A cold, stiffened face.
Perhaps because he was thinner than when he was seen at the Southern Edge-Mount Hua conference, but Jin Geum-Ryong felt cold.
His face, which always had arrogance slathered on it, appeared stiff as if it had layers of ice covering it.
He seemed to be projecting his whole body just to show how alert and strong he was.
Baek Cheon looked at his brother with a complicated expression.
And this was one of his goals.
At one time, Jin Geum-Ryong looked like an impenetrable wall for him and a goal he had to someday overcome.
But in just three years, their relationship had changed so much.
Jin Geum-Ryong’s gaze, as he walked up to the sparring ring, was trained on Baek Cheon… no, it was on Chung Myung to be more precise.
“Where are you looking?”
The opponent who had climbed into the sparring circle was waiting with displeasure and bluntly asked.
But despite hearing that, Jin Geum-Ryong didn’t avert his eyes. He just stared at Chung Myung with eyes that looked both cold and hot.
“Look at me! Now…”
Jin Geum-Ryong didn’t even turn his head to glance over, instead choosing to look around the crowd.
“Don’t bother me, you little bastard.”
The Qingcheng sect’s Wang Sangbo was called a little bastard.
“That is so arrogant! I will see if those words come from your mouth once you come close to my sword.”
Only then did Jin Geum-Ryong look at his opponent.
And he smiled in a twisted and terrifying manner.
Wang Sangbo, who saw that smile, felt the hair on his body rise up, and he stepped back without even realizing it.
Jin Geum-Ryong then opened his lips,
“Let’s check it.”
“Don’t worry, I will treat you right.”
Jin Geum-Ryong turned to Chung Myung again.
He smiled each time he looked at Chung Myung eating his mooncake cookies.
“I need to overcome you and climb up… I need to defeat everyone I meet here so that I may meet that devil once again.”
Wang Sangbo, who felt taken aback by Jin Geum-Ryong’s cold and creepy face, couldn’t even answer and grabbed his sword.
Gong Cho frowned slightly, realizing that the atmosphere wasn’t normal.
‘How does the disciple from the Southern Edge Sect have so much killing intent?’
It felt like a force that only the ghosts of war would have.
Gong Cho tried to ignore this creepy feeling. In any case, this wasn’t a spar he could stop.
As the referee shouted the signal to start, he didn’t step too far back like he had in the other matches and decided to remain reasonably close.
In case of an emergency, he had to jump in and break them up. Jin Geum-Ryong slowly drew his sword.
The sound of the sword being pulled out was quite well known, yet this time it felt quite creepy.
Wang Sangbo shook his shoulder at the feeling.
The warriors of his sect who felt that Wang Sangbo was in a bad condition cheered for him.
At that time, Wang Sangbo looked at them and nodded.
Just as the body follows the mind, the mind follows the body. As he began to unfold his familiar sword technique, his suppressed heart began to beat normally.
‘Do not be afraid.’
Even though his opponent was Jin Geum-Ryong, it had already been two years since his reputation had collapsed.
Isn’t he the one whose name hadn’t been heard since his defeat from Mount Hua Divine Dragon?
‘This year is when the world will be shaken.’
The fame from two years back was nothing but an illusion for people their age; what only mattered was their current skills.
He tried to push away the creepy feeling that was sinking in and turned to face his opponent.
Finally, he also raised his sword and aimed it at Jin Geum-Ryong.
“I will teach you a few things…”
“I have nothing to learn from you.”
Jin Geum-Ryong lowered his sword,
“Because I won’t lose to anyone.”
Wang Sangbo raised his sword to his face.
Wang Sangbo, his face stiffened, raised his sword, as there was no need to speak anymore.
And he ran at Jin Geum-Ryong.
“Have you ever seen a sea of petals?”
What did this mean?
Wang Sangbo frowned. No matter how he looked at it, this didn’t seem normal…
“I will show you.”
Jin Geum-Ryong raised his sword and aimed it at his opponent.
At the same time, the tip of Jin Geum-Ryong’s sword began to shake.
Wang Sangbo saw it.
White petals were blooming from his sword. One or two blooming flowers were rising into the air.
‘Sword qi? Did the Southern Edge Sect have such a sword qi…?’
But there was no more time to think.
This was because the blooming petals flew at Wang Sangbo at once!
