Chapter 42 - Cho Sung-won (1)

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Cho Sung-won flinched as he stopped near commander Na Shim-hyung and frowned.

I spotted his trembling eyes and noted that he seemed like he was in a hurry. Cho Sung-won stopped walking and sent a Voice Transmission to me in reply.

[What are you talking about?]

The guy asked me. Well, if I reacted more here, he’ll get caught, right?

Even if it ended with him hating me, I need to bring him in first.

[That’s right.]

[What are you talking about…]

[If the sect leader of the Beggars Union is on the side of Kaifeng, it would be dangerous to stick to that side.]

The moment I sent that message, his eyes trembled like falling leaves. He was more shocked than when I called him a Beggar.

He should understand now the fact that I knew his real identity.

“What are you doing?”

Na Shim-hyung was becoming frustrated and asked a question.

But, as if Cho Sung-won couldn’t hear the words, he kept staring at me instead.

-He is staring.

‘I don’t care.’

I am going to have him either way. As soon as I looked at him again, the reaction came.

[… What do you want?]

I didn’t answer and just pointed in front of me. Cho Sung-won, staring at me, took a step to my side.

“Hurry up- oh…?”

However, contrary to the wishes of Na Shim-hyung, he stepped to my side. The guy then knelt down and said.

“Lord So. I would like to receive a position under the elder.”

I did it!

The guy changed his mind. And this changed his history from what I knew.

“Kuahahaha!’

Hae Ack-chun spat out his laughter without hiding his feelings because he was getting whoever he wanted. On the other hand, the others haven’t been able to get anyone.

[Leader… So. What did you say?]

Na Shim-hyung sent me a message without even turning his head. Perhaps it was because of Hae Ack-chun.

When the candidate who should go to them suddenly walked over to me, he didn’t seem to understand why.

[I said nothing.]

[You said nothing?]

[I just said that I wanted him to be with me.]

I said this because I wouldn’t need to make more excuses. Na Shim-hyung frowned and didn’t say anything more. He seemed to have given up because he didn’t get the desired results.

On the other hand, the other commanders were glaring at me.

-I can see daggers in their eyes.

Was everyone feeling like Na Shim-hyung? Maybe they were. As a spy, I realized there was nothing more difficult than controlling one’s emotions.

Even I had trouble with it, so what about them?

At that time, Gu Sang-woong, the commander, started the process again.

[Candidate 4.]


It was cold.

A dagger from someone’s eyes flew and pierced my chest.

Hae Ack-chun stared at me with angry eyes.

-The old man has too much greed.

Short Sword grumbled.

Unfortunately, I failed to recruit all 6. I also had a good prediction that we wouldn’t get one or two of them.

One went over to Song Pil-chung and the other to Na Shim-hyung. Fortunately, the other two came over to our side.

-I thought they would all come. It was weird.

-There was nothing strange. The human mind is the most complicated thing…

-Right, right. My former owner would say the same.

Iron Sword, too said the same thing.

Since each person had their own line of thought, any number of things could happen. That is why it was said that there was no such thing as a perfect strategy for war.

Hae Ack-chun bluntly spoke to me.

“I wanted to praise you, but you want to get cursed instead?”

It would be okay to get praised, but he was chewing me out for the losses instead. Still, it doesn’t change that I failed.

As I bowed my head, Song Jwa-baek was smiling. It must have looked good for him because I was getting scolded quite a lot today.

“Still, young master’s skills aren’t normal.”

‘Uh?’

I heard a voice speak to me for the first time. When I turned my head, a middle-aged man with a large scar on his nose was approaching.

-Couldn’t sense him?

Iron Sword asked me. To be honest, I didn’t notice the man until he spoke.

‘An expert.’

He was skillful enough that it was difficult to recognize his presence. Perhaps even Song Jwa-baek didn’t notice him either as he looked visibly shocked.

Then the middle-aged man grinned.

‘Did he do something?’

Killing one’s qi presence to hide was something done by someone who was well known. My gaze turned to his hands.

Judging by the lack of weapons, he seemed to be a close combat warrior. The calluses on his fist also gave that fact away.

“Hehe, if you had come, you should have run here. Where were you?”

Hae Ack-chun seemed to know him. It must be a face he knew.

Chak!

The middle-aged man bowed.

“I apologize, Elder. I was watching because it was too interesting.”

“What is so funny? Tch.”

“I think I understand why Elder accepted the young master as his disciple.”

