Chapter 105 - A New Hand (2)

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How could one make good use of a situation where we are being monitored?

It would be to look for what to use.

The man, who spotted the spies, looked suspicious.

[… why are you telling me this? There would be no reason for you to help me since we never even met face to face.]

At his question, I replied.

[I need you.]

[You need…me?]

The man, Myung Kyung-in asked me as he was unable to understand.

[Did you think I was just helping you out?]

[… ha!]

Myung Kyung-in was angry, but he tried hard to control his expression.

[Even without your help, I can protect myself.]

[Did you not understand what surveillance means?]

[That…]

[If you stay still, you will be caught.]

[… who are you?]

[I am So Wonhwi.]

At those words, the man looked shocked.

[The disciple of the South Heavenly Swordsman?]

[Yes.]

[… you are different from the rumors.]

I was glad to hear this. It meant that awareness about me was spreading.

[Rumors are bound to change as they spread. You should know that better than me.]

[Yes!]

Myung Kyung-in’s eyes widened at this. His eyes clearly contained bitter feelings.

-Why does he have such erratic mood swings?

‘I provoked him.’

The Kunlun was annihilated, with all of its people slaughtered overnight.

-Overnight? Not a metaphor?

That’s right.

Utter annihilation.

This was a case where the Murim Alliance should have stepped forward to investigate. Instead, they covered it up as a case where the Forces of Evil had attacked without even checking properly.

-Uh? Why?

‘Because they hated Kunlun.’

-Why hate them?

The war that happened twenty years ago had plunged the entirety of Murim into hell.

The Murim Alliance, the Forces of Evil, the Blood Sect, and even the bandits had all forcibly started a war where the bloodshed never stopped.

-Why didn’t they participate?

‘Kunlun was a sect which practiced Taoist teachings.’

Although it was a sect in the Forces of Justice, they didn’t take anyone’s side. They always stuck to the center.

Their intentions were good, but it wasn’t so when seen from the point of view of those who had seen too much of their own blood being spilled.

-White and Black. How human.

Short Sword clicked her tongue, probably thinking how pathetic this was.

Unfortunately, no one knew if it was an ally or an enemy. In any case, no one survived the Kunlun massacre, so the Alliance had no reason to use their manpower to help.

-The so-called Forces of Justice didn’t notice anything?

There was nothing to notice.

In the first place, public opinion from the Forces of Justice towards Kunlun was cold as they didn’t participate in the war.

I noticed that he couldn’t control his anger and said to him,

[You seem angry.]

[… Do you think you can understand the agony of Kunlun being turned to ashes in one night?]

[I don’t know. I am just telling you because your front is compromised.]

[My front is compromised?]

[Even I know that you are the last survivor of Kunlun. Do you think a force as large as the Murim Alliance doesn’t?]

At my words, his eyes fluttered.

Actually, the Murim Alliance didn’t even notice that he was the last survivor. If they had, they would have made their move right away.

Myung Kyung-in, who was immersed in thought, trembled in realization.

[They are not doing anything despite knowing that!]

[… unfortunately so.]

[These people!]

There was a reason he was this angry.

Myung Kyung-in, a warrior who was once named the Great Flower, had come to the tournament to inform that there were survivors of Kunlun and to officially ask for help from the Alliance.

-Didn’t you say that it was Lee Jung-gyeom who won?

‘Uh.’

-You mean…

‘This guy didn’t even get close to winning.’

Myung Kyung-in met Lee Jung-gyeom in the quarter-finals and was eliminated.

However, there would have been no problem if he had been simply defeated. He had displayed the martial arts of Kunlun at that time and had forced the spar to be stopped.

-Why?

He was mistaken for a spy who used the martial arts of the extinct Kunlun Sect.

At that time, Myung Kyung-in had removed his mask and revealed that he was the sect’s last hope. However, that only further aggravated the doubts as he had violated the rules.

Contrary to his purpose, he ended up imprisoned in the dungeon as the incident escalated. The tournament was also halted for three days.

-Ahh! That is why you asked them to find him.

Right.

If something like that happened this time, things would go very wrong for us.

If they were going to make such a fuss for a mistaken spy and do a thorough investigation, they would be even busier running around to catch the people from the Blood Sect.

So, I had to ensure that this man would participate properly.

-Oh. Preparing for that, huh? Good, increase the number of cards you can use!

Two birds with one stone, but I am not sure if this was good.

-…?!

After his identity was verified later, the Murim Alliance pledged their support to rebuild the Kunlun Sect.

Myung Kyung-in also gained fame as Kunlun’s last hope.

For the sake of Kunlun’s reconstruction, he didn’t hesitate to lead the fight against the Blood Sect despite his original intentions.

-… seriously.

Short sword clicked her tongue.

Why?

I would also help to reconstruct Kunlun.

The one who would be doing it was me and not the Murim Alliance.

[It is fine if you want to do what you think. But what about working harder to rebuild Kunlun?]

