Once Hubei was left behind, we arrived at Xinye.
About twenty li northeast of Xinye existed a small village named Yabei County. A manor was located in the north of the county.
Inside, a red-haired woman was fanning herself with her legs raised on a table. She was Baek Hye-hyang, one of the candidates to become the leader of the Blood Sect. Beside her was her trusted confidant, First Blood Star, Jang Ryong.
“Who is it?’
A voice sounded from outside the door in response to her question.
“Commander Na Shim-hyung of the White Blood troops.”
The door opened as Na Shim-hyung entered and greeted her. When she waved her hand in annoyance, the man looked troubled and said, “There is a problem.”
“The communication which should have arrived from the Yangtze River has been cut off.”
Baek Hye-hyang, fanning herself while listening to the report, stopped and asked him.
“If it is the Yangtze river, it should be the pier located in Honho City?”
“Yes. That was the location that Commander Mun had been assigned with his mission. We didn’t receive the communication from that side. While it is too early to decide, I feel like I should report…”
At those words, the First Blood Star mumbled.
“There are two things.”
The absence of the messenger pigeon meant one of two things. Either there was a problem with the pigeon, or there was a problem with the sender.
In that sense, it was difficult to arrive at a conclusion.
“Is that the only thing you need to report?”
“No. The Murim Alliance announced the casualties from the tournament attack. The First Military Commander was included in that list.”
Jang Ryong was surprised and asked.
“The First Military Commander, no, Zhuge Won-myung is dead? Is that true?”
“Without a doubt.”
As Jang Ryong turned his head, Baek Hye-hyang’s expression changed.
In response, Jang Ryong asked Commander Na.
“Any other news?”
“The main body of the Murim Alliance is gathering Elders and more personnel from each sect.”
“… was there any mention of our sect?”
“… I get it. You can leave.”
Na Shim-hyung bowed and exited the room. Jang Ryong only opened his mouth once the man completely disappeared.
“Miss, your concerns turned out to be true.”
“… Zhuge Won-myung was murdered.”
They hadn’t been the ones to execute him. Through their spies in Murim, they had heard rumors about the disappearance of the Military Commander.
Jang Ryong expressed his concerns to her.
If something out of the norm happened, such as Zhuge Won-myung’s murder, he had raised the possibility that the real Blood Demon Sword might have been stolen.
“The same goes for the situation on the pier. I guess we should be prepared.”
It was impossible to predict how the situation would change if Baek Ryeon-ha’s side took possession of the true Blood Demon Sword.
There were those who prioritized this among the Elders and the Blood Stars. These people would only honor those who possessed the said object.
“Interesting. So interesting..”
Even though the situation had become serious, Baek Hye-hyang still seemed calm. This was also why Jang Ryong followed her.
Baek Hye-hyang pointed her fan to him and said.
“Who is likely to leave?”
“The Seventh Blood Star has a 60% chance of leaving. He is someone who values the sword above all.”
“That bastard. Can we trust the rest?”
At Baek Hye-hyang’s question, Jang Ryong smiled.
“If that was the case, they would have moved closer to Lady Baek Ryeon-ha in the first place since she has more legitimacy. Our current sect needs a strong Blood Demon.”
Baek Ryeon-ha’s skills were not as strong as Baek Hye-hyang’s.
Even if she did obtain the Blood Demon Sword, her ability in martial arts wasn’t great when compared to Baek Hye-hyang.
‘It is possible only for our lady. We can go against the Four Great Evils and Eight Great Warriors with only her.’
She was someone who was close to their level of martial arts. Baek Hye-hyang then stared blankly at the map and pointed to two places.
“The key is the Third Elder and Second Blood Star.”
Third Elder, Gu Jae-yang, and the Second Blood Star.
Gu Jae-yang’s fame was widely known, while Yu Baek, the Second Blood Star, was known to be exceptionally strong even when compared to the others. The problem was that these two people were neutral.
They had declared that they would only follow the person who was in possession of the divine weapon. Yu Baek also only wanted to follow a qualified person.
If the two of them moved to Baek Ryeon-ha’s side, the situation would change instantly.
Seven of the eleven leading figures of the sect would end up on Baek Ryeon-ha’s side in that case.
“We have two.”
“Let me hear them.”
“The first is to steal the sword before it falls into the hands of Lady Baek Ryeon-ha. The Fourth Blood Star also has to be there so we can mobilize the troops. Taking it from the Ghastly Monster would be the difficult part.”
Actually, Jang Ryong had another thought.
If Hae Ack-chun was killed and So Wonhwi was eliminated, regardless of the means and methods, stealing the Blood Demon Sword would be possible.
