“Sahyung! Great Sahyung!”
“What is it?”
“Did you hear?”
Yoon Jong smiled and asked.
“The rumors circulating around, haven’t you heard them?”
“I have ears, so there’s nothing I cannot hear.”
When Yoon Jong answered, Jo Gul said.
“The merchants of Hua-Um, who Mount Hua was indebted to, turned out to be Mount Hua’s representatives in the past. All their businesses belong to Mount Hua.”
“There’s a riot in Hua-Um. Officials are occupying and confiscating their property!”
“I heard about that too!”
“Oh my god! Why are you so calm? Haaa! This is why I shouldn’t talk to people who want to
become elders here!“
Jo Gul beat his chest as if he was frustrated.
“Is that such a big deal?”
“It is. It’s an amazing thing! Do you know how much money it will be if all the businesses are confiscated? Putting aside the wealth, just their businesses alone, we won’t have to worry about making ends meet in Mount Hua for generations.”
Yoon Jong looked at Jo Gul with a slightly renewed sense of vigor.
Yoon Jong was someone who was aiming to become a Taoist in Mount Hua. There seemed to be a difference between what he saw as essential and what Jo Gul considered a huge deal.
“This seems to be bigger than I thought.”
“Oh my, sahyung. Sahyung will one day have to lead Mount Hua, and it will be a disaster if you don’t have the money to run it.”
“Hm. I should keep this in mind.”
He heard the rumors, but he didn’t think too deeply about them. He merely thought that being able to avoid paying the debt was a blessing, but it seemed like there were much more profound implications for others.
So, a new question arose.
“But how did this happen so suddenly? Why did the sect leader endure such humiliation until now?”
Jo Gul’s face became strangely complex.
“They said they found some old ledgers.”
“Right. Ledgers related to the business of Mount Hua. They found it a few days ago, so they….”
Jo Gul seemed to trail off as he quietly ended it there. Seeing that Yoon Jong couldn’t understand, Jo Gul began again.
“Found a few days ago.”
“The ledgers were found a few days ago. And the ledgers had to be some sort of book, right?”
Yoon Jong smiled bitterly.
“It is fortunate that we happened to see some books get discovered just a few days ago, right?”
Jo Gul and Yoon Jong couldn’t say anything more and exchanged subtle glances.
‘There must have been books inside it!’
It was too perfect to be a coincidence. Besides, wasn’t the reaction of the sect leader who checked it too extreme?
“I really want to say, it couldn’t be, but….”
“I feel the same.”
Jo Gul and Yoon Jong’s faces darkened a little.
“Besides, the reaction of that idiot before it happened was….”
“Honestly, it was too strange.”
–Ouch! What is this? Why is there a stone here!
–No! My god! This isn’t a stone! Why did someone bury this here? So weird? Hehehehe. Very weird.
–Should I dig? Is it fine if I dig*? Hahahaha. Hahaha.* What could be buried here? Such a strange thing. It couldn’t be a treasure.
Yoon Jong closed his eyes tightly.
‘If you want to deceive someone, at least act properly. Damn it.’
He couldn’t forget that awkward voice. Even a three-year-old would do better than him.
‘Ah, he is up to something.’
That was what anyone would have thought.
Soon after that crappy performance, the box was uncovered.…
Jo Gul and Yoon Jong turned serious.
“Where the hell did he find it?”
“… the more we want to know, the more we end up not knowing.”
Yoon Jong shook his head.
There were too many strange details. Even if he didn’t pay attention, everything seemed suspicious.
Nevertheless, Yoon Jong isn’t very wary of Chung Myung because his sincerity towards Mount Hua is evident.
This situation was no exception. Didn’t Mount Hua benefit from Chung Myung finding those ledgers?
It was at that moment.
A loud voice came from outside the room.
“What is going on?”
“Have you seen Chung Myung?”
“Sect leader is looking for him, but we can’t seem to find him. He isn’t even in his room.”
Yoon Jong, who tried to remain calm, went stiff, and soon his expression turned dark.
“Yes. We can’t find him anywhere.”
Yoon Jong jumped up and started to run towards Chung Myung’s room.
He burst through the door, slamming it open, quickly scanning the room. He even inspected the closet.
“Great Sahyung! What’s wrong?”
Jo Gul, who was a step late, asked.
“… isn’t here.”
Yoon Jong pointed to the open closet. Resting peacefully inside the closet was Chung Myung’s uniform.
“What? Did he take off his uniform? Where—”
At that moment, Jo Gul’s eyes widened.
The uniform was taken off and placed in the closet. Then the clothes which were missing were.
“D-don’t tell me!”
The black clothes which Jo Gul brought to him previously were missing.
Yoon Jong’s face contorted.
“Again… he is up to something again.”
The two of them really couldn’t tell if Chung Myung was a boon for Mount Hua or a bane.