Wouldn’t it be better to join hands with me rather than get help from those that had turned away from the sect?

He looked at me with eyes full of agony.

[What do you want?]

I smiled.

After having this conversation, I turned over to one of the people who was watching me.

-What are you going to do? Will you pretend like you don’t know?

Short Sword looked puzzled. I was originally going to leave this alone, but he was a good card to use.

-…!?

As I approached the man pretending to be a guard, he tried to feign ignorance and moved away, but I caught him.

“Are you following me by any chance?”

“What do you mean?”

The man acted as if he didn’t know anything.

Of course, he would act like this. I pointed over to Myung Kyung-in and whispered.

“My acquaintance there told me that there are four people, that one, that one, there, and you, were constantly watching me, and I am asking if that is true.”

When I pointed to the others, the man couldn’t hide his shock as I gave him a suspicious look and said.

“Are you the Blood Sect’s…”

Before I could finish, the man shouted.

“What are you saying now! I am the warrior who is in charge of security. Why are you looking at people with such a nasty thought?”

He clearly changed his mind. I thought he would back down from shock, but he was coming out stronger.

“If not, then fine. Why are you acting out so much? Blood…”

“Yah. Why does the word Blood… keep coming out?”

“Then why are you spying on me? Are you really a warrior of security? Or working for some…”

“Huh, seriously trying to catch other people.”

After several back and forths between us, he decided to walk away.

The three other spies also followed.

As they all disappeared, I sent a message to Myung Kyung-in.

[I solved it.]

[…I will never forget this. I promise you on the honor of Kunlun.]

I had removed the guards.

The Short Sword asked in worry.

-Is this alright? The spies would only be replaced by other ones, no?

‘Maybe, maybe not.’

-Maybe not?


The Military Commander.

Inside Zhuge Won-myung’s office.

At the report from the four spies, the middle-aged guard that stood next to Zhuge Won-myung burst into laughter.

“Hahahaha!”

“Elder?”

“Enough. It seems like we can stop putting people on him.”

At that, the spy looked puzzled.

“What if we attach even more skilled ones?”

“Can’t you see that he was making fun of us?”

“Making fun of us?”

“The Blood Sect’s people? So Wonhwi. If that child really thought so, would he have left you alone? He would have reported to me immediately or captured you.”

“What do you mean?’

“That’s right. He must have noticed that we had put you on him.”

“Ha!”

The escort stuck his tongue at those words.

“How could he see through it?”

Zhuge Won-myung mumbled in interest.

Even if he had noticed, he thought So Wonwhi would have pretended not to care to avoid suspicion.

“He’s not only clever but daring too.”

The middle-aged escort asked.

“Then do we take the spies off him?”

“We will check it in the second round.”

Zhuge Won-myung looked at the pages on his table. On them was a list of those who passed the first round.


Early the next morning.

Before the second qualifying round started, Elder Hoyang began his explanations.

The explanation was the same as what my sister, Yong-yong, had told me.

At set intervals, in order of results from the first round, the participants would go against one another.

It was forbidden to attack a single person with more than three people, and only the last remaining person would advance.

There would be a total of sixteen battle podiums.

So only 16 people would advance.

‘Hm.’

But wouldn’t all four of them be competing separately in this case?

-Why?

‘500 people passed, and if only sixteen advanced, each group would have at least 31 participants. There would be four players left over. The fact that there are 16 potential spots meant that we should also potentially fight them.’

If one more person was added, it would become intense. This wasn’t being informed beforehand, either.

Elder Hoyang, the Plum Blossom White Sword, then said.

“As you can see, there will be four people left over. It will not be fair for them to fight separately, so four people will be on the podium from the top positions yesterday.”

‘This…’

Actually, this was insane.

The top ten were announced yesterday.

The 1st place was Lee Jung-gyeom, 2nd was Kwon Young-ha, 3rd was Jin Young, and I was 4th.

I didn’t leave as much of a mark as the other guys, but they must have thought that what I displayed was good enough.

Well, I was pushed into the rankings, and now I must fight.

“From now on, the guards will give you a card. After receiving it, the participants should gather at the podium marked on the card.”

The guards called out our names and handed us the cards.

I was given a card with the name Jung on it. It felt like the top sixteen people were all given different podiums.

Arriving at the podium first, I moved up and already felt exhausted at the thought of the continuous fighting I would need to do after this.

And then someone came.

‘Ah!’

The participant who had penetrated the stone with his fist.

-Isn’t he the guy who you were doubtful about?

‘Right.’

He made eye contact with me and smiled.

I’m pretty sure he was on Baek Hye-hyang’s side.

His eyes were already exuding killing intent and certainty of victory. Perhaps this was the one that Kwon Young-ha had warned me about?

We were now meeting coincidentally in the 2nd qualifying round.

‘… maybe this is better.’

It would be better for us to ensure Baek Hye-hyang’s people dropped out earlier. This was like giving me an easy pass.

But then someone else came to the stage, and he was…

‘…?!’