Wang Sangbo gulped without realizing it.
In an instant, everything before his eyes was covered in white petals. As he tried to retreat in shock, everything behind was filled with white petals too.
Front and back, left and right.
Everywhere he looked was petals. As if the world was filled with them.
Realizing that he wouldn’t be able to use anything more, Wang Sangbo clenched his teeth and swung his sword at the petals.
The delicate and light petals deflected his sword as if they were made of steel.
Wang Sangbo’s eyes widened in shock.
The petals flew for him at once.
A terrible scream rang out.
Wang Sangbo’s body was hit with the petals of sword qi.
With a loud shout, a wind blew from somewhere and blew away the petals hitting Wang Sangbo.
Wang Sangbo stumbled a couple of times, and his eyes were losing focus.
His blue robe was now stained with blood.
Gong Cho, who stopped the spar, looked at Jin Geum-Ryong with anger. But the scolding came later, the priority right now was the wounded.
Gong Cho looked at the body of Wang Sangbo and bit his lips. Jin Geum-Ryong, seeing the scene, smiled,
“You cannot be angry with only skin-deep wounds right?”
Gong Cho stared at Jin Geum-Ryong with eyes full of anger.
Jin Geum-Ryong’s killing intent was real. And his apathy toward his opponent, who had long given up.
However, as he had said, Wang Sangbo only suffered from cuts on his skin.
The situation would have been different if Gong Cho hadn’t intervened, but this also wasn’t enough to disqualify the man.
“Is the Southern Edge sect going to act this way in loss too?”
“Is there any need to even discuss defeat against such people? I am simply doing my best.”
Gong Cho bit his lip. And Jin Geum-Ryong smiled,
“… the winner of this spar is Jin Geum-Ryong of the Southern Edge sect.”
As the deceleration fell, everyone cheered.
Gong Cho’s eyes frowned when saying it.
But he couldn’t blame the ones cheering. They couldn’t see it from there, the cruelty this man had shown in this spar.
Those who watched from afar could only see it as Jin Geum-Ryong defeating his opponent with a splendid sword technique.
Jin Geum-Ryong, who calmly listened to the cheers, turned his head. There was, of course, the gaze of Chung Myung.
Chung Myung shrugged his shoulders with a smile.
Yoon Jong, who was beside him, asked,
“He seems to be looking at you?”
“Don’t you think he has gotten stronger since the last time we saw him?”
“And you don’t care?”
Yoon Jong shook his head. It would be weird if this guy cared about Jin Geum-Ryong. He was the one who wouldn’t even care if the sect leader of the Southern Edge Sect came out.
Chung Myung picked up another moon cake and threw it into his mouth.
As he chewed the moon cake that had entered his mouth, he smiled.
‘He is completely broken.’
Jin Geum-Ryong’s sword was twice as gorgeous and sharp as before. From the outside, it looked several times stronger than before.
‘Only on the surface though.’
This was only the result of chasing behind an illusion.
The Southern Edge’s sword was neither flashy nor sharp.
A sword that guards justice with honesty, that was their sword.
With a sword that only mimics the shell of Mount Hua, the true strength of the original technique could only be pursued but could never be reached.
As long as the Southern Edge Sect’s martial arts had lost its original intention, the Southern Edge Sect had lost its light too. Thus, in the end, even one of the best sects would fail to keep its name.
And the poison Chung Myung had planted seemingly stained them.
‘A little sad.’
Of course, considering what the Southern Edge Sect had done to Mount Hua, even if he chewed the sect alive, his anger wouldn’t be abated.
However, seeing it all fall apart faster than expected, he felt a bit of remorse no matter how bright their extinction was.
-Where is your conscience, you bastard?
“If you aren’t here you don’t get a say!”
Chung Myung waved his hand lightly. He saw Jin Geum-Ryong step down.
“It seems like he put some effort in, but…”
Chung Myung smiled and turned his head to the side,
“Even Dong-Ryong wouldn’t be able to win like that.”
Baek Cheon jumped up and pushed his fists on both sides of Chung Myung’s head,
“Sasuk! Sauk! It is Sasuk! Sasuk!”
“Ahhh! Dong-Ryong catches people! Ack!”
Baek Cheon let out a deep sigh.
As for the mistakes he had made in this life, the most fatal was giving his true name to Chung Myung.
