Kong Mun-Yeong was visibly shocked. He didn’t feel anyone approaching. But someone was standing right in front of him.
‘Who is it?’
As he looked at the owner of the voice, Kong Mun-Yeong’s feelings changed from shock into bewilderment.
A black cloth clung tightly to his body, another black cloth obscured his face, and he held a sword in one hand.
It was obviously a robber!!
Kong Mun-Yeong’s gaze drifted upwards. The blazing sun caught his eyes as his vision clouded over.
‘A crazy bastard?’
A robber was roaming on the streets in broad daylight. Did that make any sense?
“… what did you say?”
Instead of Kong Mun-Yeong, someone else asked. The masked man looked at the person and spoke.
“I said… cough!. Cough! Cough! Agh! What… cough…bullshit.”
Kong Mun-Yeong looked at the robber with blank eyes.
‘Is he going to die?’
Is it some old man?
A bent waist with an emaciated body made the man look like a skeleton. Every move seemed to cause his bones to ache, and what can be seen of his hidden face were tired eyes that looked old and withered.
Or was it a young child dying?
No. That couldn’t be.
“What business does he have? He doesn’t seem like a passer-by.”
The masked man coughed a few times and shook his head at the question.
“Shit. I am going to die this way.”
“Can’t you see what is going on?”
“… what’s going on?”
“A man dressed like this appears before you in broad daylight; what do you think his identity is?”
“Someone who’s gone mad?”
“… or dementia?”
“Robber! A robber!”
“Oh, you really were a robber. I couldn’t believe it.”
Kong Mun-Yeong stopped smiling.
This man claiming to be a robber looked like he couldn’t even catch a mouse.
Of course, downplaying others based on their appearance wasn’t a good idea. But now, this man’s appearance wasn’t the only problem.
Although he had a sword in his hand, no one could feel any energy from him.
And any rational man with no energy wouldn’t be walking around in those kinds of clothes. This was something only a crazy person would do.
“Look here. Old man.”
Kong Mun-Yeong waved his hand.
“It seems you’ve lost your way at the sight of wealth. It might seem like a jackpot, but don’t waste your life here. Quickly return.”
“Looking at the riches… cough! The jackpot for sure… cough! Cough! Oh! It must be you!”
“… I don’t understand what you mean?”
Since the masked man couldn’t communicate clearly, he tapped on his waist a couple of times, raised the sword he was using as a cane, and pointed to Kong Mun-Yeong.
“I am not trying to steal your money. I am trying to recover my property.”
“Didn’t you say you were a robber a while ago?”
“See, you understood it so clearly despite the coughing.”
Kong Mun-Yeong frowned.
Since he couldn’t rob, this robber was trying to stick around like a beggar.
“It would be better for you to leave before we are forced to take action.”
“Do you want to try?”
“Are you serious!?”
The moment Kong Mun-Yeong was about to scream, the tip of the masked man’s sword was aimed at him.
“I thought you had a brighter head on your shoulders, but it seems you don’t understand.”
Kong Mun-Yeong ceased speaking. A moment of silence passed.
Kong Mun-Yeong, who was looking at the masked man, asked in a slightly different tone.
“Are you from Mount Hua?”
At his question, the other merchants seemed shocked.
“What do you mean, owner Kong?”
Kong Mun-Yeong didn’t answer their questions. Dealing with the annoying bastards wasn’t important now; the masked man was his current priority.
The masked man shook his head.
“It seems you do understand.”
“You know that the talks with Mount Hua are done, right?”
“The talks with Mount Hua are done. But the talks with me aren’t over yet.”
“Did the sect leader send you?”
“Does he seem like that kind of a person?”
Kong Mun-Yeong knew the personality of the sect leader. There was no denying that the man was dignified and had his own sense of justice.
He wasn’t the kind to send someone to clean up after letting them go.
“Are you saying that you came from Mount Hua against the will of your own sect leader?”
“It is fine.”
The masked man shook his head.
“Because I am not in a position to listen to each and every word of that child.”
Kong Mun-Yeong’s face darkened.
Although covered with a mask, he considered this man with a sloppy waist, weird body, and old-fashioned words to be quite old.
Even in comparison to the sect leader of Mount Hua, this man seemed older.
In other words, the person in front of them right now could be a former master of Mount Hua.
‘But they aren’t the kind to come out and act like this.’
He couldn’t figure it out. It was his will to never disturb his composure in front of people, but the person in front of him could be a former master.
Kong Mun-Yeong’s complexion darkened,
“I didn’t realize that former members of Mount Hua would be so petty.”
The masked man snorted.
“Aren’t you being petty by pointing a sword at us and hoping to take what little we have left? What would your senior think if he saw this now?”
The blue eyes behind the mask narrowed.
‘Huh? Look at him!’
‘He understands seniority in the sect?’
Senior was something Chung Myung was called in his time. Though he was quite the rouge at the time. If Kong Mun-Yeong was a simple businessman, he wouldn’t know much about seniority within a sect.
