Jong Rigok stared at the sparring stage with terrifying eyes. It hurt his eyes to watch his disciples enter the ring and carry out Jong Seo-Han.
He cursed inside. He knew he wasn’t supposed to be exposing his emotions like this, but he couldn’t hold back his anger anymore.
‘What a disgrace!’
He trembled, clenching his fist tightly, making his nails dig into his palms.
The audience continued to cheer.
And this was fatal.
The fact that the Southern Edge Sect was defeated by Mount Hua in the last conference between the two sects wasn’t too well known. The cheers then weren’t for Mount Hua’s win, but for the disgrace that Southern Edge had faced.
However, that was then, and there were only a few witnesses there. With only a few witnesses, many were unsure of how true the rumors were. But now, so many people have witnessed their defeat. If all of them just said one thing about the Southern Edge Sect losing, then the whole world would learn the truth.
And there was one more thing that angered him so much,
That sword technique.
The sword technique that had defeated Jong Seo-Han. Wasn’t it very similar to the Twelve Movement Snow Flower Sword Technique that the Southern Edge Sect had created with their heart and soul?
‘How did they restore it?! No one who knows it should be left on Mount Hua!’
That sword technique was like a new symbol of Mount Hua!
It was then,
“… Twenty-Four Movement Plum Blossom Sword Technique.”
A voice that sounded like a groan came from Abbot’s mouth, making everyone turn to him.
“Amitabha Buddha. Mount Hua’s sect leader. Is that the martial arts you recovered?”
The abbot was wide-eyed as he looked at Hyun Jong. He was really shocked.
“It was heartbreaking to hear that Mount Hua had lost its sword technique, but you have successfully restored it. This calls for a celebration!”
“No, that isn’t completely true. Fortunately, we were able to recover the books left behind by our ancestors.”
“Indeed. I thought that the growth in Mount Hua had to have a reason. There should be something greater about it. If the Twenty-Four Movement Plum Blossom Sword Technique is restored, who can ignore Mount Hua now?”
At the abbot’s words, Hyun Jong kept a calm expression.
To be honest, the words of the abbot weren’t completely true.
The growth of Mount Hua hadn’t started from the sword technique, it had started before; the technique just helped them leap ahead.
But there was no need to clarify that to these people.
“I am satisfied in recovering the sword technique of my ancestors. And…”
Hyun Jong looked at the stage, and he looked at the face of Jong Rigok, who had been stiff for some time.
“If I can get good results through it, I wouldn’t ask for anything more.”
The Twenty-Four Movement Plum Blossom Sword Technique.
The symbol of Mount Hua and the sword technique that had made the Southern Edge Sect terrified of them for years!
And to make matters much worse, Mount Hua’s recovered sword technique had completely shattered the sword technique of the Southern Edge Sect.
‘The Twelve Movement Snow Flower technique is a further developed sword technique than the Twenty-Four Movement Plum Blossom Sword technique. If used properly, it can defeat even the sword technique of Mount Hua!’
But the results were the opposite.
Jong Seo-Han had a good understanding of his sword technique, and he wasn’t inferior to Baek Cheon in any way.
Yet, the child failed to show his strength and was horribly defeated.
Jong Rigok bit his lip and looked at Jin Geum-Ryong.
‘You can never be defeated.’
Jong Seo-Han could lose.
However, if Jin Geum-Ryong was defeated, that changed everything. The instant that he lost, the Southern Edge Sect would be moved below Mount Hua.
And he couldn’t stand that humiliation.
Baek Cheon wasn’t all the threats they had, right?
Jong Rigok looked at Chung Myung.
‘Mount Hua’s Divine Dragon.’
And everyone else from Mount Hua could be considered strong enough to be just below Baek Cheon.
A chill passed through the chest of Jong Rigok.
Now, he might be watching the moment that Mount Hua overtook Southern Edge.
Something he would never want to admit.
It passed across his face sharply.
The tip of the staff skimmed Jo Gul’s cheek, and he could feel the sharp sting, but Jo Gul didn’t waver.
‘Faster and stronger!’
His opponent’s style was sharp and fast. It was different from those he had experienced up till now during the preliminary rounds.
But it wasn’t to a point where he couldn’t handle this. In terms of sharpness, the sword of Yoon Jong was sharper, Yu sago had a more delicate sword.
The overall level of Baek Cheon was higher than these two.
‘Chung Myung doesn’t even have to be mentioned.’
Once again, Jo Gul understood what kind of people he had been learning with.
He would have never understood this if he had been training alone.
He was able to rise to this level because of the spars between him and his sahyungs, and there were people who reached out to him, and he would help them in turn.
Jo Gul clenched his teeth.
His chest felt cold, and his head even colder!
His sword was sharp.
Jo Gul’s plum blossom.
It was different from that of Chung Myung, and it was also different from Baek Cheon’s.
Plum blossoms bloom at the peak of Mount Hua. If everyone of them was different, then how could the plum blossoms of this technique be any different?
A plum that cannot hold its color and seeks after another is as good as dead. Those words he had heard countless times. The ones that had been nailed into his bones!
His plum blossoms wrapped around the flying rod, which wanted to pierce the sun.
The moment the plum blossom and the rod collided, the sound of metal hitting wood could be heard.
Suddenly, the rod bounced off.
Jo Gul did not miss it.
Sword qi flashed up in a single ray of light shining through the plum blossom petals.
The Beggars Union’s disciple slumped down from what hit his chest.
A loud voice.
“This match is the victory of Mount Hua’s Jo Gul!”
And Jo Gul Swung his sword and sheathed it.
