The sword that had been dyed bright red returned to silver. Any red remaining on the sword was only due to the blood on it.
Due to her skills, mangled corpses were scattered all over Baek Hye-hyang in various states of dismemberment.
Even though she had gotten the sword she wanted, she didn’t look pleased. Instead, she was looking at the sword with questioning eyes.
“It has to be the Blood Demon Sword if it can do that.”
Her spy, dressed as a member of the infirmary, spoke to her happily. Yet, she didn’t seem to be satisfied.
“What is it?”
“It is different from what I’ve heard.”
Baek Hye-hyang was silent as she threw the sword at the man. The man was slightly startled and didn’t catch the sword, causing it to touch the ground.
Members of the Blood Sect knew that the Blood Demon Sword had strange effects on its holder. Rumors abound that those who touched it would be cursed.
“Hold the sword.”
“Pick it up.”
The man hesitated for a moment but grabbed it upon her command and then frowned. He couldn’t feel any hint of the darkness he was worried about.
And she then asked him.
“Did we get the right information?”
“Yes. Weren’t we given the information about the sword at the merchant’s house?”
They had established a merchant union as a facade for their work. It was the base of the First Blood Star, Jang Ryong.
“Why do you think I am bringing this up?”
“I don’t understand.”
“… this isn’t the real Blood Demon Sword.”
She was sure of it.
She had to act like this was the real sword in front of the Tang family head. However, she could not believe that this sword was the real one, no matter how much she thought about it.
“How can this happen!”
“Zhuge Won-myung. It has to be his plan. Interesting. Even after 20 years, his mind is alive and well.”
“This is all my fault.”
The man knelt on one knee and made his apologies. It wasn’t really his fault, but this was his way of appeasing her.
Things had already crossed the line, and the Murim Alliance must have taken control of the situation to an extent by now.
If all of those who had run away with the fake swords were captured as well as those who had been tasked with using the explosives, then re-infiltration would be impossible.
And it wasn’t like the Alliance would crumble just because of this.
“It is done.”
“But it will be the same for the other side too.”
As Baek Hye-hyang said, the Alliance would not allow any more gaps or mistakes after this.
This event would lead to a stronger internal defense line and make future infiltration attempts impossible.
But that didn’t apply just to them, but Baek Ryeon-ha as well.
‘The people she sent will also have to withdraw now.’
Neither side managed to succeed in their plans. They couldn’t get the sword, but at least the other side didn’t either.
The man offered the sword to her with both hands and said.
“Miss. If it is a sword that can withstand your power, then isn’t it infinitely close to the Blood Demon Sword, even for an imitation?”
At his words, she raised her eyebrow as he continued.
“Sometimes, a fake can become real.”
Baek Hye-hyang looked at him and said,
“You better not disappoint me this time, Jang Ryong.”
The true identity of the man behind the disguise was Jang Ryong, the First Blood Star.
It was amazing.
I had come here after following that haunting voice, and now I couldn’t hear anything from the sword. I had no idea this kind of thing would happen with just a simple talisman.
-Right. I cannot hear a groan either. You?
Short Sword and Iron Sword also confirmed that they couldn’t hear anything.
[Is that… the real one?]
Cho Sung-won asked while tilting his head. They had run into too many fakes on the way here, so believing this was real was a bit difficult.
However, this was the sword that Zhuge Won-myung had personally hidden and tried to protect until the end.
[It is the real one.]
But we had to confirm it, so I drew the sword.
The moment I did so, the talisman became slightly disturbed, and a mad voice began to fill my head.
-Kill it! I will kill them all!
At hearing the sounds of chaos, murder, anger, insanity, and more from a single voice, I felt a chill run down my spine.
It had been terrifying from a distance, but hearing the voice up close filled me with a complex set of emotions that made me let go of the sword.
Cho Sung-won moved to catch it from falling. The moment he caught it, his face became white.
Sima Young, who watched all this, pushed the sword back into its sheath.
Cho Sung-won gasped for air as he broke into a cold sweat. This sword ate away at people’s souls.
-Wonhui… he is a dangerous one.
-It is my first time seeing such a sword.
Short Sword and Iron Sword were also quite shocked.
Even swords were able to feel the energy that this sword emanated. It was questionable if anyone could even wield this properly.
[V-vice commander. What do we do?]
Cho Sung-won wiped off his cold sweat and asked me a question as he realized the difficulty of this situation.
Even with the talisman on it, the sword was difficult to handle. The thought of the talisman disappearing made him nervous.
The problem was that they had to abandon the sword’s sheath to avoid being noticed.
I asked Sima Young.
[Miss Sima. Did you feel any creepy energy when the sword was pulled out?]
[No. I felt nothing.]
Then those who didn’t touch it would not feel the energy. The talisman needed to be kept with the sword, and they had to be prepared for anything while holding the sheath.
Iron Sword didn’t seem to like it.
If a sword that enjoyed the feeling of being touched was like this, then I could understand just how terrifying this sword was. Sima Young then said.
[It is alright as long as the sword isn’t touched, right? I will put it back in the sheath.]
This was bad.
Ordinary people wouldn’t want to touch it, but now that she was saying this, it felt like she wanted to get a feel for its power…
A thought instantly popped into my mind. I focused on the ringing sound in my head. Wouldn’t it be better if I simply raised the volume of the sound around me and lessened the voice I could hear from swords?