However, even though they had sent Commander Mun, they had been ordered to capture them alive and not kill them.
Baek Hye-hyang’s flaw.
She was obsessed with the things that she desired. If he tried to kill So Wonhwi, it would be difficult to do it and stay alive at the same time.
She opened her mouth.
“Stealing the sword is the best method, right?”
“Fine. Then we steal. Any means and method. But save So Wonhwi and bring him to me.”
“Only one person has to be spared.”
Jang Ryong was dumbfounded by this, but was afraid that she would overreact, and replied.
“As you command.”
Capturing all of them alive was difficult. Bringing just one of them back alive was a different thing. Baek Hye-hyang then continued to speak.
“Isn’t the Third Elder near Shaanxi?”
“Close. Fine. I will make a deal with him.”
“All by yourself?”
“Do you think I am a child?”
“… you are right!”
Hearing that she was going to confront him directly made Jang Ryong proud. Even if Gu Jae-yang had made a decision, it might change if a candidate comes directly to speak with him.
“Did you say that the base of the Second Blood Star was in Anhui?”
“I will go there.”
’’Any other plans?“
Jang Ryong smiled.
“Would that be possible?”
The best option was to claim the sword, but in case that failed, they had to get people on their side before Baek Ryeon-ha could declare that she had the weapon.
Baek Hye-hyang stood up and said.
“If everyone decided on what to do, then move.”
“Jang Ryong will follow…”
Before he could finish his words, he heard a loud roar followed by a scream from outside the room.
When the loud sound repeated, the two ran from the room and frowned.
“What is this…”
Jang Rong couldn’t hide his shock.
Members of the sect guarding the room were covered in blood and were on the ground. Na Shim-hyung was also being held by the throat by an unknown person.
Na Shim-hyung struggled as he said.
“Kuak… I don’t… know…”
“You don’t know?’
Na Shim-hyung’s left arm was forcibly pulled out of his body.
“Who are you?!”
Jang Ryong didn’t even have time to think as he rushed for this monster-like person who threw Na Shim-hyung to the ground.
He then stretched out his hand toward Jang Ryong, who was using a sword technique.
‘Fool! I will cut you down!’
Jang Ryong tried to cut the man’s arm off, but then something shocking happened.
His sword bounced off the hand and was bent!
He felt a tearing pain rush through his body.
‘This is ridiculous.’
He was surprised but tried to maintain his calm and kick the monster in the head.
But the monster just casually caught his foot with his arm.
“There are too many.”
At that moment, the monster’s sword touched his chest, and he felt something sharp touch his skin.
Jang Ryong had to hastily use footwork to avoid the sword from stabbing him, but the monster could follow him.
‘How can such a monster exist?’
Jang Ryong was not some first-rate warrior but a skilled warrior at the highest stage. Yet this man was pushing him around like he was a child.
At that moment, a trail of red light passed between them.
Baek Hye-hyang intervened and stopped the monster. Thanks to her, Jang Ryong managed to avoid immediate danger.
“Release the qi inside.”
The existence of another person’s qi in his internal organs would cause severe damage. This was why he had to drive it out.
“What are you?”
She asked the monster as she held her bloody-looking sword.
The monster was covered in black clothes, and only his nose was faintly visible. The qi he possessed was unusual, and he said.
“The heir of the Blood Demon is still alive.”
Hearing those words, Baek Hye-hyang didn’t delay her move and attacked with lightning speed.
In response, the monster moved his feet.
Jang Ryong, who was watching this, was shocked. The monster was leisurely dodging Baek Hye-hyang’s attacks.
All with minimal movement.
Not many people in this world could last against Baek Hye-hyang or himself. Only the Twelve Warriors were capable of this.
‘Then who is he?’
It was difficult to determine his identity because his face wasn’t visible. The monster then spoke as he dodged.
“You have good talent. To reach the peak at this age.”
Saying this while dodging her sword easily only irritated Baek Hye-hyang.
“I will kill you!”
The red light in Baek Hye-hyang’s eyes turned more intense as her sword became faster.
In response, the monster released one of his hands which he had placed behind him. The hem of his cloth then wrapped around Baek Hye-hyang’s sword.
As her sword was tied up, the monster grabbed her wrist and made her frown.
No matter how much she tried to move, she couldn’t do anything.
‘Is his internal qi stronger than mine?’
She couldn’t believe it. She was a monster in her own right, so being pushed around by someone didn’t feel right.
“If you are the descendant of the Blood Demon, then you are the head of this place? Then you should know.”
