I, too, was shocked by Hae Ack-chun’s bold words. I never expected that the true origin of the sword technique would actually be revealed.
To be honest, I thought that this man would hide it, considering how much the man prided in himself. So why would he reveal it?
What was certain was this wasn’t his usual course of action.
“South Heavenly Swordsman?”
“The South Heavenly Swordsman?”
Whispers and questions rose from around us.
Seeing that the leaders and others were this shocked, the prestige of the swordsman’s name was still there despite 15 years having passed.
Everyone was also not just looking at Hae Ack-chun but was also looking at me!
A woman in white, who seemed to be a disciple of the Bloody Hand Witch, kept looking at my sword and me.
‘What is with her?’
However, with just her eyes exposed through the mask, I felt like I knew her. Her round eyes, long eyelashes, and a similar feeling to the red-eyed woman.
-Who is it? Who is she?
‘… Miss Ha Yeon. Seems like it’s her. Or Baek Ryeon-ha, I should say.’
-What? She’s that one?
Even Short Sword seemed shocked. Well, the reason was simple, really.
It was because the woman’s body now looked slender.
-Aren’t you guessing it wrong?
Short sword couldn’t accept it. Well, she had been quite chubby in the past, after all.
It felt like she had undergone a Body Reconstruction in just six months.
-So she lost all that weight?
Would she admit that she had lost the weight if it were really her? Well, the woman did avoid my eyes afterward.
Seeing how embarrassed she was, I probably guessed correctly.
She turned her head towards a distant mountain to avoid my gaze. I was left wondering what exactly happened.
Did she lose weight from the plant I brought back? As I continued to muse, Han Baekha spoke.
“Elder. That… What do you mean? South Heavenly Swordsman?”
Her voice was trembling slightly, betraying the fact that she was also shocked. I was also curious about how the old man would respond, considering everything was revealed like this.
Would he try to say that he got a treasure after defeating the South Heavenly Swordsman?
With his personality, that kind of statement would make sense.
“You don’t get it despite me telling you? Seriously, is there anyone else here who dealt with that man aside from me?”
At his words, Han Baekha went silent. This meant that no one else could get close to the South Heavenly Swordsman.
She looked at me after she was rendered silent.
“… regardless of whether I recognize it or not, why did the elder’s disciple learn the sword technique of that man?”
She was bringing him back to the original topic. She was asking for a clear answer.
“The South Heavenly Swordsman wasn’t just a normal man. He is a well-known and influential person. This is why the elder will have to explain.”
She wasn’t taking things lying down. Focusing on the fact that the South Heavenly Swordsman is a member of the Forces of Justice, she was cornering Hae Ack-chun. That was until he pulled something out of his sleeves.
The book with that name on it. It was taken back from me, but I didn’t think he would have it on him. Did he plan this?
“The Xing Ming technique?”
“This is a martial arts book written by that man.”
“Why does the elder have it?”
Han Baekha couldn’t take her eyes off the book. It was the same with others.
In particular, those who used swords as their weapon would consider this book a treasure.
A book of martial arts written by the South Heavenly Swordsman, who was famed for his sword techniques. Anyone would want it.
“The South Heavenly Swordsman is dead.”
Everyone was surprised to hear that such a man was already dead.
The surprise was partly because a man of such stature’s whereabouts had been unknown for 15 years.
Hae Ack-chun seemed to be trying to imply that he defeated the man to get this.
The South Heavenly Iron Sword was angry. He felt like his former owner’s name, and honor were being tarnished, and I, too, felt bad for him.
“That man is dead? Then did the elder?”
Bloody Hand Witch looked at Hae Ack-chun with shocked eyes. But his reaction was different from what I expected.
“Huh! If that was the case, that long-awaited dream of mine would have come true, but no, someone else did it before I could.”
Surprisingly, Hae Ack-chun spoke the truth, he could have lied, but he chose to be honest.
“Who could do that?”
Everyone was curious after hearing Hae Ack Chun’s words. This was a natural reaction considering that someone managed to kill a famous swordsman who had been touted as one of the future members of the Eight Great Warriors of the land.
Ignoring their reaction, he continued.
“This is a book left behind by the South Heavenly Swordsman.”
This was what he meant.
He had already died, so it wouldn’t count as stealing. The Bloody Hand Witch then asked.
“Did this mean you found this along with his remains?”
“How could you do such a thing!”
“This calls for congratulations, Elder!”
At his honest response, the others began to speak out. Their words implied that the discovery of a book that can be deemed a treasure for any swordsman by a member of their cult was something to be celebrated.
“What is that supposed to mean?”
Hae Ack-chun asked.
Everyone who cheered for him went silent at his first question. One of them tried to explain while the others all were silent.
“I-it isn’t that…”
“Not being able to compete with him and him losing to someone else isn’t something to be celebrated!”
Seeing that, those trying to speak all went silent, as expected of Hae Ack-chun.
“I couldn’t fight him again after that. this isn’t something you people can celebrate.”
Hae Ack-chun spoke with an angry expression while holding the book.
“This sword technique isn’t completed.”
This was true. Strictly speaking, thanks to him stealing it, I was able to complete the technique.
“I who fought the most with him know this better than anyone.”