A group of men stood looking at their carts with a bewildered face. The carts contained a fraction of the wealth they had gathered.
Each one was filled with wealth to help them survive. For someone with no money, it would be a startling amount. But for those here, looking at this wealth left them with an indescribable feeling as they recalled memories of what led to their current state.
“In one day….”
Like being struck by a bolt of lightning from a cloudless blue sky
As soon as they scurried down from Mount Hua, they saw their workplaces already occupied by government officials. They were armed and surrounded their businesses with the official order to confiscate everything.
They only heard shouts from the officials ordering their men to confiscate their things.
‘What the hell is going on?’
Then, were the ledgers real?
It was shocking and seemed unfair. Who would have thought that the businesses being run for generations belonged to Mount Hua? Since it was operated by their fathers, they thought it was theirs.
But in one day, it was taken away, and they were kicked out of Hua-Um. Where else in the world could there be such an unfair situation?
Every merchant gathered wore the same dark expression.
When they saw one another dragging their carts, their hearts began to break as they looked truly destitute.
“… what the hell is this?”
“This is beyond words.”
Sighs emerged from all over.
They were exiled, but since Mount Hua informed the officials to let them take a cart full of belongings, they were given some time to gather everything. Even if they wanted food, they had to leave Hua-Um and buy it elsewhere.
“A-are we to leave like this?”
“What more can we do?”
The owner of Plum Blossom Inn, Jin Yi-San, looked at Jo Geum-Myeong in anger.
“Are you saying that even after watching what just happened in front of our eyes? We are the thieves! Thieves! If the sect leader hadn’t shown mercy to us, we wouldn’t have even had the chance to leave; we would have been imprisoned! How do you intend to argue their proof!?”
A few people sighed, and their shoulders drooped.
Jin Yi-San turned.
“I am leaving!”
“Didn’t you hear that we would be imprisoned if we didn’t leave within an hour!? We need to get out of here first!”
In the end, they all nodded helplessly. Those who watched him slowly followed.
After traveling for some time, they were able to get out of Hua-Um with their carts. They briefly pulled their cats into the shade beneath some trees to rest.
“… for this to happen.”
“The officials who were monitoring behind us have returned too. Maybe we can get a moment of peace now.”
“What should we do next?”
As they got past one issue, other problems began to come into sight.
A few of the men looked at Kong Mun-Yeong. Seeing that he hadn’t said a single word, they were tempted to make the man speak and take responsibility for what happened.
A sharp voice.
“What should we do now?”
As soon as Jo Geum-Myeong asked, the others began to join in.
“Didn’t you say that we only needed to trust you? How did this happen?”
“We believed in you, and now we have turned into scammers and thieves. How are you going to take responsibility for this?”
At that, Kong Mun-Yeong slowly raised his head.
Everyone who saw his eyes went silent. Kong Mun-Yeong’s eyes, which had always been soft, were no longer glistening.
“Are you blaming me?”
Hearing the cold voice, they were all suppressed by his momentum and backed away.
“A-No, we didn’t mean it like that….”
“We meant… measures. Some countermeasures…”
As everyone flinched, Kong Mun-Yeong, who was overwhelming the crowd, further bolstered the momentum.
“You pathetic bastards.”
Kong Mun-Yeong got up.
“It wasn’t as if we were hoping to have a good relationship with Mount Hua! Is there any one of you who thought otherwise? Everyone must have realized this to some extent, didn’t you?”
There was no answer.
Those who still knew shame bowed their heads, but most didn’t.
Kong Mun-Yeong said.
“No need to make a fuss. For now, just endure; however, this isn’t going to end like this.”
“… do you have something in mind?”
“How can those ledger’s be legitimate?”
“They’re obviously forged.”
“You must know that, with Mount Hua’s connections, manipulating the authenticity of the ledgers isn’t very difficult! He must have decided to share the wealth with the province officials.!”
The merchants nodded their heads.
“Let’s go to Luoyang for now. We can take care of matters there. If they try to suppress us with such power, we will have to push back with greater power! I will surely punish the wicked Mount Hua and that sect leader!”
“Right! It doesn’t make sense for them to suddenly have a bunch of books from a hundred years ago!”
“We need to uncover their crooked tricks!”
The voices of merchants grew louder.
It didn’t matter if the ledger was real or fake. As Kong Mun-Yeong said, if they can utilize great enough power, even real books would become fake.
Then getting their businesses back wouldn’t be a huge deal.
Seeing that, Kong Mun-Yeong smiled.
“So, you have nothing to worry about. I will take care of everything, so just trust and follow me.”
“We believe in you!”
“We believed you from the start!”
Kong Mun-Yeong frowned.
They were trash, but he still needed them. It was better to have people who would follow his words than to be alone. Once he reached Luoyang, the situation would be reversed. He had a strong backer, which could give him strength…
Then, an unfamiliar voice flew in.
Kong Mun-Yeong turned his head.
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