I was speechless at his unexpected question.
Wasn’t this like a thief being caught before they had a chance to steal? If I wasn’t good at managing my expression, it would have betrayed me right then.
-How does he know?
Short Sword was also deathly curious.
‘I don’t know.’
So Ik-heon’s voice was angry,
Just by looking at how he had already drawn his sword, he must be convinced that I was a member of the Blood Sect.
Letting him take the lead in the conversation was stupid, so I decided to act,
“Are you saying that I am a member of the Blood Sect? Quite a shocking accusation.”
I always had this cheat-like knack for controlling my emotions. However, So Ik-heon’s expression didn’t change.
Not only did he not reveal any doubt, but pushed me further,
“Don’t mess around! A guy who was kidnapped by the Blood Sect suddenly appears to shake the family, and you want me to believe you?”
Did he just say kidnapped by the Blood Sect?
How did he know? This was confusing!
-Couldn’t Asong have told him?
Asong wasn’t even entered into the house and was kicked out, and in the first place, this guy didn’t consider me his child. In other words, Asong wouldn’t have been able to tell the Lord, and the Lord would not have cared enough to ask.
‘… the twins got caught?’
That being said, it had only been one day, and it was doubtful that information could have passed hands so quickly.
That was odd too.
From what I was told there was a high chance the woman didn’t even know I had survived the fall. So it was impossible to notice this plan.
‘What is this?’
It was difficult to piece together context with such simple thoughts. So, I had to ask directly,
“I do not understand what my father is saying. Who said I was kidnapped by the Blood Sect?”
But again, an unexpected answer came,
The source of information was none other than Asong.
How did he hear from Asong, who was chased out and had vanished?
And so I asked,
“I heard Asong was kicked out of the house, how could he…”
“Asong is my man.”
What nonsense is this now?
Asong, a servant of mine was his? There wasn’t a single change in his eyes or the expression he had.
Even as I thought about it, doubts crept up from the depth of my heart. Asong had been taking care of my mother for a long time, but he was still a man hired by the Lord.
Yet, he cared so much for us. Even when I got kicked out of the main house, didn’t he follow me?
-As you said, if he truly followed you then good, but what about the other way around?
‘The other way?’
-Right. It could be your father or maybe one of the vassals who ordered it.
‘The lord put him?’
This didn’t make sense. For what reason did he place a servant?
I guess he didn’t show it, but in fact, was it because he saw me as a child?
If that was the case, shouldn’t he be protecting me the right way? But didn’t he let me be called all sorts of names before throwing me out?
Did he think I would speak the truth if he brought up Asong? I spoke in a cold voice,
“Where is Asong?”
“Answer what the Lord of the family asks! What happened during the months you vanished? Do you think it makes sense for a guy whose dantian was destroyed to restore it and overcome the wall of a first-rate warrior?”
That was common sense.
I too would have thought that.
But, after returning, I realized that sitting still wouldn’t be the answer. Another answer could surface.
“Doesn’t that mean it is possible if I am here like this?”
At my words, he shook his head and said,
“Even if I didn’t do anything as a father, I have been watching you since you were a kid. Did you know that the guy who had been down since his mother died and people calling him names changes this much when he becomes the disciple of Southern Heavenly Swordsman? Do you think people can change in such a short time?”
“Is that proof that I have become a part of the Blood Sect?”
“People do not change easily. However, it isn’t difficult by much if you borrow the power of the Blood Sect or the Forces of Evil and their evil means.”
“You are speaking the same thing as the first hyung did. And Mount Hyeong’s swordsman had proven that to be false. But you still think I have fallen to them?”
“It has been 15 years since the Southern Heavenly Swordsman disappeared. Did you think I would believe it just because you showed a few techniques he had and spoke a few words with the man?”
It felt like I underestimated this man.
It seemed like he grew suspicious because I asked to be a member representing the family. And So Ik-heon continued,
“There is another piece evidence for it”
“You accidentally appeared right before the Murim Tournament and then ask to be taking the position of a representative of this family.”