This goes beyond mere familiarity. This was the first time I’d seen this old man act so warmly.

“Still, too far away. And you, you’re acting like this? Well, just greet each other. Until ten years ago, he was the one who worked behind the scenes under me.”

At Hae Ack-chun’s introduction, the middle-aged man opened his mouth and turned toward us.

“Jang Mun-wong, commander of the Horn Bell group, greets the young master.”

A commander.

I wasn’t sure since we didn’t fight but compared to the other ones I saw today, he felt exceptionally skilled.

Tak!

I, too, bowed with my hands clasped.

“So Wonhwi greets the commander.”

“Song Jwa-baek greets the commander.”

“Song Woo-hyun greets the commander.”

Commander Jang Mun-wong lightly nodded back at our greetings and then turned to Hae Ack-chun.

Why did I think that was weird?

They did great, but it wasn’t like they were recognized as a disciple of Hae Ack-chun.

“As instructed, we have secured several people in the Great Evil Prefecture.”

“And the results?”

“22 low-rank, 12 middle-rank, and 2 upper-rank.”

“I see. There is no difference between you and this one.”

Hae Ack-chun expressed his dissatisfaction. Aside from trust, how far does this man’s passion go?

“I apologize. I am not as witty as the young master here.”

From their conversation, I learned two things.

Firstly, this commander was someone Hae Ack-chun trusted to do tasks for him, and he had been given the task 6 months ago.

‘Great Evil prefecture…’

I knew there were three more places to train new kids besides here. They were also distributed like a points system, so I didn’t know of them.

However, Commander Jang Mun-wong seemed to have secured a few from another place, following the commands of Hae Ack-chun.

“The command you gave for a place…”

“Let’s talk about it later.”

At those words, the commander went silent. It wasn’t just about getting people; there seemed to be a base prepared too.

-This crazy old man isn’t normal.

‘I know.’

He didn’t tell us anything and kept getting things ready for his goal. As expected of him.

His thoughts went higher and further than mine. I wondered how vast the forest he planned to create.

“Hehe, the ‘family’ is increasing. It’s time to finish living in that cave.”

That was nice to hear.

It was warm now, but living in caves during winter was brutal. Despite using internal qi to protect the body, staying in the cold all day with only rocks for company wasn’t easy.

Besides, there were too many bugs now.

-Right. A lot. We slept together for just a few months, and maybe a dozen spiders must have already gone into your mouth.

‘What?’

-You didn’t know?

Had I known, I would have spat them out!

‘No, why did you tell me?’

-You said it was delicious and ate it, so I didn’t bother.

‘You!’

-Yah. Still, they are like medicine.

‘What?’

-You still caught a few from entering, but the bald guy there would just chew on anything which went into his mouth. Those bugs would…

‘Stop!’

Just thinking about it gave me goosebumps all over my body. Song Woo-hyun didn’t just eat spiders by mistake but also the ones who crawled in?

I was relieved that none of us got sick from it. At the same time, Hae Ack-chun spoke to Song Jwa-baek.

“Take some kids and get the things from the cave.”

It looked like the move would happen now. Only four people were living in that cave for a year, so the living expenses would increase from now.

-The old man is thrifty, though.

‘And the other ones?’

In addition, there were quite a few personal items of Hae Ack-chun in the cave.

These were the things no one would want to touch.

“Yah. How many would I have to take?”

Song Jwa-baek asked me. Assuming the luggage in the cave is carried down at once, I thought 7 should be enough alongside him and me.

“7. As I saw earlier, the kids are quite good.”

“Hmm. Well, of course.”

“Are you going to call them?”

“Wait and see.”

Song Jwa-baek moved to the front and went to the candidates to count the number of people. It was convenient because they already knew how to move. Song Jwa-baek, this guy, liked to play the role of leader.

-Those kids will keep taking advantage of him by praising him.

-My former owner told me to always be careful of the people who praise me.

-Right, your previous owner was unable to meet a woman because of that, right?

-No, since he was devoted to the sword…

-So boring.

Listening to these guys talk, I felt bored too.

Meanwhile, Song Jwa-baek selected the candidates who were proficient in footwork to climb up the mountain. Among them were a few I knew.

Cho Sung-won.

-He has been staring at you since he came.

I know.

He had continued to stare since he took our side. He must be restless since he knew that I knew about him.

Seeing that he applied to bring down the luggage, it seemed like he wanted alone time with me. Well, I, too, needed some time with him.

“Now! Let’s start!”

“Yes!”