But he mentions that?
Chung Myung titled his head.
‘Something smells off.’
Something very musty. Maybe this wasn’t just done by some money-crazed people.
“Well, it’s fine either way.”
Chung Myung swung his sword.
“I don’t know if the sect leader let you go so easily because he’s naïve or if he simply hasn’t learned anything. Personally, with my temper, I would rather just break your bones and be done with it. But, for the sake of the sect leader, I will respect his decision to let you go. Leave the carts and get out of here, then I won’t catch you.”
Kong Mun-Yeong burst out laughing.
“Old man. Do you think I left because I lacked strength?”
Kong Mun-Yeong was confused.
It was weird how this old man talked. Every time he spoke, Kong Mun-Yeong would be left speechless.
“Khuem! Well, you’re mistaken. The reason I backed down was to avoid making it a larger problem. It’s not as if I’m unable to catch a man wearing a mask calling himself a robber.”
“haha. Well-spoken… cough! Cough! Ahck! Cough! Spit! Oh my…. I am dying.”
Seeing the masked man hunched over and coughing, Kong Mun-Yeong felt a bit sorry for him. If the situation allowed, he even wanted to help him.
Tears welled up in his eyes, looking at those shaky limbs and bent waist.
“… old man. If you back down, we won’t bother you. It seems like things are difficult for you too, so don’t stand up and simply head back.”
“The old man has already died.”
He was a kid now.
‘Aigoo, that pure internal qi is killing my body.’
His body wasn’t mature, so he had no choice but to use it, but he never expected the wounds to be so severe.
There was no way he could feel fine when he was supposed to be resting for three months, but he decided to go wandering the streets. He was thankful they misunderstood him to be an old man, but…
“I have nothing to say.”
Chung Myung swung his sword.
“Those who want to take a beating, stay here; those who value their lives can leave empty-handed. Back in the old days, I would have just pounced without asking a question. Recently though, I am learning to be patient, so don’t test my temper.”
“You speak well.”
Kong Mun-Yeong drew a line like he didn’t want to speak anymore.
“This is your last warning. I will not show you any more consideration.”
“I get it. Tell the people hiding to come out.”
Kong Mun-Yeong was startled.
Following behind him were a group of hidden escorts. They were so talented that it would be difficult for even a trained martial artist to feel their presence.
As the words fell, dozens of warriors appeared from the grassy terrain.
“When did these people…?”
The merchants gathered close to their carts, their faces rife with fear. Of course, they couldn’t have noticed the guards following them.
Kong Mun-Yeong still wanted to give the old man a chance to step down but went silent at what happened.
A sound that made his shoulders shake.
The warrior who jumped out the farthest collapsed suddenly. Upon seeing that, Kong Mun-Yeong’s legs trembled.
Chung Myung clicked his tongue and raised the sword.
“Kids these days!”
“Talk a lot!”
“I didn’t act like this in my time!”
Five escorts fell before Kong Mun-Yeong could figure out what happened. He couldn’t understand it.
Chung Myung retrieved his sword, put it on his shoulder, and looked at Kong Mun-Yeong.
It may have looked cool if anyone else had done it, but now Chung Myung was weak and slumped over. Seeing him bent down, seemingly in pain, evoking a sense of misery in his movements made the onlookers feel a sort of pity for him.
Chung Myung smiled and continued.
“You don’t seem to know much, but none of the kids who ignored me in the old days returned with their limbs intact. You should listen well to the words of your elders. I wonder, will some old-fashioned medicine work on you?
Chung Myung walked with the sword on his shoulder, whistling.
The warriors who saw it faltered and stepped back at his approach. Completely crushed by the momentum.
“Stand back, you useless trash!”
Kong Mun-Yeong, who yelled at the warriors, grunted through his teeth.
‘Was there still someone this strong hidden in Mount Hua?’
He thought Mount Hua was just an old tiger with its teeth and claws removed. No, that was correct. The mistake was overlooking the fact that a crippled tiger is still a tiger; even without its teeth and claws, it could kill a man with its strength alone.
“I don’t know why you waited until now to appear. if you had come out earlier than now, Mount Hua wouldn’t have turned this way.”
Just as Chung Myung was opening his mouth, Kong Mun-Yeong continued.
“But, you’ve come at the wrong time. I wanted to deliver a blow to Mount Hua, but this works as well. If someone like you dies at my hands, the sect leader will surely grieve for quite some time. Prepare yourself.”
Kong Mun-Yeong raised his energy.
The grass around was ripped up and soared around in a frenzy. It was energy far greater than what a store owner should be capable of.
“Right. I knew something was up with you.”
Chung Myung’s eyes shone.
“Don’t worry; at the very least, I won’t cut that mouth of yours.”
Chung Myung walked towards Kong Mun-Yeong, while Kong Mun-Yeong ran towards Chung Myung.
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