Han Baekha frowned.
“Do you mean it?”
Hae Ack-chun smiled.
“This book was passed on to this guy through all the loopholes.”
Hae Ack-chun placed his hand on my shoulders.
“This guy can be called a common point between myself and the South Heavenly Swordsman.”
I was shocked.
The result was that Hae Ack-chun didn’t come across as the successor of the South Heavenly Swordsman’s legacy. Instead, he became someone who supplemented and passed on his rival’s techniques to me.
-… Right. For real, he is amazing.
Even Short Sword admired this. In a sense, the old man was amazing.
As a result, no one could raise objections about it anymore. At least not within the cult.
Hae Ack-chun was a clever old man.
-… Still, this is good
Even Iron Sword, who should be angry, was fine. What was good about this?
-Actually, if it wasn’t for him, the life and knowledge of my former owner would have ended. Moreover, the man himself said that you would be considered as an heir to my former owner.
When I heard his words, it felt right.
Since Hae Ack-chun was in possession of the book, he could have professed it as his own technique. Instead, he left a mark that told the people that his rival’s legacy continued to live on.
Looking at this, I realized how much this old man valued his rival.
-I am grateful for that.
South Heavenly Iron Sword was happy that his former owner wouldn’t be forgotten.
Bloody Hand Witch, Han Baekha, her followers, and the leaders of each group went to the main hall.
It was because there was a selection ceremony that still needed to be done.
Before leaving, that woman sent me a message.
[The bet was won by the young master. Let’s meet in the same vacant lot from last time at midnight tonight.]
She surrendered. Well, strictly speaking, Dam Yehwa did get the position that she had made a bet for, but since my own achievements were higher, this made any spar between us meaningless.
The difference between her and my skills was apparent.
-What do you want to be taught?
‘I don’t have high expectations.’
I didn’t think she would teach me anything useful. She, too, wouldn’t have expected to lose the bet, so she would probably teach me some insignificant technique.
I was more curious about Baek Ryeon-ha. She had a strange look when she looked at me earlier.
-Maybe she didn’t think you’d notice?
That could be the case.
“But… teacher. Why are you going to the main hall?”
On our way there, Song Jwa-baek asked a question, unable to hold his curiosity. But Hae Ack-chun smiled and said,
“Now is the time.”
“To bring in useful ones. Hehe.”
Yeah, okay. I think I get why.
He said he would raise us three. In the case of the current Blood Cult, there already were factions on each side, and each side needed talent.
And this was a matter of how many talents were secured by which side.
When we arrived at the hall, it was noisy. In addition to the commander, the leaders and trainees were also there.
Memories prior to my return came back to me.
The list of trainees was attached to a wide wooden board in front of the yard. The names on the list were sorted by the classes they qualified for.
Before my return to this time, I had been given a task already as a member of the Blood Wolf.
While low-ranked warriors were evenly distributed, the middle-rank warriors and the others were given out through preference.
I remembered how fiercely the people fought for better talent. At that time, I wasn’t there, but I knew about one person who the factions fought extremely over.
Cho Sung-won, the spy from the Beggars Union.
He eventually went as a subordinate to the First Blood Star. Everyone thought he would go under one of the Four Venerable Dignitaries, but his choice surprised everyone.
-But it was the wrong choice.
Just half a year from now, an order was issued to eliminate him, which led to his death.
-In the end, he is destined to die.
What if I changed his fate?
The Six Blood Valley was uncovered thanks to Cho Sung-won and a few other spies. But I wondered how much it would change if I changed the place this man ended up going to?
For example, what if I revealed his identity right away?
“The selection ceremony will occur tomorrow.”
Gu Sang-woong spoke in a loud voice. Ten other commanders from other locations stood in front of the board. They couldn’t take their eyes off of it.
Hae Ack-chun then stepped up to the selection board. When he went there, everyone became confused.
They didn’t seem to expect that Hae Ack-chun would participate in the selection. After all, he was someone who had never shown such an interest before.
One of the commanders asked.
“Is the elder also participating in the selection?”
“Huh! I have no commander below me, so I will choose for myself.”
Their faces darkened.
They didn’t think this would happen. Even the Bloody Hand Witch seemed shocked.
Everyone was puzzled at this unforeseen situation, as Hae Ack-chun said.
“Does this start from the middle-ranked warriors or the upper-ranked warriors?”
“… From the middle rank.”
“Is that so? Then, that works. Any complaints for me?”
At Hae Ack-chun’s words, the commanders all bit their lips. They couldn’t say no to this man.
Who would have the guts to say no to such a monster?
“I can choose then?”
Hae Ack-chun pointed his finger at the place where the list was hanging from. It was a list of middle-rank warriors.
A total of 37 names.
The list was arranged from top to bottom in order of outstanding qualities.
Each faction was holding their breath and waited for Hae Ack-chun to stop.
They were worried that he might choose talented ones before them. His finger then continued to move down.
And a couple sighed in relief, but…
“I will take everyone from the top down to here.”
Everyone became puzzled at Hae Ack-chun’s words, but the old man clearly didn’t care as he said.
“In fairness, there are only ten other people left, so whether you talk it out or whatever you do, take them one by one.”
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