At that moment, I went speechless. Well, I never knew much about the person called Ik-heon.
I had no idea that he was such an insightful person
-I always thought you were smart because you were a spy. But I guess that isn’t everything.
When I didn’t like it, and Short Sword went silent.
So Ik-heon began to release the energy.
He was truly one of the three people representing Hunnam.
“Do you know why the Murim Tournament is held? Did you think it is simply because the alliance was being broken up?”
“What do you mean?”
To this, he continued,
“The Blood Sect is about to revive again. They have been hiding in the shadows for a long time and building up their power. Do you think that would be allowed?”
Amazing. In a way, he was the head of a family because of the insights he held.
It seemed like the Murim Alliance had won such battles not simply because of luck.
‘Miss. It will not be easy.’
In the midst of it, I thought of Baek Ryeon-ha.
It wasn’t conscious, but had I truly become a member of the Blood Sect?
And So Ik-heon pointed to me,
“The secret to you gaining power isn’t tough to guess. They kidnap young ones like you and make them their own.”
It was so accurate that I didn’t know what to say.
“If you are from Blood Sect, there is no better chance than this.”
I gulped not realizing. Then did he even guess about us stealing the Blood Demon sword?
“If you kidnap someone from a prestigious sect like this and brainwash them into the sect, how great would it be to use them?”
But I didn’t think he could see so far. Even so, it was amazing he could guess this much.
-Maybe it is because of Asong
-You said it before. Every time you change something the future changes.
Short Sword’s words were true. Asong was supposed to die, but I had saved him and that led to him telling the Lord I had been kidnapped.
Maybe this had an impact.
Before my return, I was just kicked out when I returned to the family.
-What do we do now?
Short Sword asked, seemingly worried. It seemed like the lord had already been convinced.
Right. If other people were in this situation, they would be quite flustered and not know what to do.
But as a spy, had he experienced such a suspicious situation?
I shook my head,
“So my father is saying that the Murim tournament is something I want to participate in so I came in like a spy of the Blood Sect? You want to drive me out like this.”
Seeing me speak like I was disappointed, So Ik-heon narrowed his eyes. It was like he was determined to know the truth.
“My teacher will be disappointed with the Ikyang So family.”
I mentioned him on purpose.
He said he wouldn’t believe it but I still decided to use it. Shaking up my story now would only lead to more suspicion.
So I held strong as he asked,
“Do you want to prove your innocence?”
“How am I going to prove when you are already acting like this?”
“It isn’t that difficult. To prove your innocence, undo everything you have done. And give up on being the representative.”
Not easy if he came out like this.
“It’s fun to give up on everything and stand stiff so my innocence can be proven.”
I was being sarcastic. If I kept quiet then all our plans would be ruined.
“Since I cannot do that, how about you just give me the role of representative? I can brighten up the name of the family more than the two older…”
“Even if you don’t give up, you will not be given the position you requested.”
“… you do not see your child as a child at all.”
“Do not get me wrong.”
“You seriously don’t deserve it. What do you think it would mean if a person who goes to represent my family is a disciple of the Southern Heavenly Swordsman?”
Now I understood.
At the feast, he was thinking of rejecting the position I had asked for. So Ik-heon took his stance.
It was the technique of the Turbulence Sword that only the successors for the Lord position could learn.
A massive force.
What he was showing now couldn’t be compared with So Young-hyun.
“This is your last warning. If you have even the slightest pride in inheriting the blood of this family, stop now and surrender.”
What? Pride in this family? Blood? What nonsense!
“… what if I surrender?”
“I will look into your body and see if you have been brainwashed and if you are innocent there is no reason to not take you back.”
That would only prove his concept of innocence.
After all, he had no intention of putting me ahead.
I pulled out Southern Iron Sword and his face hardened,
“What are you doing?”
