Episode 678

What Is This Place! (3)
1 week ago
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“Congratulations, Taoist Chung Myung.”

“Oh my! How did you manage to travel such a great distance…”

Chung Myung, who was about to rush forward and grab the hand of the person in front of him, stopped.

Uh? What?

Did a corpse just walk in?

This was someone he knew. To be precise, it was definitely someone he knew. But, from the appearance, it seemed so far from the Chung Myung he remembered.

“…did you catch some disease?”

“…no.”

“Then what illness did you contract?”

“…I am fine.”

“Then why this?”

Chung Myung tilted his head.

The person in front of him now was the clan leader of the Ghost Clan… no, it was Do Woon-Chan, who had now become the clan leader.

He, who hadn’t even seen the face of until the start of the Heavenly Friends Alliance, arrived at Mount Hua only after the ceremony had nearly concluded.

And they all seemed to be on the brink of death.

“W-what is happening?”

A look of guilt appeared on Chung Myung’s face.

Now that he thought about it, he had assigned the task to the Ghost Clan in haste and hadn’t paid much attention to them afterward. Although it was because he had faith that Hwang Mun-Yak and Hwang Jongi would handle it well…

“We cannot.”

“Hmmm?”

But for a moment, there was a bright shine on Do Woon-Chan’s face. It was surprising that he could look so happy, even with the dark shadows reaching down to the tip of his chin, the rough skin, and the pale complexion that looked like he might cough up blood and die at any moment.

“It’s a problem because things are going too well. It’s happening so well… I now clearly understand what Taoist Chung Myung meant when he said that for a sect to develop, it must have money. Once money started to flow into the Ghost Clan, my life changed entirely.”

“R-right? Then why…”

Is your face like that? Like you couldn’t even eat porridge.

“…like I said, it’s a problem because it’s so good. At first, everyone was pleased with the money we were earning with moderate work,”

“…”

“But things are… no, ‘getting by’ would sound odd now. The growth was close to a landslide.”

“…ah, I see.”

“Yes… there’s no other way to describe it other than a landslide. So, the thing is, it’s increasing too much… these days…”

A look of fear struck the face of Do Woon-Chan. It was as if he was watching things unfold right in front of his eyes.

“It wasn’t enough to mobilize all the disciples and carry the goods, day and night, so even the elders were dragged in, and even that wasn’t enough, and now, even I am carrying the goods…”

Chung Myung was genuinely flustered.

“B-But you are the clan leader?”

“…clan leader or not.”

“…”

Da Woon-Chan sighed and sank to the ground.

“So… I was trying to somehow come when the ceremony started, but then we had an urgent escort to do… after coming from Beijing to Sichuan, I did my best to come here.”

“From where?”

“Sichuan…”

“So, you went to Beijing and then to Sichuan and ended up here?”

“It isn’t that precise. Before that, we started from Hunan, and I went from Beijing to Hunan, and then from Hunan to Beijing, and to Sichuan from there and back here…”

“Eukkk!”

The eyes of Chung Myung held real shock.

No, was this man insane?

“Well, you went that far?”

“Well, express delivery is expensive. If it isn’t too far, then there’s no use for us as people.”

“Ah, right. I know that but…”

Chung Myung checked the condition of the man again. Now that he saw it, the face wasn’t a bit damaged from the past, but compared to the past, he had lost so much weight that his cheekbones were coming out.

“I-I didn’t know you were going through so much.”

If you said that Chung Myung was the incarnation of the devil, even the devil from hell would shed tears and curse him, saying all that now was unfair. But there’s no way for Chung Myung not to feel bad about Do Woon-chan’s condition.

“How, can… we reduce work….”

“Uh?”

“That… I will reduce the work a bit. Is what I….”

“Whatever do you mean by that?”

“… Uh?”

That was when Do Woon-Chan’s face changed.

“You want to cut down the work! Will the money not decrease then! The money!”

“…”

“Currently, the Ghost clan doesn’t have a warehouse to hold much; we will have to expand it! No, we need to build a new one! Money! And we need money for that! And money is coming in huge amounts for us!”

“… I heard earlier that things are going well.”

“Work, too! And money, too!”

Do Woon-chan’s eyes shone.

The noble, warrior-like figure he had displayed in the past was gone. Now, he was a pure, full-fledged merchant who had a taste for money.

“They say a person needs to earn something to know! Kuak! Because this brings in money! This!”

“….”

“Kyaak! I should have just begun to work a long time ago! I should have had the wisdom that the Taoist did! Actually, the damage I took while visiting Mount Hua wasn’t huge. If it is the time to come to Shaanxi, I can do two tasks, which means I need to get a fee for coming…”

Chung Myung looked at the money-crazy man.

‘I don’t know anymore.’

It seemed like things around him were going even more insane these days. This guy, that guy, everything, and everyone was insane around him.

“Taoist!”

That was when Do Woon-Chan suddenly rushed to Chung Myung with glaring eyes.

Chung Myung flinched and hurriedly took a step back, but Do Woon-Chan didn’t give him the chance to retreat and grabbed his shoulder.

“Expand it!”

“… Uh?”

“I will accept more disciples! We will increase the number of people to deliver goods, so let us expand our business more! If we can deliver to not just Beijing but to Nanjing and beyond the Great Wall, we can earn more!”