Song Jwa-baek.

‘This…’

Even he was a bit shocked when he saw me and flinched. This was a difficult situation.

I didn’t care about others, but meeting Song Jwa-baek here would be a loss to our side.

[Shit. What is this?]

Song Jwa-baek, too seemed to think of this as ridiculous.

I simply gave him a look that said that I didn’t know. It was quite risky for us to even look at each other, much less send messages.

Being aware of this, he didn’t do it again.

After that, another person walked up.

‘… Ha!’

I couldn’t help but be stunned at this.

Again, it was a face that I didn’t know. But I was sure that he was also from Baek Hye-hyang’s side.

The person was also quite surprised to see me here.

‘No…’

I looked at the podium and saw several people who were clearly spies standing around. Cho Sung-won also had a firm expression on his face.

A name flashed into my mind.

‘Zhuge Won-myung.’

There was only one person who could get such a thing done. All of those that he suspected to be spies were all gathered around the podium.

In the distance, I could see Zhuge Won-myung sitting in his seat.

‘Amazing. This is just amazing.’

He wasn’t called the greatest strategist of all time for nothing.


Zhuge Won-myung looked pleased from what he saw at the podium.

This was because everyone he thought was spies were grouped together at once. He could now figure out which of them was the spy.

Elder Hoyang admired him due to this.

“Amazing thought. Military commander. You are amazing.”

“I am not, and it is too early to conclude anything.”

“I just am unable to doubt your eyes.”

“Even I am wrong sometimes.”

“Hehe, such a modest one.”

“Elder, look at the match. We need your insight.”

The plan needed to be done seriously, and this was now the best opportunity to observe the enemy.

It was highly likely that they would start falling away as they were being made to fight against one another.

Well, whatever the result was, they would be able to glimpse who was who.

‘Even if you chose to sacrifice yourself to clear any doubt, two will move up. But you will have to beat many more to be fully clear of suspicion.’

Zhuge Won-myung was staring at them like a hawk.


Meanwhile, the young man waiting at the podium couldn’t hide his joy.

The identity hidden behind his mask was Sang Hyun-myung, the first disciple of the Fifth Blood Star.

‘So Wonhwi.’

He was longing for such an opportunity.

This was a golden chance for him to grievously injure his opponent. In order to avoid suspicion, he would also need to do his best.

‘The close combat is the problem.’

In this case, those from Baek Ryeon-ha’s and Baek Hye-hyang’s sides were even. There was nothing wrong with going into a wild fight, but the podium now held all of Baek Hye-hyang’s people, so they had to be careful.

‘It isn’t something I need to care about.’

All he had to do here was aim for the cheeky kid who desired Baek Hye-hyang.

‘The position of her partner is mine alone!’

He believed she would look at him differently if he dealt with So Wonwhi and took back the Blood Demon Sword.

The man on the podium then spoke.

“No. 2, come on out!”

His fake name, Do Byulsu, was called, and he moved close to the podium.

He was now only eight steps away from being able to fight So Wonwhi.

Just looking at him made him uncomfortable.

‘How dare you act like this?’

He was clever enough to understand So Wonwhi’s schemes and decided to remove the man.

Sang Hyun-Myung calculated this in his head.

‘If we come out too strongly, the lady would be in trouble with those watching us from the shadows. Therefore, I will fight him for ten seconds and then take them down.’

He knew his skills to know how long he could last.

There was little reason to hide his skill, and taking a bit of time would help remove any possible suspicion.

‘The early stages of master level. Funny.’

The Fourth Elder had such a weak disciple.

He could play with this kid for a long time.

‘Just 10 seconds is enough for me. I will take your heart.’

He was ready, and so the referee signaled.

“Start!”

Sang Hyun-myung moved to So Wonhwi.

The moment he was ready to unleash his power, So Wonwhi moved towards him with a terrifying force before stopping right in front of him.

Bang!

At the same time, he felt a shock like a whirlwind.

‘…?!’

He was confused by this phenomenon, so he changed his attack form.

He was confident that there was nothing he could stop. However, the speed that this whirlwind came at him was far beyond what he had imagined.

Chak!

The qi was digging into his hands and wrists despite him wearing a gauntlet.

It was then that he realized.

‘He wasn’t at the master level…’

But he realized this too late. The whirlwind had already pushed his body away.

‘Damn it!’

His body was swept away by the force created by the sword technique, and he spun several times before stopping.

“Huk!”

Thud!

He was thrown into the air several times off the ground. His clothes were turned into rags, and his blood dripped all over.

‘He hid his skills…’

Those weren’t just empty words.

This kid that he was looking at was nothing like he had imagined. He was someone that could only be fought in his best form.

And then came his voice.

“Next, please.”

It was So Wonhwi.

With that came cheers from the audience.

“Woahhhhhh!”

He couldn’t understand it, so he got up to his feet.

How far was he thrown out?

‘T-this guy!’

He had landed outside the podium.

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