-Wonhui, you will not be able to hear us either.
‘That can’t be considered a problem right now.’
They had to get out of there while everyone was still confused and running around.
Half the mission was complete, and they just needed to give this sword to Hae Ack-chun. However, he couldn’t prevent the madness of this sword from piercing his head.
-Will you be okay? Iron Sword, we need to stay with that monster for a while.
Short Sword decided to speak up for my sake.
-If not, the current owner will look like a troubled kid. What can we do?
I felt bad hearing that, but I promised to give her a new blade this time.
-Hmm. Keep your promise.
With that promise, I raised my innate qi and focused on my mind. The voices of the swords slowly faded.
‘Short Sword? Iron Sword?’
I couldn’t even hear them anymore. I’ve always lived with them as chatterboxes, making the silence now feel odd.
But we had to move quickly.
Iron Sword sighed.
The fake sword in the sheath was discarded, and the real demonic sword was placed inside the sheath with the talisman still on it. However, that creepy voice…
-Kill! Kill! I will kill everything!
As long as those words kept echoing here, Iron Sword could never truly enjoy the journey.
If he was a human, he would have hated meeting someone like this. Unfortunately, he was now stuck here.
‘It is strange. Is this really the sword’s self?’
He wasn’t sure of that. It felt too single-minded to be called a sword’s ego.
It felt like the sword was deaf and was simply repeating the same words. Iron Sword then attempted to speak to it.
-Look here, man. I am the South Heavenly Iron Sword. We have been in this sheath together for a while, so why don’t we introduce ourselves?
-Kill! I will kill everything!
It made no sense. This sword was filled with nothing but the killing intent, and, in the end, he decided to not care.
-Wonhui, make sure to stroke me a lot after this.
Oh, how much had he suffered by being trapped in here?
But suddenly, Iron Sword heard another faint voice.
-The chain of imprisonment is finally weakened.
It was a completely different voice from the endless shouts of killing. He was puzzled for a moment but then realized what was happening.
The talismans attached to the sword’s blade were slowly being torn away.
No, it was more similar to erosion or burning.
It spread around like poison.
Before long, all of the talismans on the sword had vanished.
Iron Sword shouted in shock.
Unfortunately, Wonhui had blocked off the voices of the swords.
The party escaped through the castle by taking advantage of the chaos.
They had considered staying a while to avoid suspicion, but doing that with the Blood Demon Sword with them was a risk.
It would be better to meet with Hae Ack-chun to hand this sword over. Then they needed to ensure that the Alliance realized that this was done by Baek Hye-hyang’s faction.
But did the twins manage to escape?
‘I wonder if they went to the point of contact.’
Without realizing it, I was thinking about speaking to the swords.
I had blocked them off, so I couldn’t hear anything. With my mind feeling silent and empty, we headed to the forest in the southwest.
This wasn’t the actual path for the meeting point but a secondary path that had been set by Hae Ack-chun in case Baek Hye-hyang had laid a trap for us.
I felt worried.
The Alliance’s castle had to be an utter mess right now. Anyone who escaped would have needed to get through that chaotic crowd.
In such a situation, Hae Ack-chun should have realized what had happened. I hoped he noticed it and moved to the secret meeting point instead of staying in his inn.
But there was no one at the meeting point.
It seemed like Hae Ack-chun had also hidden his presence to avoid pursuit by the Alliance.
“Let’s climb up that tree and hide.”
The most suitable place to hide in this forest was the largest tree, surrounded by many more trees.
Suddenly, I felt something. Someone was walking through the bushes and didn’t want to hide his presence.
The sound and distance of each step were different. They were light.
The closer he got, the more I could feel his strength. Finally, the person appeared.
‘North Brave Blade Star?’
This was unexpected.
The one-armed swordsman, Kwak Hyung-jik, appeared with a sword on his left and looked at me.
Sima Young and Cho Sung-won were shocked and unsure how to respond. Meanwhile, I casually answered him.
“I greet you, Great Warrior Kwak.”
As soon as I said that, he asked me.
“Why are you here?”
It wasn’t a general question but one filled with doubts. I then answered him.
“Commander Zhuge had asked me to hunt down the people I suspected as spies, and I was pursuing one.”
“Is that so? That is strange… ever since the castle, you were moving inside the crowd.”
This was just great.
The man hadn’t appeared here by accident but had actually followed us here. We had been moving around to avoid any eyes, yet we failed to notice him tailing us.
He wasn’t compared to the South Heavenly Swordsman for nothing.
And if he was that good, we were knee-deep in trouble.
And he continued.
“Not long ago, I realized someone was following me. So when I checked out, it turned out to be men that commander Zhuge had placed on me, to keep an eye on me.”
Ha…! Even this man was being watched?
As I thought, Zhuge Won-myung was not the kind to let anything leave his eyes. He even put spies on a man he had known and been with for so long.
“And so I asked. Tell me, what did I do to have men watch me? He then replied by saying that key information had been revealed.”
“Of course, I wasn’t the one to disclose the information. Therefore, it was either someone from the inside, you, or even both… and I am sure it wasn’t you. Who would have imagined that the disciple of the South Heavenly Swordsman was a spy?”
I could feel my heart beat faster with every one of his words. He then pointed at me.
“I believe you even now.”
“So, will you dispel my doubts?”
“What do you mean?”
“Can I take a look at your sword’s sheath?”
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