With Song Jwa-baek in the lead, we set off for the cave. We began to move from the main hall of the Six Blood Valley to the peak in the distance.

As I was about to climb up, Cho Sung-won said,

“Leader.”

“Um?”

“I have something to talk about. Can you spare some time?”

Because we were all stuck together, we rarely had some time, so he was trying to create a chance for us to be alone. I had to respond, so I looked at Song Jwa-baek, who shook their head and said,

“Hurry up. Don’t you know the teacher will yell at you for coming late?”

“I get it.”

“You all follow me.”

Tat!

Song Jwa-baek climbed up the mountain.

The others were amazed at his skillful movement. Having learned the method, Hae Ack-chun used, his ability to climb the mountain was the best among the ones here.

Of course, now I can learn it too. Still, it was impossible to run on the incline like Hae Ack-chun, but now I was able to climb up the cliffside a bit better.

Song Jwa-baek and the other 4 completely disappeared from the view, leaving Cho Sung-won to say to me.

“So Wonhwi.”

What?

He was calling my name?

“The third son of the Ikyang So family of Yulang of Hunan province. “

Look at this.

Information from his mouth was as expected from a Beggars Union Spy.

“Your mother was short-lived, and since you were young, the dantian was damaged, and you are called trash. This is the information I have on you.”

“Ha!”

He summed everything up. It was, after all, one of the three major information organizations.

Or did he just know about the Ikyang So family as it was a known family in Hunan?

“Now, you don’t seem to want to hide that you are a Beggar…”

Then, he suddenly moved to me, and his palm came up to my stomach.

‘An attack?’

Tatak!

I quickly stepped back, but he followed me with his unique, staggering footsteps.

Taktak!

My judgment was wrong.

He wasn’t just close to a first-rate warrior, but already a first-rate warrior.

Moreover, the footwork and martial arts he was using weren’t ordinary.

Papak!

The guy’s hand kept moving in front of me. It was like a dragon ascending to heaven.

-The technique, avoid it! It is the Eighteen Dragon Palm!

Iron Sword shouted.

‘What?’

I was shocked at the mention of the Eighteen Dragon Palm. Wasn’t that a technique only the Beggars Union’s branch leaders could learn?

Despite being a third-rate warrior before my death, I knew about the famous martial arts of the prominent sects.

‘Tch!’

I had to draw my sword, but I didn’t see an opening for it. This guy’s movements were quick, and he came close to smashing my chin. I slammed both fists at him.

Pat!

“Huh!?”

Although the method looked simple, Cho Sung-won’s attack had a lot of force, making my body float a little high.

At that moment, he reached out to me. A fierce battle unfolded as if a dragon had opened its mouth to kill me.

-Ascending Dragon

Iron Sword seemed to know most of the techniques.

If I cannot avoid it, I have to hit back. I, too, raised my hand with internal qi raised and stretched out.

Pat!

The difference between a proper technique with a path of internal qi and an idea.

Papapak!

I launched my body out at him and pushed him back.

His right palm trembled violently as if he had been struck with a strong, blunt force.

It seemed like it was true that this was the technique of the Beggars Union.

Cho Sung-won, who stood still, saw my hands trembling.

“I recommend staying still. The tension in your body will spread throughout as my qi is within you. You have to cultivate to release it out.”

“You hid your skills.”

At my words, he smiled.

“If you drew that sword, it might have been a little difficult for me.”

Look at this man. Full of confidence.

And he said,

“You know you’re not my opponent, right? Now answer my question.”

He was interrogating me. Seeing that, I lowered my trembling hands and sighed.

“Phew.”

“It is nice the tables are turned.”

“Don’t get me wrong.”

“What?”

I drew out Iron Sword right away and hurled it at him.

“Foolish!”

Cho Sung-won spread the distance at the same time while he defended himself against the sword. The guy tried to deflect the sword to the side with his elegant footwork.

The moment his palm touched the sword, it bounced back.

Pang!

“Uh?”

The boy’s eyes widened.

In that state, I gently turned the sword and hit him in the abdomen with the sword. He hastily blocked it with his own sword.

However, as if being hit by something strong, his body bounced backward.

“Euk!”

He tried to relieve the pressure of the sword qi digging into the palm of his hand and tried to cultivate it.

After a few bounces, his body fell to the floor.

Thud!

Cho Sung-won looked at me, his face showing that he did not expect this.

“You… hid your skills too?”

I said to him, who was shocked

“Too late to figure that out now.”

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