“… what are you speaking about?!”
Baek Hye-hyang took her hand off the sword and moved away.
Her index finger was aimed at the monster’s forehead. The range between them was close, so he wouldn’t be able to avoid it, but he instead caught her finger.
“This brashness resembles someone.”
The monster shook his head and twisted her finger.
At the same time, her body spun, and she fell to the ground
As she staggered to get up, the monster hit her on the neck.
And with that she fell like a doll that had its strings cut.
“You are strong enough to not scream.”
The monster clicked his tongue and raised his foot over her head.
Jang Ryong, who couldn’t fully drive out the foreign qi, gave up on cultivating and flew towards them.
“You better stop.”
He had to stop when the foot of the monster over Baek Hye-hyang’s head began to release qi.
He coughed up a handful of blood. The sudden burst of qi caused him to struggle to even open his mouth.
“… stop. Who are you, and what are you doing this for?”
“That is none of your business.”
Along with this, the monster pulled out a paper from his robe. When he opened it, there was a handsome face on it.
Surprisingly, the face of Sima Young with the human skin mask. Jang Ryong frowned.
It was his first time seeing this face.
“Following the trail, we arrived in the Guangxi mountains. People from the murim sects had attacked there.”
The Six Blood Valley immediately came to his mind. He pondered it for a second, as that was the only place where the Alliance and the Blood Sect had clashed.
“You recognize the face? Or no?”
“I don’t know.”
He had never seen that face before today. If he had been at the guesthouse, he might’ve recognized it. Unfortunately, he had only heard that Baek Hye-hyang had met a girl at the guest house.
“Just who is…”
“I came all the way here after following the tracks. The codes you were using were simpler than I thought.”
Jang Ryong felt incredulous.
In other words, this man had found them after deciphering the codes they used in their communications? This man was a smart monster.
He could only think of two people.
Among the Eight Great Warriors and Four Great Evils, two were known for their outstanding intellect.
Between them, only one used a sword.
‘The Wicked Moon Sword?’
Jang Ryong was convinced. Wasn’t the Sima family also known for their intellect along with the Zhuge family?
‘Four Great Evils…’
This was bad.
Who wasn’t aware of this man’s cruelty?
It was absurd that a monster that had vanished from Murim decided to come here.
‘Then, the young man in that picture was what incurred his anger?’
The man wouldn’t have come this far otherwise. The black-clad monster then looked at him.
“You want to save this one? Then find out where this person is.”
Jang Ryong fell silent. It was annoying because he had never met this person before now.
He didn’t know who the person was and now this man wanted him to be found.
At that moment, Jang Ryong had a good idea.
‘Even if I went to the Six Blood Valley, everything was already cleared.’
Then, he should speak up.
“Don’t bother hiding things since I am a quick-tempered person.”
“Wait! There seems to be some misunderstanding.”
“The sect has been divided into factions after the war.”
“If you found traces of him from the Six Blood Valley, then we do not know of it.”
“Do not fool me!”
He tried to crush Baek Hye-hyang’s head, and Jang Ryong shouted.
“It’s true! I can give you their whereabouts if you want. They must have hidden out somewhere.”
“… and how do I believe that?”
“How could I lie when my lord’s life is at stake? I can provide you with any proof.”
In response, the monster stroked his chin.
“And that would be?”
With that, Jang Ryong felt elated.
‘I can take them down without touching them.’
Above the boat on the Yangtze River.
As I entered the cabin, Hae Ack-chun was waiting with the drink poured in the glass.
In a way, it felt like poison.
“Kuak, sit down.”
His way of speaking was strangely odd. It was awkward as he had also talked to Baek Ryeon-ha with such honorifics.
As I sat across from him, he began to speak.
“Thinking back, I was quite rude.”
The time he hung me off a cliff, and all the beatings flashed through my mind.
-Good. Payback time.
Short Sword told me.
Pay what back? Do what he did back then?
I wasn’t even sure if I had the blood of the Blood Demon within me.
“… teacher. Please speak normally.”
Hae Ack-chun waved at me with his large palm.
“How can this old man make such a mistake against the Blood Demon?”
This was uncomfortable!!
“When it is just the two of us, you can be normal, please. It would be convenient.”
He was my teacher, so it should be fine, Hae Ack-chun grinned.
“Kukuku, I get it. brat.”
How did he accept this without hesitation? It was ridiculous, but he was a crazy one.
As he poured alcohol into the glass in front of me, he said, “I will not beat around the bush. Did your grandfather or mother have a relationship with the Dual-Sided Martial Forces?”
I was speechless at this question.
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