, Lord Tang.”
“The reason I came here wasn’t just for Soso. It seems that things are moving a bit strangely.”
“What do you mean?”
Tang Gunak spoke in a low voice,
“I recently heard that the Southern Edge Sect and the Wudang Sect had a secret meeting in Wuhan.”
Hyun Jong’s face stiffened.
“If they met before coming here, there can be only one reason.”
“You think it is to keep us in check?”
“I cannot think of another reason.”
Hyun Jong gently frowned and sighed.
Tang Gunak spoke in a cold voice,
“Even if they did not meet for that reason, it wouldn’t change anything. Now, the Nine Great Sects One Union must see Mount Hua as a thorn in their sides.”
A thrown-out sect was coming back to threaten them. There was nothing more terrifying for those sects. Of course, none of the nine sects would overtly snuff Mount Hua.
“If the Sect Leader wishes, I can make a position for you.”
“Mount Hua does not belong in the Nine Great Sects, so there is nothing strange about making friends within the Five Great Families, right? Then Mount Hua will have an easier time moving.”
Hyun Jong looked troubled. The man wasn’t wrong and this was a good suggestion, but he couldn’t take it too lightly.
And there was one who didn’t care about this.
“Eh. What are you saying? It is fine.”
Chung Myung continued,
“Just because they keep us in check doesn’t mean that two unnamed and unknown organizations can just climb up the ranks. It is going to be decided by skill. Why are you so scared?”
“Right. And the Five Great Families, thank you so much for such consideration, but it is fine. We are close, but not that close. Friends are good enough for us, right?”
At this unexpected answer, Tang Gunak looked at him.
He was still as strange as ever…
‘But it isn’t a bad thing to hear.’
He smiled and asked Chung Myung,
“Winning is your thing, right?”
Chung Myung cut his words short.
“Winning isn’t my thing, but a thing of Mount Hua.”
“Everyone will know. Mount Hua is back.”
Tang Gunak smiled genuinely,
“Right. They should.”
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