“I learned a lot.”
And with that, he came down from the stage. By then, the audience was cheering again.
Some gulped while others said,
“Here too! Mount Hua is still winning?”
“No. Isn’t this different? Now there are only a hundred people left, and after today it will be sixty-four of them. Even now, most of the disciples are from Mount Hua.”
“If Mount Hua wins, it is going to be a huge thing. It will be absurd.”
The audience couldn’t keep silent and looked at the place where the Mount Hua disciples were gathered.
‘Winning this competition?’
Before, they were using it as a joke, but now it couldn’t be considered one.
If Mount Hua did win this competition, that would be the biggest event of the past ten years.
‘Isn’t this a huge deal?’
Mount Hua was the sect that had been pushed out of the Nine Great Sect One Union a few decades ago. Such strong disciples appearing now and winning this competition, all the while defeating the most prominent and notable disciples… wasn’t that too amazing?
Then, it would prove that the eyes of the sects who had dispelled them in the past were all wrong!
From the point of view of the Nine Great Sects, such a thing couldn’t happen.
“Actually. Haven’t they already proven it to some extent? Who can deny that Mount Hua doesn’t deserve to be part of the Nine Great Sects just because they failed a little?”
“Isn’t that too much? But still, they seemed like good warriors.”
“Will the experienced ones live for ten thousand years or what? Even if the strong ones are strong, is there any guarantee that Mount Hua will fail to try and become the Best Sect in the World?”
“Then doesn’t this mean that the Nine Great Sects One Union will become idiots who kicked out a strong sect from their midst? Am I wrong?”
No one answered.
This was too blasphemous for them to answer, and they were concerned about the eyes and ears of the higher sects listening to them.
But even they were thinking the same inside.
‘They must be so embarrassed.’
‘I need to look at their faces.’
Most of them here knew it. Actually, this competition was being held to show off their wealth.
Internally, they have been promoting this in the name of forming relationships, and externally to show off their power. At the same time, it was clear that the purpose was to solidify their leadership.
But with Mount Hua coming in, the situation had changed.
What if Mount Hua won?
‘It is going to be like Mount Hua gulping down their hopes.’
The eyes of the people began to twitch.
They liked this.
A sight they would never get to see in their lifetime, something that only happened once in all of history. The desire to see such a moment had spread through the audience.
And Chung Myung, who was watching it, smiled.
‘Is the play being laid out well?’
This was the reason why he had insisted on getting a gold letter for this competition: to get another person to participate from their sect.
Chung Myung’s victory?
Sure, that sounds nice.
However, wouldn’t it be disappointing to return with a title just for him, when Mount Hua was also growing steadily?
To those gathered here, he had to show the strength of Mount Hua and not just his personal strength.
It would show them strength, but also give them a different impression of Mount Hua, which had finally been pulled from its slumber.
Chung Myung looked up.
‘I will be able to hit those Nine Sects bastards with that.’
He probably could not spectate the spar in a comfortable manner anymore.
“It has been friendly till now.”
I will make you feel like your blood is drying up, so wait.
“Disciple Chung Myung. The money…”
Chung Myung smiled and ran from his place as he took a new sack and swept the results in,
“I like that it is so heavy!”
Excitedly, he picked up the sack again…
“The next match is Southern Edge’s Jin Geum-Ryong and Qingcheng…”
“10,000 on Jin Geum-Ryong!”
“The next match is between Namgung Family’s Do Wei…”
“10,000 on Namgung Family…”
“Mount Hua’s Yoon Jong…”
“50,000 on Yoon Jong!”
“50,000 on Yu Yiseol.”
“Hae Yeon 100,000!”
“30,000 on Baek Gong!”
The sacks kept piling up like mountains behind Chung Myung, making everyone shocked.
‘He got it all right?’
‘Is he a thief?’
‘At this point, doesn’t it look like manipulation?’
Some were suspicious of it and couldn’t trust these results. Predicting the outcome of the match?
It wasn’t a difficult thing.
If the people here were asked to predict the match with their fortunes on the line, they would confidently do so.
But the problem was the 50/50s.
There was always a chance of them getting it wrong, but there were matches that were complete 50/50s.
And that was normal. If one could know the outcome of a match before it started, why ask for a match at all?
The sacks of money behind Chung Myung proved this.
There was a proud smile that he couldn’t hide as the pile kept growing.
‘That Taoist guy!’
‘Ahh, I hate you!’
They had no choice but to watch as their money left their hands and went into the pocket of another man. And their eyes turned harsh.
“Next is Mount Hua’s Tang Soso and Southern Edge…”
Before Wei Lishan could even finish his sentence, the gamblers jumped in,
“400 on Tang Soso!”
“1000 on Tang Soso!”
“Me, 2,000 on Tang Soso!”
“Don’t tell me you didn’t see? I mean, Mount Hua has won every single one of their matches till now! Besides, isn’t that person from Mount Hua? Until now, every disciple from Mount Hua has done well!”
Realizing that they would lose if they reversed the bet, they poured their money on Tang Soso.
They wanted to earn money in a steady pattern like Chung Myung.
In an instant, money piled up on the side of Tang Soso.
Chung Myung smiled at this,
“Now that your eyes are all open.”
Everyone who heard this sighed.
“But the play has tilted a little.”
Chung Myung began to collect the money slips from the sack.
He threw it on the opposite side,
“150k on Lee Song-Baek of Southern Edge.”
The gamblers looked at Chung Myung with trembling eyes.
Chung Myung just shrugged his shoulders,
You cannot do that!
You damned bastard!
The eyes of the men turned teary-eyed.
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