Chung Myung, who had escaped from Baek Cheon, rolled his eyes,
“You are ashamed of the name your parents gave you!”
“… please shut that mouth! Please!”
Baek Cheon sighed as he fell back.
Tang Soso glanced at her opponent, who had fallen to the floor, and looked at Gong Cho.
“T-the winner is Tang Soso! Mount Hua! Tang Soso wins!”
“Mount Hua won again!”
“I think I just heard a strange noise. Did she just break someone’s head?”
“Ah, no. You must have heard it wrong. Would a disciple say such a thing on stage?”
“But, aren’t the women disciples of Mount Hua really good? Earlier the disciple called Yu Yiseol completely smashed her opponent.”
“… Mount Hua seems to be the most radical one.”
Tang Soso came out bravely and confidently and went to Yu Yiseol and bowed,
“Sago! I have won!”
“You did good! Sit down.”
Tang Soso quickly sat down in the seat next to Yu Yiseol. And Yu Yiseol started talking, not taking her eyes off the other spars,
“A gap to the side.”
“When putting weight on your left foot, be conscious of your back.”
“Yes! I will keep that in mind!”
“Your sahyungs are stronger than you, but you were chosen as a representative because of your possibilities for growth. If you fall early, your sahyungs will have a hard time.”
“Even if I die, I will win!”
Hearing that, Baek Cheon made an awkward expression.
‘No, you don’t have to go that far, you people…’
Oddly enough, it was difficult to intervene in their conversation.
‘But it is really good.’
Of course, Tang Soso was the weakest among the disciples of Mount Hua who had come here. Among those who had stayed back on Mount Hua, there were those who were quite stronger than her.
However, this wasn’t just a place to prove one’s strength.
If such a thing was taken into consideration, then Yoon Jong and Jo Gul wouldn’t have come either. There were many Baek disciples who would have done better than the two of them.
Yet, these people were chosen because it was a chance to gain experience and was not meant to showcase the strength of Mount Hua.
Although it was said that she had been training steadily while taking the pills from the Tang family, Tang Soso became as strong as the Chung disciples in just six months, and considering her growth through it all, no one could put her down.
This was why Hyun Jong had asked Tang Soso to come here.
Of course, compared to other disciples of Mount Hua, her victory was a bit difficult, but she had won, and that was what mattered.
“Sago! When I perform the Seven Steps Move, my toes do not move smoothly. Am I doing something wrong?”
“It has to be the knotting. Try stepping to the side. Think of the floor as nothingness and step through it.”
“Ah! I see!”
Seeing Tang Soso clinging to Yu Yiseol’s side and asking questions, Baek Cheon smiled slightly.
‘This is a good thing.’
Thanks to Tang Soso’s natural socialization, even Yu Yiseol looked softer than before.
It must be the case of them influencing each other and moving forward.
“I am hungry! When do we eat?”
Except for this one bastard.
The first day had ended, and the second day of sparring had ended differently.
The spars on the first day felt radical, while the second day seemed to focus on strong people who were like crouching tigers standing up and finally showing themselves.
Namgung’s Do Wei and Jin Geum-Ryong of the Southern Edge sect.
Jin Hyun of Wudang, Hebei Peng’s Do Ryung, and Peng Cheol-Song showed great skills.
“… if this goes on like this, isn’t that the same as us all heading to the finals?”
At Jo Gul’s words, Yoon Jong smiled,
“Normally it would be: ‘Is this how we win?’ Is that what you are saying?”
“No. He will win this.”
At Jo Gul’s response, Yoon Jong nodded,
“That is true.”
Be it a spirit or not, no one here could touch Chung Myung, they couldn’t imagine that either.
“But don’t be too arrogant.”
Baek Cheon said in a slightly low voice.
“We are challengers here. There is no guarantee about what happens in a spar. Perhaps there will be losses tomorrow. Everyone try to keep that in your hearts.”
It was at that moment when Baek Cheon nodded his head.
Someone knocked on the front door, and Baek Cheon stood up.
“No. I will go.”
Baek Cheon walked lightly to the door and opened it.
Baek Cheon went silent.
There were two people standing there.
It was Jin Cho-Baek, the elder of the Southern Edge Sect.
Jin Cho-Baek was staring at Baek Cheon with low eyes and said,
“Can we talk?”
Baek Cheon bit his lip before saying,
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