“N-No, wait! You said you would receive the Ghost Clan once you raised enough money to…”

“Revive? This is revival, this! What is a greater revival than this! Those who used to roll their eyes at the sight of dried anchovies are now sick of seeing meat on the table. Revival? What revival?”

This m-man! Calm down now!

“The business is growing! Let us continue this forever, Taoist!”

“I will try!”

“Thank you! Thank you! I brought you a nicely wrapped gift. Make sure to check it.”

“…”

As Chung Myung fell speechless and couldn’t speak, one of the Chung disciples who watched from a distance approached and spoke to Do Woon-chan.

“Clan leader. You might want to see the Sect leader, I will take you there.”

“Will you do that? Taoist, then I will go and see the Sect leader, I will meet you later.”

“… Yes. That… we need to have a drink together once the guests leave, so join us.”

“Kuak. Then time will get wasted, it won’t happen… then I cannot take another job.”

“…”

“But since this is what Taoist Chung Myung said, I will try to handle the loss for today. Instead, please hurry up,”

“… Yes.”

“Hurry!”

“…”

“Then.”

Do Woon-chan rushed to the Chung disciples. Chung Myung, who watched this, was moving away as he looked at the sky.

Baek Cheon and Yoon Jong soon approached and placed their hands on the shoulder of Chung Myung to comfort him.

“It is fine, Chung Myung. It isn’t your fault.”

“… No.”

“All you have to do is be happy. What more can there be in life? Good things are good things.”

“Hehehehe.”

Right, well.

A relief, then. A relief….

Chung Myung quietly looked at the situation in the hall.

Now it seemed like things were getting sorted. The atmosphere had become a bit heated with people getting drunk and speaking out too much. Still, they were slowly leaving, one after another.

In just two hours or so, all the guests would leave, and then the ceremony would come to an end.

There were a lot of complicated emotions.

Well, now it’s a situation worth taking a deep breath for.

“Chung Myung.”

“Uh?”

“It’s a lot of hard work.”

Instead of answering, Chung Myung glanced at Baek Cheon. It was a common thing to say, but his voice was much more serious than usual.

“… What’s new?”

“Right, new. But wouldn’t that be the same as not hearing what should be heard?”

“…”

“Everyone in Mount Hua knows to work hard. I am too flustered to say anything, but I want you to know that I am grateful to all.”

“Sasuk… did you have something wrong?”

“…Bastard,”

Baek Cheon, who had been quite serious, had a contorted face.

“T-that was a compliment!”

“It’s a compliment if the right person says it!”

“Kuaak!”

Baek Cheon sighed with a bit of a distasteful look.

“Well, let us finish it well. After everyone leaves, let us have a drink till our noses are all bent.”

“Ehh. Is Dong-Ryong trying to have a talk?”

“Do not call me Dong-Ryong, you bastard!”

Chung Myung laughed as he pulled away from Baek Cheon, who rushed at him.

Although he didn’t really get anything special, he felt relieved and relaxed at the thought that he had overcome a tough moment.

“Well, one thing will be good now.”

“What?”

Chung Myung smiled and spoke in response to Baek Cheon’s question.

“No matter who you meet now, you won’t be able to ignore Mount Hua.”

“Right.”

“And that should be good enough for now.”

He nodded, feeling relieved just thinking about it.

“I got scolded for holding back from whom I wanted to kill.”

“…Did you ever endure such things?”

“…”

Chung Myung’s face contorted at Baek Cheon’s reaction as if hearing such nonsense for the first time in his life.

“Show me what I do not tolerate?”

“…Calm down now.”

Baek Cheon waved his hand with a bored look, and Chung Myung laughed.

“Fine then, from now…”

It was right then.

“Uh?”

Chung Myung, who was about to speak, closed his mouth and tilted his head. Something felt off.

‘What is this?’

He frowned and turned his head.

‘At the gate?’

The area he looked towards was bustling. But those who were setting up stalls near the gate turned quiet.

No, not quite…

‘Exhausted?’

Their faces looked as if they had seen ghosts.

It was hard to tell for sure since everyone was looking pale and all eyes were turned towards the gate, but from the brief glimpse he got of their faces, they seemed scared.

But scared?

All the people gathered here were sword users in Kangho.

And aren’t the leaders and representatives of the Nine Great Sects and Five Great Families in Mount Hua now? It’s a situation where a fight cannot happen.

Then what were they so scared of?

“Woah… woah, finally here…”

At that moment, a sound like a groan reached Chung Myung’s ears.

One of the trembling people, with their eyes fixed on the gate, spoke with a face as if they had seen a ghost.

“Ten… Ten-ten…”

That voice of fear… no, it was a voice of despair, as if they couldn’t believe what was happening.

A voice trembling with too many emotions.

“T-ten Thousand People… The Ten Thousand People Clan! They are comingggggg!”

Those words instantly filled Mount Hua with silence.

People who were drinking until then went pale, as if cold water had been poured over them.

“W-what?”

“Who is coming?”

It was a name they shouldn’t be hearing now. But those who checked the gate had to realize that their ears were working correctly. The people gathering near the mountain gate were rushing back as if they had seen ghosts.

Then, through the wide-open view, they could clearly see the group of warriors approaching.

“…Ten Thousand People clan.”

Someone’s voice, like a groan, rang softly in the silence-filled Mount Hua.

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