“You said you will not give me the position I want, but you keep saying you’re my father who is willing to take me in if I surrender and let you check my dantian. I belong to another sect.”
At my words, he frowned.
For a warrior to know the origin of another’s internal qi, they would need to use a certain technique. This was taboo even in the factions that practiced it unless the opponent was an enemy.
“I have no choice but to protect myself for the honor of my teacher”
At my words, his eyes turned sharp,
“Be it trickery or not, do you think you can just defeat me?”
It looked like his self-esteem was hurt.
He is the one who judged that my skills have grown and he had seen my confrontation with the First Sword of Mount Hyeong too.
“Shouldn’t we compete to win?”
So Ik-heon stepped on the floor and the training hall ground cracked.
So Ik-heon was the family swordsman who had reached the level of a master.
“You will regret this.”
“I will not.”
And he began to narrow the distance. Since his sword was heavy, the techniques he used gave off a sense of weight, but when a skilled person used it, the flow would be that of a normal sword.
I began to rouse my qi, and cover my sword with it.
Soft willow branch-like, and netted to defend, any attack which made its way close got wrapped in it.
When the swords collided, the sound of metal clashing echoed.
He tried to subdue me, but it wasn’t so easy, and the sword he used kept rebounding off my net.
As the sword moved, So Ik-heon didn’t miss a gap and aimed for my chest.
I quickly changed the path of my sword and blocked it.
I did block it, but I ended up being pushed back far.
And as he managed to gain the force he moved and he slashed the sword at my left shoulder.
‘He won’t even give me a break?’
I hurriedly swung my sword to block it. When the sword collided this time my body trembled as it bounced back.
This force was too much. If I was someone who had just touched the level of a master, my opponent was at the upper ends of the master level.
The level difference itself was huge.
I bounced back and smashed into the wall of the training room. And So Ik-heon attacked right away,
“It is of no use.”
So Ik-heon slammed his sword down.
Was this the essence of heavy swords?
My body holding the sword was pulled down.
To kill this power I rotated my body.
The power of his heavy sword was dispersed and my body became light. But Ik-heon didn’t miss this gap–
I blocked his attack with my sword, but once again I got smashed into the wall,
The wall cracked this time.
If this wasn’t an iron sword my sword would have already broken down. This man knew how to take advantage of the weapon he had.
And he said,
“It is a better sword than it looks. If it wasn’t for that sword you would be down.”
“The gap between you and me is huge. Stop this and accept defeat.”
“You treat me like a sinner and not a son.”
“Do not try to appeal to such sentiments.”
So Ik-heon pushed me.
I sighed. Seeing this man looking down at me with arrogant eyes.
“This is the last warning. If you swing your sword again, this time be prepared to have your bones broken,”
“You really deserve to be called the Ikyang Swordsman.”
“Will you surrender?”
I dusted off the dust and said,
“You are as strong an opponent as you seem.”
At my words, his expression contorted.
Because despite me being knocked around, I was speaking arrogantly.
I pointed my sword at him and said,
“The Xing Ming sword technique which my teacher had later perfected and evolved. From now on, I will be using the True Xing Ming Sword.”
In just a moment I moved right in front of him.
As my speed suddenly increased he hurriedly moved back and swung his sword to block.
The moment our swords collided he bounced back and looked shocked.
Such an obvious reaction,
He thought that the difference between us would be like the difference between heaven and earth.
So Ik-heon pointed his sword at me.
Seeing how the force of the heavy sword was raging differently from before, it seemed like he wanted to end this.
I launched myself forward,
With a stabbing motion, my hand which held the sword moved to the left.
Like a harbinger of a storm, an intense force of qi was at the tip of my blade.
‘True Chasing Yahui Sword’
True meant that it had been completed, and this sword technique was based on the Xing Ming sword technique, which used innate qi and not internal qi.
And its power…
The desperate effort of So Ik-heon was smashed.
His defenses a complete wreck, he got swept away by my sword.
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